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It may appear that I have an unenviable task at hand as the immediate futures of some young people are entrusted to me. But lest you get stressed on my behalf, stop.

Lofty expectations there will always be but let’s put those aside for today’s etiquette and grooming training for the MINDEF scholars. Awarded the SAF Overseas Scholarship, the scholars are scheduled to be going either to the US or UK for their varsity studies before returning to serve a five-year bond. But before they fly to their host country, they are in class today to learn about the cultural differences, language barriers and equip themselves with new skills such as dining etiquette and social graces. 

Specially designed with the scholars in mind, I am honoured to be their coach. 

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Going overseas to study is a dream come true for many people. What more a scholarship. I’m sure all of us agree that the scholars represent not only themselves, but also the organization and country they come from. Therefore, being able to project the right impression when the occasion calls for it and dine with finesse is largely expected.

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Dining etiquette is not something alien to most of us. The Westerners eat from plates, we Asians too eat from plates and bowls. Both items are round in nature. The only difference perhaps lies in the placement of the cutlery – as there is a significant difference between the continental style and American style.

Though it looks confusing initially, familiarity should rein once everyone knows the right way of handling the cutlery.

Why is so much emphasis placed on food? I guess it is because food is a very safe and neutral topic to talk about…as compared to taboo topics such as religion, sex, culture and of course money issues which I advised the participants to steer clear of. Plus all of us have to fill our tummies with nutrition.

When we dine, we normally have a good wine to accompany go with it. So whether your choice is red wine or white wine, you have to choose wisely according to the type of food you are eating.

Being able to act refined and yet sound intelligent by communicating effectively is by no means an easy task. But given the exuberance and camaraderie demonstrated in class today, I’m sure the MINDEF scholars will rise to the occasion each and every time.

Here’s wishing them all the best in their undergraduate studies!

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Just slightly over four hours at 11pm, we celebrated the emergence of a new Mrs Singapore and Elite Mrs Singapore. Judged the best based on their performance tonight and during the prior prejudging segment, the 2012 edition of Mrs Singapore 2012 Pageant was moved to a bigger venue this year.
 
Back to perform my judging duties again, the Singapore Conference Hall welcomed the Singapore participants and their scream-a-minute, whistle-another-minute supporters who upped the atmosphere of the pageant with their deafening shouts of adoration, whistles of support and thunderous applause. Posters, banners and placards of all shapes and sizes too were carried by the supporters who came in droves to support the lady of their choice.

I really loved the electrifying ambience as it symbolised the love and support from family, friends and fans – the three key pillars of any successful pageant. Different people enter beauty pageants for different reasons. If you ask me, most people join beauty pageants because they want to have a fulfilling experience.

This culminates from gaining confidence, improving public speaking skills, meeting new people (otherwise known as networking) and of course, winning the prizes.
 
As the name suggests, beauty is an integral part of Mrs Singapore 2012 Pageant. But because this is a pageant for married women, the ability to balance both family, work and of course pageantry duties thereafter are also considering factors. You must be beautiful. But you must also have talent and the bandwidth to cope with the rehearsals, behind-the-door trainings, workshops, talent show segment and the media attention.
 
And as the pressure mounts, you can count on your supporters who will cheer you on during the final leg – the finals!
 
Tonight was also the night for the presentation of my awards. If you recall, from 25 June 2012 to 24 July 2012, I organised a Luxe Queens Reign competition in search of the sexiest and most glamorous women in this pageant. Friends, colleagues, family members and fans were asked to vote for the lady that best exemplified these qualities via Facebook. And here we have our sexy and glamorous winners for each category.
 
Not wanting to be outshone was our other group of ladies from the Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, China and Pakistan. Sashaying their way across the stage and representing the brightest hopes of their countries, it was a visual treat for the eyes especially in the national costume segments. They were competing for the Mrs Southeast Asia and Mrs Asia International titles. 
 
A pageant is not always about the victor and the vanquished. It really is about owning the stage in the precious few minutes you are on it. It does take tremendous courage to look confident, walk gracefully and strut your stuff up there, in front of the hundreds of eyeballs.

Yes, it may be sad that only one woman can walk away with the final accolade. But I’m sure in the hearts of the supporters and on behalf of the judging panel, all the ladies who lit up the stage tonight were winners in their very own right. 

Congratulations to all the main title winners and subsidiary title winners! You have given your best and you deserve waking up to a new day with a new dazzling tiara and a world of new opportunities!

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All the beautiful ladies came to town to witness the crowning of the new Queens tonight :)
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