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    Student summer program volunteers boo TV drama series
    Update :Wednesday, 6-17-2009

    VietNamNet Bridge – “Green Summer Days”, a 28-episode TV series based on a very popular student volunteer campaign, has drawn angry protests by volunteers, students and youth leaders for its “blackening contents”.

     

    The poster of "Green Summer Days" series.

     

    The series is based on ‘Mùa Hè Xanh’ (Green Summer), a highly popular summer volunteer program sponsored by the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Union to assist people in rural areas. It dramatizes a fictional 30-day ‘campaign’ by a group of 11 student volunteers. Each student joins the campaign for different reasons. By the end of the month, all have ‘grown up.’

     

    HTV7 began broadcasting the series on May 20 from Wednesday to Sunday. The

    first five episodes have stirred up a wave of protest by former Green Summer participants, students and youth leaders.

     

    A blogger who calls herself ‘Wild Pig,’ a former Green Summer campaigner from the HCM City University for Social Sciences and Humanity, wrote on her blog that she was shocked when she watched the first episode.

     

     

    Mùa Hè Xanh, the ‘Green Summer’ campaign was launched in 1994 by the HCM City Youth Union.

     

    The campaign now attracts thousands of student participants from universities throughout the country. Its content has expanded from teaching children in rural and remote areas to diffusing knowledge about laws, family planning, HIV/AIDS and drug prevention, building roads, bridges and houses for rural people and others.

     

    “At the end of that episode, I and friends who were Green Summer campaign participants were choked with anger. I was shocked because ‘Thi’ (a character in the film) joined the one-month campaign just to help his parents save the cost of caring for him, not to do extra work during the summer and earn some points for social activities at university.”

     

    Volunteers said that the series is full of such wrong details.

     

    According to them, in “Green Summer Days,” volunteers act badly. They fight and swear at each other, which is neither representative of the culture of the southern Vietnamese people nor presents a true image of the volunteers.

     

    Producers even changed the logo of the Vietnamese Student Association in this film, turning a white dove into a blue dove.

     

    “I immediately said goodbye to this film after the first episode. I couldn’t stand mistakes about the logo and the nature of volunteers,” said the vice chairman of HCM City Student Association Giang Ngoc Phuong.

     

    Students from many universities have posted negative comments on this movie on online forums.

     

    Former Green Summer volunteer Nguyen Thanh Nga, who is now studying in Australia, wrote on the online forum of the HCM City National University: “Focusing too much on the motivations of students to join the Green Summer campaign, the script writer and director went over the top.

     

    “Worst of all is the scene in which a couple forced their daughter named Giang onto the bus and then comforted each other that they bribed the team leader so their daughter would be all right.  

     

    “Is this any way to portray a voluntary campaign, which has inspired many generations of Vietnamese students for many years?  Green Summer is the purest, most innocent, sincere and enthusiastic expression of the aspirations of young people. In this series, it is portrayed in a way that we former volunteers think very coarse and superficial!”

     

    Nguyen Van Minh, chief of the HCM City Youth Union’s Propaganda and Education Division, said the series is totally wrong.

     

    “Green Summer campaign doesn’t accept just everyone, but only students with good character, dynamism and a high desire to serve others.  Volunteers must be members of grassroots youth union cells. In the film, however, one volunteer bribes his leader to ensure comfortable living conditions while on the campaign. That’s an entirely made-up detail, which smears the voluntarism of the students. Many volunteers have complained about this movie. We are collecting their opinions to report to HCM City authorities in the next few days,” Minh said.

     

    “We don’t agree with the scenes and behaviour of volunteers in the first five episodes,” said the Chairman of the HCM City Student Association, Nguyen Quoc Phong. “The depicttion of preparations for the Green Summer campaign is far from the fact. Green Summer is now very professional. We organize the deployment of thousands of volunteers to rural provinces and even Laos. The participants also understand clearly their positions, role and responsibility in the campaign. That’s why the first five episodes stirred up strong objection from students.”

     

    Phong added Student Association representatives have met with HTV and the film crew to ask them to carefully reconsider the remaining episodes of the series.

     

    A representative of HTV, Nguyen Anh Xuan, said the series is a fictionalized account about voluntaries from the HCM City Economics University. Only five episodes have been aired. HTV has approved 25 episodes and only the first five episodes have wrong details about volunteers.

     

    Xuan said from the sixth episode, such details are corrected. This is a TV drama so it contains some fictional details. The dialogues in the movie aim to create dramatic circumstances to make the story more interesting.

     

    “We don’t smear the Green Summer campaign; rather, we have aimed to reflect the voluntary spirit of the youth. Director Xuan Phuoc lacked understanding and experience about Green Summer so there are many untrue details in the film. We see it as a big lesson in producing movies,” Xuan said.

     

    “In literature and arts, authors have to right to invent but the invention must be based on the fact, especially when they write about recent life,” said Phong of the Student Association.

     

    The Ho Chi Minh Youth Union Secretariat has asked the HTV to stop airing the film until it is corrected. 

    VietNamNet/TN/TT

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