by Thu Anh
Intimate shows reign supreme
Live music is alive and well in HCM City though fans seem to prefer the more intimate ambience of smaller venues like bars and nightclubs.
A few years ago most of these venues were in the downtown area, but things are changing, with clubs mushrooming all over the city.
These places mostly have live music with a twist – songs in English and French in addition to Vietnamese staples.
They try to get customers in by signing up top singers like Ho Ngoc Ha, Dam Vinh Hung, Thu Minh, and Tuan Hung and doing up interiors.
In the cosy atmosphere of a small bar or club, audiences can relax to the gentle sounds of old romantic songs composed by people like Van Cao and Doan Chuan.
Clubs in districts like Binh Thanh and Go Vap cater to such clientele.
Younger customers seem to prefer pop and dance music and go to places like Dong Dao and Khong Ten in Districts 1 and 3.
The places charge VND200,000 to 300,000 for a whole evening of live entertainment and refreshments.
Huynh Anh Tu, owner of a newly-opened club in Go Vap District, said, his singers are students from music schools who want a place to perform rather than earn money or glory.
"Yes, my singers are newcomers in the field. But I believe they will provide fans something new instead of just pop, R&B, and dance music."
But he is under no illusion that it will take anything but a long time before the new genre becomes popular.
Dog days are here again
With temperatures soaring to 39 degrees in HCM City, many people are flocking to swimming pools to cool off.
The more than 50 pools in the city are in fact seeing record crowds.
District 3's Ky Dong Swimming Pool attracts 1,000-1,500 people every day.
Children can be seen waiting with their parents to jump into the water in the evening.
"Some days we get up to 3,000 people," manager Hoang Dang Nam says.
The pool only has space for 1,000 people at a time, he says.
"Usually I go swimming twice a week to Ky Dong, but now I swim every day," Nguyen Thi Oanh of District 3, says. "The pool is always crowded."
From 3pm to 5pm ever day none of the city's pools can provide swimmers with the three sq.m of space stipulated by the Yet Kieu Swimming Pool in Binh Thanh District.
Healthcare agencies have also expressed concern about sanitation at the pools.
With not many of them meeting sanitation standards, it is very easy to catch a disease at one of them where the water is not clean and the purification system does not work properly. — VNS