Wednesday, July 16 2014

Hello and welcome to VOV’s Letter Box, our weekly feature dedicated to listeners throughout the world. We are Mai Phuong and Kim Chi.

A: First on our show today, we’d like to welcome Subir Basu from India back to our broadcasts. Subir tuned into our English broadcast at 16 UTC on 7220 khz on July 2 after a long time. He reported listening to the Current Affairs about Vietnam’s efforts to achieve economic targets and the Letter Box, which he said he liked the stories about Vietnamese rock music and Ha Long Bay.

B: Thank you, Subir. We’ll confirm your reception report with a QSL card soon. Using Icom 735 transceiver with a 35 meter long wire antenna, Carl Eric Lindebor of Sweden reported listening to VOV broadcast on June 16 from 17:05 to 17:22 UTC on the frequency of 9730 with SINPO at all 4s. Carl, your reception report is very helpful for our engineers and we highly appreciate your listening.

A: Ratan Kumar Paul of India listened to our broadcasts from June 10th to 16th on the frequency of 9730 He wrote: “We enjoy your daily programs, the world news, the stories about the relationship between Vietnam and the Netherlands and a review of major developments in the world”.

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Vietnam and the Netherlands sign an agreement on Strategic Partnership in Agriculture

B: Ratan says he is interested in learning more about Vietnam’s diplomatic relations. Vietnam has established diplomatic relations with more than 180 countries throughout the world. So far, Vietnam has set up full strategic partnership with 13 countries and comprehensive partnership with 11 countries including 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council.

B: According to Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Vietnam’s partnership with major countries, especially members of the UN Security Council will help create a peaceful and stable environment for Vietnam.

A: Since Vietnam set up a strategic partnership with Russia, Vietnam-Russia’s two-way trade turnover increased 6 folds. Vietnam’s trade activities with China have increased 4 times in 6 years while that with the UK doubled in just 3 years of strategic partnership. Vietnam’s export-import activities with 5 UNSC members account for 45% of the countries’ total import-export activities while their investment accounts for 20% of the total foreign investment to VN. Vietnamese students studying abroad also mainly reside in these 5 countries.

A: As Vietnam sets up comprehensive or strategic partnership with other countries, every Vietnamese citizen benefits from the nation’s multilateral ties in diverse fields: politics, economics, trade, tourism, and culture.

B: That was a brief look at Vietnam’s foreign relations. We will bring you more details about the topic in future shows. Ricky Hein of the US listened to VOV news program and music show on June 28 with SINPO of all 5s. He wrote: “There was strong fading but good signal. I could here your English program loud and clear”.

A: Ricky also wanted to know about apple cider factories in Vietnam and Hanoi’s population.

B: So far, there aren’t any apple cider factories in Vietnam, but there are about 45 microbreweries in Vietnam, whereof 35 are making Czech inspired beer and the other 10 are influenced by German beer culture, according to Jonathan Gharbi, a Swedish beer blogger who lives in Hanoi and travels Vietnam in his search for microbreweries.

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A: In his story about Vietnamese beer that we found on Planet Asia Travel Channel, Jonathan wrote that another distinct experience of Vietnam is the Bia Hoi which predominantly can be found along the narrow streets of Hanoi. Bia Hoi is a fast produced and light beer made of rice, malt and sugar, often served more or less directly at the street.  Bia Hoi is not just the beer itself, it’s also a social concept and experience which includes beer and food, consumed by all social groups under simple circumstances.

B: Also according to Jonathan, beer is not only a symbol, it is also a bearer of culture and a symbol for the new Vietnam, a country that takes in new influences but values local culture. Compared with Bia Hoi and international bottled beers, Czech and Germany-inspired beers contain much more malt and hops and are therefore much more full bodied and tasty.

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A: Most of today’s brewers have lived in the Czech Republic and brought beer traditions and knowledge with them back to Vietnam. They brought the ingredients and knowledge of how to make the beer, but even if recipes and ingredients are the same, local water and weather are important to creating the taste. After a few years many brewers realized that taste references depend on where in the world you are and in particular the local food. So some small changes have been made to adopt the beer to local culture and demand.

B: Every brewery is making their own beer and variations are not only between breweries but also differing throughout the year depending on yeasting and storage temperatures. The beers are unique and alive, a result of experience and local conditions.

A: That’s a short take of beers in Vietnam. Though we don’t have cider yet, Bia Hoi is also a good choice once you are in Vietnam and want to try local refreshment. Cheers!

B: In another regard to Hanoi’s population, we’ve checked out some statistics. Hanoi is the second largest city in Vietnam in terms of population. According to the national census conducted in 2009, the population in Hanoi is estimated at more than 6.4 million people with the average density around 1,979 people per km2. However, with the massive wave of immigrants from other provinces, mostly from other rural areas in northern Vietnam and other nearby provinces, the real population of Hanoi is increasing and this trend seems salient in the foreseeable future.

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Hanoi- Vietnam's second largest population city

A: In Hanoi, the most crowded area is Tu Liem district with a population of more than 370,000 people, followed by Dong Da district with more than 350,000 people. On the other hand, Son Tay is the area which the least number of people of only more than 110,000. However, when considering the average number of people on a unit of area, Dong Da is the most densely populated whereas Ba Vi is the sparsest area.

B: Our time is running out. In the final minutes of our show today, we’d like to confirm reception reports from Tjang Pak Ning of Indonesia, SB Sharma and Bhaikan Hazarika of India, Juan Carlos Gil of Spain, Andy Martynyuk of Russia, and Samuel Carlos De Santana of Brazil. We’ll send you QSL cards and souvenirs you requested as soon as we can.

A: We welcome your feedback at: English section, Overseas Service, Radio Voice of Vietnam, 45 Ba Trieu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam. Or you can email us at: You’re invited to visit us online at, where you can hear both live and recorded programs. Good bye until next time.