updated 30 Apr 2012, 07:51
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Mon, Mar 14, 2011
The New Paper
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A new Low on accents
by Joyce Lim

Has Singapore been  hit by a new Ris Low?

Judging from comments posted by netizens on Twitter and Facebook, the answer is yes.

Netizens are calling Christina Tan, 22, Singapore's new Ris Low because of her odd accent and bad English pronunciation.

The buxom freelance model, who is 1.58m-tall and weighs 42kg, has set the Internet abuzz after links to three videos were circulated online.

The three videos show different segments of Tan's appearance at the finals of the recent FHM/SOL Beer Bikini Babe Contest.

She was the first runner-up in the contest, which was held at Wave House Sentosa on Jan 22.

In one of the videos, which generated close to 6,000 views, Tan was answering two questions from host Glenn Ong.

He had asked: "Christina, can you fake any accent?"

Tan then rolled her eyes and replied with a strong twang: "Anatawa buta deska?"

"Ana ha sayo? And I can say..."

Ong looked puzzled.

Tan continued, curling her tongue as she emphasised every word: "Oh! You don't understand what its means?

"Okay, 'anata buta deska' is my friends asked me 'Are you a pig?' Then I will say 'hai' (Japanese for yes), because normal people doh no how to speak Japanee, so they will say 'oh, hai, hai, hai', so if you ask someone 'Anatawa buta deska?' say 'hi' so you are a pig."

Ong then tried to get the microphone from Tan, but she continued to speak some Thai and uttered one Italian word before handing the microphone back.

After links to her videos made its rounds online, netizens mocked her replies and noted similarities between her and Low, the dethroned Miss Singapore World 2009.

Low was ridiculed for her bad English - coining words such as "Boomz" and speaking of "leopard preens" and a "bigini" in an interview with Razor TV.

Similar to 'Barbarella'

Netizens also called Tan the "real life Barbarella".

They were referring to actress Michelle Chong's character on TV news parody The Noose. Chong plays Barbarella, who, on the show, has a predilection for Caucasian men and speaks with a forced European accent.

One netizen said: "We found Barbarella's sister. hehe."

Another wrote: "Ho mai gawd, that was so painful to watch."

Another added: "Michelle Chong's barbarella's accent must be inspired by girls like her."

But radio deejay Ong thought Tan blew everyone away.

He wrote in an SMS reply to this reporter: "I came up with random questions for the girls a day before. Naturally, I meant for it to be entertaining, hoping they would have fun answering them, though Christina didn't quite get the question.

"I thought she blew everyone away, hilarious! Got to know them a little more and Christina's a really nice girl."

Tan, who claims her vital statistics are 32C-24-33, told The New Paper that she has often been told that she resembles popular Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai. On a few occasions, she said she has also been asked by salesgirls in department stores how she got her hot bod.

"I would tell them that I do massage myself during shower. And I drink papaya milk. There's also a way to wear your bra," Tan said.

Bending forward to demonstrate how she wears her bra, she added: "Tilt your body down and squeeze fats on the sides of your breasts to the centre. This way, your breasts will look bigger."

We also asked Tan if she has had any cosmetic surgery done to her body.

Tan replied, pointing to her breasts: "No, they're natural."

And when asked if she knew that Ong was teasing her accent by asking her that question, Tan replied: "No, Glenn was very nice. When we were backstage, he even gave me some tips on how to handle Q and A. He told me to relax and said if I can't answer his question, just give my cutest look and smile. "Glenn can be quite humorous. But I managed to answer his questions."

Strong self-belief

The polytechnic graduate had been prompted to enter the contest by two friends, Rebecca Chen and Felicia Neo, who also took part and came in among the top 10.

Tan said she did not expect to win and was surprised by the buzz she has generated online.

She said: "Everyone has their own opinions. Good or bad, whatever they said doesn't matter to me. I believe in myself. People who know me will know what kind of person I am. I won't get affected by what people say. I will get affected only by people who are close to me."

Her brother, risk analyst Anthony Tan, 27, said: "I have not seen the video and I am not aware of what people are saying. But if you compare her to Ris Low, I think my sister definitely speaks much better.

"She is a very nice girl who is perhaps a bit more self-conscious and puts in effort to carry herself well. In any case, she is a strong woman who will not let such negativity affect her. Our family is supportive of her pursuits."

When asked where she picked up her accent, Tan replied: "Do I speak with an accent? I don't think so. But if people think I do, I will take it as a compliment." Her friend, Chen, 21, a freelance dancer, who took part in the contest together with her, defended Tan's accent.

Chen, who has known Tan for two years, said: "I don't think Christina was faking any accent because that is the way she speaks in real life.

"Christina is a very sweet girl and very sincere towards her friends. She always puts her friends before herself."

Tan, the second of four siblings, labels herself as the black sheep among her brothers and younger sister.

She said: "I come from an English-speaking family and among my brothers and sisters, I am the most "cheena" (Chinese in Malay)."

Her father works in the engineering industry and her mother is in the "office line", added Tan, who started modelling when she was still in polytechnic. She has also worked as a podium and pole dancer in nightclubs but quit two years ago.

After graduating with a diploma in business administration in 2009, she worked as a part-time property agent but stopped after the new property guidelines were implemented for agents.

Now, she wants to pursue a career in the acting and modelling industry.

She said: "When I was in school, I took acting classes and when I was in poly, I took part in dance performances and I was also the emcee for school events. I love the attention and I love to be outstanding."

This article was first published in The New Paper.


More photos:

Photos of Christina Tan: A new Low on accents?

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