Thursday, August 26, 2010

Major-major answer

"You know what, sir, in my 22 years of existence I can say that there’s nothing major, major, I mean, problem that I’ve done in my life because I’m very confident with my family with the love that they are giving to me. So thank you so much that I’m here. Thank you, thank you so much!”

Our very own fourth Runner-up in the recently concluded Miss Universe pageant continues to receive lots of brickbrats for her supposedly "bad" answer in the Q&A portion, something which many conclude cost her the crown. Thanks to her, "major-major" is now trending high on Twitter. She seems to have taken it good-naturedly in stride. Interviewed about this, she says:
"Hahaha… wala lang natatawa din ako sa mga sinabi ko. Well, okay lang kung major trending siya. At least no, ‘yung 'major major,' nakapagbigay ng karangalan. O diba?”. The first time I heard it, I thought that nerves got the better of her but it never crossed my mind to ridicule her answer. I recently posted about that here. I thought it was a tough question that doesn't really have an answer at all. I tried posing the question to myself and found out that I had to think hard but had nothing intelligent to say, so I think Venus handled it with aplomb. If I were asked the same question under time pressure, under the glare of klieg lights, under the watchful eyes of millions, I suppose I would have come up with a stupidly funny answer instead.

I came across a blogger's insightful comment on the issue. Here it is in toto.
elle27 commented on Aug 24 10 at 6:56 pm

Let me enlighten you as to why?

Venus Raj lives a simple and poor life. She lives in a province, sort of your rural America or the boonies. The house she lives in is a simple thatched-roof hut made of bamboo and wood, located in the middle of the rice paddies. Her immediate support are her family, friends, and relatives. She was born illegitimate. In the Philippine society, it is still a stigma. She strives to do her best to study hard and succeed in life. She graduated Cum Laude in Communication Arts and managed to find a job as Information Assistant in a governmental agency in her province. While doing that, she helps her mother, a farmer, buys land on installment basis. Her goal is to help her mother and family improve the quality of their lives and lift from the life of poverty.

Going back to the question posed by Mr. Baldwin, “what is the one big mistake that you did in your life, and what did you do to make it right?”

When Venus answered, “ my 22 years of existence, there is nothing major – major, I mean, problem that I have done in my life. Because I’m very confident about my family and the love they are giving me. So thank you so much…”

Let’s see…where could she make a big mistake?

DID SHE SLEEP AROUND AND CATCH HIV/STD DISEASES? – No, she did not. Remember, she lives in a rural area in a conservative Catholic society, acting whorish is a big NO NO!
DID SHE GET PREGNANT AND HAVE AN ABORTION? – NO, she did not. She is one wholesome girl. Her family watched, protected, and nurtured her. She can’t escape the watchful eyes of her 4 brothers. Suitors will have a hard time to be near her. If there is going to be one, he will be talking to the whole family instead of talking privately with her. That’s the way life in rural Philippines. Everybody knows everybody, and everybody knows what everybody is doing.
DID SHE SMOKE OR DID DRUGS? – NO, she did not. She came from a poor family. She has no means of buying it. These bad habits are only enjoyed by the wretched people, who are typically shunned by Philippine conservative society.
DID SHE FAIL IN SCHOOL? – No, she did not. She excelled in school. Graduated Cum Laude.
DID SHE COVET A MARRIED MAN? – No, she did not. She doesn’t have a boyfriend at the present time.
IS SHE A BAD DAUGHTER? – No, she is not. In fact, she helps her mother and family improve their lives.

Overall, venus is a wholesome, good girl, who grew up in a rural conservative society, protected, nurtured, and watched by her love ones and did not experience big mistakes in life. She lead a careful and normal life that is totally opposite of what you expect of a life of a young lady in the modern western society.

She was judged by a panel of modern society judges and audiences who can’t believe what they were hearing. Truth is indeed stranger that fiction. But judges should also look at facts and truths, not some generalized opinion that sounds good to the politically correct. Venus answer was factual and brave, and she shouldn’t be lambasted for telling the truth, and it shouldn’t cost her the crown.

Venus being coming from a poor existence and making it into the world should have been a great role model for people living and born into poverty, which aptly applies to the 70% of the world population, and for those born out of wedlock. She can be a great messenger to the world that:

1. There is nothing to be ashamed of being born of out wedlock. It is not the end of the world. Life offers redemption and many possibilities.
2. Being poor is not a hindrance to succeed in life.
3. Stress the importance of education and of finishing college.
4. Highlight the importance of moral character and a girl’s wholesome image
5. Faith of a creator with unlimited gifts to those who believe ~nothing is impossible with god. He can use a messenger from the lowly and poor and exalt her to new heights. She can be a living testament of god’s grace and power that he can do anything and can change lives.
6. Great role model for young girls ~be virtuous~be honest ~honor the parents~excel in school~helps family, etc.

Where can you find a rare and special girl like venus raj?

Mr. Trump and the panel of judges failed to do their due diligence. They failed to do their job and in failing to do their job, they missed this once in a lifetime opportunity for a great messenger to the world, who is convincingly believable to the world, because she is a living and breathing proof of overcoming hardships, obstacles, and challenges in life. Just look at her life … and how far she goes.


sunnyday said...

Thanks for posting this blogger's take on the Q&A thing and Venus. Personally, I don't really understand all the fuss that people have been making about the "major- major" phrase. Maybe it's different when a less-than-impeccable choice of words is made in the spotlight, but frankly I hear people everyday speak in more ways that really mangle the language (words, intonation, accent, you name it). Yes, she could have done better. But she did land a spot in the finals. For anyone who values these beauty pageants, isn't that a big deal?

I tried posing the question to myself, too. Ang hirap sagutin!! And frankly, it's difficult to answer such questions and still maintain one's dignity and privacy, haha!

aeisiel said...

The trouble with Venus’s answer was her wrong choice of word. She associated ‘mistake’ (the question) with ‘problem’ (her answer) which are not synonymous.

WillyJ said...

sunnyday, aeisiel,

A few days ago, I caught former Ms International Melanie Marquez being interviewed on the issue. She said something like "kung maganda ka, may karapatan kang magkamali".I found her funny as always (she is the English expert! haha) , but there is some wisdom in that. Gifts and talents are given in some proportion, and all people have weaknesses in some way. And sometimes, mistakes (problems?) turn out to be stepping stones to the best that will come. I actually think this 'gaffe' from Venus will lead her to better things.

petrufied said...

Venus's spot is the highest we've ever come since Miriam Quiambao, and that was 11 years ago! Haha! so let's not pick on her answer, but just be proud of her :)

I tried to answer the question too, and until now I don't know what I would've said. I think Venus did a good job to have said something at all. Frankly, I can't make fun of her answer because I'm super bad at extemporaneous speech (or in this case, oral Q&A under pressure), which is why I became a writer. lol

I hope there will be a lot of good things to come her way, and that she doesn't lose her integrity in the glitz and glamour of the world she just joined.

WillyJ said...

Don't worry, we are not alone. According to this:

In a special report that appeared on the website of the US broadcast media giant ABC News, written by Sharon Alfonsi and Bradley Blackburn, Raj is not the only one who has struggled with that question. Everyone from US presidents to job applicants have found forming a response to that question difficult.

According to the report, even former US President George W. Bush was once asked to name his biggest mistake in an interview and bungled his answer. “Mmm... I wish I, you would have given me a, this written, a question ahead of time,” was what Bush could only cough out.

ABC’s “World News” with Diane Sawyer recently featured Raj’s answer, saying that the contestant was not alone in being stumped for an answer to this seemingly simple question—and that even the smart ones do find it a tough one.

“No one likes to admit they make mistakes, especially in a high pressure situation like a job interview, where they’re being judged anyway,” explained Louise Kursmark, director of the Resume Writing Academy, when she was interviewed on “World News.”

Asked the same question, other ABC News journalists failed to muster a clear reply.

“Good Morning America” news anchor Robin Roberts could only say, “Hmmm,” while ABC News correspondent John Berman pondered for a while before saying, “Waxing.” ABC News White House correspondent Jake Tapper, on the other hand, said, “Certainly not anything I’m going to say on national television.”

petrufied said...

Haha! good to know that even the veteran interviewees are stumped with that question! and hey that's a good answer: "Certainly not anything I’m going to say on national television.” :D It's so true that the question is too personal... so "reality TV" ugh haha