Censored artist to give talk on youth slang in Hanoi

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An exhibition and forum on youth slang this week will feature a talk by Thanh Phong, whose book on the subject was recently banned in Vietnam.

The artist talks will include discussions with Thanh Phong, literature critic Pham Xuan Nguyen, professor Phan Van Tinh and professor Van Nhu Cuong. The talks will focus on how young people talk with each other and how language is changing.

The discussions are scheduled for 6pm on March 29 at L'Espace in Hanoi, according to a press release from the French center.  The accompanying exhibitions will run until April 3.

There is expected to be some debate as to whether new words invented by text-message-crazy teenagers and other slang should be included in new dictionaries.

However, all eyes are on Thanh Phong, whose work exhibited at the event demonstrates that dozens of once-shunned slang phrases are gradually being accepted.

The works on display are taken from Phong's comic picture book Sat thu dau mung mu (Killer with a soft head), in which the artist illustrates local slang phrases.

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The book was withdrawn from bookstores last October due to its racy content and possibly offensive language. But its e-version has been available on Amazon for US$7.99 since last November.

Phong won the Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Asian Youth Animation & Comics Contest.

L'Espace is located on 24 Trang Tien Street, Hanoi. Entrance is free.

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