Amazingly fun race
The current batch of participants add colour to The Amazing Race Asia.
FOUR seasons in and The Amazing Race Asia (TARA) shows no sign of letting up. It’s still an exciting show to watch and with the current crop of participants, TARA is proving to be an amusing race, too.
The producers of the show promised that this season would be fun and funny and so far, it’s been one heck of a ride.
This time around, the race is not terribly gruelling. Last season saw a tough race that sometimes sucked the fun right out of the once-in-alifetime experience, and it left viewers at home feeling exhausted, too.
Thankfully, Season Four, which has so far taken the contestants to Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, New Zealand and Australia, has viewers in stitches.
The fundamentals of the race remain. Participants need to complete a series of tasks as they race around the world and make it to the finish line first to bag the US$100,000 (RM312,000) prize money.
Ten teams were chosen out of hundreds of applicants from across Asia and as of last week (Episode Eight), only five teams were left standing – party girls Jacinta “Jess” James and Lani Pillinger (from the Philippines), buddies Richard Hardin and Richard Herrera (also from the Philippines), friends Ethan Lim and Mohd Khairie (Malaysia), rebel pals Claire Goh and Michelle S. Ng (Singapore) and father-daughter duo Hussein Baron S. and Natasha Sutadisastra (Indonesia).
The other Malaysian team, married couple Ivan Evetovics and Tengku Hilda, were eliminated in New Zealand when Hilda struggled to take the plunge in the bungee jump challenge. It’s just too bad because they proved to be quite entertaining with their annoyingly loving banter.
Racing smart may play an important part in getting ahead but luck
Lani Pillinger from the Philippines is not too thrilled about having to eat a live grub worm during the Australian leg of plays a role as well. Oftentimes, being in the lead doesn’t necessarily translate into arriving at the designated pit stops first.
For instance, when teams get to the airport and wait for a flight to the next destination, other teams Ethan Lim (left) and Mohd Khairie, the only Malaysians left in the race, provide much of the comic relief. have the opportunity to catch up and more often than not, everyone ends up on the same plane. Of course, this makes the race more exciting as viewers (and probably the contestants too!) are unsure as to who will be eliminated next.
Last week’s episode was a good example. If Indian travel buddies Dimple Inamdar and Sunaina Gulia didn’t get so hopelessly lost on the highways in Australia, the Indonesian father-daughter pair would surely have been the team sent packing (as Natasha and Hussein had difficulties with some of the more physical tasks, particularly the Flying Trapeze routine in Sydney).
But above all, this season is filled with colourful characters.
Cousins Sahil Banga and Manas Katyal (India) were a study in contrasts. While Sahil was a man of few words, Manas talked a mile a minute!
Viewers didn’t quite get to know best friends Nadine Zamira Sjarief and Hilyani Hidanto (Indonesia), who were the first to be out of the competition, but they seemed like a fun team with their matching pink tops.
Dating couple Alan Luk and Wendy Lee (Hong Kong) bickered a lot and that contributed to their early elimination.
Hussein and his daughter Natasha provided the show with many of the more touching moments as he sometimes found it difficult to complete physical challenges and it left her feeling helpless and sad. But there were times when the 53-year- old put the younger participants to shame by completing tasks with ease like gamely eating a live grub worm (he didn’t flinch and even said it was tasty!).
The girls from the Philippines and Singapore turned out to be very competitive and capable. It is great to see them give the guys a run for their money. Jess and Lani even came in first in the Australian leg of the race (which is also where the girls are originally from). Claire and Michelle may be the youngest team (21 and 22 years old, respectively) but they have determination written all over their faces.
It is the same determination that led Michelle to swallow a live grub worm (and hating every moment of it) in Australia and the two of them to eat a whopping 275 chicken balls (they turned a shade of green in the process) in Sabah to earn a 20minute lead at the next challenge.
The Richards, or the Riches, as they are fondly called, are the most physically fit (they were the only team who chose to wrangle muddy pigs instead of dancing).
They were undoubtedly the studs of the competition, charming their way through some of the peopleoriented tasks. No surprise that the guys ended up taking the lead in a couple of legs.
Last but not least, Malaysians Ethan and Khairie give the show a bit of comic relief. The selfproclaimed social misfits are just naturally funny. Only these guys would get pulled over by cops for driving too slowly in New Zealand! n TheAmazingRaceAsiaSeason Four airs Thursdays at 9pm on AXN (Astro Channel 701).
So yucky: RaceAsia.