I admire loyalty and patriotism. But sometimes, blind nationalism can work against you. Yes! Diehard fans will no doubt start firing off and my inbox will once again be full of the usual hate mail and death threats.
‘Tis the season indeed.
As pageants begin to dominate the online sphere, trolls and keyboard warriors are at it again, and sadly, we Filipinos are the biggest culprits.
I myself am a member of various pageant forums online and have witnessed this phenomenon grow, shocked that my own countrymen are guilty of perpetrating, or rather, instigating this. If you are one and are reading this article, please read on and consider, and maybe…just maybe, you’ll be doing your country and your delegate a favor, instead of a disservice.
The beauty of the Internet is that we are now much more accessible and have a huge reach. We are interacting with people and communities we wouldn’t have had access to, and everything is now in real time. Internet has made the world a smaller place. The problem with it, however, is that the village idiot has now been given a global platform.
So in this Miss Universe season how does one become an ideal pageant fan and not a rabid idiot in the global village?
·Keep it positive. You gain nothing by praising your girl and running the competition down. Keep it in the spirit of good sportsmanship. Remember, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
·When online, keep all communications universal and in English.
·No one likes a fake profile. Many find it easy to criticize and bully behind a fake alias. Of course it’s easy. That’s why cowards do it. If you’re going to say or do something, stand by it and put your name behind it.
·If attending the Miss Universe pageant, throw yourself into the party spirit. The Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and Thais are renowned for going all out with neon signs, uniforms, horns and crazy outfits. Show the world that the Pinoys can party with the rest of the world!
·Be understanding and respect authority, security and organizers. The girls are on a strict schedule and are not always available for autographs and interviews. If they are in a rush, do not get in the way. Remember that insiders are always watching, and causing them to be late to an event can affect their chances.
·There is nothing more irritating than living in a fish bowl. Sometimes the public can access the girls during breakfast, especially if they are staying in the same hotel. If you are one of these people, respect the fact that your girl has to eat. Refrain from taking photographs of the ladies while they are eating. You’ll find that many will be gracious enough to allow time for photos. Don’t be greedy.
·Avoid speaking to the ladies about online reviews. The last thing these ladies need is distraction, positive or negative. Trust me, they do their own investigations and they speak among themselves. Stick to messages of support. Leave advice-giving to their handlers and directors.
·Get to know the directors. If anyone wants to know how their girl is going or if you want to know insider dish, be friendly with the directors and handlers. But keep information confidential. Respect what you are given and never abuse it.
·Remember that beauty comes in all forms and the judges have the final say. No one likes a bad sport. Celebrate all victories even if it does not go your way. Remember that all other contestants have worked as hard, sometimes harder than your own candidate. Give praise in public, and if you must criticize, do it in private.
·Be wary of whom you share information with. You don’t know to whom that information will go and where it will end up. Be selective of whom you talk to – everyone has a smart phone and whatever information is shared can be uploaded in seconds. Even if it is deleted, you don’t know who has taken a screen shot and run off with that piece of evidence.
Generally, if you keep it classy, you’ll be fine. So keep it honorable – whatever you put out, you get back. We admire the loyalty and the passion, but not at the expense of the competition.
Peter Sereno is a Filipino-Australian based in Tasmania. He was responsible for training Australia’s second Miss Universe, Jennifer Hawkins.