Crowning the universe

Shamcey Supsup (Getty Images)OK, let's get back to normal.

There was a joke posted on Facebook the night before that all the beauty parlors and salons in Metro Manila would be closed the whole morning until noon because all its owners and employees will be glued to the satellite telecast of the 2011 Miss Universe beauty pageant staged at Sao Paulo, Brazil.  In a way the joke became quite real.  Like a Pacquiao fight, Filipinos who could spare time off on a Tuesday remained glued to their TV sets to see if the fearless forecasts will come true. Will beauty-meets-brainy Shamcey Supsup of GenSan finally end the nearly four decades of drought of the country not claiming the most coveted beauty title crown?

No 'major, major' moments

Well, we all knew the answers two and a half hours later:  Miss Philippines bagged third runner up.  This is a marked improvement from Venus Raj's fifth place last year --- but that is now considered ancient history.  This time, Shamcey did not have any "major major" moments.

As a matter of fact, she sashayed (like no other) in her Brazilian swimsuit. She shimmered in her translucent evening gown --- and she gave a relatively credible (but politically shaky) answer to what turned out to be the most difficult question for the five finalists. (I mean, how can a question involving religion and personal choices rank in the same level of difficulty as a "beauty-contest proof" question like --- if you can change any physical characteristic in your body … or who would you want to reincarnate? Uhm, a bummer called destiny, I tell you.)

And let's face it: ranking fourth out of eighty-nine is not bad. Nope: it is not only not bad but very, very good.  Considering the competition that she was up against --- and that our Miss Philippines is a relative neophyte in the world of flowing gowns and tiaras, Shamcey should be credited for delivering a performance close to the record that was set by Miriam Quiambao (who ranked First Runner-Up) a number of years ago.

But here's the snag.

Fiesta mentality

Yes, we tend to take beauty pageants --- especially the Miss Universe --- all too seriously. There is nothing really wrong with that.  This is part of our fiesta mentality wherein we celebrate at the slightest provocation.  Rooting for the Pinay delegates to international beauty contests has become an enormous community activity --- almost a ritual --- that binds the Filipino people into moments of shared unity.  And some of us can be such sore losers.

Trust some of the Pinoys to come out with all kinds of jokes, snide remarks and judgmental statements against the other winners because they feel that Shamcey has been --- uh, cheated.

While others view this as a coping device to deal with a reality that they do not necessarily like, humor can also be an instrument that is abrasive, malicious, and insulting.  It is not necessarily funny to throw bitchy and racist remarks about the color of the skin of the winner … or go to the ridiculous extent of blaming a Filipina judge like Lea Salonga for the defeat of the national representative. That is not only unfair to Lea … but downright immature on the eve of the ridiculous.

Let us put things in perspective here: it is not right to condemn a winner or make fun of her home country … just because we did not bag the prize.  Somehow, it does not speak well of us. Neither does this false sense of national pride translate to anything but the politically incorrect and downright offense. Miss Angola won.  Period.  This fact will not create great havoc to change the economic progress of the Philippines.

And, hey, this is after all --- uh, the Miss Universe beauty pageant?  Winning that much desired crown is not tantamount to any position of responsibility in an international arena like the United Nations or an appointed item in the International Monetary Fund. The job of this queen for a year is to be the official spokesperson for the Trump Group of Companies.  So let's make that clear in our heads, OK?


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