High hopes for the future in Vietnam

TN News

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Duong Xuan Thao said she was confident that she would get a well-paying job at an advertising company in Ho Chi Minh City after graduation this July.

"I had a short-term internship at an advertising company's customer service department during my second year at university and I think it suits me," said the 22-yearold senior at the HCMC University of Economics' Marketing Faculty.

She also said she had chosen to study marketing at the school's enrollment exams four years ago because she thought the country's economy is on the right track and advertising is a new and indispensable industry in any growing economy.

Like Thao, 85 percent of Vietnamese recently surveyed were optimistic about the future saying the economy is stronger than it was five years ago, and 87 percent said they expect it to be even stronger in another five years, according to a recent report by market researchers at GfK Group in coordination with the Associated Press news network.

Nguyen Thi Nga, a secondary school teacher in the southern province of Long An, was also optimistic. She said she hoped teachers' salaries and benefits would improve after media reports on teachers' difficult lives due to low income.

"Our salary has increased recently after the government decided to up the basic monthly salaryfrom VND650,000 (US$34.3) to VND730,000 ($38.5) from May onwards," said the teacher who has been with the job for 12 years. Nga's monthly salary is now around VND1.5 million ($79) a month.

Prospects

The survey's conductors said it was one of the most exhaustive surveys to date of contemporary Vietnamese attitudes. Conducted in February and March, the research polled some 1,600 interviewees in urban, suburban and rural areas across the country.

The country has embraced market-oriented reforms and lifted tens of millions out of poverty, the report said.

"The country has changed so much in so many ways since the end of the war that you can't imagine," said Luong Trung Thanh, a 72-year-old retired teacher from Hanoi who was among the survey's interviewees. "It changes every day, right in front of your eyes. There are tall buildings going up everywhere."

Statistics shows economic growth has averaged more than 7 percent annually over the last decade and per capita income has risen from $400 in 2000 to $1,000.

Happy people

Sixty-five percent of those surveyed said they are totally happy when asked how things are going in their life in general, 26 percent said they were neither happy nor unhappy and only 3 percent said they were unhappy, according to the survey.

Many people believe life will be better for future generations as 88 percent in the poll said life will surely be better 20 years from now, when children being born today grow up.

A majority in the poll, 77 percent, said larger income differences are okay as incentives for people to work harder.

Family values are still very important to Vietnamese as 79 percent said spending time with family was either very important or extremely important. Work was second to family values with 76 percent saying it is either very important or extremely important, followed by education with 63 percent.

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