Ha Noi's Information and Communications Department plans to provide free wi-fi internet access around Hoan Kiem Lake. Authorities believe the service will attract more tourists to the city and stimulate local economic growth in the bustling heart of the city.
In early 2012, Hoi An city in central Thua Thien Hue Province became the first city in the country to set-up a wi-fi network to serve tourists. The city spent about VND25 billion (US$1.1million) to install 350 wi-fi hotspots with a internet access speed of 256Mb/s.
However, some local residents in Hoi An say that the service sometimes suffers from slow connections, making surfing the internet a frustrating experience. In the meantime, experts have raised concerns over the network's security as they claim people on smart phones, laptops or Ipads accessing the internet via the free wi-fi network, have to face to a high risk of having their private information stolen by hackers.
Do you like using free wi-fi when you visit places near Hoan Kiem Lake? What are the benefits and drawbacks when using free wi-fi networks in public areas? Do you think that the plan to provide free wi-fi will attract more tourists? Do you worry about security risks when using wi-fi? Are free wi-fi networks common in your country?
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, 79 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Ha Noi. Replies to next week's questions must be received by Thursday morning, June 6, 2013.
Last week, Viet Nam News asked for readers' opinions about prostitution and measures to limit it as well as the social prejudice that women are the cause of prostitution.
Jessie Yang, Korean, Belgium
Prostitution should be legal and regulated to protect the health of both sex workers and their customers. Prostitution is legal in European countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey and Hungary.
Although each country has different regulations related to this, in general, sex workers are obliged to register. They must also have regular health checks for sexually transmitted diseases and the details entered on their cards.
Police are allowed to check the status of registered prostitutes to determine whether the examinations have been held and to make sure that they see health officials if they haven't.
I think countries legalise prostitution because they realise it is impossible to stop it. In some other European countries such as Norway and Sweden, prostitution is illegal. However, they have wonderful regulations that declare that customers, not prostitutes, commit a crime through the sex act - and face high fines.
The rationale for these regulations is that prostitution is a form of violence against women. So, the crime is paying for sex, not accepting the money.
This is the way these nations express their respect for gender equality. Viet Nam can learn from this, especially in protecting disadvantaged women.
I think prostitution should be legal in Viet Nam so this activity will be strictly managed and the disease-related risks can be minimised.
Nguyen Hai An, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
I don't intend to discriminate against or devalue people working as prostitutes. However, as for me, the business is unacceptable.
When prostitutes, mostly female, are asked why they are in the sex industry, they tend to give similar reasons. They might say their families are very poor so they are unable to go to school and they also can't find out any job.
Then, their friends persuade them to be waitresses or bar girls and finally become sex workers. They don't like it at first. However, soon enough they discover that offering this service can earn them a lot more money. They enjoy having a very good income which ensures them a luxurious life.
Prostitution doesn't require them to have any degrees or special skills. It is a shortcut for so many women. They refuse to give up "their job" because they earn three to four times more than workers in offices or factories. Most wish to continue "this job" and get VND2-10 million per day.
Should I sympathise with people who are too lazy to experience hard or manual jobs? With the excuses of poverty and low education, in our country more than one third of population could qualify to be engaged into "this industry".
Should I support those who seek society's tolerance and acceptance that prostitution as a legal job? No, it is impossible. All morality values will be erased. However, it is wrong to blame female prostitutes alone. Any person involved in this type of work should be blamed.
The most urgent measure is to raise awareness among these sex workers about using condoms to stop the spread of HIV and STDs.
The State should also consider setting up areas where paid sex is tolerated and rules applied. Any person involved in prostitution outside should be imprisoned.
John Boag, American, HCM City
Although prostitution among consenting adults is considered a victimless crime, there are certain areas such as child prostitution and transporting prostitutes across state lines that carry felony offenses in the United States. However, for the most part, police have better things to do than peek into bedroom windows.The perfect world of husband and wife raising future good citizens is ideal. One knows this does not exist in many cases, but any attempt to criminalise adultery, homosexuality or sex between singles turns governments into "Nanny states".
However, the international trafficking of sex workers being pursued by authorities is different. The horror stories from such activities abound. Kidnappings, forced labour, beatings and murders are commonplace. I fully support such agencies as Interpol who are actively engaged in bringing criminals to justice.
Do Chi Son Linh, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
I believe that prostitution should be legalised and put under effective management and control. For example, people under 18 or already married are prohibited by society from buying sex.
The violators will receive strict punishment, such as being sent to rehabilitation or having their pictures and names publicised. This punishment should be meted out equally to both genders.
For sex workers, it is a must that they check their health condition every week. This should be a free service provided by local health centres. These people should also pay taxes and social insurance.
Their work should be recognised and considered as a legal job.
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi
In Canada, you look in the Yellow Pages in the phone book under ‘Escorts' to find a sex partner for cash. And there are certain corners in town where girls wait for customers. Police tolerate this unofficial strolling.
Massage services need to stress that they are therapeutically given by trained and accredited therapists or else they will attract the wrong kind of clientele.
Prostitutes are usually poor, uneducated and have often been abused as children, coming from broken homes. Customers come from all quarters. If things get out of hand, there are schools that judges occasionally send abusive customers to as part of a punishment and rehabilitation process.
Viet Nam needs to be careful not to open its borders to unsavoury groups and solo travellers like Thailand and the Philippines. Viet Nam should provide vocational training and low cost loans to those caught up in the system.
Men will always pay, and are always attracted to young beautiful females. That's normal. The people I despise are the pimps who beat the girls, the madams who pretend to be an aunt and snakeheads who smuggle them.
John McDonald, Australian, Ha Noi
One of the joys of Viet Nam is the absence of hundreds of hookers strutting their stuff, as they do in Thailand and many other places in South East Asia.
To the average foreigner (Western, Asian or African), Vietnamese sex workers are a rare breed, especially in the north. The presumed joys of karaoke bars are usually ignored by outsiders because they are such boring places.
Presumably the two HCM City women caught having sexual relations with two male sex workers were Vietnamese not foreigners, otherwise the news item would have gone around the world.
Therefore, in answer to your implied question about the fairness of condemning women, but not men, for being involved in illegal sex acts, yes, this is a common attitude in male-dominated societies.
But pity the women in some societies where they can be whipped or stoned if they are raped while, again, the men go free. The implication in male dominated societies is that women seduce men, tempting them from their pristine paths. Horse feathers! It takes two to tango! —VNS