Given the growing penchant for, or addiction to taking selfies, the first ever Sunflower Festival in the country was set to be a huge success.
From December 25-27, Nghệ An welcomed all selfie lovers.. ahem.. sunflower lovers to come and take pictures for free at a blooming field in the central province. The field in question had already become popular among the youth as the flowers blossomed towards the end of the year. The authorities were only institutionalising the trend in order to boost the local tourism industry.
Images of the sunflower field and people taking selfies were duly carried by several online publications and the social media, but they did not capture the havoc wreaked on the field by the visitors.
The 100-hectare field was cordoned with bamboo fences, but these offered little resistance as hordes of people rushed to find vantage points for their pictures. They crushed the plants, stomped on the flowers and used leaves to protect themselves from the sun.
At the end of the day, local authorities were forced to announce that those who destroyed the plants and flowers would be penalized.
It so happens that the field belongs to a dairy farmer who uses sunflower meals as cattle feed.
While the farmer was game to his field being milked for tourism benefits, he would have surely balk at it becoming fodder, not for his cows, but for ruthless selfie hunters.
Bike lost & found in an accident
A woman in Hà Nội’s Tây Hồ District was idly surfing the web when a story about a police station’s parking lot overloaded with vehicles taken from traffic violators caught her eye. Then she caught her breath.
No, she was not seeing things. Among the bikes in the picture accompanying the news item was her own SH motorbike (costing about VNĐ100 million) that she’d lost a year ago.
Nguyễn Thị Thu Huyền followed up on the report, completed the paperwork, and retrieved her motorbike.
The police are now hunting for the robber. He had reportedly driven the wrong way on a one-way road at the Đại Cồ Việt-Giải Phóng Crossroads and been stopped by the police, but failed to show proper papers. The police seized the motorbike, and the man never bothered to return to collect it.
Finders Keepers, Loosers Weepers, they say. This looser’s smiling, though.
No nurturing unnatural actions
Many residents of Tam Đảo Town, well known for its mountains, forests, cool climate and a waterfall, are fed up with phượt thủ (Vietnamese backpackers).
Nguyễn Hồng Hiệp, chairman of the Tam Đảo District’s People’s Committee, said these backpackers, who travel usually in groups, pitch tents at any place they feel like, enter and pick vegetables from locals’ farms and gardens without their permission, and litter the place.
Worse still, some use the winding hilly roads in the small town as a racetrack. They speed up and down on large motorbikes, creating a lot of noise and instilling a lot of fear among local residents.
One young resident took to Facebook to vent his ire, and his post has been shared widely.
“Stop making us live with your rubbish, sleep amidst your noise and suffer your low awareness!” he wrote.
Many have since suggested that local authorities take preventive action, like installing a barrier at the town’s entrance, banning large motorbikes from entering the town and fining visitors for specific violations.
If you love nature, you cannot nurture unnatural behaviour. – VNS