Will beauty be Luton bound?

August 22, 2003

Utter confusion surrounds whether beauty queen Pham Thi Mai Phuong, who was last week reported kidnapped, will go to the ball.

The winner of the Miss Vietnam contest has a place at Luton University but appears reluctant to accept it.

In a letter delivered to the state news agency, she says: "My parents wanted me to study overseas, while I personally would like to study and work in Vietnam. I and my family therefore have experienced some tension. I was appalled by the news about my being kidnapped."

However, Tim Boatswain, pro vice-chancellor of Luton University, told The THES: "She's applied for a visa to come to the UK this week and is very keen to come. The story put out was something that she had to do."

Apparently, quitting one's communist homeland to study overseas is something that's frowned on in Vietnam.

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