A Malaysian model and influencer, Ms Puiyi, also known as Siew Pui Yi, has sparked public outcry in Vietnam after she appeared in an ao dai, the cultural Vietnamese national dress, without pants.
Seen as disrespectful
Photos of the 23-year-old woman in Hoi An was circulated online and Vietnamese commenters were quick to accuse her of disrespecting their culture due to the provocative manner in which she appeared in the national costume, traditionally a long dress with slits on the sides and worn with a pair of trousers underneath.
Siew's take on the costume completely did away with the trousers.
Siew has since apologised.
Siew flew from Singapore to Da Nang, Vietnam on April 2 and stayed at a resort near Ha My Beach in Hoi An.On April 4, she posted two photos of her wearing an ao dai without trousers, while releasing lanterns onto the Hoai River.
Images slammed by Vietnamese
Vietnamese commenters online were quick to slam the images as "immodest" and "disrespectful", while demanding Siew remove them.
One comment posted by a Vietnamese online read: “Ao dai is a tradition of our Vietnamese culture, I find (your) way of wearing the ao dai really inappropriate and in Vietnam we call (this) offensive."
"I and everyone else ask you to take down the image and apologise to Vietnam!”
The Malaysian has over 615,000 Facebook followers and over 17.3 million Instagram followers.
Apologised for images
On April 6, Siew apologised.
She wrote her apology in Vietnamese, English, and Chinese and posted it on Facebook.
The apology in English said:
Hello all the beautiful people of Vietnam!
To my recent travel to Vietnam, there was a posting of mine that truly upset the people, and I deeply and sincerely apologize for my actions/content and the disrespect to the traditional culture of Vietnam, to which I have now taken down.
I have read each and every one of your comments and I do take it to heart, you are all amazing people and I absolutely loved my travels. I do hope to have another opportunity to be back in Vietnam and of course, take a different approach to shooting my content!
I apologize once again, and will be more sensitive to the local cultures all over the world.
Thank you everyone for all your support and love.
Siew has built a following online by posting photos of herself.
She gained further prominence in January 2022 after she appeared on the cover of that month's edition of United States Penthouse magazine.
She wrote in response: “It’s my honour to be the first Southeast Asian on Penthouse January 2022 cover issue. I can’t describe how happy I am to be the pet of the month. I’m so grateful. It feels as if I’m dreaming.”
According to The Star, Siew was born in Kuala Lumpur and her family moved to Penang when she was nine.
She was reported to have scored nine As in the national exam in 2014.
In 2019, her laptop was hacked when she sent it for repair.
She was a victim of extortion, as she was asked to give RM50,000, and her nude photos were subsequently uploaded on paid sites.
The incident was a low point in her life.
Siew said in response to that episode: “It was then that I decided to take control. I began to appear in more sexy poses instead.”
She has since branched out to become a cosmetic entrepreneur.
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