The Answer

Let’s get right down to it. The country was up in a roar for the recently held Ms. Universe pageant where Ms. Philippines Shamcey Supsup finished as the 3rd runner up or 4th place.

This is one level higher than last years representative Venus Raj who finished in fifth place or 4th runner up.

But, as with last year the usual gripings made its rounds of how Shamcey should have won if it were not for one fatal obstacle; the Q&A.

The Q&A portion is the most dreaded of any pageant for reasons unknown to me (because the contestant are supposed degree holders answering one question competently shouldn’t be that much of a challenge) but then again it takes much more effort to sound intellectual and insightful than to walk around a stage.

However it was the question posted to Ms. Philippines by Vivica A. Fox that really turned heads in the entire competition. “Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person you loved.”

Astonishingly Shamcey said no. “Whoever loves me should love my God too.” This answer has been repeated over and over and over again on television news networks and youtube gag videos that it became tiresome after only 24 hours. But let’s get to the meat of things.

A few things to note; 1) Shamcey definitely had the misfortune of the most difficult question asked during the pageant. 2) Lea Salonga getting a lot of criticism for her fluffy and basic pre-school question to eventual winner Ms. Angola. 3) Shamcey was the only finalist that did not use an interpreter. 4) Politics in pageants.

On the first thing; As an atheist I don’t think I have to explain why I don’t care very much for her answer but, it was definitely honest and no one can fault her for that. However, as it is a sensitive topic Shamcey may have chosen the honest response it might also have been the unwise one as it goes against the vehemently popular “Love conquers all” ideal that is proliferated all over the world, most especially in the Philippines. Furthermore, she seems (with her answer) to reinforce a not-always-positively-viewed stereotype of the religious Filipino. Some even harsher critics have even labeled her answer as narrow-minded, religiously arrogant, and presumptive.

No matter what my views on religion and the Church I will reiterate (for those who might misconstrue my article) I know her answer was honest and knew it to be true and for that she deserves to be respected (even if I disagree).

A lot of people have surmised that Shamcey should have won the Q&A hands down because she was fluent in English and did not need an interpreter. Many people including former beauty queen Bianca Manalo who described the interpreter system as a strategy for time buying in order to think of an appropriate answer.

This is complete bullshit. First of all, explain to me how anyone can “buy time” when you have a time limit. Unless the contestants have the power to distort the laws of physics through interpreters this allegation doesn’t make much sense.

“No, she has time to think while the interpreter translates what she said”

This assumes that people don’t or can’t think while speaking themselves, and that they need shut their mouths in order for their brains to operate. This is not only insulting to contestants it’s also insulting to the human species.

“But Shamcey is fluent in English and didn’t even need an interpreter, that means she’s better”

The Q&A portion is an obscure part of the competition to measure the contestants intellect and insight into topics such as current events, international relations, connecting with the youth, education, and of course world peace. The ability or inability to speak in English is hardly a point for or against the intellect of any person.

Which is ironic since I assume a lot of people who said anything similar to the above quote also expressed outrage at the “Filipino is not the language of the learned” article that came out a few weeks back.

Oh and Oprah expressed her support for Shamcey saying she had the best and most direct answer of them all…oh wait, no she didn’t.

To be fair it could be argued that she had the best answer because she had the hardest question.

Politics have been surmised as one of the reasons for the result of the pageant. Really? politics in Ms. Universe. Duh. Of course there is, but not on the scale people imagine them to be.

Sen. Miriam for example said in an interview that maybe the reason they didn’t let Shamcey win was because Asians kept winning. Basic history and a quick google search shows that isn’t true at all.

2010-Mexico

2009-Venezuela

2008-Venezuela

2007-Japan

2006-Puerto Rico

2005-Canada

2004-Australia

2003-Dominican Republic

2002-Russia & Panama

2001-Puerto Rico

2000-India

There have been only two Asian Ms. Universes in the last eleven years (including 2011). In fact, the only political maneuvering and lobbying that resulted in anything was Ms. China. I’m not saying the chinese pulled any strings, it’s just that seeing China in the top 5 is as common  as seeing a teenager reading a newspaper.

So the scale of politics people imagine that goes into the decision of crowning a Ms. Universe is (as it stands) still imagination and no foul play occurred anywhere (as far as we know).

Oh, and a lot of people are misinformed in saying that Gloria Diaz was the last Philippine Ms. Universe when in fact the Philippines won the title again through Maria Margarita Moran in 1973.

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5 Tugon to “The Answer”

  1. There’s a scoop telling that the question asked to her was researched and based on her real profile background. I read an article (not sure if it’s from Inquirer) saying that her BF was a Catholic who converted to her religion, which I think was Evangelical Protestant.

  2. (Hanapin mo, gusto ko mabasa) Lots of implications there if it were true. It could bring up the possibility that Lea lied or was deceived about the questions being draw lots.

    Though much difference substantially, still Christian.

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