Singapore pageants past and present

Another day and another beauty pageant contestant gets herself caught in tabloid headlights.

Back when Miss Singapore Universe was still broadcast on Ch 5, the biggest worry for the pageant organiser and the girls were silly question-and-answer responses that would become talking points.

Remember the 2001 finalist who said radiation from her cell phone would help her in a jungle? One feels almost nostalgic for those days when you think about the kind of headlines pageant contestants help us churn out now.

In our post-Ris Low world, pageant contestants are being exposed for having shady, pasts.

These people join pageants anyway thinking their pasts won't return to haunt them.

Has no one - pageant contestants or organisers - learnt anything from Ris Low's credit card fraud scandal?

Low voluntarily gave up her crown, but dragged the Miss Singapore World brand down with her.

Dodgy

Ironically, in Mr Edmund Ooi's attempt to refresh the brand (his company Asia Music People now runs the pageant, renamed Miss World Singapore) , he still has to deal with dodgy contestants. But that may be his own fault.

It was a reader tip-off that led us to find out more about Miss World Singapore (MWS) Teri K Chua and her previous run-ins with Miss Singapore Universe 2009 winner Rachel Kum.

Mr Ooi has since admitted that he knew about Chua's past after she declared it to him. He wanted to give her a second chance.

He said contestants like her are "brave" to join pageants, knowing their past will come under scrutiny.

I beg to differ. Having contestants like Chua in the finals certainly doesn't help a contest already tainted by the Ris Low scandal. It was not helped by the fuss earlier this week when another MWS contestant, Vanessa Tan, was accused of soliciting for sex online, which she has since gone on record to deny.

Compare this to Miss Universe Singapore, which just this past weekend crowned a New York University graduate, Ms Shi Lim.

Mr Ooi's statement also suggests that the contestants are more than ready to handle the criticism that will come after their past comes to light.

But do we really want such people to represent us on an international stage?

In the press kit for MWS this year, the competition is described as: "Miss World Singapore will ensure a fair and honest selection to showcase the best of Singapore girls to the world."

Try harder next time.

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