Viet Nam Coconut Association has suggested that the HCM City People's Committee and People's Council plant coconut palms along streets to slow down floods and lessen the danger of falling trees and branches during the rainy season.
However, residents are more worried that they or their children or friends will be hit on the head with a falling coconuts - a real danger to those living with the highly useful tree.
Head of the coconut association, Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh, said that palms had big, tough leaves, but no branches. She also said that as the roots of coconut trees penetrate up to five metres beneath the soil, the risk of them falling was low. Some palms can acquire a lean during a storm, but few fall over.
Moreover, the roots quickly sop up water, helping to keep the streets flood free. To make its argument more viable, the association also suggested HCM City could attract private individuals to plant coconut palms for profit.
Tran Huy Anh from the Viet Nam Artchitects Associoation told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that street trees must provide shade. He said that if their leaves and fruit fell it must not harm people.
Anh said that if the proposal was approved, non-fruiting coconut palms should be planted. Hmmmmm!
Broken water pipe affects hospital
The water-supply pipe from the Da River, which ruptured for the fourteenth time last Friday, has left tens of thousands of people in Thanh Xuan, Dong Da and Cau Giay District without clean water for daily use.
The Hospital 198 in Cau Giay District was no exception. Doctors, nurses and even patients filled in their time by finding water taps and carrying water back to the building. Head of the hospital's Administrative Department, La Van Hanh, said the water shortage particularly affected the hospital's examination and treatment activities.
A fire-fighting engine was even used to carry clean water to the hospital. Hospital staff then relayed the precious liquid in containers to all parts of the building, she said.
But enough is enough. Some patients demanded to go home or be transferred to other hospitals. A man whose wife is in the postoperative department said that he went to queue for five litres of water every three or four hours.
One patient said that she wanted to go to another hospital as she had no one carry water for her. A lack of water in an ancient city surrounded by rivers, lakes and streams says a lot about fading infrastructure!
Thieves steal old house
Police in Ben Cat Town, southern Binh Duong, have arrested two men for stealing some of the timber columns supporting an old timber house.
The men had learned that the house, including the altar and timber columns in the building, were made from rosewood, a rare and precious timber worth about VND80 million per cubic metre (US$3,500).
Tran Van Trong, 89, from Phu An Commune, lived alone in the traditional house that looked old and rundown, but he knew both the house and its furniture were made from the rose wood timber
Trong offered to sell some of the timber to a local dealer for about VND200,000 per kilo. Somehow, two local men, Duong Phi Co, 28, and Tran Quoc Khanh, 22, and two of their friends knew the value of the house.
On September 19, the four drove to Trong's home, pretended to haggle the price for the rosewood, offering VND120,000 per ($6) a kilo, but Trong would not accept.
After threatening Trong, they tied him up with rope - and began to saw his house down! After they disappeared with tonnes of the valuable timber, Trong managed to free himself by cutting the rope with a farm sickle.
Three days later, police caught the thieves and confiscated some large pieces of timber stored in a graveyard about 300 metres from Trong house.The other two were caught on the way to HCM City with more of their stolen cargo.
Too much fine tuning
About 250 students in Dakrong Secondary School in central Quang Tri province have been found to be younger than their real ages because of the difference in date of birth recorded in their original birth certificates and school documents.
The school has been accused of making false birth declarations for students to ensure that all graduates from secondary school are at the normal age of 15. In Viet Nam, children start going to primary school at six, begin secondary school at 11 and graduate from secondary school at 15.
Chairman of Dakrong Commune People's Committee, Tran Van Chay, said parents wanted matters corrected. They said, correctly, that students could get into much trouble because of the inconsistent records.
He said that other communes had the same problem, but an official from Dakrong District said the district did not have the funds to rectify the situation. — VNS