Celebs defend Catriona Gray’s ‘poverty’ answer in Miss Universe Q&A
Catriona Gray may have been crowned Miss Universe 2018, but she, too, is not exempt from criticism, constructive and otherwise, when it comes to her answer to the last question during the pageant.
Gray, alongside Tamaryn Green of South Africa and Sthefany Gutierrez of Venezuela, was asked: “What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your life, and how would you apply it to your time as Miss Universe?”
Gray, who was praised by Miss Universe 1973 Margie Moran for her eloquence, waxed sentimental about her work with the impoverished children of Tondo.
““I work a lot in the slums of Tondo, Manila, and the life there is very poor, sad and I’ve always taught myself to look for the beauty in it, to look in the beauty of the children and 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 teach people to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster and children would have smiles on their faces.”
Many have since praised her for her answer, but there are also those who gave their two cents on what could have been expounded more on the issue of poverty. Some netizens hoped that beyond just being grateful and seeing the silver lining, Gray should invest more time in deepening her understanding of poverty in the country. And while some could see the drive and good intentions of Gray, they added that it could still be worked on.
Award-winning journalist Raissa Robles, for example, wondered if a reporter would dare ask Gray what she thinks of the Tondo children who have become “collateral damage” in the drug war.
“When @catrionaelisa comes home, I wonder if a reporter would dare to ask her – Your heart goes out to the children of Tondo. How do you feel about children from Tondo becoming collateral damage in the President’s war on drugs?” Robles wrote on Twitter last Dec. 16. “Do you agree they should be treated as such?”
When @catrionaelisa comes home, I wonder if a reporter would dare to ask her – Your heart goes out to the children of Tondo. How do you feel about children from Tondo becoming 'collateral damage' in the President's war on drugs? Do you agree they should be treated as such? https://t.co/Xhh6Xv8Mzb
— Raissa Robles (@raissawriter) December 17, 2018
The varied opinions from some netizens and notable figures on Gray’s answer, it can be gleaned, were not made out of scorn or dismissiveness, but as a challenge to Gray to further educate herself and be more discerning on the issue of poverty. There are some, however, who also defended Gray’s answer on social media, such as singers Moira Dela Torre and Quest, as well as Gretchen Ho.
Dela Torre took to her Twitter on Dec. 18 and called on the “woke” people of Twitter to stop spreading unnecessary comments.
“Luh sila kahit kay Catriona may nahahanap na i-hate,” she wrote. “I hope these ‘woke’ people would stop using their being woke as permission to spread hate and unnecessary comments. To quote our Miss Universe, let’s stop fostering negativity.”
Luh sila kahit kay catriona may nahahanap na i-hate 😅 I hope these "woke" people would stop using their being woke as permission to spread hate and unnecessary comments. To quote our Miss Universe, let's stop fostering negativity!!! 🌻🌞
— Moira Dela Torre (@moirarachelle4) December 18, 2018
Meanwhile, Quest shared a photo of Gray in Tondo, as well as her winning answer during coronation night, and called out the fault-finding.
“Mga #TriggeredzOfManila naghanap nanaman pala ng mali,” he wrote. “I love Catriona’s Q&A. Hindi niyo siya kailangan turuan. Kayo ang pumunta sa puso ng Tondo at mag volunteer sa Young Focus. Samahan nyo sya.”
He added, “Silver lining = Hope. Her message on gratefulness is for people like you.”
Mga #TriggerdzOfManila naghanap nanaman pala ng mali.
I love Catriona's Q&A. Hindi nyo sya kailangan turuan. Kayo ang kailangan pumunta sa puso ng Tondo at mag volunteer sa Young Focus. Samahan nyo sya.
Silver lining = Hope
Her message on gratefulness is for people like you. pic.twitter.com/t3uOpSXriN
— Quest (@officialQUEST) December 18, 2018
Ho also called on the haters to just enjoy the moment and stop with their negativity. “Daming hater,” she said. “Pwede bang hayaan niyo na lang maenjoy ng mga Pinoy itong moment na ito? #Negativity istaaaaahp it! Tao lang tayong lahat.”
Daming hater 🙈 Pwede bang hayaan niyo na lang maenjoy ng mga Pinoy itong moment na ito?#Negativity istaaaaahp it!
Tao lang tayong lahat 🇵🇭
— Gretchen Ho (@gretchenho) December 17, 2018
It will be remembered that Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach also received mixed reactions on her “pro-American” answer in the pageant three years ago. She was asked then about the reestablishment of United States military bases in the country and she answered that she saw no problem with it at all, citing the shared history of the Philippines with the US.
Leftist leaders, then, expressed their hope that Wurtzbach’s “pro-US” sentiments would change.
Meanwhile, the Tondo children and the people behind Young Focus, the organization Gray is involved with, are more than supportive of their “Ate Cat.” Mark Soriano, YF program coordinator, told Inquirer on Dec. 18 that Gray would always ask what the children needed whenever she would visit.
“She’s just a normal girl with a sincere heart…,” he said. “She’s very humble. She has a kind heart. She told me, ‘Win or lose, I will continue helping you.'” /ra
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