Saturday, October 28, 2006

Survivor: Cook Islands

Aahhh, it's here. It's finally here. Survivor: Cook Islands premieres in Singapore, 27th October at 11 pm on Channel 5. About 5 weeks after its launch in the US.

MediaCorp TV Channel 5 has deliberately delayed the debut of the series here due to the sensitive racial issues. The TV programme shown here in Singapore has been edited.

Grin it like Cao Boi
Now, the recent thirteenth season has been branded by far the most controversial Survivor season. The tribes are originally segregated according to their ethnicity, so we have African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic and White tribes.

Within the Asian-American tribe, there are two Koreans, a Filipino, a Filipino-Hawaiian and a Vietnamese. The Chinese is not represented. Everyone’s dilemma is added to by the fact that prior to filming, none of the contenders had a clue that they would be — unofficially — representing their people.

There is Cao Boi (or ‘cowboy’), the middle-aged Vietnamese man with the shaggy white hair and the long beard. Not a good thing for accurate portrayals of Asians, no.

“Take one look at me,” he says, while the camera intercuts with footage of him scrambling to eat and drink from a coconut like an at-one-with-nature expert (note: being close to nature is also a stereotypical Asian trait), “I don’t look educated, I don’t fit the stereotype: hardworking, Mr Engineer, jacket, suit and tie…. I just don’t fit the stereotype.”

He’s talking about the goody-goody hardworking Asian stereotype. Well, maybe he doesn’t know about the other Asian stereotype of the old man whose unkempt overgrown hair symbolises his vast knowledge of life and its intricate workings. The wise man whom at first glance we might expect to be rubbish, until we next see him picking aggressively at one of the guys’ forehead because his “bad wind” is causing his head to ache, and making the headache go away. The wise man who knows better.

My grandma did this to her grandchildren too whenever we had headaches. It really helps.

I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season plays out.


  1. Thanks for your comment! I haven't seen Survivor, I couldn't get past the one episode where Cowboy kept talking and talking and talking....

    Come by again and read some more!