miss vietnam pics

July 13, 2008

Laura Dundovic, Miss Australia 2008, competes in a gown of her choice during the Evening Gown segment
Anya Ayoung-Chee, Miss Trinidad & Tobago 2008

Nguyen Thuy Lam, Miss VIETNAM 2008 and Gavintra Photijak, Miss THAILAND 2008
Claudia Ferraris, Miss Italy 2008, and Carolina Dementiev Justavino, Miss Panama 2008
Laura Dundovic, Miss Australia 2008, poses for a photo in her Vietnam Swans Australian Rules Football jersey

Pantaloons Femina Miss India Universe 2008 Simran Kaur Mundi sports the traditional Vietnamese costume for the Ao Dai Show More Pics

Pantaloons Femina Miss India Universe 2008, Simran Kaur Mundi, is doing great at the ongoing Miss Universe contest at Nha Trang, Vietnam.

The beauty pageant is heading towards a grand finale — which is on July 14 — to be hosted by Jerry Springer and Spice girl, Mel B. “I just hope to keep up the momentum. I will give it my best,” avers Simran, who’s already been placed among the top five in three sub-competitions: the National Costume round, Ao Dai Show and the Swimwear Show.

And this time around, there’s a change in the format of the beauty pageant. The National Costume winner will be selected on the basis of an online poll. So, here’s your chance to participate in this event. Just log on to http://www.nbc.com, and vote for Simran now. Your vote can help Simran get the crown home, for, the more sub-contests she wins, the brighter her chances of winning the Miss Universe 2008 crown!

Orange County social services reach out to Vietnamese community

Groups are finding culturally sensitive ways to give healthcare advice to clients with different values and traditions.
By My-Thuan Tran, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 8, 2008
When Planned Parenthood representatives began handing out free condoms during an initial information session with recent Vietnamese immigrants in Orange County last year, a hush fell over the room.

Those who took one quietly whispered, in Vietnamese, that they were for friends. Some called the representative the “candy lady.” And the word “condoms” itself seemed embarrassing, so they called the handouts “raincoats.”

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It was a lesson in how easily the American style of teaching things like safe sex and healthful eating can run roughshod over cultural sensibilities.

From that first meeting, officials from Planned Parenthood in Orange and San Bernardino counties decided that “we don’t want to necessarily blast them with the word ‘condoms,’ ” said spokeswoman Stephanie Kight.

“In the Mission Viejo High School, we might say something like, ‘Free condoms!’ but we might want to find a more nuanced way to talk about it in the Vietnamese community.”

Social services agencies in Orange County, home to the nation’s largest Vietnamese population, have struggled to make inroads into the community since refugees started settling there in the late 1970s.

What they’ve learned is that creating effective health programs is no longer as simple as translating brochures and hiring native-speaking staff, providers say. They are now seeing a need to craft programs that reexamine the subtle parts of Vietnamese culture, including food and lifestyle habits as well as cultural taboos.

A one-size-fits-all approach can create misunderstandings or even be off-putting, leaving health providers struggling to reach people in ethnic communities, said Quyen Ngo-Metzger, an assistant professor of medicine at UC Irvine.

A few social services agencies in Orange County, including Planned Parenthood, are beginning to figure out what works — and what doesn’t — for Vietnamese Americans.

They are starting from the ground up, even redoing classic American mainstays such as the U.S. food pyramid. A joint diabetes program that UC Irvine conducts with Vietnamese community-based health workers found that the food pyramid, which includes bread and pasta, didn’t work for Vietnamese people, Ngo-Metzger said.

Now, the “more culturally relevant” pyramid shows pictures of rice bowls, vermicelli noodles and pho soup instead of loaves of bread.

About 40% of Vietnamese Americans say their doctors do not grasp their cultures and values, according to the National Healthcare Disparities Report from 2003. Nearly three-fourths of Vietnamese Americans report that they do not find it easy to understand information from their doctor’s office.

Orange County’s social service agencies have sought to improve their outreach efforts in recent years.

The American Red Cross of Orange County hired the first Vietnamese American coordinator in the country three years ago.

A new diabetes program from UC Irvine is partnering with community-based social services agencies to help Vietnamese patients fit their doctors’ guidelines into their daily lives.

The Maternal Outreach Management System, a nonprofit group based in Santa Ana that helps primarily Latino women in Orange County with prenatal and postpartum care, in May launched VietMOMS through a California Endowment grant. The goal is to develop a manual for delivering care to Vietnamese women, said Ailene Ly, VietMOMS coordinator.

Through focus groups, Ly discovered that Vietnamese clients, when told to follow certain guidelines, felt they were being asked to trade in traditional values passed down through many generations.

For example, many Vietnamese clients insist on consuming thuoc bac, an herbal broth made from blackened chicken and dried roots that is believed to keep the body strong during pregnancy and postpartum.

But Ly said many of the herbs are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration and could be harmful to the fetus or to breast milk.

Many of her clients’ mothers say in disbelief, “I did it. My parents did it. I grew up healthy and reared a healthy child, and now you’re telling me it’s not safe?”

The cultural dispute over herbal remedies and other issues takes more than language skills to solve, said Annie Nguyen, a VietMOMS counselor.

“We have to respect the traditions because those are held within our culture,” Nguyen said. “I’m not going to tell her directly that the beliefs are wrong, but I want to give the clients options.”

During one of Nguyen’s recent home visits, 3-month-old Theresa cooed at her mother, Xuan Nguyen, who was learning about the strict nutrition guideline for newborns.

Xuan, 37, came from Vietnam eight years ago, where three of her older children were born. “In Vietnam, taking care of children is more simple,” she said. “There are less rules.”

Doctors never told her what babies should eat; she simply went to the market every morning to buy porridge with meat. “In Vietnam, they just eat what we eat,” she said, “rice, noodles, soup, anything.”

Many health agencies and researchers try to swoop in to ethnic communities to implement programs designed for white communities, without a true understanding of cultural differences, Ngo-Metzger said.

One way to get over that barrier is to use “people on the ground” — in churches, temple groups, social organizations and advocacy groups — who understand the community and are trusted, she added.

University researchers have only begun to tap into these community-based resources, she said, part of a trend that started five years ago and was pushed forward by a federal mandate that healthcare be delivered in languages that patients understand.

The information gathered from people within the community is invaluable for health providers, Ngo-Metzger said.

Quynh Tran, Planned Parenthood’s Vietnamese community coordinator, was repeatedly turned down by many Vietnamese groups when she asked to talk about reproductive health.

Recognizing the challenges of reaching out to the community, Planned Parenthood has held off on heavily advertising in Vietnamese language newspapers, Kight said. The agency is still trying to craft messages in a way that does not offend, she said.

Kight said the information Tran is gathering from focus groups and talks with the Vietnamese community can be used across the country by other Planned Parenthood branches with large Vietnamese American populations.

“I think we’re just barely scratching the surface with research into these communities,” Ngo-Metzger said.

my-thuan.tran@latimes.com

Which Vietnamese film will be sent to Oscars?
20:19′ 08/07/2008 (GMT+7)

A scene from “Little Heart”

VietNamNet Bridge – The Vietnam Cinema Agency has received an invitation to send a film to the Oscars in 2009 to compete for Best Foreign Film.

According to Do Duy Anh, Head of the International Cooperation Department of the Vietnam Cinema Agency, Vietnam is among 96 countries invited to send a film to the 81st Oscars, the highest number so far.

The criteria to be a candidate for an Oscar in 2009 are: screened in the host country for at least seven consecutive days between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2008; have English subtitles; and be sent to the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences prior to October 1, 2008.

There are two bright candidates, Rung Den (Black Forest) by Vuong Duc and Trai Tim Be Bong (Little Heart) by Thanh Van, which were praised at the Golden Kite Awards 2008. A council will be made to choose the best film.

Previously Vietnam sent Mua Len Trau (Buffalo Boy), Chuyen Cua Pao (Pao’s Story) and Ao Lua Ha Dong (The White Silk Dress) to the Oscars but they all fell in the nomination round.

The Awards Ceremony of the 2009 Academy Awards will take place at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on February 22, 2009, one month after nominees are announced.

Last year Austria’s “The Counterfeiters” won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.

Hanh Phuong

Vietnam’s languishing literature
Literary critic Lai Nguyen An addresses a literature seminar.

Lai Nguyen An, a distinguished literary researcher, critic and translator says he’s concerned about a huge gap between Vietnam and other countries when it comes to literary criticism and library science.

Further, the noted researcher says book collection and compilation in Vietnam remains arbitrary and inadequate.

For example, a massive section of Vietnamese literary works were composed and compiled in Han (ancient Chinese) characters and Nom characters – the Vietnamese adaptation of the Chinese script created sometime during the 10th century.

According to An, however, that portion was not inventoried until the 1990s when Di san Han-Nom Viet Nam-Thu muc de yeu (Vietnam’s Han-Nom Heritage-Catalogue of Books in Chinese and Nom Characters) was released in 1993.

The set lists more than 5,000 books by Vietnamese authors which are now kept in Vietnamese libraries and other countries.

Quoc ngu (the script of the national language), which is based on the Latin alphabet and serves as the current writing system for the Vietnamese language, has been employed in Vietnamese literature since the latter half of the 19th century.

However, no serious effort to inventory these publications has been made to date, says An.

“The scarcity of materials from the late 19th century through the first 30 years of the 20th century presents a major difficulty in researching and teaching Vietnamese literature of that period,” he said.

Other weaknesses

Vietnam is also lagging far behind other countries in terms of its library science, says An.

Microfilming, which commonly involves reducing a document to about 25 times its original size and transferring the micro reproductions to film for transmission, storage, reading and printing has been standard in Western countries’ libraries since the 1980s.

The technique of reformatting both books and newspapers has seen only limited use in Vietnam, however.

Even the county’s largest libraries and archives have been slow in applying other advanced digital technologies while lacking entire sets of old books and newspapers and storing very few publications released before 1945.

An notes also that it is common for Vietnamese to memorialize their predecessors and past events through death anniversaries, tombstones and votive tablets rather than preserving written documents and scripts.

Families usually do not keep memoirs and keepsakes and there are few private museums that honor the bygone past.

Unlike other countries, the Vietnamese have not acquired the habit of keeping diaries, which often serve later as valuable historical documents, An adds.

In addition, he says, most literary researchers in Vietnam lack professional training about preserving documentation.

Encouraging signs

An, who himself has published over 30 books of literary criticism, research, compilation and translation, says he has received enthusiastic support for his work from many of his colleagues and members of the public.

He received considerable assistance in 2000from Japan’s Toyota Fund in gathering works by Phan Khoi, a notable journalist and literary critic of the 20th century.

With the exception of two books, thousands of Khoi’s writings and articles are scattered in newspapers released from 1928 through the early 1950s.

An has spent countless hours collecting, compiling and publishing the writings into two books, which comprise 4,000 pages in total.

The works have been titled: Phan Khoi, tac pham dang bao 1929 and Phan Khoi, tac pham dang bao 1930 (Phan Khoi’s newspaper articles in 1929 and 1930).

An is also looking to release an additional 1,000 pages titled Phan Khoi-Tac pham dang bao 1932.

He plans to work with other local researchers and foreign experts in Vietnamese studies on a project to compile all the books and newspapers in quoc ngu released from 1865 onwards and post them on the Internet.

“We should do it now, as research on our canonical literature is often not based on their original scripts,” said An.

Born in 1945 in northern Ha Nam Province, An now works for the Writers’ Association Publishing House.

An’s works include Van hoc va Phe binh (Literature and Criticism), Mot thoi dai moi trong van hoc (A New Era in Literature), Dictionary of Vietnamese Literature, So phan lich su cua chu nghia hien thuc (The Historical Fate of Realism), Tho moi 1932-1945, tac gia va tac pham (New Poetry in 1932-1945, authors and works) and Tu lieu thao luan 1955 ve tap tho Viet Bac (1955 Debates on Viet Bac anthology of poems).

Reported by Ngo Thi Kim Cuc

A new start: Vietnamese native finds success with nail salon

By Lynn Monty, Free Press Staff Writer • July 9, 2008

Thu Chau, owner of Perfect Nails by Thu, at her salon at Market Place in Essex Junction.

ESSEX JUNCTION — Thu Chau’s father died in 1984. She found out about his death through the Red Cross. She didn’t know him. He was once a U.S Army cook in Vietnam. Chau was born in 1968, in Binh Thuan, Vietnam. Now she owns her own business in Essex Junction.

“My mom had to change my birth certificate so nobody would know I had an American father,” Chau said. But her tall physique, fair skin and hazel eyes gave her away. “People who are half American are not treated well in Vietnam,” she said. “My mother tried to hide it but at school nobody wanted to be friends with me and they would hit me any time they wanted.”

After what seemed to be a lifetime of struggle, Chau left Vietnam in 1991 to begin a new life in America. She arrived in Burlington with her now ex-husband and 3-year-old daughter. With help from the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, a program designed to help refugees and immigrants gain independence, she learned to speak English.

Chau’s mother joined her two years later. “My mom lives with me and doesn’t want to go back.” Chau said. “In our culture we take care of our parents. It’s always family first and we are together in the same house. It’s a little bit different here.”

Chau worked for a few years at the Radisson Hotel and York Capacitor, and then she was inspired when she visited friends at the University Mall in a nail salon where they worked. “I saw what they were doing and the process got me very interested,” she said. “A woman would walk in with no nails and have new nails put on. I noticed that it changed the way she looked and felt about herself.”

Chau said she wanted to make people happier and look beautiful. She enrolled at the Vermont School of Cosmetology and earned her license.

“I worked in the mall for three years and then started my own salon,” she said. Perfect Nails by Thu is in Essex Junction and will celebrate its 10-year anniversary this October.

“In my country I didn’t have any opportunity to show how smart or how competent I am,” Chau said. “But I came here and am very happy to be given freedom and opportunities to show off who I am and to be able to have that for my smart and beautiful daughters, too.”

Chau divorced her husband four years ago and has two daughters, Khanh Nguyen, 20, and Mary Nguyen, 12. Khanh will be entering her third year at the University of Vermont this fall and is competed in the Miss Vietnam Global competition in Las Vegas July 5. Miss Vietnam Global is a beauty pageant for Vietnamese women living abroad.

Vermont has a very small Vietnamese community, Chau said. Khanh’s motivation to enter the Miss Vietnam Global Pageant was to gain attention for her Vermont community her mother said. “She wanted to get out there and let them know we are here,” Chau said.

Chau has two employees and one apprentice at her salon and said she hires people who are responsible, hard working and kind.“They have to go to school first and then I teach my workers how much I know,” she said. “If a year later they open their own salon, I am very proud.” But most move to Florida, she said; they find the weather too cold in Vermont.

Chau said she has many loyal customers and doesn’t worry about competition.
Kim Nguyen has been working for Chau for two years and speaks very little English. She said she is happy to stay working with Chau, but giggled adding if she becomes too cold she might move .

I learn from my customers all of the time ,” Chau said. “I work hard and try my best every day to see smiles when they walk out the door.”

Vo Viet Chung to design clothes for Miss Universe 2008
22:32′ 29/11/2007 (GMT+7)

Chung is trimming ao dai for Miss USA 2007 Rachel Smith
Chung is trimming ao dai for Miss USA 2007 Rachel Smith

VietNamNet Bridge – Fashion designer Vo Viet Chung said Universe Joint Stock Company, the organiser of Miss Universe 2008, had invited him to design costumes for more than 120 contestants.

The invitation was sent after Vo Viet Chung designed ao dai for Miss Universe 2007 Riyo Mori, Miss USA 2007 Rachel Rene Smith, and Miss Teen USA 2007 Hilary during their visit to Vietnam several days ago. These girls said they like Vietnamese ao dai very much.

Chung’s ao dai collection was recently introduced on an international fashion TV channel, Fashion TV.

(Source: NLD)