A young woman is spraying a bus from Yangon Region Transport Authority with disinfectant to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, since it has been running to and from many places around the city the whole day. Wearing full equipment including a mask, a PPE, a heavy shoe, and carrying a 20-litre bottle of solution, she cannot speak much but her face is shined with enthusiasm and courage despite the risks she has put at herself. You might wonder to know that she is neither a government staff nor a health worker, but a beauty pageant titleholder named Nay Kyar Khin Khin.
Khin is a 27-year old presenter who graduated with a degree in Japanese from Yangon University of Foreign Languages. She began her pageantry journey as a contestant of Miss Myanmar International 2016 where she won Miss Green 2016 title and placed as the 2nd runner up. Coming back after three years, she has been crowned as Miss Universe Kawkareik 2019 to compete in the upcoming Miss Universe Myanmar 2020.
As soon as the very first positive case of corona virus was found in Myanmar, it immediately got almost everyone worried, yet Khin wanted to take part in the fight against COVID-19 since she believed that it could be more impactful to the community when people with an aura and an influence advocate for the same cause. “As a beauty queen, I have a voice to be heard by my audience so when I do something, they shall follow my steps,” she said. Thus, despite the final competition in the next two months for which she must balance her diet and exercises to maintain her body and beauty, she decided to join the taskforce of Wai Lu Kyaw Foundation and GMW Volunteers.
Working as a volunteer during this fight has not been so easy for her and the entire team, there were missed meals, a number of challenges, they had to sleep on the ambulances for the first two nights as they could not go back home as well as find a venue to settle down. Luckily, on day 3, North Dagon Township has offered their office to be used as the camp for all volunteers so that they can smoothly run their operations. They include spraying the public places, YBS (Yangon Bus Services) buses, and other necessary sites with disinfectant, assisting the government staff in Aung Mingalar Highway Gate and Waibargi Hospital, and keeping stand-by with ambulances to give help in any emergency situations.
She sees this situation as an alarm to be united and to think of what we can reciprocate in return of what we have received from our nation. More so, she showed her appreciation to our frontliners, “I cannot even relate how it is hard to fight from the frontline and it is truly important to have their back and support them.” She henceforth encouraged everyone to take individual responsibility for oneself. “That is why we are volunteering. The pandemic has alerted us that we need to think as “we”, not as “me,” because it is unity that is needed to overcome this together. Our country, our government, and our heroes from the medical field need our help right now. And we can give it just by staying at home and taking care of our health.”
“We won’t go back home unless this crisis is ended although we don’t know when it will be. Even when everything is over, we have to be quarantined for 14 days. So, if it does not end in time, I have to resign from the competition, because I still need to be here and all I have always wanted is to be a servant leader,” she said. Getting momentum to enhance her passion through current progress, she also plans to set up her own foundation after this pandemic is over. She believes that we need to give hands in various ways to get resilient from this ongoing crisis so her foundation is aimed at environmental protection and conservation, reducing plastic pollution, and helping underprivileged and disadvantaged children.
When she was asked what would happen if she missed the opportunity to win the title in the upcoming competition since she could not focus on it anymore, she replied, “That would be a lie to say that I do not want the crown.” “However, I am still glad to break the stereotype that the true value of a beauty queen is measured beyond the way she looks, it depends on how she contributes back to the community. And I also want to inspire other people, especially young girls, that we are able to lead and we are able to make a change,” Khin energetically said.