Though the local government has built 4 modern Rong houses with
sheet-metal roofs, the Xe Dang ethnic people at Van Xuoi commune in the Central
Highlands province of Kon Tum refuse to use them as they prefer the traditional
kind with bamboo and thatched roofs.
Cao Minh Hai, the commune’s Party Committee Secretary, said the province paid
VND80 million (VN$4,000) to build the 4 tin-roof Rong houses. However, during
the last three years, local residents refused to use the 4 modern communal
houses and instead donated their own money to construct 2 other traditional Rong
houses with bamboo and thatched roofs.
This is not the first time the Kon Tum government has encountered obstacles in
modernizing local ethnic peoples’ communal houses. In May, the Ba Na ethnic
people in Kontum Kơnâm Village in Thong Nhat Ward, Kon Tum Province were
disappointed to hear that their communal Rong house’s thatched roof would
replaced by tin panels.
Explaining for the replacement, Nong Hong Cong, chairman of Thong Nhat People’s
Committee, said the locality decided to use a tin roof since the traditional
thatched roof is not durable.
“A traditional thatched roof can only be used for just five to seven years,” he
“A Rong house with a metal roof is not a traditional Ba Na communal house,” A
Hiuh, a villager, expressed her disagreement.
Rong house is a special type of stilt houses which is much more spacious with
imposing traditional beauty. The communal house, which is a cultural symbol of
Central Highlanders is where most of the community activities such as meeting,
wedding ceremonies, praying ceremonies take place. It is also the place for