by Ric G. Galvez
It was a competition so unlike from any precedent. A young unconventional beauty shocked the general public by winning the main prize and left the minor one to a stunning bi-racial beauty. To complicate matters, the country was in a political crisis where instability is bringing uncertainty to the common people. The political atmosphere was polarized and the future looks bleak.
Sounds familiar? Well, it was not Thailand 2014 but rather it was the Philippines 1986. The young unconventional beauty was Violeta Naluz who won the Bb. Pilipinas-Universe crown reigning supreme over a stunning bi-racial lass named Alice Dixson. The Philippines was reeling over the political instability as the Marcos dictatorship collapsed and the new administration was bringing some hopes but largely it was all uncertainty to the dazed populace.
Violeta Naluz was not the darling of the public at that time and perhaps had she been crowned in today’s setting, she would have been cyber bullied too. There is a strong indication that she was aware of her standing in the public eye but she was unfazed. She proudly represented the Philippines in Panama City where she landed in perhaps the lowest placement ever for the country at Miss Universe.
Violeta Naluz was in the same plane as the embattled and now resigned Miss Universe Thailand Weluree Ditsayabut. Violeta was even labelled as an embarrassment for the nation not only for her below par performance and for ranking so low but also because she politicized her Parade of Nations introduction by raising her hand showing a People Power sign. I have a clear vision of what it would be like if the internet was available back then.
I talked with Tee Laksanavilas, a TV personality in Thailand, who days ago appeared in national TV to give his thoughts about the whole Weluree affair. He said that with the crown comes the bashings, the hate and criticisms. I couldn’t agree more. Reminiscing, Violeta handled whatever hate was hurled on her because she can, back then, isolate herself from the world by shutting down her windows and close her doors. In today’s world, the most dangerous intruders do not pass through your windows or doors or even chimneys. They pass through your laptops, cellphones and computers. Violeta couldn’t have survived in today’s world.
It is alright to give criticisms, your honest thoughts, your genuine opinions even it is not to the liking of the many. But pageant fans got rabid these days. Death threats, vandalized images and cyber bullying taint on what could be otherwise a fun and exciting hobby of pageantry fanaticism. How Violeta Naluz survived while Weluree Ditsayubot did not is a matter of debate but it is without doubt that the internet, facebook, twitter, instagram and all, played a very crucial role.