Entitled Mat Trung Khoi (The Eyes of the Sea), the book was published after the success of the first volume Noi Dau Song (The Wavefront) by the same authors – poet and journalist Lu Mai and photographer Tran Thanh, who have visited the Truong Sa archipelago several times. The second volume is to mark the 75th anniversary of the Vietnam People's Army and the 30th anniversary of All-People’s Defence Festival (December 22).
The 150-page book features 18 stories and dozens of photos centred on the people whose lives are attached to the islands. Those people are not only the navy soldiers, but also their family members.
In the book’s foreword, the authors said: “In any visit to the islands, the dearest thing which is also the most sacred, is the glint in human eyes. There is the teary eyes that we saw on the quay as the ships left the island, the dazed eyes of fresh and young soldiers when they first put their foot on the islands, the nostalgic eyes of the ones who have completed their mission on the islands and leave for home...
“Alongside the human eyes, there are the ‘eyes of the sky’ and ‘eyes of the sea’ that are always open to protect the sea territory. Those are radar, sea lights and sea patrol ships...”
An exhibition named after the book has opened at the National Library, offering the public the chance to enjoy more than 30 selected photos by photographer Thanh, who captured all the images during his eight visits to the islands. As its name, the photos focus on the depiction of the eyes of different objects, from the ones of navy soldiers to their family members who come to visit them on the islands, from the islands’ junior residents to sea creatures. Military radar, sea light and navy ships, which have been considered “the eyes of the sky” and “the eyes of the sea”, respectively, have also been depicted in Thanh’s photos.
According to the photographer, he has a special passion in capturing eyes from different angles and moods.
“Even when a person doesn’t express his feelings through his actions, it’s hard to hide his feeling in his eyes. All the human feeling can be seen through their eyes – happiness, joy, sadness, reflectiveness, or torment,” he said.
Alongside the release of the Mat Trung Khoi, the Literature Publishing House, in collaboration with the book’s authors, has launched the project titled ‘Homeland’s Sea and Islands Bookshelf’. Therefore, hundreds copies of Mat Trung Khoi and Noi Dau Song will be given to navy soldiers and people living on the islands.
According to author Mai, part of the book's proceeds will also be donated to charity events dedicated to navy soldiers and their families.