It was precisely 5 minutes past 11 on that fateful Saturday night that it finally dawned on me. Well…it sort of hit me like a ton of bricks. I had finally come face-to-face with my demons - the realization that I was eternally doomed to fall in love with them…..the beings.
But I was not alone...I took one look around me and saw that the unsuspecting, fun-loving crowd of this Viet nightclub could not escape their grasp either. On this moonlit night, the well-heeled guys and gals were transformed into a group of rabid fans, yelling and screaming with their arms outstretched - trying to claw, scratch, or touch the beings from above like they wanted to snatch some of the magic that the beings possess (or pieces of flesh in some cases….ouch)!
The transgression doesn’t end there…..this predominantly Viet crowd even came armed with their digital cams and smart phones to snap pictures of the beings looking at them so they can later brag to their mom and dad or their BFFs that they were there when the beings appeared…on stage.
Thuy Tien reaches out
Okay…that was a bit dramatic but let’s continue….
You see, in my heart of hearts, I already knew that we - the mortals - can’t quite compete with the beings simply because the playing field is not level. And no matter how many times our well-meaning friends tell us we look like them, we are not them, never were, and most likely never will be. It doesn’t help that we often become awe-struck little schoolgirls when we are around them….those famous Viet singers that we love, sometimes loathe, but forever infatuated with.
Ky Duyen, Luu Bich, and the awe-struck Than Huu Band
So…I did some soul-searching. I dug deep….and I mean really deep to come up with the following personal, yet enlightening, anecdotes to prove why it is so easy to fall in love with our Viet stars.
Reason #1: They are just more fun to be with
Pro Bowler Ky Duyen bowls with the Than Huu gang
If laughter is the best medicine, then the Viet singers have plenty of that good stuff in their medicine cabinets. As a group, they seem to have a better sense of humor than your typical engineering buddies or your perpetually exhausted-looking doctors/dentists/pharmacists cousins (ick…don’t hate the player, hate the game). Let’s face it…they are professional entertainers after all. Based on my astute observation, they seem to let loose the most when they travel together far away from home. On a recent trip to Down Under with a group of top-shelf Viet singers, it was non-stop joke telling, and re-enacting unflattering stories about themselves or other singers. Well….most unflattering stories were about other singers who were not there…
Thanh Ha, Truc Linh, and Ky Duyen strike a pose in Sydney, Australia
Reason #2: They are so damn hot looking
Luu Bich singing the blues while looking hot as ever
Hong Ngoc does not need shoes to look hot
Thien Kim does not need a shirt to look hot
There’s an easy explanation for this. It’s because when you see them on stage, you always see them at their best, adorned with expensive designer clothes, and yes, always full make up and all. In addition, for video production, they have professional lighting people matching the background lights to the colors of their hair, lipsticks, dress, blush, etc. to give them that dreamy, out-of-this-world look. Tell me….do you sometimes catch yourself secretly comparing your wife or girlfriend to those singers and then slap yourself silly for even trying to compare? I won’t tell…..
Ultra Chic Thanh Ha mesmerizes
They are also more motivated to keep in shape because they know all eyes will be on them when they step under the limelight. Remember how your girlfriend or sister always diet and exercise weeks before they attend a wedding? Well, these celebs have that motivation factor times ten. So it’s not hard to understand that they will spend more time at the gym to work on their curves than we do, and the results can be quite ..ahem…deadly.
Reason #3: They are charitable
Call it peer-pressure, call it tax write-off, call it whatever you like, but all of them do charity gigs. The famous ones are always there to jump in to raise money to help the less fortunate back home in Vietnam. They use their star power to get more donations, and more volunteers to help whichever cause is dear to their heart. Case in point, Vietnam Dream for Success had a fund raising event in 2008 that was held at Harvest Moon in Northern Virginia that was well-attended, but raised only $5000. This year, Ky Duyen and Luu Bich joined in to spice up the entertainment portion of the 2009 Lavang Gala, and what a difference a year make, they helped bring in over $47,000 for the event (which includes a cool $10K donation by gorgeous singer Ha Phuong). The money will be used to help lift countless families in Vietnam out of poverty, by providing them a college education (see Vietnamdreamforsuccess.org). This brings me to the next topic:
Reason #4: They are intellectual
What? You say. Did I read that right? Yep, you did. But I thought? You thought wrong… forget about all that “Xướng Ca Vô Loài” crap that your anal-retentive friend wrote on her Facebook wall, or the daily put-downs of Viet singers by those idiots from Mautam forum. Most of that bullsh*t (pardon my French) were born out of jealousy anyway. In reality, the thinking that Viet singers are somehow in a lower class than the average Vietnamese is about as outdated as saying that black folks are still in slavery. Try peeking into the White House and see who’s at the top of the food chain, Einstein.
The truth is, despite their constant travels to perform at shows, singers nowadays are well-educated. Many have a Bachelor’s degree and plenty have graduate degrees. For example, did you know that singer Huy Vu recently got his MBA; Thien Kim and Tu Quyen are working on their Master’s degrees; and the ultra busy Don Ho found time to go back to college and earned his Films, Graphics, and Special Effects degree? These elite entertainers are not only very talented at what they do, but they are also just as educated as any Viet groups out there. They just don’t brag about their education as much as your aunts and uncles brag about their kids’ diplomas.
Reason #5: They are romantic
Blame it on the sappy lyrics that they sing day in and day out…or maybe it’s just in their DNA. Singers and their musician counterparts are surely more romantic than the rest of us (trust me on this). They often wear their hearts on their sleeves and won’t hesitate to let you know when they dig you. Given their creative talents, they are also more innovative when it comes to…ahem…that department. Let’s just say that role playing comes naturally in their repertoire. Uh huh….
Believe it or not, it is sometimes counter-intuitive if you know Viet lyrics too well….let me explain. A pretty singer once told me that she texted “I love you more than I could say” (in Vietnamese) to her boyfriend and instead of being thankful for such a sweet gesture, the geeky boyfriend recognized that she used the line from one of her songs so he texted back the next line of the song’s lyrics, and in turn questioned her sincerity!
My advice? Don’t do that….just be thankful that she’s borrowing poetry to tell you how much she loves you and don’t poke fun of such a sweet gesture. They are no longer dating, FYI…
Reason #6: They know they are lucky
On a recent trip to New Orleans, I had a chance to talk with singer Huong Thuy over lunch and she told me the following lottery story. When she was younger, still in Vietnam, another kid from her school was going through some tough times because his parents were very ill. So Huong Thuy gave him her last 2000 dongs that she earned from a “paid” singing gig. The kid then used that 2000 to buy a lottery ticket and hit one of the biggest jackpots at the time…and the rest was history, well, at least in her school’s history anyway. Although the kid never shared any of his winnings with her (besides a thank you meal), Huong Thuy told me that looking back, she was really the fortunate one, not the kid, because her singing career took her here to the U.S. where she’s able to make a good living doing what she loves, touring shows, seeing the world, doing things that most can only dream off. “In fact, I think I am the one who won the bigger lottery,” she said with a shrug. What a sweetheart!
So you ask - what if you do fall in love with one of them, what then? Well, well, well….the good news is that most singers don’t end up marrying other singers (except for a handful). So there’s no “Sorry I can’t date you because you’re not a singer,” or “Don’t even dream of asking us out unless you’re at least a doctor.” Rather, the consensus is that in addition to marrying for love, they’d rather marry someone outside of the entertainment industry who adores them for who they are and will be there to support them through thick and thin. That means not necessarily someone to share the stage with. And it doesn’t hurt if you idolize them a little. Now that doesn’t sound too hard does it? Go get ‘em Tiger…….. or is his new nickname Cheetah now? Hehehe poor Tiger…
Duy Hân is a supervisor in the advertising department of a large financial organization. He earned his B.S. from the University of Maryland and is an MBA graduate. Duy Hân lives in the Washington DC area and has a beagle named Alaska that likes to take long walks on the beach. He can be reached at AskDuyHan@gmail.com.
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