5 years ago, Daphne Iking, Sheila Stanley, and Jojo Struys, and I started a monthly column – with the Star Newspaper – called a Different Spin.

For my 1st article, I wrote about how some young women try and use their so-called good looks to their advantage.  But it’s a modern world and there are many of us who will not tolerate this sort of behavior.   

The response that I got from readers was amazing.  I must have got over 100 emails that day and 95% of them agreed with what I wrote.  Enjoy the read, history is a wonderful thing. 😀


Pretty Squashed Egos



PGS stands for the Pretty Girl Syndrome, which some beautiful girls suffer from. Not all beautiful females suffer from this syndrome but I’m sure most guys have met our fair share of women who suffer from some form of PGS.

ONE theory that I’ve always promoted to my friends is my PGS theory. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not a Vietnam War veteran, and I have not experienced life to its fullest but let’s just say I have some stories to share.

PGS stands for the Pretty Girl Syndrome, which some beautiful girls suffer from – these girls think that “if I’m pretty, then I usually can have my way, or get out of trouble or tilt the scales in my favour”.

Not all beautiful females suffer from this syndrome but I’m sure most guys have met our fair share of women who suffer from some form of PGS. 

The symptoms obviously are – being extremely attractive, used to getting their way all the time, dislike the word “NO”, and are used to people dancing to their every whim and fancy.  They also have an ego the size of Texas, but act as if they are as humble as Mother Teresa. Sounds familiar?

I am sure many decent gentlemen have been fooled and given the run around by members of the PGS club, and I am also certain there are many girls who have been passed up for promotion or lost career opportunities because the boss chose the more attractive candidate.

I am sure you are expecting me to say, “What goes around comes around” and tell a nice story that will make one feel good or even vindicated. 

Sorry folks, not today. Today, I am going to tell you that God has a funny way of teaching people humility and respect. Recently, I had the privilege of being the television host for the Miss Universe Malaysia 2010 contest. My job was to conduct pre and post audition interviews for each contestant.

The selection process was quite straightforward – walk in, fill in some personal details, answer some basic mini essay questions and impress a panel of four judges with her winning personality. 

However, the final part was the most challenging, as each girl need to face the judges – comprising actor Hans Isaac, radio man Phat Phabes, 2004 Winner and National Director Andrea Fonseka and Julia Dolmotova, a Russian-born professional who has substantial experience in beauty brand marketing.

All judges were looking for candidates who were attractive, had a pleasant personality, good communication skills, intelligence and the X-Factor. 

The word X-Factor sounds extremely grey but in the entertainment world, it is about having the ability to turn heads and capture an audience. The judges’ job was to look for that big X-Factor which I am sure many of the girls thought they had. 

Prior to the individual auditions, I asked many of the candidates what their main strengths were. Some of the over-confident girls answered, “I am confident, beautiful and humble. I have just what it takes.” 

When I probed further and asked if that could be misconstrued as “slightly arrogant”, most of the responses was a very confident “No”.

I think they forgot what the word humble means.  In those moments, I wanted to place a PGS tag around their necks to give the judges a bit of a heads-up on what to expect.  

But a colleague quickly whispered in my ear, “Just you watch, they have no idea that they are about to enter the lion’s den”. 

In this type of situation, warriors fight and prove their worth, or get eaten alive. She will get eaten, but which lion will bite the hardest? The judges tore these girls apart. It was not done using the Simon Cowell method but rather the honest truth. 

Hans, Phabes and Andrea used a more diplomatic approach but Julia was more direct. “NO, you don’t have it, you should do something else. You are not ready; you are not beauty queen material.” Talk about reality check. 

The judges also said that some of them did not get shortlisted because they did not respect the competition. According to the judges, some of the girls did not come prepared, looked like they had just come from a nightclub and had the mentality that looks alone could get them through. 

One judge stressed, “We are looking for a beautiful, ambitious, well-informed lady who carries herself well. That is what people sometimes forget.”

To sum it up, they are looking for someone who has class and poise. This goes to show that while there are many beautiful women in the land of Malaysia, classy women do not grow on trees.

Let this be a reminder to us all that looks can only get you so far. It can open doors but you also need skills and knowledge to keep the door open. If not, you will just be known as a “dumb blonde”, a tag which is very hard to shake off.

I am always reminded about what my friend once told her young and beautiful sister.  Her ‘big sister’ advice was that, “Even though God gave you a huge advantage with good looks, if that is all people remember you for, then you are easily forgotten.” 

This friend stressed to her sister, “If you have the looks, then make sure you have the brains to go with it.” Girls who have PGS start their day by singing the song, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” 

Well, I suggest they change their tune to, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, do I have the skills to do it all?” 

And if I were the mirror, I would answer, “No, but please do something about it!”


It’s been less than a week, but I already miss the Rugby World Cup.  Watching the tournament reminded me of my Touch Judge days with the Victorian Rugby Union (VRU).

During that time we taught players, young or old, that the sport is about discipline.

In my opinion, to succeed in rugby you don’t necessarily have to be the biggest or the strongest – you just need to be very disciplined.

This month, in my sports column with the Star Newspaper, which came out yesterday, I wrote about how the sport is more about following the rules rather than physical strength and power.

Enjoy the read.

Click here : THE STAR ONLINE



All Blacks vs. Wallabies & Rugby World Cup 2015


To me, this has been the best Rugby World Cup ever. Not just because Japan played well and almost qualified for the quarterfinals, but mainly because many teams have improved, and nobody has been the standout performer.

Fiji, Wales and Ireland all played some fantastic Rugby, but at this level, you need a good squad to progress to the next round, as obtaining heavy injuries is part of the game.

The gap in World Rugby is closing, not as fast as we would like, but progress is the word of the hour. I remember in the 1995 World Cup, there were some cricket score results but now the smaller teams are more competitive.   In the pool stage, USA were leading 13-6 against Scotland at half time.

An area that tournament organisers need to look at and study is the schedule. One thing they can consider is making the tournament longer, so teams have more recovery time between games. Japan had to play Scotland 4 days after their bruising victory over the Springboks, and suffered for it. This is a contact sport; athletes need more time to recuperate.

Many Rugby fans are disappointed that the semi-finals were an all- Southern Hemisphere affair. But these countries know how to play the game – technical excellence and running Rugby.

So there are only two teams left standing.   Someone once said to me, “Heaven is down under.” In this case, it’s true because two sporting rivals go head-to-head for rugby’s biggest prize – the William Web Ellis Trophy, or Big Bill as we Rugby fans like to say.

Both teams had an element of luck going into this weekends final. New Zealand could have lost their semi-final match against South Africa, but the All Blacks are now a side that knows how to handle the pressure of tournament Rugby.

In 1991, 1999, 2003 and 2007, New Zealand (NZ) lost their Rugby World Cup knockout matches because they could not handle the pressure. Let’s not forget Rugby is a religion in NZ. A loss is a national disaster.

Being a mad South Africa supporter, I was hoping NZ would buckle under pressure again, but we must give credit to their bench for making the difference. However, they need to step it up big time and be more disciplined as they gave away 6 penalties against the Boks.

Australia, on the other hand, can thank their lucky stars that they even made the final 4. I feel for Scotland, and how a referee at that level could have made such an error is unforgivable.   Many referees have struggled in this tournament and World Rugby really needs to educate the men with the whistle on how they should interpret the laws of the breakdown in real play.

The Wallabies were never really troubled against Argentina, but rugby fans must put our hands up and give credit to David Pocock. The Australian has been my pick for player of the tournament, and how he manages to secure possession when his team have the ball and steal it from the opposition, is superhero-like.

So who is going to win this weekend’s match? Before I make a prediction, let’s just say it’s going to be tight and there will be plenty of big hits.   Yes, both teams have to stick to their game plan and execute it well on Rugby’s biggest stage, but both teams have to be disciplined and clinical at the breakdown. As I said earlier, that is an area that the refs have struggled with, so both teams must not give the referee an excuse to blow the whistle and punish them for infringements.

Many Malaysian Rugby fans are All Blacks fans, especially the boys from MCKK. So most of Malaysia will be in the All Blacks corner.

Whatever happens, let’s hope for one entertaining match where nobody gets sent off. Fifteen against fifteen, and 80 minutes of hammer-and- tongs Rugby!

My prediction is that the All Blacks will win by a converted try, but don’t write-off the Aussies just yet – that always makes them more hungry and determined.

Ben Ibrahim is a TV Presenter with Foxsports Asia. He is a mad South Africa supporter and is also a former Rugby referee. When he was at school, his schoolteacher said to him, “Rugby is the game they play in heaven because in heaven, you never get hurt.”