In 2016, during my trip to the United States, I was placed in a group called the "Asia-Pacific Delegation", comprising journalists from China, Thailand, Malaysia, Fiji, New Zealand, Singapore and Papua. New Guinea.

The second day in Washington DC, the delegation was guided to visit Jefferson monument and Lincoln monument. The monuments are impressive and even dear, after all we have seen them countless times in Hollywood movies. But in the central DC landmark, there's one place I want to visit more than anything, which is not on the schedule. It was the Vietnam War Memorial.

For a moment, I felt confused. The schedule was very tight, leading the delegation to be very professional Americans hired by the State Department. Members of the delegation are a group of intellectuals from many developed countries, some of you behave so well that it would frighten a Vietnamese man. I look like a black sheep of the union, with unkempt hair and English capital of a young man watching a lot of HBO. We just met each other one day. And now I want to ask them to change the schedule, because of their own will.

I thought, then asked everyone: "How many countries have participated in the Vietnam War here?".

The Chinese girl of course got it first. The journalist from New Zealand thought, then remembered that this country had sent troops to Vietnam. I turned to my friend from Thailand, reminding him: "Your country is participating too". The North bombers came from U-Tapao air base in Pattaya, he remembered and acknowledged.

I kept talking, and finally my friends Fiji and Papua New Guinea took the phone to the continent, and found out that these two small and innocent island nations were finally involved in the war, one way or another. . Most of the countries present there have "taken part in the war" in some sense. Finally, I achieved the goal. The whole team agreed to spend half an hour visiting the Vietnam War Memorial.

One of the first, most basic and most difficult lessons I learned in journalism or the mass media, is that people often only care about things that relate directly to them. This lesson is not easy to remember, because in writing, authors are often obsessed with things that are important to themselves. During my years as an editor, I witnessed tragedy: environmental activists, scientists or economists say a lot of profound things about what they think are important to them. Hybrid country or planet fate. But very few people read it. Because readers don't feel like this has anything to do with their life.

This task, in mass media, is as difficult as a date. It is a place where people who only say things they think are interesting will be disqualified. Winners often elicit common concerns.

I was well aware of this: my friends in the group that day, even though they were all well-known journalists, had no reason to care about Vietnamese history, and I would be ungrateful if they suggested going to see a something related to some "neighboring country". I invited them to see a part of their history on a trip to America. This is much more fun to think about.

Think of the concept of "history" as a scientific topic: how will you convince a 15-year-old boy who is puberty and consider himself the center of the universe? history? Just because he's Vietnamese and is that history of Vietnam? And Vietnamese history is obviously important?

The answer has been expressed in this year's epic exam scores, or the effect of teaching and learning history over the years. Last year, more than 80% of the epic tests scored below average. This year, the rate is 70%. It is not unreasonably to shout that "history is important" cannot convince students. Sorry, it's just a rote class to avoid impotence, the student himself, or his parents will answer you that way.

When I was a kid, there was a time when an adult in my house told me that that "grandmother" that year, her family had finished packing and bought tickets to emigrate to the South. But because the youngest, my grandfather, was determined not to go, the whole family had to stay. My grandfather stayed, although he was still a well-known professional, many years later in the public career because of the "bourgeois son".

There is an adult-like situation or historical context to explain such a family situation to children. Later, knowing that "that year" was 1954, I always felt that everything: the emigration of the 54, the Geneva Agreement, or the political atmosphere of the North in the 1960s and 70, ... is part of my family history, something very personal.

Or I remember that the first phase of the anti-French resistance war was completely private as well: my grandparents were the first members of the battlefield of Van, Yen Bai. Since then, the "General Yen Yen Rebellions" of 1930, or the lives of Nguyen Thai Hoc, Doan Tran Nghiep and Pho Duc Chinh, those who were executed in Yen Bai that year, became a familiar part. that in my mind.

History is not always a part of family history. Many people will not believe this: it was not until I was about 30 years old that I actually read about the 30/4/1975 landmark. Before that, I, like most young people, considered history as "memorizing" and as a special student in the eyes of a history teacher (and many other social subjects). But in April 2015, a coincidence made me meet "babylift children" - orphans taken out of Vietnam in April 1975 air campaign. One of them returned to Vietnam to find her mother, and I accidentally joined the journey. I don't understand anything, but the feeling of an orphan I know.

History may relate to one's own life, or to one's own emotions. It only becomes really interesting when we create that "relevance". Here, it is easy to see that history textbooks and multiple choice questionnaires do not create relevant emotions for young people. Blaming them forever for "indifference" is not the way. The question is, how to translate history into emotions, into individual stories, the simplicity that every ordinary person can understand - they all feel that it is their life.

At the highest level, as we see how Koreans, Japanese and Americans have done, historical education became a media art, with massive research volumes, masters said. stories, attractive forms and products that can be sold globally.

It is easy to imagine what a Korean manufacturer could do with a bowl of pho: the history of the French colonial period, the influx of people from Nam Dinh before 1945, and the bowl of pho followed people to the South in 1954 after Hiep. Geneve, that is where it is added sweet sauce, bean sprouts and basil ...

He sells pho and people who eat pho will leave the entire bowl of pho sitting to watch the movie or read that book. People will be interested in history that no one needs to shout.

It is the responsibility of the managers or the private sector, the framework of this article is not enough to discuss. But I just want to emphasize the fact that the responsibility of history education cannot be relied upon in books and high schools. It is a special topic, with a special reception approach, and needs creativity at the social scale. Many students have below-average scores, just the tip of an iceberg, in which creativity and historical exploration on a social scale are limited for many reasons.

When we talk about patriotism, a lot of the part of the concept of "patriotism" is historical love. If we look at it from this perspective, the effectiveness of teaching history as our country is now very frightening. Children would rather cosplay in Japanese Edo-era costumes (because Japanese producers have created an emotional connection with them through manga), rather than reading Vietnamese history.

In my perspective, of course, every person can and should be a teacher. You might think: What story am I going to tell my child today, about history?

Lord Emperor