Miss Vietnam 2006 apologized for sexy photo shoot
Miss Vietnam 2006 Mai Phuong Thuy on Wednesday sent an official apology to her fans for a controversial photo shoot featuring her in the traditional ao dai four years ago.
Taken two years after Thuy claimed the crown, the photo collection, which captured Thuy donning a sleek and transparent white ao dai in different sexy poses, was recently released on some local online newswire last Friday.
The shoot, 10 black and white photos of Thuy, accessorized with Vietnamese “non la” (cone hat) and symbolic lotus flowers, was done by photographer Quoc Huy.
A number of netizens have strongly criticized the photos, saying Thuy’s too erotic poses damaged the traditional and beautiful image of ao dai. Some said she only used the dress to show off her body’s curves.
However, another group of commentators praise Thuy’s body, arguing that the photos have captured the delicate, gentle and fragile image of Vietnamese women.
Thuy, in her apology letter, wrote that she was too young when she modeled for the shoot and her lack of modeling skills have probably sent the wrong message about the purpose of the photos.
“The whole team and I only aimed for aesthetic values in the photos. If we failed to deliver the message, we should really learn from the experience and improve ourselves.
“We certainly do not intend to tarnish the image of traditional ao dai and Vietnamese women. I apologized for all the inconveniences caused when you see these photos. I hope to have your sympathy and another chance to contribute to the community,” she wrote.
Lantern festival wraps up in Hoi An
The Hoi An lantern festival to ring in Lunar New Year, a popular event among locals and tourists, has wrapped up successfully.
In the installation category, Luong long chao mung Hoi An-Di san van hoa cua the gioi (Two dragons in honor of Hoi An – a World Heritage site) by the Hoi An culture and sports center netted first prize. Meanwhile, Huynh Suong’s Que toi (My homeland) won second with Ha Linh’s Ve dat rong (Come back to the dragon land) third.
The commercial lantern category saw ‘Ceramic lantern’ by Le Quoc Tuan scoop first prize, with ‘Spiral lantern’ by Nguyen Thi Kim Hien second and two works ‘Cluster ceiling lantern’ by Le Nguyen Thanh Quan and ‘Chinese longevity-character-shaped wooden lantern’ by Dinh Hanh group joint third. At the closing ceremony, organizers launched next year’s lantern competition.
Relics of ancient work unearthed in Tuyen Quang
Archeologists have discovered vestiges of ancient tiled courtyards while excavating Lang Dao pagoda in Son Duong district, in the northern mountainous province of Tuyen Quang.
According to archeologists, the courtyards were built under the Tran dynasty in the 13th -14th century and existed until the Le dynasty, between the 15th-17th century.
Uncovered artifacts included rectangular bricks, shoe-cap tiles and a number of typical pottery and ceramic objects dated back the Tran and Le dynasties.
The ancient religious construction was one of two most typical and intact relics that have been discovered in Vietnam .
Doctor Tran Anh Dung of Vietnam Archeology Institute said this is a large-scale and rare architectural work in the country’s ancient architectural systems.
The discovery has provided archeologists with more evidence in their study of the historical value of ancient Tuyen Quang.
Locals keep traditional Gong culture alive
Unlike those who saved their hard-earned money for expensive household items, some families in the Jarai ethnic community in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum spent all the money they saved after a year of hard work in the fields to preserve their traditional Gong culture.
According to Phan Thi Ha Tien, chairman of Sa Thay Town People’s Committee, since the local budget cannot pay for the gongs, some local residents in the Kleng Village decided to spend millions of dong from their own pockets on buying gongs for the village.
Last year, A Khuynh, a village patriarch, and his family spent VND46 million (US$ 2,300) on a set of gongs.
“He was upset that there were no gongs in our village while our neighboring villages have their own gongs. He also worried that the village’s youths will not know their traditional music instrument if they don’t have a chance to see and use it,” Y Diu, the patriarch’s wife explained the reason why they spent money for the village.
“We had to sell our cows to have money for the gongs. Still, all members in our family stand behind my father’s decision since he’s doing a meaningful thing for the whole village,” A Thuy, A Khuynh’s son added.
Following the village patriarch’s example, A Gliu and his wife Y Bleo set aside VND10 million of their money to buy another set of gongs.
“Since there was only one set of gongs for three ensembles of gong players in the whole village, we decided to buy more gongs,” A Gliu said.
“I’m so glad that the people can use my gongs at the village’s festivals or ceremonies.”
Acting on the same spirit, another villager, A Leng, spent VND25 million of his savings to buy a set of gong for the community.
In the Central Highlands of Viet Nam, gong performances are part of various ceremonies and closely tied to the community’s cultural rituals and the cycle of the seasons.
In 2005, the Gong Culture in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, covering the five provinces of Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, and Lam Dong, was recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Thousands to sing rock band’s best hit in video
Local veteran rock band “Buc tuong” (The Wall) has launched its newest music project in which its fans across Vietnam and around the world will join to sing its best hit a capella for a compilation music video, Saigon Tiep Thi Newspaper reported Tuesday.
The chosen song is “Duong den dinh vinh quang” (The journey to glory), one of the band’s most popular hits, known as an inspiring song to many young people.
Tran Lap, the band’s front man said they would tour across the country to film random people regardless of their wealth or status singing the song in schools, companies, streets, restaurants or clubs and compile them into a music video.
“The video will not have any background music, we will record live thousands of people singing our song and produce a spectacular music video project,” Lap said.
The lead singer said the project has a deep social meaning, as it seeks to send out a message that modern society and lifestyle has deteriorated the traditionally close ties among family members, friends and other social values.
“It will be a good thing if we can bridge the gap among people and inspire them to live with passion. This is where the idea for the video started.”
The band said its idea has excited many of its fans, many of whom live abroad and said they would film themselves singing the song in front of the Eiffel Tower (France) or the Liberty Statue (the US) and send the footage back.
Local fans from all over Vietnam will certainly not miss the chance, Lap said, adding that the project has seemed to outgrow its initial purpose and link Vietnamese all around the world.
Last December, the “Noi vong tay lon” (Circle of Unity) clip, a similar video project directed by Thang Vu featuring leading rock bands across Vietnam performing the song was warmly received on video sharing site Youtube.
Ho Chi Minh screens free Australian Aboriginal movie
The Youth Cultural House in District 1 will host the free screening of the award-winning Australian Aboriginal film “Bran nue dae,” next week.
The screening is an attempt to mark the fourth year since the Australian government officially made their apology for their past mistreatment of the Aboriginal people who are indigenous to most of the Australian continent.
Inspired by the popular 1990 musical, “Bran nue dae,” by Jimmy Chi, the feature film was officially released in Australia in 2010 and won Most Polular Feature Film at Melbourne International Film Festival in 2009.
The road movie and romantic comedy, starring Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush, centers on the romantic adventure of a young Aboriginal couple set against the spectacularly beautiful Australian landscape.
“Bran new dae” will be screened at the Youth Cultural House, 4 Pham Ngoc Thach in District 1 at 7pm on February 13. Free tickets are to be distributed at the Australian General Consulate upon calling (08) 35218134.
Hoi An celebrated in HCM City
A miniature Hoi An City with its narrow streets, mossy roofs and centuries-old homes will be created during the Hoi An Culture Day to take place in HCM City on February 10.
The event starts at 4.30pm in HCM City’s Ky Hoa 1 Tourist Park, 16A Le Hong Phong Street, District 10.
The beauty of Hoi An streets lit with colourful lanterns on the 14th and 15th days of every lunar month will be recreated, said Nguyen Su, a senior official from Hoi An City.
Hoi An was one of Viet Nam’s and also Southeast Asia’s most important and cosmopolitan ports from the 17th to 19th centuries, and its distinctive lanterns have been associated with the ancient town for centuries.
Photo and painting exhibitions featuring Hoi An’s well-known Chua Cau (Pagoda Bridge), narrow streets lined with ancient, dark-wood houses and the tranquil Hoai River will be parts of the event.
Other activities will include presentations of Hoi An’s culinary art, lantern making, chess games and performances of bai choi, a 1,000 year-old folk music tradition unique to the town.
“We want to offer images and culture of Hoi An to those who have not visited the town,” Su said.
The event will wrap up tomorrow night with a concert featuring songs written by Hoi An composers and performed by more than 100 artists.
According to the Hoi An Tourism Department, the city received more than 1.2 million foreign and domestic visitors last year and over 30,000 during the recent the Lunar New Year (Tet Nham Thin) festival.
Creating conditions for culture, sports and tourism to develop
The culture, sports and tourism sector should grasp opportunities to overcome difficulties, improve the efficiency and quality of its projects, and make breakthroughs in all fields.
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan entrusted new tasks to the sector at a conference in Quang Ninh province on February 9.
He said that culture, sports and tourism should coordinate with each other to develop by mobilizing all resources for cultural advancement and considering investment in culture as a human investment.
Deputy PM Nhan urged the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MoCST) to focus cultural activities on human development, complete the legal system and work toward equal access to cultural services in all areas: urban and rural, delta and mountain, and ethnic minority, border and island alike.
In addition, the sector should work with relevant agencies to expand relations with other countries, territories and international organizations to promote Vietnamese artworks amongst international friends, Mr Nhan noted.
The Deputy PM recommended that the ministry should direct relevant agencies to prevent social disorder at festivals, manage cultural heritage and art performances, improve living conditions of artists, coaches and athletes and reduce domestic violence. It should also deal with disruptions in football matches, propose proper models to exploit tourism resources, and protect the biological environment for sustainable development, especially for sea and island tourism.
MoCST Minister Hoang Tuan Anh reported that the ministry has designed some strategies to 2020 with a vision to 2030, mostly focussing on developing tourism, ethnic groups and the height of the Vietnamese people.
Vietnam has 15 cultural heritages recognised by UNESCO. More than 1,100 public cultural festivals were held last year attracting more than 2 million spectators.
Programme to honour Phu Tho’s Xoan singing
An eighty-minute programme featuring Xoan (Spring) singing from the ancestral land of Phu Tho will take place at the Hung Kings temple historical site on February 18.
The event aims to promote Xoan singing, which was recongised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Protection by UNESCO in November 2011.
The programme will bring together about 800 artists from central and local art troupes and will be broadcast live on Vietnam Television.
Organisations, individuals, and artists who have contributed to preserving and promoting Xoan singing will be celebrated during a ceremony held by the Phu Tho provincial People’s Committee on the same day.
The festivities are part of the annual ‘Travelling to the Roots’ 2012 series hosted by three northern province including Phu Tho, Yen Bai and Lao Cai to promote provincial cultural heritages while advertising the tourism potential of the three localities.
HCMC offers cuisines from across the country at food fair
A food fair themed ‘My hometown festival’ will take place at Van Thanh Tourist Area in Binh Thanh District in Ho Chi Minh City from February 10-12.
The organising committee will present to gastronomes hundreds of dishes from the North, Central and Southern regions of the country.
The event will also include traditional musical performances and introduce some special dishes of provinces like Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Dong Thap, Binh Duong, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Ho Chi Minh City’s Thu Duc District and the central highland region.
In related news, the luxury cruise ships Costa Classica and SuperStar Aquarius carrying around 4,000 passengers and crew members arrived in the city today. Most of the visitors are from mainland China and Hong Kong (China).
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