return icon

A question of timing, sensitivity and action

 VietNamNet Bridge – Viet Nam has had its fair share of beauty contest controversies over the years, but the event’s popularity has never waned.

VietNamNet Bridge – Viet Nam has had its fair share of beauty contest controversies over the years, but the event’s popularity has never waned.


Le Au Ngan Anh is crowned Miss Ocean Vietnam 2017. – (Illustrative image -- File photo)

But the latest controversy is different. It has nothing to do with the event, its location, rules, eligibility or choice of contestants, but with its timing in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster.

Timing is everything, right?

We all know that entertainment galas, including beauty contests, are organised in the aftermath of disasters and tragedies precisely to help raise funds for victims.

However, when the semifinals of the Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 was held in Khanh Hoa on Saturday, it raised hackles because the country as a whole was concerned about the impacts of typhoon Damrey, which actually made landfall in the province that morning.

Khanh Hoa was among the hardest hit localities by the typhoon, which wreaked havoc on the central and south central coast.  

The provincial People’s Committee has confirmed that they requested the organisers to delay the event, as they did with other arts and cultural activities in the province, but the contest was still held as originally planned.

Nguyen Khac Ha, director of provincial Culture and Sports Department told the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper that the administration has asked the organisers to report on the event to a team assigned to investigate the case.

“I personally think that the event being organised in the province at this time was not appropriate, while agencies and sectors at all levels and the whole country were concentrating on consequences of the typhoon and flooding," Ha said.

This makes a lot of sense, but organisers have their views too.

Tran Ngoc Nhat, head organiser of the contest explained to the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that this was a national competition licensed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism so they had to follow the schedule mentioned in the licence.

"The storm was unforeseen and unexpected, and we were only informed about it a day before the contest.

“If the event impacted human safety, it would have been imperative to stop it. The organisers also considered the situation,” Nhat said.

He said the storm came hit Friday evening and was over on Saturday morning. In the afternoon there was no rain and no wind, he added.

“We, including contestants, also organized a charity trip to visit the victims of the storm. This was a gesture from the organisers for the community."

Furthermore, the delay would have affected the contestants’ schedule and other issues, he said. With 63 women from all over the country competing, he has point about the logistics involved in postponing and re-holding such an event.

And even if it was held, the conditions were not ideal. The bad weather conditions meant power was cut and the programme took place later than expected. Backstage, contestants had to use mobile phone flashlights to make up. Until 9pm, the audience did not know if the event would take place or not. Thousands of spectators were ushered into the theater with mobile phone light and ticket checkers used flashlights.

In the face of criticism, Phan Anh, a member of the contest jury, noted on his personal Facebook page: "The audience is watching, television viewership is high, and the event was live-streamed. So do we criticise all of them? The theater was not affected by the storm. Every thing had been readied for the programme and it did not affect local disaster relief. Should everybody sit down and wait, then?”

He also mentioned that the organizers and contestants had spent time visiting, giving gifts and encouraging the victims.

But “many still think that we are insensitive," he wrote.

“Instead of arguing, let’s start doing things that are more practical and meaningful. Just focusing on criticism does not make life and people better."

Phan Anh’s comment received a lot of public feedback.

A Facebook user, Thanh Phuc disagreed with Anh: "Are the images of beautiful girls smiling on stage meaningful images? In any programme or contract, there may be a clause for canceling or postponing due to national disaster.”

The programme should have been delayed, I think. We cannot laugh on the pain of people destroyed by a typhoon. Beauty contests are dime a dozen, there are so many that I, and many others, cannot remember.”

Others saw merit in Anh’s argument.

Hoang Phuong Mai, who has been to many beauty contests, felt the event should have been held as planned.

“People should think about the organizers. Delay or stopping will cost them a lot… affect the whole contest and result in other issues,” she said.

“Stopping the contest does not mean helping the victims. The organisers and contestants also supported residents before the event. That should be recognised.

“There’s nothing more beautiful than everyone putting their differences aside to help people in the face of catastrophe.” 

Nguyen Huu Truong, who works for a private advertisement company in Ha Noi, said he sympathised with the beauty contest organisers and also shared his support to the flood victims.

“The organisers and participants made a charity trip for the local victims. But I think it would have been better if they also spent time during the programme to raise money for the storm relief,” he said.

“Many events are not suspended automatically. Entertainment programmes have been deftly adjusted or mixed with charitable activities so that their programmes will not be deemed inappropriate in a certain situation.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has intervened and asked the People’s Committee of Khanh Hoa Province and the organisers to postpone the Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 contest until the consequences of natural disasters are overcome. It has asked organisers to report to the ministry and provincial authorities on plans to resume the contest.

If we are to acknowledge the suffering of people by canceling entertaining events it might not make sense, but there is a sensitivity involved in terms of when and where it is done. There is a time for mourning and a time for action, and in the aftermath of a disaster when people are still suffering, it is the latter that counts. 

Thu Hang


related news


Coach Chung to lead national women's team until end of 2023

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) and coach Mai Duc Chung have agreed to extend their contract for another year.

Ministry plans to add “place of birth” to new passport version

The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) is planning to add the “place of birth” to the new passport version to facilitate citizens’ seeking of visas to the Schengen countries.

Ministry urges to speed up vaccination for children for safe school opening

Safely opening schools is dependent on every child being vaccinated against Covid-19. However, according to the assessment of the Ministry of Health, the actual rate of Covid-19 vaccination coverage for children is still low.

Vietnam Airlines plans to sell aircraft to cut losses

Vietnam Airlines plans to restructure its assets and investment portfolio, and issue new shares to increase its equity, including selling aircraft to decrease losses and negative equity.

MFN tariff on gasoline lowered to 10%

The Government has given the nod to halve the most-favored-nation (MFN) import tariff on unleaded gasoline to 10% from the current 20%.

Vietnam spends $5 billion on coal imports

In the first seven months of this year, Vietnam spent over $5 billion to import coal for thermal power plants, up 123 per cent on-year.

Vietnam's futsal team has new coach

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) held a ceremony in Hanoi on August 9 to introduce Giustozzi Diego Raul as the new head coach of the Vietnamese national futsal team.

Da Lat Flower Festival 2022 to last two months, with 51 events

The ninth Da Lat Flower Festival will be held in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong from November to late December, with 51 attractive events, according to a plan recently announced by the provincial People’s Committee.


Tropical depression intensifies into storm toward north

Ministry urges localities to set up teams to catch rabid, stray dogs

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has urged cities and provinces nationwide to set up teams to catch stray dogs in an attempt of curbing dog bite-related fatalities and better managing rabies among domestic dogs and cats.


Extra efforts needed to achieve target of 5 million foreign tourists: insiders

Pacific Airlines faces closure due to financial difficulties

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has just asked Pacific Airlines to report on their current capital condition, and whether they meet the requirements to continue operations.

Monetary stance points to only mildly higher interest rates in VN: Fitch Ratings

Capital account restrictions largely insulate interest rates in Vietnam from global monetary tightening and the country’s policy rate is expected to increase 50 basis points to 4.5% by end-2023, according to Fitch Ratings.

Ministry recommends unfinished wind, solar farms negotiate energy prices

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has asked the Prime Minister about the mechanism for ongoing solar power and transitional wind power projects to enjoy the incentive price.

New securities accounts hit near two-year low in July

The number of newly-opened securities accounts dropped sharply in July to the lowest in about two years as stock market liquidity hit a monthly low.