Vietnamese Embassy ponders stance on matchmaking uproar

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A representative of the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore has told Thanh Nien the embassy "is contemplating appropriate actions" in light of a recent newspaper article about a Vietnamese bride matchmaking service.

"We must look at the issue from multiple perspectives to respond in a correct way," said Bui Tan Long, the first secretary in charge of community affairs at the embassy.

In its October 24th edition, the Singapore's newspaper Straits Times ran an article about Vietnam Brides International Matchmaker Company charging half-price for Singaporean men seeking Vietnamese spouses.

The story with the headline "Vietnam brides: Agency slashes fees" has sparked criticisms from readers as well as Ton Nu Thi Ninh, the former deputy head of the National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee.

Readers say by stressing the price cut in the headline, the article was whether inadvertently or not advertising for overseas matchmaking services, which some view as another form of human trafficking.

Ninh, also a former Vietnamese Ambassador to the EU, suggests the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore should at least request the host country to use appropriate authority to remove "Vietnam Brides" from the company's name as it is an insult to Vietnam.

However, Long said the name can potentially be justified as it describes the function of the company.

For instance, he said, it is acceptable for an export/import service company from Thailand that does business with only Vietnam to use the name "˜Viet Thai' to promote its brand. "In this case, this company"¦ [is only describing] its matchmaking services with Vietnamese women."

But Long also said the embassy may follow Ninh's suggestion or even take a stronger response after careful deliberations.

Reported by Thuc Minh

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