Besides showcasing the finalists, the event was also held in support of the Down Syndrome Association (DSA), which is Miss Singapore World’s chosen organization to collaborate with in continuation of the mandate of “beauty with a purpose”.
The motto was first coined by Julia Morley, the president of the Miss World Organization, who understood the importance of helping those in need, by empowering women to make a real change in society.
Fate brought both the pageant organizers and DSA together. This is the first time both organizations are working together.
“This year we are very privileged to work with DSA and it has actually been a very fruitful event. We organized activities for the girls and both parties have benefitted from them. A lot of awareness was created,” said Lisa Huang, a spokesperson for ERM Singapore, the pageant organizer.
Earlier in July, the finalists had tea with the children from DSA, where they put up talent shows to entertain them. They also performed a dance item and a magic show.
Dr Saba Iqbal, executive director of DSA, believes that by collaborating with Miss Singapore World, they are reaching out to a wider audience and greater awareness is being created for children of special needs.
Miss Singapore World finalist Jiselle Poh said that her perspectives were changed when she interacted with the children.
“I learnt that they are just like you and me. I used to have a different perception of them, but they are normal people,” said the 20-year-old student.
Jiselle’s thoughts were echoed by another finalist, Khym Ong, a student.
In addition to the visit to DSA, a charity gala, titled “Mystique III” will be held to raise funds for DSA and will also crown the 38th Miss Singapore World, who will represent the nation in the international Miss World Finals in December.
“’Mystique III’ is actually DSA’s main fund raiser event, and since Miss Singapore World approached us, we thought, why not?” added Dr Saba.
Dr Saba also revealed that there will be a dance item and also a pushcart selling items made by the children of DSA. The grand finals will be held on 31 July.
Many of the finalists joined the pageant to build up their self confidence and to improve their social skills.
Huang, who is also Miss Singapore World 2005, believes that the finalists have benefitted from interacting with different organizations.
“They really enjoyed the activities because it is something that you don’t do everyday and to take the courage to just walk into DSA and help out. Most people will not do that. I think we need to teach the girls that, and we can learn a lot of things as well,” said Lisa.
Olivia Lim, 19, an undergraduate, said that she believes everyone should play a part in helping society.
|PHOTOS: Jayson Lee|
“I believe, with or without status, everyone should play a part in helping society. When I walk down the streets, people just stare at people who may be different from them and comment within themselves, which isn’t the correct thing to do. If I do win the title, I would join events and increase awareness of this, but firstly, I would start with my inner circles first,” said Olivia.
Beauty pageants have not outlived their usefulness. Many pageants are held throughout the year, but only a few continue to be relevant to the needs of the society. The 22 finalists from the Miss Singapore World 2009 epitomized the meaning of true beauty — not just through one’s outward appearance, but caring for others with a heart as well.