Thứ Sáu, 25 tháng 12, 2015



From the Editor: Prior to 1975, Dohamide was a regular contributor to Bách Khoa Magazine. His field of expertise is the history and civilization of Champa.  In 1965 he published ‘Dân Tộc Chàm Lược Sử / A Short History of the People of Champa” and in 2005 “Dân Tộc Champa: Hành trình Tìm về Cội Nguồn / The People of Champa: A Journey to the Source”. A graduate of the Học Viện Quốc Gia Hành Chánh / The National Institute of Administration (Saigon, Vietnam), he also held a M.A. from the University of Kansas, USA. Growing up in the Hậu Giang Châu Đốc region, he is quite familiar with the ecosystem of the Mekong Delta.

“The High Water” And “The Low Water” Seasons In The Mekong Delta

For decades, the inhabitants of the Mekong Delta have been well accustomed to live together with its annual floods. They look at it as a natural phenomenon that occurs periodically.  As a result, they build stilt houses to dwell in with the pillars that are high enough to keep the house floor dry during the Rainy Season. Except for the lunar years of the Dragon, customarily, when the floors of their houses become submerged by the rising water, people switch to a new lifestyle that goes with the impending flood. They raise their beds to higher levels so that they can sleep comfortably until the time the Low Water Season (called “nước giựt” by the locals) comes allowing their families to return to their normal activities. In that way, the common folks in the Mekong Delta are well adjusted to live with “The High Water Season” while the people in the North or Central Vietnam would consider it as the “Flood Season”.
The precursor signs of the flood in the Mekong Delta start mostly in August of the lunar calendar. Clumps of uprooted hyacinths or water morning glories, sometimes covering the entire width of the river, float down in successive waves from the fields in Cambodia. The water gradually rises until it overflows the river banks to inundate the surrounding lands. In the Delta, there is a type of rice seed named “floating rice” whose stalks can grow up to 7 or 8 meters depending on the rising water level. After the water recedes, the stalks would lay flat on the ground waiting to be harvested. To reduce the force of the gushing water, a vast and complex network of canals had been dug in the Delta. The water in those canals is also used to wash away the alum in the soil to get the fields ready for future cultivation.

During the “High Water” Season, by the hour, people keep a close watch on the rising water in order to sound the alarm should it exceed the normal levels of the previous years. The moment the water inflow from upstream begins to subside, the water level stops to rise then drops rapidly, and people say that the water “pulls back /nước giựt”,  because they can clearly see the water level dips with their own eyes.  The rising and lowering of the water level, however, do not occur simultaneously everywhere. As it rushes out to the sea, when the water recedes in Châu Đốc,  then it rises in the Cần Thơ, Vĩnh Long regions… downstream the water swells, overflows the banks, inundates the fields then ebbs – just like the way  liquid  moves in two connecting vessels.

In the murky current rich in silt, shoals of fish enter the fields to spawn. At the time the water “pulls back”, bands of small fish especially Siamese mudcarps follow the dark gold color water to flock out of the fields into the canals to eventually reach the main rivers. People are then at the ready to set up trap nets along the river banks. At peak time, the catch is so abundant that fishermen have to open the trap nets   to release some of the fish and spare the nets from being torn. With the High and Low Water Seasons, the ecosystem in the Mekong Delta is thus naturally regulated and balanced. In years when the water rises above normal, people, in their popular belief, attribute it to natural disasters beyond human controls.

That natural balancing of the Mekong Delta’s ecosystem had become a feature of the past due to a large population explosion in areas that necessitate the setting up of resettlement centers. The new settlers began to build dikes to retain water for rice planting and increase agricultural production. In the old days, previous generations that migrated to the Mekong Delta usually chose to live on high grounds called “đất giồng”. So, whenever the boundless fields where the egrets could tirelessly fly became submerged by water, the high grounds still remained safe haven to their inhabitants and snake population.  On the other hand, over the last decades, the resettlement areas are mainly located in lands that are ready for cultivation. Consequently, during the “High Water” Season, their fields can lie up to 2 or 3 meters under water and the “natural disasters” that those people have to face would turn out more exacting and disastrous.
Moreover, over the past years, reckless deforestation has given rise to the loudest condemnations from environmentalists: lush forests that had retained large bodies of water in the ground upstream in the past have disappeared or have become too sparse. The rainwater is now free to flow downstream and inevitably helps swell the current each time heavy rains come.

The Nine Dragons Drained Dry – A Contradiction in Terms?

The author Ngô Thế Vinh has recently released his new book with a rather catching title: “Cửu Long Cạn Dòng, Biển Đông Dậy Sóng/ The Nine Dragons Drained Dry, The East Sea in Turmoil” published by Nhà Xuất Bản Văn Nghệ. It has received enthusiastic acclaim from readers especially from “the Friends of the Mekong Group”, as a major contribution to the efforts to preserve the ecology in the Mekong Delta.

However, a question that immediately comes to mind is whether the book’s title would imply here a contradiction in terms?  In fact  from the end of September through October of 2000, the water gushing down from Cambodia to Vietnam had swept away countless dwellings including stilt houses along the river banks and drowned more than 300 souls.  The Vietnamese communities overseas, in solidarity with their fellow countrymen, have thrown themselves into launching relief funds to help the unfortunate victims. Therefore, how can the author Ngô thế Vinh assert in his book that “the Nine Dragons” is being drained dry meaning that there is not much water left in the Mekong?

Actually, the massive volume of water that comes gushing down from upstream to overflow the river banks then submerge the Mekong Delta is a natural phenomenon that takes place every year according to a set time schedule lasting for about two months at the most. In the long run, however, the problem is no longer the regular annual floods but rather the trend showing the water level to decrease incessantly until the day the river dries up completely. Then, we’ll have on our hand a disaster of unpredictable consequences that will prove irreversible and relief funds will not be of much help any longer.

Incidences of seawater infringing deeper inland in the aftermath of the annual floods have been observed by scientists in the basins of the Sông Tiền and Sông Hậu Rivers.  There are also evidences showing that fish living in brackish water have been recorded in a number of areas where previously only freshwater fish live. The salinization effects are not limited to the river currents but spread widely    to the surrounding lands rendering fresh water wells unusable. Evidently, the soil affected by seawater is no longer suitable for the planting of traditional rice seeds.  To render the matter worse, at the present time, we do not see any prospect for a new type of rice seed that can grow in brackish water being engineered in the labs.

Under such circumstances, will Vietnam be able to remain the second exporter of rice in the world?  Should conditions worsen in the coming days, will the Vietnamese people have enough rice to eat? With his skillful pen, the author leads the readers on an exploration and to an understanding of those fundamental challenges. The cause for the Mekong River being drained dry can be attributed – not to natural disasters – but actually to our own doing.

In fact, all the countries that border the Mekong belong to the developing group. In their quest for economic development, especially in the industrial sectors, they strive their utmost to produce as much electricity as possible. That dream was and continues to be the driving force behind their efforts to build dams and hydropower plants in the hope that this low-cost “white coal” would   free them from being dependent on imported oil and would help save the precious foreign exchange.

As a rule, international laws usually require that nationals and goods crossing the established borders of one country to another have to observe certain regulations. However, water flowing in the current of a river is exempt from such requirements. To operate the dams efficiently, it is necessary to retain water and divert it into giant reservoirs from which it will be released as needed to run the gigantic turbines that will generate electricity.

This attempt to divert water in one country to meet its own needs gives rise to two immediate results: a change in the natural course of the river and a reduction in the centuries-old water flow from the source to the sea. In this respect, it’s apparent that China holds the trump card because the very source of the Mekong lies well within its territory. In reality, over the past decades, this country has made the most of its advantageous location when it built a series of hydropower dams of the Mekong Cascades in total disregard of the interests of its neighbors to the South including in geographical order: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos then Cambodia. Located at the Mekong’s estuary, Vietnam is the country that suffers the most.

Taking into consideration the above-mentioned facts i.e. the tremendous disasters caused by the flooding of the Mekong Delta and the vigorous relief efforts organized by the Vietnamese communities overseas, the publication of “Cửu Long Cạn Dòng, Biển Đông Dậy Sóng/The Nine Dragons Drained Dry, The East Sea In Turmoil” may appear to be a complete oxymoron.

Nevertheless, when the Mekong is placed in a regional and long-term context – as it runs the risk of being drained dry – the publication of the book may then be seen in its proper perspective. In general, it represents an attempt to call upon the nations located in the Mekong Subregion to be concerned about the future and adopt a judicious geopolitical viewpoint encompassing enough to see the full potentials and limits of the exploitation of the Mekong’s water in the service of their economic development in the face of an arrogant China, the hegemonic   neighbor upstream.

The Nine Dragons Drained Dry, The East Sea in Turmoil

Up to this point, the readers may already have been correctly aware  that the 646 pages-long “Cửu Long Cạn Dòng, Biển Đông Dậy Sóng/ The Nine Dragons Drained Dry, The East Sea in Turmoil” is not a novel like “Mây Bão”, “Bóng Đêm”, “Gió Mùa”, “Vòng Đai Xanh/The Green Belt”, “Mặt Trận Ở Sài Gòn/The Battle of Saigon” that had been  published  and had helped establish Ngô Thế Vinh as a serious and knowledgeable writer in the literary circles over the years.

The book consists of 23 chapters in addition to the “Foreword”, an appendix about the “Travels on The Mekong 1866-1873”, and the last pages reserved for the “Epilogue”.  At the bottom of the “Foreword”, the author gave the location and date “Cà Mau Năm Căn 11/99” that may mislead the uninformed readers in thinking that the book was written in Vietnam. The geographical denotation “Cà Mau – Năm Căn”, however, only reflects the fact that, in the process of writing the book, the author had conducted fieldtrip studies right inside the country. The old photographs of ancient times along with the vivid and numerous ones taken of the author’s trips that are displayed at the end of each chapter amply bear witness to the time consuming efforts as well as the deep and extensive research done by the author.

To help the readers keep track of and relate to the historical events pertaining to the Mekong River, the author has included in the first part of the book, a chronological table pertaining to the 7 countries and covering from the 1st century to the year 2000 marking the completion of the building of the Mỹ Thuận Bridge over the Sông Tiền River. It shows the breadth of vision the author espouses in the writing of his book.
As far as methodology is concerned, the book “Cửu Long Cạn Dòng, Biển Đông Dậy Sóng/ The Nine Dragons Drained Dry / The East Sea In Turmoil” is written   in a very interesting and unique form. In the Foreword, Ngô Thế Vinh confided that: “This is not purely a ‘fiction’ meaning a product of the imagination, but it is rather a faction – an acronym of Fact and Fiction – where a number of literary characters and fictional settings are combined to take the readers to the locations visited by the Mekong…”

The faction form preferred by Ngô Thế Vinh would undoubtedly be the topic of heated discussions and exchanges of ideas within the literary circle in the coming days.

It seems as if the real intention of the author is to introduce specific settings rich in details that force the readers to think and ponder about a larger issue that permeates his work: the Mekong River facing catastrophic threats emanating from the construction of hydropower dams by the governments in the region with the sole purpose of increasing the production of electricity. Claiming national sovereign rights, they build recklessly in complete disregard for the long-term nefarious effects on the environment and for the all pervasive harms to the lifestyle of the local inhabitants.

Ngô Thế Vinh did not limit the discussion of the issues within the boundaries of individual nations but chose to sound the alarm about their effects on the neighboring countries and the dangers of taking a chauvinistic approach to the problems. Moreover, he also points to the age-old threats exerted by the Chinese giant in the north that is trying to ruthlessly overwhelm the countries downstream in regards to its use of water and its discharge of industrial waste from Yunnan province…

The title given to individual chapters, on the face of it, may appear poetic or lighthearted but in fact the issues being developed evoke in the readers severe and unforgiving condemnations. For instance, the title “The Missing Boat On The Mekong And A Selachian Fish In The Plain Of Reeds” given to Chapter XIV actually exposes in a masterful way the shortsightedness of the Vietnamese communist leaders who declined to give the green light to the world renowned deep-sea French explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau to go up the Mekong in his tiny submarine Calypso with the purpose of collecting scientific data. Jacques-Yves Cousteau has passed away since and Vietnam lost a golden opportunity to enrich   its already meager scientific knowledge of the Mekong’s ecosystem.

Chapter XXII “In Search Of The Lost Paradise In The East” piques the curiosity of the reader to lead him on, along the pages, in the discovery that the paradise in question is actually the ancient cultures of Southeast Asia as revealed by recent archeological finds, the rainforests in Cambodia, and the networks of canals and roads of the defunct Ốc Eo civilization in the Mekong Basin.

From one chapter to the next, the author introduces the readers to the lands and cultures the Mekong visits starting from its source in Tibet through Yunnan, Myanmar, Thailand, to the Golden Triangle and the land of Laos with its Plains of Jars. While staying in Singapore, the author takes his readers to Cambodia and the Killing Fields under Pol Pot’s rule, before going to Bến Tre, Cái Bè, the Tam Nông Bird Sancuary in the marshlands of Vietnam, our grief-stricken motherland. Then, he leads them back to Laos, Cambodia with the fascinating Tonle Sap Lake before returning to Vietnam once more.

Each chapter is earmarked for the analysis of a particular issue and its complex as well as varied facets. No chapter is alike. Though the chapters’ contents differ, the author makes it certain that they are all connected to a unifying theme which is the ominous picture of a Mekong being threatened by the countries in the region as they compete with each other to build hydroelectric dams holding back and polluting its water.
While working on the contents of each chapter, the author never fails to provide valuable data and information that are illustrated by decades-old photographs depicting the histories, cultures or civilizations of ancient lands like Funan, Ốc Eo, Champa, Tibet... Throughout the book, Ngô Thế Vinh has consistently demonstrated a well defined habit of delving exhaustively into any issue that he brings up by citing ample data or evidences that captivate the readers to the point they would not want to stop reading.  

Still, in the middle of the exciting journey, when he deems that the readers have had enough, Ngô Thế Vinh, abruptly switches lanes to a new topic without any hesitation. At a certain moment, to their utmost surprise, his readers are left dangling as they are ushered into new territories. Each time that it happens, the readers cannot help turning back the pages to allow them to recapitulate before venturing on to new discoveries.
Only then, can the readers appreciate the author’s gifted style and assert that “Cửu Long Cạn Dòng, Biển Đông Dậy Sóng/ The Nine Dragons Drained Dry, The East Sea In Turmoil” is loaded with information that possesses historical as well as educational values. One cannot read it casually as if one reads a novel.

It is truly in cases like these that historical events of a long gone era concerning the Mekong become so striking and carved into one’s memory like the story about the explorers Francis Garnier, Doudard de Lagrée sailing upstream the Mekong in search of a waterway linking Saigon to China or the near extinction of the rare fish Pla Beuks and Dolphins in the river’s current…

Probably, the most extraordinary revelation is that although the Mekong is shown in all the world maps, one must wait until 1994 for the source of this river to be exactly located in the remotest wilderness of the Tibetan High Plateau.

The book’s title plainly indicates that it deals with two main topics. The first part “The Nine Dragons Drained Dry” warns about the imminent dangers the Mekong faces if the countries bordering its current continue to construct hydropower dams to produce electricity without giving due consideration to the devastating effects on the environment and on the livelihood of the people living downstream.

Taking the stance of a humanist and environmentalist, Ngô Thế Vinh argues that from a national standpoint, the economic benefits to be derived from the dams can in no way take preference over the ordinary lifestyle of the inhabitants in the region.

On this occasion, the author openly debunks the long-standing myth pertaining to the international financial institutions specializing in the funding of development projects such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. He shone the light on the tragic fact that they have been working hand in hand with the world’s authoritarian governments on the pretext that the latter can provide the needed political stability to implement the dam building projects.  These projects inevitably require the displacement of the population in the areas that will be submerged by the massive volume of water in the reservoirs.

In regards to the Mekong, the big country of China is located at the source of the river and holds all the cards. It is quietly building a series of hydroelectric dams in the Mekong Cascades as well as over-polluting the river with the dumping of industrial waste into its current with impunity. Cambodia and Vietnam, the two countries that lie downstream are suffering the most from this environmental disaster.

In order to serve its selfish interests, China has consistently avoided joining the Mekong River Commission. The book also pointed out a fascinating discovery that has been long overlooked by world public opinion: China has destroyed huge boulders in the Mekong’s riverbed in order to construct a waterway running all the way from its border to Laos.

The hegemonic aspirations of this country have been bolstered by its territorial claims in the East Sea – an issue discussed by the author in Chapter XV whose heading “Cửu Long Cạn Dòng, Biển Đông Dậy Sóng/The Nine Dragons Drained Dry, The East Sea In Turmoil” has been chosen to become the title of the book. In this chapter, the author exclusively delves in the second part of the title: The East Sea In Turmoil. He recalls the events of the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) in 1974 and Trường Sa (Spratly) in 1988 that still remain an unhealed sore in the mind of every Vietnamese. He then expounds the various aspects of the quest for hegemony by the Chinese leaders over Southeast Asia.

Considering that the country’s land and sea are under threats, the character named Hộ has undoubtedly stunned many a reader when he asserted: “For more than a decade, China has singlemindedly been building the series of 7 giant dams in the Mekong Cascades in Yunnan.  In doing so, it has conducted an undeclared environmental war against the 5 countries downstream.”  For his part, to remind the readers of the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people, at the start of the chapter, Ngô Thế Vinh has cited king Lý Thường Kiệt’s famous poem issuing a warning to any potential invaders:

The Southern King reigns in the southern land
It had been so decided in the Heaven’s plan
If you so dared as to invade our fatherland
Your ignominious fate is defeat at our hands

Lý Thường Kiệt [1019–1105]

As stated in the foreword, the protagonists in the book are all fictional. Nevertheless, under Ngô Thế Vinh’s artful pen, the readers are led to believe that somehow those characters do exist in real life. To name a few: Mr. Như Phong, a veteran journalist, who wrote for an American publication specializing in Southeast Asia and Vietnam; the individual referred to with the first person pronoun “I”, a member of the Friends of the Mekong Group, who appeared in many chapters and held a broad as well as strategic view on the environment issue;   Dr. Duy, a young Northerner who grew up in the South  and a  the Mekong Group, who frequently made his appearance in many chapters  a graduate of an  American university whose many works were published in a well known medical journal; and by his side is the young Bé Tư, a bright and insightful young girl, who was described by Ngô Thế Vinh as being in love with  Dr. Duy to add a touch of romance to the story of the Mekong...    

It is those characters that provide the unifying factor connecting the events together. They may be committed activists; participants at a conference, a field-trip, or a seminar…through them the author expresses his knowledgeable views on the issues showing his masterful command of the topics under discussion. At times the views expressed may be pure observations or personal outlooks, at others they may represent expert or professional opinions deemed appropriate to the issues pertaining to the Mekong.

For the most part, those expert or professional opinions are presented in a civil, learned way. However, when necessary, the author shows he can be quite severe and to the point like in the case of the genocide under Pol Pot, the decapitation of the Vietnamese under Lon Nol in Cambodia, the negative aspects of the Renovation Era in Vietnam, the devastating abuses at the Tam Nông Bird Sanctuary leading to the potential extinction of rare animal species…While doing so, Ngô Thế Vinh has wisely moderated his tone so that individuals and more importantly the concerned authorities are amenable to listen to and agree with him.

A poignant observation about the present conditions in Vietnam is that the majority of the characters Ngô Thế Vinh depicted, whether of the old or young generations, come mostly from overseas. Even so, the author does not want the readers to think that those characters feel estranged while working in their country of origin just because they are subject to trifling  regulations such as requiring them to report to the local police of the place they are staying at (the author did not mention this detail in the book). When they meet and work with foreign experts like the Thai professor Cham Sak in Thailand, they carry themselves just like committed environmentalists trying to preserve the environment and serve their homeland. 

Trained in modern technology and equipped with their experience working overseas, upon their return to Vietnam, those experts bring with them a broad and farsighted strategic outlook as well as a scientific approach to problem solving that naturally differ or even clash for instance with the parochial way of thinking of Mười Nhe, the typical communist cadre one can often encounter in the Mekong Delta. Ngô Thế Vinh deserves the credit for having so cleverly created this character.

The name “Mười Nhe” in itself conjures up a comical image causing people to think that this character has a constant smile on his face. Quite the contrary, he was described by Ngô Thế Vinh as “a communist cadre who is thin and small in stature…the pale color of his skin is indicative of people afflicted with chronic anemia… his bony and shiny face betrays past hardships and deprivations” In Mười Nhe we have the perfect stereotype of the rare “orthodox” communists who still walk the earth.

Nowadays, he holds the position of District Party Committee Chief of Tam Nông who has zealously implemented the Renovation policy named “Five-Year Development Plan” that resulted in doubling the District’s population and bringing about a prosperous lifestyle within a record time. Mười Nhe authorized the reckless cutting down of mangrove trees, fishing with nets and even with explosives, catching of shrimps regardless of their size – those too small to be sold were left floating on the water surface. With such irresponsible economic practices it did not take long for the people to become affluent. Unfortunately, the by-products were: the area of the famous mangrove trees was reduced by two third, of the thousands of rare red cranes only about 500 survived!

Needless to say, Mười Nhe was proud and happy of his outstanding achievements in the development of his District. (The author did not mention the slogan “fast and robust leap toward socialism”) But the question is how to make this old and conservative cadre understand the notion that the mangroves and bird sanctuaries represent an abundant biological treasure, a haven for the reproduction and growth of numerous fish and other animal species? Lack of education coupled with extremism still remain “the scourge not only to humans but also to birds, animal and plants”. This is an aspect of the current drama threatening the Mekong that Ngô Thế Vinh has vividly brought to the consciousness of those who still care.

People found out that Mười Nhe had a son named Thuận who attended college in the city. He felt discreetly proud of his son but blamed him for “being too bookish to dare to talk with me about such things as the environment or ecosystem.”
Through Bé Tư’s support, Thuận was granted a scholarship by the International Crane Foundation to study abroad. He opted to go to America since it was the “in thing” to do and was trying his best to attain the required test score of 550 in English competency.

People around them now put all of their hope in Thuận and his young generation to take over from the old one that is gradually phasing out. In the future, it is expected that the young generation, both inside and outside the country, would hopefully be able to communicate with each other on the same wave length and work side by side harmoniously to deal with the ecological problems of the Mekong.

Unfortunately, it may take too long for that time to arrive. Characters like Bé Tư are only fictional and created out of idealistic wishful thinking. Unless Bé Tư and Thuận come from the same social class the odds do not look favorable for the two of them to tie the knot.

Ngô Thế Vinh had in store a practical and fabulous way to change the working style of Mười Nhe: Sending a comrade from the Party’s central committee to revive in Mười Nhe the hatred of the enemy and the need to maintain military vigilance for the defense of the nation… For him to desist, he must be convinced that cutting down the mangroves trees is tantamount to destroying the bases of the resistance. 

The book is 645-pages thick, the paintings are done by Nghiêu Đề, its cover by Khánh Trường, and the presentation by Cao Xuân Huy. It is illustrated with an abundance of vivid photographs – a number of them carry high historical values. Ngô Thế Vinh’s work “Cửu Long Cạn Dòng, Biển Đông Dậy Sóng/The Nine Dragons Drained Dry, The East Sea In Turmoil” takes the readers on a long journey on the Mekong starting from its source in Tibet, going over whirlpools and waterfalls and the ups and downs of different countries’ history before entering the Delta and reaching its estuary that ends in the East Sea.

To sum up, written in the uncommon faction form and a style unique to Ngô Thế Vinh, the book demonstrates that its author has done extensive research on each of the issues raised. It really shows a new height in Ngô Thế Vinh’s literary achievements.

The book’s intrinsic value lies in its ability to provide valuable data and first rate information about the eventful past of each land the Mekong meanders through. Building on that foundation, the author introduces the readers to and familiarizes them with the ecological issues facing the entire region to help them arrive at an overall strategic view free from selfish and parochial constraints.

The arrogance of big brother China induces that country to, on one hand, threaten and expand into the East Sea and, on the other, carry out a covert policy aiming at monopolizing the resources of the Mekong upstream. This river is truly now facing an uncertain future caused by a policy characterized by the building of dams in disregard of any consultation and coordination; a reasonable, common sharing of natural resources; and a balanced approach in the preservation of the ecology with the countries downstream.

The book has shone the spotlight on a number of important issues and simplified complex technical knowledge in order to raise a common consciousness pertaining to potential environmental disasters. Among them we can cite the danger of the Mekong being drained dry and the seawater encroaching deeper into the countries downstream including Vietnam that is unfortunately the most affected.

Ngô Thế Vinh’s book “Cửu Long Cạn Dòng, Biển Đông Dậy Sóng / The Nine Dragons Drained Dry/The East Sea In Turmoil” sounded the alarm about the above-mentioned dangers. Hopefully it will be heard in far away  corners, rally a growing number of concerned individuals, and mobilize the  needed brainpower in the common effort of combating the ecological disasters that are threatening the Mekong, its Subregion and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam in particular.

DOHAMIDE ĐỖ HẢI MINH                                                                                  
Thế Kỷ 21, 139 [revised 6/2014] 

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