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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beauty Pageants

When I was a little girl, my mum would sign me up for piano, art, dance and many others like any Singaporean parent would. Every parent wants the best for their children; I suppose she was trying to nurture some kind of talent in me.

I couldn’t be cultivated to be a musician. My music teacher kept knocking my head with his knuckles and called me Stupid. He also has cigarette breath and coughed so much, my mum fears he has TB. So I stopped learning, I didn’t even get any grade.

I couldn’t be cultivated to be an artist. Although I like art, I am neither patient nor neat. I’m just OK with art, but not exceptionally good. Still, my mum was proud of me and framed my stick figures.

I couldn’t be cultivated to be a dancer. Dance was not my passion (and I regret it now) either, as my dance teacher would complain to my mum that I’m such a lazy arse. I was enrolled in Chinese dance and I just wasn’t very interested in twirling cloths and fans, with a plastered smile with bright red lipstick.

I suspect my mum was trying to attain her aspirations through me. Things that has passed her age, things she’s always wanted to do but didn’t. Although a parent shouldn’t pressure a child into doing something that she doesn’t enjoy, I do think a parent should be the guide who helps a child realize her talent.

I wasn’t nurtured to be public speaker, I think I was born with a talented mouth (*wink*).

If my mum hadn’t signed me up for so many story-telling competitions….I wouldn’t have got over my stage fright and cultivated a skill where I can host on stage, give speeches and many more.

I never would have imagined I can be a Judo champion if not for my father who believed I should join the BEST extra curriculum activity in school. I still don’t think I have a talent in martial arts. I was simply TOO AFRAID TO BE DISFIGURED. There are parents who are overly enthusiastic on nurturing their child instead of allowing them to discover themselves, and there are parents who are too laid back that their child grows up with no focus and passion.

Mothers also like dolling their daughters up. It’s like a mini-me you see. They take pride when a stranger praises how pretty or how cute their child is. My mum gave up dolling me up because I was such a tom boy. I got into fights with boys instead of playing Barbie and House. Lace socks and lace skirts itches me, and if I had to wear them, I would lift my skirt up before I sit down. Just so the cool bench can touch my humid skin. My mum found that terribly un-ladylike so she resigns to getting me shorts that looked like skirts.

She did not buy me any fancy bags or cute shoes. Only on holidays, then will she buy me the occasional girlie trinklet. I like dolphins a lot when I was younger (because I imagined myself to be The Little Mermaid), so I had dolphin t-shirts, dolphin necklace, dolphin bracelets. I hate anything pink.

So I wasn’t nurtured into being a pageant runner. I found that out myself because I just like doing things different, collecting experiences and let’s face it, I WANT THE CASH PRIZE!!

Some other girls have other courting Andy Lau (video in Mandarin, translation below.) She looked so emotional after her declaration, i wonder if Andy Lau was moved. The host also very sarcastic lah, so mean..make fun of people in a not-so-obvious way. I like! hahaha.

Host: “We have the next contestant to go up the stage. This contestant also has a story that people do not know yet. Please walk the runway.”
 Host: “There is a great idol in her heart. That is Andy Lau. She kept herself as pure as jade for him, participating in various beauty contests, she decided that she must let Andy Lau see her in order to achieve her dream.”

Contestant: “Hi everyone…”

Host: “Let me adjust the microphone for you. Ok please introduce yourself.”

Contestant: “Hi everyone, I am … Yanghong from Hubei. Appreciate the host giving me this opportunity. I want to tell everyone, I love you Andy Lau. I am in love with you for 20 years. I kept myself pure, I want you to be my man and lover, never get married till old and death, only you. I waited for you for 20 years. Thank you TVS New Silk Road Model Contest, thank you.”

Judge number 1: “From my experience I think her height is about 1.58 meters. I am only interested in people who are taller than 1.68 meters. I am not even going to look at people who are shorter than 1.68 meters.”

Host: “Is Andy Lau interested in people who are shorter than 1.68 meters?”

Judge number 2: “Everyone has their own idols however the idol also does not want his fans to be so far off from him. Andy Lau generally represents ‘sunshine’ kind of products. Right now you want Andy Lau too much, and in a depressed mood. Even if Andy Lau saw you he would not be happy. I hope you can be happier in your life and keep your dream and your idol at the bottom of your heart to encourage yourself. You are very brave that we all can agree…”

Host: “I think your courage is worth everyone to admire. I know Andy Lau watches TVS. If he ever watches this contest and sees you, maybe there is a slight hope. I think everyone is living for this dream and we all admire this contestant. Everyone please applause for encouragement. Thank you for joining us at the TVS New Silk Road Model Cont, thank you.”
Translated by

Alamak,i think the above video from Youku don't embed quite properly. Here's the link if you understand mandarin. Here's the screen grab if you're too lazy but want to know how she looks. (all so KPO right!LOL)

My first contest was NOKIA Engage. I can't rememebr what they were looking for. A promotional gimmick for the launch of their gaming phone.
The finals was at Junction 8, ddin't get anything out of it except for a free set of clothes (which we wear on stage) by Bods Bodynits.I'm the one croching in the middle, with black tank top.
The winner was the girl standing beside the girl showing off her armpit.
I styled myself leh! Since it's a gaming phone, i wanted to represent Lara Croft. Guess that wasn't enough to win me the title.

Then it was Ralph Lauren Cool Girl. ANOTHER marketing gimmick by the brand in search for an ambassador. Wannabes joined. I wasn't born tall, so i'm afraid this is the kind of contest standards i can get myself into.
There is a dance item where we practiced for. We got this outfit for free too, from cheapo This Fashion.
I wasn't the prettiest, i wasn't the most enthusiastic nor the most hardworking memorizing dance steps and Q&A answers. Many other girls wanted the crown alot more. I just went for....*shrug* i really don't know. It's not true that pageant girls are bitchy or selfish. Most are nice, regular girls but in every contest, consciously or not, ontestants will have their own strategies (be very friendly, and get everyone to like you and therefore it becomes your advantage) in winning.
I just went...and be myself. Which won me the crown! Which was really amazing. My moment of glory. Never thought i'd win anything.
But hor, the company very smart. The prizes i got in the end just turns back into publicity for them. I got a $2000 fragrance hamper (how i wish it was cash!), a 8 Days magazine shoot (which turned out very ugly in my opinion. Got a free bikini (from Isetan, $69 but really looked like This Fashion bikini), a Miss Sixty wrap skirt (but NOT my size!Keep already also no use, can't wear out. Only wear for shoot), and a cardboard (if only that surfboard was real).

Oh, and i also went on 98.7FM.
While you're a student, you should join these contests if it's your thing. They all need some level of commitment, so having that flexi schedule is handy.

My first pageant was Miss Singapore International. It's not as widely publicized as Miss Universe or Miss World, but it still has the name Singapore in it! Then, i was still a student and I love travelling. I wanted to go somewhere based on my own capability and not of my parents'. So i thought if i win, i can represent Singapore and at the same time go on a FREE holiday!
We all had the same UGLY SQ bun except for the last girl, who happens to be the Queen too (she had her hair down). I'm not sure if that's favouritism, but i'll give the benefit of the doubt that by the time it reached her turn, the hair stylist had NO TIME! But the Queen deserves her spot. She has the looks and brains. Also the most poised, AND TALLEST too. At this point, a giraffe comes into mind.
Don't remember much freebies, except a pair of Nu Balance shoes, and this PE attire (which is REALLY funny for us to be dancing in).
Oh, and this Arena swimsuit and a pair of sunglasses which my brother said made his head swim because of the fish bowl effect. AND a pair of glitzy heels, Charles and Keith i think.
I thought that would be my last, i was getting tired of the airy-fairy business. Until i saw Brands Beauty Star and my eyes lit up. This, by far WAS THE BEST PAGEANT I ever joined! Everyone was already a winner, seriously. We had weekends filled with LUXURIOUS activities leading up to the grand finals in BALI! The product was Brand's Bird Nest and it was just another promotional tool. I wasn't quite sure if they met their marketing objectives (because it was really just the 7 of us benefitting from it, and there wasn't media publicity), but it sure met mine!!
The first weekend, we went on a catered yatch with food from Ill Lido and attended a workshop on deportment and imaging. The next weekend, we went to Changi Village hotel for buffet lunch, yoga workshop AND a 90 minutes SPA!!

The final weekend, we went on our all-expenses paid trip to Bali!  
We were taken sight-seeing in Bali, and pampered in the 6 stars Intercontinental hotel. We each had our own spacious suite, it was an awesome virgin trip!
The winner was the lady in purple. A 38 year old mother. This was a more mature contest that had girls of all ages, it was alot more fun hanging out with these girls who weren't focused on winning. They were alot more sincere and real. It was as if we were living out of the SATC movie! Girlfriends, free holidays, glitzy fashion...
I didn't win the cash prize and a year supply of bird's nest, but like i said..already a winner with all the freebies!
Don't think they did it a second time round, too expensive! LOL. From a marketing point of view, i don't think it justifies the returns except that if the 7 of us were to ever buy bird's nest, we'll buy Brands? :P
Last year, i was nominated as FHM GND Top 100 which later i was offered Top 10 but i declined. I was the ONLY one on stage with my tummy covered. Like I said, be yourself. Last year, the competition didn't have the $10,000 bounty nor a car. So i decided it's not worth to strip.

My parents didn’t know that I entered some of these contests. I certainly did not want to give people the impression that I was a vain pot or a desperate wannabe which many people might judge pageant runners to be. Some of these perceptions are right, but you can’t say everyone is the same. Having my fair share of pageant experiences, I wouldn’t discourage my daughter from participating. On one condition, she has to be over 18.

I’ve seen mothers who dye their baby girl’s hair, style their baby boy with a Mohawk and even paint their nails. I wouldn’t want to expose them to chemicals at such a young age. At a young age, they’re easily influenced and impressionable that they might not know or truly understand the right values and morals.
I would have my child in such make-over pictures. Although it borderlines on being adult...

See the similarities? But i won't have my child in such make-over pictures...
Nor take Toddler's Pageant so seriously and as a full-time job.

This is a better documentary but embedding is disabled.

I'm not judging and i'd say each to her own, but the first thing that came to my mind was these overweight American mums want their daughters to live out their aspirations!

Quote worthy by one of the toddler's dads "THEY LOOK LIKE MIDGET PROSTITUTES!"

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