Poor man with rich habit

Update: November, 12/2013 - 09:36

Khuc Van Can from northern Hai Phong City's Vinh Bao district is poor. He lives in a poorly furnished and run-down house of less than 10 square metres.

However, Can is well-known as a rich playboy, simply because he owns a car.

By living frugally, about 20 years ago he managed to save enough to buy a second-hand car - a rare acquisition by anyone, rich or poor, in those days.

Can says he does not need to upgrade his house, instead he uses any money he can spare to maintain the car. He even goes without meals at times to save up for a few litres of petrol.

Can also says the car helps him in his job as a dyke inspector. "While checking the dyke system, particularly at night, travelling by car saves me from being chased and bitten by dogs - and there are many in the area," he says.

Fire in one hand, water in the other

Two months ago, Vo Quang Thep in HCM City reported to local police that he had been robbed of VND50 million (US$2,380).

Thep said he was on the way to a company to pay the money to his boss's partner.

An official from HCM City Police said the case sounded serious as it happened in daytime in the centre of the city and would have caused an outcry. Immediate investigations were made.

However, many unusual details gradually came to light. Final investigations found that Thep arranged the robbery himself with the aim of stealing VND50 million. He has now been placed in detention while charges are prepared.

It seems a suitable outcome for a person who, as the old Vietnamese proverb says: "Carries fire in one hand and water in the other" (Vua an cuop vua la lang).

Village thrives on rubbish

Most people go out of their way to stop people from dumping waste, especially along roadways and in water courses.

However, the opposite is true in Khoai village in northern Hung Yen Province. People in this village encourage residents and outsiders to dump all their waste in and around the settlement.

The reason is that they earn a living by sifting through the garbage and separating it into different bundles of junk for recycling.

The signs outside the village even call on passers-by to dump their rubbish in front of the village gate - or even in front of individual houses.

However, the stink at times can be revolting. It appears that while doing other people a favour - and helping clear the roadsides of piles of rubbish - the people of Khoai are putting their own comfort, and health, at risk.

The recycling venture obviously brings in extra cash for the locals, but is playing with the health of villagers worth all the risk and discomfort? — VNS