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Ho Chi Minh’s style of expression

Style is the particular, unique, systematic thing of a person or a generation, manifested in the aspects of life. Accordingly, style is formed by the self-improvement during human life, not inborn. Ho Chi Minh’s style is his specific features shown in the noble, energetic revolutionary life of a national liberation hero and a great man of culture, developed during his years of hardships and sacrifices for the cause of national, social, class and human liberation. Ho Chi Minh’s style of expression clearly shows the uniqueness: leanness, clarity, popularity, consistency in words and actions.

Ho Chi Minh talking with students (file photo)

People often express their thought through language (speaking and writing) and gestures (actions).

For speaking and writing language, Ho Chi Minh always uses popular language in order that all people could understand, which means he conveys clear and sufficient information to everyone. In this regard, there are 3 notable points, namely succinctness, sufficient information and attractiveness. Acquiring those 3 points is not easy. Ho Chi Minh often criticizes people who talk a lot but give little information, even “useless” information. Writing and speaking shortly but understandably and attractively like Ho Chi Minh are not easy for everyone. He even has to seriously improve himself for long time to acquire that style.

The following section in his book “Revolutionary Path” (1927) could be considered President Ho Chi Minh’s declaration of expression of thought: “This book is written in succinct, understandable and easy-to-remember way. There must be people saying that it is a kind of shortened writing. Indeed, I use simple way to write. I just wish that when my compatriots read this book, they will contemplate, then wake up and rise together for a revolution. The content and the hope of this book lie in one word: Revolution! Revolution!! Revolution!!!”. Other evidences were the Party’s Brief Political Platform, Brief Policy, Brief Program and Brief Statutes drafted by him and adopted in the Founding Conference of the Party in early 1930, which were all very brief. The Party’s Brief Political Platform contained only 1 page (265 words), the Party’s Brief Policy nearly 1 page (251 words), the Party’s Brief Program about 0.5 page (179 words), the Party’s Statutes approximately 2 pages (592 words). However, those documents satisfied all the criteria constituting the platform of a political party, which were the Party’s goals, the Party’s political theoretical foundation, the path to achieve the goals, the Party’s leading force, the masses to realize the goals, the future society under the rule of the political party, the Party’s revolutionary methods, and the Party’s international relations. The 2nd National Party Congress Political Report (February 1951) drafted and presented by Ho Chi Minh was only 25 pages but contained sufficient thought, viewpoints and guidelines on the Party’s leadership over the resistance war against the French Colonialists. Ho Chi Minh disagrees with the way of empty and lengthy speaking and writing, not with long but informative speeches and essays, while believing that it is not always good to talk about and write something shortly. Ho Chi Minh mentions 4 things that must be clear when people talk and write: what to talk and write, for whom it is written and talked about, for what it is written and talked, how to write and talk.

He interprets political theory and Marxism-Leninism for people clearly, understandably and briefly. Ho Chi Minh’s language thus becomes cultural value of the nation. Ho Chi Minh’s speeches and essays are priceless legacy of the Party and the people. His appeals full of impetus embracing strategic determination of the whole nation, his New Year wishes in the language of poetry makes the New Year’s Eve really sacred, warm and touching, his heroic political essays, his letters sent to sectors, pupils, youths, adolescents, children filled with love, even the “Letter” before his death to the whole Party, military and people, and international friends (called Testament later) all indicate his style of expression. That style includes the viewpoint “Nation-Science-Popularity”, which all the people of Vietnam has strived to follow and united in building the culture since the 1940s of the 20th century, as manifested in the Vietnam Culture Guidelines of 1943 of the Party.

Action is a kind of “special language” in Ho Chi Minh’s style of expression. Unlike other great men in the world, Ho Chi Minh hasn’t left any great speeches and writing behind. Ho Chi Minh’s books set published in 2011 includes 15 books (approximately 400-700 pages for each), which is not so majestic in size as those of other revolutionary activists worldwide. But the most impressive books set is Ho Chi Minh’s life which is extremely “noble, rich, pure and beautiful, and represents his whole thought, morality and style. Ho Chi Minh displays a style of special expression in which his words are associated with his actions. Ho Chi Minh is not endowed with that. He has improved himself during his years of life. In the periods of Vietnam’s revolution, even at present, there is a number of people having 4 misleading signs in the connection between words and actions: saying too much but doing little; saying good things but doing bad things; words without actions; words and actions are totally different. Those people often disturb collectives, community and the other people around, and it will be disastrous if they are cadres and party members. People whose words are not fulfilled are hypocrites.

Ho Chi Minh’s style of work is exemplary by itself. He is always aware that in the East and Vietnam, a good living example is more valuable than hundreds of speeches. Addressing cadres at a training school (November 1945), he stressed that cadres should be exemplary, industrious and ardent. Fighting against famine right after the victory of the August Revolution 1945, Ho Chi Minh called for people who had food to eat less than usual to save rice for other people with hunger. And he exemplified his call. Ho Chi Minh is an education strategist. Believing that an illiterate nation was a weak nation, he launched a movement against illiteracy. He advocated studying at any time, anywhere, and he was a good self-study example. Believing that all healthy people made the whole nation strong, he called for everyone to daily exercise and confirmed that “I myself exercise everyday”. Ho Chi Minh showed his “absolute loyalty to the country, absolute piety to the people”, “industriousness, thrift, integrity, uprightness, public-spiritedness and selflessness” through his daily actions. As the Party and State President, Ho Chi Minh was noticeable with his style of “action” when setting out a task. That style proved his thought: “A nation, a Party, a person were great and impressive ever, but it is not certain that they will be loved and praised if they are not pure in heart and mind and fall into individualism”. Ho Chi Minh’s daily actions conveyed messages that Vietnamese patriots saw as guidance and  instructions for their thought, morality and lifestyle. When he was alive, details of his daily life about his meals, accommodations and jobs from difficult time to the top of power (the Party and  State President) were perfect manifestations of Ho Chi Minh’s style.

The country of Vietnam has experienced more than 30 years of reform with the goal of wealthy people, strong nation, democracy, equality, civilization, and achieved great accomplishments of historic significance. The socialist regime stands firm on the path of national independence and socialism regardless of  great risks and challenges. The Communist Party of Vietnam authorized by the people to lead the cause of Homeland construction and protection has proved itself to be a knowledgeable, strong-willed, moral and civilized political organization. The Platform for National Construction in the Transitional Period (supplemented and developed in 2011) and the Resolution of the 12th National Party Congress are the guidelines based on Marxism-Leninism, supported and implemented by the whole people. The Vietnam revolutionary armed forces in general, the Vietnam People’s Army in particular should unceasingly enhance the strength to protect the Party, the State, the political regime and the people’s life, contributing to maintaining peace and political stability. “Words must be associated with actions” style thus becomes extremely important for revolutionary soldiers - Uncle Ho’s Soldiers. That is also a practical method for the military cadres and troops to study and follow Ho Chi Minh’s lifestyle.

Prof. Mach Quang Thang, PhD

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