A member of the National Assembly Committee for National Defence and Security recently suggested that Vietnamese male youths be given an option to pay for release from military duties.
Under the current regulation, males aged from 18 to 25 years have to join-up unless they are attending universities or colleges - or can prove that their health is not up to military standards.
The suggested "cop-out" was made in a recent NA general session discussing amendments to the Law on Military Services. According to some arguments, many Vietnamese youngsters already avoid military services by entering tertiary institutions.
However, some people feel this means that only the poor would have to do their duty. They argue that serving the country should be an honour, so why offer a financial way out?
It should be noted that in South Korea, even stars who have made millions of dollars cannot avoid military duties. As we Vietnamese are proud of our past, which is filled with glorious fights for independence, the job of protecting the country should not be left to a few.
Hotlines run cold
The Health Ministry has set up a hotline and several email addresses to receive complaints from residents about the sector's services. The new service aims to tighten management of medical centres and plastic-surgery services in both public and private sectors.
In addition, each hospital is now required to set up a separate hotline of their own to deal with mismanagement issues or complaints about their institutions.
However, many patients and their family members already say they hesitate to call the hotlines because they fear doctors and health staff will discriminate against them at a later date.
Typically, one hospital reported that it only received a few calls per day. This is strange considering the health sectors' plague of problems, including overloading, mistreatment and unprofessional conduct.
At the same time, some hospitals complain many callers phone hotlines seeking medical services or help in handling an emergency situation. Those who take the calls reply that they have to ask for permission to pass their requests on.
So do medical hotlines serve any real purpose? A call from Viet Nam News to one hotline was met with all sorts of unhelpful messages from the receptionist. It seems it is better to remain silent.
Martial-arts master stroke
A female Vietnamese martial-arts performer was supposed to have stood for trial yesterday in central Binh Dinh Province.
According to a media report, she had been accused of humiliating a judge by pulling a pair of women's trousers down over his head during an argument.
Apparently, the incident happened when the performer was visiting a court in Quy Nhon City in Binh Dinh Province for advice on a certain court case.
But yesterday's trial was a non-event. The judge, who was apparently humiliated, did not show up. Neither did many of the witnesses.
Perhaps His Honour was too embarrassed at having been humiliated by a woman. — VNS