Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Open Letter to Ms. Venus Raj

Dear Ms. Raj,

I would like to congratulate you for having been able to place in the Top Five of the recent Miss Universe Pageant. You are truly a poised, well-graced woman with beautiful features and a gorgeous figure. I applaud you for your commendable qualities as well as the judges of Ms. Philippines for having picked you as our country’s representative in the most prestigious pageant recognized in all the 7 continents.

With this said, I would like to inform you, as well as anyone else who would have granted me the time of the day to read this letter, that I am a true-blue Filipino. Born and raised half-way in the Philippines, I have nothing but love, compassion and patriotism running inside my veins for our beloved country. This is specifically the reason as to why I am penning this letter.

If you would be so kind as to refer to the entry by Mr. Daniel Wagner by following the link stated here, you would understand the purpose of my letter.
Which brings me to ask the question, “why?”

First, I would like to know why you were not able to answer a simple and obvious, and may I add, common beauty pageant question such as this. This question has been used in beauty contests not only as prestigious as Ms. Universe, but on local television pageants aired on noon-time television shows in our country. I’ll even go as far as to say that even fiesta pageants like Ms. Gay and probably, let’s say, Ms. Bulacan or Ms. Cavite have heard of this question before. Now, the participants in these contests might have not been able to answer the question successfully either but they were not representing a country and neither were they internationally televised for all the world to see.

I have heard and read that you were “nervous” but is that really the best excuse you can muster for our fellowmen who sat in their own or their neighbors’ and friends’ houses, their eyeballs pasted on the television screen to catch a glimpse of our proud Ms. Philippines striving to make the world envy our country for its women’s beauty and literacy in the English language? I would have to apologize, Ms. Raj, but I personally do not accept this excuse. Every single woman on stage with you during that moment, I am certain, felt the same unsettling emotion but all four of them were able to provide acceptable responses to their judges’ questions.

I also would like to know why you referred to Mr. William Baldwin as “Sir” as I don’t recall him being knighted by any King or Queen in the present day or otherwise. I understand it could be your way of showing respect but this is simply not the way to do it. You could have referred to him as ”Mr. Baldwin” eg. “Thank you very much for that wonderful question, Mr. Baldwin” or have not acknowledged his name or stature at all, just like the other contestants did, as your answer should have been conveyed to the audience and not only to the judge eg. “Thank you very much for that wonderful question” and proceed to answering the question.

Another query of mine: may I know why you had to open your formal response with “You know what, Sir”? I may not be an English major but simply put, that was tragic. Not a little – very tragic. I don’t think I have to expound on this. It is self-explanatory, right?

Let’s go to the body of your answer. I would like to ask why you felt you had to state the word “major” twice in one sentence and why it was said next to each other. Was there a need for it? Using major, in itself, was a mistake as formal replies requires formal references. You could referred to your “major major problem” as “ a significant problem” or simply “a big problem”. That would have still been a wrong acknowledgement to his question, as he asked “What is the biggest MISTAKE…” and not “biggest PROBLEM”, but it would have been a less controversial and embarrassing one.

Now let’s proceed to your entire answer and allow me quote you from a local news website, "You know what, sir, in my 22 years of existence, I can say that there's nothing major major problem that I've done in my life because I'm very confident with my family, with the love that they are giving to me. So thank you so much that I'm here. Thank you, thank you so much!" Really? Why? Why did you not understand the question? Why did you answer with a completely different point? Why did you have to thank everyone thrice? And why would you construct a sentence with “there’s nothing major major problem”?

I know you are not to blame for the hostage-taking that took place in our country on the same day of the pageant but the least you could have done as our country’s representative was help us, your countrymen, in diverting the attention of the world to the negative occurrence that took place in our country, or at least wash off some of the ridicule brought by the tragedy and not add salt to the injury.

Yes, the event has passed. We are all reduced to smaller beings now by other races and there is nothing we can do about it but wait for time to erase the memory. They said, there is no such thing as bad publicity, but I beg to differ. In a day, the Philippines was involved in two tragedies that has made it into one too many countries’ media highlights. Now that, I’d day, is a major, major problem.