Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Love Song


A few weeks (?) ago a girl forwarded me this article. She then proceeded to ask me whether such 'engineered results' happened... well, naturally, because I went to one.

Here are my points.

- On who ended up winning -
I do not deny that favouritism exists
Finalists are not born overnight - they go through initial screenings, interviews, photo sessions and the likes. Without them realising, they came under scrutiny the minute they handed in their application. Whilst going through the selection process, they would definitely come across chaperones, photographers, videographers, trainers, members of the judging panel and all sorts of stakeholders. Inevitably, these people will form an opinion of different contestants and root for ones they favour. And, since these people (especially the chaperones) would have the rare opportunity of checking what else the contestants have that is not listed on paper, they will look out for people they feel have the necessary makings of an absolute winner.

So why do certain finalists get the most air time?
Chaperones would probably look out for finalists who are best-mannered, photographers and videographers for those faces that will look good on screen, trainers for those who put their efforts into remembering the choreographs, some part of the judging panel for the most P.C., some other part of the judging panel for the most unusual, and so the list goes.

Stakeholders will have to make a choice
They might go for the looks, poise and grace, ability to carry oneself publicly, brains... and they have the power to say who goes in and who's out. In short, a wide range of factors can influence how they decide who goes in. Looks and brains are just two of them. In hindsight, I realized that I could metaphorically sniff who will be in and who will be out.

Why did they pick A and not B/C/me/somebody else?
Talking about the Indonesian version, all the provinces must be represented. This means 33 girls (or in the case of Puteri Indonesia, 38 due to the extra 5 Jakartan contestants.) There are stringent requirements about who can participate for what province (pure lineage, residence, place of birth, knowledge of culture of said province.) In the case of more popular provinces like DKI Jakarta, sometimes the competition can be pure hell because the bulk of girls who goes for it normally could only go for it, and they have things like overseas degrees and the likes. There might be three girls who looked really viable but there is only one spot... so the decision can be based on really minor stuff like whether this girl is 1cm taller, or that girl is one shade lighter, or the other has a sexy silhouette. In the real world you wouldn't really choose one person over the other in this manner.

Were the contestants really *that* stupid? They couldn't even string sentences in English.
Well, there is a wide spectrum to observe from, from the attractive bimbo to the cum laude forensic science student. You can have your pick. I do have something to say about languages, though. Mastering foreign languages is not a skill to be taken lightly - it takes years to polish, and one could even still be disastrously accented (or mixed up one's grammars) by then.

So, did I know the Top 3 winners from the beginning?
No, I didn't. I only knew who would probably make it and who wouldn't.

Did they know the Top 3 winners from the beginning?
Maybe, maybe not. You'll need to ask them for it.
People like the choreographers (Ari Tullang and Abang in my case) would have been involved in this type of competitions hundreds of times, so naturally they would have an eye on who would possibly win (even though they probably didn't know who would either.) So, maybe they had a hunch and tried their best to prepare these girls for the crown. After all, they wouldn't want the winner gawking on the stage for not knowing where she needs to stand and wave.

- After the contest ends -
There were some cajoling behind closed doors. I don't think she deserves to win.
Deserving or not, the girl with the crown is the girl with the crown. Because the crown is on her head, responsibilities fall onto her shoulders. Getting the crown actually puts her on a year-long endurance feat to prove that yes, she really deserves that crown. It's like being on a twelve-month quarantine period.

Does that mean I'm not pretty?
I don't know. But the fact that you made it to national-level pageantry means that your face is worth something.

Am I beautiful?
Being a beauty queen is not the pinnacle of beauty.
Being beautiful doesn't stop at being a beauty queen. I find one of my great-aunts to be captivating and beautiful, even though she's well into her 70s and her skin sags (you should meet her.) Although beauty is one essential facet of womanhood, it is only one part, and it can still be polished even after the pageant participation ends. Growing oneself is a lifelong process - so do not be harsh on yourself and keep on expanding your knowledge and skills, and applying them in life.

I hope I have made a few points clearer.
(Gosh, I should write self-help books for teenage girls.)

Some reading materials: here, there and a past post.

1 comment:

Devi said...

What a (long) dramatic post. You should really write a book, hehehe..