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ISBN: 978 - 604 - 905 - 432 - 7

Why we love a


Because at ISHCMC we understand that through play we learn. Tomorrow’s leaders need to do more than memorise information. Their brains must be trained so that they can adapt as the world quickly changes around them. In addition to a very strong academic foundation, they must be able to think critically, analyse new situations, problem solve and know how to use cutting edge technology to find the information they will need to be successful. Tomorrow’s leaders cannot be afraid to make a mess. Their minds need to be adaptable, creative and innovative, all of which lies at the heart of the ISHCMC philosophy. ISHCMC is the only school in Ho Chi Minh City fully accredited to teach all 3 IB programmes International School Ho Chi Minh City 28 Vo Truong Toan, District 2 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: +84 (8) 3898-9100 Email:

20 celebr ating

years of success 1993 - 2013


18 AsiaLIFE volume 74


06 News & Events 08 Dispatches


36 Sterling's Saigon Hellenic Saigon

37 Lubu

09 Street Smart: Cao Thang

Mediterranean cuisine

12 Q&A With Rachael Carson

38 Galbi Brothers

14 Photo Essay: At Play

Korean barbeque

39 Quan Ut Ut

cover story

18 Saigon Madmen


24 The Full Treatment

The advertising industry

American barbeque and beer

style & design

40 The Art of Motorcycle Making 42 Weave a Better World

Saigon's best spas

26 Out of This World UFO cult touches down in Vietnam

29 First on the Scene

Motorbike accident advice


30 Girl Eats World

66 Spotlight 68 Street Guide

From the courtroom to food stalls


46 The List

76 Odd One Out

Diary of a future cat lady

32 Fun and Games

77 A Libertine Abroad

Hong Kong Sevens

Sweeping generalisations

34 Escape from Hanoi

78 Pub Quiz

14 Cover Art direction Sarah Joanne Smith Photography Richard Harper Model Adam Astley



note from the editor This month saw the launch of our new website, Asialifemagazine. com. Now you can read all our news and events, features, travel articles and columns anywhere you are connected. The site is also optimised for tablets and smart phones and includes our comprehensive listings. In addition, we are producing more video content, including interviews, restaurant and bar reviews, and destination features. Our print edition remains the bedrock of what we do, and our commitment to high-quality writing, photography and design remains the same. However, it is a changing media landscape the world over, and the move to digital platforms is continuing to gather pace. Our aim is to deliver quality content to our readers in the way that suits them best.



Saigon Summer Ball

Join Saigon Children’s Charity on 7 June from 7pm till late for their annual Saigon Summer Ball at the InterContinental Hotel in District 1. This event is a night of celebration and style with the added benefit of raising muchneeded funds for development work. Tickets are VND 3.3 million each or VND 30 million for a table of 10 and includes a Moet & Chandon champagne reception, dinner, a silent auction, and live music and DJs. The Summer Ball has gained a reputation for being one of the premier social events of the year. Email for details and tickets.

EVENTS operator today, Ascott continues to offer serviced residences designed to make anyone feel at home. To celebrate their 30 years in the business, Ascott is offering special rates and promotions from now until 31 Dec. These promotions include 30 percent off at participating properties in over 30 cities worldwide; one free night’s stay for every consecutive 30 nights booked; and additional free nights for successfully referred friends or business associates. For more details visit

Shape Up for Summer

The Caravelle Hotel is giving Saigon residents and expats an incentive to shake off a few extra 30 Years of Ascott pounds in time for summer. From From its beginnings as Asia Panow until 30 June, residents can cific’s first branded serviced resibuy individual full-year memberdence in Singapore back in 1984, ships for VND 39 million, a 15 AGS_Vietnam_59X175_WORD_27.1.2014_CTP_.pdf 1 2/6/2014 2:57:41 PM to its distinction as the world’s percent savings, which also largest serviced residence owner/ includes five, 60-minute body










Group director sales and marketing / director Vietnam: Jonny Edbrooke Managing editor: Brett Davis Deputy editor: Chris Mueller

Art director: Sarah Joanne Smith Production manager: Nguyen Kim Hoa Administrative: Nguyen Hanh Trinh

Assistant editor: Ruben Luong For advertising and marketing enquiries please contact: +84 938 298 395 / +84 8 6680 6105 or

AsiaLIFE Cambodia Group editor / director: Mark Bibby Jackson Managing editor: Ellie Dyer

massage vouchers and sixmonth locker rental. Or, you can get a six-month membership for VND 22.5 million, a 10 percent savings, with two, 60-minute massage vouchers and threemonth locker rental. Email

Vietnam’s First Pet Magazine

Me Thu Cung (Passion for Pets), the country’s first pet magazine, launched online last month, giving pet lovers in Vietnam a go-to source for all their animal needs. Work on the magazine began over three years ago when the editors, Wayne and Gemma Capriotti, struggled to find proper care for the dog they adopted from an “unscrupulous pet shop”. Now, they say, the pet industry here is growing and it deserves its very own magazine. The first few issues will focus on dog and cat ownership, but the magazine

Art director: Joe Slater Sales: Sorn Chantha

will cover more pets, including birds, fish, small mammals and reptiles, in the future. Articles are in both English and Vietnamese.

A Bright Idea

The brightening Moisture White Shiso skin care range by The Body Shop has a new companion for brighter-looking eyes: Moisture White Shiso 2-in-1 Brightening Eye Cream. According to market research, many women say they consider lackluster-looking eyes a major concern when it comes to skin care. With that in mind, The Body Shop has created this cream to accomplish two things: first, it gives a cooling and refreshing sensation and helps improve circulation around the eyes. Second, the Shisopowered formula helps give delicate skin around the eyes a visibly brighter and lighter appearance.

We’re All Mad Here

Dragonfly Theatre presents the award-winning West End play Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall. In a London psychiatric hospital, an enigmatic patient claims to be the son of an African dictator while his doctors debate the best course of treatment. Should he be locked up or released? And who is the real madman? The sarcastic comedy is an evocative tale of race, mental illness and a 21st century take on care in the community. The show runs from 16 to 18 May at Cargo Bar, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, D4. Tickets can be booked for VND 300,000 before midnight on 12 May from After 12 May, tickets are VND 350,000 on the door. For showtimes visit dragonflyvietnam.

The Cairos at Q4

Loud Minority has announced that the hotly anticipated Aussie outfit, The Cairos, will be bringing their sundrenched indie pop to Cargo Bar (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, D4) on 17 May. After signing to Island/Universal, the Queenslanders will release their debut album, Dream of Reason, on 9 May, produced by Nick Didia (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Bruce Springsteen). Over the last few years, The Cairos have honed their skills and worked hard at their craft, while sharing stages with the likes of Julian Casablancas, The Temper Trap, The Middle East, You Am I and endless other indie rock elite. Support on the night comes from Saigon's finest purveyors of fuzz-punk, The Secret Asians, who recently packed out a threenight-stand at Universal Bar. Tickets are VND 150,000 in advance and VND 200,000 at the door. Free entry for students with a valid student ID. Tickets are on sale at


Travel news from around the region and beyond

Get Hitched Travel like a king in Bagan, Myanmar with a royal package from the Bagan Lodge. Take a full-day horsecart tour around the temples of Myanmar’s most iconic archaeological site — with its more than 2,200 temples, pagodas and stupas — before ending by watching the sunset at Pyat Thadar Temple. Then head back to the lodge, perched right at the edge of Bagan, to relax at its restaurant, swimming pool or spa. The package can be bought from now until 28 Sept and can be used between 1 Aug and 30 Sept. The threeday, two-night deal costs $330 and includes two nights in a deluxe room for two, daily breakfast, airport transfers and the horsecart tour with an English-speaking guide.

Rainforest Rhythms Every year thousands of music enthusiasts from around the globe come to a small village 35 kilometres from Kuching on the island of Borneo to take part in this unique festival. Renowned musicians from all continents will join indigenous musicians on the stage for this three-day show, from 20 to 22 June. There will also be a food and village market with indigenous cuisine, as well as an arts and crafts area. Presale tickets range from $34 for a one-day pass to $93 for all three days. Prices are higher the day of the festival. Kuching has plenty of hotels, from budget to luxury, to accommodate any type of music lover.

Lounge in Luang Prabang Just south of the city of Luang Prabang in Laos are the Kuang Si Falls, a multi-tier waterfall that not only offers visitors picturesque beauty, but also cool waters to relax in. And until 31 Oct, the Villa Maly, a boutique hotel that was once the residence of Lao royalty, is offering a tour to the falls as part of a $300 ($365 for two people) package. The deal includes a trip to the falls in addition to a two-night stay at the villa, one dinner on the famous Nava Mekong boat, a one-hour massage, airport transfers and daily breakfast. Luang Prabang is a Unesco-listed town located in north-central Laos and is considered one of Asia’s best-preserved cities.


Street Smart:

Cao Thang Ruben Luong finds spots for the body, mind and soul on this District 3 street. Photos by Sarah Joanne Smith. Cao Thang is in District 3, and based on that fact alone, it is home to exclusively Vietnamese neighbourhoods not yet overwhelmed with western establishments. It has, however, changed dramatically as a physical road. Buildings are bookended with the occasional boutique or independent lifestyle shop worth visiting during the day, but surrounding stalls make Cao Thang a suitable street to visit in the evenings for its prized street food. It is a reliable street to navigate between the one-way Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Dien Bien Phu streets, and it only takes a few trips up and down its bustling path to become familiar with the interesting places it has to offer.




103 Cao Thang

71 Cao Thang

As the hot and rainy season returns, skincare can become aggravating. Korean beauty chain Nature Republic supplies collections of skincare products that will inspire a healthy touch of vanity. Rejuvenating foam cleansers, peeling gels, advanced cell-boosting toners and other cool products are fuelled with Miracle of Medication Water, specially formulated water with exotic ingredients like Korean Actinidia arguta sap or hot spring water from Israel’s Jordan River. Try the 92 percent Soothing and Moisture Aloe Vera Gel (VND 159,000) to alleviate sun exposure.

This bakery has been around since 1984, and it’s still popular among locals. That’s because beloved Vietnamese pastries can be bought in droves for any occasion, whether saved as midnight snacks or gifted as sweet treats for friends and housemates. A convenient pit stop for those riding along Cao Thang, Duc Phat is an emporium for small Asian pizza buns, different varieties of mung bean cakes, sticky rice and sesame seed pies, stuffed bread coated in strings of dried pork, and countless more traditional goodies, averaging VND 11,000-20,000 for each. Custom or pre-made Vietnamese sponge cakes average VND 300,000.



11A Cao Thang

31 Cao Thang

Banh cuon, a Vietnamese stuffed pancake made from rolls of steamed rice paper, is a dish that is eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is certainly one of those dishes you want to eat all day, especially at Banh Cuon Hai Nam, a small and narrow eatery that would be easy to pass by if it weren’t for the scrolling neon lights above its storefront. Plumes of smoke rise from large pots where steamed mushrooms, prawns and rice paper are prepared in the foyer. Farther inside, locals sardine themselves between foldable tables to enjoy full and delicious platters of banh cuon (VND 35,000-40,000). Each plate comes with two steamed rolls drenched in chilli and fish sauce and topped with two slices of cha lua, or Vietnamese pork.

Kick back with a beer and a satisfying bowl of banh canh ghe (noodle crab soup) after work. Each bowl, served small, medium or large (VND 45,000-65,000), comes with an entire small crab swimming in thick white noodles under a spicy, yellow curry-based broth that will make you sweat in glory. You’ll have to crack the crab limb from limb, but don’t be intimidated; mini baskets at each table are convenient for discarding all the unnecessary parts. Moreover, nibbling to find pockets of tender crab meat is a welcome and entertaining challenge in between active conversations with friends or coworkers. If you’re not feeling the crab, plates of grilled squid or snails also make good plates for sharing over cold beer (VND 50,000).



110 Cao Thang

53-57 and 61 Cao Thang

This fairly new yoga centre is housed inside the NAHI office building. Take the lift past the garage to the third floor, where Satwa’s bright and clean space welcomes members to two yoga classrooms (sala) that accommodate around 15 to 20 people. First-timers can sign up for three free test classes with yoga masters, which includes Dr Ashish Tripathi, the centre’s managing director. Tripathi, a doctor of yoga and natural medicine, combines ancient yoga with modern medicinal science to strengthen individual health needs. Hour-long sessions run every day starting from 6.15am and the last class of the day starting at 7.30pm, offering beginner, intermediate, multilevel and advanced levels. Price varies depending on peak and off-peak hours, but start at VND 1,200,000 for a one-month membership.

Around 5pm, the sidewalk across from the Tam Tong Mieu Pagoda becomes filled with young locals that gather for Da Lat-style banh trang nuong (VND 10,000-21,000), or grilled rice paper, eggs and chives prepared and served in what resembles a thin and crunchy Vietnamese quesadilla. It’s a popular spot for the dish, so much so that it occupies two separate stretches of the sidewalk. The menu is only in Vietnamese, but you should opt for the banh trang trung bo (egg and beef), trung ga xe (egg and shredded chicken) or trung hai san (egg and seafood). They may not be filling enough for dinner, but they make a good appetiser. Of course, each slice, cut up with scissors, should be eaten with hot sauce.


Book your table now Saigon Children’s Charit�’s 6th Annual

Sat�rday, 7th June 2014, 7pm Intercontinental Asiana Saigon

Join us for an evening of champag�e, g�eat wines, fine dining, live enter�ainment and even livelier dancing Amazing prizes plus live and silent auction Telephone: (08) 3930 3502 AsiaLIFE HCMC 11

Rachael Carson The co-founder of Fashion4Freedom, a social enterprise that helps Vietnamese artisan villages protect their heritage, discusses how her role in the project was born from a university fellowship, why charity isn’t sustainable and how she hopes fashion and design can preserve tradition. By Chris Mueller. Photo by Jonny Edbrooke. You first came to Vietnam as part of a university fellowship. What was its goal? Originally the program I went to in Hue was a capital investment project, giving machinery to small businesses that would then repay the loans to the community. It was supposed to just be a pilot project, but after my first year we funded seven businesses. Then the grant was doubled and we funded 14 businesses. Now after four years there are 50 that we’ve funded. That’s how our NGO arm, Design Capital Asia, got started. Fashion4Freedom supports the supply chain in product development, marketing and connecting rural entrepreneurs to international markets. Why focus on Hue? We wanted to rebuild the region as the hub for ethical manufacturing. In Hue there are numerous artisan villages, and a lot of these villages used to manufacture and produce products for the Imperial family. But that market no longer exists and these really old villages can’t keep up with the changing markets and demands. We want to invest


in these villages and help preserve these traditional arts.

How does Fashion4Freedom help? Our model is to first invest machinery and not actual money. So with the woodcraft village, they received $3,000 worth of new equipment which helps increase consistency in their product and increase efficiency in their workshops. This in turn helps them get larger contracts and equipment so they can produce on a larger scale. By investing in them they not only produce for us, but we’re able to open markets for far more customers for them. When we invest in the businesses, they don’t repay us, they repay the community. So with the wood carpenter, he repaid by training more people in the craft and also donating wooden doors and windows to people in the community who didn’t have them, which is very useful in the wet season.


How can you do this with fashion? In Vietnam in general, the amount of artisan villages is decreasing. If you see some of these villages, they are lost in time. You have to really redesign a product for the market to revitalise these dying arts. The village that makes our shoes, for example, has been making wood art for pagodas and imperial palaces for 700 years. So we looked at how we can use their skill sets, use their heritage craft and recreate a product for a different marketplace. That way we can create a way for the art to walk around the world.

You say some of your business models were influenced by how China gives foreign aid to Africa. For my senior thesis I compared how China deals with foreign aid compared to the west. What China does in Africa is look at these countries as business partners, and says, “OK, you have resources we want so we’re going to build up your infrastructure to get them.” The west is much more charity based. That’s why I don’t believe in charity in a lot of cases. Charity makes people dependent; it’s

Charity makes people dependent; it’s not like an equal business partnership; it’s not mutually beneficial for both parties.


not like an equal business partnership; it’s not mutually beneficial for both parties. That’s what influenced my thinking a lot in using a business-minded approach instead of charity. I felt this approach was much more sustainable. Does it cost manufacturers more money to follow your more ethical model? No. We’re trying to prove that you can actually produce luxury products, like our shoes, which are made by really rural producers, and you can also have a type of manufacturing where you can find a happy medium

between the price of excellence and the price that it costs to produce. Can Fashion4Freedom’s model be done on a large scale? Yes. We have really niche products like small embroidery workshops, bamboo paper, lacquer ware, but we also have small factories that can produce 5,000 or 10,000 pieces of garments per month and we’re developing that more now. We’re seeing a lot of western retailers that need an ethical, transparent source for manufacturing. And we can guarantee that we can manage design and production while being up to ethical standards. There are a lot of people who want to use our supply chain because of that. One of the goals of Fashion4Freedom is to redefine luxury. What does that mean? That means looking at the producer and the consumer of luxury. The producer supports small villages that are so isolated from the world in many ways and are very much stuck in time and have no idea about the luxury market. But the villages also have these heritage skills. I think that’s more what luxury is. It’s not just things made in a factory with no history, but made by people who have perfected their heritage art for generations. Consumers actually want products that have that story, that history. For more information, visit Shoes created by these artisan villages can be bought at the House of Saigon, 16-18-20 Thu Khoa Huan, D1.




at play




Canadian photographer Kevin Landry moved to Vietnam in 2011 after living for several years in Australia. He spent his first Tet holiday in Vietnam with a family in a small village in An Giang province in the Mekong Delta. “With all that Vietnam has to offer and the poverty that seems to be everywhere, it was the children that really made an impact on me as well as the hospitality of the Vietnamese people,” he says. “The colourful and joyous spirits of the children was what I wanted to capture through the lens of a camera.” Landry is a commercial and editorial photographer and has a library of stock images for licence, many of which can be viewed at AsiaLIFE HCMC 17


The modern advertising industry in Vietnam is barely two decades old. What started as a new frontier has become an increasingly competitive and international-standard marketplace for the ad business. By Brett Davis. Photo by Richard Harper.



uring almost every waking moment we are being bombarded with advertising messages. While watching television or reading a magazine, there they are; the billboards and neon signs which adorn the buildings that mark our daily commute about town; and every time we venture onto the internet or turn on our smart phone. It is an inescapable part of modern life, so much so that it is very easy to forget there is a huge industry full of very smart and talented people devoted to designing those messages and images to convince us to part with our money for their client’s product. But most of us don’t really know much of what goes on behind the scenes in this world. Our understanding may be limited to how the original


‘Mad Men' are portrayed on the television show of the same name (a reference to the Madison Avenue location of the major New York agencies), or perhaps you remember the 1980s Dudley Moore film Crazy People. Then again, it may

The truth is, usually, nowhere near as much fun as it is portrayed in fiction, but the advertising industry in Vietnam has come a long way in 20 years and reflects much of the ambition, innovation and uncertainty seen in the same

The truth is, usually, nowhere near as much fun as it is portrayed in fiction, but the advertising industry in Vietnam has come a long way in 20 years. be we have a more modern vision of creative types hanging out in funky open-plan offices wearing black-rimmed glasses and sporting trendy haircuts.

sector in any part of the world. It is a business estimated to be worth up to a billion US dollars a year in Vietnam, and continues to grow.

Early days The first major international agencies came to Vietnam in the mid-1990s. The model for the establishment of these firms initially followed a similar model: the agencies which served multinational brands set up shop in Vietnam when their clients started selling their products here. For instance, if an international brewer wanted to sell their beer to Vietnamese consumers, the agency with the global account would establish an office to take care of the brand’s local advertising. From there, other business would follow. By the mid-‘90s, international advertising agencies such as Bates, J Walter Thompson and Young & Rubicam had begun creeping into the Vietnam market. Indeed, most of the major players had some presence in the country by the early part of the following decade.

“A lot of mad Australians mainly, and Englishmen,” he says of the early advertising expats, “all fresh from whatever ad agencies they were at in Sydney or London. A few of them went off the rails a bit; a few of them went a bit crazy.”

It was still a small community at the time, and there were a few regular hang-outs where the Saigon mad men were usually to be found. Café Latin on Dong Du Street was the main social hub for the expat advertising crowd, and Vasco’s when it was on Thi Sach Street, was another. The Creative Circle was another institution, with regular gatherings of industry types where people could catch up on the latest happenings and have a few drinks. This was in the days before YouTube so someone might bring a showreel of work or make a small presentation. The managing partner of advertising agency BBDO Vietnam, Daniel Gordon Jones, arrived in Vietnam from London in the late ‘90s to work as an account manager. “A lot of mad Australians mainly, and Englishmen,” he says of the early advertising expats, “all fresh from whatever

ad agencies they were at in Sydney or London. A few of them went off the rails a bit; a few of them went a bit crazy.” Understanding the mindset and attitudes of local consumers was also sometimes a challenge. “People come in here they wanted to be first-world creative. They try to apply their knowledge and skills from another market,” he says. “For example, they would put an old Vespa in an ad. Back then, it would be ‘What are you showing me this for?’ Now the market has changed a bit. The youth of Vietnam appreciate the retro appeal of it. Back then it was a poor-man’s bike, but creatives would go ‘how cool, Vespas’.”

An evolution Times change, and not the least of these changes have been the profusion of media that carry advertising messages. A handful of television

channels have grown to more than a hundred, thanks to cable TV, while magazines and newspapers have seen a similar exponential growth. Vietnam’s youthful population has taken to the digital world, ensuring this is one of the most connected countries in the region. An influx of international agencies as well as the emergence of more prominent local and independent outfits has created an incredibly competitive advertising industry. This, combined with ever-tightening marketing budgets, has changed the way the business works. Sumesh Peringeth worked at multinational agencies in several countries, including Vietnam, before becoming one of the founding partners at independent creative agency Dinosaur. He says that more competition and smaller budgets has had a significant impact on how his firm approaches winning accounts.

“We never used to pitch, in fact we had a policy of not pitching, but over time to keep the work coming we had to,” he says. “There are many small agencies now and even the global agencies are fighting for the same business.” Peringeth says he believes advertisers’ openness to using digital platforms was perhaps the most significant development in the industry in the last few years, yet this brought its own unique set of challenges. “When you had an ad in print it seemed to stay there for a while, but it doesn’t seem that way now. Now it’s a quick thing. Execution, detail, those things are changing. “Your Facebook page is your medium now, so you produce three or four pieces for one day, whereas we used to do one magazine ad it would take us one month. You have to do a lot more and a lot faster, and there is not enough money to produce that much.”


“That was kind of the ‘oh crap’ moment, we can do this, Vietnam isn’t backwards at advertising; we can have ideas, we can execute.”

Breaking through After 17 years in the advertising business in Vietnam, BBDO Vietnam chairman and executive creative director David Smail says he has seen the industry mature a great deal. One signpost that the Vietnam-based agencies had arrived was the awarding of the first Cannes Lion (the advertising industry’s version of the Oscars) in 2003 for a campaign on which he worked while at Young & Rubicam. “That was kind of the ‘oh crap’ moment, we can do this, Vietnam isn’t backwards at advertising; we can have ideas, we can execute,” he says. However, in Smail’s opinion, the growth of the industry and the profusion of different communication channels has


not been entirely a good thing. He believes this has seen a reduction in the quality of the advertising being produced. “There is not the focus on the great idea anymore. Now it is so fragmented in different places,” he says. “You can do interesting work but clients want it all over the place.” Indeed, things like mobile applications and social media platforms, which companies can, and in many cases do, operate themselves has raised the question of how traditional advertising agencies stay relevant. “It is a question that everybody is asking right now,” Smail says. “Our thing is to be our client’s most valued partner.” The moving away from mass communications to more personal, individual approaches

seems to be a trend that is here to stay. Planning director at TBWA Vietnam Binh Phuong Nguyen Vu thinks personal networks, such as Facebook, are extremely important for advertisers. “The challenge is to get into those networks,” he says. It would seem the ubiquity of advertising is set to go to a new level as marketers strive to pin down consumers’ likes and dislikes. Dinosaur’s Peringeth says the developments in the industry in recent years have also given rise to very data- and research-driven advertising to create messages that matter to people. ”The more relevant you are, the more you are part of a person’s life, in whatever way you can, the more exciting your brand is going to be,” he says.

Vietnam's public relations industry emerges Often seen as a close cousin of the advertising industry, the field of public relations in Vietnam has had a more difficult trajectory in its development. A new study has found that demand for PR is mostly driven by multi-national corporations, with many Vietnamese companies unsure about the practice. The research by two lecturers with RMIT University Vietnam's Professional Communication faculty, Mai Anh Doan and Jade Bilowol, provides a current snapshot of how an industry introduced by western multinational corporations in the 1990s has adapted to the Vietnamese market. Published in the latest edition of the prestigious Public Relations Review journal, the paper titled Public relations and professionalism in Vietnam - Vietnamese PR practitioners’ perceptions of an emerging field, the study involved in-depth interviews with senior Vietnamese PR executives from various agencies. The researchers found demand for PR in Vietnam stemmed mainly from multinational organisations promoting products through the media. They also found that Vietnamese companies were unsure about investing in PR due to a limited understanding of what it was, sometimes confusing it with the practice of operatives making financial payments to journalists in exchange for articles promoting their clients. Interpersonal relationships developed during and outside of official work hours were also regarded as highly valuable for effective PR, and clients mostly relied on agencies to implement specific activities rather than advise on long-term strategies. The authors said their findings underscored the need for the establishment of a professional association and more PR training courses to increase understanding about the relatively new Vietnamese PR industry and to guide its future development.




Crystal Spa Tan Son Nhat Hotel, third floor 202 Hoang Van Thu Street, Phu Nhuan 08 38 47 99 64 10am-10pm, seven days

Grand Spa JP 9 Nguyen Trai, Level 3-7, D1 08 73 00 01 23 10am-11pm, seven days

Cat Moc Spa 61-61 Tran Dinh Xu, D1 08 62 95 89 26 9am-10pm, seven days


Designed with an opulent white interior that references Saigon (which some translate as “cotton tree”), the 1,200-square-metre Crystal Spa is considered the largest in Ho Chi Minh City. Here, you can find a spa café with 20 spa chairs, 16 treatment rooms, four jacuzzis (hot and cold), a hair salon and a sauna or steam room for men and women. Crystal Spa opened its doors two months ago in Phu Nhuan under the management of arom:D, a renowned Thai academic spa that combines the oriental science of ancient Ayurveda and Chakra with traditional Thai medicine using advanced aroma chromotherapy. Its signature crystal therapy services utilise colour-specific aromas

and arom:D products extracted from stones like diamonds, jade or pearls to naturally heal the body. For example, cool crystal therapy (blue) calms and clarifies to soothe the mind and relax muscles; Joy (orange) provides strength and protection of the immune system; and Light (yellow) clears depression, stimulates happiness and purifies the body. Most treatments run for 180 minutes for VND 2,500,000. Other standard services and packages are also available, such as a 90-minute Chakra balancing massage (VND 1,650,000), a 30-minute Himalayan crystal mineral bath (VND 350,000), 60-minute Crystal classic facial (VND 900,000) and 45-minute body exfoliation (VND 590,000).

Grand Spa JP beauty resort, located along the Phu Dong traffic circle on Nguyen Trai Street, opened three months ago and houses the first indoor onsen (“hot springs”) Japanese healing baths in Saigon. Onsen baths, prevalent in Japan, are known for their supposed ability to aid recovery from illness with the restorative mineral properties in the water. The baths (separate for men and women), hot stone bedrock spa and sauna facilities reflect Japanese architecture with highly minimal and geometric tiling. Deep soaks are encouraged to increase blood flow, metabolism and remove tension to aid the

immune system. Entrance fee for the bath, bedrock spa and sauna rooms is VND 300,000. Couples receive 10 percent off their entrance fee at VND 540,000. For bath use only, guests pay VND 190,000. Massage services consist of Thai, oil and hot stone or mixed massages, which can be arranged for 60, 90 or 120 minutes from VND 280,000 to VND 730,000 depending on which services are chosen. Afterwards, spa guests can lounge in the comfy break room or dine at the spa’s open space restaurant, which serves wholesome Japanese and Vietnamese fusion cuisine.

By far the most welcoming and wellrounded spa in Saigon is Cat Moc Spa, which has held its own for three-anda-half years. Two kilometres from Ben Thanh Market, it is ensconced on a side street off Tran Hung Dao. It’s convenient to get to but also isolated enough to be a downtown retreat. Not overly luxurious, Cat Moc is peaceful and quaint, attracting locals, travellers and expats alike. There’s a reason it is rated number one on TripAdvisor. Its intimate spa corridor is dim, candlelit and scented in French aroma oils. Sixteen beds in total fill a public room, couple’s room, facial room and shampoo room. Every masseur and beautician is quality-trained in

numerous services, such as Thai, Swedish or Vietnamese herbal relaxing therapy. Sessions also include personalised consultations for Dermalogica product facial treatments and other treatments like paraffins, waxing or Japanese-style hair washing. There are a number of attractive packages, like the 150-minute renewal package (VND 668,000), which includes herbal steam and aroma sauna, yoghurt sea salt body scrub and 90-minute Swedish therapy with aroma oil. Couples especially love the 180-minute ‘a journey for two’ (VND 2,100,000) package, consisting of a coconut body scrub, 60-minute aromatherapy massage, facial and foot care.

It’s the season where one wants to seek some respite from the heat, pollution and stress of city life that wreaks havoc on our bodies. Ruben Luong was up for the tough task of doing just that at three of Saigon’s foremost independent spas.


out of this

world Are we alone in the universe? A controversial group, led by a man who claims he is in contact with aliens, says it knows the answer and is now spreading that message to Vietnam. By Chris Mueller. Photo by Jonny Edbrooke.


t’s 3 o'clock and the aliens are late. But when the bright afternoon sky suddenly turns black, I prepare for contact. To my disappointment, nothing happens, and my session with a group that believes aliens created life on Earth 25,000 years ago comes to an anti-climactic end. To be fair, Marcel St-Arneault, the ‘guide’ for the Vietnam chapter of the Raelians, as the group calls themselves, never said aliens would actually show themselves. He only said they would give Earth a quick fly-by in their spaceship, just long enough to collect DNA samples from new Raelians. The early monsoon rains over


destroys itself the Raelians can be cloned by the Elohim and sent to live on a new planet. Unfortunately, the only non-member (besides me) in attendance isn’t yet ready to become an official Raelian, so I don't get to witness the ceremony. Instead, I watch StArneault, an affable 58-year-old Frenchman dressed in all white and sporting a ponytail, lead six Vietnamese Raelians in meditation. As his Vietnamese wife translates, he tells everyone to close their eyes, concentrate on their breathing and visualise each cell in their bodies. To an outsider, the group may seem like just another new-age meditation class,

THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL BEING EXPLAINED HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE ELOHIM RACE, WHICH SCIENTIFICALLY ENGINEERED HUMANS IN THEIR IMAGE, AS WELL AS ALL LIFE ON EARTH. the café near Tan Son Nhat airport were apparently just a coincidence. It’s the first Sunday of April, which means today is the biggest holiday for Raelians. The group believes it is the anniversary of the day an advanced alien race called the Elohim finally got the recipe right and created the first modern-day humans some 13,000 years ago. The holiday is also one of just four days out of the year when guides (Raelian priests) can perform the group’s mostimportant ritual: the ‘transmission of the cellular plan’. This transmission, St-Arneault says, occurs when the Elohim fly past Earth to collect DNA samples from willing converts. When this happens, guides around the world have a one-hour window to perform as many transmissions as possible. According to Raelian belief, the DNA will then be stored on an alien super-computer, and if humanity

but the Raelian movement is a controversial international organisation that has grabbed headlines around the world. Experts and media outlets often describe the movement as a cult. And now it has landed in Vietnam.

We come in peace

On 13 Dec 1973, Claude Vorilhon, a 27-year-old trade magazine journalist and racecar test driver, was hiking in a volcano park in central France where he claims he had an encounter with a being from another planet. The extraterrestrial being explained he was a member of the Elohim race, which scientifically engineered humans in their image, as well as all life on earth. The alien also said Vorilhon, who is now called Rael by his followers, was the Elohim’s “last prophet”. Vorilhon says he met all of the former prophets when he travelled to the Elohim AsiaLIFE HCMC 27


A model of the Raelian embassy with the movement's symbol atop. The Raelian Movement leader Claude Vorilhon (right), called Rael by his followers. Photos supplied

home planet. After returning to Earth, Vorilhon penned the Elhoim’s ‘message’ into a series of books called Intelligent Design, which he used to attract followers. Since the movement began in 1975, it has recruited more than 100,000 members worldwide. Essentially, the goal of the movement is to prepare mankind for the Elohim’s return. Raelians' ethics are centred around world peace, non-violence, and they take liberal views on sexuality. Their main mission is to construct an embassy where the Elohim can safely reveal themselves to the world. In Intelligent Design, Vorilhon writes that the Elhoim told him, “What we want is to see if there are enough wise people on Earth. If a sufficiently large number of people follow you, then we will come openly.”

World domination

Now, the movement’s global membership, especially in Asia, is steadily growing. Vorilhon is currently based in Japan, where there is the largest concentration of Raelians, says Brigette Boisselier, a spokesperson for the International Raelian Movement. The movement has also become hugely popular in South Korea, Taiwan and, more recently, China. In Vietnam, there are only eight members so far. And across the border, the Cambodian chapter is petitioning the government to allow the movement to build a $20 million embassy in Phnom Penh, according to a February article 28 AsiaLIFE HCMC

in the The Phnom Penh Post. Boisselier credits the growing number of Raelians in Asia with the increased amount of internet access. Which makes sense, since all of the members of the Vietnam chapter I spoke with said they discovered the movement when researching UFOs online. “When I was young, I’d always see strange things. I always had questions about UFOs and aliens so I looked them up on the internet,” says Tan, a 53-year-old member who drove 150 kilometres from his small village in Binh Phuoc province for the meeting. Tan is a professional musician and says he hasn’t told anyone in his village about his interest in the movement yet, because he’s worried how they’ll react. “I will slowly let them know,” he says. But Anh Ca, a 25-year-old member who has been following Rael’s teachings for three years, isn’t worried about what others think. She even has a rendition of the Raelian symbol — the official version is a swastika inside the Star of David — tattooed on her forearm. Her friends and family, however, aren’t as open to the movement. She says her husband has plans to divorce her because he disagrees with her newfound beliefs. “They tell me I’m crazy,” she says.

Cloning and controversy This unwavering belief in Vorilhon’s teachings is exactly why Rick Ross, an expert on

destructive cults and founder of the US-based Cult Education Institute, says the Raelian Movement is dangerous. Members hang on Vorilhon’s every word, even though no one else has had contact with the Elohim. “Raelians base their entire belief system upon the fantastic claims of Claude Vorilhon,” Ross wrote in an email. “Raelians accept these fantastic claims, which reflects a rigid mindset largely devoid of critical thinking.” Ross says he has compiled evidence from families and former members that indicates the movement fits the definition of a destructive cult, the primary characteristics of which are: a group run by a charismatic leader, the use of coercive persuasion (brainwashing) and exploitation. “Vorilhon is a publicity seeking ego-driven leader and the Raelians are a typical personality-driven authoritarian group,” Ross writes. “In my opinion the Raelians are a fairly classic example of a destructive cult.” Ross also says he has received reports that Vorilhon has exploited his followers financially, sexually and for free labour. However, Boisselier, the movement’s spokesperson, says none of this is true. A lot of the negative media attention (of which there is plenty) has also focused on reports of the group’s use of sex, nudity and orgies at gatherings to attract new members. Boisselier says this “bias” is just a natural response to new ideas.

“In general, society is always afraid of something new and it takes a while to absorb things. … Because we’re not idle and not hiding in temples and are out there saying who we are, that’s disturbing to a lot of people,” she says. Boisselier, herself, has been steeped in controversy over the past decade. As a bishop in the movement, she and Vorilhon founded Clonaid, a human-cloning project. In 2002, Boisselier claimed they had cloned the first ever human child, but refused to give any additional information about it, which led most to believe it was just a publicity stunt. Boisselier, though, tells me they are still cloning humans today. In March, health officials in the west-African nation of Burkina Faso shut down a ‘pleasure hospital’ run by a charity called Clitoraid. The charity, also run by Boisselier, says it is trying to help reverse female circumcision. However, critics say the project is just a tool to recruit more members and gain financial contributions, as was reported in the online magazine Religion Dispatches. But the group in Vietnam isn’t concerned with the controversy, and when I ask St-Arneault, the Vietnam guide, why he is so open about the movement’s beliefs when it might scare potential members away, he is unperturbed. “Your article may kill the movement in Vietnam before it gets started,” he says. “But I don’t care, we’ll find another way.”

FIRST ON THE SCENE For most expats, it’s usually not a question of if you’ll get into a motorbike accident, but when. This means you are also likely to be in a scenario where you need to help an injured person. But what is the best way to handle this situation? Chris Mueller speaks to two of Saigon’s finest doctors to find out.


t’s a scenario that happens far too often for expats in Vietnam: passing an injured person on the side of the road and making that split-second decision to either stop or keep on driving. Most of us back home wouldn’t hesitate to help. But we’ve all heard the advice from seasoned expats and concerned locals: you shouldn’t help strangers in an accident, since you could end up taking the blame or being pressured into paying hospital bills. However, since motorbike accidents are so common, there will no doubt be cases where you need to aid a friend, or you simply can’t ignore that impulse to help. Since most of us have little to no first-aid training, what can and should you do in this situation? “For a traffic accident, the first thing you have to do is make sure the scene is safe,” says Dr Bui Nghia Thinh, an intensive care specialist at Family Medical Practice who studied medicine in the US and Vietnam. “You don’t want to do anything to stabilise the victim on a road with busy traffic, so try to get them to a safe place.” Thinh is also one of the instructors at FMP’s first aid and CPR training course. The six- to seven-hour class is usually held once a month in English and costs VND 1.4 million. It’s also probably the only proper first-aid class offered in English in the city. Thinh stresses that while there are things people can do in emergency situations, if you do not have training you are better off not doing anything major and calling for help.

Dr Claudio Duek, an Argentinian orthopedic surgeon and specialist in trauma at FMP, agrees. “The best thing to do is lay the person down, compress and call a taxi or ambulance,” he says. However, if you have to move an injured person so they don’t get even more hurt (which can basically be applied to any road in Vietnam), then there is a right way to do so. Once again, Thinh stresses that moving an injured person properly requires training, and a large amount of time is spent on this in his first aid course. “If the injured person is lying down already, you can grab their shoulders while supporting their neck,” he says. “Keep the head and neck between your forearms so you can protect them. In more severe conditions, you can actually grab their ankles to pull them.” The second thing you have to do, Thinh says, is talk to the victim to see how they respond. If they are not responding, check for breathing. If they are not breathing or having trouble breathing, you have to start CPR right away. If they can talk or indicate they are in pain, then just call and wait for the ambulance. Since reliable ambulances are not that common in Saigon — SOS, Columbia, FMP and FV clinics are the best, Duek says — there is a good chance an injured person could end up in the back of a taxi. “In this situation you need someone to hold and protect the neck,” Duek says.“Try to move them as little as possible and try to calm the person down because they might think

they’re dying. Most people don’t die in accidents at the scene, especially if they’re awake.” Other things you can do to help, Thinh adds, is to try to stop any external bleeding using a direct compress. If you don’t have any gloves, you can use a shirt or cloth to prevent direct contact with blood to mimimise the chances of contracting disease. “If the victim is awake, you can ask him to do it himself,” he says. You can also elevate an inured person’s legs to prevent shock. Duek advises that everyone should keep an emergency card somewhere on you — a good place is in the inside of the helmet — that can tell people who to call or where to bring you in case of an emergency. But the biggest piece of advice he has is to simply not drive a motorbike. “Of course you cannot take a taxi all the time, but control the amount of alcohol you drink when you do drive,” he says. That last point is important because of how widespread it is. “I see about two expats a day for motorbike accidents,” he says. “Ninety percent we see are alcohol related and are at nighttime. They aren’t necessarily drunk, they drink maybe four or five beers in three hours, which is not a lot, but they lose their reflexes.” Disclosure: While Family Medical Practice does advertise with AsiaLIFE, this article was written independently with the sole intention of giving readers professional and useful advice, not to promote FMP. AsiaLIFE HCMC 29


WORLD On Phan Boi Chau Street in District 1, there’s a street stall that sells bun mam, a fermented fish noodle soup that’s also referred to as the traditional Vietnamese gumbo. I am not a fan of the dish, so when I meet Jodi Ettenberg, travel writer and author of The Food Travelers’ Handbook, to try a bowl there, I am reluctant. “It’s not fishy,” Ettenberg, a selfprofessed soup lover, reassures me. “It’s actually sweet, not like the stinky ones you might have had.” Ettenberg, 34, frequents the street stall during her independent food walks she calls JodiEats. During this series of informal get-togethers, she meets with travellers at different street food vendors in Saigon for impromptu chats on the history and context of specialty dishes in Vietnam. Our bun mam waiter recognises her. The petite, five-foottall Canadian soon downs her soup like a pro, undaunted by adding all the essential local sauces and herbs to her bowl — a radical change from her previous profession. Last month marked six years since Ettenberg quit her job as a corporate lawyer in New York for a life of travelling (and eating soup). She saved money and intended to take a one-year hiatus while writing her personal travel blog, Legal Nomads. Last year Legal Nomads hit one million views. In her blog, there’s practically nothing amateur about Ettenberg, who, in addition to food writing, shares personal accounts of adventures such as a high school friend’s wedding in Costa Rica or dodging cows with her mom 30 AsiaLIFE HCMC

One street food dish at a time, travel blogger and former lawyer Jodi Ettenberg connects readers with Vietnam and the world. By Ruben Luong.

in northern India. Her long, narrative posts are illuminating andcapturean awarenessafter years in a courtroom. Her blog is ad-free, but it has been a catalyst for freelance projects and opportunities, like being a public speaker or a social media consultant. She recently collaborated with illustrator Ella Frances Sanders to create typographic maps of

in December 2012. Discovering more complex soups, she stayed an extra four months, left and returned in January after travelling, speaking and attending blog conferences. “I think it’s strange to be in this world where you can walk up to a city and slide in sideways into the life there, but not be an expat and not be a backpacker,” she says. “In

"Food governs 99 percent of my travel decisions. People write me and they’re like, ‘So I’m going here, what should I do?’ And I’m like,‘What should you eat, you mean? Because that’s all I can help you with right now." countries and their foods on custom t-shirts, with the first one being Vietnam. Vietnamese foods seem to have impressed her the most so far, and she’s been to South Africa, Russia, Mongolia, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Dominican Republic, England, Scotland, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Iceland, to name just a few. “Food governs 99 percent of my travel decisions,” she says. “People write me and they’re like,‘So I’m going here, what should I do?’ And I’m like,‘what should you eat, you mean? Because that’s all I can help you with right now.’” It wasn’t until she travelled to Asia that she began to write about food. She specifically came to Vietnam to try an authentic canh chua, a sour soup,

terms of work, I’m creating my own hours and doing work that doesn’t necessitate that I’m in Vietnam. I can be anywhere writing about food. I just happen to love the taste of it here.” Her food walks have had over 100 participants since they began last December, and received plenty of positive feedback. They have resonated because of her penchant for understanding local cultures through food, so friends and readers trust her judgment. Melbourne man James Clark, 42, who has his own travel blog, Nomadic Notes, met Ettenberg in 2010 at a blogger’s meet-up in Bangkok. Since then, they and a band of mutual blogger friends have been often based in the same cities by chance, including in Saigon. “I’m like the café expert, but she’s like the food expert,” he

says. “She’ll be like,‘this lady over here with just the pots and it doesn’t look very interesting, you go eat over there,’ and it’s amazingly good soup, one I had walked past 10 times already and hadn’t even known.” Ettenberg has celiac disease and a severe intolerance for gluten, so sometimes she has to research and inquire about foods more carefully than others. She has had an easier time in Saigon, stating that she’s had fewer incidents with gluten here than anywhere else. “It makes you really conscious of all the ingredients,” she says.“I think that’s helped me in writing about food just because that kind of perception and breaking everything down to its littlest parts is really instructive for storytelling.” Her gluten-free (and also olives, she really hates olives) diet hasn’t hindered her, other than that she would like a really good soup dumpling. If anything, it makes readers trust her more, since she is more resourceful and informative about her experiences. She continues to receive a flood of comments from readers and followers, averaging 50 emails a day. The more mainstream press her site gets, though, the more hate mail from critics who are skeptical of her travel lifestyle crowds her inbox. But they aren’t here to witness Ettenberg learning first hand and imparting her food for thought. “Most foreigners aren’t going to go behind the scenes of a food stall and ask what all the things are,” Clark says.“Let alone sit alone and eat on the side of the street.”


FUN and

GAMES Joining the annual pilgrimage of rugby fans from around the globe, Brett Davis learns how to survive one of the sport’s biggest weekends. Photos by Power Sport Images.


here is a crack of thunder as the heavens open over Hong Kong. At almost the same moment fireworks erupt from the roof of the football stadium, signalling the end of the 2014 Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament, as the victorious (and shirtless) New Zealand team performs the traditional haka in front of 40,000 delirious, drunk and now drenched fans. Hong Kong’s annual rugby tournament, and biggest party, seems a strange way for otherwise seemingly normal, sane and functional adults to behave. For those not overly familiar with the game, it probably seems even stranger.



The first Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament was held in 1976, and was actually the brainchild of a tobacco company marketing executive who wanted to flog more of his brand’s product in the Asian region. It seems a rather distant memory now, but most people will likely remember when almost every major sporting event was sponsored by a tobacco company. What could be more synonymous with physical endeavour than sparking up a gasper? Now part of the IRB World Sevens Series, a globetrotting rugby carnival held in six cities around the world each year, Hong Kong remains the final showpiece event on the program. Teams from 28 nations take part, and no matter how

distant they may be or how far down the rugby pecking order, there will always be a few of their fans there to cheer them on. This is part of what makes the event so wonderful: so many people from around the world joining in the friendly and collegial spirit to have a good time and watch some entertaining play. The 2015 tournament will be the 40th edition of the event and promises to be the biggest yet, so I feel it is my duty to pass on some of what I learned this year to anyone thinking about taking the plunge.


Most of the major teams do not take the field until the afternoon

on the first day, so if you want to get in some sightseeing, this is the time. This is particularly important if you are making the trip with your significant other, as three full days of rugby and drinking will test even the best of relationships. The Star Ferry is still the best way to see the harbour and the city’s dramatic skyline, and at HK $2, or around VND 7,000, it is incredible value. Across the harbour, the Tsim Sha Sui area of Kowloon has gone decidedly up-market in recent years, but it is still one of my favourite parts of the city. Standing defiantly amongst all the glitz is the notorious Chungking Mansions, immortalised in Wong Kar-Wai’s 1994 film Chungking Express. There

Joining the annual pilgrimage of rugby fans from around the globe, Brett Davis learns how to survive one of the sport’s biggest weekends.

Photo by Landon Carnie

is also some great Indian and Middle Eastern food among the fake Rolexes and chintzy jewelry on the building’s cramped lower floors. From there you can head back down Nathan Road to check out the Museum of Art on the waterfront, before taking the ferry back to the island. Instead of heading back to Central, try taking the boat to the Wan Chai terminal. This frenetic area is home to street markets and great barbecue restaurants, not to mention some after-hours red light action. After all that racing around and by the time you make your way to the football stadium in Happy Valley, it’s a relief to take your seat and enjoy a cold beer.


Day two of the tournament is ‘party day’, and the centre of the action is the southern stand. Several years ago this section of the ground was restricted to those 18 and over, and the two-litre jugs in which beer was served were also banned because the empties were usually launched in the air towards other spectators. However, the beer still flows freely, albeit in plastic cups, and many of the patrons of the southern stand turn out in their best fancy dress. There were a few Elvises (Vegas era), a cluster of Freddie Mercurys and more than a few naughty nuns. You get the picture. Once the day’s play is over, the throngs make the short

walk to the Causeway Bay MRT station for the journey back to Central and the nightlife area of Lan Kwai Fong, which is made up of several stepped streets rising up the hill from D’Aguilar Street. Packed with great little bars and restaurants, this area is thronged with revellers during Sevens weekend.


The final day is, surprisingly, really about the rugby. It is play-off day for the teams that have made it through the pool stages. The first game starts at 10am, but people are there when the gates open at 7.30am in order to secure their seats. This is where a copy of the South China Morning Post comes in handy so you can drape

pages over the seats you are saving for late-arriving friends. The games are made up of only two seven-minute halves with a two-minute halftime break, so they speed by in a blur of action and noise. Between games, music blares out of speakers and many in the crowd get to their feet to dance and sing along, their cups of beer raised skywards. Once the sun goes down and the lights come on, the stands are full and there is a palpable buzz in the air as the tournament progresses towards the final. And then, with a last roar from the crowd and an explosion of fireworks, it is all over for another year, just enough time to let the lungs and liver recover.


ESCAPE from HANOI Katie Jacobs takes to the jungle for some time out from the capital. Photos by Darko Petrovic. The evening light was fading on the steep limestone hills and flickering candles had been lit around the edge of the large pool. Relaxed after a long lazy swim, we sat, encased in resort bathrobes, as the waiter delivered our second round of fresh passion fruit daiquiris. Keen to show our visiting friends a little of the Vietnamese countryside, my husband and I headed three hours south of Hanoi to enjoy a relaxing weekend at Emeralda resort near the town of Ninh Binh. Arriving by train that morning, we were quickly impressed with Emeralda’s 34 AsiaLIFE HCMC

bungalows, swimming pools, and pristine gardens; a haven of tranquility far from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.


After settling in to our luxurious rooms, tucked discreetly among the resort’s extensive gardens, we embarked on a bike ride through the surrounding area. Cycling leisurely along narrow paths, we glided gingerly through rich wetlands and rice fields; stopping only to photograph the stunning limestone hills and buffalo bathing in reedy shallow waters.

Returning to Emeralda late in the afternoon, there was nothing to do but slip into the resort’s large heated pool, while enjoying the postcard perfect panoramic views. Later that evening, following a lovely outdoor dinner, I sank into the soft white bed, the usual honking horns and city noises replaced by the calming nighttime sounds of singing frogs and chirping crickets.

Cuc Phuong National Park

After reluctantly checking out the following morning, we

set off for Vietnam’s oldest National Park, Cuc Phuong. Spread out over a 200-squarekilometre expanse of lush tropical forest, steep karsts (limestone mountains), and ancient grottos, Cuc Phuong is famous for its human habitation dating back over 7,000 years. We were greeted at the park entrance by a cluster of colourful butterflies, their erratic movements pausing just long enough for us to glimpse the purple hues and intricate patterns on their wings. The guidebook informed us that April was butterfly season and we came across several clouds of these graceful insects on our journey through the park. The area, which is rich in biodiversity, attracts a steady stream of tourists who hike and bike along the trails in hope of catching a glimpse of the many species of insects, birds and mammals throughout the park. A light drizzle was falling as our car meandered along the narrow road, the clean scent of forest filling the car through the open windows. Covered in dense jungle, steep hillsides rose on either side, their pointy peaks shrouded in mist. We erupted in delighted cries as a furry animal, that I like to think was an endangered clouded leopard but was more likely a small civet, ran across the road. After 20km, the road petered out into a small muddy trail. Parking by a grassy overgrown lawn, we went in search of the seven kilometre loop that, according to the brochure, promised to reveal the wonders of the jungle.

A thousand shades of green

A well-marked intersection confirmed we were in the right place and we left the well-trodden path for a smaller obscure trail that disappeared steeply into the thick forest. It is impossible to explain how many varieties of green exist in a rainforest. Leaves of all shades pushed in on us, punctured by the bright relief of giant orangehued blossoms on the flowering trees. We came across an excited group of teenagers and posed for the requisite photos in front a hand-painted sign instructing visitors to “leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but

photographs”. Three kilometres and two leech encounters later, we reached the halfway point of the loop, marked by a tree that had been standing in that very spot for the past thousand years. Thick trunks, slick with bright green moss, towered above us, each grounded in the common stump from which they all grew. High in the canopy, ferns sprouted from the upper branches. Standing before such an ancient giant is humbling and I was reminded of a birthday card I once saw: “forty’s not old if you’re a tree”. I wondered what the area had been like when the tree was only 40 and found it difficult to imagine the changes that had occurred as it aged slowly, cushioned from the outside world by the comfort of the dense jungle. We continued down the trail, listening to the orchestra of sounds playing in the forest around us. A menagerie of birds and insects chirped in tune with the rustle of leaves and gentle melody of soft rain falling on the canopy high above. We arrived back at the car covered in mud, our skin damp from the persistent mist and sweaty from the heavy humidity. Driving back to the park entrance, we were disappointed to find that we had missed the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre, which closes to visitors at 4pm. The centre currently houses 15 species of primate, such as langurs and gibbons, and visitors are able to see the animals and learn about the dangers they are currently facing in their natural environment. “We will just have to return,” said my husband as we headed for home. Thinking back over our night at Emeralda and the beautiful national park, I happily agreed. Emeralda Resort is located near the town of Ninh Binh, approximately 2.5 hours south-east of Hanoi. The resort can be reached either by hired car or train. Cuc Phuong National Park is one hour from Ninh Binh and three hours from Hanoi. A car and driver can be arranged in Hanoi or booked through the resort. For more information visit: AsiaLIFE HCMC 35

Hellenic Saigon Saigon is a city that looks out upon the entire world and beckons it to come hither. And hither so much of it has been coming these last 20 years. That includes the world’s cooks and restaurateurs. Among the first to arrive when the city opened herself up were the French and Italians. They were quickly followed by Indians, Chinese and Koreans. It wasn’t long before most of the world’s culinary styles were represented here. Except for the world’s oldest: The Greek. Until recently, that is. We now have two locations where Olympic fare is to be had. But first a bit of background. The cuisine of Greece is culinary history right in your mouth. Indeed, the world’s oldest surviving book of gastronomy is The Deipnosophists (Banquet of the Wise), by Athenaeus (AD190). What is more remarkable about this tome is that it draws on a time before the golden age of Pericles. In the work, the author quotes numerous writers who had been dead for six centuries. Greeks have always been interested in a good meal. It’s a cuisine created by people who have long known the greater world and its gifts, but equally its hardships. And so it is a cuisine whose practitioners have learned to extract the last ounce of nutrition, as well as the last iota of pleasure from every ingredient. Greek cuisine will give you sensory memories to savour forever. You would marvel at the bread and wonder why they don’t make it like that at home. The wine, often straight from the barrel, comes from the oldest vineyards in the world. Sweets are made from recipes that have been passed down for over a thousand

years. Many will say it’s the best way to go vegetarian (though no real Greek would do so). It will extend your capacity for olive oil (lucky it’s so good for you). And at every Greek table you’ll encounter mezedhes, the small dishes taken as snacks or, if there are enough, a full meal. Mezedhes are not just food, they are where Greek gustatory verve and kitchen panache are displayed. This is where food is fun, colourful and whimsical. Mezedhes are a twinkle in the cook’s eye, a smile on the diner’s lips. They

Saffron, at 51 Hai Ba Trung, District 1. Dark and deep, this place recalls an Aegean grotto where Circe herself might cast a spell. The service is among the highest level in town, worthy of mighty gratuities. The food is not exclusively Greek; it’s labelled as Mediterranean. But as any food historian will tell you, it was the Greeks who taught the entire Mediterranean basin the art of cookery. Purely Greek specialities here include: Saganaki (fried cheese) Souvlaki (grilled pork) Moussaka (eggplant casserole) and

It’s a cuisine created by people who have long known the greater world and its gifts, but equally its hardships. are the way the Greeks make love to your tummy. For two examples think babaganoush and hummus. Yeah, they come originally from Greece. Greek cookery is unpretentious. Food will not be tarted up and made to look cute, grand, rare or costly. There is no over reliance on sauces, no confusion of tastes. You can be sure that whatever you order it will taste of what it is. Plus olive oil. The basis of Greek cuisine is the Holy Trinity of grain, olive and wine. These will be served at every meal, as they have been since antiquity. Apollo had three granddaughters: Spermo (Grain), Elais (Olive) and Oeno (Wine). These three are still the Greek equivalent of the kitchen gods. So where to find Greek cuisine in Saigon? If you want to spend some cash in a place that’s well worth it, head to

the classic Greek salad with feta cheese. Down market but high quality, with a 100 percent Greek menu is Zeus, at 164 Cong Quynh, District 1. This place is a good approximation of a typical Greek souvlatzidhiko, specialising in all manner of grilled meats with side dishes and salads. You can order at the grill counter for takeaway, or have a seat in the air-con parlour for sit-down dining. For a mezedhe try the tzatziki, a dip of tangy yoghurt with fresh garlic and olive oil. Anything wrapped in pita bread is good. The Greek salad is a meal unto itself. And the classic Greek dessert, baklava, a layering of paper-thin phyllo dough, crushed nuts and honey and spice, baked to golden is a gustatory siren song. Now you just need to learn the Greek toast: Yamas!

Lubu Walking into Lubu’s bright and airy space on Thao Dien Street in District 2, you immediately get the sense it would not be out of place in one of the more upscale beachside suburbs of Sydney, like Bronte or Coogee. Opening its doors in November, Lubu is already attracting a band of loyal devotees. Run by the husband-and-wife team of Jim and Kylie Cawood (who are also behind the renowned Vino in District 1), the menu draws inspiration from around the Mediterranean region, including northern Africa, the Middle East, Greece, Italy and Spain. This is the kind of place you can stop in for coffee or beer

Food with Mediterranean flair served up in stylish surroundings. Photos and review by Brett Davis.

on the terrace while enjoying a few oysters from the bar menu (natural, VND 180,000 for six), or scale it up for a full meal from the lunch and dinner menu, which ranges from VND 200,000-850,000 for mains. We make our visit on a Thursday for lunch and there are more than a few tables occupied. First up is the twicecooked octopus (VND 160,000 starter, VND 200,000 main), which comes served on a bed of steamed potatoes, olives, roast tomatoes and cress. Octopus can be tricky to cook right, but on this occasion it is perfect with a lovely charred taste and the flesh still tender.

Next we try the swordfish (VND 280,000), which is seared and prepared atop steamed potatoes and squash. The tomato frito sauce and the bacon jam topping (which I could seriously eat by itself on toast) provide some punch to this meaty fish. The portion sizes at Lubu are very generous, so they lend themselves to sharing. One of the best examples of this is the lamb souvlaki (VND 250,000). The pieces of lamb shoulder, slow braised for eight hours, rest on pita bread and are accompanied by a large dollop of tzatziki sauce and a salad of fresh mint, tomato and

cucumber. The lamb souvlaki is ultimately a dish that speaks to the heart of what Lubu is about — cuisine with great flavours, beautifully presented, but overall relaxed enough so you can dig in with your friends. Lubu’s breakfast menu is particularly well-received on weekends, and the kitchen is open all day, so you can drop in anytime to check out this excellent addition to the city’s dining scene. 97b Thao Dien, D2 86 28 18 37 1 8.30am-10pm, closed Monday AsiaLIFE HCMC 37

Galbi Brothers If you’ve ever watched a Korean drama series, some of the most common scenes are the ones where families share elaborate meals of barbecue and traditional side dishes in between waves of scandal and heartbreak. At District 7’s Galbi Brothers Korean barbecue, these familystyle meals are beautifully recreated and fun to eat, whether you have an unrequited love or are plotting heartfelt revenge. That said, it’s best to enjoy in groups, as there are booths outside and a large floor table inside. Each table has a built-in stove. Unlike some Korean barbecue establishments, the waiters will grill the raw meat 38 AsiaLIFE HCMC

Hearty, all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue and therapeutic hotpots in District 7. By Ruben Luong. Photos by Sarah Joanne Smith.

for you over fiery coals. You will instantly feel the heat. There’s no better way to describe the menu other than meaty. It features an assortment of beef and pork, like special beef ribs (VND 320,000/150g, VND 1,100,000/600g), grilled marinated beef ribs (VND 320,000/300g), herbal belly pork (VND 160,000/200g, VND 350,000/600g) or special herbal pork ribs (VND 190,000/200g, VND 450,000/600g). All barbecue comes with eclectic side dishes, some spicy and some not, like soybean paste stew, steamed egg, traditional spicy kimchi, stir-fried glass noodles, water spinach,

chilli tofu, mayonnaise dressing salad and six types of vegetables. Each item on the lunch menu also includes a stone pot of white rice mixed with beans and slices of mild sweet potato. A must-have is the kimchi hotpot (VND 130,000/one person, VND 250,000/two people), which tastes great by itself or ordered with barbecue. It is an energising, therapeutic dish, made so spicy and addictive with its ample, crunchy kimchi and firm glass noodles which are slurped from a broiling redhot broth. Galbi Brothers is definitely worth a visit for its all-you-caneat barbecue every Thursday

and Friday for VND 150,000 per person. Every day also boasts favourable lunch specials, like VND 99,000 spicy marinated pork with vegetables on Mondays or VND 400,000 steamed spicy beef ribs for four on Saturdays and Sundays. Make sure to call and reserve a table beforehand, as spots are limited especially in the evenings. Otherwise, you might find yourself in the midst of a little drama. R1–25 Hung Phuoc 4 Pham Van Nghi, D7 08 54 10 62 10 11am-11pm, seven days

Quan Ut Ut What happens when an Aussie, an American and a Frenchman open a barbecue restaurant aimed at the Vietnamese market in Saigon? You get one of the coolest places to eat in the city. And that’s just what happened in March when Quan Ut Ut (which translates to Restaurant Oink Oink) opened along the Ben Nghe canal separating Districts 1 and 4. The big wooden tables and benches are reminiscent of an open-air quan. But make no mistake, this place is all about the meat. If the smoker and grill outside aren’t a clear enough sign of what you’re in for, then the giant spatula-wielding pig

American-style barbecue meets Vietnam-style dining at this soon-to-be legendary restaurant. By Chris Mueller. Photos by Brett Davis.

plastered on the side of the wall will tell you exactly what Ut Ut is all about. The American head chef slow smokes slabs of imported pork ribs (VND 300,000 for a half-rack with two sides) over cashew wood before adding a little sugarcane to the fire, giving the perfect balance between sweet and smoky. On the grill he cooks up some barbecue favourites, such as the spicy Italian pork sausage (VND 250,000) and different versions of hamburgers. We tried the bacon bacon burger (VND 160,000) which is a patty topped with a heaping pile of their homemade bacon, crispy onion, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing and

cheese. This burger is a serious contender for the best in the city. Vietnamese are no strangers to grilled meat, but Americanstyle barbecue is still a foreign concept to many. So in a bid to attract the local crowd, the restaurant has a respectable list of more affordable beer snacks, like the shitake bombs (VND 50,000), crumbed and fried mushrooms, for example. While the food here is incredible, you can’t have good barbecue without good beer. And Quan Ut Ut has set the bar high in this department, too. Right now they are brewing their own small batches of India pale ale (VND 60,000/glass), but

the supply is extremely limited. Starting this month they are also offering Platinum Pale Ale (VND 40,000/bottle), a microbrew made by an Australian in Saigon. They also have a few hard-to-find American beers on offer, such as Kona from Hawaii and Blue Moon. With great food for great value, an impressive beer selection and an awesome location, there is no question that Quan Ut Ut will become a Saigon institution. 168 Vo Van Kiet, D1 08 39 14 45 00 4pm-12am; seven days AsiaLIFE HCMC 39

The Art of

Motorcycle Making I

n the beginning, Daryl Villanueva created Eve. Eve was the first handcrafted motorcycle in Saigon conceived for Villanueva’s motorcycle firm, Bandit9, formerly based in Beijing. “We start with the name first and it will evoke some sort of emotional design response,” Villanueva says. “I didn’t even complete it yet, but I knew it was going to be called Eve. It’s got a feminine design, like a classical instrument.” Eve retails for $5,000 and can be viewed at Bandit9’s new showroom on Dien Bien Phu Street in District 3 starting this month. A beauty in chromed steel, it is a descendant of seven Bandit9 motorcycles manufactured in Beijing, each 40 AsiaLIFE HCMC

Motorcycle brand Bandit9 creates handcrafted, cutting-edge motorcycles from its new workshop in Saigon. By Ruben Luong. one bearing names like Nero MKII or Atlas. But whereas the original seven are actually larger bikes that run up to 750cc, Eve is a smaller one derived from a Honda ‘67 Super Sport that runs a mere 90cc to 125cc, suitable not only for Saigon’s motorbike culture but also Bandit9’s updated business model. “Power and speed mean nothing,” Villanueva says.“Agility is more important and you have more agility when you’re smaller. It’s the same thing in Paris, New York, Japan, even Beijing.” Keeping the frame of the Honda ’67 SS, Villanueva gave Eve a new engine supplied under a contract by Honda. So while Eve is compact and

vintage in terms of form and shape, its engine and mechanics are quite new and advanced for a small motorbike. Ensuring the feasibility of the design was a challenge, however. Villanueva, a Filipino expat that studied graphic design and worked several stints in advertising, has no engineering background, so he designed around the new engine, carving the body as if from clay. Eve ultimately streamlines the Honda ’67 SS with an elongated and conical unibody. To achieve this, the motorbike’s frame and rear suspension is embedded with the tank, rather than left as individual pieces. Following Villanueva’s origi-

nal concept, Eve continued to be designed on the fly as it was handcrafted in Bandit9’s garage in District 10. Elegant modifications included turn and brake lights integrated into existing bare bolts for another clean and seamless piece. One Bandit9 motorcycle would take four months to handcraft in Beijing, but in Saigon, Villanueva’s personal mechanical and engineering duo, both Vietnamese who speak English, were able to fashion Eve in a month without forsaking craftsmanship. “There’s a culture of churning things out quickly in China and quality suffers,” Villanueva says. “I’d constantly visit, explain and re-explain, and it wastes a lot of time. Not

like here, where I can brief my mechanic and engineer on what I need and disappear for a week.” For his next design, Villanueva wants to create something darker and more complex. It might even take on the name Adam. But while he finalises the concept for a new bike, Eve will be built from scratch only nine times, as with every Bandit9 design before it. “Building nine is more valuable than building only one,” he says. “If I build one, it looks like a hobby, a one-off piece. But if I build nine, it feels more like a brand that creates products. Nine keeps it fresh. I don’t want to mass manufacture thousands and it all goes to waste.” Even before the first one was

built, Eve was sold out from pre-orders based on its concept alone. It was bought by Porsche and Ferrari dealers, Saudi Arabian royalty, an assistant director for The Avengers 2 and it also drew in female clients for the first time. As Eve is also destined for a possible exhibit in Switzerland, Bandit9 hopes to continue its global appeal even from its tiny hub here in Saigon, and stand out for its artistry in an oversaturated realm of showy custom motorcycles often assembled from purchased parts. “Custom motorcycles simply add a nice leather seat or get repainted,” says Jacob Barry, 28, Bandit9’s business strategist. “They’re not taken down to its bare bones and redesigned.” AsiaLIFE HCMC 41


Fashion4Freedom is an independent fashion house founded on the basis of fair trade, ethical production, community development and social justice. It preserves the culture, heritage and traditional livelihoods of Vietnamese artisans by creating fashionable products that use ethical production methods. Its latest Saigon Laundry collection features intricate Vietnamese embroidery on mod-yet-traditional tops, dresses and jackets. Their Saigon Socialite collection, born from the The Reincarnated Soles project, utilises woodart skills derived from dynastic Indochine traditions to sustain Vietnam's artisan communities. It takes 18 days for highly-skilled artisans to transform pagoda woodart into stylish wedges. With mystical names like Tiger Lily or Bitten Dragon, the shoes feature ornate carvings and leather in cinnamon spice, latte nude and black. Each pair retails at $450 and comes in sizes 36-41. To purchase Fashion4Freedom products or for more information, visit House of Saigon, 16-18-20 Thu Khoa Huan, D1, or





ist’s 82-room hotel has a restaurant, swimming pool, tennis court and health club with sauna. Another 30 villas are available in the adjacent sister hotel, a renovated colonial-era administration building. Tours organized by hotel.


hotel & travel

Six Senses Con Dao Dat Doc Beach, Con Dao Dist, Ba Ria Tel: 064 3831 222 The first 5 star resort with 50 villas stretch across a mile-long beach, each villas has its own infinity-edge pool facing the ocean and a stunning restaurant.



Air France 130 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3829 0981 Fax: 3822 0537 An airline with a vast and effective global network. Now flies direct to Paris. Cathay Pacific 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Tel: 3822 3203 Hong Kong-based airline makes three flights daily to HCM City and two flights daily to Hong Kong’s international airport. Malaysia Airlines Unit G8 Ground floor, SG Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3824 6663 Offers daily flights from Hanoi and HCM City to Kuala Lumpur for about $200 round trip, with four economy class fare levels: low, basic, smart and flex. Vietnam Airlines Hanoi: 25 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6270 0200 HCM City: 16th Floor, Sun Wah, 115 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3832 0320 The domestic route map is extensive, with several flights daily between major and less touristed cities throughout Vietnam. Flies internationally throughout Asia and to Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Sydney, Melboure, Los Angeles and San Francisco.


Saigon Con Dao Resort 18-24 Ton Duc Thang Tel: 06 4830 155 Opened in summer 2009, Saigon Tour-


Ana Mandara Villas Resort & Spa Le Lai, Ward 5, Dalat Tel: 063 3555 888 Luxury 35-acre resort encompasses 17 restored early 20th-century villas and 65 rooms set in the rural highlands. La Cochinchine Spa offers wide range of treatments. Le Petite Dalat Restaurant serves Vietnamese and fusion cuisine. Heated swimming pool, art gallery and cooking classes in organic garden. Dalat Edensee Lake Resort & Spa Tuyen Lam Lake, Zone VII.2, Dalat Tel: 063 383 1515 Nestled in the heart of the “Black Forest of Vietnam” and discretely hidden along the waterfront of Tuyen Lam Lake, this resort is a perfect launching point for exploring the Highland region. It has two fine-dining restaurants, a cafe and terrace, a cigar lounge, and golfing and tennis.


Intercontinental Westlake Hanoi 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 04 6270 8888 Located on the waterfront with contemporary Vietnamese design, restaurants, business services, fitness centre including exercise classes and pool. Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi 83A Ly Thuong Kiet Tel: 3822 2800 Conveniently located in the heart of Hanoi’s business district, a 40-minute drive from Noi Bai International Airport and only 5 minutes from the city centre, Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is the latest five-star hotel in town, tailored to meet

Sheraton Hotel Hanoi K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 04 3719 9000 “Resort within a city” boasts 299 spacious guest rooms with panoramic views, fitness centre, international restaurant and Hemisphere Vietnamese restaurant. Sofitel Metropole 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3826 6919 Located downtown. Colonial-style hotel with well-regarded restaurants/bars serving French & Vietnamese cuisine, plus Italian steak house.


Caravelle Hotel 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 One of the city’s most prestigious venues. Features a casino, Reflections Restaurant and al fresco 9th-floor Saigon Saigon Bar. Equatorial 242 Tran Binh Trong D5 Tel: 3839 7777 On the intersect of 4 districts, with 333 rooms, Orientica Seafood restaurant and bar, Chit Chat cafe, pool (swim-up bar), gym. InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9999 305 rooms/suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, five restaurants/bars, meeting/ banquet facilities, spa/health club and lounge with panoramic view. Mövenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 Has 278 well-appointed rooms/suites, five restaurants/bars, meeting/banquet facilities and a shopping arcade as well as a popular e-gaming centre. New World Hotel 76 Le Lai, D1 Tel: 3822 8888

Located in the city centre, with gym, outdoor pool, tennis court, event space and Dynasty Chinese restaurant. Sheraton 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 Luxury downtown hotel with Level 23 bar, Mojo cafe, Li Bai Chinese restaurant, fine dining at The Signature on the 23rd floor. Sofitel Saigon Plaza 17 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3824 1555 One of the city’s top hotels with in-room Wi-Fi, two restaurants with international cuisine, two bars, six conference rooms, outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre. Windsor Plaza 18 An Duong Vuong, D5 Tel: 3833 6688 Located in a main shopping hub. Three restaurants, modern discotheque, conference centre, shopping centre, supermarket.


Angsana Lang Co Tel: 84 54 3695 800 Set beachfront on warm sands with a backdrop of the towering Truong Son Mountain Range, Angsana Lang Co is one of the region’s newest five-star resorts. Blessed with brilliant scenes of unspoiled natural beauty, Angsana Lang Co is a contemporary getaway featuring 229 stylish suites (from 52 sqm to 179 sqm), 100 of which come equipped with their own private pools. All suites in every room category feature picturesque mountain, lagoon, or sea views, and incorporate local materials such as bamboo, along with traditional arts with a contemporary twist, lanterns and elegant framed calligraph. Banyan Tree Lang Co Tel: 84 54 3695 888 The resort is inspired by the artistic heritage of Vietnamese dynasties past, features 32 lagoon pool villas, 17 beach pool villas, an array of eclectic dining experiences from modern Thai cuisine to French specialties, 18-hole championship course designed by Sir Nick Faldo,

take flight with travel promotions around the region

Extended Holiday

Evason Ana Mandara, a beachfront oasis in Nha Trang, is offering a saving of 20 percent off the best available rate plus complimentary breakfast when you stay five nights or more, from 5 May to 15 July. This property is Nha Trang’s only beachfront resort. Its 74 semi-detached garden villas, many with views across the bay, offer classic Vietnamese touches. Dining choices include local, regional and international cuisine, presented using the freshest of ingredients.

A Cool Da Lat Summer

Escape the city heat from 5 May to 25 August at the Dalat Edensee with their


the needs of discerning guests and especially corporate travellers.

Huong Mua He package. This two-night, three-day deal starts at VND 5.5 million for two people, but guests can extend their stay for only VND 2 million for each additional night. In May, Edensee is also celebrating its three-year anniversary by offering all guests a 10 percent discount and a special gift for those who buy the package.

Refresh and Renew

Get revitalised during the month of May at Novotel Nha Trang with their Restore Package. This spa treatment includes a body scrub that uses olive oil and lavender sugar to gently and naturally exfoliate and remove dead skin cells, which will leave

the skin feeling soft and hydrated. The body scrub is followed by a full-body massage to leave you in an ultimate state of relaxation. The package costs VND 1.2 million for the two-hour treatment, but is 50 percent off from 9am to 1pm.

delivers a golfing experience that can be enjoyed by skilled and novice players alike.

and local restaurants, wedding services, water sports and scuba diving.

Boutique Hoi An Resort Tel: 84 51 03 93 91 11 This resort is located on Cua Dai Beach in Hoi An, just five minutes from the Old Town and 30 minutes from the Da Nang airport. The property has 82 rooms and villas, all with private balconies or terraces facing the ocean, a swimming pool and a wide range of cuisine from around the world.


InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort Bai Bac, Son Tra Peninsula Tel: 0511 093 8888 A world of poetic experiences and jungleclad romance in a place that cloaks you with luxury. The mastery of traditional Vietnamese design meets modern architectural flair in this distinctive retreat within the dense rainforest of mythical Monkey Mountain.


Vedana Lagoon Resort & Spa 112 Minh Mang Tel: 054 3830 240 Nestled on the shore of a peaceful and serene lagoon, vedana lagoon resort & spa is ideally situated between the two cities well-known as world heritage sites: hue and hoi an. The resort designed with a stylist harmony between the local traditional culture and a modern art concept with 27 villas, bungalows and 2 houseboats.


Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang Beachside, Tran Phu, Nha Trang Tel: 058 3522 222 Beachside resort set in 26,000 square metres of tropical garden, with 74 guest villas, three restaurants, Six Senses Spa. InterContinental Nha Trang 32-34 Tran Phu Street, Nha Trang Tel: +84 058 388 7777 A luxury beachfront retreat located in the heart of the city, the resort overlooks the stunning coastline. From there getting around the city is convenient as shopping, attractions, restaurants and bars are easily accessible within walking distance of the hotel. Six Senses Ninh Van Bay Ninh Van Bay, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa Tel: 058 3728 222 An island hideaway accessible only by boat, 58 private pool villas, international

Villa Aria Muine 60A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne Tel: 062 3741 660 Villa Aria Muine is a boutique beach resort in Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan province. Set on a beautiful beachfront in the middle of the Mui Ne strip, the villa combines modern tropical style and French country luxury. Princess D’Ânnam Resort and Spa Khu Hon Lan, Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan. Tel: 062 3682 222 Located on Ke Ga Bay with 57 exclusive villas, eight swimming pools, two restaurants and 1,800 square metres spa complex.

first large scale integrated resort and ultimately will include an 1,100-room five-star hotel, a world-class casino, restaurants, high-tech meeting space, an exclusive VIP area, as well as a variety of beach-front recreation activities. The first 541-room tower of this development opened in July 2013 with its casino including 90 live tables and 614 electronic game positions. The second 559-room tower is on track to open in 2015. The Grand will be the initial component of The Ho Tram Strip, the largest integrated resort complex in Vietnam.


Exotissimo HCMC: 20 Hai Ba Trung St, D1 Tel: 3827 2911 HANOI: 26 Tran Nhat Duat St, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3828 2150 French-owned agency specializing in flight bookings, package holidays and a range of well-run cultural and historical tours of Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

CHUDU24 hotel booking service 11th floor, 36 Bui Thi Xuan St, D1 Tel: 1900 5454 40 - the locally famous Vietnam hotel booking website now has an English version. The company is known for having the best local prices and reliable service. It has been the number 1 Vietnam hotel booking service for Vietnamese since 2008.

The Sailing Club 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3847 440 Open bar overlooking the sea, spacious rooms, restaurant, swimming pool and day spa.


Note: AsiaLIFE only lists dive centres recognized by international dive training programs, such as the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) and Scuba Schools International (SSI). We strongly advise against diving with unaccredited dive centres in Vietnam. Rainbow Divers 55 Nguyen Dang Giai, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6825 Diving tours and career/instructor development offered by Vietnam’s first PADI centre. established in the mid-90s. Operates dive centres in Nha Trang, Whale Island, Hoi An and Phu Quoc. Octopus Diving 62 Tran Phu, Nha Trang 058 826 528 PADI/SSI dive centre based in Nha Trang and affiliated with the Sailing Club Co. with additional centres in Mui Ne and Hoi An. Offers a range of services.


The Grand-Ho Tram Strip Phuoc Thuan Commune, Xuyen Moc District, Ba Ria Vung Tau Tel: +84 64 3788 888 The Grand - Ho Tram Strip is Vietnam's

LOUISIANE BREWHOUSE Beachside Nha Trang Asian & Western Cuisine Swimming Pool & Private Beach


One of Pham Ngu Lao’s favourite watering holes, Le Pub also has a good menu of well-executed pub grub and international favourites. Hearty breakfast is available all day and specials are offered daily.


Mogambos 50 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3825 1311 This restaurant has been around since the mid-1990s, which offers an insight into its enduring quality. Specializes in American grain-fed steaks, hamburgers and salads served in a pleasant atmosphere. 

food & drink BAR RESTAURANTS Bernie’s Irish Pub 19 Thai Van Lung, D1 This authentic Irish pub in downtown Saigon has a large wine list, a wide selection of single malt whiskey and local and imported beers, including widgets of Guinness. It also has a western and Asian menu. Buddha Bar 7 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2080 An Phu institution serves up tasty meals and good drinks in a friendly, chilled environment. Plenty of room to relax inside or out, plus a pool table on premise.  Corso Steakhouse & Bar Norfolk Hotel, 117 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Located in the chic Norfolk Hotel Corso Steakhouse & Bar is well known for its steak imported from the US and Australia. La Habana 6 Cao Ba Quat, D1 Tel: 3829 5180 This charming little place has seating indoors and outdoors, upstairs and downstairs to fit your dining pleasure. Relaxed environment with frequent live music. Offers Spanish and Cuban fare including paella and a tapas fiesta comprising three plates. Open late daily. Le Pub 175/ 22 Pham Ngu Lao, D1


Phatty’s 46-48 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3821 0705 Jaspa’s Steve Hardy and Ben Winspear’s sports bar has five widescreen TVs, a large drop-down screen and lots of pub grub and beer for fans looking to take in a game or two. Red Bar 70-72 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 08 22 29 70 17 Tucked behind the Bitexco building, Red has one of the longest happy hours in the city (draught beer for VND 25,000 from 9am until 9pm). This, its international food menu and nightly live music makes it one of the liveliest bars around. The Tavern R2/24 Hung Gia 3, Bui Bang Doan, D7 Tel: 5410 3900 Boasts good international food, a pool table, dartboards and sports coverage on large screens. Outdoor seating on mutiple levels. Second floor sports lounge hosts DJs at the weekends.  Vasco’s Bar 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3824 2888 Chic bar decked in deep reds that gets packed to capacity on weekends. Open Monday to Saturday with live music on Fridays. Food menu by chef with over 10 years experience at La Camargue. Also does excellent pizza. 

CAFES Cay Da Cafe

Show your appreciation this Mother’s Day (Sunday 11 May) with the help of the chefs at Restaurant Nineteen. In honour of amazing mothers all over the world, the restaurant is presenting a Mother’s Day brunch and dinner buffet for VND 1.4 million each, and includes free flow of sparkling wine, cocktails and premium house wines. Mum will be spoilt for choice, with offerings such as a wide selection of fresh seafood and prime cuts of meat. Every member of the family can enjoy unlimited helpings of their favourite dishes, as well as treats from the dessert corner. Visit New World Saigon Hotel from 8 to 18 May to indulge in Beijing classics, created


Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf 12-14 Thai Van Lung, D1 94 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Nowzone, 235 Nguyen Van Cu, D5 Metropolitan Bldng, 235 Dong Khoi, D1 International café chain with a wide variety of coffees and teas, as well as light snacks and food. Also sells freshroasted coffee beans and tins of whole leaf tea.  Mojo 88 Dong Khoi, D1 A top-end cafe with an attractive interior, outdoor terrace at street level and comfortable lounges upstairs. Good business coffee or lunch venue. That’s Café Rivergarden, 170 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 The Crescent, 103 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, D7 Hailing from the U.S., That’s Café is a new Khai Silk initiative. Claiming to provide the best coffee in town in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere, it’s a great place to hold a business meeting or catch up with friends.


Li Bai Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 Imperial-styled restaurant named after a famous Chinese poet. Nightly à la carte menu with dishes going from 100,000 VND. Lotus Court 1st floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 168 Dim Sum and exciting Cantonese cuisine in a unique and elegant setting.

Ming Dynasty 23 Nguyen Khac Vien, Phu My Hung Tel: 5411 5555 Decorated in Ming Dynasty-style; offers 100 dim sum varieties and 300 dishes prepared by a chef from Hong Kong. The restaurant’s Imperial Buffet includes free flow of wine. Ngan Dinh Chinese Restaurant Windsor Plaza Hotel, 18 An Duong Vuong, D5 Tel: 3833 6688 Beautiful wood paneling, colourful hanging lanterns and a sparkling mineral gallery make for a relaxing dining experience at the Windsor. Feast on roasted Pi Pa duck, giant grouper and steamed king prawns. Be sure to check out monthly specials. Shang Palace Restaurant Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3823 2221 An upscale Chinese restaurant with a spacious and welcoming atmosphere. The menu boasts a wide range of Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine, including both dim sum, a la carte and set menus, regularly changed by the creative chefs. Yu Chu InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Specializing in authentic Cantonese and Peking cuisine. Award-winning chef prepares dishes including handmade noodles, dim sum and wok-fried items. Wide selection of live seafood. Five interactive kitchens.


Camargue 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 08 35 20 48 88 One of the first western restaurants in Saigon, Camargue offers a great selection of French food and wine in a romantic, rustic French villa. Le Bouchon de Saigon 40 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3829 9263 This French diner-style restaurant has

broaden your palate with promotions around town

Nineteen Cooks for the Mums

A Bite of Beijing

Ground floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 118 Stocks the Moevenpick’s chef’s most delicious cakes, pastries, ice cream and sandwiches.

by chef Duan from New World Beijing Hotel, such as baked beggar’s chicken, steamed pork meat ball, simmered pork knuckle and hand-pulled noodles. Each diner will receive a special take-away gift to savour the Beijing taste in the comfort of home. Prices start at VND 100,000. The package is part of five months of promotions, which will last until 8 Oct, that celebrate the hotel’s 20-year presence in the heart of Saigon.

Free-flow Mojitos

It’s now one of the hottest times of the year, so step in from the sizzling streets and cool off with refreshments at The Caravelle’s Lobby Lounge. From 3 to 16 May, fans of the famous Cuban mojito can indulge in a free flow of select mojitos, prepared

Havana-style or in original combinations from the hotel’s award-winning bartenders. Enjoy your mojitos in tandem with premium teas and gourmet finger food. The deal is priced at VND 380,000 per person. Caravellehotel. com.

an emphasis on hearty home cooking, courteous service and a relaxed atmosphere. Chef David Thai is a wellknown industry figure, and this venue can hold its own among the city`s many French restaurants.


Saigon Indian 73 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3824 5671 Popular venue with an enormous menu. Serves both southern and northern Indian dishes like tandoori, biryani, dosa and idly snacks, plus a wide range of vegetarian dishes. Offers a set lunch menu. Cater service is available.  Tandoor 74/6 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3930 4839 Part of a chain of restaurants covering Hanoi and Saigon, Tandoor features a large selection of standard northern Indian dishes, including a good vegetarian selection. Excellent cheap set lunches and reasonable prices all around. Will organize catering for events. 


Al Fresco’s 21 Mac Dinh Chi D1 Tel: 3823 8427 27 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 3822 7317 D1-23 My Toan 3, D7 Tel: 5410 1093 400 Nguyen Trai, D5 Tel: 3838 3840 Theme restaurant boasting a range of Tex-Mex, Italian and Australian-style BBQ dishes. Huge portions and tasty Australian ribs coupled with a good atmosphere and helpful staff. Good lunch menu.  Amigo Grill 55 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3824 1248 Outstanding steaks made with Australian, U.S. and Argentine beef, served in a cosy, family-friendly environment with large tables and banquette seating. Dishes like leg of lamb and seafood are also on the menu. Open 11 am to 11 pm. Au Parc 23 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3829 2772 Lavishly decorated brasserie borrowing from Moroccan and French styles and popular during lunchtime with expats. Specializes in Middle Eastern and North African food. The salad menu is a favourite, and a great range of lush smoothies and juices are on offer. 

Black Cat 13 Phan Van Dat, D1 Tel: 3829 2055 Tiny but popular District 1 restaurant serving up an excellent selection of Western and Vietnamese fare and an extensive range of sandwiches and burgers.  BoatHouse 40 Lily Road, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6790 Riverside restaurant with umbrellashaded tables spread across outdoor deck and small indoor dining room. Serves remarkably fresh and inspired dishes made with choice local and imported ingredients—favourites include the sirloin burger and pan-fried fish and chips. Boomarang Cresent Residence 2-3-4, No. 107 Ton Dat Tien, PMH, D7 Tel: 3744 6790 An Australian bistro on the scenic promenade at the Crescent in Phu My Hung that serves authentic cuisine from down under, including steaks, burgers, seafood and fish and chips. Cafe Saigon Ground floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 234 An international buffet with unique food concepts that is perfect for gathering family and friends. The Deck 38 Nguyen U Di, D2 Tel: 3744 6632 Serves upmarket takes on regional specialties made with fresh local and imported products. Well-designed, minimalist dining space and bar on the river are a serious draw.

also includes burgers, seafood and bar snacks.  Jaspa’s 33 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3822 9926 Unpretentious brasserie-style restaurant specializes in Australian-influenced international fusion cuisine. Full range of drinks including Australian and French wines and good cocktails. Hosts monthly Spam Cham networking event.  JJ’s Brazilian BBQ

Restaurant and Bar 275-277-279 Pham Ngu Lao, D1 Tel: 08 38 38 88 33 Situated in Pham Ngu Lao, JJ’s offers traditional Brazilian churrasco every night, with a wide range of meats barbecued over a charcoal flame. The restaurant is split into three areas: the bar, an outside terrace overlooking the park, and a more formal upstairs dining room. The Loop 49 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 08 36 02 63 85 A contemporarily styled restaurant that

Dancenter presents:

120 min Dance Show featuring Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Ballet, Zumba, Belly Dance, Contemporary

07/06 - 7.30pm 08/06 - 3.00pm Nha Van Hoa Thanh Nien, 4 Pham Ngoc Thach, District 1 Tickets 120k , 170k, 220k VND Selling Points: The Refinery | Dancenter 08 3519 4340

The Elbow Room 52 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3821 4327 American-style bistro offering a wide range of appetisers, soups, salads, sandwiches, mains and desserts, plus an extensive wine menu. Open daily 7.30 am to 11 pm. Breakfast served all day. Hog's Breath 02 Hai Trieu, D1 Tel: 3915 6006 The popular Australian eatery's first foray into Vietnam. Centrally located on the ground floor of the Bitexco Financial tower. The legendary Prime Rib steaks are the centrpiece of the menu which


serves the An Phu community some healthy trattoria-style dishes, refreshing drinks and premium Italian coffee. The menu includes homemade breakfast specialties, and a wide selection of sandwiches and salads.

By Michael Kloster

IMBIBE Making a Case for Rosé It’s been mighty hot as of late, and these sweltering streets make me crave a light, crisp and refreshing tipple. Many of the popular beers on the market have all started tasting the same to me. I’ve also been trying to avoid refreshing white wines like sauvignon blanc. So my go-to these days has been rosé. There are plenty of them out there. They tend to be easy on the budget, although some premium pours can set you back a fair amount. For those of you who are only familiar with sweeties like mateus or white zinfandel, remember there is no shame in enjoying the sweeter things in life. Here in Saigon, though, there are a number of dry rosés from around the globe available. Rosé is among the oldest wines, since it is so straightforward to make. There are three common methods to making it. The commonly assumed version, adding red wine to white, is actually the least common, though it is used for creating rosé champagnes. The second is called sagineé, and uses the must and juice of a red wine batch to create a more colourful and tannic pink wine. The third and most common method involves the steeping of red grape skins in white grape juice, which allows the colour and tannins to seep into the juice. Though rosé has been a tradition in Europe for the entirety of its grape-growing 50 AsiaLIFE HCMC

and wine-drinking history, pink wines are relatively new to North America. Their popularity can be traced back to demand created by servicemen returning from the Italian and French fronts in World War II. The market-savvy Portuguese winemaker Fernando van Zeller Guedes created mateus, a fizzy rosé that took off in popularity. Fast forward to the 1970s when the ubiquitous white zinfandel was created by accident, but soon became hugely popular as the blush of choice. Though the sweet rosé has now gone out of favour by most wine aficionados, it’s still a well-loved casual drink in many homes and restaurants. You might say rosé simply goes great with our weather. I always bring a bottle along when I hit the beach, and it’s an awesome companion at the pool. While rosé is perfect as an aperitif, don’t forget to also tote it to a summer barbecue and utilise its food-pairing powers. Rosé is excellent with rich and cheesy dishes, such as pizza, super with crispy salads, and it goes well with chicken and seafood. So next time you’re at your local wine shop or perusing a wine list, don’t limit yourself to red or white. You’ll thank me later. Michael Kloster is the senior sales executive at Magnum Wine Cellars. He can be contacted at

Market 39 InterContinental Asiana Saigon Ground Floor, Corner Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Seven interactive live kitchens offering French, Vietnamese and Southeast Asian cuisines, including a bakery, French patisseries, pancakes, tossed salads, grilled steak, seafood, wok-fried items, noodles and pasta dishes. Mekong Merchant 23 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 4713 Set in a courtyard, this rustic Australianstyle brasserie has brought modern international cuisine to suburban An Phu. Popular for weekend brunches. Weekly specials and seafood flown in from Phu Quoc.  Pacharan Tapas and Bodega 97 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3825 6024 This tapas restaurant and bar serves up superb Spanish fare crafted from authentic imported ingredients. The exclusively Spanish wine list is extensive and Sangria is half price during happy hour from 5 pm to 7 pm and all day Wednesday. The Refinery 74/7C Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3823 0509 Authentic bistro with cane furniture outside, informal indoor restaurant section and a bar area. Cuisine is light, modern European. The menu spans a price range to suit most budgets. Reflections Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 Contemporary fine dining that combines Asian flavors with classic Mediterranean cuisine in an ambiance of understated elegance and European style. Special culinary events include guest chefs from Michelin-star establishments around the world. Private rooms are available. Scott & Binh’s 15-17 Cao Trieu Phat Street, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 094 890 14 65 A friendly, laid back restaurant in Phu My Hung that serves “comfort food with a twist”. Run by American chef Scott Marquis, this small joint offers classic favourites that are consistently well prepared, making it a popular stop for expats and visitors. Skewers 9A Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3822 4798 Rustic Mediterranean restaurant where subtle colours and exposed brickwork combine with jazzy tunes. Serves tabouleh, falafel, couscous and kebab. Highly rated for its grilled meats, bread and dip combos, soups and pastas. 


Basilico InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Ground Floor, Corner Nguyen Du and Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Contemporary and casual trattoria-style restaurant specializing in authentic Italian dishes and homemade desserts. Wood-fired pizza oven and a wide selection of Italian wines. Casa Italia 86 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3824 4286 Serves home-style Italian cooking including pasta and pizza as well as a

selection of steak and seafood dishes. Open daily 10 am until late. Good Morning Vietnam 197 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3837 1894 Popular authentic Italian restaurant with additional outlets around the country. Specializes in thin-crust pizza, pasta and a range of Italian dishes. Good selection of Italian wines.  La Hostaria 17B Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 1080 Rustic eatery specializing in top-end traditional cuisine from various regions in Italy. Main courses from 130,000 VND with daily specials on offer. Serves excellent pizza. 

JAPANESE Kissho 14 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3823 2223 Fax: 3823 3343 Saigon’s newest Japanese restaurant boasts a multi-concept cuisine set in a cutting edge interior. Specialties include teppanyaki, yakiniku, sushi and sashimi crafted by expert chefs. The freshest imported meats and seafood round out the menu, accompanied by an extensive selection of fine wines and Japanese spirits. Open 11.30 am to 2 pm and 5.30 pm to 10 pm. Nishimura Mövenpick Hotel Saigon, 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 Exquisitely prepared sushi and sashimi from a globetrotting chef with three decades’ experience. A wide range of cooked dishes and monthly meal promotions are also available. The Sushi Bar 2 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 8042 3A Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3911 8618 This brightly lit Japanese-style restaurant serves over 40 varieties of sushi at reasonable prices. Sit at the sushi bar or in private rooms upstairs. Open until 11.30 pm, delivery available on request. 


25 Si 8A/6D Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3824 6921 Traditional Yasik-style drinking restaurant. Winter and summer scene murals fill the walls of this dual level eatery. Large menu with favs like budae jjigae, a mix of chilli paste, Spam, hot dog and tofu, as well as super spicy duruchigi. Kim Bab Chun Gook R4 42 Hung Phuoc 2, Phu My Hung Tel: 6296 9057 Korean boonshik/snack food eatery serving up a wide variety of light but substantial foods including dumplings, rameyon and fish cakes.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN Lac Thai 71/2 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3823 7506 An elegant restaurant tucked in an alleyway and decorated with artdeco furniture. Authentic Thai cuisine prepared by two Thai chefs. Food is tasty but less spicy than you’d find in Thailand. 


Hoa Dang 38 Huynh Khuong Ninh, D1 Swish vegetarian restaurant on a quiet street that serves up nutritious dishes, including meatless versions of bun bo, pho and steamboat. Cosy bar serving non-alcoholic drinks, fruits and other sweets. Viet Chay



“We make it easy”

Serves 5-7

Ingredients • 500 grams shitake mushrooms (sliced) • 2 medium onions (cut into cubes) • 1 medium red capsicum (sliced) • 1 medium green capsicum (sliced) • 3/4 cup flour • 1 egg • 1/2 tsp paprika • Salt and pepper (a couple of sprinkles) • Cooking oil • Olive oil • Liver pate • Butter • Mayonnaise • Pickled carrots • Cucumber • Fresh coriander leaves • Fresh chillis • Baguette bread

Instructions • Heat pan over the stove at medium and drizzle with olive oil. Add onion cubes and saute until translucent. Add sliced shitake mushrooms and capsicum and saute. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and water then continue to sautee. Allow it to cook for a minute or two or until the mushrooms soften.

Add paprika, salt and pepper. Mix well and allow the mixture to absorb the spice. Let it stand for another two minutes. • Transfer the cooked mixture to a food processor. Add egg and flour. Blend together until the texture is smooth then transfer to a bowl. Scoop a spoon from the mixture and form into a ball. If the mixture sticks to your palm, add a bit more flour to the mixture or put a bit of oil on your palm. Repeat until all the mixture is formed into balls. • Heat a mini-casserole dish and fill half of it with frying oil. Deep fry the balls one by one for less than a minute, or until golden brown. Strain the balls and dry with a paper towel. • Get your baguette, spread the butter, mayonnaise and liver pate on each side. Place from four to five fried balls in the baguette. Add pickles carrots, cucumber, coriander leaves and a bit of fresh chilli. Then your meatless banh mi is ready.

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Recipes provided by Joanie Manalang


339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3526 5862 Upscale vegetarian restaurant specializes in fake meat dishes. The attractive dining room is suffused with natural light. Located within the walls of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda.


Grillbar 122 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 08 38 22 79 01 A Vietnamese restaurant with a focus on charcoal-grilled meat brings classic Vietnamese street food indoors to a modern, clean environment.


By Tristan Ngo

Comfort Rice My idea for this column came while I was watching a food travel show about a guy going to an open market looking for a parasite- or tapeworm-infested piece of meat from a local butchery. I couldn’t believe it when the host said what he was looking for, and I was even more surprised when he found it and swallowed it. It was just a short highlighted segment and I have no idea what happened in the rest of the show or to the host. Of course, Vietnam has had its fair share of foreign food shows. Most are hosted by people who have never lived in Vietnam and feature novelty dishes few locals ever eat. This includes the skinning of a live snake, drinking its blood with rice wine and swallowing its still-beating heart. Vietnamese are quite civilised and educated, and this is not something they eat on a normal basis. Most actually find it repulsive and I guarantee you will never find it on daily dining tables. So instead, this column is all about what local people eat every single day throughout the year. I hope one day some of these so-called food experts will highlight Vietnam’s real cuisine, rather than just going for the gross factor. A good example of true local food can be found inside an alley off a T-intersection created by Nguyen Trai, Le Thi Rieng 52 AsiaLIFE HCMC

and Ton That Tung streets in District 1. Here you will find Com Tam Kieu Van. I have written about com tam (broken rice) before, but despite this restaurant’s name, it doesn’t focus on com tam. The menu here is quite extensive and includes: grilled pork chops, caramelised ginger chicken, caramelised fish, chinese sausage, drumstick roti, roasted pork, ground pork omelette, sunny-side up eggs (because they go with everything on the menu), pork egg custard, bi (shredded pork mixed with thinly cooked shredded pork skin) and more. The caramelised fish (I believe it’s catfish) is one of their best dishes. It is always moist, meaty and the flavour is simply amazing. To me, the ginger chicken, with its rich caramel and ginger sauce, epitomises the principles of Vietnamese cooking. This is a popular dining spot for small groups because you can order an array of dishes to share and they even give extra helpings of rice if you ask for it. Service is quick and attentive, despite the restaurant’s popularity. Kieu Van serves mainly breakfast and lunch. Despite being in District 1, this is not an easy place to find, but you can always call for delivery. 150 Nguyen Trai Street, D1 08 3610 9865 5.30am-2pm; seven days

Quan Bui 17A Ngo Van Nam, D1 Tel: 08 38 29 15 15 From the team behind Quan Bui, the popular casual Vietnamese eatery on the north edge of District 1, is this fourfloor fine-dining restaurant in downtown Saigon. The chic design and ambience, as well as its rooftop garden, are designed to attract a more up-market clientele. Temple Club 29 – 31 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3829 9244 This high-end restaurant attached to an elegant lounge bar is a must-try for its art deco atmosphere as much as for its food.

nightlife BARS & LOUNGES

See bar restaurant listings for more popular watering holes. The Library InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Unwind with a glass of wine or a cup of tea. The Library provides a welcoming atmosphere for those in search of calm, comfort and personalized service. Purple Jade InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Chic lounge blends the stylistic influences of contemporary design and opium dens. Hosts live music and serves special drinks, including Shaoxing and Maotai rice wines and an exclusive selection of luxury spirits. Saigon Saigon Bar 9th floor, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 Popular bar usually packed out with tourists and business travellers searching for some delicious cocktails and a great view of the city skyline. Cuban band Warapo plays every night except Monday from 8.30 pm until late.

at home BAKERIES

Harvest Baking 30 Lam Son, Tan Binh Tel: 3547 0577 This authentic bakery offers a range of specialty baked goods for delivery. Offering bagels, scones, breads, desserts,cakes, tarts and more. Chocolate fudge cake and cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing highly recommended. Pat A Chou 65 Hai Ba Trung, D1 25 Thao Dien, D2

The home of the long and crusty baguette. Supplies many restaurants but also sells wholesale. The miniature patisseries such as crème brulée and cheesecake are worth a taste. Opens at 6.30 am. Voelker 17 A7 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 7303 8799 39 Thao Dien, An Phu, D2 Tel: 6296 0066 Small bakery turns out sweet and salted pies and mousses in addition to baguettes and a range of Western sweets.

DELIVERY A free website that allows users to order delivery from dozens of restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City. Simply provide your address and phone number and pay the delivery driver in cash when he arrives Willy Woo’s Southern American fare including skillet fried chicken, Belgium waffles and BBQ foods, red beans and rice, Jalapeno corn bread, and other classic southern sides. Delivery only via


Annam Gourmet Market 16-18 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3822 9332 41A Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2630 SB2-1 My Khanh 4, Nguyen Duc Canh, D7 Tel: 5412 3263 / 64 Boutique grocer with wide selection of foreign foods; Annam-brand coffee, tea and spices; and household products. Wine and premium beer, full deli counter, produce, dairy-frozen and baked goods on second floor. Cosy café serves coffee, drinks and sandwiches. Big C Floor B1, Cantavil An Phu Building, D2, Tel: 3740 7105 This ‘supercentre’ offers a clean, comfortable shopping environment with a wide assortment of goods, including fresh food and home accessories, available at reasonable prices. Classic Fine Foods 17 Street 12, D2, Tel: 3740 7105 Luxury food primarily imports for wholesale, but also takes orders for its range of dry goods, cheese, meat, poultry and seafood from private clients. Kim Hai Butchery 73 Le Thi Hong Gam, D1 Tel: 3821 6057 or 3914 4376 Excellent chilled imported beef, lamb, veal and other meats sold at reasonable prices. Metro Anphu An Phu, D2 Tel: 3740 6677 Warehouse wholesaler located just off the Hanoi Highway in D2 between the Saigon Bridge and the tollbooths. Sells bulk food, fresh fruit and vegetables and meat, as well as paper products, cleaning supplies, housewares--basically everything.


The Warehouse 178 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3825 8826 One of the city’s premier wine distributors, The Warehouse is an aptly named, stylish wine store that stocks a full range of both New and Old World wines, sparkling wines, Champagne, spirits, imported beers and accessories.


culture CLASSES

AngelsBrush by Vin Tel: 0983377710 Oil painting course gives learners the opportunity to work from the different objects; explore different mediums, materials and techniques; and interpret line, tone and colour. Instructor works with students on individual basis. Helen Kling Oil Painting 189/C1 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 0903 955 780 Helene is a French painter who teaches beginners (children and adults) various techniques and the art of working with different mediums. She is also a fantastic tool for advanced artists who are looking to increase their creativity. Both day and night courses are available. Helene has a permanent exhibition at FLOW, located 88 Ho Tung Mau, D1. Printmaking Classes are held at Alpha Gallery taught by the gallery owner Bernadette Gruber, who offers the chance to learn monotype, intaglio and etching techniques.


Bobby Brewer’s Movie Lounge 45 Bui Vien, D1 Tel: 3610 2220 86 Pham Ngoc Thach Popular top-floor home cinema showing movies five times a day on a large screen. Email for the latest schedule. CGV cinema Vietnam Hung Vuong Plaza, 126 Hung Vuong, D5 Tel: 08 2222 0388 CT Plaza, 60A Truong Son, Tan Binh Tel: 6297 1981 Crescent Mall, Phu My Hung, D7 Pandora City, 1/1 Truong Chinh, Tan Phu State-of-the-art cinema complex screening the lastest blockbusters with plush, reclining seats. All movies shown in original language with Vietnamese subtitles. Cinebox 212 Ly Chinh Thang, D3 Tel: 3935 0610 240 3 Thang 2, D10 Tel: 3862 2425 Cinebox cinemas show both original language films with Vietnamese subtitles and the dubbed versions.

IDECAF 31 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3829 5451 French cultural centre and cinema theatre. Showcases French movies with English and Vietnamese subtitles. Also hosts movies and documentaries from a number of overseas film festivals. Lotte Cinema Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 7897 LotteMart, 469 Nguyen Huu Tho, D7 Tel: 3775 2520 Modern cinema with four-way sound system. D7 location houses luxury theatre Charlotte with 32 seats and eight sofas. me phim HCM City-based film initiative that provides support to local filmmakers and hosts regular film screenings/discussions. Email for information or join the Facebook group.


a little blah blah OUT-2 STUDIO, L6 FAFILM Annex 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Operates as an engine for contemporary art by organizing projects, exhibitions, screenings and talks. Runs one major art project each year and a reading room with more than 1,000 texts on art, design and creative culture. Free for everyone and open Tue to Sat 10 am to 6 pm. Blue Space Contemporary Arts Center 97A Pho Duc Chinh, D1 Tel: 3821 3695 Busy, working gallery with easels propped up outside situated in the grounds of the beautiful Fine Arts Museum. Holds regular exhibitions by local artists. Duc Minh Gallery 31C Le Quy Don, D3 Tel: 3933 0498 Housed in an opulent colonial mansion, private museum and art gallery showcases the private art collection of Vietnamese business tycoon Bui Quoc Chi. Containing more than 1,000 pieces that range from traditional to contemporary. Galerie Quynh 65 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3836 8019 The city’s only international standard gallery, housed in a modern, two-floor space. Organizes regular exhibitions featuring established, emerging local/ international contemporary artists, publishes original catalogs in both English and Vietnamese. Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum 97A Pho Duc Chinh, D1 Tel: 3829 4441 Institution housing contemporary/traditional works by Vietnamese and foreign artists. Pieces date from as early as the 7th century. Includes Vietnamese antiques, art crafted by the Cham and Funan peoples.

Future Shorts Vietnam branch of the international network screens foreign and local short films around town. Events often incorporate other media and elements, including live music, performances, installations and discussion. Submissions accepted.

San Art Independent Artist Space 3 Me Linh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3840 0898 Artist-run, non-profit exhibition space featuring contemporary work by young Vietnamese artists. San Art hosts guest lecturers and curators. A reading room of art books and magazines is open to the public.

Galaxy Cinema 116 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3822 8533 230 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3920 6688 Large, modern cinema that shows the latest foreign releases in English (with Vietnamese subtitles).

TuDo Gallery 53 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 3821 0966 Hosting permanent exhibitions of works by the city’s artists, Tu Do deals in oils, silk paintings and lacquerware. More than 1,000 pieces on show.



By Phil Kelly


Sport Street Huyen Tran Cong Chua, D1 between Nguyen Du and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Services include mending and restringing broken tennis rackets. Products range from badminton birdies and rackets to basketball hoops, free weights, roller blades, scooters, soccer jerseys and all manner of balls.

Veggie Power We’ve all been told to “eat our veggies” at some point. The power of food is quite amazing and vegetables are at the top of the chomping order. Most people lack variety, quality as well as plain and simple quantity of vegetables in their diet. If you want to regain health, lose fat and perform optimally, the first action on your list should be to get more fibrous vegetables. What veggies do for us The colours of vegetables are derived from a variety of chemicals called antioxidants, which are almost exclusively found in plants. Plants produce antioxidants to fight compounds, known as free radicals, that destroy healthy cells. Since humans do not naturally build shields to protect ourselves against free radicals, we need to rely on those found in plants. The antioxidants in plants work in our bodies the same way. Therefore, we need to eat plants to borrow their antioxidant shields for our own cells. This is why vegetables should be the cornerstone of a healthy existence. So, what vegetables should you eat? Here are four veggies that are available in Vietnam and should be a part of everyone’s diet: Bok choy is a great source of vitamins C and A as well as bone-healthy vitamin K. Bok choy is a must-have, readily available vegetable in Vietnam 54 AsiaLIFE HCMC

sports & leisure

that is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and many vital phyto-nutrients. Broccoli is one of the true vegetable powerhouses. It is great for helping with blood pressure, sun damage, bone health, immune system function and cancer prevention, just to name a few. Kale is the Incredible Hulk of veggies. This green bad boy can protect you from a wide range of diseases. The nutrients in kale play a vital role in both phases of the body’s detoxification process. One cup of kale provides approximately 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance of omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation, one of the major causes of disease. Avocados are one of the world’s healthiest foods. Some even recommend using it as a fat replacement when cooking. In addition, it is also great in soups, smoothies or dips, while also being perfect as a baby’s first food. Technically avocado is a fruit, but I just couldn’t leave it off the list because of its amazing benefits and wide availability in Vietnam. Phil is a health practitioner and expert in body transformation. His services are available at Star Fitness (, online or at your home. Contact him though


Saigon Cricket Assocation Social cricket league plays 25 overs a side matches Sunday mornings at RMIT’s District 7 pitch. Season runs November through May, with friendly games throughout the pre-season. Practice on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons. Australian Cricket Club Terry Gordon English Cricket Club Richard Carrington Indian Cricket Club Manish Sogani, United Cricket Club Mr. Asif Ali,


DanCenter 53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Thao Dien, District 2 Tel: 3840 6974 Purpose built studio with foreign trained dance instructors. Classes in jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, yoga, zumba, belly, hula, capoiera and more. Kids can start from 4+ and adults of all ages and levels are welcome. Schedule and news on events available on-line. Salsa Dancing at La Habana 6 Cao Ba Quat, D1 Salsa package for single persons and couple, run by Urko. Lessons every Tuesday (beginners L.A. style at 7.30 pm; intermediate L.A style at 8.30 pm). Registration required.


AIS Sports Centre 36 Thao Dien, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6960, ext 126 Features six-lane, 25-metre pool, basketball and netball courts, astroturf hockey/football area and outdoor gym equipment. Available for party hire, with BBQ included on request. Membership packages available. Kids swim club and adult masters programmes. Rainbow

Divers offers scuba diving courses for children and adults. Free morning yoga. California WOW Xperience Parkson Plaza, 126 Hung Vuong, D5 28/30-32 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 6291 5999 The world’s biggest fitness centre chain is one of Saigon’s most modern places to get your sweat on. Located in Hung Vuong Plaza, CWX offers a huge workout area and all kinds of classes including spinning, KickFit, yoga and more. Caravelle Club Spa 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 Modern and stylish gym with lots of cardiovascular machines and free weights. The swimming pool is a great place for a dip, and the massage parlour, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi are there for winding down. Equinox Fitness & Leisure Centre Equatorial Hotel, 242 Tran Binh Trong, D5 Tel: 3839 7777 Decent-sized 3rd-floor gym with modern cardio and weights machines, sauna, steambath, jacuzzi, and large 4th floor pool great for swimming laps. Hollywood Fitness World H3 Building, 384 Hoang Dieu, D4 Tel: 3826 4639 One of the latest & best workout environments in the city, suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Personal training is offered. L’Apothiquaire Fitness Centre 64A Truong Dinh, D3 Tel: 3932 5181 Internationally-certified teachers offer daily classes in Sivananda, Iyengar, Power, Yoga, Abdo-Pilates, Taebo and Aqua-Aerobics. Peaceful swimming pool, sauna and steam room. La Cochinchine Rex Hotel, 146 Pastuer, D1 Tel: 3825 1812 (ext 7477) New and affordable fitness centre located in the heart of the city. This gym has a wide range of weight machines, as well as many cardio machines, including treadmills, cross-trainers and bikes. A good variety of classes are available, including yoga and aerobic dance. NTFQ2 Spa 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, D2 Tel: 3744 6672 Therapeutic massage with a focus on sports massage to increase circulation, remove lactic acid build-up, restore flexibility and relieve back pain. Sheraton Fitness Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 Sheraton Fitness features a team of trained professionals and new Technogym equipment. Members have full use of leisure facilities and receive discounts at hotel bars and restaurants and Aqua Day Spa. Star Fitness Gym Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 0255 This 1,600sqm gym is apparently the biggest in Vietnam. Has a good range of machines for any type of workout. Membership involves one time entry fee plus monthly subscriptions and gives free access to regular fitness classes. Saigon Yoga Tel: 090 835 2265 A yoga centre with highly qualified instructors offering hot yoga, Hatha Flow, restorative yoga, kids’ yoga, pre and postnatal yoga and injury rehabilitation. Also does corporate team building and yoga teacher training as well as organis-

ing yoga retreats.


Australian Rules Football Tel: 093 768 3230 The Vietnam Swans play regular international footy matches around Asia. Training sessions are held weekly in HCM City (2.30 pm Saturday, RMIT D7) and Hanoi (midday, Saturday, UN International School, Ciputra). All skill levels and codes welcome. RMIT Vietnam A new player on the SIFL scene with a team made up of students from the University. They have their own football ground on-site consisting of two brand new pitches. Contact Landon Carnie. Saigon Raiders Sociable football side who are always on the lookout for new talent for their weekly matches and training sessions. The team participates in the Saigon International Football League and also has regular fixtures against local teams in the outlying provinces and also participates in international tournaments. Saigon Saints Expat football club of all ages, which has been running since 1995 and plays in the SIFL. Regularly venture on international tours especially to Bangkok and Manila and play in other local and international tournaments. The players train weekly, and new players are encouraged to join.


Dalat Palace Golf Club Phu Dong Thien Vuong, Dalat Tel: 063 3821 101 The most beautiful course in Vietnam, combining the crisp mountain air with an environment of stately pine trees. Overlooking Xuan Huong lake, the 7,009yard course is an enjoyable challenge for golfers of all levels. Dong Nai Golf Resort Trang Bom Town, Trang Bom Tel: 061 3866 288 / 3677 590 Large golf resort with 27 holes, plus a villa complex, bar, sauna. jacuzzi and billiards. The resort sits on 160 hectares of land in Dong Nai Province, about 50 kilometres from the city. Ocean Dunes Golf Club 1 Ton Duc Thang, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3821 995 Designed by Nick Faldo, the 6,746-yard par-72 course winds through seaside dunes, with the variable coastal breezes

changing its character each day. An enjoyable and eminently playable course and has become a favourite venue for expatriate tournaments. Saigon South Golf Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phu, D7 Tel: 5411 2001 Nine-hole mini golf course and driving range set amongst attractive gardens just behind FV Hospital. Club, shoe and umbrella hire is also available. Song Be Golf Resort 77 Binh Duong Blvd, Thuan An Tel: 0650 3756 660 Located 22 kilometres from the city centre, the premier golf course in the area features an 18-hole, 6,384-metre course. Also has tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a gymnasium. Vietnam Golf and Country Club Long Thanh My Village, D9 This facility consists of two courses of 18 holes each, one of which is designed in a more traditional Asian style, and the other in international style. Has other attractions such as boating, tennis and a restaurant area.


Phun Runner Social running group that meets Saturdays at 7 am for a scenic run around Saigon before breakfast. Great way to explore the city, meet fellow runners and get fit for future events. Saigon Pony Club Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, D2 Tel: 0913 733 360 A standout facility offering pony rides, riding lessons, horse clinics and pony rentals. Also hosts events and birthdays. Ultimate Frisbee RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, D7 Join in this exciting popular sport every Sunday afternoon from 3pm to 5pm in Saigon South. Pan-Asian competitions also organised for the more experienced. Contact David Jensen at 0909458890 X-Rock Climbing Phan Dinh Phung Sport Centre 75 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Tel: 6278 5794 503A Nguyen Duy Trinh, D2 Tel: 2210 9192 Offering safe and professional climbing for anyone aged 4 and up. Featuring mountain climbing routes rated from beginner to advanced, climbing and belay-safety courses and training, corporate team building. Excellent facilities for children and annual membership for kids.

Settling in Ho Chi Minh City... as a student


lishia was born in New Zealand and has lived in three different parts of the world before coming to Vietnam. When her dad announced to the family that they would be relocating to Vietnam: “Whooo-hooo!”, Alishia remembers crying with excitement. With her mum being Vietnamese, Alishia’s family had always spent Summer Holidays in Vietnam so coming back here to live felt, to her, like coming home. Alishia now enjoys living close to her extended family. They would often get together with her grandparents, aunts and uncles, sharing stories about yester-years,

which is something that Alishia missed out on in her early childhood. During her spare time, Alishia enjoys reading and cycling around (the quiet parts of) town, exploring different places and seeing what the locals do, what they eat. Her all-time favourite Vietnamese dishes are: Phở and Bánh Canh. Alishia admits that one of the most important factors that can ease the settling-in process is friendship: “Without good friends, you feel alone and this can knock your confidence. It’s important to find a school in which you feel welcome. Having good friends and enjoying school makes all the

+84 8 3742 4040 |

difference to how well you settle into a new city.’ A student at AIS, Alishia feels that school is a social environment where she is motivated to do her best. Alishia has received a number of Achievement and Excellence awards in a range of subjects. She is happy with her academic results but most of all, she feels that Vietnam has helped her to become a global citizen. (Alishia’s story ‘Escape’ won the Hoa Sen Short Story Writing competition in May 2012.) Read more “Settling in Ho Chi Minh City” stories at



American Chiropractic Clinic 161 Hai Ba Trung, D3 Tel: 3939 3930 A chiropractic, physiotherapy, foot care clinic staffed by American-trained chiropractors speaking French, English,

Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. Treatsback pain, neck pain, knee pain, also specializing in sports injuries, manufacture of medical grade foot orthotics. CARE1 Executive Health Care Center The Manor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 0757 A holistic approach is used by this acupuncturist and traditional medicine practitioner to rebalance the body’s energy fields. A wide range of ailments are treated including back pain, allergies and insomnia. Institute of Traditional Medicine 273-275 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Dr. Le Hung is the man to see at this wellestablished traditional hospital & training centre. He speaks good English and provides excellent treatments in a clean

environment. The Institute also provides acupuncture lessons.

DENTAL 39 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 08 6267 6666 A clinic that brings leading German dentistry to Vietnam. All dentists here were trained in Germany and all equipment comes from Germany to ensure proper hygiene and quality. European Dental Clinic 17 - 17A Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 0918 749 204/08 3744 9744 Expat English and French-speaking dentist. Performs full range of dental treatment including whitening, aesthetic fillings, porcelain crowns, full ceramics, veneer and orthodontic treatment. 24hour emergency line: 0909 551 916 or 0916 352940. Starlight Dental Clinic Dr. Philippe Guettier & International Team of Dentists 2Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, D1 Tel: 3822 6222 With 14 years’ experience providing dental treatment to expat and Vietnamese patients, this well-known dental surgery is staffed by both foreign & local practitioners. Au fait with the latest treatments and techniques, the surgery prides themselves on their high standard of equipment & sterilization.


Centre Medical International (CMI) 1 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3827 2366 Located downtown next to the cathedral, the centre provides a high standard of medical care from qualified French and Vietnamese physicians. Its range of services include general and tropical medicine, cardiology, gynaecology, osteopathy, pediatrics, psychiatry, speech therapy and traditional Eastern medicine. Family Medical Practice HCMC Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 7848 95 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2000 Leading international primary healthcare provider, with a 24-hour state-of-the-art medical centre and highly-qualified multilingual foreign doctors. Extensive experience in worldwide medical evacuations with car and air ambulance on standby. Also in Hanoi and Danang. HANH PHUC International Hospital Binh Duong boulevard, Thuan An, Binh Duong.

Tel: 0650 3636068 The 1st Singapore Standard Hospital in Vietnam. 260 –bedder, provide a comprehensive range of quality healthcare services: Obstertrics, Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Immunization, IVF, Health checkup, Parentcraft, Woman Cancer, Cosmetic Surgery… Just 20- minute driving from HCMC. HANH PHUC International Hospital Clinic 97 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1. Tel: 3925 9797 The 1st Singapore Standard Hospital in Vietnam. The clinic is located at the center of Dist. 1, provides a comprehensive range of services specializing in Obstertrics, Gynaecology, Peadiatrics, Immunization, General Practice and Emergency. Open hours: Weekdays: 8am to 5pm; Saturday: 8am to 12pm.

International SOS 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3829 8424 Globally-renowned provider of medical assistance and international healthcare. Specializes in offering medical transport and evacuation both within and outside of Vietnam for urgent medical cases.

Victoria Healthcare 135A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3910 4545 79 Dien Bien Phu, D1 Tel: 39104545 Well-regarded clinic offering general examinations and specializing in pediatrics, digestive diseases, cardiology and women's health. Offers a membership program and cooperates with most insurance companies in Vietnam and abroad. Open with doctors on call 24/7.


The Body Shop 87 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3823 3683 International cosmetics retailer with strong commitment to environment sources natural ingredients from small communities for its line of more than 600 products. The Face Shop 294 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3820 2325 Local retailer for the South Korea-based international brand of natural body, bath and skincare products. The company pairs variety with value, offering hundreds of products for different skin types. Also has kiosks at Co.op Mart in Phu My




away, Quinny, Maclaren, Debon, Luvable Friends, Gingersnaps.



DLS Paris 17/5 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 A superb range of unique and beautiful clothing for young children (from newborns to pre-school age) at high to midrange prices. The quality compensates for the price. Bedding, baby equipment and furniture and organic and natural supplies also kept in stock.

family ACTIVITIES Conservatory of Music 112 Nguyen Du, D1 The established training centre for professional musicians offers private piano and violin lessons to foreigners in the evenings. DanCenter 53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Thao Dien, D 2 Tel: 3840 6974 Children and teenagers from age 4+ can enjoy jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, acro dance and break dance classes at this professionally run, newly built dance studio. Schedule and news on events available on-line. Helene Kling Painting Offers classes in oil painting to both children and adults for 150,000 VND and 300,000 VND respectively. Classes are paced to suit each student. Tae Kwondo BP Compound, 720 Thao Dien, D2 and Riverside Villa Compound, Vo Truong Toan, D2 Private and group classes are run after school three times a week by the friendly Mr. Phuc. Anyone over the age of five is welcome to join in the course, which costs USD $50 for 12 classes/month with a $25 fee for non-members. Contact Mr. Phuc directly on 0903 918 149.


Belli Blossom 4F-04 (4th Floor) Crescent Mall, Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5413 7574 12 Mac Dinh Chi, D1 Tel: 3822 6615 Belli Blossom catering to moms and babies with imported brands of maternity and nursing wear and accessories, infant clothes, baby bottles and feeding products, strollers, high chairs, slings, baby carriers, diaper bags, and many others. Brands available include: Mam, Mam-

Ninh Khuong 44 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3824 7456 Well-known hand-embroidered children’s clothing brand using 100% cotton. Newborn to 10 years old (girl) and fourteen years old (boy). Also stocking home linens. Prices are reasonable.

EDUCATION ABC International School (ABCIS) Saigon South Campus 1 (Primary & Secondary) Tel: 5431 1833/34/35/36 Saigon South Campus 2 (Foundation Stage & Early Primary) Tel: 5431 1833/34/35/36 The only school in Vietnam that is accredited by both COBIS (Council of British International Schools) and FOBISIA (Federation of British International Schools in Asia). Providing education for 2-18 year olds in a supportive and friendly environment, the school offers instruction through the medium of English. It delivers a culturally adapted version of the British National Curriculum along with the Cambridge IGCSE course and AS/A levels. The Australian International School Xi Campus (Kindergarten) 190 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 35192727 Thao Dien Campus (Kindergarten & Primary School) 36 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6960 Thu Thiem Campus (Kindergarten, Primary, Middle & Senior School) 264 Mai Chi Tho (East-West Highway) An Phu ward, D2 Tel: 3742 4040 The Australian International School is an IB World School with 3 class campuses in District 2, HCMC, offering an international education from Kindergarten to Senior School with the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), Cambridge Secondary Programe (including IGCSE) and IB Diploma Programme (DP).

Settling in Ho Chi Minh City... as a student


t was a wet and humid evening in the middle of Vietnam’s monsoon season when Sam, his sister and parents arrived in Ho Chi Minh City. Having lived in Cairo, Egypt for over two years, where Sam was settled with close friends and a good city lifestyle, he dreaded the thought of yet another move to a new country, new school and having the pressure of making new friends. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Tan Son Nhat airport, Sam had to get used to the idea that this is now his

new home. Three years on and Sam has fallen in love with this City. For a teenager like Sam, Ho Chi Minh City is an exciting place: Sam likes to hang out with his friends at the weekend, watch movies at brand new cinemas, explore Ho Chi Minh City’s historical attractions and play football in the warm outdoors. Sam recently charmed the audience in his debut performance as “Sam” in the School production of ABBA’s musical, Mamma Mia! Sam finds Vietnam an enchanting place where people are laidback and

friendly. Sam sends the following message to friends of the same age who are relocating to Vietnam: “If you’re worried or nervous about having to learn a new language in Vietnam like I was, don’t be. English is used in most places.” Sam notes that having good friends and going to a good school have also helped him to settle in quickly. Read more “Settling in Ho Chi Minh City” stories at settlinginhcmc

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By Gemma Mullen

KIDS CORNER Baby Milestones Having just had my first baby, my friends are always keen to know what comes next in terms of development. Her first smiles, steps and words are all keenly anticipated by my merry gaggle of girlfriends. As such, this month’s column will be the first of three parts dedicated to a child’s key milestones.

on their legs with a little support. Little hands should be more dextrous than ever and, fantastically, all those hours spent poring over baby name websites come to fruition as they become aware of their own name. Eyesight is also developing to incredible new levels, so be sure to provide a babyproof mirror.

Newborn You may not realise it but your new bubba is taking notice of your touch, face, smell and voice, and can focus up to 12 inches away. Your baby’s wobbly little head still needs support, although hearing is fully developed and they may be drawn to familiar sounds.

Eight to 12 months Uh-oh, you’re in trouble now. It’s time to batten down the hatches as baby becomes mobile. Crawling gives them an all-new perspective on the world and freedom to explore it, and babies will soon be trying to pull themselves up to a standing position. The milestones come thick and fast at this age and don’t be surprised to hear first words or see first steps. However, it’s not all a bed of roses, as this will also be the most likely time for baby to develop separation anxiety, becoming shy around unfamiliar people while retaining the ability to charm the pants off those seen more regularly. The juxtaposition can be frustrating, but do bear in mind that they’re not being rude; they’re just babies after all. Above all, do remember that this is just a rough guide to key milestones and all babies develop in different areas at different rates.

Two to three months By now your little cutie is lighting up your life with smiles and is rapidly becoming a master mimic, attempting to imitate facial expressions and the sounds that you make. Ensure plenty of ‘tummy time’ at this stage to encourage the little one to strengthen their neck and they should be notably better at supporting their own head. Perhaps the biggest change comes with recognition. Familiar faces will bring out one of those magnificent smiles and babies will begin to fix their gaze firmly on objects of interest. Introducing brightly coloured toys is certainly a good idea at this stage. Five to seven months Rolling, rolling, rolling, keep them babies rolling. Your cheeky one should now be rolling over, sitting up unaided and bouncing 58 AsiaLIFE HCMC

Gemma Mullen has been working in child care for more than 10 years. She holds an NNEB diploma in nursery nursing and is currently a creative writing teacher at Zaman International School in Phnom Penh.

British International School Primary Campus 43 - 45 Tu Xuong, D3 225 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Secondary Campus 246 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 3744 2335 BIS is the largest international school in Vietnam operating from three purpose built campuses in HCMC catering for students from pre-school to Year 13. The school operates within the framework of the National Curriculum for England and is staffed primarily by British qualified and trained teachers with recent UK experience. Students are prepared for both IGCSE & the IB Diploma programmes. BIS is a member of FOBISSEA & is fully accredited by the Council of International schools EUROPEAN International School 730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Thao Dien Tel: 7300 7257 The EUROPEAN International School Ho Chi Minh City (EIS) offers a full English international education from Early Years through Primary to Secondary School. EIS is committed to educating students to become creative critical thinkers and problem solvers. Students are immersed in a multicultural learning environment which values multilingualism. Other languages include Spanish, German, French and Vietnamese. International School HCMC 28 Vo Truong Toan, D2 Tel: 3898 9100 One of 136 schools around the world to be accredited as an IB World School. Offers all three of the IB programmes from primary through to grade 12. The school is fully accredited by CIS and NEASC and has a strong focus on community spirit and fosters an awareness of other languages and cultures. International School Saigon Pearl 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh District Tel: 2220 1788/89 Opening in August, 2011, the single purpose-built campus will cater for nursery through grade five. In the second year, sixth grade will be added. ISSP’s long-term strategic plan includes complete middle and high schools. In the spring of 2011 ISSP will host the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (the largest American accreditation agency in Asia). Accreditation will allow children to easily transfer to schools abroad. Montessori International School International Program 42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, D2 Tel: 3744 2639 Bilingual Program 28 Street 19, KP 5, An Phu, D2 Tel: 6281 7675 Montessori utilizes an internationally recognized educational method which focuses on fostering the child’s natural desire to learn. The aim is to create an encouraging environment conducive to learning by developing a sense of self and individuality. A wide array of curriculum/ extra-curricular activities are on offer including Bilingual programs.

Renaissance International School 74 Nguyen Thi Thap, D7 Tel: 3773 3171 An International British school providing inclusive curriculum based upon the British curriculum complemented by the

International Primary Curriculum and International Baccalaureate. The school has made a conscious decision to limit numbers and keep class sizes small to ensure each student is offered an education tailored to meet his or her individual learning needs. It is a family school providing a stimulating and secure learning environment with first-class facilities including a 350-seat theatre, swimming pool, mini-pool, play-areas, gymnasium, IT labs, music and drama rooms, science labs and an all-weather pitch. RMIT 702 Nguyen Van Linh, D7 Tel: 3776 1369 Australian university located in District 7, offers a highly regarded MBA and undergraduate courses in various fields. SmartKids 1172 Thao Dien Compound, D2 Tel: 3744 6076 An international childcare centre that provides kindergarten and pre-school education for children aged between 18 months and 6 years. A fun and friendly environment, the school focuses on learning through play. Saigon Star International School Residential Area No. 5, Thanh My Loi Ward, D2 Tel: 3742 7827 Fax: 3742 3222 Offers a British primary curriculum approved by Cambridge University and integrated Montessori programme for nursery and kindergarten. Qualified, experienced teachers and small class sizes cater to individual needs and abilities. Saigon South International School Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, D7 Tel: 5413 0901 An International school environment offering an American/international program in a large, spacious campus, to children from age 3 to grade 12. Great facilities, extra-curricular activities and internationally trained teachers giving unique opportunities to learn. Singapore International School (SIS) No.29, Road No.3, Trung Son Residential Area, Hamlet 4, Binh Hung Ward, Binh Chanh District Tel: 5431 7477 Students play and learn in an environment where the best of Western and Eastern cultures amalgamate to prepare KinderWorld’s students for today’s challenging world drawn from both the Singapore and Australian curriculum. The school offers International Certifications such as the iPSLE, IGCSE and GAC.


Beatrice’s Party Shop 235 Le Thanh Ton, D1 A lovely little shop selling everything you need to throw your little ones a good party. A catalogue of entertainers showcases a number of party favourites such as magicians, circuses and more. Nguyen Ngoc Diem Phuong 131C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 A curious shop stocking a range of handmade fancy dress costumes such as masks, superman outfits and much more. Bibi Clown - Chu he Bibi Tel: 0933 131 012 Does exactly as his name suggests.Great service has earned him a reputation for turning up almost instantly with a superb selection of balloons and games in both English and Vietnamese. The Balloon Man Mr Hoat 0903 837 326 Does exactly as his name suggests – balloons. He will come to your palce for decoration but English not as good. Also provides helium balloons.



New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 322 Tel: 3824 3757 / 3822 8888 NordCham Bitexco Building, 19-25 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3821 5423


Hung Hai 75 Huynh Thuc Khang, D1 A good place to purchase hard-to-find gear and some rare equipment, mainly auto focus lenses.


AmCham New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 323 Tel: 3824 3562 AusCham TV Building, Suite 1A, 31A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3911 0272 / 73 / 74 British Business Group of Vietnam 25 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3829 8430 CanCham New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 305 Tel: 3824 3754 Citi Bank 115 Nguyen Hue St, D1 Tel: 3824 2118 Citibank Vietnam offers a wide range of banking services to both consumer and corpo-rate. Services include Corporate and Investment Banking, Global Transaction Services, and Consumer Banking. In Vietnam for 15 years, Citibank has a presence in both HCMC and Hanoi. Eurocham 257 Hoang Van Thu, Tan Binh Tel: 3845 5528 German Business Group 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Singapore Business Group Unit 1B2, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3823 3046 Swiss Business Association 42 Giang Van Minh, Anh Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6996 Fax: 3744 6990 Email: Hong Kong Business Association

Le Duc 5B Huynh Tinh Cua, D3 A shop for all your professional accessory needs. From lighting equipment to tripods and reflectors, the shop offers the best equipment and service in HCM City.

sales repair on the second floor. SYS Vi Tinh Saigon 96C Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1 A superb place with an excellent reputation for after-sales service with competent English speaking staff and a wide range of products and services. Freeware and shareware also available on the store website.


Concetti 33 Dinh Tien Hoang, D1 Tel: 3911 1480 Consulting and research company for technology transfer and investment. Embers Asia Ltd. 4th floor, 04 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3822 4728 As the first team building provider estab-

lished in Vietnam, Embers specializes in making teams better in globally competitive markets. Embers' HR performance management services include: team building excursions, strategic planning retreats, conference facilitations and training workshops. Ernst & Young Saigon Riverside Office Center, 2A-4A Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3824 5252 Professional service firm specializing in advisory, assurance, tax, transactions and strategic growth markets. Grant Thornton Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 9100 International business advisors specializing in auditing, management consulting, corporate finance, risk management and information technology.

Pham The 11 Le Cong Kieu, D1 An authorized service centre for Nikon camera that also specializes in repairing all camera makes. Measurement equipment and spare parts also available. Shop 46 46 Nguyen Hue, D1 Small shop run by photographer and collector. The owner’s more collectible pieces are pricey, but entry-level manual focus SLRs from the 70s and 80s are affordable.


Computer Street Luong Huu Khanh, D1 between Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Nguyen Trai This stretch of District 1 is literally wall to wall with small shops selling computers, printers, monitors and everything computer related, more so toward the NTMK end of the drag. iCenter 142A Vo Thi Sau, D3 Tel: 3820 3918 Professional, polished Apple retailer and repair centre with an attractive showroom featuring some of the latest in accessories and audio. English-speakers on staff. Honours Apple service plans. Future World 240 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Authorized reseller of Apple computers and products, as well as some off-brand items like headphones. Excellent service and English-speaking staff. Accepts credit cards. Phong Vu Computer 264C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3933 0762 The biggest and busiest of the PC stores in town. Known for good, efficient service, in-house maintenance and after-


By Elizabeth Png

HOME IMPROVEMENT Stop Fuming What is the most important appliance in the kitchen? Believe it or not, it might actually be the cooker hood. Cooking produces fumes that both pollute the air and are bad for your health. Smoke, grease and steam, all byproducts of cooking, coat your walls and are inhaled by you, your family and dinner guests. Another dangerous byproduct of cooking is carbon monoxide. Colourless, odourless and tasteless, carbon monoxide in high doses is extremely toxic to the human body. Prolonged exposure to it can cause flu-like symptoms and respiratory issues. A cooker hood circumvents all these problems by acting as a filter, cleaning all those dangerous fumes out of the air. They offer protection to everyone in the household, especially for those with open kitchens. Cooker hoods also allow you to cook in comfort. Anyone who cooks knows that it produces a lot of heat, smoke and steam. Selecting a cooker hood can be tricky though. Most people don’t know much about them beyond the fact that they filter the air. Here are a few tips for selecting the ideal cooking hood for your kitchen. Do you have an open kitchen? A cooker hood is going to occupy a very prominent spot in your kitchen. Choose the wrong design and it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb. 60 AsiaLIFE HCMC

Fortunately, there are many designs available in Vietnam to choose from, including the compact slim line hood to the elegant glass chimney hood. How big is your kitchen and what are your cooking habits? Your cooking habits and the size of your kitchen will determine the suction capacity needed. If you prepare food on a regular basis in a small kitchen, the hood should have a suction capacity of 300 to 400 m3/h. Average-sized kitchens should get a model that has a capacity of 400 to 500 m3/h. Cooking enthusiasts who like to experiment with exotic recipes and have a sizable kitchen should get a hood with at least 600 m3/h suction capacity. Look for high-powered models like the chimney hood with dual filter and heavy-duty turbo fan which will ensure your air is ultra clean. How big is your stove? Your cooking hood should be at least the size of your stove. If your hood is smaller than your stove, pollutants and fumes will still be able to escape. Ideally, your hood should actually be a few inches bigger than your stove for perfect ventilation.

Elizabeth Png is the brand and consumer communications director for Electrolux Vietnam. She can be contacted at elizabeth.png-reade@electrolux. com.

IF Consulting IBC Building, 3rd Floor 1A Me Linh Square, D1 4th Floor, 5 Ba Trieu Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi Tel: 3827 7362 Fax: 3827 7361 Email: Private insurance and finance.

Corner of Pasteur and Nguyen Dinh Chieu Stock up on shower heads, kitchen supplies (juicer, spatula, grater, etc.), coat racks, clothes hangers, pots, pans, champagne flutes, bowls, coolers, trash bins, ironing boards, magazine racks and the like.

Indochine Councel Han Nam Building, 65 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3823 9640 Business law firm specializing in legal services to corporate clients in relation to their business and investment in Vietnam.

Chau Loan 213 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3825 7991 Gallery based in a colonial shophouse stocking mainly Vietnamese-themed oil paintings and images of Buddha. Also deals in better-known reproductions.

Inspired Image 42/2A Ho Hao Hon, D1 Tel: 091 635 2573 Image consultant and personal stylist. Previous clients include business leaders, TV presenters and busy professionals. International Management Initiative for Vietnam (IMIV) The International Management Initiative for Vietnam (IMIV), a non-profit initiative within VinaCapital Foundation that promotes excellence in business leadership and management by bringing to Vietnam proven international executive education and professional development programmes. Phuong Nguyen Consulting TPC Business Center, 92-96 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3829 2391 Specializing in business facilitation, conferences, education counselling, market-entry research and IT/business consulting. TMF Vietnam Company Limited Unit 501, 5th Floor, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 2262 ext. 113 Fax: 3910 0590 With headquarters in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, TMF Vietnam specializes in accounting outsourcing and consulting. Total Wealth Management 66/11 Pham Ngoc Thach, D3 Tel: 3820 0623 Specialists in selecting and arranging tax-efficient savings and pension plans for expatriates. Offers councel on private banking services, wealth protection in offshore jurisdictions, currency risks and hedging strategies. Towers Watson Vietnam (formerly Watson Wyatt and SMART HR) Sun Wah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue, Suite 808, D1 Tel: 3821 9488 Global HR consulting firm specializing in executive compensation, talent management, employee rewards and surveys, HR effectiveness and technology, data services and total rewards surveys.


Antique Street Le Cong Kieu Street, D1 between Nguyen Thai Binh and Pho Duc Chinh A variety of antiques and faux antiques from Thailand, China and Vietnam including silverware, compasses, lighters, brass knockers, urns, vases, abacuses, religious and pagan statues, candlestick holders, furniture and watches.

Decosy 112 Xuan Thuy, D2 Tel: 6281 9917 Producer of a large selection of European styled furniture and interior fittings, specializing in wrought iron and patine (distressed) wood finishes. Also stocks a wide-range of decorative accessories, crockery and fixtures. Custom design services available upon request. Dogma 175 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3836 0488 Located upstairs from Saigon Kitsch, this art gallery deals in Vietnamese propaganda posters, apparel, accessories and random paraphernalia. Large prints are sold at USD $60 each and small prints cost $25. Minh Boutique 15 Nguyen Thiep, D1 Lacquerware pieces, tea boxes, teapot warmers, ice buckets and sake drinking sets all handmade in Vietnam. Also sells a range of silverware, egg holders and ice tongs. OUT-2 STUDIO L6 Fafilm annex 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3825 6056 Studio space for independent designers to showcas their wares, sell their work and meet with clients. Open Monday t Saturday 10 am to 6 pm. Phuong Mai 213C Dong Khoi Gallery specializing in original oils by Vietnamese artists. The works here are a mish-mash of styles but do contain some standouts, particularly well-known local artists La Hon, Quy Tam and Pham Trinh. Sapa 125 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Offers a better selection of hill tribe handicrafts than most of its rivals. Concentrates mainly on the hand-woven clothing of the indigenous tribespeople of the region. There is also a line in ladies’ shoes and the standard range of silk wraps and bags. Unity 12 Dang Tran Con, D1 Tel: 3823 9375 Located opposite Galaxy cinema, Unity offers accessories that are designed to seamlessly blend in with your life. Familiar basics are given a contemporary update with the use of modern, alternative materials like silicone, rubber, and brushed aluminum. From orbital lamps and eggshell-white china, to wire-clasped water bottles, each individual piece complements the others in the collection to give your home a sense of Unity.


Aquarium Street Nguyen Thong Street, D3 between Vo Thi Sau and Ly Chinh Thang Dedicated street has everything one needs to display fish: tanks, decor, feed, filters and the fish themselves.

Hi End Audio 84 Ho Tung Mau, D1 A standout that stocks the very latest and greatest in home entertainment. Retails in everything from giant plasmascreen TVs to audio equipment. Most top brands are available.

Budget Housewares Street

iDEAS Shopping Centre

133-141AB Cach Mang Thang Tam, D3 The largest of the electonics stores along the street, the three-storey iDEAS sells every type of electronic and home appliance imaginable. Offers proper warranties. Staff speaks some English. Future World 240 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Authorized reseller of Apple computers and products, as well as some off-brand items like headphones. Excellent service and English-speaking staff. Accepts credit cards. Nguyen Kim Shopping Centre 63-65 Tran Hung Dao, D1 Tel: 3821 1211 Stocks DVD/CD players, cameras, TVs, hi-fis and more from Sony, Sanyo, Panasonic, Philips and other major manufacturers. Also a good place to pick up electronic kitchen supplies like coffee makers and rice cookers, as well as large and small appliances, from hot water heaters to regrigerators. Phong Vu 125 Cach Mang Thang Tam, D1 Tel: 6290 8777 Two-storey electronics store retails in international products conveniently grouped by brand. Carries computers, home audio, printers, hard drives and more, as well as a variety of mobile phones, handheld electronic devices and accessories. Savico 117 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 3821 7993 One-stop electronics and home appliance superstore. All products have a one to three-year warranty. Tech Street Huynh Thuc Khang Street between Ton That Dam and Nguyen Hue, D1 Sells compact discs, DVDs, electronic money counters, video games and systems, Discmans, mp3 players and portable DVD players.


Appeal 41 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3821 5258 A small, upscale shop that offers modern accents for the sleek dining room. The colours of the over-sized vases and fruit bowls are either glistening red or lacquered black. AustinHome 20 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3519 0023 Outstanding quality and style for your home. The shop says its products are hand-picked by an American furniture expert from the best factories in Vietnam. Upholstery, accessories, antiques and more. Catherine Denoual 15C Thi Sach, D1 Tel: 3823 9394 Beautiful showroom with clean lines and a sumptuous array of bedroom products including bedside lamps, linens, pillowcases and duvet covers.

Decosy 112 Xuan Thuy, D2 Tel: 6281 9917 Producer of a large selection of European styled furniture and interior fittings, specializing in wrought iron and patine (distressed) wood finishes. Also stocks a wide-range of decorative accessories, crockery and fixtures. Custom design services available upon request. Esthetic 11 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 7371/7372 Fax: 3514 7370 Design and manufacture as order with a mixture of antique and modern furniture.

Friendly staff speak excellent English. Furniture Outlet 3A Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 2243 7955/3911 0104 Wide selection of well-crafted and carefully constructed pine wood pieces at good prices, aimed at customers craving a taste of Europe. Furniture Street Ngo Gia Tu, D10 between Ly Thai To and Nguyen Chi Thanh Very affordable furniture can be found on this stretch: couches, mattresses, desks, chairs, etc. It often takes some looking to find a gem. A connected sidestreet, Ba Hat, features woodworkers’ shops. Gaya 1 Nguyen Van Trang, D1 Tel: 3925 1495 Four-floor store featuring the work of foreign designers: home accessories and outdoor furniture by Lawson Johnston, linens by Corinne Leveilley-Dadda, furniture and lighting by Quasar Khanh, laquerware decor by Michele De Albert and furniture and decor by vivekkevin.


37 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 6281 9863 Furniture shop that focuses on solid wood furniture and decorative items ranging from pillows and lamps to bedding. Also offers kids’ furniture and custom pieces. Rare Decor 41 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3822 2284 137/1 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3840 6304/5 Leading home furnishings company in Vietnam, supplying high quality, unique products. Also offer custom made furniture, accessories and lighting for commercial projects and home use. The Furniture Warehouse 3B Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 6657 0788, ttpnam@ Offers a range of reasonably priced Italian, European and French colonial sofas, indoor/outdoor wooden furniture, lighting and interior décor, as well as custom designs based on clients’ specifications. The Lost Art 31 Nguyen Cong Tru, D1 Tel: 3829 0134 Extensive product range as well as comprehensive interior design service, from initial conceptualization to design, manufacture and installation of unique products.


Allens Arthur Robinson Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 1717 Australian law firm for law translation services and legal advice on foreign investment and business in Vietnam. Baker & McKenzie Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3829 5585 International law firm providing on-theground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating, negotiating and implementing projects in Vietnam. Frasers International Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3824 2733 Full service commercial law firm providing international and Vietnamese legal advice to both foreign and local clients specializing in transactions in Vietnam. Indochine Counsel Han Nam Building, 65 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3823 9640

By Dr Rathmony Heng

SOS Sore Throats and Rheumatic Fever Both children and adults often suffer from sore throats, but did you know that sometimes this infection can lead to more serious consequences? Bacteria called Group A Streptococcus (strep for short) can cause a throat infection that leads to a disease called rheumatic fever, which affects the heart, skin, joints and nervous system. The majority of throat infections are caused by viruses and only a few by bacteria. The symptoms are very similar for both, so it is hard to identify which might be the strep infection. However, a few guidelines are helpful. A sudden onset of sore throat with accompanying fever, tender cervical lymph nodes, the absence of a cough, and white patches on the tonsils are more consistent with strep infection. If your doctor suspects a strep infection, a swab test or throat culture will usually be checked to confirm. If it is positive, the doctor will treat it with penicillin or another antibiotic to prevent the development of rheumatic fever. If the infection is not treated, the immune system will begin to attack the bacteria. However, the proteins of the strep bacteria look very similar to some of the proteins contained in the tissues of our own bodies. The immune system gets confused and ends up attacking both, and this is how rheumatic fever develops. Usually symptoms begin

about two to three weeks after the throat infection and start with joint pains, moving from one joint to another, and fever. Chest pain, difficult breathing, swelling in the legs, skin rashes and uncontrollable movements of the arms and legs can develop later. Rheumatic fever is most common in five to 15 year olds and is still more prevalent in developing countries like Vietnam. Unfortunately, rheumatic fever is still the leading cause of cardiovascular death during the first five decades of life in these countries. Some families carry genes that make it easier to develop rheumatic fever, so if you have other family members with the disease, you may be more at risk for getting it yourself. Crowded, unsanitary conditions also promote the spread of the infection from person to person. So, in order to protect yourself from rheumatic fever, you should visit the doctor for any serious sore throat with fever and get tested for a strep infection. If the test is positive, it is very important to finish the antibiotics given to prevent the development of rheumatic fever. Once you get rheumatic fever, you may have recurrences and may be left with permanent problems once recovered, so the key is prevention of the disease.

Dr Rathmony Heng is a parttime doctor at the SOS clinic in Phnom Penh. AsiaLIFE HCMC 61 Business law practitioners specializing in mergers & acquistions, inward investment, and securities & capital markets. Phillips Fox Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 1717 Full service law firm providing legal services in healthcare, education, crime, banking and hospitality among others.

By Gary Woollacott

PEOPLE MATTER Headhunting 101 I’m going to cover some old ground and remind people of what we really do here at Opus — headhunting. There are many people who try to pass themselves off as headhunters when what they really do is recruitment (and that’s being kind, for some of the shabbier outfits). To me, my business is to find the best talent in the market. That means undertaking an exhaustive process to find the top candidates wherever they work and regardless of whether they are interested in a change (active candidates, about 10 percent) or not (passive candidates, the other 90 percent). Taking shortcuts or hoping for the best is not an option. We conduct fresh, original research and then supplement it with our own databases, networks and word-of-mouth to identify and secure the best. We survey the market in a methodical manner, looking at all potential sources of candidates. When we have identified them, we reach out and discuss the position to see if there's a fit from a functional and cultural point of view. After all, not everyone is suited to every job or every company. Part of our job is to ask ourselves “Is this the best candidate we can find for the position?” If the answer is no, then we continue searching. To put it in a more casual way, you could say we kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince (or princess). But let’s face it, most of them are still just 62 AsiaLIFE HCMC

frogs. That doesn’t make them bad people, far from it; it just means they don’t suit our clients’ needs right now. That may change down the track with a different job description or client. Our clients give us time and exclusivity to fully research the market and come back with the best. Naturally, that doesn’t come for free, and not every company is prepared to pay for it. That’s OK, too. Sometimes it doesn’t matter; you just want lower-level staff and you don’t care where they come from, as long as it’s fast. But for more senior positions, taking the time to productively headhunt, and paying for it, to get the best outcome is the only sensible and sustainable business decision. Times are tough out there and business is getting ever harder. Do you want someone who can just do the job? Or do you want someone who will excel at his or her position and really take your company forward? The world is filled with mediocre people. Don’t make the mistake of bringing them into your company on the cheap and then expecting exceptional performance. As usual, let me know if you have any particular topic you would like to see covered here. Gary Woollacott is the CEO of Opus executive search in Vietnam and Thailand. He can be reached at +84 8 3827 8209 or via gary@opusasia. net. Opus is a partner of Horton International.

Pricewaterhousecoopers Legal Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3823 0796 Part of a network of international legal and financial advisors, PWC gives both specialist and general legal advice with a focus on mutli-territory projects. Rödl & Partner Somerset Chancellor Court 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3824 4225 European legal firm assisting foreign investors with structuring/establishing companies, investment projects, and mergers & acquistions.


Luxury Light 1483 My Toan 1, Nguyen Van Linh, Phu My Hung, D7 For those who really want to bring a touch of luxury to their homes, this place deals with Italian imported lighting from the ultra - modern to the traditional Murano style chandeliers. Extremely expensive reflecting the quality of the design and workmanship. Mosaique 98 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 One of the best and most diverse selections of lamps in town with everything from the ordinary decorative lotus silk lamp to more inventive and original designs in lacquer and silk.


Automotive Street Ly Thai To Street, D10 starting at Dien Bien Phu and running southeast Services include mending motorbike seats and sound system installation. Products range from zebra print motorbike seat covers to car and motorbike tyres, hubcaps, rims, subwoofers and sound systems by Xplode. Bike City 480D Nguyen Thi Thap, D7 Luxury motorcycle shop carries a range of accessories, including apparel. Sells Vemar helmets, a brand that passes rigorous European Union standards. Protec Helmets 18bis/3A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 248C Phan Dinh Phung, Phu Nhuan 417B Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 American nonprofit manufacturer makes helmets with densely compressed polystyrene shell with ABS, PVC or fiberglass exterior, available with polycarbonate shatter-proof shield. Options for kids. Zeus Helmets Founded in Taiwan to manufacture cool, comfortable helmets that meet worldwide safety standards. Basic models feature thermo-injected shells constructed from lightweight ABS composite with interiors lined with moisture-absorbant brushed nylon. Shops selling authentic Zeus helmets are located on Pham Hong Thai near Ben Thanh Market.


CB Richard Ellis Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3824 6125 International property consultants and developers with both commercial and private properties for sale, lease and rent.

InterContinental Asiana Saigon Residences Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3520 8888 Contemporary residential space in the heart of the major business and cultural area in District 1. There are 260 one, two or three-bedroom units plus health club and outdoor swimming pool. Namhouse Corporation 48A Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 0989 007 700 Provides rental properties, construction services and interior decorating. Supports professional services and after-sales. Thao Dien Village 195 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel. 3744 2222 A riverside complex of international-standard hospitality and F&B outlets with a boutique hotel, four restaurants featuring Italian, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine, an event house, meeting rooms and a day spa with well-equipped health-club. Diamond Island Luxury Residences No 01 – Street No.104BTT, Quarter 3, Binh Trung Tay Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam T: (84) 968 293 388 / 3742 5678 F: (84-8) 3742 3232) Diamond Island Luxury Residences offers 68 fully-furnished apartments, ranging from two- to four-bedroom units with private balconies providing panoramic views of the stunning surroundings in one of the most spectacular sceneries in the city. Each apartment comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, en-suite bathrooms, separate work and living areas. Each lavish space features plush interiors, modern amenities, elegant furnishings and carefully chosen trimmings and fixtures, creating a luxurious harmony of comfort and sensorial tranquility that will have you relaxed and recharged, and functioning at peak performance. Savills Viet Nam Level 18, Fideco Tower, 81-85 Ham Nghi, D1 Tel: 823 9205 Savills Viet Nam is a property service provider that has been established in Vietnam since 1995 offering research, advisory services, residential sales, commercial leasing, asset management, retail advisory, valuation, investment advisory and more. Snap Tel: 0989 816 676 Online Real Estate service providing information on rental properties exclusively in District 2. Full listings online.


First Alliances #609, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 2080 Fax: 3910 2079 As Vietnam’s most established recruitment consultancy, First Alliances operates across all major industry sectors and at all levels of seniority. Also providing HR outsourcing solutions for staffing and payroll,overseas employment and education services. Navigos Group 130 Suong Nguyet Anh, D1 Tel: 3825 5000 Recruitment agency offering a complete

portfolio of HR services including executive search, HR advisory, training, online recruitment, and print recruitment advertising.

and/or from any location worldwide.

Opus Vietnam 5F, Vitic Building 6B Nguyen Thanh Y, D1 Tel: 3827 8209 Established in HCMC in 2005, Opus services local and multinational companies seeking to recruit high quality personnel. An Associate of Horton International, one of the world’s leading search groups with over 30 offices worldwide.

Crown Worldwide Movers 48A Huynh Man Dat, Binh Thanh Tel: 3823 4127 Not just International or local moving and storage. Crown Relocations offer a wide range of services including orientations, immigration, home search, intercultural training through to pet relocation. Call the team on the above number and check out our website for more information.

TMF Vietnam Saigon Trade Center, Unit 2811, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 9229 / 9222 With more than 3,300 professionals working out of 86 offices in 65 countries, TMF provides independent accounting and corporate secretarial services to companies worldwide.

UTS Saigon Van Intl’ Relocations 1st Fl, 214 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 3744 7102 MOVING!? Full service relocating agency with warehousing, handyman, insurance & claim, ! orientation an partner career support ! services also availble. !"#$%&&'(!)%*#)%&&'(!+),-.)%*#)%&&'/! 0#1.!2#3-(!#4$-(!5%$,#.'/!! !6--7!8,#.%9-!/! :&%))+)9!,#!.-&#$%,-!;#.&7;+7-/! ! !"#$%&$''(")*'+,"-%,'.%*$#/*0'


<=>=?!@!AB!!A!!CDBB!DEFG!!!!H!!!!8%&-8I8%+9#)J%)K$#3! ! <%)#+?!@!AB!!B!!CDEA!LDEM!!!!H!!!!+)5#I8%+9#)J%)K$#3! 130 Suong Nguyet Anh, D1 Tel: 5404 1373 Excellent section on advice for jobseekers focusing on topics such as resume writing, cover letters, interview technique and more.


AGS Four Winds 5th Floor, Lafayette De Saigon, 8A Phung Khac Khoan, D1 Tel: +84 8 3521 0071, Global leader in international removals and relocations, with 128 offices in 78 countries.They can move customers to

Santa Fe Relocation Services 8th floor, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, D3 Tel: 3933 0065 With over 150 offices around world, Santa Fe offers local & international moving, pet transportation, relocation services including home search, orientation, cultural training, immigration & records management.


Stationary and Printing Street Ly Thai To Street, D3 More than 25 stores providing photocopying services, from business cards to flyers and colour prints to invitations.

Being there, or being ‘there’ Crown’s people are always with you. Preparing you before you go, and helping you settle‐in when you arrive. Relocating should be exciting and rewarding for everyone. Our experience and knowledge of worldwide relocations, is shared by all our people in more than 200 locations.

Ho Chi Minh City Tel: +84 8 3840 4237 Da Nang Tel: +84 908 426 427 Hanoi Tel:+84 4 3936 6742

And we’ll always be there to help you get the most from your relocation.

Go knowing


fashion By Christina Yu

FASHION RULES Thou Shalt Not Have Long Hair (After 40) Hair: the eternal problem for men and women. Women worry about it when they have it and men worry about it when they don’t have enough of it. I went on an art tour the other day and learned that when the French first took over Vietnam, they encouraged locals to cut their hair as a symbol of civilisation and selfimprovement. Local men were reluctant because hair to them has always been a measure of sexual prowess. I also heard that the American military recruited Native American men for their ability to navigate jungles during the American War. Prior to their mission, they had to get a crew-cut. What happened, allegedly, was that they lost their ability to navigate, since so much of it depended on the sensation and vibration of wind and sound in their hair. And for women, the idea that long hair symbolises vitality and youthfulness is innate. I asked my mum once why she didn’t have long hair, as I’d seen photos of her with long hair and I liked it. She answered, “You are not supposed to have long hair after 40.” This comment has been so stuck in my mind that I began to examine my friends’ hairstyles in the 40s age bracket. Honestly, I must say that very few of them have hair over their shoulders. Why is that? Turning 40 is such a life milestone that it deserves a new look. As Coco Chanel put it, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” 64 AsiaLIFE HCMC

Another theory is that most of them are mothers. Pregnant women were advised by other mothers not to have too much hair because it eats up nutrients which isn’t good for babies. Short hair was kept even after the baby was born because it was easier to manage while taking care of baby chores. But is it true that middleaged women should not have long hair? Fashion experts will tell you that after 40, you can absolutely wear your hair long or short, whatever style that flatters your face. The problem is that you can really date yourself if you have the wrong hairstyle, aging you instead of making you look youthful. The golden rule seems to be a layered, face-framing shape that is past your shoulders to hide neck wrinkles. If you have a high forehead, bangs are a great option since they cover wrinkles on your forehead, eg Anna Wintour. I look at actresses in their 40s and 50s today, like Cate Blanchett, Sharon Stone or Meryl Streep, and short-or shoulder-length hair seems to be the way to go once you have passed a certain age. Unlike hemlines, shorter hair seems to go with rising age. Christina Yu is the creative director and founder of Ipa-Nima, an award-winning accessories brand. Email your questions to Christina@ or visit Ipa-nima. com.


Accessorize Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Fashion-forward accessories including necklaces, handbags, wallets, flip-flops, sunglasses, hair accessories, belts and more. Banana 128 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Women’s accessories and more, from bags, clutches and belts to clothes and jewellery, all at reasonable prices. Coconut 100 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Bags of all shapes and sizes rule the roost in this small shop. Made of silk and embroidered to the brim, these unique bags start at about USD $30, and many are suitable for both day and night. Creation 105 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3829 5429 A two-storey shop selling scarves, intricate handbags (from USD $30), tailormade silk dresses and tops. Has a wide range of materials on the second floor. Ipa-Nima 71 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3824 3652 77 Dong Khoi, D1 Well-known Hanoi-based fashion brand. Founder Christina Yu is a former lawyer turned designer who produces eclectic and eye-catching handbags. Also stocks costume jewellery and shoes. Laura V Signature 11 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 7304 4126 Vintage designs aplenty with everything from jewellery and hair accessories to funky styled sunglasses, umbrellas and colourful maxi dresses. Louis Vuitton Opera View, 161 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 6318 Designer brand name housing traditional craftsmanship of luxury leather goods for men and women. An array of bags, wallets, cuff links and watches are available. Mai O Mai 4C Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3829 4007 A superb little place with beautiful jewellery and accessories to suit all budgets. Silver necklaces, bracelets, rings and more in both classic and imaginative designs, as well as gorgeous handembroidered bags. Mont Blanc Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan Notable for fine writing instruments, Mont Blanc also houses cuff links and other male accessories Scorpion Vincom Center B1, 70 - 72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3993 9889 Selling high-end leather products for both men and women, including shoes, handbags, belts and other accessories. Features a variety of leather in bright colors and styles.

Umbrella 35 Ly Tu Trong, D1 and 4 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 6276 2730 Sophisticated boutique showcasing a diverse range of imported women’s accessories. Also houses women’s garments from office wear to cocktail and party creations.


Roxy and Quiksilver Parkson Plaza, 39-45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 The original active living and extreme sports brands, Roxy and Quiksilver products combine form and function. Choose from outdoor gear to cool indoor clothes. TBS Sports Centre 102 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan This store stocks a range of good sports clothes and equipment from big name brands such as Puma, Adidas, Ecco, Nike and Converse. Volcom Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Chic and funky ladies’ apparel brand from America. Lots of tank tops, minis and shorts for day tripping with girlfriends or lazing on the beach.


FCUK 127 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3914 7740 Trendy UK brand with a selection of fashion-forward dresses for women and smart workwear and funky casual wear for men, all at middle-market prices. Ginkgo Concept Store 254 De Tham, D1 Tel: 0905 493 148 A unique shopping space that offers an original and creative mix of made-inVietnam clothing from local designers, artisans and brands that stay true to the company’s environmentally friendly principles. L’Usine 151/1 Dong Khoi, D1 Lifestyle store and cafe housed in a period building restored to evoke the aesthetic of an early 20th-century garment factory. Carries an exclusive, frequently refreshed line of imported men’s and women’s fashion, including T-shirts and footwear, and a range of unique accessories. Entrance via the street-level Art Arcade. Runway Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3993 9988 Massive and minimalist design-led interior lets ultra high-end designer garments stand out. Carries men's, women's and children’s clothing, swimwear, shoes, accessories along with home décor. Brands include Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, Sergio Rossi and Eres. Versace 26 Dong Khoi Designer brand in men’s formal wear. Houses suit jackets and trousers, shirts as well as an array of men’s accessories. Also stocks womens clothing and shoes.


Lucas 69A Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3827 9670 Fashion store housing contemporary designs in casual, office and evening wear imported from Hong Kong. Massimo Ferrari 42-A1 Tran Quoc Thao, D3 Tel: 3930 6212

Bespoke menswear shop also boasts its own brand of contemporary preppy attire tailored for the tropics. Carries a line of European-quality shoes, bags and accessories designed in-house, as well as exclusive Orobianco unisex bags, designer fragrances and eyewear. Timberland Parkson Plaza, 39-45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Sells everything the brand is known for, from heavy-duty boots to tops and trousers that are both smart and casual. The emphasis is on muted tones and unobtrusive logos for men who don’t like to show off.

women BCBG MAXAZRIA Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 American brand sells women’s day dresses and tops, evening gowns and wear-to-work attire in many prints and colours. Also carries a small selection of accessories, sunglasses and watches. ER-Couture Boutique 43 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2411 www. Exclusive Scandinavian brand offering designer garments. Versatile fashion for women in European sizes 34-44. Each style is released in limited quantities and can be tailored to individual taste. Esprit 58 Dong Khoi, D1 Outpost for the international brand of colourful, preppy men’s and women’s casual wear. Geisha Boutique 85 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3829 4004 Facebook: Geisha Boutique Australian fashion label offering a contemporary range of casual and evening wear with an Asian influence. Printed tees, singlets, shorts, skirts, jeans, summer scarves, dresses, silk camisoles and satin maxi dresses. Mango 96 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3824 6624 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 A favourite with fashion-conscious women, this mid-range store stocks clothes from simple tees and jeans to evening wear. Marc Jacobs Rex Hotel, 155 Nguyen Hue , D1 Tel: 6291 3580 This spacious shop with high-ceilings carries up-market clothes, shoes and accessories from the internationally recognized designer brand. Valenciani Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3821 2788 66-68 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 7302 4688 Homegrown luxury boutique carries silk dresses, velvet corsets, chiffon shawls and a range of accessories, all designed in-house.


Aldo 157 Dong Khoi, D1 Offering a wide selection of affordable footwear from mid- to high-range prices. Carries office-appropriate and partyready heels and flats, as well as a range of accessories and bags. Charles & Keith 10 Mac Thi Buoi, 18-20 Nguyen Trai Tel: 3925 1132 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1

Singapore brand housing youthful and trendy shoes of a contemporary, high fashion design. Converse 186 Hai Ba Trung, D1 148 Nguyen Trai, D1 122 Ba Thang Hai, D10 Tel: 3827 5584 Sells iconic Chuck Taylor, Jack Purcell and All-Star sneakers and Converse brand clothing and accessories. Also at department stores around HCMC. Dr. Marten’s 173 Hai Ba Trung, D3 Tel: 3822 4710 Air Wair sandals and shoes here feature the classic yellow stitching and chunky rubber soles. Also stocked with clothes and accessories by Replay and Kappa tracksuit tops. Footwear Street Ho Xuan Huong Street, D3 between Cach Mang Thang Tam and Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Le Thi Hong Gam in D1 between Pho Duc Chinh and Calmette Selection ranges from leather loafers to plastic thongs and everything in between. Nine West Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Stocks an extensive range of designer footwear for women. Handpicked by a global community of independent trendsetters and stylists. Sergio Rossi 146AB Pasteur, D1 Rex Hotel, 141 Nguyen Hue, D1 World-renowned Italian brand stocks a diverse European-style collection of upmarket shoes and bags made of quality materials, from crocodile and python skin laterals to garnishings of Swarovski crystals and colourful beads. Star Polo 97B Nguyen Trai, D1 Mix of imported shoes and locally made footwear crafted from Australian leather for men and women as well as imported ones. Sizes from 38 to 42 for men, and from 34 to 40 for women.


Dieu Thanh 140 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3824 5851 Experienced tailor shop specializes in swimwear and cotton clothing, as well as business suits, evening dresses, luxury fabrics and accessories. Dzung 221 Le Thanh Ton, D1 One of the most reliable and respected men’s tailors in town with prices and production time to reflect the quality of the workmanship. Shirts start from US $30. Fabric Street Hai Ba Trung, D1 across the street from Tan Dinh Market. Spools upon spools of fabric manufatured locally and abroad, with more than ample variety of textures, colours and materials to choose from. Massimo Ferrari 42-A1 Tran Quoc Thao, D3 Tel: 3930 6212 Traditional Italian sartorial techniques are employed to offer a full wardrobing service and custom tailoring for men. Stocked with imported fabrics primarily from Italy. In-office and workplace fittings available. Uyen 13 Nguyen Thiep, D1 An excellent option with English-speaking staff and a good selection of fabrics (although the price takes a dip if you bring your own) and some off-the-rack staples to copy. Reasonable prices.


Color Me Run

Photos by Sarah Joanne Smith, Air France and Norfolk Hotel.


A Night in Paris by Air France

Norfolk Golf Day


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radar Note this down This ultimate digital notebook allows you to gather notes, files, images, web clips and audio in a single repository. You can set up notes for different projects that are then available on any computer or device you use. These can also be shared among colleagues or friends for working on team projects. There are handy extra tools like the web clipper, which allows you to keep web pages with text, images and links, forever; and Penultimate, an app for iPad that enables you to write handwritten notes directly onto the digital page. For the food obsessed, the Evernote Food app is a place to collect and share recipes, photos and favourite restaurants. Overall, Evernote is another application that strips away everything but the content from articles, web pages and blogs for an easier and clearer reading experience.

A satellite-eye view This site recently made global headlines for its role in the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. The companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fleet of satellites collects images of millions of square kilometres of Earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s surface every day and makes them available to a network of thousands of analysts. In addition to the search for the missing airline, the images made available through their crowdsourcing platform helped identify areas most affected by Typhoon Haiyan to help emergency agencies and humanitarian groups dispatch resources where they were most needed. The siteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Firstlook feature provides a searchable global map of high-resolution imagery of recent major events. The galleries also include incredible aerial photos of significant ancient, cultural and natural sights such as the Pyramids of Giza, the Burning Man site in Nevada or Victoria Falls in Zambia.

Go your own way A new start up in the travel sector, connects travellers with creators of unique travel experiences. Individuals or organisations can create a tour to be marketed through the site, which also manages the booking process. Once the reservations are made, customers can connect directly with the tour creator to arrange pick-up details and so on. Anyone can create a trip with a step-by-step process designed to make the task relatively straight forward on the site. There is no cost to trip creators to place their tour on the site, with taking a small percentage of the booking fee. Users can also post reviews and rate the tours they have taken. Currently, most tours are Vietnam-based with a few others around Southeast Asia, but this is likely to grow in the near future.



The Beat – With Q4 radio


The Inkhearts By Marque A Rome Making (sound) waves around is a young band called the Inkhearts, out of Skelmersdale, West Lancashire, UK. If my instinct is correct (and it's never wrong, can you believe it?), Ryan Ward (guitar), Lauren Shaw (vocals/guitar), Ben Warburton (bass) and Matt Wright (drums) are going to put Skelmersdale on the musical map. The band, named after popular children's fantasy series The Inkheart Triology by German author Cornelia Funke, has gone through numerous line-ups and singers, but the current line-up with singer, guitarist and lyricist Shaw has gelled, and those who've heard the tune are thinking they've maybe got a hit on their hands with 'Keeping Up'. Mark my words, this could go viral, as Gotye's 'Somebody I Used to Know' did a couple of years ago. Like Gotye's tune, 'Keeping Up' is an infectious three-chord wonder, its lyrics imbued with, er, meaning. Although what precisely that is I can only guess. Be that as it may, I'm willing to bet that should you listen to the tune once you'll listen again and again, just as I did. Their beginnings were


soundfix soundfix CRUSH

not particularly auspicious: individual members showed up for a music program at the Engine Rooms, a Skelmersdale teen hotspot, and were flung together by the managers as a showcase band. Performing live, they honed their chops and developed a fan base around Liverpool. Then Edge Hill University’s record label, The Label Recordings, offered free studio time and helped make the 'Keeping Up' music video, which was released on 18 March, although I hasten to add the single release wasn’t till 7 April. This video was shot entirely by Edge Hill University students from the Department of Media. The video's director, Clare Heney, is obviously precocious and deserves future attention. The Label also got the Inkhearts slotted into the Liverpool Sound City Festival. No question, the buzz about this band just keeps getting better. 'Keeping Up' was recorded in the same studio used by Black Sabbath, Atomic Kitten and the Stereophonics, so the vibes were good; and now, with and other stations' support, the Inkhearts' simple yet innovative sound is spreading around the world.

‘Gangnam Style’ may have been the song to catapult K-pop into worldwide fame, but Psy’s not the genre’s only star worth knowing. 2NE1 is a South Korean female foursome with a bold blend of pop, hip hop, R&B and electronica that’s sure to gather fans beyond Asia, where the group already has an enthusiastic following. CL, Dara, Minzy and Bom have polished voices, edgy dance moves and audacious outfits that would make Lady Gaga drool. The K-pop industry is fuelled by millions of dollars, which makes for extensive production — and 2NE1 benefits perhaps even more than most. But, just like pop music anywhere, the aim is catchiness. And 2NE1’s music, particularly with CL’s feisty rapping and bassdriven melodies, certainly succeeds on that measure.


Meet an Arab singer who cites PJ Harvey and Jeff Buckley as influences. Born in Beirut and currently residing in Paris, Yasmine Hamdan cuts a cosmopolitan figurehead for a new generation of Middle Eastern indie musicians. She started her career in the late 1990s with Soapkills, a Lebanese duo known as one of the region’s first electronic groups. After moving to France in 2002, Hamdan worked with CocoRosie before teaming up with Nouvelle Vague producer Marc Collin for her debut solo album. Despite the French touch on Ya Nass, seen in intimate, sensual electropop serenades, Hamdan’s creative source comes from early century iconic Arab singers and traditional folk songs.It’s difficult not to be entranced by Hamdan’s murmured vocals in various Arabic dialects, even if the only word you recognise is “habibi”.

album review


by Mai Lynn Miller Nguyen High Price By Chris Mueller





Just try to listen to ‘Inspector Norse’ without wanting to dance. Even if you’re not a fan of space disco, it’s hard to resist the pull of Todd Terje’s 2012 underground hit. Terje comes from Norway, but there’s no Scandinavian chill in his music. Rather, his tunes are warm, playful and totally groovy, as highlighted on his debut full-length It’s Album Time. ‘Leisure Suit Preben’ recalls the Charlie’s Angels theme, with a sleazy, '70s sound that gets reworked for a beachside vibe on ‘Preben Goes to Acapulco’. The album takes a melancholic moment halfway through with ‘Johnny and Mary’, featuring Bryan Ferry vocals and minimalist snaps, before picking up the merry mood again in the next track. Still, the party must come to an end, which it does on a climax with the never-getsold ‘Inspector Norse’.

Born and raised in upper Manhattan, MCs Wiki and Hak make music with a decidedly New York soul. Yet Ratking — which includes producers Sporting Life and Ramon — also looks beyond the Big Apple. At times, their music embodies an American version of London grime, as well as flirts with the stoner sound of Los Angeles hip-hop. Then there’s the collective’s self-described “culture of punk”, which reveals itself in energetic live shows. The group’s debut album is eclectic and chaotic, with songs featuring saxophone solos, samples of closing subway doors and Wiki’s bombastic Eminem-style tone, as well as an unlikely guest collaborator in the deep-voiced English singer King Krule. Yet there’s a method to the madness, and the socially conscious lyrics and rebellious attitude makes for a forceful album.

Since 1971, when US President Richard Nixon first declared a “war on drugs”, the policy has had devastating consequences, mainly for Americans, and especially young black Americans. Various presidencies over the past 40 years have used this policy to create hysteria around drugs, namely crack cocaine (and now meth), and used their PR machines to turn public opinion against drug users. But the media has mainly portrayed addicts as poor black men — which is not the reality since 90 percent of drug users are causal users from all walks of life — and convinced the American public that black addicts are the cause of much of society’s problems. In his recent book, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society, Dr Carl Hart, a scientist and Columbia University’s first tenured black science professor, argues that drug use is actually a symptom of a sick society in the grip of institutional racism. Part memoir and part dissertation, Hart intertwines his expertise gained through his own clinical trials and others’ data with his personal story of going from the hard streets of Miami’s toughest neighbourhood to becoming a successful university professor and scientist. Throughout the book, Hart reflects on his own life in the ghetto and how drugs were a constant struggle for those in his community. However, it wasn’t the allure of drugs

that led many astray or into the depths of addiction, but rather the lack of options in a society that still views the poor, and especially minorities, as second-class citizens. Hart argues: “Having choices makes an enormous difference, even when drugs are involved. Cocaine isn’t always the most compelling alternative, even for people whose lives seem to revolve around it. … The choice to use depends far more on context and availability of alternatives.” For his own part, Hart took drugs mainly to maintain his reputation for being cool. During his childhood he was never a nerd who simply stayed away from these temptations, but was actually a popular athlete, DJ and, at times, a criminal. He acknowledges several times that blind luck is what allowed him to become a scientist instead of just another prison statistic. Ultimately, Hart joins the growing number of people who argue that drug policy is the true cause of many problems in modern America, especially addiction; and the only way to fix them is to look at the hard evidence and stop the culture of hysteria surrounding drugs.




X-Men: Days of Future Past


The Amazing Spider-Man 2

This film explores the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain from the classic Sleeping Beauty, and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. After Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king's newborn infant Aurora, she later realises that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both forever.

The ultimate X-Men ensemble (including Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart) fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in this latest installment of the series. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from the past (X-Men: First Class) in order to change a major historical event and fight in an epic battle that could save the future.

An epic rebirth to Toho's iconic Godzilla, this adventure pits the world's most famous monster against malevolent creatures that, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very existence. From director Gareth Edwards (Monsters), this is a powerful story of human courage and reconciliation in the face of titanic forces of nature, when the awe-inspiring Godzilla rises to restore balance as humanity stands defenseless. Starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen.

For Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), there's no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, being the hero and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price, and in his next chapter he finds his greatest battle is about to begin. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Parker must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, he comes to realise all his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp.

Opening Dates CINEMAS CGV



The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (open now) Maleficent (30 May) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (open now) Godzilla (16 May) X-Men: Days of Future Past (23 May) Maleficent (30 May)

The information on this page was correct at the time of printing. Check cinema websites for screenings.

bookshelf The Cold Song Linn Ullmann Other Press Don’t mistake The Cold Song for a Scandinavian crime novel. The author may be Norwegian and a murder may be central to the plot, but this is no whodunit. The details of the crime are secondary to the raw portrayal of a troubled family. The story takes place in a misty town on the coast of Norway where Siri Brodal, her husband and two daughters spend the summer at the family mansion. It is their nanny, Milla, whose body is discovered in the woods. The impact of Milla’s death highlights tensions amongst those connected to her, as each wonders what they could have done to prevent the tragedy.

Living with a Wild God Barbara Ehrenreich

Grand Central Publishing Barbara Ehrenreich, the scientist, social activist and bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed, tackles big questions in her latest memoir: How can we make sense of our existence? Why are we here? But don’t expect answers. Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything is about Ehrenreich’s personal spiritual journey. After finding a journal written by her 13-year-old self, Ehrenreich revisits her adolescent mission to discover universal truth. She describes herself as a nonbeliever, but maintains an open mind throughout reflections on religion, science and humanity, as well as the recounting of a mystical experience from her youth.

The Revolutions Felix Gilman Tor Books The Revolutions blends romance, historical fiction and outerspace exploration. Set in London during the late Victorian era, the novel follows Arthur Shaw, a young writer who becomes unwillingly drawn into occult practices. Amidst references to real historical figures such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jack the Ripper, the story takes a turn towards the fantastic. Arthur’s fiancée Josephine is a stenographer for a mystical secret society, whose aim is focused on astral projection — allowing human consciousnesses to travel to distant planets. When a magic ritual sends Josephine’s spirit to the moons of Mars, Arthur must find a way to bring her home.

Family Life Akhil Sharma W. W. Norton & Company At the start of Akhil Sharma’s semi-autobiographical second novel, Ajay and Birju are two boys playing cricket in the streets of Delhi during the late 1970s. Together with their mother, the brothers emmigrate to the United States, where their father is working. The family revels in modern wonders of elevators and automatic doors, dreaming of the possibilities of education and social advancement. But when a swimming pool accident causes serious damage to Birju’s brain, the Mishra family is left disoriented and heartbroken. Ajay narrates his family’s struggles, trying to adapt to a foreign land while coping with lost dreams.


ODD ONE OUT This month, Dana Filek-Gibson looks forward to growing old with her many, many cats.

" The local banh mi lady now moonlights as an auctioneer, standing on the corner and pointing at every human male with a pulse. "


I can't say I've opened a Pinterest account or started any vision boards on the matter, but if I ever get married there will be cake, a man and possibly some streamers. Perhaps we'll throw an open bar and a few loot bags into the mix, but beyond food and decorations very little thought has gone into my future nuptials. It's not exactly an issue you'd call pressing. Unless, of course, you're not me. In a recent, unsolicited poll of everyone who wants to know if I'm married, over 100 percent of respondents believe that 25 is just a few short, desperate years from spinsterhood. Shocking, I know. That is, until you learn the science. Medically speaking, unwed women are a thousand times more likely to come down with crow's feet or early-onset bingo wings by the time they're 30. That's right: the older we get, the slimmer our chances become of pitching a roadside wedding tent and forcing our closest friends into reams of neon-hued taffeta. For any woman old enough to legally rent a car, this is not news. From the day we learned there was a difference between 'no' and 'not yet', we knew that even our most convincing imaginary boyfriends could do nothing to stave off the mounting distress of friends and

neighbours. While I'm open to the possibility of one day posing awkwardly in front of the cathedral, this sudden fixation on my ring finger is alarming. It was, after all, not so long ago that I could have my pick of the strapping, eligible bachelors hanging around Lush after 2am on a Tuesday. There would be a period, I thought, of gentle reminders and blind dates before we got right to the ticking time bomb that is my biological clock. And yet, my lack of a husband has gone from eliciting reactions like, “Oh, you've got time,” “What about me?” and “I thought you were 17!” to “WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?!” Worse than being upset, people are afraid. They worry about my future. They fear for my ovaries and my poor, grandchild-less parents, who all but kicked me out at 17 so they could redecorate and take more vacations. Just a few more years and I may give up on love altogether and start adopting cats. Call me idealistic, but I had high hopes of finding the right person: someone who loves the way I wake up at noon and fill out a pair of sweatpants. A tall, dark and handsome type who can have an educated conversation about globalisation in the developing world, then lift up the lower half of his shirt, rub

his belly and fall asleep at the table. But like all women, I, too, must face the harsh realities of time and science: at a certain point, we need to let go of our dreams. Fulfilling though they may be, hobbies like television, eating cheese and couch-sitting aren't going to keep you warm at night. They aren't going to snore or crowd the bed, either, but we all make sacrifices. The good news is that the same people who blanch at the thought of my solitary existence have also made it clear that they'll do literally anything to help me find a mate. Old women have begun introducing me to their single, forty-something sons. Young teenagers heckle me outside of my apartment. The local banh mi lady now moonlights as an auctioneer, standing on the corner and pointing at every human male with a pulse: “whatabouthim, whatabouthim, hegood, gotaniceheadofhair, fullsetofteeth, whatabouthim, whatabouthim!” The quest to save me from myself has become a collective effort. And that sense of community, that kind of proactive, can-do attitude, is what gives me hope. Dana Filek-Gibson is a Canadian expat living in Ho Chi Minh City.

A Libertine Abroad When it comes to sweeping generalisations, JW Sherman finds the smaller the broom you have the better.


was recently reminded of something the inimitable Mark Twain once said, namely that “All generalisations are false, including this one.” It is a phrase laden with Twain’s keen insight and dry wit. It also neatly captures the potential pitfalls of making broad categorisations, especially when making an argument. Yet, as humans we are almost hardwired to do so. It is one way our brains process information about the world around us and make sense of it. Complexity and subtlety take longer to fathom, so we are inclined to skip over information wherever possible. What prompted this recollection were two articles that appeared in the local press and the ensuing debate they garnered. The first was a piece by Joe Buckley in Thanh Nien, while the second was an article by Jennifer Graham in last month’s issue of AsiaLIFE. The first piece concerned the attitude of western expatriates and tourists towards the locals and culture of Vietnam, while the latter was about the attitude of expatriate men towards women in general and Vietnamese women in particular. Mr Buckley’s piece was despairing of the colonialesque superiority displayed by western tourists in this country towards its people. Sadly, there was no exploration of the attitudes of visitors from other former colonists of Vietnam, such as Japan (almost five years during the second world war) or China (for roughly a millennium). The ‘colony’ theory also appears in Ms Graham’s article as to why (again, western)

men adopt an overtly sexist attitude towards women whence they take up residence in Vietnam. Indeed, there are a great number of similarities between the two pieces; in tone and in the formulation of their arguments. There is a fervor redolently apparent in both texts, and there is certainly nothing wrong with passionately expressing views strongly held. Problems begin to occur where there is a lack of empirical evidence, however, and one has to resort to the aforementioned hazardous generalisations. That said, displays of boorish behaviour towards women and the people of Vietnam no doubt occur, and they should rightly be called out and deterred wherever possible, but if you set out to chastise an ill-defined and amorphous group of people, then you are walking a precarious path, and one that it is all too easy for others to trip you from. Let me give you an example. Mr Buckley states in his piece, “When backpackers aren’t busy abusing workers, who only exist, in the eyes of these tourists, to serve westerners, they are often attempting to ‘respect’ Vietnamese culture.” Unless he possesses powers of extrasensory perception unknown to the scientific community, the kindest way I can describe this statement attesting to the mindset of many thousands of travellers is 'somewhat over-reaching'. The piece by Ms Graham, entitled Why I will leave Vietnam a feminist, does relate two specific incidents to support the author’s argument. However, statements such as, “It seems expat men are speaking to [women] like they

have forgotten what gender we are”, only open the door to those who would undermine her case. Perhaps the most ambitious generalisation is this: “Boys in our western cultures are being socialised and taught to value women and girls in such a way that they can quickly lose all respect for females once they no longer have restrictive norms governing their behaviour.” It is certainly a bold statement, but so impossibly sweeping as to make it a dialectically fatal one. This might have been mitigated somewhat if there were some further details given on how this socialisation and learning takes place, but unfortunately there was not. This brings me to my ultimate point, and that is I believe both of these pieces have raised pertinent points and opened up discussions about some behaviour that takes place here (and in most other countries, I’m sure). However, by reaching a bit too far and making overly bold generalisations, the authority of the arguments they make is weakened. It is not easy putting thoughts down into words and sending them into the world, although in the age of social media, pretty much everyone can do it instantly. Perhaps in order for these debates to be more fruitful we should keep in mind the light and shade, the complexity and uniqueness, which make up all of human society. JW Sherman is an American management consultant who has been living in Southeast Asia for more than 20 years. AsiaLIFE HCMC 77

pub quiz May 1. Which date in May is Star Wars Day? 2. Whose real name is Annie Mae Bullock? 3. Which date in May is a national holiday in more than 80 countries? 4. Who, with Ade Edmondson, went from Bottom to Beckett? 5. Where, specifically, was Oceanus Hopkins born in 1620?

Kiss 6. Chaim Witz, the vocalist with KISS, is better known by which name? 7. Which 1996 action film starred Geena Davis and Samuel L Jackson? 8. Which Cole Porter musical is based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew? 9. Le Duc Tho was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, but declined it. Who was the other joint recipient? 10. Who played two roles in the 1964 musical comedy Kissin’ Cousins?

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Publishment Manager: Nguyeãn Theá Sôn Editor in Chief: Leâ Thò Thu Höông Editors: Phöông Lam Giang Traàn Ngoïc Thöông Designed by: ASIALIFE MEDIA JSC Cover & content by: ASIALIFE MEDIA JSC

21. Sandy Lyle became the first British winner of which golf major in 1988? 22. Who won a share of the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Funny Girl? 23. In Greek mythology, who was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy? 24. The Sandinista National Liberation Front is a political party in which country? 25. The ampersand is a logogram or symbol used to represent which word?

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Pub Quiz Answers


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Life's a Beach 16. Who played the main role in the film version of Alex Garland’s The Beach? 17. The American city of Long Beach is in which state? 18. What was the surname of Brian, Dennis and Carl of the Beach Boys? 19. Which Australian beach saw 1,010 bikini-clad women break the world record for the biggest ever swimsuit photo shoot in 2007? 20. How many players are on court during a game of beach volleyball?




1) 1 May (May Day) 2) Tina Turner 3) 4th 4) Rik Mayall 5) On the Mayflower 6) Gene Simmons 7) The Long Kiss Goodnight 8) Kiss Me, Kate 9) Henry Kissinger 10) Elvis Presley 11) Judy12) 5 13) Ireland 14) Horse15) The back of the head or neck 16) Leonardo DiCaprio 17) California18) Wilson 19) Bondi Beach 20) 4 21) The Masters 22) Barbara Streisand 23) Cassandra 24) Nicaragua 25) And 26) Cate Blanchett 27) Vladimir Putin 28) David Hasselhof 29) Cher 30) Bill Murray

11. What is the name of the wife of Mr Punch in the traditional puppet show? 12. The word “punch” was borrowed from Hindi to indicate the number of ingredients in the drink of that name. What number? 13. Punchestown Racecourse is in which country? 14. What kind of animal is a Suffolk Punch? 15. Where would a boxer land the illegal “rabbit punch”?


AsiaLIFE Vietnam may 2014  

This month we look at the world of Advertising in Vietnam

AsiaLIFE Vietnam may 2014  

This month we look at the world of Advertising in Vietnam