The Journey “Exploring Cultural Space and Time” Concluded with Profound and Exciting Experiences for Learners.

From November 4 to November 18, 2023, Hiếu Văn Ngư organized the “Knowing Oneself and Others” program (Season 3) with the theme “Exploring Cultural Space and Time.” Like previous seasons, Season 3 featured a series of lectures and workshops to explore the cultural-historical characteristics of Vietnam as a way to understand oneself (knowing oneself) and to be equipped to become global citizens (knowing others). Hiếu Văn Ngư provided learners with profound experiences through content on the overview of Vietnamese culture, appreciation of traditional performance arts, practicing Hát Bội dance, Southern Vietnamese folk singing, learning to make Vietnamese bread, and more. Let’s take a look back at this fascinating journey.


Led by researcher-musician Lê Hải Đăng, learners in the “Overview of Vietnamese Culture” course explored various cultural spaces and times. From ancient “Vietnam” to the modern context, from leisurely strolls in temples and communal houses to enjoying folk songs from different regions. Recognizing the cultural factors that have shaped our thoughts and behaviors helps us broaden our thinking and deepen our reflections when making decisions.

To conclude this course, researcher Lê Hải Đăng chose the epic song “Hòn vọng phu” (Composed by Lê Thương) as the “summary” performance for the theme “Exploring Cultural Space and Time,” hoping to use music to take learners on a “thousand-mile journey across Vietnam” in both spatial and temporal dimensions


In this course, researcher Vương Hoài Lâm (who calls himself a “long-time theatergoer”) provided foundational knowledge about various traditional theater forms such as drama, cải lương, chèo, and Hát Bội. Additionally, learners practiced middle-age poetry recitation, traditional mask painting, and cải lương singing. Notably, Hiếu Văn Ngư organized a Hát Bội dance workshop with professional actors from the Hồ Chí Minh City Hát Bội Art Theater to give learners an authentic experience of Hát Bội art.

While it might seem challenging, the experiences gained in this course will make learners comfortable with any traditional theater forms in their country, and they can even use this knowledge to appreciate Beijing opera (China), Kabuki (Japan), Noh theater, or Talchum (Korea). This embodies the “knowing oneself and others” philosophy that Hiếu Văn Ngư promotes.


Workshop “Southern Vietnamese Folk Singing” Session 1

Lullabies like “chiều chiều quạ nói với diều” (in the afternoon, the crow speaks to the kite), call-and-response singing, and folk tunes like lý cấy, lý cây chanh, lý con mèo, bring people back to memories powerfully. Thus, both sessions of the “Southern Vietnamese Folk Singing” workshop felt like close, heartfelt conversations alongside practical sessions of singing, guided by artists Sáu Hưng and Song Oanh. Participants shared stories of listening to their mothers sing lullabies, writing down folk songs in school, or being scolded for not singing well during a performance, while the gentle flow of folk songs seeped into their hearts.

Workshop “Southern Vietnamese Folk Singing” Session 2


Following the experience of making coffee in Season 2, Season 3 had learners exploring the art of making bread—a familiar dish in Vietnam with foreign origins. Learners, including children, worked hard to bake crispy, “turtle-skin” bread without it breaking, as required by instructor Diệp Đại Liên Bảo. This event concluded the “Knowing Oneself and Others” program (Season 3) with stories about Vietnamese bread in relation to the history of humanity, the world of microorganisms, and many other interesting stories led by Hà Thúc Đức Tùng and Võ Trung Hậu.

About Hiếu Văn Ngư

Established in 2020, Hiếu Văn Ngư (Cultura Fish) is a group dedicated to research, application, and cultural-artistic creativity. With a multifaceted approach to fields such as education, visual arts, music, history-culture, sports, cuisine, and performance, Hiếu Văn Ngư’s activities often touch the hearts of participants. Some projects include “Hát Bội 101,” “Phong Hoa Ca Vịnh,” and educational programs using role-playing storytelling. Hiếu Văn Ngư also collaborates with domestic and international partners such as ICHCAP-UNESCO, British Council Vietnam, and the Asian Youth Theatre Festival (AYTF).

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