Wonder women

Photos courtesy of Bangkok Post

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Read the following story by Melalin Mahavongtrakul from the Bangkok Post. Then, answer the questions that follow.

The Miss Tiffany beauty pageant has crowned the most glamorous transgender women in the country for more than two decades.


The atmosphere in the dressing room was electric as the beauty queens put the finishing touches to their hair and make-up. There wasn’t much time left before everybody was due on stage for the final round of Miss Tiffany’s Universe 2018, the beauty pageant for transgender women which recently took place in Pattaya.

Before the final, we went backstage to find out more about this year’s hopefuls. Nanut Arpsuwaun, 26, was competing for the first time. A ballet teacher and a cancer survivor, Nanut said she’s loved dancing from a young age and dreams of auditioning for international dance companies.

“I’ve been wanting to take part in the pageant for years. But I couldn’t until now because I had to receive medical treatment. Now that I’m better, I’m giving it a shot,” she said.


Every year since 1998, Miss Tiffany’s Universe has welcomed hundreds of transgender women onto its stage. This year, 30 contestants advanced to the final round. Some, like Nanut, were first-timers. Many others have been here before.

“I won the swimsuit round back in 2016. I got the title Miss Fit and Firm,” said Chatchapa Thepkunanon (Baipai), 24, proudly. She now works as a beauty consultant and freelance actress.

“Thai people are open-minded to an extent when it comes to sexuality. But some still hold prejudices against transgender people. I’ve applied for jobs and been denied because they said transgender people are all talk and don’t do any work,” she said.

“I want us to have equal rights. Transgender, tom, lesbian, gay - everybody. We can start with something small like marriage equality. It’s a small thing, but it’s very important.”

Chatchapa finished Miss Tiffany’s Universe 2018 with a new title - Miss Congeniality.


“Fame gives you more space and acceptance in society. And it allows you to earn more so you can support your family,” said Nanut.

Other contestants feel the opportunity afforded them by the pageant can help them achieve something greater for society. Theerachaya Pimkitidaj (Book), 22, a beauty adviser and Chinese interpreter at a cosmetics store, said she looks up to predecessors like Nicha Rongram, the first runner-up of Miss Tiffany’s Universe 2012 who is now an LGBTI activist.

“I think I’m ready to follow suit and inspire others,” said Theerachaya, who was eventually declared this year’s first runner-up.


Most of the contestants have faced social obstacles, with some struggling for acceptance from their families. Theerachaya comes from a conservative family, who were closed-minded over gender issues. It was a long, emotional journey before her parents finally accepted her. Thankfully, her family is very supportive of her now.

Kanwara Kaewjin (Esmon), 21, a university student and part-time model who was the eventual winner of the pageant, had a very similar experience.

“I used to put on my mother’s clothes and shoes, all the while fearing what my father and others would say if they found out,” she said.

Section 1

Read through the story and answer the following multiple-choice questions.

1. What is the article about?

a. Stories of Miss Tiffany winners.
b. Transgender opinions on sexual orientation.
c. This year’s Miss Tiffany contestants.

2. Where was Miss Tiffany’s Universe 2018 held?

a. In Chonburi.
b. In Bangkok.
c. In Nonthaburi.

3. Who won this year’s Miss Tiffany’s Universe?

a. Chatchapa Thepkunanon.
b. Nanut Arpsuwaun.
c. Kanwara Kaewjin.

4. How many people took part in the contest?

a. More than one hundred.
b. One hundred.
c. 30.

5. How long has the contest been held?

a. For about 30 years.
b. For about 20 years.
c. For about 10 years.

6. Which of the following statements is TRUE, according to the article?

a. Nanut is 25 years old.
b. Nanut is a volleyball teacher.
c. Nanut was taking part in the contest for the first time.
7. Which of the following statements is NOT true, according to the article?

a. Kanwara has a bachelor’s degree.
b. Chatchapa earned the title Miss Fit and Firm in 2016.
c. Theerachaya was the first runner-up in 2018.

Section 2

Underline one grammatically incorrect word in each of the following sentences. Then, write down the grammatically correct word in the space given.

8. Staff were applying concealer to the beauty queens’ backs and leg.


9. Kanwara first entered Miss Tiffany last year at the encouraging of her peers.


10. She returned this year, intent on learn from her mistakes.


11. Many of the ladies agreed that work opportunities can be limit for them. 


12. Many people hope fame can help further them lives and careers.


13. Poyd Treechada is one of the country’s most famous transgender celebrity.


Section 3

Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.

“My parents are so happy and proud …..14….. me, partly because I can live in this society happily,” said Kanwara. Her parents …..15….. able to come and support her in person, but …..16….. were glued to the TV at home watching the broadcast. “Family is very important and I don’t think they mean to keep …..17….. from being who we are. Perhaps they are worried about …..18….. their children are going to be accepted by society being LGBTI. But I was able to show them …..19….. we can be successful too,” she said.


a. of  
b. on   
c. in


a. wasn’t  
b. weren’t  
c. isn’t


a. she  
b. we   
c. they


a. us  
b. our   
c. we


a. whether  
b. why   
c. when


a. since  
b. that   
c. because

Section 4

Write down the noun forms of the following words used in the story in the space given.

20. competing


21. freelance


22. international


23. accepted


24. medical



Section 1

1. c.
2. a.
3. c.
4. a.
5. b.
6. c.
7. a.

Section 2

8. leg; legs
9. encouraging; encouragement
10. learn; learning
11. limit; limited
12. them; their
13. celebrity; celebrities

Section 3

14. a.
15. b.
16. c.
17. a.
18. a.
19. b.

Section 4

20. Competition.
21. Freelancer.
22. Internationalism/internationalist/internationalisation.
23. Acceptance.
24. Medic/medicine.


21-24: Excellent!
17-20: Good.
13-16: Fair.
12 or fewer: You'll do better next time!


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