Crowning beauties…

Miss Earth Singapore

Photographer Daniel Milton and myself buttoned up our suits and strode into the coronation of Miss Earth Singapore 2006 at the Marina Mandarin Grand Ballroom. As mentioned in issue 23’s Miss Earth Article, I was certainly rearing to go. The gala dinner event was sold-out even before I was invited.

And no surprise too, the beauty pageant was the first of its kind in Singapore, integrating environmental awareness into a ‘green and glamour’ concept. This night represented the culmination of a year-long campaign of events, selecting a single winner from the final cohort of seventeen.

The ballroom was elegantly furnished with floral pieces and on every dinner plate was a Miss Earth Singapore environmentally friendly calico bag that held a delightful T-shirt. I promptly bumped into Ace, an independent photographer who never failed to show up to a single Miss Earth Singapore event (or an open bar), he delightfully donned the shirt and proceeded to snap the contestants that filed out onto a catwalk embraced by potted plants. The amusing chap was always hogging the good shots and directing the girls, ‘please stand closer ah!’, ‘hello hello this way.’.

His focus was too narrow if I may say, as there were angelic starlets all around including hosts Jaymee Ong and Nick Tymms and Co-Host May & Choy (“The Twins”). Powerful figures abounded as much as beauty with the judging panel of 5 consisting of Mr. Howard Shaw – Chief Executive, Singapore Environment Council, Ms. Alexandra Braun – Miss Earth (international) 2005, Mr. Tony Cousens – GM, The Marina Mandarin Singapore, Ms. Nadia Hutagalung – Top Model & TV Presenter and Mr. Samuel Seow – MD, Samuel Seow Law Corporation, facing a grim predicament of finding the right Miss Earth.

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I was duly entertained with the impeccable production and military precision in which the night was conducted – the appetiser gave way to a choreographed dance number, followed by a serenading by Maia Lee, followed by the feisty Swimwear segment – with the catwalk flanked by percussion troupe ‘Barracuda batucada’ and then the eveningwear segment set to romantic tunes. The thrill was building in each successive round as the number of contestants were brought down to eight and then to a final four.

With the aid of a group of schoolgirls, the four finalists were asked a final round of demanding questions on environmental topics and the evening’s most nerve-wrecking vote took place aided by software developed for the occasion by ETI Eyemail Technology. This eventually led to the coronation of: Miss Earth Singapore 2006 Fire: Ms. Jessie Xue Yan (3rd runner-up); Miss Earth Singapore 2006 Water: Ms. Gin Tan Chuee (2nd runner-up); Miss Earth Singapore 2006 Air: Ms. Jessica Sue Yun Lim (1st runner-up), and finally, Miss Earth Singapore 2006: Ms. Shin Yu Juay.

Miss Earth Singapore 2006 was crowned by Miss Earth (International) 2005 Ms. Alexandra Braun, Venezuela on her second visit to Singapore this year the first one in April for co-hosting the prestigious UNEP Champions of the Earth 2006 Prize.

“I am very happy to win the Miss Earth Singapore title this year because this pageant focuses not only on the individual beauty but on a very important cause: to raise awareness in improving the environment.

I am proud to represent Singapore in the Philippines during the 3 week campaign leading up to the Coronation Night in Manila on the 26th November when I will be up against contestants from more than 90 countries and I will do my very best to honour Singapore.” says Miss Shin Yu Juay. I was so happy that she won – my bet was on her the minute I saw her at the press con.

But the journey does not end with the night; “With the current environmental situation in mind, our vision is to create a strong platform by building a ‘public image’ for our target group to become a trendsetter and spokesperson where they can enhance the communication with the grass root and encourage environmental responsibility across a cross section of the community”, said Mrs Cheryl T. Hansen, Managing Director of C.T. Hansen International, and organiser of Miss Earth Singapore.

“Women have conventionally partaken in beauty pageants that only glorified external beauty but with Miss Earth Singapore – Green & Glamour initiative, we want to bring beauty pageants to the next level by not only focusing on the surface but to celebrate women who have the conviction and the passion to bring changes to the world around them.”

The afterparty, held at Ministry of Sound’s Pure room, was nothing short of indulgent, but we’ll leave that to your imagination.

Photo: Daniel Milton