What's a pound of flesh worth?

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     Singer Ngoc Son recently told an online website he had insured his virginity for US$1 million, but many doubt the authenticity of the statement. Photo: Doc Lap

Ngoc Son, a famous singer for nhac vang, the "cheesy" yet popular music genre in Vietnam, recently made himself a laughing stock after telling the press he had insured his virginity for US$1 million.

"Really, I have never lost my virginity.

"I'm really serious about relationships. I will save my virginity for only one: my future wife."

Many said that the 43-year-old singer was just a has-been trying to attract attention, since he has always been rumored gay and in the past he had involved in some sexual scandals.

But his statement raised the question whether Vietnamese celebrities in the show business are really interested in insuring their body parts.

When asked about this, many celebrities boasted that they did insure their "assets" but they could not reveal details of their insurance contracts.

Models Vu Hoang Diep and Ha Vy both told the press their legs are worth $50,000. Dancer Linh Nga is also rumored to insure her legs.

By when asked about details of the contracts, they refused to discuss further.

"A relative of mine in the United States bought me insurance for my legs worth $50,000 as a gift last year," Diep said.

"I don't want to tell the name of the insurance company, but it is a kind of lifetime insurance.

"As far as I know, there is no such company in Vietnam, which insures all body parts like boobs, arms, legs and face."

Supermodel Thanh Hang, however, denied insuring her famous long legs as rumored.

"That service has yet to come to Vietnam and I do not need it either.

"I think the important thing is that you are fully aware of taking care of your body parts, not insuring it.

"No money can redeem the loss to your previous body once you lose any part."

Famous singer Hong Nhung is also rumored to insure her voice, but her manager denied the rumor.

"I have never heard of that insurance," he said.

Some singers and actors said those who boasted insuring their body parts are just trying to make a fuss.

Nguyen Quang Minh, director of Cat Tien Sa Media Group, the producer of some TV shows like The Voice and Dancing with the stars' Vietnamese versions, said insurance for performers has yet to be introduced in Vietnam.

"The Vietnamese laws do not ban insuring body parts. Thing is the demand for such insurance service is too little," said lawyer Thieu Anh Duong.

Representatives of foreign insurance companies in Vietnam like Liberty, Prudential, Manulife and AIA confirmed with Vietweek the insurance service for body parts has not yet arrived in Vietnam.

Insurance for accidents at work

The producer of a play named Xin loi, em chi la... (Sorry, I am just...) said the company bought insurance for all actors and actresses taking roles in the play, with each worth VND1.3 billion ($61,625) per year, three years ago.

Any actor and actress who had health problems from headache, running nose, sprain to other injuries were given the best treatment in the one-year period.

They were ensured to receive VND1.3 billion in case of fatal accident.

Huynh Anh Tuan, director of Thai Duong Stage Arts Company, said the company had bought insurance for occupational accidents for the whole acting staff over the last 10 years.

The insurance package also pays for accidents occurring elsewhere, not in the stage only, he said.

Nguyen Thi Trang Dai, an officer of Bao Viet Insurance Company in Ho Chi Minh City, said since no customer came to her office to ask for body insurance, the company only provides the insurance package for occupational accidents.

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