Social News 20/3
Vietnamese alumni in RoK meet in Hanoi
As many as 270 alumni and distinguished guests have gathered for the 11th annual reunion in Hanoi hosted by the Vietnam Alumni Association in Korea (FVSAK).
The gathering gave a chance to graduates from the Republic of Korea (ROK) universities to meet and catch up on what has been happening in their lives with friend and acquaintances.
In his remarks, Chairman of Hanshin Company Choi Yong Sun said over the past 11 years, Hanshin Engineering & Construction Company has stood side by side with FVSAK to organize such an annual event which acts as a bridge bringing Vietnamese alumni closer.
The company pledged provide continued support for FVSAK activities aiming to reinforce the friendship between Vietnam and the ROK, Mr Sun added.
This year, both nations have launched a string of cross-cultural exchange programmes celebrating the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties, Korean Ambassador Lee Hyuk said, noting that his nation is currently the largest foreign investors in Vietnam, thus generating plenty of jobs for local people.
The number of Vietnamese students in the ROK has experienced a sharp increase over recent years, amounting to roughly 7,000 at present. Many of them, after returning home, have assumed important positions in State agencies and both Vietnamese and Korean businesses.
The Ambassador said he hopes Vietnamese alumni will continue their great contributions to boosting national development and fostering the friendship between the two countries.
Most endoscopy in Binh Dan Hospital carried out by robot
Ho Chi Minh City-based Binh Dan Hospital yesterday said that 66 endoscopic surgeries in the last five months were carried out by robots.
Robot performed endoscopic surgeries for colorectal, kidney, bladder and prostate cancers.
Hospital Deputy Director Nguyen Phuc Cam Hoang said that robotically-assisted operations have high rate of success Due to robotic use, the surgery is done with precision, miniaturization, smaller incisions; decreased blood loss, less pain, and quicker healing time.
Only one patient with kidney cancer underwent open surgery because the tumor is attached with other organs in his body.
Requiem held for Gac Ma soldiers in Germany
A solemn requiem was held in Erfurt, Germany on March 19 to pay tribute and pray for Vietnamese soldiers who died in Gac Ma naval battle almost 30 years ago.
The ceremony was organised by the Buddhist cultural association of Vietnam in Erfurt to commemorate and express gratitude towards those who fought to protect the national sovereignty.
After holding a minute of silence and a flower offering, President of the Buddhist cultural association Bui Huu Trung made a remark recalling the battle and heroic sacrifices of the soldiers killed in action at Gac Ma (Johnson South) Reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago on March 14, 1988.
Venerable Thich Phuoc Chi and Thich Dong Trinh performed a ritual to pray for the heroes and wish them rest in peace.
It was also a get-together of Gac Ma survivors who used to serve in naval ships 903 and 505 of Brigade 125 in which they told personal stories of their fight together with memories with their comrades.
Phu Tho collects 1,000 blood units during Red Spring Festival
Nearly 1,000 blood units were collected during the “Red Spring Festival” 2017 in the northern midland province of Phu Tho on March 18.
The event aimed to encourage local people to donate blood to save lives and enhance their sense of responsibility to the community.
It also offered opportunities for blood receiving agencies to practise necessary skills and measures to tackle accidents requiring blood transfusion.
Following the successful festival, the provincial steering committee for blood donation will continue implementing the campaign in districts and communes to call for the further participation of individuals and organisations.
In the past five years, Phu Tho province has held over 190 blood donation events with the participation of more than 75,000 volunteers, collecting about 48,000 blood units. It has also seen an increasing number of blood donators year after year.
Hanoi joins Ireland’s Global Greening initiative
Ly Thai To Garden in the heart of Hanoi were illuminated with green lighting during the “Joy of Green” held by the Irish Embassy in Vietnam on March 18 as part of the activities to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day- Ireland’s National Day.
Ireland’s Global Greening initiative started in 2010 and it is now a firm feature of St. Patrick’s Day around the world. On the day, hundreds of iconic landmarks, such as the Empire State building in New York, the US, and the Great Wall of China, turn green to encourage environment protection.
Speaking at the event, Irish Ambassador Cait Moran said that Hanoi has become the first city in Southeast Asia to join Ireland’s Global Greening Campaign 2017 and Ly Thai To Garden is the 100th landmark in the world to go green for St. Patrick’s Day, together with other iconic landmarks in 35 countries.
She hoped that the event will encourage Vietnamese people to visit Ireland to discover themselves the magic of its green island and warm hospitality of Irish people.
Congratulating Ireland on its National Day, Vice Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee Ngo Van Quy affirmed that vibrant activities held within the campaign will help Hanoians understand more about Ireland as well as spread the message of protecting green planet.
It also contributes to promoting the sound diplomatic relations between the two countries, he added.
Buddhist Sangha’s Dien Bien chapter convenes congress
The second congress of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) chapter in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien took place in Dien Bien Phu city on March 19.
The congress elected 27 members to the provincial VBS Executive Committee for the 2017-2020 tenure, with Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien continuing acting as its Chairman.
The congress also selected four members to participate in the 8th National Buddhist Congress for the 2017-2020 tenure, and set out the orientations and tasks for the new term.
In the last tenure, local Buddhist dignitaries and followers have raised more than 13 billion VND (570,500 USD) to help local poor households, build two kindergarten schools for Nam Po district and two charity houses for ethnic minority households in Phin Ho.
The chapter has also held numerous activities, such as Buddhist festivals and workshops on Buddhism.
On the occasion, a number of units and individuals received certificates of merit for their contributions to Buddhist affairs and the nation.
US friendship activists visit Vietnam
Vice President of the Vietnam-USA Society (VUS) Bui The Giang on March 18 met with a delegation from the Club of Friendship Force of San Diego County led by Brenda Pearson, director of the club’s Exchange Programme.
Giang expressed his hope that the visit, spanning from March 15-31, will help the delegation get a deeper understanding of the country, people, history, culture and customs of Vietnam.
Briefing the guests on Vietnam’s development and international integration as well as Vietnam-US relations, he noted that the country has faced many difficulties in dealing with war aftermath, including issues related to Agent Orange/dioxin and mine clearance.
Giang said Vietnam and the US should coordinate more closely in the settlement of these issues to strengthen friendship and mutual trust between the two nations.
For her part, Brenda Pearson said that all members of the delegation have visited Vietnam for the first time and have good impression on the friendliness and hospitability of Vietnamese people.
She expressed her hope that their home-stay experience will help them get a better understanding of Vietnam, thus contributing to strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between the Vietnamese and US people.
During the meeting, the two sides also discussed issued related to the search of missing-in-action soldiers and the organisation of a Vietnam-US veterans’ forum in late 2017.
Formed in 1984, the Friendship Force of San Diego County Club has 95 members who share a commitment to world peace through the understanding of people and cultures throughout the world.
National Newspaper Festival wraps up in Hanoi
The three-day National Newspaper Festival 2017 with the theme of “Vietnamese press accompanies national renovation” wrapped up in Hanoi on March 19.
Addressing the closing ceremony, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan highlighted the significance of the event as well as the strong development of the domestic press.
The event offered opportunities for journalists from across the country to meet and exchange experience while promoting dialogues among journalists, managers and readers, thus helping improve the role, position and prestige of the Vietnam Journalists’ Association (VJA), he said.
President Nhan also praised the joint efforts made by press agencies and journalists in the fight against corruption and wastefulness in line with the Resolution adopted at the 4th meeting of the 12th Party Central Committee.
Meanwhile, VJA Deputy Chairman Ho Quang Loi underlined creativeness of several participating press agencies, such as the interactive booth of the Vietnam Television, the on-site studio of the Voice of Vietnam, and the traffic safety contest launched by Bao Giao Thong (Traffic Newspaper), among others.
The event, the second version of its kind, drew 470 press agencies across the nation, showcasing 437 types of publications, nearly 100 television programmes screened during the traditional Tet (New Year) holiday, and over 250 articles on environmental issues in 2016.
The organising board gave several awards to participating agencies based on their exhibition space, covers of special editions, articles and TV/radio programmes.
The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) received the A prize for its outstanding exhibition space, while its online newspaper VietnamPlus also grabbed the A prize for its excellent article on environmental issues in 2016.
The event was jointly hosted by VJA, the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Popularisation and Education, the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Finance and the Hanoi People’s Committee.
Three golfers win hole-in-one awards at FLC golf event
Three golfers made history at the FLC Faros Golf Tournament which conluded yesterday in Thanh Hóa by winning the hole-in-one awards.
Nguyễn Văn Quế made a hole-in-one at the 11th hole and won prizes worth nearly VNĐ6 billion (US$260,800), including two cars.
“I have practised golf for five years, and I never thought I would win the hole-in-one award. I am very lucky,” said Quế.
Trịnh Ngọc Thạch won the hole-in-one award at the third hole with a total prize money of VNĐ4 billion.
“I am very glad. I can’t believe it is true,” said Thạch.
Meanwhile, another award belonged to Park Jea Seok of South Korea at the third hole.
The three-day event at FLC Samson Golf Links attracted more than 1,200 golfers.
HCM City youths earn a living as mascots, cosplay performers
More young people in Ho Chi Minh City have taken to performing as mascots and in cosplay outfits to earn pocket money, amuse children and have fun.
In recent years, mascots and cosplay performers have become an increasingly common sight at many venues throughout the city, particularly in the downtown area.
On any given night, Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street in District 1 teems with life as city-dwellers and tourists take leisurely strolls and enjoy themselves with their loved ones.
At the heart of the throng are street entertainers in brightly colored mascot and cosplay outfits.
These performers cheerily amuse children with their chubby looks, pose for photos and offer candy for VND10,000-VND20,000 (US$0.4-US$0.8) in return.
Some take the job out of their love of children, while others cling to it as a source of income.
Over the past twelve months, Nguyen Khanh Duy, 26, from the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, has been a regular at the venue, impersonating the Monkey King, a mythological figure from a much-loved Chinese fantasy film adapted from one of the country’s classic novels, “Journey to the West.”
Duy continually scratches his head and moves his stick just like his character, who is best known for his agility, evasive nature and magic powers.
Surrounded by eager kids, the lanky performer waved to one of his street colleagues dressed as Zhu Bajie, the man-eating pig-monster who later became one of the monk’s helpers in the “Journey to the West” masterpiece.
“I’m not selling anything tonight, just hanging out with the kids for fun,” Duy told a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporter.
He said that he had come to Ho Chi Minh City to realize his dream of becoming a magician, and had been training with an illusionist and giving mascot performances as a part-time job for one year, having noticed that children love watching and playing with characters from cartoons and fairy tales.
“I really love children. Their beaming smiles melt away my hardship,” he said, explaining that he started out for fun, but later began selling sweets for extra income.
“I earn a few dollars each day, but sometimes go home empty-handed as many come for photos but have no intention to buy sweets. It’s no problem though.”
There are times when Duy even gifts his sweeties to needy children.
A beverage peddler nearby said Duy also performs magic shows in parks and cultural centers to cover his living expenses.
“In my early days, it was extremely uncomfortable when I first put on the outfit. On hot days, I was soaked in sweat while tears and mucus dripped from my eyes and nose,” he recalled.
Curious looks from passers-by also left him feeling embarrassed.
“After a while I realized there’s nothing to be ashamed of. During one performance, my heart leapt with joy as children gathered around me for photos, which bolstered my confidence ever since,” he added.
Much like Duy, Le Hong Duc, a student from a local vocational college, has delighted children and youngsters on Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street in the outfit of an adorable Teddy Bear.
Duc said that hundreds of children and young people had posed for photos that night, but only three had bought his sweets.
“What I earn is barely enough for me to fill my bike with gasoline for the night, but it’s okay, as long as I’m happy,” he said.
The mascot performers continually remind one another that though sales are poor, they cannot pester visitors or coerce them into buying anything.
Duy admitted that there were times when he wanted to quit, but he returned to his job a few days later.
Students residing at the university neighborhood in Thu Duc District have also taken on this kind of work to support their studies.
One group of mascot performers living there lamented that they work part-time for a dairy company and receive VND150,000-VND180,000 (US$6.5-US$7.8) per four-hour shift.
Nguyen Khanh Tien, a sophomore at the University of Science under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City, said she stands outdoors in the heavy attire of a white bunny in the scorching heat for several hours a day.
“I once fainted out of exhaustion and was rushed to hospital. There have also been shows in which my pay was cut by half or 70% after I sat down for some rest or took off my costume to cool off for a short time,” she added.
New mascot costumes can cost VND10-VND15 million (US$434-US$651) apiece, while used ones fetch VND5-VND8 million (US$217-US$347) each.
Tight-budgeted performers can rent the outfits for VND80,000-VND150,000 (US$3.5-US$6.5) per day.
Amidst the immense hardship, friendship and romances have also bloomed between fellow entertainers.
Trong Nghia and Mai Phuong, both orphans from Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, approximately 120 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, and students of the University of Economics and Law, got to know each other while performing for an event launched by a real estate company in District 7.
Seeing Phuong exhausted and dizzy after wearing the mascot costume for hours on end, Nghia bought her some lemonade and went home empty-handed after his pay was cut for that session.
The couple have been inseparable since that day and now live together in a rented room at the university neighborhood in Thu Duc District.
Nghia performs at local eateries and restaurants in his Mickey costume, which he bought with a full year of savings, while his girlfriend invites diners to buy sweets.
Likewise, Duy’s girlfriend, a student at a local university, was attracted to him while he played the role of the Monkey King.
Despite opposition from the girl’s family based on Duy’s job as a low-income street performer, the young couple have persevered, set on culminating their romance in a blissful wedding.
HCM City customs seize two pistolets from Hong Kong flight
Customs officers at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat airport have seized two pistolets in the luggage of a passenger arriving on March 12 from Hong Kong, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
The guns were hidden among personal belongings of a 42-year-old Vietnamese man, who was detained for further investigation, the newspaper said.
Vietnam bans civilian ownership of guns since 2006 and illegal manufacturing, trafficking or trade of weapons is punishable by prison terms ranging from one year to life.
Yet local customs officers in recent years have busted various attempts of smuggling guns and bullets from the UK, the US, Turkey and nearby countries like Cambodia, the Republic of Korea and Thailand.
40 villas built without permit in Danang
About 40 villas are being constructed on a natural peninsula in the central Vietnamese province of Danang without permits, while local authorities had not been aware of the violation until recently.
The Bien Tien Sa JSC has had the foundation of some 40 villas, as part of the Bien Tien Sa eco-resort project, constructed without proper building approval on Son Tra Peninsula.
Located seven kilometers from Danang on the central Vietnamese coast, Son Tra Peninsula has become increasingly known as an alluring tourist retreat, whose forest is used as a shield from typhoons, and for eco-tourism growth and national defense.
Authorities in the central city on March 18 carried out an investigation into the case and ordered the project developer to cease the construction.
According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, the only road leading to the construction site is protected by two layers of security guards, making it impossible for outsiders to enter the area.
There was no sign indicating ongoing construction at the entrance to the site.
Inside the location, a part of the local forest was cleared for the building of roads and sewage systems, as well as the foundation of the villas.
According to a permit signed by Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, former director of the municipal Department of Construction, in February 2009, Bien Tien Sa Company is only allowed to build roads and drainage systems in the area.
A representative of 319 Mien Trung (Central Region) Construction Company, which was hired for the construction of the project, refused to provide any explanation while speaking to Tuoi Tre.
He only confirmed that the project developer had submitted a report regarding the ongoing construction to competent agencies following their inspection on March 18.
“Just ask the local administration. They will give you the answer,” the representative told Tuoi Tre.
During an interview with the newspaper on March 18, Nguyen Thanh Nam, vice-chairman of the Son Tra People’s Committee, affirmed that the villas had been built without formal permission.
Aside from the violation, the project developer also failed to hang information signs at the entrance to the construction site as per regulations.
The company admitted that they just wanted to expedite the project, Nam elaborated.
Regarding effects on the local environment, Bien Tien Sa has prepared several measures to restore the forest upon completing the project.
Local authorities will determine a suitable penalty for the developer, the official said, adding that the construction of the villas would be stopped until a legitimate permit is issued.
Saigon to encourage city-dwellers to walk at least 300m a day
The Ho Chi Minh City administration has finished drafting a plan to call on city-dwellers to walk more to join the municipal efforts to curb traffic congestion.
It is expected that the city’s Party members, public servants and students will be the first to join in the walking movement by taking up a habit of walking 300m to 1km a day, whether it is to work or for everyday activities.
The three-phase movement is planned to run in three years, with the first phase scheduled to begin in April.
In the first phase, the program seeks to attract participants from District 1 and 3, and will expand to other neighborhoods in the next phases.
Nguyen Ngoc Tuong, deputy head of the city’s Traffic Safety Committee, believes that the walking movement will help create a habit of walking among city’s residents, resulting in less traffic on the road and therefore reducing congestion.
With the “sidewalk reclamation” campaign going strong throughout the city, officials are in high hope that more people will take part in the program as many pavements have been cleared.
Benefits from education cooperation projects with Japan
Education cooperation between Japan and Ho Chi Minh City has been one of the highlights of bilateral relations.
Exchange programs of students and teachers as well as various collaboration projects evidence improving education cooperation.
In recent years, many prestigious Japanese groups have invested in projects to boost a modern and friendly educational climate in Ho Chi Minh City.
Since 2012, Ajinomoto Vietnam Company has helped the municipal Education and Training Department carry out a “School Meal Project” to improve the nutrition of pupils in the city’s day-boarding primary schools.
Trung Trac Primary School in District 11 was chosen to pilot a “Model Day-Boarding School Kitchen” under the “School Meal Project”. Phan Van Tri, the school’s rector, says the Ajinomoto Vietnam Company donated US$57,000 to build and equip a kitchen with basic cooking equipment and gadgets.
“The model ensures food safety and hygiene, makes optimal use of the kitchen area, and makes the work of the cooks easier. The model has also made meals more delicious and nutritious,” Tri added.
Cooperation programs in training and transfer of technology are applied at higher school levels. The Ho Chi Minh City University of Agriculture and Forestry has worked with more than 20 Japanese schools and research institutes, including Kobe University, Kyushu University, Osaka University, and Saga University.
Hoa Sen (Lotus) University has organized several student exchange programs with Japan. 75 students went to the each other country to study and experience the local lifestyle.
Dinh Anh Lan, director of public relations and media at Hoa Sen University, said “Cultural and educational exchanges are the foundation for developing relations between the two countries. After graduation the students will work for various companies and agencies to tighten the cooperative ties between Vietnam and Japan.”
Vocational training is a cooperative field that has made great strides. Tran Thanh Hai, rector of the Vien Dong (Far East) College, says the school has cooperated with Nakanihon Automotive College in Nagoya, Japan, since 2014.
Next month, the Far East College will send its lecturers in automotive technology to study electric and hybrid cars at Nakanihon Automotive College.
Some students of Far East College will go to Nakanihon Automotive College for a year and a half to earn international automotive engineering certificates. The Far East College has boosted cooperation with Japan in nursing, construction, and mechanics.
Tran Thanh Hai, the college’s rector, said cooperation with Japan has raised the school’s awareness of teaching and learning methods, adding: “We have selected subjects that are practical and in line with international standards. Our students have changed their thinking about careers and a more positive learning atmosphere has been created.”
Ho Chi Minh City’s education sector has collaborated with the Japan Foundation to train Japanese language teachers for middle schools and high schools. The municipal authorities have licensed 40 foreign language centers to teach Japanese.
Cooperative programs with Japan have helped Ho Chi Minh City’s education sector approach international standards and consolidate the bilateral ties established 40 years ago.
Truck plunges over Hanoi bridge in failed attempt to avoid road crash
Most of the container truck fell off the bridge and a rear wheel kept it from hitting the ground.
A container truck threw itself across a bridge barrier in Hanoi and almost crashed into the ground when it tried to avoid another collision on March 18.
The truck driver tried to avoid two vehicles that crashed on Thanh Tri Bridge at around 6 a.m. on March 18 by making a sharp turn that went beyond the bridge, eyewitnesses said.
The truck was held back thanks to a rear wheel, while most of it was off the bridge. Its head was badly damaged.
All three drivers were injured. Traffic on the bridge was jammed for hours.
The unusual incident drew the attention of many bystanders and video footage used in this article was provided by Luong Huu Khanh.
Complete issuing land certificates, HN told
Permanent Vice Chairman of Hà Nội People’s Council Nguyễn Ngọc Tuấn asked Hà Nội authorities to accelerate the issuance of “red books”, saying that the process must be free from mistakes and lawsuits that affect public rights.
Tuấn said that municipal authorities in all sectors and levels produced positive results in issuing red books, which are certificates of land-use rights and ownership of housing and associated assets.
According to Tuấn, land use right certificates so far have been granted to 96.63 per cent of qualified households and individuals.
As of March 10 this year, more than 1.3 million certificates were granted to households and individuals in residential quarters. There remain more than 252,000 land plots to deal with.
About 146,884 apartments of housing projects have received house purchase certificates, making up 82.39 per cent of total apartments sold and transferred to residents.
The city aims to complete red book issuance by the end of June this year.
However, inspections also revealed shortcomings and obstacles. Tuan urged relevant agencies to overcome obstacles to hit the target.
He asked the agencies to list cases that have not been granted certificates, especially those facing obstacles.
To accelerate the process, Hà Nội’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment proposed the municipal People’s Committee issue documents to cut down administrative procedures from 30 days to 14 days.
The department also asked the committee’s permission to continue establishing land survey documents and land management data serving modern and quick certificate application and issuance.
The committee assigned the city’s Construction Department and people’s committees at district and town levels to review old apartment buildings that have not been handed over to localities.
District and town level authorities are in charge of solving land disputes to consider the issuance of land use right certificate while imposing punishments on those who refuse to apply for land registration.
Lê Thanh Nam, director of the land registration office under Hà Nội’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment said that cases with written house purchase notes will be considered for red book issuance in the second quarter of this year.
“Red book issuance of Hà Nội is basically transparent with procedures and time being reduced to facilitate the public,” he said.
The amount of documents for the process is huge and Hà Nội had been preparing infrastructure and conditions to receive online red book applications, he said.
Winners of wood statue carving contest honoured
The winners of a wood statue carving contest were honoured at a closing ceremony held on March 13 in Buon Ma Thuot City, Dak Lak Province after five days of competition.
“Gau Be Mang,” a statue featuring a bear picking a bamboo shoot by 26-year-old artisan Y An Bya from Dak Nong Province won first prize.
Two second prizes went to Y Thai Eban from Dak Lak Province and Ksor Kroh from Gia Lai Province for their works entitled “The Shaman and the Assistant” and “The Couple,” respectively. Three third and ten consolation prizes were also presented to other outstanding entrants.
According to the jury, the winning entries were honoured for vividly illustrating the lifestyle and cultural and religious practices of ethnic minority groups in the Central Highlands region.
The contest, held under the framework of the sixth Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival and the 2017 Central Highlands Gong Cultural Festival, attracted 70 artisans from the five provinces of the Central Highlands region, plus Quang Nam and Khanh Hoa provinces.
It aimed to provide an opportunity for participants to exchange experiences and introduce their ethnic group’s cultural characteristics through their works.
All entries in the contest are being displayed at the Ko Tam Ecotourism Site in Ea Tu Commune in Buon Ma Thuot City for visitors to admire.