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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Le Quyen Fined for Onboard Peeing Incident

(image courtesy VietOneRadio)
Pop star Le Quyen recently made headlines for all the wrong reasons, and now Vietnamese authorities are holding her accountable.

VNAFlyer was the first English-language source to report an incident where Le allegedly allowed her young son to urinate in an airsickness bag while flying onboard Vietnam Airlines' newly-delivered Airbus A350.

(Heck, the UK's Daily Mail even felt free to plagiarize my translation of an image caption that broke the story and other big chunks from my previous entry.)

I'm guessing the government of Vietnam was none too pleased with Le shining such a negative light onto Vietnamese culture, and it has been reported by the BBC's Vietnam post that she and her husband/manager have both been fined 4 million VND (approx. 183 USD) each by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) for "violating discipline and order" on board the flight.

Considering that she has been recognized as one of the wealthiest entertainers in Vietnam, the fine seems a little anemic.

The CAAV has been cited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as having inadequate oversight over civil aviation, including the lack of ability to impose substantial fines.

For instance, a recent incident involving a passenger smoking in-flight lead to a $183 fine to the offender. While the CAAV has the authority to impose up to a 5-million VND (229 USD) fine for such infractions, it pales in comparison to the FAA's fine of up to 5,000 USD (over 100 million VND).

A $183 fine imposed against Le is probably more symbolic than punitive or even preventative.  The social media backlash, however, may never end.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Vietnamese Celeb Allows Child to Pee on VNA's New A350

A well-known Vietnamese singer is alleged to have allowed her young son to urinate whilst in their seats and not in a lavatory, reports VietOneRadio (link in Vietnamese).

To make matters worse, this was on Vietnam Airlines' (VNA) brand new Airbus A350-900 (A359), which was just recently delivered on June 30. The new plane is currently flying between VNA's two bases in Hanoi (HAN) and Saigon (SGN) to help familiarize and train personnel before its international debut to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) in September.

A fellow passenger posted the story on their Facebook page (also in Vietnamese), with a photo of the singer sitting behind him in Seat 11B.
(image courtesy VietOneRadio)
While the poster anonymized the singer's identity by hiding her face and using only her initials "L.Q.," the Internet quickly figured out her identity to be Le Quyen (Facebook fan page, individual page), using a photo that was publicly posted just after she arrived.

(image courtesy VietOneRadio)
The poster claims that Le let the child pee into an airsickness bag, which cause urine to splatter onto the plane's interior.  When confronted by the Chief Steward on the flight, she pretended not to hear him.
Roughly translated: On board this beautiful A350 which still has that new plane smell (currently at 9000 m, so you can still use the lavatory), one beautiful female passenger in Seat 11B, with 10 fingernails painted in 10 colors, dressed very fashionably, tore open a vomit bag for her son to pee in, splashing everywhere. Chief Steward asked why not go into the lavatory. Dirtying the plane, but the passenger didn't even want to look/acknowledge the Chief Steward. Truly insane, peasants flying on a plane... DEATH BECOMES ME (communicating an "OMG" moment)... THIS LADY IS A VERY FAMOUS SINGER... ONE OF THE HIGHEST PAID PEOPLE IN VIETNAM... SHOULD I UPLOAD THIS PHOTO... (image courtesy VietOneRadio)

The Internet quickly reacted, calling the behavior embarrassing and for her name and this incident to be used to educate the public on proper etiquette. As one can imagine, some posters who did not see anything amiss were quickly mocked and shamed.

A similar incident occurred onboard a Delta flight in 2014 from Beijing, when a child defecated in his seat after his parents spread newspapers out for him. The incident sparked public outrage in China, with those on social media calling the family an embarrassment to Chinese culture.