Le Dinh Kien – The Man Who Had Merits to Build Pho Hien
Le Dinh Kien (1621-1704) was born in Thiet Danh village, Dinh Tuong commune, Yen Dinh district, Thanh Hoa province in a poor peasant family. His father died at a very young age, and his mother had to work hard to bring him up. Thanks to his intelligence, he became a mandarin under the reign of Le Trinh dynasty. He was a talent and generous mandarin. Although he was not born in Hung Yen, he died in Hung Yen; especially, he had great merits in terms of widening and building Pho Hien.
In 1664, he was ordered by the royal court to control Son Nam region (now is Hung Yen province and Thai Binh province). His biggest contribution was to put down the revolt by Chinese people here and turn Pho Hien into a big trading center of the country. He held different high-level positions in the court. When he died, the Vietnamese and overseas residents in Pho Hien built 2 steles describing his achievements and contributions. The content of 2 steles is the praises of his great merits. The 1st stele was built in 1772, and the 2nd stele was built in 1723.
In the 2nd stele built in 1723, there is a paragraph "We have been often crossing the Southern sea for trading and entering Van Lai Trieu harbor for several decades. During this period, with the valuable support of Anh Linh Vuong, our work has been implemented very well. His support is uncountable. He loves local people as his relatives and economizes on spending money for them… His loyalty to the King is highly appreciated by people in the whole country".
In the stele constructed up by local people, it says "He loves people as much as his sons and judges with fairness. In constructing temple, dyke, drainage and stock, he does not take even a small part for his own… Local people from the old to the young admire his talent and virtue and consider him as their father"
The most precious thing of Le Dinh Kien is that he could maintain the society stability not only by law but also by his generosity. Le Dinh Kien was famous for his judging ability. Robbers and thieves were afraid and never came to the area where he ruled. Some thieves gave themselves up and promised with him to amend. Therefore, the number of suit reduced.
He died at the age of 84 in 1704. Local people established a temple called Anh Linh Vuong temple for his worship. Now this temple does not exist. Currently, in the worshipping house in Thiet Danh, home land of Le Dinh Kien in Thanh Hoa province, there is a parallel sentence praising his contributions, as follows:
“Trị sự liêm bình, kim cổ đan thanh tuế tích
Tại nhân đức trạch, bắc nam kim thạch minh danh”
Fair and upright governing was written down in the history forever.
His support and contributions towards Vietnamese and Chinese were craved in the stone.