ASIA FORUM: CHAPTER 10- VIETNAM: A Report by Dr. Bishakha Sarma

“Asia Forum-Chapter 10 VIETNAM” which is an offshoot of Asian Literary Society and Journal of Asian Art, Culture and Literature (JAACL) took place on September 9th, 2021 at 1900 hours IST and 2030 hours ICT on the virtual forum of Asian Literary Society Facebook Page.


The event involves a presentation of the Vietnamese Literature and Language by the distinguished writers and eminent professors of Vietnamese language and Vietnamese Literature, Culture and Language – Dặng Thân, Prof. Bich-Ngoc Turner, Dr. Nguyen Thien Nam, and Kieu Bich Hau


The session begins with a welcome note by Mr. Manoj Krishnan, the Founder of the Asian Literary Society and Editor-in-Chief of JAACL. Thereafter, the session was moderated by Dr. Bishakha Sarma, Linguist, and Administrator of Asian Literary Society.

The phenomenal author of Vietnam Đng Thân while discussing his collection of Essays which conveys the aesthetics of vulgarityand parody in literary criticismsays –Time and again, for a number of thinkers and literary critics, vulgarity is a legitimate attempt to capture the vitality of life through language. And I have tried to depict life and people from all angles, so all kinds of aesthetics are useful. From this perspective, I suppose you understand why they said my book brings about the panoramic way of reading literature, opening profound dimensions and multi-layers of all literary works and authors mentioned. Parody is a notable technique and approach in postmodernism, and is usually applied in fiction writing; however, many critics considered it was the first time it appeared in criticism in Vietnam with my book.


The author speaks on how various researchers defined the Phac-nhien style he adopted in Vietnamese poetry. One says its let’s go and let go in ideology, another critic understands as a release of original instinct and natural energy which is inherent in each human being.


Author Đặng Thân spoke about Doi-Moi Literature. He says the word “Doi Moi” is now an international term, that means “renovation” or “reform”. He further informs that “Doi Moi” (from 1986) is a very important period in Vietnam, in politics, economics and culture etc., esp. literature. Vietnamese literature was first time unroped from political yokes (since 1945 in the North) with the rulers’ will, so it’s a “top down” renovation, but it lasted shortly. But the “Post-Doi Moi” is a “bottom up” struggle (from around the year 2000 to the present) to rise up from the dilemma, especially in literature, it is much more complicated and difficult.


Prof. Bich-Ngoc Turner gives an overview of Vietnamese Literature in the 20th century with four major social and historical events that greatly impacted the development of modern Vietnamese Literature. The four major periods she discussed are

a)      1916-1919 (from verse to prose, from Classical Chinese to modern vernacular Vietnamese language);

b)      1936-1939 (critical realism, anti-colonialism);

c)      1956-1959: Democratic movement of Vietnamese artists and writers but failed and harshly suppressed – the rise of socialist realism in the verge of the civil war;

d)      1986-1989: renovation, intellectual dissent, the death of socialist realism, the beginning of existentialism and globalism in Vietnamese literature.



Dr. Nguyen Thien Nam, a Linguist, describes ten crucial points on the grammar of Vietnamese. He says that Vietnamese is a six-tone isolating and monomorphemic language; and has borrowed words from Chinese, Japanese and Korean. He also discusses the linguistic diversity of Vietnam.


Author Kieu Bich Hau volunteers her volume of Essays Change the life – “I wrote about those matters, figure out the dark part of the human soul and the ways to change ourselves, to free us from the suffering, the psychological burdens, to align our mind’s pursuits with the divine will of our soul….Being a writer, I want to contribute to this progressive change by my works”.

She also spoke about the rich heritage and traditions which voices out in her short stories and novels. She says -“From my childhood, I have heard lots of old stories and been taught rich traditional lessons by my mother and grandmother, father and grandfather. I myself have observed and immersed in the full life of a Vietnamese girl from a rural village to a modern city. All of those valuable and rich memory and documentary becomes the inspiration for me to write”.


The program concludes with an appreciation note by Mr. Manoj Krishnan.


Asian Literary Society and JAACL aim to further continue their pursuits in the promotion and preservation of Asian Art, Culture, and Literature.


 The event has been archived on the YouTube channel of the Asian Literary Society and can be viewed through the following link: