Busting a move in a karaoke club may soon get you busted in Vietnam. Government officials are currently pushing for a ban on dancing in the country’s increasingly popular singing establishments.
Rather than cracking down on poorly executed dance moves, the proposed legislation is an effort to reduce the use of illegal drugs like ecstasy among karaoke patrons. Use of the touchy-feely substance has surged in Vietnam during the past decade.
The karaoke-dancing-ecstasy connection and proposed ban were announced last month on the country’s Department of Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism website.
”In my opinion, karaoke is a cultural activity which is always latent with social evils,” wrote Le Anh Tuyen, Chief of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on the department website.
“Some people hire karaoke rooms not to sing, but to take ecstasy and dance. We have statistics of such cases,” Tuyen continued. “Ecstasy always goes with wine and music so if the state doesn’t ban dancing, karaoke establishments will be misused.”
Despite these declarations by the government, plans for the ban aren’t being readily embraced by karaoke employees.
“I think it’s not feasible because these people who go to karaoke want to relieve their stress,” says Dang Duy Thanh, manager of the karaoke club Style, reported Agence France-Presse.
“If we just force them to stay there singing without feeling comfortable, that’s not right,” Thanh continued.
Ngo Thi Bao Ngoc, an employee at Style believes the ban won’t work since serious karaoke club owners who are concerned with maintaining good reputations are already weary of ecstasy use on their property.
“Dancing is understandable. There is no reason to ban it,” she said.
Karaoke has been a source of controversy since being introduced to Vietnam in the 1990s.
Alcohol was banned from karaoke clubs in 2006, and the establishments have also been accused of serving as brothels, resulting in legislation that sought to ban the businesses from the country altogether.