Day Two -
Contestants Perform in Presentation and Talent Rounds
by Kirsten Hyde
9 October 2004 –
The five contestants vying for the Miss Tibet 2004 crown
put on a sterling performance when they took to the stage
for the presentation and talent rounds of the pageant.
In an auditorium packed with a rowdy and cheering crowd,
the hopefuls each gave a ten-minute speech on a topic
related to Tibetan culture, history and current affairs.
The topics were lottery-drawn half an hour before the show,
adding pressure to an already tense atmosphere.
Around 700 people turned up to see the second part of the
three-day pageant at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts
in McLeod Ganj, India. For some people it was standing room only.
The four judges —
Utsav Arora, a journalist from the Times of India;
Alvia Zaidi, a social worker;
Hemant Kumar, a journalist from Dainik Bhasker;
and Prima Srinevasan, mother of the chairman of TV5 group
of industries —
marked the contenders on content, articulation,
and confidence for the presentation round.
Kalsang Dickey, a dancer and model who fled Tibet
in October 2003 in order to take part in the pageant,
was first up. She spoke about how the Miss Tibet
pageant highlights the cause of Tibet and Tibetan women.
Next on stage was Sonam Dickey,
who now lives in Nepal helping to run a family business.
She talked about Palden Gyatso, a former political prisoner
who spent over 30 years in Chinese prisons in Tibet.
Tashi Yangchen, a computer engineer living in Sikkim in India,
talked about the responsibilities of the Tibetan youth,
while Thinlay Dolma, a local from Dharamsala,
discussed the current human rights situation in Tibet.
The final contestant, Dhondup Wangmo, was greeted by
cheers from some monks in the audience as she spoke about Buddhism.
The atmosphere was hotting up as the girls went backstage
to prepare for the talent round.
In the interim the audience watched a dance performed by
Lhakpa Choedon (who flew all the way from Kollegal, South India),
and a short film about the first Miss Tibet
pageant called "Beauty and the Beast",
directed by Tenzin Tsetan.
All five contestants sang one song each for the talent round,
in which they were judged on artistic ability, stage presence,
confidence and enthusiasm.
Wangmo dedicated her song to her grandmother.
Lauren Cutcliffe from London, UK, presented the show.
She said the Miss Tibet pageant aims to provide a contemporary
forum for Tibetan women.
"To have international support for the plight of the Tibetan people,
it is important to have many different venues to create awareness.
International competitions draw millions of viewers all
over the world. To have representation in events like these
will create awareness about the Tibetan cause for a population
that may not generally know about Tibet."
She added, "All five of the contestants are unique and brave
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