Late last June, a woman in northern Hai Phong Port City's Ngo Quyen District reported a burglary that relieved her of five expensive smartphones, an iPad, a leather wallet with VND30 million (US$1,400), a luxury-brand handbag and a high-end party dress. The same day, another resident of the same district also reported a burglary, listing many valuable properties that had been stolen from him.
Despite their best efforts, local police were flummoxed. They had some suspicions, but no evidence. They had all but thrown in the towel when they got information about a family quarrel that had broken out between Duong Ngoc Hai and his wife.
The quarrel was over a top-brand evening dress that the wife had been promised, but ended up with her husband's girlfriend instead. The wife was livid. She could accept that he had a girlfriend, but not that the mistress had the fancy dress she had coveted. With things heating up, the police intervened and found that the top-brand dress was stolen property.
Hai was arrested soon after, but instead of showing remorse, the 27-year-old man boasted to the police that in just 10-20 minutes that fateful night in June, he had earned a total of VND100 million ($4,700). He said he could climb multi-storeyed houses without any supportive tool, and could conquer any height.
The high-climber now has five years in prison to reflect on how he was laid low by a woman's dress.
A bone to pick
Le Thi Thanh, a resident of the central city of Thanh Hoa, could not believe what she was hearing.
She had taken her three-year-old grandson to the province's Paediatrics Hospital after the latter broke his leg in an accident one night about two weeks ago.
As the child screamed in pain, the doctors and other hospital staff told her and other family members that they would need to buy the plaster needed to fix the broken leg.
The grandmother and relatives ran from pillar to post till a kindly doctor directed them to the hospital pharmacy where they could buy either a 5cm roll or a 10cm powdered plaster roll.
The distraught relatives could not figure out why the hospital would not treat the boy first and have the plaster supplied later, till an apologetic head of the orthopaedics department explained the situation.
He said the department had 5kg bags of plaster which could be used for dozens of patients, but "once we open the bag, it would get oxygenated and the remaining powder would be unusable. So if we opened the bag for just one cast, the powder cannot be used for patients coming after."
So, is it the modus operandi at the hospital that they will open their precious bags of plaster only after a quorum of patients has turned up? One would imagine that quite a few patients with broken bones would have a bone to pick with this approach.
Pushing the wedding envelope
It is a popular custom in Vietnamese weddings to help the couple meet their nuptial expenses with gifts of cash instead of kind. So it is that at the entrance to every wedding reception, a big, suitably decorated box, usually manned by suitably decorated damsels, stand ready to receive the presents from generous guests.
One of the pleasurable post wedding activities for the couple and their near and dear is to open the box and count their blessings, literally.
Sometimes, though, the counting can become a contentious affair, as happened recently in HCM City. The box was full of envelopes wishing the couple a long, happy married life, but it was not long before a serious rift opened up between the couple who had been madly in love with each other for six years.
A lover's spat, so to speak, broke out over whose side would have brought in more cash. The bride said her guests were the richer ones, and so she deserved to keep the money that had come in; while the groom argued that although his guests might not be as rich as his wife's, they had turned up in greater numbers, hence he had a more legitimate claim to keep custody of the receipts.
To cut a long story short, the wedding ended after 10 days in a divorce. The long and short of it: it is not always a good idea to follow the money to get at the truth of a matter, especially when it is a matter of the heart. — VNS