Here’s Oi’s helpful guide to the customs of New Year… wise up and chances are you won’t unwittingly put your foot in it later this month…. Like many Southeast Asians, the Vietnamese would not consider making a major decision, whether it involved marriage or building a house, without considering the lunar calendar and consulting an astrologer, psychic or fortune teller. This
Don’t get turned away at the register, know what notes are “fit” for use Is it true that shops are allowed to reject “damaged” bills? If so, what do they considered “damaged” and what am I supposed to do with them now? Yes, it’s true. The National Bank of Vietnam has a set of standards for
My Vietnamese family thinks air-conditioning is unhealthy, and is reluctant to let our kids spend too much time in an air-conditioned room. But I think the Saigon heat is too much for them, and that the air pollution isn’t good for them either. Is there any truth to their belief? With all those bikes and the
Is it true that the best time to shop for bargains is right when the shop opens because there’s a Vietnamese belief called “mo hang” – meaning that the first sale of the day will bring them good luck – so the shop owner can’t refuse the first offer because it’ll be bad for business?
Is it true that the locals use human urine to treat diseases? Yes. The use of human urine and other organic waste to treat illnesses is a traditional Vietnamese folk remedy called “Nieu Lieu Phap” (“Urine Therapy”) dating back hundreds of years. Traditionally, only the urine (and fecal matter) of young children, especially boys, was
Is it true that the new metro lines will just cover District 1? Speculation on where Saigon’s metro lines will be located has been rampant since as early as 2001 when city officials announced plans for an underground public transportation system. It has taken seven years for a blueprint to be finalized and a map
What’s the real story behind the haunting of the HCMC Fine Arts Museum? The HCMC Fine Arts Museum was originally the private residence of a Mr. Hoa, the wealthiest man in Saigon at the time, who also owned other famous buildings about town such as the Majestic Hotel and Tu Du Hospital. Hoa had more
The Myth: Are English books banned from being shipped out of Vietnam? Actually, no, it’s not English books specifically. Both English and other foreign-language books are often simply caught in the line of fire between local prohibitions and actually-banned publications. According to Vietnamese Post Office Regulation #49/2010/QH12 (you can find it on the Vietnamese government