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Ho Chi Minh City ranks sixth in top 10 cities for expats in 2021



Ho Chi Minh City recently made it into the top 10 cities for expats according to data collected in a survey of more than 12,000 expat respondents from across the globe.

The Expat City Ranking 2021, which was released on Wednesday, is part of the Expat Insider 2021 survey launched by international online expat community InterNations in January.

According to InterNations, Expat Insider 2021 respondents were invited to share their opinions on their current city of residence through questions like ‘Does it have a convenient public transportation system?’ ‘What is the local housing market like?’ and ‘How do they view their career opportunities, and how would they rate their social life?’

Thanks to their insights, the Expat City Ranking 2021 offers an overview of the 57 best- and worst-rated cities for expats worldwide.

The overall ranking for the cities is categorized into five indices, including quality of urban living, getting settled, urban work life, finance and housing, and local cost of living, with each index consisting of distinct subcategories.

Ranking sixth out of 57 cities, Ho Chi Minh City made it into the top 10 in four indices, and wound up in the bottom 10 in the fifth – quality of urban living.

A graphic by InterNations shows the ranking list of best and worst cities in 2021 by expats.

A graphic by InterNations shows the ranking list of the best and worst cities in 2021 for expats.

In the finance and housing index, the city tops the list in the finance subcategory, with 75 percent of the expats saying that their disposable household income is more than enough to cover expenses while 77 percent are satisfied with their financial situation, the survey showed.

In terms of urban work life, the Vietnamese city was voted as the best when it comes to overall job satisfaction, with 88 percent of the expats satisfied with their profession in general.

In getting settled, 77 percent found it easy to make new friends, 74 percent are happy with their social life in Ho Chi Minh City while 93 percent described the local people as generally friendly toward foreign residents.

While 80 percent found it hard to learn the local language, 77 percent said it is easy to live there without speaking it.

In general, 89 percent of the expats said they are happily living in Ho Chi Minh City.

Last year, Vietnam ranked 19th out of 66 cities covered in the Expat City Ranking 2020.

A graphic by InterNations shows how expats rank seven city in Asia in 2021
A graphic by InterNations shows how expats rank seven cities in Asia in 2021.

Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur topped this year’s ranking while Spain’s Málaga came second and the United Arab Emirates’ Dubai ranked third.

Australia’s Sydney finished fourth while another Asian city, Singapore, ranked fifth.

The other four spots in the top 10 include the Czech Republic’s Prague, Mexico’s Mexico City, Switzerland’s Basel, and Spain’s Madrid, in descending order.

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Spring arrives in Cái Mơn flower village



Farmers busy harvesting flowers for Tết. — Photo

By Lâm Giang

As Tết (Lunar New Year festival) approaches, Cái Mơn flower village is a charming sight with beautiful colours lining the roads. Fresh spring air blows into each small hamlet.

Cái Mơn flower village is the common name for the communes of Vĩnh Thành, Long Thới and Phú Sơn in Chợ Lách District, Bến Tre Province. The area grows raspberry chrysanthemum, bougainvillea, cockscomb and many other kinds of flowers.

Starting from HCM City, it took us more than three hours to reach the village by motorbike.

Cái Mơn flower village has thousands of households participating in growing traditional flowers. — Photo

Running along Highway 1A, passing Long An Province, Mỹ Tho City and Tiền Giang Province, we arrived in Bến Tre City where we crossed the Hàm Lương Bridge on Highway 60, before turning right on Highway 57 and following the asphalt to reach the follower village.

There, we talked to the owners of some follower gardens, learning about the process of cultivating saplings, looking after the colourful flower pots for Tết each year.

In recent years, due to drought and salinity, many strains of flower have become difficult to grow. Only bougainvillea is more resistant, so many farmers have turned to specialise in growing this ornamental plant.

In the past, bougainvillea had only one red colour. But now, people grow many types, including imported varieties. Skilled people can grow bushes in five different colours and sell them at a good price. Depending on each type, small pots cost VNĐ100,000–VNĐ200,000 (US$4.30-$8.60), large pots cost millions of Vietnamese đồng.

This year, Nguyễn Thị Mười, 52, and his family in Lân Đông Hamlet, Phú Sơn Commune, sold more than 1,000 bougainvillea pots, earning a profit of more than VNĐ150 million ($6,500). Mười said that a new flower crop will start again as soon as the flower pots of the old crop are lifted from the field.

Farmers buy each seed embryo for about VNĐ15,000 (60 US cents). After about eight months of care, they start putting flowers in pots to shape. Around the beginning of October, the bougainvillea begins to bud and then the gardeners must be very careful in taking care to keep the flowers blooming in time of Tết.

People in Phú Sơn Commune said that in recent years, people have also begun selling flowers on e-commerce websites and social media. Farmers can sell more goods in a leisurely manner this way. Although bougainvillea can be sold all year round, people want to sell during the Lunar New Year festival for better prices. 

On the weekends, especially before Tết, young people come to Cái Mơn flower village to take pictures. — Photo

Huỳnh Thanh Tâm, head of the cooperative for the production of bougainvillea in Lân Đông Hamlet, said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the products of the cooperative have sold out. Traders ordered several months ago, so farmers are glad and excited.

In addition to bougainvillea, locals are busy packing raspberry chrysanthemum, cockscomb and rose to sell. All roads and fields are covered with flowers. When seen from above, large areas have turned colourful.

Nguyễn Thị Hồng, 56-years-old in Phú Sơn Commune, said that a few months ago, locals were nervous and anxious because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She had to reduce from 5,000 pots of raspberry chrysanthemums to 3,500 pots because she was afraid of not selling much.

The COVID-19 pandemic in the locality has since been basically controlled, so travel and transportation of flowers in the area have recovered. Traders have returned to search and order more ornamental flower plants.

“In the past few weeks, I was very happy because many traders asked to buy flowers. I hope the pandemic is soon controlled so that people can do business and have a safe, joyful Tết“, said Hồng.

The highlight of the trip to discover Cái Mơn flower village is a place around the old brick kilns, K26,  in Phú Sơn Commune. It is very famous for taking photos. — Photo

The highlight of the trip to discover Cái Mơn flower village is a place around the old brick kilns, K26, in Phú Sơn Commune. It is very famous for taking photos. Its location is quite beautiful with the layout facing the river, its back is rows of coconut trees and its front are straight beds of chrysanthemums. The two sides are covered with colourful flowers, creating a romantic space. On the weekends, especially on the occasion of Tết, young people often come here to take pictures.

Lữ Duy Tường from HCM City said he really likes visiting the winding village roads lined on both sides with colourful flower gardens.

“Going inside the village, I caught the sight of old brick kilns that were tinged with time and covered with overgrown vines. Right next to the kilns is a large nursery. The scene looked like a painting,” said Tường.

Nguyễn Ngọc Trường, 32-years-old and living in Bến Tre, said he is very happy to see the flower village in his homeland expand day-by-day and especially show off its beauty before the 2022 Lunar New Year.

“The people here are very friendly. When you come to check-in, you must ask the garden owner’s permission to avoid touching or affecting their flower pots or plants. Because the process of taking care of a flower pot is very hard,” said Trường.

Cái Mơn flower village seen from above. — Photo


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14 photos win awards at the ‘Story of Plastic Waste’ contest



HÀ NỘI —  Fourteen photos have been selected from thousands of entries to win awards at a photo contest featuring the plastic and environment in Việt Nam.   

The photo contest, themed ‘Story of Plastic Waste’, was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Although the winners were previously announced, due to COVID the awards ceremony only took place in Hà Nội on Monday.

The main prizes were awarded to the three best works; “Vấn nạn rác thải nhựa” (Plastic Waste Problem) by Nguyễn Đoàn Kết, “Vị giám đốc trẻ mê nhặt rác” ở Đà Nẵng: 10 năm dọn vệ sinh không công dưới đáy biển” (The young director who loves to pick up trash in Đà Nẵng: 10 years of unpaid cleaning in the seabed) by Nguyễn Giang Nam and “Tái chế nhựa” (Plastic Recycling) by Trần Văn Túy.

A photo from the prize-winning photo series “The young director who loves to pick up trash in Đà Nẵng” by Nguyễn Giang Nam. — Photo courtesy of the photographer

The photo contest received 8,434 works from many different sources, including students and lecturers of more than 40 universities, colleges and high schools; journalists from more than 30 press agencies; photographers of the Việt Nam Association of Photographic Artists and more than 20 local photography clubs across the country.

It was organised to raise public awareness about the management of household and plastic waste, thereby making people and businesses more aware of the negative impacts of improper waste management on human health and the environment.

Along with this event, UNDP and Việt Nam General Department of Sea and Islands launched the campaign “Non, biển chung tay – Dọn ngay rác nhựa” (Mountains and sea together – Clean up plastic waste) to call for action to recycle, reuse and reduce single-use plastic waste.

In addition, UNDP also introduced to the public the application Săn Rác (Garbage Hunting) – a mobile application to report and monitor all illegal, spontaneous landfills in Việt Nam. Users can take photos and record information on the application about illegal garbage spots on the “Garbage Hunting” Map, thereby helping local authorities, stakeholders and people to handle them promptly.


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Special film and TV programmes celebrate Party anniversary



HÀ NỘI — A special programme of films and television shows will air this month across the nation to celebrate the 92nd anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Việt Nam, and to welcome in the upcoming Lunar New Year.

The films feature historical and traditional events to mark the founding of the Việt Nam Communist Party on February 3. It will take place across the country from January 26 to February 6, the MoCST has announced.

Shows selected for screening include: Bình Minh Đỏ (Red Sunrise) by HODA Film; the documentaries Chí Khí Người Cộng Sản Việt Nam – Trọng Trách Niềm Tin và Khát Vọng (Spirit of Vietnamese communists – Responsibility, Trust and Aspiration) and Chí khí người cộng sản Việt Nam – Những hạt giống đỏ (Spirit of Vietnamese Communists – Red Seeds) by the National Documentary and Scientific Film Studio One-Member Co., Ltd; and cartoon Nữ tướng Mê Linh (General Mê Linh) by the Vietnam Animation JSC.


A scene from the historical animation Nữ Tướng Mê Linh (General Mê Linh). – Photo

According to the MoCST, the film screenings will only be held in areas where the pandemic is under control and in line with pandemic prevention and control regulations by the Health Ministry. In case of delay, the above films will be screened in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, the special TV show Mùa Đoàn Tụ (Reunion Season) will be aired by the Việt Nam Television on January 31, the Lunar New Year’s Eve.

The highlight of the programme is humanity stories in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which manifest the mutual support and solidarity of Vietnamese people in difficult times, as well as their efforts to heal themselves and overcome challenges to create the country’s miracles.

The programme includes an art performance featuring famous artists such as singers Thanh Lam, Hà Trần, Uyên Linh, Đoan Trang and Khánh Linh.

Particularly, Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyễn Hồng Sơn, Associate Prof. Dr. Trần Đắc Phu, Ambassador to India Phạm Sanh Châu, and many other guests will appear in the programme to share their stories of the past year and their expectations for the Lunar New Year.  


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