Young Vietnamese Star’s Career Ruined in Sex Tape Scandal

Hoang Thuy Linh

By BEN STOCKING, Associated Press Writer

HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnam is having a Paris Hilton moment.

An online sex video featuring a popular celebrity has riveted the nation for more than a week now, much as Hilton’s clip seized the attention of Americans when it hit the Internet several years ago.

But unlike Hilton, the 19-year-old woman at the center of Vietnam’s sex scandal won’t be able to capitalize on her newfound notoriety.

Hoang Thuy Linh’s show has been canceled and the actress has made a tearful farewell on national television.

“I made a mistake, a terrible mistake,” said the doe-faced teen, who had cultivated a good-girl image. “I apologize to you, my parents, my teachers and my friends.”

Her fall from grace has highlighted the generational fault-lines in Vietnam, a sexually conservative culture within which women have been taught for centuries to remain chaste until marriage and stay true to one man — no matter how many times he cheats on them.

Like everything else in this economically booming country, ideas about sex and gender roles are quickly changing as satellite TV and the Internet bring Western influences to a society cut off by decades of war and economic isolation.

But for many in communist Vietnam, new ideas about free love are much harder to accept than the free market. And unlike men, women who break the old sexual taboos are not easily forgiven.

“Kids today are crazy,” said Nguyen Thi Khanh, 49, a Hanoi junior high school teacher. “They often exceed the limits of morality. They have sex and fall in love when they’re much too young.”

In the old days, Khanh said, a woman who had sex before marriage would be ostracized.

“A good girl must keep herself clean until she is married,” Khanh said. “Thuy Linh should be condemned. If I ever see her again on TV, I will turn it off, for sure.”

In “Vang Anh’s Diaries,” Thuy Linh portrayed an earnest high school girl, modern and stylish but determined to uphold the traditional virtues of “cong, dung, ngon” and “hanh,” which promote women as tidy, charming, soft-spoken and chaste.

Then the 16-minute video hit the Internet on Oct. 15 featuring Thuy Linh in bed with her former boyfriend, both of them apparently aware that they were on camera.

On Thursday, Hanoi police detained four college students accused of posting the sex clip to the Internet. They could face charges of “spreading depraved cultural items,” which carries a sentence of six months to 15 years if convicted.

Police identified the man in the clip as 20-year-old Vu Hoang Viet, who is currently studying overseas. They said a friend copied the film off of Viet’s laptop, and passed it along to other friends who then posted it online.

Most of the public’s wrath has been directed at Thuy Linh rather than Viet.

“People will forgive him, but not her,” said Tran Minh Nguyet of the Vietnam Women’s Union, which promotes gender equality. “Vietnamese think it’s OK for a boy to have sex at that age, but not for a girl. It’s absolutely unfair.”

The video has been the talk of Vietnam. Even members of Vietnam’s National Assembly were overheard gossiping about it last week at the opening of the new legislative session.

A few lonely voices have sprung up in Thuy Linh’s defense. But in most newspapers and on blogs and Web sites, the video has become the target of jokes and condemnation.

VietnamNet, a popular online newspaper, said the episode underscored the “dark side of globalization” and warned that a flood of foreign influences “threaten Vietnam’s cultural foundation.”

The scandal also has disillusioned many of Thuy Linh’s biggest fans.

“She was supposed to set a good example for Vietnamese students nationwide,” said Chi, 14, a Hanoi junior high school student who declined to give her full name. “Now this scandal has ruined everything. It’s completely destroyed her image.”

Hilton’s sex tape, made with then-boyfriend Rick Salomon in eerie night-vision green, surfaced just before the start of her reality TV series, “The Simple Life” and helped propel her to superstardom.

But in Vietnam, the video scandal is certain to destroy Thuy Linh’s career, said Nguyet of the Vietnam Women’s Union.

“Vietnam is changing quickly, but there’s no way Thuy Linh will be forgiven,” Nguyet said. “That will take another generation.”

Justin Lin’s “Finishing the Game” coming to a city near you!

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Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters:

FINISHING THE GAME, our new independent film, has been an opportunity to revisit our indie roots and reunite with many in the BETTER LUCK TOMMOROW family. The challenges of making a no-budget film are harsh and demanding, but at the same time, it is filmmaking in its purest form. Clearly, passion on the part of the cast and crew made this film possible. Now we are hoping to share FINISHING THE GAME with you as it comes out in theaters and into your homes.

When BETTER LUCK TOMORROW was released, we showed Hollywood that we are a viable audience. In an industry governed by box office receipts, there is strength in numbers. The turnout for the film sent a clear message that we demand to see ourselves on screen as multi-dimensional characters. Five years later, we are asking for your support again. At this point, we need to demonstrate that BETTER LUCK TOMORROW was not a fluke; we are a vital consumer community that will no longer be ignored. However, out of respect for your time, energy and taste, we don’t want you to come see the film simply because it¹s an “Asian American” project. Rather, we want you to connect to the work itself and let the film stand on its own. We welcome you to take a look at the FINISHING THE GAME trailer on our website:

http://www.youoffendmeyouoffendmyfamily.com

Among other things, it features a behind-the-scenes look at our journey from BLT to FTG that was made by film student Anson Ho.

We are happy to announce that IFC Films, our supportive partner, will be distributing FINISHING THE GAME. However, this “platform release” is merely an opportunity and, in certain ways, an uphill battle. The lifespan of a truly independent film is determined on a week-by-week basis. Every weekend could be its last.

Through making studio films, I have learned that “word of mouth” is the most important aspect of any film’s release. A big budget movie could buy up every billboard and flood TV with commercials in order to generate audiences. An indie film does not have the budget or the platform to do that. But, the great equalizer is the viewer. Good or bad, every film is ultimately subject to “word of mouth.” It’s simple: if you like the film, tell your friends. And if they like it, they should do the same. FINISHING THE GAME will open in New York on October 5th at the IFC Center; October 19th in San Francisco and Berkeley; and October 26th in Los Angeles, San Diego, Costa Mesa and Minneapolis.

We are also excited to announce that on October 5th, aside from its traditional theatrical release, the film will simultaneously be available ON DEMAND in 42 million homes in the United States through every cable and satellite TV distributor. This is something we are extremely excited about because it could potentially bring more of us together and build a distribution model for future Asian American films.

By supporting projects with representation and elements that you want to see, you are sending a clear message to the decision makers in Hollywood. If we can get enough people to do the same, then we will truly have a voice. So please share this with your friends and family. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Justin Lin

Viet Model Project airs Reality TV model show on Saigon Broadcast Television Network

Viet Model Project just aired its first showing of their new reality TV show on Saigon Broadcast Television Network.

The first ever Viet Model Project brought together 30 Vietnamese beauties in August and announced its winner, Alex Tran, with the $10,000 grand prize and a national cover spread.

The program airs at 12:00 AM midnight PST on SBTN.

alex tran

Above is a picture of Viet Model Project winner, Alex Tran.

Far East Movement hits it big on Power 106FM!

A good friend of mine, Carl Choi, is the manager of Far East Movement. They are the top Asian American hip hop band! To help support more Asian American artists making it in mainstream music, please start voting for them on Power 106FM in LA!

They are #4 on Power 106FM Los Angeles!!!!

Their song “You’ve Got A Friend” is #4 Tonight on Power106’s Top 8 at 8 Countdown!

Please keep voting and spreading the word and text 69106 at request FM LIL ROB BABY BASH – You’ve Got A Friend

or you can vote online at http://www.power106.fm/countdown/top8at8.aspx

and for the top 4 at 4

http://www.power106.fm/countdown/top4at4.aspx

PLEASE REPOST AND TELL YOUR FRIENDS TO REPOST!!!!!

Storyline Designs Presents The VudooSoul Tour 2007

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Storyline Designs Presents The VudooSoul Tour 2007

Tour to Kick-Off Oct. 26 in Charlotte, NC

New York, NY – October 8, 2007 – In the weeks leading up to the release of his highly anticipated second album, R&B sensation and American Idol finalist VudooSoul will take the show on the road with an exciting 6-city tour. Each high-energy date will feature fan favorites, “Lover Come Over,” “Infatuated,” and “Oh Too Late,” as well as current hit “Lazy,” and other never-before heard cuts from his new album due out Winter 2007. VudooSoul will be accompanied by his star-studded band, representing some of the country’s elite jazz/R&B musicians hailing from Boston, New York, New Orleans, & Japan.

Presented by Storyline Designs | Events by Kym Pham, a newly-launched event planning company with a growing clientele of artists, the VudooSoul Fall Tour 2007 will have continuous interaction with its fans as it passes through each city. Its website will feature exclusive content, including a daily tour blog from the road and photo galleries posted by the team and fans alike.

“VudooSoul is one of my favorite singers to watch live not only because of his amazing voice, but, more than that, his PASSION. We lack passion in our society and every time he’s on stage, he moves the crowd,” states Paul Kim, Founder and Executive Director of Kollaboration, a Pan-Asian talent show that propels talent into the limelight of the music and entertainment industries. Be sure to check out Kollabor8tion next February at the Orpheum Theater in downtown LA.

“As a talent show producer of eight years, one thing I’m always looking for is: Does the performer MOVE people? Ask any girl in the audience after one of his shows if they want to take him home and they will say ‘yes’. VudooSoul proves Asian men are sexy. As I always say, it’s not about size, it’s about surprise,” he continues. “If you haven’t heard VudooSoul sing yet, you will. His voice carries far and will bring him to your city soon.”

Indeed it will.

In the past, his music has already found its way not only to venues in every major U.S. region, but also internationally, in places such as Hong Kong. This fall, The Vudoosoul Tour 2007 will kick off on October 26 in Charlotte, NC and will wrap up in New York City on Halloween. Full details about the first ever VudooSoul Tour, including dates and tour stops, are available on MySpace. For the cities the VudooSoul Tour 2007 does not reach, you can request your city to be added to the next tour at storylinedesigns@gmail.com or simply be on the lookout for news about The VudooSoul Tour 2008!

Don’t miss getting a taste of what American Idol Judge Randy Jackson meant when he confided in VudooSoul that he had “never imagined a voice like THAT coming out of a body like yours!”

And neither will you.

Below is the schedule of tour dates for the VudooSoul Tour 2007:

DATE CITY VENUE
Friday, October 26 Charlotte, NC UNC Charlotte Lucas Room
Saturday, October 27 Durham, NC Carolina Theater
Sunday, October 28 Abermarle, NC Stanly County Agri-Civic Theater
Monday, October 29 College Park, MD UMCP Nyumburu Cultural Center
Tuesday, October 30 Carlisle, PA The Depot at Dickinson College
Wednesday, October 31 New York, NY The Bitter End

For more information: www.vudoosoul.com / www.myspace.com/vudoosoul

Contact:
Kym Pham
Event Stylist, Storyline Designs
http://www.storylinedesigns.com
storylinedesigns@gmail.com