I’ve spent the past 5 years living a nomadic lifestyle, wandering from one destination to another in my 6 favourite countries in Southeast Asia. For this past Western holiday month of December, I visited my beloved Borneo, a part of Malaysia which is a rich tapestry of many indigenous groups and religions who bond together to celebrate each group’s big holidays including Christmas. One of the most interesting aspects of my lifestyle is that I never get in a rut or bored in any one place, getting a fresh new perspective with each trip. Usually I’ll spend a month or two in one spot, although my trips to Vietnam have become longer as I fall in love with it more each passing year. Moving from one destination to another presents no culture shock feeling because I’ve been doing it so long, so each time I arrive at one of my destinations it’s more like a homecoming. But this past time, after only 5 short weeks, I was blown away by many things when I came back to … [Read more...] about Even a short absence is revealing in Vietnam
What holiday is coming up
Two foreigners living in and outside Vietnam recalled their cozy memories with the Lunar New Year, or Tet in Vietnamese. 'Starting afresh' I’ve witnessed ten Tet since I started living here. In the early years I went to the fireworks and partied with friends in the expat bars around Hoi An. Often I would meet people I hadn’t seen for months as I tend to live quietly but was also busy with teaching. In the more recent years as I had some dogs as pets, I tended to stay at home or take the dogs for walks during the holiday evenings because it’s so calm, peaceful and lovely to see how people have decorated their houses. I like the idea of “starting afresh’ – throwing out old things, cleaning up and yet, remembering their ancestors. I’ve lost both my parents in the last two years so this has been on my mind. I admire the devotion to the family, helping out with the Tet chores and working for the parents while they do stuff for Tet. I like the … [Read more...] about Tet is the time for family, friends in Vietnam
The new year is coming in hours and this moment of transition usually triggers a lot of emotions and thoughts. People look back at their fun and sorrow of the past year, of losses and goodbyes, of promotions and career jumps. And before coming to the exciting part of making resolutions for the new year, many of us would beat ourselves up about all the targets that we have failed to reach, promises unfulfilled, vows broken or vacations not taken. But for better or worse, things keep changing, and there are at least five reasons you should not sit there and hate yourself for certain throwbacks. 1. You are reading this This means you are still alive, breathing, having healthy eyes, and the internet, which puts you in a better place than at least half of the people on this planet. And if you are here, you probably care about giving yourself a little more love, and that is all it takes to keep up dreams and move forward. 2. You need a break It’s true we usually talk about running for … [Read more...] about 5 reasons not to beat yourself up on year end
On the occasion of lunar New Year (Tet), a Radio Voice of Vietnam (VOV) reporter interviewed him about anti-smuggling activities in 2014 and tasks set for 2015. More than 206,000 cases of violation handled in 2014 VOV: Last year, functional forces intercepted many large-scale smuggling cases. What are major contributory factors to the success?Mr. Van Be: Calendar year 2014 saw some positive changes in combating smuggling, commercial fraud and counterfeit goods. The result was attributable to the following factors:First, there was improved awareness about the harmful effects of smuggling, commercial fraud and fake goods, prominently evidenced by the political determination of the government, sector and localities to set up a Steering Committee 389.Second, Steering Committee Head and Deputy Heads intensified supervisory and monitoring activities in provinces and big cities.Third, key forces- police, border guard, customs and market management staff- carried out effective … [Read more...] about Stepping up united anti-smuggling efforts
Ambassador Nguyen Hoang Long gives an interview to a foreign media I know that you have three advantages: the son of Ambassador Nguyen Manh Dung to Italy term 1993-1996; earned a PhD in Italy and be Vietnam’s youngest ambassador in modern times. Can you tell us the positive sides of these advantages? The first advantage helped me be less confused at the beginning and gave me the true occupational option. The second gave me love with Italy as may second homeland and the third helped me be more passionate, sharp-witted and creative. However, I’m not dependent on these advantages but have always studied and gained practical experience, especially from the previous generations. 2013 was the first year of Vietnamese-Italian strategic partnership, can you briefly tell some features about important achievements that both countries have obtained? I want to confirm that the Vietnamese-Italian strategic partnership is speeding up in every aspect: … [Read more...] about Ambassador Nguyen Hoang Long: Vietnamese-Italian relationship speeds up
Customers try the iPad 2 at the Apple store on Fifth Avenue in New York. (AFP/Emmanuel Dunand) SAN FRANCISCO: Apple is expected to rev up its iPad line on Tuesday as the tablet market heats up with competition from devices powered by software from Google and Microsoft. Analysts agree that iPads will star at an invitation-only event being held in San Francisco on the cusp of the prime year-end holiday shopping season. "Job One for Apple is to get something out there on the large-size iPad that gets people excited, then obviously from a specification focus, the Mini needs to catch up with what everybody else has done," NPD analyst Stephen Baker told AFP. "There are a lot of other things happening in that large-size tablet space and there is a huge amount of choices in smaller devices." Tablets face mounting competition from touch-screen notebook computers powered by Microsoft Windows software and priced between US$350 and US$500, according to the analyst. "Apple will... be number one in … [Read more...] about Apple expected to rev up iPad line as tablet market heats
Primary school students in Ha Noi attend a four-day "Military term" programme during summer vacation. (Photo: VNA)Hanoi (VNA) - Parents scurrying to send their children to many lifeskills classes blooming in big cities has been a trend that has beenpicking up lately. These classes, organised during the three-month summer vacation inVietnam, claim to train children on important communication and survival skillsthat can then be applied to real-life situations.However, are these classes as effective as their numerous advertisementsclaim? It’s a question that has many parents worried across the cities. Many teaching centres holding classes for children aged between 7and 14 in important life skills have been coming up.These centres design the life skills programmes separately foreach age group, and include various outdoor and indoor activities.One such life skills teacher said children would be trained inself-efficacy, ability to analyse … [Read more...] about Life skills class mushrooming, but not all live up to expectations
For the past few years, every time the Lunar New Year celebrations have rolled around, so has the Tet debate. Some people have piped up online, arguing that Tet is old-fashioned and should be cancelled if Vietnam wants to be a modern country. This year’s Tet debate was particularly intense. One of the most extreme proponents of the "get rid of it" position was a young writer Tue Nghi. In an article for HimMag, she said that the time to cancel the Lunar New Year had come, asserting that Vietnam could never become modern and successful while keeping the holiday. She posed some stark choices: Vietnamese citizens must choose either a rich and strong country, or an intolerant preservation of traditions, watching pitifully while other countries speed ahead. They must choose either wide, open economic development, trading with Europe and North America, or choose to only work with neighboring countries that also celebrate the Lunar New Year. This might all sound like a bizarre … [Read more...] about In Vietnam, debating Tet could be pointless as the holiday is being lost anyway
Many people in Viet Nam are taking holidays. So much so that tourism is becoming a big business. In fact, so many people want to take holidays that some resorts simply do not have room for them. Shore thing: Nha Trang Beach in Khanh Hoa Province is packed with tourists. As the upcoming holiday falls in the beginning of summer, most tourists have opted for beaches or mountain resorts to escape the summer heat. - VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyet HA NOI (VNS)— A sharp increase in the number of people choosing different tour packages during the upcoming extended holiday next week has offered a golden opportunity to tourist companies to maximise turnover. The five-day holiday for the Victory Day, April 30, and Labour Day, May 1, will start on Wednesday. To celebrate the holiday, Fiditour, one of the country's largest tourist companies, has come up with special offers for its different tours. Therefore, it is … [Read more...] about Holiday time!
Viet Nam was gripped by a food scare early last week, after the Centre for Study and Consultation on Consumerism under the Viet Nam Standard and Consumer Protection Association announced they had found traces of Tinopal in 24 out of 30 rice noodles samples taken in HCM City. by Bich HuongViet Nam was gripped by a food scare early last week, after the Centre for Study and Consultation on Consumerism under the Viet Nam Standard and Consumer Protection Association announced they had found traces of Tinopal in 24 out of 30 rice noodles samples taken in HCM City.Tinopal, an optical brightening agent usually used for paper making, was detected in bun (fresh rice noodle or rice vermicelli) – a popular food in Viet Nam.Many people were shocked by the news, which echoes a Ha Noi case ten years ago when the media reported formaldehyde - a chemical used to preserve corpses – had been found in pho to lengthen the shelf life of rice noodles.The two substances, tinopal and … [Read more...] about What’s safe to eat today?