HCM City police are trying to keep a tight grip on drink drivers as part of a Government campaign to slow down the alarming rate of road accidents.
They have initiated a plan to catching law breakers red-handed by setting up posts in front of popular restaurants and other hangouts for the demon drink.
For years, since the motorbike and car replaced the bicycle, drinkers have been consuming beer and spirits until they're red-faced. Then they simply drive home.
Now not only will they be put off the road if caught. They will also be subject to a fine, which has been recently tripled to VND2-3 million for motorbike drivers and up to VND15 million for car drivers.
There are no arguments, the police are armed with breathalysers, which are accurate to a fine degree.
However, even smarter plans have been put in place by bar and restaurant owners to help drink drivers escape. The owners are so worried about losing profits that they have come up with various tricks.
One of them is to let drinking customers out the rear of the restaurant (police often stand in front of restaurants); hiring motorbike taxi drivers (xe om) to take drinkers home; or guiding drink drivers through back alleys until they are safely away.
An owner of a ca keo hot-pot restaurant in District 3 told an on-line newspaper that instead of having customers' motorbikes in front of the restaurant, he hired nearby vacant land from a construction site for a parking lot.
"The lot parks vehicles from students, construction workers and the staff of nearby companies, so it would be hard for police to distinguish who is who," he said.
One day they will learn of the devastatingly effective way Australian police catch drink drivers. They simply seal off one side of a road and force every driver to have a breath test. Many are forced to walk home after having their cars impounded.
Ministry of Construction in a dither
The Ministry of Construction recently sent instructions to provinces and cities, asking them not to build anything that copied the architectural designs of France and Europe.
Okay, but what about the tens of thousands of so-called French-style villas in the big cities of Viet Nam? Many people believe they look elegant.
About three weeks later, the ministry sent out another message on the same matter, stating that due to a printing mistake, the sentence about foreign architecture should be deleted. Maybe the ministry woke up that its request not to build French-style houses made no sense.
Some readers thought the instructions were meant for April Fools' Day.
Don't learn from Doi Ngo!
After high-school graduation exams in Ha Noi ended last week, a short video was sent to the city's educational authorities, revealing violations in a test room of Quang Trung High School in Ha Dong.
It was later learned that the video was filmed by a professional camera from a house located near the school.
The violations were not only from cheating examinees, but their examiners too. They seemed to deliberately leave the room while the candidates exchanged information during the tests.
One education official said the video upset those who saw the examiners intentionally ignoring their duties. But he said the situation was not as serious as one in a test room of Doi Ngo High school in northern Bac Giang Province a few years ago, where examiners threw the answers into the rooms for the students to copy.
Apparently, some examiners have forgotten the story of Doi Ngo in the ceaseless rush to promote their schools as educationally enlightened . — VNS