Yes… I am back since last friday.. The trip to Viet Nam (yes, that’s how they spell it, two different words) was indeed fruitful.. I would have to say that I learnt a lot from the conference and Viet Nam, but i have to admit that I learnt more about life..

Non-conference Stuff..
The flight to Viet Nam was quite okie, I watch Dirty Dancing Havana Nights on Krisworld.. Yes I know it is quite an old show but it is my first time watching it..

Did I mention that the hotel that we stayed at is extremely posh? Haha.. Well, it is a business hotel with conference facility, so obviously it has to be that way. This Melia Hanoi Hotel sits in the center of the busy city, with a wide contrast of buildings and facilities.

The right hand side of the hotel is a wet (and i mean wet and slippery and dirty and smelly and.. well you get the idea)market. Explore once or twice there during my free time and i nearly slip and fall onto the wet dirty ground.. Yucks.. Thank goodness that I manage to prevent that disaster from happening.. Oh my… I have to write this, they eat dogs.. Roasted! And the hawkers just out them on their table tops as if they are selling whole pigs or chickens… I freaked out! Further down there is this Singapore-Viet Nam Training centre.. As the name suggest, Singapore agencies conduct training workshops there and i think it is a business building.. And it’s a shopping mall as well, okie, a single level shopping mall… Nothing there at all.. I go there for the sake of, (dun kill me) air conditioning.

The left hand side of the hotel are all the various retail shops and embassies and living quarters and some building of some sort. Everything’s in a loop, so you know what i mean i guess. Big Big circles and loops. The Singapore delegation even sat at a ‘roadside stall’ (READ: LU BIAN TAN) and ordered coconuts. Just right beside the main traffic road. Yes, it is crazy and polluted too, but i have no complaints.

Well in Viet Nam, there’s practically no night life.. Singaporeans are lucky enough. How about a few pubs, KTV and cafes that opened until about 3am, 1 movie theatre (no midnight wor) and no 24 hr convenient stores. Know what I mean now? I was in the city and no such things.. Be thankful man. Did i mention that ATMs are hardly to be found? The only one I see is outside the hotel.

How about 3 pavillion riders on a motor bike? A dog? A baby in a cradle? Yes, you can see that all in Viet Nam.. The most outragous one I saw was —> ONE Father (driver) OneMother, TWO kids (one ’bout 10 yrs, the other 5?) and a small black dog. Yes, on a scooter.. Fun ya? More like dangerous with all that terrible traffic that came from all directions. And they really make use of the honks.. Beep Beep Beep everywhere, I can even hear it from my hotel room on the 19th storey. Crossing roads there is definitely an ART, the trick? -KEEPING WALKING AND DONT LOOK BACK. NO ‘GOS-TAN’ RULE APPLY.

Now the sad things… Well, as a country in the early developing stage, poverty can be seem quite commonly. There would be beggars on the street running after the tourists and asking for money. These are usually very old people and they carry young children on their backs. Another group is young children, probably the oldest I saw was 12, going around selling postcards and books. They are very agressive and they stick and follow you for quite a distance. It’s pretty scary. One of them, when rejected,screamed at the top of her voice “You think you very big is it? Who you think you are?” and some other things in Vietnamese which I choose not to explain. It is sad, but we cannot give them the money as this might encourage them to beg. It is very heart breaking.

While we are here talking about the cost of the new SUV or MPV, we seldom think about the less fortunate people in the world. We all have different level of needs. This trip really brought me back to reality to realise that there are people and issues that are more important than LV is having a 50% sale or your boyfriend decided to call it quits. I hope that I can do something about it.

Sustainable development.

‘CHIM’ subject. I was actually the youngest delegate there with the least knowledge about SD and the one with one of the lowest ‘status’ in the youth organisations that the rest represent. I think I did my best for the conference. It has been a fruitful experience for me learning new things and making new friends. I have also come to realise that I am thankful I did not accept the offer from NUS Arts and Social Science Faculty because I may end up doing Political Science. Politics is scary, personal agenda is even worst.

SD in Singapore is quite standard. We are pretty well developed. Poverty is minimum, hunger problems are negligible. Yep. We are pretty okay. Other aspect are quite normal so we are fine. That’s all I will say here. I will be writing more in my report to National YOuth Council, tell me if you want to read it.. Haha.. I doubt anyone will be happy to. It is going to be dry.

Better stop. Or there will be no end to this entry… long and not very interesting.