Hanoi lovebirds keep their love locked down

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Young lovers in Hanoi have picked on a popular trend in other countries to express their love for each other in a new way locking their love and throwing away the key.

The city's historic landmark - Long Bien Bridge is now decked with thousands of locks as increasing numbers of couples declare their love for each other with this symbolic act.

In this, they are emulating peers from China, Italy, Germany and Russia where this practice has been in vogue for some time. The youngsters believe that by chaining the lock the bridge and throwing away the key, their love will endure the test of time.

The oldest, picturesque bridge over the Red River in Hanoi has for long been a popular rendezvous for couples.

On the first day of Tet (Lunar New Year) this year, which coincided with Valentine's Day, the images of lovers' locks on Long Bien Bridge with endearments and names written on them spread over Internet news and caught the attention of many.

Some feel this new trend is much better than writing on public walls or engraving names on trees and rocks at popular sightseeing spots, effectively defacing them.

But not everyone is moved by such iron-clad declarations of love.

Many residents are worried that the weight of the locks could adversely affect the hundred-year-old bridge.

Nguyen Van Thang, a maintenance worker at Long Bien Bridge, said many new locks are put up on the bridge on special occasions or during the summer holidays.

Phan Luong Lam, head of the bridge's maintenance team, said the staff would consider cutting these locks if more and more of them are put up.

His advice for young people: "A lovers' lock is not the only way to express your commitment."

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