Glamour And Rust

I’m a bit late to write this up, because I watched it a few nights ago now, but the Miss Universe 2005 pageant is in full swing.

Contrary to what most would believe about gay people, I’m not really interested in the event (except for the chance to point, laugh and sometimes scratch my head in wonderment). Thankfully, the televised event a few nights back gave me plenty of chances for all of the above.

Before I start with the nit-picking, let me make it clear that this event is for rich elderly men who are willing to pay shitloads of money to be surrounded by ‘beautiful’ (I use the term subjectively) women.

The images on-screen were accompanied by constant local commentary (me and my other half), with highlights such as:

Him: Why do some of them have little bags?
Me: It’s a handbag. Some of the women made the decision to have one, the others made the right decision.

and

Him: She’s wearing pink!
Me: She doesn’t look anything like Venus Williams! She does have Venus hair though.

and

(candidate for South Africa is announced)
Him: Do you think she’ll be black or white?
Me: Umm…
(a white south african appears on stage)
Me: Oh… I really wanted her to be black but I just knew she’d be white…

and

Me: Netherlands! This is the one that’s half-Thai!
Him: No she isn’t, it’s Norway!
Me: Are you sure? She looks half-Thai to me…
(two minutes later)
Him: See? She’s half-Thai.
Me: Netherlands looks more Thai than her! Why do I always confuse the Netherlands and Norway…

The best part of the evening was watching the near universal pathetic attempts by the Miss Universe hopefuls at a passable wai (a symbol of respect when greeting someone). Having myself done many a terrible wai back when I first arrived here, it was highly amusing to me to laugh at the many different ways one can wai. Thai friends of mine have related the method many used to aerobics, which should give an indication of how terrible they were. If you’re interested in how to Wai properly, information can be found here.

As the many ladies were presented there were a number of times that their sashes slipped from their shoulder, their hair fell in their face (or was everywhere) or they walked as if they had a third leg (if you get my meaning). I can imagine that they would be slashing their wrists over these kinds of things later in the evening.

When it was time for the ass-kissing and speeches, the most perlexing thing was said: the PM’s of Thailand and Cambodia (who were both present) were referred to as their ‘excellencies’! One of the many times the english-speaking compere was introducing Thaksin, he even tried to go through the entire title (ie police blah, blah).

When did being a public voted official in a set-term position justify being referred to as ‘your excellency’? Everyone knows Thaksin wants to be royalty (god/buddha knows he could afford to buy the title if it was possible), but this is going too far!

Anyway, the production values of the program were at the normal Thai level or perhaps a little higher (this means they were low), so for Thailands sake I hope this particular event wasn’t internationally televised.

My personal cultural cringe occured when the previous Miss Universe gave a speech in all the Aussie glory she could muster (ie a lot), using phrases such as “Oh, you’re really gonna love it here!” and “Girls, get ready…”. I don’t think she could sound more Australian if she tried.

6 Comments so far

  1. Bonifide (unregistered) on May 18th, 2005 @ 1:48 pm

    My pick is Miss Puerto Rico. *drool*


  2. Shona (unregistered) on May 18th, 2005 @ 5:27 pm

    when you said miss australia and current Miss Universe “couldnt sound more australian” if she tried..is this a cultral cringe of yours??

    whats wrong with sounding so australian?? if thats wat you where implying..as least shes not trying to put on some euro sophisticate accent that isnt hers.

    I think the real story with Miss Universe in thailand has to be why bikini clad constestants are using sacred Wat Arun ( temple of dawn) as the backdrop for their photo shoot.

    They would never use a sacred mosque or a historic church then why is it ok when its buddhist temple?


  3. him (unregistered) on May 18th, 2005 @ 5:29 pm

    I favour Miss Nigeria, she is into child abuse, molestation and neglience. Way to go!


  4. Ben Harris (unregistered) on May 19th, 2005 @ 10:29 am

    Re my cultural cringe, there’s nothing wrong with sounding Australian – My cultural cringe was from her sounding/looking like a stupid/idiot Australian.

    Another example of this was whole ‘ride-on lawnmower’ incident from the beginning of the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.


  5. Ben Harris (unregistered) on May 19th, 2005 @ 10:37 am

    Oh yes, and the fact that buddhist temples are being used for these photo shoots you mention (which I wasn’t aware of) proves that Thaksin has offered everything in Thailand for sale to the highest bidder.


  6. Hannita (unregistered) on January 10th, 2006 @ 2:36 am

    Fair contest!



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