Tet Is Where Vietnamese Cultural and Social Resources Begin

6:29:09 AM | 1/31/2022

It is no coincidence that Tet is considered a family day because it is the most important cultural festival of all Vietnamese families. 2021 - a very hard year for the world due to the raging COVID-19 epidemic - is lapsing its final days. Vietnamese people are preparing to welcome 2022, the year of the Tiger, with new hopes in the context that the 13th Party Congress announced the direction for development: "Developing people inclusively and building an advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity for culture to really become an endogenous force, a driving force for national development and national defense.”

The undying endogenous power of culture for the nation was also reiterated by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong when he quoted his predecessors as saying: “Culture is the identity of the nation. If culture exists, the nation exists and if culture is lost, then the nation will be lost as a result.”

Referring to the role and wellbeing of people as a driving force of development, former British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “It's time we admitted that there's more to life than money and it's time we focused not just on GDP but on GWB - general wellbeing.”

Culture is a resource for socioeconomic development

The world is entering the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This is a historic opportunity for Vietnam to rise up and fulfill its desire to become a developed country by 2045, the 100th founding anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. To realize that aspiration, Vietnam needs to build an appropriate development model to mobilize and develop five resources, in which finance, physical and natural facilities are the main driving forces, while culture and people are endogenous resources for development.

Culture is the spiritual foundation of society, a goal, a resource and a great endogenous driving force of the country and is regulating social movements. President Ho Chi Minh stated: "Culture lights the way for the nation to go forward" at the first National Cultural Conference, November 1946. Therefore, building and developing Vietnamese human culture to create social capital resources for the country’s sustainable development is consistent with Party and State policies towards achieving its goals and aspirations for a prosperous and happy country.

People in President Ho Chi Minh's viewpoint are, first of all, family. Therefore, human wellbeing is, first of all, family wellbeing. The true happiness of man rests in family - this is a key point of human liberation in all revolutionary struggles by him. Family wellbeing is the pinnacle of Vietnamese culture, the nucleus of the family cultural value system and the core of building the family culture in Ho Chi Minh ideology. Particularly, Tet, the biggest public cultural festival of the nation and the best time for family reunion and wellbeing, must be the time where the closest human connectivity is born to shape resources or social capital.

The term “social capital” refers to a positive product of human interaction. This positive outcome may be tangible or intangible and may carry useful information, innovative ideas and future opportunities. Clearly, social capital is a set of shared values ​​that enable individuals to live or work together in a group to effectively achieve a common goal.

Simply put, social capital benefits society as a whole through social relationships such as family, economic and civil organizations. Thus, social capital study covers social sciences and humanities.

The concept “social capital” is also often used to describe relationships that make business success. It is said to have the same value as financial capital or human capital. Networking and internet use are good examples of how social capital works in a business sense. These allow social – and often global – connections to be formed in a variety of ways. A lot of work is effectively done via informal networks rather than conventional means

Engaging and developing social and cultural resources

In modern industrialized economies, the term "social capital" refers to the trust, mutual understanding, shared values, and knowledge that society holds to facilitate social coordination of economic activities. Studies show that strong rules of reciprocity make people trust and help each other, and dense citizen networks encourage people to take part in mutually beneficial efforts instead of seeking to gain only personal advantage at the expense of others’ interests. Thus, such norms and networks are often seen as fundamental for mobilizing and developing social capital.

Researchers found out that there are two basic forms of social capital. Social capital is, first and foremost, the links created within a group with common interests and goals. Industry associations are a good example of how affiliation works. On the other hand, bridging is the second form of social capital that creates links between groups. When the bridge is successfully connected, individual people in two groups find common interests and goals and work together to achieve them. Linking business and local government is an example of how bridging works.

The internet has revolutionized social capital, effectively created a multitude of social connections that match any social capital. Social media and networking platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, Airbnb, Uber and eBay may use their networking tools to obtain information of individuals and social groups to link and serve their own social capital increase, thus enhancing their business performance and competitiveness.

It is believed that the success of an organization - whether it is a society as a whole or a specific group - depends on how social capital works. But that is not always the case because social capital can be used for manipulative or destructive purposes.

To promote and develop social capital (including culture) to ensure national sustainability, it is necessary to focus on three following solutions:

First, it is necessary to further raise awareness of and communication on social and economic sectors: Culture is a specific production resource. Historically, inclusive national development, including economic, political and human aspects, must lie in the orbit of culture and be led by culture if it wants to go far and if it wants to become more sustainable, as stated by President Ho Chi Minh in his remark in 1946: “Culture lights the way for the nation to move forward”. In that process, Tet culture and family tradition are key to preserve and promote social and cultural resources.

Second, it is important to innovate methods of preserving and developing social and cultural culture: developing the cultural industry into a new driving force of the economy. In addition to building an advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity, developing cultural industry to provide important momentum to the economy and fostering “soft power” is also a main content where Vietnamese families and socioeconomic organizations are sustainable links in the cultural industry. In reality, many countries have successfully developed cultural industries into a driving force of the economy. Typical examples include the United Kingdom, the United States, Israel, China, South Korea and Japan.

Third, conserving, utilizing and promoting cultural resources: The Document of the 13th Party Congress stresses the need for protecting and fostering good and sustainable values of Vietnamese cultural tradition: Researching, defining and developing the national value system, the cultural value system and human standards linked to preserving and developing the Vietnamese family value system in the new era. Cultural development needs to be more innovative and effective. Particularly, special attention is paid to growing Vietnamese cultural values, with a focus on fostering patriotism, national pride, morality, lifestyle and personality, and a sense of social responsibility for all classes of people, especially younger generations. Moreover, in an ever-changing world powered by digital technology, it is necessary to study and use social networks as a powerful tool to preserve and develop social culture, in addition to other measures that address negative restraints. Only by doing so is culture preserved and developed to truly become not only the spiritual foundation of a healthy and humane society, but also a source of sustainable socioeconomic development that brings wellbeing, prosperity and longevity to the nation

By raising awareness and agreeing on common solutions to strengthen the power of social culture, we believe that the coming Lunar New Year of the Tiger will witness strong power and will. This is also the second year to execute the Document of the 13th Party Congress, which will be a new source of social resources originated from the cradle of Vietnamese family wellbeing to make an important contribution to the second economic reform aimed to lift Vietnam to the ranks of developed countries on the occasion of the centennial founding anniversary.

By Dr. Doan Duy Khuong

Chairman of the ASEAN - Vietnam Business Advisory Council

(ASEAN BAC Vietnam)