Indonesian beauty queen under fire for ‘disastrous’ Q&A answer

While in general, beauty pageants in Indonesia have never been as popular as in, say, the neighboring Philippines, Indonesians always keep an eye on those who represent our country at international contests – no matter how obscure the contest may be.

Naturally, when an Indonesian beauty queen made headlines for butchering a Q&A session – one of the most important parts in a pageant, some netizens were quick to react at the perceived national embarrassment. That’s exactly what’s happened to Intan Wisni Permatasari, who represented Indonesia at the Miss Eco International 2020 pageant.

Intan’s answer at the pageant’s Q&A session has made headlines for all the wrong reasons, but thankfully netizens have come to her rescue on social media against the numerous negative comments directed at her.

Intan found herself in a difficult position at the pageant

intan wisni at miss eco international
Intan Wisni Permatasari at the Q&A session of Miss Eco International 2020
Image adapted from: Meramuda Channel

Having made it to the top 10 of the pageant, Intan was facing the Q&A round, so an interpreter was called to the stage to assist her as she doesn’t speak English.

A judge then asked her in English for a remark on illegal immigration, saying: “Since we have the consulate here, we’ll ask a question in relation to illegal immigration,” – to which Intan gave the following response in bahasa Indonesia after hearing her interpreter’s translation:

“Illegal immigration is in which a country and immigration ratified and approved by the said country, and having something like an agreement – some treaty for the country and producing something for the legality including in the United Nations.”

The answer was translated into English by the interpreter as, “The illegal immigration is contradiction to the law that the United Nation has committed law.”

Unsurprisingly, Intan failed to advance to the next round of the pageant, which was eventually won by Gizzelle Mandy Uys from South Africa.

Netizens rush to defend Intan amid criticism

The video of Intan’s answer at the contest has gone viral since, and netizens have rushed to her defense amid heavy criticism.

instagram comment 1
Image adapted from: @lambe_turah

On a video of the Q&A session posted by gossip account @lambe_turah, user @yomanelfian33 commented that the nasty comments prove that Indonesians are not as friendly as they often make themselves out to be, and criticized those who posted negative comments “as if they were the most perfect”.

instagram comment 2
Image adapted from: @lambe_turah

Singer and former Indonesian Idol contestant Irine Septiani, who goes by @irindacil on Instagram, also left a comment on the post, saying that those who have never been under the spotlight on a big stage shouldn’t be quick to judge and that Intan’s nervousness was “very much understandable” while urging people to “be good and be kind”.

instagram comment 3
Image adapted from: @dpidamu

On a post by Indonesian pageant news portal @dpidamu, user @emanovvy said that she felt sorry for Intan, while pointing out the peculiarity of a question about politics at a contest that supposedly focuses on women’s empowerment and environmental issues.

Indonesian beauty queen under fire for ‘disastrous’ Q&A answer

It’s understandable that many Indonesians feel secondhand embarrassment when someone representing the country blunders at an international event, but it still doesn’t warrant kicking them while they’re down with nasty comments and over-the-top criticism on social media.

After all, it’s no easy task to stand before an audience and answer an unexpected question with little preparation, and anyone in Intan’s position would inevitably get a little nervous and struggle to deliver an appropriate response. We give her props for representing us on a global stage.

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Cover image adapted from Meramuda Channel and @lambe_turah

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