The "four social evils"
From: Ed Miller <Edward.G.Miller@dartmouth.edu>
I am interested in tracing the origins of a term I have come across in my research on South Vietnam in the 1950s: the “four social evils” (tu’/ ddo^? tu’o’`ng). Beginning in about 1955 and continuing for a few years, this term was invoked in the propaganda of the Diem government. According to these texts, the four evils were booze, prostitution, opium and gambling (tu’?u, sa(/c, ye^n, ddo^?). The term was used a lot in the press campaign against Bao Dai in the run-up to the referendum of October 1955. The regime also occasionally unveiled efforts to stamp out one or the other of the four evils during the late 1950s (i.e. public burnings of siezed opium, schools to rehabilitate former prostitutes, etc.) Although the term sounds vaguely Confucian, I don’t know of any classical reference to it, and I suspect that it was of 20th century coinage. I am wondering if the Diem regime invented it, or perhaps borrowed it from somewhere (China, maybe?). Has anyone else come across this term, or have ideas about where it came from? Thanks in advance for any info you can provide.
From: BoiTran Huynh <email@example.com>