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In the face of a pandemic, how do you get people to wash their hands?
The Vietnamese government’s answer: Enlist some of the country’s top names in music for an informational collaboration that, according to comedian John Oliver, “absolutely slaps.”
Oliver is absolutely right. The Vietnamese National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health teamed up with producer Khắc Hưng and singers Min and Erik to create the three-minute PSA, a spin on the trio’s biggest hit — “Ghen,” or “Jealous.” Its title? “Ghen Cô Vy,” or “Jealous Coronavirus.”
The video, which helpfully includes a link to the CDC’s coronavirus page, opens with adorable animated versions of Min and Erik scowling at a TV broadcast on their living room floor. Min then explains that a “hot” new virus is in town as the screen displays three bright green cartoon viruses, complete with crowns and menacing smiles. By referring to the virus with the Vietnamese pronoun “em” — used to address younger siblings and juniors — Min and Erik make a confident statement about our power to stop its spread.
From there, the duo alternate lines until the end of the first verse, when Erik urges the public to prevent the virus from “burning up.” To illustrate his point, yellow and orange flames fill the screen before the chorus begins.
It’s a fitting way to set the stage for — to quote Oliver, who featured the video on his show — a “genuine club banger.” The tempo picks up, and Min and Erik rattle off ways to combat the coronavirus: Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Avoid crowded places. Keep your health up. Clean your space. Be socially aware.
The best part? All this information is set to an incredibly catchy tune. And the chorus, from start to finish, lasts about 20 seconds, the CDC’s recommended duration for hand-washing time. Instead of “Happy Birthday,” why don’t we all start singing “Ghen Cô Vy” in front of our bathroom mirrors?
The video, which quickly took off in Vietnam and beyond, inspired an equally unforgettable TikTok challenge. Vietnamese dancer Quang Đăng choreographed a short step sequence, which, as he explained on his Instagram, contains the “6 hand washing movements as recommended by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health, based on the music song.”
In a recent interview with CNN, Đăng said that “our mind [and] our education” are key to eradicating the virus. CNN’s Kristie Lu Stout described his approach as “spreading joy, not germs.”
If you’re wondering how to make the hours of self-isolation fly past, look no further than “Ghen Cô Vy.” Watch the video. Sing along. Dance your heart out. And remember to wash your hands.
— Staff Writer Clara Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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