Sunday 27 September 2009

Interest in Miss Singapore World, not Universe, hits new high, thanks to Low

Since Mas Selamat was captured, Singapore has been in need of a new villain.

Hello, Ris Low!

Thanks to her highly quotable misspoken English to her recently revealed rap sheet, she couldn't be any more infamous now if wanted posters of her adorned every bus stop, MRT station and bikini (or "bigini") shop on the island.

But to her credit, Miss Low has accomplished something no other Miss Singapore World has managed to do - actually make us care who Miss Singapore World is.

For far too long, it has been the other Miss Singapore pageant - Miss Singapore Universe - that has been hogging the spotlight.

Like when we bitched about how the national costume sucked, that was for Miss Singapore Universe, not World.

And it's not because "universe" is bigger than "world" since I don't recall ever seeing a Miss Mars or Miss Alpha Centauri in the Miss Universe swimsuit competition and that is not something I'm likely to forget.

It's because the one that was shown on TV annually until last year was Miss Singapore Universe, not World.

It's because former nominated Member of Parliament Eunice Olsen was Miss Singapore Universe, not World, in 2000.

And oh, Donald Trump owns Miss Universe, not World.

And even when I produced an episode of Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd a couple of years ago where PCK's nemesis Frankie Foo married an ex-beauty queen, the character was a former Miss Singapore Universe, not World.

On top of that, she was played by a real-life former Miss Singapore Universe, not World, Cheryl Tay, who won the crown in 2005.

Unlike Miss Low, Cheryl was a veterinarian who was more likely to save a leopard than wear its prints. But that was not what impressed me most about Cheryl.

There was a scene in the episode where I wanted Frankie, played by Lim Kay Siu, to hug Cheryl and grab her buttocks. It wasn't in the script. I just wanted to see it.

But I had a problem: How do I ask a former Miss Singapore Universe, not World, to let her buttocks be grabbed on national TV?

Cheryl wasn't an actor by profession, unlike Kay Siu, a dedicated professional actor whom I'm sure was happy to grab anyone's buttocks - or let his buttocks be grabbed - as long as it was "artistic".

In my infinite wisdom, I decided to ask an assistant director to ask Cheryl. To everyone's surprise and delight, she agreed to do it.

Unfortunately, even though we shot it, the MediaCorp censor ordered the derrière-fondling edited out because Frankie looked like he was enjoying it way too much by prime-time TV standards.

If I was producing that episode today, Miss Low would be my first choice for Cheryl's role. The ratings would be huge! Bigger than Singapore Idol's, although that's not saying much nowadays.

I would change the character to a former Miss Singapore World, not Universe. I would even throw in a "boomz" or two in the dialogue.

But would Miss Low let Frankie Foo grab her buttocks? Sadly, we may never know.

Hmmm, I wonder if Mas Selamat would like to guest star. Would he let Frankie Foo, uh ...

- Published in The New Paper, 27 September 2009