Thousands cheer capture of revered Vietnam turtle

Apr 03, 2011 by Tran Thi Minh Ha
A giant soft-shell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) which is considered a sacred symbol of Vietnamese independence is guided into a cage for a health check by handlers at Hoan Kiem lake in the heart of Hanoi. Thousands of onlookers cheered in central Hanoi when rescuers captured for treatment the ailing and ancient giant turtle.

Thousands of onlookers cheered in central Hanoi on Sunday when rescuers captured for treatment an endangered and ailing giant turtle revered as a symbol of Vietnam's centuries-old independence struggle.

On the first attempt to snare it in polluted Hoan Kiem Lake one month ago the feisty old animal broke free from a net.

This time about 50 rescuers took about two hours --- and three nets of varying sizes -- to finally bring the turtle under control.

Some of the workers swam with the netted reptile, leading it into a cage which was escorted by two boats to an islet where its condition is to be assessed.

"This is one of the most in the world and there's very little known about it," said Tim McCormack of the Asian Turtle Programme, a Hanoi-based conservation and research group.

Local media reported that the critically endangered soft-shell turtle, which weighs about 200 kilograms (440 pounds), had been injured by fish hooks and small red-eared turtles which have appeared in the lake in recent years.

The animal's status in Vietnam stems from its history and its home in Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Returned Sword), rather than its rarity.

"It's very important culturally here," said McCormack.

In a story that is taught to all Vietnamese school children, the 15th century rebel leader Le Loi used a magical sword to drive out Chinese invaders and founded the dynasty named after him.

Le Loi later became emperor and one day went boating on the lake. A turtle appeared, took his sacred sword and dived to the bottom, keeping the weapon safe for the next time Vietnam may have to defend its freedom, the story says.

The turtle has generally surfaced only rarely -- its sightings deemed auspicious -- but has been seen more often in recent months as concern mounted over its health.

Its plight caught the attention of Hanoi's city government, which created a "Turtle Treatment Council" of experts led by a senior veterinarian in the agriculture department, Vietnam News Agency said.

McCormack said the animal, which is likely more than 100 years old, is one of only four Rafetus swinhoei known to be in existence. Two are in China and one lives in another Hanoi-area lake, he said.

Vietnamese refer to Hoan Kiem's legendary resident as "great grandfather turtle", but its sex is unknown.

The islet where it was to be examined holds a small temple-like structure called "Turtle Tower" that is commonly featured in tourist pictures. It will be held in a special tank with filtered water instead of soupy-green contaminated lake water.

"A lot of people have been saying the pollution in the lake has been a serious factor in the animal's health," said McCormack, whose organisation was among the experts advising authorities on how to help the creature.

Spectators hoped the treatment will succeed.

Nguyen Le Hoai, 31, said she spent all day lakeside waiting for the turtle's capture because it "is the symbol of the country, and the symbol of this ".

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Quantum_Conundrum
1.3 / 5 (3) Apr 03, 2011
Two are in China and one lives in another Hanoi-area lake, he said.


yah might want to, you know, try helping them find one another and mate, yah dipsticks, that is, if they are opposite sex...might try that, instead of worshipping it like a rock or pagan statue...
FrankHerbert
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 03, 2011
You do enough worshiping for all of us I'm sure.
Quantum_Conundrum
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 03, 2011
You do enough worshiping for all of us I'm sure.


If only it worked like that. Even Noah, Daniel, and Job could only save themselves by their own righteousness. No person's good deeds or whatever can "actually" save the soul of anyone.

Now see, the pharisees "worshipped" all the time, or so they thought, and yet a large segment of them never knew God at all. They turned the Law into an excuse to exploit others, and of course thump their chests and tell God how good they were.

The problem is you believe Christianity is about "doing," but it cannot be, else everyone is doomed, and that's the point. Jesus, in John 15, tells us that we cannot do anything of our selves, and Paul writes in Romans 7 of a similar experience of trying to please God by doing good, and finding that human nature tends to evil no matter how good you try to be. It is not possible for anyone except God to actually keep the commandments.
Quantum_Conundrum
2 / 5 (4) Apr 03, 2011
So the reality is that I cannot worship enough for myself, nevermind the insane task of attempting to do so on behalf of others.

Justification and salvation comes by FAITH in the fact that Jesus is and was the Son of God, and that he died for a sin offering and rose from the dead.

Justification cannot and does not come by trying harder to do good works, or church attendance or singing songs or giving to the poor, etc, as good as those things are in their own right, because none of them can undo the bad things and bad thoughts you have, and certainly none of them can undo original sin.

Salvation and Justification comes only through the death and resurrection of the Son of God.

Note also that in the Garden, the forbidden tree was called the "Tree of knowledge of GOOD and Evil," not just the "Tree of Knowledge of Evil."

The reason for this is that our "good" works don't mean squat to God if all it's done for is to be seen by others, or for self righteousness.
Quantum_Conundrum
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 03, 2011
I can tell you completely honestly that I personally cannot keep the ten commandments no matter how hard I try.

I'm constantly thinking and even saying negative things about my parents and ancestors, so I dishonor them.

I've told my share of lies in the past, especially when I was a lot younger, so I fail that one.

I'm an adulterer, because I lust for nearly every woman I've ever encountered, married or not, and Jesus even went a step farther and as much as said that if you look at a woman and lust you've already committed adultery in your heart. So I fail that one probably every day at least a couple times.

I've stolen before, several times in fact.

Let's see, I've coveted all sorts of things.

So I hope you see how "religion" has absolutely nothing to do with it. If I'm judged by the Law or by "religious works" I'm just as screwed as any unbeliever.

So the first thing in Christianity is the admission of sin, and the second is that you cannot fix yourself...ever.
Quantum_Conundrum
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 03, 2011
The next thing is the recognition that God exists, Jesus is his Christ, and that said salvation and justification come only through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

It's unfortunate that I put this in a less popular thread. Should have put it in one of the threads with 30 to 40 posts or so, so some people might actually learn something about Christian doctrine and theology.
FrankHerbert
2.8 / 5 (9) Apr 03, 2011
Didn't read any of that.
Wha_wha_what
5 / 5 (3) Apr 03, 2011
Christianity is totally irrelevant to this article.

On a more relevant note, it's too bad the article didn't have more info on the turtle itself, I'd like to know how old it is and how it came to be so important to the Vietnamese.
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (4) Apr 03, 2011
Christianity is totally irrelevant to this article.

On a more relevant note, it's too bad the article didn't have more info on the turtle itself, I'd like to know how old it is and how it came to be so important to the Vietnamese.


It is their idol, sort of like Buddha.

I'd like to see thousands of people show up to cheer a successful heart surgery, or the birth of a child.
Objectivist
not rated yet Apr 04, 2011
I'd like to see thousands of people show up to cheer a successful heart surgery, or the birth of a child.
Really? I have the feeling that last thing you want after giving birth or having had major surgery is thousands of people gathering around you to cheer.

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