Should pageant winner represent Singapore despite overseas roots?

Should pageant winner represent Singapore despite overseas roots?
WINNERS: (From left) Second runner-up Miss Charis Lin, winner Miss Charity Maru and first runner-up Miss Kuek Ziyi for the Miss World Singapore 2015 pageant.
PHOTO: The New Paper

In a poll of 20 Singaporeans, 12 had no issue with Miss World Singapore 2015 being a Kachin from Myanmar, while eight of them did.


"If we have sports folk from everywhere, like table tennis players from China representing us, then Miss Charity Maru should not be denied her win at all," said Cherry Chan, 30, a data analyst:

"If she could enter Miss World Singapore and win it, it would be ridiculous to say that she isn't fit to represent us on an international scale.

"And there's absolutely nothing wrong in her being proud to introduce her Kachin roots to people. To ask her to not do that is just unnatural."

IT technician Kaleb Teh, 56, said that Miss Maru is Singaporean and that's all that matters to him.

"After all, some Singapore-born people have shown that they are bad representatives of Singapore.

"So it is not a given that a Miss World winner who is born and bred here would do us justice in an international pageant."

Miss Maria-Anna Zenieris, winner of Miss World Singapore 2013, told TNP that she believes that as long as a person truly embodies what it means to be Singaporean, people should not judge.

She said: "We live in a multinational era, I see no reason why we should adopt (an exclusive) attitude when it comes to judging our own people."


Those who felt strongly for a true Singaporean to be their Miss World Singapore, said that would be ideal because the winner "would have true Singaporean flavour".

Madam Teh Lai Shan, 60, an accountant, said: "There is a saying that when foreigners come here, they will never be able to expel their 'hometown' out of them.

"How Singaporean can Miss Maru be? Can she really represent us when she gets to China for the finals? I doubt it."

Mrs Mandy Chow, a 40-year-old housewife, felt that she would feel no glory even if Miss Maru brought home the crown.

She said: "As in table tennis, when a China-born player represents us and wins, I feel like China has won.

"So the same thing applies. If a Myanmar-born Miss World wins, even if she is representing us, it would feel like Myanmar won."

This article was first published on October 23, 2015.
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