BANGKOK – A heart-warming picture has emerged online showing a young beauty queen returning to her hometown in Thailand to say thank you in the most modest way to the woman who raised her.
Wearing her glittering crown, silk sash and heels,17-year-old Khanittha ‘Mint’ Phasaeng – who won the title of Miss Uncensored News Thailand 2015 last month – knelt before her mother in front of filthy rubbish bins to thank her for all she has done, reports The People’s Daily Online.
The touching moment has captured many people’s hearts as Mint’s mother who raised her alone, makes a living by collecting and recycling trash.
17-year-old Mint Kanistha of Thailand grew up in poverty. Her mother makes a living by collecting and recycling trash. The family is so poor that Mint could not afford to go to college after she graduated from high school.
Despite their impoverished living condition, Mint has never been ashamed of her background or what her mom does. She has maintained an optimistic outlook. She also helps her family by working on many menial jobs, including assisting her mom in collecting trash and sorting recyclables.
Mint said, “What I have today is because of my mother. She and I make a living by doing honest work, so there is no reason why I should feel inferior.
When friends encouraged her to enter a beauty pageant, Mint decided that she would try. And guess what — she just won the title of Miss Uncensored News Thailand 2015.
The crown was awarded to Khanittha “Mint” Phasaeng came into controversy almost immediately when organizers discovered she had lied about her educational background by writing on the application form that she had passed Mathayom 6 (Level 12). Her highest educational achievement is Mathayom 3.
The organizers only discovered the lie when a university contacted them to offer her a scholarship the Bangkok Post reported.
The 17-year-old beauty queen had already become the talk of the town after it was reported that she helps her mother collect garbage for a living. The organizers dismissed speculation about stripping the winner, a garbage collector, of the crown.
Mint apologized on Thursday to Somchai Leknoi, the contest organizer, for the education background lie, claiming she had no intention of doing it and had failed to check her application which was filled in by her uncle.
Mr Somchai said the organizers and the two runners-up held no grudge against her as the event did not limit the education of competitors. But she should not have lied about her education, he added.
After the win Mint has gained advertising, film and television work which she hopes will improve the situation at home. But, she said: ‘The family will continue to be scavengers. My mother will still go and sort garbage and is not willing to let me help.’
It is unclear where in Thailand her family home is, but Mint’s story has been widely praised and circulated across the country.
Many people from impoverished backgrounds are saying she is not only beautiful but strong and dutiful, as she continues to help her mother sort rubbish.