When people throughout Vietnam took to the streets with national flags to bask in the triumph of the country’s football team in mid-December, two local youngsters came up with the idea of collecting the flags after the celebrations to give to people and soldiers on a remote island.
The Vietnamese flags 'reddened' the major streets of many cities and provinces across Vietnam during the wild celebration of the country’s winning the 2018 AFF Championship, their second regional title in ten years, in Hanoi on December 15.
As the flags used in the celebrations would mostly be left unused afterward, a local student and a young customs officer have teamed up to jointly launch a campaign, calling on people to donate their flags so the items would be given to people and soldiers on Binh Hung, an island off the south-central province of Khanh Hoa.
The people behind the idea are Bui Thi Hong, a law student at the Vietnam National University-Hanoi, and Nguyen Cong Chung, a Hanoi resident who now works as head of the Hon Chut customs station on Binh Hung Island.
As they live away from the mainland, members of the naval unit stationed on Binh Hung and local fishermen put the national flags everywhere, from the navy’s command station to the fishers’ boats and houses to assert Vietnam’s sovereignty.
But the flags are often discolored and torn by sea water while those on the island are rarely able to afford new ones, Chung said, drawing from his first-hand experience working and living with Binh Hung islanders.
|A screenshot captures a post calling for flag-giving by the Facebook page ‘Waste it not’|
Chung had been nurturing the idea of collecting flags to give to people and soldiers on Binh Hung as gifts, and he knew that it was time to realize his dream seeing the nationwide football celebrations on December 15.
The customs officer cooperated with Hong to initiate their flag-giving campaign by posting a call on their personal Facebook accounts, just as people started to take to the streets for celebrations.
As many as 20 points for flag-giving were established in several localities over that night.
Young people showed immediate support for the cause, with Chung and Hong eventually being able to collect as many as 300 national flags from football fans across the country.
“The first people showing interest were those in social networking groups that care about the environment and island such as the Facebook page Waste it not,” Hong told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
The flags were all sent to Binh Hung on Monday, according to Hong.
|Bui Thi Hong is seen in this photo provided by the owner.|