The Mong man behind the road to iconic Lung Cu flag tower

(VOVWORLD) - The Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang province received UNESCO recognition as a global geopark in 2010. The same year, Lung Cu flag tower, a landmark affirming national sovereignty, was built at the summit of Rong (Dragon) Mountain. Visitors admire nature’s magnificence and share Vietnam’s national pride when they reach the flag tower at the northernmost point of Vietnam.
The Mong man behind the road to iconic Lung Cu flag tower - ảnh 1Poet Hung Dinh Quy enjoys his retirement taking care of his garden.

82-year-old Hung Dinh Quy and his wife live in an earthen Mong house. 60 years ago, their marriage was the talk of Ha Giang province because Quy, a Mong man, broke tradition and married a Lo Lo woman. Quy said two important events in his life were building a road to the top of Lung Cu mountain and marrying a Lo Lo woman, who was his student. 

He named their youngest son “Dai Ky”, which means “huge flag”. Quy said the track to Lung Cu used to be rough and dangerous, skirting rock walls and deep abysses. Local people were virtually isolated and no one ever thought of building a road.

“When I was a deputy Chairman of the district, I took some visitors to the flag pole. It was a dangerous trek on sloppy paths. I thought of building a road to the northernmost point of Vietnam, where the flag pole is situated. When I made the proposal to the People’s Committee, I got an approval and was assigned to lead the construction project,” Quy recalled.

The Mong man behind the road to iconic Lung Cu flag tower - ảnh 2Mr. Quy visits Lung Cu flag tower.

Quy said he was very anxious when they got into the work. They needed to finish the construction before the Lunar New Year celebration, which was 2 months away. He divided the 13km road into 19 sections assigned to 19 communes. Each family in the communes was assigned to build 3 to 7 meters of road, depending on the number of its members.

Local people enthusiastically got involved in the work. Many families put up tents to stay near the road so they could work day and night. The construction was finished in 1 month.

Before the road’s inaugural ceremony, Quy asked several young men to find a tall pine tree to replace the old flag pole. A 54 sq.m national flag, representing Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups, has been flying there ever since.

“I’m proud to have been the first person to hoist the new flag. Later, a big flag tower was build with donations from businesses and people nationwide at a proposal of former President Nguyen Minh Triet,” Mr. Quy said.

The Mong man behind the road to iconic Lung Cu flag tower - ảnh 3Lung Cu flag tower.

The Lung Cu flag tower has been upgraded many times, but the flag is still 54 sq.m. The current tower is more than 33m high with 135 steps. Its foundation has 8 sides decorated with images of Vietnam’s history.

Mr. Quy said President Ho Chi Minh was an inspiration for Ha Giang people to build a road from Ma Pi Leng to the Dong Van karst plateau. They call it “Happy road” because it makes lives of ethnic people happier and more prosperous. Mr. Quy was Director of the Ha Giang provincial Department of Culture and Information and Chairman of the provincial Association of Arts Literature and Arts. He writes a lot of poems about Mong people’s love for President Ho Chi Minh.

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