Beauty and Physical Attractiveness
1. Who do you think is the most beautiful person in your country?
Well, usually, the most beautiful person in my country is the Miss (hoa hậu) of this year. However, I don’t think I can spot her out because I am not a fan of beauty pageants (cuộc thi hoa hậu). Also, I think it is a bit ridiculous to say someone is the most beautiful, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder (mỗi người có một cách nghĩ khác nhau về sắc đẹp) , and each person has a different set of traits (loạt những nét, đặc điểm) to check before claiming someone is beautiful or not. Therefore, it is not easy for me to have a proper answer to this question.
2. Who was the most beautiful person in history?
In Vietnamese history, the most beautiful women were extolled (được ca ngợi) for their beauty and intelligence. It was told that King Ly Thanh Tong’s official wife (nguyên phi) Y Lan, was the most beautiful woman living in the 11th and 12th century. She was a village girl standing next to an orchid when the King passed by. He felt in love with her right at first sight and asked her to be his official wife. She then studied a lot in the harem (hậu cung) and became so smart that the King entrusted the throne (giao ngai vàng) to her when he went to wars. Now some temples worshiping her still exist in Ha Noi.
3. Who is the most attractive in your family?
I will say my mom. She used to be the most beautiful girl in her class during student years. I understand why her friends now still talk about how many boys following her at that time. Just look at the picture of my mom when she was 25, in those years of hunger, and of poverty in the 70s of the last century, such a woman deserved the Miss title I guess. Now my mom is over sixty years of age but she looks even younger than many in their 50s.
4. Does beauty affect one’s success in life?
I believe so. It is the first impression that one leaves in the first meeting that makes things flow smoothly or not after that. A handsome man or a charming women will make that impression favourable for their business later. It may result in a successful business deal, or more potential meetings for greater opportunities subsequently. (sau đó)
5. Is it better to be physically attractive or intelligent?
I can’t tell which one is more important because they both are not what I am looking for in a person, or what I care about in achieving for myself. Without a good personality, the beauty, or intelligence may be wasted for bad purposes. Therefore, I treat these two aspects of a person as temporary advantages which can be overshadowed (bị làm lu mờ, kém cạnh) by great character. (tính cách)
6. Is it better to be physically attractive or wealthy?
In this practical society, people say that if there is anything money can’t buy, it can be bought with a lot of money. In an increasingly material society, where some even worship money, most people will choose to be wealthy than physically attractive. Also, people can rely on plastic surgery, fashion, and cosmetics to make them more attractive once they are affluent. (=rich) It all comes down to one point that money is more important than physical attractiveness.
7. Is beauty related to power?
I sometimes hear stories about ladies who ascend rapidly on the ladder of promotion (nấc thang thăng tiến) thanks to their beauty and love affairs (quan hệ tình cảm) with big bosses. In that case, beauty brings a woman power, but in a way that also brings her shame.
For ordinary people, more priorities are usually saved for beautiful people just because they win the heart of those around them more easily. However, those privileges (đặc quyền) only come when these good looking people behave well to earn both respect and admiration.
8. Can you think of anyone who is in a position of power that is not physically attractive?
Lots of them I can point out like Condoleza Rice, former secretary of state of the US was very powerful, and highly respected not for her beauty, which is only average, but for her intelligence and political competence. Another example is the current prime minister of New Zealand. She is not beautiful at all from any angle, but she is very much adored by her citizens. In Vietnam, many political leaders like the former Vice President Truong My Hoa, President Nguyen Tan Sang, former president Nguyen Minh Triet, etc… are not handsome or beautiful.
9. Do people spend too much time and money on beauty?
The concept of too much spending on beauty depends on the financial conditions and the benefits such spending can yield them. For a celebrity, such expenditure will enlarge their career opportunities and help them earn even more. This spending for famous people is very well justified.(hợp lý) However, for those struggling with finance and still spend lavishly (tiêu hoang phí) on beauty services, they are obviously spending far above their means.(vung tay quá trán) In brief, it depends.
10. How much time should be spent on making yourself look better each day?
If looking better means exercising to stay in shape, I would love to do it around 30 minutes or an hour every day, but if it is applying facial mask, applying wax on my hair, or selecting the attractive outfit to suit the mood and the weather for the day, then it takes me no time.
11. Who would you say is beautiful that others maybe wouldn’t?
I still remember my roommate told me about a girl that he though should be crowned as the most beautiful student in the whole Department of Foreign Languages at university. However, I can never forget the feeling when he pointed out the girl from the crowd. I was completely confused because in front of me at that time, no girl should be considered that beautiful. Finally I could single her out, but since then, I have really understood the saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My roommate’s standard for beauty includes fair skill, tall, long jet black hair, while I took those aspects for granted as only basic traits of beauty.
12. Do you think people should have cosmetic surgery to enhance their looks?
I abhor (ghét) the unnatural look brought about by plastic surgery (phẫu thuật thẩm mỹ). For those who undergo such a transformation in appearance, usually when they smile, their face look very weird as if things were misplaced. So for me, I reject the ideas of making one more beautiful by putting plastic or silicon into their bodies.
13. How popular is plastic surgery in your country?
It is increasingly more popular in Vietnam these years but still falls far behind our Korean neighbours who just need a semester break to have the nose straightened, together with a complimentary (miễn phí) double eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty (phẫu thuật cắt mí mắt)
14. Have you ever noticed anyone ever feeling pressured to be more beautiful?
Often the pressure is exerted on homemakers (các bà nội trợ). They sacrifice their whole lives taking care of the families for the husbands to concentrating on business. They eventually get old and lose their attractiveness. In order to keep their husband faithful to them, some feel a great pressure to rejuvenate (hồi xuân) and make themselves new in their husbands’ eyes.
15. What do you think “beauty is skin deep” means?
That’s what I believe in. The character of a person means much more than the outward looking. (vẻ bề ngoài) For a man who looks for beautiful appearances (nét đẹp bên ngoài), if one day, his beautiful partner has an accident and loses physical attractiveness, can he still love her? Besides, out fates are very unpredictable. I feel as if we were the pawns on a chess board of God (con tốt trên bàn cờ của Chúa), so it is better to seek for something like great character and inner beauty (nét đẹp bên trong) in a person that stand the test of time (vượt qua thử thách thời gian) and adversities, (nghịch cảnh) rather than something temporary (tạm thời, thoáng qua) and rapidly changing.