I bet everyone is celebrating now that the Philippines just won its 4th Miss Universe crown, care of Catriona Gray. I’m not a hardcore pageants fan, but when it comes to the Miss Universe, I support whoever the Philippines’ bet is. I would watch the show accordingly and also have my own bets aside from Miss Philippines.
To be honest, I have not followed Catriona until last week when I saw her Lake Sebu video on the top of my Facebook newsfeed. Before I saw this and her iconic twirl, I wasn’t really fond of her (yeah I can be that judgmental). I thought she didn’t represent our country well because she wasn’t good at speaking Filipino. However, I appreciate that she immersed herself in the T’boli tribe in Lake Sebu. It’s apparent that she did everything so she could represent our country and culture.
During the pageant, Catriona was wonderful, charming, graceful, confident, smart–just perfect. I knew that she would win! Everything I can say about her is an understatement to her infallible character, so let’s move on to what made me love her more, and that is, her Answer to the question in the final round.
Question: “What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your life, and how would you apply it to your time as Miss Universe?”
Catriona’s Answer: “I’ve always taught myself to look for the beauty in it, to look for the beauty in the faces of the children, and to be grateful. I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with a silver lining, and to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson. If I could also teach people to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster, and children would have a smile on their face. Thank you.”
I believe that she has the best Answer. However, I just learned this evening that many netizens think that she romanticized poverty. They feel that she isn’t “woke” enough that she can only think of these things to eradicate poverty. Coming from a raging sensibility, I could’ve also thought that there is more to “being grateful” and “looking through the silver lining” when it comes to the poor social class in the Philippines.
However, in my new “enlightened” opinion, Catriona is sincere and woke enough to say that to be able to reach the top and move past adversity, it’s important to see the silver lining first. Based on my experience and experiences of others, taking a break from overthinking, blame (on the government, capitalists, etc.), and relaxing, reflecting, clearing one’s mind instead, are the key to solutions. This is what successful people, Buddhists, the Dalai Lama always advise to people in adversity. One should really step back and focus on the positive (silver lining). Aside from that, studies show that the difference between the rich and the poor is their mindset.
Of course, everyone should be socially and politically aware, but I keep saying this in many of my past blog posts that we cannot control everything that’s happening in the world. It’s not like we can make Catriona or ourselves rally against an elite corp that might be adding to the inequality of this country. Focusing on the positive instead of the negative is really hard to do, but it’s not impossible. Hence, while many of our people are still stuck in poverty, many were also able to change their lives for the better. It takes a different approach, focus, and exposure to finally move past poverty.
Nevertheless, I’m delighted that there’s someone like Catriona who looks past the uncontrollable issues of this troubled country and its children. I believe that she will be the shining light to our children and hopefully help them achieve their goals and dreams. Being grateful, counting our blessings and focusing less on our problems and more on the positive changes we can make in our life (like our habits) is the first step to prosperity.
Mabuhay ka, Catriona! <3
Art by Jim Morada