Another look about “Vote for Ha Long Bay”

This is an interview with Nguyen Xuan Thang, Secretary Indiscriminate of the Domain Federation of UNESCO Associations and Chair of the Warfare Federation ofHalong UNESCO Connexion, a emblematic of UNESCO, one of the most prestigious organizations in the humanity in selecting domain heritage--about the just-finished new digit innate wonders of the experience.

In 2007, you wrote some articles to warn the public about the vote for Ha Long Bay as a new natural wonder of the world through the New Open World Corporation (NOWC), didn’t you?

In the summer 2007, NOWC, a private company, finished the “New seven wonders of the world” selection. Outstanding cultural works that have been recognized by the mankind as the world wonders, like the Parthenon temple in Greece or pyramids of Egypt were rejected from this organization’s “Seven New Wonders” list.

This was an unprecedented thing, which upset traditional conceptions, spiritual values of the past and of the history of civilization of the mankind. More worriedly, as journalist Al-Sayed of Egypt said, the “game” hosted by NOWC has not only “attacked civilizations” but also encouraged small-minded national consciousness among part of the people in many countries.

Why do not you raise your voice in the “Vote for Ha Long” campaign?

I wrote many articles to awaken the public in 2007-2008. Now I don’t be afraid but it is too late.

People who sent text messages to vote for Ha Long said that they did not have to pay much for the vote, but Ha Long Bay is honored as “a natural wonder of the world’. The management board of Ha Long Bay said they did not have pay just a coin. What is your comment?

Prestige and honor of a nation cannot be attained by money, particularly by cheap prices or free of charge. Money is not for sending text messages. Besides money, effort and time of the people, how much effort and money of the State was invested in the media, in buying computers, in making banners and slogans, in organizing meetings, in calling for the people to vote for Ha Long Bay and in drawing foreign tourists and diplomatic corps into this game…? The number is not small and only the insiders know about it.

Ha Long
I think relevant agencies should summarize and make public the cost of the game. However, the biggest problem is not only money and time of the people. I’m worried that such an easy game could make impact on the youth. That game is too self-interested and it is contrary to principles in international relations, standards of civilization, culture, peach and friendship that today’s countries are building.

Do you think that our people do not understand about this game?

We received dozens of phone calls a day from voters who asked us about the criteria of the selection since they thought that this is an event held by the UNESCO. Perhaps over 90 percent of Vietnamese believed that this is an event of the UNESCO.

Many students asked us why they were not allowed to vote for other wonderful sites in the world and we could not answer them.

Could you analyze the concepts of wonder and heritage?

I think the conception “cultural and natural heritage” is broader than “wonder”. The main meaning of “heritage” (under the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage) shows the inherit ion and responsibility to preserve cultural and natural values for the future, not for the interest or pride of any country but for the entire mankind. That is the progressive nature of the Convention and the common trend of the era.

What do you think when NOWC does not make public the official results of the selection and waits for the result verified by an auditing firm?

That is an “award” that does not include values of international public law and is unbinding. So it is the same if it is made public or not. If the results are officially published, what will happen? What will our Ha Long Bay benefit with the crow “top seven” of the world that we proclaim ourselves? The one that benefits the most is perhaps NOWC and firms that organized dependant events.

Do you think that the new title will help develop tourism in Ha Long Bay?Halong travel

Three years ago I raised the question: Who dares to guarantee to the State and people that the achievement from this costly race will benefit Vietnam and its tourism industry? Only fame cannot cause an exploit, especially for the tourism industry.

If the environment of Ha Long gets worse and tourism services are not improved, titles cannot help change the situation.

What does the UNESCO and international community see the selection held by NOWC?

The today society is democratic and freedom. No one prohibits NOWC from holding this selection and no one prevents countries from joining this race, though in nature, this desecrates the face of many countries.

Some countries criticized this game. However, most of governments do not prevent or encourage their citizens from playing this game because they see it like a useless game of the online community.

With the same attitude, the UNESCO did not publicly criticize but it did not cooperate with NOWC in the recent two selections.

What do you sum up after this noise selection?

While many international organizations and nations are trying to create an internationally equal mechanism, promote the friendly and open atmosphere on culture, while the United Nations and the UNESCO are implementing campaigns to look after a new thought of international culture, the new humanism or “culture for peac” based on “equality and diversity of cultural values” in order to gradually abolish the gap between cultures, NOWC has drawn millions of people into a risky game, which is contrary to the trend of peace, integration and sustainable development that countries around the world are pursuing.

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