Connect with us

Your Vietnam

Feline cafe is winning the hearts of Hanoians



By Minh Phương

When children turn into adults they have many important decisions to make that will shape their entire life.

One of the major choices they must decide is which career path to follow. Many are influenced by their parents and it is not unusual to see children follow in the footsteps of mother and father when it comes to their chosen employment.

However for 24-year-old Nguyễn Linh Chi that was never going to happen.

The professions of her parents certainly played its part, but for Chi, there was no doubt in her mind it was exactly the job she did not want.

Her parents were butchers, and would trade in cat and dog meat.

“My parents used to sell dog and cat meat,” she said.

“However, after reading news on the internet and having pets at home, my family has totally quit eating and selling this dish.”

Chi decided to run and co-own a cafe in Hà Nội but not just any kind of café.

This venue on Lê Thanh Nghị Street is a place where you can get a coffee and a cuddle with one of 30 cute cats that roam freely around the two-storey coffee shop.

She said: “We open a cat cafe so that cat lovers can come to have a drink and chill with cats. Besides, we also want to create a spacious space to raise as many cats as we want.”

DINNER TIME: Nguyễn Linh Chi feeds her cats inside Meo’s House Coffee.

Meo’s House Coffee is located on one of the busiest streets in Hà Nội surrounded by many university buildings and as a result, its core customers are students.

“Because I am busy studying, I cannot raise cats myself,” frequent visitor Mai Thị Thu Hà from Hà Nội Open University said.

“I go to cat cafe instead because I have a big passion for them.”

Visitors will be amused by more than 30 British shorthair cats waiting for them right after entering this cafe.

The cafe welcomed more than 60 visitors a day on average, Chi revealed.

“Most of our guests are cat lovers and come to this place to play with cats. Some customers only drop by because they are curious about a cafe with more than 30 cats.”

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: Cats can melt everyone’s heart. VNS Photos Minh Phương

From 10 cats at first, the number has tripled. Besides making sure the business turns a profit, Chi has to pay serious attention to the health of the cats.

“Taking care of such a large number of cats is quite hard,” Chi said.

“We have to treat them carefully from the moment the kittens are born, get their first vaccinations right through till they get older.

“Raising a cat is as hard as raising a baby. And we have to take care of more than not just one but 30 babies.”

“If a disease breaks out, the risk of infection will become higher when having many cats together in one place.”

Visitors always feel comfortable when playing with cats while having a sip of coffee.

“This cat cafe is different from others because the smell here is more fragrant,” Thu Hà said.

To maintain the hygiene, Chi designed the toilet system for cats and also careful about what food cats will eat.

“In the cafe, the cats’ toilets are designed under the seat. We also use cat litter sand, odour remover clay. Our staff is guided to clean regularly,” Chi said.

“Food that we use to feed cats is also important. If they eat cat food, their poop won’t smell as bad as when they eat rice with fish.”

Growing up with parents who prepared and sold cat meat for living, Chi has opened up this cat cafe and dedicated to loving animals to cement the love for animal among the community.

She strongly believes although eating cat and dog meat was common practice in the past, and still happens today nationwide, more and more people are turning their noses up such a dish.

“Youngster and internet users are very critical towards eating dog and cat meat,” she said.

“People’s awareness of this problem is gradually increasing.”

HEY THERE: All felines are adorable and friendly.

Nguyễn Xuân Lâm had to come back to the cafe twice. He raises his own British shorthair cat at home.

“This is the second time that I’ve come to this cafe. Cats here are very adorable, and friendly.”

To Lâm, cats are like his friends and they must be treated equally as human instead of being considered delicacy.

“I think people share different opinions about eating cat meat. However, if we love cats and other pets, we won’t eat them,” Lâm said. VNS


Your Vietnam

Multipurpose buildings brought closer to people



PIONEER: Lã Mạnh Tường is currently a graduate student in construction management at Nottingham Trent University (NTU). Photo courtesy of Lã Mạnh Tường

It took Vietnamese master’s student Lã Mạnh Tường, just seven months to take Việt Nam to new heights in construction. Through pioneering multipurpose construction solutions, Tường, 29, and his team successfully competed against 50 others and advanced to the final of the Global Student Challenge competition. Việt Nam News reporter Hoàng Hồ talks with Tường about his journey.

Inner Sanctum: Can you explain your project, its goal, and how it applies to daily life?

Our project is a multipurpose building that offers community engagement, education, cultural enrichment, professional development, and environmental benefits. It serves as an advising community centre, conference hall, exhibition centre, and design-build construction centre. The building provides various services, including workshops, seminars, and events catering to the local community. It also serves as a resource for research and education, promoting cultural exchange and social interaction. The exhibition centre showcases art exhibits, and the design-build construction centre provides hands-on training for university students. The building features sustainable design and construction practices, resource conservation features, and encourages sustainable transportation.

Inner Sanctum: How did you feel when your team got to the final of the competition?

Our initial goal was to go as far as we could, and we saw this project as an opportunity to showcase the potential of building this complex to the school administration. Nottingham Trent University aims to make it a reality in the not-too-distant future. Therefore, being the top finalist makes us feel like an opportunity has opened up before us. We did it brilliantly.

Inner Sanctum: Can you share your passion for the field? Did you have any difficulties during the competition?

Despite its reputation for being a difficult field, I find construction fascinating. I enjoy the challenges of planning, designing, and building functional and aesthetically pleasing structures. The process of transforming raw materials into a finished product is incredibly rewarding, and I find it inspiring to see how a group of skilled professionals can come together to create something that will stand the test of time. In short, I am passionate about construction because it requires a unique combination of creativity, practicality, and attention to detail.

I believe that the most difficult thing is getting used to the new format of the contest. This year, the organisers used a new format that requires participating teams to apply their knowledge and create products of pure expertise such as design, cost estimation, and construction organisation. They also ask teams to create and run a fictional company throughout the project. This makes it a bit difficult for the members when most of them are pure professionals and do not have a business management mindset. Along with the above difficulty is that we need to be familiar with the environment and culture of the UK when researching the location for our project. 

AWARDED: Lã Mạnh Tường (left) and his teammate Siavash Shamsi at the NTU’s Scholarship Awards Celebration. Photo courtesy of Nottingham Trent University

Inner Sanctum: What are the requirements and challenges in reaching sustainable construction? Does Việt Nam have the potential to reach the level of the UK?

Sustainable construction requires a comprehensive approach that takes into consideration various aspects, including design, materials, energy efficiency, and waste management. It involves adopting green building practices that reduce the environmental impact of construction activities. The challenges in achieving sustainable construction include high upfront costs, a lack of awareness and understanding among stakeholders, limited availability of green building materials and technologies, and the need for specialised knowledge and skills. However, with the right policies, incentives, and education, sustainable construction can become more accessible and widespread, resulting in significant environmental and economic benefits.

Việt Nam has made significant progress recently towards sustainable construction, but it may take some time for the country to reach the level of the UK. The UK has been at the forefront of green building practices for two decades, with a well-established regulatory framework and a strong culture of sustainability. However, Việt Nam has recognised the importance of sustainable construction and has taken steps towards promoting green building practices. The Government has developed a green building certification system and introduced policies and incentives to encourage sustainable practices. 

Inner Sanctum: Do you plan to apply this model to Việt Nam?

A complex university building like our project can positively impact Việt Nam’s education and cultural landscape, as well as the local community.

The counseling centre can provide valuable services to students and the community, while also allowing students to apply what they have learned in a real-world setting.

The international conference centre can draw high-profile events and speakers, therefore bringing more high-quality events and promoting Việt Nam as a destination for global conferences in the future. The exhibition areas can provide opportunities for students to showcase their work and promote their ideas, while also serving as a space for cultural events and exhibitions. The outdoor campus and green roof can provide a much-needed oasis in the city, creating a space for relaxation, recreation, and community building. 

To build a model like this in Việt Nam, it would be important to engage with stakeholders, including universities, local governments, and the community, to ensure that the design and features of the complex are appropriate for local needs and preferences. Funding mechanisms, such as public-private partnerships or grants, may be necessary to finance the construction and maintenance of the complex.

Inner Sanctum: From your experience in the UK, do you have any advice for the next generation of construction students?

By being in the last age group of Generation Y, I have had many opportunities to reach out to the young people of Generation Z, who are part of the next generation of civil engineering students. From my point of view, they are dynamic, creative young people who have a viable approach to problems, foreign languages, and the ability to master IT faster than previous generations.

However, there is one element that today’s younger generations lack compared to their predecessors. It is the spirit of learning and searching. Through many years of approaching the environment and working with many international clients, I find the most important thing when working with them is to show the spirit and attitude of inquisitiveness and willingness to listen to others’ opinions and have a humble attitude at work. Knowledge and skills can be cultivated over time, if there are conditions to go abroad to study and practice, it is also a good thing. However, it is the right attitude to work that will bring you success. VNS


Continue Reading

Your Vietnam

Argentina-VN to tap unexploited potentials to for mutual interests



Argentinian ambassador to Việt Nam Luis Pablo Maria Beltramino writes to Việt Nam News on the country’s National Day (May 25)

2023 is a very special year for Argentina and Việt Nam. Both countries are celebrating this year the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, and the Comprehensive Partnership, established in 2010, has never been as consolidated as it is now. Argentina was the third Latin American country in establishing diplomatic relations with Việt Nam and, thus, one of the firsts in the region to do so before the reunification of the country in 1975.

A crucial milestone that boosted bilateral ties was the opening of the Embassy of Việt Nam in Argentina in 1995 and the opening of the Embassy of Argentina in Hà Nội in 1997. Since then, the relationship of the two countries has developed steadily, not only strengthening the links between the governments but also between the people of the two countries. 

The ceremony to receive 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine donated by the Argentine Government to Việt Nam at Nội Bài International Airport, Hà Nội on November 24, 2021. VNA/VNS Photo

The bilateral relationship between Argentina and Việt Nam is founded on three main pillars.

The first pillar is the excellent political dialogue at the highest and all levels. Indeed, the opening of the Argentine Embassy in 1997 was also the beginning of High Level Delegation exchanges between both countries. In February 1997, President Carlos Saul Menem visited Hà Nội to inaugurate the newly established Argentine Embassy. Later on, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and President Mauricio Macri visited Việt Nam in 2013 and in 2019, respectively. Likewise, President Trần Đức Lương in 2004, Chairman of the National Assembly Nguyễn Văn An in 2006, Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng in 2010 and, most recently, Chairman of the National Assembly Vương Đình Huệ also visited Argentina accompanied by large delegations. These high level visits illustrate how significant and strong the relation between our countries is, despite the geographical distance.

Bilateral trade is the second pillar of the Argentina-Việt Nam relationship. Over the past 10 years, bilateral trade has grown by 700 per cent and reached almost to US$5 billion in 2022. Việt Nam is Argentina’s sixth largest trading partner in the world and Argentina is Việt Nam’s third largest trading partner in Latin America. One of the main reasons that explains this outstanding performance in commerce is the fact that both economies are complementary and do not compete for the same markets. Argentina is a trustworthy supplier of raw materials and agro-industrial products that Việt Nam incorporates in its production chain, while Việt Nam mostly exports consumer goods with high added value. As such, both countries are looking forward to keeping, increasing and diversifying this solid and sustainable trend and speeding up the market access process of agricultural products. 

NA Chairman Vương Đình Huệ is welcomed at the Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Buenos Aires on April 24, 2023. VNA/VNS Photo

The third pillar of the bilateral relationship is Technical Cooperation. Việt Nam is the country in Asia with the highest amount of technical assistance projects provided by Argentina through the South-South and Triangular Argentine Cooperation Fund (FOAR). Argentina has actively shared and transferred agro-industrial working methodologies and technology to improve the production and productivity of many key Vietnamese products, such as rice, corn, soybeans and dairy products, among others. Argentina has also provided assistance in the control and mitigation of foot-and-mouth disease and has transferred know-how and good practices to contribute to human resources training for the identification of the Martyrs of the War.

In the international arena, Argentina and Việt Nam share a common vision and values in many areas such as peace and international security, the respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity and how to face global challenges. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Việt Nam donated 20,000 masks to Argentina. In return for such generosity and when the vaccines where developed, Argentina made a donation of 500,000 doses to Việt Nam.    

Both countries also consider that people-to-people exchanges are a crucial aspect of the relationship, especially in the field of culture. For many years, Argentina has had strong cooperation with Vietnamese universities and many cultural events have been organised in Việt Nam to connect with the people. On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary, the Argentine Embassy is organising two very important cultural events with the objective of bringing Argentine Culture closer to the Vietnamese audience. As part of the celebrations, the renowned Argentine pianist Mirian Conti, who is also a teacher at the Juilliard School in New York, will perform at the Hà Nội Opera House on May 25 and at the Hồ Chí Minh Conservatory of Music on June 1, along with Vietnamese musicians. The photo exhibition “50 Years 50 Images” of famous Argentine photographers is also taking place this month in Hà Nội at the Complex 01 Art Space Centre.

Despite this sustainable progress, Argentina and Việt Nam have a huge unexploited potential in a wide variety of topics and sectors. That is why the “50th Anniversary” gives us the opportunity to think about how we want to outline the bilateral relationship for the next 50 years for it to keep contributing to the development and growth of both countries and to the increase in the quality of life of the Argentine and Vietnamese people. VNS


Continue Reading

Your Vietnam

Music gala features 200 artists



MUSIC CELEBRATION: The music gala called Quê Hương Biển Gọi (Melodies of the Country and Sea) offers performances by more than 200 veteran and young artists. — Photo courtesy of the programme’s organiser

NHA TRANG — Nha Trang City will host a music gala featuring outdoor performances as part of its efforts to entertain and attract locals and visitors. 

The gala, called Quê Hương Biển Gọi (Melodies of the Country and Sea), offers performances by more than 200 veteran and young singers, dancers, musicians, and theatre artists. 

It is part of the 2023 Nha Trang-Khánh Hòa Sea Festival, which is scheduled to take place from June 3-6 in the south central province of Khánh Hòa.  

The gala will offer Vietnamese songs and music pieces designed in new concepts by music stars such as Cẩm Vân, Khắc Triệu and Phương Vi. 

Revolutionary music composed by Trần Hoàn and Phan Huỳnh Điểu will be highlighted.

“We want to honour Vietnamese music and theatre. We also hope locals and visitors will discover the beauty of Khánh Hòa and its people through our gala,” said Kiều Đăng Ninh, head of the gala’s organising board. 

The free performances of Quê Hương Biển Gọi will open at 8pm on June 3 in Nha Trang City’s April 2 Boulevard. 

SEASIDE FUN: More than 100,000 visitors are expected to attend the 2023 Nha Trang-Khánh Hòa Sea Festival. — Photo courtesy of the programme’s organiser

The 2023 Nha Trang-Khánh Hòa Sea Festival will take place from June 3 to 6 with more than 60 art and cultural events. 

It is held every two years and has become a trademark of the beach resort city of Nha Trang since 2003.

The history, culture and people of Khánh Hòa will be highlighted during the festival. 

Street art performances, sports competitions, tourism promotion events, and scientific and educational seminars will also be included.

The festival’s organiser, Khánh Hòa Province’s Department of Tourism, is expected to attract 100,000 visitors during the festival.

Last year, Khánh Hòa attracted 2.57 million tourists, raking in nearly VNĐ14 trillion (US$590.5 million) in tourism revenue.  

This year, it targets four million tourists, including 1.5 million foreign visitors, and earning VNĐ21 trillion ($902.3 million). — VNS


Continue Reading