Miss Singapore World resigns after lingerie fraud

Reuters

Posted at Oct 01 2009 04:08 PM | Updated as of Oct 02 2009 03:50 AM

Video from YouTube, with accompanying subtitles, show how some Singaporean online users ridiculed Low's alleged poor command of English.

SINGAPORE - Beauty queen Miss Singapore World has given up her crown after it emerged that she had stolen credit cards to go on a shopping spree for lingerie.

Ris Low had come under public pressure to be stripped of her 2009 title, after local media reported she stole seven credit cards last year while working at a medical clinic, buying goods worth about S$8,000 ($5,662) including gold anklets and phones.

Organizers of the pageant ERM World Marketing said she had resigned Tuesday of her own accord.

She will no longer represent Singapore at the Miss World finals to be held in South Africa in December, but her replacement has not yet been decided.

Low had also been criticized for her poor English, mispronouncing "bikini" in a recent video, leading others in multicultural Singapore to spring to her defense and soul-searching on websites about the national character.

"If there was a beauty contest for countries, how do you think Singapore would fare on the world stage? We seem to have the aesthetic qualifications. But with a very ugly personality," said blogger Solofigure09 on the Straits Times newspaper's website.

Interview 'did not do her justice'

Low, 19, majors in Health Science, Hospitality and Travel Tourism.at the Management Development Institute of Singapore.

She told the Straits Times Razor TV in a fashion-related interview that she once walked down Orchard Road - Singapore's posh shopping district - in just a jeans and bikini (which she pronounced "biggini").

The video was uploaded on video sharing site YouTube and Low was subsequently made fun of.

ERM, however, defended Low, saying that the interview "misled the Singapore public to believe she spoke English poorly."

The company's representatives said Low spoke English well during the beauty pageant finals and performed "impressively", winning 8 special awards.

The Straits Times also revealed that Low has bipolar disorder, and reportedly confessed to kelptomaniac tendencies in her youth.

She was said to have stolen Pokemon Cards in school. ERM said in a statement to the Straits Times website that the company felt sorry for Low, but that they could not compromise contest rules, regulations and the image of the Miss Singapore World Pageant.

"We would like to add that this is the first time in Singapore beauty pageant history that such an incident has occurred," ERM was quoted in the Straits Times. With additional reports from abs-cbnNEWS.com.