by Trung Hieu
Viet Nam's showbiz industry has recently seen a boom in the number of people who have seemingly become famous from the hype created around them by the media.
Many artists like to talk with the media about their wealth, boasting about how expensive their clothes are or the luxury villas and cars they own.
"It seems that many of them try to cover up their lack of talent with material possessions, helping them to forget that in actual fact, the public are more interested in their celebrity status, rather than the quality of their work," says composer Tuan Khanh while talking about the phenomenon.
"Society likes to delude itself and pretend these things are important, to the extent the celebrities have become society's ‘cosmetics'.
"These ‘cosmetics' have their own price, and they are regularly updated and replaced, depending on the fickle mind of the public," he says.
A recent series of pictures featuring models such as Ho Ngoc Ha and Bao Hoa posing nude have hit the online world, initially shocking the public.
Ngoc Quyen is a model who understands the power of posing nude, so she had a photo shoot, saying it was "for the sake of the environment".
Her position as just another model changed overnight, and her new found fame encouraged other aspiring stars to follow suit. Even a male artist, Mai Hai Anh, also posed nude, "for the sake of the sea".
Some artists claim that nude photos of them that appeared on the internet had been leaked, but the public are smart enough to realise that these are merely publicity stunts to increase the artists' notoriety and promote new albums.
The growing popularity for this form of celebrity has caught the attention of various forms of media, that are quick to focus on artists who intentionally flash their underwear, flaunt themselves in sexy costumes and make shocking announcements to titillate their fans' imaginations.
Some event organisers and celebrities who have media support, especially online media, are ready to cause scandals to create fame for newcomers and restart dwindling careers while advertising their businesses.
The two sides interact with each other, creating a mish-mash of polluted aesthetic values within the entertainment industry.
Some young members of the showbiz world have become popular faces on the internet, thanks to their willingness to show off their bodies and reveal information about their private lives, but the public is becoming tired of this facade.
Members of the public expressed their viewpoints.
"Every hour, more and more photos are posted on the internet, with sexy slogans such as "giant breasts" or "revealing underwear".
"Most web users are close to their limits, but are still willing to forgive in most cases. However, when one website published photos of actress Truong Ngoc Anh's three-year old daughter with the title ‘Actress Truong Ngoc Anh's three-year-old daughter revealed her underwear', many adults felt really angry," says Pham Thi Hang from Ha Noi.
"I read newspapers everyday and what I need is more useful news rather than tabloid trash," she says.
My Linh from HCM City says: "I really hate to see sites that only contain minimal information about celebrities, but plenty of shocking photos and lurid comments to attract viewers."
Luckily, responsible journalists from a variety of media outlets have recognised the problem and decided to ignore these fame-hungry wannabes.
An editor of the popular 2Sao website, Dao Trang, says her editorial board are "determined not to help these untalented ‘stars' find fame, and will no longer publish stories about them."
"It's time to clean up our showbiz environment," she adds.
Many reporters have decided that they will no longer be a conduit for tabloid trash, and would promote morality in journalism.
When an online newspaper intentionally create a shock by using this title "Actress Truong Ngoc Anh's three-year old daughter revealed her underwear", it came under severe criticism from reporters on social networks and online forums.
In another case, when online newspapers ran a photo titled "Singer Thuy Tien snapped in her underwear", many journalists protested.
"If you intentionally photograph underneath a woman's skirt, you are just an immoral guy," reporter Tran Dung comments angrily. His opinion received support from many other journalists.
I think this string of scandals in the media has left a bad impression on society.
Artists should be judged on their talents and vocational virtue. The public has a high opinion of these values, which editors and the people behind these smutty stories should recognise.
Model Ngoc Quyen says she will never pose for nude photos again. "I have learnt from the criticism I received and I'll try my best to further my career on merit, rather than using media scandals."
Scandals will only ever bring short-term gains, and true fame can only be achieved from genuine talent.
"Scandals can explode into the limelight in a flash, but then disappear again as quickly as they came," says actress Phi Thanh Van.
Without the means and media support to put these scandals into the public domain, such dirty trick campaigns would quickly disappear. — VNS