Advertisement
Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

The Eye Of The Beholder

South-east Asia is divided on the ethics of holding beauty contests

The Eye Of The Beholder
The Eye Of The Beholder
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

CAMBODIA has resurrected a 1,000-year-old tradition of beauty pageants. Between the 9th and 12th centuries, the Hindu kings of the Khmer kingdom of Angkor had an elaborate system of choosing the most beautiful apsara (chief dancer for the Khmer court). And present day Cambodia has followed tradition by embracing every sponsored beauty contest—from Lux to Konica. In contrast, neighbours Indonesia and Malaysia have taken a hardline attitude to promoting the female form in beauty contests.

Women’s Affairs Minister of Indonesia, Mien Sugandhi, stated President Suharto’s position clearly in May this year when she slapped an Indonesian law student, Alya Rohali, 20, who donned a swimsuit during this year’s Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas, calling her swimsuit pose ‘vulgar’.

The student’s actions sparked off a fiery debate among the traditionalists in what is the world’s largest Muslim nation, where 85 per cent of the 195 million population follow Islam. "The conclusion from President Suharto is: no foreign beauty contests for Indonesian women.... It is not in line with Indonesian culture," said Sugandhi.

However, pageants that are indigenously Indonesian seem to be acceptable. Jakarta is slated to hold the next Elite Lux Model Pageant and will have pretty faces from all over the nation. The top scorer is likely to be agriculture student Humbelina Borro-meu Duarte, 23, who represents East Timor, a territory Indonesia annexed in 1976, in a move still not recognised by the UN.

In Malaysia too, the out of bounds demarcations seem to have been drawn even tighter this year. Two schoolgirls who won a beauty contest earlier this year had to leave their school. The girls, from Pen-ang, the idyllic little island on Malaysia’s west coast, were expelled by the Penang State...

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

A Message Not Delivered, A Matisse Painting Never Gifted: A Co-Star’s Tribute To Shah Rukh Khan

A Message Not Delivered, A Matisse Painting Never Gifted: A Co-Star’s Tribute To Shah Rukh Khan

Sayani Gupta, a star-struck teenager who acted with SRK, reveals what endears the superstar to his millions of fans across the globe.

In Valley, Amit Shah Says No To Talks With Pakistan, Yes To Dialogue With J&K People

In Valley, Amit Shah Says No To Talks With Pakistan, Yes To Dialogue With J&K People

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah Sunday called for talks with Pakistan for the sake of peace in the region.

IPL: RPSG Group, CVC Capital Win Bids To Own New Teams

IPL: RPSG Group, CVC Capital Win Bids To Own New Teams

RPSG Group will be based in Lucknow while CVC Capital will have Ahmedabad as their base city from IPL 2022.

With Lalu, TMC Taking Potshots At It, Congress Faces Trouble From Anti-BJP Regional Parties

With Lalu, TMC Taking Potshots At It, Congress Faces Trouble From Anti-BJP Regional Parties

The challenge Congress faces at present is it has to fight not just internal dissidence and the BJP but deal with anti-BJP regional parties, who are no longer seeing it as a viable ally.

Advertisement