MUS 2018 finalists' charity participation hits close to home
Miss Universe Singapore finalists play their part in helping families in crisis situations
Miss Universe Singapore (MUS) is not just a pageant about beauty and glamour, but heart as well.
Last Friday, this year's top 15 finalists made their official public debut at the Charity Golf Fashion Show held at Warren Golf and Country Club, where they walked a runway togged in golf attire sponsored by golf retail company MST Golf.
They also handed out donation tins to the guests who attended the event, which was organised by the Compassion Fund, a crisis response fund that raises money for families who have lost a sole breadwinner to illness, death or accident.
It raised $320,000 that night, and all proceeds go to at least 100 families in crisis situations.
For some of the women, this initiative struck a chord with them and they were glad to be part of a worthy cause that they could relate to.
MUS finalist Mohanaprabha's mother suffers from severe depression and mental illness, leaving her technician father in charge of taking care of the family.
The 23-year-old PSB Academy biomedical science student, who has two older brothers, told The New Paper: "He had to work extra hard all day because my mother was losing it. We struggled a lot and I remember vividly that we had to find coins at home to change into notes. That was what we were living off, and we pawned all our jewellery and gold.
"But my father never went around sharing his story. Being a man, he feels almost ashamed to ask for help financially. He is not highly educated but makes sure to keep the house clean, and he does all the cooking to keep the family going."
Zahra Khanum, 23, feels it is imperative for needy families to seek help via channels like the Compassion Fund, be it financially or emotionally.
The National University of Singapore sociology undergraduate hopes to use her MUS platform to shed light on the struggles that single-parent and broken families face, especially as her own parents are divorced.
She said: "In Singapore, these issues are hidden and not talked about much.
"I have been blessed with friends and teachers who knew of my difficulties at home and they have always been there to support me.
"Without that support system, it would be hard to get through (personal) problems. It is important to have someone to talk to you and listen."
For Chloe Padirac and Tyen Rasif, grandparents played a big role in their single-parent households.
Padirac, 26, said her father has always been her mentor after her parents got divorced.
When puberty hit, the reiki practitioner received guidance from her aunt and grandmother, who helped her navigate the changes and challenges that come with teenage years.
In line with this year's MUS theme, Beauty in Empowerment, Rasif sees her mother as a pillar of strength and feels she perfectly embodies the qualities of a strong, empowered woman.
Her estranged father is headline-making rogue lawyer David Rasif, who is still at large after fleeing the country with millions of his clients' money in 2006.
The 22-year-old marketing undergraduate at Singapore Management University said: "It would have been nice to have a father figure. It would have lessened the (financial and emotional) burden on my mother.
"But she overcame these challenges, and it instilled in me (the determination) to be an independent woman. Because of what she has built in me, it nurtured my character to be an inspiring entrepreneur that I want to be some day."
Rasif added: "These contributions from charities go a long way in supporting families who (are underprivileged). A small act of kindness can help a lot."