'Major major:' Venus Raj's legacy?

Posted at 08/24/10 5:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - She may have failed to get the crown, but Venus Raj, the country's representative to this year's Miss Universe pageant, left something for the whole world to remember -- the term "major major."

The expression, apparently made out of nervousness, is currently a hot topic among Internet users across the globe. As of 5:53 p.m., "major major" is the seventh trending topic on Twitter worldwide.



During the Miss Universe question and answer portion, Raj was asked by American actor William Baldwin about the biggest mistake that she made in her life and what she did to make it right.



She replied, "You know what, sir, in my 22 years of existence, I can say that there's nothing major major problem that I've done in my life because I'm very confident with my family, with the love that they are giving to me. So thank you so much that I'm here. Thank you, thank you so much!"

The 5'9" beauty with a 22-inch waistline, who was a crowd favorite even before the pageant, became the fourth runner-up after the question and answer portion.

It was Mexico's Jimena Navarrete who was proclaimed Miss Universe 2010.

At the time when the pageant was aired live on television, Raj was the top trending topic on Twitter. As of this writing, she went down to third place.

Word of the Year?

Major Major is actually the name of a 4-member indie rock band from Liverpool, United Kingdom.

In the context of Raj's statement, Twitter user Chris Mercado, or xmond, translated "major major" as "bonggang bongga," a term commonly used in gayspeak which means "extravagant" or "outlandish."

"Venus Raj's answer in Filipino: 'Wala po akong naging problema sa buhay ko na bonggang bongga! (major major),'" Mercado said in his Twitter page. The said message has been retweeted by several people, including well-known fashion designer Rajo Laurel.

The term continues to gain popularity as we speak. But the question among netizens is, will it have the same fate as "jejemon," which became the country's "Word of the Year?"



"Jejemon," a term coined by combining the SMS term for laughter and the suffix used in a popular cartoon of trainable monsters, refers to people who deliberately exaggerate ordinary words by adding, subtracting, or mixing letters and numbers in written communication.

It has since been considered a subculture, with other words taking off from its popularity such as the "bekimon," which is defined as a "hard-core user" of gay language.

"Major major to replace jejemon as word of the year! Haha...we love you Venus Raj!" said Twitter user msancelle.

User msYSAY added, "May bago nang statement ang buong Pilipinas. Laos na ang bonggang bongga, ang in ngayon, major major! Go go Venus! Panalo ka! (The Philippines now has a new statement. 'Bonggang bongga' is out, and 'major major' is in. Go go Venus! You're the winner!)"

What should've been said?

Despite the so-called slip-up during the question and answer portion, Raj was highly praised by 2 of the country's Miss Universe beauties.

Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran, winners of the Miss Universe title in 1969 and 1973, respectively, noted that being in number 5 at a time when the Philippines is under fire because of the hostage-taking incident in the Quirino Grandstand is already a huge feat.

"She was good, she was awesome. Very positive siya (She was very positive) even after yesterday's fiasco," Diaz told ABS-CBN News.

Moran added, "Being number 5 out of 80 is an achievement in itself. It is a time of celebration, and we need it."

The 2 beauty queens, however, noted that Raj could've done better.

Moran, in particular, said that Raj could've cited her struggles in getting a valid Philippine passport as she tried to win back her Binibining Pilipinas title.

Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. earlier stripped her of the crown due to inconsistencies in her birth records.

"She had difficulty going to the States. She should've talked about that," Moran explained.

Nevertheless, Raj said that she is flattered by the increasing popularity of her "major major" remark during the pageant.

In an interview with a local television network, she said in jest, "At least 'yung major major nakapagbigay ng karangalan sa ating bansa. (At least 'major major' brought honor to the country somehow.")

This may, indeed, be the starting point of Raj's road to stardom.