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Indolent husbands leave Vietnamese women burnt out


At 6 p.m, Truong Anh Tuyet, 38, finishes work and travels home to Long Bien District in Hanoi each day. It normally takes her one hour to prepare dinner for the four-member family, before washing the dishes, taking her dog for a walk and watering the flowers on her rooftop garden.

In the meantime, her 39-year-old husband does little more than zone out on Netflix.

“I asked him to help me many times, but he keeps saying housework is my responsibility. All our conversations on the topic end in arguments,” Tuyet lamented, adding the Covid-19 semi-lockdown in April exasperated the situation as “he remained home all day, and only moved from the bed to the living room sofa. He has no idea how to cook or do anything.”

Tuyet, a bank accountant in Hanoi, is among a myriad of Vietnamese women, especially those living in metropolises with stable jobs, stressed out of their minds with laundry and cooking, etc., with zero support from their partners.

“Unpaid work is thought to be a woman’s affair, so they have less time to engage in paid jobs or join social activities,” said Hoang Phuong Thao, head of ActionAid Vietnam, a non-governmental organization fighting poverty and injustice worldwide, in a report on women doing housework in Vietnam.

In 2018, a survey by the Institute of Labor Science and Social Affairs and the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research revealed only 3 percent of surveyed husbands wash dishes at home, with only 0.5 percent offering to do so all the time.

Notably, 20 percent said they had never washed dishes, which, according to many Vietnamese men, are women’s jobs.

A report conducted by the Labor Ministry and ActionAid in 2016 showed Vietnamese women spent an average five hours a day on unpaid work such as household chores and childcare, while men spared only around three hours.

According to the report, in some disadvantaged areas, women spent over eight hours a day on unpaid employ.

Many women, especially those stuck at home with their husbands during the Covid-19 semi-lockdown, feel pressured by the amount of housework they face, alongside the lack of support from their male counterparts.

“He is like a kid, cluelessly moving around the kitchen, sitting in front of his laptop or the TV until I call hime for lunch or dinner,” said Le Hoang Thanh Huong, 38, English teacher in Ho Chi Minh City.

“I do not want to put up with this situation any longer since I also have to work. We must share these responsibilities equally,” she maintained.

Not-so-desperate-housewives

More and more Vietnamese women have taken up positions in the labor market, working longer hours and earning more than ever before, instead of staying home completely dependent on their husbands.

“Almost three-quarters of Vietnam’s female working-age population has been part of the labor force for at least two decades, one of the highest and most persistent rates in Asia and the world,” according to a report by International Monetary Fund released last year.

With younger women going to work and earning money like their husbands, the demands to share housework and related responsibilities have also grown, leading to the so-called “chore wars.”

“I work eight hours per day just like my husband, so why do I have to cook dinner, wash the dishes, do the laundry, and prepare his breakfast while he does nothing? It is unfair,” said Nguyen Thi Bich Thao, 30, a headhunter in downtown Saigon.

The mother of a two-year-old toddler added she did not have time to take a rest or even listen to her favorite music as her life “was all about the baby and chores”.

“Sometimes I got mad looking at him doing nothing but watch TV and sleep on weekends,” Thao complained.

According to many sociologists, the social and economic changes inherent to rapid industrialization, modernization and international integration have changed the perception of women and their domestic responsibilities among Vietnamese youngsters.

“Women’s lives have improved markedly, and they now have many chances to dress up, get made up, and go on holiday,” said Vuong Thi Hanh, former deputy chairwoman of the Central Committee of Vietnam Women’s Union.

These changes, clashing with traditional values, create a demand for equality when it comes to household chores, payment and many other aspects of life in which both men and women share.

“Women fight for equality at work, but we also need it at home,” Thao commented.

Common stereotypes that uphold men as pillars of the family and only capable of working outside the house add to the domestic imbalance.

It is commonly said if women fail to manage their family affairs and housework, they are nothing, regardless of how successful they may be in their careers and society, according to sociologists.

Research by the Institute for Social Development Studies pointed out Vietnamese women are more likely to get involved in housework than men. Fixing and maintaining equipment in the house are usually solely reserved for men.

“Traditional gender norms are clearly reflected in the way parents educate their children,” according to the research.

In the past few years, the government has raised public awareness on gender equality, but the situation remains dire as the majority of women stay trapped within the “invisible” areas of informal, unpaid employment, according to International Labor Organization.

“I tell both my son and daughter to do housework, so they could learn women and men can share domestic chores. But my husband is still stubborn, seeing him lying on the couch all day makes me sick,” said Tuyet.



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One more geopark in Vietnam gets UNESCO recognition


By Nguyen Quy  &nbspJuly 8, 2020 | 10:54 am GMT+7
One more geopark in Vietnam gets UNESCO recognition

Ta Dung Lake is part of UNESCO-recognized Dak Nong geopark in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Photo by Pham Huy Trung.

A park in Vietnam’s Central Highlands province of Dak Nong received global geopark status at a UNESCO executive board meeting on Tuesday.

With the recognition conferred by the UNESCO’s program and external relations commission at the meeting in Paris, the Dak Nong Geopark has become the third of its kind in Vietnam after the Dong Van karst plateau in Ha Giang Province and Non Nuoc Cao Bang in Cao Bang Province, both in the northern mountains.

“UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development,” the agency stated on its website.

The 4,760 sq.km geopark was set up in 2015 in the districts of Krong No, Cu Jut, Dak Mil, Dak Song, and Dak G’long along the Krong No River.

Its most prominent feature is a volcanic cave system, which was reportedly inhabited by tribes 6,000-7,000 years ago. The park also possesses valuable geomorphological heritages such as beautiful ponds and waterfalls and many other tangible and non-tangible cultural values.

Vietnam is seeking to set up four more geoparks in Quang Ngai and Phu Yen provinces in the central region, Gia Lai in the Central Highlands and Bac Kan in the north.



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Entertain the daredevil in you in Sa Pa


The Rong May (Cloud Dragon) Tourist Complex, invested by Sungate-Group, recently opened the bridge at “Heaven’s Gate” on the top of O Quy Ho Pass in northern Vietnam’s Sa Pa Town, which is well-known for its natural beauty and indigenous highland cultures.

The bridge in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range is 200 meters long and 2,000 meters above sea level

The 200-meter-long suspension bridge is opened at Rong May Tourist Complex on June 26, 2020. Photo courtesy of the complex.

The 600 m high suspension bridge at Rong May Tourist Complex, June 2020. Photo courtesy of the complex.

Visitors who chose to take the challenge of “walking” on the 171 wooden steps to cross the bridge will be rewarded with the stunning panoramic views of O Quy Ho Pass and the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, which runs for 180 kilometers in the northwestern provinces of Lao Cai, Lai Chau and Yen Bai.

However, those focused on “surviving” and getting to the other side, might not have the time or the peace of mind to relax and enjoy the views – at least, not the first time.

Visitors are provided with protective gear including a helmet and seatbelt attached to the cable above. On either side of the bridge are “pillars” for visitors to cling on to. The tourist will also be followed by an employee of the resort to help him/her feel more secure.

Normally, it takes about eight to ten minutes for a visitor to cross the bridge and take the stairs to go down.

Suspension bridge in Vietnam’s Sa Pa Town attracts adventurous travelers

“When I took the first few steps, I felt extremely nervous, especially when the wind caused the bridge to swing,”said Dang Thuy, a tourist from the southern province of Kien Giang.

She advised people to “be loose” while crossing the bridge, warning that their hands will get hurt if they clung too tightly to both sides of the cable. “Travelers who want to record videos can use specialized equipment instead of holding the phone that could fall.”

Another visitor, Bui Quyet, did not think of recording the views. He said the bridge was “in the middle of the mountain,” so the wind blows strongly. “Every step is unsteady, so I didn’t dare to use my phone to record the experience,” he said.

The experience on the suspension bridge costs VND150,000 ($6.5) per person.

Last November, a glass-bottomed suspension bridge was opened at the Rong May Tourist Complex at a height of 300 meters, also providing visitors with thrilling views of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range.



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Trawling from shore, a work of art in Da Nang




A fishing technique that involves a large number of men standing on a beach and hauling in a giant net is quite a spectacle.

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Grasshopper hunt a favored summer pastime in central Vietnam


Nguyen Thi Hoa, 47, a resident of Quynh Luu Commune, said it takes about two hours each day to drive from Nghe An to Ha Tinh where she works six hours a day to catch about three kilograms of grasshoppers.

Young grasshoppers are sold at VND250,000 ($11) per kilogram and brought to Da Nang to sell as bird food. Adults are often sold for VND150,000 per kilogram to local restaurants. “I collect between VND300,000 and 500,000 ($13-22) a day,” Hoa said.



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New V-pop prince MV tops YouTube Trending in Asia playlist


“Co Chac Yeu La Day” “(Isn’t This Love) by singer Son Tung M-TP has earned over 17 million views, becoming the most trending video in Vietnam and Asia on July 6, the 5th in the U.S. and 7th in South Korea.

Released on July 5 with 901,000 viewers, it is also the Vietnamese MV boasting the biggest YouTube premiere.

This helped the video hit #4 in the list of most successful premieres on the online video-sharing platform, just below South Korean groups BLACKPINK’s “How You Like That” and “Kill This Love”, and BTS’s “On”.

Son Tung M-TP in Co Chac Yeu La Day music video. Photo courtesy of Son Tung M-TP.

Son Tung M-TP in “Co Chac Yeu La Day” music video. Photo courtesy of Son Tung M-TP.

It took three hours for Tung’s new music video to attract 10 million views, breaking BLACKPINK’s record, which reached the milestone in three hours 17 minutes.

“Co Chac Yeu La Day”, featuring R&B and hip hop music, also topped the iTunes music chart in Vietnam following its release. Tung plans to release his new album “Chung Ta” (Us) later this year.

Last month, the soundtrack to his music documentary “Sky Tour” also topped Vietnam’s iTunes charts, entering the top 10 in several other countries following domestic release.

At 26, Tung already has a slew of hits as well as many accolades under his belt, including an MTV Europe Music Award and inclusion in the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Vietnam.

Newspapers in South Korea, home to world-famous K-pop, like CcDailyNews, Stardailynews and Sportsseoul, have dubbed him Vietnam’s “number one artist.”



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Don’t dig your own grave, build it yourself


The tomb of Truong Vinh Ky (1837 – 1898) stands on a land lot of about 2,000 square meters at the intersection of Tran Hung Dao and Tran Binh Trong streets in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ky was a well known politician, writer, and social scientist of the 19th century in Vietnam. Also known as Petrus Ky, he spoke at least 10 languages and is survived by more than 100 works in literature, history, geography, dictionary and translation.



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Saigon to open new night walking street


By Ha An  &nbspJuly 7, 2020 | 11:38 am GMT+7
Saigon to open new night walking street

The statue of Quang Trung, a national hero in the 18th century, is expected to be an important landmark of the new walking street in Saigon’s District 10. Photo by VnExpress/Ha An.

Ho Chi Minh City is to open its third night walking street in September with 48 food and souvenir stalls in District 10.

Vu Anh Khoa, chairman of the District 10 People’s Committee, said Monday that the project has been approved by the city’s authorities. The district will soon build a welcome gate for the street and finalize the utility system, including toilets and parking lots for visitors, he said.

The walking street will be over 100 meters long, starting from the junction of Nguyen Lam – Ba Hat streets to that of Nguyen Lam – Nhat Tao streets.

The stalls and cultural performances including music and games are open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. No shops will sell alcohol so as to “avoid the risk of causing any public disorder”.

Khoa added authorities will announce later this month the list of people allowed to ply their trade on the street, with priority given to people in difficult financial circumstances.

The city currently has two walking streets, Nguyen Hue and Bui Vien, both in District 1.

Since its opening in April 2015, Nguyen Hue has welcomed thousands of people every day, except when social distancing measures were implemented because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The street also hosts annual street festivals, parades and flower festivals.

About 2 km away, Bui Vien, hugely popular among both backpackers and locals, welcomed several thousand visitors every weekend since August 2017. After more than two months of shutdown to contain the novel coronavirus, Bui Vien, dubbed “Saigon beer street”, resumed operation on May 8.



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T’way Airlines to resume one-way flights from Vietnam to Korea


T’way Airlines to resume one-way flights from Vietnam to Korea

Passengers provide health declarations at Tan Son Nhat airport in HCMC, March 18, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.

Budget carrier T’way Airlines has announced plans to resume its HCMC-Seoul service on July 22, though only carrying passengers one way to South Korea.

The South Korean airline will fly twice a week from Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City to Incheon Airport in Seoul, South Korea’s newspaper Korea Joongang Daily reported.

The aircraft would fly empty on their return trip, Vietnam News Agency quoted a T’way Airlines source as saying.

Passengers are required to undergo medical tests on landing in South Korea.

Vietnam has not reopened to foreign tourists to preclude a possible second wave of Covid-19.

T’way Airlines stopped international flights in March due to travel restrictions, but plans to gradually resume them and focus on repatriating South Korean students abroad, the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies reported.

As of mid-June around 3,500 South Korean experts had been granted permission to enter Vietnam for work, the country’s Ambassador in Hanoi, Park Noh-wan, said.

Commercial flights are allowed from Vietnam to South Korea, he added.

Vietnam has gone 81 days without community transmission of Covid-19. It has had 369 infections but no deaths, and 340 of those infected have recovered.



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Saigon cancels annual tourism expo over Covid-19 concerns


By Nguyen Nam  &nbspJuly 6, 2020 | 07:15 pm GMT+7
Saigon cancels annual tourism expo over Covid-19 concerns

European tourists in front of the Central Post Office in HCMC, February 21, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Nam.

After 15 years, this year’s International Tourism Expo HCMC scheduled for September will be canceled over Covid-19 fears.

“Ho Chi Minh City will not organize the annual international tourism fair in 2020 as planned,” said Tran Vinh Tuyen, the city’s Vice Chairman. Cancelation of this year’s event will help further prevent the spread of Covid-19, he added.

As planned, the three-day event would have taken place from September 4 to 6 at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre (799 Nguyen Van Linh Street, District 7) with the theme “Gateway to International Tourism”. It is organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and HCMC authorities.

Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the city’s tourism department, said it had sent a survey to foreign exhibitors who stated they are closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation and are limiting trips abroad at this time.

Since its debut in 2005, the event has annually attracted hundreds of foreign exhibitors and thousands of international visitors. It is a good opportunity to popularize Vietnam and its culture internationally. In 2019, the event attracted 250 foreign exhibitors from 42 countries and territories and over 30,000 attendees.

Vietnam has gone 81 days without community transmission of Covid-19. It has recorded 369 infections but no deaths, with 340 having recovered.

At a government meeting in Hanoi earlier this month, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Vietnam was not yet ready to open up to international tourists given the lack of improvement in the global situation and the second wave of infections suffered by several countries in the region, including China and South Korea.