by Tao Jun … rikot.html , Dong Hua

HO CHI MINH CITY, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Holding her one-year-son in her left arm, leading her three-year-old son by her right hand and looking much older than her age, Dao Hong Phuc is tirelessly bargaining for some new clothes ahead of returning home to central Quang Ngai province for the Lunar New Year Festival known as Tet.

But many other migrant workers in southern Vietnam are not as lucky as Phuc who works for Pou Yuen, a Taiwanese-backed sports shoe maker in Vietnam's in Ho Chi Minh City.

No matter where they work, Vietnamese people worldwide and in Vietnam in particular try their best to return home to spend time with their families during the festival.

However, due to financial hardship, many cannot afford the journey for home, often hundreds of kilometers away, so they have to spend the Lunar New Year period elsewhere.

Most migrant workers are born in the central or northern region, and many work in the southern key economic zone, which covers Ho Chi Minh City and the seven provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Ba Ria Vung Tau, Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Long An and Tien Giang.

There are around 90,000 workers at Pou Yuen Vietnam, a sports shoe maker in Ho Chi Minh City's Binh Tan District, and some spared no efforts to curb their expenses in 2015, but still failed to save enough money to return to their hometowns in the central or northern region for Tet which will officially start on Feb. 8.

"Living costs, especially boarding-house rent and food prices have kept increasing, so saving money has become harder and harder for me," one of Phuc's colleagues Minh Anh, told Xinhua.

"My total monthly salary is a meagerly 3.5 million Vietnamese dong (155.5 U.S. dollars). If I return to Bac Giang (a northern province) by an inter-provincial coach this Tet, the return ticket will cost me my whole salary." Therefore, Anh has decided not to go home, but to send the money to her parents instead.

"Four days ahead of Tet, we received our salaries and modest bonuses paid through bank accounts. We had to queue for hours before ATM machines to withdraw the cash," Anh bemoaned, explaining that crowds waiting to use ATM machines around industrial parks and export processing zones before Tet happens every year.

Like Anh, many other migrant workers share the same plight. Thai Thi Phuong, who has worked for a company in Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park in Ho Chi Minh City's Nha Be District for six years, said that this is the fourth consecutive Tet she has not returned home to the southern Soc Trang province.

"I desperately want to go home for Tet each year, but when I look at my paltry salary, I think it is better if I send it home to my parents and my brothers and sisters, instead of spending it on a ticket," she said.

Bui Quyen, a worker at Rapexco Dai Nam Company's Suoi Dau Branch in Khanh Hoa Province, said that her children and her husband all love to go home to Hoa Binh (a northern province) to enjoy Tet, but haven't been able to for the past three years.

"We love to sit near the large pot boiling "chung" cake (square glutinous rice cake popular during Tet). But spending our skimpy wages on tickets is just too lavish," Quyen said her combined income is around 7 million Vietnamese dong (311 U.S. dollars), which is just enough to cover rent, tuition fees for their two children and daily expenses.

"We will enjoy Tet away from home again, but at least I have my husband and kids with me, while many migrant workers live alone, for whom I really feel sorry for," she said dolefully.

Tet for people away from home means nothing. Its's ultimately just a gathering with some food and an excuse to kill some time. Normally, Tet for the most unlucky involves just plain food and perhaps "chung" cakes and fruit jam.

This Tet, many organizations and enterprises are holding various activities to entertain the poor migrant workers and are giving them food and cash.

On Feb. 5, the Ho Chi Minh City Export Processing and

Industrial Zones Authority, in coordination with Suoi Tien Theme Park in the city, held a program for 600 poor workers, who will not go home for Tet.

They were allowed to tour the park free of charge and were each given 500,000 Vietnamese dong (22 U.S. dollars) worth of gifts and cash.

A Tet celebration dubbed "Yellow Apricot Blossoms Greets Spring 2016" was held at our Pou Yuen Vietnam Company on Jan. 29 with more than 30,000 workers taking part.

"It was very cozy for migrant workers like us. But what will we do on Lunar New Year's Eve? Maybe I will go downtown or just stay in my room sleeping like any other day," Minh Anh said forlornly.

Besides migrant workers, many students have decided to stay at their universities or colleges during the Tet holidays due to poverty.

"A single ticket for a coach running from Saigon

to my hometown Bac Giang (a northern province) costs 1.5 million Vietnamese dong on an ordinary day, but there are additional charges during Tet. Train tickets are cheaper, but very hard to buy. So, I have decided to stay here this Tet," Nguyen Phuong Ngoc Anh, a student at the Ho Chi Minh City Pedagogy University, told Xinhua.

Another student, Nguyen Thi Hoai An, whose hometown is northern Hai Phong city, has made a similar decision.

"On Jan. 29, a program named 'Meeting students who are away from home this Tet' was organized for around 1,000 students. In addition to enjoying songs and dances performed by fairly well-known artists, students who are facing financial hardship like me receive some food for Tet and cash worth 500,000 Vietnamese dong (22 U.S. dollars)," said Hoai An.

Many students like Hoai An and Ngoc Anh said they will spend time decorating their rooms, buying a few seasonal treats or cycling around downtown Ho Chi Minh City to enjoy Tet's atmosphere, as well as to try and relieve their feeling of melancholOne of the things you need . Wholesale Jerseys China   Wholesale Custom Jerseys   Wholesale NBA Jerseys China   Wholesale MLB Jerseys Cheap   Wholesale Authentic College Jerseys   Cheap Authentic NFL Jerseys   Cheap Authentic NFL Jerseys   Wholesale Jerseys From China   Wholesale NFL Jerseys   Wholesale NFL Jerseys