Lounges grow in popularity after shaking off dubious image
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — Normally Thu Phuong is as timid as a mouse, afraid of standing in front of a group of people. But last weekend, her persona changed as she took the microphone and belted out a ballad in front of her colleagues.
In Vietnam, karaoke venues are becoming an increasingly popular choice of entertainment with establishments offering more and more luxurious spaces and themes, such as the inside of a modern spacecraft and an ancient Egyptian tomb, and increasingly powerful music systems as the society develops.
Karaoke began to find popularity in Vietnam in the 1980s and was characterized by poor audio equipment and small venues.
But as it has grown in popularity, a variety of establishments have sprung up, including luxury facilities boasting up to 50 rooms which can hold from two to 200 people.
“’Clean’ karaoke venues, not ‘hugging’ ones, are now much more common than the illegal