Beauty and the Chinese diaspora

Fluent conversationalist Lenna Lim is being tipped as the front-runner for the Miss Astro Chinese International Pageant (MACIP) 2011. The top 10 finalists were introduced to the public yesterday.

The 22-year-old Universiti Malaya undergraduate received the vote of finalist number four, Sophie, when all others contestants, including Lim, had chosen themselves as the most winnable candidate of the competition.

Sophie, a model by profession, said she admired Lim’s ability to speak and present herself well.

Sophie (left) and Lenna Lim (right) on stage

Quick-witted host, Jack Lim, then asked Sophie what she thought were her strengths compared to Lenna Lim, and the woman with the 33-25-35 vital statistics responded in a heartbeat: “My bodyline.”

“Luckily you have your own strength. The finals would be a complete waste for you if you can’t outdo the others in anything else,” remarked the naughty host.

Sophie (left) and Lenna Lim (right) in swimsuit


Being the favourite, however, does not make Lim completely immune to criticism, as Jack Lim revealed that netizens have been attacking the woman since the elimination rounds.

The part-time music teacher admitted that it took her a while to get use to the bad comments.

“But I have learnt to calm my heart down… in the grand final I will perform a Chinese traditional Dun Huang dance which narrates a breaking through a stone wall,” she said, inscrutably.

The other finalists are also poised to strike their best poses, with performances ranging from belly dancing (Evone), gymnastics (Joey), modern dance (Stephy and Joevy), roller skating (Kate), singing (Viviene) and Chinese rap (Casswen). They look all set to delight the masses at the grand final in Genting Highlands on October 29.

Finalists speak on heritage

This year’s competition, with its theme, “caring for cultural heritage”, also saw the finalists travelling to Penang and Macau for photo shoots at heritage sites.

“For me, protecting cultural heritage is akin to respecting and caring for the elderly in our family. The elderly teach us about life; built heritage teaches us about historical achievements,” number 5 contestant Ivory (below), said.

Number 6 contestant Joevy, on the other hand, said a city’s charm is derived from its history and cultural heritage.

“A ruined heritage is like an old tree without its roots; a person who has lost heart. No matter how many skyscrapers are built in their, the city would have lost its charm,” she said.

The articulate and zen-like Lenna Lim compared culture to the air that surrounds us, which “sometimes tends to be ignored by us.”

“But we breathe it every second, our culture,” she said.

Meanwhile, pageant organiser, Astro, explained that cultural heritage is a symbol of transcendental beauty, akin to inner beauty.

MACIP is an annual pageant organised by Astro Wah Lai Toi. The winner will represent Malaysia to participate in next year’s Miss Chinese International Pageant, to be pitted against contestants drawn from the global Chinese diaspora. The competition is organised by the Hong Kong TV station, TVB. Many winners of the pageant have been absorbed as actresses on TVB channels.

Contestant number 1, Evonne

Contestant number 2, Joey Chong

Contestant number 3 Stephy

Contestant number 8 Kate

Contestant number 9 Vivienne

Contestant number 10 Casswen