by Hoang Ha
A kiss too far?
When 18-year-old model Hong Que, kissed 28-year-old actress Quynh Hoa on the mouth at a public event several months ago, the audience was astonished by the "spontaneous" gesture.
Que evidently thought nothing of it. At another recent event, singer Que Van was on the receiving end of her kissing munificence.
The photograph made it to online news sites and Que Van was chirpy as she reacted on her Facebook page: "Kissing each other and being paparazzied, kiki (read he he)… "
Hong Que has continued to maintain a "nothing has happened" air as many people voice their objections to what they think is not appropriate public behavior.
Most recently, two Hanoian "hot" girls, Ha Min and Linh Sugar, admired by many people because of their "clean, scandal free" image, triggered a furore with a "feverish" kiss in public.
When the photo attracted a lot of negative comments on Facebook, Ha Min was apologetic: "We are such close friends. Hugging and kissing just expressed the closeness. Hope there is no misunderstanding."
The showbiz industry seems to have started a trend in same sex kisses - Chung Thuc Quyen and Vu Hoang Diep, Duong Yen Ngoc and Pha Le, Ngoc Trinh and Quynh Thu are among celebrities who have contributed to the "movement."
While some say the women are doing this as a PR stunt to grab attention, the behaviour has attracted considerable criticism from those who say it sends the wrong message to fans and particularly youngsters.
They say such displays of affection can happen behind close doors, but not in public. Then there are others, who shrug it off as publicity mongering that is best ignored.
A rural wedding to be proud of
The bride was radiant, smiling and laughing with the groom as the wedding procession brought her home.
Any wedding procession attracts public attention, but this one provoked different reactions from the bystanders, mostly surprise and laughter.
The procession did not feature a horse carriage or a fancy car. Instead, the couple were using the most humble motorised transportation to be found in the Vietnamese countryside - the xe cong nong, the vehicle that looks like a tractor engine in the front, dragging an open wagon to carry all kinds of farm produce, sand, bricks, hay and so on.
Furthermore, the rest of the wedding procession consisted of six similar vehicles crammed with friends and relatives.
The trucks were decorated with roses, balloons and coconut leaves plaited and bent into heart shapes.
A five-minute clip of the procession made its way onto the Internet, quickly attracting many viewers.
The wedding took place last Saturday (November 17) in Phu Tho Hamlet, Hau Thanh Commune, Yen Thanh District, Nghe An Province.
Most viewers were charmed by the romantic, rustic and economic wedding.
"The 'super' cars are wonderful. Your wedding is very welcoming. I like the spirit of your friends and relatives. Wish you a hundred years of happiness," one comment said.
The groom Nguyen Viet Van (27) and bride Nguyen Thi Phuong (25) fell in love with each other in 2005, when both were studying at a college in Vinh City.
After graduating in 2008, Phuong went to the southern province of Dong Nai to work while Van had a job in Hai Phong City. But their love for each other never wavered.
In 2011, they went to work in Thai Binh together to earn money for their wedding.
Van said that after their pre-wedding photo shoot, he was hard pressed to think of a special procession in which to bring the bride home.
"Our parents' houses are too close, it only takes a few minute by car, and it would be too mundane going on a motorbike," he said.
"I think my hometown is a granary. The tractor and self-manufactured xe cong nong are familiar and indispensable. I needed to do something meaningful on the happiest day of my life."
The biggest obstacle the couple faced in organising the special procession was convincing Phuong's parents.
They said: "If we do not have enough money, we should go on foot. We will be the laughing stock if we use the xe cong nong."
But the persistent and determined couple prevailed.
"At first, we thought it was just a childish game. But seeing them smiling radiantly and sitting proudly on the truck, we were happy…" said Nguyen Van Nguyet, the groom's father said.
"We think living is daring to dream and having ideals. Travelling in a xe cong nong on a wedding day is second to none, not even a billion-dong super car," Phuong said.
"The most important thing is that we are happy and do not look down on the character and nature of our hometown." — VNS