People should pick up more skills and socialise more to understand other people's culture.
Discover SIM GE Meiling Thomas is Indonesia’s favourite beauty. She won the Miss Favourite title at the Miss Indonesia pageant in April 2012, based on a public poll via phone text messages. Meiling, 23, a graduate of SIM-RMIT University in 2010, represented her home province Kalimantan Barat (picture, left) at the national beauty contest. Kalimantan childhood Spicy porridge, salted durian and aloe vera are the well-known products of Singkawang, West Kalimantan, where Meiling grew up. According to her, Singkawang, also known as Pontianak, is slightly over an hour flying time from Singapore. Meiling lived with her family until she was 17 before moving to Singapore to start her tertiary education. She took a degree programme in Business, majoring in Entrepreneurship studies. She says learning this subject would equip her with the necessary knowledge and skill set to help in her parents business after graduation. Friendly help She recalled facing difficulties with assignments and assessments during the course of study. To overcome the difficulty, she made more friends in the same cohort. This made it easy for everyone to share and help one another in their studies. Living in Singapore had given her a wider exposure of a multi-racial, multi-cultural society. “I loved Singapore, the food, the culture, the people.” Orchard Road remains one of her favourite places to go out and have fun with friends. Taking part in Miss Indonesia Meiling participated in the Miss Indonesia in February 2012 because she wanted to try out new experiences and challenges. To her, a beauty contest is more than emphasising outward appearance. Rather, how a woman carries herself in front of the public is more important. To prepare the contestants, a quarantine for the ladies was imposed for almost two weeks. No communication devices were allowed during the quarantine. The contestants would be taught skills such as how to do cat-walk on stage, and apply make-up. Make up lessons were conducted by Marta Tilaar Sariayu, the largest cosmetics manufacturer in Indonesia. Outside motivational speakers were also invited to prep the beauty queens for the stressful big event. To Meiling, beauty can be achieved with efforts such as a makeover or make up. True beauty comprises a refined and upright character, which comes from within. “Quality and integrity from inside is what makes women beautiful”, she added. Hence, to Meiling, “brain “definitely surpasses “beauty”. To be accomplished, women must excel in their career while maintaining work-life balance. Being family oriented is critical to a successful woman. Health the essence of beauty Meiling attributed her good looks to doing routine exercises to keep her fit and healthy. She said, “health is the essence to beauty.” She would swim twice a week and visit the gym three times a week. Apart from that, she watches her diet and ensures that she consumes sufficient fluids and fruits to boost her vitamin intake. “Outward beauty” is then achieved by visiting the salon for body massage and scrub which can provide skin rejuvenation while relaxing the mind. Smaller scaled pampering can be achieved by giving her hair treatments, cream baths. She shared that avoiding too much make up makes the skin healthier. She recommended that hair and body treatments to be done twice a month to enhance overall looks. Picking up more skills Meiling believed that being academically inclined is not the only strength anyone should have. “People should pick up more skills and socialise more to understand other people’s culture, which can help business graduates like me tremendously in the future.” Her parting words are that success can be achieved through perseverance. Note: Meiling studied at SIM Global Education from 2006 to 2010. She received a Certificate in English Learning in 2007 and a Diploma in Management Studies in 2008. She was awarded a Bachelor of Business (Management) from RMIT University in 2010. --- Interview in August 2012, published online in November 2012