by Hoang Ha
Singing from the heart
On the night of Vietnamese Woman's Day (October 20), singers in Ha Noi put on a show called Thuong lam mien Trung (For the loved central region) to raise funds and support people in Central Viet Nam struggling to cope with the aftermath of the two recent tropical storms.
Singers Viet Tu, Minh Chuyen, Minh Quan and Thai Thuy Linh, meritorious artists Hong Lien, Viet Hoan and Han Van Tinh, were among those who turned up at the Song Xanh music club to perform.
They raised VND51 million, which by itself is not a huge amount, but the gesture itself carried great import.
"This is the first time a music programme was held at such short notice and preparation," said singer Viet Tu, one of the event organisers.
"It took only three days to call and prepare. No artist took a single dong in fees," he said.
Chi mot dem cuon di bao cuoc doi
Chi mot dem cuon di bao nu cuoi…
(Only one night swept away so many lives
Only one night swept away so many smiles…)
The song, composed one day before the show, was rendered by the Sao mai diem hen (Music Star Rendezvous) contest's winner Minh Chuyen. Listeners were moved by the lyrics and her singing. The musician had not even given the song a name.
The artists later visited Bo Trach District in Quang Binh Province to hand over their gifts last Thursday.
Deep love, shallow waters
A recently posted photograph of a couple and their relatives paddling in shallow waters on their wedding day attracted, in no time, more than 30,000 views, likes and shares on a social media website. Netizens remarked that despite the difficult conditions, the people in the photograph, especially the couple, looked happy and radiant.
"A rare wedding and an unforgettable event," said one comment.
Body on the line
Nguyen Thu Trang, third-year student at the University of Culture, earns a living by renting her body parts. Trang says she can earn up to VND1 million a day just by wearing dresses that leave uncovered parts of her neck, chest or thigh as required by the renters to put up their logo or message.
Trang then wears a mask and stands at crowded places like road junctions and trade centres. She also has to join photography sessions and have her pictures posted on the Internet or other advertising sites.
Trang says her income may not be as high as that of a model, but it is easier and less stressful.
Experts say this kind of advertising is new, but has obvious impacts thanks to the natural beauty of women.
Many young people and students have taken on this work because they think this is an easy way to make money.
Le Dinh Van, director of a Ha Noi-based advertising company says the rental price of an arm is VND100,000-150,000 per hour and VND700,000 a day; for the chest VND400,000-500,000 per hour, VND1.5 million a day; the thigh, VND250,000 per hour, VND1 million a day; shoulder, back and waist VND200,000 per hour, VND1million a day.
Those who have beautiful hair can be hired by salons to introduce new hair models and colours for VND500,000-700,000 a day. Those with a nice face can be hired as a model for a make-up class.
It all sounds so simple and easy, but the truth is that many young people have turned away from this new money-making opportunity because of allergies to dyes and other cosmetics or being unable to sit still for hours.
Le Thi Hai, who is studying for a degree in the hospitality industry, said the job has given her the experience to open a make-up and bridal dress rental shop in the future. But it has also changed her white and smooth skin into a spotty one because she used too many cosmetics over a short period of time.
Then there are critics who say that while advertising on the human body is not illegal in Viet Nam, it is contrary to national culture. They warn that if this practice is not regulated soon, the negative side of body advertising would emerge in the form of abuse and unfair exploitation. — VNS