Since the days of old, whenever Vietnamese people as well as foreign visitors think of Hanoi, they have been of the same opinion that Hanoi is a land of civilization of refined culture and of, elegant manners.
In fact, any capital in the world is the point of convergence of all the characteristics of all parts of the country to which it belongs. But Hanoi has its own particularities, counting from the time of its foundation on, it is nearly a thousand years old and has attracted to it men of talents and skilled craftsmen from all over the country and have entertained more and more frequent and various international relations. That is why, the fact that Thang Long – Hanoi is the capital, the greatest political, economic, cultural centre in our country also means that it is more prosperous than any other region and has created higher material bases for the development of its civilization and its style of life.
Besides, our capital has always been the place of hard competition where one has to struggle to succeed, one must be skilled in craftsmanship or endowed with high talents to progress in life. So, only whatever is strong enough to continue to the end of the struggle and to develop becomes part of the essence of Hanoi’s culture. All that is mediocre and useless is sum to be- eliminated, sooner or later.
We can quote some instances concerning Hanoi’s famous people. Most of them came from other parts of the country but they have assimilated the capital’s culture and spent all their life in Hanoi to make their name. It is the same thing for craltsmen, they came from all point of’ the compass, plied their trade in Hanoi, got skilled in the biggest and most exacting market that is the capital’s. The only craftsmanship that can survive these must have a degree of’ artistic excellence, this is partly due to the fact that the craftsman has been trained in the capital it self.
On the other hand, the inhabitants coming from other places to settle in hanoi have brought with them their regional customs which would be refined and polished in the cultural atmosphere of the capital; all this has contributed to the making up of the “elegant life-style” of Hanoi; bad customs have been eliminated or eroded by time.
This is how the essential qualities of Hanoi’s culture has been brought about. At first, we must speak of Hanoians’ cleverness and high skill. They are clever, but sensible, quick-witted, inventive and at the same time dynamic and creative. ‘flanks to their high skill they are hardy, subtle, able to make products (both material and spiritual) of high artistic values.
Another noteworthy characteristics them is kind-heartedness. Hanoi is a great market where people still keep their kindheartedness.They care for others as much as for themselves. This is a community composed of people of different origins and natives of different regions but living in peace and solidarity, helping one another.
Hanoians are knowledge-thirsty. They like culture and especially literary creations. Lack of education means for them a suffering, so they try to become highly-educated. As a result, Hanoi is abundant in talented men and its intellectual standards are rather high. Men, the nobility and elegance of their Souls must be taken into account; these terms cover a wide meaning: the respect of spiritual, moral and cultural values, which governs their way of living, their behavior and demeanour, the elegance of their dress, of their way of speaking and that of their dwelling-houses, and the refinement in their artistic taste, in their way of eating and drinking. A question crops up: what remains of these essential qualities today?
We must know that the industrialization and modernization carried out in Hanoi and in all the country have led our capital to a turning point. If this process is brought to a successful end, our capital will reach a higher level with up-to-date cultural qualities, but we must say that we have still a long way to cover before reaching that aim. Just now, we can observe a phenomenon of disorderly behavior that is spreading, threatening the old and beautiful values of Hanoi’s style of life. ‘Ibis is due to the quick development of the market economy and that of international relations: if we have attained many achievements in that field, we also have to face the “reverse of the medal”; now that market economy has developed together with its negative side. But Hanoi people have been awake to that danger and trying hard to overcome it. Anyhow, we must recognize that the rush for illegal money, and loose conduct have corrupted only a small part of the population. Most Hanoi inhabitants lead a honest life and still believe in the cultural and moral values which manifest themselves everyday.