Saturday, November 07, 2009

Roxanne walks on the wild side

Thai Takes

NO. 10, Roxanne Fonseka, Malaysia, the announcer said, and the 20-year-old Malaysian strutted his stuff during a rehearsal of the Miss International Queen 2009 at the Thai beach resort of Pattaya.

Roxanne (not his real name) was among 21 contestants, from countries like Brazil, China, Japan, Philippines, Nepal and the United States, competing to be the world’s most beautiful transvestite/transsexual at Tiffany’s Show in Pattaya (reputedly the world’s largest transsexual cabaret) on Halloween night.

The Penangite was in Pattaya because he wanted to end his cross-dressing fetish with a bang. “Next year I plan to end my life as a drag queen – which means a guy who turns into a woman for just one night,” he revealed.

Pulling down his blouse to expose his scrawny arms, he said, “I plan to go to a fitness centre, build up my body so that I have a male body and then work as a flight attendant.”

Life as an occasional drag queen can be a drag, Roxanne said.

“Malaysia – unlike Thailand and the Philippines – is not open to transvestites, and they tend to look down on pondan and Ah Kua (Malaysian slang for transvestite).

“It will be very difficult for me to make a living,” said the only son of a rich businessman. “I know, as (at the age of 17) I’ve opened a gay massage centre (in Penang).”

“Next year when you become a ‘guy’, will you be a heterosexual or homosexual guy?” I asked.

“I will be a bisexual guy,” revealed the Malaysian, who lives in Thailand as he’s learning Thai from his sleeping dictionary (a 29-year-old closeted gay Thai man who wants to be a politician).

When he was 12 years old, Roxanne, who was studying in a boys’ school in Penang, found out that he was attracted to his handsome classmate.

“And I was thinking, ‘Do I like him, or do I want to be like him as he was handsome’.

“After much thought, I found out that I liked him,” he recalled, adding “I’ve had girlfriends too.”

When he registered for the Miss International Queen pageant, the 182-cm “twink” (which Urban Dictionary defines as an attractive, boyish-looking, young gay man) thought he had a shot at the title, as he was “tall” and “a natural beauty.”

“But when I saw the competition I found out that I couldn’t compete with them, as almost all had plastic surgery, hormone injection and undergone a sex change operation, whereas I am just a guy with make-up,” he explained.

Roxanne has not gone for plastic surgery or hormone injections, as in the future he does not want to face the ugly consequences of transforming into a woman.

“Most of my sisters (slang for transvestite) who are in their 40s regret changing their sex. Yes, you look sexy and beautiful when you are in your 20s, but not in your 40s,” he explained.

To prepare for Miss International Queen, Roxanne competed in three katoey (Thai for transvestites) beauty pageants in Bangkok.

He budgeted RM10,000 (for make-up artist, hair dresser, national costume, evening gown, shoes, accessories and RM1,000 for registration fee) for the pageant.

Where did he get the money?

“I lied. I got it from my parents who told me not to cross-dress in Thailand,” he revealed with an apologetic smile.

On the eve of the pageant I asked Roxanne, who had been participating in Miss International Queen activities for five days, how the experience was.

“It is quite pressured as everybody is beautiful. At first I was enjoying it, but then some contestants tried to sabotage me,” he said.

For example, Roxanne was told that his RM800 evening gown was ugly and its colour (yellow) was not suitable.

“Everybody who enters a pageant knows that yellow and red are the most attractive colour on stage.

“Miss Venezuela wore yellow and she won Miss Universe 2008, and she has the same skin colour as me,” griped Roxanne.

“Don’t you think that jealousy is the reason for such statements?”

On Halloween night, he failed to make the cut for the top 10 finalists. Haruna Ai, a 37-year-old Japanese television host who competed in Miss International Queen 2007, was crowned the world’s most beautiful katoey.

“Perhaps I should compete again next year. And I’m planning to bring a TV crew just like Haruna,” emailed Roxanne.

(Published in The Star on November 7, 2009)