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THE JOY IN TEARS

CT GROUP

The reporter was on the scene for an interview as soon as the long-awaited news broke in the real estate industry, with all members of the People’s Committee of Thu Duc City unanimously agreeing during an expanded meeting on January 22, 2024, to approve the adjustment of the investment policy for the Metro Star project. This is one of the first projects under Decree 98, from the list of 168 projects proposed for resolution by various organizations.

Visiting the Metro Star project on a chilly afternoon in the final days of the year, the atmosphere was peculiar, with many people laughing with tears streaming down. From the investor, contractors to the construction workers, and sales staff, everyone was overwhelmed with joy and emotion as the legal obstacles of the project were resolved just before the Lunar New Year.

Hung, a worker, is bending steel at the construction site. Taking a break for a few minutes, Hung shared his feelings: “For over three years, I’ve been at this construction site and waiting for the legal clearance to start working. But the wait seemed endless. Thinking about going back to my hometown with no job and unable to afford rent here, I and some other guys had to temporarily stay at the construction site. Now that the legal issues are resolved, there’s work to return to, and I’m overjoyed. I’ll probably stay and work through Tet because I can’t afford to go home. Well, I’ll celebrate Tet here at the construction site, and I heard the company is also taking care of us workers staying back for Tet celebrations.”

Mai, an accountant from Ha Tinh province, expressed: “Being an accountant is the toughest, facing both shortages and the pressure from workers, contractors, and other staff who have left. We know the company is trying hard to avoid layoffs, but without completing the projects, there’s no money to pay us. We are trying to hang on, but the savings we had are depleted, luckily the issues were resolved before Tet.”

Anh Hong, in charge of Human Resources, joyfully shared with us, “As you can see, the project is now filled with joy, almost bringing tears to everyone’s eyes. We’ve been waiting for this day for three long years. Some couldn’t bear it and left to find jobs, many remained unemployed. People here are united, but the hardship was too much, leading to conflicts and a loss of solidarity. Now it seems that the glorious time has come.”

In the midst of a construction site with rusty machines and scattered steel, hundreds of people, who once shed tears and struggled to get by, are suddenly filled with vibrant energy and determination as the legal obstacles are cleared. And there are many more projects and lives in similar situations waiting for their turn.

Director Le Cong Sum of the contractor Hitecons, with a hint of bitterness, shared, “For us, this is a resurrection, coming back from the dead, a reward for patience. We thought we couldn’t survive, watching our team of engineers and workers leave, then face unemployment. The desire to do the job we love seemed almost impossible…”

Mr. Manh Cuong, the Sales Manager, with a very cheerful smile, shared, “I just took the overnight bus to Saigon, thinking I might quit this job, but luckily, the good news came unexpectedly. My team of around 20 people is struggling to make ends meet, still passionate about the job. But no matter how beautiful a project is, its prime location, or numerous amenities, legal issues remain the first question for customers. Hearing about the investment approval for Metro Star, I was overjoyed. In fact, I knew this project had all the legal aspects in place. If the government didn’t require every investor to update their investment proposal, it would have saved us a lot of trouble.”

Han Kim Jin (45 years old), a customer, and his family had been living and working in Ho Chi Minh City for over 8 years. Mr. Kim Jin mentioned that he had purchased a shophouse in this project for investment before the Covid pandemic, as it’s near the metro station, resembling Seoul, South Korea. He shared, “I used to be hot-tempered, raised my voice a few times when there were delays. Now I understand and feel sorry for the customer service team. So, I submitted additional payment to avoid contract termination.”

These are real stories of various lives, struggles, and sweat and tears from everyone involved, from the seasoned investors to the hardworking accountant, the cleaning staff waiting for a small gift for their children during Tet, to the hungry and satisfied worker stepping into the new year. I feel contemplative and anxious. I wish I could do something substantial and impactful for these kind-hearted and diligent individuals—people whom I now feel deeply connected to. Well, let’s continue to hope. Outside, spring is approaching, resonating with the song “Spring in Ho Chi Minh City,” and coincidentally, the line “Why are tears flowing with joy…”

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