While Vietnam’s government is making efforts to reduce and prevent the harmful effects of alcohol abuse, leaders and employees at a state-run company have organized a liquor drinking competition right on the firm’s premises.
The state-run ANTRACO, located in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, has been under fire since photos surfaced online on Friday of a drinking contest taking place at the company’s office.
ANTRACO, fully known as An Giang Building Material Exploiting and Processing Co., Ltd, specializes in mining and processing construction stones and building materials.
It is easy to tell from the viral photos that the competition was all about finding the ‘drinking king’ - the one who could down the most alcohol.
There were different prizes for the winners, who would also receive trophies, according to the photos.
In one of the pictures, a man identified as ANTRACO director Nguyen Tan Danh is seen handing over two trophies and an envelope to two winners, with other people applauding in the background.
|Photos capturing the drinking contest at ANTRACO in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang|
Such a drinking contest has raised eyebrows among many.
“What if they had caused or got into a traffic accident while driving under the influence of alcohol after leaving the contest?” a provincial official said, as he discussed the issue with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
However, Danh, the ANTRACO director, told Tuoi Tre that the contest was organized out of the blue by the firm’s trade union when the company was holding an event to make offerings to the ‘hungry ghosts,’ a practice observed by people who believe there is an underworld, on Friday.
“We all felt so hyped up during the event that we came up with the idea of organizing the drinking contest as a ‘just for fun’ activity,” Danh explained.
The director said the photos of himself and his employees ‘having fun’ with the drinking activities, which went viral online, create a false impression that they were engaging in “a big event” while it was actually “not worth fussing about.”
|Trophies for the winner and runner-up of the drinking contest at ANTRACO. Photo: Buu Dau / Tuoi Tre|
Danh added, however, that the company was aware of the criticism against them and promised “not to organize any activity like that in the future.”
The government in beer-loving Vietnam has been tightening control over alcohol consumption to alleviate its harmful effects through different campaigns.
In June the country’s legislature passed a landmark bill on preventing ill effects of alcohol, which includes a blanket ban on driving-after-drinking for all types of vehicles.
Vietnam’s consumption of alcoholic drinks posts an average annual growth rate of 15 percent, with 4.7 billion liters of beer and 350 million liters of wine and liquor downed in 2018.