Banning motorbikes is expected to curb traffic congestion and pollution. However, it has a long way to go. Curbing private vehicles in Hanoi is inevitable Hanoi plans to wean off motorbikes in downtown areas by 2030 as part of efforts to ease traffic congestion and environment pollution. However, the ban is under question as the public transport network is not expanding fast enough. Let’s see why Hanoi considers the move and how the city’s authorities can make the plan work. Why? Hanoi has 5.5 million of motorbikes and more than 500,000 cars with additional 18,000-22,000 motorbikes and 6,000-8,000 cars registered monthly for circulation amid limited cleared land for road expansion, according to Director Nguyen Hoang Hai of the Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Center (TRAMOC). The city suffers economic damage worth US$1 billion to US$1.2 billion per year due to traffic congestion. In addition, traffic jam causes waste of more than one … [Read more...] about Hanoi’s motorbike ban: Why and How?
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And she would have been very wrong. So wrong that a big foreigner who met her in person for the very first time would call out "my wife" when he saw her. In a small house in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, the U.S, Pham Thi Khanh Xuan sits by Freddie Scott, her husband, watching television and keeping an eye on their two boys who are playing. Theirs is a most improbable love story. "My husband is very funny, he can’t speak Vietnamese well, but when I tell him what to say, he imitates immediately," says Xuan, giggling. The simple happiness she’s enjoying now was an impossible dream, when she looks back just four years. Xuan had a C-section when she was in the 32nd week of her pregnancy, but the prematurely born twins have pulled through. Photo courtesy of Pham Thi Khanh Xuan. Xuan, a native of the southern province of Dong Nai, was stunted and underweight when she was a young child, and could only walk with difficulty. When she graduated from university, she was only as … [Read more...] about An improbable Vietnam-US love story gets real
She had a protruding forehead, crooked nose, buck teeth and dark skin. Her name was Pham Thi Duyen, She was constantly taunted for her looks by many people around her, particularly her schoolmates. "I was rarely called by my real name. They called me ‘the girl who eats papayas without a spoon,’ ‘mouth having roof protection from rain,’ ‘ugly as a toad’... "My classmates often flattened my bicycle tires and shoved me to the ground. I would cry and ask my mother why I was born ugly like this." Then and now: Duyen before and after the plastic surgery. After finishing secondary school, Duyen did not want to remain "invisible" in the classroom, so she left school to find a job in Ho Chi Minh City. However, she was rejected by all the companies, until she was admitted by a tailoring shop where interaction with customers was not required. In 2014, Duyen got married to a man from the northern Nam Dinh Province, who was five years older than her and worked … [Read more...] about Beauty and the beast gets a Vietnamese twist
Viet Nam News By Dr. Cynthia Dacanay* Have you ever wondered why your seemingly robust child suddenly gets frequently ill upon starting school? This is because the classroom is a perfect breeding ground for infective organism to flourish. Children, who tend to cough or sneeze without covering their mouths and noses or doesn’t know how to wash their hands properly after going to the toilet or playing with toys or animals, unknowingly spread these organism around and infect themselves or their classmates. Some of the common illnesses that may easily be passed on inside the classroom are the following: Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is caused by Enteroviruses that causes skin rash, oral sores and fever. It can spread via direct contact or by contact with contaminated objects or surfaces. The virus can be found in the saliva, nasal secretions, fluid from the skin blister and the feces. There is no specific therapy needed but supportive care can be provided such as analgesics to … [Read more...] about Beat the back-to-school illness
At midday, the corridor in front of the neonatal intensive care unit at Gia Dinh People’s Hospital is quiet. Inside the unit, two babies who’ve been there for almost three months are not making much noise, either. Belly full, baby Na falls asleep as soon as she finishes her bottle. Right next to her, Nhim is hungry and impatient, and is sucking on her fingers, whining. Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, head nurse of neonatal intensive care unit, postpones her rounds to feed the baby. Just as she finishes with Nhim, Thuy receives a newborn. She holds the little one close to her chest so he can feel some warmth before giving him a bath and a change of clothes, getting him ready for a health check. The little baby has been abandoned by his family after his mother, who was HIV positive, passed away. Thuy holds the little baby close to her chest so he can feel some warmth before giving him a bath, change of clothe and get ready for health check. Luckily, the baby is quite healthy and can … [Read more...] about A mother to abandoned babies for 27 years
Pham Quoc Cong walks two kilometers to use the bathroom because his 2.2 meters-square house isn't big enough to have one. But, he says, it's a price worth paying to be able to live on a prized plot in downtown Ho Chi Minh City where he can readily find work. He lives with six relatives in a closet-sized space bursting with clothing, toys, a fridge, a bunk bed, a rice cooker, papers, groceries, toilet paper and other household items. That leaves little room for sleeping so he spends most nights outdoors on a cardboard-lined lounge chair, which can be tricky in bad weather. The closet-sized homes burst with clothing, toys, fridges, papers, groceries and plenty of other household items. "It's really hard during the rainy season to find a dry place. If I can't, I just sleep standing up the whole night," said the 49-year-old manual laborer who has lived in the one-room home since 1975. The 'micro-house' dwellings are dotted throughout Vietnam's bustling southern hub, occupied by families … [Read more...] about Close quarters: Vietnam’s downtown dwellers cling to tiny plots
Hungover? Reading this after sleeping all day? Did you meet someone fabulous on Lunar New Year’s Eve? Great! And for all the rest of you who celebrated quietly at home…well done! So what comes next? Visiting! But wait…hang on…it’s not as simple as that! From the first day of Tet, it’s the custom to go around and visit family and friends. This is probably more common in the countryside as folks live closer together in the villages and relatives are often in the same village. In the modern style, a lot of Vietnamese do this and then head off on a quick trip or holiday – depending on their income and means of transport – before kicking off the working year. Again, the idea of ‘luck’ plays a strong part in the arrangements. The first visitor of the New Year should ideally be someone of good character who’s successful in life – so the black sheep of the family who’s always borrowing money for football betting has … [Read more...] about Let’s welcome Year of Dog to Vietnam!
It was a cold winter night and the stray dogs were barking endlessly. It wasn't unusual for the dogs in this rural village on the outskirts of Saigon to be noisy, but there was something about their tone that night that prompted a guard to go and check. He flashed his torch at the window of a nearby orphanage and spotted a small plastic basket. Inside was a screaming baby, a little bit bigger than an ear of corn and wrapped in an old towel. The umbilical cord was still hanging from her belly, and she was bruised, wrinkled and cold. The watchful guard quickly woke the staff inside the house, and they attempted to warm the tiny baby up by hugging and massaging her, but to no avail. Eventually, they had to drive the baby more than 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) to a major hospital, where she was treated for pneumonia. She’s a healthy two-year-old now, and lives with more than 60 other children who have been left at the orphanage over the past seven years. The orphanage is named … [Read more...] about At Saigon orphanage, babies are left with no names and lots of questions
Yên Phụ Street in Tây Hồ District has long been recognised as a hub for porters from other provinces. In the rain showers at year-end, groups of workers can be seen sitting around fire pits waiting for hirers. Lê Trọng Lân, 17, from Triệu Sơn District in the central province of Thanh Hóa, told the Nông thôn Ngày nay (Countryside Today) that he offers furniture moving services for VNĐ500,000 (US$22) a day.Born in a poor family, Lân gave up studying early and started work to support his parents and help a younger sister pursue an education. A mason by trade, he can earn about VNĐ250,000 ($11) a day. During the holiday period, Lân follows villagers to Hà Nội looking for temporary jobs.“I do as many jobs as possible, including building, cleaning, shipping work and driving,” he said.According to Lân, his wage is rising as Tết approaches. From … [Read more...] about Rural workers flock to capital
Editor’s note: Dr. Nguyen Minh Hoa believes that something should be done in order to stop people from migrating to Saigon, as the ‘promised land’ has become increasingly overcrowded to receive them all. As in the previous years, when the Lunar New Year is drawing near, I join my family members and my students to gather used clothes and bring them to internal migrants, to those homeless people who have to live on sidewalks across Saigon. Saigon is without a doubt a city of generosity where people are willing to help and share the hardship of those in need, and it is surely a ‘promised land,' but this land will inevitably become too crowded for everyone. What’s the point of flocking to a ‘promised land’ when everyone will share nothing but poverty, once there is little space for growth? The best solution is to keep the migrants-to-be where they are, and Saigon, on its way to achieve prosperity, will never forget those needy people. … [Read more...] about How to keep Saigon from getting overcrowded by internal migrants?