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SSEAYP 2019 leader plays piano to bid Ho Chi Minh City farewell

Friday, November 15, 2019, 17:30 GMT+7
SSEAYP 2019 leader plays piano to bid Ho Chi Minh City farewell
Yamamoto Shigeki, general manager of SSEAYP 2019, performs a piano piece at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

The head of the 2019 Ship for the Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP) offered its 328 young delegates and a local audience an improvised piano performance in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday as a warm-hearted farewell to Vietnam before the group continues their journey aboard the ship, the Nippon Maru.

Yamamoto Shigeki, the general manager of SSEAYP 2019, performed on the wharf in Tan Cang Hiep Phuoc Port, Nha Be District, accompanied by a Vietnamese choir.

The performance was a highlight of the group’s farewell bid to Vietnam following SSEAYP 2019’s four-day stop in Ho Chi Minh City.

SSEAYP ambassadors and their host families bid tearful goodbyes at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

SSEAYP ambassadors and their host families bid tearful goodbyes at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

SSEAYP is a cooperative program sponsored annually by the governments of Japan and the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 1974 as a means of fostering friendship between the region’s youth.

During the 40-day program, SSEAYP ambassadors enjoy the unique opportunity to live aboard the Japanese cruise ship Nippon Maru as it travels from Japan to each of the ten ASEAN countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia.

Vietnam was the ship’s first stop in 2019 after it departed Japan on November 3.

An Indonesian SSEAYP 2019 delegate sheds tears as she bids goodbye to her host family at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

An Indonesian SSEAYP 2019 delegate sheds tears as she bids goodbye to her host family at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

While in Ho Chi Minh City, SSEAYP ambassadors had the chance to stay with host families who offered them first-hand local experiences through family meals and outings.

Other activities during the ship’s stop in the city included sightseeing tours, an exploration of Vietnamese cuisine, and shopping for Vietnam’s traditional dress, locally referred to as ao dai.

The young delegates also spent their four-day stop participating in discussions with local students on topics such as start-ups, the environment, careers, and education.

Pham Hong Son (L), secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City chapter of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, bids goodbye to SSEAYP 2019 ambassadors at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

Pham Hong Son (L), secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City chapter of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, bids goodbye to SSEAYP 2019 ambassadors at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

Mark Conrad R. Ravanzo, a youth leader from the Philippines, appeared moved as he spoke during the farewell ceremony about the time he spent with his host family, explaining that he felt as if they had taken him in and treated him with unmatched love during his stay.

The intimate bond between each SSEAYP delegate and their host families was evident in the hard-to-say goodbyes and rivers of tears that were shed during the ceremony.

The group is now headed to Singapore, where they are expected to dock Saturday morning for a four-day visit before continuing on to Myanmar.

SSEAYP 2019 ambassadors wave as they embark the Nippon Maru ship after the program's farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

SSEAYP 2019 ambassadors wave as they embark the Nippon Maru ship after the program's farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese host families see off SSEAYP 2019 ambassadors at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese host families see off SSEAYP 2019 ambassadors at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

A host family ‘brother’ cries as he says goodbye to a SSEAYP 2019 ambassador at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

A host family ‘brother’ cries as he says goodbye to a SSEAYP 2019 ambassador at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

A Vietnamese SSEAYP 2019 ambassador at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

A Vietnamese SSEAYP 2019 ambassador at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

SSEAYP 2019 ambassadors show gratitude to Vietnam by placing their hands on their left chest at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

SSEAYP 2019 ambassadors show gratitude to Vietnam by placing their hands on their left chest at the program’s farewell ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13, 2019. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

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