No, that is not an uncle in my family but rather, the one and only Uncle, the Great Father of our nation – Ho Chi Minh. He was an outstanding politician of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and its first president. 19th May is when Vietnamese people annually celebrate his birthday which is acknowledged as an important holiday. Uncle Ho loved children. To him, they are like flower buds that always need to be well nurtured and specially treasured. That is why he created the well-known “Uncle Ho’s 5 lessons” which are printed on walls of all classrooms of students aged 6-16 across the country. In the memory of the beloved leader of Vietnamese revolutionary, let’s take a look at the values behind these insights.
1. Love Your Motherland, Love Your Countrymen.
This one is the first on the list which makes sense considering Uncle Ho’s tremendous devotion to our country’s independence, freedom and happiness which are also the national mottos found in any legal papers. To Uncle Ho, patriotism means understanding thoroughly our country’s traditional values and dedicating ourselves in the preservation of and bringing to play those particular values. Comprehending the country’s history and geography is also a fantastic trait of our love for our motherland. He also encouraged the courtesy and respect towards each other. Legend was told that the very first 100 Vietnamese people were born all in one single egg which contributes to our belief that we are all sisters and brothers in a big family.
2. Study Well, Work Well
To Ho Chi Minh, commitment to intellectual cultivation in and outside of the classroom, is the key to evolution. Vietnam has a sophisticated Confucian background which emphasizes the importance of education. The spirit of individual development does not cease in school contexts as his advice that it is continued by being passionate about what our professions, respecting the fruits of others’ accomplishments and contributing to and with the community for a common positive cause.
3. Embody Strong Solidarity and Strict Discipline
Solidarity within family, circles of friends and community is emphasized in Uncle Ho’s lessons of morals. To be caring and helpful to those who are in need in the spirit of mutual growth is important. He also taught us to be discipline in terms of conforming to public regulations and state laws.
4. Maintain Solid Sanitary
No matter where we are: in schools, at home or in public places, awareness of keeping everything clean and neat should be consistent. This also includes the personal image of our appearances as well. The Vietnamese has a saying which can roughly translated as: “How a person is can be told by looking at their hair and their teeth”. That is why being tidy is significantly crucial.
5. Be Humble, Honest and Courageous
This final lesson of Uncle Ho reflects Vietnamese’ characteristics as we are not fond of arrogance. Being humble also means showing respect to older people. According to our great Father, honesty is one of the measures we use to evaluate one’s morals. Being deceitful is considered a no-no and frowned upon in Vietnamese culture, as it is in any other culture. Courage here does not necessarily immediately mean sacrificing for your country in the frontiers. Here, Ho Chi Minh underlines the essence of being brave to acknowledge your mistakes and shortcomings and the willingness to improve oneself.
Despite the fact that Uncle Ho passed away 47 years ago, his wise words live on to inspire and nurture generations after generations. Simple words do wonder works indeed.
By Nguyen Thanh Huong, ASEAN Correspondent from Vietnam