by Thu Anh
A strong breeze whips up a beautiful girl's skirt and for a moment, her undergarments are seen. A boy, meanwhile, kneels down for a peek. Sexually suggestive scenes like these are to found in Fruity Robots, a foreign cartoon series on DVD sold in HCM City.
After it was broadcasting on a TV channel, it has become a popular cartoon among many local children.
"Foreign cartoons, particularly Japanese products, available in the market are often filled with violence, sexual images and content for adults aged 18 and over," said Nguyen Thi Thuan, owner of a DVD store in District 1's Huynh Thuc Khang Street.
"I earn healthy profits from the sales," she added.
In Ha Noi, DVD cartoons for adults are selling like hotcakes at shops in Hang Bai, Hang Bac and Ton That Tung streets, and these are being sold without warning to kids as well.
HCM City resident Nguyen Hoang Truong, father of a six-year-old girl, became worried when he heard his daughter and her classmate repeated dialogues from Fruity Robots.
After watching the cartoon, he was surprised. "It is about love and killing and now my kid and her friends like it."
Truong later visited some shops in the downtown area and found many DVD cartoons with content suitable for adults. "I don't want any more cartoons for my daughter," he said.
Do Thi Kim Thoa, who teaches Truong's daughter, said: "My students, male and female, enjoy copying their favourite characters in cartoons they watch."
Many educators and parents are worried about the cartoons now.
According to psychologist Le Minh Nga, children should be banned from watching cartoons relating to love affairs and murders, and those that use dult and profane language.
Commenting on the negative effects of these cartoons on children, she said: "After watching these, a meek girl/boy can become viciously excited by the sex and cruelty."
DVD producers and distributors are motivated to produce coppies of foreign cartoons because these are the titles that lure young audiences.
"Cultural authorities should increase their control over the business and ask distributors to release age-appropriate products for children," Nga said.
Art from the heart
Some people believe that the higher the quality of art, the bigger the audience and fancier the venue.
Veteran and young performers of Tra Vinh Province's Anh Binh Minh Traditional Art Troupe think quite differently.
"We're not looking to make a profit or gain glory from our shows, but we hope to encourage people to love their culture much more," says Meritorious Artist Kim Thinh, head of Anh Binh Minh, one of the province's leading art troupes.
Thinh and his staff often travel by boat to meet their fans in remote areas in the provinces of Tra Vinh, Soc Trang and Ca Mau. They offer a variety of outdoor shows, at low prices or for free, to highlight the culture of the ethnic Khmer people.
During the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival last month, the artists visited Ca Mau's remote districts, including Thoi Binh, Tran Van Thoi and U Minh, entertaining several thousands people including children.
In traditional Khmer clothes, they sang, danced and staged plays based on the religions, traditional customs and culture of the Khmer people.
"We love to see Anh Binh Minh artists because their shows are of goog quality and diversity, and give us a taste of our Khmer culture," said farmer Phan Thi Be of Tran Van Thoi District's Loi An Commune.
Thinh and his colleagues are now working to prepare new shows for entertaining visitors to the Khmer new year festival, Chol Chnam Thmay which begins in the third month of the Lunar callendar.
"Through our shows, we hope youngsters can improve their knowledge of traditional art. They can find out how rich their country's culture is as well as learn useful lessons about love, life and people," said singer Truong Thi Loan. — VNS