This bevy of beauties demonstrate charm’s agelessness.
Contributed By Jeremy Chua
Beauty, poise, charisma, intelligence, and confidence—these are just some of the many qualities found in most beauty pageant contestants. Now, add a lifetime’s worth of experience, sacrifice and love—these qualities were exemplified by the contestants of the Mrs Classic Queen pageant, held on May 8, Saturday, in celebration of Mothers’ Day.
The beauty pageant was organized by Community Outreach Program for the Elderly or COPE—an arm of City Harvest Community Services Association. Running parallel with a sumptuous Mother’s Day Extravaganza luncheon, the event was held in Guilin Restaurant at HomeTeamNS @ Bukit Batok, where over 200 elderly gathered for a time of fun, food, and fellowship with friends, family and supporters.
COPE has been working closely with the South East Community Development Council since 1999, making a difference in various housing estates in the Mountbatten and Potong Pasir constituencies, by reaching out to about 1,000 senior citizens.
Said Irene Ho, program manager of CHCSA, highlighted the purpose and vision of COPE, saying, “COPE is an initiative that was started to befriend the elderly, raise awareness of elderly healthcare issues, provide assistance to the elderly in cleaning their homes, render medical escort and grocery shopping assistance, as well as organize outings for the elderly.”
COPE runs its operations with the help of volunteers, carrying out home and hospital visitations, meals and groceries delivery, and even organizing monthly community events to encourage socializing and interaction among elderly citizens.
Recently, the elderly had a chance to visit the Night Safari, an attraction that many of them have never experienced.
Stated Ho, “The elderly folk seldom get a chance to go out late in the night, due to transport and distance issues. So we provided that opportunity, and it turned out to be a unique experience for them.”
Plans are in the works for more exciting events, including a Father’s Day competition in June.
This is the third Mother’s Day pageant organized by COPE, and the biggest one so far.
Sponsors such as House of Seafood, Sapporo Italiano, Carlson Jewellery, Hilarious Moments, Angel Face, and InQueenz Training Academy were roped in to make this a special day for all the mothers who were present. In addition, the contestants received professional training by InQueenz for their catwalk segment and their make-up. Asia Conference 2010 Manhunt finalists were also on hand to escort the Mrs Classic Queen hopefuls up the stage.
Ho revealed that much thought and preparation had gone into organizing the beauty pageant for the COPE elderly, “Our purpose is to honor the mothers on stage in front of a crowd. Mothers are almost always in the background, so this is an opportunity for them to enjoy being in the limelight and be treated like a star.”
She added that it was a first time for many of the contestants, and that the experience was a boost for their confidence. Judging by the way the contestants carried themselves with poise and grace, it was hard to imagine that for most of them, the experience was indeed their first.
Wearing glitzy outfits, the contestants drew gasp of wows and exclamation from the crowd when they each gave their self-introductory speech and revealed their ages.
The contestants on stage were treated like stars, but the rest of the crowd were not forgotten at all. Apart from the beauty contestants, every mother present in the crowd was treated like a queen. Before the start of the luncheon, a charming gesture was made to signify this; every mother was given a mini tiara to wear throughout the whole event, and these tiaras only served to accentuate the glow and smiles on the face of every “queen” in the restaurant.
There was no lack of entertainment throughout the entire luncheon. COPE’s home-grown percussion group, Gu Dian Cool gave the opening performance, playing to the tune of the late Teresa Teng classic, “Tian Mi Mi.” Adding a novel spin to the timeless song, the performance incorporated the use of common household objects such as pails, ladles, chopping boards, and even frying pans, much to the enjoyment of the elderly, who were delighted with the fresh approach to a song they were all familiar with.
There was nary a dull moment throughout the luncheon, anchored by two very spontaneous hosts who led the crowd in a table competition on crafting carnation flowers out of recycled plastic bags. They also held a mock pageant for the best-looking male in the house, to which several volunteers came onstage and gamely flexed their muscles, to the delight of all the ladies.
Special guest, Daimon Bao, Teen Prince of South East Asia 2009, serenaded the crowd with his smooth vocals, carrying warm wishes for every mother present.
The highlight of the day, however, was clearly the beauty pageant and its contestants. After two rounds of parading in casual wear and evening wear, the field was whittled down to the top ten out of eighteen contestants.
A Q & A segment was held to determine the winner of Mrs Classic Queen 2010. The top ten finalists were tested on their response to questions on family life, raising children, and even tricky household tasks such as getting rid of stains on clothing.
|CN PHOTOS: Michael Chan|
Once again, the contestants’ charisma and their wealth of experience shone through, touching the hearts of Genecia Luo, InQueenz founder, and Angeline Lim, founder of Angel Face, as well as a whole plethora of beauty queens who made up the panel of judges.
After much deliberation, the top three winners were announced, and the prizes were awarded. Aside from the top three overall standings, subsidiary awards such as Mrs Personality, Mrs Beautiful Skin, Mrs Best Catwalk, Mrs Best Dressed, and Mrs Photogenic were announced. In addition, the audience had a chance to vote for the winners of awards such as Mrs Loving and Mrs Popularity, ensuring that there were winners all around.
Darryl Loh, executive director of CHCSA and one of the judges, shared the rationale behind the judging process, “As this is a beauty pageant, qualities such as appearance and personality are taken into account. However, the aim of this pageant was kept in mind; that is to honor the mothers. Therefore, we took a more holistic approach as well, to include awards that allowed the audience to participate and vote for the deserving contestant. Every contestant stood a chance to win an award.” Elaborating further, Loh mentioned, “This pageant is about transformation and confidence building. We wanted to instill a sense of confidence, and a feeling of worth in the contestants.”
Going by the responses of the pageant winners, that aim was undoubtedly achieved. For the top three winners, this was their first beauty pageant, and they were thrilled to have won. Amidst all the photo-taking and congratulations, they managed to take some time out to express their feelings.
Pang Seng Mui, 57, the second runner-up for Mrs Classic Queen 2010 shared in Mandarin, “This pageant has given me a sense of fulfillment. I want to thank all the volunteers who really helped us out with the make-up and the dressing, making us feel beautiful, inside and out.”
First runner-up Chui Yok Ying, 70, echoed those sentiments, “I was very happy throughout the preparation and during the pageant. I can say that I feel a whole lot younger now as well!”
Winner of Mrs Classic Queen 2010, ex-Chinese teacher Jenny Chang Fung, 71, shared, “This is the first time I have won anything on a scale like this and I want to thank the volunteers and staff of COPE for giving us this opportunity and for putting together this event.”
Without doubt, the COPE Mother’s Day Extravaganza was a great success, offering a huge dollop of warm heartedness to all who were present.