A Malaysian influencer has apologized to the people of Vietnam over provocative photos that showed her wearing the áo dài without any pants.
Siew Pui Yi, better known as MsPuiyi, sparked outrage on Vietnamese social media after posting the images, which were taken during a recent trip to the Hoai River in Hoi An, a UNESCO world heritage site.
The áo dài, which translates to “long tunic” or “long shirt,” is Vietnam’s unique national dress and was conceptualized in the early 1700s. It is a symbol of femininity in the Southeast Asian country.
The split-sided tunic is always worn with trousers. After MsPuiyi uploaded pictures of her pantsless self to Facebook on April 4, she quickly received online backlash from Vietnamese social media users.
“We welcome international friends to come and wear this national costume. But your style really doesn’t match the national costume,” one Facebook user wrote. “I hope you can take down the post and apologize to us for disrespecting this country’s culture.”
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Another user commented: “We really appreciate your visit but please respect the costume you’re wearing. Get your f*cking butt out of here.”
Social media users who wanted to learn more about MsPuiyi following the controversy discovered that she has accumulated millions of followers for her racy content, which she distributes across multiple websites such as OnlyFans. She also recently appeared on the cover of men’s magazine Penthouse.
Tong Quoc Hung, head of the Hoi An Culture and Information Department, released a statement criticizing MsPuiyi’s photos.
“The female tourist revealing her underwear in the ancient town of Hoi An is offensive,” he said. “The image of the female tourist does not match the customs and habits of the people here.”
MsPuiyi issued an apology on April 6 and announced that she had taken the images down. She also vowed to be “more sensitive” to other cultures.
“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,” MsPuiyi wrote.
“I absolutely loved my travels,” she continued. “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.”
This is not the first time a renowned figure has faced backlash for disrespecting the áo dài. In 2019, American singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves also caused public outcry for wearing the áo dài without pants at a concert in Dallas.