Duong Van Tung, a poor man with many debts living in southern An Giang Province, recently hit the jackpot with a winning lottery ticket, but in some ways he wished he hadn't.
Tung bought the ticket recently. When he went to check the results, he claimed the numbers showed he had won VND100 million (US$4,761).
He happily told his relatives who rushed around to inspect the fortuituous scrap of paper, passing the ticket from one to the other. Things then became a bit murky.
Reports from the family say that a nephew accidentally tore the winning ticket, which was then rushed to the lottery office. However officials there refused to pay out, presumably because of some rule or regulation demanding that tickets be presented whole and unblemished.
The family asked the lottery company to reconsider because, they claimed, the winning numbers were still clear. They also signed a document stating how the unfortunate event had occurred.
But to no avail. Tung is now suffering the trauma of a poor man who technically became rich – and then poor again in the twinkling of an eye. All his plans to pay off his debts and find some decent accommodation have literally been torn to shreds.
As for the nephew, reports say he has quit university in an attempt to earn money to reimburse his uncle. The only answer seems to be to force lottery companies and their clients to register all tickets sold with the names and addresses of buyers, as is done in many foreign countries. This automatically confirms those with winning combinations.
New national emergency
Central Kon Tum Province People's Committee recently sent urgent messages asking staff at departments, agencies, People's Committees, military and police forces to attend football matches at the town's new stadium.
The messages, signed by the provincial chief of secretariat, had nothing to do with any impending emergencies, but by a desire to make sure that the stadium had a respectable number of "fans" to watch the events. About 800 to 1,500 people duly followed instructions and turned up.
Urgent messages are usually sent in time of fires, disasters or national-security related matters but, as many government employees are being reminded, football has also become a prime issue.
The excuse for sending the messages was that few spectators had turned up for the first match held at the new facility which, presumably, reflected on the need for such an expensive use of taxpayers' money.
Leaders of the province have rushed to confirm that they will not be repeating the need for a "football emergency", especially during office hours.
Which raises the question: Who is supposed to be running Government affairs if everyone is attending a football match? Hmmm! Maybe the exercise points to a possible savings in staff costs!
Beware the living dead!
A southern city's People's Committee has issued two building licences since 2010 for a woman who died seven years ago. This was revealed when property owner Le Cong Dinh sued his neighbour Dinh Ngoc Tung for encroaching on his land while erecting a new house.
However, believe it or not, the judge rejected the application because he said Tung's mother was officially the legal owner of the land – despite the fact that she died in 2006, well before the building licence application was made.
The court kept rejecting Dinh's petition because Mrs Tung's name was on the construction licence. They insisted she was the one who should be sued.
Either some legal people need a re-education in the facts of life or an exorcist should be brought in to stop the dear dead lady from keeping on applying for building licences!
Quick as a flash
On Sunday, a middle-age man in a smart black suit went into a motorbike shop on Ha Noi's Nguyen Trai Street looking to buy – or so he said. His mechanical expertise pleased the proprietor, who had no hesitation in allowing him to test drive one.
Fifteen minutes later, the shop owner began to wonder when the expert and his VND33 million (US$1,571) machine would re-appear. He is still waiting. — VNS