Social Headlines January 1

RoK recruits Vietnamese guest workers again

The Republic of Korea will soon resume receiving Vietnamese guest workers following the signing of a special memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Seoul on December 31.

The Republic of Korea will soon resume receiving Vietnamese guest workers following the signing of a special memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Seoul on December 31.

Visiting Vietnamese Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen and her host Minister of Employment and Labour Phang Ha Nam signed the document, marking the resumption of the Korea Employment Permit System (EPS) for Vietnam.

The one-year MoU, effective as of December 31, 2013, will benefit more than 14,000 Vietnamese nationals who either registered for or passed Korean language tests in 2011 and 2012.

After a year both sides will review the implementation of the special MoU and consider extending the programme.

The signing of this special MoU demonstrates both countries’ efforts in taking bold measures to reduce the number of Vietnamese nationals residing illegally in the RoK.

The RoK suspended its EPS for Vietnam in August 2012, finding that many Vietnamese guest workers had broken off contract and resided illegally in the country.

The RoK Ministry of Employment and Labour reports the number of Vietnamese guest workers illegally residing in the country fell considerably from 49.9% in July 2013 to 38.2% in October 2013.

Vietnam on December 30 inaugurated a new office in Seoul in an attempt to better manage Vietnamese guest workers under the Korea Employment Permit System.

Ship siezed for holding undocumented iron

The provincial marine police said yesterday that they had seized a ship illegally transporting more than 3,000 tonnes of iron ore without the authorised paperwork .

The ship was on the way to northern Hai Phong Port City from the Ky Ha port in central Quang Nam Province.

The ship, Thanh Cong 18, belongs to a company based in Hai Hau district, northern Nam Dinh province.

Eight sailors were on board the ship at the time. The iron ore were seized for further investigation.

Search for capsize victims continues

Three people went missing after their fishing boat sank off northern coastal Hai Phong City’s Bach Long Vi Island, authorities said yesterday.

The boat was carrying five people when it sank due to strong winds and high waves. Two people, including boat owner Le Van Sen from central Thanh Hoa Province, were rescued by another boat. They were brought home immediately.

Yesterday morning, Viet Nam News Agency’s correspondent in Thanh Hoa reported that the three fishermen were still missing.

Thanh Hoa’s authorities are continuing the search for them.

Kien Giang frees over 5,000 birds

As many as 5,000 swifts and swallows were released to the wild in Hon Dat district of the southern province of Kien Giang on December 29.

The wild birds were caught earlier by Duong Van Minh, Nguyen Thanh Tam, Nguyen Van Thua, Le Ngoc Quy and Nguyen Trong Tri, all live in Chau Thanh district.

According to local forest rangers, the birds will be sold to pilgrims at Ba Chua Xu temple. They will later release them in pray for good luck.

There are now many kinds of birds living along the 50 kilometre-long coastal protective forest in Hon Dat district. However, out of unawareness, the locals hunt down and illegally sell them.-

Con Dao to have wind power in 2015

Petro Vietnam Engineering Corporation and Greenmade JSC have signed an agreement on the construction of a wind power plant in Con Dao district of southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, according to the Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam (Vietnam Economic Times).

The newspaper said this is the first independent wind power plant ever built offshore in Vietnam, with total investment capital worth 345 billion VND (16.2 million USD).

The 4MW plant comprises of two offshore wind turbines and a control centre on land.

Once operating in the third quarter of 2015, the plant will help provide electricity for the socio-economic development in Con Dao island and ease the dependence on diesel power.

Con Dao Island is an archipelago, 180 km off the southern coastal province of Ba Ria Vung Tau. Covering 76 square kilometres, the archipelago consists of 16 islands, the largest of which is called Con Son.

One of Vietnam’s tourist hot spots and described as a paradise in many international travel magazines, the pristine nature of Con Dao appeals to visitors, with beautiful beaches and pure, blue water.

Apart from its seaside attractions, Con Dao has a national park with rich flora and fauna. It is home to dugongs, dolphins and sea turtles, which are under threat of extinction.

The island also houses a special national relic, the Con Dao Prison, where some 20,000 Vietnamese revolutionaries died during the war against the French colonialists and American invaders.

Built in 1862 by the French colonists, Con Dao Prison was once dubbed the largest “Hell on Earth” in Indochina.

Vietnam Labour Management Office in the RoK inaugurated

The Vietnam Labour Management Office under the Employment Permit System (EPS) programme officially opened in Seoul , the Republic of Korea (RoK), on December 30.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Vietnamese Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen said that over the past time, her ministry has cooperated effectively with the RoK Ministry of Employment and Labour in many fields, contributing to enhancing the relations between the two countries.

At present, there are 60,000 Vietnamese guest workers in the RoK, including about 53,000 working under the EPS programme.

The office, together with the Labour Management Board under the Vietnamese Embassy in the RoK, will act as a bridge for Vietnamese agencies sending workers abroad and their RoK partners to manage and support guest workers as well as encourage them return when their contracts terminate.

Speaking highly of Vietnam ‘s strict measures to reduce the rate of guest workers living illegally in the RoK, Vice President of the Human Resources Development Service of Korea Lee Chun Bok said that the two countries are preparing for the signing of an agreement on receiving Vietnamese guest workers again.

He expressed hope that in the coming time, the two sides will continue working together to help Vietnam regain its top position among 15 countries sending guest workers to the RoK.

Three Vietnamese rescued from Malaysia massage parlours

Malaysian police raided three massage parlours in Setapak on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur late last week, rescuing 35 foreign women, comprising 10 Chinese, 10 Philippine, 12 Thai and three Vietna­mese.

The women were forced into sexual slavery and made to live in poor, unsanitary conditions for six months, according to The Star/Asia News Network.

They had been offered jobs as professional masseurs but were forced by their employers to “service” customers. Their passports and other important personal documents were being held by the employers.

“Some women were even imposed with a bondage debt of between RM5,000 -13,000 (US$1,600-4,000) and would only be allowed to leave once they had paid it all off,” said Bukit Aman D7 chief Senior Asst Comm Roslee Chik.

Raiding the parlours, the 20-member Bukit Aman D7 team also arrested five men – four locals and one Myanmar national – as well as a Philippine, believed to operate the massage parlours, without proper licences.

Boat sunk in Binh Thuan, leaving four missing

A cuttlefish boat coded BTh 88190 has got into difficulty and sunk off the central coastal province of Binh Thuan while fishing near Phan Thiet beach, leaving four of the five people on board missing.

This information was released by the Binh Thuan Border Giard on December 30.

One person has been rescued, Nguyen Van Linh, born in 1986 from Mui Ne was saved and immediately sent to Binh Thuan provincial hospital.

The incident occurred near Mui Ne beach in Phan Thiet city, approximately 24 nautical miles away due to strong waves.

The boat was said to go fishing on December 27, but was reported not to have returned on December 28 as scheduled.

The Binh Thuan Border Guard Station is currently joining efforts with other relevant agencies and rescue teams to search for the missing victims.

Cities honour most outstanding young citizens

The top 10 “most outstanding young citizens” were recently announced and awarded for their efforts and achievements. Dan Tri newspaper reports.

In Hanoi, among the top 10 was Le Anh Vinh, who earned a doctorate degree from Harvard at 27 and chose to become a lecturer at the Vietnam National University in Hanoi.

He also won a gold medal in Maths Asia-Pacific Olympiad, and a silver medal in the International Olympiad. He then went on to New South Wales, with a 3-year scholarship. He had opportunities at, not only Harvard, but MIT, Berkeley, Stanford, Yale, Cambridge and Oxford as well. Vinh also lectured at Rochester University and conducted research in the field of mathematics.

In 2012, he received awards for his talent from the Vietnam National University in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City’s Communist Youth Union.

More honours were brought to the country by Nguyen Huu Tien, Nguyen Ha Thanh, Phan Quang Dung, Truong Thi Ngan Ha, Nguyen Sy Luan, Nguyen Dang Quang, Nguyen Van Quyen, Can Ngoc Son and Lai Manh Duan.

Gymnast Nguyen Ha Thanh, who won a silver medal at the Internationaux de France 2013 World Cup C III and two gold medals at World Challenge Cup C III in Germany and Croatia, continued to win more medals in gymnastics in the Czech Republic and Belgium.

Pianist Nguyen Dang Quang won the first prize in the Republic of Korea’s Cheonan Music Festival and topped Group B for competitors under 15 years old at the Val Tidone International Music Competitions in Italy. He also won first prizes in a number of domestic music events.

Lieutenant Nguyen Van Quyen, from Hanoi’s Drug Crime Investigation Division, was named for his efforts in uncovering drug smuggling rings which operated from Son La, Hoa Binh to Hanoi and from Laos to Vietnam.

The head of the Hanoi Volunteer Club, Lai Manh Duan, was also honoured for having contributed to a wide range of charity efforts to help disadvantaged children, protect the environment and provide aid to students from outlying provinces who wished to go to Hanoi to participate in the university entrance exams.

In Ho Chi Minh City, Pham Tuan Huy, a 12th grade student who won the International Mathematics Olympic 2013, was named among seven of the most outstanding young citizens in the city.

Huy was also recognised for his abilities as a maths student at the Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City’s High School for Gifted Students.

Despite his family’s economic difficulties, Huy made great efforts in his studies and earned good results.

Huy also won the gold medal at the International Mathematics Olympic of 2013 held in Colombia, and was awarded with the second prize at the national contest for good students in 2013.

Other awardees include Chau Tuyet Van, Dang Hieu Hong, Truong Anh Van, Nguyen Duong Kim Hao, Nguyen Chi Thanh and Nguyen Hoang Trung.

Dang Hieu Hong is Vice Chairman of the Young People Union, member of the municipal Department of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs’ Trade Union Executive Board and head of a management board for Duc Hanh medical service centre.

Having been a security guard, Hong was given credit for his contributions at work, especially in improving management of trainees at the centre.

Born to a family with burdening economic difficulties, Chau Tuyet Van, a student at Ton Duc Thang University, was recognised for her great academic efforts and her role as a member of the national Taekwondo team.

Nguyen Duong Kim Hao, a 12-year-old student at Nguyen Gia Thieu Secondary School, has had a good knack for IT and related skills since he was a little boy. He has won a number of prizes in this field for his initiatives.

Truong Anh Van, of Thong Nhat Rubber Limited Company, was among the most outstanding young people in the city, known for inventing a packaging machine named “Deck in 2012″, which has made profit of over VND100 million (USD4,735) per year for the company.

He also took part in several other initiatives that have brought about profits worth billions of VND for the company.

Nguyen Chi Thanh is a staff member of the municipal Department of Firefighting. He has become well-known as a proactive person at work. In early 2013 he and his colleagues saved a person who was stuck in debris during a fire in District 3.

Nguyen Hoang Trung, a member of a young people’s association in Phuoc Vinh An Commune in Cu Chi district, was honoured for his success in improving agricultural efficiency and incomes.-

Transportation services put under closer watch

Deputy Chairman of the National Committee for Traffic Safety Nguyen Hoang Hiep has highlighted the tightened management of transportation services and vehicles’ capacity as urgent measures to help ease traffic accidents.

He said over 90 percent of serious traffic accidents are related to drivers’ reckless regard for observing law and regulations on traffic safety, considering the loose management over transportation businesses the cause root of the problem.

Therefore, “tightening the management of transportation services and vehicles’ capacity” will become the theme of the 2014 national traffic safety year, Hiep added.

Accordingly, the committee will focus on amending and supplementing legal documents to strictly put the operations of transportation businesses in compliance with regulations.

It will also devise new solutions and increase inspection, he said, adding that an itinerary supervision centre will be put into service in early 2014, aiming to make transportation firms take on responsibilities for traffic accidents, not drivers themselves.

Hiep also laid stress on the need to enhance the role and responsibility of State agencies in communications campaigns to promote the safe participation of road users.

In 2013, the number of traffic accidents in Vietnam dropped by 5.3 percent, fatalities, down by 0.58 percent and injuries, down by 9.36 percent.

This is the second consecutive year the number of traffic fatalities stands below 10,000 since 2001. However, the rate has still fallen short of the National Assembly’s target of 5 percent-10 percent.

Awards granted to French language teachers, students

Ten teachers who have contributed to developing French language at high schools received Valofrase awards at a ceremony held by the Ministry of Education and Training and the International Organisation of La Francophonie in Hanoi on December 30.

The awards also went to 50 outstanding students who earned high scores on Group D3 of literature, mathematics and French language during the 2013 university entrance exam and won prizes in the national academic competitions as well.

This was the recognition of the efforts made by the teachers and students as well as the attention paid by local authorities to the teaching and learning of French.

The awarding ceremony was part of the Valofrase project, which helps promote French language in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Thua Thien-Hue receives General Nguyen Chi Thanh’s statues

The family of General Nguyen Chi Thanh on December 30 presented four statues of the late General to central Thua Thien-Hue province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism on the occasion of his 100th birthday anniversary.

Thanh, whose real name was Nguyen Vinh, was born in 1914 in Quang Tho commune, Quang Dien district, Thua Thien Hue province. He took the post of Director of the General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People’s Army in 1950 and was brevetted General in 1959.

During his 30 years in the revolutionary activities, he established himself as a talented leader with undaunted fighting spirit, making significant contributions to the glorious victory of the Party’s revolution cause.

Speaking at the ceremony, Secretary of Quang Dien district’s Party Committee Nguyen Quang Vinh said that the presentation of the four statues is a meaningful act which will help people, particularly the young, further promote the locality’s heroic tradition and follow General Thanh’s example.

On this occasion, the provincial Party Committee, People’s Council, People’s Committee and Fatherland Front offered incense and flowers to General Thanh at his statue in Sia town, Quang Dien district.-

Ministry sets farming mechanisation targets

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has set a goal of mechanising every hectare of farm land nationwide to an average of 2.0-2.5 horsepower by 2015, and 3-4 horsepower by 2020.

By 2015, farming machines will be used in 95 percent of land tilling work, 35 percent of cultivation and 70 percent of harvesting work, Doan Xuan Hoa, deputy head of the Department of Agro-Forestry, Seafood Processing and Salt Industry, said at a December 30 conference in Ho Chi Minh City.

Those figures would be 100 percent, 50 percent and 80 percent, respectively, in 2020.

However, Hoa also said he worried about high prices of the machines, as most of them are imported.

To reach the goals, the department has worked a number of measures, including better planning of farming areas, improving agricultural infrastructure, speeding up the application of high technology and attracting investment to agricultural mechanisation.

Currently, Vietnam has about 600,000 tractors, 2,600,000 thrashers and 20,000 harvesters.

PM pledges to back historical science association’s activities

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has affirmed that the Government will support all activities of the Vietnam Association of Historical Sciences (VAHS).

Visiting the VAHS on December 30, PM Dung praised the efforts and achievements that the association has made over the past years, especially in history research, appraisal, consultations, publication and dissemination of historical knowledge.

He said he hopes the association will continue promoting what it has achieved and better performing its functions and tasks, especially connecting the historian circles and coordinating with relevant agencies to contribute to developing the history sciences of Vietnam .

The Government leader also urged the VAHS to stay more active in its operations as well as in boosting cooperation with international historian circles.

He listened to proposals and opinions of the association, including those related to the operation expenditure of the Vietnam History Development Fund.

Established in 1966, the VAHS is one of the first science associations in Vietnam . It now has 53 member associations located in provinces, cities, agencies, ministries and universities.

The 5,000-strong association has really become a representative of the historian circles nationwide.-

Teenage heroine memorial complex starts to take shape

A groundbreaking ceremony was held recently for a new memorial area honouring martyr Vo Thi Sau, a national heroine who fought against the French colonialists and was executed by them on an island in the Con Dao archipelago in the southeastern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The project, which will replace an older one, covers 2ha of land and includes a memorial house and a park. It will be completed in July on the occasion of the Day for War Martyrs and Invalids, which falls on July 27.

“This development is for the well-known heroine Vo Thi Sau, a proud and brave revolutionary symbol of patriotism, even in front of enemy guns,” said Le Xa, chairman of the district where the memorial will be built. He said Vo Thi Sau would always remain a bright example for generations of Vietnamese.

Sau was born in 1933 in Ba Ria and began her revolutionary career at the age of 14. Among her activities was a grenade attack on July 14, 1948, which killed a French officer and injured 14 soldiers.

She was arrested in early 1950 when she launched another attack. Sau was then put in jail and given a death sentence in Chi Hoa Prison in the former Sai Gon.

Feared for her strong and courageous revolutionary will, the French colonialists shipped her to Con Dao and shot her on January 23, 1952 when she was 19.

Sau refused to be blindfolded and sang until her final breath.

The memorial project is part of a larger one, the Con Dao – Legend and Future, which promotes cultural, social and economic development.

The district chairman said the project would also have a talent development fund, run a social welfare programme for the elderly and children, and upgrade an existing library.

It will also train Government employees, army members and then students and others to become “tourism ambassadors”.

Tourism is a key part of the Con Dao islands’ economy, thanks to its revolutionary sites, the beauty of its beaches, scenic bays, coral reefs and the Con Dao National Park.

Preservation-development balance a headache to planners

When architect Le Thanh Vinh returned to Cu Da, an old village located 30km away from Hanoi’s centre, he was shocked to say the least.

Rapid changes from urbanisation had almost completely erased the ancient features of the village compared with photos he had taken nine years ago. Once a fusion of French architectural style and rustic Vietnamese living and the home of traditional soybean sauce, the town is but a shadow of its former self.

“Anyone who knows about the village would feel the same way. It’s so sad to see modern structures spoiling the authenticity of the village,” Vinh told a workshop dedicated to the preservation of ancient villages in Hanoi.

“With the rapid pace of urbanisation, the preservation of ancient villages is difficult to achieve, especially when we need to balance preservation and development,” said the head of the Institute for Relics Conservation which hosted the conference on Friday.

Statistics collected this year indicate that Cu Da is among 60 villages in Hanoi recognised as having unique historical, architectural, spiritual and cultural value and eligible for national heritage status.

However, conservation experts are concerned that such a “long list” poses a challenge for policy makers. Many have cited the case of Duong Lam village, the only village recognised as a national historical site, currently facing obstacles with conservation efforts.

After gaining official recognition as a heritage site, households in Duong Lam signed a joint letter offering to revoke the village’s heritage status, citing the decision prohibiting residents from building houses or requiring approval to conduct home repairs.

Professor Hoang Dao Kinh from the National Cultural Heritage Council recognised there were challenges in preserving Hanoi’s ancient villages.

“It’s always a challenge for Hanoi to maintain ancient villages and traditional values; the challenge between preservation and development. A feasible preservation requires that the quintessence and the subjects of the villages be cared for the most.”

However, Kinh argued that conservation efforts should focus on what he describes as “real heritage”, saying: “We must be careful in recognising them as a piece of heritage. We have so many relics but fail to preserve our essential sites.”

Dr Dang Van Bai from the council agreed that Hanoi failed to preserve ancient villages by neglecting the subject of heritage – people.

“Preservation must ensure better living conditions for local residents. Human beings and their need must be the focal point of this process,” Bai said.

Professor Pham Dinh Viet agreed preserving the villages meant balancing conservations efforts with the needs of residential areas.

“The community needs to play a vital role because they are owners of the heritage,” said Viet.

For now, it appears progress is on the horison. In a bid to strengthen future conservation efforts, participants at the conference discussed a potential criteria for ancient villages eligible for heritage status.

In further progress, participants also agreed that the daily life and functioning of local communities was an essential criteria in preventing future conflicts seen with Duong Lam village.

“They need to benefit from the heritage but at the same time be accountable for its existence,” said Viet.

Importantly, it appeared that everyone had their eye on the prize to preserve valuable pieces of Vietnamese culture, said Professor Kinh.

“Hanoi is home to many ancient villages that preserve the roots of the nation,” he said. “The biggest contribution Vietnam can make to a global culture is our village culture.”

Typhoon victim recalls fight for survival

As Nguyen Hung stepped foot at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, he almost cried.

Along the 600-km journey from the city to his hometown, the central province of Phu Yen, he could not close his eyes for even one second, although he was completely exhausted.

He could have died in the Philippines, after being washed away by the fierce typhoon Haiyan.

But now, he was back in his homeland and on the way to meet his family.

The former soldier, who used to serve in an artillery unit in 1986, said his unit defended the Gac Ma (Johnson South) Reef in Viet Nam’s Spratly (Truong Sa) Archipelago in 1988. Many of his comrades went missing, while some died. Yet, he managed to stay alive.

But returning home now had greater meaning, he said. Back then, he was single; now, his wife and twin daughters were waiting for him.

He arrived home at three in the morning. His parents, his wife and daughters were all awake, waiting for their loved one.

He was unable to stop his tears of happiness at seeing them.

“I won’t be able to forget my near-death experience in Tacloban,” Hung said, recalling the time when the typhoon made landfall.

“I was sleeping when the house’s roof was blown away by the fierce winds. When I tried to hold on to the stairs, I was lifted up. I fell on the floor and was injured,” he said as he revealed deep cuts on his wrists.

But he survived thanks to the helmet he wore at the time.

Four hours later, the storm had passed, but the house had been destroyed, leaving him and his nephew, Tran Van Quyen, with no food or water.

They could not go outside because looting was rampant after the storm.

Filipino neighbours who knew Hung for years eventually came and gave him some water and biscuits they had received as part of food aid.

“At those moments, all I thought about was death. And my family,” he added.

“I will never forget that when I had nothing left, it was human kindness that saved me,” he remarked.

After five days, another Vietnamese found Hung and his nephew and helped them to reach the Vietnamese Embassy in Manila.

As he recounted his experience, Nguyen Duy Duc said he couldn’t believe that he is still alive. When the Haiyan typhoon struck, he, his son, Nguyen Nhat Duy, and son-in-law, Huynh Tien Phat, were inside their home in Tacloban. The powerful typhoon ripped apart the house’s roof. They had to hang on to heavy furniture, and wear motorbike helmets on their heads to protect themselves.

Along with the winds, torrential waters soon rapidly flooded his house. The three men were forced to flee outside and climb a coconut tree. But strong waves started slamming against the tree, which was uprooted. Mountains of debris slammed into the tree as it fell, and the men were pushed towards a neighbour’s two-storey house, which had also lost its roof. The three men managed to jump onto the second-floor balcony and clung on for their lives.

For four hours, they endured winds as fast and strong as a speeding train. They cried and howled. When the storm passed, they saw that everything around them had collapsed, except for the two-storey house, which had saved them. Most of their neighbours had died and there was no clean water or food left.

They swam through the high waters, crossed piles of debris with their shoeless feet and navigated their way around hundreds of bodies as they walked towards the centre of Tacloban City, where they found other Vietnamese. From there, they embarked on a difficult trip to Ormoc, where they stayed with a Vietnamese family for a short while before catching a ferry to Cebu. There, they waited for their exit clearance and air tickets to go home.

Like Hung and Duc, 24 other Vietnamese have also lost everything to the super typhoon. The situation for them is even worse because many of them had arrived in the Philippines on a tourist visa and had been trading on the streets without a permit. They will need to pay heavy taxes and fines if they wish to return home. A good example is Duc, who has stayed in Tacloban for 13 years illegally; he owes the Philippines Bureau of Immigration approximately US$7,000.

Nevertheless, you could say that luck has still been on the typhoon victims’ side. The Vietnamese Embassy in Manila, members of the Vietnamese community in the Philippines, as well as international organisations joined hands to help the typhoon victims.

Officials from the Vietnamese Embassy travelled to Ormoc and Tacloban to search for Vietnamese victims and provided them with initial support. The Embassy quickly issued new passports for those who lost theirs to the typhoon and lodged applications to request the Philippines Bureau of Immigration to waive tax and fines for the typhoon victims.

The Philippines Bureau of Immigration, however, took some time before making its decision, which added to the agony of the victims, who had nothing left.

But human kindness shone through even in these dark times. Vietnamese families in Ormoc, Cebu, Surigao, Tagbilaran and Manila opened their homes to provide free shelters for the victims. To prepare for the victims’ repatriation, Vietnamese living in Manila started to raise funds to purchase air tickets for them. Within a few days, there were people who came forward to buy 18 international tickets for the typhoon victims. The rest was donated by the family of Jonathan Hanh Nguyen, who also funded domestic air tickets, which helped several victims to reach Manila.

As an “eventful” year comes to an end, Nguyen Hung said he plans to enjoy the New Year with his family.

He said he would really miss the Philippines, where he had made several good friends and had neighbours who taught him how to live a better life.

He even recalled one incident when a man ran after him to return the money he had dropped.

But he pointed out that he is happy now, since he can be closer to his loved ones.

“I lost all the money I had earned and saved in the typhoon. Life is certainly difficult now, but money means nothing if my wife lost her husband and my daughters lost their father,” he said.

“I’m back. That’s all they will ever need. And as a soldier, I will be fine,” he added, smiling.