Monday, 25 January 2016

Beauty Trumps Brains in HK

Jennifer Coosemans crowned Miss Chinese International 2016
On Saturday night I watched the Miss Chinese International Pageant on TVB Jade, and it was a clear demonstration of how Hong Kong objectifies women.

Every time a candidate had a close-up on television, their name, where they were from, but more importantly, their measurements would flash up on the screen. Is her bust size what's going to help her win?

The swim suit competition bared a lot of skin during rehearsal
Of course there was a swim suit section, though many of them didn't have much to show off. But as if to give a sense of equity to the proceedings, the male dancers accompanying the women on stage were shirtless...

Watching the women parade in costumes that reflected where they came from was fun, but the competition to show off their talent was cringe-worthy.

One did a short ballet rendition of Swan Lake, a woman from Thailand sang an English song, while a contestant who speaks Putonghua thought she'd get extra points by playing the piano and singing in Cantonese. Not. It was already nerve-wracking for her to not flub up on the piano and then to sing in Cantonese with a Putonghua accent...

The questions the hosts asked the contestants were hardly challenging. For one of them, they showed a picture of a Chinese door god and asked the contestant which judge looked most like the menacing-looking deity.

Miss Bangkok sang an English song in this stunning dress
Oh and can we add that all the judges were handsome men, one of which is a very wealthy businessman in the society pages?

Off to the side was a bevy of women in evening gowns who were previous pageant winners and seemed to take part in the judging but had no major role.

There were no hard-hitting questions, like explaining one thing the candidate would do to make the world a better place, or what what is your favourite book to read and why?

The contestants, who were pageant winners from their hometowns, came from all over, such as the United States, Canada, Thailand, China, South Africa, Australia, and of course Hong Kong. As a result, English, Cantonese and Mandarin had to be spoken simultaneously by the three hosts, Carol Cheng Yu-ling, Janis Chan and Lawrence Cheng.

Miss Jiangsu danced a section of Swan Lake for the audience
The winner this year? Jennifer Coosemans (Chu Ah-lam), 21, of Vancouver, who is half Belgian, half Chinese. Originally from Terrace, British Columbia, she was crowned Miss Vancouver Chinatown last month.

Coosemans has one more year of university before she graduates. And with her model looks, she'll surely be roped into a modeling career here; and if she can brush up on her Cantonese and Mandarin, there will surely be some acting roles for her too...

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