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Award-winning photos exhibit stark social contrast in Vietnam

Monday, January 07, 2019, 15:23 GMT+7
Award-winning photos exhibit stark social contrast in Vietnam
'I only dream of a family on a winter night': a child sits on a sidewalk where a couple and their children stroll in Da Lat City, Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Photo: Tran Ngoc Anh

A photography contest on social inequality in Vietnam gave its top prizes on Saturday to pictures that best capture the stark sobering realities on the issue.

Over 300 pictures from 89 photographers from across the country were sent to the two-month competition jointly held by poverty-fighting Oxfam in Vietnam, Vietnam Street Photography and a firm called ECUE.

The works highlight inequality caused by gender, access to healthcare, age, and disabilities.

Local photographer Maika Elan, one of the judges, said the winning photos set people thinking about social inequalities.

One of them shows a couple walking with their children past a homeless child sitting on a sidewalk in the tourist city of Da Lat in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, while another depicts a man and a baby looking at a new building from a spot of rubble with a puddle in northern Vietnam.

Relatives of patients sleep on a corridor at a hospital in Da Nang City, central Vietnam. Photo: Pham Vo Hoang Giang
Relatives of patients sleep along a corridor at a hospital in Da Nang City, central Vietnam. Photo: Pham Vo Hoang Giang
“Two worlds in a city”: a man and baby are seen near rubble in Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Quoc Huy Hai
“Two worlds in a city”: a man and child are seen amid rubble in Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Quoc Huy Hai

The issue of insufficient space for patients at hospitals nationwide was brought into focus by a photo of patients’ relatives sleeping along an infirmary's corridor in the central metropolis of Da Nang.

In another picture, a years-old slum in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Thanh District stands in sharp contrast with the metropolis’ tallest landmark and high-rise apartment buildings that dominate the cityscape.

A slum is pictured against the backdrop of high-rises in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Van Hop
A slum is pictured against the backdrop of high-rises in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Van Hop

Judges also decided to honor a photo depicting a girl crying apparently for help while she is being carried by men in a cultural practice in northern Vietnam’s mountainous province of Lao Cai.

In the custom, known by the ethnic locals as ‘wife-pulling,’ a young man or teenager with others' assistance brings a woman or girl with whom he has a romantic relationship to his home, where she lives for several days before deciding whether to marry him.

A girl shouts in a ‘wife-pulling’ practice in Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Tien Thanh
A girl shouts in a ‘wife-pulling’ practice in Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Tien Thanh

The woman or girl may feign surprise and shout for help although she may already know the man’s plan beforehand and anticipate his action.

The couple does this mostly because their families disapprove of their marriage, the man is poor or the woman is uncertain about the wedlock or wants greater respect from the man’s family.   

The man is expected to make no physical injuries to her but some men have taken advantage of the tradition to forcibly take home the girls they like, thus frightening them.

Such morphed versions recently came into public view and received criticisms from many people.

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Thai Xuan / Tuoi Tre News

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