Tuesday, March 21

A blunder that revealed human nature


THE Eye isn’t a fan of beauty pageants. These events to crown almost perfect beauty queens come across as too rehearsed. Every step and word uttered from the mouths of the contestants are made to seem perfect and somewhat just too “plastic”.

It has been years since the Eye has watched a beauty pageant in full, be it in real life or on television. This year was no different, until newsfeeds started screaming media frenzy all over the Internet and social media.

A huge blunder occurred during the Miss Universe 2015 crowning just days ago, on Dec 21, Eye believe. The master of ceremonies or emcee as we prefer to call them, crowned the wrong Miss Universe.    Honestly, until the Miss Universe fiasco, many of us (Eye included) did not know who Steve Harvey was. Okay, perhaps a handful in Malaysia who actually watch ‘Family Feud’ would have known about him.

The fiasco ensued after Harvey announced Miss Colombia as the winner of the Miss Universe crown.

The former Miss Universe, coincidentally, also Miss Colombia then carried out the traditional ceremonies of presenting the sash, bouquet and crown to her successor, or so she thought. The ‘winner’ then proceeded to do the usual winning walk across the stage, stage lights following her, leaving the other contestants and the other two finalists in the dimly lit background.

On the sidelines of the stage, which was only revealed through footage from other cameras after the live telecast of the event, Harvey was seen talking to the organisers, before he slowly made his way back to the front of the stage, trying to find an appropriate moment to speak.

He, very professionally, admitted that he had made a blunder in announcing the winner (while Miss Colombia stood by not knowing whether to continue smiling and waving), and the actual winner was Miss Philippines.

It was interesting to see the reactions on the contestants’ faces. Miss Philippines looked confused and unsure until second runner up Miss USA (who herself looked surprised and then, somewhat amused), gave her a little nudge to move forward.

As Miss Philippines hesitantly walked to centre stage, Miss Bulgaria (in the background) seemed overjoyed and with arms waving, encouraged the actual winner on to claim her place and crown.

Many of the other contestants seemed unsure of what was really happening. Perhaps it was because of the language barrier, perhaps it was just them being tired and having accepted that they were just there to stand around, smile and look pretty until the end of the show.

Several personality types became obvious that night.

First, let us look at the emcee himself. He handled the blunder professionally, regardless of the fact that the card on which the results were written was poorly formatted. This was agreed to by the majority of the viewers and those in the same profession as Harvey later.

He admitted that it was he who misread the card and he was entirely responsible for the blunder.

Now, Eye know of many in the same field as Harvey. Responsible emcees will realise that they bear the weight of the entire event on their shoulders. Timing, smooth running of the event, clear and concise information being relayed – all these rest on the emcee.

It may seem easy to some, just yapping away on stage with a teleprompter or cue cards to guide you along, but it really is not. Being an emcee, as many professional emcees will profess, can be a stressful job. You’ve got to keep the organisers happy, the audience comfortable and for official functions in Malaysia, protocol in place.

Sometimes towards the end of the night, you feel drained, words on your cue cards or scripts start to become a blur or even jumbled, made worse by the ever-changing stage lights.

What more with a card that used small font like what the pageant organisers chose. Eye don’t blame Harvey for the blunder. Yet he was gracious enough not to say “Haiya … see this people, print the card like that! How to read!”. This Eye am sure is what some emcees would have done immediately.

Then there were the supporters of Miss Colombia. How they shunned and edged Miss Philippines away as she attempted to approach Miss Colombia after the crowning was rather cruel.

It was by no means any fault of Miss Philippines. The judges had voted her Miss Universe. She did not declare herself the winner. Yet most of the South American contestants pretty much made up their minds and treated Miss Philippines in a cold and unforgiving manner.

It is understandable to want to support and comfort your continent-mate, someone of the same background as yourself, but putting the blame on the blameless was certainly immature and uncalled for.

Then there were the likes of Miss Bulgaria and our own Miss Malaysia who showed such great sportsmanship and went all out to congratulate Miss Philippines.

Mind you, Bulgaria is a far way off from the Philippines, and yet the enthusiasm showed by this young lady was commendable.

It gives hope to such pageants yet – that not all contestants are calculative and as overly-competitive as they seem. There are some ladies who have big hearts, are mature and are genuinely warm towards their competitors.

Any competition will have competitors of different personality types, which then only to be revealed when there is a controversy or a blunder. Miss Universe 2015 was one striking example.

Eye wish Miss Philippines all the best in carrying out her duties and to those who gave Miss Philippines the cold shoulder and pushed her away, it is best to forgive them and move on.

After all, you should have something to prove having made it that far. Don’t let a grudge become you and bring your reputation down.

Plus, Miss Colombia herself was gracious enough, after recovering from a roller coaster ride of emotions, to post a touching message of thanks to her fans and congratulations to Miss Philippines.

Here’s wishing all a Happy New Year – a 2016 of changes for the better, hope and good things to come.

Comments can reach the writer via columnists@theborneopost.com.