updated 21 Jun 2013, 15:59
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Fri, Jul 13, 2012
The New Paper
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Ris Low just wants a second chance
by Tan Kee Yun

Here's a side of Ris Low we have not seen before.

Previously, in her interviews with The New Paper, the 22-year-old dethroned local beauty queen had always projected a perky, confident image.

Even when the news wasn't exactly in her favour - for example that there were rumours she was moonlighting at a local escort agency and that she was allegedly molested in a taxi queue - she never failed to maintain her feistiness.

But Low, who made headlines two years ago when she stepped down as Miss Singapore World 2009 after her credit card fraud conviction was exposed in the media, appears to have eaten a slice of humble pie.

In an e-mail interview with The New Paper, she shared her struggles and frustrations over finding a job - to no avail - in the last three years.

She has been looking for a part-time job while she was studying at the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS).

Her lack of qualifications didn't help.

Low admitted that she did not graduate from MDIS, where she had been pursuing a diploma in health science since 2009.

Low said: "I failed a couple of exams and, hence, gave up."

She added: "I couldn't keep up in class with accounts, that was awful. Everyone else just sped by me...

"They could answer all the questions at one shot without pause. I was the only one in class with my jaw hitting the floor and looking perpetually stunned."

Her subsequent job hunt was no easier, especially with her reputation and the fact that "there is some fame" tagged to her.

She declined to reveal what type of positions she has been applying for or in what industries.

"It's a very tough thing trying to get back on track again," she said, adding that her job search was "filled with setbacks".

"I guess that's the thing about being 'notoriously famous'," she said. "I've been given some chances, but sadly, I have not managed to get past the interview stages."

In September 2009, Low was found guilty of five charges of misappropriation, cheating using illegally obtained credit cards and impersonating their users' identities. The first-time offender was sentenced to 24 months of supervised probation.


Low, currently helping out at her parents' renovation company, said she is "disappointed" at the unwillingness of potential employers to give her a second shot.

"People with a past just want a second chance," she said. "It's really hard getting folks to open up to the idea of unlocking the second prison for us - so that we can go back into normal working life. (sic)

"Whatever happened to 'tying a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree' (referring to Singapore's Yellow Ribbon Project)?"

But she has not given up on herself.

"I hope to resume my studies (through private institutions) and I am now aiming for specialised certificates," said the former Espire condom ambassador.

Low declined to reveal further details of the certificates she's gunning for.

Although she does mainly administrative work at her parents' company ("simple calculations, drawings and Excel usage"), she said she has nevertheless picked up some useful skills.

"I've definitely learnt to type faster and also use the calculator more effectively."

In an earlier interview with Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao, Low said she "regretted" committing credit card fraud.

But it wasn't the only action of hers she regretted, she added to The New Paper.

"We cannot turn back time, so I can only make amendments in my future... I definitely want to continue studying," she said.

"But if I could change things before (my) Miss World (days), I would start right back at PSLE and aim to get better results all the way."

She told The New Paper that she was a mostly Bs and Cs student in secondary school.

Low wrote on her blog in June: "I did badly for my PSLE. Got into my last choice of school. Same for my GCE 'O' levels... Same for Polytechnic."

Low was also reticent about her property agent boyfriend, 33, whom she's been dating for 2 1/2 years.

"It's good between us," was all she would reveal.

But mention the possibility of marriage and she clammed up.

"Both of us are working hard for our future and at this point, I don't want to give him pressure."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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