Ngo Tu Ngan "The water is fine now," a district official told Tu, a neighbor. Relieved at this official confirmation, Tu, in his 40s, immediately changed the water in his five shrimp farms. "What happened next...," Tu choked on his words as he tried to speak to my father, his face taut and lined. After losing the shrimp, Tu and his family did not have much left and had to sell pieces of land that they'd used to breed shrimp for a living. The day Tu signed the papers to sell the land, he cried. Those tears would never wash away the suffering farmers in the area have had to endure. Tu's sad story happened two years ago in my hometown, a village in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu where most locals engaged in shrimp aquaculture. Tu was not the sole victim of misinformation, of course. The water sources in my hometown had become badly polluted those days. We'd read in the news that the pollution was caused by factories dumping untreated waste into the local river. But authorities … [Read more...] about Can officials be trusted to make responsible statements during a crisis?
Making international calls
In a letter to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung said there should be a new legal framework for ride-hailing services like Grab and Go-Viet so that technology could bring social and economic benefits as seen in countries like the U.K., Singapore and Indonesia. While traditional taxi firms provide a whole gamut of the transport services, ride-hailing services only provide a part and so should be managed differently, he explained. He proposed a new definition in the law for ride-hailing firms as companies which provide platforms to connect drivers and passengers using technology. Vietnamese officials have been scratching their heads about how to manage ride-hailing services since traditional taxis are crying foul, claiming their business is being damaged by new competitors like Grab. In its latest version of a bill on managing these services, the Ministry of Transport has tightened conditions for ride-hailing firms. They … [Read more...] about Minister calls for making distinction in regulating ride-hailing, taxi firms
Dr. Kidong Park Polluted air is harmful to people’s health. Exposure to high concentration of particulate matters (PM), in particular micro particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5), increases the risk of air pollution-related diseases, including acute lower respiratory infections, stroke, heart attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Excessive ozone in the air can have a marked effect on human health. It can cause breathing problems, trigger asthma, reduce lung function and lead to lung diseases. Exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) aggravates symptoms of bronchitis in asthmatic children. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) can affect the respiratory system and the functions of the lungs, and causes irritation of the eyes. The WHO air quality guidelines are based on expert evaluation of current scientific evidence and are applied worldwide. Unfortunately, 91 percent of the world population is living in places where the air quality based on WHO guidelines … [Read more...] about Time to take bolder actions for clean air and people’s health
Duc Hoang The most potent weapon of a consumer is to stop consuming. How do we then answer the question: "If we don't use their water, who else will provide it to us?" My family was among those troubled recently over the fact that our son's school was located just one kilometer from the burnt Rang Dong light bulb warehouse (that leaked 15-27 kilos of mercury into the air). Now we've got a new one: polluted tap water and the difficulty in getting bottled water. Since my family and I are not the only ones severely affected by this, since there are millions of us, one would expect the company responsible for the crisis to be hit hard by it too. However, the stocks of Song Da Water Investment Joint Stock Company (code: VCW) on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) still went up on Tuesday. There was no chain reaction following a public crisis like what one would see in a movie, where a negative news about a company spreads and causes its stock to spiral … [Read more...] about How can Vietnamese people manage a water supply monopoly?
The two cities are said to be poles apart when it comes to tying the knot Editor’s note: Bui Duc Tien is an internal immigrant who has lived in Ho Chi Minh City for almost a decade. He currently works as a university lecturer at a major teacher training college. A Hanoian dabbling his feet in the customs of Saigon’s nuptial celebrations has been startled by their complexities, while in Hanoi a Saigonese invited to a local wedding has been bored by its simplicity. Vietnamese weddings are often a showcase of people’s personal networks, with throngs of family, relatives, friends, acquaintances and even strangers in attendance. Yet, receptions differ wildly depending on each location, with Hanoi and Saigon the most obvious example. Chalk-and-cheese A Saigonese wedding reception involves several distinct steps. Beginning with the newly-wed walking arm-in-arm as cameras flash from the entrance to the stage, a live music performance usually follows, with the happy … [Read more...] about Wedding receptions in Hanoi ‘more relaxed’ than in Saigon