I respectfully disagree, in part, with author Hung Minh's proposal
to ban alcohol in Vietnam.
I feel a ban is too severe at this time. Trying a less severe solution first might perhaps be a better plan. In my opinion an outright ban may have unwanted repercussions.
Among the problems may be: Black market beer and wine of which the criminal element would profit, creating yet another form of crime that is expensive to monitor and enforce. Illegal sales of homemade rice liquor already kill many each year in Vietnam.
Perhaps an increased use of illegal drugs among young adults who may replace alcohol with illegal drugs.
Tourism may suffer lower numbers as many come to relax which may include having a few drinks.
I would consider a ban on public intoxication. Create special police unit to do random yet regular checks at restaurants and bars that serve alcohol and jail or fine anyone visibly drunk. Breath test individuals if need be. Tourists should be held to the same standard as citizens on this matter.
A first time offender for driving drunk, impound their car or motorbike and a heavy fine. Any repeated offense, the police take the car or motorbike and sell it at public auction and use money to fund the alcohol enforcement unit.
Regulate establishments that serve alcohol. Make it a penalty to serve alcohol to anyone visibly intoxicated. Should an intoxicated person be served or served too much, then cause injury or accident, hold the establishment partially responsible for the action of the person they allowed to drink after being visibly intoxicated. Ban sales of alcohol at any establishment that repeatedly serves someone who has clearly had too much to drink.
For many years I visit Vietnam and stay for one month each time. I stay in Ho Chi Minh City and visit many cities in Vietnam and have witnessed too many times the over-consumption of alcohol. I do not stay in the tourist areas and get to see a more common part of the culture.
Walking on the streets late at night I am cautious as I know many of the drivers on the road are drunk after a night of heavy drinking with their friends.
I occasionally drink two or three beers with a meal at a restaurant when dining with my friends. Afterwards my friends and I meet at a local coffee shop and chat and drink coffee before we all go home for the evening.
Vietnam should not be known for the highest alcohol consumption in all of Asia.
Vietnam should be known for its thousands of wonderful coffee shops, big and small, and the world's best coffee that is served in each one.
If a softer approach to the abuse of alcohol does not solve the problem, then perhaps an outright ban of alcohol is needed as suggested by author Hung Minh.
I believe many ideas and much discussion is a good way to find solutions to serious issues that affect so many lives. These are only my opinions and I'm not an expert on laws or social issues.
I plan to make Vietnam my home in the future. A country rich in culture, beautiful sights and wonderful people is what makes Vietnam a world treasure.
Tôi yêu Việt Nam! I love Vietnam.
* The writer lives in Oregon, US, but is counting his days for a return to Vietnam. The opinions are his own.