Veronica Shiu wins Miss Hong Kong title (thanks to 'one man, one vote' system)

It had a public poll and screening, but would C.Y. look this good in a cape?

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 September, 2014, 5:55am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 September, 2014, 9:12am

It may not seem quite the place to make a political statement, but TVB's Miss Hong Kong Pageant last night gave the city a taste of how democracy could look in 2017.

A "one man, one vote" system allowed the public to pick the winner - but not before a panel of celebrity judges had served as a nominating committee to screen out seven of the 10 finalists.

More than 200,000 viewers cast their ballots via the contest's smartphone app to determine first, second and third places.

Veronica Shiu Pui-sie, a 24-year-old university student, was crowned Miss Hong Kong after winning more than 156,000 votes, far outnumbering the first runner-up, Erin Wong Cheuk-ki, 23, who received about 28,000 votes. Second runner-up was law degree graduate Katherine Ho Yim-kuen, 22.

It was the third year that the TVB pageant had used the public voting system but some viewers complained that this year the adjudicating committee had been given too much power; previously the public and judges had a 50-50 weighting of votes.

The first "universal suffrage" vote - as the broadcaster billed it in 2012 - turned into a fiasco when thousands of viewers were left unable to vote due to a computer-server breakdown. Eventually, the winner had to be chosen by the judges.

The company initially suspected that the crash had been caused by hackers who generated millions of votes to overload the system. But an investigation found no evidence of this, according to the broadcaster. There were no such hitches this year or the previous year.

"TVB is telling you to doi zyu sin (pocket what you get)," said a web user on one of the city's discussion forums, referring to the fact that the public were only allowed to choose between candidates picked by the judges appointed by the broadcaster.

The expression has been popularised recently by pro-establishment figures who try to convince Hongkongers to accept an imperfect reform package.