Amaz­ingly fun race

The cur­rent batch of par­tic­i­pants add colour to The Amaz­ing Race Asia.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - R.AGE - By EVE­LYN TEO

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.


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