INTRODUCTION – HUNG NGUYEN MANH, Associate Professor, Doctor of Phylosophy in History

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Asso. Prof. Hung Nguyen Manh PhD.

Figure: Associate Professor Hung, Nguyen Manh PhD.

      Associate Professor – Doctor of Phylosophy in History Nguyen Manh Hung is the person that has initially contributed to the founding of the System of Private Schools in Vietnam ever since 1986 at the Philogical Faculty of the Ho Chi Minh University (which is at the present time the University of Social Sciences and Humanities). This is a work that was fairly new in the situation of Vietnam at that time. However, thanks to his innate nature that’s modest, simple, courteous, and that constantly knows how to listen to reason, while also knowing how to behave righteously, he has successfully overcome quite a great deal of difficulties in the past, as well as in the present time so as to continue to make his handsome contribution to not only the educational field, but also in other fields such as history, literature, linguistics, education, martial arts, arts et.c…

        Associate Professor Hung, Nguyen Manh PhD. has had many of his researching works and writings published in Ho Chi Minh City. He has particularly introduced the Collection of ancient images of Vietnam in days past, and Hanoi and Saigon in ancient times gathered from the collections of ancient postcards, dated from the time the French were here, which he has been collecting ever since he was a young student in Saigon. He’s also a friend and collaborator of the magazine Vietnam Past and Present with which he had been the fellow-traveller in many trips from the Mekong Delta to Hanoi through many debates dealing with history, readers’ culture.

       He used to be a student who had attended the Faculty of Letters and the Faculty of Law ever since 1963 in Saigon. His father has sacrificed himself in the war of resistance against the French at the D base, region of Tân Uyên, Tân Tĩnh – Đồng Nai when he was only 3 years old. His parents have had to overcome a great deal of ups and downs throughout the two war periods. When the French arrested his father, set fire to his house and intended to arrest even his mother, she and himself have had to escape and come to Saigon, and hire a house in the Saigon – Gia Định area to settle. He then attended a school taught by the Christian Brothers and later on, studied at an University. As he didn’t have a fixed dwelling yet, certain nights, while studying at the University, he had to hide himself in the Library of the Saigon Archeological Institute under the protection of the Librarian himself. From this library – towards the year 1961 – he discovered a Set of precious documents entitled Technique of the Annamese People by Henri Oger.

       H. Oger has conducted researching works on Vietnam through the Monographical methodology which is opposed to the Functional methodology that has reigned in the French colonialist regime. H. Oger had collaborated with the Vietnamese painters to draw 4577 sketches describing several aspects of matters such as material life, psychic life, spiritual life through gestures, statures, and attitudes towards life, as well as through various different handicraft branches of the farmers living in the Mekong Delta in the years 1908 – 1909 in Hanoi (These data are statistics collected by Associate Professor Hung, Nguyen Manh  PhD.).

       H. Oger has annotated in French. The Vietnamese Confucian scholars have used a penmanship adopting the style of Hồ village sketches and Hàng Trống sketches and have annotated in Chinese and Nôm (Demotic characters) on each one of the sketches.

Figure: Associate Professor Hung, Nguyen Manh PhD. was painted by his wife

        However, the work had been fallen into oblivion, among the heaps of books of the library, for almost a century. Associate Professor Hung Nguyen Manh, PhD. has discovered it and mentioned it to the librarian. From this very library the Saigon Alpha film company has had it filmed in microfilm to widely introduce it to readers both inland and abroad, while a copy of it was offered to the student Nguyen Manh Hung as a gift and a document for his own use. In April 1984, he has officially registered it as a subject for a scientific study under the guidance of the Department of Phylosophy University of Ho Chi Minh City. With the assistance of the Folk Literature Association and the Vietnamese Plastic Arts Association, he has introduced the Set of Document in a Seminar that was organized on July 13, 1985 in Hanoi to make known to the world that there are still in Vietnam two copies, preserved at two great libraries, one at the Saigon Archeological Library which is at the present time the Ho Chi Minh City Library, and another one at the Hanoi National Library. The above-mentioned set of ducument has never been seen in Paris. However, there is also a Japanese Professor who’s also keeping as archives this same set of document, and while he was studying in Japan, Associate Professor Hung, Nguyen Manh PhD. has got in touch with that Japanese Professor. From that time on, he was allowed by the Department of History of the Hanoi University (which is at the present time the University of Social Sciences and Humanities) to remain at the Department to continue his studies, to ameliorate his knowledge, and to fulfull many formalities that help and permit him to have enough abilities and status to proceed with the defense of his thesis. It was at that time a Thesis for candidate’s Master’s Degree in History. Later on, he has continued to introduce this set of document at various other places. In Hanoi, he has introduced it at the Chinese – Nôm Institute, the Institute of Languages, and at the Department of Vietnamese of the Hanoi University. In the Ho Chi Minh City, he has introduced it at the Ho Chi Minh City Social Sciences Board, the Association of Patriotic Intellectuals, the Medicine Association, the Southern Women’s Traditional House, the Permanent Parcel of the Cultural Institute, the 4th Oriental Languages Conference of Socialist Nations, organized on November 22, 1986 at the Ho Chi Minh City, the Library of General Sciences of Ho Chi Minh City, the Textbook Film Studio of the Ministry of Education, and the Scientific Commission of the Department of Philology of the Ho Chi Minh City University.

      Particularly, Associate Professor Hung Nguyen Manh PhD. has officially presented the set of document at the California State University, Fullerton in response to its invitation in 2004, and in Paris in 2006, as well as in Japan, Korea, Thailand, etc. In order to make known and introduce summarily the above mentioned work of H. Oger, his mother had to sell her property to gather a tael of gold for him to go to Hanoi to proceed with his report. After that, his work was published by the Youth Publishing House on June 3, 1988 under the title “Vietnamese Sketches towards the beginning of the 20th century”. At that period of time, that book was evaluated as a beautiful one, with cultural contents much more valuable than the ones of translated books that were quite in vogue at that very moment. Later on, we’ve learned that there were two French Professors, belonging to the French School of Extreme-Orient in Hanoi, who got in touch with him and talked to him about that work, promising to bring him to France to introduce it. But, after that, those aforesaid French Professors had obtained financial aids from 2 nations to proceed with their own researching works, and to elaborately publish their work, while introducing themselves as the persons that have initially discovered that work. However, Professor Phan Huy Lê, Chairman of the Vietnamese Association of History has proclaimed that that work was discovered by Associate Professor Hung Nguyen Manh PhD. who was the actual person that had firstly discovered and had successfully and officially defended his thesis in Hanoi. Researchers that came after him have continued to embellish that work through multi-national financial aids.

Fullerton University USA - Associate Professor Hung Nguyen Manh PhD. -

Figure: Fullerton University USA – Associate Professor Hung, Nguyen Manh, PhD.

        The thesis has had a legal copyright deposit and has been kept as archives at the National Library of Hanoi. In a very near future, the author of this work will republish it as a bilingual work on the occasion of the Lunar New Year Day of this very year.

Hung, Nguyen Manh
Associate Professor, Doctor of Phylosophy in History

◊  Bold, italic, colored letters and sepia images has been set by Ban Tu Thu.

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