A Malaysian influencer has apologized after sparking outrage in Vietnam over photos she shared of herself wearing the country’s national dress — but without pants.
Siew Pui Yi, who has 17.5 million followers on Instagram and 717,000 followers on Facebook, had posted several pictures of herself last week donning an ao dai, minus the pants that usually accompany the outfit’s tunic top.
In the photos taken in the historic Vietnamese town of Hoi An, her thong is clearly visible as she releases a flower-shaped paper lantern on the Hoai River — a traditional custom signifying a prayer for peace.
The backlash against Siew was swift, with angry social media users accusing her of being “disrespectful” of Vietnamese culture.
Hoi An’s Culture and Information Department Head Tong Quoc Hung also commented on Siew’s actions, noting that “the female tourist revealing her underwear in the ancient town of Hoi An is offensive,” per Vietnamese news outlet VnExpress.
Siew has since deleted the photos, but not before screenshots of the images were circulated online. Last Wednesday, the 23-year-old issued an apology on Facebook in Vietnamese, English and Chinese.
“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,” she wrote.
“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.”
Siew did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Known for posting pictures of herself in skimpy clothing, Siew made the cover of US adult magazine Penthouse in January. In a Facebook post, Siew claimed she is the first woman from Southeast Asia to be featured on the magazine’s cover.
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