Broken Mauritius

By R.V.

The skimpy young ladies, who had lined up in bikinis for the press last week, looked all relaxed and ready to sashay on their stilettos for the forthcoming Miss Mauritius beauty contest. Several contestants did not need any prompting to declare their childhood ambition to become models. The kind of money earned by top models these days could easily be mistaken for their cell-phone numbers. It is no surprise then that so many of our girls want to become top models. Are they really prepared for it and do they know what goes on behind the curtain of glamour and entertainment?

The world of glamtainment can be callous to the naive soul. Morality has no place in it. It thrives on a mesh of networks, many of them incestuous and promiscuous. There are both of the sexual and the business kind and, in this niche market, it is often said that many of those who survive have the stamina and resilience to change bed sheets and bed partners simultaneously.

Wayne Rooney, the Manchester United player, was in the middle of a storm, earlier this month, when two young girls from well-to-do families made it known publicly that they had slept with the footballer for money. The girls were eager to talk about their sordid affair with Rooney the next day to the UK press, apparently to become famous. The fathers of the girls, one a university professor and the other a chief executive of an oil company, expressed their disbelief and apologised to Rooney’s family for the unacceptable behaviour of their daughters.

What had gone wrong with the two girls who had an upbringing which most girls would never dream of to end up as high society women of lower virtues? The need for easy money and the desire to dress up in the most expensive clothes and to be seen at the posh restaurants and parties must have something to do with their behaviour. These are the criteria which defines our societal values today.

The Prime Minister has seen far ahead when he insists that our school curriculum must provide for civic values and these must be taught to our children as soon as they join school. We run the risk of finding Mauritius a broken society in ten years’ time and the task of reversing that trend may not be that easy. The brutal and callous murder of little Joannick Martin has shocked us for now. Do we still remember the case of little Pretty, the girl from Goodlands, aged 8, who was raped and murdered by three men one of whom was her own uncle? After having committed the rape, the three men decided to get rid of her. She was struck with a stone on her head. Pretty stayed at home on the day she was murdered because she had no school uniform to wear. The only uniform she possessed was still wet. She was asked to go and buy cigarettes for her father and never returned. How many more of our children will be asked to go to the shop never to return?

There is also a case pending before the Supreme Court concerning a girl of two years of age who had been raped and sodomised. Do we suffer from some kind of amnesia? Just like in the other two cases soon we shall forget about little Joannick and we shall be discussing about the crisis of the Euro Zone to justify why more money should be given to the private sector.

Returning from the Miss Universe competition that was held in Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, our Miss Mauritius made it known that she was decided to help change the “fate” of young girls. This is a praiseworthy objective, no doubt. However those who participate in such beauty contests should also give some serious thought as to whether a beauty contest, which is primarily concerned with the physique of young girls, is an event we should really be promoting in Mauritius. They should also be asking themselves why there is so much pressure on young women to enhance their physical appearance, many going as far as having recourse to cosmetic surgery.

In the world of glamour and entertainment, models have to be leggy and skimpy, size zero in effect. One way or another it is essentially about physical appearance. This is what a beauty contest is all about, isn’t it?  

* Published in print edition on 24 September 2010

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