Friday, December 16, 2011

By Ayus Wijaya

Normally I only write this "Love It or Leave It" article after the final is over and normally I only write things that happen on the final night. But this year supposedly best ever Mister International edition (the contestants are exceptionally strong this year and host city Bangkok itself is a very beautiful place) was ruined with some quibbles that makes me itchy to write a complain about it. But before I lament about those quibbles, let's talk about the good side of the pageant first, starting with ......

The boys during the press conference

Love It
Things I like

The sponsor awards
There are two reasons why I love the sponsor awards. First, it is a nice way to give a special recognition to contestants with exceptional qualities. And second, while it may not directly influence the actual result on the final night, it can act as an oracle and gives us insight on which contestants are favored by the organization and will likely have high placement. Just make sure that the number of awards given is not too excessive, otherwise the essence of the awards itself will be decreasing.

The diverse activities
Other positive aspect from this year pageant is the variety and diversity of the activity provided by the local organizer for the contestants. From trekking with the elephants to visiting flood victims to touring the ancient, hundred years old temples, the Mister International 2011 participants will surely have some interesting experiences and some nice memories that they can bring back to their home countries.

Strongman Britain with Denmark and Portugal

The rain of Gods
Perhaps the biggest salvation for this year edition is the significant improvement of the contestant qualities. In my opinion, all of the previous editions of Mister International only featured mediocre batch at best. This is why I only rank this pageant in the third place, behind Mister World and Manhunt International who are better in the terms of quantity and quality of contestants. But this year seems to be the exception as Mister International finally produces a strong batch of competitors. In fact, as far as I recall, this is the first time I think Mister International has better contestants than Manhunt International of the same year. This is of course a delicious treat for us, pageant fans, as it promises us a very competitive contest. Hopefully this is not only one time fluke and this positive trend will continue on for the upcoming editions.

Handsome with a Purpose - the contestants visiting flood victims

Leave It
Things I dislike

Social media ... deactivated
They have an official website, an official Facebook page and an official Twitter account, but none of them is properly updated. Even worse, their official website was going down several months prior to the pageant and until today it is still down. This shows how Mister Singapore Organization either doesn’t have enough finance or simply doesn’t care about its own media, which supposedly should serve as a source of information and interaction between the organizer and the fans of the pageant. In this era of modern technology and communication, social media has now become an effective way for branding, including for pageant. If Mister International ever wants to increase its popularity and make itself more relevant among the fans, social media is a simple and cheap, yet very effective way to do it.

No more official pictures
Another step back for this year edition is the missing tradition of having official pictures of all contestants in formal wear, swimsuit, and national costumes. If it is not for other media like Belleza Venezolana and Thai Catwalk covering the pageant, we may never get complete pictures of the contestants in swimsuit and national costumes. This time we are still lucky enough to enjoy those pictures, thanks to the media I mention above, but still this should have been the organizer responsibility to provide fans with such pictures. Imagine if there is no other media covering the pageant this time, wouldn’t we have been left with no pictures at all.

Who says man doesn't need pampering?

The very late arrival
With all respects to Colombia and Nigeria, I think their participation on the contest should have been declined by the organizer as both of them were late, not only one day, not only two days, but a week in the competition. They are being allowed to compete even after severely late would be totally unfair for other contestants who have arrived on the scheduled time as these contestants have sacrificed their time and personal schedule to arrive in Bangkok on time. It is a pity because Nigeria is actually my favorite, and I actually hope to see him in the semifinal as black African contestant is barely represented at Mister International semifinal line up. But now with him being late, his inclusion in the semifinal would be even more unfair to the other contestants.

The contestants at The Golden Temple

The competition of the national directors
My last complain about Mister International would be about some of the national directors joining the pageant activities. A pageant is a competition for the contestants and not for their national directors. Therefore, the national directors should not be allowed to join the pageant activities. It is of course unfair that some contestants are still getting direct help from their national directors during the pageants days, while the others are not. Furthermore, the national director presence at the pageant activities will make the pageants seem less legitimate and fair as people may get suspicious that these national directors are working the organizer and the judges to enhance the chance of their respective contestant to make the cut. This may be suspicion only and may never actually happen. But wouldn’t it better to eliminate any reason that will potentially make people suspicious about the pageant credibility.

The men and the elephant

Overall I still have high hopes for Mister International 2011, especially for the result, tough there are a few things that I wish would have been done differently. Hopefully tomorrow night they will pick a worthy winner which shouldn't be too hard considering they have a very strong of batch to pool from.

Photos credit : Belleza Venezolana
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