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Proposal to Name Da Nang Street After Alexandre de Rhodes Faces Opposition

A proposal to rename two Da Nang streets has stirred debate.

According to VnExpress, some officials in the central city have come out against renaming streets after Alexandre de Rhodes and Francisco De Pina, since the two missionaries served during the colonial era. The department is working on a proposal to rename roughly 140 streets and public sites, and public comments are currently being collected.

De Rhodes, who was born in modern-day France, and De Pina, who was from Portugal, played major roles in the development of quốc ngữ, the Vietnamese writing system built on the Roman alphabet.

Huynh Van Hung, director of the Da Nang Department of Culture and Sports, told the news source that the missionaries are being considered for street names due to their work on the modern Vietnamese alphabet: "The creation of quốc ngữ helped Vietnamese culture become stronger."

Some former officials oppose the inclusion of de Rhodes and De Pina on this list since their roles were associated with colonial system. Hung, however, told VnExpress that this is unfair, particularly as the two died in the 17th century, while France's colonial experiment in Indochina didn't begin until 1858.

The renaming proposal is expected to be sent for approval in December. Meanwhile, Saigon has had an Alexandre de Rhodes Street since 1995.

Other names on the list include war heroes Mother Nguyen Thi Suot and Vu Xuan Thieu, as well as novelist and composer Nguyen Dinh Thi.

[Photo via Kenh14]