Weekly Insights and Analysis

Beauty and Lost Innocence

October 15, 2008

By Kim N. B. Ninh

Vietnam may be experiencing the highest inflation rate in the last two decades, a whopping 28 percent year-on-year in August, but of late the country is consumed with a different crisis. The latest beauty to be crowned Miss Vietnam on Aug. 31, 18-year-old Tran Thi Thuy Dung, was discovered to not have finished secondary school, contrary to the government’s beauty contest regulations. On the surface, the ingredients of this still unfolding scandal are rather mundane. It turns out that the rules established by the Miss Vietnam organizing committee were different from those of the Ministry of Culture, asking for contestants to have achieved “the level of high school and higher” rather than the government’s requirement of a high school graduation exam. Read more…

Kim Ninh is The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Vietnam. The above is an op-ed carried Tuesday in the International Herald Tribune and originally in In Asia. She can be reached at

Related locations: Vietnam


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In Asia is a weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia\’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of over 70 renowned experts in over 20 countries, In Asia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.

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