With their parents’ sudden fortunes from selling land, many youths in Hanoi’s countryside have turned to drinking, gambling and other socially irresponsible activities to spend their idle time.
The areas around Me Tri Ha and Me Tri Thuong hamlets in Me Tri Commune, which were once packed with rice fields, have given way to the construction of the National Convention Center and the Hanoi Museum.
In Me Tri and elsewhere throughout Hanoi, this wind of urbanization is good news to locals. Many have reaped fortunes from site clearing compensations and land price hikes.
T., a resident in Me Tri Thuong Hamlet, has become a billionaire after the price of his land skyrocketed as the Hanoi Museum was put next to it.
He immediately sold the land, spent the money he got to build a four-storey house and on his son, an 11 grader who can now idle his days away from bars to pubs.
S., his neighbor, has also earned VND5 billion (US$250,000) from selling his agricultural land, built houses for rent and opened saving accounts which yield more than enough for him, his wife and his two sons to live comfortably.
In fact, his two teenage sons are doing nothing but drive their expensive scooters around the village everyday these days.
Hundreds of youths in nearby hamlets and villages such as Nhan My, Dinh Thon and Phu My are also leading the same idle life.
Locals said these unemployed and affluent youths can be spotted drinking and gambling anytime at cafes and karaoke clubs.
“They used to work hard on the fields,” said Hong, a storekeeper in Me Tri Hamlet. “But now that the fields are all gone, they turn to online games, gambling and even drugs.
There are lots of policies aimed to solve youth’s unemployment issues in the newly-urbanized areas in Hanoi, but none seems to have an impact so far.
Nguyen Dinh Trung, head of the Youth in Rural Areas Section of the Hanoi Communist Youth Association, said training programs targeting youth in rural areas have failed because many youngsters didn’t want to learn a vocation but preferred doing something that can give them money quick such as opening a shop.
Besides, current training programs are ineffective because they give learners only 3 months or a year to learn a vocation, which isn’t long enough, Trung said.