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HCM City to host VN-ASEAN culture, food festival



Traditional food from ASEAN countries will be presented at the 2023 Việt Nam-SEAN Culture and Food Festival at District 1’s Hoa Lư Stadium from May 25-28. Photo courtesy of IRSAC

HCM CITY – HCM City will host the 2023 Việt Nam-ASEAN Culture and Food Festival at the Hoa Lư Stadium from May 25-28.

The event is organised by the Institute for Research Development and Conservation of Southeast Asian Art and Culture (IRSAC) to mark the 56th founding anniversary of ASEAN.

According to Lê Văn Tiếp, IRSAC’s director, the festival aims to introduce characteristics of culture and cuisine of the ASEAN community to local and international visitors, and enhance understanding, friendship and cooperation among ASEAN countries.

The festival will include 200 stalls featuring traditional dishes such as phở of Việt Nam, chili crab of Singapore and fermented tea leaf salad of Myanmar, which will be prepared by eateries from ASEAN countries.

It will showcase street food, and specialty food as well.

There will be cooking demonstrations by skilled chefs, as well as a presentation of traditional costumes, performances of traditional music and dances, and folk games from ASEAN countries.

The organiser will also host a seminar on the preservation and promotion of Vietnamese cuisine.

The festival will take place at 2 Đinh Tiên Hoàng Street in District 1. It is expected to attract around 100,000 visitors. Entrance is free. — VNS


Your Vietnam

Vietnamese-American chef Christine Ha spreads message of self-love, positivity



Vietnamese-American chef Christine Ha met with her fans in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday at an event where she shared her real-life experiences and how she overcame her tumultuous journey.

The event, held by the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City in collaboration with the Center for Disability and Development, aimed to direct positive energy from Ha’s story to those who need it.

She was born in 1979 to Vietnamese parents in California. 

In 2004, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and gradually started losing her vision.

Ha is the first blind contestant of the American competitive cooking reality television series MasterChef and became the winner of its third season in 2012.

She published her cookbook Recipes from My Home Kitchen with Vietnamese food recipes one year later.

Ha is currently running three restaurants in the U.S..

At the event on Monday at the American Center under the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City in District 1, Ha not only encouraged people with her positive messages about life, but also touched the hearts of the listeners with her spirit of self-love and acceptance of hard circumstances, thereby turning it into motivation.

Christine Ha is seen at an event at the American Center under the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City in District 1 on September 25, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

Christine Ha is seen at an event at the American Center under the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City in District 1 on September 25, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

“When I started losing my vision, people always asked me if I was angry or how long I stayed sad,” Ha recalled her own experience when an audience member asked her about the self-victimization feeling of people with disabilities. 

“I was definitely sad, it was not easy. I don’t feel like I was ever angry or questioning why it was happening to me or that it was unfair. 

“It’s really about how you play the hand that you’re dealt. So I think for me, I chose not to victimize myself, I just figured vision loss was something that just happened to happen to me. 

“I could either give up on life, but I realized that the earth keeps rotating, the sun still rises, the sun still sets. So I could either give up or I could figure out, okay, how I can still change my life or the way I view life to make my life still feel purposeful in spite of the vision loss. 

“And that’s the decision I chose to make.”

Christine Ha poses for a photo with her audiences at an event at the American Center under the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City in District 1 on September 25, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

Christine Ha poses for a photo with her audience at an event at the American Center under the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City in District 1, September 25, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

The achievements Ha has made, she said, result from a journey of small steps and her appreciating each of them.

“Look back at your small achievements and what you’ve been able to accomplish day by day, hour by hour even, and you’ll realize that you are achieving small goals slowly,” Ha told her audience.

“It’s okay because the small goals that you reach will lead to bigger things, and to more self-confidence.

“And then the more confidence you have, I think the less fear you have to take greater risks in life.

“Always the biggest rewards in life come from the greatest risks.”

When asked about self-limiting beliefs, Ha answered that limitations are not always bad.

“I think limitations are something we try to always view as negative,” she said.

“But I think limitations are sometimes a way for the world to tell us it’s not time or we’re not ready or this is not the right path for you to take and I think that’s okay. 

“You should listen to the limitations as well.

“I was always taught to deliver more and more and be an overachiever, and a perfectionist, and that leads to a lot of pressure on myself. 

“But I think sometimes you have to limit yourself to preserve your mental health and your emotional health, and I think it’s okay to say no to things.

“I think in some ways it’s okay to limit yourself if you don’t feel emotionally or mentally or physically ready for a challenge, that’s perfectly okay.”

According to the restaurateur, it is really about ‘a balance’ and people should listen to their intuition to say what they really want to do, whether they are ready for something or not. 

An audience uses sign language to ask Christine Ha in the Q&A session at an event at the American Center under the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City in District 1 on September 25, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

An audience member uses sign language to ask Christine Ha via a translator in the Q&A session of an event at the American Center under the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City in District 1, September 25, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

Ha also told her audience the story behind one of her most significant core life values.

“It is turning better today than you were yesterday,” she shared.

“How I came up with that core value was actually during the time I was competing on MasterChef.

“Every day I would go into the kitchen or the studio to film, and I wouldn’t know what challenge we had that day for cooking. 

“And of course being visually impaired, I never knew how anyone else was also doing at their station or what ingredients my co-contestants decided to use. 

“So I realized after a while that I felt like I really wasn’t competing with anyone else. 

“I was really just competing against myself or the version of myself the day before. So I felt like the only way I could succeed was I went into that kitchen every day and became a better cook or a better person than the day I was before. 

“That core value has stuck with me throughout the last 10 plus years.”

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Your Vietnam

Cough in children – how to assess, diagnose and treat




Dr Mattias Larsson. Photo courtesy of Family Medical Practice

Dr Mattias Larsson*

Thủy, a usually vibrant seven-year-old girl, had a persistent dry cough for three weeks, was tired, had decreased appetite, headaches, and low fever of 38oC. Hằng, Thủy’s mother, had taken her to local physicians and she had been treated with both cough syrup and antibiotics without any apparent effect except for diarrhea. As the mother was concerned and wanted a clear diagnosis, she took Thủy to Family Medical Practice for consultation.

Parents should consult clinics with capacity for differential diagnostics. — Photo

Coughing is one of the most common causes parents take their children to FMP. From the body’s point of view, coughing not a problem, but a solution! When irritants, such as mucus, foreign particles or pathogens enter the airways special receptors detect the irritant and a reflex response causes a forceful exhalation to expel the irritant, resulting in cough. 

When examining Thủy, the doctor noticed that the respiratory rate was faster than expected for her age, and she had inward chest movements, indicating that the body had to struggle to get enough oxygen. In the base of the right lung there was a crackling sound, crepitations, indicating that it might be some infection. 

When assessing symptoms you need to do a differential diagnosis between different causes. The first is to classify what kind of cough. Dry or productive with mucus? Force and frequency of coughing? Are there danger signs such as: High fever above 38,5oC? Difficulty or rapid breathing? In-drawings? Cyanosis with blue lips? Decreased appetite? Changes in consciousness?

What are the most common causes of coughing?

– Viral colds, the most common causes of childhood coughs, start with a runny nose that progresses to thicker mucus, possibly fever, usually resolves within a week with rest and symptomatic treatment.

– Bronchitis causes rapid breathing and chest in-drawings, is often viral, as RSV leading to high fever and respiratory distress in infants and young children. Treated with inhalation medication.

– Asthma causes airway restriction, cough, and difficulty breathing.

– Pneumonia presents with high fever, persistent cough and breathing problems, diagnosed with clinical evaluation, X-ray and blood tests, is often caused by bacteria that require antibiotics.

– COVID-19  causing cough, fever and respiratory symptoms, usually milder in kids than adults.

– Streptococcal Tonsillitis causes severe sore throat, pain when eating and drinking, cough and. Diagnosed with rapid strep-A test and treated with antibiotics.

– Allergic reactions trigger long-term coughing with transparent mucus, often also itchy eyes and runny nose. No fever. Managed by reducing exposure (pollen, mite, pollution,… ) and treated with antihistamine.

– Tuberculosis (TB), characterised by persistent cough, sometimes with blood, along with fever, weight loss and fatigue. Timely diagnosis and treatment is crucial.

– Whooping cough (Pertussis) causing severe coughing fits and often followed by a distinctive “whooping” sound during inhalation. Vaccination plays a vital role in prevention.

– Croup, presenting as a barking cough, hoarseness, and noisy breathing due to swelling of the upper airway. It is typically a viral infection and may require medical attention.

– Influenza A causes high fever, respiratory symptoms and body aches. Early diagnosis allows treatment with oseltamivir. Annual flu vaccination is recommended.

– Legionellosis, caused by the Legionella bacteria, starts with high fever, shivering, dry cough, breathing difficulties, chest pain, muscle aches and confusion, diagnosed with blood test, PCR. Treatment with antibiotics. 

As Thủy had persistent coughing, rapid breathing and crepitations, an X-ray was performed that showed infection in the lung. Blood tests indicated a bacterial infection, and a few hours later a rapid PCR test identified the culprit: Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Consequently, the correct antibiotic treatment was prescribed.

But why did Thủy not respond to the prior antibiotic treatment? That’s because Mycoplasma pneumoniae is an intracellular bacterium that does not respond to the most common antibiotics.

 A child’s cough can result from various causes, ranging from minor irritations to severe infections. Caregivers should be observant for danger signs such as rapid breathing, inward chest movements and persistent fever. Consulting a clinic with capacity for differential diagnostics is essential for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Family Medical Practice

 *Dr Mattias Larsson is a paediatric doctor at Family Medical Practice and associate professor at Karolinska Institutet and has a long experience in research on infectious diseases. He has worked with the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit and the Ministry of Health of Vietnam. He is fluent in English, Swedish, Vietnamese, German, and some Spanish.

 Visit Family Medical Practice Hanoi 24/7 at 298I P. Kim Mã St, Kim Mã Ward, Ba Đình Dist. 

To book an appointment, please call us at (024).3843.0784 or via Whatsapp, Viber or Zalo on +84.944.43.1919 or email [email protected].

FMP’s downtown location in Hồ Chí Minh City is in Diamond Plaza, 34 Đ Lê Duẩn St, Bến Nghé Ward, District 1, and 95 Đ Thảo Điền St, District 2.  Tel. (028) 3822 7848 or email [email protected].



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In Vietnam, man gives artifacts a second life



Old artifacts are not only valuable, but also a keepsake for many families. Many people would be extremely sad if an artifact was damaged for some reason. In such cases, they may eventually find their way to an expert like Nguyen Khac Duy.

Ten years ago, the man, now 34, who lives in Sa Dec City in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, returned to his hometown after completing his military service and assisted his family business in trading artifacts.

Noticing that the supply of artifacts was dwindling over time, Duy thought of finding solutions to repair damaged items, which would allow his family to sustain their business for a long time to come.

Giving old things a second life

In the early days of trying to repair damaged artifacts, Duy’s lack of confidence meant he only fixed his own artifacts for fear of further harming customers’ precious items. 

However, after some time, as the artifacts he repaired became more common, more and more collectors came to ask him to help them mend their damaged pieces.

“To repair broken artifacts requires many phases. The first is mixing the glue to stick on the lost part of the piece,” Duy explained.

“Only when the glue has dried can I begin to restore the shape of the lost or broken parts.

“In the next stage, I use a sander and sandpaper to remove the preserved glue and make the glued parts look like the original state.

“In the next step, I cover the attached part with paint and trace the patterns of the lost section.

“In the final stage, a layer of paint is applied to protect the pasted part and make it match the rest of the artifact.”

While some people think Duy’s work is easy when they see the artifacts that can be restored to normalcy after a few steps, the man said it is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of attention and patience.

According to him, every single step in repairing a valuable broken artifact is equally important. Mixing the glue, for instance, entails an appropriate amount so that the broken parts stick well to one another and do not fall out easily when physical forces act on them.

It is also necessary to be gentle when brushing with the sandpaper so that the solid parts can be polished smooth and in the best condition.

According to Duy, the step of mixing colors is the most time-consuming, as he has to try to find the color that is most similar to the original. 

The only way is to mix the colors little by little until he has the one that suits his needs. His experience has been that when the paint goes from wet to dry, it can change into a different color and then he has to start all over again.

Depending on the damage to the artifact, Duy would need a day or more to fix it. Each of the old or antique objects has its own interesting story, which always reminds Duy of fond memories.

“There was a customer who brought me a vase dating back to the 19th century that was completely broken. The artifact did not seem to have its original spirit when you looked at it at the time. When I was able to restore it to its original state, I could give it a second life. When they received the repaired artifact later, they thanked me and presented me with many gifts,” Duy recalled.

Duy said he regrets seeing the broken or damaged artifacts, so he often thinks of finding ways to restore them. He is happy that he can make a small contribution to protecting the ever-shrinking world of artifacts by returning them to their original state.

“I am so happy to be able to return the damaged artifact to its initial values, both emotionally and physically. An intact artifact shows its own spirit, which also benefits the owner when it is exchanged or sold,” said Duy.

The artifacts that were repaired by Duy. Photo: Chung Thanh Huy / Tuoi Tre

The artifacts that were repaired by Duy. Photo: Chung Thanh Huy / Tuoi Tre

Promotion of timeless values

Looking at the artifacts repaired by Duy, it is hard to imagine that they were damaged in the past. The way Duy takes care of the ancient artifacts shows a great passion that drives him to do this extremely specialized work.

“I take the damaged objects from the customers and do my job. Then, when I look at them after they have been perfectly mended, I feel like I have overcome another challenge,” he said.

“As you know, no two things are identical. For example, today I have to repair a bowl that is broken in two, and tomorrow a kettle with a shattered spout. It is the customers that make me train myself to cope with the different requirements, so I do not feel bored.”

In fact, few people know how many skills an expert like Duy must have to give an antique a second life. As a case in point, chemical knowledge is needed to mix the chemical ingredients in the reshaping and color design phase.

Moreover, such experts must be artistically talented to redraw the lost patterns or details, and they must have archeological understanding to create the ‘color of time’ which resembles that of the past. All these requirements make the number of experts in this field shrink over time.

“To do this job, you have to be patient, skilled, and esthetic,” Duy said.

“If you do not have any of those, it will be difficult for you to do it. For instance, you have to be patient when waiting for the glue to dry, which I often have to give up because of failure.

“I suffered many failures before I was successful. For example, in the color mixing phase, I never succeeded in combining the color the first time. Instead, I tried many times, adjusting a little each time until I had the color I wanted. Often, I tried almost ten times and failed until I had a color that was most similar to the original.”

Duy recounted that local authorities had offered him the opportunity to hold events at his home for visitors, hoping to promote the local tourism industry. 

But the expert admitted that he easily loses concentration when working in front of crowds. Besides, cleaning the artifacts raises so much dust that it may not be good for health. Therefore, Duy has temporarily declined this offer.

However, he still spends time greeting people and explaining what his special job entails to anyone interested. In fact, the pundit also wants to pass on the ancient value that lies in the old items.

“I am always honest in my work. When I took the damaged artifacts from the customers, I told them that I could restore the objects to their original condition, not perfectly, but about 80-90 percent,” Duy said.

“Fortunately, the customers eventually accepted the artifacts I repaired, although the fixed objects may not look like the originals. Besides, I suppose I work in the culture sector, hoping to preserve the old values and convey them to the people of today.”

According to him, today’s market for artifacts is quite complicated, so many people refuse to accept the process of mending or repairing.

“Also, sometimes repairing is used to cheat others and turn a damaged antiquity into a valuable one. I always remember to keep my soul pure, light, and enthusiastic in my daily work,” he said.

Refusal to help cheaters

Q.T., a collector of ancient artifacts who lives in Sa Dec City, speaks highly of Duy.

“Duy is an admirable person because he is so honest and says only what he knows,” T. said.

“When he repairs a damaged artifact, he only takes the amount of money that corresponds to his work instead of paying attention to the owner and the value of the object.”

“He has frankly refused to take orders from people who wanted to make fake items to earn illegal profits.”

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