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Confessions of a beauty pageant convert
by Bryna Sim

I'VE always pooh-poohed beauty pageants, considering them dumb and 'bimbotic'.

And the Ris Low saga seemed to prove that I was right. Beauty pageants, the contestants and the organisers have been cast in a negative light.

To let the bitchy side of me out for a night, I attended Miss Earth Singapore 2009 last month, and it was easy to find fault and be critical.

I thought the pageant could have been better organised (the press conference started late and so did everything else), and wondered whether the contestants would have the brains to match their beauty and go beyond their mantra of 'green peace'.

Almost on cue and as if to prove me right again, one contestant, when asked 'What animal would you save if all the animals on the planet were going extinct, and why?', replied earnestly: 'I would save (pause)... the Merlion, because it is the international symbol of Singapore.'

Cue raucous laughter from the audience.

But I soon realised that perhaps my perspective of beauty contests may have been a bit too black-and-white.

I found out not all the contestants were in the competition just for the fame and glamour. One contestant was asked: 'Do you want the Government to save the environment, or create jobs?'

Her answer: 'Create jobs, although I know it's not the politically correct answer for this competition.'

I later found out that her father was jobless, and she was hoping to support him with her prize money if she had won.

Snooty attitude

When I asked another contestant what she thought of Ris Low's poor diction, her reply also set me thinking.

She told me: 'Ris is a friend of mine, and we come from a Chinese background. Sometimes, it's very difficult for us to speak the way people from a English background do.'

That made me feel bad, because I had unconsciously adopted a snooty attitude towards these contestants.

I scoff at the way they speak, because I think I speak better. I roll my eyes at the pageants because I think they are 'meat parades' aimed at men.

But would I go up there and strut my stuff?

Perhaps not. Much as I hate to admit it, I don't think I have the guts to do so.

It takes confidence to strut around on stage, striking poses and smiling winningly.

It takes a certain courage to field questions under a glaring spotlight and having to come up creative, humorous answers.

When stumped for a clever answer, I suppose one could always resort to the current hot word in the Singapore lexicon: 'Boomz!'

readers' comments
To the author, If you want to comment about beauty pageants, well try organizing one and know how difficult it will be. Talk is always cheap.

If you think you like to comment on girls who cannot speak well. Try standing and walking on stage. The feeling is different when the lights shine into your eyes, the microphone gets shoved into your face with an over zealous emcee who thinks he can answer better then you.

Then you parade and win some prizes and then come those comments I can do better. Precisely! then why are you not in the pageant?
They didn't allow you to join right?

Every event has a purpose,let's us give more support and make thins happen for the better, or rather stand there and complaint
and watch nothing happens and then start to complaint .....
Posted by goldfoxsg on Tue, 13 Oct 2009 at 23:30 PM
I heard of "cat-walk" before... but a "dog-walk" ??? hahaha... just teasing u !:p
Posted by Tsunamiw4ve on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 14:57 PM
I worked briefly as a part time model during my varsity days and also made it to the finals of a magazine contest before.

It takes a certain amount of self confidence to walk on stage with hundreds of people looking at you. Yes. But one can also make it with a grandiose sense of self worth...

It's not easy... but really lah... it's not as hard as they (models and pageant contestants) would have you believe.
Posted by husky1979 on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 12:53 PM
The author needed to attend a beauty pageant to find out what most people already know? What a vacuous, meaningless article..
Posted by Morinosuke on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 12:36 PM

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