Vietnamese woman sends garbage on 800-mile train journey to Saigon
It’s not exactly the gift Saigon was hoping for, but people from Huong Khe District in the central province of Ha Tinh sent it anyway. After their local garbage dump was closed, locals decided it would be better to tie their trash to a train and send it on a 1,280-kilometer (800 miles) journey instead of leaving outside their front doors. A video published on social media in November shows them hanging trash bags on a train before it left the station. A Vietnamese woman was identified in the video and fined VND3 million ($132).
Hospital tells man he needs his vagina stitched up
A 34-year-old man went to Thach That General Hospital in its namesake district with an injured finger in October was told that he needed stitches in his vulva and vagina. The public hospital later said its nurse had made a mistake and clicked on the wrong type of injury on her computer. The confusion did not go far as the patient unsurprisingly decided not to go to the obstetrics department as instructed.
Toddler rides 16-foot pet python
“Shocking” was the word used when a video of a giggling toddler straddling an enormous python in October was posted on social media. The python was moving slowly through flood water in what appears to be the front yard of a family home in the central province of Thanh Hoa, with adults encouraging the baby to sit tight or lie down on the reptile. The family said they found the python in a field and had been raising it for two years. They were fined VND3 million ($132) for violating wildlife regulations after the video surfaced. No issues with child protection then!
Man throws shower of cash from hot-air balloon to promote get-rich book
Pham Tuan Son on board a hot balloon from which he showered cash bills. Photo by Nhat Linh
A book promotion received unexpected publicity in June after real cash was tossed from the sky by its author, prompting public backlash and earning the organizer a fine. Pham Tuan Son, who wrote the book “Dare to Get Rich”, took off in a hot-air balloon and proceeded to scatter VND5,000 (22 US cents) and VND10,000 (44 US cents) bills over a stadium in Hue in central Vietnam. “Opportunities to make money and to get rich are all around us. The question is whether we can see them and grab hold of them,” Son said in defense of his act. “It’s purely symbolic,” he said. Thanks Son, but we already knew we won’t get rich from picking up change from the street.
Hanoi restaurant cleans intestines with boot
A restaurant in Hanoi’s Old Quarter was fined VND4.6 million ($201.76) in March after an employee was filmed stirring a basin of pig intestines with her boot on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. Officials called the act “unhygienic” but the restaurant owner assured them that the boots were “completely clean”. No problem!
Bloody seat quarrel delays flight
Two male passengers in their forties got caught up in a fight on a Vietnam Airlines plane in November. One of the scrappers had been designated an aisle seat, but when he boarded the plane it was already occupied. When the occupant refused to move, he punched him and gave him a bloody nose. An investigation found the other man had been allocated a window seat. Maybe he needed easy access to the toilet.
Hanoi displays plastic flowers at grand rose festival
Plastic roses at Hanoi’s rose festival in March 2017. Photo by Ngoc Thanh
Hanoi opened what it advertised as the country’s biggest rose festival with more than 300 types of roses from across the world in early March. It managed to attract hundreds of people from outside the city. Each had to pay the VND150,000 (nearly $7) as an entrance fee but were quickly disappointed by plastic imitations and wilting natural flowers. Apparently not all plastic interventions are satisfactory.
Official visits flood zone on raft pulled by employee
A photo shared on Facebook shows Nguyen Thi Tam (R), a ward Party secretary and chairwoman in Thanh Hoa, on a raft during a visit to a flooded village in October.
Nguyen Thi Tam, the Party secretary and chairwoman of a ward in the central province of Thanh Hoa, appeared in an online photo in October standing on a raft on a slightly flooded road being pulled by a male employee. Tam was accompanied by an unidentified woman. She claimed she was just checking the strength of the raft, but many people said the excuse didn’t hold water.
City bans jeans in public offices, says they’re for cowboys
Can Tho in southern Vietnam issued a code of conduct in September banning jeans and T-shirts from state-run companies and government offices. The ban drew a lot of public ire, prompting the official behind the decision to speak up, and his explanation raised even more eyebrows. “They do not suit Vietnamese customs,” said Nguyen Hoang Ba, director of Can Tho’s home affairs department. He said jeans originated from western countries and were made for people who worked in factories or grazed cows and sheep. He said public workers wearing jeans to work was not appropriate for a first-class city like Can Tho, the fifth largest city in Vietnam. The public backlash, with people calling the ban “silly” and “rigid”, made Saigon rethink a similar proposal and scrap the plan this month.