​Hanoi mom apologizes for insulting officials for stopping son’s street performance

The teen was reportedly giving a fundraising violin performance on a pedestrian street

Bui Thi Thanh Hang’s son plays the violin on the Dinh Tien Hoang walking street in Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Facebook/Hang Karose

A mother in Hanoi has apologized after taking to Facebook to vent her anger on officials who interrupted her son’s fundraising performance.

The teen, 15, had been playing the violin on a pedestrian street in downtown Hanoi to raise money for charity when a team of officials asked to see his permits since he was receiving money from the audience, according to his mother.

When he could not present any permit, his performance was cut short.

The incident occurred at around 7:40 pm on Friday, according to reports penned by the four officials involved, who were on duty to inspect activities on the recently opened walking street.

A number of streets surrounding the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake in downtown Hanoi were turned into walking streets last September, offering locals and tourists a new cultural rendezvous where street performers are welcomed.

When the team of inspectors passed the headquarters of the Hanoi People’s Committee on Dinh Tien Hoang Street, they saw the violin-playing teen with an open violin case in front of him and some small notes inside.

One of the officials came up and asked the boy to close the case while explaining to him that performing for money on the walking street was not allowed, the officials’ report read.

“But I’ve performed here for years without any trouble,” the teen reportedly answered.

It was then that his father showed up and asked to know what was happening.

“The pedestrian street was opened last September so your son can’t have been playing here for years,” the inspectors reported to have told the father. “If everybody performed for money, the walking street would become a fundraising street. We would have had no problem with your son playing for the sake of delivering music to listeners.”

The father and son then reportedly threw insults at the officials before packing up and leaving.

The boy’s mother Bui Thi Thanh Hang, who was not present at the time of the incident, took to Facebook later that night to vent her anger on the inspectors.

However, in a Facebook post on Sunday, Hang apologized for having reacted inappropriately without hearing from both sides of the story.

“My impatience and blinded love for my son prompted me to publish words that were offensive to the public servants, on an incident that I had not witnessed with my own eyes,” Hang wrote in her status. “I hope for your forgiveness.”

According to Tran Quoc Chiem, deputy director of Hanoi’s Department of Culture and Sports, professionally organized performances on the lakeside walking streets require approval from the department in advance.

For amateur street performers, Chiem said, prior approval is not required.

“If the purpose of the performance is to raise money, it’s strongly discouraged,” he added.

Another official from the municipal Department of Culture and Sports stressed that fundraising performances on the walking streets must be reported in advance to the department so that they could be allocated a suitable spot.

The content of such performances must also be checked before they can be played out in public, he said.

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