On the “heated controversy” surrounding Miss Vietnam 2014’s smoking

The story has been trending for about a week now and the press covered extensively on this drama. So many people have commented on this, including a university professor who has received much hate and criticism for defending Miss Vietnam 2014. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention why Miss Vietnam 2014, Ky Duyen, was criticised: somebody recorded her while she was smoking cigarette in a cafe. The online community then aggressively bashed and witch hunted her for committing this horrid crime against humanity. How dare she dishonoring the crown? And here are a few things I want to comment on:

  • I, too, disgust cigarette and can’t help myself but throw shades at people who smoke in public sometimes. In some cases, I do politely remind these people that their smoking affects others standing around them aka me. However, I don’t go around taking photos of smokers without their permission and upload them on the Internet. If you, the person taking the photo, were that ‘concerned’ with the smoking cigarette issue, why wouldn’t you approach her and politely advise her against smoking? From the photos and how busted she looked, you must have taken that photo stealthily and clearly without her consent! The only thing mattered to you at that moment was exposing this person online instead of genuinely giving her constructive criticism.

 

  • Many expressed their disappointment and outrage because her behaviour was unacceptable for someone who “represents Vietnamese women and exists as a role model for the young generation”. I beg to differ. Being titled “Miss Vietnam” doesn’t make a 19-year-old lady someone who represents the entire 45-freaking-millions people. At most, she is a Vietnamese representative at Miss World (which she wasn’t chosen to go). Beauty pageant contest, frankly speaking, is a public entertainment of young females who seek public recognition, fame, and prize. How the heck can this contest be taken seriously when 90% of it is girls flaunting their bodies in bikinis and gowns and the rest 5% is answering some random questions in 30 seconds? Why don’t you give them stuff like IQ, EQ or personality test on top of that if you want somebody who is smart enough to take care of her image in public? My point is: with a contest that emphasizes outer beauty that much (and pretends to be “holistic” by adding a 30-second-long interview), you can’t expect the winner to be both pretty and smart, let alone representative of all Vietnamese women. And it’s a sweeping statement to say that young people look up to beauty pageants – I can testify to that. So now it’s clear that Miss Vietnam doesn’t represent all females in Vietnam, nor does she have a strong influence on youth,  I don’t understand why you are ashamed for a personal act that doesn’t concern you (well unless you are Ky Duyen or Ky Duyen’s family).

 

  • I also see people expressing outrage on how criticising Ky Duyen is a double standard. There was this one particular Facebook status from a teacher/professor at a university saying that she despises the “ever-righteous” officials who also smoke and now bully a young lady for doing the exact same thing. I acknowledge that Vietnamese women get an insane and unfair amount of hate for smoking because of the deeply rooted social standards and expectations from society. As a female I am disgruntled, but turning this issue into a case of gender inequality doesn’t make Ky Duyen any less guilty for having smoked in public. Obviously, to those cowards who smoke and yet condemn Ky Duyen: shame on you people.

In conclusion, I don’t like Ky Duyen’s smoking in public but many are over-reacting to the point that she is unjustifiably punished. It also amazes me how this petty story was blown out of proportion thanks to the netizens and media bias. How can we channel this source of public scrutiny and resentment into exposing something else more important?

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