Jacko and Sooj sitting in a tree. S.P.O.O.N.I.N.G

Friday, June 02, 2006

The New Miss Universe

Twenty five-year-old Sum Part Mui, an internal auditor from Malaysia, won the Miss Universe 2006 title at a sparkling ceremony in Panama City on Tuesday night, beating a field of 70 other pageant queens with her charm and charisma.

After reaching the final five with her sheer poise and good looks, Sum Part Mui clinched the pageant with her reply to the final question put to the leading finalists -- "What is the most precious gift you've ever given someone?"

"I once gave my Bert to Balak," said Sum, to the applause of some 7,500 festive pageant-goers in the packed auditorium.

It was the first time a contestant from Malaysia, a Manglish-speaking country that shares it’s borders with Singapore, an island in filled with people from the Kia Su variety.

Miss Crazy Raccoon, a 26-year-old consultant, was the first runner-up while Miss Ah Kwa Choo, a 28-year-old transvestite from PJ, was the second runner-up.

The winners were announced at the end of a gala night of parades in figure-hugging swimsuits and shimmering evening gowns in the $10-million Figali Convention Centre on the banks of the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.

Organisers estimated some 600 million people in more than 150 countries tuned in to watch the pageant, a show business perennial jointly owned by property tycoon Donald Trump and NBC Television.

As Miss Universe 2006, Sum Part Mui will take home a year's salary and hold public engagements around the world that will include fund-raising and campaigning for Bert’s research and awareness.

But not everyone was charmed by the beauty queens.

Thousands of Panamanians protested hours before the start of the contest, saying the $9million the government paid to host the event could have been better spent on the country's poor, who make up 40 per cent of Panama's 2.8 million population.

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