my biggest race ever
Last Thursday, viewers bade goodbye to Mohd Khairie and Ethan Lim – the remaining Malaysian team on this season’s TheAmazingRaceAsia. Here’s an exclusive personal account of Khairie’s journey on the reality TV show.
Mohd Khairie, who with his buddy Ethan Lim bade goodbye to TheAmazing RaceAsia last Thursday, gives an exclusive account of his journey on the reality TV show.
IHAD never considered myself television material, much less to see myself on an internationally renowned TV series. Reality TV shows, by the way, were something I’d enjoyed watching on idle Friday nights or while running on the treadmill at the gym. Often they’d just end up as small talk between me and my friends. The thought of auditioning for one, let alone The Amazing Race Asia with its huge fan base and literally thousands of applications every year, never even crossed my mind.
All this changed last year when a pretty long-haired girl picked a friend of mine over me, which admittedly stung a little more than it should have. And as history has proven time and time again, never is a man more adventurous than after love lost, which sent me on a spur of adventure-seeking.
Consequently, 2010 was a year of several firsts for me: going white-water rafting, conquering my fear of heights, sticking to a weight loss regime, and, of course, auditioning for reality television.
Getting picked for the show was quite surreal in itself. The two months preceding the race when Ethan and I had to keep a lid on our participation on the show was difficult to believe, especially when there were days when the fact just refused to sink in. We trained for it, discussed strategies, divided responsibilities and planned on what to pack, but still it seemed like we were planning for a holiday rather than a gruelling race across several countries with nine other teams. Then came race day. I don’t think I can ever forget the feeling of standing at Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur just before the cue to race. It was intense and I think it was only at that moment that it finally dawned on Ethan and me that we were part of one of the world’s best races.
Then Allan (Wu, the show host) shouted, “Go!” Everything happened so fast that I only now remember most of the race in bits and pieces. Batu Caves. Colombo. Bungee jump. Running to catch a flight. Scuba diving.
I don’t think I can adequately describe the feeling of a dream come true.
Yet during the race while being in some of the world’s most beautiful places, participating in the most exhilarating adventures, what made the biggest impression were the personalities surrounding the race and how they led me further to the path of self-discovery.
(Tengku) Hilda may be an acquired taste for some, but watching the Malaysian and her husband Ivan (Evetovics) race showed me just how patient and loving a couple could be, while Hilyani’s (Indonesian Hilyani Hidanto) optimism, despite being eliminated in the second leg, never ceased to amaze me.
Richard & Richard (Richard Hardin and Richard Herrera of the Philippines) were good fellows who raced respectably and never spoke ill of anyone, while Michelle and Claire (Singaporeans Michelle S. Ng and Claire Goh) were the funniest, down-to-earth people I’ve ever known despite their being quite the celebrities back home.
Seeing all these positive traits manifest in the most stressful of times showed me what it really means to treat others, as well as yourself, with respect.
The participants aside, it was also meaningful for me to have met so many helpful people along the way. You didn’t watch this on TV but in the Sydney (Australia) leg of the race, Ethan and I were completely broke, and a very sympathetic cabbie offered to drive us to our destination free of charge. In the Philippines, a bus ticketing conductor actually stepped out of his booth to point us to a bus that was leaving earlier than the rest.
The warmth shown by these complete strangers towards Ethan and me is something that I will always remember and cherish.
Now, after the race, I tend to look back at the beginning and start to evaluate how much I’ve changed and what I’d like to take with me. If I could, I’d like to shake hands with the girl who started this in the first place and thank her, because if it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t have gone through the single most amazing experience of my life.
I’ll try to emulate Ivan’s love and respect for his wife, Michelle’s determination to succeed, Ethan’s meticulous planning and attention to detail, and perhaps enjoy life with Manas and Sahil’s (cousins Manas Katyal and Sahil Banga of India) vivid sense of humour.
Through these people I learn there are far bigger things in life than simply winning, and that life itself is an amazing race, filled with roadblocks and detours, but with the right attitude you’ll always come out first. n TheAmazingRaceAsia4 airs Thursdays at 9pm on AXN (Astro Channel 701). The four teams left in contention are: Jacinta “Jess” James and Lani Pillinger as well as Richard Hardin and Richard Herrera (from the Philippines); Claire Goh and Michelle S. Ng (Singapore); and Hussein Baron S. and Natasha Sutadisastra (Indonesia).
Right attitude: Mohd Khairie (left) and buddy Ethan Lim at the Pinang Peranakan Mansion in Penang during the first leg of the race, working out their next move. Khairie may have lost (in love and the race), but he’s gained invaluable lessons on life.