(image via: here)
We Filipinos are suckers for getting our proud little country into the limelight of the international stage hopefully for the right reasons (after the numerous road mishaps and the hostage crisis yesterday, we deserve a breather) and beyond Manny Pacquiao. Venus Raj did that today during the 2010 Miss Universe Pageant held in Madalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas despite her "major major blunder" during the question and answer portion.
I guess I was a bit disappointed because after Miriam Quiambao, she was the only Pinay who came close to clinching the title; and it's been a while for us Filipinos to see one of our own make it as a finalist in one of the world's most prestigious competitions. The sad part is, the crown would have fit her beautifully. In my honest opinion, her exotic looks are a stand out. With a 22-inch waste line, she was exquisitely stunning in her swimwear; and she looked gorgeous, regal and elegant in her evening gown.
While I am no beauty pageant expert, I felt that she gave up after reaching the top five, probably too overwhelmed at the fact that she actually made it that far. The question too (minus the pressure and compared to those asked of the other candidates) was rather easy and personal. She was asked by William Baldwin (whom I remember vividly for his annoying role as Serena van der Woodsen's father on Gossip Girl) what she thought was her biggest mistake in life. I think it's great that she doesn't believe in regrets and have so far done nothing "major" in her 22 years of existence. What irked me in the way she answered though, was the way she continuously referred to Baldwin as a "sir" and why on earth she thanked him for that "(un)wonderful" question. It's a very typical Filipino beauty pageant filler of an answer.
In a way too, her continuous reference to Baldwin as a "sir" reflected our hierarchical society (even when the world is moving towards a system of equality and away from societies where social classes dictate the way of life for most) and and inferiority to other nations. In the Philippines, foreigners especially Americans are always referred to as "sirs" or "ma'am s" for all the wrong reasons. While I appreciate the fact that Filipinos are (too) respectful, I still think that our use of titles are more of results of our feelings of inferiority towards other developed nations rather than as a genuine sign of respect. This is an awful generalization against my own culture, but it's a fact everywhere in the country. I've worked with Americans and people from other countries, and from my own experience, they would like nothing more than to be treated as equals with the right amount of respect and without the unnecessary attempts at patronizing.
I think as a country, in order to actually become known throughout the world as a mighty nation, we should start moving forward and join hands with other nations in creating a truly border-less world where anyone can be whoever he/she wants to be.
Despite all this, I am mighty proud of Venus Raj. I think she represented our country well. Her life story at the same time is really inspiring and I know from this point forward, she would inspire many. Though it's wonderful that she feels that she has done no "major major" (here we go again) blunder in her life, I think mistakes do matter because without them, we wouldn't learn. And lessons learned, make us better persons. But all in all, congratulations Venus!