Oct 15, 2008

Awesome best show ever

Freaking crowded

Now we have some dance greatmusic

Audience and stage is awesome

Finally able to get in school gate forgot student card


Oct 8, 2008


I've officially moved to http://www.fresco20.com

Thank you very much for your participation so far. I hope you like my new site, its content, etc. as basically they are pretty much the same as here.

For RSS subscribers, please head to the new site and you can see a lot of more visible subscription options.

Thanks and regards

Sep 20, 2008

The presentation on RoR is a bit boring though, nothing new

Hy Chan Han from Open Institute is talking 'bout Ruby on Rails at barcamppp

a guy from Open Institute is talking about Open Source at barcamppp

@csokun fith row, first column near the door

Vista has the least security bugs in first 6 months? Well, nobody cares to attack it anyway

@csokun right at the door seat

An enquiry to the fall of Cyvee.com

Sep 4, 2008

Cyvee.com was launched as an experiment at vnSpoken.com in March and at that time gathered quite a lot of coverage from local newspapers and received an investment deal from IDG Venture, a tech venture capital. I was fascinated by the emergence of yet another web 2.0 start-up in Vietnam and immediately joined the site.

Targeting the wrong audience
Connecting professionals? How many "professional" companies are there in Vietnam? How many professionals are actually working in those companies? And how many professionals are working in those that are not considered professional? And how many people out of those have frequent access to the Internet? But the question is: how does Cyvee define professionalism in a Vietnamese context, where most are still farmers and most of those corporate workers are not of industrial quality.

I would say the people that Cyvee's been targeting make up quite a small userbase and unfortunately the people who they are not aiming at, and who think of themselves as professionals 've also jumped on the bandwagon.

This makes Cyvee people a mixture of everyone, either professionals or not. And this has severely affected the quality of user-generated content on the site, which puts people away because they find it so bizarrely confusing. If you look at how people interact with each other on Cyvee, you will see what I mean.

I think Cyvee has failed since they got the ball rolling.

A bit of everything
Idea? LinkedIn. Q&A? LinkedIn. Slogan? Nokia. News? Digg.com. Groups and Quick Comments. Facebook. Jobs? Thousands of other sites.

Instead of going into detail of each and every of them, I would propose to analyze the business model that Cyvee is currently applying and from that depict the failure of it becoming a successful technology start-up.

The underlying monetary system of Cyvee is CVD, or Cyvee Dollars. This is the second reason why it fails.

Take a look at LinkedIn. Does it cost you anything to connect to people? None. Money seems to be a problem at Cyvee and this is a deterrent to people who want to expand their network. Who would pay 1.500VND for 10 contacts. I'm not buying my friends and connections. One friend is worth 1.500VND? Seriously, this is a joke. I'd rather pay nothing to get friends or pay nothing for nothing. And even if someone is keen to pay, how much would they get?

Let me draw you to a smarter way of making money. It's Twitter, our beloved friend. Twitter is making money by charging people text messages from their mobile phone when they want to twitter an update. Certainly this costs them money but considering the current charge rate, it's not that bad. I see people text messaging all the time and they are quite happy with that.

But there are more in Twitter. What if you have 1000 friends. Would you sms every single one of them to tell them what you're doing (and an increasing number of people are using Twitter for various types of updates).

In fact, Twitter is helping people to SAVE money (and time) while at the same time bringing a great number of benefits to its customers. And this is because of this very reason that people love Twitter. They don't even feel they have to pay. It's just another text message that sometimes shocks the world. Trust me. You can rock in Twitter :)

So let's come back to Cyvee. People see very little potential in the ROI they can get from the small amount of money they spend. No matter how much the money is, it can always be a deterrent when people are not willing to pay. WTP is an important terms in economics because: people respond to incentives.

If people they have to pay to get their network expanded, they won't. And because very few of them are willing to pay, they may either wait for others to pay, or just quit the game. How do you attract customers if they feel they are being restrained from what they want to do. A company which at one time provides a good service and at another time tells its clients not to use the service in a nice way.

Ah yes, you can make CVD - Cyvee Dollars - on their site. And you will be fine. This can be achieved by either you posting a piece of news and receiving1 CVD when it gets popular (similar to Digg) or answering a question.

This is interesting to talk about. Because it looks a bit different from the way Digg functions. The news is still moderated. It means your submission has to be approved by a Cyvee editor before it gets posted. This doesn't look very interesting because it prevents information from flowing smoothly. I would rather it function the way Digg does and get each CVD for each vote my peice of news receives from readers.

Asking questions cost money, everyone. Am I willing to pay for it? Not really. I don't know if the answers I get are those that I want. Why would I pay for a product that I have no clue as to whether it would yield any benefits? This is economically flawed. Hey, I can ask 10 questions per month on Linked in, and can receive professional answers from people around the world. What gives?

Why would I, at the same time, try my best to answer a question? The usual reason would be that I want to help my peers out. But look, Cyvee puts money right into the game and it turns out it's a treasure hunt rather than a "relief effort". How ironic. Similarly, I don't know if the service I provide will yeild any benefit for me. Vietnamese online interacting behavior gives me the impression that they are generally unresponsive. Even if I give the most wonderful answer they've ever encountered, will I get some CVD? Probably no. This looks as if my service is paid entirely by the mercy of others. A professional-turned-beggar :(

Please also allow me to look at its business model from another perspective. GE is one of the most successful corporations in the world (even though it is falling pretty fast due to the transition from manufacturing to financial services). Jack Welch, the one who gave GE a name in the business arena, and the most highly respected management guru used to say: for any single area of business that is not top or next to top in the industry, forget about it.

If you look at the Cyvee website, it looks like an online corporation with various satellite companies servicing different businesses. Unfortunately, none of these is top or second.

Final words
I know the people at Cyvee have a lot of patience to wait for the day they can really achieve something. But asking your customers to be patient is simply not a smart way of doing business. If something is not about to change, they're not gonna achieve anything. Before Cyvee thinks about how to monetize their service in the way that facebook and other web 2.0 start-ups are doing, which is tremendously difficult, they should think about how to make their business sustainable in the long term and start to please their customers. I see more Cyvee people getting together offline.

E-learning 2.0 Platform

I was on a quest for a suitable Vietnamese network suitable for disadvantaged children. Cyvee didn't score.

Google Chrome, it's not worth the Buzz

Sep 3, 2008

News surfaced the web on Sep 1 that Google was releasing its own browser code-named Chrome the next day. It seemed Google was imitating the secrecy culture of Apple. Certainly this news surprised everyone with a great amount of excitement that ensued. It didn't take long for the release to make it to the front page on Digg.com and at the same time cost bloggers tons of letters to write about it.

Since Mozilla rolled out its Netscape-based Firefox in 2004, the browser war has become one of the most heated debate over the Internet, even more than the Linux vs Windows bloody one. People were given a choice, and so much more.

Then suddenly Google jumped into the game with Chrome and stole the spotlight of the day?

Why Chrome?

Having a browser of your own looks cool, doesn't it? But what it means for Google is about saving the millions that they are paying for third parties (Mozilla, Apple) to draw traffic from these browsers to their search page. You can check it out here

So far I've heard Chrome rendered Javascripts extremely well and this means so much for the Web 2.0 movement. This will give Ajax developers more room to expand their creativity and push the boundary of technology to another high.

Including Google. As a big supporter Ajax technologies (Gmail, Apps), certainly Google is doing this out of its intersest. If you look it a bit differently, Google might embed those little cool apps directly into the browser toolbars and make it all a bit monopolistic. Sorry Google, but I'm afraid this is to be true.

So, my conviction is that Google does this out of its pure interest and at the same time to contribute its technology to the community (that's why it's open source). While the latter is a good cause without a doubt, don't be overexcited.

TaiTran argues Chrome is gonna be an OS for Google Apps. This maybe true. If Chrome can become the leader in the browswer. If it fails to do so, and it seems to me it will fail to do so, then this leaves much to be desired.

Why not Chrome?

If you look at how IE is dominating the game, it's not because it is the most advanced browser (in fact, it is the least one), but because it is a built-in feature of MS Windows and this gives people the impression that IE is the Internet.

So far Firefox is gaining momentum (approximately 20% market share) but the wall is too big to be demolished because many applications are still strictly dependent on IE.

I can be pretty sure that FF will make it because eventually the shift from IE to more viable alternatives is unavoidable.

So this leaves Firefox and Chrome (I don't think Safari will make it, sorry Apple), in the table.

It is natural for me to think that if Chrome is to make progress and gain market share, it will eat that of IE, not Firefox.

Let me give a bit more in-depth analysis to Firefox:
- It is community-driven and possesses a trememdous amount of enthusiasm from its users. Most of the success Firefox is enjoying today comes from its community.
- It is at the same time developed by this very community.
- It has a great number of astounding addons.
- It's constantly improving. How many of you have forgotten about TraceMonkey? It can run Javascript that fast, people.

What does Chrome have?
- Google, quite big a name. Look at IE and Microsoft, they are fading away.
- Outstanding slew of engineers. Do you think they are smarter than the collective brain of the Firefox community? And if they are to build a community around Chrome, do they think they can gather the same amount of enthusiam that Firefox 's already had? Did you feel yourself apart of some community when you downloaded and installed Chrome? Do you think you are supporting a cause? Do you think you are doing this because you want to spread out Chrome to the world?
- Addons. While I think these will eventually make it to the Chrome platform, I can assure you not every good addon will do. This is a competition between Firefox and Chrome and I guyss Chrome won't be based on the same community as that of Firefox, if it is to be the case.
- It's still in Beta. When Google tells you something is in Beta, it's not a joke. Take a look at this.

And how many months, years to come before Chrome can get mature enough to go out of beta?

Look, Firefox is not Beta. And it can render Javascript as well as V8. And Firefox developers are constantly trying to improve its memory usage.

On top of that, Chrome has not been released to Linux, and I can guarantee you many are disappointed bearing in mind how much Google has benefited from the work of this community.

All in all, this looks great. But writing about Chrome on an Ubuntu machine is a bit bizzare. But hey Google, you forced me to do so. It's not my fault. If a faster (renfering) and faster (resources usage) are what Chrome's worth the try, Firefox wins.

E-learning Platform 2.0

I was considering using Chrome as the browser of choice for our upcoming Platform. But it looks like it may take forever. Firefox is still a good choice, and perhaps a better on.

Enjoy Chrome, everyone :)

Update: Sergey Brin on the launch of Chrome:

E-learning Platform 2.0

Sep 2, 2008

Levitt had an interview for the Society of Fellows, the venerable intellectual clubhouse at Harvard that pays young scholars to do their own work, for three years, with no commitments. Levitt felt he didn’t stand a chance. For starters, he didn’t consider himself an intellectual. He would be interviewed over dinner by the senior fellows, a collection of world-renowned philosophers, scientists, and historians. He worried he wouldn’t have enough conversation to last even the first course.

Disquietingly, one of the senior fellows said to Levitt, “I’m having a hard time seeing the unifying theme of your work. Could you explain it?”

Levitt was stymied. He had no idea what his unifying theme was, or if he even had one.

Amartya Sen, the future Nobel-winning economist, jumped in and neatly summarized what he saw as Levitt’s theme.

Yes, Levitt said eagerly, that’s my theme.

Another fellow then offered another theme.

You’re right, said Levitt, that’s my theme.

And so it went, like dogs tugging at a bone, until the philosopher Robert Nozick interrupted. “How old are you, Steve?” he asked.


Nozick turned to the other fellows: “He’s twenty-six years old. Why does he need to have a unifying theme? Maybe he’s going to be one of those people who’s so talented he doesn’t need one. He’ll take a question and he’ll just answer it, and it’ll be fine.”


We are only one month old. Why do we need an identity? Maybe we're going to be one of those people who're so innovative we don't need a traditional one. We've spotted an issue, and we'll just tackle it, and it'll be fine.

While we're compiling an e-learning package that we think nobody has done before, we've still stuck to the traditional way of identifying ourselves: become a part of an organization. Ironically, the core technologies of our e-learning package is entirely based online (except for the Edubuntu platform).

What do you think if we call ourselves an E-learning Platform 2.0? Or something similar? I mean, the naming is secondary at this stage, but the idea is we will define ourselves as an online platform delivering E-learning 2.0 packages. To be more specific, we do not exist offline when it comes to what we're doing.

What's the point of doing 2.0 when you're not 2.0 yourself? Ever since the idea was born, I've had a strong feeling that this is gonna change everything, but didn't foresee that this will today change the way we want to identify ourselves.

What matters is what you do, not how we are. But it comes in handy when we want to communicate with our sponsors and other stakeholders, including our partners, effectively.

This is gonna be challenging, but as the philosopher put it: "It'll be fine". Need more time to mull it over. :)

$2.5USD for a legitimate copy of MS WIndows and Office

I was taken aback to learn from Chris, my teammate + roommate during PV08, that Microsoft is giving away its Windows and Office licenses at a dirt cheap price: $2.5USD to people in developing countries. It looked like Microsoft is doing something good.

The team was very happy with the news because we intended to use as much legitimate software as possible in the lab that we were preparing for the next school year the 15 May School. A fairy tale has become reality I guess.

So I started to contact people at Microsoft Vietnam and fortunately they had launched this program in our country. Great! And guess what, the Microsoft people were really nice to me.

However, Microsoft itself said this was not intended as a philanthropic crusade. It is still a business model. And the reason behind this scheme is that people are stuck to MS Windows forever without really realizing that they've beome technology slaves. From an economic perspective, people respond to incentives. Who on earth would not pay $2.5usd to get a legitimate license of Windows and Office, everyone? This is not Africa. And this is a smart move from Microsoft to combat privacy and push Linux away in emerging markets. You deserve my admiration.

The response got from Ms Ngoc Anh, Education Account Manager delivered the following messages:

- We work with the Department of Education only, not you :)

- You have to buy at least 100 licenses. We don't deal in pennies.

What? 100 licenses? We only have 20 computers. And we don't want to make life complicated by asking the Department of Education. Bureaucracy, remember? This is Vietnam!

I then nicely asked if we could buy 100 licenses and give the rest 80 to others. Unfortunately, the request was rejected because it was not a part of their policy.

Even though I am aware that working through the Department of Education is the right way to promote such program, I still have a feeling that this is politically intentional. I think both the Dept of Edu and Microsoft benefits from such a deal. But why don't they make it more flexible. This seems so much to me a deterrent, not an incentive at all.

Windows XP Pro 110$ / 1 PC

Office 2008 65$/ 1 PC

Are you seriously kidding? I'm not going to spend that much for 20 computers.

Microsoft has simply got me frustrated and I'm not gonna tolerate this monopolistic and unethical business model any longer.

Here are two solutions:

- For the 15 May School, I've left everything as is because it was not us who installed pirated versions of Windows onto those machines.

- For our upcoming program, goodbye Microsoft. I highly appreciate your clever trick, but Ubuntu is way better an alternative.

For those of you who still think you can get something decent from Microsoft, forget about it. Take a look at Ubuntu instead.

Tip: If you are working for a school, and find you cannot live without Microsoft, do contact them and pay a small amount of money to get what you want. But I can guarantee you this is not a smart move on your part.

On another side note,for any business model that wishes to be successful, principles are of utmost importance. Look at how Google is moving forward and Microsoft is falling behind. No matter how smart you and how great your techniques are, principles matter.

Initial Failures

Sep 1, 2008

Before writing this post, I tried to mask its title with something fancy because failure seems to be so unappealing a word. But I guess people tend to hide themselves from failure and that's why they cannot move forward. Come to think of it, it's not as bad as it seems to be. Failure is, afterall, a word, and it comes before success in the dictionary.

For the first time in more than one month, I've come to feel what is called a pain. Ok, not as bad as you may think of. But it was how I felt like, when receiving a message which in essence told me that working as a part of the ICT4DEV wouldn't work out. It might work out, but not in the way that I wanted it to do. This is quite a setback because even though I've got to know this Working Group for only a few weeks, it's gained my full trust. A partnership with, or integration into the Working Group, for our Program (well, Edubuntu & Web 2.0 Technologies for educating Disadvantaged Children in HCMC, in plain English), would provide us with a solid platform to carry out what we've planned. Simply put, Plan A failed. I'm thinking of other ways to work with the WG :). This is called Stakes.

As written in a previous post, I would ask Matt to set up a Student Group at UPenn. But well, he's attempting double major in Computer Science and Bio-engineering. Despite knowing how smart he is, taking up this huge responsibility would kill him without doubt. I'm glad he declined the invitation and this had been expected. Plan B failed. I'm still working with him. Stake number 2.

The only option left is to work with SEALNet. In many aspects I'm thankful for what Project Vietnam 2007 and 2008 have given me. But to be honest, I do not entirely trust SEALNet. My sixth sense is telling me this is a valid concern. But perhaps I haven't worked with anyone from SEALNet directly and this is also a valid prejudice. After a long discussion with Tu, my highschool friend and at the same time Co-president of this Stanford-based organization, it occured to me that this kind of partnership would produce something really useful in the long-term and I shouldn't give up this opportunity. A Fellowship Program worth of $7,500 looks like a good seed funding and the resources that SEALNet can bring to our Program to a success. I'll give this more thought after recovering from today's feelings. Plan C looks rather promising. I only hope that after some SEALNet people read this post, they wouldn't find it offensive. If they do find it that way, well, they don't deserve my trust.

Independence vs Interdependence.

Yeah, cooperation works great. But it's not always the case. I'm reading The 7 Seven Habits of Effective People, and the author's arguement on this is totally true. We'd better manage to stand on our own feet first before thinking about teamworking and partnerships. So, instead of putting my entire efforts to thinking about what the best partnership scenario is like, I should also spend time finding ways to feed ourselves first before eating with others. Indeed, it is our top priority now. Oh yeah, my dad's just said" Nothing is more valuable than freedom" while he was drunk and prepared to sing some Karaoke songs. Thinking of relaxing a bit to reduce today's stressed mind.

Essentially, this is what I intended to do in the first place. But I was hesitant to do so because it would put myself in front of a lot of challenges. For some reason, I'm facing the cons of the easier option and it seems equally difficult.

To sum up, I still remember how Randy Pauch talked about challenges and obstacles: Walls are there to discourage those who are not inspired enough. I'm gonna break this wall. Anther good quote I heard first time from my friend, Loc:"When there's a will, there's a way. If there's no way, make one." Yes, I'm making one, I'm confident in my creativity.

Happy Independence Day everyone. I want to watch The Dark Knight too. This seems to fit the context so much. Independence? Dark Knight? Lol

Information and Communications Technology for Development Working Group - Vietnam

Aug 29, 2008

As I was playing with my ideas on the Program, I came across this Working Group: ICT4DEV.

It's a long story but I'll cut it short, hopefully. While I was managing the 15 May School mailbox, I kept receiving email digests from local NGO network' Mailing Lists. As my interest in community service increased, I started to join several of these and learnt more about the various activities that NGOs and social organizations were doing here. The VUFO - NGO Resource Center is the one who coordinates the networking and resources sharing between those organizations and it is at this center that information keeps flowing in and out and around. As I was thinking of working for some NGO that promotes technology (ok, it's one of my intentions), I found this particular ICT4DEV Working Group very interesting. This is their goal:

The aim of the working group will be to help NGOs enhance their use of ICT to improve the quality of their development work in Vietnam. Through advising, training, sharing resources and inviting special expert guest speakers, the ICT4DEV WG seeks to maximise productivity and communications in the development community in Vietnam by helping NGOs to fully harness the power of ICT in their development activities. [ICT4DEVWG TOR)

I contacted the people of the working group through their mailing list and "pitched" them my idea. It turned out that they were very supportive and at the same time enthusiastic. This WG is very new but it is catching attention :). There have been a lot of entries in their blog and at the moment they are planning on delivering workshops on Open Source and Web 2.0 technologies to local development organizations, which coincidentally is what my program is all about. But it's a bit different, I'm working directly with the children why they are working directly with NGOs and thus cover a much wider range of beneficiaries.

Knowing from one person who used to be the predecessor of Paul Griffiths, the current chairman of the WG, that technology in the NGO world is 10 years behind that of the corporate world and that working with an NGO to promote our Program would be very difficult as it is certainly not favored by such an organization. While this is a bit discouraging for us, we managed to find other ways to do it right. And this simultaneously encourages me to do my utmost for the Program to raise people's awareness of what technology can do for them, individuals and organizations.

While we are working on our own and there're lots of difficulties so be solved, the WG is already firmly established and can work more easily with local organizations. At the end of the day, I believe we are working on the same mission and all efforts will pay off.

If you are interested in how the WG is doing and in the development of technology in the social development field, you can keep yourself update by subscribing to the mailing list at:


If you happen to work for a local NGO and hasn't heard of it, these are the workshops that you may find useful:


Think Big, Dream Wild, and Start Small

Aug 28, 2008

How did our program (or story) start?
We, 20 people from around the world and different backgrounds, met each other in SEALNet Project Vietnam 2008. Our team worked with the 15 May School, a school for disadvantaged children where I had worked for more than 1 year as both a volunteer and a member of staff, to build a sustainable Computing Program, a Competition Day for the kids in the English Program that Project Vietnam 2007 started, and workshops on Service Leadership for students from top-notch highschools in Ho Chi Minh City. I was co-leading a sub-team of six people: Chris, a Redmond Alumni; Matt, a UPenn freshman majoring in Computer Science; Caroline, a recent Stanford graduate majoring in Economics and a would-be Boston Consulting Group employee; Rongkun, a recent graduate from Beijing University who is doing his Master of Evironmental Policy at American University; Nary, a very kind-hearted sophomore from Cambodia's Internation University Pannasastra. All of them are wo nderful and working with them has been the most rewarding experience I've ever had. But on top of that, we've build a long-lasting friendship and even more. As the project moved along, we encountered an increasing number of obstacles and solving them was really an interesting part of the project.

One day, I came across $30,000 grant for projects that bring innovative technologies and internet applications to make positive change in the Asia Pacific region. Since then I began to work on the brainstorming of the project as my teammates were coming back to their normal life and taking charge of new challenges.

But Matt remained with me as it is one of his dreams to work for a non-profit or become an entrepreneur to make positive life. Both of us were really excited about this wonderful opportunity to do what we really love to do.

So, this is how it all started.

Where is the program standing right now?
After days of thought and discussion, we have come to the following final ideas:

Firstly, our program's focal point is personal development. It means we concentrate on the skills that the children can acquire after they "graduate" from our program and empower them to feel special about themselves. Kids deserve the right to feel special about themselves :)

We will use Linux, or to be more specific, Edubuntu, as the platform. I was constantly seeking answers as to why Linux is better than Windows and here are some brief ones:
- It's free, and it works :)
- Children have the opportunity to explore something different from Windows.
- Even if children have to use Windows when go to work, the learning curve will be much shorter, as mastering Linux gives them a much more advanced level of computer usage.
- Eventually Linux will take over the corporate world (it seems have been doing that), and having mastered this particular OS will be an advantage for them to get a good job.
- It teaches them the sense of freedom.
- Edubuntu has a lot of educational applications that no other OS has to offer at this stage.
- It's all about humanity (I hate Microsoft, sorry Bill!)
The entire curriculum will be web-basde, with applications ranging from Google search, IM, Google Docs, etc. All of these will provide kids with skills that they need for a better future. Even though the focus is about personal development, children can still work well in a coporate environment: they know how to use a computer, do word processing, send emails, communicate online, share and collaborate, do research and look for information and they can blog too.

What needs to be done now?
Initially we wanted to work with a local NGO to get the grant. But it turned out NGOs are not really in favor of technology and thus we decided to do it ourselves.

We will build a website for our program, from which we can promote our ideas and raise funds for our projects.

For a project to be implemented, we need to find a specific school or location that serves the needs of disadvantaged children. So this is where we Start Small :)

Dream wild and think big?

Everyone I've talked to think this program is very scalable and can be applied everywhere in the world. So that's why we've changed it from Project to Program, which basically means we have a program with different projects at different locations.

So, our dream is to make this as big as possible and cover as many locations as possible.

The realistic questions is HOW? Well, we will implement the pilot project first, either by:

- Identifying ourselves as a Student Group at UPenn and promote the project, then come partner with SEALNet to bring the program to South East Asian countries. SEALNet has the available resources to make that happen, and as it is Stanford-based, many of the members have expressed their interest in bring modern technology to SEA.

- Identifying ourselves as a Computing Project under SEALNet and work directly with them. Each year when SEALNet comes to SEA to carry out a project, our program can be added as a bonus. Since we've already had the model, implementation can be easier.

Even if this sounds Big and Wild, it is indeed very practicable. But first, we need to solve the puzzles :)

The power of imagination

Aug 27, 2008

For all my life, I've been trying not to be imaginative. I know being imaginative is good in certain aspects but being constantly day-dreaming is a little bit uncomfortable.

I still remembered how I often got scared to death when I almost crashed into someone on the road as I wasn't really "there".

I must say it affects many areas of my personal life and is one of the reasons why I am so absent-minded.

Until recently I've come to realized that this is, contrary to previous belief, an advantage. As long as I maintain the level of being far-fetched, my imagined world will allow me to go as far as I want to since it's the only clue I have about the future.

I would say I am led more by instinct and gut feelings than rationality and planning. But these days I'm planning more than ever before. Though these two things : imagination and planning, go hand in hand with each other.

Will write more about this if I have more time :)

Update1: I'm keeping a notebook to tackle my absent-mindedness by taking notes of important things that I may forget a few seconds later. Also, I'm trying to get the most our of my miraculous imagination by doing the same thing :) To be more exact, I'm letting my imagination flow and lead my life.

Update 2:
I'm thinking of writing to Mark ShuttleWorth, the founder of Canonical Ltd, the commercial power behind Ubuntu, to tell him about our Program. This is one highly qualified example of my imagination. But I write it here to remind me that I WILL write him a letter at one stage.

I will also write to the people at ISIF.ASIA because I think they should know how we got inspired from their Grant

I'm also imagining a community built around our Program. What should it look like?

As of Aug 28, 08

Tips of the iceberg

Update: As you can see, the blog has just been updated to a new theme, which looks brighter and more Ajax-like :). Hope it won't break anytime soon.

We've gotten our hands dirty. Just let me brief you what's been going on so far.

- The focal point of our computing program is "Personal Development". In essence, we help children develop a variety skills ranging for work to life ones. Even though it's a development approach, children know how to use a computer, surf the net, send emails, do word processing, share, collaborate, and so on so forth.

- With Edubuntu as a platform, the entire program will be web-based.

- We will build a website for our Program.

However, we are still facing the following problems:

- It's hard for us to define ourselves. Should we call us a TEAM? Or something like that? We are not a registered organization :(

- What's the best way to receive financial contributions? We need to check with the banks.

- And above all, we haven't found a school to launch our pilot project.

Despite these problems, I'm working with an amazing team. So far so good, I guess :) We are being watched closely. Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/anhhung


Aug 24, 2008


This is just to let you know that I've come back to life after days of boredom and missing passion.

Also, Our project is officially put into actions :) It's gonna be exciting!

www.ftu2.com: our official forum

Aug 21, 2008

Hi, this is great news. The guys from K46 (my juniors) have just set up a forum for the whole school. Even though the united Foreign Trade University has had a forum for awhile, I never got to like it since most of the activities are FTU1-centered. This is a feeling shared by many of my fellows.

Been playing around and posting several messages in the forum and to be honest, I really like it. The K46 folks have done a great job setting up such a forum and on top of that, a highly capable and enthusiastic administrative board.

Since it's still quite new, and an official marketing campaign hasn't started yet, not a lot of people in FTU HCMC know about the existence of such forum. However, it has gathered some success. Its Alexa has constantly gone up (to be honest, I dislike Alexa, Google PageRank is much better). Its membership has almost reached 1000 in 2 months.

The category is very diverse. Besides academic areas, relaxation and chitchatting are also covered. Thanks to its fame for gathering some of the finest girls in the city, many others are paying visits to the forum, hehe. Ok, I'm stating to sound boring.

If you know Vietnamese, and want to join the forum, just go to http://www.ftu2.com

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Asia in a faltering world

Take a look at the interesting table on the right. What you see is the total amount of money written down in 2007 from some of the largest investment banks and commercial banks in the world. Certainly the bottom line is still growing but it tells one story: the financial world is collapsing. Want an example? Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers is coming up next. Freddie Mac is following suit.

This is bad news,...ahem, not really. As Western banks are falling, Asian banks are looking to spend its money. Temasek has injected some of its US$131bn (latest market value) into Merrill Lynch and Barclays. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority's poured around US$7.5b to rescue Citigroup from the ever groomy outlook. The story behind this pretty simple. As the world is faltering, Asia is playing a more active role in the financial market and in fact, it is benefiting from its wise investments.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, already the biggest bank in the world in terms of market capitalization thanks to Citigroup 's voluntary retreat from its previous first spot, is expected to announce "the biggest profit of any bank in the world" [Financial Times] soon. It is yet another simple story: as the world is slowing down, Asia is cathing up FAST!.

Where is Vietnam? Or more specifically, what are our banks and the State Capital Investment Corporation doing? Yet another simple answer: they are struggling with the vibration of the financial crisis and at the same time the recession caused by internal economic issues rather than external ones. Inflation caused by overheating has prompted the central bank to suck money from the market and thus made the VN-INDEX the second most terrible performers in the world behind China's stock market. The SCIC , Vietnam's first sovereign wealth fund, has been working on taking control over state companies. If you look at how slow Vietnam is responding to the global crisis and globalization, SCIC is as slow as that.

It may take many years to come until a major investment from Vietnam to arrive at the US's shore or any Western countries'. Perhaps at another downturn of the world's business cycle :)

Doing the right thing with technology

Aug 9, 2008

"Sometimes doing the wrong thing with technology is better than doing nothing," says research associate at the South African-based Shuttleworth Foundation, Steve Song. And, he suggests, when it comes to technology, the unexpected should be encouraged to happen.

Another first off, I'm by no means a technologist (After writing the whole post, I find it quite irrelevant, but I'll just keep it here for your reference ^ ^)

But for the past month, I've been working with several friends from SEALNet on a project proposal that basically brings technology to education. There have been a lot of discussions going on, either between us, or between me and myself.

Until I sent our the ideas to different people around the world and from within Vietnam, I hadn't been entirely convinced by our own ideas.

For now, the direction has been set and it's just a matter of time before the project gets up and running.

So what do I get out if all of this thinking, doing research, and planning?

Passion. For almost ten years I have always been passionate about technology and all, including things that are not technology-related. I guess that's what keeps me going :)

A sense of direction. Oh my, this is hard. Until recently I hadn't known what to do with my life. It's improved now though. However, since when such a complicated person as myself knows where to head for next, different paths keep coming up, and it's an overwhelming task to choose the next destination. ahhhh

Creativity. Am I kidding? I've been telling myself that I'm entirely not creative at all hahaha. But come to think of it, I'm creating something.

Risk-taking. Oh dear, I'm a crazy risk-taker sometimes (though at other times I'm such a coward hahaha). Most of the time when we want to do something, "What-if questions" keep coming up. But the sentence in italic kept me from asking such questions ^ ^

During the research, I've found several cool stuffs on the web, I guess I should share one of them with you. Here it is:


Extract from the site:

About Us
We are a bunch of guys who love animation and want to share our passion with the world! The problem is that animation requires very specific skills. Animators need to learn Flash or other advanced software before being able to create anything. They also need to know how to draw. That's why we created GoAnimate, a platform that allows people to express themselves through animation without having to learn to draw or install any software.

Seeing is believing, have a look at their "how it works" from their site:

How GoAnimate works

They've really achieved what they set out to do. My admiration extends to those passionate freaks :)) So check it out wont regret it.

Ah, there's some other thing i wish to share with you too. The feedbacks from people that I sent emails to. I guess those are what keep me going too:

The use of open source software and WEB 2.0 technologies for such a project is an excellent idea that would provide the students with a modern outlook.
On a technical level I would be available to help and maintain such project if you require any technical assistance.

This is from the chairman of the ICT For Development Working Group, a newly founded WG at the NGO Resources Center, whose mission is to improve NGO's productivity through the use of ICT applications.

I also agree that learning collaboration and sharing is much more important than learning a particular tool. Also kids can continue using the online office and the document they created even if they don't have a computer. You can also teach them that offline application exist but they are in the generation who actually will not care about offline stuff so they will prefer the online ones.

This is from the chairman's predecessor. This is why I decided to switch the entire program to a web-based curriculum :)

And other encouragements from different people that help shape my vision and direction. Thank you!

Oh, if you still think this is not a long enough post, here's something interesting for you to watch:

Here are the comments from Matt:

If you've a chance, watch Dr Randy Pausch's Last Lecture -- it's long, but you won't regret it a bit. He just died recently, but in the face of death, he taught millions of people how to live. He talks a lot about achieving your dreams..

I guess these words speak for themselves. So if you are wondering what to do with your life, or have one hour of free time, I highly recommend that you watch it, for your own sake, and perhaps for others' too.

Check out Matt's blog also, there's something interesting over there!

Matt's Blog

If you happen to belong to the population who doesn't know who this guy is, he was my teammate in SEALNet Project Vietnam 08, one of the finest seventeen kids (sorry Matt, blame it on your age hahaha) you've ever met. He didn't need to finish grade 12 to go to Uni. Oh well, can't tell you all so check out his blog hehehe :P

That's it!

My neighborhood

First off, they are the least interesting people I want to be with.

The reason is very simple: they are lazy people living with no purpose. Their typical everyday life usually involves sitting idle in front of their house gossiping about all sort of things. I must tell you that I can't bear such kind of positive attitude towward life: living a simple life with no worry ^ ^

More often than not people wish to lead a simple life. But it's hard. And I can tell you that the simple life of people around here leaves much to be desired.

Can you imagine a family with 4 people, all of whom dont go to work? Ah well, you are wondering how they manage to be alive. Simply put, they are selling their land and houses and give themselves the privilege of idleness.

And please excuse me but I am not at the very least interested in speaking to the house next wall :) Who happens to be my house ex-owner. Every single morning their son, who doesn't look like a boy at all - if you know what I mean, keeps playing the same music. While I certainly enjoy some of the songs, repetition kills the joy. What can I say, (s)he enjoying his life.

On the other hand, people here are very peaceful. The whole neighborhood is a good place to live coz and it's generally safe. So to be fair, it's a tradeoff.

My friends are quite surprised to learn that I've moved to the suburb. But I can see a lot of potential hehe. Family is around. Dad's company is less far. His friends keep visiting. He can come home every single day.

And overall, living in your own home is MUCH better than being tenants for the last 14 years.

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Off-topic: Are you gay?

Jul 28, 2008

Source: http://s4.tinypic.com/34dlb7q.jpg


Reminiscence of a Prince in exile: City of Faith

Jul 21, 2008

There they were, in the strange City of Faith, after a long southward journey.

The prince remembered the first time he saw the sea. It was magnificent. However, looking at the sea out of the train's window could not provide him with a full view of this new view. Even young, he was aware of the reason for this journey. He didn't know what was waiting ahead though.

It was an early morning. They started their new life as strangers in this City of Faith, the economic center of the southern hemisphere. Nobody questioned who they were and why they were there. People were just too familiar with immigrants like them.

They used-to-be-royal family had some relatives in this new territory. The King used to lead an army over here. Despite that, they got lost and it took them another 3 hours to get to the relative's house. It was later learnt that this relative is his grandfather's brother, who was at that time the Deputy Minister of the Internal Affairs of this southern kingdom. It didn't matter to him anyway.

There, he met several aristocrats. Even though they were generally friendly and hospitable, he found it quite uncomfortable. Perhaps because everything was fresh and strange to him, or because he didn't like this place.

A few months later the Deputy Minister passed away and his family attended the funeral. At this point, they was given a small house to live in by another relative. They soon settled in their new place and it was a kinda substandard life.

The room was dark and small and they had to share it with another student. Luckily, he was very meek and friendly and it was somewhat alleviating the pain he was suffering from. The pain of fleeing from his own kingdom, leaving everything and everyone behind.

It was painful, but he, and his whole family of four, were strong enough to endure the mental hardship.

Everything was about to change and they were all ready to start anew.

Reminiscence of a Prince in exile: before sunrise

Jul 18, 2008

He was born into a small royal family who was at that time ruling a small kingdom in the northern hemisphere.

Even though the kingdom had returned to its peaceful state after years of being invaded, his father, who was then the nominated King, had to join the army to set a role model for the citizens while his grandfather took care of internal affairs.

He stayed with his mother most of the time, who was then teaching at a local high-school. Every once in a while he would go and join with the Queen in her class, which in fact is a fun activity of running around and poking her students.

A few years later the King came back and took control over the country, designated a new capital which was far away from the Queen's school.

The prince's health in the early years wasn't good due to lack of nutrition as a result of years of wars. His mother, however, took good care of him so he didn't have to suffer a lot from health issues.

Occasionally his father would pay a short visit to his mother and him but the visit didn't last long. It seemed ok for him though, as he got used to it.

In the early years of his life, the prince was living with a lot of different people in the family as his parents were so busy with doing what they were supposed to do. He was living with his maternal grandparents, fraternal grandparents, and with his uncle. He stayed with his uncle for the most of his pre-school time and went to a kindergarten nearby his uncle's house. He often felt lonely and missed his parents. He felt he was left behind and no-one wanted to take care of him. But it seemed ok because he soon got used to it.

On the contrary, he really enjoyed the time spent with at his fraternal grandparents' palace as there were a lot of younger princes and princesses over there. He could spend the whole day hanging around with them and playing games. Of all, he liked one of his younger brothers best, who has become his life-time friend and sibling. Even now that hasn't been changed, no matter how the younger prince becomes.

Then one day, his father finally allowed the family to reunite and it was a very special day for him. He still remembered how beautiful the sky was and how fresh and excited he felt when on the way to the new palace.

The palace was located on the bank of the river, the other side was a lake. So basically it was surrounded by a lot of water.

He started to enjoy watching the every boat, fishing boats, sailing ones, etc. sailing past his palace. Sometimes the King bought some fish from the fishermen and it was very delicious.

The capital was a small area with not so many people. Some of them worked for the state factory which produced brisks, which were then used to trade with neighboring countries or sell to domestic markets. It was a quite successful business as a matter of fact. The King himself ran the factory and created lots of jobs for the citizens. The economy was healthy and growing steadily.

The new experience brought about many changes in his later years. He went to school, made a lot of new friends who were also the capital citizens. They were very playful and enjoyed life. However, some didn't like him as he came from a royal family but overall life was fine. He did pretty well at school and was quite a good son at home.

However, he was spoiled as he was a prince. He knew how to drink at the age of 4 and how to smoke cigarettes at the age of 7 or so. Everybody in the country knew he was a young drinker but his parents didn't know he was a smoker too. This inevitably affected his ventilation system eventually.

Life was tranquil and joyful until the floods from the river kept flooding his country. Gradually all the results of hard work were swept away and the country fell into an economic crisis.

To make matters worse, neighboring countries started to eye the throne and mobilize their armies to the border.

In the end, his father was forced to step down and his family left the country in exile. He was at the age of 14 and was in the middle of grade 4, mature enough to understand what's been going on and what to expect in the future.

So they went to the southern hemisphere to seek a new life as citizens of the economic center of the region. A lot of hardships were waiting for them to overcome and the new refugees had to figure out how to start a new life from scratch.

The internship is a joke!

Jul 17, 2008

I'll tell you why.

Since April I've been so worried about this mandatory internship. It's not an internship by any means. It's like one goes to a company, observes the business processes, documents everything and put them into a report, gets it signed and sealed and then sends it to the university. Due to the silly nature of the internship, I don't even have to go to the company everyday, and in fact until now I haven't paid any visit whatsoever!

By the way, the company suddenly appeared in my radar when one of my close friends said her father is a friend of the deputy director and it is ok for me to intern there with her. Marvelous!

Around the second week of SEALNet's Project Vietnam 08, or PV08 for short, she sent me a message telling me that I wouldn't have to worry so much about this silly thing. In effect, she's been very enthusiastic about this opportunity but for me, after more than a week with PV08, I can't find anything more boring for the last summer of my life!

Certainly the company is a good one to observe, a state oil importer! Considering the current volatile oil prices, it's such a good company to learn about. However, if the internship lasts for at least two months, it will be willing to spend my time there.

I can't understand why such a university as mine thinks 1 month is enough for an internship. This is simply awkward (btw, I've learnt some very useful "awkward" hand signs from Matt! :)) ).

Anyway, it's just not so fun as SEALNet so I'm a bit lazy to do what I'm supposed to do.

Tomorrow I will pay a visit to the company. I've heard that the people there are quite friendly. Hopefully it's gonna be a nice day.

Oh dear, I'm jealous of people who have an actual internship. Next year perhaps!


www.clip.vn - everyone can see everything

Jul 16, 2008

The fact that Vietnamese 2.0 websites are emerging rapidly is indeed very encouraging. I've used several ones of them and was particular impressed by cyvee.com, a social network for professionals.

www.clip.vn is another hit. It resembles the way www.youtube.com works in many way and what is more, it's for the whole Vietnamese community.

In the search for suitable web 2.0 technologies to introduce to the classroom, I've almost decided to include clip.vn in the list. However, there's one thing that prevents me from doing so.

It's similar to the fact that everyone can drink any beer or wine here in Vietnam. People regardless of age can watch any movie in any cinema nationwide. ANYONE CAN WATCH ANYTHING on this video site. And as I've observed for a while, there are many inappropriate clips for children. But the sad thing is the administrators don't implement any controlling system whatsoever to prevent kids under 18 from viewing such videos. This fact alone has stopped me to think about clip.vn as a promising educational tool in an e-learning 2.0 environment.

In conclusion, I think clip.vn should learn the control mechanism that youtube applies, for video clips with mature content, only adults can view them. This is still a bit ineffective if a child mask themselves as being an adult but for the most part, it helps. Perhaps I should write them an email soon.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's the clue:

Be careful, you need to be over 18 to watch this video!

E-learning 2.0 - asif.asia

E-learning 2.o - or learning through web 2.0 technologies - has been one of the most fascinating ideas I've ever been exposed to.

I remember the first time I taught computing skills to the children at the 15 May School last summer, I wanted to introduce them to the idea of web 2.0 and all the magic of the new technologies, with a view to bridging the yawning technical gap. However, at that time I didn't have any experience in teaching computing at all and it was more like help them to have fun rather than teaching them real computing skills. They did learn something, though.

Then, as I begin to embark on the new journey, the idea once again appears in my mind. And this time, with careful planning, I believe e-learning 2.0 will be a reality.

As the world is getting increasingly online, companies are shifting their products from an OS-based platform to a web-based one. Along the way, it opens the opportunity for people to get away with MS Windows, which in my opinion is a very evil thing (if you've ever worked with Microsoft, you know this!)

I'm talking about enabling children to blog about almost anything, specifically blogger, which has a Vietnamese interface. It's true that Yahoo 360 and other Vietnamese blogging engines are dominating the market here but blogger is much better than any of these things. I don't know, but maybe we will have a look at some popular Vietnamese blogging sites and choose one that we see fit.

There are also flickr, twitter, moodle, etc. But the difficulty is they are all in English and it is very hard to get the kids to these sites.

Another thing is helping children to learn language on their own in the new way. This is something I'm thinking about.

Anyway, it's more like a planning stage, at least I know e-learning 2.0 is the way to go, but more in-depth research needs to be done as a matter of fact.

Below are two very interesting slideshows that i found on slideshare.net:

E-learning 2.0 in Development

Creative Web 2.0 Learning

Rongkun - the silent contributor

Jul 15, 2008

Rongkun was the one I sat next to on the first lunch we had with the team. Somehow I felt he was very special, and of course, he was very friendly.

I tried to talk to him and learnt that he knew a lot about Vietnam. He then showed me a fan with an embedded picture of an ancient building of which I didn't know.

In the afternoon, we were basically recruiting team members for our separate components. Just a short explanation, we were in SEALNet's Project Vietnam 08. There were 3 components: leadership/ English Championship/ and Computing. I was leading the Computing component and therefore made a brief sale pitch to attract team member.

Rongkun was among the people that raised hands to join and that was surprising since he studied International Politics and he doesn't look like an IT man at all (later I learnt that working in a team from a diversity of background was such a blessing!).

So there he was, with us, the other 5 members of the team.

The most noticeable thing from Rongkun is that he never stops smiling. omg, how on earth can I do that, smiling all the time? I takes a very positive with great spirit to smile all the time. I truly admire that smiling skill of him (joking, but I truly admire that though!).

The second special thing about Rongkun is he is very gentle and a bit formal when drinking tea (as I observed).

The third thing is he eats a lot, by a lot I really mean a lot. He eats until his stomach cannot be stuffed with food anymore. I'm so jealous of that since I have digestive problems and should eat very little amout of food.

The forth thing is he is very special in the way that whenever he is silent, it means he's communicating with his own god. I don't know exactly what it really means since I've never seen him communicating with his god.

The fifth thing is he is always willing to serve and it makes him happy to serve silently. Actually my leadership style was very much affected by this attitude and this is something very new that I haven't encountered before.

The sixth thing is he is very intelligent, judging by the fact that he was one of the 10 candidates who were selected to enter Peking University out of 40,000 students. 10 vs 40000, that was freaking freak. And it was only decided in one exam. I don't know if I can ever dream of accompishing such achievement at all.

And after all this, Rongkun is very calm, has a great sense of humor, a very positive attitude, and an intention to serve people without asking for regconition.

I don't know if my limited vocabulary has described him as well as I intended to, but he's been one of the most special persons I've ever met in my life.

The new journey - ISIF.ASIA

So I've decided to take on the new challenge. A US$30,000 grant for a project proposal that brings innovative technological solutions and internet applications to change lives.

Perhaps if it were at another time, I wouldn't even pay attention to the opportunity but it was just so in time when SEALNet Project Vietnam 08 was nearing its end.

As the co-leader of the Computing Component, I felt so excited to work on this new proposal. I've been a fan of technology and i feel that years of reading technology news and books has finally paid off.

Basically, the idea is to build a public computing library that runs on the educational version of Ubuntu, a Linux variant. Linux is an unknown to many but it's truly an OS of choice for developing countries like Vietnam and feel that if it is introduced properly, differences can be made. With a wealth of educational applications already there to serve, there's virtually no cost at all to run the system.

Then, the second focus is on E-learning 2.0, or using web 2.0 technologies to educate the children. Yes, I'm talking about the children, and about innovative technologies. The children should know how to blog, use Google to search for information, iGoogle, online collaborative tools such as Google docs, etc. Basically the idea is to bring power of 2.0 to the classrooms.

Until this point, the cost is $0.

What should be there in the computing lab is of course the computers. I've discovered the thin-client theory. It works in a way that thin clients (computers without harddisks) pull everything from the server computer (even the operating system itself) and display them to the users. As a result, the thin clients can be built from very low-cost components or from old computers, which means these can be obtained from the community or corporations who have computers that they wish to throw away. With approximately $3,000, such system can be set up.

Most of the investment will go to training. This involves empowring teachers and staff with the skills necessary to teach the children new knowledge and to maintain the system as a whole.

Lots of work needs to be done. I need to find a local organization to work with since I myself is not eligible to apply for the grant.

However, I'm very positive.


Jan 23, 2008

The 15 May School is a school and shelter for ex-streetchildren from the poorest area of District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. Not only does it provide primary and secondary level schooling free of charge to over 250 students in the area, but it also provides shelter for 30 children who have nobody to care for them.

They are looking for 2 enthusiastic volunteers who are interested in being the organizers/coordinators for their English conversation classes.


- Liaise the volunteers closely with the teachers to ensure that the conversation classes build on what the children are learning in the classroom.
- Email volunteers reminding them of the forthcoming class and telling them what the teachers would like us to concentrate on in the conversation, or suggesting games.
- Motivate and keep the students excited.

Time commitment:

The classes run for one hour from 9.30am to 10.30am on Tuesdays.

Who to contact:

John Stambollouian <stambollouian@gmail.com>
The best thing would be to come along to a session and see how it goes. The next conversation class will not be until after the Tet holiday on Tuesday 19 February.


10 notable socio-economic events of 2007

Jan 4, 2008

Dưới đây là 10 sự kiện kinh tế - xã hội nổi bật nhất trong năm 2007 do Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam bình chọn.

1. GDP tăng trưởng cao nhất trong 10 năm qua

Mặc dù có những tác động bất lợi của kinh tế thế giới và thiên tai, dịch bệnh ở trong nước, các chỉ tiêu kinh tế - xã hội năm 2007 đạt được khá toàn diện, với 20/23 chỉ tiêu đạt và vượt so với kế hoạch đề ra.

Trong năm 2007, năm đầu tiên Việt Nam là thành viên chính thức của Tổ chức Thương mại Thế giới (WTO), nền kinh tế nước ta đã đạt được những thành tích đáng ghi nhận: tốc độ tăng trưởng kinh tế (GDP) tiếp tục được duy trì ở mức độ cao, đạt 8,5%; vốn đầu tư toàn xã hội tăng 16%; dự trữ ngoại tệ tăng cao, tỷ lệ hộ nghèo giảm còn 14,7%...

Cơ cấu kinh tế tiếp tục chuyển dịch theo hướng tích cực. Ngành nông nghiệp tuy gặp nhiều khó khăn do thiên tai, dịch bệnh nhưng vẫn vươn lên đạt được kế hoạch. Công nghiệp đạt tốc độ tăng trưởng khá cao và tăng thêm tỷ trọng công nghiệp chế biến. Lần đầu tiên trong nhiều năm qua, tốc độ tăng trưởng của khu vực dịch vụ cao hơn tốc độ tăng trưởng chung của GDP.

Kim ngạch xuất khẩu tăng trưởng khá cao (20,5%) trong năm đầu gia nhập WTO. Các cân đối kinh tế vĩ mô cơ bản được bảo đảm.

Đây mới là năm thứ 2 thực hiện kế hoạch phát triển kinh tế-xã hội 5 năm 2006-2010, nhưng kết thúc năm 2007 đã hoàn thành vượt mức 10 chỉ tiêu chủ yếu, hoàn thành và hoàn thành cơ bản 17 chỉ tiêu của cả kế hoạch 5 năm. Hiện còn 25 chỉ tiêu, Chính phủ dự kiến hoàn thành sớm vào năm 2008 - được coi là năm bản lề của toàn giai đoạn.

Việc đạt được các chỉ tiêu như đã nêu trong báo cáo của Chính phủ đồng thời còn thể hiện quyết tâm của Việt Nam trong việc thực hiện các cam kết về Mục tiêu phát triển Thiên niên kỷ (MDGs) do Liên hợp quốc khởi xướng.

Công tác điều hành của Chính phủ đã có nhiều đổi mới, quyết liệt hơn, tập trung giải quyết những vấn đề bức xúc về kinh tế-xã hội; đã phân cấp mạnh hơn cho các bộ, ngành, địa phương. Công tác thực hiện Luật phòng chống tham nhũng và Luật thực hành tiết kiệm, chống lãng phí đã được tập trung triển khai, bước đầu đã có kết quả.

Những tiến bộ đạt được về kinh tế-xã hội đã góp phần giữ vững ổn định chính trị, tăng cường quốc phòng, an ninh và nâng cao vị thế của nước ta trên trường quốc tế.Vị thế của Việt Nam tiếp tục được nâng cao.

2. Vị thế của Việt Nam tiếp tục được nâng cao

Năm 2007 đánh dấu việc Việt Nam ngày càng hội nhập chặt chẽ vào nền kinh tế thế giới với việc chính thức được công nhận là thành viên thứ 150 của Tổ chức Thương mại Thế giới (WTO) ngày 11/1/2007.

Bước tiến quan trọng tiếp theo trong tiến trình hội nhập quốc tế của Việt Nam là trở thành thành viên không thường trực Hội đồng Bảo an Liên hợp quốc nhiệm kỳ 2008-2009. Sự kiện này được đánh giá là "thành công ngoại giao hàng đầu" mà Việt Nam giành được kể từ khi quyết định hòa nhập cộng đồng thế giới, du mốc quan trọng của việc triển khai chính sách đa dạng hoá, đa phương hoá quan hệ quốc tế.

Gia nhập Hội đồng bảo an cũng sẽ tạo điều kiện để Việt Nam tranh thủ tốt hơn sự ủng hộ của cộng đồng quốc tế đối với sự nghiệp xây dựng và bảo vệ đất nước. Việc đề cử Việt Nam là ứng cử viên duy nhất của châu Á và tỉ lệ phiếu bầu đạt 96%, chứng tỏ cộng đồng thế giới đã rất tín nhiệm Việt Nam trong việc tham gia giải quyết các vn đề hoà bình, an ninh trên toàn cầu.

Đạt được vị thế mới như vậy, phải kể đến sự hỗ trợ to lớn của các hoạt động đối ngoại, trong đó những chuyến thăm cấp cao của các vị lãnh đạo Nhà nước có vai trò hết sức quan trọng.

Năm 2007 ghi nhận nhiều chuyến thăm có ý nghĩa lịch sử của các nhà lãnh đạo Việt Nam tới các đối tác kinh tế lớn đã làm sâu sắc hơn quan hệ hợp tác song phương và đa phương giữa Việt Nam với các nước này trên nhiều lĩnh vực nhất là lĩnh vực kinh tế, đồng thời đóng góp tích cực vào việc duy trì hoà bình và ổn định chung của khu vực và thế giới.

Đáng chú ý, với mỗi chuyến thăm, rất nhiều doanh nghiệp Việt Nam được tháp tùng đã mở ra nhiều cơ hội kinh doanh cho cộng đồng doanh nghiệp. Ngoài ra sự nỗ lực phấn đấu trong nội tại đất nước cũng đóng góp to lớn cho uy tín của Việt Nam.

Rất nhiều tổ chức quốc tế đã ghi nhận những cải cách của Việt Nam và đưa ra những đánh giá lạc quan về triển vọng của Việt Nam. Báo cáo về môi trường kinh doanh năm 2008 của Ngân hàng Thế giới (WB) công bố ngày 9/11/2007 cho thấy môi trường kinh doanh ở Việt Nam đã thuận lợi hơn, thể hiện ở việc tăng ba bậc lên vị trí thứ 91 trong bảng xếp hạng 178 quốc gia và vùng lãnh thổ.

Kết quả khảo sát về triển vọng thu hút đầu tư của Hội nghị thương mại và phát triển Liên hợp quốc (UNCTAD) vừa công bố cũng xếp hạng Việt Nam ở vị trí thứ 6 trong tổng số 141 nền kinh tế được khảo sát (sau Trung Quốc, n Độ, Mỹ, Nga và Brazil).

3. Thu hút vốn đầu tư đạt mức kỷ lục

Việt Nam từng bước cải thiện mạnh mẽ môi trường đầu tư, được các tổ chức quốc tế đánh giá cao về khả năng thu hút đầu tư, làm cho nguồn vốn đầu tư phát triển tiếp tục tăng nhanh, đặc biệt là nguồn vốn đầu tư trực tiếp của nước ngoài và đầu tư của khu vực dân cư và doanh nghiệp ngoài nhà nước.

Huy động vốn đầu tư toàn xã hội năm 2007 tăng 16,4% so với năm 2006 và bằng 40,6% GDP; trong đó vốn đầu tư của khu vực dân cư và tư nhân tăng 19,5% và chiếm 34,4% tổng vốn đầu toàn xã hội.

Cam kết vốn đầu tư trực tiếp nước ngoài (FDI) tăng mạnh, đạt 20,3 tỷ USD. Con số này vượt mức kỷ lục 12 tỷ USD của năm 2006 và tăng 69,1% so với cùng kỳ năm trước. Cam kết đầu tư FDI tăng ngoạn mục rõ ràng được thúc đẩy bởi việc Việt Nam gia nhập WTO. Các nhà đầu tư xem tư cách thành viên WTO không chỉ mang lại nhiều cơ hội đầu tư hơn, mà cả sự an tâm về khả năng tiên liệu trước những việc sẽ xảy ra và quyết tâm thực hiện các cải cách chính sách đi kèm. Việt Nam đã chứng tỏ là ngôi sao đang lên ở khu vực châu Á xét về mức độ thu hút đầu tư.

Dòng vốn đầu tư gián tiếp cũng tăng mạnh trong năm 2007 nhờ sự phát triển nhanh chóng của các thị trường vốn, đặc biệt là thị trường chứng khoán đang trên đà mở rộng về lượng. Theo số liệu của Ủy ban Chứng khoán Nhà nước, giá trị danh mục đầu tư của nhà đầu tư nước ngoài tính đến thời điểm cuối năm 2007 đạt 7,6 tỉ USD.

Tổng mức vốn gián tiếp trong 5 năm qua ước đạt khoảng 12 tỉ USD. Nếu tính theo giá trị vốn gốc gián tiếp vào Việt Nam, báo cáo của Ngân hàng ANZ thống kê luồng vốn gián tiếp thực vào Việt Nam năm 2007 khoảng 5,7 tỉ USD và sẽ đạt khoảng 7,3 tỉ USD năm 2008.

Hiện có khoảng 25 quỹ đầu tư nước ngoài quy mô lớn đang tham gia đầu tư tại thị trường chứng khoán Việt Nam. Trong đó, nguồn vốn đổ vào nhiều nhất là ở lĩnh vực công nghiệp, dịch vụ, tài chính.

Tại Hội nghị nhóm tư vấn các nhà tài trợ cho Việt Nam (CG 2007) vừa kết thúc vào đầu tháng 12/2007, cộng đồng tài trợ quốc tế cũng đã cam kết viện trợ cho Việt Nam hơn 5,4 tỉ USD, mức cao nhất từ trước tới nay.

Bên cạnh nguồn ODA thông thường, các nhà tài trợ đã bắt đầu mở ra những kênh ODA mới với quy mô lớn cho Việt Nam, trong đó có nguồn tín dụng hỗ trợ thông thường (OCR) của ngân hàng ADB, nguồn vốn tái thiết và phát triển (IBRD) của WB bên cạnh nguồn vốn ưu đãi IDA.

Năm nay cũng là năm lượng kiều hối của kiều bào ở nước ngoài chuyển qua các dịch vụ ngân hàng tăng đột biến. Theo con số thống kê được của Uỷ ban về người Việt Nam ở nước ngoài, lượng kiều hối chuyển về Tp.HCM năm 2007 trên 6 tỷ USD. Một số thống kê thực tế khác ước đạt mức kỷ lục 10 tỉ USD. Dự báo dòng vốn đầu tư tiếp tục tăng trong những năm tới.

Tuy nhiên, chỉ số ICOR vẫn đang nằm trong xu thế tăng. Điều này cho thấy việc nâng cao hiệu quả vốn đầu tư, đang là thách thức lớn đối với nền kinh tế Việt Nam.

4. Xuất khẩu tăng cao, nhập siêu lớn

Kim ngạch xuất khẩu cả năm đạt 48,38 tỷ USD, tăng 21,5% so với năm trước. Tổng kim ngạch xuất khẩu bình quân đầu người đạt khoảng 568 USD, cao nhất từ trước tới nay.

Tỷ lệ xuất khẩu hàng hoá trên GDP tăng cả về tổng số lẫn xuất khẩu hàng hoá ngoài dầu thô. Hiện tổng kim ngạch xuất khẩu chiếm 67,9% GDP.

Năm 2007 là năm có mức độ tăng cao về xuất khẩu các mặt hàng nông nghiệp, may mặc, điện tử và máy tính. Có 9 mặt hàng đạt kim ngạch xuất khẩu trên 1 tỷ USD là dầu thô, dệt may, giày dép, thuỷ sản, sản phẩm gỗ, điện tử máy tính, cà phê, gạo và cao su với kim ngạch đạt 33 tỷ USD, chiếm 68,2% tổng kim ngạch xuất khẩu của cả nước.

Tổng kim ngạch nhập khẩu ước đạt 60,83 tỷ USD, cũng là mức kỷ lục từ trước tới nay, tăng tới 35,5% so với năm 2006. Sở dĩ có sự gia tăng này là do nhu cầu đầu tư lớn và nhu cầu nguyên vật liệu đầu vào đi kèm với mở rộng sản xuất công nghiệp.

Nhập khẩu máy móc, thiết bị, dụng cụ và phụ tùng đạt trên 10 tỷ USD, xăng dầu đạt trên 7 tỷ USD, sắt thép đạt gần 5 tỷ USD, vải 4 tỷ USD, điện tử máy tính và linh kiện đạt gần 3 tỷ USD.

Do tốc độ tăng nhập khẩu cao gấp rưỡi tốc độ tăng xuất khẩu, nên đã nâng mức nhập siêu lên mức kỷ lục với kim ngạch tăng 12,45 tỉ USD, tỉ lệ nhập siêu/xuất khẩu đã tăng trên 70% so với năm 2006.

Mặc dù nhập siêu tăng cao chủ yếu do biến động giá trên thị trường thế giới. Giá các mặt hàng xăng dầu, sắt thép, phân bón, chất dẻo, giấy sợi, dệt, bông trên thị trường thế giớI tăng cao. Tuy nhiên, cũng phải thẳng thắn thừa nhận có những mặt hàng trong nước có thể sản xuất được nhưng chúng ta vẫn phải nhập khẩu.

Hơn nữa, trong khi xuất siêu với Mỹ, EU,… chúng ta lại nhập siêu lớn đối với các nước trong khu vực. Tỷ trọng hàng nhập khẩu từ Trung Quốc trên tổng kim ngạch nhập khẩu đã tăng từ 13% năm 2004 lên gần 19% năm 2007. Tỷ trọng cũng cao với các nước ASEAN một phần do Việt Nam nhập khẩu phần lớn xăng dầu từ các nước này.

5. Chỉ số giá tiêu dùng ở mức hai chữ số

Nếu năm 2000, Chỉ số giá tiêu dùng (CPI) của Việt Nam đứng hàng thấp nhất trong các nước mới nổi ở Đông Á, thì năm 2007, chỉ số này của Việt Nam lại ở mốc cao nhất.

Diễn biến giá cả thị trường năm 2007 khác với mọi năm. Tháng 3 giá giảm sau khi tăng đột biến vào tháng 2 do nhu cầu tiêu dùng tăng mạnh trong dịp Tết Nguyên đán. Từ tháng 4 đến tháng 5, CPI tăng liên tục và tăng cao. Đến tháng cuối năm, CPI tăng vọt lên 2,91% so với tháng 11/2007 và ở mức 12,63% so với cùng kỳ năm ngoái. Tuy nhiên, CPI bình quân năm 2007 so với năm 2006 là 8,3%.

Đặc trưng của chỉ số giá tiêu dùng năm 2007 là hầu hết các nhóm hàng đều có tốc độ tăng giá cao hơn năm trước. Đặc biệt, các nhóm hàng lương thực thực phẩm và vật liệu xây dựng tăng mạnh (11-15%), tỷ trọng của các nhóm này chiếm khoảng 52,8% trong rổ hàng hóa tính CPI, nhóm hàng dược phẩm và y tế cũng tăng 5,12%. Chỉ số giá vàng cũng tăng ở mức cao 13,62%. Ngược lại, nhóm hàng bưu chính viễn thông lại giảm 2,81%.

Khảo sát trên thị trường những ngày gần đây của Tổ điều hành thị trường trong nước cho thấy, giá một số mặt hàng đã bắt đầu tăng khoảng 10%-20% nhất là nước giải khát, thực phẩm chế biến, đông lạnh, bánh kẹo...

Tiến sĩ Lý Minh Khải, Tổng cục Thống kê, cho biết, chỉ số giá tiêu dùng trong tháng 1 và tháng 2/2008 sẽ tiếp tục tăng ở mức cao, thậm chí có thể tăng hơn tốc độ của những năm trước đây. Tết Nguyên đán năm nay sẽ rơi vào tuần đầu tháng 2, nên rất có thể tháng 2/2008 có thể là tháng cực đại về chỉ số giá tiêu dùng.

Theo dự báo, nếu tháng 1/2008 chỉ số giá tiêu dùng sẽ ở mức 1,2%-1,5% thì tháng 2 sẽ nhảy lên 2,5%. Và người tiêu dùng sẽ tiếp tục "gồng mình" để đón cơn bão giá mới trong dịp tết này.

Hai nguyên nhân gây tăng giá được nhắc đến nhiều nhất là mặt bằng giá thế giới tăng quá cao và sức ép lớn từ nguồn vốn nước ngoài. Giá vàng, giá xăng dầu lên mức kỷ lục do nguồn cung của nước ta chịu tác động lớn từ thị trường thế giới.

Tổng nguồn vốn nước ngoài đổ vào Việt Nam trong năm 2007 vào khoảng 14-15 tỷ USD, một con số cao hơn nhiều dự đoán từ đầu năm và gây biến động lớn về cân đối tiền hàng. Đây cũng là bài học cho công tác quản lý, điều hành và dự báo giá của nước ta.

Theo dự báo của Tổng cục Thống kê, CPI năm 2008 (theo cách tính mới) có thể trong khoảng 8,2-8,5% so với năm 2007.

6. Thị trường chứng khoán tăng trưởng rất mạnh

Có thể nói trong năm 2007, quy mô thị trường chứng khoán Việt Nam tăng rất mạnh, giá trị giao dịch tăng rất cao, tương đương 3 lần so với năm 2006.

Tổng giá trị vốn hóa thị trường đến ngày 28/12/2007 đã đạt gần 500 nghìn tỉ đồng (sàn Tp.HCM 370 nghìn tỉ đồng, sàn Hà Nội 130 nghìn tỉ đồng). So với GDP tính theo giá thực tế năm 2007 (ước đạt 1.140 nghìn tỉ đồng), thì tổng giá trị vốn hóa thị trường chứng khoán Việt Nam đạt 43,8%, cao hơn rất nhiều so với năm 2006 chỉ đạt 22,7% và năm 2005 là 1,21%, vượt xa mục tiêu đề ra cho đến năm 2010.

Nếu tính bằng USD theo tỷ giá hối đoái, thì tổng giá trị vốn hóa thị trường của Việt Nam mới đạt khoảng 31,25 tỉ USD, còn thấp xa so với quy mô của các thị trường trong khu vực, ở châu Á và trên thế giới.

Tuy nhiên, với đà tăng tốc được đánh giá là vững chắc hơn trong năm 2007 và những năm tiếp theo do chủ yếu là tăng về khối lượng chứng khoán, thì giá trị vốn hóa thị trường chắc chắn sẽ đạt mức 70-100 tỷ USD trong vòng 1, 2 năm tới.

Cũng trong năm 2007, hoạt động huy động vốn được xem là một đặc trưng nổi bật của thị trường chứng khoán Việt Nam với tổng huy động vốn ước đạt 90.000 tỷ đồng thông qua đấu giá, phát hành thêm trên thị trường chính thức, tăng gấp 3 lần so với tổng mức huy động vốn của năm 2006.

Có 179 doanh nghiệp đã được phép chào bán 2,46 tỷ cổ phiếu ra công chúng, tương ứng với khoảng trên 48.000 tỷ đồng, gấp 25 lần so với năm 2006. 3.468 triệu trái phiếu tương ứng với 3.750 tỷ đồng cho ba ngân hàng thương mại cổ phần, 25 triệu chứng chỉ quỹ tương ứng 250 tỷ đồng cho Quỹ tăng trưởng Manulife.

Chính sự hấp dẫn này của thị trường chứng khoán đã ngày càng thu hút sự quan tâm của các nhà đầu tư nước ngoài. Trên thị trường chính thức, tổng số tài khoản giao dịch của nhà đầu tư nước ngoài đạt trên 7.500 tài khoản, trong đó nhà đầu tư tổ chức khoảng 300 tài khoản, tăng gấp 3 lần so với năm 2006, nắm giữ từ 25-30% cổ phần của công ty niêm yết và doanh số giao dịch chiếm khoảng 18% giao dịch toàn thị trường.

Nếu tính cả thị trường không chính thức thì tổng giá trị danh mục đầu tư của nhà đầu tư nước ngoài đạt gần 20 tỷ USD, trong đó trên thị trường chính thức là 7,6 tỷ USD.

Trong năm 2008, luồng vốn nước ngoài đổ vào thị trường chứng khoán Việt Nam sẽ tăng hơn nữa và đặt ra thách thức trong việc thu hút và quản lý dòng vốn ngoại này.

7. Thị trường tiền tệ: Một năm được mùa

So với 2006 thì năm 2007, được coi là năm "được mùa" của thị trường ngân hàng.

Hiệp hội Ngân hàng Việt Nam cho biết, tính đến hết 2007 và so với 2006, tổng nguồn vốn huy động trong toàn hệ thống ngân hàng thương mại tăng 36,5%, tổng dư nợ cho vay nền kinh tế ước tăng khoảng 34%.

Đặc biệt, khối ngân hàng thương mại cổ phần có tốc độ tăng trưởng dư nợ lên tới 103% so với năm 2006 và tăng 65% nếu so cuối năm với đầu năm. Chưa kể, thị phần tín dụng của khu vực này cũng tăng tới 24,7% so với tỷ lệ 19,7% của thời điểm cuối 2006.

Năm 2007 còn đánh dấu bước chuyển biến lớn của các ngân hàng thương mại, nhất là khối cổ phần trong việc mở rộng mạng lưới chi nhánh, phòng giao dịch trên khắp cả nước nhằm chiếm lĩnh thị phần trước khi lộ trình mở cửa ngân hàng được mở cửa hoàn toàn.

Theo đó, Techcombank hiện có 120 điểm giao dịch tại 22 tỉnh thành; VIB phát triển 80 chi nhánh và 37 tổ công tác trên khắp cả nước; ACB với 111 chi nhánh và phòng giao dịch. Một số ngân hàng chuyển đổi mô hình hoạt động từ nông thôn lên thành thị như SHB cũng nhanh chân phủ sóng mạng lưới khắp toàn quốc.

Cùng với đó, năm 2007 còn đón nhận thêm 4 thành viên mới là Ngân hàng Dầu khí, Bảo Việt, Liên Việt và FPT, hứa hẹn cuộc cạnh tranh thị phần ngày càng gay gắt hơn.

Thêm một sự kiện lớn trên thị trường ngân hàng trong năm nay là hai hệ thống thẻ Banknetvn và Smartlink thực hiện kết nối với nhau, chấm dứt một thời gian dài "cát cứ" trong làng thẻ ngân hàng.

Ngoài ra, bên cạnh sự tăng trưởng mạnh mẽ của tín dụng, các ngân hàng đã biết chú trọng phát triển các sản phẩm dịch vụ đa dạng, đặc biệt là triển khai các sản phẩm phái sinh mà đi đầu là BIDV và Techcombank...Đặc biệt, nếu như các năm trước, hầu hết các ngân hàng thường rơi vào cảnh thiếu vốn nhưng năm nay, hầu hết các ngân hàng đều dư vốn và đạt lợi nhuận cao.

Nhiều ngân hàng như Mbank, SHB, VAB, Habubank, Techcombank, VIB..., đã biết tận dụng cơ hội này để đầu tư có chiều sâu vào nhân lực, công nghệ cũng như phát hành cổ phiếu tăng vốn.

Tuy nhiên, xét về tổng quan thị trường tiền tệ trong năm qua thì vẫn còn bộc lộ một số điểm đáng lưu ý.

Thứ nhất, chính sách điều hành tiền tệ vẫn còn không ít bất cập, nhất là sự lúng túng trong việc góp phần kiềm chế lạm phát. Cùng với đó, việc mua nhiều USD vào dự trữ nhằm theo đuổi chính sách "neo" tỷ giá giữa cặp tiền VND/USD để hỗ trợ xut khẩu đang bộc lộ không ít khó khăn nht là trong bối cảnh đồng USD đang bị xuống giá.

Thứ hai, việc IPO Vietcombank với mức giá đấu bình quân gia quyền chỉ cao hơn khoảng 7.000 đồng so với mức giá khởi điểm đấu giá đã cho thấy, con đường cổ phần hóa các ngân hàng quốc doanh không hề phẳng lặng.

Thứ ba, một hiện tượng trong nhiều năm gần đây là vào dịp cuối năm, khả năng thanh khoản các khoản vay ngắn hạn của ngân hàng thương mại rất kém. Thực tế này dẫn đến có những thời điểm lãi suất qua đêm tiền đồng trên thị trường liên ngân hàng lên tới 15%/năm. Mặc dù Ngân hàng Nhà nước đã kịp thời can thiệp thông qua các nghiệp vụ mua bán công cụ nợ của thị trường mở nhưng rõ ràng, đó chưa phải đã quyết được tận gốc vấn đề.

8. Thị trường bất động sản "tan băng"

Năm 2007 là quãng thời gian mà các mảng thị trường bất động sản ở nhiều thành phố lớn của Việt Nam trở lại sôi động.

Số dự án bất động sản được đầu tư xây dựng và giao dịch tăng lên mạnh mẽ so với những năm trước đó. Giá bán và thuê bất động sản cũng tăng so với năm 2006.

Năm 2007, tại Tp.HCM có thêm 50 cao ốc văn phòng với tổng diện tích 450.000m2 đi vào hoạt động, tại Hà Nội, con số này là 63 cao ốc với tổng diện tích 358.000m2. Hầu hết các khách sạn cao cấp, văn phòng cho thuê tại các thành phố lớn đều đạt công suất 95-100%. Giá cho thuê văn phòng tại các trung tâm lên mức từ 20- 40 USD/m2, cá biệt có nơi lên đến 100 USD/m2.

Trong năm qua, một điểm đáng chú ý là dòng vốn FDI tăng trưởng mạnh mẽ có khá nhiều dự án đầu tư xây dựng, kinh doanh bất động sản có quy mô lớn: dự án Khu đô thị đại học quốc tế (Tp.HCM) trị giá 3,5 tỷ USD, dự án Cụm công trình công viên, khách sạn tại hồ Yên Sở (Hà Nội) trên 2 tỷ USD, dự án xây dựng tổ hợp dịch vụ cao cấp ở khu đô thị mới Cầu Giấy cho tập đoàn Keangnam của Hàn Quốc trị giá 500 triệu USD.... cùng hàng chục dự án khác trị giá hàng tỷ USD đang trong giai đoạn xúc tiến đầu tư.

Với chủ trương điều chỉnh quy hoạch vùng Thủ đô, vùng đô thị Tp.HCM, dự báo thu hút lượng vốn đầu tư FDI khổng lồ tại các tỉnh Nam Trung bộ... Các dự án đầu tư xây dựng tại các khu vực lân cận bùng nổ mạnh mẽ.

Giá chuyển nhượng đất, nhà lô và giá nhà chung cư tại các khu vực đều tăng từ 3-4 lần, có nơi lên tới hàng chục lần. Cũng nhờ thị trường sôi động, giá cổ phiếu của không ít doanh nghiệp trong và ngoài ngành có dự án địa ốc như Lilama, Trường Hải, Viglacera, Viettonic Tân Bình, Nhiệt điện Phả Lại, Sơn Đồng Nai... đã tăng mạnh.

Nhiều dự báo và đánh giá năm 2008 thị trường bất động sản sẽ tiếp tục khởi sắc khi nhu cầu hạ tầng sẽ tăng cao để phục vụ mục tiêu phát triển kinh tế nhanh của Nhà nước, cùng với sự có mặt ngày càng nhiều của các doanh nghiệp xây dựng, bất động sản lớn trên thế giới, sự nhập cuộc của các ngân hàng bên cạnh các dịch vụ tư vấn và tiếp thị,..

9. Ùn tắc, tai nạn giao thông gây thiệt hại nặng nề

Năm 2007 được xem như một năm "u ám" của ngành giao thông khi mà tình hình trật tự an toàn giao thông diễn biến vô cùng phức tạp.

Kẹt xe, tắc đường, số người tử vong tai nạn giao thông luôn là đề tài "nóng" thu hút được sự quan tâm của dư luận. Theo thống kê của Uỷ ban an toàn giao thông quốc gia, năm 2007, trên địa bàn cả nước xảy ra 13.290 vụ tai nạn giao thông, làm 11.909 người chết và 9.859 người bị thương. Trung bình mỗi tháng lại có gần 1.100 người chết vì tai nạn giao thông.

Không chỉ gây thiệt hại về người, ùn tắc và tai nạn giao thông tại các đô thị đã gây thiệt hại to lớn về kinh tế. Chỉ riêng Tp.HCM ước tính mỗi năm mất 14.000 tỷ đồng, con số này bằng gần một nửa nguồn thu ngân sách nội địa của thành phố năm 2007, tương đương với nguồn vốn xây dựng toàn bộ hệ thống thủy lợi giai đoạn 2006-2010 cho Vùng Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long.

Như vậy, nếu tính cả Hà Nội và các địa phương khác con số thiệt hại ước tính lên tới hàng chục nghìn tỷ đồng.

Đã có nhiều nguyên nhân được đưa ra phân tích và mổ xẻ, và tập trung vào một số nguyên nhân chủ yếu như: ý kiến tự giác chấp hành pháp luật của người tham gia giao thông còn kém; phát triển kết cấu hạ tầng giao thông còn hạn chế, chưa đảm bảo hài hòa với phát triển phương tiện giao thông; phương tiện giao thông cơ giới đường bộ tăng nhanh và đặc biệt chưa có chiện lược phát triển về phương tiện giao thông và phát triển hợp lý về phương tiện giao thông công cộng.

Trong năm, từ Chính phủ đến Bộ Giao thông Vận tải và các cơ quan chức năng đã phải đau đầu tìm phương cách giải quyết, nhiều lúc còn tỏ ra khá bế tắc. Chính phủ đã phải khẩn cp ban hành Nghị quyết 32/2007/CP đưa ra một số giải pháp cấp bách kiềm chế tai nạn và ùn tắc giao thông; sửa đổi Nghị định 146 thay thế Nghị định152 nhằm tăng cường xử phạt vi phạm hành chính trong lĩnh vực giao thông đường bộ.

Bên cạnh đó, còn có không ít những đề xuất gây "sốc" mạnh cho người dân: thu phí phương tiện tham gia giao thông vào giờ cao điểm, tăng phí sử dụng cá nhân, bố trí học lệch giờ, lệch ca..., tuy nhiên tất cả mọi biện pháp vẫn chưa đủ để hạn chế, giảm thiểu tai nạn theo xu hướng ngày càng tăng.

Khép lại một năm đầy biến động, giao thông vận tải cũng tìm cho mình một điểm sáng khi Nghị quyết 32/CP về việc bắt buộc người tham gia giao thông đội mũ bảo hiểm trên mọi cung đường đã được triển khai thành công.

Từ ngày 15/12, tuyệt đối đại bộ phận người dân đã nghiêm chỉnh chấp hành và đội mũ bảo hiểm thực sự đã trở thành một nét đẹp văn hóa.

10. Thảm họa thiên tai, sập cầu và lở núi

So với 10 năm trước đây thì mức độ bão, lũ nhiều hơn cả về cường độ lẫn số lượng. Theo số liệu của Tổng cục Thống kê Việt Nam, trong tháng 11, thiên tai đã gây thiệt hại nặng nề về người và tài sản tại 15 tỉnh, thành phố thuộc Bắc Trung bộ và Duyên hải Nam Trung bộ, với hàng trăm người chết, mất tích và bị thương cùng thiệt hại về vật chất lên đến hàng ngàn tỷ đồng.

Thiên tai, chủ yếu là các đợt triều cường, mưa lũ và lốc xoáy, đã làm 117 người chết, 9 người mất tích và 88 người bị thương. Thiệt hại về vật chất ước tính lên tới hơn 3.400 tỷ đồng do lũ, lốc xoáy làm hư hại hoặc sập đổ hơn 400.000 ngôi nhà; nhiều diện tích lúa, hoa màu và thủy sản nuôi trồng bị hư hại hoặc cuốn trôi; hàng trăm nghìn m3 đất đê, đường kênh mương và đường xe cơ giới, bị cuốn trôi.

Các đợt lũ lụt liên tiếp xảy và đặc biệt cơn bão số lịch sử số 5 đã đã làm số hộ và số nhân khẩu thiếu đói tăng cao. 4.000 người lâm vào tình trạng không có nhà ở.

Trong tháng 11 đã có 88.600 hộ với 340.300 nhân khẩu thiếu đói, chiếm 0,76% về số hộ và 0,67% số nhân khẩu nông nghiệp của cả nước. So với tháng trước đó, số hộ thiếu đói tăng gấp 2,3 lần và số nhân khẩu thiếu đói tăng gấp 1,9 lần. Nếu so với cùng kỳ năm trước, số hộ thiếu đói gấp 4,4 lần và số nhân khẩu thiếu đói gấp 3,6 lần.

Khoảng 8 giờ sáng ngày 26/9/2007, cầu Cần Thơ (đang xây) đã bị sập nhịp cầu dẫn dài 90m phía bờ Vĩnh Long. Vụ sập cầu này đã làm cho hàng chục người chết, thiệt hại ước tính trên 40 tỷ đồng. Sự cố sập cầu Cần Thơ đã được Hãng thông tấn AFP của Pháp bình chọn là một trong 10 thảm họa lớn của thế giới năm 2007.

Cùng với thảm hoạ sập cầu Cần Thơ, ngày 15/12, một vụ sập núi đá kinh hoàng đã xảy ra tại công trường thuỷ điện bản Vẽ (Tương Dương - Nghệ An). 18 công nhân đang làm việc đã bị núi đá đè chết dưới lớp sâu hàng chục mét.

Vụ sập núi đá xảy ra tại khu vực khai thác mỏ đá D3 để lấy đá thi công công trình thuỷ điện bản Vẽ. Trong lúc đang làm việc thì bất ngờ núi đá từ ngọn núi cao hàng trăm mét ào ào đổ xuống. Tất cả công nhân làm việc phía dưới không kịp trở tay. Ước tính thiệt hại về vật chất gần 20 tỷ đồng.