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Radio Hanoi More Recently

         Today the Voice of Vietnam still broadcasts from the same old ramshackle building at 58 Quan Su Street in central Hanoi.  The equipment too has survived the war years and generation of patient repair.  Only the announcers are new.  A new staff of Hanoi Hannahs in their early twenties can be heard on Radio Hanois English service today.  From 1600 hours Hanoi time until 2:00am,  Voice of Vietnam can be picked up around the world on 12035 KHZ on the 25 meter band.


         "The Kampuchean people fully support the new policy of national reconciliation.  The Kampuchea United Front for National Construction and Defense says the cessation of all foreign interference must be emphasized in order to guarantee the Pol Pot clique will not be permitted to return to power."  (The Voice of Vietnam, broadcast 1600 hours, Hanoi, 4 April 1989)


         The broadcasts are certainly less strident these days, reflecting the fact that Vietnamese are not fighting anyone for the first time in 50 years.  There is also a state of shock in the Hanoi leadership these days as misguided comrades from Poland to Rumania thumb their collective noses at Lenin.


         Another reason for the lower decibel rhetoric being beamed out from Hanoi to the world may be the presence of an American advisor. Ms. Virginia Gift peers sternly over her bifocals at the confusion of Radio Hanoi's newsroom.  Antique typewriters clatter in unison and outside the window carpenters pound hammers, shoring up the crumbling building.  Ms. Gift is employed by the Government of Vietnam to improve English skills of Hanoi civil servants.  This generation of Hanoi Hannah's, it seems, learned English from Russian textbooks.  Twice a week Virginia Gift attempts to de-Stalinize the Radio Hanoi newscasts.  To paraphrase here, "The main problem with their English is they learned it from Russians.  They use a lot of Stalinist terms and double-talk that mean nothing to most English listeners.  So I try to purge the Marxist gobbledygook and substitute straight English vocabulary.  They learn fast and if it helps the world understand where the Vietnamese are coming from today, well then its worth all my trouble."