Letter: “It was rigged” Reader says pageant story inaccurate, UW VSA officers rude

To the Editor:

In response to the “Pageant recrowns winner due to counting error” story (May 2, issue 19), I think the facts are strongly misconstrued. I attended the press conference hosted by the University of Washington Vietnamese Students Association and thought that they were very unprofessional and disrespectful, especially to their elders.

Coming from a conservative Vietnamese background, I was brought up to respect anyone that was older than me, whether I liked them or not. The UW VSA was very inconsiderate of the former winner’s (Linda Nguyen) mother. It was obvious that she was beyond angry, but what mother would not be if that was their daughter? It sickened me to watch the contestants from the UW sit and gawk at Ms. Nguyen’s mother. Did they all of a sudden forget where they came from?

Moreover, the press release for VSA was rambling on and on about how sorry they were and how bad they felt, when in fact no sense of remorse was expressed, unless the new way to express sorrow is through a smile.

It makes me wonder if this pageant is rigged. Because of this error, all of the contestants will feel as if they’ve been cheated for their chance as Miss Hoa Khoi Lien Truong 2009. Who knows if the scoring sheet that the VSA released is authentic?

Moreover, the UW VSA was very inconsistent regarding the percentage of proceeds that would go to their charity. I was told from UW VSA members that only about 20 percent of their proceeds would go to the charity, but at the very beginning of the press conference, they said that it was 25 percent, not to be increased again to a full 100 percent when they were asked during the Q&A.

Their inconsistency makes me wonder about their true motives behind all of this.

— Kim Bui, Kent


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6 Responses to “Letter: “It was rigged” Reader says pageant story inaccurate, UW VSA officers rude”

  1. Tim B. says:

    Dear Whom It May Concern:

    I believe that you are all right. People are forming opinions from what they believe to be true. We can question and analyze anything we want to as Ms. Bui has done so. It is our right to do so. Also, we can take a step back and release all these finger pointing on both sides. I believe that this is so much more than we make it to be. That the group who is for or against Linda or Kathy for that matter is truly seeing what all of this is leading to. Now if we do stop the arguments and finger pointing and truly voice our opinions (no matter what “side” we are on) in a respectful and compassionate manner then we can learn how to “get along” like the comment Victoria has mentioned.

    Let’s show how strong our Vietnamese Community really is to the young and old; the right and wrong; the vietnamese traditional culture and vietnamese-american culture.

  2. Victoria N. says:

    can’t we all just get along? linda should have won, kathie should have won… we are all winners! great job viet community for coming together though even through all this mess… let’s look ahead during times together.

  3. 50 cent says:

    linda should of won! She’s the a way better viet. The other girl who won can’t even speak it……..

  4. Eric Ngo says:

    I agree that the intent of the pageant was sincere. However, the process and professionalism in which it was conducted leads to speculation of the integrity of those conducting it. If a mistake so detrimental was allowed to happen in a simple voting process, who is to assure the public that a mistake of the same magnitude was not allow to be made in portraying the intent and integrity of the pageant?
    Ms. Anh, before you make any poor assumptions of the credibility of the person you are responding to, please conduct proper research beforehand. Perhaps Ms. Bui is one of those kids doing things “to change lives, change the world, and contribute to society,” that you were referring to.
    Again, I agree that the pageant represents a good cause. However the question is whether that cause was justly served. Ms. Anh, can you provide any assurance that it was? If not, then Ms. Bui has every right to question it. Without question and speculation, would this mistake have been revealed in the first place? As far as I can tell, Ms. Bui is doing us all a favor by speculating and demanding the truth.

    Perhaps you should be more appreciative of Ms. Bui’s efforts. She is after all trying to make sure that your contribution is actually going towards the cause which you were all led to believe. I commend Ms. Bui for speaking out; very few have the courage to do so.

  5. T.Anh says:

    I was also at the press conference, and as much as I believe the students could and should have done a much better job expressing their thoughts, some of the adults were equally unprofessional and disrespectful. Respect, believe it or not, does not come with age, it comes with being you no matter who you are and where you came from. So what evaluation are you using to define respect? Because if I recall correctly, they never raised their voices, they never yelled, they never pointed fingers or addressed anyone in an informal manner. And yes, they had to smile, because what else are you supposed to do when adults are yelling at you and telling you how horrible you are and how much you have failed. If the “respect” you were looking for was for them to agree to everything the elders said, then you are mistaken. How respectful were some of the adults when they stood up and yelled at the students (who are half to 1/3 of the ages of adults there), how respectful was it for the mother to say the kids who struggled to communicate in Vietnamese that they were not raised well?

    Furthermore, MY mother would NOT have told me the crown I was wearing was equivalent to wearing underwear on my head. Or that my integrity had been sacrificed. She would not have taken advantage of the fact they were young students and she was the elder so she could say whatever she wanted to. She would not have been angry, perhaps just disappointed. But she would have channeled her feelings into helping these students correct their mistakes and in improving their system for next time. If anyone, Linda was the most mature and the most sensible despite being the one most deeply affected by the event. Even more so than the adults around her.

    No, they did not forget where they came from. You, I actually believe, forgot where you are. You are now living in a world where kids are doing things to change lives, to change the world, to contribute to society. The pageant began as a means to fundraise for a cause and that was achieved. I did not buy a ticket to see who the winner was, I bought a ticket to help a cause, to show support to the many, many students who took time out of their lives and who worked hard to simply, “do something good”. Honestly, for a good cause and simply because these students wanted to try to make a difference, I would have been equally happy staring at an empty stage.

    • L.K. says:

      I was also at the press conference, and honestly, if this pageant was all about changing lives and etc., then what would the need for recrowning be? It does not make any sense what so ever. UW VSA said that they took it upon themselves to be true leaders to recount the scores themselves, did they really forget to mention that they received hate mail from the community? They did not even consider recounting the votes until this occurred. It’s obvious at this point that this pageant was not all about the charity. Like the last writer wrote, the percentage of proceeds is very inconsistent. If the charity was the main focus of this event, then first and foremost, they should at least know how much of the proceeds were going to be given to the charity. Even after the event had taken place, they were still uncertain the percentage of proceeds that were going to be given to charity.
      Have you not ever tried talking back to your parents while they were scolding you? Did not learn that the best way to deal with it is to just take it all in and not talk back? Vietnamese adults are like that, and that is something a lot of the younger generation today do not understand. The adults do not feel the need to respect juveniles in that sense because in the Vietnamese culture the juveniles’ say and opinion means close to nothing in these types of situations. The idea of respect that the younger generation knows it today differs with the idea of respect that the older generation grew up with long ago.
      You stated, “MY mother would NOT have told me the crown I was wearing was equivalent to wearing underwear on my head”, but she would feel as if the crown degraded you of your value. It’s equivalent to telling the world that you were good enough and now you’re not. It’s embarrassing, and to have the scores be available to the public, how ridiculous as well. It is as if these contestants are all cows being graded, and it limits them to their self worth. I strongly believe that UW VSA could have handled this so much better, possibly by delegating this issue among the contestants as a whole, since it was after all, their show. I’m pretty sure that they did not even take this into consideration, lol. In addition, it’s quite humiliating, I might say for you to not understand the anger and frustration that Linda’s mother was feeling. Do you not agree that it would be embarrassing to call home to all of your relatives in Vietnam to tell them that your daughter won the title of Miss Hoa Khoi Lien Truong 2009 and then call them less than 1 week later to tell them that she was not after all? Pageants are a big deal in the Vietnamese community and for something like this to occur is also very embarrassing to all parties.
      All in all, Linda handled this situation very well. She was very humble to accept the title of first runner up, and state that she would not be happy if she won the official title without winning the most points. Linda is the type of role model that our generation today needs. She is mature and classy in her demeanor, she is what Miss Hoa Khoi Lien Truong truly stands for, but I guess others think otherwise.


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