Last week, Viet Nam News asked readers whether they believed the prophecy that the apocalypse would occur on December 21st. Most of our readers dismissed the idea as only a rumour, but some said the topic was worth thinking about, as the world faced so many problems it might actually come to an end someday.
Charlotte Carpenter, Canadian, Ha Noi
I don't actually believe in the Doomsday rumours, but I think there is still a possibility that something like that will happen someday, even if NASA denies it.
According to TNS, a world leader in market research, about 1.5 million Vietnamese consumers can afford international luxury brand products - a small fraction of the total population. This means there is huge potential for market development. The average income of Vietnamese people has risen several times in recent years, and among the newly affluent there is high demand for international luxury brand products.
Are you a fan of luxury brands? What brands do you look for when shopping?
What do you think about the trend of buying international luxury brand products among Vietnamese people? Do you think it reflects the improved living standards or are the buyers just slaves to fashion?
Do you have a strategy to enter Viet Nam's market, if you are a luxury-brand product suppliers?
Please reply by email to: email@example.com, or by fax to (84-4) 3 933 2311. Letters can be sent to The Editor, Viet Nam News, 11 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ha Noi. Replies to next week's questions must be received by Thursday morning, December 20.
We are living in a world full of risks. We are running out of essential resources and suffering from serious pollution. Even if a planet does not collide with the earth, the world might still come to an end due to people ruining nature and thereby destroying themselves. No one can ever say for sure that the world will never come to an end, and even if it never ends, you and I, as human beings, will have to die someday. It is our inevitable fate, and I guess that's what depressing about the rumours: it reminds us of a fact we all know but try to ignore so we can keep living.
But I don't want to be pessimistic about this issue. To be honest, I do not mind if I die and everyone else dies with me. The scary thing would be if I survived, but all of my friends and family had to go. I just don't want to be alone. But if we all go to Heaven together (supposing Heaven does exist), then I don't really mind.
Nguyen Hai Yen, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
I don't believe in the Doomsday rumour, because it is not based on any trusted source of information or any logical reason. I don't think the Earth can easily disappear into thin air like in a science fiction story.
This rumour might make people terrified or curious or less productive in their daily lives. But I don't think people believe in its real impact in Viet Nam. Almost all my family members agree that I'd better not waste my time pondering the matter as there are many other things to think about.
However, as far as I know, young teens and Netizens have been thinking a lot about the topic, since there are a lot of discussions about the rumours on the Internet. As we continue suffering from the economic downturn, people seem more pessimistic. Everything, Doomsday rumours included, is considered possible. And as people are exposed to numerous stories about the apocalypse, which can be misleading, they may get scared and worried - particularly young children.
Kim Min Ah, Korean, HCM City
Doomsday may seem like a joke for most people, but I think it is something we should think about. Perhaps we will not die on December 21, but many young and middle-aged people have passed long before their time because of incurable diseases or accidents. The Doomsday rumours are a reminder that life is short. Since we never know what will happen to us tomorrow, we should try to make every day count. By that I mean we should live each day to the fullest and try our best to make the world better.
There is a famous saying I saw in a South Korean drama that I find very meaningful: "Dance like no one's watching. Sing like no one's listening. Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt before. Live like there's no tomorrow." If you live this way, even if Doomsday comes, you won't have to regret not living a meaningful life.
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi
If you believe the world is going to end next week I challenge you to do the following: 1. Locate the Mayan civilisation area on a world map. 2. Tell me how many years ago the ‘end' was predicted. 3. Leave your car and house keys with me.
There is no shortage to scams, tricks and jokes in human history. If you don't believe me, read any tabloid newspaper. Children raised by wolves, aliens living amongst us, and oh yeah-the world is going to end-next week!
I think the Mayans were among the first practical jokers. Their area of influence in modern Mexico/Central America also included human sacrifice, and they are credited with creating the Americas' only complete writing system.
For some reason-such as kings and medicine men using fear as a means of control - some Mayan came up with the usual doomsday/the sky is falling prediction. They were smart enough to make the date far in the future - a fact that is lost on many contemporary people. People used to think the world was flat. No one fully understood atoms or how invisible bacteria on medical tools were passing along infections.
Thankfully science and technology have advanced. The fools and the superstitious have not kept equal pace. I've got a treasure map I've been saving for just this kind of occasion. I also have a bridge to sell you. It travels to the pot of gold just next to the fountain of youth.
Tran Mai Huong, Vietnamese, London
I think people are thinking more about the Doomsday rumours as December 21st nears, but they don't take them seriously. Here's a typical conversation in my office:
- Speed up your work - it's the end of the world next week.
- Oh, really? Since we will all die very soon, why do we have to rush?
The Doomsday rumours have become a popular joke in my office and people keep talking about how people around the world are impacted by the rumours. It seemed like a harmless joke, so I was surprised to find out people in other countries are so scared they even try to store up food or consider suicide so that they won't suffer from the great disaster.
Most people around me do not believe in the end-of-the-world rumours, but the funny thing is, they have believed in many other things much more ridiculous. My friend's mother, for example, is opposed to her relationship with a man just because their ages are not compatible according to the horoscope. I guess this shows how superstitions and rumours can influence our lives.
But I know at least one story about a person positively affected by the Doomsday rumours. A friend of mine who was hesitant to leave her office work for years finally quit her job in 2011 to pursue her dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Despite warnings about the economic downturn, she opened a clothing boutique on a huge loan from the bank. Her excuse? "We will die anyway, so I might as well make my dream come true." Now, with the initial success of the shop, she has managed to pay off half the debt. She is still struggling to earn money to pay the rest, but for now my friend seems very happy with her decision. — VNS