"Don't go looking for pancakes when you have flapjacks at home!"
These wise words designed to dissuade husbands or wives from committing adultery is no longer enough it seems, at least for the government, which plans to impose a fine of VND1 million (US$48) on anyone caught playing away.
The fine is part of a draft document from the Ministry of Justice, now open for further comments from the public, which is expected to come into effect by July if approved.
The fine is actually double that of the current penalty, which has been in place for 12 years and is often criticised for being too low to discourage extramarital affairs – assuming a spouse is motivated by money and not the sanctity of marriage.
According to a national study on family matters in 2011, adultery ranked second among reasons for divorce in Viet Nam, accounting for 26 per cent of cases, so clearly there is a precedent here.
The top reason, for the curious among you, is a "conflict of lifestyle", which benefited perhaps from being decidedly vague and dubious to claim 27.7 per cent of the share.
We welcome the good intentions of the ministry in trying to prevent adultery, but will the passions of lust be quelled by a fine which is merely enough to buy 30 bowls of pho?
It seems neither love nor law will prevent some Vietnamese from jumping the fence.
Now, we finally understand why there are so many divorces!
Be careful what you wish for
A young actor in HCM City hoped to cause a stir by posting pictures in a local newspaper of his unusually-furnished house.
Instead of chandeliers and Swiss clocks, the budding thespian had adorned his walls with the carcasses of exotic wild animals, including a tiger skin, a panther skin, bull horns and deer heads.
In Viet Nam, it is usually the preserve of rich people to own such rare, precious and costly objects for home decoration, and the woefully misguided souls are usually proud of their neatly-arrange abattoirs.
The public is in shock. And so is the Wildlife Conservation Society, which has asked the police agency to verify the origin of these rare beasts. The society also wants to investigate the legality of the furniture which is suspected to have precious parts of protected wild animals embedded as ornaments.
Perhaps the boy will think twice next time he wants to act out and garner attention.
Named and shamed
A restaurant named Golden Sand (Cat Vang) in central Binh Thuan Province's Phan Thiet City hit the headlines recently after it was found to be refusing service to Vietnamese customers.
The restaurant is nestled in the heart of one of Viet Nam's most popular attractions, boasting beautiful beaches and serving as a haven to swathes of foreign visitors, especially those from Russia.
But this warm welcome doesn't always extend to Vietnamese visitors.
After a local customer was refused service, the restaurant's owner was asked to explain himself to local authorities. The owner admitted he had not accepted Vietnamese customers for roughly three years, having had little success in his previous dealings with them.
The public was outraged by such discrimination. It seemed the restauranteur had forgotten the most important rule of business: putting customers first!
Thankfully, a meeting was convened two weeks later with the aim of sharing experiences in customer care among local tourism businessmen, having been arranged at the behest of the provincial People's Committee.
At the meeting, the restaurant's owner expressed words of apology to the local community, with both sides emerging somewhat bruised from the encounter.
But the pain didn't stop there, as the provincial culture and tourism department ordered him to repeat his apology to the mass media and future customers.
We look forward to receiving his apology. Better late than never! — VNS