Friday, January 26, 2007

Amazing Race Asia Bagus!

I have a confession to make. I am hooked to Amazing Race Asia. While the original US version ("The Amazing Race") has never interested me much, the Asian version held a vested interest for me: there were two Malaysian teams participating, namely the couple Andrew and Syeon; and the all-girl Joe Jer and Zabrina. And the best part is, they're both in the final three! Malaysia boleh!!!!!

But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Ok. So, anyway, for the past three months, I have been glued to Astro channel 17 (AXN) every Thursday at 9.00pm for my weekly dose of nail-biting excitement and heartbreaking agony as the teams race through confusing city streets and got down and dirty in mud, sand and even cow-dung performing inane and frustrating tasks just so that they could get to their next pit-stop. The last team to arrive would then be greeted by Fear Factor alumnus Allan Woo, with the now famous announcement, "So-and-so and what's-your-name....... you are the.... last team to arrive...... I'm sorry to say..... that.... you have been eliminated from the race".

My heart goes out to the charmingly overweight Indonesian siblings, Mardy and Marsio (or M&M for short) who have proven that in the race (as in life in general), it takes more than just brute strength and physical ability to get ahead. Their unique blend of intelligence, sibling rivalry and an endearing sense of humour has made them the favourite team of many a viewer all across Asia as evidenced by the amount of fans who wished them well when they were finally eliminated in the penultimate episode last night. Top 4 - not bad for a team whose collective weight almost broke a camel's back (literally) and ran a 4-wheel drive aground in the desert.

And who could forget the Sri Lankan team of Sahran and Howard? In Asia, gay couples obviously don't exist, but they do make great TV, so the producers of ARA came up with the term 'best friends' to describe the combination of Sahran, the hypsiphobic crybaby and his ever patient, ever supportive partner, Howard. It was quite a hoot to see Sahran abseil down the 10 storey Times Square mall, sobbing away and later, in another episode, shriek his way up (and down) one of the limestone hills off Krabi in the shortest of shorts that left almost nothing to the imagination. Hehehe

The villains of this race were of course the sneaky Thai imports of Brits Andy and Laura. In all fairness, they were very good competitors and arguably the best team of the lot. So it was quite a surprise and disappointment when they were prematurely bumped off in the 10th episode when most of everyone had grudgingly expected them to go all the way and even win the Race. They showed good strategy making, levelheadedness and a healthy dose of cunning and wit throughout the race. Still, that they had lost due to dung cakes and taxis that won't stop for them was, in my opinion, just retribution for a team that broke every possible rule in the book, stole other people's taxi and then sneeringly said, "It's a race, mate!".

And then of course, we come to my two favourite teams from Bolehland, one of which is the engaged couple of Andrew and Syeon who are just about the most loving twosome on TV. The concern and support that Andrew showed for Syeon throughout the race is touching - from carrying her piggy back style when she broke her ankle, to offering to take over her task of eating the "Arabian delicacy", this guy has shown himself to be wonderful husband material, on and off the race.

But I reserve my full support for the ultimate underdogs, Joe Jer and Zabrina! This all-girl group has kept me on the edge of my seat every week, wondering if they will survive yet another week as they trudged through their challenges almost always just ahead of the last team. What i liked about them was, of all the competitors, these two probably enjoyed the race the most, as they somehow managed to sit back, relax and gaze with wonder at the fantastic vistas outside their taxi/train/boat throughout their trek across Asia while the others were poring through their guidebooks and bickering about who was at fault the last time they fell behind.

Three teams are left in the race as the show approaches its climatic finale - the two aforementioned Boleh teams and the HK team of Sandy and Francesca, collectively known as San Fran. Fran, a Brit is the epitome of Cool Brittania, displaying class and calm all the way, only showing small cracks in her demeanour when it came to eating competitions - "Can we not eat or drink anything at all while we're in Delhi?". Meanwhile Sandy, her muscle-bound cheshire cat of a Kiwi boyfriend is the can-do guy that , as Zabrina noted, could've run the whole race all by himself. Whether it was crushing hundreds of coconuts in record time or wolfing down fried brains as if it was chicken (he did say it tasted like chicken), this guy is definitely all brawn, all man and all fun.

It'll be a nail-biting finish next week, I'm sure. And statistically, we have a 2 in 3 chance of a Malaysian winning this competition. My money is on Andrew and Syeon, but my heart roots for JoeZab. I can't wait to see what happens. Malaysia Boleh!

UPDATE: Feb 1st 2007

The girls did it!!!! Syabas Joe Jer and Zabrina!

1 comment:

Shah said...

Can't wait to the finale tomorrow. I'm rooting for Joe Jer & Zabrina.