Monday 25 August 2014

Whatever happened to Miss Singapore?

Rathi Menon was just crowned Miss Singapore Universe 2014 on Friday night.

I know what you're thinking: "There's a new Miss Singapore Universe? Was it announced?"

Well, yah. They had a show hosted by Bobby Tonelli at Shangri-La Hotel and everything.

The problem is none of the papers reported it.

I don't think this has ever happened before. The PR person must be sleeping.

There was some newspaper coverage in the run-up to the event, but the closest thing to mainstream media that actually reported the winner is the xinmsn website, which is partly under MediaCorp.

Yahoo doesn't count, despite it being asked to register by MDA.

You can mock mainstream media for being lamestream media all you want, but MSM still has its power because of its mainstreamy-ness.

There was a time when you couldn't not know that a new Miss Singapore Universe had been crowned.

The hype peaked in 1987 when the Miss Universe pageant was held in Singapore. I shall forever remember the show as the one where they opened with Wang Chung's Let's Go, baby, let's go, baby, come on!

In more recent years, the best known Miss Singapore Universe is former NMP Eunice Olsen who won in 2000. Then there's Jaime Teo (2001), who married DJ-turned-cupcake magnate Daniel Ong, and Bernice Wong (2003), who married public transport non-fan Anton Casey.

(And let's not forget last year's finalist Jesslyn Tan, who was widely and unfairly attacked for her "Holey Moley" Facebook comment.)

But interest faded to the point where in 2008, Channel 5 stopped showing the finals on TV.

Then came Ris Low.

Because of the controversies surrounding her diction and credit card fraud conviction, the fascination with local beauty pageants went boomz in 2009, although she was not a Miss Singapore Universe, but a Miss Singapore World, which has never been televised.

In the short term, Low might have raised the profile of such pageants, but I suspect she might have diminished their reputation in the long run.

There is such thing as bad publicity. Big sponsors are scared away. Fewer big sponsors mean less money.

Which brings us to this year's Miss Singapore Universe.

I tried going to the website to find out who the sponsors are but got a "Bandwidth Limit Exceeded" message. I went to the website of the organiser Derrol Stepenny and it looks like it hasn't been updated since 2011.

At least you can find this year's videos on the Miss Singapore Universe YouTube channel.

But the best place to get the latest is the Facebook page, where I got these photos.

I guess Harley-Davidson and Aldo are two of the sponsors.

Apparently, the event was shown on something called Fashion TV. I have never seen Fashion TV and I don't intend to.

Unless they play some Wang Chung.

There may be some confusion over whether it should be called Miss Singapore Universe or Miss Universe Singapore.

It used to be Miss Singapore Universe until it was switched around in 2012. I'm old school.

UPDATE: Mainstream media outlet Channel NewsAsia finally reported the winner four days after the fact.

But the organiser seemed more concerned you get the name of the pageant right.

Note the same correction in this post and link to the belated New Paper report the next day.

Is changing the name really that important even though it creates so much confusion?

2015 UPDATE: No pageant, but still a winner

2016 UPDATE: Miss Universe Singapore back to take the limelight