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

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Celebrating International Women’s Day a luxury for these women (pics) — Talk Vietnam

Celebrating International Women’s Day a luxury for these women (pics)

While many women are pampered with flowers and gifts on International Women’s Day, March 8, from their loved men, others are too busy eking out a meager living simply to survive and support their family.

One of the virtues Vietnamese women are endowed with is wholehearted devotion and sacrifice for the sake of their family, particularly for their husbands and children.   The deeply moving stories below highlight such a virtue.
One of the virtues Vietnamese women are endowed with is wholehearted devotion and sacrifice for the sake of their family, particularly for their husbands and children. The deeply moving stories below highlight such a virtue.
Female cyclo rider

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Nguyen Thi Tro and her husband, Le Van Bi, who went fishing on the Huong (Perfume) River in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, were relocated to Phu Vang District, some 10 kilometers from the provincial capital of Hue, some years ago.

Bi switched to riding cyclos to support his wife and two kids.

However, misfortune befell the poor family as the husband was diagnosed with a serious liver disease in 2013.

Tro then took on the breadwinning role and decided to ride her husband’s cyclo for a living.

Nguyen Thi Tro is pictured riding her cyclo at noon. Photo:  Tuoi Tre     Tro (right) and her young son scavenge for snails for their meals. Photo:
Nguyen Thi Tro is pictured riding her cyclo at noon. Photo: Tuoi Tre Tro (right) and her young son scavenge for snails for their meals. Photo:
Tuoi Tre

Cyclos are used to refer to bicycle taxis that are a sort of pedicab having one or two passengers in a seat in the front and the driver pedaling in the rear.

The woman herself is also suffering from rheumatism and a large tumor on her back.

As Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters gifted her a bouquet, she said it was the first she has ever received on International Women’s Day.

Tro (left) and her son are shown making votive papers for some additional incomes. Photo:  Tuoi Tre     The woman makes sure her son is kempt and ready for school. Photo:  Tuoi Tre
Tro (left) and her son are shown making votive papers for some additional incomes. Photo: Tuoi Tre The woman makes sure her son is kempt and ready for school. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Tro (left) said this is the first bouquet she has received on International Women’s Day. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Female garbage scavengers

Le Thu Suu, 56, and her sister-in-law rode their carts carrying heaps of rubbish through streets which glitter with bouquets and gifts intended for women on their special day.

She and her husband rented a shabby room in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City.

Suu left her hometown in the northern province of Vinh Phuc and began collecting scrap and garbage in the southern metropolis seven years ago.

The weather-beaten woman also rides carts with as much as 200 kilograms of wares each day to earn some additional incomes.

A  Tuoi Tre  reporter is seen presenting a bouquet and gifts to Le Thi Suu (right) after she arrived home from half a day scavenging for garbage on March 6, 2015. Photo:
A Tuoi Tre reporter is seen presenting a bouquet and gifts to Le Thi Suu (right) after she arrived home from half a day scavenging for garbage on March 6, 2015. Photo:
Tuoi Tre

Le Thi Dong, 47, who lives in a rented room near Suu’s, has also scavenged for garbage for several years to provide for her ailing husband and growing children in her hometown.

The emaciated woman, who weighs over 30 kilograms, is sometimes on the brink of collapse at the dumping grounds, but pushes herself to stand up at the images of her husband and children waiting at home.

Two middle-aged women support entire family

For years, Nguyen Thi Mai Lan, 56, and her sister, Tram Anh, have been supporting and taking meticulous care of their 85-year-old mother, who suffers diabetes and senile dementia, and their paralyzed 91-year-old father.

Chaos sometimes breaks out in their plain apartment in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City when their three mentally-ill younger brothers, who have depended totally on the two women for care for many years, have tantrums.

Without sufficient medicine, the men would grow furious, hurt themselves, and threaten to kill the entire family.

Lan remains unmarried while Anh is divorced.

The latter runs a small clothing stall in District 3, which is the entire family’s livelihood.

Devoted young wife

Tran Thi My Hanh, from the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, is tending to her husband, whose body has been wasted away with a terminal-stage cancer, at the Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital.

Hanh’s mother passed away when she was only three and her father followed his wife some years later.

She toiled hard to support herself and her younger brother.

In 2008, Hanh got married to a young man who lived nearby and they were happily blessed with two kids.

Some years later, her husband was diagnosed with cancer but she could not afford long-term treatment.

During a talk with Tuoi Tre reporters two days ahead of the women’s day, the young woman could not hold back her tears at the grim prospect of losing her husband soon to the sinister illness.

A  Tuoi Tre  reporter is pictured gifting a bouquet to Tran Thi My Hanh (center), who is tending to her terminally-ill husband (lying) at the Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital. Photo:  Tuoi Tre
A Tuoi Tre reporter is pictured gifting a bouquet to Tran Thi My Hanh (center), who is tending to her terminally-ill husband (lying) at the Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Celebrating International Women’s Day a luxury for these women (pics) — Talk Vietnam

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

6,200 hospitalized for fighting during Vietnam’s Tet holiday — Talk Vietnam

6,200 hospitalized for fighting during Vietnam’s Tet holiday

More than 6,200 people were hospitalized nationwide from February 15 to 22, the first eight days of the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday that ended on Monday, for treatment of injuries caused by fights, the Ministry of Health reported the same day


>> 35 die per day over 9-day Tet holiday in Vietnam

Of these people, 15 died due to their critical condition, the ministry said.

Dong Nai, Dong Thap, An Giang and Kien Giang Provinces in the southern region are among the localities that had the most people hospitalized after fighting during the period.

Such fights were triggered by different causes, including conflicts after traffic collisions, assaults under the influence of alcohol, and quarrels during gambling, the ministry said.

The Hue Central Hospital’s Trauma and Orthopedics Center reported that it received 35 patients who were victims of fights from February 15 to 22.

On February 22 alone, as many as 15 such patients were hospitalized, the most of this kind on a single day in many years, the hospital said.

Dr. Ha Van Tam, director of the Tan Chau Town General Hospital in the southern province of An Giang, said five patients with injuries due to fights were taken to the hospital on February 20 and one of them, a man named T., has died.

T. had been stabbed with a knife after leaving a drinking party where he and another man had a row. The attacker was one of the members of the party, according to T.’s relatives.

Dr. Bui Van Te, director of the An Giang Province Central General Hospital, also said his infirmary received more than 10 patients who were victims of fights that resulted from feuds erupting among drinking companions or among gamblers.

A total of 284 such patients were taken to many hospitals in the province from February 15 to 22, local health authorities reported.

This figure was much higher than that during previous Tet holidays, they said.

Similarly, the Kien Giang Province General Hospital received about 10 victims of fights per day during the holiday, said Dr. Nguyen Tien Dung, of the hospital’s emergency department.

The number of people who suffered injuries brought about by assaults from drinking companions was higher than in the previous Tet, Dr. Dung said.

6,200 hospitalized for fighting during Vietnam’s Tet holiday — Talk Vietnam

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tet flower street in Vietnam’s southern province to offer air balloon view — Talk Vietnam

Tet flower street in Vietnam’s southern province to offer air balloon view

Visitors to the annual flower street held in celebration of the Lunar New Year, or Tet in Vietnamese, in a southern province will be able to view it from above the sky with a maiden hot air balloon service to be inaugurated tonight, February 16.


Two big air balloons will be in service to allow visitors to enjoy the beautiful flowers from 30 meters above the ground, according to Tran Dang Ninh, director of the Tran Bien Temple of Literature, the organizer of the event in Dong Nai Province, around 40km from Ho Chi Minh City.

“Each balloon can serve three to four passengers, and a journey lasts for five to seven minutes, enough time for visitors to take aerial photos,” Ninh was quoted by Dong Nai newspaper as saying.

The hot air balloon will be controlled by a foreign professional crew.

The Tran Bien flower street is running from February 16 to 24, or the 28th day of the current lunar year to the sixth day of the next one at the Temple of Literature in the provincial capital city of Bien Hoa, according to the newspaper.

This is the third time Dong Nai organizes the flower street. The event this year is held under a series of activities to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Tran Bien Temple of Literature.

Built in 1715, Tran Bien is one of several such temples in Vietnam that honor Confucius, along with sages and scholars.

Themed “Dong Nai Spring,” the 1.2km street features models and decorations that reflect the province’s history, culture, and people.

Visitors to the VND11 billion (US$512,629) event will also be treated to many music and culinary activities.

The Ho Chi Minh City street flower, now in its 11th year, will also kick off tonight in the city’s downtown. This year’s flower street, themed “Vietnamese Identity and Spirit,” will run for seven days.

Today is the 28th day of the lunar year, meaning the Vietnamese Tet, the country’s largest public holiday, is only three days away.

Below are some photos taken at the Tran Bien flower street by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.








Tet flower street in Vietnam’s southern province to offer air balloon view — Talk Vietnam

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Museum of Ethnology holds joyful activities to celebrate Tet

The Museum of Ethnology holds joyful activities to celebrate Tet

(VOVworld) – The Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi has cooperated with Lao Cai province to hold ethnic folklore music shows and games during the traditional lunar new year festival.

People play tug-of-war at the Museum of Ethnology in a spring festival
People play tug-of-war at the Museum of Ethnology in a spring festival
The festival will introduce cultural characteristics of the Mong, Dao, Nung, and Bo Y in Lao Cai province and their festivals like Gau Tao, pan-pipe dance by a “Thang Co” hotpot, and ritual and wedding dances of the Dao. Visitors to the Museum can play various folk games of the Tho, Si La, San Chay, Dao, and Mong.

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Prestigious teachers write calligraphy words of good luck for people
Prestigious teachers write calligraphy words of good luck for people
Artisans from northern provinces of Bac Ninh, Hai Duong, and Hai Phong will perform puppetry, make To He, print Dong Ho paintings, write calligraphy, and produce earthen firecrackers.

During the 4th and the 5th day of the lunar new year, visitors will experience unique games by ethnic people in Lao Cai and other traditional activities in the north and a firework display

The Museum of Ethnology holds joyful activities to celebrate Tet — Talk Vietnam

Friday, February 6, 2015

Sapa – focus of tourism sector in 2015

Sapa – focus of tourism sector in 2015

(VOV) -The Lao Cai provincial’s People Committee on February 6 announced a number of noteworthy tourism events in 2015.

This is a golden opportunity for domestic and foreign visitors and travel agencies to update information on ideal destinations in Lao Cai.

The reproduction of Lao Cai markets in Hanoi from February 6-15 is the first highlight of tourism events in 2015.


The following events include Upper Temple Festival, the spiritual tour along the Red River, Sapa Cultural Week, Bac Ha Horse Race, Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2015, and mountain bike tours 2015.

Particularly, the Sa Pa Culture-Tourism Week held in Sa Pa town, Sa Pa district is expected to lure a large number of tourists during holidays. During the week, new tourism products will be introduced such as specialised tours, night at Sa Pa love market, flower display along the roads, street festical and a photo exhibition.

Speaking at the press conference in Hanoi, Director of Lao Cai provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Tran Huu Son said that last year, the number of tourists travelling to the province increased thanks to the opening of Noi Bai-Lao Cai expressway.

He hopes that new tourism products including eco and village tours will help domestic and foreign tourists enjoy a very good time in a best destination in Vietnam.

Sapa – focus of tourism sector in 2015 — Talk Vietnam

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Manila says China starts dredging at another reef in disputed waters

Manila says China starts dredging at another reef in disputed waters


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An alleged Chinese land reclamation project on what is internationally recognized as the Johnson Reef in the East Sea, the Vietnamese term for the South China Sea. Photo credit: AFP/JIJI

China has started dredging around the disputed Mischief Reef in the South China Sea, a Philippine navy commander said on Thursday, signalling Beijing may be preparing to expand its facilities in the area.

Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping tried to set Southeast Asian minds at ease over the country’s regional ambitions, but Beijing’s reclamation work in the Spratlys underscore its drive to push claims in the South China Sea and reassert its rights.

China has already undertaken reclamation work on six other reefs it occupies in the Spratlys, expanding land mass five-fold, aerial surveillance photos show. Images seen by Reuters last year appeared to show an airstrip and sea ports.

China has claims on almost the entire South China Sea, which is believed to have rich deposits of oil and gas. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims on the sea where about $5 trillion of ship-borne trade pass every year. Vietnam calls the waters the East Sea.

Rear Admiral Alexander Lopez, commander of the Philippine military’s western command, told reporters on Thursday a Chinese dredging ship was spotted at Mischief Reef, about 135 km southeast of the island of Palawan.

“We don’t know what they plan to do in Mischief,” he said. “They have long been doing that, only that it was Fiery Cross that got a lot of attention because that was on a bigger scale.”

IHS Jane’s said in November images it had obtained showed the Chinese-built island on the Fiery Cross Reef to be at least 3,000 meters (1.9 miles) long and 200-300 meters (660-980 ft) wide.

Lopez did not say when China started the dredging work or give any details on the extent of reclamation at Mischief Reef, saying only the work had been “substantial”.

Surveillance photos that were taken of Mischief Reef last October showed no reclamation work in the area.

The photos, seen by Reuters, showed two structures, including a three-storey building sitting on an atoll, equipped with wind turbines and solar panels.

China occupied Mischief Reef in 1995, building makeshift huts, which Beijing claimed provided shelter for fishermen during the monsoon season. But, China later built a garrison in the area, deploying frigates and coast guard ships.

In 2002, Southeast Asian states agreed with China to sign an informal code of conduct in the South China Sea to stop claimant states from occupying and constructing garrisons in the disputed Spratlys.

Last year, the Philippines and Vietnam protested China’s reclamation work as a violation of the informal code.

North of Mischief Reef, China on Thursday defended the actions of a coast guard vessel in the Scarborough Shoal after the Philippines accused it of ramming three fishing boats.

China’s coast guard sent a dinghy to drive them away and slightly bumped one of the fishing vessels,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing in Beijing.

“We ask that the Philippines strengthen education and indoctrination of its fishermen to prevent such incidents from happening again.”

A Philippine military spokesman, Colonel Restituto Padilla, described China’s action as “alarming” saying the local fishermen were trying to seek shelter due to bad weather.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Allowance for poor for upcoming Tet

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has announced a plan to offer each poor household in the city VND850,000 (US$39.8) as an allowance on the occasion of the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, which will fall on February 19.
>> Highest Tet bonus in HCMC is $21,400
The Vietnamese southern hub currently has 29,106 poor households. Under the current poverty threshold, a resident is considered poor if his or her income is less than VND16 million ($749) per year.
In addition to poor households, elderly people who are at least 80 years old and people who regularly receive social welfare will also enjoy an allowance of VND850,000 per person.
War invalids, sick soldiers, revolutionary senior officials, women with the title of “Vietnamese Heroic Mother”, and some other subjects will be given support ranging from VND960,000 ($45) to VND2.5 million ($117).
Meanwhile, civil servants at State administrative agencies in the city and employees at the SOS Village in Go Vap District will be given VND1.2 million ($56.2) per person, according to the plan.
Financial support for all the above groups for Tet is higher than last year, according to the People’s Committee

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Careers with the highest incomes in VN — Talk Vietnam

Careers with the highest incomes in VN

VietNamNet Bridge – Pilots, air traffic controllers, and oil and gas officers have some of the highest incomes in Vietnam.


A report released recently by Vietnam Airlines showed that in 2013, the pilots working for the air carrier received VND74.8 million a month. The figure was VND4.5 million lower than 2012 and VND6.7 million than 2013.

However, the salary is still considered “sky high” if compared with other careers, especially civil servants who receive less than VND10 million a month.

While pilots are believed to be workers who have the highest income, air stewards hold the most “admired” job, while stewards are called “sinecurists” because they are not required to have higher education, but still can earn VND18-19 million a month.

Becoming pilots and stewards is the dream of many women under 30 and men under 40.

Labor experts pointed out that the salary paid by air carriers is not the only source of income for stewards. They can also make money with the legal trading of goods across border gates.

The incomes of oil and gas companies’ officers are also high. In 2013, a worker at PetroVietnam, the national oil and gas group, received VND16.2 million a month, the highest pay level among the 17 state-owned economic groups and general corporations.

Air traffic controllers rank third in the list of admired jobs. quoted sources as saying that an air traffic controller can earn VND15 million a month.

However, like pilots and air stewards, air traffic controllers are listed as a “dangerous career” because their operations can affect the lives of many people.

Human resource officers, technical and financial service providers have also seen their incomes increase rapidly in recent years.

In HCM City, sales and marketing are the best-paid jobs. Salary Guide 2014, a report of Adecco, showed that human resource development in Vietnam has potential for higher incomes in the future.

In general, the salaries paid to chief officers are much higher than that paid to the normal workers in the same business field.

A report from the Vietnam National Tourism Administration (VNAT) showed that a foreign CEO working for high-end hotels in Vietnam can receive $10,000-15,000 a month, or VND210-320 million. It is estimated that there are some 5,000 3-5-star hotels in Vietnam.

In the banking sector, the CEOs of the top 10 joint-stock banks can earn up to $1 million a year on average, or VND21 billion. The CEOs of some big banks earn VND4.8-7 billion a year, while other high-ranking bankers earn VND2 billion a year on average.

Chi Mai

Careers with the highest incomes in VN — Talk Vietnam