It was not till I saw Miss Universe Singapore Rathi Menon in that controversial moon-and-stars costume that I caught Rathi fever.
If she can rock that showgirl-meets-Chingay outfit and still look like she is ready for a Victoria's Secret runway, you know she has potential.
What is more, she is smart, works with animals and rides a 400cc Honda Super Four motorcycle. Rejoice!
Rathi is a newbie to the world of pageants. Last year's Miss Universe Singapore was her first contest and she struck gold.
I have dealt with model wannabes for a decade and have judged a fair number of such contests.
Some girls hit the local contest circuit, taking part in The New Paper New Face, Miss Universe Singapore, Miss World Singapore and any other smaller competitions.
Some survive the ride, but many of them end up looking jaded. It is refreshing to be charmed by a fresh face.
Despite not cracking the Top 15, Rathi has definitely won the hearts of Singaporeans.
Let us hope more quality girls try out.
The New Paper New Face recruits in June, so maybe Rathi fever will see a bumper crop of newcomers.
I am not the only one afflicted with Rathi fever. Social media is flooded with praise for her. She did the near impossible - managing to shut almost all the critics up.
A beauty contest is just a silly exaltation of physical attributes. The winner is picked based on superficial factors like beauty, body and presence.
Intelligence may be a wonderful bonus trait but if you are hot enough, you will win.
It will not change the world, despite what organisers want you to think.
Still, for a moment yesterday, some of us forgot other pressing issues while we kept up with her progress online and cheered for a gorgeous woman representing Singapore on the world stage.
I think this is the best form of nation-bonding and a great start for SG50, no?
This article was first published on Jan 27, 2015.
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