News from Ho-Chi-Minh City

This day began with another birthday celebration. This time we congratulated Danila to her 23nd birthday in our new accommodation, the Hotel Continental Saigon. In the following morning we had the great opportunity to visit our Silver Partner Jakob AG. The company produces rope systems which are mainly used for architectural purposes such as enclosures for animals, safety- or protection nets as well as green façade solutions. Originally based in Trubschachen the company made its first appearance to Vietnam in 2002. When we arrived the current COO Rolf Schneider gave us a short company presentation which was followed by a guided tour throughout the company premises. The main take home messages were, that they grew too fast so far, the inflation in Vietnam with over 4% is very high and the building quality in Vietnam is rather low. To tackle these points Jakob plans to set up a bigger production plant in the Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park 2 (VSIP2), increase productivity and implement more Swiss values when it comes to worker safety and keeping order. Rolf Schneider pointed out that latest can be quite difficult because as a Swiss we have to be very careful how we address criticism to Vietnamese people as they perceive it differently than Swiss people do. After the tour we were invited by Jakob Saigon to a delicious lunch where we could taste delicious Japanese food.

In the afternoon, we followed up on an invitation for a soccer friendly game by the Ho Chi Minh City Cadre Academy. But before the game could start, some words as well as flowers were exchanged and a group of very talented singers from both schools gave an incredible performance. After the nice gestures we moved to the soccer fields to prepare ourselves for the main event. Equipped with our new exploreASEAN shirts and some more or less suited shoes we started the game in the burning afternoon sun of Ho Chi Minh City. The tactics were clear; build up a rock-solid defence and unleash the power forwards when possible. After some struggles in the beginning we could follow up on our plan and after 15 minutes our Italian Raffaele was able to score the first goal. The crowd was going bananas and the team realised that despite the high temperature and the lack of soccer skills, combined with the fact that most of the team strictly followed the suggestion of the federal councillor Doris Leuthard to drink some alcohol each day to avoid diarrhoea, there was a possibility to win this game. The opponents from the Cadre Academy tried everything but either the midfielders Raffaele and Loris interrupted their attack in early stages or the defenders David, Christoph, Tim, Lucas or Remo blocked their shots and if accidentally a shot came through, our star keeper Stephan had no problems stopping them all. As the game continued, the lack of substitutes and the heat took their trolls. Nevertheless Dominik had some fuel left in his tank and scored the game winner just a few minutes before the end.

After this exhausting program everyone was very hungry and thirsty. Luckily the Ho Chi Minh City Cadre Academy organised a delicious dinner with various Vietnamese foods and fantastic singing and dancing performances.   

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