BANGKOK — The winner of Miss Grand Thailand 2020 pageant contest came under fire Monday from pro-establishment netizens for siding with the anti-government protests.
Pacharaporn “Nam” Chantarapadit, 22, was crowned the winner on Sunday night after a round of question-and-answer section, in which contestants were asked for their opinions about the protest that was unfolding in Bangkok’s historic quarter.
“From my heart, I pick the protesters,” Nam, who represented Rayong, said. “We have rights to express our views and we want to choose what’s best for our country. More than that, I want to say to the government.”
She went on in English, “If you calling this country Thailand, we need a real democracy. And moreover, we need you to get out of the country!”
Supporters of the government immediately lashed out at Nam in a slew of negative comments. Some also attacked her look and deployed racially charged terms in their criticism.
“I thought you were a negro,” wrote user Kalayakorn Thanonpijirakul.
“This squid-ink-skin is degenerate,” wrote Chote Sommee.
“Not only is she ugly, her behavior is bad too. Do the judges also hate the monarchy institution?” wrote user Tikumporn Singhaseni.
“This is the ugliest beauty queen I’ve ever seen. I thought this was a beauty queen from Africa,” wrote Khunphuwasit Shi.
“She’s as black as a burnt-and-forgotten coals. What are you guys doing to Thailand?” wrote Tepphabutr Misababa Latcharot.
The question-and-answer round took place on Saturday, and it was broadcast live on TV the same time a large anti-government protest was taking place on Sanam Luang.
The final question for the five finalists was, “In regards to the protests that are approaching violence, if you could talk to the protesters or the government, who would you pick, and what would you say to them to improve the situation?”
Although Nam’s answer was the most impassioned out of all finalists, she wasn’t the only one to express support for the movement.
“I want to say to the protesters, if there was no Miss Grand Thailand 2020 pageant, I would be at the protest,” first runner-up Miss Grand Pathum Thani Indy Johnson said.
“It’s not wrong for the young generation to express their opinions, because we are the ones who have to live with the future,” she added.
Second runner-up Miss Grand Nakhon Si Thammarat Patchaploy Ruendaluang also said, “I would tell the government that today, we citizens are demanding for the return of democracy. If you think of citizens’ opinions even just a little bit, this kind of thing would not happen.”
Miss Grand Chiang Rai Juthamas Mekhaseree, who finished as the third-runner up, said she would volunteer to be a student representative and tell the government that people were suffering from a bad economy.
Fourth runner-up Miss Grand Mukdahan Natnicha Sritongsuk said that she supported people expressing their political opinions as long as there was no violence.
The judges also chose Miss Grand Ratchaburi’s costume depicting the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market as the year’s winner for the national costume contest.
For her victory, Nam won a crown worth 1.2 million baht, a condo, a car, and other prizes worth 6 million baht.