The art of calligraphy is a cherished Chinese tradition. The gatherings of calligraphy artists across the cities of Vietnam to make some best wish or wisdom words as good luck charms or gifts for the Lunar New Year, Tết, are the testimony of Vietnamese appreciation of Chinese culture and civilization.
It is obvious that Vietnamese culture is heavily influenced by Chinese culture as it was colonized by China for more than 1,000 years without interruptions. Vietnamese people are proud of their own civilization of 4,000 years old. Henceforth, the efforts of complete sinicization have been proven impossible.
A young calligraphy artist at work
Vietnamese people have always risen up against the Chinese domination. Vietnam has thwarted 17 Chinese invasions since it regained independence in 939. The animosity between Vietnamese and Chinese should be obviously blatant. However, this is not the case from the Vietnamese side, who are peace-loving and forgiving people.
The interest of getting calligraphy in chữ Nôm, chữ Hán (“Han script”), chữ Nho (“Confucian script”), or quốc ngữ (“National language”) shows deep appreciation of Chinese culture.
Ordinary citizens from all ethnic backgrounds have simple dreams of pursuing their own happiness and taking care of their families, they want to live in peace. However, the leaders are usually the culprits of wars and conquests because they are ambitious and want to leave legacy for posterity.
Some leaders are even megalomaniac and will spare no cost to achieve their own greatness. The first ruthless ruler of China was emperor Chin Shih Huang; 259 BC – 210 BC, who reunified China at all costs.
As China has emerged as the world’s second economy and military superpower, China’s current leaders want to restore China as the Middle Empire, the center of the world. China has been very assertive and even bullying its neighbors to force a fait d’accompli that would give China the whole East Sea/ Western Philippines Sea/ South China Sea by disregarding the UNCLOS treaty and other international treaties.
As we live in the 21st century, the world has become more civilized, international instances of the United Nations provide mechanisms for antagonists to settle disputes or conflicts through peaceful means or impartial arbitrage.
China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and is a member on the jury panel of International Tribunal. However, China has been consistently refusing to take the maritime disputes to international arbitrage as the Philippines has recently notified to take the matter to international instances. The repeated refusals speak louder about the bellicose nature and character of China’s leaders. They prefer to conquer the world through force rather than through civilization and ideas.
Why can’t people just live in peace in this small planet called Earth?
Brushes used to write on materials such as paper, bamboo and even stone
Some girls in practice as calligraphy artists
Another corner of Van Mieu street