(Eventual Winner, 16 year-old Eurasian, Miss Sammy – in a Traditional Thai dress?)
Most of my evenings here in Suphanburi Town, consist of either staying at home with the wifey surfing the Net, watching videos and even enjoying the odd Thai soap opera or going out to enjoy a bevvie with a buddie or two. If the wifey gets a bit too cheesed off with the frequency of the latter, then I stick to a bit of a mix and get home by 9.
Well, after fooling around on YouTube last night for a while, I joined the wifey on the sofa who was viewing the Finale of Thai Supermodel 2007. Now, it always makes me laugh the way the Ministry of Culture continually come out with their Draconian views of Thai culture and especially women. While they habitually inform Thai females about how to act and dress ‘properly’, TV viewers are bombarded with pics of scantily-dressed women either flirting provocatively or bashing each other in the face (or a bit of both). Last night’s Supermodel contest didn’t quite have the competitors kitted-out live on stage in mini bikinis, but it was still enough to have had the old fuddie-duddies at the Min of Culture, looking on in utter bewilderment.
Thai people like their beauties young and last night was no exception. On checking through the Thai language Thai Supermodel website this morning I found at least four of the 20 contenders aged around the 15-16 years of age mark. In fact, the eventual winner herself, Miss Sammy (Banthita Phuwijan) was a fresh Grade 11, 16 year-old Eurasian. If you are rather surprised at how Thai society can accept such youthful girls parading their chest and legs in front of millions live on TV, then don’t be. Pop along to any school’s sports day event and you will be amazed at the sight of a hundred Lolitas dressed in mini-skirts, high heels and even suspenders. For some incredible reason known to no-one, both the Ministry of Culture and Education turn a complete blind-eye to such events.
For the final round last night, the Thai Supermodel competitors were dressed-up in supposedly Traditional Thai Dress. I couldn’t help laughing though, when the organizers decided that typical dress also meant completely baring your shoulders with some girls having half their breasts poking out. I mean, I am not against such provocative dress but it does say a lot for the double-standards accepted in Thailand. Well, the round before that, had the girls fitted out in outfits from the country’s ‘7 New Wonders of the World’. The one representing Jordan, would have had Bin Laden take a heart-attack. Out she comes with her head-dress, only to flick it back half way down the catwalk and expose a nice revealing swank of skin. Anyway, guess it beats her walking down the isle resembling some woman in Saudi Arabia!
Thailand is known to many foreigners as The Land of Smiles but to most Thais it is known more as The Land of Delightful White Skin. And at least 17 of the girls last night had just that. Personally, my favourite was a much darker-skinned girl who looked like a real Thai-Thai sort who somehow managed to get through to end round.
So, besides just the prestigious Thai Superworld 2007 award (worthy of 300,000 Baht and a new car) last night, there were also a whole stack of others given out by the organizer’s groovy sponsors. These included (and I am not joking)
Miss Pond’s Purest White Skin (worthy of 30,000 baht and a whole year’s supply of Pond’s whitening lotions and creams!)
Miss Sealect Tuna Supermodel (worthy of 30,000 Baht and a whole year’s supply of tinned Sealect Tuna!)
Miss Scotch Sugar Free Body Perfect (worthy of 30,000 Baht and a whole year’s supply of Scotch Sugar drinks!)
Miss Healthy Beautiful Hair (worthy of 30,000 Baht, a solid gold chain, a mobile phone and a year’s supply of Pantene shampoo)
Anyway, since I am no golden-oldie complainer belonging to the Min of Culture, I wish 16 year-old winner Miss Sammy the best of luck and especially when she has to compete in some Miss World Supermodel competition next year in China. As for the crowned Miss Pond’s Purest White Skin, well I hope she doesn’t turn into an milk-stick and that Miss Beautiful Hair doesn’t go on to lose it all after she ends up washing it too much!
Next year, I do hope that the organizers will find some new sponsors, it would be great having awards such as Miss Animoto MSG, Miss Oil of Ulay Armpit Hair Remover and Miss Tiprot Fish Sauce.