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Efforts made to preserve gong culture

M'nong gong troup

The Institute of Culture and Information and artisans from the Central Highlands yesterday worked out a five year plan of action on collection and preservation of gong culture. This is a step towards the proposals submitted to the UNESCO for its recognition of Central Highland gongs as part of mankind’s heritage.

Under the plan, around US $ 500,000 is expected to be invested to the gong preservation during the five-year plan, lasting for between 2005-2009.

According to the statistics, in 1993, there were 4,675 sets of gongs in Dak Lak province and 1000 sets in Dak Nong province while in 2003, there remained only 3,825 sets in Dak Lak and 360 sets in Dak Nong.

Gong culture is now facing the threat of falling into oblivion. Young people in the Central Highlands now are not interested in playing gongs. They even encourage old people to sell precious gong sets to have money for modern electronic equipment.

In the past, there were more people in Dak Lak who could use gongs, about 50-70 people in each village, but now, in each village, there are only five to seven people who can play gongs.

Therefore, during the October 13 meeting, delegates agreed to strengthen the scientific research, set up a gong archive centre and build a workshop for gong manufacture. They also pointed out the need to enhance the training on gong culture in art schools in Gia Lai and Dak Lak provinces and the Central Highlands University.

Prof. Dr. To Ngoc Thanh, general secretary of the Folk Literature and Art Association and deputy general secretary of the Heritage Association said “We will effectively prevent the gong culture from dying out and will work out a syllabus on gong culture in schools.”

Nhan Dan - (14/10/2004)

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