Scandal of Actress Hoang Thuy Ling


Vietnam has been hit by hurricanes, floods and a catastrophic bridge collapse of late, but the nation is abuzz with talk of just one thing - a blurry video of an encounter between two teenagers.

Thuy Linh (R) was popular with children and parents

Internet forums are swamped with messages about an online sex video apparently showing 19-year-old Hoang Thuy Linh, the star of the popular TV series Vang Anh's Diaries, and her boyfriend.

"This is the most scandalous and controversial thing that has ever happened in Vietnam's virtual world," says journalist Hung Nguyen.

A couple of days after the so-called Vang Anh scandal broke, Vietnam Television (VTV) dropped the series.

A five-minute clip, filmed by mobile phone, was originally posted on YouTube by an anonymous user.

It has since been removed, but copies of it - including a 20-minute long version - are being circulated on other websites.

Parental approval

Thuy Linh, despite playing a schoolgirl in the series, is actually a first-year college student.

Even in a conservative county like Vietnam, it is not unusual for teenagers to engage in sexual relationships.

This poses a big question about modern life that the mainstream newspapers need to answer. The problem is that Vang Anh's Diaries is hugely popular.

The series, which focuses on the daily life of Vietnamese school students, was in its second season when the scandal broke - and Thuy Linh's character, Vang Anh, had become a kind of idol among youngsters.

Before this, Vietnamese parents had approved of the programme. They considered it educational as the children featured were not only talented and beautiful, but also doing very well at school.

"All my friends and myself watch Vang Anh's Diaries regularly," says 13-year-old Thu Thuy.

"I especially love Vang Anh. She's smart, she's pretty, she's so so cool. I love her style."

Thuy admitted she was shocked to be told by her parents that she is no longer allowed to watch Vang Anh.

"My mum said Vang Anh had been a very bad girl. But she didn't explain why."

Ratings winner
Despite unprecedented attention from the public, state media soon went cold on the story after some critics branded the topic "sensational" and "cheap".

But the frenzy continues on the internet.

Blogs and forums are flooded with millions of messages discussing whether Thuy Linh deserves sympathy or punishment, and whether she needs to apologise publicly to her fans.

"The topic cannot be spared only for tabloids to cover," wrote journalists Tran Le Thuy and Huy Duc in Sai Gon Tiep Thi.

"This poses a big question about modern life that the mainstream newspapers need to answer...

"That is the question about information control in terms of blogging [and] privacy protection. That is also the question about the sexual revolution among the young people in Vietnam nowadays."


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