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Power bill was ‘bolt out of blue'

Update: April, 08/2014 - 10:09

Most people try to use electricity economically as possible, especially since prices went up by a third recently. Phan Van Be, a citizen living in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta Province of Soc Trang, is one of them.

He and his family used to pay around VND350,000 (US$16.50) for power each month. However, Be has been recovering in hospital since receiving his last bill.

The poor man fell into a faint when he saw that the bill was many, many times the usual amount. It came to exactly VND6 million ($285). According to director of the provincial electricity authority, Huynh Minh Hai, something could be wrong in the way power usage is recorded in the Be home.

While they are checking, Mr Be is slowly recovering from an electricity surge that can be compared to a bolt of lighning. " Completely out of the blue," as they say.

Be's problem is well understood by residents at a house in Ha Noi. They have been complaining to their landlady for years that the power bill keeps going up, even when the heating and cooling systems are turned off for weeks at a time.

Victim's beauty fatal for burglar

A burglar broke into a woman's house in Ha Noi's Long Bien District recently and stole her motorbike.

After wheeling it out into the street, the burglar, Nguyen Hoang Ton, found the woman's identity card in the seat compartment and fell in love with her beauty. All of a sudden, the love-lorn "twit" wanted to meet his victim face-to-face and profess his interest.

God knows what the silly young man was thinking, but the next thing is that he texted the woman and said he would like to meet her at an address in the northern province of Bac Ninh. The woman immediately contacted police saying that she suspected Ton of stealing her motorbike.

The police quickly found Ton... and the motorbike. Say no more!.

High school fights ‘Mandarins' of education

One of the hardest things in life is helping people to help themselves. Despite special knowledge and experience, many young people view with contempt the idea of spending one's tertiary years learning a craft or trade – no matter how profitable that career may be.

The parents of most boys see life as a process of learning a profession at university, finding a top job as a doctor, dentist or engineer after graduation – and then marrying a girl with "good connections."

They push their kids to do their best to pass annual entrance examinations to enter universities. The youngsters get huge support from family and teachers. Then much more money is squandered in tuition and extra studies to get the desired degree.

However, Nguyen Thi Loi, a high school in the central province of Thanh Hoa's coastal Sam Son District has mobilised its students to enter vocational schools or colleges instead of universities. This is causing great concern among parents and pupils who have been working hard for this year's university entrance exams, scheduled for July.

Vice Dean of the school, Tran Hieu Minh, told Dan Tri online newspaper that most 12-grade students at the school had received low marks at past exams, making it more difficult for them to pass university entrance exams. He figured that if the students sat for the exams and failed, it would be a waste of time and money for everyone involved.

So Minh made his brave move, knowing full well that the kids stood a far better chance of becoming a success in life... and finding the right woman... if they learn a vocation. Viet Nam industry is crying out for skilled tradesman and if the lessons that can be learned from Western countries is observed, then those who succeed at trade institutions are likely to do far better in life than any of their "Mandarin" class parents ever did.

Indeed, Nguyen Thi Loi should be praised for hers brave initiative. And teacher Minh deserves a medal for setting hard working country children in the right direction. — VNS

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