What interested the Vietnamese in 2015?

The last days of 2015 are filled with local online articles on the Google list on what has been searched the most in 2015 by the Vietnamese people. Interestingly, 10 out of 10 names of the list belong to the Entertainment category. Son Tung-MTP has become the phenomenon of the year when three of his love songs were pinned up to the top of the list.

My feeling when first seeing the list posted on BBC page one week earlier than the local news was just slightly amused because a) I had no idea about most of the names in the list, except for No. 5 (Furious 7 for Paul Walker and his tragic death), No. 9 (the Indian drama series about child marriage practice as my mom and dad are regular watchers at home), and No. 10 (for the singer, main source of inspiration for the movie, was just around my age when he died); and b) all of them belong to the realm of pop culture. That’s all.

But perhaps it is because I am not a typically responsible netizen who spends hours of their days glancing through all the online headlines and lamenting about the cultural decline of the country and the youth in particular that propels cheesy and poignant love songs on the top. (which makes me wonder if it is more likely because the singers are young and unofficially trained in music schools).

Putting the Vietnam’s list against its neighbours like Singapore and Japan, such netizens feel their blood is boiling when such weighty issues caught attention of their neighbours: IS for Japan, PSI Singapore for Singapore. And they post status and write blogs to complain, like how ignorant the young generation has become, whose mistakes: the education, the politic system, or the general public themselves?


Hey, come on. Slow down a bit to look at a bigger picture, ok?

First of all, a list cannot reflect a comprehensive picture of a collective mindset of a nation. Moreover, keep in mind that the 2014 trending ranking compares the rise in a search engine query compared to a year ago.

Second, obviously the lists that appear to be politically weighty and in tune with what we thought to be global concerns shows what directly hurts a nation as a whole. In Japan, IS is a big concern as two Japanese journalists were killed by this group. So is the case of Singapore: PSI Singapore has only made it the top search since 2013 after June 2013 when the country suffered severe haze from Indonesia, pushing the nation’s PSI into Hazardous levels for the first time in its history.

Basically  top searches reflect death-or-alive matters to a country. So, what such matters in Vietnam?

Some say the dispute over the sovereignty in the South China Sea (or the East Sea) should top. Others say TPP or AEC.

So, did such news make into the top searched list? NO.

Personally, I think what should be discussed first here is how the news are covered locally (instead of shaking heads and shedding tears for the seeming decline in awareness of the young ~ are they born to be criticised, btw?)

What are the readers usually fed with? News on which celebrities wear more expensive gowns in an event, news on a beauty stealing away someone’s husband who happens to be an owner of some food chains or of several companies, news on mass killers publicly executed.

And in fact, the relations among the lists on most searched local news and international news and ‘What is..’ and the country’s socio-economic situation say more.

In Singapore’s case, the ‘What is…’ list somehow reflects the headlines of local news and international news circulated in the country as it includes PSI, and things in Syria. Also, IT-related terms also reflect the high technology driven economic development strategy of this country.

How about Vietnam? Except for IS related search results show the link with the international news coverage, the other search results are totally mismatched.

‘TPP’  gives off positive signs as people do care about the country’s and the world’s affairs but local news about it did not make into the list.  The rest is mainly miscellaneous things reflecting no trend.

Now, take a look at the global top search list. What are included?  100% about the US and Europe; 50% about games and movies; 30% about American figures; 20% about Islam-related events-Charlie Herbo and Paris.

Not much of politics or economy or social issues, isn’t it?

So, why so serious?

Thu Ngo


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