Saturday, June 23, 2007

Vietnamese Beauty Pageants in the U.S.


Credit picture to http://www.missvietnamusa.com/

There are too many beauty pageants under similar names vowing to showcase the beauty of Vietnamese women and unite Vietnamese people to honor our culture and heritage. But none of them can truly do what they said because all of them ended up looking like another hopeful pageant with no creditability at all! I understand that the actual show might not be like totally glamorous or as big because the lack of money or support. It is not about the money or having a big stage but that most of these shows are an embarrassment and a total joke. It seems that just about anyone who has money can create a show and anyone can enter the show.

First off, let’s take a look at their “official” website. I selected two recently ones. Miss Vietnam USA and Miss Vietnam Global are two good examples the kind of so call Vietnamese pageants that take place in the U.S. With all the money that are put into this, they can at least make their website look creditable. If you take a look at the contestants’ gallery, all the pictures are different. Miss Vietnam USA gallery shows us pictures of girls who to enter the pageant. We have a variety of pictures from high quality to low quality. Some girls show us half of their body, some show us only their face close up and some we see half of their face. How do these people fairly judge who makes it to the finalist? So I click on of these pictures and I get a picture that’s a size 3456x2304 and no profile. Then I click on another and it’s 675x1710. Then another picture and I get 330x500 with a short profile. And you will not believe this, but I saw a picture that is only 109x128! I’m not good at web designing but at least can resize pictures to the same size and I can definitely tell the different between different sizes. Check out some of the requirements I took from Miss Vietnam USA website:

“Please have a photo of yourself ready to submit. A JPEG/JPG image of your head and shoulders, no bigger than 400 pixel on the longest side is fine.”

This is a direct quote that I copy and paste! Image of your head and shoulder, that’s it? You guys just judge how good the face look?

“Applicants must be between 17-27 years of age, never married, and have no children”

Hm… I don’t know if I can trust any of these girls after seeing their pictures. So if they are 17, do they need parental permission or no?

“You may register online up to September, 2007. The date for the Preliminary will be announced. The Preliminary is mandatory to attend to be chosen as one of 60 contestants for the pageant. If you cannot attend, you can send us a video in place. More information will be given at the end of this application”

Send in a video in place?

As for Miss Vietnam Global, their website looks a bit better and more organize but they are not any better. Except that this site can resize the contestants picture to the same size, but other than that everything else remains. Some pictures are better taken then others, they wore different clothes, and stood at different angles and most are photoshop completely or not at all. Some of these girls look like professional model while others look like bad studio pictures. I would accept that at least that all the finalists wear similar clothing and take the same studio pictures so that it is fair. When viewers online vote for the most photogenic and all the girls look so much different, how fair is that? I’m sure that more than half of these girls do not look as good in real life as in pictures, since pictures nowadays are deceiving.

The actual Vietnamese pageant gets even worse. I would appreciate and respect the pageants if they were more professional and less of trying to do a balance between the Vietnamese and Americanized ordeal. We are fully Vietnamese, drop the Vietnamese American crap. The show itself allows the girls to speak in English. Okay so maybe if they cannot speak Vietnamese at all or have a hard time but it gets worse when many of them actually know Vietnamese well and still pretend they do not or they will speak part Vietnamese and part English. Furthermore this is a Vietnamese pageant, okay, stop trying to show off that you can speak English. I really think these girls are an embarrassment to the Vietnamese community.

Let’s take a bite of Miss Vietnam Global 2007 show in Las Vegas. The show opened with the song, “Dhoom Dhoom Sexy Naughty Bitchy” by Sai and Trina Bao Tran. At first I thought I was watching the wrong show. Seriously, what kind pageants would have such a song and girls dancing around half naked promoting the “sexy, naughty, and bitchy” image that supposed Vietnamese girls or any girls should be because it is cool? And yet the show itself said they are promoting the beautiful image of Vietnamese girls in the traditional long dress. I find that so wrong and hypocritical. The song is actually by a Thai singer Tata Young. They took two songs Dhoom Dhoom and Sexy Naughty Bitchy and mix up together. Is the trend now to take music from Thai people? Check out the lyric…

Dhoom dhoom come and light my fire
Dhoom dhoom let me take you higher
Dhoom dhoom I wanna feel that burnin’

Dhoom dhoom it’s a wild emotion
Dhoom dhoom passion and devotion
Dhoom dhoom now the wheels are turnin’

Move your body close to mine and
Let me feel your love divine and
Together we’ll explode and we’ll go boom

I pick all my skirts to be a little too sexy
Just like all of my thoughts they always get a bit naughty
When I’m out with my girls I always play a bit bitchy
Can’t change the way I am sexy naughty bitchy me

I'm the kind of girl that girls don't like
I’m the kind that boys fantasize
I’m the kind that your momma and your daddy were afraid you'd turn out to be like
I may seem unapproachable but that's only to the boys who don't have the
Right a approach or ride that makes a girl like me wanna hop in and roll

My mouth never takes a holiday
I always shock with the things I say
I was always the kid in school who turned up to each class bout an hour late and when it came to the guys I’d lay, I’d always pick the ones who wont figure out that I am clearly a rebel to the idea of monogamy

I like all of my shorts to be a little too shortly
Unlike all of my guys I like them tall with money
I love all of my nights to end a little bit nasty
Can't change the way I am sexy naughty bitchy me


This song is both dirty and the kind of example that gives girls in general a bad name. It’s okay if the girl feel like she is open about her sexuality but this is not the way, this is trashy. There is a line between being sexy and there is what you call trashy or even like porno stuff. Seriously I cannot imagine people who understand the lyrics stay to listen or the elder watching this.

What about the contestants themselves? When I was watching the show, I was expecting to know about their career, education or goals in life. But the show did not tell anything because many of the girls have no education, and is working part time and are not in school. When I was at their website, all I see is favorite color or food, something like that. All of the contestants in the pageants like to do charity, help out the community, their mothers are their heroes, they value Vietnamese tradition, can recite all the Vietnamese poems that teaches use us to be virtue, honor our parents, not forget about our heritage, etc. But none of us could imagine any of these girls working at a local bar, having no education, and the money they spent on breast enhancement could help out many children in Vietnam. The Vietnamese community is not a big one, so it is common that there will be people who know these girls personally.

Let me tell you a story. I won’t say the name of the person or which pageants she entered but from her story you can get to know about what kind of activity that takes place in these Vietnamese pageants. She is the daughter of my brother’s friend. Pretty much everyone in our Vietnamese community, especially the guys who hang out the Asian plaza know her. Her reputation is a bad one, the kind of party girl. I saw her picture on the front page of the local magazine one-day and she looked gorgeous. The magazine said they would fully support her in the pageant. I could only see half of her face though. It was a good studio picture and nothing like how she looked in real life. The studio picture depicted her like a goddess and if you see her in real life she’s look really wasted. If she were a singer, I wouldn’t care much about her personal life but since she is entering a pageant to represent Vietnamese women in the USA, than that’s a problem. What kind of example would she set? So why did the Vietnamese magazine supported her? Well the kinds of people who create beauty pageants are the same kind of people who created the local newspapers and magazines. And they are the same kind of people who you see every week at the Casino in Atlantic City or Las Vegas. And yea they are pretty much the kind of people who also showed up at the temple ceremonies and community events speaking out and vowing to one day put an end to the communism in Vietnam. They are the criminals and also the cops.

This is the dirty reality behind any kind of a community as well as politics in the world. When I was younger I used like beauty pageants and dreamt of one day entering it to see the proud faces of my parents seeing me representing the Vietnamese culture in my “ao dai” but that was when I was naïve. I start to see beauty as very fragile and bogus because it is never the actual face of everything. Make up hides the all-nasty flaws and the ugly side of people too. Nothing is what it seems. As much as I like to be proud and take part in the Vietnamese community activity every week, I ended up wanting to stay far away from it. I hate seeing these people and their fake self. Some people only come to free load. Most of them come to show off their cars, their clothes and jewelries and to brag about their successful business or made up success. They also brought their kids like a piece of accessories and making them smile and bow to strangers they do not know and calling them aunts and uncles. This is their only chance to dress up and show off because the other 5 or 6 days of the week they work their ass off and only have a few hours of sleep. They do not eat, they do not care about their children, because they only care about money and making lots of it to buy new car, big house, big scene TV, and everything that could make them stand out in front of their friends. To these people that is their goal in life. Maybe they enjoy keeping up with the Jones or they are living a false American dream. I hope that one day they will wake up to find what’s truly important to them other then materialistic things that are never long lasting.

My Thoughts:
The Vietnamese pageants reflect the downfall and the corruption of the Vietnamese community and the Vietnamese family. This is only a part of our community and do not represent everyone but the issue is big enough that it needs to be taken care of. If we want our children and the future generations to continue the Vietnamese culture and tradition we need to give them something special or valuable about their heritage that make them want to be apart of and proud to be in. The first step is take the time and talk to them, spend more time with them instead of working everyday like a machine. I myself have the privilege to eat dinner with my family. But not everyone have this privilege. Many of them don’t get to see their parents at all. They are given some money and left to their own device. As a result the young generation sinks into the American way of life like those they watch on MTV. They are force to compare their Vietnamese culture with the big and glamour American life. And such a term like white wash appears and it becomes an embarrassment now for these young people to say they are Vietnamese or even Asian. It is a very tragic thing.

19 comments:

babygirlannie said...

i totally agree. that "sexy bitchy naughty" song was ridiculous, i was hot-faced embarrassed for those girls as well as the rest of us Vietnamese.

Anonymous said...

I watched 1 of these pageants...and it made me a little sick how most of these girls can't speak vietnamese. How are you supposed to represent yourself as a "Ms. Vietnam" in the US and not know how to at least speak in vietnamese or know a little bit about the culture?

Guy said...

Hi,

What you said is not totally acurate. We do have a preliminary pageant where we actually get to see all the girls in person. Some might not able to make it, we would get video from them. It costs a lot of money to have girls flying in from all over the world. WE work with what we have. We are the first grand pageant and everyone else is a copy cat. Miss Vietnam USA is in our 5th annual. Other pagaents stole information from us, stole our employees, copied our format, and so on. This is where I am very disappointed with the viet people.

We have contestants from part of the country where there are only two to three viet family. they have no choice but to hang with non vietnamese. as a result, they ended up forgeting their native language. Most of the girls were borned and raised in the USA. What important is that after the show, they learned to speak vietnamese, have vietnamese friends, and eat vietnamese food. we have parents called us up thanking us for bringing their daughters back to their root. I want you and everyone in here to read a letter written by a young lady, how she dreamt of competing for the miss vietnam usa since she was a littel girl.



"Dear Miss Vietnam Committee,

It is both a privilege and an honor that I am writing to you right now. My name is xxxxxxx. I am from Randolph, Massachusetts and attend Archbishop Williams High School as a senior. Becoming Miss Vietnam has been something that I have always wanted to do since I was a little girl, it is my dream. Since I turned seventeen this year, I am now eligible to compete in this remarkable competition. Starting off my senior year has been a rough start. I have already started the college admissions process and sent out numerous applications. I excel in school with a 3.46 GPA and have three college-level courses. I am an active leader in my school community, and I hope to develop into a leader by becoming Miss Vietnam. I want to not only represent Vietnam in the best possible manner, but to show the billions of people in the world what an extraordinary race we are. I continue to grow everyday, and my experiences in life would make me a noteworthy candidate. I have the deepest regret for not submitting my application in earlier, but my academics had to come first. I honestly got very overwhelmed with my three college classes and the college admissions process. Despite this fact, please take me into consideration, because I think I will be the best Miss Vietnam yet. I have attached my college-essay to show that being Vietnamese is a very big part of my culture and who I am today. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank You,

I am a strong believer in experience. Experience is the process of confronting and overcoming obstacles in life. These successes and failures make you who you are. In a lifetime, most people experience the usual life passages of painful heartbreak, agonizing embarrassment, or joyful accomplishment. However, I have experienced what most go through only once: death.

Death is inevitable, I do not live everyday trying to avoid it or pretending it does not exist. I am merely not scared. My philosophy of death concurs with “Asthma” by Seneca and “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. Seneca asserts that we should not be afraid of what we have already experienced. Personally, it means that because I “died” in an accident and was revived, I should not be afraid to die again. In general, Seneca means that before you were born, were you not already dead? Understanding death and not being afraid would lead to Morrie’s lesson of “when you learn how to die, you learn how to live”. Knowing that death is a remarkable force has taught me to love deeply, laugh endlessly, and live passionately.



Before the accident, I defined mental toughness. The way I understand it, if I am tough on myself, life will be easier on me. I did not just have my game face on for all the athletic invitationals, competitions, meets, and games; I had it on for life. I am a fighter.

But that day was different. It was the first time that I have ever cried in public. Holding back the tears was not an option because the toughness quickly vanished, and my world slowly fell apart.

June 27, 2005

I was in Vietnam for my annual visit to see my grandparents. My family and I were in Ha Noi, the big city, driving to Da Nang, the countryside. Two hours into the trip, life ended. Because no one could stop in time, we were crushed between a bus and a truck. The driver and my three cousins died instantly. My lifeless body was squeezed among dead loved ones. Although I was unconscious and remained so for four days, my dead cousins leaning against me feels like a very real memory. While they died instantly, my life quickly went from being without a breath or pulse to being revived and unconscious.

However, the pain that I received after gaining consciousness was no where near the pain that I would experience later on. Everyday was a struggle. The worst part was trying to get up every morning to “live life” knowing that my cousins could not. I did not believe that I deserved to live anymore than they did. Everyday it got harder, and harder. I spent weeks in bed because to me, living life was overrated, and nothing was worth it anymore. Because I am a fighter, I did not expect to become depressed and apathetic about school and life, but I did. I began to become a completely different person, living a completely different life. I disregarded everything everyone told me because I was “tough”, and I was a “fighter”.

By the end of my sophomore year, I realized that I completely wasted a year of my life away. I was no longer the sweet girl that my teachers loved, or the energetic person my family and friends adored. My life-long dream of becoming a veterinarian had stayed nothing more than a dream, and I had become my worst fear: nothing. Deciding to stay at Archbishop Williams High School, and challenging myself with honor courses instead of going to Randolph High to become another member of the “Randolph gangs” was my first step up the ladder. The first step was the hardest because it meant getting over that painful experience and letting go to move forward, and start to live again.

It would have been so much easier to climb down that ladder, and become everything I was not meant to be. I could have easily just dropped out of school and run away. Running away from my past, and that experience would have been the easiest thing to do in my life. But I did not run, and I never will. For better or for worst, I am a fighter.

Even though I dearly loved my cousins and miss them all of the time, the accident brought me to a new life. I discovered life through death, and like Morrie, learned to live by learning how to die. To justify my living through their deaths, I push myself to earn and deserve my survival. I grab life, determined to use or enjoy every moment. I am here for a reason. I could have been one of those bodies in the car, but I was not. I will prove why not as I grow and contribute to this world. I will fight.



"'Everybody knows they're going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently,' Morrie said. 'So we kid ourselves about death,' I (Mitch) said. 'Yes, but there's a better approach. To know you're going to die and be prepared for it at any time. That's better. That way you can be actually be more involved in your life while you're living. . . Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, 'Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?... The truth is, Mitch, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live... -- Tuesdays with Morrie
"

Guy said...

Here are some mainstream articles written about us.

Newsweek
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_kmnew/is_200411/ai_n8596439

Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/18/AR2005101801739.html

We were also on Jay Leno and many more.

Isnt that something we should be proud?

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon this blog through another google search. This is an interesting topic b/c commercializing pageants is nothing new I don't think. What's funny, though, is people continue to justify the "born, raised here, so cannot speak Vietnamese" claim. If the situation is that of a contestant in a Miss (Blank), say Miss USA pageant, not speaking English, would this particular contestant stand a chance? I say, if you can say a complete line in Vietnamese to let others know you want to answer questions in English, then you're capable of answering in Vietnamese with a bit more effort. After all, aren't Vietnamese and Asians in general, community-oriented people? At least a genuine display of trying to speak in Vietnamese is better than avoiding speaking it altogether. Better yet, please don't waste more time by explaining you don't know the language well enough.

Anonymous said...

It is an unfortunate for the so called beutiful girls participated for the beauty pageant by Quoc Thai. Caused the wanna be founder had no knowledge of beauty or any competion level of any kind. QT doing this just for fame and money. Looked how bad the girls were picked. I had never see any beauty pageant that informed the public by putting flyer to the light poles. Now Quoc Thai beauy pageant has a new name ( Miss Light Poles USA). It is ridiculous and hillarious.

Anonymous said...

What's even more ridiculous is the little girl singing I'm a Barbie girl. That is the most tasteless thing I have ever seen in my life! Has anyone in the organizing comittee of this pageant read the lyrics to this song? With all the child predators and sexual molestors out there preying on our children not just in public but in their own households is hideous to me. I agree with you that the organizers of pageants have no taste and have no idea what the hell they are doing.

Anonymous said...

AMEN. when i was reading this, i was like, why is this person bashing out against his own community and the wonderful things they do to promote vietnamese culture? then as i continued and read the entire article, it is safe to say all the points mentioned are blatant problems of these "rigged" pageants where in the end, there really is no purpose to having these hoa hau ao dai events at all. it is funny becuae a lot of my friends and sister`s friends are into these things and yet i stand idle staring in digust that they seek popularity in pointless things like this. well said. well written.

Myson Nguyen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think this is sad. I don't care about these pagnents, as long the girls are pretty and KNOW HOW TO SPEAK VIETNAMESE. For example, I approved the beauty and the knowledge of Vietnamese culture and language like Miss Linda Vi Tram Nguyen in MVG. No offence but for Jennifer Le, shes pretty but really she doesnt deserve to win the MVG crown as she has no idea to epxress her answer in Vietnamese during the Top 5 Questions and Answers in 2007.

Anonymous said...

I'm a dude. The first time I heard the song sexy-bitchy-naughty was at a restaurant and they were showing that DVD. I actually got uncomfortable, offended, and a bit mad that it was showing of any place a beauty pageant where it's promotion "Viet" "Beauty". It ws am embarassment and cant state any worst that indicate Viet females are whores.

As for those shows, it's all about making money and that's it. Forget the b.s. Girls does the show to may be feel pretty, for the money, to get notice to get hook up with some rich dude, plenty of them end up with rich guys in entertainment and doctors.

And frankly, even the winners aren't that good looking. Serious.

Anonymous said...

hahahaah
i don't know who wrote this but that's pretty good. i had no idea 'bitchy naught me' was the first song!!!@ hahahaha i think one of the best things i like about the viet community sometime is how tacky we are, it just makes me lol. anyways, good post hahaha. i love the 'long' comments people make too. hah


here was one of my takes:
i copied someones complaint on it and then was like you know what? who cares

http://neaat.wordpress.com/2008/03/28/linda-vi-tram-miss-vietnam-global-scam/

Anonymous said...

Shows like these are replicates of others, and the more replicates there are, the worser the format.It seems that these shows are carried out to exploit and humiliate naive participants, its a wonder that these girls get taken seriously at all..

Vi3tSweetH3art said...

I agree with Anonymous. I mean SUCH A GREAT WAY TO REPRESENT VIETNAM! Yeah sure a little Viet Kieu kid might know no more.

Anonymous said...

I have seen so many versions of Ms Vietnam USA Beauty Pageants, I honestly dont see the genuine side of it anymore. There are girls up there who are not really aware of their heritage, and the fact that most of them cant speak Vietnamese properly, it deeply saddens me.

I feel like the Ms Vietnam replica'sare only played out to endorse certain video productions for the money.

Anonymous said...

maybe if you are rich..just create your own pageant and be the winner..haha. Also the little girl that sang Barbie Doll was the modt hideous thing ive ever seen. Honestly, what the heck was the producer thinking? com'on, It's MVG for god sake, its not a little kids show. I'm so annoyed because most the girls said they can't speak Viet. ok, you know i have met a 3 yrs old kid who can speak fluent Viet. Also, the pageant hosted by Qouc Thai, i remembered one of the girl try to speak English..she had a very heavy accent, clearly this mean she can speaks Viet at least.I dont understand why they denied the fact that they can speaked Viet? Is it an embarassment? If it is then don't enter Miss Vietnam Pageant. Enter Miss USA or something, and you can speak as much English as you want.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a Barbie Girl...." & "Dhoom Dhoom Sexy Naughty Bitchy"?

Did they not have more appropriate songs for the pageant contestants?

Cause for a moment, I thought these girls were parading as escorts or something

Anonymous said...

I think that decent Vietnamese American girls should go on those pageants. Not dumb dime store hooker bimbos. They make the Vietnamese look bad. Now the ppl who run the pageant they should start looking for viet girls who are successful and smart. I know alot of pretty girls who fit that description. I'm not sure those girls even want to go on those pageants now after all of this corrution.

Anonymous said...

I want to do pagents.. but after reading this.. i don't know if I even want to think of it anymore. This is just sad and makes us viet girls look bad. And we aren't..atleast not all of us. I can name a whole list of very [truly] talented viet girls that I know who would make a very good MVG winner & has REAL talent and true beauty [not w/ caked on make up or with surgery].. Unless all of this changes.. I'ma just stick to those little pagents as the Tet festivals. lol