Right, or white?
Following the conclusion of the Miss Malaysia 2012 Pageant, a new question arose: What defines “Malaysian-ness?”
In a way it was sort of funny. Asians (like everyone else) hate stereotyping. And yet some critics of the winner of the crown were upset because Kimberly Leggett didn’t look….er…Malaysian. Or Asian. Or…whatever.
Ms. Leggett, who in fact stands as the new Miss Malaysia 2012, is Penang born and a Malaysian native but because of her Caucasian heritage, there was controversy. A silly article by the International Business Times stated Leggett is “too white” to represent Malaysia. Further, it stated that the selection of winners has recently grown more westernized. Of course, for the last four decades Malaysia has been on the steady march to modernize itself without losing its cultural or (largely) Islamic roots.
In fact, the Miss Universe Malaysia Organization (MUMO) has spoken out against the critics. MUMO’s national director Andrea Fonseka rightly defended Leggett, saying that there should be no discrimination against skin color because there is no set Malaysian look. Rather, the contestant is crowned because she rightfully deserves the crown and embodies Malaysian beauty.