Miss Tibet 2005 draws just one contestant, organisers not discouraged

Asian News International (ANI)
1 October 2005
http://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=126190&cat=Entertainment
Also published in: http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1506367,001100020005.htm

Published in: India

DHARAMSALA: It has been a lonely ride to the top for this year's Miss Tibet as the young girl won, but she was the only one.

For the second time in the event's history, there was just one contestant for pageant as the event is frowned upon by the Tibetan government-in-exile and religious leaders who see it as against their culture. Lobsang Wangyal, the director of the contest, said they were not disappointed as it depicted Tibetan culture and tradition.

"We are not discouraged nor disappointed for having just one contender. For a closed society like ours to have even one contender is a big achievement. Something likes breaking the conventional ways. We even have traditional rounds, like traditional costume rounds. I think that is good to show the rationalist, the colours and designs the Tibetans prefer and the jewellery the Tibetans have. So we present all this. The girls also have to give a lecture of Tibetans culture, history and current affairs. In totality, it is a Tibet beauty pageant, not aping the western culture," he told reporters in Dharamsala on Friday.

The winner of the contest will be crowned in a formal ceremony on October 8, where she will be given 2271 dollars as a scholarship.

This is the fourth year of the controversial Miss Tibet and in 2003 also there was only one contestant who was unanimously crowned.

Tradition-bound Tibetans disapprove public display by women. Conservative women wear ankle-length skirts and long-sleeved blouses.

The Tibetan government-in-exile led by Prime Minister Samadhong Rimpoche has expressed strong reservations about the contest finding it disrespectful of Tibetan culture.

"The legislation of the administration body feels that this is not appropriate. When people look at Dharamsala, they think of holiness of Dalai Lama... parading women like this, is in a way disrespectful for the Dalai Lama," said Thubten Samphel, spokesman for the Tibetan government in-exile.

Ironically, some elders including the spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, have supported the contest saying that such events would bring youngsters close to the modern world and boost their confidence.

Over 150,000 Tibetans have taken refuge in India since 1959 when the Dalai Lama and his followers fled their homeland, after an abortive uprising against China.

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