Dao Dinh Tuan- Gentleman boss of VOV5

(VOVworld)- Reporter Dao Dinh Tuan is always optimistic and passionate about life. He is also very serious at work. During my 30 years working at VOV, there are two reporters that I respect and love the most: reporter poet Tran Ngoc Thu, Director of the Editorial Department and reporter Dao Dinh Tuan, Director of VOV’s Overseas Service.

For both of them, work seemed to be very easy and relaxing. Even in the hardest moments, the two reporters could recite poems and compose music. Whenever reporters submitted stories including those covering burning political affairs for approval, both of them said: “OK. I sign and you will be responsible”. These words encouraged young reporters and editors to be more responsible for their stories. During the early years of the renovation process, from 1986 to 1996, VOV changed a lot to keep pace with modern radio broadcasting. In 1992, the program for Overseas Vietnamese was moved from the VOV News and Current Affairs Department- VOV1 to the Overseas Service- VOV5. So did I. Working at VOV5, I had the honor of working with both reporters- two artists who loved and believed in the young reporters.

Dao Dinh Tuan- Gentleman boss of VOV5 - ảnh 1
Director the Overseas Service- VOV5 Dao Dinh Tuan (second from the left) and VOV5 staff

I had known Dao Dinh Tuan several years before becoming part of his staff. Under his management, my colleagues and I all felt relaxed. We all remember the time of waiting for news from the Vietnam-US negotiation on the normalization of bilateral ties. At that time, there were neither satellite telephones nor the internet and we had to follow telex news sent from the Vietnam News Agency. Three years later, the agreement on the normalization of Vietnam-US relations was signed. At the Overseas Service, we all felt that we had fulfilled our task.

At VOV5, where the working tempo is always tense, the sound of a guitar could still be heard. Sometimes, passers-by could also hear artists singing in the Director’s room. At the end of the working day, Director Tuan liked to relax by playing guitars and singing. His room was often filled with artists from VOV’s Orchestra and composers Vu Thiet, and Thanh Tung, who were then the young editors for VOV3’s Music and Entertainment Channel. Their singing was accompanied by VOV5’s editors and presenters, who applauded them for their enthusiastic singing. They shared their joy by singing and drinking beer or sometimes wine served by the Director himself. With just a little bit alcohol, the day-end party at VOV5 always seemed to be a bit more exciting.

During that time, composer-reporter Dao Dinh Tuan composed a series of beautiful songs in praise of Ha Long Bay. When he retired, he was still proud of these songs saying they possibly contributed to the UNESCO recognition of Ha Long Bay as a World Natural Heritage. But, without doubt, these songs were one of the reasons for him to become a member of the Vietnam Musicians’ Association.

These songs were composed in a special manner. Japanese Tuan, the nickname of reporter Luu Anh Tuan at the Japanese Section of VOV5 recalled that in 1995 Director Tuan was hospitalized due to love sickness, as according to Tuan. Doctors asked him to relax and restrain from working. One day, when the doctors went out, Tuan called his junior colleague- Japanese Tuan in to show off his new composition, which was written on the back of the ECG paper. “I have just written”, he whispered. 

Reporter Dao Dinh Tuan was always optimistic and passionate about work and life. He initiated the system of being personally responsible for the recruitment and training for his editorial staff in foreign languages. In the early 1990s, a large number of Japanese investors came to Vietnam. Consequently, some of editorial staff and presenters in the Japanese Section quit VOV to work for them and others retired. At that time, students of the Japanese Faculty at Hanoi University had not yet graduated. To keep VOV’s Japanese programs on air, Tuan decided to recruit students of English and other languages and provide them with hands-on training, the senior staff teaching junior ones. Tuan demanded they ensure the quality of the program in editing, translating and reading steps. For Tuan, the recruitment of qualified staff was of the utmost importance.

Having graduated from Albert Sarraut school, Tuan is fluent in both English and French. He is dedicated to VOV’s policies of promoting a modern external information radio program as a response to greater international integration. In 1995, VOV’s Overseas Service launched a 10-minute French program composed of info-entertainment and close-to-life news and reports on the FM frequency. This program created a milestone and breathed new air into the presentation style of the FM programs. This program was highly praised by expats working and living in Vietnam.

I still remember his squint and the warm smile of uncle “toothless Tuan”- the nickname that his VOV colleagues gave him, when he assigned me to go to HCM City to cover the celebration of Liberation Day, April 30th in 1997.

He said: “Leave now and I’ll give you an air ticket”. Until now, according to the mechanism of the Ministry of Finance, only Department officials or senior reporters are eligible to get air tickets to go on business trips. But Tuan created more favorable conditions for a young reporter like myself to show that he was decisive at work.

With 70 years of VOV’s Overseas Service and 70 years of VOV’s growth, there have been several memories. In VOV’s common house, we have several times proudly sung our songs. But we staff at VOV’s Overseas Services, now the National Foreign Information Channel, have our own song “Our voice” composed by reporter Dao Dinh Tuan. “From here, our voices go everywhere. From here, our voices are transmitted to all continents’.