When we went on a preview trip to Ho Chi Minh City in 2009, I honestly didn’t have much expectations. I thought to myself, I’d just let our trip do the talking. Honestly, the whole Saigon scene has a downtown Manila (Binondo / Chinatown) feel to it, so I actually felt at home since I have been working for over a year in the same kind of environment. In my last job in Manila, I spent a few months working with Chinese-Filipinos and so I was used to hearing the chatter around me without understanding one bit — not much of a difference when we moved here.
Aside from the traffic — which I feel is no traffic at all compared to in Manila, the food, and the people, I realized I won’t have the same easy access to Filipino news program. Alas, Pinoy TV and TFC are not available on cable TV. I actually don’t watch much local shows in the Philippines but the news and some telenovelas would be nice once in a while. I actually turn on the local Vietnam channels during events like the Lunar New Year.
But what I didn’t know was that Vietnam has embraced some shows from the Western world, like Vietnam Idol, Vietnam’s Next Top Model (modeled from Tyra Banks’ TV show franchise), and last year’s American Music Awards provided the comeback of Backstreet Boys and NKOTB with enough noise that BSB went on a tour and is coming to Vietnam this month.
When it comes to boy bands, BSB is not on the top of my list. As a matter of fact, I never really got hooked on any boy band at all (yes! I’m weird that way!)! But that doesn’t mean I don’t know any of their songs. Because I actually do. When you’re a Filipino, two things run through your veins, blood and music. I kid you not. NO, not all Filipinos can sing but Filipinos love music through and through. If I happen to hear a BSB song, I’ll probably be able to sing along with it.
And so anyway, for a country that didn’t even show Transformers cartoons in the 80s, kinda shocked me a bit that BSB is coming to town — but then again, BSB was in the 90s when Vietnam was starting to open up to the rest of the world. I spoke to my officemate about it who knows of BSB but prefers the music of Michael Learns to Rock. And it made me realize that Vietnam has long been influenced by the West (except that they really missed out on Transformers! Boooo!!!! hehe!) best exemplified by the V-Pop sensation, Đông Đông, who is trying to emulate Michael Jackson.
So if you guys are trying to catch BSB’s “This Is Us” concert, you can catch them at the Quan Khu 7 Stadium in Ho Chi Minh on March 24 or at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on March 26. Prices are sold at 500k, 800k, 1.2M, 1.5M, and 2M — which IMHO, is quite expensive. They’re holding a contest too, so check it out at http://contest.bsb.com.vn.
I wonder what else is in store for Vietnam this year in the realm of show business. 😀