Found at The Star Online, edited by Nong Duu
Thailand’s international transgender beauty pageant this year has to be postponed to 2009 as the ongoing political standoff in Bangkok continues to keep visitors away.
This year Kangsadan Wongdusadeekul a 21-year-old katoey beauty queen was supposed to represent her country in Miss International Queen 2008 (Thailand’s international transgender beauty pageant) after she was crowned Miss Tiffany’s Universe 2008 (the most sought after beauty pageant title for Thai ladyboys) in May.
However, the on-going battle between the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and the People’s Power Party-led coalition government has indirectly trampled on her dream to compete against aspiring transvestites around the world including Malaysia – echoing the Thai proverb which says, “In a battle between elephants, the ants get squashed”.
Miss International Queen 2008, which was due to be held in October and then deferred to November, has been cancelled (or in PR-speak postponed to 2009) as the political turmoil in Bangkok takes its toll on tourist arrivals.
Alisa Phanthusak, whose family owns the world-famous Tiffany show, a katoey cabaret show in Pattaya, is the organiser of Miss Tiffany’s Universe and Miss International Queen, admitted feeling “terrible” that the international pageant had to be “postponed”.
“But we had to take this painful decision because international tourist arrivals dropped after the government declared emergency rule (on Sept 2, after a Thai was killed when anti and pro-government groups clashed on the streets of Bangkok) and several countries advised their citizens not to travel to Thailand,” she explained.
At first the organiser postponed Miss International Queen 2008 to late November this year thinking the political struggle between the PAD and the government in the Thai capital would end by then.
But after two PAD supporters were killed and nearly 500 injured when the anti-government demonstrators clashed with the police outside parliament in Bangkok on Oct 7, Alisa realised the political instability would continue even through Thailand’s high tourism season (October to March).
To paraphrase the Thai proverb, in a battle between political elephants, Thailand’s tourism industry (not exactly an ant as it contributes 14% to the country’s GDP) gets squashed.
Take the example of the Tiffany Show. The audience for Pattaya’s must-see transsexual cabaret show (usually attracting 2,000 guests a day) has dropped by 50%.
“This is the greatest crisis for tourism in Pattaya since I’ve been in the business for the past 10 years,” the 34-year-old businesswoman said, adding that the downturn was unfair as Pattaya was a long way from the epicentre of the political turmoil in Bangkok.
Technorati: Kangsadan Wongdusadeekul Miss International Queen 2008 2009 Tiffany’s Universe Bangkok Pattaya ladyboy katoey katoy thai thailand