Last update 11/30/2010 9:00:00 AM (GMT+7)

Businessmen should be encouraged to play more active role in cultural development

VietNamNet Bridge – Cultural and intellectual circle needs to communicate with andpersuade businessmen to play an active role in the cultural development.

VietNamNet’s Vietnam Business Forum talked with Dr. Nguyen Huu Thuc, Director of the Culture – Art Department under the Central Propaganda Committee about the role of Vietnamese businessmen in the cultural development.

Vietnam has been implementing the policy of “socializing culture” for many years. What would you say about the implementation?
The big role of businessmen in the cultural development can be seen clearly in many cultural works and activities. Big festivals like Da Lat flower festival or Hue Festival could only be so successful with the support of businessmen, as the state budget cannot cover all activities.

However, most businesses now only want to sponsor the activities which can attract a wide audience, because this helps advertise their products. This has led to the imbalance in the investment in culture: some cultural fields can attract much support, while other fields cannot find any.

Only when businesses develop strongly and are profitable, will they think of supporting cultural development without requiring prompt returns. By that time, businesses will understand that they need to sponsor cultural activities to contribute to the cultural and social development and that that will also benefit their businesses.

What should we do now to persuade businessmen to support traditional culture and academic art?

In businessmen’s mind, when they spend money to sponsor cultural activities, they want to see that the activities can help them advertise their products. Meanwhile, ballet, chamber music or traditional art performance shows are still not very popular. Therefore, businessmen think that such shows are not suitable places for them to popularize their images

In order to encourage businessmen to sponsor traditional or academic art, it is necessary to have adequate policies for businessmen-sponsors. For example, tax exemption or reductions or other incentives.

Vietnamese businesses have been growing rapidly and they really want to contribute to the social development. However, as you have said, some forms of still does not receive sufficientattention from businessmen. What are do you think are the hindrances here?

Firstly, businessmen need to change their minds. They should understand that when they have much enthusiasm for supporting cultural development, their efforts will be recognized by the society, and the recognition will bring benefit to their businesses later.

I remember a saying “If we make investment in culture today, we will be able to spend less money to build jails tomorrow”, which means that culture and art are nourshied, you will help create a good environment for people and for businesses as well.

The second big hindrance is the how society views businessmen. In the past, they were considered the low class in the society. This undervaluation discouraged businessmen.

And the third reason, I think, is the lack of policies to develop culture. For example, everyone hears that the enterprises which sponsor cultural development will enjoy tax exemption. However, no details have been clarified.

Regarding the resources which can help push up the culture socialization, we know that in western countries, big funds have been playing a great role in cultural development. Do you think that such funds can be set up in Vietnam?

The Government’s guidelines on the implementation of the Communist Party’s Resolution mention the establishment of cultural development fund at the national level. In some localities, including Hanoi, local authorities also set up cultural development funds already.

When we say allowing to set up cultural development funds, this does not mean that we force people to make contribution to the funds.

The funds allow the community to better manage the spending on cultural activities. However, I think that we cannot interfere in the development of history

When we talk with artists and cultural intellectuals, many of them say they are alone on the path of developing art. What would you say about this?

Cultural intellectual circle needs to communicate with and and encourage businessmen to play an active role in the cultural development.

As businessmen only focus on “doing business”, they sometimes do not have good understanding about culture. Therefore, what intellectuals need to do is to create good products and introduce them to people, so that businessmen can better understand the culture.

Tat Dat