The Viet Nam Record Book has on the whole been well received by the public since its launch in 2004.
Among the noteworthies to make it onto its esteemed pages was Hoang Duc Thao, who had won the most IT prizes in Viet Nam; or the Hue artisans who fashioned a 1.5-tonne dragon from precious stones.
But in recent months, the book's compilers seem to have lost sight of what the book is actually about. For example, Vietkings, the book's publisher, seemed to feel that the first singer to take the leading role in the cai luong (renovated opera) Lan and Diep's Love Story was worthy of inclusion, as was the manufacturer of a collagen beverage and the photographer who had held the most exhibitions on lotus flowers.
But the public became incensed when Vietkings was about to include the name of the manufacturer of a water-purification machine for running the most adverts on TV in a single night. The most noteworthy thing about the five-second commercial, which simply flashed up a boring message again and again during a European Cup football final on VTV3, was that it was annoying in the extreme.
Fortunately, following public outrage over the ad, Vietkings relented and decided to drop any mention of the manufacturer's "achievement" in the book.
But what does the future hold? It should be noted that the Viet Nam Record Book's more famous cousin, Guinness World Records, has itself set a record for being the best-selling copyrighted book series ever published. Perhaps the Vietnamese version will set a record for being the shortest lived most ridiculous book of all time.
A not so trusting relationship
Nguyen Van Nam, who lives in HCM City's District 6, recently had his new Air Blade motorbike stolen when he left it unattended for a few minutes – a no rare thing unfortunately in Viet Nam.
When he broke the news to his wife however, he was somewhat surprised by her nonchalant attitude. Instead of berating him for his carelessness, his wife simply popped down to the local police station to report the theft. To his utter amazement, his bike was recovered in less than five hours.
This incredible bit of detective work however was not due so much to the diligence of the local police but to the electronic tracking device Nam's wife had secretly installed in his motorbike. For the princely sum of VND50,000 (US$2.5) a month, Nam's wife, via her mobile phone, knew exactly where her husband and his bike were.
So Nam got his bike back, for which he is no doubt grateful, but his independence is lost forever.
Villagers in central Binh Thuan Province's Duc Tai Commune had more to celebrate last month than a bumper rubber harvest.
Among the 70 winning tickets issued by Tien Giang Province lottery company on March 24, 50 belonged to villagers in Duc Tai Commune, who each won at least VND100 million ($4,800).
Organisers were somewhat aghast when the news broke, but attributed the outcome to pure chance rather than a computer glitch or human error.
As for the lucky villagers, they no doubt all have a spring in their step, which has nothing to do with their rubber-soled sandals. — VNS