|Young people wave glow sticks and beer bottles at a New Year countdown party in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Diep Duc Minh
Tet (Lunar New Year) is coming. Every one is shopping for the holidays, and beer and wine are among the first items in most lists. It is a common saying that "spring is not spring without drinking."
During Tet, friends meet across the table to share sweet or bitter memories.
Alcohol flows as business partners cheer a successful year or wish for a year with even more success.
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It is used as offerings in the community when neighbors gather to celebrate the New Year.
At home, relatives meet over booze and share their experiences in the old year and wish for a prosperous year.
People returning home for Tet also meet friends across the table.
However, don't let alcohol control you, leading to quarrels with neighbors and friends, domestic violence, and even broken marriages.
Don't abuse alcohol and end up vomiting on the table or bed, leaving a mess for your family to clean up.
The poor, who struggle all year round to make ends meet and do not have much money to spend, often buy cheap rice wine, which could contain poisonous chemicals.
In rural areas, deaths due to poison hooch and liver cancer caused by alcohol are becoming increasingly common.
There are tens of thousands of traffic accidents every year, with drink driving being a major cause.
Alcohol's harmful consequences outnumber its positive effects. But why is it being sold widely without much control by authorities? And why are people ready to drink moonshine?
If things don't change, the younger generations will take to more and more to booze unmindful of their sacred duty to protect the country's independence, which their ancestors obtained by sacrificing their lives and blood.
Young people should not be a slave to alcohol.
Protect yourself and others by using alcohol responsibly.
By Pham Van Mao *
* The opinion expressed is the writer's own.