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Gold-Obsessed Man Wears 13Kg of It Wherever He Goes

A Vietnamese businessman has been attracting a lot of attention on Asian social media sites for his obsession with gold. 36-year-old Tran Ngoc Phuc wears a total of 13kg of gold wherever he goes, and is always accompanied by at least 5 bodyguards who make sure that no one tries to steal it.

Phuc first started making headlines in Vietnam last week after a series of YouTube videos of him showing off his massive jewellery went viral,  getting several millions of views. Since then, photos and videos of him wearing his huge gold necklace, bracelets and rings have been doing the rounds on Vietnamese social media, and even on several websites in China and Thailand. While some people expressed their doubts that the jewels are real gold, most commenters wondered how he can stand walking around with so much extra weight. The businessman admitted that wearing the jewellery took some getting used to , but claimed that it was worth it as all the gold has boosted his good luck and prosperity.

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The Curious Case of a 5-Year-Old Vietnamese Boy Who Speaks Perfect English But Not Vietnamese

Le Nguyen Bao Trung, aka ‘Bin’, is a 5-year-old Vietnamese boy who reportedly spoke his very first words in English despite never having come into contact with the language. Today, Bin speaks and reads perfectly in English, but is only just learning Vietnamese so he can communicate with his mother.

Born in Dong Van village, in Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province, Bin said his first word when he was almost two years old. You could say he too a while, but no one knows if that was when he said his first word, it was just when people noticed it. His mother, Le Thi Lien, recalls that the boy kept pointing at a calendar and saying ‘Eleven’. She didn’t speak any English and mistook the word for mere babbling, but Bin kept saying it so she asked her older daughter about it and learned that it meant 11 in English. She went back to the calendar and saw that it did in fact show the 11th of the month. But that was only the beginning of this unusual story.

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Rare Medical Condition Causes Vietnamese Girl to Sweat Blood

An 11-year-old girl was recently admitted at the Quy Hoa National Leprosy Dermatology Hospital, in Vietnam, under suspicion of suffering from hematidrosis, a very rare medical condition in which people sweat blood.

The young girl, identified only as N., to protect her privacy, allegedly started sweating blood three or four months ago, when her parents claim she was very stressed about her exam for fifth grade. They didn’t take her to a doctor when the first symptoms appeared, but things gradually got worse, to the point where the girl would sweat blood 3 or 4 times a day and suffer from severe headaches.

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Vietnamese House Has a Fence Made Entirely Out of Old TV Sets

Photos of a small house on the Vietnamese island of Hon Thom have getting a lot of attention on social media for its unique fence made exclusively out of discarded old television sets.

The unusual house is reportedly located on the road to Hon Thom cable car and is very popular with tourists, for obvious reasons. After all, it’s not every day that you pass by a fence constructed out of old, but somehow intact television sets. How those old cathode ray tubes haven’t been shattered by strong winds or vandals is a mystery, as is the reason why the owner decided on this particular material for the fence. Perhaps a television repairman lives there, or perhaps someone just hoarded them and one day decided to put them to good use. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that the fence is a good way to attract attention.

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Vietnam’s Fake Wedding Industry Is Booming Thanks to Social Stigma

Vietnamese women looking to avoid the social stigma of having a child out of wedlock are increasingly turning to grooms-for-hire businesses that specialize in throwing fake weddings complete with fake grooms and guests for a hefty fee.

Becoming pregnant before marriage is usually frowned upon in Vietnam, particularly in the northern parts of the country, where traditional social norms are still very strong. With over 300,000 abortions recorded every year, Vietnam’s abortion rate ranks fifth globally and first in Asia. Data shows that most of these pregnancy terminations are caused by social pressure, as 20 to 30 percent of women seeking abortion are not married, while most of the rest are young students. But what happens when a mother wants to keep the baby while at the same time avoid disgracing herself and her family? Well, that’s where the grooms-for-hire businesses come in.

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Vietnamese Blogger Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison for Reporting on Catastrophic Toxic Spill

A Vietnamese court recently sentenced 22-year-old blogger and journalist Nguyen Van Hoa to seven years in prison for reporting on the 2016 Formosa spill that devastated the Vietnamese coast. Arrested in April, Hoa had produced video footage, photos, and articles about Taiwan-owned Formosa Plastics Group’s April 2016 toxic chemical spill from its steel plant located at the port in Ha Tinh. According to state-run media, he stands accused of “propagating against, distorting and defaming the government.”

The People’s Court of Ha Tinh province found Hoa guilty of violating Article 88 of Vietnam’s Penal Code and also ruled that he be placed under house arrest for three years after his jail term is complete. No attorney was present to represent Hao in the closed trial.

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Vietnam’s “Old Flames” Market, Where Jilted Lovers Sell Memorabilia from Failed Relationships

In Hanoi Vietnam, a young entrepreneur called Dinh Thang has found a creative solution to the post break-up blues. Instead of wallowing among the leftover relics of failed relationships, such as love letters and clothing, Thang has boxed them up and put a price tag on them. In February 2017 he founded the Old Flames Market where the broken hearted can gather together and sell the remnants of their affairs to curious customers.

“This fair is only one of those many cool ideas my friends and I came up with after a chit chat about ex-girlfriends, boyfriends, and things,” Thang told Vietnam News*. “After the break-ups, we found there were many objects left in our homes by old lovers, and we do not want to see them again since they remind us of unhappy memories. However, these things were still in good shape. It would harm the environment if we tossed them away. Then, we thought we should make an exchange with other people, so the objects would find new owners. They can buy new, good objects and we protect the environment. It’s a win-win.”

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Vietnamese Woman Has 3-Meter “Hair Snake” Growing Out of Her Scalp

We’ve seen people grow their hair ridiculously long before, but what sets 81-year-old Trinh Thi Nghien is that her 3-meter-long locks are bundled together in a thick mass that looks like a snake curled on her head. She claims it just started growing like this 22 years ago, and it hasn’t stopped since.

Trinh Thi Nghien’s “dragon hair” recently went viral on Vietnamese social media, with people asking how the 81-year-old woman could bare living with what looks like a pile of unkempt hair for so long. But the woman claims that it wasn’t by choice. Her hair was perfectly normal until 1995, when she noticed a bun of tangled up hair on the back of her head. She tried untangling it with a comb, but to no avail, so she just cut it off. However, it started growing back the same way, and the longer it got, the thicker it became. After cutting it off several times, she decided to just let it grow, and today, 22 years later, her dragon hair measures a whopping 3 meters long.

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Vietnamese Woman Claims to Have Invented Safe Plant-Based Herbicide, Drinks a Bottle to Prove It

Phung Thi Hung, chair of Hanoi-based Cat Tuong Technology and Import/Export Company, recently shocked people in her home country after consuming a bottle of what she called a very effective plant-based herbicide, to prove that it was safe for humans.

The unusual demonstration took place on April 21, during a workshop on controlling pests and protecting plants with biological methods in green agriculture. Phung Thi Hung was presenting her company’s latest products, a line of herbal herbicides that are very effective in preventing the growth of weeds while being completely safe for humans. To prove her claims, the female entrepreneur took a bottle of red fluid, which she said was one of her new herbicides, and gulped it down in front of the audience. She was joined in her demonstration by Dr Nguyen Dang Nghia, director of the Southern Research Center for Soil, Fertilizer and Environment, who also drank a whole bottle of the stuff. They are both reportedly still breathing.

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Vietnamese Man Hasn’t Clipped His Fingernails in Over 35 Years

Luu Cong Huyen, a 58-year-old man from Yen Giao, in Vietnam’s Nam Dinh province, has been growing his fingernails for over three and a half decades, and takes great care to avoid any activity that might cause him to accidentally break on of his keratinous treasures, even bathing.

If you’re hoping to find a good reason for why anybody would want to grow their fingernails for over 35 years, you’re not going to find one here. For Mr. Huyen it simply started out as a hobby that he never really got over. “Others like raising birds, planting trees or collecting old vehicles… I just like growing long nails,” he says. “Raising nails is more difficult than parenting. I must be very careful in every move to keep my nails.”

Huyen is not exaggerating one bit. His fingernails, the longest of which measures about 55 centimeters, may look thick and sturdy, but he claims they can break very easily, especially when wet. Which is why he avoids even touching water as much as he can, and rarely bathes. When it rains outside, he covers his hands with plastic bags, so that the water doesn’t reach his precious nails.

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Woman Hires Someone to Cut Off Her Hand and Foot So She Can Claim Health Insurance

A young Vietnamese woman recently shocked police after admitting that she had paid someone to cut off her left hand and foot, so she could claim a health insurance payoff of roughly $180,000.

The extreme insurance scam reportedly began in May, when a 30-year-old woman named only as Ly Thi N convinced an acquaintance to cut of her left arm and foot in exchange for 50 million dong ($2,200). The plan was to make it look like she had been hit by a train, so the cold-blooded accomplice, named as Doan Van D, acted like a bystander who just happened to find her injured near a railroad in Hanoi. He was the one who called an ambulance and notified the police about the “accident”.

Ly Thi N was found lying in the ground with a severed hand and leg, and the woman told police that she had wandering near the railway track when a train passed by and dragged her under it. Doan Van D, who she described as a total stranger, just happened to pass by and ended up saving her life. At first, everyone thought that the victim was lucky to be alive, but policemen investigating the accident became suspicious after learning that the woman and the 21-year-old who allegedly found her by accident actually knew each other quite well. Read More »

Fair Beauty – Vietnam’s Obsession with White Skin

For most Vietnamese women, white skin is synonymous with feminine beauty, sophistication and high social status, and many of them cover themselves completely even in the middle of summer in order to protect their fair complexion from the sun’s rays.

In Vietnam, as in the majority of South East Asian countries, dark skin has always been associated with poverty and peasants working in paddy fields exposed to the mercy of the elements. So while in the Western world tanned skin is seen as healthy and beautiful, in countries like Vietnam, Japan or Indonesia, it is so frowned upon that it can sometimes be enough to drive away potential suitors in arranged marriages among middle-class families.

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Rare Vietnamese Chicken Breed Has the Weirdest Legs You’ve Ever Seen

You might find its freakishly butch legs rather repulsive, but believe it or not, the Dong Tao chicken is incredibly popular in Vietnam. Once reserved for royalty and ritual offerings, the rare breed is now prized by chicken breeders and its meat is served in exclusive restaurants that cater to the wealthy.

An adult Dong Tao chicken can grow up to weigh three to six kilograms, with legs as thick as a human’s wrist. The hens are generally white, while the cocks have colorful feathers. Dong Tao meat is considered far more delicious than regular chickens, explaining its high demand and incredibly steep price tag.

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Vietnamese Hairdresser Cuts Hair with Samurai Swords

Meet Nguyen Hoang Hung, a sword-wielding hairdresser from Vietnam. Believe it or not, this man actually cuts his clients’ hair with a sword! And his unusual ‘weapon of choice’ doesn’t affect the speed or quality of his haircuts – he manages to produce brilliant results every single time.

Hung said that he picked up the unique skill four years ago, when he participated in a game show where he was required to cut hair without scissors. He had used a handsaw at the time, and enjoyed the process immensely. Later, he evolved to the more sophisticated sword as a haircutting tool.

He began by using it on women with longer hair, and then moved on to shorter styles like bobs and pixie cuts. He admitted that it was difficult and risky at first, but he just kept practicing on training wigs. And after four years of rigorous, unrelenting practice, Hung is now able to create beautiful hairstyles within minutes.

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The Art of Crossing the Street in Vietnam

If you plan to visit Vietnam, prepare to forget everything you ever learned about crossing the street. Forget about waiting for the traffic to stop, forget about zebra crossings, and forget about traffic lights. Because in Vietnam, people cross the street by charging right ahead, weaving their way through moving traffic. It’s the only way to do it!

It sounds dangerous, I agree, but it also seems kind of fun, in an adrenalin-pumping kind of way. I’ve just spent the past hour reading about how it’s done. This is from a Vietnam Travel & Living Guide: “You want to get to the other end of the street but it does not look quite feasible. Unless you try it. Crossing over the jam is actually not that bad. You will just have to do it. The magic is that no one will ever run into you.”

I watched a few videos as well; it really does seem like magic. The streets are filled with moving scooters and cars, and the pedestrians just flit across effortlessly. They seem to maintain an intense focus on the oncoming vehicles, finding gaps and moving through them slowly but steadily. There’s just no other way, given the fact that traffic is a nightmare in major Vietnamese cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.

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