Police probe singer for video showing South Vietnamese flag

The tiny flag appeared in the background of a house in the US, but online critics bashed her.
By RFA Vietnamese
2024.05.29
Police probe singer for video showing South Vietnamese flag Participants carry the former South Vietnam flag during a Tet parade in the Little Saigon area of Westminster, Calif., Feb. 4, 2017.
Nick Ut/AP

Vietnamese police are investigating a famous singer after a viral video showing her playing with her children in an American house with a tiny version of the banned flag of South Vietnam in the background. 

The flag, which features a yellow field and three horizontal red stripes in the center, was used by South Vietnam until the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

However, South Vietnamese who fled the country and now live in the United States or other countries still display the flag as a symbol of pride and identity.

On Monday, a video of singer Ngoc Mai, also known as O Sen, and her husband, circus artist Quoc Nghiep, playing with their children in an American house with small U.S. and South Vietnam flags – sitting on a bed headboard – spread quickly on social media.

Despite quickly removing the video from her Facebook page, Mai received harsh criticism on social media, especially from government-backed accounts.

Vietnamese singer Ngoc Mai performs on Sept. 21, 2018. (DRD Vietnam via Wikimedia)
Vietnamese singer Ngoc Mai performs on Sept. 21, 2018. (DRD Vietnam via Wikimedia)

One netizen said Mai “burned the bridge” after crossing it —  a reference to being ungrateful to the communist one-party state. 

Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism told the media that it was verifying the video.

Ho Chi Minh City police are working with the city’s Conservatory of Music on the case, media reports said. Mai used to be a music lecturer there but left in 2019. 

The singer had been admitted to the Communist Party of Vietnam when she worked for the conservatory, but her party membership was later revoked because she did not regularly participate in related activities, according to a report by the Ho Chi Minh City Law Newspaper, citing artist Ta Minh Tam, a former deputy president and party chief of the academy. 

Family vacation

Her husband, Quoc Nghiep, said on Facebook that their family was on vacation in the United States and participating in charity concerts to raise funds for disabled children. 

“To raise as much as possible for the children at Huong Duong House, the tour participants always used transportation and accommodations provided by volunteers,” he wrote. 

The family members were playing in one of the rooms but did not pay attention to the surroundings or control what was recorded in the video, Nghiep said. 

“[We] have learned a great lesson from this incident and will not let similar things happen,” he wrote. 

A screenshot from the video posted on Facebook by singer Ngoc Mai with the flags of the United States and South Vietnam on the headboard. (RFA screenshot/Chuyện nước Mỹ của Tí via Youtube)
A screenshot from the video posted on Facebook by singer Ngoc Mai with the flags of the United States and South Vietnam on the headboard. (RFA screenshot/Chuyện nước Mỹ của Tí via Youtube)
 

Radio Free Asia could not reach the Vietnamese Culture and Science Association, the organization in Houston, Texas, that organized the charity concerts, for comment. 

On his Facebook account, Hanoi-based lawyer Bui Quang Thang wrote that it would not be unlawful for the flag of South Vietnam to appear in a place in Vietnam because existing law doesn’t ban it.

Nevertheless, many people in Vietnam still view the flag as a symbol of hostility toward the current Vietnamese government, said writer Nguyen Vien who lives in Ho Chi Minh City.

“It has been 49 years since the war ended,” he said. “We should only view that flag as a symbol of a lost nation. In reality, it is just nostalgia, and we should respect that nostalgia. It is a part of history, and we cannot deny it.”

Translated by Anna Vu for RFA Vietnamese. Edited by Roseanne Gerin and Malcolm Foster.

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Bob
May 31, 2024 05:09 AM

It's true identity of Vietnam, the present Vietnam flag is the flag of communist party.