Tuoitrenews: Philipp Roesler often refuses to answer questions regarding his origin when interviewed by the media. Do you know why?

Dr. Binh: Actually, I have yet to contact Philipp Roesler. I just met German chancellor Angela Merkel. In my opinion, it is not true that Philipp Roesler denies his origin because in 2006 he visited the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang where he was born as an orphaned child and taken in by nuns in 1973. Overseas Vietnamese around the world have a saying that the Vietnamese will never forget the country of their birth.

Is the Vietnamese community in Germany proud of Philipp Roesler?

Whether or not the Vietnamese community in Germany is proud of Philipp Roesler is a difficult question. When Philipp Roesler was appointed chairman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), he was already considered a real German. I think Vietnamese expats in Germany are just 50% proud of him because they are also part of Germany. We respect him as a leader like other Germans.

You have worked in Germany for a long time. What did you learn from German schools and how did you apply this knowledge in Vietnam?

What I learned most after working and living in Germany for 40 years is German people’s traits and characteristics. Germans are punctual and organized. They are also hard-working. If I have an opportunity, I will share these valuable lessons with young Vietnamese people. Diligence and punctuality are necessary for those working in the field of engineering or technology. I suppose you will be not able to complete your projects or your doctor thesis if you are not hard-working. However, when I returned to Vietnam, the horrible traffic congestion here made me think a lot…

How about business opportunities in Vietnam?

Vietnam has yet to be a standard investment environment for both foreigners and overseas Vietnamese since its current investment policies are not transparent enough. Sometimes investors are discriminated. For example, a couple of years ago, we planned to plant Jatropha for bio-diesel production in order to meet rising demand for energy in Vietnam. We wished to use a land plot over period of 30 to 50 years for this project but local authorities refused to allocate it, citing that foreign nationals were not permitted to use land though they knew that we were literally born in Vietnam. Real foreigners have the same trouble.

A German delegation has said that the Vietnamese community is a unique cultural bridge connecting the two countries. What do you think about the comparison?

That’s true. We belong to the first-generation Vietnamese immigrants to German in 1970s that counted around a couple of hundreds of people. After the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, the number of Vietnamese immigrants to Germany increased to 30,000 to 40,000, most of them were students and workers whom we call the second-generation. By far, about 125,000 immigrants of Vietnamese origin are estimated to be living in Germany.

The Vietnamese community is widely considered one of the most successful immigrant populations particularly in the field of academic learning in Germany. Some prominent people of Vietnamese descent of the second-generation are gymnast Marcel Nguyen, who clinched a silver medal at the men’s parallel bars event during the 2012 London Olympics - the first men's all-around Olympic medal since 1936 for Germany, Phan Thi Minh Khai, actress and former presenter for German music channel "VIVA" and of course Philipp Roesler, Vice-Chancellor of Germany, Federal Minister of Economics and Technology and chairman of the Free Democratic Party.

If you have a chance to meet Philipp Roesler when he visits Vietnam this month, what will you tell him?

Philipp Roesler is not strange to us. If I have a chance to meet him in Vietnam, I will not ask him questions but will suggest to him some ideas. At his current position, he is able to help Vietnam develop renewable energy projects since Germany is very experienced in this field. He can offer Vietnam some good advice in building legal framework for renewable energy and provide training to local energy specialists.

Last but not least, Roesler should facilitate more cultural exchanges between the two nations. As I notice, the cultural exchanges only prove effective in the north but are very weak in the south of Vietnam.

Tuoi Tre News - September 18, 2012