By Jaimie Bui.
Every time hearing someone mentioning about Vietnam, it automatically reminds me of Vietnam war and its consequences. Not many people actually know of other aspects of Vietnam as a developing country other than its warfare in almost half a century ago. The same happens with social media. By researching about trending news in Vietnam through social media, almost everything I could find was linked to Vietnam war and its fallout. However, there are a few remarkable trending news through social media noticing about Vietnamese cuisine, a recent issue involving Facebook’s policy on nudity, and fast growing fashion industry in Vietnam.
The first trending news that was popped up is culinary culture in Vietnam. Indeed, one of the most outstanding aspects when people mention about Vietnam is diversity of Vietnamese food. According to food blogger Erin Zimmer on Serious Eats, Vietnam has variety of different types of food including rice in many forms (steamed, sticky, noodles, pancakes, porridge), fish sauce, herbs, seafood, pork, beef, chicken, and tropical fruits, with borrowed flavors mainly from French and Chinese culinary cultures. One blog post that I found really interesting by Lara Dunston about her experience eating out in Saigon, which is the biggest commercial city in Vietnam. She also shared a few of her favorite authentic restaurants throughout Vietnam’s largest city. In addition to these food spot recommendations in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon is the city’s older name), travel blogger Natasha from Live Learn Venture put in a good word for 7 foods and drinks to try in Hanoi, which is Vietnam’s capital city. She demonstrated her actual experiences trying out authentic dishes such as pho, banh mi, spring rolls, stir fried noodles, and daily brewed beer. Furthermore, Epic Asia Limited also tweeted a photo mentioning that Vietnamese cuisine is one of the best in Asia. Here is also a very interesting article on CNN that praised 40 delicious Vietnamese dishes for their simplicity, fresh ingredients and subtle variations (Clark and Miller, 2011).
Another of the most popular trending news about Vietnam currently is Facebook decides to lift ban on a famous Vietnam War photo that depicts child nudity. Earlier this month, Facebook deleted a post containing the iconic Vietnam war photo by Nick Ut. It was the famous photograph (Napalm Girl) which portrays children fleeing in terror from a South Vietnamese napalm strike during the Vietnam war. Its central subject, a 9-year-old child, is naked. The post was removed because it was presumed to violate Facebook’s Community Standards (Heath, 2016). Facebook was slammed by the editor of Norway’s largest paper and the nation’s prime minister for what they’re calling its authoritarian attitude. The ‘Napalm Girl’ photo was considered to have changed the history of warfare. Kim Phuc, the Vietnamese girl pictured in the 1972 photo, was not available for comment. However, according to Mullen and Riley (2016), her personal manager, Anne Bayin, said Kim Phuc was saddened by those who would focus on the nudity in the historic picture rather than the powerful message it conveys. Facebook recognized the mistake and decided to reinstate the iconic Vietnam War photo on Facebook where it has been removed. Earlier Friday, Facebook said it “recognizes the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time,” but also stressed that it’s “difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others” (Tung, 2016).
The last news that I found pretty interesting is about fast growing fashion industry in Vietnam. September is probably a very exciting month for Vietnamese fashionistas since Zara opened its debut store at Vincom Center, the highest-profile mall in downtown of the nation’s largest city (Ho Chi Minh City). The new Zara store occupies a total space of 2,400 square meters spread over two stories, including over 1800 square meters of selling space, according to Maulia (2016). Zara Vietnam displays all the brand’s latest collection consisting of women’s wear, kids’, men’s, basic, and TRF (Hendriksz, 2016). According to Nguyen (2016), it was unofficially reported that Zara Vietnam achieved sales of $246,000 USD on its first day which was September 8. This was one of the most successful Zara opening days internationally by turnover. Vietnam has become a very potential market in fashion industry. It was reported to expect the emergence of H&M’s stores in 2017.
After doing my research about trending news in Vietnam, I reflected that it was much harder to find credible and trustworthy news on social media because there weren’t many of social media sources referencing about trending news in Vietnam. Majority of the news I have found were neither really timely nor considered as “trending”. However, through those three salient points mentioned above, I strongly believe it’s important to take a broader look at different aspects of a country, rather than only know of it by what defined it in the past.
Clark, H., & Miller, K. (2011, October 3). 40 delicious Vietnamese dishes. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/eat/40-delicious-vietnamese-foods-217572/
Dunston, L. (2011, September 18). Eating Out in Saigon. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://grantourismotravels.com/2011/09/18/eating-out-in-saigon/.
Heath, A. (2016, September 9). Facebook Decides to Lift Ban on Famous Vietnam War Photo That Depicts Child Nudity. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-lifts-ban-on-napalm-girl-vietnam-war-photo-2016-9.
Hendriksz, V. (2016, September 14). Inditex steps into Vietnam with Zara as sustainable investments pay off. Retrieved September 21, 2016, from https://fashionunited.com/executive/management/inditex-steps-into-vietnam-with-zara-as-sustainable-investments-pay-off/201609141288.
Maulia, E. (2016, September 19). Indonesia’s Mitra Adiperkasa takes Zara into Vietnam. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/AC/Indonesia-s-Mitra-Adiperkasa-takes-Zara-into-Vietna.
Mullen, J., & Riley, K. (2016, September 9). After Outcry, Facebook Will Reinstate Iconic Vietnam War Photo. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/09/technology/facebook-censorship-vietnam-war-photo/index.html.
Natasha. (2015, May 10). 7 Foods and Drinks to Try in Hanoi. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://livelearnventure.com/7-foods-and-drinks-to-try-in-hanoi/.
Nguyen, Y. H. (2016, September 12). Vietnam fast fashion battle brews. Retrieved September 21, 2016, from https://insideretail.asia/2016/09/12/vietnam-fast-fashion-battle-brews/.
Tung, L. (2016, September 9). Zuckerberg under Fire: ‘Facebook Wrong to Censor Famous Vietnam Pic of Napalm Child’. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://www.zdnet.com/article/zuckerberg-under-fire-facebook-wrong-to-censor-famous-vietnam-pic-of-napalm-child/.
Zimmer, E. (2013, January 30). 20 Vietnamese Dishes You Should Know. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/01/vietnamese-dishes-foods-you-should-know-hanoi-saigon-pho-banh-mi.html.