Learning Objectives


1. To discover the relationship between cultural influences and the architectural development in South Vietnam

2. To have a deeper understanding of urban planning issues and the interplay of the matrices of determinants involving physical attributes, commercial feasibility, social fabrics as well as political factors in particular relating to Generation Z (Those born between the early 1990s and the early 2000s).

3. To be aware of the impact of rapid urbanization on the environment and the need for sustainable development in the urban planning process.

4. To gain an insight of Singapore’s strengths in urban planning and sustainable environmental management skill-sets

Thursday, June 30, 2011

'Essence of Vietnam' mediaworks competition

Due to the overwhelming number of good entries for the competition, I have decided to select more than just 3 winners. I have categorised them into the Main category winners, the Secondary category winners, and the Special Mentions. The following 3 posts are their final winning works. .

Cheers and enjoy...
Mr Irfan Darian

Winners of the 'Essence of Vietnam' Challenge

Here are the main winners of the 'Essence of Vietnam' challenge, not in any order of merit:
  • Lincoln Chu

  • Benz Kew

Winners of the 'Essence of Vietnam' Challenge - Secondary Winners

There are the secondary winners of the 'Essence of Vietnam' challenge, not in any order of merit:
  • Kimberly Ong

  • Grance Tan

    Winners of the 'Essence of Vietnam' challenge - Special Mentions

    These are the 3 Special Mentions winners, not in order of merit:
    • Lim Hao Yang

    • Cassandra Ong

    • Tay Kun Yao

    Essence of Vietnam - Benz Kew

    Dear all,

    I am unable to upload the video on to the blog. However, you can download and view it here.

    Cheers and regards,
    BENZ Kew

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Reflection Day 6

    On Day 6, we went to the retail market. Firstly, the newly constructed shopping centre, one of the biggest, if not the biggest in ho chi minh city, was exactly like the ones we have in Singapore. The only notable difference was that it was not crowded. I feel that this difference is due to the different status of the countries. After that, we went to 2 hypermarts. One was run by a local company, whereas one was run and brought into ho chi minh by Koreans. Differences between them in comparison was that while the local mart had more local produce and catered more to the locals that lived there, the Korean mart had more global items and was slightly more expensive. Another noticeable difference was that the forms of transport from floor to floor were different.

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Day 6 Reflections-Jaime Pang

    On the 6th day,we went to Vincom Centre,An Dong Market,Lotte Mart and CO.OP Mart.
    The interior of Vincom Centre seemed like any other shopping centre that could be found in Singapore.In Vincom Centre,there were many things to see,however most of the goods were branded and could not be afforded by Vietnamese with an average salary.

    It was very crowded in An Dong Market as the shops were very closely arranged.We noticed that the people will place their clothes in a box and wrap it up,for unloading and loading of goods,they will then roll it down the staircase to the other person at the end of the stairs.From there,the other person will stop the rolling box and carry it to the truck for transportation.

    After visiting An Dong Market,we went on to explore the difference between two supermarkets.
    Firstly,we went to shop at Lotte Mart.Lotte Mart is a korean supermarket.Most of the things and food sold there are imported from other countries.Other than selling of food,they also sell things like clothes and others.Inside of Lotte Mart,there is a fastfood restaurant called Lotteria.This shows that the supermarket not only earns money from middle aged vietnamese but also teenagers.

    Secondly,we went to visit CO.OP Mart.Unlike Lotte Mart,CO.OP Mart is a local supermart that sells local Vietnamese products.The price of grocery sold in CO.OP Mart is much cheaper than those sold in Lotte Mart.
    Both Supermarket required customers to leave their bags in provided lockers if the bags brought were larger than a certain size.This precaution was probably taken to protect the custorners' safety.

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Day 5 Reflection - Jaime Pang

     Sorry for late reflections;(

    On the 5th day,we first went to Becamex where we saw the model of Binh Duong New City.Parts of the city are grouped into different categories,some were used for residental needs,some for further investigation in high-tech science,and many more.

    Photo 1: Model of Binh Duong New City

    After visiting Becamex,we went on to explore the campus of Eastern International University that was not fully completed yet.We were told that the EIU recruits their students after their campus is completed,instead of recruiting their students before the campus starts building like the other schools in Singapore.
    Photo 2: Eastern International University Building

    Photo 3:Model of Eastern International University
    We went to visit the Vietnam-Singapore-Industrial-Park where we saw many design and layouts that were adapted from various places in Singapore.They had street signs placed by the roadside to warn drivers of road restrictions,many roads in Singapore use this design.

    Photo 4: TOMBO factory in Vietnam

    Photo 5: Model of Vietnam-Singapore-Industrial-Park
    Photo 6:Street Sign by the roads in VSIP

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Reflections for Day FOURFIVESIX- Part 1

    Sorry for the late reflections! 

    On day 4, we went to the Can Gio Bio Reserve. The boat ride to the island is so...short. I did not pay too much attention as I was busy taking photos but I'm pretty sure they just turned the boat around and then we reached. Then there was this long and bumpy journey to the reserve. Upon setting foot onto the reserve I couldn't help but think about Singapore's Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.... It was a very familiar sight, with the planks and everything. After attending a presentation, we had a long... Long walk to the place where we planted mangrove saplings. The next thing we did was to visit a local family living on the river. I was quite amazed at how the family built the house themselves. We listened to the head of the family talk about how their daily life was like, and their part in conserving the reserve. It was their duty to protect the place from illegal tree cutters. Overall, after that day, I realized how fortunate I am to be living in a nice environment to grow up in. I should be thankful for what I have and that I shouldn't scorn at people who are not as fortunate as I am. 

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Day 6 Reflections - Carisa Chan

    On the 6th day, we went retail marketing at shopping centres, supermarkets and markets. First, we went to Viacom Center, a shopping mall more on the higher end. Once we entered, we were greeted by the cool air-conditioning and the aisles were very spacious. The goods sold there are branded and much more expensive than those found elsewhere. This shopping mall is more modernized as compared to the markets we see on the streets.

    Photo 1: Some shops in Viacom Center

    Next we went to An Dong Market, where they sold all kinds of foods, clothes and ornaments. The goods sold here are rather inexpensive and it is acceptable to haggle here. The aisles here were not as spacious as compared to the Viacom Center and it was difficult to get through the aisles from one end to the other. We also saw some people pushing their goods down the stairs to transport it or store it somewhere else.
    Photo 2: People pushing their goods down the stairs

    Next we went to the Lotte Mart and the CO.OP Mart, and we found departmental stores, fast food restaurants and a huge supermarket inside. The things sold here are more expensive as compared those sold in CO.OP Mart. Also, Lotte Mart is owned by foreigners (Koreans) and CO.OP Mart is owned by the local people. Lotte Mart also has more shops and I felt that the place was more "filled" as compared to CO.OP Mart where there is only a few shops on the second floor and it was rather empty.

    Photo 3: Outside of CO.OP Mart

    Day 6 Reflections - Pei Shan

    Today we went shopping!

    A apple retailer @ Vincom Centre

    First we went to Vincom centre. It is a very modern shopping centre, similar to shopping centres in orchard road. Most of the goods there are branded and they are very expensive. They have shops like Converse, apple retailers and many more. It is a shopping mall more for the rich. The structure of the shopping mall is rectangular shaped with the one escalator on one end and the other one on the other end.

    Picture of the person transporting the goods by rolling it down the stairs.
    @ An Dong Market

    Secondly, we went to An Dong market, which is a traditional market. It is similar to our wet markets, just that it does not only sell food, but clothes too! The shops there are very close to each other and its very stuffy. You have to squeeze through the aisle because firstly, it is very narrow, secondly, the stall owners are sitting around on small stools. They also have an interesting method to transport goods from a higher level to a lower level. As the main entrance of the an dong market has many steps, they would roll down the package to get it to the bottom level. The goods are most probably clothes as if they were food, it would be badly damaged.

    Thirdly, we went to Lotte Mart. After that, we went to CO.OP mart. The goods in Lotte Mart are more expensive than those in CO.OP mart. They do not sell any fake goods. They had long travelators for customers to move from one level to the other. They used travelators instead of escalators so that customers can bring their trolley along with them. Lotte Mart is a korean mart. We also have one in Singapore. It is similar to our giant megastore.

    CO.OP mart is a local mart. The prices of goods here is cheaper than in Lotte Mart and there are also fake goods. Both the supermarkets had this system of locking bags in lockers. This is most probably for security reasons.

    Retail marketing in Vietnam and Singapore has a huge difference.
    Retail marketing in Singapore is more mordernized than in Vietnam. The most common place to shop for food is supermarkets like NTUC, Giant and Sheng Siong. The most common place to shop for other stuff are shopping malls. The malls are air-conditioned, goods are of better quality, the goods there are of fixed prices and there are no bargaining. In vietnam's markets, most of the things are not of fixed prices and they can be bargained. It is not air-conditioned and they sell a lot of fake goods. Even in local supermarkets, there are fake ones.

    The retail marketing in Singapore is well developed. Our most common places to shop at are our shopping malls, which is like those expensive and luxurious shopping malls in vietnam. Whereas in vietnam, the retail marketing is not as well developed.

    Reflection- Day 4 Elgin Patt

    I learnt that by controlling certain human activities in a certain area, you can create an area in which the natural environment can thrive. Taking Can Gio Biosphere as in example, the government has been paying volunteer families that are provided housing in the area to take care of the organisms there, and giving them the authority to report any offenders that are harming the area that they are looking after. I find that due to the conservation, the mangrove swamp in the biosphere also acts as a natural sewage system for the waste coming from the factories in the city, therefore it plays an important part.

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Mr Ethan's slides

    Here is the pdf version of Mr Ethan's presentation slides (combined into a single file) for your reference.


    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    DAY 06-Casandra Ong

    Entrance of CO.OP Mart

    Outside of CO.OP Mart

    After the visit to both supermarkets, Lotte Mart and Co.op Mart, I have made some observations and comparisons. Lotte Mart is a foreign company, owned by Koreans, whereas Co.op Mart is a local supermarket. The differences of the companies range from their products to the building of the supermarkets. The products sold in Lotte Mart cost more than the ones sold in Co.op Mart. I have also observed the choice of escalators and travellators used in each supermarket. In Co.op Mart, escalators are used to travel from one level to another, whereas in Lotte Mart, travellators are used instead. This shows that the locals who buy less would shop at Co.op Mart, hence they do not need travellators for the trolleys. On the other hand, the rich who buy more and need the trolley will shop at Lotte Mart, thus have travellators.

    I observed that the advertising methods in Vietnam compared to in Singapore is slightly different. Advertisements are commonly on buildings and huge billboards in Vientam. Most of the advertisements in Vietnam are enlarged to attract the attention of the public. Unlike Singapore, they seldom have advertisements on buses.

    The country’s development is dependent on and related to the development of retail markets, which is also one factor of the country’s economy. Hence, vice versa. As the country develops, its population would require more and there will be more demand for products. For example, as the country develops, there would be more families who because wealthier and would want to upgrade to cars instead of motorcycles. This will result in a demand for cars, which increases the the sales of automobiles. Construction of road will be necessary, creating more jobs.

    DAY 05-Casandra Ong

    Model of City Plan

    Kimberly-Clark Vietnam @ VSIP


    I have learnt that it is important to take in consideration the convenience and safety of the people that utilize the facilities. It is not only important to invest in the main facilities but to also invest in other factors that will affect the efficiency and productivity of the facilities. A good example will be the new road that Singapore invested in to enable a smooth and safe journey for the heavy vehicles that travel everyday back and forth from VSIP. The new road replaces the rocky and disoriented ‘road’ in the past, which created danger and inconvenience to the drivers. By investing in the new road, it will bring ease to transporting the products made in VSIP to other places for business. This will increase the productivity of VSIP.

    It is essential to have ‘breathing-space’ in a city. This promotes living and not just business in a city. It attracts people to stay in the city for long term as it promotes suitable lifestyle for living and not just a hectic business city. Land is reserved to build breathing-spaces, such as parks and water bodies for outdoor activities. These breathing-spaces serves as a get-away for the people from their busy lives.

    It is important for countries to have close relationships with other countries as it will benefit both parties. An example would be the founding of Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park. A country such as Singapore does not have sufficient land and manpower to manufacture products, as land is high-on-demand and manpower is expensive. Therefore, it is ideal to locate a local (Singapore) industrial park in another country, where land and manpower is cheaper. This is where the importance of close relationships with other countries come in. Good relationships with the country will allow Singapore to easily obtain permission to set up her business overseas. In the case of VSIP, Singapore has good relationship with Vietnam, therefore, Singapore is able to set up an industrial park in Vietnam. The setting up of the industrial park does not only benefit Singapore, but also Vietnam as the industrial park will create more jobs for the people of Vietnam.