HCMC honors five outstanding young citizens

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Ho Chi Minh City’s Youth Union honored five people, from artists to cops, for their contributions to the betterment of the city in 2009.

The youngest to receive the annual honor was 14-year-old Duong Hieu Trung, who received recognition for rescuing an 80-year-old woman from a fierce fire early this year. The ninth-grader at Nguyen Hue Secondary School is also known by his community for his good academic performance and achievements at local taekwondo competitions.

At 28, Nguyen Ngoc Que Tran was honored for her efforts to bring cai luong (traditional southern opera) to young people.

Over the past ten years, the award-winning artist has performed for free at universities and in disadvantaged areas across the country.

“Young audiences have few opportunities to approach cai luong; it’s not that they’ve turned their back on the traditional art,” Tran said.

Also 28 years old, police officer Nguyen Duc Hung, known as the “street hawk,” was honored for his selfless and courageous work in handling over 100 cases.

“Whenever my colleagues and I successfully complete an investigation, I’m happy because I know I’ve contributed to a safer city,” said Hung, who is now under treatment for HIV-exposure protection after being injured in an altercation with an HIV-carrying suspect.

Engineer Nguyen Hong Loc, 29, added the youth union honor to the many awards he’s won this year for inventing a pump impeller that costs around VND65 million (US$3,520), compared to over VND1.2 billion (nearly $65,000) for imported models.

The locally-made impellers don’t affect pumps’ capacity and are more durable against erosion, according to Loc, deputy secretary of the Party Unit at his company Tan Hiep Water Plant.

The oldest laureate, Dang Tat Dung, 30, founded a law consultancy center at HCMC Law University providing advocacy for thousands of workers at the city’s industrial zones. The center also started a program introducing children rights and self-defense skills to local children.

Dung, who represented Vietnamese youth at the Global Young Leaders Summit 2006 in London, is about to embark on graduate work at the UK’s University of Leeds next year.

First held in 2006, the poll of 82 nominees is voted on by social activists, labor heroes, intellectuals and leaders from HCMC agencies and youth unions.

The awards ceremony is scheduled for HCMC’s Youth Cultural House on January 1, 2010.

Source: Thanh Nien, Agencies

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