And the way to increase Malaysia’s global competitiveness is…

Beauty Pageant
Gigawatts (from left): Ms Shalini Vuthyakumar, 1st Runner-Up, Ms Vandhana Krishna, Miss MalaysiaIndian Global 2011, Ms Uma Kanapathy, 2nd Runner-Up.

Smart women stay on the right side of men – especially when those men are judges. At the ever more impressive Miss MalaysiaIndian Global competition last night, the crowd favourite was Miss Olivia Nicholas of regal bearing. She seemed a shoo-in for the prize during the Q&A session of the five remaining contestants… until presented with one of the questions from the judges’ hat: (more or less) Men make better leaders. Do you agree?

No, she said; women make better leaders because they have more compassion. You could hear a pin drop, not too mention the sound of foreheads hitting the table. And so they awarded the forward-looking Miss Olivia the Miss Heritage prize, perhaps with a thimbleful of irony thrown in.

It might have been Miss Vandhana Krishna’s night, for she drew the question on education: If there was one thing she could change about the Malaysian education system, what would it be?

Why, it would be to teach maths and science in English, of course! It was the perfect riposte by the radiant princess to the tempurungness afflicting the national competitive advantage, what more with the Global symbolised by the gleaming crown now within her reach.

The crowd thundered its approval.

And she won.

One of the seven judges, Matthias Gelber, with the winners
The talented Miss Shobana Padmanathan walked away with... the Miss Most Talented MMIG 2011 gong (and with her proud mother on her right)
Tarani Palani took the Miss Eco Beauty MMIG 2011 title. She is part of the Malaysiakini intern diaspora and is flanked by current Mkini staff Lynn D'Cruz (on her right) and Indrani Kopal


Judge Gelber with Thanuja Ananthan, Miss World Malaysia 2009

Worldly wise

The Miss MalaysiaIndian Global pageant, founded by Pushparani Thilaganathan, a journalist, is now into its 12th edition. It was conceived as a social development programme for young Malaysian women of Indian or part-Indian descent, which the organisers define as “at least one parent descending from the Indian Ocean”.

The pageant focuses on the personal and professional development of its 16 finalists shortlisted from over 200 contestants from around the country.

Contestants participate in a Health & Fitness programme (a 5km run), Community and Environment  Awareness Programme and a Bridging Communities Programme.


 Pictured ab0ve are the 2010 MMIG Finalists. From left (sitting): Bavani, Carol, Jaswinder (standing), Aenita (sitting), Kanmani (sitting), Hindumathi (sitting), Hema, Punitha, Deepa (sitting). Extreme backrow from left: Datchaeny, UshaRani, ShakshiniDaatry


 MMIG 2010 Winners, Kanmani Selvam (light blue saree), Bavani Kathirvailu

Pictures taken from:

1)!/dennisgbjvt – Dennis McMohan

2)!/indranikopal – Indrani Kopal


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