On Saturday, a car towing a trailer loaded with a giant boiler was stopped by traffic police on National Highway No.1 in southern Binh Thuan Province. The police then asked the driver to drive over the scales so that the boiler could be weighed.
The driver was told to park the vehicle next to the weighbridge while police set up the apparatus. When they were finished, they found the doors of the car locked - and the driver was nowhere to be seen.
Two days later, they were still waiting for the driver, who obviously felt it would be unwise to stick around. He had not returned as this newspaper was heading off to the printers.
After failing to find the runaway driver, police learned the trailer was licensed to carry loads of up to 45 tonnes. They also discovered that the boiler weighed 19.5 tonnes, well within weight limits.
However, police found that the boiler was oversize, which is not a major offence. The problem appears to be that the driver's papers were seized by gendarmes in another province and he was waiting to get them back.
If and when the driver does get his papers together, everything should settle down. But police being police, they are not likely to be impressed at having to wait for so long.
Beef soup for everyone
For the last 10 days, people in northern Lang Son Province have been asking themselves about a banner hung in the city's Le Loi Road. The red banner has white lettering saying: "It takes 15,000 litres of water to cook two slices of beef steak". Residents kept scratching their heads.
Nguyen Lan Anh, resident in Vinh Trai Ward, said she did not really understand the meaning of the words, but believed it was a recipe for beef steak."But others argued that it was nonsense to use such a huge amount of water to cook two slices of beef. They said they could cook the meat without any water," she said.
Tuyet Nhung, another resident said she had tried without success to figure out what the message meant every time she took her child to school.
Ha Ngoc Minh, head of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism's culture unit, was equally puzzled about the banner and its enigmatic writings. Eventually, it was found that the banner was the property of the department's natural resources and environment unit.
Luong Van Nhat, head of the unit, said it was made to mark World Water Day on March 22. The message on it was one of eight sent from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to the department.
The slogan was extracted from a United Nations' statement on the importance of water. The original said that 15,000 litres of water were needed to produce one kilogramme of beef - not to cook it.
Vendor continues to rule
Nguyen Hoang Anh Dung, a beef-noodle vendor in HCM City's District 4, was happy when his stall became crowded with customers, thanks to a list of rules he invented.
Dung, after years of running a modest street soup outlet, decided to try and go upmarket. He made a notice board and wrote down some rules for his customers. They ordered clients to "Stop being gossipy", "Stop speaking ill of the stall owner on Facebook", and "Customers who owe the money must leave their marriage certificates as security".
Photos of the rule board were quickly shared on Facebook, sending the number of customers into an upward spiral. However, after four months, Ward One's People's Committee seized the board, saying it blocked the way into local homes.
The issue attracted reporters, who decided that the committee's actions were improper.The case has not come to an end.
The boards are still being seized. But the noodle stall continues to expand its customer base, as evidenced by the number of chairs. — VNS