Minority Representation In Singapore University Bashes

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Recently, NUS has been hosting a couple of their conventional bashes to celebrate the beginning of yet another school year. Whilst students highly rave about these pageants and vouch for their friends to win in the respective faculties, it has also conjured numerous emotions in my mind.

As we all know, beauty pageants are vehemently criticised for being superficial - for not celebrating an individual’s inner beauty but focusing more on that which is merely skin deep. Albeit the fact that such bashes have been occurring for many years to come now, there is one thing that does not seem to change - representation of the minority races. We speak so highly of the fact Singapore is a multi-racial, multi-religious society but this does not seem to be portrayed in the bashes. It seems to me that the minority races are an after-thought to the organisers of such mass university events. Further, it is even more heart wrenching to know that a university like NUS that prides itself on being 12th in the world, does not appreciate and validate universal beauty standards.

Events like these are meant to celebrate beauty and diversity, not pit students against each other for not conforming to society’s otherwise misconstrued beauty standards. There is no one definition of beauty but by the looks of NUS’ one dimensional beauty standard, it seems to be the mark of an educational institution that is not inclusive. One that does not appreciate individuals for being different and for failing to celebrate their individuality and uniqueness.


When we celebrate each other's differences and acknowledge them instead of pretending they're not there, we actually get more accomplished. I may not be studying in NUS now, but I am here to tell you that I am absolutely sick and tired of watching people who look like me get stepped on constantly. I’m not only speaking about people of Indian heritage - I’m here standing up for anyone who does not belong to the major demographic group. Might I also choose to add that where I’m studying in Australia, such beauty bashes do not occur because the university valorises individuality and that beauty exists regardless of your skin colour, or background.

I would love for us to work towards abolishing such unneeded, superficial beauty bashes that only seem to highlight an individual’s flaws but not allowing them to appreciate themselves and their appearances for who they are. Otherwise, if NUS wishes to continue hosting such pageants, it would be heartwarming to see the minority races being represented.