Monday, May 16, 2016

Green = Vietnam

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fishing Pot making village - Mr. Bac -Vietnam

Fishing Pot making village - Mr. Bac -Vietnam

Monday, January 18, 2016

Vietnamese children aspire to become doctors, teachers

Vietnamese children aspire to become doctors, teachers
VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese children aged 7-14 chose the profession of doctor as their top career choice in the annual children's career survey conducted by Adecco Viet Nam, a subsidiary of one of the world's largest human resources companies.

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Illustrative image -- File photo
The other careers that young people dream of are teacher, policeman, fashion designer and chef.
Many children want to support people in need when they grow up, such as healing the sick, conveying knowledge or protecting people.
Asked what three things they would do if they became Prime Minister, many children said they would develop the educational sector, help poor people and protect the environment.
The company said this response could have been due to challenges in education in recent years.
Also, more than 50 per cent of the surveyed children said that mathematics was their favourite subject at school, followed by English, computers and science.
Their most enjoyable weekend activity was spending time with their friends or families.
This is the fifth year that Adecco Viet Nam has conducted the survey, which gives an insight into what the Vietnamese workforce of tomorrow thinks about the world they live in and their role in the future.
Tidarat Kanchanawat, Adecco's regional director for Thailand and Viet Nam, said: "The findings help us better understand our children's career dreams. Although they may appear as innocent dreams, they show how our children perceive the world around them and through this survey, we can support them in achieving those dreams."
The survey was also conducted in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and several other Asian countries.

Fire safety during Tet made a priority

Fire safety during Tet made a priority
Firefighters stamp out a fire in HCM City. There is a high risk of fire and explosions during the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, according to the Department of Fire Prevention and Control, Rescue and Salvage. — Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — There is a high risk of fire and explosions during the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, according to the Department of Fire Prevention and Control, Rescue and Salvage.
The warning comes after a series of blazes at markets and apartment buildings nationwide over the past year including serious blasts at Phu Ly Market in northern Ha Nam Province, Cau Ong Lanh Market in HCM City's District 1, Ha Noi-based Quang Minh industrial park and block CT4A of Xa La apartment buildings in Ha Noi's Ha Dong District.
According to the department, the incidents were caused by low levels of humidity which makes materials dry and makes them a fire hazard.
In addition, traders burned votive paper at markets, which is also a fire risk.
Ha Noi is home to many big markets. The municipal People's Committee has directed the Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Department to check fire prevention measures of all markets in the city.
The department will co-operate with local people's committees to suspend the operation of markets where fire safety is not ensured.
To Xuan Thieu, deputy director of the city's Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Department, said that locals and enterprises must raise their fire safety awareness.
He said that owners of production bases and investors and management boards of apartment quarters must maintain fire prevention measures and equipment regularly.
To prepare for Tet, HCM City's Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Department have launched a hotline at (08)-39200996.
The city also published personal telephone numbers of two deputy directors of the department as well as 30 heads and deputy heads of units under the department.
Statistics from the Department of Fire Prevention and Control, Rescue and Salvage showed that last year, there were nearly 2,800 blazes across the country, killing 62 people and injuring 264 people. Total damaged property was up to VND1.5billion (US$66,700).
More safety checks
Meanwhile, in HCM City, the municipal Fire Fighting and Prevention Police Department also plans to conduct more fire-safety inspections at enterprises this year.
"For the upcoming Lunar New Year, the department strongly recommends that every resident, organisation and enterprise become more vigilant about fire threats," the department's director Colonel Le Tan Buu said.
About 1,650 accidents occurred last year because of fires, explosions and rescue events in HCM City, with eight deaths and 46 injuries.
Firefighters rescued 117 people and discovered the bodies of 53 people who had died during the accidents.
Electrical faults were the main cause for 83 per cent of residential fires, which represented 50 per cent of all fires.
"The number of big fires was small. Ninety-five per cent of property losses were private residential fires," Colonel Buu said.
Last year, the department organised 2,200 firefighting and prevention training courses for nearly 65,000 people, and assisted local authorities to set up more 461 local fire fighting and prevention teams with 8,000 members.
The department also conducted fire-prevention investigations at nearly 80,000 organisations, enterprises, apartments and residential areas. They found that half of them were in danger of explosions or fires.
Inspectors found over 9,550 violations and handed out 8,345 fines totalling VND10 billion (US$460,000). Four of the inspected locations were permanently closed, seven were suspended and 33 were given warnings. — VNS

Stunning Vietnamese Children's Book Wins

Stunning Vietnamese Children’s Book Wins Asia-Wide Prize

the first journey 1
When it comes to reading materials for kids, Vietnam is full of small, inexpensive paperbacks, but seldom does the country produce a colorful, high-quality storybook like The First Journey.
Created in just two weeks by author-illustrator team Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien, the children’s book recently took home the Scholastic Picture Book Award, an Asia-wide honor presented by the National Book Development Council of Singapore and Scholastic Asia. Their unpublished story, filled with dramatic, vivid illustrations of the Mekong, beat out 135 other entries from across the continent.
The First Journey tells the story of An, a young boy who crosses the Mekong Delta for the first time on his way to school, encountering floods, snakes and a mysterious forest with a giant crocodile.
Through workshops and collaborations with Room to Read, a nonprofit organization which works to promote children’s literacy in developing countries around the world, the duo were able to complete the book and submit it to the contest for consideration.
Since winning the honor, Quang and Lien have managed to become independent authors, creating their own high-quality childrens’ books in a country where engaging and age-appropriate reading material is hard to come by.
the first journey 2
the first journey 3
the first journey 4

Vietnam border sealed against loggers

Vietnam border sealed against loggers

Cambodia's military police said yesterday that they have sealed the Vietnam border against wood transport following a major crackdown on two tycoons’ logging warehouses on Sunday. Local observers and experts, however, suggested the actions were little more than a hiccup for a long-tolerated illicit trade.
According to military police officials, forces have been deployed to known major border crossings and to checkpoints in Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri, Kratie and Prey Veng provinces, collectively staffed by 205 personnel. Regular travel is permitted, but both legal and illegal wood is being halted.
At Prime Minister Hun Sen’s urging, government officials have created a new committee to combat illegal logging, with representatives from police, military police, the Forestry Administration and the border provinces.
Deputy national military police chief Vong Pisen said his forces observed loggers departing the woods empty-handed after the crackdown. About 300 empty trucks reportedly left the forests in Kratie and Mondulkiri on Friday. Usually, these would be loaded with wood.
National military police chief Sao Sokha – who has been tasked with leading the crackdown, and who has himself been previously accused of involvement in the illegal timber trade – said, “The situation has become calm and there is no transportation of wood from Cambodia to Vietnam and inside the country.”
However, a community group in Mondulkiri’s Pech Chreada and O’Raing districts told rights group Adhoc that timber was still being felled and moved across the border, especially at night.
“Everything is not like what the prime minister’s order said. The new committee has not acted on the forest crime here yet,” said Adhoc coordinator Sok Ratha yesterday.
Police also yesterday revealed a portion of their haul from raids on the Tbong Khmum warehouses of tycoon Lim Bunna – who had been named by a government spokesman, along with tycoon Soeng Sam Ol, on the heels of the premier’s call for action.
Bunna’s warehouse contained more than 2,000 pieces of timber, adding up to more than 815 cubic metres, with officials still counting. One of Sam Ol’s warehouses that was also raided near the border did not have much wood, Pisen said.
Both military police and Agriculture Ministry spokesman Eang Sophalleth said they did not know whether the wood was acquired legally or illegally.
“[Police found] some documents that were issued for them by some state institutions,” said Sokha, but added that officials have yet to study them in depth.
Police also said they found three illegal logging sites in Mondulkiri’s Keo Seima district, with a total of 1,000 and 2,000 cubic metres of timber piled up.
They also found sites in Kratie’s Sambor district, including timber carried in from Stung Treng, Mondulkiri and Kratie.
Military police chief Sokha said that this was only the first step, and that his forces are on permanent standby. The logging committee has two military helicopters to make patrols easier.
But environmental groups said they did not have high hopes that this momentum will last.
Marcus Hardtke, the Southeast Asia coordinator for German conservation group ARA, said that similar crackdowns with military police participation happened in the past in the Cardamom Mountains, but logging reappeared after a few months.
Such raids usually happen when some businessmen try to defy the illicit agreements that govern illegal logging in the country, he added.
Jonathan Eames, a program manager with BirdLife International, said that these crackdowns have the effect of thinning the herd of illegal loggers, leaving more profits for “the chosen ones”.
Preap Kol, director of Transparency International Cambodia, noted that a “network of authorities and officials” benefit from the logging business at varying levels, and likened the crackdown to “a thunderstorm, which will last a short period of time”.
Eng Hy, a military police spokesman, meanwhile, denied that there is a “conspiracy” between officials and illegal loggers.
However, an expert working with forestry officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, maintained that Sam Ol had an “agreement” with powerful people to trade timber from economic land concessions in Mondulkiri, and had a presence in Tbong Khmum.
Meanwhile, Adhoc coordinator Neang Sovath called Lim Bunna the “king of the wood” in Tbong Khmum. “There was nobody that could touch him,” Sovath said.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Vietnam travel firms feel threatened by potential foreign investors ahead of TPP — Talk Vietnam

Vietnam travel firms feel threatened by potential foreign investors ahead of TPP


A tourism exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: N.Tran Tam

Many travel companies have been seeking to increase market share in anticipation of a Pacific Rim trade pact that will allow investors from 11 foreign countries to provide tour operator services in Vietnam for the first time.

Big agencies such as Vietravel and Fiditour have made the move, expecting the evasion of foreign competitors when Vietnam permits “foreign investment to provide inbound services and domestic travel for inbound tourists” under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The country will only reserve the right to “adopt or maintain any measure with respect to tourist guides services.”

Foreign companies currently are not allowed to operate inbound tours, and have to partner with local businesses instead.

Once the restriction is removed, Vietnamese businesses will face “a huge challenge,” considering that most of local tour operators are small and medium.

Travel agencies from other TPP countries such as Australia, Japan and the US are big, according to local businesses and analysts.

Nguyen Quoc Ky, CEO of Vietravel, expressed his concern that Vietnamese companies will have to compete with many big rivals when TPP takes effect, possibly in 2018.

“Their presence will create a lot of difficulties to local businesses,” he said.

The Ho Chi Minh City-based travel firm recently organized its own exhibition to promote its tours, instead of waiting to take part in promotional events organized by tourism agencies, Ky said.

Fiditour, on the other hand, has shifted its focus to online sales, because it is not only convenient to clients, but costs the company less, allowing it to offer more discounts, representative Tran Bao Thu said.

She said it forecasts that foreign companies will tap the market through online services, given their long experiences in the business.

However, Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of Viet Excursions, a known contract operator for cruise lines, said local travel businesses need to focus on improving their services’ quality and innovating their products, instead.

He warned that even though they are not officially present in Vietnam, many multinationals have been attempting to build up their customer bases through their joint-ventures with local partners and offering competitive prices.

Huynh Van Son, a tourism management lecturer, said businesses need the government’s support to expand their operation not only domestically, but in other TPP participants’ markets so that they can capitalize on overseas markets.

Vietnam reported more than 6.3 million international arrivals in the first 10 months, down 4.1 percent year on year, according to the latest figures released by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

Vietnam travel firms feel threatened by potential foreign investors ahead of TPP — Talk Vietnam

Friday, September 18, 2015

Picture of recent rain in Vietnam
Tens of thousands of vehicles inched along on roads deeply submerged under water, caused by a 142 mm rainfall yesterday afternoon, the biggest rain of the year in HCM City.

Saigon in chaos in the biggest rain in the year

The rain lasted for hours in the late afternoon and early evening, causing severe flooding and traffic congestions on many roads in HCM City.
At the intersections of Dien Bien Phu in District 1 and Binh Thanh District, thousands of vehicles tried to find a way out of the sea of people. Traffic jams occurred on 5km of road from Dien Bien Bridge (Binh Thanh District) to Rach Chiec Bridge (District 9).
On Nguyen Huu Canh Road, which always floods during rains, the situation was worse. Many motorcycles broke down. Drivers had to walk their vehicles in the black, stinking water.
At 6pm, the rain fell more heavily. The flood water was a meter deep in some places, so many people could not even move their vehicles. Many young people took advantage of the circumstances to offer vehicle pushing services.
Walking her motorcycle over 1km of road to her son’s school, a woman named Thu Trang of Binh Thanh District said she had never witnessed such flooding in the city.
Saigon in chaos in the biggest rain in the year
Hundreds of houses were flooded.
Thousands of people could not go home because of flooding and traffic jams.
Until 9pm, traffic congestion was still serious on Dien Bien Phu Street. Hundreds of people stopped their vehicles on the roadside, waiting for the traffic to clear to go home.
Mr. Huy, a motorcycle repairman in Binh Thanh District, said within several hours he repaired nearly 100 vehicles.
An official of the Southern Hydro-meteorological Station said the big rains occurred across the city, and it was the biggest rain in HCM City this year.
According to HCM City authorities, the rains yesterday caused flooding in 66 locations in the city.
Do Tan Long, from the HCM City Anti-Flooding Center, said the flooding was caused by the urban sewage systems, designed originally for rains of 86mm rainfall. Within three hours, the rain totalled 142mm.
Saigon in chaos in the biggest rain in the year
"Besides, the tides from the rivers at the same time were also high, leading to slower drainage capacity," Long said.
He added that the drainage system was built before 2005, when climate change was not a commonly known concept.
"Due to climate change, the rainfall and tides in HCM City are increasing, so the existing drainage system could not respond well. The later anti-flood projects are all designed in combination with the elements of climate change," Long said.
Regarding the upcoming anti-flooding measures, Long said the HCM City Anti-Flooding Center would continue to upgrade the current sewer system of about 200 km, renovate and dredge canals, and build at least three reservoirs in the next five years in order to deal with flooding in 13 urban districts.

Friday, June 12, 2015

China building illegal islands in East Sea

US urges China to stop illegal island building in the East Sea

(VOVworld) – US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has asked China to stop building artificial islands in the disputed waters in the East Sea.
Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission and US Secretary of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (R) in Washington, DC (Photo: Paul J. Richards/ AFP)
Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission and US Secretary of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (R) in Washington, DC (Photo: Paul J. Richards/ AFP)
Carter made the call at a reception in Washington on Thursday for the visiting Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission. The Pentagon said in a statement that Carter reiterated the US’s concern over the East Sea situation and called on all parties to seek a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in accordance with international law

Earlier Carter accused China of being out of step with international rules in its conduct in the East Sea.
The same day, the Philippines’ media quoted former Environment Minister Angel Alcala who is also an internationally prestigious scientist as saying that China’s construction in the East Sea can cause negative impacts on biodiversity, ecological balance, and fisheries resources adding that Vietnam and the Philippines will likely be the most affected.
Also on Thursday Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop reiterated Canberra’s stance, rejecting China’s possible establishment of an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in the East Sea.
Speaking to the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Bishop said Australia was concerned that any unilateral action in the region could raise tensions and could ultimately end in some form of conflict.
She said Australia would object if Beijing unilaterally announces an ADIZ in the East Sea

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Vietnam needs $30 bln for climate change response — Talk Vietnam

Vietnam needs $30 bln for climate change response

Vietnam needs a total of 30 billion USD for climate change response through green growth, said a report released at a meeting in Hanoi on May 21.

Climate change related disasters have caused annual average cost in damages of 2-6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Climate Public Expenditure and Investment Review announced by the Ministry of Planning and Investment under the support of the World Bank (WB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The report showed that the Vietnamese Government spent a limited amount of its own resources for climate change mitigation, including low-carbon energy generation (about 4 billion VND equal to 183,000 USD) and energy efficiency measures (about 76 billion VND equal to 348,000 USD).

In the meantime, the report said about 88 percent of the total budget for climate-change response during 2010-13 (14.9 trillion VND) was spent for direct activities, such as building infrastructure, building dykes to protect coasts and afforesting.

Nine percent was directed towards science and technology development and three percent for making policies and management activities related to climate-change response.

In addition, experts said that although the Government dedicated a significant amount of spending on climate change activities as well as established political agenda through climate change and green growth strategies, the agenda had not realised its full potential, shortcoming were found – and some important activities remained underfunded.

Pham Hoang Mai, Director General of the ministry’s Science, Education, Natural Resources and Environment Department, one of authors of the report, said that to integrate climate change into the budget, the country needed to introduce a climate budget.

In the long term, this budget could become a rolling programme based on an annually updated medium-term fiscal framework, he said.

Mai also said an important task would be to establish a strategic direction for climate-change response plans and expenditure in the social-economic development plan 2016-20.

Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank Country Director for Vietnam, said that mainstreaming climate change into the budget would strengthen Vietnam’s resilience against the impacts of a warming world, make communities less vulnerable, and tackle the emissions challenge as Vietnam continued its journey toward a greener and prosperous future.

According to experts, Vietnam’s greenhouse gas emissions and overall carbon intensity have significantly increased as a result of the economic expansion.

Statistics from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment showed that greenhouse gas emissions rose from 103.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to 246.8 million of tonnes between 1994 and 2010.

Thus, the report helped accelerate the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy, said Louise Chamberlain, Country Director for the United Nations Development Programme.


Writing ageless songs of love and peace — Talk Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge – Trinh Cong Son, composer of several anti-war songs popular during the American War, has been immortalized by his fans at home and abroad through regular concerts of songs that continue to captivate and capture the hearts of millions.

The man and his music: Trinh Cong Son's songs, steeped in love and peace, are loved by millions of Vietnamese and foreign singers and fans. — Photo
The man and his music: Trinh Cong Son's songs, steeped in love and peace, are loved by millions of Vietnamese and foreign singers and fans. — Photo
Dozens of singers and musicians are set to perform the much-loved songs of Trinh Cong Son at a free outdoor concert in praise of love, friendship and peace later this month at Crescent Lake Park in HCM City’s Phu My Hung Urban Area.

Fourteen free concerts have been organised in memory of Son since his death in 2001, but his fans still love to discover his songs performed by different generations.

Pop stars Cam Van and Hong Nhung are expected to join the latest concert, called Noi Vong Tay Lon (Circle of Unity), together with young singers.

A highlight of the show will be the performance of songs that Son wrote specifically praising the country and peace, Noi Vong Tay Lon and Hue-Sai Gon – Ha Noi.

Audiences will be encouraged to sing Noi Vong Tay Lon, a song written in 1968 that features the musician’s dream of Vietnamese people, hand in hand in peace.

Reaching out: Pop star Thanh Lam last year performed in the show Nhung Som Mai Viet Nam (Viet Nam Mornings) at Crescent Lake Park in memory of Son, before more than 30,000 fans in HCM City. — VNS Photo The Anh
Reaching out: Pop star Thanh Lam last year performed in the show Nhung Som Mai Viet Nam (Viet Nam Mornings) at Crescent Lake Park in memory of Son, before more than 30,000 fans in HCM City. — VNS Photo The Anh
Son sang the song on Radio Sai Gon on April 30, 1975, the liberation day of South Viet Nam.

The event is expected to be staged this month (the date has not been set) by Son’s family, in co-operation with local organisations, to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the famed composer’s death.

The show will later tour Hue and Bac Lieu Province.

Son’s younger sister, singer Trinh Vinh Trinh, in an interview with local media before the show was staged, said: “We have tried our best to organise the event annually to say thanks to many of Son’s fans.”

“I enjoy Son and his songs because I have found that his music is like a river of love and peace that flows inside listeners’ veins,” said Vietnamese-American Don Pham, a resident of HCM City’s District 7.

“Even people with different ages and background can find peace of mind after listening to Son’s music. Through his songs, you can enhance your love for life,” he added.

Last year, Pham and his family joined the show Nhung Som Mai Viet Nam (Viet Nam Mornings) at Crescent Lake Park in memory of Son.

The event was organised by Trinh, in co-operation with the Thanh Nien Communication Group and Le Bros.

It featured young pop singers such as Dinh Huong and Hoang Quyen, who first sang Son’s music before more than 30,000 fans.

“I first heard Son’s music sung by younger faces like Huong and Quyen, who felt the music in a different way. These artists made a very strong impression on me,” recalled Pham, adding that his favourite singer is Vietnamese-American Khanh Ly.

Lasting legacy

Born in the former royal city of Hue in 1939, Son became popular in 1957 with his first song, Uot Mi (Misty Eyes).

His lasting legacy includes albums of romantic love songs, performed in a blues or slow ballad style, such as Diem Xua (Diem, My Cherished Memory), Ru Tinh (Lullaby to Love), Tu Tinh Khuc (My Lyrical Songs) and Khoi Troi Menh Mong (Smoke in the Open Sky), all of which were released in the 1960s and 1970s.

These songs are still loved by millions of Vietnamese and foreign fans.

Musical tribute: Son's younger sister and singer Trinh Vinh Trinh (with sunglasses) and his fans sing his songs at his grave in HCM City. — Photo
Musical tribute: Son's younger sister and singer Trinh Vinh Trinh (with sunglasses) and his fans sing his songs at his grave in HCM City. — Photo
Among them Diem Xua is arguably the most popular.

The song is well-loved in Japan, where it was introduced through the voice of Khanh Ly, recognised as a singer who was born to perform Son’s songs.

Ly performed Diem Xua in Osaka in 1970.

The song was later translated into Japanese, and Utsukushii Mukashi was listed among the country’s top 10 favourite love songs.

The romantic story behind the song had had Son’s fans guessing for decades.

Diem Xua was composed in 1960, using the image of a beautiful girl called Diem in pouring rain, drawing out the man’s deep anguish of missing a loved one.

Son had fallen in love with Diem, but had not openly declared it. Every afternoon he would wait to see Diem walk slowly past the window of his house.

One day, Diem left a flower on the fence of his house, and the stage was set for one of the most soulful songs about lovesickness.

The song highlights the deep beauty of the Vietnamese spirit and captures the expressive power of the Vietnamese language.

For five decades, the song has touched millions of hearts, who have wondered about Diem’s identity. Did she really exist? What did she look like?

Genius at work: Son's music is an entry point into Vietnamese culture for many. — VNS File Photo
Genius at work: Son's music is an entry point into Vietnamese culture for many. — VNS File Photo
Five years ago, without any fuss, a Vietnamese-American sociologist solved the mystery in Hue.

“I’m Diem,” she said.

Ngo Vu Bich Diem’s “coming out” event was a special reunion of old friends at the Lieu Quan Buddhism Cultural Centre.

Diem, who is from the north, followed her father, a French-language teacher to live in Hue in 1952. Her family lived in a house on Phan Chu Trinh Street near Son’s house.

“I first met Son when he came to my house with his friend, artist Dinh Cuong,” said Diem.

She said that she was too young at that time to know about Son’s feelings.

“Son composed and presented me with some of his songs. I love Diem Xua. I think Son wrote the song to highlight the beauty of Hue, its people, its music and poetry,” she said.

Son and his songs on love and peace broke barriers of language, art, religion and culture, bringing Vietnamese language and music to the world.

Many foreign artists, both amateur and professional of all ages, love singing Son’s songs, and his works are an entry point into Vietnamese culture for many.

Italian saxophonist Fulvio Albano, who has performed Son’s music many times in Viet Nam and other countries, said: “I enjoy Son and his songs because I have found that Son’s music is similar to the jazz that I have been involved with.”

Albano, a member of the Italian Jazz Association, is a foreign artist who has worked hard to introduce Viet Nam and its music to the world.

He enjoys Son’s anti-war songs written specifically praising peace, including Gia Tai Cua Me (Mother’s Legacy) and Dung Lai Nguoi Dung Lai Nha (Rebuild People, Rebuild Home).

Anti-war collection

Son was one of southern Viet Nam’s most famous songwriters and continues to be admired and revered. He composed several anti-war collections including Ca Khuc Da Vang (Yellow-Skinned People’s Songs), Kinh Viet Nam (Vietnamese Prayer) and Ta Phai Thay Mat Troi (We Must See the Sunlight).

The songs in these collections were highly popular among students and young people in then-Sai Gon (now HCM City) in the 1960s and 1970s as the Vietnamese people fought to liberate the country from the Americans.

His songs, such as Noi Vong Tay Lon (Joining Hands/Circle of Unity), Cho Que Huong Sang Choi (Waiting for the Country’s Brighter Future) and Dong Dao Hoa Binh (Children’s Song for Peace), were written between 1967 and 1968 and bring his sense of peace.

After 1975 Son continued to write songs and enjoyed great success with both his lyrics and melodies.

His songs in praise of post-war life, such as Huyen Thoai Me (Mother’s Legend), Em Ra Nong Truong, Anh Ra Bien Gioi (Girls to Farms, Boys to the Border) and Sai Gon Mua Xuan (Sai Gon in Spring), continue to move and inspire millions.

The songwriter died in HCM City on April 1, 2001 after a prolonged illness.
Veteran HCM City-based singer Hong Hanh loves Son’s music, saying that she always sings his songs “with deep feelings”.

Last year, Hanh performed Son’s songs in both Vietnamese and Japanese for two nights in Wakayama and Tokyo.

She sang Hoa Vang May Do (Yellow Flowers in a Moment), Roi Le Ru Nguoi (Singing You to Sleep) and Mua Mua Ha (Summer Rain) that had led her to fame in the 1990s.

She also performed romantic ballads like Mot Coi Di Ve (The Realm of Return) on her latest album Diem Xua-Utsukushii Mukashi, a production remixed by composer Duc Thinh.

Many artists and fans view Son’s music with a near-religious fervour that promotes love and peace.

“I’m now experienced enough to sing Son’s music my way,” said pop star Tung Duong before his performance in Paris in April.

In France, Duong and his friend, amateur singer Giang Trang, staged a concert called Ha Huyen/Paris, which was organised by the Ha Noi-based L’Espace French Cultural Institute, in co-operation with France’s Association Culturelle Trinh Cong Son.

Both Duong and Trang perform Son’s songs in a different manner from their older colleagues.

“Son made love and peace with his music that everyone feels,” said 32-year-old Duong.

Thu Anh VNS

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Foreign investors eye Vietnamese beverage market

An increasing number of foreign giants are eying the beverage market in Vietnam due to the country’s young population boom and high demand for fizzy drinks. 

With beer consumption increasing from 2.8 billion litres in 2012 to over 3 billion litres in 2013, Vietnam has become the biggest beer consuming market in Southeast Asia and third in Asia .
Foreign investors eye Vietnamese beverage market
Foreign investors eye Vietnamese beverage market
Mutar Kent, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Coca-Cola Company, said he sees a number of development opportunities and potentials in Vietnam, citing the country’s consumption of non-alcoholic drinks is only about 20 percent that of the world’s average level.
The company also owns other products in Vietnam such as Fanta, Sprite, Joy bottled water, Minute Maid fruit juice and Dasani mineral water.
In 2012, the company announced a plan to invest 300 million USD into Vietnam , raising its total investment in the country to 500 million USD in 2015.
In mid-June 2014, it inaugurated four new production lines in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City .
Another giant, PepsiCo, which entered Vietnam in 1991, is also expanding its investments in the market. In 2010, the company pledged to pour 250 million USD into Vietnam over the next three years.
In 2012, it bought the SanMiguel factory in southern Dong Nai province and inaugurated the PepsiCo plant in northern Bac Ninh province – the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia with 70 million USD in investment capital.
In April 2013, PepsiCo and Suntory Holdings Limited agreed to form a strategic beverage alliance in Vietnam , introducing Olong Tea Plus and Moutain Dew to the public.
PepsiCo, in particular, has produced a series of beverages such as Sting, Twister, Lipton Ice Tea, Aquafina and 7UP Revive.
Giants such as Danish Carlsberg Breweries and Thai Beverage Group (ThaiBev) are strengthening their market shares in Vietnam .
ThaiBev, owned by the third richest billionaire in Thailand , revealed its intention to buy the Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Corporation (Sabeco) for 2 billion USD.
It is also seeking a large number of shares in Vietnam ’s top milk company Vinamilk. The billionaire’s company F&N Dairy Investments Pte Ltd holds 11.04 percent of the charter capital and is now the second largest shareholder of Vinamilk.
Meanwhile, Denmark ’s Carlsberg hopes to increase its market shares of Habeco to 25-30 percent from the current 17.23 percent, but it is yet to realise the wish.
It owns 55 percent of the shares at a beer factory in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province and 60 percent at the Southeast Asian Brewery Halida. In 2011, the company bought Hue Brewery Ltd (Huda Beer).

Monday, May 11, 2015

New housing law triggers market stir

New housing law triggers market stir

Posted: 10 May 2015 09:50 PM PDT
VietNamNet Bridge – Real estate developers are anticipating the implementation of the Law on Housing which opens more rights for foreigners to own property in Vietnam this July. Deputy managing director of Savills Vietnam Troy Griffiths has a look at the proposals.

Real estate developers are actively preparing to sell housing to foreigners from this July when the revised law on housing comes into force. Developers are obviously ready now as the products will initially be the same as offered to domestic buyers. Depending on the level of interest from foreigners, there may be changes to cater for offshore investors. An example of this may be to offer terms that suit investors more than occupiers, such as guaranteed returns.

Foreign developers, however, already have their sales channels in place and can move to the market quickly. Local developers will need to have a good sales strategy and either align with good marketers or go direct themselves to these foreign markets. This is all contingent on the amendments allowing foreign investment as contemplated.

While welcoming the decree on increased foreign ownership rights, Troy Griffiths argues the devil is in the details
While welcoming the decree on increased foreign ownership rights, Troy Griffiths argues the devil is in the details
In conjunction with our regional offices, Savills is already planning to host several events. One of the key issues now is having sufficient quality stock to provide investors with a good choice.

Regarding the type of products which would be most attractive to foreigners, I think it will be the broader-based investment product.

Many of our neighbouring countries have record low deposit rates, so if Vietnam offers a product that has reasonable yields then this will be very attractive.

There will be variations around this theme as some areas will also provide capital growth, thereby enhancing total returns in Vietnam. Other regional markets have had restrictions in policy as well as soft economic conditions weakening their residential markets. This together with low performance by cash and other asset classes should see a flight to Vietnamese property with good total returns.

The key markets will be those that have mature trading as well as access to the larger populations with investment potential. We see these markets as primarily Singapore and Hong Kong. Recently there have been very successful project sales in Cambodia and Myanmar that have marketed investment products. Generally these are smaller more affordable apartments with some sort of guaranteed return. Historically, developers have aimed for the end-user market, catering to the ultimate occupants. However, for investors they will care more about the potential to rent and receive a yield. This may change the focus to better locations, higher density districts and those with emerging capital growth potential.

Recently, we have seen some agencies from abroad coming to Vietnam to introduce their products. I think this could be a good option. Provided Vietnam’s amended laws support purchasers’ rights, then this will certainly work. It has worked extremely well in other locations. This is why the flight of investment capital has continued from Asia into Australia and the UK. Fundamentally it’s the transparency and enforceability of title and rights that purchasers are seeking.

For example, in 2014 a single residential agent in our Savills Taiwan office brought over 80 residential investment sales into Australia.

However, this is a competitive market with purchasers having a number of good choices available within the region, so the product will need to be priced and delivered against this backdrop.

On the attractiveness of the revised law for foreigners to buy houses in Vietnam, let us see how the decrees and circulars guide the amendments. It would be premature to comment prior to these being circulated. We are very happy that the government continues to provide policies that assist property development.

If the guiding decrees effectively limit the foreigner purchasers to those that are working in Vietnam then the impact would be very limited.

However if the amendment permitted ‘golden visas’ or investment then there would be strong demand. The next step to be contemplated is the ‘exit’. If there is potential for foreign investment then competing countries would also offer depreciation allowances to be offset against income for tax. There would also need to be a solid capital gains taxation regime and a clear pathway for repatriation of dividends.

In the coming time, if we look to mature markets with relaxed foreign ownership then usually no greater than 5 per cent annually of all transactions are to foreigners.

I expect the government to offer a support policy to assist the residential sector; however there will be strong parallel guidance through visas, tax and dividend remittances etc.

Amongst our regional peers, the Malaysia My Second Home programme is hugely successful and has been running for over 15 years, however there has not been a massive influx of any single foreign nation, nor have there been adverse effects. To the contrary, the scheme has worked very well, actively attracting foreign capital to Malaysia.


Monday, May 4, 2015

HCM City: Schools fail to meet population needs — Talk Vietnam

HCM City: Schools fail to meet population needs


HCM City (Photo: vinacorp)

The growth rate of new schools in the country’s business hub Ho Chi Minh City has not matched the rise in population in recent years, according to Le Hong Son, head of the municipal Department of Education and Training.

The number of schools in HCM City has risen by 1.2-1.5 percent in the last 10 years, but the population has now reached 10 million.

Since 2010-2011 academic year, the number of schools in the city has increased by 564.

However, the city is still faced with a shortage of schools because of a lack of land and funds, even though the city has allocated 26 percent of its budget for education investment.

Binh Tan District, for example, will need to double its existing number of schools to a total of 121 by 2020 in order to have enough classrooms.

The district wants to reach its target of improving training quality by reducing the number of students in each classroom and having more classrooms with modern equipment.

The target to achieve universal education for children aged 5 also would be reached. The district now has three wards without public kindergartens.

Ta Tan, head of Tan Phu District’s educational division, told Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper, that the shortage of schools had prevented the district from reaching modern training standards.

In the last 10 years, the number of students had increased by 1,000-2,000 each year, he said.

The district has outlined many projects to build schools, but most of them have been delayed because of slow site clearance and lack of money.

The outlying Hoc Mon District in the last 10 years has had 29 schools but its number of students has increased by 200 percent.

Because of a shortage of land in the city’s inner districts of 1, 3, 5, 10 and Phu Nhuan, expansion of small schools cannot be done.-VNA

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cancer centre opens in HCM City — Talk Vietnam

Cancer centre opens in HCM City


Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (five from left) and other city’s representatives cut the ribbon to inaugurate the cancer centre (Photo: VNA)

A cancer centre was inaugurated on April 30 at the Hospital of Cho Ray in Ho Chi Minh City.

With a capital investment of 428 billion VND (20 million USD), the facility has 14 floors and contains 250 beds for patients.

The centre will examine, diagnose and treat patients suffering from tumours and cancer.

Speaking at the ceremony, Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, applauded the efforts of Cho Ray hospital staff to treat patients across the country.

According to Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, the centre will contribute to reducing overloading in hospitals in HCM City and will improve the sector’s healthcare mission.

In 2014, Cho Ray hospital treated about 1,000 cancer cases by using radiation therapy and completed over 500 liver cancer surgeries.-VN

Saturday, April 11, 2015

From Russia no love: ruble slump squeezes SE Asia tourism - All Vietnam

The ruble’s sharp decline is exacting a toll on Southeast Asian tourism as Russians think twice about doubling their budgets for their next beach holiday in Vietnam, Thailand or Cambodia.

A Thai street vendor waits for customers at Patong beach in Phuket
A Thai street vendor waits for customers at Patong beach in Phuket
(Photo: reuters)
The rouble fell 43 percent last year against the dollar, hurt by plunging oil prices and Western sanctions imposed over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine political crisis. A Russian tourist now needs to fork out as much as 140,000 rubles ($2,479) for a trip to Vietnam, including plane tickets and accommodation, up from 60,000 rubles last year, a state-run Vietnamese newspaper estimated. For those who do make it to Vietnam, they are buying instant noodles instead of eating out, local media reported.
Russians account for billions of dollars in tourism revenue in Southeast Asia and rank second after Chinese travelers in number. Food menus in Russian are ubiquitous in Phuket. Street vendors in Vietnamese beach towns have picked up Russian words. In 2013, when Russian tourist arrivals in Vietnam more than doubled, national carrier Vietnam Airlines launched direct flights linking Moscow with the former U.S. airbase in Cam Ranh near the popular coastal town of Nha Trang.
In January-to-March, some 95,800 Russians visited Vietnam, down 27 percent from a year earlier and the first quarterly fall since 2012. Cambodia’s Tourism Ministry counted nearly 18,300 Russian tourists in the first two months of 2015, down 51 percent. Thailand drew 1.6 million Russian tourists in 2014, down 8.6 percent. Arrivals slumped 46 percent in January this year. In the same month, Russian visitors to the Philippines dropped 12 percent.
“Russian tourists have been steadily declining in Thailand since last year particularly because of the depreciation of the rouble,” said Surapong Techaruvichit, president of the Thai Hotels Association. “Destinations that have traditionally been popular with Russians, including Phuket and Pattaya, have been hit hard.”

From Russia no love: ruble slump squeezes SE Asia tourism - All Vietnam

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Photos: Behind the curtain of the water puppetry stage — Talk Vietnam

Photos: Behind the curtain of the water puppetry stage

VietNamNet Bridge – Working behind the curtain, appearing on the stage for just a few seconds to say hello and thank-you to the audience before each performance, water puppetry artists still have to be made up even though they cannot be seen.

Water puppetry is a unique folk art of Vietnam, favored by foreign tourists.
The audience cannot see the face of the artists. They only see the wooden puppets on the water. The artists always hide themselves behind the bamboo screen.
But they still have to do make-up before each show to appear before the audience to bow for several seconds. These photos were taken behind the screen at the Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre (57 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hanoi).
The theatre serves over 1,000 foreign visitors each day.
The theatre has about 40 artists, divided into two groups. During the shows, artists have to stand in the water so they wear protective clothes and rubber gloves.
Previously, artists did not have rubber clothes so they had to dip their bodies into water, even in winter.
Ms. Vo Thuy Dung, 28, said she followed her mother, who has retired, to work at the theatre. She is seven months pregnant but she still works.
The theatre chooses 14 popular plays to perform every day. These players are selected from over 400 folk plays.
“Artists must have both control techniques and know how to transfer emotions into puppets,” an artist said.
The theatre has participated in many international art festivals in more than 20 countries.
Behind the screen during a performance.
When the show ends, the artists quickly remove the rubber outfits to dress traditional costumes to appear on the state to greet the audience.
The 20-minute break between each show is the time for the artists to learn from experience.
Some actors find a place to take a nap to prepare for the next show.
This is a puppet repair man named Le Quang Minh, 49. He has worked for the theatre for more than 22 years.

Thang Long Puppetry Theatre was founded in 1969 with the first name Kim Dong puppet troupe. It was renamed Thang Long – Hanoi Puppetry Theatre in 1975. From a group of nine artists and poor facilities, the theatre now has 22 artists, 15 musicians and 5 technicians.

Photos: Behind the curtain of the water puppetry stage — Talk Vietnam

Monday, March 16, 2015

Vietnamese hackers allegedly steal 50,000 accounts — Talk Vietnam

Vietnamese hackers allegedly steal 50,000 accounts

More than 50,000 accounts of customers of Vietnam’s state-run telecom giant VNPT were stolen and leaked on the Internet over the weekend, company spokesperson Bui Quoc Viet said on March 15.

The accounts, including personal information and login credentials, belong to customers of the VNPT branch in the southern province of Soc Trang, Viet said.

“Hackers targeted the software used to look up customer information hosted on an old server that is being replaced at VNPT Soc Trang,” he elaborated.

Viet did not comment on the culprits behind the attack, even though Security Daily, a Vietnamese-language Internet security website, reported on Saturday that a hacker outfit called DIE Group has claimed responsibility.

It may be a Vietnamese hacker group, Security Daily said.

DIE Group has posted the stolen accounts on their Facebook page, saying they are from “more than 10,000 mobile phone and landline accounts of VNPT,” according to Security Daily.

The login section on the VNPT Soc Trang website is seen in this screenshot taken in Ho Chi Minh City on March 16, 2015.
The login section on the VNPT Soc Trang website is seen in this screenshot taken in Ho Chi Minh City on March 16, 2015.
Security Daily said on its website that the real number of stolen accounts could be as many as 50,000, which was later confirmed by the VNPT media person.

The stolen accounts include the name, address, phone number, username and password that can be used to log in to the customer service section on the VNPT Soc Trang website.

“Hackers can use such information to log in and launch other attacks using the authorized access,” Security Daily warned.

“The leaked information can be a gold mine to spammers and swindlers.”

VNIST JSC, the operator of Security Daily, said the incident suggests that there are dangerous security holes in the VNPT system, which makes it vulnerable to hackers.

“Thanks to such vulnerabilities, hackers may be able to steal most of the information, including the system administrative accounts, from VNPT databases,” the company said.

The vulnerability was fixed on Saturday, VNPT deputy general director Pham Duc Long told tech website ICTnews the same day.

“VNPT has strengthened security in its entire network to ensure customers that their private information is safe,” Long was quoted as saying.

The attackers said on Facebook that they had decided to leak the stolen information online after “receiving no response from VNPT about our discovery of their security holes.”

DIE Group, however, did not reveal the usernames and passwords of the stolen accounts for fear that they may be used by other hacker groups, according to their Facebook status.

VNPT, fully known as the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group, is a telecommunications company owned by the Vietnamese government.

The Hanoi-based company boasts more than 60 million mobile phone subscribers, nearly 10 million landline phone subscribers and “dozens of millions of Internet users,” according to its website

Vietnamese hackers allegedly steal 50,000 accounts — Talk Vietnam