Vietnam - Land of bliss

With a thriving economy, stable political system, and a rich culture, Vietnam has been a secure home for not only Vietnamese but also many international friends.

Tue Minh is a Vietnamese student at the UK’s Nottingham University. She and her friend are enjoying some free time at a café in Hanoi.

Just before, though, they went through an unforgetably rough flight home from the UK, when COVID-19 infection cases surged in the nation and Vietnam began to suspend inbound international flights to contain the spread of the virus.

Tue Minh entered quarantine in Ho Chi Minh City with her ukulele. For many, staying in quarantine for 14 days, far from family and friends, would be a hard time. But Tue Minh turned the period into an enjoyably unforgettable memory.

Other than doing yoga, singing, making video clips, what made Tue Minh’s stay in quarantine enjoyable was the warm care of the staff and soldiers.

Tue Minh was one of millions of overseas Vietnamese hoping to return home as the coronavirus raged around the world.

Thousands have now safely returned home on relief flights and entered quarantine camps. Despite unavoidable inadequacies in the early days, quarantine time has been an unforgettable experience for overseas Vietnamese from all five continents.

During their two-week stay in quarantine camps operated by the military, they saw soldiers of the Vietnam People’s Army share every meal and even their own blankets. They took care of the returnees as if they were their own blood. Seeing the soldiers’ sacrifice and warmth, most military camp citizens felt grateful that, even in the darkest of times, their homeland embraced them with open arms.

Thanks to the prompt and decisive actions of the Party, Government and military, the silent sacrifice of doctors, nurses, and soldiers, and the unanimity of purpose among the Vietnamese people in fighting the disease, Vietnam has become a safe shelter amid the “coronavinus war”, which has claimed the lives of millions of people around the world and placed the lives of many others in peril. This shelter is not only for Vietnamese people but also for foreigners here.

Former German Ambassdor to Vietnam from 2003-2007, Christian-Ludwig Weber-Lortsch enjoys a family meal on one of the last days of 2020 in his cosy home in Hanoi’s Tay Ho district. For many foreigners, Christmas and New Year is a time to return home to enjoy time with family and friends. But, for Christian, he is enjoying every moment in Vietnam as he considers it his homeland now. Here he has a happy family with a beautiful Vietnamese wife and a son.

After finishing his term in Vietnam and taking on diplomatic missions in the Philippines and Myanmar, former Ambassador Weber-Lortsch and his wife decided to settle in Vietnam.

Explaining the decision, the Ambassador said the wonderful experiences he had during his mission in Vietnam and having a family encouraged him to return. He also voiced an expectation that his young son will have a great love for Vietnam, just as his parents do.

Previously, as German Ambassador to Vietnam, Christian was involved in a number of activities to promote diplomatic and trade relations between Vietnam and Germany. Now retired, but with a special attachment to Vietnam, he still contributes to the country’s integration into the world through advising foreign investors and supporting domestic enterprises in their efforts to penetrate into European markets.

Christian is among many foreigners settling in Vietnam. While the world has been severely hit by COVID-19, Vietnam has been striving to stabilise its economy and the well-being of its people, including foreigners living in the country.

It has made Vietnam a shelter for many foreigners during these turbulent times.

Indeed, according to a recent survey by lifestyle travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler at the end of 2020, Vietnam is listed among the 10 best countries for expats to live in.

According to a report released on December 27 by the General Statistics Office, Vietnam’s GDP grew 2.91% in 2020 compared to 2019, which puts it in the group of countries with the highest growth worldwide. The result was attributed to the Party and Government’s determination and consistency in realising the twin targets of both containing the pandemic and developing the economy.

On top of that, the Government has also stepped up to improve the local business and investment environment. According to the 2020 Doing Business Report from the World Bank, Vietnam ranked 70 among 190 economies worldwide and 5th in ASEAN in Ease of Doing Business, up 21 places compared to 2017.

The emerging economy is home to over 90,000 expats living in a fast-paced society with friendly people, which have long been hallmarks of Vietnam.

For foreigners living in Vietnam, the country is their second home. In turn, they are an indispensable part of the Vietnamese cultural mosaic and have contributed greatly to development.

Vietnam was ranked 95 out of 156 countries surveyed in the 2018 World Happiness Report from the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

It then moved up one place in the next edition.

The most recent report, for 2020, revealed that Vietnam had jumped to 83rd place, marking a significant improvement.

In another survey by the UK-based New Economics Foundation, Vietnam ranked second globally in the happy planet index.

The index put it in 5th place worldwide and 2nd in the Asia-Pacific in 2018.

With a thriving economy, stable political system, and a rich culture, Vietnam has been a secure home for not only Vietnamese but also many international friends./.