The white swan


Illustration by Dao Quoc Huy At the Prosek bus stop, Hung often met a blonde girl in her late teens whose hair was usually adorned with a red silk ribbon. Every time, spotting the sparkling little flame of her blonde hair from afar, his heart beat wildly. His face then turned hot and his feet seemed to move more quickly. Her clothes were fairly simple: a blouse with a wide neck, a white swan floating on the ripples which were cleverly embroidered on the left breast and an unfashionable skirt. Whenever he saw her, a vaguely affectionate feeling surged up in his heart. "Is she a student from a poor family?" he asked himself. However, his question had so far remained unanswered for he had no opportunity to make her acquaintance. Whenever he reached the roofed bus stop early and stood inside, she came later and stood outside, reading a book attentively. On the contrary, whenever she came to the place early and saw him coming from afar, she stood up and went out immediately. A few … [Read more...]

First Hotel launches promotional programs

Foreign guests at First Grill Restaurant of First Hotel - PHOTO: COURTESY OF SAIGONTOURIST

Tien Dat Located in the heart of HCMC’s Tan Binh District, First Hotel has 152 well-furnished bedrooms. It has been also constantly listed in the top 10 four-star hotels in Vietnam since 1999. The hotel is also known for its best cuisine. Together with its First Palace Convention Center with 10 luxury banquet halls capable of catering for more than 3,000 guests at a time, First Hotel operates three Vietnamese restaurants – First Grill Restaurant, First Hot Pot Restaurant and First Delicious Restaurant, a Japanese Restaurant, and a Korean Restaurant. Especially, the hotel provides professional conference and event services as well as outdoor party catering services at the request of customers. Veranda Coffee (Lobby Bar, ground floor) is a tranquil venue where guests can have friendly or business meetings. The lounge serves snacks, beer, coffee and cocktails. First Buffet Restaurant with luxurious and cozy design is suitable for diners to enjoy more than 50 unique … [Read more...]

Social News 18/1

Hand, foot and mouth disease strikes Hanoi A health official from the Hanoi Health Department says a surging outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease in ten districts in Hanoi has infected 36 people so far this year. According to the official, there have been five separate outbreaks reported and there is an especially high risk of a widespread outbreak in Bac Tu Liem district with six infected cases recently reported. There is no vaccine to prevent the disease, the official said. Vietnam recorded 80,685 cases of hand-foot and mouth disease in 2014 including eight deaths while Hanoi reported 1,170 infected cases in 26 out of 30 districts citywide. The disease is a contagious viral illness that commonly affects infants and young children. Symptoms usually begin with a fever, sore throat, painful sores in the mouth. Complications include viral meningitis, myocarditis, and acute pneumonia, which can be fatal. To reduce the risk of catching the virus, both children and adults should … [Read more...]

MAG’s female de-mining group clears Quang Tri with care

Eight women make up the core of an UXO (unexploded ordnance) detection team funded by the British Mines Advisory Group (MAG)'s mission in Quang Tri Province. The region suffered the worst of American bombing during the peak of the Vietnam War and was a principle battleground during the 1968 Tet Offensive. An estimated 400,000 pieces of UXO remain buried across 480,000 hectares of land in Quang Tri. UXO can be found in residential areas, gardens and even under the floors of houses. Official statistics list more than 7,000 victims, 31 percent of them children of UXO accidents in the province between 1975 and 2011. … [Read more...]

Typhoon Haiyan: The man and the boy who saved each other

Typhoon survivors queue up to receive relief goods being distributed at the ruins of Tacloban airport

When typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines a year ago and sea waters submerged parts of the city of Tacloban, one man grabbed a piece of wood - and floated into a tree where a boy had taken refuge. In his efforts to save the boy, he also saved himself. Lt Col Fermin Carangan of the Philippine Air Force knew that a storm was coming and got his men up early to secure equipment at Tacloban airport. Soon the wind became too strong, and they retreated indoors. But then the water started flooding the airport building - and when it surged quickly above waist height, they knew something was seriously wrong. … [Read more...]

Bridge-building volunteer forges links with community

New home: Kurt Jensen pictured in his garden. From a plot of white sand, he and his wife have built a farmhouse and lived there happily for many years helping local people. - Photo courtesy After settling in Viet Nam, Kurt Jensen decided to help the disadvantaged population of his new hometown. An elderly Danish citizen has demon-strated that building bridges can not only connect localities, but also communities around the world. In the central province of Binh Thuan, Kurt Jensen, 78, enjoys coffee with his Vietnamese wife, Tieu Thi Ngoc Sang, as the sun rises over their idyllic little home. … [Read more...]

Art & Entertainment News Headlines 26/6

Vietnamese photo and writing contest invites entries All Vietnamese people and foreigners of all ages and occupations are invited to participate in a photo and writing contest about their feelings for Viet Nam's people and natural landscape. The contest has been jointly organised by Tuoi Tre (Youth) daily newspaper and Saigontourist, one of the country's largest tourism agencies, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sai Gon liberation which took place on April 30, 1975. Entitled Tan Huong Ban Sac Viet (Enjoy the Vietnamese Identity), the contest's themes are about beautiful moments which depict the beauty of nature, daily life and traditional customs, festivals, local gastronomy and the hospitality of the Vietnamese people across the country. … [Read more...]

Social News Headlines 16/6

Vietnam, US discuss non-traditional gas development Safely and effectively developing non-traditional gas resources without damaging the environment was the focus of a workshop held in Hanoi on June 12-13. Jointly organized by the US Embassy in Vietnam and the Ministry of Industry and Trade's General Department of Energy, the event attracted a crowd of experts from both countries operating in the field, along with those from the member nations of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and ASEAN. … [Read more...]

Vietnam cinema to screen in Paris next week

A scene in "Mua oi" (guava season) movie by director Dang Nhat Minh.

VietNamNet Bridge - Cinematheque Francaise will hold a program highlighting an overview of Vietnam's cinema in Paris from June 11 to 27. As part of the Vietnam Year in France, the program will feature 36 movies and documentaries, with 31 of them directed by 24 locals. … [Read more...]

Adjustments of Hong Kong property prices ‘necessary’, IMF says

Apartment buildings and office blocks cluster around the Happy Valley neighbourhood in Hong Kong, on October 27, 2013

The International Monetary Fund said Monday Hong Kong property prices are set to see adjustments following years of boom. The city's housing market has become one of the most expensive in the world -- prices have more than doubled since 2008 -- due to an influx of capital from the mainland and record low interest rates thanks to US quantitative easing. Housing affordability has become a thorny issue for the Hong Kong government, with officials forced to introduce a series of measures to curb rising prices. But an expected US tapering and an interest rate hike are set to bring down prices, the IMF said. "Some adjustments are necessary," Rhee Chang-Yong, IMF's director of Asia and Pacific Department, told a press conference in Hong Kong on Monday as the international lender released its latest regional economic outlook. "As interest rates go up because of tapering, it is one issue Hong Kong government needs to focus on," he said. "Borrowing costs will increase. It … [Read more...]

Western guests in Phu Yen province

Leaders of the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People's Committee meeting, cheering foreign volunteers for a Happy Tet on the occasion of Lunar New Year

Nowadays, Phu Yen province not only welcomes foreigners to travel but also those who work and live here, which is a good sign of the "good land for birds". Phu Yen on the way opening and integrating into the international stages. Michael Schnoor (Australian citizen), coming to Tuy Hoa several times for visiting and volunteering, commented that, "10 years ago, it's hard to see a foreigner on the streets in Tuy Hoa city, but now it's easy to see Western guests walking, cycling and riding motorcycles on the street ...". Indeed, though not as large as other tourism cities in Vietnam, somewhere on the path of Tuy Hoa city, Western people are also seen to live with the local people. Now, Phu Yen is not only a friendly and attractive destination to visit but also the "good land for birds" for many foreigners to work and live. Among them is the Dutch man, Mr. Marius Holdrinet, aged 67. He is married to a Vietnamese teacher and sees Phu Yen province as his second homeland. Loving his wife's … [Read more...]

Numerous apartments await buyers this year

Dinh Dung According to statistics of market research firms, HCMC still has 17,200 unsold apartments, with high-end apartments located in districts 2 and 7 and low-cost ones in the outlying districts of Binh Tan, Tan Phu and Binh Chanh. The selling prices of high-end and low-cost apartments fluctuate around VND30 million and VND15 million per square meter respectively. To stir up the market last year, investors had to offer many special promotions to attract buyers instead of providing direct discounts. From financial support Offering financial support with longer payment terms was the solution used by many enterprises to reduce pressure for customers. The payments were made in tiny installments to make the scheme more affordable to buyers. For instance, Novaland offered a payment method over a long period of up to 50 months to buyers of Sunrise City apartments in HCMC's District 7 and buyers would pay around VND32 million each month. Similarly, with the Tropic Garden project … [Read more...]

Luxurious condo developers race to lure clients

A view of Him Lam Riverside project in HCMC's District 7. The investor of the project has launched many promotion programs to attract homebuyers - Photo: Dinh Dung

Khang Minh Given the crisis of the real estate market, few new high-class condos have been launched in HCMC except for those offered earlier such as Star Hill, Happy Valley of Phu My Hung Corporation, Him Lam Riverside of Him Lam Group, Celadon City of Sai Gon Thuong Tin Tan Thang Company, Sunrise City and Tropic Garden of Novaland. While investors of low-cost condos have seen the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to affordable home products, those developing luxury projects have faced tough competition to lure customers. As home demands usually pick up before the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet, the investors have launched many promotion programs. The investors of Him Lam Riverside and Sunrise City in District 7, for instance, have offered the most competitive sales policies. This month, Novaland has launched discounts and a program of installments over a period of 46 months. Customers of Sunrise City project's first stage have to pay only 35% of the condo value in the … [Read more...]

Local estate developers hunt for foreign capital

The Hoa Binh Construction and Real Estate Trade JSC signed a series of contracts with foreign investors and contractors in the first eight months of the year.

VietNamNet Bridge - As the domestic financial sources are limited, Vietnamese real estate developers tend to seek capital foreign capital and look for their opportunities by cooperating with foreign firms. In July 2013, the company signed a VND400 billion contract on undertaking a part of the SORA gardens I in Binh Duong City new city project. This is a package deal belonging to the Japanese invested Tokyu Binh Duong Garden City, which has the total investment capital of $1.2 billion. At the end of the second quarter of 2013, Hoa Binh signed a contract on undertaking the management over GEMS, a high end house - shopping mall - hotel complex in Yangon, Myanmar. In May, Jesco Asia, the foreign partner in Hoa Binh, poured tens of billions of dong to upgrade the designing, the electro-mechanics and infrastructure execution. In late March 2013, PT Nikko Securities Indonesia spent over $10 million to buy HBC shares at the prices higher than the market price. Khang Thong, also a big … [Read more...]

The Government’s regular meeting – August 2013

GOVERNMENT ___________ No: 104/NQ-CP SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM Independence - Freedom - Happiness _____________________ Ha Noi, September 7, 2013 RESOLUTION The Government's regular meeting- August 2013 The Government on August 27-28 convened its regular meeting to discuss and decide the following issues: 1. Reports on socio-economic performance in August and the first eight months of 2013, the implementation of Resolution No. 01/NQ-CP and Resolution No. 02/NQ-CP, the socio-economic situation in 2013 and design of the socio-economic development plan in 2014, which were presented by the Minister of Planning and Investment. a. For socio-economic performance in August and the first eight months, the Government unanimously agreed that ministries, agencies and localities continued to actively launch the Resolutions of the Party and the National Assembly, the Resolution No. 01/NQ-CP and Resolution No. 02/NQ-CP and resolutions adopted at the Government's regular meetings, … [Read more...]

30% of homebuyers taking out bank loans

Dinh Dung Multiple property companies reported that the number of homebuyers taking credits had been rising in the past few months. Around three out of ten homebuyers have applied for loans from the banks, they said, citing the actual number of apartments sold as the foundation. Ngo Quang Phuc, marketing director of Him Lam Land, said his company had sold about 100 apartments of the Him Lam Riverside project in District 7 this year, with roughly 30% of the total number of homebuyers borrowing money from banks. The number of customers obtaining home loans has grown rapidly compared to last year when Phuc's enterprise sold 50 condos, with only two customers borrowing money from banks. In the middle-class housing segment, Nam Long Investment Corporation also recorded the same number of customers getting bank loans with the Ehome 3 Tay Saigon project in Binh Tan District. Around 100 customers performed procedures to borrow money from banks in the first sale program with a total of … [Read more...]