Model's Nude Photos In Vietnam Spark Traditional Values Debate

When she published nude photos of herself online, model Ngoc Quyen ignited a debate on the changing values in Vietnam, where both Confucius and Karl Marx are losing influence.

Traditional Vietnamese culture prefers women to cover up
Traditional Vietnamese culture prefers women to cover up
Marianne Brown

The young Vietnamese model Ngoc Quyen frolics naked by a river that winds through a small forest somewhere in Vietnam. She has pictures taken, and displays the images on the Internet. Underneath the photographs, she writes: "Protect the environment as you would your body."

But now, the 23-year-old suddenly finds herself entangled in scandal, and a fierce debate about traditional values has erupted about traditional values ​​in the Communist country. Not surprisingly, the images had been quickly spread through the media, via Facebook and other Internet forums. Many critics argue that the pictures exploit nudity for another purpose. Ngoc Quyen says that she has published the photos on her own initiative, and that she has no ulterior motive.

On a well-known Vietnamese website, someone named Huyen Trang comments: "Nude pictures are not acceptable in Vietnamese culture. This model is not protecting the environment. Rather, she is making it dirty." On another website, one commentator writes: "If Ngoc Quyen has parents, what must they be thinking now? I would be ashamed of her."

In Vietnam, the depiction of nudity is a very sensitive issue, especially given that the country has been largely shaped by a patriarchal culture that values modesty of women. The female body should remain a mystery, and never be exposed in public.

For many decades, the female body has been a subject of photography, says photographer Thai Phien. Women are often shown "half covered, half naked." The 48-year-old's images, which feature mostly women posing in landscapes, have long been controversial in Vietnam and were once considered by some to be pornography.

"The public has evolved in its perception of nude photography," he says. "But the cultural policy in Vietnam is still very conservative. They continue to try to avoid issues of nudity." But, he concedes, to call Quyen's images "nude art" would be going too far.

The controversy surrounding Quyen's photographs has touched a raw nerve in Vietnam, demonstrating the widening gap between the older and younger generations. Many fear that modernization will slowly erase traditional family values. So long mired in war, Vietnam has only developed into a growing Southeast Asian economy since the 1980s.

Since then, rising prosperity and the emergence of new technologies have given young people different opportunities to develop and express themselves. Many fear that the youngest generation has drifted completely from the Confucian values of its parents.

"With each generation, there is a struggle between old and new," says Khuat Thu Hong, Director of the Institute of Social Sciences in Vietnam. "The reason is that Vietnam's development is faster than it ever was before." However, even in these changing times, Quyen's nude photos are very unusual, says Hong.

Meanwhile, Ngoc Quyen has spoken out about her decision to pose naked. In an interview with VietNamNet, she was asked if her mother and boyfriend had approved of her actions. She admitted that she would have never posed nude without her mother's consent. Maybe the fact that Quyen had parental consent for her actions will soothe some traditionalists.

Read the original article in German

Photo - Ssedro

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Air Next: How A Crypto Scam Collapsed On A Single Spelling Mistake

It is today a proven fraud, nailed by the French stock market watchdog: Air Next resorted to a full range of dubious practices to raise money for a blockchain-powered e-commerce app. But the simplest of errors exposed the scam and limited the damage to investors. A cautionary tale for the crypto economy.

Sky is the crypto limit

Laurence Boisseau

PARIS — Air Next promised to use blockchain technology to revolutionize passenger transport. Should we have read something into its name? In fact, the company was talking a lot of hot air from the start. Air Next turned out to be a scam, with a fake website, false identities, fake criminal records, counterfeited bank certificates, aggressive marketing … real crooks. Thirty-five employees recruited over the summer ranked among its victims, not to mention the few investors who put money in the business.

Maud (not her real name) had always dreamed of working in a start-up. In July, she spotted an ad on Linkedin and was interviewed by videoconference — hardly unusual in the era of COVID and teleworking. She was hired very quickly and signed a permanent work contract. She resigned from her old job, happy to get started on a new adventure.

Others like Maud fell for the bait. At least ten senior managers, coming from major airlines, airports, large French and American corporations, a former police officer … all firmly believed in this project. Some quit their jobs to join; some French expats even made their way back to France.

Share capital of one billion 

The story began last February, when Air Next registered with the Paris Commercial Court. The new company stated it was developing an application that would allow the purchase of airline tickets by using cryptocurrency, at unbeatable prices and with an automatic guarantee in case of cancellation or delay, via a "smart contract" system (a computer protocol that facilitates, verifies and oversees the handling of a contract).

The firm declared a share capital of one billion euros, with offices under construction at 50, Avenue des Champs Elysées, and a president, Philippe Vincent ... which was probably a usurped identity.

Last summer, Air Next started recruiting. The company also wanted to raise money to have the assets on hand to allow passenger compensation. It organized a fundraiser using an ICO, or "Initial Coin Offering", via the issuance of digital tokens, transacted in cryptocurrencies through the blockchain.

While nothing obliged him to do so, the company owner went as far as setting up a file with the AMF, France's stock market regulator which oversees this type of transaction. Seeking the market regulator stamp is optional, but when issued, it gives guarantees to those buying tokens.

screenshot of the typo that revealed the Air Next scam

The infamous typo that brought the Air Next scam down

compta online

Raising Initial Coin Offering 

Then, on Sept. 30, the AMF issued an alert, by way of a press release, on the risks of fraud associated with the ICO, as it suspected some documents to be forgeries. A few hours before that, Air Next had just brought forward by several days the date of its tokens pre-sale.

For employees of the new company, it was a brutal wake-up call. They quickly understood that they had been duped, that they'd bet on the proverbial house of cards. On the investor side, the CEO didn't get beyond an initial fundraising of 150,000 euros. He was hoping to raise millions, but despite his failure, he didn't lose confidence. Challenged by one of his employees on Telegram, he admitted that "many documents provided were false", that "an error cost the life of this project."

What was the "error" he was referring to? A typo in the name of the would-be bank backing the startup. A very small one, at the bottom of the page of the false bank certificate, where the name "Edmond de Rothschild" is misspelled "Edemond".

Finding culprits 

Before the AMF's public alert, websites specializing in crypto-assets had already noted certain inconsistencies. The company had declared a share capital of 1 billion euros, which is an enormous amount. Air Next's CEO also boasted about having discovered bitcoin at a time when only a few geeks knew about cryptocurrency.

Employees and investors filed a complaint. Failing to find the general manager, Julien Leclerc — which might also be a fake name — they started looking for other culprits. They believe that if the Paris Commercial Court hadn't registered the company, no one would have been defrauded.

Beyond the handful of victims, this case is a plea for the implementation of more secure procedures, in an increasingly digital world, particularly following the pandemic. The much touted ICO market is itself a victim, and may find it hard to recover.

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