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Stage is open for ‘Miss & Mister Deaf Thailand’

Aug 05. 2017
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By Hatairat Deeprasert
The Sunday Nation

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The search is on for young Thais to follow in the footsteps of Chutima “Namwan” Netsuriwong, who last month in Prague became the first contestant from this nation to be crowned Miss Deaf World.

The Promotion and Development of the Arts Thai Deaf Club (PDAD) will on August 15 begin accepting applications from young hearing-impaired people with 

acting talent for the Miss & Mister Deaf Thailand contest.

Preliminary rounds in the 

competition will continue through October 31 with the final round set for February 3.

The two winners will represent Thailand in the Miss & Mister Deaf World competition and the runner-up couple will go on to compete for Miss & Mister Deaf International.

PDAD president Viroj “Nab Dao” Ongapichart said this week the aim is to demonstrate that “people can’t choose their birth, but they can choose who they become”.

Viroj is chief organiser of Miss & Mister Deaf Thailand and hosts the Miss Deaf Queen Thailand contest held every other year.

Tonfon Phumla, deputy director of Miss & Mister Deaf Thailand, has normal hearing and has for four years worked alongside hearing-impaired volunteers in organising the contest. 

Everyone has a separate “day job” and no one gets paid to help run the event, she said, but there is ample reward in helping young people fulfil their potential. 

Tonfon pointed out that past contestants have gone on to careers in the limelight, including actress Thanchancok “First” Jittakul and model Natthasit “Mos” Limthammaloet.

Chutima’s triumph in the Czech Republic made her the 17th person to wear the Miss Deaf World crown and only the second from Asia.

“Namwan has been deaf since a young age and learned to read lips so she could attend school with 

normal-hearing peers,” Tonfon said. 

She earned a 3.1 grade point average. As well as engaging in 

volunteer work, she’s pursuing a bachelor’s degree in home economics and business administration at Rajamangala University of Technology, Phra Nakhon. 

Chutima received a partial scholarship to attend the university and has two friends with normal hearing from Thon Buri Vocational School helping her in her studies. 

“She studied sign language for two months before going to Prague to compete,” Tonfon said. “Her beauty, grace and stage presence and her talent in performing Thai traditional dance won the judges over. 

“And, of course, her win was a big boost for the Thai contest.”

Chutima declared that she’s happy in her life and doesn’t feel she lacks anything. Her idol is supermodel Methinee Kingpayom and she too would love to become a model, act or present traditional Thai dancing.

Contest interpreter Reudee Panich pointed out that Chutima is also skilled in handicrafts and wants to teach hearing-impaired children. She’d also like to open a florist’s shop to take care of her mother in Samut Sakhon, an assistant nursery teacher.

Applications for the Miss Deaf Queen Thailand competition can be made from August 15-October 31 via Line app @mmdt, or the “Miss & Mister Deaf Thailand” Facebook page.

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