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.
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.