Our Vietnamese-American New Year got off to a slow start I thought and our pastor said to enjoy God’s blessings.
In years past, we just had fun!
Then a friend suggested the economy had depress the New Year’s start globally, which is undoubtedly true….
From Czech News, Czech Republic
“They say the year of the water buffalo will not be good. People who are born this year will have to work hard,” Mr. Hai says worryingly in a Vietnamese restaurant Little Hanoi in Prague’s outskirts where a celebration of New Year is about to begin.
The Vietnamese zodiac calls 2009 the year of the water buffalo and the Czech Vietnamese community is likely to experience a bad year, not only because of the water buffalo.
Lots of food and fun festivities welcome the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. This time Prague’s Vietnamese community invited Czech journalists to celebrate New Year with them and thus discover the charms of Vietnam’s most popular holiday called Tet.
The relaxed atmosphere of the Tet celebration was however occasionally interrupted by a mention of the economic downturn that has mercilessly hit the world, including the Czech Republic.
“Why don’t you wish this economic crisis is over soon,” says one of the Vietnamese organizers to a guest who is about to say his wish to a Vietnamese-sign painter.
It is understood by everybody present in the room why the guest should wish the end of the economic crisis. The facts are well known – Czech factories are massively sacking employees and foreign workers are the first ones to lose their jobs.
As soon as their work contracts are terminated, jobless foreigners must return home but often find themselves in a difficult situation, not having any money to buy a ticket. According to humanitarian organizations, hundreds if not thousands of Vietnamese happen to be in a such desperate situation.
“Laying off people is a great problem. We are trying to find some kind of solution for these people, get them a new working permit and we have been appealling to Czech companies to give them at least temporary jobs,” says Le Minh Cau, vice-president of the Vietnamese Association in the Czech Republic.
According to Marcel Winter, the chairman of the Czech Vietnamese Society, the Vietnamese markets that are so abundant in every Czech town are expected to disappear in about three years as a consequence of the global economic meltdown.
“We conducted a survey and our profits dropped down to half in the past year. It is because of the financial crisis,” representative of Asia Dragon Bazar Hong Nguyen said for Aktuálně.cz not long ago. “The truth is nobody really knows what is going to happen,” he added.
In January a Czech green card program kicked off, which allows guest workers to get working permits in the country but has been limited to 12 non-EU countries by the Interior Ministry. Vietnam was excluded over alleged security risks. The only Asian countries included in the list are Japan and South Korea.
The Vietnamese community is the third largest immigrant group in the Czech Republic and Vietnam is also among the 9 priority countries of Czech development aid.
The Czech Republic is the only country in the world that has been providing a continuous humanitarian or development aid since 1945. The first Vietnamese came to the country in 1950 and the prolific cooperation went on until 1989 when the communist government was toppled.