MANILA — The language trainer of Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina took to social media his disappointment with the online bashing that the beauty queen gets because of her poor English language skills.
The bashing began on Tuesday, when netizens noticed Medina’s grammatical errors while she was speaking to the media during a press conference. This aired on a Facebook live by Bb. Pilipinas (Official).
Some netizens commented that Medina may ace the competition with her beauty, but she may flunk the question and answer portion because of her poor English skills.
Medina’s supporters, meanwhile, defended her by claiming that the Miss Universe pageant is a beauty contest, and not an oratorical competition.
Mark Arthur Payumo Abalos, an English language training specialist who claims to have worked closely with Medina, said in a Facebook post that Medina has improved well during their seven-month training.
“Maxine has improved a lot. She is hardworking and she’s doing her best to become a better version of herself,” he wrote.
As a language trainer, Abalos lectured on the possible difficulties in mastering a second language. He even cited his study, which focused on the attitudes of Filipino English language learners, for reference.
“I feel bad because of the online bashing that is happening at the moment. It is not something new to me but just to give you a different perspective on the matter, my research (Abalos, 2012) on attitudes of Filipino English language learners show that the interpersonal, sociolinguistic, and sociocultural contexts have to do with how individuals communicate. Situations may be viewed negatively by people who are not completely aware of the process of acquiring and learning a second language in formal and informal learning environments. Larsen-Freeman, Tananuraksakul, and Roh have written on particular aspects of this area of study,” he wrote.
He, thus, pleaded with netizens to stop comparing Medina’s communication and language skills with previous candidates, since it is normal that as a non-native English speaker she might commit errors.
“Errors are normal. Even first language speakers of English commit mistakes, too. At the end of the day, it’s just a beauty contest. Maxine will still be beautiful. She’ll still be designing interiors. She has a beautiful life ahead. How about you?” he added.
He urged critics to change their ways and support Medina instead. After all, she is carrying the name of the Philippines in the 65th Miss Universe pageant.
Medina and other beauty queens from different parts of the globe will face one another on January 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena for the coronation night.