Even Bush, US journalists couldn't answer Venus Raj's question

by Ma. Rosanna Mina, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Aug 26 2010 12:03 PM | Updated as of Aug 27 2010 12:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe 2010 4th runner-up Maria Venus Raj was not the only one who had a hard time answering the question on the biggest mistake of her life.

Even a former United States President and several American journalists had a difficult time with the question as well.

According to a report aired on “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer,” former US President George W. Bush could not give a response when a journalist asked him, “What would your biggest mistake be?”

“Mmm... I wish I, you would have given me a, this written, a question ahead of time,” was all that Bush could utter.

The killer question from American actor William Baldwin was said to have derailed Raj’s chances of taking the Miss Universe crown on Monday in Las Vegas, Nevada (Tuesday in Manila).

“She was favored to win, expertly negotiating platform heels and a bikini. Then came the question. That question stopped her in her stilettos,” ABC News’ Sharyn Alfonsi said in her report. “No answer, no crown.”

The Hollywood star asked the 22-year-old Filipino-Indian, “What is one big mistake that you’ve made in your life and what did you do to make it right?”

Raj replied, “You know what, sir, in my 22 years of existence, I can say that there's nothing major major problem that I've done in my life because I'm very confident with my family, with the love that they are giving to me. So thank you so much that I'm here. Thank you, thank you so much.”

Personal question

Aside from Raj and Bush, even job applicants and some ABC News journalists find it difficult to say what their biggest mistake in life is.

Louise Kursmark, director of the Resume Writing Academy, explained to ABC News why that is the case.

“No one likes to admit they make mistakes, especially in a high pressure situation like a job interview, where they're being judged anyway,” Kursmark stated.

“You don't have to bare your soul and tell them everything about yourself,” she said. “You want to pick an example that’s truthful, honest and was a learning experience for you.”

“Good Morning America” news anchor Robin Roberts only said “Mmm” when she was asked the question.

Jake Tapper, the Senior White House Correspondent of ABC News, said: “Certainly not anything I’m gonna say to you national television.”

“ABC World News Sunday” news anchor David Muir replied, “Today? Or like ever?” Only ABC News correspondent John Berman gave an answer—“waxing.”

Raj, meantime, admitted that she got nervous during the question and answer portion.

“Alam mo kasi pag nasa stage ka, may ganoon akong, ewan ko ba, may ganoon akong sakit sa katawan ko na pag nasa stage na ako hindi ko alam ang sinasabi ko,” she told ABS-CBN News.

Worst question went to Venus?

A comment posted on abs-cbnNEWS.com lamented that Raj got an “unfair and akward” query from Baldwin, the worst among the questions thrown at the Top 5 Miss Universe candidates.

“Also has it occurred to you people that Venus got the worst question among all 5 finalists? Contestants 1 thru 4 had easy debate questions. It was easy to take the positive side and give the answer. It was a walk in the park question,” said thegoldenhand.

“‘Yung kay Venus was personal and uncomfortable. It was a question meant for a 5th placer no matter who got the question. I would bet that kahit si Miss Mexico would flounder on her response given that kind of ridiculous question,” thegoldenhand added.

Mexican Jimena Navarrete, the 2010 Miss Universe, was asked by Olympic gold medalist skater Evan Lysacek about her thoughts on the effect of unsupervised Internet on the youth.

“I do believe that the Internet is an indispensable, necessary tool for the present time. We must be sure to teach them the values that we learned as a family,” Navarrete said.

First runner-up Miss Jamaica Yendi Phillipps was asked about her stance on death penalty, 2nd runner-up Miss Australia Jesinta Campbell was asked about the government’s role in prohibiting religious clothing while Miss Ukraine Anna Poslavska was asked about her thoughts on full-body scanners in airports.

Nothing wrong with Venus

Although the Filipino bet was not crowned Miss Universe, abs-cbnNEWS.com HyeongJin wrote: “I am so proud about Venus' achievement. She’s way more beautiful than the winner. She did her best. And she made us proud.”

Another abs-cbnNEWS.com user, waterdragon, defended Raj in his or her comment.

“I don't see anything wrong with her answer to that question. Not even the President of the U.S. were able to answer that question. What more with Ms. Venus Raj? She answered with all truthfulness in her heart. Eh sa wala talaga siyang maling ginawa?”

Raj reiterated that she has not committed any mistake, which is why she was not able to answer Baldwin’s question.

“Wala naman talaga akong mistake na ginawa sa buhay ko. I think it’s not a mistake, never ever… I’m a very positive person. Everything na nangyayari sa akin, I take it as a challenge, something na magiging positive in the end kahit na anong masamang nangyari sa’yo," she told ABS-CBN News after the pageant.

The “major major” phrase in her answer was even a trending topic on Twitter and has become a favorite expression nowadays.

Raj had this to say to those who made fun of her answer: “So what kung ano sabihin nila? At least naging part ako ng everyday conversation nila.”

Was Venus robbed?

Netizen mlSALAS, meanwhile, claimed that Raj was robbed of the Miss Universe crown because she did not use an interpreter.

“We have been disadvantaged for many years now. Our greatest competitors have always taken advantage of using an interpreter and with amazing results… The use of an interpreter is without a doubt our missing link in our quest to bring home the Miss Universe crown,” the user said.

“If Venus was given the opportunity to use an interpreter, it’s certain that she would have given a totally different answer and Miss Philippines would have been Miss Universe 2010.”

But noypiako did not see eye to eye with mlSALAS.

“I beg to disagree with the statement of mlSALAS that Venus Raj was robbed of the Miss Universe crown. The fact is, the judges were not satisfied of her answer – that’s it. Even majority of the Filipinos opined that her answer lacks substance and how it was delivered,” the netizen commented.

“For we all we know Venus Raj tried her very, very best, but that’s all the judges could decide: Fourth Runner-up. Venus Raj herself admitted that she got nervous in the process. Nonetheless, Long live Venus Raj, long live Philippines. You put our country on top of the world,” noypiako added.

A total of 83 contestants joined this year’s Miss Universe pageant at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. – Report by Ma. Rosanna Mina, abs-cbnNEWS.com; with reports  from Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN News, Bev Llorente of ABS-CBN North America News Bureau, Agence France-Presse, and Sharyn Alfonsi and Bradley Blackburn of ABC NEWS