Life Life

27/02/2021 - 17:09

A young man passionate about royal culture

Ton That Minh Khoi, a 24 years old Hue person living in Ho Chi Minh City, has a special passion for culture and history. He has devoted much enthusiasm to research and organize programs to introduce the ancient costume and ancient style to promote traditional culture to everyone.

Ton That Minh Khoi talking about ancient costumes and royal culture

Introducing Vietnamese ancient costumes to the public

Taking place at Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh University of Social Sciences and Humanities (HCMUSSH) in Ho Chi Minh City, in January 2021, the event "Black Hair – Shirt flap" organized by the ancient style clubs in association with the Youth Union of HCMUSSH was one of the largest Vietnamese costume festivals in the South with thousands of participants.

During the festival, there were 3 talk shows on 3 topics: Journey to restore the crown of the Nguyen Dynasty with artist Vu Kim Loc, dialogue with units creating the Vietnamese ancient costume, and bringing Vietnamese folklore to the international audience. In the festival, there were also shows to introduce Vietnamese ancient costumes of the Ly, Tran, Le and Nguyen dynasties. A re-enactment of the crowning ceremony of the Queen of the Nguyen Dynasty in a theatricalized style was also carried out at the festival.

Accompanying the Vietnamese costume festival, "Black Hair – Shirt flap" was the program long planned by a young man from Hue, Ton That Minh Khoi. He wished to bring Vietnamese ancient costumes, especially the Nguyen Dynasty ones, closer to the public and to raise awareness of ancient costumes and traditional cultural values for young people.

Minh Khoi shared: “The fact that young people regard ancient costumes with an indifferent attitude is what makes me and those who love traditional culture concerned. Therefore, we are determined to carry out the festival on a large scale to promote traditional costumes, particularly the Nguyen Dynasty costume, to students in Ho Chi Minh City".

In 2018, Minh Khoi also organized the event "Bach nien y le" (One hundred years of ancient costumes) at HCMUSSH to showcase the Nhat Binh costume and five-panel ao dai. He is also a guest speaker on cultural history, ancient Vietnamese costume and royal culture at high schools and universities in Ho Chi Minh City. He is also a costume consultant for the movie “Phuong Khau” (The Emperor's Gift) as well as for other movies and music videos with cultural and historical themes.

The desire to raise awareness

Graduating from the Faculty of International Relations, HCMUSSH, Ton That Minh Khoi is currently an editor for Chanel 14. Despite being born and growing up in Ho Chi Minh City, Khoi is always proud of his homeland roots.

Every Lunar New Year, he would return to Hue. On the first day of the New Year, he would go with his extended family to The Mieu in the ancient Imperial Citadel to pay respects to his ancestors. The stories of his ancestors and of the lords and kings of the Nguyen dynasty through the words of his grandfather had been ingrained in the mind of Minh Khoi since childhood, cultivating his love for the country's historical culture.

Growing up, that passion prompted Khoi to research and reach out to cultural and historical researchers to learn about the history of the Nguyen Dynasty, royal culture in particular and Hue culture in general. He was particularly interested in rituals, costumes, stories in the forbidden palace with the extraordinary lives of the imperial women… Minh Khoi read many books on culture and history, including documents in French, English and Mandarin.

In 2017, Ton That Minh Khoi founded the Facebook page "Thien Nam Lich Dai Hau Phi", specializing in royal rituals and cultures, mainly of the Nguyen Dynasty.

Currently, "Thien Nam Lich Dai Hau Phi" has covered many projects on royal culture, costumes, rituals and royal life, attracting more than 80 thousand followers. Each post on "Thien Nam Lich Dai Hau Phi" always has a high amount of interaction and receives many positive comments from readers.

The events organized by Minh Khoi aim at expanding the influence of traditional Vietnamese ao dai throughout history, such as the five-panel, Nhat Binh,  Doi kham and Giao linh costumes, so that young people have the right awareness of ancient costumes.

Minh Khoi confided: “As a cultural and historical enthusiast, I wish to share a young person's new perspective on the valuable heritage our ancestors had left behind. I have no other desire than to create an environment to promote young people’s love for history and for them to realize that our national culture and history is not inferior to any other country”.

Joining the movement of revitalizing Vietnamese ancient costumes 6 years ago, Minh Khoi happily shared that nowadays, the traditional cultural restoration movement is thriving and is receiving great attention from the community. In particular, programs on Vietnamese ancient costumes are especially loved and supported by young people.

Many people often assume that young people are not interested in the nation’s history. However, most people in the cultural and historical community are millennials and there are even some who were born after 2000. They not only study documents but also learn to sew costumes and hold ao dai festivals, forming a very vibrant community.

"We are working on a plan to integrate ancient costumes into art products and promote them through mass media. We hope to revive the national pride in everyone," Minh Khoi said excitedly.

Story: Minh Hien

Photo: Minh Khoi

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