After taking the keys to the flat, Hanh hurried home to tell his family about the purchase but found he couldn t pronounce the name of the building. He ended up calling it the Di Con project instead of Tricon.
Nguyen Thanh Tu, a banker in Ha Noi s Hai Ba Trung District, says the practice of using foreign languages to name real estate developments was not a new one in Viet Nam. Ha Noi alone could boast of such projects as Dolphin Plaza, the Hemisco Building and the Splendora.
Many developers used these names for their projects, Tu said, to attract customers who think foreign-made products are higher quality.
"When buying a flat, the most common concern is the developer s prestige," he said. "Although their real estate projects may be more expensive than those built by local developers, they still sell well because people have faith in their professionalism and have fewer fears that the project might turn into a white elephant."
But when some farmers in Long Hung Village in the southern province of Dong Nai had to be relocated from their homes for the construction of a project called Aqua City, it became harder to explain the foreign name.
"We thought our land was going to become a city for Westerners to live in," said farmer Nguyen Van Ut.
Aqua City developer Dona Coop, in a joint venture with An Phu Long Co, also announced plans to build another project name Waterfont.
"Know one knows what Waterfront means," said a local farmer.
Farmer Bui Thi Tuyet, from the northern province of Thai Binh, said she couldn t pronounce the name of her relatives apartment in Ha Noi s Ciputra area.
"The apartment is nice, but the name is very hard to read," she said.
"I don t know why so many projects and buildings have Western names," said Tuyet s relative Bui Van Phong, who said he was born in Ha Noi and has even studied foreign languages.
"It confuses people in the city, too," Phong said. "It doesn t make sense."
Even though Viet Nam was integrating into the world economy, that shoudn t mean people should be able to freely give their properties foreign names, he added.
An official from the Ministry of Construction told Viet Nam News that there were no regulations governing the naming of real estate projects. As a result, investors freely use foreign names to market projects.
He said the ministry intended to co-ordinate with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to draft regulations stipulating the use of Vietnamese names for real estate projects and commercial centres around the country.
Of course, Viet Nam has officially used the names of a number of world-renowned personages for parks, including Pasteur, Indira Gandhi and Lenin.
"Using foreign names is not simple," said Pham Quang Long, director of the Ha Noi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism. "One should think carefully before giving a project a foreign name. In the long run, it could cause negative effects for the investors themselves, as well as Vietnamese culture in general." VNS