National carrier Vietnam Airlines on Friday announced that it has pulled the November issue of its inflight magazine, following complaints that the dress featured on the cover was culturally insensitive.
The cover of Heritage Fashion's November issue, which has been pulled by Vietnam Airlines. File photo
The traditional ao dai dress in question had an image of one of Myanmar's most important temples printed on the lower part, below the waist of the model.
“We had good intentions but we did not realize the differences between countries and cultures when it comes to images of pagodas,” said a spokesperson of Vietnam Airlines on its Facebook on Wednesday.
In a letter sent to the airline earlier the same day, Buddhist monk Venerable Nayaka requested Vietnam Airlines to stop using images of the Shwedagon Pagoda on dresses.
“Please avoid the disrespectful behavior which insults other people's culture and beliefs,” he wrote in the letter, which was later reposted by thousands of Facebook users in both countries.
“We Myanmar people really got upset for this photo."
Sources say the ao dai dress on the cover of the magazine was part of an ad campaign for a local silk company.
Pulling all copies of the new issue may lead to huge compensation payments to advertising customers, industry insiders say.
The Shwedagon, officially named Shwedagon Zedi Daw and also known as the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda, is a gilded stupa located in Yangon. It is believed to be 2,500 years old.
The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Bach Duong