Tô Văn Động, director of the Hà Nội Department of Culture and Sports. — Photo infonet.vn
Tô Văn Động, director of the Hà Nội Department of Culture and Sports, speaks to Kinh tế và Đô thị (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper ̣̣about his plan to compile regulations on language in restaurants and street food counters
Please tell us about the city’s plan to prohibit the use of “nasty” language towards customers by street vendors in Hà Nội?
Hà Nội authorities have called on street vendors to use proper and polite language towards customers.
To achieve this, the Hà Nội Department of Culture and Sports has worked with the city’s Department of Industry and Trade and the Department of Health to develop a regulation to present to city authorities. Though the city has not set a deadline to receive the regulation, we will try to prepare it as soon as possible.
To write this regulation, we carry out survey to determine the language used by vendors and restaurant staff. In addition, we will also research the behaviour of street vendors and restaurants in the city that is already reflected in news articles and other documents. When we complete the first draft, we will hold a workshop to gather comments and suggestions.
The regulation’s content will cover various topics, including language used in restaurants or on pavements, food safety, prices listed on menus and more.
Won’t this regulation be a duplication of the city’s Code of Conduct which will be issued soon?
Some of the contents of the regulation may be reflected in the city’s Code of Conduct. The purpose of the regulation is to make implementing the Code of Conduct easier and quicker.
I should also mention that some of the rules included in the regulation are already reflected in different documents but have yet to be fully implemented. So, a key purpose of the regulation is to synthesise all the rules already written in these documents so that restaurant owners, street vendors and even customers will know and follow the regulations. Of course, all the restaurants will have to post the regulations in a public place so that their customers can see them.
Do you expect that when the document is issued, there will be no more “dirty language” used by restaurant owners?
Hà Nội is the capital of Viet Nam. It is the convergence of the cultural essence of all localities nationwide, even that of many foreign countries. Enjoying street food has become a tradition of Vietnamese people and a good experience for foreigners in the city. That’s why we think it’s necessary to ensure law and order in street food eating, particularly in the language used by vendors. We hope once the regulation comes into force, it will enjoy support from people from all walks of life, including Vietnamese and foreign tourists.
Does the city have any plan for sanctions to punish anyone who fails to comply with the regulation?
It is too early to talk about sanctions when the document is still in the drafting process.
However, I hope when the document is issued and comes into effect, it will enjoy support from all of society. All we want is to make Ha Noi a heart of the nation and worthy of its aged old tradition of Thăng Long- Hà Nội, a thousand years of civilisation._VNS