Bumper year coming up
Mothers-to-be are rubbing their hands at the prospect of six-months' maternity leave from next May, as opposed to the current four months.
The move is designed to bring the labour laws in line with developed countries and to improve working conditions for young mums.
Newly-wedded women are naturally delighted, while those working mothers who have or will be giving birth before next year are lamenting their haste.
As for the husbands, eager to see how their progeny will turn out, they may have to wait – it seems canny young brides are deciding to put off giving birth until the new law comes into effect, regardless of what the stars portend, to the dismay of soothsayers.
So either husbands are to be denied their conjugal rights, or contraception will become the order of the day. And women will get a respite from having to juggle work and home – for a year and six months at least.
Please, sir, I want some more
The cultural differences between the south and the north of Viet Nam can perhaps be seen in their approaches to food. Northerners like their food less spicier than their southern counterparts, and they like heaps of it. They also like to eat more quickly.
This antithesis was admirably demonstrated when two people recently attended a buffet dinner at a restaurant in Ha Noi. The ethos at a buffet here in Ha Noi seems to be cram as much food onto your tray as possible, hungry or not, or risk missing out when the restaurant runs out – a bit like US supermarket giant Wal-Mart's "pile ‘em high – sell ‘em cheap" philosophy.
Unfortunately, the young couple turned up to the restaurant about 45 minutes before it was due to close but were happily shown to a table by staff. The couple then helped themselves to a few dainties, before returning to the buffet table to sample some other choice dishes, only to discover that there was virtually nothing left.
When they complained about the meagre selection on offer, they were given short shrift, to put it mildly.
Understandably upset, the couple started taking photos of the beggarly buffet with their smartphones, which they later uploaded onto the internet. On the clip, restaurant staff can be seen and heard physically assaulting the hapless customers.
The clip went viral, and a debate about the dining differences in the south and the north quickly ensued.
Southerners seemed genuinely shocked by the couple's treatment, while Hanoians were perplexed by all the fuss. Whatever your standpoint, I don't think service with a smile is too much to ask for.
The long and short of it
Common sense would tell us that beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive. The media in Viet Nam, however, would have us think differently. Journalists here often refer to models as "long-legs," which is synonymous with the "dumb blonde" stereotype in the West.
Not so long ago, it was reported in the media that a well-known teen model had bragged about getting 39 out of 60 in her high school graduation exam. Members of the public were vexed by her disregard for intellectual achievement, while others cautioned that looks could only take her so far.
A former Miss Viet Nam, meanwhile, eager to dispel the myth that models are morons, or perhaps in a bid to prove that she was beautiful on the inside and out, went so far to fake her high school diploma.
A teen model in this country can earn thousands of US dollars on the catwalk, or from photoshoots or by attending PR functions – a far cry from the paltry salary university graduates in this country can hope to earn. But then, those who work hard can draw solace from the fact that they are more likely to grow up to be more-rounded individuals, personality wise that is, if not physically!