Monday, August 31, 2015

2980. Doing charity work in Vietnam

Sep 1, 2015

The Straits Times report headlined "ICA explains why some Viet woman turned away at airport".
The Immigration and Checkpoins Authority (ICA) had sent back several Vietnamese women at Changi Airport as they could not explain to officers why they wanted to enter Singapore. The Vietnamese Civil Aviation Authority wanted to know why. The Vietnam Embassy's second secretary Nguyen Cong Huan met the ICA officials and was satisfied with the explanations on entry procedures which applied to visitors of all nationalities and that ICAhas interpreters to help those who cannot communicate in English. 

"The ICA does not have interpreters. They don't care. No explanations are given. They just end the woman back," the Singaporean who married a Vietnamese wife said. Before he married her, the ICA had prohibited her from entering Singapore on two occasions. She was detained in a room and put on the plane home. She could not speak Mandarin or English. There was no interpreters."

"The ICA says they have interpreters," I referred to the Straits Times clipping he showed me. "Are you able to gather evidence like an investigative reporter? What do you want to get blacklisted now that your wife had been given a long-term pass to stay in Singapore?"

This man had to accompany his wife every month for 4 years to travel out of Singapore as she was given a monthly visitor stay. Four years. "According to the law, it should be 3 years," he said. "The ICA does not bother to check on whether mine was a sham marriage. They just give my MP the standard rejection letter."

"The ICA officers are overworked," I said. "It is up to the individual to persevere." He did and now his wife is on a long term pass. After 4 years and many petitions. 


The man wanted to build 10 houses and repair leaking roofs and tile the flooring of houses in the villages. The village headman told him to get approval from the District Officer. He wanted to do the charity work by himself. The District Officer wanted him to deliver the cash and goods.

"Unless you have a trusted respected person in the District," I advised. "You will not be permitted to do charity work all by yourself. This is the reality. The other way is to stay in the country for many years and get the connections and respect or partner with a local of good standing as some Japanese donors have had done in building schools in Myanmar villages. No do-it-yourself. It is not the way."

"The District Officer even checked whether I was living in the villages without permission," he said.

Doing charity work in Vietnam, as in all developing countries, is not so straight forward. You need the locals of good standing and influence.     

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