Beauty pageants expose dreams and dangers in modern Myanmar

YANGON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Sparkling in a red, sequined outfit, Htet Htun rotates around the phase rehearsing a typical Burmese dancing that she wishes will make her stand out from 18 other young hopefuls competing in the first Miss Myanmar World contest this month.

When a semi-civilian government took power, appeal contests are growing in Myanmar after being prohibited during nearly half a century of armed forces tyranny that finished in 2011.

Expecting a far better life and also fantasizing of popularity and lot of money, young Myanmar females are competing at every opportunity to go into the expanding checklist of appeal contests that opened to them in 2012.

However the quick surge of a sector that divides point of view in lots of countries – with challengers charging pageants of objectifying females – is revealing both the challenges and also chances dealt with by contemporary Myanmar with tales of detraction and also exploitation.

By the end of this year, Myanmar, formerly called Burma, will certainly have contended in at least 10 international pageants, including Miss Universe Myanmar and Miss Asia Pacific World. Concerning 130 candidates joined in 4 days for the inaugural Miss Myanmar World competition that will be hung on Sept. 27.

” If I win, I wish to do charity work that would certainly befit a model. I would certainly additionally such as to become a starlet as well as proceed functioning in the entertainment sector,” Htet Htun, 22, informed the Thomson Reuters Foundation outside a dimly-lit workshop in the Myanmar’s most significant city, Yangon, after her wedding rehearsal.

The popularity of charm contests underscores how Myanmar is competing to overtake the remainder of the world after years of near-isolation – as well as numerous candidates are finding themselves on a crash program in just how to cope in such an affordable field.

May Myat Noe ended up being the country’s initial worldwide appeal queen in May this year when she won the Miss Asia Pacific World title in Seoul, South Korea – just to be dethroned 3 months later in a vicious, public spat with contest organisers.


The South Korean organisers called her “deceitful and also impolite” and also accused her of running off with the pageant crown when she left Seoul where she was to tape songs with a K-pop girl band.

At a jam-packed interview in September, May Myat Noe accused the contest’s organisers in Myanmar of falsifying her age from 16 to 18 as well as the Korean organisers of taxing her to have plastic surgical treatment to expand her busts to improve her fame.

“( The Korean organisers) additionally told me there is just one means to discover loan for my album and to proceed in the home entertainment business … to escort some service magnates whenever they need my company,” she informed journalism conference.

The cut-throat nature of the contest service may be new, but Chit Win, that is looking into Myanmar’s political and also societal changes at the Australian National University, claimed charm contests have actually existed in Myanmar for centuries.

The principle of gorgeous young ladies called “kun taung kain” (owners of typical betel nut containers) precedes British colonisation in the 19th century, he stated.

Beauty pageants were banned from 1962 after General Ne Win staged a coup and also released a social suppression.

Returning to the globe phase of beauty contests has women throughout Myanmar looking for to imitate Western suitables.

Sharr Htut Eaindra, the ruling Miss Universe Myanmar, who spent a year polishing her abilities for the competition, admitted the first point she did to prepare was to slim down.

The competitions have likewise place the spotlight on continuing demographic departments in Myanmar, a country of regarding 51 million individuals with over 100 ethnic teams still pestered by nationalism as well as ethnic problems.

They have likewise attracted a large social media sites complying with among Myanmar’s fast-growing Internet users.

Moe Set Wine, of combined Burmese-Chinese heritage, became the first woman in 50 years to stand for Myanmar at the Miss Universe contest in 2013 – and also found herself the target of a project on social networks asking for her elimination.

Burmese social media sites customers examined her ethnicity as well as utilized old images of her at a Burmese Chinese contest kept in former capital Yangon.


Regardless of expanding awareness that the charm service can be cut-throat, the line up of ladies seeking a route to fame with the market grows daily.

A title can bring huge publicity, public adoration and offers to star in movies as well as commercials. Pictures of former and also present elegance queens decorate billboards, publications and flick posters in Yangon.

“After I was crowned, my followers on Facebook leapt to 10s of thousands,” stated version and also TELEVISION speaker Gonyi Aye Kyaw, a bubbly, express 25-year-old that completed in regarding six contests before coming to be Miss Myanmar International 2013.

Her account was hacked three days later on – a verification of her new-found fame for her followers.

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