Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hello and welcome to VOV’s Letter Box, a weekly feature dedicated to our listeners throughout the world. We are Ngoc Huyen and Nhat Quynh.

A: First on our show today, we’d like to welcome Masaru Sekimoto of Japan, who sent us two letters this week and reported on our broadcasts from 11:30 to 11:57 UTC on October 31st and November 2nd on the frequency of 12020 with SINPO of 44333. Masaru wrote that he was interested in Vietnamese ethnic culture and that he will continue to listen to VOV to learn more about Vietnam, its people and culture.

A: Thank you, Masaru, for your reports. We’ll send you verification cards to confirm your reports.

B: Vietnam is a multi-ethnic country with 54 ethnic groups. Great National Unity – Vietnamese Cultural Heritage Week is celebrated at the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism in Hanoi. The event promotes the cultural values of Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups. This year’s event included the participation of the Tay, Thai, Muong, Khmu, and Ba Na people.

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A: In addition to this cultural event, a number of traditional ethnic minority festivals in Vietnam are being celebrated during November.

B: Ok Om Bok is an example. It is also called the Festival of Worshipping the Moon and takes place at the Ao Ba Om (Ba Om Pond) relic site in the southern province of Tra Vinh.

A: Ok Om Bok is one of the main traditional festivals of the Khmer ethnic people in the southern provinces in general and Tra Vinh province in particular, as well as the Sen Dolta and Chol Chnam Thmay festivals.

B: Through its variety of activities, the event aims to introduce and promote the tourist potential of the province, as well as reinforce tourism cooperation among cities and provinces.

A: It is also expected to create a joyous festive atmosphere, and contribute to the preservation and promotion of the Ok Om Bok Festival which has been recognized as part of the country’s National Intangible Cultural Heritage.

B: The one-week festival includes of a variety of cultural and sports events, including trade fairs featuring local specialties, traditional competitions like tug-of-war, crossing a bamboo bridge and a contest to design typical souvenirs from Tra Vinh province.

A: The highlight of this year’s festival was the Ghe Ngo (Khmer boat) race which took place on November 13. The race attracted the participation of six rowing teams with nearly 400 athletes from different districts and cities in the province.

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B:  Khmer people view the Ghe Ngo race as both a game and a way to express solidarity, as well as a traditional ritual to see the God of Water off to the ocean after the growing season. It is also a religious ritual to commemorate the Snake God Nagar, who once turned into a lump of wood to help the Buddha cross the river according to legend.

A: Ok Om Bok festival takes place under the full moon every 10th lunar month annually, when it changes from the rainy season to the dry season, the growing season to the harvest season.

B: The Khmer believe the moon is a God who controls the weather and crops throughout the year. The Ok Om Bok Festival in each village takes place in the garden of a local pagoda, while the whole province’s Ok Om Bok Festival takes place at Ba Om Pond. For the occasion, Khmer people provide offerings of farm products to thank the God’s blessing for favourable weather and their bountiful harvest.

A: That’s a short take on the Ok Om Bok festival celebration of the Khmer people in Tra Vinh province. We will bring you more stories about the cultures of Vietnam’s ethnic groups in other shows, or you can also check out our segment called “Colorful Vietnam-Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups”, “Discovery Vietnam” and “Culture” which are also available on our website at

B: Grant Skinner of the UK listened to our broadcast on October 23rd on the frequency of 7280 khz and rated SINPO at 15251. He wrote: “the broadcast quality was degraded by electrical noise which sounded like crackles.”

A: Grant, thank you for your report. We’re so sorry for the inconvenience. Please try another frequency on 9730 khz for better quality programs. In a letter to VOV this week, John Rutledge of the US wrote: “I want to thank you for your gift. Practical, yet stylish. Funny, but technically, I’m actually a nine-year listener, missing my tenth by over 300 days. Maybe next time. In regards to program ideas, have you ever thought of running a special series of programs which cover all of provinces of Vietnam. One program per province. Or programs on each minority group of Vietnam?”

B: Thank you, John, for your recommendation. Actually, at VOV, we have launched such a series. In the Discovery Vietnam segment, we have weekly stories about the culture, attractions, and lifestyles of different provinces. Over the past few months, we have travelled through Hai Duong, Kien Giang, Thai Binh and most recently Nam Dinh province and explored their beautiful landscapes, historical and cultural relic sites, festivals, cuisines and local people’s lives.

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K'ho ethnic minority girls featured in VOV's Colorful Vietnam-Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups

B: Meanwhile, in our weekly segment “Colorful Vietnam- Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups”, we also introduced the traditions and customs of different ethnic minority groups. We can’t look at one ethnic group or one province in one program, so we make them in a series and broadcast them over consecutive weeks. It often takes a couple of weeks to travel through one province or to talk about one ethnic group. So, we hope that you will keep tuning in to our broadcasts continuously to get a wider panorama of one province or ethnic group of Vietnam.

A: John, we’d like to thank you for your reports on programs dated September 13th, 14th, and 15th on the frequency of 12020 khz from 11:30 to 11;57 UTC. We’ll send you QSL cards to confirm them.

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Nung ethnic group featured in VOV's Colorful Vietnam-Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups

B: We’d like to thank Dahmani Rachid of Algeria for your beautiful e-card and reception reports for the programs on November 16th, 17th, and 20th. He wrote: “I really enjoy listening to your shows in English daily. I find them very informative.  I am most pleased to send you this reception report on your broadcast. I wish to thank you for your shortwave broadcasts. Listening to them is a great way to get to know your wonderful country. I always feel pleasure to enjoy your nice and important programs. I found your program informative and outstanding. Let me appreciate you all on this occasion for your good work and I wish you success.”

A: We’d also like to thank Mr. Ashik Eqbal Tokon of Bangladesh for your greetings to  Miss Nguyen Thi Anh Vien for winning another Bronze medal at the Asian Swimming Championships in Tokyo.

B: Today, we’d like to acknowledge emails and letters from Toshiya Nishimura, Hayoto Furukawa and Fumito Hokamura of Japan,  SB Sharma of India, Richard Nowak of the US, Fachri of Indonesia, and Sekar Thalainayar of India. We’ll verify your reports with QSL cards.

A: We welcome your feedback at: English section, VOV World Service, Radio the Voice of Vietnam, 45 Ba Trieu street, Hanoi, Vietnam. You can email us at You’re invited to visit us online at, where you can here both live and recorded programs. Good bye until next time.