Nguyen Khac Giang, researcher As the Lunar New Year draws near, a common topic among my entrepreneur friends is the recurrent visits of government officials to their businesses. They come for various reasons; either a random inspection for fire and food safety, or simply to "keep themselves in the loop." But one thing stays the same every year. Most businesses would give these officials some gifts as for the Lunar New Year. There’s no extortion involved. Most of the gifts are given voluntarily. A 2016 report by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) said 45 percent of surveyed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) businesses in Vietnam admitted to giving gifts to inspectors. Eight percent said inspectors asked for the "gifts" directly. I have experienced this firsthand. A few years ago, when I tried to open a small café in Cau Giay District in Hanoi, my team and I had to "gift" some cash to the local administration every month. These people didn't miss a beat; they … [Read more...] about What Vietnam’s gifting culture sustains
Why do people give gifts
Angry: Liverpool fans protest of the golden handshake given to Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore. — Photo courtesy of Alistair Bascombe Viet Nam News by Paul Kennedy Around 200 men from Liverpool travelled to Spain in 1933. They were ordinary, working class lads. Many from industrial backgrounds like coal miners, or dock workers, who headed south to fight in the Spanish Civil War. At the time, the UK government wanted nothing to do with troubles in Spain where General Francisco Franco was hell bent on ruling the country with a fascist iron fist. Despite the ban on Brits helping out, the Liverpudlians, along with many other working class men from other cities in the UK, went anyway, picked up their arms and fought side by side with soldiers who they couldn’t even speak the same language as. They had no real reason to be there other than they believed it was the right thing to do. No doubt most, if not all of those fighting, had socialist tendencies and strong … [Read more...] about Just Scu on earth do you think you are, Richard?
It is rare for someone to live for more than 100 years like comrade Do Muoi. It is even rarer when such a man has made significant contributions to the country and its people, set an example of diligence, thrift, integrity and fairness, and won the respect of Party members and the people, both during his career and when he departed this life. Devoting more than 80 years to the revolutionary cause, comrade Do Muoi was jailed by the French colonialists at Hoa Loa Prison and entrusted to hold many important Party and State posts, every one of which he was completely dedicated to. Comrade Do Muoi was at the helm when the country was undergoing tremendous difficulties, notably the fall of socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and the Doi Moi reform process, which abolished the central command economy that was deeply ingrained in the minds of millions of people. The real stories of how he led the Party and people to overcome those days might seem quite alien when retold today. … [Read more...] about Comrade Do Muoi as I know him
Hong Phuc, a journalist She was all of 10 years old when Men was abandoned by her mother in front of the Saigon Central Post Office in District 1. Men was also blind. After hours, her heart-rending cries caught the attention of the local police. They took her to a nursing home near the Thi Nghe Bridge in Binh Thanh District. Men stayed there for two years, before moving to the Blind Association of HCMC in the same district. She’s been living there for 26 years now. Her days in the association’s dormitory were peaceful, revolving around a single bed and a pet cat named Quay. But Men wanted more. She decided to start her own handicraft business. Stuffed animals, handbags, key chains, artificial flowers... she could make many things. Her work is so remarkably meticulous that even people with sight would have a hard time imitating it. She asked me how to post pictures of her works online. She has a Facebook account for her business, naturally, but for the last two years, no … [Read more...] about Blind people in Vietnam need more than charitable attitude
Phan Xuân Xiểm. — Photo nguoiduatin.vn Phan Xuân Xiểm, member of the Party Central Inspection Commission talks to the Khoa học và Đời sống newspaper (Science and Life) on how to draw a clear line between a gift and a bribery act. What are your thoughts on bribery, specifically in the form of gifts? We need to differentiate between a gift and an act of bribery. It is common that people giving gifts to each other to say “thank you” or to further tighten the relationship between them. When that gift is worth several thousands of dollars, or a house, or car, then I’m pretty sure the giver must have an ulterior motive. In the fight against corruption, it is very difficult to make a clear line between a gift and a bribery act. Do you mean the act of giving an expensive gift is a sign for an act of corruption? Absolutely. There is no reason for someone to offer a car or a house to … [Read more...] about Are asset declarations reliable?