Singapore: Beauty Queen's qualifications questioned

Ris Low, a 19 year old student, was crowned Miss Singapore World 2009 on Friday 31 July 2009.

Ris Low, Winner of Miss World Singapore 2009

Not too long after, she was interviewed and when a recording of her interview surfaced on the internet, a large number of responses arose about her sub par command of English. There were mixed reactions from many various sources, be it from video portals, blogs, mass media and even the man on the street.

There were some which were negative :

Sometimesjean thinks that as an ambassador, she should be more than just beautiful :

Since Miss Singapore World is a title representing Singapore, i would have thought that besides looking good, the title holder should be someone who speaks confidently, intelligently and has a certain level of class, in fact, we would expect at least an above average if not high level of class. After all, this concerns our nation honor and we should be more critical.

Tanat disagrees with the choice of winner :

I personally feel that Ris Low should not have won Miss Singapore World 2009 title. So what if she had recovered from a high fever days before! I felt she won it mostly due to the sheer manipulation of the judges who thought that her question on “money can buy power” was a sensible one.

However, there are a significant number of netizens who applaud Miss Low for having the courage to enter the competition.

Singkengloon believes that no one is perfect :

The truth is most of us are culpable of such slips in our speech. None of us can admit that our English is perfect. And I got to agree with a former Miss Singapore contestant that Ris Low is still young, with a lot of room to improve.

Indeed, when our beauty queens need our support the most, all we have got to offer is mere mockery. How are our girls going to find the morale to shine for Singapore?

Sam thinks that the barrage of criticism is a reflection of insecurity :

We are apparently ashamed of other breeds of Singaporeans. We want to dust the broken English-speaking folks under the carpet. We want a quarter Chinese, quarter Malay, quarter Indian, quarter Eurasian girl to represent us, not some alleged “Ah Lian”. Why? Because we are uncomfortable with what we see are the “imperfections” of our society – apparent “Ah Lian” subculture/aesthetics, poor English and all that.

Regardless, whether it is to applaud or to berate, the latest winner of Miss Singapore World has certainly been the talk of the town, incidentally giving the event more awareness and coverage compared to the previous contestants from years before.


  • Noob

    Ris is a criminal; convicted for credit card theft and fraud.. she should not have qualified for the contest in the first place; and a sheer demonstration of lapse on due diligence and lack of judgment by the organizers.

    It would be totally embarrassing if she is asked “what example would you set for teenagers around the world; given your recent conviction as Miss World?”

  • Commiepolitan

    Credit card fraud and her irresponsibility to admit to this before these allegations spilled out point to Ris Low’s lack of INTEGRITY and DIGNITY as a member of society.

    The person who holds the title of Miss Singapore is representing her entire country with this title. But as all beauty pageants go, as shallow and superficial as they may be, she also representing Singaporeans with her personality. Her lack of class, style and poor English language skills already shames Singaporeans. Even those who live in non-English speaking countries are able to learn it, so why can’t the representative of Singapore at an international beauty pageant do so? English, the neutral language that we have adopted by our colonisers is what binds Singaporeans of different races together.

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.