[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

[Singapore's links with Vietnam]
Although we didn’t stay at a lavish hotel (we stayed at a 3-star hotel Arc En Ciel), we managed to visit a few nicer hotels in Vietnam.

Last night, after dinner, we dropped by the Rex Hotel. There’s a famous rooftop garden there. And it is a must-visit. Located on the fifth storey, it boasts a magnificent view of the city a la Singapore’s Orchard Road.

We took a few hours off in the afternoon to visit the Mekong Delta. There was a river cruise (a different one but similar to those you get en route to Pulau Ubin). So we visited two islands there – at the first one we had a fruit party, and the second island we visited was coconut island.

On coconut island, you can find different varieties of coconut sweets. I even tried some straight after they were produced.

At the end of the visit to the islands, we had a short river ride on a ordinary boat (not engine operated).

In the evening, we had a friendship night with the Vietnamese. It was organised by the Singapore Consulate-General and the Union of Friendship Organisations. There were several officials of Ho Chi Minh City that were present. The Mayor of Ho Chi Minh City was there too. The Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Night was held at the New World Hotel which has also hosted President George W. Bush and former US President Bill Clinton.

It was kindof like Singapore's annual Star Awards. Everyone was well dressed with a drink in hand. Lavish gowns, nicely pressed suits and lots of photgraphers. With a drink in hand, people posed together amidst the hustle and bustle chatting among themselves.

And yes, the desserts were delicious because I have a sweet tooth and a knack for such stuff.

At the reception. Minister George Yeo highlighted the importance of having strong links with Vietnam.

He spoke about the projects in Vietnam undertaken by various Singapore companies. He said that Vietnam’s entry into WTO will further enhance its competitiveness and integration into the global economy and added that ASEAN will be stronger and more influential with the emergence of an economically vibrant Vietnam.

“Singapore is happy to play a small part in Vietnam’s transformation," he enthused.

Surprisingly, we were served with our homegrown brand of Tiger beer at the party. Though I don't drink beer, I tried a glass of it as well as the usual red wine.


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