Having known hardship, the Vietnamese appreciate food – to put it mildly (some say we never stop eating). And that runs true for young parents, who can often be seen trying to spoon food into to their reluctant child's mouth as they turn their face away.
My friend, who has a one-year-old baby girl, is no exception. She feeds her baby six times a day. Her daily intake consists of three bowls of soup and three 180ml bottles of milk. In addition, her insatiable infant has to consume either a small glass of orange juice or a carton of yoghurt daily between meals.
Ingredients in the home-made soup include pork, beef, shrimp and vegetables mashed together.
"My daughter will get everything she needs when it comes to nutrition," my friend proudly announced one day. "Not only is this diet good for her physical well-being, but it should also help her mental development."
However, when her baby failed to put on weight and began to lose what little hair she had, her panicked mother sought medical attention.
The doctor said the baby was malnourished because she could not digest the food she was being fed.
Well, we are all familiar with the saying, less is more. But in this case, perhaps the moral should be, good food is no replacement for goo.
Falling ill in hospital – literally
Two months ago a bed in the National Tumour Hospital collapsed under the weight of 10 patients who were forced to sleep together.
Though sharing a hospital bed is a common practice in Viet Nam, usually, no more than four are expected to share this modest sleeping space.
The Ministry of Health plans to reduce hospital overcrowding by 50 per cent by 2015.
But the National Tumour Hospital has taken matters into its own hands. Just four now share the bed in question – a 60 per cent reduction. Though it ought to be said that the bed is still broken.
Music misery on Ma May street
Ha Noi has the only ca tru (classical northern chamber music) venue in the country.
Performances of ca tru, which was recognised by UNESCO as intangible world cultural heritage in 2009, have been taking place at a club on Ma May Street since last September, to the delight of local and foreign ca tru lovers.
However, local residents are not so captivated with the music and have proposed that performance be limited to just three days a week. It's not that they're troubled by the noise. Instead, it seems, local residents find the melodies too mournful and have even likened ca tru to funeral music.
Well, meritorious it may be, but uplifting it ain't – at least for those living on Ma May Street. — VNS