Flood-proof roads have downside
The level of National Highway 50 running through Phong Phu Commune in HCM City's Binh Chanh District has been raised by nearly two metres since 2007 to help control any flooding.
However, it's virtually impossible for the roadside houses to "grow" in line with the road surface. Consequently, they are now much lower than the road - and more vulnerable to flood than ever.
An ninh thu do (The Security) newspaper reported that in places, the level of the road was as high as the roofs of some of the houses. Nguyen Tan Vinh, 28, said that as the road was raised, his family also lifted the floor of their house, losing their original ground floor. Now, the new first floor is about level with the road.
"The house is so dark now. We have to bend down to get in," Vinh said, adding that other houses had to build steps down from the elevated road.
Meanwhile, in Ha Noi, people struggle to cross Tan Mai Street in Hoang Mai District because electric poles have been left in the middle of the road after expansion works were carried out. Moreover, the poles are not in a straight line, making traffic more "challenging" for commuters.
One can be forgiven for wondering just how many more so-called improvements are on the way?
Lessons from new Tarzan
A long-time drug user in the northern province of Thai Nguyen's Dai Tu District has isolated himself in a tree house for three years to keep away from other drug users and stay detoxified.
Nguyen Van Giang, 38, who used to be a gold miner, started using drugs when he was in his twenties. On many occasions, he tried to stop using "substances" but failed because he kept on meeting other drug users.
Three years ago, determined to detoxify and start a new life, he built a house five metres up a large tree and started living there permanently. Every day, he climbs down and goes fishing to get something to eat.
Then he spends his time collecting waste and selling it to get a little cash. Giang has been in his Tarzan abode three years. He reckons another year will be enough to clear his system of any drugs forever.
If Giang succeeds, maybe he can open classes to share his experience with others!
Failthless wives cast in stone
Visitors to Chi Linh Tourism Village in the southern coastal province of Vung Tau may question why three statues placed at a solemn location in the village are dedicated to three women wearing traditional female costumes from the north and the south of Viet Nam. The statues don't look like any famous or historical people and stand there without any notice providing background information.
Recently, owner of the tourism complex Le An revealed that the statues represented three of his former wives. "I built the statues because they betrayed my trust. They were so faithless," he said, adding that the wives stole his assets and claimed their manoeuvres put him in jail.
"The statues help me remember what happened to me, how to live better and how to avoid similar situations," he said.
Now, the 77-year-old tycoon is living with his sixth wife who is 55 years younger than him. They married in 2009. Last year, his assets was reportedly worth VND2 trillion (nearly US$100 million).
The one question we would all like to ask is whether the former wives realise they are being made such spectacles? — VNS