Politics is not a beauty contest, but looking good still matters

Andrew Wong Kee Yew


The parties which make up the opposition coalition have long been fielding fresh-faced, young professionals as their candidates. By comparison, the ruling coalition seems to be just the opposite, where their candidates tend to be old-timers, and more often than not, even their new faces are actually those who are already in their 60s.

However, for the 14th general election (GE14), there seems to be a big breakthrough for state Barisan Nasional (BN). Finally, on the ruling coalition front, we see new faces who are young and vibrant where some of them are not only eye-catching but are also appealing in little, small details.

Topping the list, and getting the approval of more than a few female journalists when candidates were named by state BN chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg recently, was none other than Datuk Andrew Wong Kee Yew, the son of Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.

Like other state BN candidates that day, he wore the simple BN blue t-shirt but his overall image was impressive. Standing at a height of 178cm and weighing 75kg, Andrew who is already 42, looks much younger like he is in his 30s. A female reporter was heard exclaiming after the event: “Wow, so good-looking. I really like his nose!”

And if anyone is to think that Andrew is just a puppet, they are wrong. An interview with Andrew will easily show that he is a man of his own. He has his own thoughts and well-informed opinions. He may have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he is definitely not an empty vessel. And yes, that makes him even more attractive!

Then there is Mukah candidate Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib. Her trademark beret — a touch of fashion which is not too small, yet not too much — made her stand out amongst the sea of blue like a movie star.

Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib

Perhaps, it is because of her genes. Her father Head of State Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud likes to wear a flat cap and boy! How he used to move around, dressed up to the nines like a movie star when visiting different constituencies, so much so that he was said to be copying his favourite movie star the late Tan Sri P Ramlee. The fact of the matter is, being of mixed parentage of the East and the West, Hanifah’s Eurasian looks and height will always make her stand out everywhere she goes!

Apart from Hanifah, the new face of Sibuti Lukanisman Awang, also caught the attention of many, with his ready smile and almond-shaped eyes which are always good enough to cause weak knees in some woman voters especially now that Korean dramas are very much trendy and in fashion.

Lukanisman Awang

Lukanisman who seemingly smiles innocently and shyly, is not unlike state DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen when he was younger, who used to “slay” women voters with his smile and charm.

Chong, over the years has put on much weight. The charm has disappeared after the shyness slowly faded from the smile. This is inevitable. But with the fading away of innocence, what is in place is wisdom and more wisdom.

Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) candidate Kho Teck Wan stands as the total opposite of the bombastic and fiery Violet Yong from Democratic Action Party (DAP) who is known for her eloquent, entertaining and mesmerising speeches as well as her very distinctive but never-changing hair-do.

Kho Teck Wan

Coming across as petite, sweet and well-educated, Kho will definitely be popular among male voters if her image remains demure, gentle, intelligent and uncorrupted.

Kho’s opponent in the Bandar Kuching parliamentary seat will be Dr Kelvin Yii, who stands at a height of 181cm, weighs 79kg, wears a pair of trendy spectacles, and carries the look of a well-mannered young man.

Dr Kelvin Yii

Gentle in his speech and very much full of ideals, he comes across as a Boy Scout and one that tends to earn the trust of other easily. Don’t underestimate this Boy Scout though. He is there to fill in Chong’s big shoes in Bandar Kuching.

The DAP candidate for Sibu Oscar Ling is also a good-looking young chap while his Lanang counterpart, Alice Lau, though not known for her looks but is a very eloquent and persuasive speaker, whose ability to deliver both Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia speeches is very impressive.

If speaking about the opposition, one cannot overlook the person of Larry Sng. When Larry first joined politics at the tender age of 21, many local female journalists could not help but stare. Tall, boyish and fair-skinned — the look of a rich, well-brought up Chinese boy — Larry was once such a heartthrob.

However, like Chong, with the passage of time, Larry’s good looks are fading, especially now that he has put on weight. Once on top of the chart of good-looking local politicians, he has, like Chong, slipped to the bottom but nonetheless, still remains on the chart.

Well, perhaps for these two though young but already much seasoned politicians and many other politicians, staying on top of the good-looking politician rankings is the last thing on their agenda.

However, politicians who are public figures should not underestimate how important looking good and presentable is. The public will judge them not only on their policies but how they look.

No one should be blamed for how they look, but everyone is responsible for how they manage it. A politician who looks greasy and unpolished and is rude, is on the onset, already losing to one who is poised, well-groomed and well-mannered. That is a fact in this field where favourable public perception is crucial. — DayakDaily