The Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism is compiling a draft circular limiting the amount of smoking that can be depicted on screen and onstage.
Characters will be allowed to smoke if they are imitating real people in history or smoking constitutes a major plot point. However, smoking must not appear more than twice in a play or a movie and the action must last less than 20 seconds. And, a warning that smoking is harmful to human health must appear before the movie starts.
Vice head of the ministry's Legal Affairs Department Le Van Liem said that in recent years, mass media publicised the harm of smoking, which helped limit the practice on stage and in movies.
People who work in the entertainment industry fear that the restriction will hinder character development.
However, Viet Nam's effort to curb smoking also included last May's ban on smoking in public places, which authorities have reportedly failed to enforce because of understaffing.
So will the cigarettes really go out?
All households in Tam Binh District, southern Vinh Long Province have a door plate saying "Determined to develop a cultural family", reported Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer) newspaper.
This is part of a movement in which Vietnamese families are encouraged to maintain traditional family values, fulfill citizens' rights and obligations and have a healthy lifestyle and stable economic condition. Commune/ ward authorities will select eligible households yearly.
Chief of the district People's Committee Office Tran Tuan Hien said the doorplates "encouraged" the approximately 30,000 households in the district to show their "determination".
However, according to the newspaper, many doorplates hang sloppily on fences, while others are hidden by bushes. It seems like local households aren't particularly "determined" to make an effort.
No clothes, no fine
Public nudity in Viet Nam will no longer be fined when a new decree on public security and order and social evil prevention takes effect on December 28.
The decree replaces a 2010 regulation that people who are naked or wear only underclothes in public places such as working places, religious sites and meetings must be fined VND60,000 -100,000 (US$3-5).
However, half-naked people can be seen all over the streets of this tropical country on hot summer days, and few of them are fined.
Are traffic police responsible for doing so? Or culture inspectors? It's a situation where one could well ask who wears the pants.
Was it worth it?
HCM City People's Court sentenced two individuals to a total of 13 years in prison for stealing VND12,000, just over 0.5 US dollars.
Lam Van Cung, 33, of southern Hau Giang Province and Nguyen Thanh Dat, 18, of Soc Trang Province admitted to the police that they stopped a couple to steal some money for alcohol.
However the couple had only VND12,000, so they kept standing on the road to look for other sources of income. They were seized by police after buying wine at a nearby stall. — VNS