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Government and citizens both doing their level best



Illustration by Trịnh Lập

by Nguyễn Mỹ Hà

Singer Thủy Tiên wrote on her Facebook page that she raised more than VNĐ150 billion (US$6.4 million) during October, to provide relief aid to those hit by the storms that have ravaged the central provinces of Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, and Thừa Thiên Huế .

Her account,, which has more than 7 million followers, was visited by thousands of first-timers, who either recommended isolated communities they knew of that needed food and medicine, or complimented her on her charitable deeds. But others claimed she must have broken the law to have raised such a large sum in such a short period of time.

Some even asked for photos of beneficiaries, to which she replied, “I’ve been visiting communities for a week now, every day, delivering thousands of packets of instant noodles. I wasn’t able to take photos because of the conditions.”

Việt Nam this week also had to deal with Super Typhoon Molave, the strongest tropical storm to hit the country in 20 years. Footage of roofs being blown away and rivers overflowing can be seen wherever you look on social media.

Even in Hà Nội, more than 500 km away from the storm, strong winds rattled windows in high-rise buildings.

More relief aid will undoubtedly be needed in the central region.

Another response to Thủy Tiên posting how much she’d raised for people in need was to question how government-run, State budget-funded aid and relief programmes were operating.

“People trust Thủy Tiên more, and they want to see that their donations get to the right people at the right time,” read one comment, as Thủy Tiên was snapped taking a boat to visit hard-hit communities.

Not only is she beautiful and kind-hearted, she was also willing to share the hardships and, of course, put herself in harm’s way. That’s what netizens want to see!

While a single philanthropist can get so much praise online, it seems unfair to ignore the ongoing efforts of the Government to also reach people by boat, if necessary, and help them cope when natural disasters strike.

“Never before has a Prime Minister visited the National Hydro-meteorological Centre twice in the one week,” a forecaster at the centre beamed a few days ago.

Local military garrisons and police have been mobilised to help evacuate 1.3 million people from Molave’s likely path, which is the ninth major storm to cross Việt Nam’s coastline this year.

“When the storm hit, the electricity was cut, roads were blocked or swept away. People removed huge amounts rocks and mud to clear the roads, so electricity and communications could be restored,” read another widely shared post from someone who declined to give his name but said he had repaired roads for 20 years.

“He’s right,” a front officer in the mountainous district messaged me. “There’s so much work to be done before roads can be travelled on again and food and first aid can reach ravaged locations. We do not want, or need, to be mentioned in social media. It’s our job.”

It’s actually been quite uplifting and encouraging to see Vietnamese come together and help out in such a difficult and dangerous situation.

There are many levels of aid relief, according to a retired Red Cross manager. “Emergency aid will be delivered by military rescue teams,” she said.

A few days later, when water levels start to recede, clothing, textbooks, medication, and clean water are very much the priority.

“Thank you to all who donated,” wrote a high-school friend who owns a business in Hà Nội delivering cooked meals to working families. “I’ve received 50 blankets and 350 bottles of essential oil, which will go to Quảng Trị soon.”

The public, who too often get caught up in social media storms, have become quite demanding of public figures.

Popular singer Đàm Vĩnh Hưng recently took to his personal account to respond to people who had jammed his fanpage asking why he’s not providing any aid.

Triggered by offensive questions and irrelevant comments, he replied in harsh tones, which pleased his fans but outraged those with an axe to grind.

Commonly known as Mr Đàm, he has a big fanbase and has been known for his charity work in the past.

His response made for unpleasant reading but it’s impossible to know what really lay behind it. But when many are suffering and others are lending a hand, discretion may have been the better part of valour.

In a cooking group with more than 200,000 members, one woman put up photos of her family back in 1999, when she was three years old and had just lived through the worst floods to hit the ancient imperial capital of Huế in years.

“I was wearing a life jacket donated by some businesses in HCM City,” she posted. “We survived the floods. Now we live elsewhere, but we remember and feel grateful for the aid we received.”

She then introduced an easy and flavourful pancake she had as a child in a family that always struggled financially.

“The most delicious pancakes I ever had were also the most simple my mum ever made,” she wrote. “When you’re hungry, anything is the best food ever.”

Later this year, when prominent social workers receive government recognition, I hope the Office of Work Emulation recommends that Thủy Tiên has some sort of acknowledgement come her way, say a Labour Hero medal, first class, along with the other heroes in the armed forces and public service.

She set a new and unique example, of how to quickly raise large amounts of funding for emergency relief aid, and didn’t need netizens to tell her to do it. VNS



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Lives of Cong ethnic people in Dien Bien



La Cha Village in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien’s Nam Po District is home to a Cong ethnic community, one of the five ethnic minority communities in the province with 79 households and nearly 400 inhabitants.

Lives of Cong ethnic people in Dien Bien
La Cha Village in Nam Po District, one of the few villages in the northern mountain province of Dien Bien where the ethnic Cong people live.

The living conditions of the Cong people in the village have improved in the past few years due to support from the Government and local authorities.

Investment projects on infrastructure construction, agricultural production, and cultural preservation in the district have helped change the lives of local people.

Lives of Cong ethnic people in Dien Bien
Cong children in La Cha Village have fun during their extracurricular school hours. VNA/VNS Photos Xuan Tien

The village is now connected with the electricity network, while roads, schools, and bridges have been built, creating convenient conditions for people to develop all aspects of life.

Lives of Cong ethnic people in Dien Bien
A traditional dance featuring the manual farming works of Cong ethnic people in La Cha Village, Dien Bien Province.
Lives of Cong ethnic people in Dien Bien
An old woman of the Cong ethnic group doing some manual cultivation work in the garden.
Lives of Cong ethnic people in Dien Bien
Some festivals, cultural rituals and spiritual beliefs of families and clans in the village are performed by a shaman. VNA/VNS Photos Xuan Tien

In the past, Cong people had very difficult lives as they depended a lot on self-sufficiency and migration.

They earned their living just by manual cultivation on slash-and-burn fields, so crop productivity was very low.  VNS


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UAE forecasts strong growth in trade with VN



On December 2, 2020, the UAE celebrates the 49th anniversary of the founding of the federation under the slogan “Spirit of the Union”. Dr Ezzat Abdulwahed Sayed, political and economic analyst from the UAE Embassy in Hà Nội, writes for Việt Nam News.

On this day in 1971, the UAE started its first journey towards progress and development to achieve its pioneering ambition in all fields as the embodiment of the “UAE Vision 2021” which aims to make the precious UAE one of the best countries in the world on the 50th anniversary of its establishment.

Dubai City. Courtesy Photo of UAE Embassy

Every year in which Emiratis celebrate their National Day, they touch on the great development achievements of the country during the previous year, and what they aspire to achieve during the next year. This is all within the framework of a comprehensive development vision that does not satisfy only the forefront but is concerned with the present and the future, and is in the midst of competition in the field of development with confidence, based on proper planning and production of knowledge, and looking at national human cadres as the most important wealth of the nation and its real investment.

Since its establishment in 1971, the foreign policy of the UAE has been characterised by wisdom, moderation, balance, and advocacy of truth and justice, based on the foundations of dialogue and understanding between brothers and friends, respect for international conventions, adherence to the United Nations Charter, respect for the rules of good neighbourliness, sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs and resolving disputes by peaceful means.

The UAE has witnessed a wide openness to the outside world, which has resulted in the establishment of strategic political, economic, commercial, cultural, scientific, educational and health partnerships with many countries in various continents, thus enhancing the prestigious position it occupies in the international community.

The UAE economy has made an exceptional performance thanks to the country’s long-standing desire to adopt a development policy based on diversifying sources of income and supporting non-oil sectors. The country’s economy is characterised by the infrastructure of stable and balanced performance despite all its surrounding regional and international challenges.

As a responsible, committed member of the international community, the UAE strongly condemns terrorism and extremism in all forms, and demonstrates its commitment to confront, degrade and eradicate terrorism and extremism across the region and worldwide.

The UAE is also considered one of the leading countries in the field of humanitarian giving through its successive initiatives in all fields and arenas of charitable and humanitarian work at local and international levels. The leadership of the Emirates believes that humanitarian work is a moral responsibility and a duty that embodies solidarity and synergy between peoples and nations.

The UAE has always been proactive in carrying messages of peace and co-operation initiatives to the whole world, and for this it has been keen on building friendly, high-level relations with various countries around the world.

Since the UAE and Việt Nam officially established diplomatic relations in 1993, significant achievements have been recorded in diplomatic, economic and other aspects of the relationship, and after more than 25 years of diplomatic relations, the UAE and Việt Nam are considered key economic partners in Southeast Asia and the Middle East thanks to their open economic policies.

Bilateral trade and investment have developed rapidly, with the two countries becoming mutual strategic partners in trade and economy. The non-oil trade balance reached more than US$8.2 billion in 2018, which represents 34 per cent of the total non-oil trade between the UAE and ASEAN countries. The UAE is considered Việt Nam’s top trading partner in the Middle East region, including the GCC and Africa.

Over the past two decades, the UAE has also been acknowledged as one of the leading foreign investors in Việt Nam, and we are confident that this trade and investment relationship will continue to grow stronger.

UAE businesses have been investing in infrastructure, real estate, sea ports, oil and gas, tourism and services in Việt Nam, while Vietnamese businesses have been investing in wholesale and retail trade, motor vehicle repair and real estate.

The UAE is a gateway for Việt Nam to penetrate the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Meanwhile, Việt Nam is an important gateway for the UAE to Southeast Asia and the Far East. The two countries have much potential to boost co-operation in the fields of renewable energy, metallurgy, ship repair, petro-chemistry, chemicals, mechanics and manufacturing

For its part, the UAE attaches great importance to relations between the two countries and hopes to enhance trade relations between the two countries and raise them to higher levels in line with the level of bilateral relations and the aspirations of the leaderships, raising trade to $20 billion by 2025. VNS


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Art events infused with innovative technology at Arcan



Double+, a series of art events infused with innovative technologies such as audio/visual and motion-sensor systems, and an interactive wall, is opening at Arcan until November 27. File photo from the organiser’s Facebook page

HCM CITY — Double+, a series of art events infused with innovative technologies such as audio/visual and motion-sensor systems, and an interactive wall, is opening at Arcan until Friday.

The event features American artist Mike Hodges and Vietnamese artist Trần Nguyễn Ưu Đàm. They have showcased their artworks by integrating video mapping with audio/visual effects to create a high-tech, immersive and aesthetic interaction with the viewers.

The artists have also offered decorative artwork performances and a talk show at the event. 

The event is open from 7-10 pm at 236/29/2H Điện Biên Phủ Street in Bình Thạnh District. Tickets at VNĐ300,000 can be purchased at — VNS


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