Gloria Mei Ru TingAge:23
Where did you grow up? Tell us a little about your home town/city, and family.
I was born in a small town called Sibu, located at the heart of Borneo where I spend my first seven years before moving to Canada with my family. Following a decade of staying in a foreign country, my family felt the pinch of "home sickness". They decided that Malaysia was still where home was so we moved back. Sibu is what I like to call a ‘paradise city’. It is the second largest city in the state of Sarawak. With a population of over 200,000 people comprising of a colourful mix of ethnic tribes and Malays living in perfect harmony with the various Chinese dialect groups, their traditional background compliments and supplements each other like a colourful quilt. I have an elder brother, older sister and a younger brother. My parents own a humble little gas station where my siblings and I help out.
What Jobs have you done? What was the most interesting/bizarre?
During my teenage years I did what most teenagers would do to earn a little pocket money. I did some odd jobs at a driving range, fast food outlet, paper delivering and worked at a petrol station. As I grew older, I took up teaching at the Sunday school. Recently I have been doing a little modelling. I would say teaching at the Sunday school was the most interesting and in a way, a little bizarre. Bizarre because I never saw myself as a teacher and in the beginning it felt awkward having a class full of children listening to your every word.
What are your career ambitions, how do you plan to realise them?
My career ambitions are to create awareness on the beauty of children. There are so many children in this world who are either suffering of are so unprivileged due to our own doing. I do believe that everyone desires a world without suffering, but so few do what it takes to obtain true peace. I hope to set up an organisation in which to relief these unprivileged children of their burdens. I want this campaign to be able to raise funds and set up campaigns to let the world know that we all just need to put a little effort and a lot can be done for these children. In return these children will be the promise of a better and brighter future.
What is the proudest moment of your life? (Not including winning your National Title)
I would say that the proudest moment in my life would be the time when I realized that I had the gift to help others. I realised this when I decided to sponsor a child from a shelter home. The stories I heard from the people working at the shelter home on how the girl began telling her friends at the shelter of how grateful she was that I was sponsoring her made me proud. It was astonishing hearing how a 10 year old could be so grateful for my actions. I felt so touched; it felt like a great pat on the back saying ‘I did well’. The thought still makes me smile to myself even till today.
What was the funniest/most embarrassing moment of your life?
There was this time I was shopping for groceries at the local wet market. While busy trying to brush through the thick crowd of people, I couldn’t help but notice an old man sitting at one corner of the market. He looked very old and frail so I felt pity on him. There were many beggars at the market, but this one really caught my attention for some reason. He was sitting there with a white plastic cup in one hand so I quickly squeezed my way towards him. I could barely reach him due to the thick crowd around, but I got close enough to be able to stretch out my arm to drop some of the small change I had with me into his little ‘coin pouch’. Just after I did what I thought had been a Good Samaritan job, he shouted to me in a very foul manner. I was taken a back by his remark, so I walked up to him to get a better explanation from him. Later I found out that the old man was not a beggar. Apparently he was just waiting for his wife to finish shopping as he was tired from walking and his ‘con pouch’ was actually a cup of fruit juice, which he bought to drink while waiting. I couldn’t stop apologizing and offered to buy him a new cup of juice. It was one exceptionally embarrassing moment for me, not to mention funny.
How has your life changed since winning your National Title?
My life has undergone a drastic change since winning the title. Suddenly, I am exposed to so many people. So many interviews, functions, photo sessions to attend too. Time seems to get shorter by the day with endless activities flowing in. I just love the attention I get. I get people wanting to take photos with me. It kind of indirectly makes me feel more special. I have also begun to grow more affectionate towards the unprivileged children I meet at the shelter homes I visit.
Tell us about an interesting event you have attended, or a person that you have met.
One of the most interesting events I have been to would have to be when I attended my high school music camp in grade 8. As a freshman, I was really shy and didn’t have many friends. During that weekend, I felt like I was having the time of my life, because I made so many friends and I discovered my talent, singing. With lots of activities set out for us, we learnt survival skills, improved our communication and interpersonal skills and did a lot of team building exercises. The most enjoyable time was when we all sat around the campfire. We all took turns telling stories about ourselves and of course, ghost stories. We also sang together while toasting marshmallows. It was one memorable moment because I found out so many things about people, which I would have never expected. Some had tragic pasts and some had experiences I wish I had. Nevertheless, at the end of camp, we were all reluctant to leave. We grew close in less than 3 days and we’re like a family.
What would you like to do, if you became Miss World 2004?
If I became Miss World 2004, I would like to reach out to more people especially unprivileged people. I would like to create a better understanding of the Miss World Organization. Many people are still very sceptical on the true purpose of the organization. I will show to the world that the biggest and most loved event is all about charity and helping the needy. Following the busy schedule that would be bound to me should I win, all my energy and effort will be channelled to one sole purpose and that would be helping the deprived?
If you had a personal motto what would it be?
Do it for our dreams, Imagine all the possibilities!
Give details of any charitable work undertaken?
I have done voluntary work as a teacher at a Sunday school. I did that for a year when I was in Canada. I always loved reading the bible as a little girl so reading and teaching children of the love of God was a great thing to do. I was also a member of the St Johns Ambulance Organization. It was a privilege working with such a well-known charitable organization in their charitable activities. Last year, I sponsored a child from a shelter home through a "Sponsor A Child" program.