Amazingly Appalling

In My Amazing Race Asia Addiction, Sarcasm on November 2, 2007 at 1:37 am

So it’s that time of the year again, when I wouldn’t be able to be disturbed on Thursday nights.  I’d be glued to my TV set to watch the contestants of The Amazing Race Asia get their gears on and race around the world, while drooling over the ever so handsome Allan Wu.

Or so I thought.

I just finished watching the “Racers Revealed” premier episode of the Amazing Race Asia season two and felt outrageously appalled seeing the contestants lineup.  Why?  Let’s see.

Paula - NatashaFirst we have Paula and Natasha from Thailand.  Pretty common names, but really pretty girls.  Why pretty? Ah, because  one of them is a VJ at V Channel and that’s Paula.  The buffer one, Natasha, works for a mining company. And I say, yeah right.

Edwin - MonicaNext, we have Monica and Edwin of Hongkong.  Monica’s an actress / model / student, while Edwin is an event organizer.  You’d probably guess, they met at a show Edwin was organizing and stuff… whatever.  And by the way, they think they’re Rob and Amber from the US version of Amazing Race.  HA! -add a snort here.

Aurelia - SophieThe following team contains Aurelia and Sophie, also representing Hong Kong.  Guess which one is the model? You got that right.  Aurelia.  Hard to miss a beauty… who JET SETTED AROUND THE WORLD ALREADY.  And it’s prolly hard for Sophie, the aspiring travel writer and TV PRESENTER, to compete with her frenemy the model.  Ick.

Pam - VanAnd then there’s Pam and Van from Malaysia.  The sisters are no strangers to the glitz and glamor of entertainment.  Pam, the younger sister is a professional dancer, while Van the older one has an artiste management company… which takes care of their other sibling Vince, who’s a well-known singer in Malaysia.  Okay, after the three previous teams above, now you do the math.

Sawaka - DaichiThe next team is Sawaka and Daichi of Japan.  Daichi is an interpreter (or TRANSLATER according to the producers of the show), and his sister Sawaka is also an interpreter… who’s also singer.  The only real thing about this team is the fact that Daichi ran off marrying a Mexican woman… and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is an IMPORTANT factor should you decide to go on this show.  Go to Mexico, elope with a local without telling your family, oh and um, yeah… try to have a singer as a sister.  That might help your chance, yeah.

Marc - RovilsonAnd ladies, here’s a droolfest for you, we got Marc and Rovilson from the Phillipines.  You got that right, both are objects of desire of many Filipinas as they are both TV personalities in their home country… and I’m guessing they would be the talk around all of Asia too after this.   And that, my friends, is the only thing that would change in their lives.  Eugh.  Gimme a break.

Kinar - BrettI want to put this next team on the last part of this post because that’s what I’m supposed to do as an Indonesian… and supposedly end the post with “GO INDONESIA!” or “MERDEKA!” or something encouraging like that, but seeing that one of them is a “celebrity”, I put them here so they won’t feel left alone with the ‘commoners’.  Please give a sitting nod (no need for a standing ovation here, seriously) for our lovely Kinaryosih and her boyfriend, Brett.

Ok, I’m gonna stop here.  Let’s count the teams I’ve already mentioned.  How many? Right. SevenSeven teams, each containing at least one dude or dudette from celebville.  Before I continue on with the bitching, let’s move on to the less pretentious part of the bunch -and possibly the teams I’m gonna be rooting for-.  Here they are:

Ann - DianeAnn and Diane, the Yummy Mommies from Malaysia.  They’re too good looking to be regular housewives, but their realness is something I’ve yet to find on the first seven teams.  Sure they love to dance, sure they’re as pretty as the celebs and sure they are able to shake their booties in their thirties and forties… but they are real people, and as for a life-changing opportunity, they sure as hell deserve it.  And WE deserve good TV!

Henry - TrinidadHenry and Trinidad from the Phillipines.  An old married couple, which reminded me of Uchenna and Joyce from the US Amazing Race.  Henry is a retired US Navy Chief Petty Officer and Trinidad is a regular housewife.  Their connection is so real and they kinda reminded me of my parents.  And yeah, I loved watching their audition video where they argued who should sit where.  Clearly, no acting involved.  Just a 13-year of the ol’ ball and chain: marriage.
Adrian - CollinLastly we have Collin and Adrian of Singapore.  The most unique pair from all the racers, as Adrian has a hearing disability and Collin is great at sign language!  Think about how much advantage they’ll have in the race, as they don’t have to actually ‘hear’ one another.  And despite the hearing thing, Adrian is clearly very determined and able to fully participate in the race.  They are both very fit, and are supportive to one another… and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this year I’m rooting for Singapore.  GO COLLIN AND ADRIAN, AND BRING US BACK REALITY TV! 

Now to my real rants, and I do hope the producers read this.  Dudes, it’s cool to put one, two or even three pretty faces from the ‘biz’ in the show.  But SEVEN?  Are you THAT desperate to get sponsors and ratings that you just took the easy way, ring up some friends around the region and have celebrities endorse the show by involving them as contestants?  How ultra lazy can you be? Geez!  What happened to the likes of the chubby Mardi and Marsio, the vicious Andy and Laura, or some other… um, I don’t know… um… REAL people?

I mean, come on!  In the name of television and everything good, please, bring reality back to the show.  I know it shouldn’t be all the way ‘real’, but dudes, this is like putting local ‘tom cruises’ and ‘katie holmeses’ on air… thinking it’s what the people want to see.  We don’t need to watch the Amazing Race just to see them, we can just see them on our free local TV.  Why would I want to watch Kinaryosih (who’s not as successful anyway as Dian Sastro in terms of achievement) on CABLE?  I want to watch nobodies become ‘somebodies’.  You know, it’s funny that Phil Keoghan once said in the US Amazing Race: “This is a race that would change your life.”  What, if I may ask, will change the lives of these celebs?  Spare me the bullshit, the only things that will change is their bank account and the amount of job offers when they return home.   My hopes of watching moments like when tears of joy streaming down the faces of Ucheena and Joyce is thinner than ever now.

Or is it the new unspoken rule of the game?  Be famous in your home country, and you’re guaranteed to secure a spot in the contestants lineup?  Tsk tsk… why do I smell  a heavy whiff of Indonesia’s signature nepotism culture here?  Man, and I thought I’ve learnt everything there is to be learned about TARA from the audience seat.

It’s a shame to waste the show on people whose life are already publicly ‘fabulous’, dear producers.  And it’s an insult to my intelligence, that you fine people at AXN actually think the same as Indonesia’s trashy sinetron producers.  You’re only after the revenue.  I get it.  It’s just business in the end.  Why not just make a ‘celebrities edition’?  But then yeah…

… I just thought you were different smart.

And to think I was once tempted to apply for a position in your company.  Man, I knew I should’ve just been happy doing Indonesian Idol back then.

But thanks for keeping Allan Wu in the show.  Despite the bad haircut this season, I guess he’s the only real thing in this ‘race’.


  1. pretentious… this is why they didnt pick me…

  2. bebe: now you see why. turns out that you either have to be famous, or be brave enough to elope with a mexican woman without telling your parents, or be the boyfriend of an actress. sorry i didn’t step up to make an audition video with you, babe. but then again if i did, they’re not gonna pick a nobody blogger slash bitch like me anyway. AHAHAHAAKHAKAHKHKKK!

  3. they pick an actress from indonesia to be in their games.. what a freakin surprise to my balls. eih?

  4. bebe: i think they are somewhat traumatized by how real mardi and marsio were. or… they’re just plain lazy to get a race-suit in XXL. remember last year when indonesia’s M&M wouldn’t fit into the suits? by getting ideal-sized people on the show, that’s one extra task down already. efficiency, methinks. and utterly stupid.

  5. um, but i dont have an XXL size… and neither my partner. but i think M&M were great, they were so real.. last season’s amazing race was far better

  6. bebe: i don’t know if the season 2 race is better, it hasn’t started yet. therefore i am curious. i just hope the non-celebs win nonetheless!

  7. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI’d be glued to my TV set to watch the contestants of The Amazing Race Asia get their gears on and race around the world, while drooling over the ever so handsome Allan Wu. Or so I […] […]

  8. Yodee, you stole my line – being not got picked! 🙂
    Yeah, it’s sad. But what are the chances that this is really what the market demands?

  9. Hey, interesting comments. Enjoyed reading them. I do hope you’ll enjoy watching the series, see how it pans out and support your favourite teams and not the ones you don’t like. To be TRULY honest, we don’t pick teams for their celeb status, we pick them because we think they’ll make good TV. Why would we pick celebs who won’t make good TV and celbs often don’t come up well on these types of shows. Another interesting point is I don’t know every celeb in the region, I watch the tapes and say, hey they could be good. Their celeb factor is of little interest to me, that’s not my job. If I know they are celebs in advance, it’s frankly a bit of a turn off for me so I understand how you might feel. My job is to make great TV and pick the best teams I think will deliver a fascinating series. My prediction – I think you’ll LOVE series 2, give it a go. Meanwhile, thank you for supporting the show and being interested.
    Michael McKay
    Executive Producer (see I do check out what people think)

  10. What it “amazing” for me is the fact that Hollywood B-listers use reality shows to bump up their visibility (optional word: again). Guess who from the cast also currently competing in a local reality show involving (well, they call it) “dancing”?


  12. don’t they have the “occupation” section in the application form? how do you not know that they’re not celebrities?
    but yea i can see what you mean, you can’t be a camera shy in the interview tape… and who can act in front of the camera with no “camera shy” quality….?
    yep u got it right.

  13. bleu: oh, so you signed up too? HAHAAA!

    Michael McKay: hi there! thanks for reading and responding to my somewhat harsh comments. it’s there probably because i love good tv and happen to enjoy the amazing race since it’s first aired in the US. automatically, i had high expectations on the series when you guys decided to make it happen in asia.
    truth is, it’s really hard to put myself in the audience seat, and amazing race had become one show that was always able to get me to stop thinking about HOW you guys do the show -like whenever i watch other shows and taking notes for personal enjoyment-. and last night, after such a long time of ‘just watching’ the race, my mind instantly “went to the office and work again” and as somebody who’s tired of working all the time… at the end of the day i just wanted to sit back, relax and actually enjoy television as an audience.
    as much as i hated the seven celeb teams, i do look forward to seeing the last three compete and am crossing my fingers that they would be the victors of this season’s race. afterall, it’s always been my favorite show be it in asia as well as anywhere else, and i wouldn’t trade my thursday nights for anything less. oh, and while you are reading this, thanks for bringing the race closer to home, and your first season rock.

    Zakky: that local reality dance thing sucks ass. those people freaking don’t have a clue on what makes good tv, let alone PRODUCING one! AHAHHAKAHAKHK! sorry, personal experience here. how are you, by the way? long time no blogsee!

    aldi: bring it back indeed, dude! HAHAHAA!

  14. […] Saya membuktikan kekuatan blog hari ini, karena ternyata media ini bisa menjangkau perhatian orang-orang yang memang ingin kita tangkap perhatiannya.  Semalam saya abis nonton Amazing Race Asia season 2 di AXN dan kecewa abis liat para kontestannya yang lebih banyak selebnya daripada orang benerannya.  Langsung dong ya si sialan ini posting panjang kali lebar sama dengan luas tentang betapa dodolnya pemilihan para kontestan ini.  Yang jadi sasaran, jelas para produser acara keren itu.  Dan tentu dong ya secara target audiencenya adalah para expat, pastinya pake bahasa Inggris.  Selengkapnya bisa dilihat disini. […]

  15. Hey there, I read your blog coz someone linked it in my Model vs.Model blog and totally feelin’ what you’ve write here. I love the married couple, they bicker but they still can make a pretty good team. And as for Kinaryosih, I completely forgot she won the Fear Factor but as I recall she’s one tough cookie to compete. Let’s see what’ll happen.

    Oh, a friend of mine shouted “WHAT ? They put VJ Paula in ? That’s it! I’m supporting Thailand, FU*K NATIONALISM!” Hahahahaha……..

  16. Mandey: yeah i guess there’s nothing more to do than sit back and see what happens. and you’re right, those americans living in jakarta who were begging to be on the show… ahahakhakhk i’m glad they didn’t make the cut, but then they would be better than any of the models. as annoying as they were, at least they were real. you know, if only the show was titled “Amazing Race Asia 2: THE MODELS”, i wouldn’t bitch so much about it. i still love allan wu, though. 😀

  17. I haven’t watched the first episode yet. Let’s just hope that the ‘reality’ will come

  18. to have a good tv one needs good casts, to be a good cast one needs to be experienced. what do you call an experienced cast? a celebrity

    so if you want to be in a “reality” show you need to be a celebrity, and you can’t be in a “reality” show unless you are a celebrity. so actually it’s just an endless vicious circle up there. so stop wasting your time applying to be in a “reality” show, people… they won’t pick you!

  19. As Amazing Race enthusiast, including the first Asian version, I simply couldn’t understand when I first saw Kinaryosih was Indonesian representative in the race, I was disappointed. “What the hell was she doing there?” and wondered whether this is the ‘Celeb Edition’. But it’s only the second season, certainly there’s still no need for that.

    And I didn’t give much though about the rest of the participants, I thought the case only applied to Indonesian participants, until reading your opinionated entry, Und. Then I was disappointed.

    But after reading Michael Kay’s response I became upset. Michael, it was a very lame and somewhat hypocritical excuse if you said that you didn’t know who these people are! Surely the participants have to mention their occupation in their application video or form or whatever way they tried to enter the race and unless they lied, which I doubt, you already KNEW who these people are!

    Even if there is no mentioning of their occupation in their application or video or whatever, surely you must’ve done some background checking about the participants. If I were to give away $100,000 I would’ve done a bit reference checking. You must’ve heard about google, right?

    So Michael, spare me with all the excuses about you don’t know that most of celebrities in their region, no one does. But it sounds more ridiculous coming from you, you work in television for crying out loud! So, just come clean, and say you intentionally chose these celebrities. I might have not liked it, but at least I would appreciate your honesty.

    However, your response to Miund’s entry is most welcome. It’s nice to know that you do pay attention on what your viewers have to say.

    Anyway, I agree with you, Miund, let’s just hope the last three participants would do better in this competition, otherwise, I don’t think I’d bother watching.

  20. rewind: we shall watch, guy. we shall.

    bebe: right on. i’m still holding onto my strong feelings about the show. i still think picking out the celebs is the stupidest thing a tv producer can do.

    rio: yeah, michael’s response to this post is admirable, although he obviously tried (a bit too hard) to escape the fact that there are quite a lot of ways to find out the contestants’ backgrounds. or -as i have suspected strongly before- he didn’t even have to because he knows who they really are and what they could really do to the show. and i, apparently, am not the only one who have strongly posted my opinions in the cyberworld. there are many others who also did in their mother tongue, therefore might not reach the producers’ radar. sometimes it’s hard to know the business. it takes a lot of fun out of ‘just watching and be a good audience’. but the truth deserves to be known and fooling people across the region for the sake of revenue and publicity isn’t what i expected from the producers of my favorite show. if only they put a ‘celeb edition’ title upon it, again, i wouldn’t make such a fuss over it. really. i might just be happy watching the cuties from the phillipines and those pretty girls from thailand and most probably even be rooting for kinar and brett.

  21. 1) I will not watch this celeb edition.
    2) That McKay guy is a liar.
    3) Amazing Race US season 12 starts tonite.. yehaaa

  22. lanrambai: AHHAHAHAAKHAKHKK! totally agree with you on those points! but i’m still gonna give it a shot so i can bitch about the show more if needed be. sure hope not! 😀

  23. lanrambai: my heart for you! if you were here i’ll shake your hand! 🙂

  24. My last post on the subject not because I don’t mind a good arguement but you need to draw a line somewhere. Once we shortlist an applicant, of course we find out more about them. Once we are serioulsy looking at them to be in the show we find out a lot about them, but when I’m watching the application videos and thinking about who would be good in the series, or not, I couldn’t care less whether they are celebs or not. The key thing for me is will they make good TV. If I cast celebs for celeb sake and they are bad TV then, I agree, that would be a poor decision by the producers.

    I hope you enjoy the series

  25. Michael McKay: i understand your point. making good tv is as important as watching it. but as the one who started this whole discussion, and the one who’s gonna be watching the show… i guess what i was really trying to say is it is irritating to see so many celebrities in the show. and the curiosity about their involvement in the show is of course bound to surface. if not by me, by some other amazing race fans all over asia. afterall, the casting call was open to public. logically, one would expect infamous people to appear and compete on the show, root for them until they get eliminated, feel happy for them if they win and get in awe of how great these people are to have won the famous amazing race. but then, seeing how models and such got to be the majority of the contestants, you can’t blame some people for reacting this way. and again, as the one who brought this matter up in this blog, i want to just set something straight: i was not attacking you nor trashing the show for no reason. my reasons were clear, i was being bluntly honest on how i feel as an audience. and unlike some the other fans (now probably ex-fans) of the show, i will be watching the amazing race asia season 2 because i am really really curious about what you kept mentioning as good tv and i expect no less. the amazing race asia season 1 threw me in so much awe and i still have a teeny tiny hope that the second season might have the same effect even after the racers revealed episode which was quite of a downer. truth is there are loyal readers of this blog and hey, you got your show a free publicity anyway. i bet the first race ratings will skyrocket 😉

  26. yaayy Michael McKay is a gentleman, he doesn’t just drop a comment and take off, he actually comes back to check if people are commenting on your comments. kudos!

    but picking a celebrity for this kind of show is like… begging to be dreaded by people, i mean of course they’ll make good tv but they will hurt other people (applicants). aren’t there any good casts other than the celebrity? at all?
    i mean, after picking out a candidate, and knowing that he/she is a celeb, better think twice if it will make good for the public opinion.

    after all you want both, right? good public opinion and good tv, not just one over the other

  27. bebe: darling, have you heard of the saying “ANY press is GOOD press”? to me, if they indeed do this to get reactions, i’d have to say they’re brilliant. but is it really unintentionally done? THAT is the question.

  28. i’ve heard ANY beer is GOOD beer… but not that

  29. Oh Michael, if I were you and found out that 7 out of 10 my chosen participants turned out to be famous people, I would’ve seriously considered my criteria. I would’ve made a limit on the number of famous people that are allowed to participate in the show. 3, as Miund suggested, is a good number. Zero would be better though:).

    Further, I would’ve asked myself, what’s wrong? Why is there no ordinary people out there good enough for the show? Do I emphasize too much on look? Are there so little ‘ordinary-non-famous-people’ attracted to the show to even bother apply for the second season? Would it make a precedent for the future of the show by way of non-celeb/ordinary people become more reluctant to apply as participants of the show next year?

    Or… I sense this is the reason, does it because ordinary people make worst video presentation than celeb?

    Well, of course celebs would make better video! Beside their good look, they are so used to acting in front of camera. But would they make good dynamics? Is this really why people watch reality show on tv? Watching the lack of famous and beautiful people in the US version of Amazing Race, the answer I believe is NO. We want to see ordinary people turning into and experiencing something that many can only dream of.

    Or… perhaps, did the result of your poll or survey of the first ARA season conclude that your Asian viewers want more beautiful and famous people on the show?

    If that’s the case Michael, I’ll just switch channel.

  30. Guys,

    How do you know that he is the real Michael McKay? I mean, he doesn’t leave any email address or whatsoever right?

  31. ecky: well actually, i do have his unpublished e-mail address and being a positive person, i’m sure he’s real. besides, if he’s not, his responses won’t be positive. 🙂 right, michael?

  32. i have a new friend from this blog, and his name is rio… hello there! 🙂

  33. Hi Yodee… we’ve met deh:D. At Miund’s Gokil launch. We shall meet again I’m sure. And where’s Michael? I came here to check his response.

  34. Hmmmm, the same with me when i heard that Kinaryosih is one of the contestant. Why celebs ? Don;t you have any other contestant ? Unless if this is what the sponsor want, then i have nothing to said. The Sponsor is everything right ??? HA HA HA HA

  35. hem…..I, myself rather dissapointed to see so many beautiful faces (and bodies) a.la celebrity in the upcoming amazing race asia. I prefer the chubby Marsio and Mardi and their silly comments. But I think for any celebrities to participate in this race are not without a risk, they could potentialy embarassed themself on TV, and not just our regular hall of shame in infotainment. Because I believe the show could really bring out the real “them”. So ya….for this point, I salute them. and wish them the best of luck. hiiiehehehehe………

    I did watched the racer revealed, I must say that I agree with Michael McKay……The race would be great,hopefully….because if you really watched the audition video….don;t they just look silly? not funny silly, but bluntly silly. Especially those from the celebrities. It’s almost like they’re preparing a (too much) special script for the audition and put on their best act….like those muscle couple from Philipine.

    Well,beatiful or not, muscle or not…………….hopefully the show is challenging enough to make a good TV…………I vote for giving celebrities hard time on TV……..(duh jahatnya………*maap)

  36. aw come on, haven’t you guys heard the hearsay about kinar’s special relationship with the head of axn’s representative office in indonesia? yep!… case closed.

  37. anonymous: WHAT? AXN has a rep office in indonesia??? AAAHAHAHAKHAKHAKHAK!

  38. Well, I’ve read the producer’s responses and i can’t say i’m satisfied with his responses though …

    Those contestants were chosen because they would look good on TV, well obviously any celebs would look good on TV.

    Anyway, this show still glued me every Thursday night. So, I can’t complaint.

    BTW, please stop that nasty rumor about Kinar

  39. mikearmand: same here dude. i still watch it regardless. and the gossip about kinar, well, when one’s famous… one’s got to be tough enough to deal with stuff like these. it’s the risk.

  40. rio:Well, of course celebs would make better video! Beside their good look, they are so used to acting in front of camera.
    Aditi: >>Also they have contacts with better /professional camera persons n Editors.Thats
    why they present good videos!>>

    rio:But would they make good dynamics? Is this really why people watch reality show on tv?

    Aditi:Absolutely NOT!

    rio:We want to see ordinary people turning into and experiencing something that many can only dream of.

    Aditi: EXACTLY– EXACTLY –EXACTLY … True -Word-By-Word !!

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