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Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 16:27 UK

Vietnamese 'Borats' cause a storm

By Nga Pham
BBC Vietnamese Service

Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat
Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat became notorious in his so-called "mankini"

Two students who dressed up as the TV character Borat are at the centre of a row in Vietnam.

The pair performed a dance act at a company party dressed as the spoof Kazakh journalist in his notoriously skimpy "mankini" swimming costume.

They have now found themselves suspended from college for 12 months.

The incident, dubbed the "nude dance of FPT Arena students", has stirred up a storm on internet forums and also in the domestic media.

The leading technology firm FPT owns the college where the two performers were studying design.

In a statement, FPT Arena said the organisers of the party did not know about the act in advance, adding that two of the firm's executives had been sacked over the incident.

Hanoi Cultural Inspectorate on Tuesday fined the college 4m dong ($240; 135) for a number of offences including "use of improper clothing".

'Obscene'

A video clip posted on the internet showed the two youths dancing and wrestling each other to the tune of a famous revolutionary song.

Both were dressed as the Borat character created by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.

In the background, members of a choir were struggling to stifle their giggles.

The clip has since been taken off the internet, but images remain widely available on private blogs.

Newspapers deemed the display "obscene", saying it was against Vietnam's morality and tradition. Angry readers wrote in to call for punishment.

"I cannot understand how they could do such an anti-cultural thing," said Nguyen Dinh Van from Hanoi, adding: "I cannot accept it."

Yet some found the performance hilarious.

A Hanoi student, who wanted to stay anonymous, said: "They did the same act Halloween last year at their school and the audience liked it.

"Only this year, there was a mix-up and the guys got wrong costumes."





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