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Vietnam Bans Tet Fireworks to Spend Money on Poor Communities

Fans of Vietnam’s annual Tet pyrotechnics will be sad to learn that the country’s central government has released a directive specifically forbidding firework displays over the holiday.

According to Tuoi Tre, the secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam announced the order two weeks ago, urging municipal authorities to use the extra funds to improve living conditions for their less fortunate citizens. This includes residents of the fishing villages affected by this year's mass fish deaths as well as those who experienced central Vietnam's recent flooding.

Moreover, the secretariat also banned government agencies from giving gifts to their superiors during Tet, saying those caught misusing state resources such as vehicles, budgets and assets would be severely punished.

Nguyen Thi Thu, vice chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, shared with Tuoi Tre that the city’s yearly firework display is sponsored by private firms, but added: “The southern city will follow the directive of the Secretariat, specifically during New Year’s Eve.”

The situation is the same in Da Nang, where the money to put on fireworks shows doesn’t come from the city budget but is instead paid for by the private sector. This has prompted many netizens to question the effectiveness of the ban. One reader wrote to VnExpress: “The fireworks [money] comes from private businesses. If we’re not doing it then they’re not paying for it. So where do we get the money to help the poor?”

“There are other ways to save money. But to take away a form of entertainment in New Year celebrations is not fun either,” commented another reader. “Even poor people hope to get some form of free celebration to take part in the holiday spirit.”

To Van Dong, director of the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, told VnExpress the capital initially planned to have fireworks displays at 30 spots around the city. Due to the new directive, however, Hanoi will be able to channel VND10 billion (US$439,400) elsewhere to bolster other Tet activities.

“I’m positive that Hanoi will be very festive this Tet without spending billions on fireworks,” he told VnExpress.

Meanwhile, according to Tuoi Tre, Da Nang is still considering honoring the 20th anniversary of the city being named one of Vietnam’s five municipalities with a fireworks show sponsored by the private sector on January 1, 2017.

[Photo via YouTube user Sai Gon Discovery Channel]

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