WHEN host Steve Harvey announced the winner of the Miss Universe beauty pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday morning, flashes of the biggest mistake of his hosting career must have flitted in his mind.
In 2015, the Philippines, then represented by Pia Wurtzbach, was with Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez on stage waiting for the announcement of the winner when Harvey announced the wrong one, Miss Colombia. Yesterday, Miss Philippines Catriona Gray was with Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green waiting for the announcement of Miss Universe 2018. This time, Steve Harvey named the winner correctly.
It has only been three years since Wurtzbach took home the Miss Universe crown, but that crown has gone back to the Philippines with Gray’s win. Interestingly, Miss Universe last year was Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa, which means that South Africa almost got the crown back-to-back.
Like Manny Pacquiao boxing bouts, the Miss Universe pageant is well-covered in the Philippines. It is easy to be critical of our obsession with beauty pageants, or of any competition wherein a Filipino has a chance of winning. The more politically inclined could point out the need for that same obsession to help straighten out the country’s politics and governance.
But we are stuck in the mud with the manner the country is being run and changing a political system is a much more complicated task than having Filipino individuals and smaller organizations finding a way to win, be it in sports, in beauty pageant, or in entertainment. Cebuana Margielyn Didal won Asian Games gold medal with a small team of dedicated skateboarders while Gray won with the backing of Binibining Pilipinas Charities.
It would be wrong for anybody to dampen our enjoyment of that triumph by introducing politics into the discussion. Still, we should see every triumph by Filipinos in the global level as proof that if we just put our acts together, we can go on a winning run in other field like the Binibining Pilipinas organizers.
That is why we celebrate Gray’s win. That is why government officials should go beyond congratulatory messages and instead use that win as an inspiration for them to make good in governance themselves.