SINGAPOREANS Claire Goh and Michelle Ng, contestants in the upcoming instalment of The Amazing Race Asia, were considered big competition.
Goh, 21, a musician, and Ng, 22, an aspiring actress, were named as threats by fellow contestants from Hong Kong, the Philippines and Indonesia, when my paper caught up with the fresh faces of the fourth season at Marina Bay Sands on Tuesday night.
Goh and Ng's quick thinking and speed in the reality-TV show were listed as their biggest advantages.
The show airs next month, but was shot earlier this year. The winning duo took home US$100,000 (S$135,000) in prize money.
"These girls are really fast," enthused Richard Hardin, 34, a professional basketballer from the Philippines. Alan Luk, 32, an actor from Hong Kong, agreed, saying that he felt the Singapore team had the edge the very first time he met them.
Said Goh of her team's advantage: "People tend to give way to two girls, they don't see us as competition."
Even host Allan Wu was taken with the duo, calling them "opinionated" and "fiery". However, communication and working with each other under stress were challenges for the pair during the race.
Ng said of her teammate, whom she met at a club about five years ago: "There were times when I wanted to box her."
If Ng looks familiar, that is because she appeared in the widely panned MediaCorp reality series, S Factor, in April last year. That show mostly involved contestants competing in tasks like jello-wrestling, and had them prancing around in bikinis.
When asked about her experience in reality television, Ng, who graduated with a diploma in new media at Republic Polytechnic, glanced around before whispering: "I was one of the girls in the S Factor. Yeah, that was me."
She had made it to the top five, but one gets the feeling that she would prefer not to be associated with that show.
So, how does The Amazing Race Asia compare with her experience on the S Factor?
"Nothing comes close to this. That's all I'm going to say," she said firmly, with a smile.
The Amazing Race Asia is set to premiere on AXN (StarHub Ch 511) on Sept 23 at 9pm.
RACERS TO WATCH
Legal administrator Natasha Sutadisastra, 24, and her dad, educator Hussein Baron S., 53, are a father-and-daughter Indonesian team.
"Like the (tortoise in the fable of the) hare and the tortoise, we pretend to be slow when we're actually not. We're strong and smart," said Hussein.
Ethan Lim, 26, a social worker, and Mohd Khairie, 25, a graduate, are from Malaysia. Watch them for their humour. "We are social misfits," joked Lim.
DETERMINED PARTY GIRLS
Jacinta James, 27, a former strip-club manager, and Lani Pilinger, 27, a model, are party girls from the Philippines.
"We came here to win. Watch out," said James. Viewers will get to see them using their feminine wiles in the race.