Ex-beauty queen Ris Low jobless for 3 years after fraud conviction
More than three years after Ms Ris Low was convicted of credit card fraud, the former beauty queen told Chinese media that she was still jobless.
The 22-year-old told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao that she has been helping her parents, doing administrative work at their renovation company. She added that she has also been taking courses in accounting, business management and hotel management.
In May 2009, the ex-Miss Singapore World was found guilty of five charges of misappropriation, cheating using illegally obtained credit cards and impersonating their users' identities, and was sentenced to 24 months of supervised probation.
She lost her title after her conviction, stepping down as Singapore's representative to the Miss World beauty contest.
UPDATE:22 AUG 2011
Ris Low: Singaporeans are very 'kiasu' and 'kiasi'
Former beauty queen Ris Low criticised Singaporeans in a recent interview.
At the interview with Malaysian newspaper "The Star", Ris Low criticised Singaporeans, saying we are kiasu, kiasi and heartless people who will not extend any help to those in need.
She said, "The pace of life here is very fast, everyone is very stressed, very kiasu and very kiasi".
The two are well-known Singlish terms typically used to describe those who want to be the first to get everything (kiasu) and those afraid to get into trouble (kiasi). In Hokkien, kiasu literally means "afraid of losing" and kiasi means "afraid of dying".
She cites an example where Singaporeans are kiasu.
She said Singaporeans are always attracted to long queues. People think there is definitely something good to be had so they will join the queue even if they don't know what they are queuing for.
On being kiasi, she said Singaporeans like to discuss politics in private, but do not dare express their views openly.
Ris was also asked about the best thing of being a Singaporean. On this, she said the Singaporean passport allows us to travel to many countries without applying for visas.
And the worse thing of being a Singaporean? She said that Singaporeans have no compassion for those with a past, and she is the perfect example.
Ris hopes that every Singaporean will protect our own. She added that almost every beauty queen has been mercilessly criticised by "cowards hiding behind their computer screens".
"They bully us and say we're ugly. They step on us and try to look taller. This is very upsetting."
Ris was also asked to name a unique Singaporean trait.
"When you need help, everyone just stares and does nothing", said Ris.
She cited an example where she witnessed a car accident. She went to help the injured and asked the uncles and aunties standing around to help call an ambulance. No one helped - they were all busy copying the license plate numbers of the accident vehicles.
Another time, she was waiting for a cab when a man pulled down her skirt. No one helped her and the molester got away. The incident made her feel like a fool.
Finally, she laments that Singaporeans are so intent on wealth and power that they have lost their heart.
UPDATE: 15 OCT 2010
GOING TO EXTREMES
Hurt by comments about her weight, former beauty queen Ris Low goes on an extreme diet to lose 8kg in two weeks
Ris Low: 'We've done it. But I must say, I'm still not very interested in sex."
PEOPLE online were bitching about her and calling her fat.
Some close friends even told her the same thing to her face.
'It made me quite angry,' admitted 20-year-old dethroned local beauty queen Ris Low.
'I felt like retorting, 'You all think slimming down very easy ah!'
That was in May.
Low, who is 1.72m tall, tipped the scales at '60-plus kg' at that time and attributed the extra kilos to her blossoming new romance.
So she decided to act.
'I made up my mind to show everyone I can do it...Just give me two weeks,' said Low.
Last month, 'on the spur of the moment', she went on a dangerous crash diet of just one apple a day every day for two weeks.
By the end of it, she said she managed to drop nearly 8kg, bringing her weight down to 58kg.
The sudden diet made her suffer from occasional dizzy spells, said Low.
It's something that nutritionists warn against - that it is not healthy to lose so much weight so suddenly.
Low has since resumed her normal food intake of three meals a day, albeit in a highly disciplined fashion.
'I take mostly vegetables and fruit,' she said. 'And I try to avoid carbohydrates and protein.'
When she visited The New Paper office last Wednesday, Low looked a far cry from the chubby, slightly stocky girl we last met in May.
Slim and sexy, she glowed in the skimpy white cheongsam-style dress she wore to our interview and happily posed for pictures.
Her new figure - reminiscent of her bygone Miss Singapore World 2009 pageant shots - was not lost on the editors of local lad mag FHM Singapore.
In this month's issue of the magazine, Low came in at No. 56 on its annual list of 100 Sexiest Women In The World 2010.
She was ranked above actresses like Eva Longoria (No. 57), Milla Jovovich (No. 58), Natalie Portman (No.79), Lin Chiling (No. 78) and Zoe Saldana (No. 96).
She also beat local celebrities like Jade Seah (No. 60), Nadya Hutagalung (No. 67), Melody Chen (No. 68) and Sylvia Ratonel (No. 80).
According to Mr David Fuhrmann-Lim, 43, the senior editor of FHM Singapore, the 100 female celebrities were selected after a month-long online poll conducted on the local FHM website.
Sexier than Longoria
'Ris' name came up in our poll,' he said.
While he declined to elaborate how the editorial team decided on the rankings, he emphasised that 'visibility over the past year definitely counted'.
'We didn't include Ris in as a joke, that's for sure,' he added.
Low was candid about her rare opportunity to share the limelight with so many Hollywood and Asian sex symbols.
'I'm super surprised. The judges must be kayu (Malay for dumb),' she said without hesitation.
'To me, a lot of these stars are perfect women. You'd need to have Lin Chiling's figure and Angelina Jolie's lips to be considered sexy,' she added.
She self-deprecatingly added that she can be 'hiao' (Hokkien for vain), but would hardly associate herself with sexiness.
'From young, my build has been athletic and sporty,' explained Low. 'I have a muscular, firm body type which doesn't really fall into the sexy category.'
That said, she does not think it's a total fluke that she cracked the list.
'Well, I've got curves, long legs, rather big breasts and perky buttocks,' she said, pointing out the attractions that could have possibly gained her brownie points.
'Also, it's down to personality.
'I'm not stuck up and I don't pretend to be another person when facing the media or public.'
Her 31-year-old property agent boyfriend, whom she has been dating since February but whom she declines to name, likes her, whatever her shape or size, she said.
'His favourite phrase is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' said Low. 'Last time, when I was fat, he'd praise me for having a nice figure. Now that I'm slimmer, he says I have a 'nice' figure too!
'It's like, to him, everything about me is 'nice', from my eyes, hair...to the fact that I don't use perfume...Sometimes, I just want to smack him!' she exclaimed in a mock angry tone.
Perhaps, sexiness is a by-product of the increasingly close bond she shares with her boyfriend.
Low - a final-year student at the Management Development Institute of Singapore, where she is pursuing a diploma in health science - gamely revealed that she and her beau are now 'physically intimate'.
In other words, she's no longer a virgin.
'We've done it. But I must say, I'm still not very interested in sex,' said Low.
In January, she claimed to be a virgin when she was appointed the youth spokesman for local condom brand Espire Condoms.
Her contract with Espire has since expired.
UPDATE: 2 JUNE 2010
RIS LOW REVEAL HER BOYFRIEND
RIS Low is truly, madly, deeply in love. Looking radiant in a turquoise sundress, the 20-year-old dethroned beauty queen, best known for coining the word “boomz”, was clearly in a good mood when she met The New Paper recently for an interview.
“I’ve put on 10kg after my pageant days,” she admitted, attributing the extra weight to love.
“Every time I go on a date, it will be good food, wine and fattening stuff – no wonder I’m fat,” she said self-deprecatingly.
At one point, she even hummed Nat King Cole’s classic ditty to herself: “L is for the way you look at me, O is for the only one I see...”
The man responsible for Low’s state of unbridled happiness is a 31-year-old property agent whom she has been seeing since February.
She described him as “tall (1.8m), bearing a resemblance to Leslie Cheung (the late Hong Kong singer-actor), soft-spoken, accommodating and introverted”. What impressed her most, she said, was that he doesn’t judge or question her past.
Low, who is in her final year of diploma studies at the Management Development Institute of Singapore, was found guilty of credit card fraud last September and is serving a two-year probation.
She became an Internet sensation after coming up with the strange word “boomz” during a RazorTV interview, and was mocked for her poor English. She also lost her Miss Singapore World title after her conviction came to light.
“He never once asked me, ‘Why did you do that last time?’” she said.
“I don’t like it when people ask me that question – it’s over, and I have given my reasons (to the media). I’m not going to repeat it five million times.
“My boyfriend and I don’t like to dwell on what has already happened. The future is what’s important.”
UPDATE:23 APR 2010
Former Singaporean beauty queen Ris Low does not mind marrying an ugly man as long as he is rich because he can then opt for plastic surgery, reported China Press.
Low, who had to quit the Miss World 2009 contest after being exposed as a credit card cheat last September, was among women featured in an online television survey which showed that Singaporean women preferred men with money over looks.
“Even if he doesn’t, I still don’t mind. As long as he is rich, it means I’ll be leading a better lifestyle.
“He can buy anything for me and I no longer have to worry about money. This is how realistic life can be,” she said.
Low said a man whose income matched a woman’s expectation would automatically be accepted, regardless of his looks.
UPDATE: 3 APR 2010
When you think of former Miss Singapore Ris Low, you cannot help but think of the word she made famous -- 'Boomz'. STOMPer Ho says there is even a Boomz T-shirt now.
19-year-old Ris Low first shot to infamy when she displayed her poor command of English during a RazorTV interview, mispronouncing words like red ('rad), bikini ('bigini') and prints ('preens'), as in leopard prints.
She also came up with a new word -- 'boomz' -- which has become a subject of ridicule among netizens.
"It's catchy, and we all love to hate it, but more and more Singaporeans are starting to use it.
"In fact, there is now a brand of T-shirt called 'boomz' and judging from the looks of it, the boomz phenomenon will continue!"
Update: 23 Sept 2011
A horse named Boomz
A horse name Boomz own by Ris Low boyfriend is running in race 4 tomorrow in kranji.
the track commentators and clockers say he is well prepare and look solid in trainning
both Ris and her connection too is quite confident Boomz can win and will be there tomo.
UPDATE: 23 Mar 2010
Ris Low recounts molest
DETHRONED beauty queen Ris Low was standing by a stand at Park Mall last Wednesday when a man in his 30s came up beside her.
The 20-year-old claimed that the man then grabbed her arm and dragged her to a quiet spot behind a pillar before pulling down her tube dress and groping her right breast.
When she sought help from member of the public at the taxi stand, the man scooted off.
Ris has since asked for the CCTV footage from the mall and lodged a police report.
Watch RazorTV's interview with Ris as she recounts the incident.
UPDATE: 15 Jan 2010
Ris Low seeks to improve image with safe sex, condom campaign
FORMER beauty queen Ris Low has morphed from being a wayward youth to a champion of troubled teens.
Miss Low, 19, who was appointed as a youth ambassador by a home-grown condom distributor yesterday, is taking a private course in counselling.
On her mission in life, she said: 'I'm learning how to counsel people with problems such as depression, anxiety and even sexual problems. Someone they can relate to is me.'
To hone her skills, she is working part-time as a clinic assistant in an Aids clinic, spending three days a week counselling patients and teaching them how to use condoms correctly.
She will also conduct talks on safe sex in schools and other public arenas, and use her blog and other social media to spread the message in her role as youth spokesman for Singapore-based firm Zander Asia, distributor of Espire condoms.
Former beauty queen Ris Low gives a lesson on safe sex, condoms, and erm, warm jelly.
Ris Low FHM Singapore December 2009
RECENTLY crowned Miss Singapore World Ris Low, 19, had earlier been found guilty of credit-card fraud.
The beauty queen was convicted of five charges of misappropriation, cheating using illegally obtained credit cards, and impersonating their users' identities.
The first-time offender was sentenced in May this year to 24 months of supervised probation, said a Subordinate Courts spokesman in response to a query from my paper.
Another 60 charges were taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing, he said.
Court documents show that Miss Low spent a total of more than $2,400 on at least four separate occasions, using at least three different credit cards in April and May last year.
She bought two gold anklets worth almost $1,000, a $698 mobile phone, and food and drinks at a swanky restaurant.
It is not known how she obtained the credit cards.
my paper understands that her previous employer, a healthcare company, made a police report about her in April last year.
It suspected that Miss Low, who worked there for five months as a patient-service assistant, had used credit cards belonging to its patients. It asked her to leave the following month.
Before leaving, she was said to have returned a part - an unspecified sum - of the total amount she had spent using the cards.
When contacted, Miss Low, now a student, said that she was "not in a position to comment".
Miss Ris Low was crowned Miss Singapore 2009 on Friday 31 July 2009.
The organiser of the Miss Singapore World pageant, ERM World, did not respond to queries as to whether it was aware of her criminal record during the pageant.
The international Miss World pageant will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December.
It is unclear whether Miss Low will be allowed to leave the country to take part in it.
UPDATE: 29 SEPT 2009
Miss Singapore urges everyone for forgiveness
Miss World Singapore 2009 Ris Low, who was revealed to be a convict of a credit card fraud, has reportedly asked people to forgive her.
Many Singaporeans wanted her to be stripped of her title, while others requested her not to represent Singapore in the finals of the Miss World pageant to be held in South Africa in December.
China Press reported that Low pleaded to be given a second chance, and asked for forgiveness from Singaporeans.
She had declined a phone interview but later sent an SMS to the reporter to apologise to Singaporeans, reports the Star Online.
Last Friday, Low turned emotional during an interview after the fraud was exposed.
Two months before the Miss World Singapore pageant, Low was sentenced to 24 months’ probation for using illegally obtained credit cards to purchase jewellery and a handphone and dining at posh restaurants, running a bill close to 8,000 dollars.
However, the daily reported that the probation is not considered a conviction.
UPDATE: 30 SEPT 2009
Miss Singapore World resigns after lingerie fraud
Beauty queen Miss Singapore World has given up her crown after it emerged that she had stolen credit cards to go on a shopping spree for lingerie, according to Reuters. Ris Low had come under public pressure to be stripped of her 2009 title, after local media reported she stole seven credit cards last year while working at a medical clinic, buying goods worth about S$8,000 ($5,662) including gold anklets and phones.
Organizers of the pageant ERM World Marketing said she had resigned on Tuesday of her own accord. She will no longer represent Singapore at the Miss World finals to be held in South Africa in December, but her replacement has not yet been decided.
Low had also been criticized for her poor English, mispronouncing "bikini" in a recent video, leading others in multicultural Singapore to spring to her defense and soul-searching on websites about the national character.
UPDATE:4 OCT 2009
Ris Low accuses runner-up Claire Lee for backstabbing her
Claire Lee, first runner-up want to personally embody a person who possesses both beauty and intelligence, who is actively engaging different people from many different cultures.” Lee herself is a multi-linguist, fluent in languages such as Thai, French and German.
Dethroned beauty queen Miss Ris Low is now accusing the runner-up Miss Claire Lee of backstabbing her by leaking to the media about her being on probation for credit card fraud.
She also claimed that Miss Lee had faked her back injury to save herself from embarrassment if she is not chosen by the organizers to be the next Miss Singapore World by pageant organiser ERM World Marketing.
Miss Low said she was doing all this to get back at Miss Lee, 23, for exposing her credit card crime to the media.
‘It’s an eye for an eye. I know it was her because eyes can see, ears can hear and heart can feel,’ she said.
She claimed that she told Miss Lee about her being under probation some time during the pageant. ‘She (Miss Lee) was feeling down at the time. I told her that I’m under probation to show her that her life is not that bad,’ she said. ‘I trusted her, but she stabbed me in the back.’
When contacted, Miss Lee said: ‘I feel so hurt and disappointed. I was the only one who stood by her and defended her when people criticised her. I’ve done nothing to hurt her.’
She suspected that Miss Low is ‘making up stories’ either because of her bipolar disorder or to make herself ‘look less bad’ in the face of the controversy surrounding her in the past two weeks.
The endless mudslinging between the contestants in public will not only tarnish their already battled image, but also provide fodder for the state media to boost their flagging readership.
ERM World has so far tried to stay clear of the spat between the two. It will announce the new Miss Singapore World shortly next week.
UPDATE:5 OCT 2009
Largest sum came from Ris, says ERM
DETHRONED Miss Singapore World Ris Low spent about $12,000 on buying advertisements and tables for the pageant.
This has led to some unease about how she may have won the title.
Ms Tracy Lee, the event director of pageant organiser ERM World Marketing, confirmed that Ris, 19, had spent the most among the finalists, but strongly denied that it had any part in influencing the result.
She said it was pure coincidence that the biggest spender had won the title.
Ris' short reign has been plagued by controversy - first over her poor diction and then over revelations of her credit-card fraud conviction.
She gave up her crown earlier this week following public outcry over her suitability to represent Singapore in the Miss World finals in South Africa.
Ris' family and supporters bought 10 full-page ads in the 52-page programme booklet for the Miss Singapore World finals in July.
A flip through the booklet shows that she had the most number of advertisements of the finalists.
Ris told The New Paper yesterday that each full-page advertisement costs $750, which would make the total cost $7,500.
It is understood that a half-page advertisement costs about $325.
Apart from Ris, only three other finalists had advertisements in the programme booklet.
First runner-up Claire Lee, 23 and second runner-up, Miss Pilar Arlando, 19, each had one half-page advertisement paid for by their respective sponsors or supporters.
Another contestant, who was not placed in the top five, also had placed one half-page advertisement.
In addition, Ris' family, friends and supporters bought three tables at about $1,500 per table, which would have amounted to $4,500.
Ms Lee said the full proceeds from the table sales go to the Down Syndrome Association of Singapore.
Ris said she didn't think that her spending had any impact on the judges' decision to pick her as the winner.
'It doesn't matter if you buy tables or advertisements. There is no such thing as buying over the judges. The truth is being twisted here,' she said.
She maintained that she won the pageant on her own merit.
'The judges like me and that's why I won. If the judges didn't fancy me, do you think I could have won so many titles?'
She added: 'I don't think I spent the most of all the contestants.'
When pressed on who else spent more, she said: 'I have no idea, I really cherish friendships I made during the competition. But it seems like someone is out to sabotage me.'
First runner-up Claire Lee also observed that Ris' number of advertisements was noticeably more than the rest of the finalists.
However, another contestant we spoke to, Miss Oxy Ong, 20, an undergraduate, did not get her supporters to buy any ads or tables at the finals.
Yet, she was placed in the top five.
She said: 'I can't comment on Ris or on the others, but I didn't spend money because I would rather spend the money on grooming and training.'
She said she didn't know which contestant spent the most money, and added: 'I'll rather compete fairly on my own strengths and capabilities.'
This is not the first time that pageant organiser ERM has been embroiled in such a controversy. In August last year, The New Paper reported on similar allegations in the Mrs Singapore pageant, which is also organised by ERM.
Then, several finalists banded together to complain that the winner was the contestant who spent the most at the finals.
Ris Low, 19, winner
10 full-page ads in booklet:$7,500
Three tables at finals : $4,500
Total raised: $12,000
Claire Lee, 23, first runner-up
A half-page ad in booklet: $325
Four seats at finals: $600
Total raised: $925
Pilar Arlando, 19, second runner-up
A half-page ad in booklet: $325
Seats at final: Not known
Miss Arlando could not be reached
It was reported that the winner who walked away with five titles had booked six tables, placed eight advertisements and garnered 17,710 votes (with 10 votes costing $3).
When contacted then, Ms Lee flatly denied the allegations that the winner is the one who spent the most.
She said then: 'The titles had nothing to do with the amount the contestants spent on the pageant.'
She said the judges were not aware of how many tables or ads the contestants had paid for.
Ms Lee added that such amounts were paid out of the contestants 'own free will' and was 'not compulsory'.
Pageant veteran Mrs Patricia Ng, 37, who runs grooming business Glamour Beaute Consultancy, has participated in more than 10 pageants, including those by ERM.
Mrs Ng joined the Mrs Singapore pageant twice, once in 2001 and in 2006.
In 2001, she did not spend anything on the finals. Three years ago, when she bought 10 tables at about $800 each, she managed to win the Mrs Singapore United Nations title and went on to represent Singapore overseas in United States.
That led to her winning the Mrs United Nations International title.
She bought tables at the time because she said: 'I felt like I had no choice.'
Claire Lee, the first Runner-Up of Miss Singapore World. Yet to be decided if she will replace Ris Low, but what do you think?
Miss Singapore World first runner-up Miss Claire Lee, who was unfairly accused by dethroned winner Miss Ris Low of leaking to the press news about her probation has gamely put the unhappy episode behind her and flown off to Bangkok today to do charity work.
AsiaOne brings you an excerpt from the interview where Ris Low talks about her views on Claire Lee.
UPDATE:10 OCT 2009
Miss Pilar Carmelita Arlando is now Miss Singapore World
Pilar Carmelita Arlando is the new Miss Singapore World 2009, the pageant organiser announced in a press release late Friday afternoon.
Organiser ERM Marketing World decided not to select the first runner-up, Ms Claire Lee, as the new Miss Singapore World due to her claims of injury and inability to stand for long hours.
Ms Arlando, 20, was the second runner-up of Miss Singapore World 2009 held earlier this year in July and her ascend to the throne comes 10 days after Ris Low's official resignation as Miss Singapore World 2009.
The newly-crowned beauty queen, who remained mostly silent throughout Ris Low's saga, told Lianhe Wanbao that she "felt moved by the decision [of the organisers] and is proud of the title.
She said: "I've always told myself that I have hope."
ERM decided that Ms Arlando would a better choice as "the international pageant will be physically and psychologically demanding and it would be best that [Ms Claire Lee] remain to recuperate in Singapore."
ERM explained in the media release that the contest agreement does not bar it from exercising discretion in selecting from any of the finalists of the contest.
The company said: "The contest agreement does not bind us legally to automatically select the first runner up take over the winner should the winner fail to fulfil her duties.
"In this instance, there were two runners-up to choose from."
ERM also added: "[Pilar's] parents have been interviewed and they reassured us that she has no criminal records or probation order to keep."
Ms Arlando, who also won Miss Personality and Miss Abry awards, is the only girl in her family. She is mixed as her father is of Chinese-Indian descent and her mother is a of Portuguese and Dutch descent.
The new Miss Singapore World 2009 is also a student at MDIS, studying for her Diploma in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Management.
When Lianhe Wanbao asked about her relationship with Ms Ris Low, she replied: "We are in the same school and see each other often. We are quite good friends."
UPDATE: 17 Dec 2009
Singaporean beauty queen Ris Low has been named as one of Asia's 25 most influential people by Cable News Network (CNN).
According to a Shin Min report, the international news network pointed out that while there were many big events in 2009, there were also many "unusual" and very influential people.
In CNN's list of 25 most influential people, the people who have made the list range from awe-inspiring heroes to scandal shockers.
Amongst them is 19-year-old Ris Low who coined the infamous word "Boomz".
CNN said Ris Low is singularly responsible for giving Singapore its catchphrase of the year, and named her "Catchphrase queen".
Ris first made headlines in August this year for her poor command of English during an interview with RazorTV. Subsequently, it was revealed that she was convicted of credit card fraud and sentenced to two year's probation. Then, she told the Straits Times that she suffered from bipolar disorder and eventually stepped down as Miss Singapore World in September.
But two months after the uproar had died down, The New Paper reported that New Urban Male, a local casual wear store, had cashed in on Ris' controversies with a series of Boomz T-shirts.
UPDATE: 27 Dec 2009Ris Low wants to reinvent herself
Now, the ex-beauty queen is still in the news. She was recently ranked as one of the 25 most influential people or groups in Asia this year, by a division of the United States news network CNN. Earlier this month, she revealed that she was planning to organise her own beauty pageant and has even found a new job as a clinic assistant.
She now wants to reinvent herself — as a social worker and a tourism ambassador.
She told The Sunday Times last week that she had met the Singapore Tourism Board to discuss promoting Singapore “in terms of fashion sense”.
She has also signed up for a nine-month part-time diploma in certified counselling psychology at the Academy of Certified Counsellors.
“One of my ambitions is to help people and do voluntary work.”
Low, who has had a boyfriend for the last few months, plans to get married in two years. She says her life has changed for the better despite the bad press and her army of critics.
“More people recognise me now. As for my critics, they aren’t the ones having the last laugh, because they made me popular.” — The Sunday Times