Last week, Viet Nam News asked its readers about their opinion on the Da Nang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism's proposal to set up a separate beach area for people who wear bikinis.
Here are some of your comments.
David Wood, English, Nha Trang, Viet Nam
I think the biggest problem in all this is that the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Da Nang actually think it's a problem in the first place. What makes them think it creates or show a bad image? All it shows other than a difference in culture is the fact that those in charge of the above department have no real clue as to foreign-thinking ways. In fact I find it as a foreigner a little insulting that they think I somehow might be offended.
If Vietnamese people wish to bathe in the sea with their clothes on let them carry on, most like me will look and think it's a bit odd but just accept it for what it is. Most will understand that they have a level of shyness way below foreigners, so smile and move on. Seriously, there is no problem here so why create one.
Valerie Vauthier, French, UK
I am surprised and would be pretty ashamed if fellow travellers or tourists were critical of clothing worn by Vietnamese people on Da Nang beaches to the point that they would want action taken to change it, and I sincerely hope the People's Council does not agree to segregate people on beaches on the basis of what is probably the opinion of a minority of foreigners. When you explore another country, the idea is to discover a different culture, reflect on it and perhaps learn from it. If you had mentioned plastic bags on some of the beaches in Viet Nam (Da Nang is clean), then it might have been more appropriate to comment since pollution affects us all and the environment we live in as human beings.
Anyhow, since Viet Nam News is talking about bikinis, if I were to give a personal opinion, I would say that people should wear what they are comfortable wearing on the beach and that in many cases it is good to wear a T-shirt or cover you swimming suit 1) to avoid looking like a lobster if you swim when the sun is out or you want to play a ball game in the sea or on the beach 2) to conceal a few wobbly bits when you have over indulged in a pho, bun cha and nem feast 3) to avoid friction burns if you are a keen surfer or a kiddy playing with a buoy or making sandcastles 4) when hey, why not, you just feel like wearing a dress or a tank top!
Vietnamese people generally wear much more elegant clothing than others in many countries and I for one prefer the sight of mixed clothing on the beach than burnt soon-to-be skin cancer victims dribbling out of bikinis three sizes too small for them. I am staying in Da Nang a few days and it is a joy to see so many people of different ages and body shapes swimming and laughing together, whole families having a good time. A decision to force everyone to wear bikinis would push these people away as they may not feel comfortable, especially the people over 30. Then what happens to family outings? If some tourists don't like this, let them go to private resorts. I am not aware of any country that made people wear bikinis on beaches: on the French Riviera it is considered trendy to wear chiffon dresses on the beach, and all surfers on the Atlantic coast wear t-shirts!
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi
Point me to the bikini beach and start selling postcards of the girls! Canadians and Americans are quite conservative, but there are many topless beaches around the world, including in Europe. Nude beaches usually have a warning sign or two.
Personally, I do not lie on the beach to bake in the sun, nor do I cover up so much skin while riding my motorbike that I resemble a mummy. It amuses me that people would complain about too much clothes or too little clothes.
If you have a nice looking body, show it off. Be respectful and don't laugh at the fat people, but certainly don't be a prude or be too shy and cover up either. As long as tourists are spending money, aren't polluting and aren't getting drunk in public, I say let them do what they want. It surprises me that foreigners would dare complain about locals.
Come to think of it, and the rates of obesity in the world and how big the average Canadian is, I think it is the foreigners that should cover up. Encourage slim, sexy Vietnamese people to show off.
That would catch my attention.
Nguyen Phuong Ngan, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
The proposal is wonderful. When you go to a party, you wear some clothes that are suitable for the party, when you go to work, you choose some suitable clothes for office work, and when you go to the beach, you should wear the most comfortable clothes, and bikinis are the best choice.
Bikini makes women more aggressive, beautiful and modern.
Bikinis are no longer strange to Vietnamese women. We're already used them. And no one complains about women wearing bikinis, so the women should not worry that bikinis aren't suitable for Viet Nam's customs.
It's time for Da Nang to change to develop its tourism sector and modernise local residents' awareness. If everyone wears a bikini, no one will be ashamed. — VNS