A number of veterans nationwide have spent their leisure time collecting stamps or materials about Uncle Ho’s life. According to them, this is not only a way to show respect to one of the nation’s greatest leaders, but also to pass on those which have cultural and historical value to younger generations.
Fifty-five years spent collecting Ho Chi Minh stamps
Living in a small house in Hue, Thua Thien Province, Nguyen Luong Hot, owns five stamp collections with different themes, such as President Ho Chi Minh’s Life and career, Poems in Praise of Uncle Ho and bamboos and the Dien Bien Phu Battle. Among them, the first collection won third prize in a 2008 national exhibition.
According to Hot, he joined revolutionary campaigns in 1945. His tasks were to teach adult literacy classes and to develop underground revolutionary agents in Hue’s Huong Tra District.
In 1957, he was taken to the North for treatment as he had been shot and seriously injured by the enemy.
After being discharged from hospital, Hai got a job at the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Welfare, where he received a lot of letters each day. One day, when looking at an envelope with a stamp with a portrait of Uncle Ho on it, Hot began to nurture his ambition to own collections of stamps depicting Uncle Ho’s life and career.
Hot said, “Though treasuring the collections, I always leave my door open to anyone, especially students, who wish to come to see the stamps for study or research purposes. I think that this will be a driving force for younger generations to follow the shinning example of Uncle Ho and try to live up to his high ideals.”
The deputy chairman of Thua Thien Province, Ngo Hoa, expressed his respect of Hot’s collections and admiration for his devotion for more than half a century.
Hoa said that what Hot has done should be made widely known. Through his work, the noble images of Uncle Ho will be brought to every home and appeal to all people taking part in a campaign that encourages them to live, and work, in accordance with Ho Chi Minh’s teachings.
Using stamps to create Uncle Ho’s portrait
Born in 1930 in Sa Huynh town, Quang Ngai Province, Lam Thanh Ron joined the army in 1946 and took part in battles in the Central Highlands.
In 1954, he was transferred to the North, but in 1965, he was ordered to battlefields in the South via the legendary Truong Son trail (also known as the Ho Chi Minh trail).
Ron said, “The idea of making a picture of Uncle Ho’s portrait by using stamps as material occurred to me in 1960, when I had a chance to see him for the first time. He came to my unit to meet and talk to the soldiers.”
To make the picture, Ron had to collect hundreds of stamps, many of which were issued over fifty years ago.
Ron said, “Aside from stamps depicting the President’s daily activities, like Uncle Ho reading the Declaration of Independence, Uncle Ho speaking on the phone or Uncle Ho reading the newspaper, the picture also has stamps with special themes issued on important related events.”
Below the portrait of Uncle Ho, Ron also made a world map by using the stamps issued by 24 countries that Uncle Ho had set foot on during his life.
It took Ron nearly three weeks to work on the picture. After finishing it, Ron held a rite through which he and some other veterans offered some food to Uncle Ho, to pay respect and tribute in accordance with Vietnamese tradition before hanging the picture on the wall in.
Ron said, “I wonder whether or not the country could achieve unification without Uncle Ho’s leadership. Like other Vietnamese people, I always keep his great sacrifice to the country and people in mind. Through the art work, I would like to show my admiration of him.”
Sixty-four year-old owns large collection of Uncle Ho mementoes
Owing thousands of stamps, articles, photos and pictures about Uncle Ho, Nguyen Van Phu, born in 1935 in Vu Ban District, Nam Dinh Province, has spent more than half of his life on such a collection.
Phu recalled, “After my birth, my parents moved to Tuyen Quang Province and settled down here. Later in life, I worked for the communications sector and became a member of the Party in 1960. I have read a lot of materials and books about Uncle Ho and the Party. The more I know about Uncle Ho, the more I love him. “
To acquire new stamps or newspaper articles about Uncle Ho, every week, Phu has to ride dozens of kilometers from his home to Tuyen Quang Post Office to buy newspapers and to hunt for newly- issued stamps.
Phu said, “My fiends greatly sympathize with what I have done, whenever they came across any materials, documents or photos about Uncle Ho, they are ready to send it to me. This helps enrich the collection significantly.”
Explaining about his dedication, Phu said that he does not care about fame, but just wants to pay respect to Uncle Ho and leave a precious resource to future generations after he passes away.
On the occasion of Ho Chi Minh’s 115th birthday (May 19, 2005), Phu spent more than two months making a stamp mosaic of Uncle Ho’s mausoleum. The mosaic has been hung in his living room, traditionally the most formal position.
Phu said, “This is also a way to express my respect and adoration of Uncle Ho, too.”