All major companies in Viet Nam, including public offices, have a carved wooden seal they use to sign off major documents. Many documents are only valid if the seal is, as they say, affixed. Given the importance and significance of a seal, people were flabbergasted at the news that the Peoples' Committee of Commune 9 in Tuy Hoa City in Phu Yen Province lost its seal last Monday.
According to Committee chairwoman Cong Thi Lan, the last time the seal was seen was early last Monday when officers used it to notarise some photocopied documents.
However, when they took the document to Lan's room for 10 minutes for her to sign, they returned only to find the seal missing. An intensive search was conducted throughout the office, but nothing was found.
While the People's Committee was occupied with their unwanted search, a growing number of people were kept waiting. Without the seal, business could not be completed and the offfice had to be shut down for several days.
Police intervened, but to no avail. The seal had gone, vanished, disappeared. As the work mounted, police officially declared the seal was lost so that a new one could be ordered.
The hand carving of each seal is always slightly different to an original, whether it is lost, stolen or simply wears out over the years. This should be enough to prevent anyone trying to use the missing one to sign off on fake documents. So the new owner has an object of absolutely no use and one that can also be used to incriminate if it is ever found.
Family has 9 children in 12 years on just $10 a day
Bearing and raising children is never easy, even for affluent families, so it is amazing to hear of a couple who earn no more than US$10 a day raising nine children in a 12-square-metre room right in HCM City.
This meant that the mother, Huynh Thi Gai, now 37 years old, would fall pregnant with another every seven months after the last. What was even more incredible was that all the children except the last were born at home with the help of a midwife.
Despite the fact that her children were born in conditions most would consider deprived, they all have grown up healthy. The children fill the house with their laughter, despite the fact that their clothes are often old and worn.
But the epic stops there. After the birth of her ninth, Gai was cajoled into being sterilised!
Youngsters are put to the test
Last Friday, the holiday set aside for the Hung Kings, many families took their children for an outing or even a get-away vacation. But hundreds of children were not that lucky. They were about to take a serious exam for a slot at one of the best primary schools in Ha Noi, the Nguyen Sieu School.
One indicator of the competitive nature of the exam was the long queue of smart vehicles at the entrance of the school. The school announced that they have received 1,000 applications, but could accept only 300.
Tuition fees are quite high, up to VND5 million ($250) a month. Some parents said money was no problem as long as their child got a high-quality education. — VNS