Every bit a Malaysian

18 October 2012 / 4 years 1 week ago

Source: The Star/Asia News NetworkPETALING JAYA - Kimberley Leggett speaks Malay as well as understands Hokkien and Cantonese. "I love durians I am exactly like everyone else in the country," said the beauty queen who is currently studying at the Taylor's University here.Being an all-Malaysian girl, the 19-year-old Penangite is upset that her national heritage was questioned in an article in the United States-based magazine International Business Times (IBTimes) about the country's Miss Universe contestant being "too white".Malaysians were outraged and Miss Malaysia Universe Organisation (Mumo) national director Andrea Fonseka lashed out at the publisher and its July 14 article, saying it was not only unfair but reflected their ignorance."Yes, we are predominantly Malay, Chinese and Indian. But there are also other ethnic groups. As such, don't pass any judgement on cultures and nationalities that you're unfamiliar with," she was quoted as saying in a Bernama report that was carried by all major media groups.IBTimes had said Leggett, with her hazel eyes, fair skin and long dark hair, could easily pass for a citizen of the Euro zone.Her fluent English is a mix of dialects it sounds a bit like the oft-stereotyped American valley girl accent, with hints of British.Leggett said: "I was frankly offended with the article because it spoils the good reputation of the pageant that is judged fairly, not by the colour of a contestant's skin."I may not look like the average Malaysian but I am very much local. Why am I being picked on for looking a certain way?"Beauty with a pan-Asian look Chloe Chen shared Legget's sentiments. The Miss World Malaysia 2011 winner, born of a Chinese Malaysian father and a French mother said: "I have never felt any lesser a Malaysian than my friends and acquaintances because I am a born and bred local.She said it was unfair of IBTimes to single out the beauty queens of Malaysia as not being representatives of its people."When I competed in the Miss World pageant, there were African countries represented by white women. Canada was represented by a Chinese beauty queen."If it wasn't an issue for other countries to have a minority representing them, why should it be a problem for multi-racial Malaysia?" asked Chen, who lists rendang and lemang among her favourite snacks.Her predecessor, 2010 title holder Nadia Heng said competence and confidence were key factors in the competition."At the end of the day, winners are chosen for their calibre and the way they carry themselves," said Heng, whose lineage is a mix of Chinese Malaysian and English.

Join in the talk