The Star Malaysia
Malaysian pair Tengku Hilda and Ivan Evetovics ran a good race.
IF there is one thing eliminated The Amazing Race Asia 4 (TARA 4) contestant Tengku Hilda wants to get off her chest, it is that she isn’t bossy or a spoilt brat.
“You know, I’m really upset that I am portrayed as this really bossy person. I am a good person. I climb mountains (away from the show) and I carry my own bags. But people don’t see that. One month of racing and people think I am bossy and a spoilt brat,” says Hilda who, at the time of the interview, had just returned from a work visit to the Niah Caves in Sarawak ... without hubby Ivan Evetovics, her teammate.
Hilda, 38, was certainly one of the more memorable (and vocal) contestants in the race.
The couple from Kuching, Sarawak, one of 10 teams this season that began on Sept 23, was eliminated in week six (Oct 27). Not only did they lose their way en route to a challenge, they faced their biggest hurdle at the detour where they had to choose between plunge (each contestant has to bungee jump) and swing (teams go on a high wire swing 150m in the air as a pair).
They chose plunge, perhaps not realising it was a bungee jump. Unfortunately, Hilda could not get over her phobia of heights and the team wasted precious time.
“That was the most challenging part of the race for me. I wanted to do it but I have a phobia (of heights). When I was six, I fell and hit my head and the fear is still in me. I know I was almost hysterical but I just couldn’t do it,” says Hilda.
The couple eventually switched detours and completed the challenge but were too late. They were eliminated from the race.
“I wanted to win real bad. And after we won the second leg, we thought, OK, this is doable,” says Ivan. Unfortunately, the race waits for no one. “Everyone there wants to win. We were competing against the strongest teams in Asia. Not everyone can get the chance ... all the teams were strong and motivated,” explains Hilda.
Hungarian by birth, Ivan, 33, is a university lecturer with Inti International University in Kuching. He met his researcher wife when they were in college and the two have been married for 14 years and have a 10-year-old daughter, Maryam.
“I came to Malaysia around 1994. My father was a swimming coach in Kuching and I followed him here and enrolled in a college. Hilda and I were classmates and it was love at first sight, really,” reveals Ivan.
Though not a brat, Hilda admits that she is somewhat spoilt.
“I am a bit manja (pampered) but that’s because he wants to do everything for me. He spoils me,” she says.
Having been together for 15 years prepared them for the gruelling nature of the race.
“It was the first time we competed in a race together and surprisingly, it was quite normal. Honestly, the race is a little like our lives, you know. We face all kinds of challenges every day ... and we have to find ways to get through them,” surmises Ivan.
Adds Hilda: “Yeah ... we were uni-mates and used to do our assignments together. We know each other well so there were no surprises.”
Both Ivan and Hilda are pretty active in judo, parkour and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu back in Kuching, so navigating the physical tasks in the race weren’t too torturous.
“I think what we found most challenging was finding the places (we had to go to). Orientation was sometimes a problem.
“The challenges and the roadblocks weren’t too bad. Oh ... except for the sewing challenge in Sri Lanka. We didn’t know what the challenge was or else Hilda could have done it. I have never sewed in my life,” recalls Ivan.
What about Hilda who, in the first episode, looked about to have a breakdown when she had to climb the steps of Batu Caves, Selangor, for a challenge.
“People misunderstand. It’s not that the task was difficult. I had to do it three times because I got it wrong and made a mistake,” says Hilda. Was the race all they expected it to be? “We definitely expected a crazy adventure. It was a race, after all, and not a cruise. I knew it was going to push us physically and we were prepared for it,” says Ivan.
Though they’re no longer in the race, the couple still follow the show faithfully.
“You know, when the race is on, everyone is really competitive. But in our down time, we are friends and it was nice.
“What you don’t see on TV is the crew. There are so many people working on the production and everyone is just so friendly and helpful. We made some really special connections and that was great,” says Ivan. Who are they rooting for? “The Malaysian team, of course,” says Hilda. Ethan Lam and Mohd Khairie form the other Malaysian team still in contention this season.
The Amazing Race Asia 4 airs on AXN (Astro Channel 701) every Thursday at 9pm. Repeats are on Fridays (2pm, 7pm, 11pm), Saturdays (1pm) and Sundays (11am, 8pm).