Thứ Năm, 31 tháng 1, 2013

Celebrating 45th anniversary of 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising
The order to launch campaign bears historic significance
PANO – 45 years ago, in order to realize the strategic resolve of the Politburo; to mobilize the utmost effort of the entire Party, Army and people in both the North and South to deal a strong blow to the enemy and break the will of the US invasion; and to create a fundamental change in the strategic balance, leading our revolutionary war to a period of achieving decisive victory, our troops and people in the South opened the 1968 Mau Than Spring General Offensive and Uprising.
In the General Offensive and Uprising in 1968, our troops and people attacked the enemy simultaneously in 4 big cities, hundreds of towns and headquarters of central and local agencies, and units of the USA and the Saigon regime. Some resounding assaults included the attacks at the US Embassy in Saigon, Doc Lap Palace (the nerve-centre of the Saigon regime), the General Staff of the Saigon Army and Saigon Radio Station. Especially, the General Offensive and Uprising occurred when the enemy climbed up to the highest step of the war ladder: US and allied troops in the South totalled more than 500,000 and the Army of the Saigon regime mounted to over 700,000 troops. In the General Offensive and Uprising, our forces annihilated a large number of enemy troops, including high-ranking officers, destroyed a wide range of weapons, war vehicles and technical and logistics bases.
In fact, the General Offensive and Uprising caused a big shock to the enemy, upturning the US force disposition and its general combat plan in the South, even shaking the White House, Pentagon and US society, bringing the reality of the war in Vietnam to meeting rooms of the US Senate, the House of Representatives and the Administration and American families. Thanks to mass media, tricks by the White House and Pentagon to deceive people in the USA and world were disclosed and strong movements to oppose the unjust war carried out by US imperialists in Vietnam and to support the Vietnamese resistance war continuously took place in many places across the world.
With the great strategic significance of the General Offensive and Uprising, US President Johnson dismissed US Defence Secretary McNamara and General Westmoreland, the Commander of US forces in the South, and at the same time accepted sitting down for negotiations with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Paris. The victory of the General Offensive and Uprising also forced Johnson to announce not to run for his second term of office as the US President.
The victory of the General Offensive and Uprising was proof of the talent and special warfare arts of the Vietnamese Army and people in the Ho Chi Minh era. Our Party and Army selected the Eve of the 1968 lunar New Year to open the campaign in order to create surprise for the enemy. This showed that our leadership and command carefully studied enemy situations and routine practices.
In fact, to ensure the General Offensive and Uprising took place at the same time in all cities and towns in the South, our leadership and high command discussed the timing thoroughly in a series of meetings. Finally, Party and State leaders and military high commanders decided to choose President Ho Chi Minh’s reading the New Year poem on the Voice of Vietnam as the order for the General Offensive and Uprising. Under their careful assessment, the Voice of Vietnam could cover all parts of the South, so the moment when troops and people heard Uncle Ho’s poem on radio was the best time to simultaneously launch attacks at enemy targets. It could be said that the selection of the Eve of the lunar New Year as the opening time for the General Offensive and Uprising and Uncle Ho’s reading of the New Year poem as the order to launch the campaign were a unique tactic in the world.     
Translated by Thu Nguyen 
Vietnamese doctors reattach woman’s torn scalp 
The scalp of Le Thi Huong, 38, a Thanh Hoa local, is growing hair after a work accident forced her to  endured a 10-hour surgery to reattach it 
A worker in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa has undergone a scalp reattachment surgery after her hair was rolled into an operating machine, which left the skin on half of her head flayed and torn to pieces just over a week ago.
The reattached parts now have hairs growing on them, but Le Thi Huong, 38, a worker at a leather shoes factory, told VnExpress on Wednesday that every thought about that machine still causes her to shake with fear.
Huong said she was grinding shoes’ soles that evening (January 17) as she normally did; but then she bent down to pick up a sole when the accident occurred.
Frightened, she asked another worker to turn off the machine. But her colleagues were so panic-stricken that it took them a while to do it.
She was rushed to a local hospital before being transferred to Hanoi at 3 a.m. the next day with pieces of her scalp kept in ice.
Doctor Dao Van Giang of Viet Duc Hospital told the news website that doctors first joined the biggest piece near the temple with an artery on it.
Huong sits on her hospital bed in Hanoi-based Viet Duc hospital
The smaller pieces contained no arteries so they could not reattach them. Doctors only took a thin layer among five layers of each scalp piece to cover the skull inside, he said, adding that her hair on this part of the scalp would never grow again. The surgery lasted ten hours.

Giang had said it was a “difficult case” with a low possibility of success.
He wasn’t the only one surprised and happy to be proved wrong.
“I didn’t dream that I’d live through this, let alone the thought that my scalp would be better and growing hair once again,” said Huong. 

Farmers embrace Tet with new novelty specialties

Gold bullion-shaped watermelons and pineapples modeled on a phoenix are amongst the specialties that are helping to lengthen the list of strange and unique products available for this Tet.

Customers contacting the Dong Tao chicken farm owned by Vu Ngoc Tuan in the southern province of Dong Nai earlier this week were disappointed to learn that the poultry was out of stock.

Dong Tao chickens used to be a delicious food offered to kings, and has risen to fame during recent Lunar New Years as people sought them for gifts and meat. This type of chicken is well-known for its awkward-looking, bulky legs.

“I have new corporate customers that asked to buy up to 30 chickens each,” Tuan said, adding that he had to stop taking new orders as there are only enough chickens to serve loyal customers.

His Dong Tao chicken farm is considered the largest of its kind in the country, raising some 5,000 chickens. The farm has so far supplied 1,000 chickens to the market but has still failed to meet demand, he said.

The phoenix-pineapple

Strangely-shaped fruit is also winning choice for customers who want to have special gifts for Tet. Farmers said they have sold out these products, even though the holiday is still a week away.

Le Van Sau Nho, from the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, said he has sold 700 pineapples to traders. The fruit costs VND100,000 each, while 200 special ones fetched VND200,000 each, he said.

“The pineapples attract customers with their colorful appearance and strange shape, with a tail open wide like that of a phoenix,” he explained.

Watermelons have new shapes

While square watermelon are quite familiar with customers nationwide, this year the fruit is on sale in new shapes, such as that of car or gold bullion.

“We have sent 300 pairs of gold-bullion watermelons onto the market so far,” said Huynh Mong Ngoc, director of Anh Ngoc Co, a novelty fruit supplier. She said each pair of the newly-shaped watermelons costs VND3.8 million.

The price for square watermelons has been slashed VND200,000 to VND2 million a pair, to reach more customers, she added.

“People want to have the strange fruits on display during Tet, but some have hesitated over the high prices,” she explained.

Bottle gourd grapefruits

Meanwhile, grapefruits and watermelons shaped like a bottle gourd have seen prices falling dramatically this year, farmers said.

“Watermelons are now on sale at only VND500,000 – VND800,000 a pair, while we expected prices to be up to VND1.2 million a pair,” said Dang Van Nhut, who grows the specially-shaped fruit in Hau Giang Province.

“Orders have slumped 80 percent,” he added.

Sang, a neighboring grower, said prices have plunged since the fruit is no longer an exclusive product of the province. Some farmers in Can Tho city also grow this kind of watermelon, he said.

Similarly, mass production has sent farmers who grow grapefruits and turn them into the shape of a bottle gourd into a tough spot.

Farmers in Phu Huu Commune, Hau Giang, are unable to find buyers for 10,000 pieces of such fruit, a commune official said.

 Poison toys from China on sale in Hanoi 
Plastic toys from a Hanoi shop have tested positive for chemical compounds that can change hormone levels and cause birth defects, according to Vietnamese officials.
The Consumer Goods Quality Management Department at the Ministry of Science and Technology took two samples of the rideable toys - in the shape of reindeer - from a shop in Luong Van Can Street and they both tested positive for phthalates, which are often used as plasticizers.
Phthalates are restricted in Europe, the US and Australia for their link to reproductive difficulties.
The toys at the Hanoi shop are made in China and sold in shops throughout Vietnam.
News website VnExpress has reported that a sample from a yellow reindeer contained two phthalate compounds, one at nearly 0.5 percent while a red reindeer sample contained one compound at nearly 0.95 percent. Europe and the US laws make any sale or production of plastic products with more than 0.1 percent of a phthalate compound unlawful.
The goods quality department has asked Vietnam Institute of Chemistry to propose a limit to the amount of phthalate allowed in toys as Vietnam currently has no law restricting its use.
VnEpxress said the inspection followed a recall by Singapore retailer Aura Roboclean Singapore Pte Ltd of the same product.
Aura has told customers who were given the toys as free gifts to stop using them and dispose of them immediately, or return them to the company, after health authorities found unsafe levels of the substance in the toys, Spring, the Safety Authority for general consumer goods in Singapore, announced in December.
Vietnamese scientists said that although the country does not have official restrictions for now, phthalates are dangerous and parents should be alarmed, especially those with sons, in whom the negative impacts of phthalates have been seen more clearly.
Phthalates are used rather widely in plastics and sometimes food products to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity.
The compounds are released into the environment easily as there is no covalent bond between them and plastics in which they are mixed. The release is quicker in aging plastics and during increases in temperature. Children are most at risk due to their mouthing habit.
Go fishing in Cambodia
VietNamNet Bridge - Just after the flood season, hundreds of fishermen in the sounthern province of An Giang go to Cambodia to catch fish, with the output of thousands of tons.
cambodia, fishing, an giang, fishermen

When the flood recedes, fish go upstream. Therefore, at the end of the flood season in the Mekong Delta, fishermen bring their fishing equipment to Cambodia to net fish. Although they have to pay high rents for fishing areas (called block), they can recover capital and earn profit if they catch about 200-300 tons of white fish.

Mr. Nguyen Van Tung, a fisherman in Khanh An commune, said that in recent years, the fish output in Cambodian has decreased but it is still quite abundant. The reason for that is because the places where Vietnamese fishermen rent water locations are barely inhabited. Some blocks are located along the tributaries of the Mekong River but there are blocks are between submerged moors.

However, more importantly, the local government has performed the protection of aquatic resources well. They have clear regulations on the species of fish for catching, at a specific time in the year. If they find fishermen using nets with dense meshes or electric tools to catch fish, the violators will be heavily penalized. They will have to sell cattle and rice fields to pay a fine, otherwise they will be imprisoned.

According to Tung, every three years, the Ministry of Fisheries of Cambodia holds bidding for exploiting fishing blocks with the fishermen in the two provinces of Takeo and Kandan.

In particular, Kandan has 11 blocks with a total length of 100 km. The Vietnamese fishermen usually buy the right to exploit these blocks from the local people, at the price of 10 times higher, equivalent to VND2.4 to VND4 billion ($110,000-$200,000) a block. Those who do not have abundant capital can buy small lots of 20-30 hectares but the price is not less than VND200 million ($10,000).

After completing the procedures and allocating fishing blocks to the bidding winners, the Ministry of Fisheries and the local government will implement measures to protect fish resources for the breeding season before fishermen are allowed to catch fish.

The fish catching time is counted from the beginning of October (lunar calendar) to June of the next year. At this time, the owners of fishing blocks and dozens of workers use lift nets to catch the first batch of fish in the year.

Each block can yield from 70 to 300 tons of white fish, mostly linh fish. After this phase, fishermen will gather black fish in the large net in the middle of the river. The largest net is about 100,000m2 and can store about 300 tons of fish.

This year flooding is small, but in return there are more black fish. "This year I harvested fish hurriedly so I only caught 140 tons of snakehead fish, but that volume still ensures profit. The traders went to my home to purchase fish and make the payment immediately. I can sell the block after catching fish to others for continuing to exploit at a price of at least VND200 million. There are still so much fish to catch," Mr Tung said.

However, Tung said the distance from Khanh An commune, An Giang, to his fishing block in Cambodia is only 20 km, but he must go through 15 checkpoints and have to pay VND20,000/person/trip. To protect the fishing block, he had to pay local police a few hundred of US dollars.

In these days, along the Binh Di River (a tributary of the Hau River) in Khanh An commune, An Phu district, An Giang province, one can see hundreds of poor people in the commune and the neighborhood being busy cutting heads of linh fish for fish traders.

Mrs. Ly Thi Ngoc Sinh, an overseas Vietnamese living in Becchay commune, Grass Thum District, Kandan (Cambodia) said in the last 10 years, every flood season, she and more than a dozen people in her village return to their homeland in Khanh An to get the job of cutting fish heads for traders. Each person can cut 6 baskets of fish (150 kg) to earn VND90,000 ($4) a day.

"Doing this work requires fast and smart hands. People prefer to use scissors but I often use a knife to cut fish heads. Currently, the rice fields in Cambodia are “being in the ear,” so poor people like me become unemployed. We return home to work," she confided.

According to Mrs. La Thi Thuy, a fish trader, most linh fish are imported from Phnom Penh and it takes 3 days to transport fish to An Giang.

After the fish heads are cut, the fish body will be inserted into machines for scaling and cleaning before being transferred to fish sauce processing facilities in Chau Doc. Fish heads and bowels are sold to snakehead fish farms for VND2,000/kg.

Thuy said, there are four big fish traders in Khanh An, who purchase nearly 4 tons of linh fish a day for producing fish sauce.


Thứ Tư, 30 tháng 1, 2013

Nguyen Hue flower street celebrates 10th anniversary

To mark the Year of the Snake, the 10th flower display on Nguyen Hue Street will feature two giant snakes made of melaleuca bark and a diverse-topography Vietnam through stylized mountains, plains and islands.

Themed “The heart of Vietnam”, this year’s eagerly-awaited flower show will be divided in three sections with sub-themes including Spring in the Highlands, Spring in the Plains and Spring on Islands.
The apricot garden surrounding the bust of Uncle Ho will be decorated with flower pots and 54 stylized hearts, representing Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups made of bamboo, flower and brocade.
The sidewalk surrounding Cay Lieu (Willow) roundabout will be also decorated with stylized hearts made of fresh flowers.
The first segment of The Spring in the Highlands will showcase the cultural diversity of the highland region through its musical instruments such as the Paranung drum and different kinds of gongs made of flowers.
Traditional costumes of highland ethnic minority groups will be displayed on mannequins made of straw and flowers.
The second segment will see a big waterfall decorated with flowers and huge rocks taken from Da Lat central highlands city.
The Spring in the Plains section and the clock tower in front of the Sun Wah Tower will showcase the images of 10 mascots which are symbols of the last flower shows on Nguyen Hue Street over the past ten years.
Meanwhile, the rice paddies layout that appealed many tourists last year will be retained and embellished with the white storks this year.
The miniatures landscapes in this section will be decorated with melon rigs, carts of flowers, flower looms, and flower trusses, plus also a lotus pond, hanging bridges, and images of bumper crops.
The highlight of the flower road will be the "Spring on Islands" section that features stylized sailing boat on a sea of flowers representing a good fishing season, green coconut trees, white sand beaches, and baskets.
Visitors will walk just below the decorative hanging fishing nets, providing them with the impression of walking through a fishing village.
The flower show will open for visitors from February 7 to 13 (December 27 to January 4 on the lunar calendar).
In related news, Da Nang central city will unveil its first-ever flower street for Tet celebration. The flower street will feature a gigantic flower-made cobra and 100 different kinds of flowers to be displayed along the 1km road.
da nang
Visitors to Da Nang during the upcoming Tet will have a chance to see a giant cobra that will be displayed on the city's first-ever flower street. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Hanoi’s flower village enters the season
VietNamNet Bridge - Nearly two weeks before the lunar New Year, the Nhat Tan flower village in Hanoi begins to be busy with on-the-spot transactions when many customers go to the village to buy peach and kumquat trees.

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lunar new year, nhat tan flower village, hanoi, peach, kumquat

lunar new year, nhat tan flower village, hanoi, peach, kumquat

lunar new year, nhat tan flower village, hanoi, peach, kumquat

lunar new year, nhat tan flower village, hanoi, peach, kumquat

lunar new year, nhat tan flower village, hanoi, peach, kumquat

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lunar new year, nhat tan flower village, hanoi, peach, kumquat

lunar new year, nhat tan flower village, hanoi, peach, kumquat

lunar new year, nhat tan flower village, hanoi, peach, kumquat

lunar new year, nhat tan flower village, hanoi, peach, kumquat

lunar new year, nhat tan flower village, hanoi, peach, kumquat

lunar new year, nhat tan flower village, hanoi, peach, kumquat
Nhat Tan peach flowers also appear on the street.

Photo: VNE/VOV

Vietnam's Eximbank, Sacombank plan merger, share trade jumps
Vietnam's leading partly private lenders, Eximbank and Sacombank, said on Tuesday they will consider merging as part of a cooperation plan, sparking high-volume trade in their shares which both closed higher on the day.
The two banks, both based in Ho Chi Minh City, plan to merge in the next three to five years and will seek approval for the merger from shareholders and government agencies, Eximbank said in a statement.
Vietnam's banking system, which has been hit hard by non-performing loans, has long been awaiting a consolidation of weak lenders. The country's central bank wants to reform nine lenders via mergers as part of a restructuring process started in 2011.
Eximbank and Sacombank are not among the nine lenders involved in the consolidation plan.
The two banks would sign a five-year cooperation plan in which they will support each other in lending, interbank activities, payments and in other areas, Eximbank said.
"This is the biggest merger deal so far, which will also draw interest from foreign investors," said Vu Duy Khanh, head analyst at Navibank Securities.
Eximbank, or the Vietnam Export-Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank, is already 15.13 percent owned by Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc.
Vietnam caps foreign ownership in a domestic bank at 30 percent. A foreign strategic investor could own 20 percent subject to government approval.
The merger, which was widely expected, will bring together Eximbank's capital strength and Sacombank's network, said Michel Tosto, director of institutional sales and brokerage at Ban Viet Securities.
Trading in both banks' shares jumped after news of the merger plan was released.
The volume of Eximbank shares traded hit 9.3 million, its highest in three months, while 1.08 million Sacombank shares changed hands, the heaviest volume in a month, exchange data showed.
Eximbank share rose 2.96 percent to close at 17,400 dong (84 U.S. cents) and shares in Sacombank gained 0.88 percent to end at 23,000 dong. The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange's VN Index closed up 0.92 percent at 484.01.
Eximbank currently owns a 9.73-percent stake in Sacombank, or Sai Gon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank, which is Vietnam's eighth-largest partly private lender by assets.

Thứ Ba, 29 tháng 1, 2013

Eximbank, Sacombank eye merger in next 3-5yrs

Two leading commercial banks of Vietnam, Vietnam Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) and Saigon Thuong Tin Bank (Sacombank), will merge into one in the next 3-5 years.

The deal will be materialized with a cooperation agreement expected to be signed between the two parties on Tuesday evening, according to a press release from Eximbank.
Eximbank and Sacombank are the second and fifth largest commercial banks in Vietnam in terms of assets with VND160 trillion ($7.68 billion) and VND147 trillion ($7 billion) as of the end of Q3/2012.
Eximbank and Sacombank have a charter capital of VND12.355 trillion and VND 10.74 trillion, respectively.
Eximbank is now a major shareholder of Sacombank with 9.73 percent.
With the merger, the new bank may be the biggest commercial bank in Vietnam with over VND307 trillion in assets, overshadowing Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank with VND255.87 trillion.
Meanwhile, it may become the fifth largest Vietnamese financial institution in terms of assets after Agribank (VND561.25 trillion), BIDV (VND44.63 trillion), Vietinbank (VND4.4.87 trillion) and Vietcombank (VND391.66 trillion).
In the meantime, the two banks will cooperate in the implementation of some financial services including offering co-financing and entrusted loans.
The two banks will also offer the credit limit on the interbank market to support each other in the optimization of their capital flows, and timely support for liquidity needs.
The credit limit, the term and interest rate policies will be flexibly applied to adapt to the actual conditions of each party in each period.
At the same time, the two sides will support each other in foreign exchange and gold trading in order to meet the customer's needs under the provisions of the State Bank of Vietnam.
On the local stock market, EIB shares of Eximbank saw increasing transactions on Tuesday afternoon after the merger news leakage with 8.86 million shares traded, more than double the previous session. Foreign investors bought some 800,000 EIB shares.
In total, some 9.3 million EIB shares worth VND162 billion were traded on Tuesday. Its price rose 3 percent day on day to VND17,400.
STB shares were in the same boat with over 1 million shares worth VND25.3 billion traded on the same day. Its price inched up 0.9 percent day on day to VND23,000.
In early November last year, Sacombank’s board chairman Pham Huu Phu, who was former Deputy Chairman of Eximbank, told local press a plan for a possible merger.
At the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of Sacombank in May 2012, Le Hung Dung, Chairman of Eximbank’s board of directors, mentioned the possibility of merging with another bank and said it would consider an appropriate time.
But he at the time refused to give the name of the potential partner.
The idea on the merger emerged for the first time in July 2011 when Eximbank decided to buy back 9.73 percent stake of Sacombank from ANZ at VND16,000 per share, VND4,000 pricier than market rates.
Tram Trong Ngan, vice chairman of Sacombank’s board, has registered to offload 30 million STB shares, or 3.09 percent stake, to reduce his holdings to 18 million shares, equivalent to 1.84 percent stake of the bank.

The transaction is expected to be implemented from February 1 to March.

Ngan took the same move on December 17 with an aim to offload 48 million STB shares early this month, but failed.
Vietnam’s trade surplus narrowed in January on import rebound 
Vietnam recorded a smaller trade surplus in January as demand for imports increased in an economy that is forecast to rebound from the slowest growth since 1999.

Exports exceeded imports by $200 million in January, after a revised $498 million in December, according to preliminary figures released today by the General Statistics Office in Hanoi. The median estimate of four economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a surplus of $109 million.
Vietnam recorded its first annual surplus since 1992 last year, easing concern about the stability of its currency and the economy. Faster growth in 2013 is “realistic” as credit expansion gradually increases and overall confidence improves, the U.K.-listed Vietnam Property Fund Ltd. said this month.
“We’re hoping to see consumption pick up,” as growth is expected to quicken to 5.5 percent this year from 5 percent in 2012, Robert Zielinski, the Ho Chi Minh City-based head of research at Viet Capital Securities, said before the report, describing his forecast as a “decent level” for Vietnam.
The dong was little changed at 20,850 per US dollar as of 11:08 a.m. in Hanoi.
Imports rose to $9.9 billion in January from a revised $9.86 billion in December, according to today’s data. Purchases from abroad jumped 42.3 percent compared with a year ago. Asian nations will celebrate the Lunar New Year, known as Tet in Vietnam, in February this year, and factories from China to Singapore typically shut or reduce production during the holiday. Tet was celebrated in January last year.
Exports fell to $10.1 billion in January from a revised $10.36 billion in December. Shipments climbed 43.2 percent from a year ago, according to the Statistics Office. A global recovery is helping support demand for the Southeast Asian nation’s goods and the World Bank said shipments have been driven mainly by foreign companies.
The strength of the dong enabled the State Bank of Vietnam to rebuild its foreign-exchange reserves in 2012 to cover about 2.3 months of imports by the end of the year from 1.5 months at the end of 2011, according to the World Bank.
Trade surpluses in Vietnam allow policy makers “the option of allowing some foreign-exchange appreciation if they want to limit inflation or to continue to build up reserves,” said Dominic Bunning, a Hong Kong-based associate foreign exchange strategist at HSBC Holdings Plc.

Thứ Hai, 28 tháng 1, 2013

Reality shows: high in quantity, low in quality
VietNamNet Bridge - Despite the growing number of television reality shows, the quality of these programs is actually inverse, standard deviation, and in contrast to the format of the foreign original shows. 
reality show, TV, The Voice, dancing with the star, competition

Reality TV appeared in the U.S. since the 1940s. In its early days, the famous sneaky filming show at that time, called “Candid Camera” resonated and laid the foundation for the development of reality TV. The 1970s marked the development of the first modern reality show named “An American Family,” which revolved around the lives of families after divorce. 

Reality TV has experienced many phases of development and the number of reality shows around the world is countless. The most famous shows are Master Chef, Got Talent, The Voice, Idol, X-Factor, Platinum Hit, The Sing Off, So you think you can dance?, Dancing with the stars ... 

The attractiveness of these shows comes from the realistic situations that are not arranged in advance, which show the audience the very real emotions from participants or the interesting situation happening in real life.

2012 – The year of reality shows in Vietnam 

In Vietnam, reality TV appeared in 2004 with the “Sao Mai Diem Hen” (Morning Star Rendezvous) – a music show, the first season with the victory belongs to Tung Duong and Kasim Hoang Vu. 

After 8 years, the number of reality shows in Vietnam is increasing. In 2012 alone, the Vietnamese audience watched a lot of reality shows of this kind, such as Vietnam Idol, Sao Mai Diem Hen, Hop Ca Tranh Tai (choir competition), Cap Doi Hoan Hao (Just the Two of US), The Voice Vietnam, Buoc Nhay Hoan Vu (Dancing with the Star), So you think you can dance?, Vietnam Next Top Model and the newly-launched Master Chef.

Foreign-origin reality shows have become a "breath of fresh air" on local TV channels. In 2012, more than a dozen of reality shows based on foreign formats, which are mainly competitions with humor, talent, dramatic and alluring elements, were broadcasted. 

The effect of these programs is so strong in society. They have created social craze for candidates of reality shows. The typical names are Uyen Linh of Vietnam Idol 2010, Huong Tram, Bui Anh Tuan, Dinh Huong and Dong Lan of The Voice 2012.

Quality uncertainty
reality show, TV, The Voice, dancing with the star, competition
The trainers of The Voice 2012.
The Vietnamizing of foreign reality shows is not always with good results because it depends on the material conditions as well as the professional thinking of the producers.

After the Blind round, which made strong impression on the audience, The Voice 2012 revealed poor quality of sound, which made a few performances become “stage disasters.” The visual quality also made many people unhappy. 

The Vietnam Idol 2012 struggled to find ways to attract viewers by non-music factors, such as the gender or ethnic origin of candidates. Each round went through tediously because the themes were not new compared to the previous season. 

The Vietnam's Next Top Model 2012, after three seasons, seemed to be "exhausted" with the tedious contents and was occupied by advertising clips for the sponsors.

The quality of competitors of the three above reality shows is also a problem. The Voice "excavated" many more “disasters” although these candidates passed thousands of other contestants. The quality of contestants of Vietnam Idol 2012 also declined compared to the previous season. Transgender contestant Huong Giang has the worst voice but she was in the top four. Other contestants were not very special and impressive. 
reality show, TV, The Voice, dancing with the star, competition
Dinh Huong, a contestant of The Voice 2012.
But the quality of the contestants of the Vietnam’s Next Top Model 2012 is the most disappointing. Even the winner is still clumsy in posing for photos and the top 3 contestants are not confident on the catwalk.

Many reality shows in 2012 also used scandals as a form to lure viewers, making them ugly in the eyes of the audience. Many people still remember the scandals related to the Vietnam’s Got Talent, the Dancing with the Star and especially, The Voice.

The main task of talent search programs is to basically entertain the audience and it is not highly expected in the talents that are discovered from such competitions.

After all, the audience has the most power to decide the fate of any TV show. Among numerous reality shows, they are more comfortable to choose the best ones.
Compiled by T. Van 
International friends who were jailed for supporting Vietnam
VietNamNet Bridge – Climbing up on the Statue of Liberty waving the Vietnamese flag, holding demonstrations in front of the White House or kidnapping an American officer in exchange for the life of Nguyen Van Troi ... many international friends was sent to jail for supporting Vietnam.
Vietnam war, Paris agreement, international friends, anti-war, Nguyen Thi Binh
Mr. Renato Darsie recalled the days of struggling to support Vietnam.
In the morning of January 26, the Union of Vietnam Friendship Organizations held the program "Paris Agreement – The Arms of Friends". This program is designed to honor international friends who supported and helped Vietnam during the war, contributed to the success of Vietnam at the negotiation for the Paris Agreement.

Crossing thousands of miles from many countries to Vietnam, the peace-loving international friends of Vietnam expressed their joy and happiness when peace has been restored in Vietnam for 40 years. From young people who actively involved in the antiwar movement, now those friends have become the elderly but their love for the country and people of Vietnam has not changed.

Mr. Renato Darsie, a member of The Communist Party of Italy - one of the leaders of the movement to support Vietnam in the war against the US, said he was very happy to come to Vietnam on the occasion of the country’s jubilant celebration of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement, restoring peace in Vietnam. 

"We had to travel a long distance from Veneto (Italy) to Yugoslavia to donate blood and asked the Yugoslav friends to send to the blood to Vietnam. When U.S. ships docked in our port to load goods, we sought to prevent them. When your hospitals were bombed, we mobilized people to support ...," said Mr. Renato Darsie.

For these actions, he was accused of disturbing public order and made illegal acts for five times. But it did not make Mr. Renato Darsie tremble. 
Vietnam war, Paris agreement, international friends, anti-war, Nguyen Thi Binh

"On 4/30/1975, when your country was reunified, in Italy we hugged each other and danced all night. This year, we also have a series of events to commemorate the 40-year relationship our diplomacy," said Mr. Renato Darsie.

Mr. Carlos Rey Gomez, a guerilla in Caracas (Venezuela), recalled: on 5/19/1964, when Nguyen Van Troi was arrested in Saigon and was sentenced to death, he, along with four other soldiers, decided to kidnap a U.S. military commander to change his life for Nguyen Van Troi. On October 9, his guerrilla team kidnapped American officer Michael Smolen.

"We asked the U.S. government to release Troi, they had three days to do it. But at that time the information was poor. When they announced to release Troi, in Venezuela we also released Smolen. We did not expect that they deceited and executed Nguyen Van Troi," said Mr. Carlos Rey Gomez. He said that after that the guerrilla team was very angry and launched a broad campaign against the US.

Among theinternational friends to Vietnam this time was an American woman. She is tiny but 40 years ago she made the whole world admire. Protesting the war in Vietnam, Merle Evelyn Ratner climbed up the Statue of Liberty waving the red flag with yellow star. She said that her action was to make the American people know that the war in Vietnam was wrong and a crime.

Starting to participate in the anti-war movement when she was 13 years old, Merle Evelyn Ratner attended many anti-war demonstrations. She said that this movement worked greatly, first of all, to fight for the right to fight. "We were arrested many times for these actions," she said.

But Merle Evelyn Ratner was undeterred. She said that she had learned a lot from the “long hair army” of Vietnam, especially Mrs. Nguyen Thi Binh, for the perseverance and persistence. Merle Evelyn Ratner made the participants moved when she sang the song that she and her team sang during the anti-war movement. The song was the wishes for Mrs. Binh’s good health and long life and the wish for the end of the war.

A representative for the American people who support Vietnam, Mr. Chuck Searcy expressed his moving senation when seeing Vietnam’s peace and development. More than 40 years ago, he and his friends mobilized a lot of people to participate in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. Thousands of Americans were arrested and charged with disturbing public order.

"We were worried for a long time when the Paris conference took place. We even went to Paris to see Mrs. Binh to inquire about the information about the negotiation. After the agreement was signed, we continued to struggle to make it a reality, including the provisions to provide support to heal the wounds of war," said Mr. Chuck Searcy.

Mr. Anatoly Khyupenen, the chief of the Russian military advisory delegation in Vietnam from 1972-1975, said that for the America's unjust war in Vietnam, Russia not only organized demonstrations but also did practical things to help Vietnam, such as sending food, weapons, ammunition and military experts to the country.

"I on behalf of the Russian veterans who served in Vietnam congratulate you. We are honored to be called Soviet comrades by Vietnamese friends. Personally, I still remember the day as a military advisor. Wherever we went to, kids called us “bac Lien Xo” (uncle Soviet) to show their love to us", said Mr. Anatoly Khyupenen.
Vietnam war, Paris agreement, international friends, anti-war, Nguyen Thi Binh
 Mr. Michel Strachinescu was proud to drive the Vietnamese delegation from their accommodations to the negotiation place in Paris.
Mr. Michel Strachinescu, the driver for the Vietnamese delegation in Verrières le Buisson for three years, from 1970 to 1973, said that this task was a great honor for him. The 25 km distance from home to the place of negotiations was sometimes funny, sometimes tense because the war on the diplomatic table was not easy.

Mr Michel said his car was always plugged with the red flag with yellow star of Vietnam. One day the flag fell on the road. When he stopped, it was at a distance of about 200m from the car. The highway was very crowded but he decided to run back to pick the flag to plug in the car.

"I knew that the accident might occur, but whether there was a car rolling over I would have still gone back to pick it up, because it's a small job. Vietnamese friends were fighting on another front that was extremely arduous but they could still do it well," the former driver said.

He recalled, in the days serving the Vietnamese delegation, a Vietnamese friend told him "Hey Michel, no matter how terrible America has devastated us, we will rebuild our country for 100, 200 times better” and “You have done that!," Michel said.

The chief negotiator of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam in Paris, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Binh was thrilled to hear international friends recalling the historic days. She said that those who were present in Vietnam this occasion is only the representatives of millions of people around the world who support Vietnam.

"Vietnam always appreciates the international solidarity. Without your support, we were very difficult. On behalf of the people of Vietnam, we are forever grateful to all of you, from the Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. We hope that our friendship will continue to grow, to make this life much better", former Vice President Binhsaid.

Translated by Na Son