05/30/2006 — 11:41(GMT+7)

Ha Noi (VNA) – Vietnamese players had a string of bad luck on May 28 when they all lost in the three quarter-final matches of the 120,000 USD Bingo Bonanza Philippines Badminton Open.

Nonetheless, Viet Nam's top player Nguyen Tien Minh is expected to improve his world ranking by 26 steps to 38th after reaching the quarters in the Philippines.

Losing lots of energy in the three-set win over 14th world ranked Kuan Beng-hong last Saturday, No 9 seed Tien Minh played out of form against his Malaysian rival Hashim Roslin, who is 45 ranks behind on the world table.

Roslin, who is 109 world ranked, capitalised on his 15-year experience to overwhelm Minh's weakened strength in two straight sets. The Malaysian won 21-9, 21-15.

Tran Thanh Hai, although injured, still tried his best in two doubles matches in hope of improving his points to qualify for the world championship.

Hai and Nguyen Quang Minh, 62nd world ranked seeded No 5 in men's doubles, were defeated by Indonesian duo Uki Kasah Yoga and Suryatama Yonathan in two sets, losing 21-14, 21-15.

Hai played with less strength in the mixed doubles later on Sunday when he paired up with women's Top Player Championship titlist Le Ngoc Nguyen Nhung.

Hai and Nhung were trounced 21-10; 21-11 by Muhamad Rizal and Gresya Polii of Indonesia.

Tien Minh and Quang Minh will represent Viet Nam in the Singapore Open later this week.-Enditem



An additional 19,000 scholarships will be presented to students in Asia-Pacific countries including Vietnam over the next five years, announced the Australian Embassy in Hanoi on May 29.

The Australian scholarship scheme has been in Vietnam for quite a long time, prioritising human resource development for the country, said Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell. He said that this five-year scholarship programme reflects the strong belief of the Australian government in education-based cooperative relationships with regional countries.

"Vietnam is home to numerous outstanding students, that is why we always encourage and create favourable conditions for the students to earn scholarships," he further said.

At present, Vietnam ranks third among the largest beneficiaries of the Australian government's scholarship programme, which includes the Australian Leadership Awards, the Australian Development Scholarship and the Endeavour Award Programme. All Vietnamese students are eligible to apply for these scholarships for any undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate coursework, research programmes, or vocational training programmes. (VNA)

Vietnamese authorities stripped a police major of his rank Tuesday for organizing betting on a cockfight in his house.


Major Nguyen Hoang Son, 42, a Ho Chi Minh City traffic inspector, was caught red-handed on 19th May playing the bookie in district 9.

He owns a 2,000 sq.m parking lot which he also uses as a cockfight arena.

The police which found 59 gamblers, 19 fighting cocks, and seized VND80 million (US$5,000) and $2,000 in cash, 35 mobile phones, 29 motorbikes, and two cars, has sought warrants to prosecute Son and 24 others involved in the betting.

The city police force had earlier suspended Son.

Cockfights and any other activity held for gambling is illegal in Vietnam.

Reported by Dam Huy – Translated by Hoang Bao

May 31, 2006

The northern-4-flap dress is Vietnam's first "ao dai", only worn on the occasion of the Tet festival. The brown dress with the two fore-flaps tied together and let dangling matches with satin trousers and silk belts. Then the 4 flap dress has been modified into a 3-flap one: the collar being 2 cm high, the sleeves wrapping tightly to the wrists, breast and waist of main flaps, there is also a minor flap reaching down to the fringe. Buttons are made of plaited cloth and buttoned on the side. The collar is turned up obliquely to let appear three color ( or 7 colors ) of the dress. The outermost layer is of brown silk or a kind of black gauze, followed by light yellow, pink, lemon green, and sky-blue… multicolored ones…., attractive yet decent, discrete and harmonious…

Following the Europeanization wave in 1935, Lemur Nguyen Cat Tuong's "modern ao dai" made its apparition. It had puffed out shoulders, cuffed sleeves, a round collar cut breast-deep and laced, a corrugated fringe made of joined cloth of different colors and gaudily laced.

During the the 1939-1945 period there was a conflict on a esthetic concept, resulting in the restoration of the traditional ao dai. Young girls' collar was from 4 cm to 7 cm high, the roundness of which was ensured by a stipt starching, the flaps were of a broad width and of a 1958 and the beginning of 1959, Madam Ngo Dinh Nhu's low-necked, decollete ao dai was launched.

At the beginning of 1971, the raglan-sleeve ao dai renovated by Mrs. Tuyet Mai overcame the wrinkling short comings at the shoulders and the armpits.

From the early 1970's to 1975 it was the period at mini and hippy ao dai widely worn with tights and flares until 1989. The first ao dai beauty contest was restored under the communist regime since 1975 and the traditional ao dai returned to its suave beauty of old times. All young ladies were encouraged to wear the white ao dai to school which has been banned since 1975 after the falling of Sai Gon. All such contests as school beauty, sports beauty has been organized everywhere in the country, ao dai is the main category in these contests. Now only the Tien Phong Newspaper beauty contest is considered the official national contest and who is crowned from this contest become the national beauty queen and she will represent the country in all diplomatic occasions. This contest has been official started in 1992 and repeated every two year sine then ( 1994, 1996, 1998).

The year 1995 was the crowing year for the national ao dai. Truong Quynh Mai's ao dai was chosen the most beautiful national apparel in Tokyo… The 1995 renovated ao dai model suits well modern times, and is more beautiful at it's tightened at the breast, waist and back, its collar evenly circling round from 4 cm to 7 cm high, the sleeves just tighten the arms.

Velvet ao dai, embroidered, painted and printed with flower pattern have created even more exquisite beauty features allowing Vietnam's ao dai to take off ever higher.

Designer Si Hoang

May 30, 2006

Culture Vulture

Designer Si Hoang earned his reputation for putting a new twist on Viet Nam’s traditional dress, the ao dai, over a decade ago. Since then Hoang’s ao dai have been seen on catwalks worldwide.
Recently, however, Hoang has been designing jeans, decorating ceramics and showcasing everything in a trendy tea shop, located in his three-storey company headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City.
Hoang spoke with Le Huong on how he entered the fashion industry and his current projects.

How did you begin designing ao dai and why have you continued to do so for so long?

I decorated my first ao dai in 1989, when a contestant in Miss Ao Dai HCM City, one of the country’s first beauty pageants, asked me to decorate her white ao dai.

I looked at the plain cloth and painted flowers all over it. She took second place in the competition and the trend of painting ao dai was born.

Tailors throughout the city called on me to decorate their ao dai and most of the girls who wore my designs in beauty contest took top prizes. Before I knew it, I was an ao dai designer.

I like the ao dai because it is capable of changing with the times. People can wear ao dai not only to festivals and diplomatic meetings but also in daily life.

The costume is perfectly suited for a dynamic daily life.

People say you are a lucky person. When you touched silk, you created a successful ao dai trademark. When you touched denim, your jeans became incredibly popular and when you touched ceramics, they too became best-sellers. Is there more to it that just luck?

Well, if my success is just luck, than it will not last long. If someone really wants to be successful, he should figure out what he wants and decide if he has enough wisdom, enthusiasm and experience to achieve it.

As I became experienced at decorating ao dai a few years ago, I turned to painting and embroidering blue jeans.

Later I would see American youth enhancing their jeans in the same way.

I was happy to know that my aesthetic sense is not very different from international trends.

But luck is certainly part of it. By chance I discovered the wonderful result of combining the rough surfaces of Cham ethnic minority ceramics with glass bead decorative patterns.

I’m most proud not of creating so many popular works of art but that I’m among a small group of people trying to save this rare ceramic art form from being forgotten.

Many poor local artisans now have jobs producing ceramics for my designs.

In your opinion, what is your responsibility as a fashion designer?

A fashion designer should always remember for whom he is designing clothing. Clothing should make the customer feel and look more beautiful and respectable.

I have never imposed what I want on my customers because I understand that clothing reflects the wearer’s style, ideas, and position.

How do you intend to expand your business this year?

Apart from continuing to design ao dai, jeans and ceramics, I recently set up a tea shop on the third floor of my company’s office building.

People can come and learn about Vietnamese culture through tasting authentic Vietnamese teas, while enjoying fashion shows and traditional folk music every night. I plan to open another tea shop in the city.

Si Hoang Company headquarters and tea shop are located at 36-38 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1, HCM City. — VNS

by Ngo Thu Hue

What started out as something to do for peasants between the rice harvests has become a symbol of the romantic city of Hue, and the key to one village’s economy.

The people of Tay Ho village, on the banks of the Nhu Y River outside Hue, recall that Bui Quang Bac was the first to make non bai tho (poetry hats) back in the 1660s.

These look like the conical hats available throughout the country but when held up to the light, silhouettes of verse can be seen.

The villagers say Bac adored poems which captured the soul and beauty of Hue and so stuck the verses on the inside of non so he would always be able to read them.

His idea has been built on by subsequent crafts-people so now the hats include poems as well as pictures of Hue landmarks such as Linh Mu Pagoda and Trang Tien Bridge.

Centuries of toil

The village’s non tradition began when farmers were ruled by a feudal system which forced them to look for other ways to make extra money.

During the wars for the country’s independence, the village’s women diligently kept their non making skills alive while the men went to the front.

People still believe that the village’s non stand out from others available because of the women’s skill and pride in their craft.

When the men returned from war, the production of the hats became segregated so men now tend to make the hat frames and prepare the materials while the women undertake the more difficult tasks of ironing and polishing the leaf and ensuring the tautness of the finished product.

Tay Ho hats are known for their glossiness as well as the ring threaded around the top which is said to make them stronger than other non.

Standing out

Girls from the village have continued making non when they marry and move away, ensuring the tradition has been spread throughout the central province of Thua Thien Hue.

But Tay Ho still has a stranglehold over the market.

Only seven of the village’s 307 households don’t make the hats and the craftspeople manage to send tens of thousands of non to markets every month.

Selling for an average VND5,000 to VND7,000, the Tay Ho non have managed to hold their own against the increasing competition from other villages.

It’s not a particularly profitable craft though, most people only earn VND10,000 a day for their labours. But for Tay Ho villagers the process of transforming the coconut leaves has taken root in their daily lives.

Most of the residents spend the evenings sitting with their family and crafting the hats.

Truong Thi Be, 80, who has been involved in the business for as long as she can remember, said the village’s hat makers are able to put a bit of their soul into their creations, ensuring they are more desirable than the competition.

Poetic seal: While young women donning ao dai and a non hat have become increasingly hard to find in big cities nowadays, they can be spotted in Hue, Viet Nam’s non capital. — VNS Photo Nguyen Phuc Son

Non are popular with local and foreign tourists who head to the city’s central Dong Ba market to bargain with the many sellers for their own slice of Hue.

Young women in the area grow up with a love of the hats and go to all lengths to find the trappings which will make theirs more noticeable. It is common for them to have hats made up incorporating their favourite verse and pictures.

Non have become so entrenched as a symbol of Hue that it is now impossible for Vietnamese people to imagine the city without thinking about women in their ao dai and the ever present head covering. VNS

miss vietnam global

May 30, 2006


ABOUT The Miss Vietnam USA Open

  After thirty years and many difficult journeys, the largest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam has settled in the United States of America. We have excelled in every aspect of life including entrepreneurship, education, innovation, sciences, humanitarianism, philosophy, and religion.

To celebrate these magnificent achievements,and to praise the excellence of all Vietnamese women, we proudly present The Fourth Annual Miss VIETNAM U.S.A. Open Pageant 2006-2007. The grand extravaganza will take place in Las Vegas on Saturday September 2, 2006There will be as many as 60 of the most beautiful Vietnamese women from all over the United States and the world arriving in California to compete for the prestigious honor of being named the most beautiful Vietnamese woman in America. Included with this high honor, our winner will receive a grand prize of $10,000 and a brand new Mercedes Benz along with many additional prizes and job offers.

Please join us to celebrate the Fourth Annual Miss Vietnam U.S.A. in Las Vegas, and every year there after. Fifty years from now, you can tell your children that you attended this event. Your input is greatly appreciated, so please contact us if you have any comments or suggestions.

Thank You,
from all of us at the
Miss Vietnam USA Open Pageant

The Preliminary The Preliminary is Sunday July 9, 2006 at:

Doubletree Hotel Anaheim/Orange County

100 The City Drive, Orange, California, United States 92868-3204
Tel: +1-714-634-4500  Fax: +1-714-978-2370 

 The Preliminary is mandatory for all. This is a one day event to select the 60 finalists for the pageant. Those with special circumstances or travel difficulties may be excused if they contact us and send a VIDEOTAPE of themselves (5-10 minutes, self introduction, interests, goals in life, and reason for wanting to be Miss Vietnam USA).

The 4th Annual Miss Vietnam USA Open-Live at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday Sept 2, 2006

For the pageant, all sixty finalists need to be in California from Friday August 25, 2006 to Sunday September 3, 2006. Out of state/country contestants must arrive on Thursday August 24, 2006.

 Effective 2006, The Fourth Annual Miss Vietnam USA Open will accept applications from other countries except Vietnam.  Click here for details.

Miss VIETNAM USA is now accepting application for the year of 2007. Are you interested in being a 2007 Miss VIETNAM USA contestant?  Click here for details.
We sincerely appreciate those whom have referred friends to our website www.missvietnamusa.com.


Nguyen Huu Hung is a cultural ambassador – this year he is organising a festival that treats Italians to a little taste of Vietnamese culture. My Ha reports.

For one month from June 16 to July 16, The Dragon and Butterfly Festival treats audiences in Rome to a feast of food, fashion, film screenings and art exhibitions. Helping to make it happen is Nguyen Huu Hung, who has lived in Italy for 24 years. Hungactivities range from promoting Vietnamese trade to culture, education to sport and tourism to the arts. Awarded the Knighthood by the President of Italy for his work on promoting the relationship between Viet Nam and Italy, Hung spoke about the sweet and elegant Vietnamese "invasion" of Rome’s Spring festival.

Inner Sanctum: What is the weather like in Rome in June?

It will be very nice with temperatures at 25oC, while June is the hottest month in Ha Noi.

Inner Sanctum: How did you come up with the idea for such a big cultural event for Viet Nam?

Well, it is actually a two-sided story. First, journalist Corrado Ruggeri fell in love with Viet Nam. He also has a good relationship with the Roma Province government. Second, the Italian Embassy in Ha Noi is giving tourist visas to participants for free and I added my personal lobby efforts to this as well. It took one year for all our efforts to finally come together. The festival is called Dragon and Butterflies representing the country (dragon) and the ao dai (butterflies), as Ruggeri visualises.

Inner Sanctum: Besides the war with the US, what impression do Italians have of Viet Nam?

Italians don’t know Viet Nam well at all. During the war in Viet Nam, Italy as a country with a non-communist government sided with the Vietnamese people. In Italy, the Communist Party was very strong at that time for a non-communist country. I once saw a photo of a demonstration in 1968 in Rome, where I saw so many yellow starred and blue and red flags.

The students who took to the streets to protest against the war in Viet Nam were then called the sessantotini (the sixtiers). They are now in their sixties and many of them have had successful careers. They had lived with Viet Nam during the most beautiful years of their youth and now they would be delighted to visit the country in person. Many of them want to go to Viet Nam, but they still don’t know how.

Our company once participated in a tourism exhibition and many Italians were very surprised to see our booth. They asked when had Viet Nam opened to international tourists. They wanted to know if it’s safe to travel in Viet Nam and whether they could find bread to eat.

For all these reasons, we are very enthusiastic to prepare for this event.

Inner Sanctum: Besides the cultural activities, what tourism activities are you looking at?

There will be seminars on economic trends and tourism and investment opportunities in Viet Nam. Those who have some interest in Viet Nam were very delighted to hear General Giap’s speech during the 10th Congress of the Communist Party in Ha Noi. His call for rejuvenating the leadership and proceeding with further reforms received considerable approval among the sessantotini.

Inner Sanctum: The Roma Spring Festival attracts about three million tourists. What do you hope to achieve at the festival?

We hope to leave a positive image of Viet Nam not only with Italian people but also international tourists who visit Rome during this time. We also hope that Vietnamese artists get a chance to display their works in the heart of the world of art, and will therefore be more confident with their works.

With the food presentation at the Theatro della Cucina (Cooking Theatre) in the Citta del gusto (City of tastes), we hope that Vietnamese food will be tasted by Italy’s best food critics, who could recommend Italian wines to accompany the dishes.

I think at this series of events, many Italians will find out that Italy and Viet Nam has a lot in common. One of the ingredients used in ancient cooking called gacum comprises of anchovy and salt and it tastes exactly like nuoc mam, or the fish sauce of Viet Nam.

Inner Sanctum: What can you tell me about the films that will be shown during the festival?

The films are the last things we add to the programme. As you can see they are mostly directed by overseas Vietnamese directors. We want to include films made by directors who live in the country, but the films did not have English subtitles, so we could not show them. It is a pity.

Inner Sanctum: The former Italian ambassador once said that archaeologists have found in the Hong (Red) River Delta an ancient coin of the Roman Empire two thousand years ago. What do you think of that comment in correlation with today’s "invasion"?

It’s like getting into the cave to catch the tiger. (Hung quotes a popular Vietnamese saying).

Inner Sanctum: What do you think of the saying "When in Rome, do as the Romans"?

Well, it is true. But for one month, you can do as Vietnamese do. — VNS

11:11' 29/05/2006 (GMT+7)

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Miss Capitals Hoang Thi Le Phuong (middle).

VietNamNet – A girl from the imperial capital Hue trounced 15 other girls to become Miss Capitals 2006 on May 27.


Hoang Thi Le Phuong, a student of the Hue Arts University, won the title to the surprise of many audience members. She will receive a bonus of VND30mil and a tour to Thailand and Cambodia.


Le Thi Thu, from Thanh Hoa, a student of the Hong Duc University, took the “Miss Talented” title, which equated to second place. Nguyen Mai Thu from Ninh Binh Province, a high-school student, took third, winning the title Miss Charm.


The organizers also awarded some other prizes, including Most Beautiful Face, Best Folk Singer, Best Costume, Miss Photogenic, Miss Fashion, and Miss Cosmetics.


The fifteen contestants strutted their stuff through four contests: Ao dai (traditional dress), Ao yem (Vietnamese style brassiere), royal ceremonial costume, and interview skills. The contest was held at the Hanoi Opera House. This was the first time all contestants of the final round of a beauty contest participated in interview round.


On June 2, the winners of the contest meet with children from Hue City at Ngo Mon event centre.


Here, VietNamNet offers photos captured on the final night.


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Ha Son

State law allows a legislator to spend most of his time in Sacramento and still list another city as hisofficialresidence.

The Orange County Register

IN THE CAPITOL: “I fly down and work in the district as much and as hard as anyone in this building,” says Assemblyman Van Tran, a former Garden Grove city councilman.

June 6 Voter Guide: Your directory to contested races on the June 6 ballot

SACRAMENTO – They say home is where you lay your head, but for California lawmakers it can be more complicated.

Assemblyman Van Tran lives in a new West Sacramento home he owns and shares with his wife, Cindy.

But in the eyes of the law, Tran, a Republican, doesn’t live there. He lives in Westminster – with his parents.

State law says lawmakers live wherever they’re registered to vote, and lawmakers can register anywhere they please, even if they spend little or no time at that address.

Some experts say this is good because it lets lawmakers live near the capital where they work.

But others say it opens the door to carpetbagging, weakening the very foundation of representative democracy.

It’s what allowed former Sen. Ross Johnson, a Republican, to represent Irvine when he and his wife and two daughters lived in Gold River, near Sacramento.

It’s why Assemblyman Tom Umberg, a Democrat, rents a condo in Santa Ana when he and his family own a five-bedroom house in a neighboring Republican district.

And it’s how Tran, a rising star in the Republican Party as one of the nation’s first Vietnamese-American legislators, was planning to run for termed-out Sen. Joe Dunn’s 34th state Senate District seat when his parents live in the 35th.

Two households

Tran, an attorney, freely acknowledges his West Sacramento home, registering at his parents’ house and briefly changing his registration to a studio apartment in order to qualify for the 34th Senate District seat. He says none of those things harm his connection to the community he represents, the 68th Assembly District.

“I fly down and work in the district as much and as hard as anyone in this building,” the 41-year-old said in an interview this month at his Capitol office.

The former Garden Grove city councilman owns several pieces of property in and around Sacramento, but none in Orange County, according to documents on file with the state.

His wife is from the Sacramento region and is registered to vote in West Sacramento. They were married in a Sacramento church shortly after he was elected to the Assembly in November 2004.

Meanwhile, in Orange County, Tran has changed his registration three times since October – first to his parents’ house in Westminster, then to the studio apartment in Garden Grove, then back to his parents’ house.

The dates of the changes correspond to when Tran flirted with running for the Senate and then dropped out to seek re-election in the 68th Assembly District.

Tran’s opponents in the Assembly race think residency is an issue. Long King Pham, Tran’s challenger in the June 6 Republican primary, and John Paul Lucas, the Democratic candidate, both say he is too disconnected from the district to accurately represent it.

“Meeting the spirit of the law and the letter of the law are two different things,” said Lucas, who lives in Costa Mesa. “If his wife’s primary residence is in Sacramento, I would assume his primary residence is with her.”

Making it legal

Tran disagrees. Asked if he felt his registration changes opened him up to charges of carpetbagging, Tran said, “It’s not like I’m from Nebraska and one day I want to run for state Senate in California and therefore I just move over and then say, ‘OK, I’m here! I’m running.’ … I have a long, deep-running relationship with the city” of Garden Grove.

Tran said he decided to move in with his mom and dad in Westminster, after selling his home in Garden Grove, when his older brother, Henry, unexpectedly died of cancer in January 2005.

“After my brother’s passing, I realized everybody’s time here is temporary and short. And my parents are in their mid-70s. And I want to spend more time with them – as much as I can, given the nature of this job,” Tran said.

Tran says he stays with his parents whenever he returns to Orange County, which he says he does every weekend. He estimates he spends 60 percent of his time at his West Sacramento home, with the rest spent living with his parents in Westminster. He said his wife joins him at his parents’ house two or three weekends a month.

And when the Legislature is out of session in fall, Tran said, he and his wife live with his parents full time.

“It’s a non-issue,” he said.

Tran was only registered at his parents’ house for four months when he changed again, to an address in the 34th Senate District.

Tran said he only changed his registration “to make it legal” for him to run for the seat. He registered at the Garden Grove home of Margaret Zuliani, who told The Orange County Register that Tran rented a room from her. The next day, Feb. 24, he pulled papers for the Senate race.

But four days later, Tran announced he was opting out of the Senate race to seek re-election to the Assembly. The next day, on March 1, he re-registered at his parents’ house. Tran said he dropped the Senate bid because he was concerned Democrats would pour a lot of money into the race to protect a seat their party controls.

Public perception

Experts say residency issues don’t necessarily affect candidates politically because voters understand they maintain homes near the Capitol and could own property elsewhere. What’s critical is that candidates be upfront about their living arrangements, they say.

“To me, it’s not an issue of legal or not. It’s whether a legislator feels he or she can properly represent the district,” said Peggy Kerns, a former Colorado legislator and director of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Center for Ethics in Government. “The public’s expectation is key here, that they be properly represented. It’s up to them to decide.”

In Orange County, the issue is often brought up, but candidates are elected anyway. In the 2004 primary for the 69th Assembly District, for example, Democrat Tom Umberg faced accusations of carpetbagging because he was renting a condominium in Santa Ana while his family owned a home outside the district, in Villa Park – Republican Assemblyman Bob Huff’s district.

Umberg won and is now running for the Democratic nomination in the 34th Senate District. He still owns the Villa Park home and continues to rent the condo, which is in the 34th.

Residency wasn’t a problem for former state Sen. Ross Johnson, who moved his wife and two daughters from Orange County to Sacramento after he called home one day and learned one of his daughters had lost part of a finger in an accident. Johnson said he was heartbroken he wasn’t there for her.

Johnson was open with voters about moving his family to Sacramento and maintaining a condominium in Irvine so he could continue to represent Orange County.

“I think spending time with your family is important,” Johnson said last week from his Sacramento-area home, where he now lives full time. “I don’t think it affected anything at all. I think I was a pretty accurate representation of my constituency.”

CONTACT US: (916) 449-6046 or bjoseph@ocregister.com