January 11, 2012

Letter Box  11-1-2012

A: Vietnam is experiencing the worst cold spell since the beginning of this winter with the temperature dropping to 9 degrees Celsius in the northern plain or even 2 in some mountainous areas. Although the climate is not as chilly as what our Chinese listener Victor Lu described in his December 4 email, it’s really cold for a tropical country. Mr. Lu wrote: “Congratulations on your new web. It’s the gospel for your listeners and people who like Vietnam. It’s very cold here. 2 weeks later, it’s the spring festival, the lunar new year. I know that it’s celebrated in Vietnam also and I want you to introduce it on your program.”                

B: It’s encouraging that our young website has received a lot of positive feedback from listeners worldwide. For example, another Chinese listener, Li Ming of Maanshan city emailed us last week: “Although I haven’t been writing much, I listen to you several times each week via shortwave. I also often visit your new website and find it very well-designed with high-quality content. It’s great  for people who are interested in news from your country”.      

A: Now back to listener Victor Lu’s question about the lunar new year. We know that Vietnam, China and Korea are among the Asian countries celebrating the lunar new year, which we call Tet in Vietnamese. Tet is the biggest festival in Vietnam. It’s a time for family reunions and for relaxing after a year of hard work. The official Tet celebration lasts 3 days, from the first to the third day of the first lunar month. People decorate their houses and prepare great feasts to welcome visitors. We visit relatives and friends to extend best wishes for the new year. It’s taboo to get angry or quarrel during Tet because people believe they will bring bad luck for the whole year.

B: There’re many more interesting things to say about Tet in Vietnam. So don’t forget to keep tuning in to our station because we’ll be offering a special series on this festival.

A: From the American state of Ohio, Steven Rosenblatt wrote: “For years, I’ve listened to your shortwave broadcasts here in Midwestern USA. However, I’ve just returned home from a  trip to the Philippines and I was fortunate to hear what I believe is your domestic service. I listened many evenings and have made a note. Although I couldn’t understand the language, it was exciting for me to hear local radio from an exotic station so far away. I’m quite interested in your area of the world. Indeed, I’ve always wanted to travel to your country and hope to do so some day”.

B: Based on the details you provided, we’ve forwarded your letter to the domestic service for handling and we hope they will issue a verification card. We’re happy to learn that you’ve been monitoring us for years though it seems that you didn’t write much to us. We’re excited about welcoming you some day to Vietnam, a land of rich culture, world heritages and one of the new natural wonders of the world. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us. We promise to do all we can to make your stay an unforgettable experience.

A: Some good news came from Bangladesh this week. Mrs. Robina Aktar, school teacher and editor of the Lolona Listeners’ Club wrote: “I’m a regular listener of your station. All our club members are working hard for your station. We record your programs and play them for other listeners. Many have asked me for information about your station and we have distributed 208 copies. Now there are more regular listeners of your station. Today, my students asked me about the child education system in your country.”

B: Before answering your question, we’d like to extend our earnest thanks to you and other listeners for your interest and dedication to our station. We’ll work even harder to live up to your expectations. Well, formal education in Vietnam consists of twelve years of basic education. The system comprises five years of primary education, four years of lower secondary education, and three years of upper secondary education. Public kindergartens admit children ranging from 18 months to 5 years of age.

A: Children normally start primary school at the age of six. Education at this level lasts for 5 years and is compulsory for all children. Lower secondary education includes sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth grade. This educational level is homogeneous throughout the country. Upper secondary education consists of grades ten through twelve. All twelfth graders need to pass final exams if they want to continue their education. 

B: That’s our briefing on the education system for children in Vietnam in response to a question from Bangladesh listener Robina Aktar. Because we’re also interested in your country’s education, don’t forget to tell us about it in your next letter.

A: The President of the Friends’ Radio Club of Bangladesh’s Naogaon district emailed us on the first day of 2012, saying that he listens to our broadcast and visits our website regularly. This club often sends us interesting questions and this time, the question concerns the acreage of agricultural land in Vietnam.

B: You know, Vietnam is mainly agriculture-based and our farm land is estimated to be more than 10 million ha including 4 million ha of rice paddies. Vietnam is the 2nd largest rice exporter in the world with a record 7 million tonnes last year. Our biggest rice importers include the Philippines, Indonesia, the Middle East, and Africa. Facing rapid urbanization, the Vietnamese government has set a target of keeping at least 3.8 million ha under rice cultivation to ensure food security.

A: We’re afraid we have to stop here for today due to time constraints. We’ll come back to this topic in the near future. We welcome your comments at:     

English program

Overseas Service

Radio Voice of Vietnam

45 Ba Trieu street-Hanoi-Vietnam

Or you can email us at: englishsection@vov.org.vn

If you miss any of our programs, please log on to www.vovworld.vn to hear a recording.


We’ll see you next Wednesday at the same time and on the same frequency. Good bye!