Friday, June 28, 2013

Weekly Update

It's back! Apologies for the lack of updates lately, I've been busy with work and spending too many late nights out (two 3:30 am last calls this week, oops). With a big trip coming up in two weeks I can't promise a regular post schedule any time soon.

Anyway, this week was full of some highly entertaining stories.

- In this knee-slapper, a drunk man passed out on National Highway 1 in Saigon in the middle of the night. A sedan had to swerve around him, and was then rear-ended by a dump truck. The truck fell over and slammed into a barrier. Luckily there were no injuries, though the accident blocked the highway for hours. The best part of the story: the collision occurred just before 6 am, while locals said they had seen the man blacked out in the middle of the road as early as 2 am. Nice work moving him out of the way, people.

- In the latest illustration of how comically inept Vietnam's police are, Thanh Hoa province authorities disclosed that they are planning to mass-produce 'fishnet launching tubes' to catch illegal motorbike racers. Created by the Weapons Design Institute (that sounds terrifying), the tubes can fire nets up to 15 meters, which, according to the article, is much farther than the two- to three-meters that hand-thrown nets can fly. Supposedly these nets will be fired at a bike's rear wheel, bringing it to a gradual stop. This seems to fly in the face of physics, but hey what do I know. In all seriousness, racing does put people in serious danger, but nets? Really?

- File this one in the 'What is this, the 1920s?' category. Over the weekend Sin Lounge, an upscale bar on Le Thanh Ton, was busted, and dozens of patrons were caught smoking 'illegally imported' shisha. A few days later this story from Tuoi Tre appeared, revealing that Vietnamese youths not only drink alcohol, but also smoke shisha! At cafes! Right on the street sometimes! Holy hell! The story ends with a harsh warning on the health effects that regularly smoking shisha can (supposedly) have: heart attacks, impotence, and low infant birth weight from smoking mothers. Overkill, much? I always get a kick out of stories like this that make a massive deal out of absolutely nothing.

- Moving into more serious, but still entertaining, territory is this story of love and murder. A woman was having an affair, and she wanted her husband out of the picture so she could carry on with her new lover. Instead of doing the logical thing and separating or getting a divorce, she and her lover got the husband to take some sleeping pills, and proceeded to strangle him with a rope once he passed out. They then dumped his body into a river, returned home and immediately made love. (That's really in the story.) The body was later found and the woman has been sentenced to life in prison.

- Finally, one story that is not entertaining or funny in the least bit. An article on Time magazine's website details the Vietnamese government's recent crackdown on bloggers and supposed dissidents. The well-written story explains how ongoing economic problems have made people less willing to accept the massive, blatant corruption going on at almost every level. Includes an interesting section on the ongoing effort to update the country's constitution. Well worth a read.

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