Archive for the ‘Tet’ Category

Vietnam: Bad Omen Opens New Year

January 25, 2009

One year ago, a wicked snow storm with cold and ice kept millions of Chinese from reaching home for the start of theLunar New Year.  This was considered an “unlucky” omen that could potentially marr the entire year.  Now Vietnam is experiecing grief instead of joy after a ferry accident claimed several lives at the start of the new Year….

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Associated Press
“It’s a tragedy for the province,” said Phan Lam Phuong, the governor of Quang Binh. “It should have been time to celebrate the Lunar New Year.”

He said the provincial government has decided to cancel a Lunar New Year fireworks show.
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A small ferry overloaded with passengers sank in central Vietnam on Sunday, killing at least 40 people including seven girls and 27 women.

The 40 bodies, including those of three pregnant women, were recovered from the Gianh river in Quang Binh province, about 315 miles south of Hanoi, provincial police chief Phan Thanh Ha said.

Rescuers were still searching for two others missing, he said. Thirty-six passengers were rescued.

Ha said they initially though another four people were missing, but that turned out not be the case.

“This is one of the worst ferry accidents in Vietnam,” Ha said.

An initial investigation showed the boat was overloaded with nearly 80 people, even though it was designed to carry 12, he said.

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New Year In Asia: Time for Great Food!

January 24, 2009

News of the impending Chinese Lunar New Year or “Tet,” the aroma of my Mother-in-Law’s fresh hot “heart of beast” soup, plus a news story about the Hanoi Zoo and a brief encounter with a friendly black dog reminded me today that it is almost that magical time of year: the celebration of great eating.

No, not “Super Bowl Sunday.”

TET!

My wife’s Mom cooks up many a great delicacy and today it was “heart of beast” soup. I call it this because I have no idea where the heart comes from.

And I mean I don’t know what animal or what vendor.

And I don’t want to know. Like many things Asian, it is made in a mysterious way and it is enough to know that it is no good without a lot of heart…

The BBC News reported today that the Hanoi Zoo had been caught illegally trading in rare animal parts. Carcasses of tigers, elephants and other creatures of God’s good earth had been discovered in strange places. Some parts had been sold or “trafficked.” Some were wrapped in the freezer. An Asian friend said, “Some great eating there.”

Sumatran tiger, file image 

Tigers are used in traditional Asian medicines

Elephant?

I said I didn’t want to know….

Finally, we met a friendly black dog today. We admired her and petted her. Her owner said, “Ten years old. And you know what they say in China? The best dog is black dog.”

I had a feeling this remark came from a chef and not a vet or a dog trainer.

But I didn’t ask.

Related:

I Have Eaten A Pack of Dogs and a Flock of Crow But “Hold the Penis”

How about a nice hot bowl of horse meat and noodle during the Super Bowl?

Vietnam Workers Strike, Claim Abuse By Chinese Bosses

January 4, 2009

Nearly 4,000 workers at a Taiwanese footwear plant in Vietnam have gone on strike to protest alleged ill-treatment by their bosses, state media reported Sunday.

AFP
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The workers, mostly women, said managers from mainland China had beaten and humiliated employees at the Sun Jade company in Thanh Hoa province, according to the Thanh Nien daily.

Thanh Nien and other newspapers said the workers had also reported being denied sick leave and days off for deaths in the family, and were often docked an entire month’s pay if they failed to show up.

Company and local trade union officials could not be reached for comment. Rpeports said it was the plant’s third strike since June.

Last year, as Vietnam was hit by double-digit inflation and an economic slowdown, workers downed tools at hundreds of factories, demanding better pay and conditions.

The Lao Dong daily estimated there were 775 strikes nationwide, mostly in the industrial south, compared to 541 the previous year.

Industrial unrest could flare up again before the Tet lunar New Year in late January, a time when workers often ask for extra pay and time off to visit their families.