Editor’s Blog… Dancing Ban in Vietnamese Karaoke Bars


When the idea of banning smoking in bars first cropped up people scoffed at the notion. But then slowly cities like New York, Paris and London started to ban smoking in bars and (gasp!) people actually stopped. But what about dancing? The latest news story to cause collective chortles around the 4bars office was this one out of Vietnam where the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism is seeking to ban dancing in karaoke bars “in a bid to limit drug use.” And yes, you read it right. A local Vietnamese paper even quoted the Head of the Ministry’s legal department as saying: “The function of karaoke bars is for singing, not for dancing. The ban for dancing in karaoke bar is to limit the use of ecstasy pills.” I’m imagining many furrowed brows at this point. But don’t worry, he gets better. He went on to say that any dance in a karaoke bar would violate the proposed ban but “behaviour with less danger to society,” such as simply moving to the beat of a song without using ecstasy, would not be fined. Phew, looks like my drug-free shimmy might scrape through.

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