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Vietnam mulls making War Invalids and Martyrs Day a public holiday

By Doan Loan   May 5, 2019 | 02:00 am PT
Vietnam mulls making War Invalids and Martyrs Day a public holiday
Vietnamese villagers attend the 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War in My Lai Village, Vietnam, March 16, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kham
The labor ministry’s proposal to make July 27, War Invalids and Martyrs Day, a public holiday has drawn a mixed public response.

Khuat Thu Hong, head of the Institute for Social Development Studies, said: "The wars have been over for decades. If the public holiday falls on War Invalids and Martyrs Day, it would be a reminder of people's losses.

"We should choose another meaningful day that would not cause hurt."

To this day families that lost members in wars, as well as many others, feel hurt when remembering wars, she said.

Furthermore, Vietnam already has a public holiday on April 30 to commemorate the country's reunification, the end of the Vietnam War, so having another public holiday that recalls wars and losses could bring even more sorrow, she claimed.

Ngo Duy Hieu, vice chairman of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, agreed that July 27 should be public holiday since it would mean expressing gratitude to those who have contributed to the revolution and the country.

Vietnam has gone through many wars and lost millions of lives while many others have become invalids, he said. July 27 could therefore be a symbol of the Vietnamese culture of being grateful to one's benefactor, he pointed out.

Many other countries also have public holidays to commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice and so the ministry's proposal is "appropriate and humane," he said.

He added that a survey found that many workers were happy with the proposal since the number of public holidays in Vietnam is lower than in other countries.

Ha Dinh Bon, head of the ministry's legal affairs department, said the number of public holidays in Vietnam is only 10, while it is 28 in Cambodia, 15 in Brunei, 16 in Indonesia, 12 in Malaysia, and 14 in Myanmar.

Increasing the number of holidays is therefore needed to enable workers to rest and regain strength, he said.

Vietnam currently has no public holiday between Labor Day on May 1 and National Day on September 2, and so July 27 would be an appropriate addition, he said.

"Our country has had millions who have fallen for independence, and they need to be commemorated. The commemorations on this day are not to recall painful memories but to express gratitude to those who made contributions."

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs is still collecting public comments and will incorporate them in proposed amendments to the Labour Code before submitting to the National Assembly at the end of this month.

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