VN should discard conservative views on pig-chopping rite: Ministry of Culture

VietNamNet Bridge - "Don’t think that the proposal to stop the pig-chopping festival is the West’s imposition on Vietnam culture. The West has standards that we need to learn," said Mr. Phan Dinh Tan, spokesman for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

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pig-chopping rite

Tan said on February 6 that the Ministry of Culture has not received a written proposal to stop the pig-chopping festival from Animals Asia. However, the Ministry’s viewpoint on this recommendation is to not support violent festivals because Vietnam culture is humane and looks towards the value of the true, the good and the beautiful.

Tan said he had never seen the bloody pig-chopping rite. The habits that do not have value to development should not be retained because of conservative thinking.

"Do not make the reason of maintaining community traditions. Can the community of a village be compared with the remaining large community? Seeing the reaction of the public through the press, I find a majority of readers oppose the pig-chopping festival. Some people and researchers who support keeping the ritual are conservative thinkers," said Tan.

The spokesman cited some good traditional customs which do not affect anyone, such as the black staining of teeth of women in ancient times, and no longer are used because they don’t fit contemporary society. The bullfighting festival in Spain has had a 2,000 year history, bringing great value in terms of tourism but the host city canceled the festival in 2012, seeing that it was inappropriate. "World-famous festivals were canceled, so Vietnam’s pig-chopping rites should also be considered," Tan said.

Responding to the opinion that Animals Asia’s recommendation is "cultural imposition," the Culture Ministry spokesman acknowledged: "Don’t think that the proposal to stop the pig-chopping festival is the West’s imposition on Vietnam culture. The West has standards that we need to learn and Vietnam also has values that must be preserved to respect cultural diversity."

He said that if Vietnam wants to be a full member of the community of nations it must respect sincere comments. This means acquiring comments selectively, based on the validity and value of the festivals.

Mr. Tan said the Ministry of Culture has never encouraged controversial festivals for their violent aspects, such as the Do Son buffalo-fighting and the buffalo stabbing festival in the Central Highlands. Although the buffalo-fighting festival has become a national intangible cultural heritage, the behavior with the buffalo should be reconsidered because Vietnam is an agricultural country and the buffalo is considered the most important tool.

"We have many ways to entertain and we should choose the ways of humanity. Both the winning and losing buffalos are slaughtered. If we understand that each plant and each animal has its own life, why do we treat animals with such cruelty," said Tan.

The Culture Ministry spokesman reiterated that the Ministry has never supported brutal festivals. The festivals must aim to have civilized and cultural values rather than old habits that hinder the development of humanity. The Ministry of Culture has advised the Secretariat of Central Party Committee to issue a directive on the management of the festival to ensure the conservation, development, and the consistency of traditional festivals to civilized society today.

T. Van

pig-chopping rite