National broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) has been fined VND30 million (US$1,412) for airing a cartoon regarded as offending teachers who are highly respected in Vietnamese society right ahead of Teachers’ Day.
The penalty was slapped on VTV on Friday by the Ministry of Information and Communications that oversees the media in the Southeast Asian country.
The television station was penalized for broadcasting “Nhat Xuong Cho Thay” (Clearing Away Bones for the Teacher), a cartoon that depicts a greedy, mean male teacher, on Wednesday – one day ahead of Teachers’ Day which is seen as an occasion during which students show their respect for and gratitude to their teachers.
The cartoon was aired as part of VTV’s educational series “Qua Tang Cuoc Song” (The Gift of Life) on VTV3 – the broadcaster’s entertainment channel.
The series, on air every Saturday and Sunday, features cartoons adapted from local and foreign fables and meant to convey educative messages by nurturing good qualities and condemning or satirizing vices.
“Nhat Xuong Cho Thay” was broadcast at 10:20 pm on Wednesday, some hours before the Teachers’ Day when the entire country honored teachers and their profession.
Set in the old times, the cartoon describes a well-known teacher who is invited to provide tutoring for a couple’s son at their home.
The host couple treats the teacher with sumptuous meals and accommodation, as well-off families would do in the past.
During the first meal with the host family, the teacher, who is drawn to their wealth right from the first place, pretends to refuse the delectable food which the couple offers him to save his face.
The teacher explains he often eats simple foods only, like vegetables and rice, so he will find it uneasy to take delicious meals from them.
However, as he is hungry at night, he blames the couple in his mind for being so mindless in not insisting that he take the food.
The teacher then comes up with a cunning ploy which will allow him to relish the food and keep his reputation intact as well.
He asks the couple to serve him and their son meals in the privacy of the boy’s own room, where the teacher then voraciously gulps down tons of meat and asks his student, who has almost no meat to eat, to clear away the heaps of bones after each meal.
After a while, as the teacher bids farewell to the couple and their son upon the completion of his tutoring, the boy extends his wishes as a goodbye to the teacher that he will hopefully reach 100 years old while the student himself will live up to 101 years old to collect the teacher’s bones.
The boy’s sarcastic wish renders the teacher ashamed of his own greed.