The COVID-19 pandemic has posed great challenges for many industries and fields, but at the same time opened up new development opportunities. Everyone is trying to adapt to the new situation. Thu Trang asks citizens how they have coped during the pandemic.
Ngô Quang Minh, project manager of the eBaoTech Corporation, in charge of Việt Nam market
Ngô Quang Minh
COVID-19, like any other issues that have ever happened, has posed more issues and also opened new opportunities. My industry is IT service, it is in many ways affected, both positively and negatively. We provide IT solutions to clients around the globe, and they are also facing a pandemic. More IT projects about digital transformation, a new way of working, with more reliable and robust systems are a must. Many companies have increased their budgets for IT and infrastructure and started investing more in new systems to ensure their readiness in the long run. I, like everyone else, work more from home and travel less.
I would say the pandemic has changed us from how we are working right now into a new normal. We are more creative, spend more effort on improving effectiveness without face-to- face meetings. Also, we bridge the language barrier, geographical restriction and timezone lag to serve more customers. Our company sometimes needs to change the timeshift and reallocate resources per the situation. Also, we carefully plan the budget and cash flow so that we won't be hit unexpectedly due to the pandemic.
Nguyễn Minh Huệ, teacher at Thịnh Quang Primary School in Đống Đa District, Hà Nội
Nguyễn Minh Huệ
After the national holiday of Reunification Day on April 30 and Labour Day on May 1, for me as a primary school teacher, I would normally be very excited to come back to school to see my colleagues and students. I hoped that I could continue teaching and reviewing with students for their tests at the end of the second semester and prepare some work to end the school year.
However, the very complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected different professions and teachers in particular. My colleagues and I did not go to school in the final weeks of the school year as planned.
With the spirit of "stop going to school but don't stop learning", in the last weeks of school, we have been teaching students through online teaching and learning.
Teachers in my school had meetings on Zoom to discuss teaching methods to help students easily grasp new knowledge. We also guide them to review to consolidate their knowledge.
Online teaching brings some advantages such as students interacting smoothly and grasping the content of the lesson, and they are happy and excited to see each other on the screen after the long holiday.
However, there are also some difficulties for me. When learning online on Zoom, some students cannot turn on the microphone quickly to answer. Sometimes the network is unstable and the students are cut off again and again, so an hour of online learning sometimes last longer and makes students tired. Besides, I had to ask parents to take photos of their children’s homework and send to me for assessment, so it took more time than in class.
Ngô Trần Hải An, photojournalist and travel blogger with nearly 70,000 followers
Ngô Trần Hải An
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a great effect on me and changed many things in my life. In 2019, I travelled to 18 countries and had a total of 152 days abroad. But when the pandemic came, everything had to stop. All of my trips, all of the work being co-ordinated with organisations abroad also had to stop.
But the pandemic also gave me new chances. All of society started to have a new trend, which is striving to get used to the new situation. I also changed myself and focused on developing domestic travel.
I spent all of my time travelling around Việt Nam, introducing new destinations. I’ve worked with different provincial and municipal departments of tourism to promote domestic tourism, typically in Quảng Bình, HCM City, Đà Nẵng, Nghệ An and Hải Phòng.
Nguyễn Thị Bích Hợp, 60, street vendor
Nguyễn Thị Bích Hợp
I have sold bún ốc (vermicelli with shellfish soup) on the pavement of Thái Thịnh Street in Đống Đa District for the past 30 years. It’s the main source of income of my family with six members
Earlier, I could earn about VNĐ150,000 per day (US$6.5). I spend my money economically and put about VNĐ20,000-30,000 ($0.8-1.3) per day aside as savings so that I can use it in case of illness or some difficult situation.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, local authorities have asked street vendors to temporarily stop their work, so the main income of all my family ended. Recently my husband, who is a war veteran, got sick and was hospitalised. I had to borrow money everywhere including from my neighbours and my relatives. They lent it to me without asking for interest. But with the present situation, I do not know how to earn money to pay them. I do not dare to have breakfast every day as I cannot afford it.
If the COVID-19 pandemic persists, what do you expect to happen? What do you plan to adapt to the new era?
Minh: The COVID-19 pandemic will persist for a longer time than one would hope for. I would not expect everything to be back to 'normal' like it was. Rather there will be a new normal in which everyone follows the same safety codes to ensure no spreading of the virus, employs more IT tools to work remotely, plans in advance to avoid any delay, exercises more to be stronger and of course, is positive and co-operative in any case.
Huệ: Due to the summer vacation taking place two weeks earlier than previous years, students have not been tested periodically at the end of the second term and the assessment of students at the end of the year is paused. Other things that must be done at the end of the year such as rewarding good students and meeting their parents are unfinished so I feel insecure.
I strongly believe in the leadership of the Party and State and the leaders’ practical actions to quickly control the pandemic, helping me to resume unfinished teaching work and meet my dear students again.
An: The pandemic will last long. I totally obey the Vietnamese Government’s guidance and regulations for COVID-19 prevention and control. I will develop my tourism channels more. Earlier I used Facebook only, but with the pandemic, I also use YouTube and TikTok for my work to serve my followers.
I hope that different agencies will find ways to adapt to the new situation, to develop tourism and other sectors. With COVID-19, online channels will be sure to develop, so every sector should develop them to connect more to each other and share information.
Hợp: Following local authorities’ requirement, myself and other street vendors stopped our work to prevent the pandemic. We agreed with the instruction, but also hoped that the Government would offer some allowance for poor vendors like us, to share our difficulties during this time. — VNS