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Shoo In

Special Interview with
Alya Rohali
(Miss Indonesia 1996)

She has been chosen as the Most Beautiful Miss Indonesia and she was the longest Miss Indonesia to hold her title for 4 years (1996-2000) and she also the most controversial Miss Indonesia due to her participation in Miss Universe pageant in 1996. Now she is hosting a quiz show in television and I have to tell you that she still beautiful and I have a great time talking with her. There she is : Alya Rohali, The Most Beautiful Miss Indonesia

MIU : Could you tell us briefly the process you have done to participate in Miss Indonesia pageant ?
Alya : Well, it begins when I won the None Jakarta contest and then I was interested to follow the Miss Indonesia pageant especially because some of the past Miss Indonesia like Indira and Venna were also started their career as Miss Indonesia from None Jakarta contest and particularly because they also represented the same state as I did. So, actually I had a lot of feedback from them how to enter and how to prepare myself during Miss Indonesia contest.

MIU : How was the chance to win at that time ?
Alya : It was really hard because most of the contestants were prepared themselves really well especially the candidate from.....uhm.....Lampung, if I am not wrong.

MIU : And then how did you feel after they announce you as the winner ?
Alya : I was very happy definitely, because it's been my dream since I followed the pageant from the first day. Actually I did not put any target to win and just do my best but soon after I joined the activities with other candidates, we had so many seminars and visit to many places during the pageant. Since then, I started to realize that it would be pittiful if I just want to do my best in here and I started to say to myself that I had to win this pageant and it came true.

MIU : Could you tell us briefly about your activities during your reigning as Miss Indonesia 1996 ?
Alya : Since I won the pageant the most important thing that I've done was certainly my participation in Miss Universe 1996 but I heard that it wasn't approved by the government especially by the Indonesian Women Department and followed by other related Department because of my participation in swimsuit competition and it became an issue in Indonesia. Actually the swimsuit competition was not a big part through the whole pageant, it was just a really small part from the whole activities that we did in there maybe because they don't participate and see directly with their own eyes how exactly the pageant is and they just don't understand completely. Well, anyway after the Miss Universe pageant I was doing my regular duties as Miss Indonesia by promoting the sponsors and involving myself in many social activities in Indonesia.

MIU : Personally, do you agree with beauty pageant such as Miss Universe pageant ?
Alya : Well, of course I do agree with those pageants because we can introduce our country through the world community especially when the situation in Indonesia is not stabile it is very important for us to heal our country's reputation from any media including Miss Universe pageant.

MIU : Do you still remember who was your roomate ?
Alya : My roomate is Miss Phillipines but I don't remember her name and she was the one who won the Miss Photogenic award during the pageant.

MIU : What do you think about Alicia Machado, Miss Venezuela 1996 who won the Miss Universe pageant at that time ?
Alya : Okay, here is another interesting story. During the pageant, contestants from South America and other Latin countries could not speak English properly. It was really bad, even the simplest English sentence they still get confuse with that. Therefore, they tend to grouping themselves and speak with other South America countries merely because they cannot comunicate with other delegates effectively. Thus, Alicia Machado was regarded as one of the candidates that wasn't very like so much by others because she cannot speak English yet she seemed very confident with herself and that what makes people didn't like her so much but I think it is only the matter of language. People cannot get close with her because she cannot speak English and hence they cannot recognize her well.
During the final night there were only herself and Miss Aruba. Well, Miss Aruba was a very nice person and she communicated well with most of us during the preliminary round and therefore most of the girls on back the stage were supporting her and wishing Aruba will be the winner but then when Miss Venezuela was announced as the winner we were surprise and just clap our hands and look at her without any enthusiasm. I think Alicia is a nice lady however and what makes her shine through the pageant was her naturality and she did not behave like a naive of fake person, I think that's why she won.

MIU : Why do you think the contentants from Asia are really hard to shine in Miss Universe pageant ? What makes them different with the rest of the delegates ?
Alya : Definitely our self confident. Through the pageant, the ladies from Asia were almost forgotten especially from India, Lebanon and other West Asia countries but mostly the ladies from South East Asia and East Asia were very shy and they just cannot bear themselves to do something that is expressive. Even we lose with other delegates from the Islands like Jamaica and British Virgin Island. They came from a small country but they really have a good confident and they can socialize very well. This is one of the benefits by joining Miss Universe pageant, I never know if there were countries like Aruba or Botswana before but then I realize that we really left behind from them.

MIU : Within the controversy arise after you joined the pageant, do you consider your participation in Miss Universe as a positive or negative experience ?
Alya : Well, I think it is a really memorable moment in my life and I never think get trauma with that because it has been my dream since I was a little child. I still remember clearly when I saw the Miss Universe pageant for the first time it was in 1988 and I just dreaming and dreaming to be there and now since my wish already came true I don't want to consider it as my bad experience. I don't care what people say because they wasn't there and they cannot feel the excitement and the joyful. I was very thrilled soon after I realized I enter the Miss Universe pageant and it was a strong evidence that I can reach my dream.

MIU : Do you think that within the future the government will allow Miss Indonesia to compete in Miss Universe pageant ?
Alya : Well, there is a possibility because people always demand for reformation in anywhere and it is so pathetic if we cannot enter such competition just because the swimsuit competition. Compare to what happen in here our entertainment world always related with such thing even they was sexier and wearing swimsuit as well. Just look at our drama movies, magazines, even our sculptures always related with such thing. We have to open our eyes first and look at where we up to if we don't want to get left behind from other countries.

MIU : What do you think about the reigning Miss Indonesia 2001, Angelina Sondakh ?
Alya : It's quite hard to know Angelina more because I rarely met with the reigning Miss Indonesia. Since I passed my crown in 2000 I only mer with Bernika, Miss Indonesia 2000 twice and even worse I only met Angelina once during the pageant. I never receive any invitation related to the pageant anymore so I cannot recognize Angelina well but during the pageant I can see that she is a very smart person and her answers during interview always great and had a good quality.

MIU : Do you have any message you want to say to all the Indonesian women especially young teenagers ?
Alya : Well, what I really want to say is that when you have a dream then you have to try your best to achieve that cause possibility always there and it all depends on you. I am really fortunate to be able to reach my dream joining the Miss Universe pageant. Therefore, I emphasize to all the young teenager to do your best, it doesn;t have to be the same as me but realize your ability, use your talent and it can be in any fields. When you realize your talent and your dream then you have to try hard and it'll be yours, I'm positively sure.

MIU : Thank you Alya and it is very nice to have this opportunity with you
Alya : You're welcome.

Miss Indonesia & The Resistance Towards Beauty Pageants

It had been 6 times since the Miss Indonesia pageant was held in 1993 for the very first time and the pageant had choose 6 beautiful and stunning ladies within each year as a Miss Indonesia. Clearly it is not an easy thing to achieve and it has been the dream of most woman to be crowned as a beauty queen. Furthermore, being a Miss Indonesia means that she has to prepare to do all her duties waiting for her as tourist ambassador and to promote Indonesia in the world community. However, as a Miss Indonesia she also receives a ticket straight away to participate in Miss Universe pageant, an international beauty pageant contest which is the biggest, and the most recognized contest all over the world. It has been the dream of many young women around the world to get the chance to be in the pageant and from 200 million Indonesia people Indira Soediro, Venna Melinda, Santi Manuhutu, Alya Rohali, Bernika Ifada, and Angelina Sondakh are the only 6 lucky ladies who had the chance to be in there.
But the question is : will the government permit them to participate in such contest ? To follow the Miss Universe pageant the Miss Indonesia tends to get a resistance from both the society and the government because of the culture and the tradition point of view. However, as a compensation the government still allow Miss Indonesia to travel around the world and to take a part in many international forum to introduce Indonesia.
It seems fair enough for Miss Indonesia to enjoy her reign by travelling around the world and this could be crucial for Indonesia because the situation in
Indonesia since the economic crisis in 1997 never been good and the number of people who visited Indonesia is getting downwards.
On the other hand, for the woman itself it must be feel incomplete if she has not yet been participated in Miss Universe pageant. Feels like you have been to Paris but you do not see the Eiffel tower or you have been to New York but the Liberty statue could not be reached. Almost all candidate are dreaming away to get the chance to Miss Universe pageant but the hope is gone as soon as they realize how big the resistance may come from the others. The main problem is that the swimsuit competition which is one of the conditions for each contestant to participate always become the biggest wall which is regarded as a 'taboo' thing to do on the stage always blow up all the hope and the chance.
The first time Indonesia started to send a delegate into Miss Universe pageant was in 1967 when Sylvia Taliwongso was planned to participate but at that time a hard reaction came from everywhere. The government also emphasize that they will not allow such thing. The minister of tourism in 1978, Dr. Daud Jusuf gave an instruction which forbid all beauty competitions to be held in Indonesia. In 1984, The minister of education and culture, Mr. Fuad Hasan altered the instruction by forbiding all beauty queen competitions which have negative impacts on society. Since then, Yayasan Putri Indonesia (YPI), starts to held a few competitions which focused on intellectuality and personality. Then in 1993, the Miss Indonesia was held for the very first time and Indira Soediro of Jakarta won the first title of Miss Indonesia.
It is not fully understood how Indonesia was capable to send delegates during 70's into Miss Universe and other beauty pageants but the lattest Indonesia delegate who registered to participate in Miss Universe pageant was Andi Tenri in 1982 in which she did not appear on the pageant afterwards. Since then Indonesia was totally absent from all pageants until in 1995, Santi Manuhutu (Miss Indonesia 1995) appeared on Miss Universe 1995 in Windhoek, Namibia. In 1996, Alya Rohali (Miss Indonesia 1996) was participated inMiss Universe 1996 in Las Vegas, USA and her swimsuit picture was on the newspaper in Indonesia. The reaction was so strong, all the people and the government gave protest to Alya and she received such a hard resistance after the pageant. "I felt really stressful because everyone was sueing me like I was the worst woman in Indonesia", said Alya. But she never regrets her participation in Miss Universe because she admits that it was truly a tremendous experience and not all woman could get a chance as she has. This leads her as the longest Miss Indonesia ever with 4 years holding the title because the Miss Indonesia pageant was banned afterwards.
Now, since the reformation began the Miss Indonesia is allowed to be held again, the Miss Universe pageant is permitted to be telecasted again by cutting the swimsuit competition, and finally the reigning Miss Universe is welcome to come into the land of Indonesia again as Lupita Jones, Michelle McLean, Dayanarra Torres, Sushmita Sen, and Chelsi Smith did few years ago.
Maybe it would be better if we look at Lara Dutta, Miss Universe 2000 from India. As a world ambassador, clearly Lara Dutta has shown a lot skills of her as an intelectual and a woman with full of charism. She actualizes herself on the right track as a Miss Universe and so far from what people think as a woman who expose herself in a bikini and other model photoshots. Clearly she gave us an indication how positive the Miss Universe pageant for a woman like Lara Dutta. During her travel in Indonesia, she oftenly mention her country India to the press and comparing it with Indonesia in a proper manner which mean that she also could use every opportunities to introduce her country into the worldwide in every chances she has.
It is the time for Indonesia to move on and to start think logically and being more positive because the globalization era is moving ahead and the challenge is getting stronger. If the society still keep thinking traditionally, it can be predicted that we may be left behind from another Asian country. many improvement in the way we think and the way we act because Indonesia is a 'naive country', what we say and what we do is totally different. However, as an Asian nation we still have to act and to behave properly as our culture but do not let it become a resistance to move on because as a developing country, Indonesia must develop like a child who dare to try everything in which he curious with and learn from every mistakes he did so one day he can be a man who does know how to act and behave as he wants with full of responsibility and that is what we should do.

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