Yesterday, 15th December 2007 might be rcognised in the future as 'Rice Cooker Day'
. In Vietnam, we call helmets rice cookers and not many people like wearing them but from yesterday, they are compulsory. In other countries in the world, wearing a helmet is accepted as normal and necessary but, in Vietnam, people have never really liked the idea and the government have to issue a law to force everyone to wear a helmet.
Today, I went out and was so surprised that most people were wearing them. The variety of styles and colors actually make the Hanoi streets quite colorful. There are some men wearing pink, yellow or even purple helmets which made me laugh. I have a dark red one. I think it's become like a fashion item now. Anyway, good to see people wearing helmets. They are all over town, being sold in every single street from mats on the floor, from tables, too. Most people who work as motorbike taxi drivers have bought helmets from China which are cheap because they have to buy at least two helmets and some people cannot afford to buy expensive ones.
Wearing a helmet is important for road safety and we should have been wearing them for ages but Vietnamese have always thought helmets are a nuisance because you have to carry them everywhere. There are lots of people wearing helmets today without clipping the strap. They just put the helmet on to follow the rule because the government has recruited lots of police men to fine people driving without a helmet. Following the news on TV tonight, there was over 3,400 people fined yesterday. This is good and I agree that the goverment should give a big fine for whoever isn't wearing a helmet because people won't be serious about it otherwise.
Labels: Frustrations, Ha Noi, The North