The Apprentice Asia


Earlier, we have ‘The Apprentice’ from US, a reality game show hosted by Donald Trump, a real estate magnate and businessman. Now, came a version for Asia itself; ‘The Apprentice Asia’ hosted by Tony Fernandes, a successful Malaysian entrepreneur known for founding AirAsia, the world’s best low cost airline. The show is basically a competition involving a number of contestants from different backgrounds in enterprises where in the end one will be hired to be the host’s apprentice. I didn’t know much on this kind of show at the time when the US version is on the run years ago. And so I missed that totally.

But this ‘The Apprentice Asia’ did caught my attention, as it is based on my home city, Kuala Lumpur with Tony Fernandes, a Malaysian hosting the first of its kind for Asia. Originally, there are 12 contestants, divided into two groups, and the number reduces after each episodes featuring different type of tasks that will have one contestant fired for the poorest performance. Let me quickly sum-up every task; Task 1 – sell fish at a wet market for highest profit. Task 2 – create a 30-second viral video to promote Expedia. Task 3 – makes a sales pitch for 3 Taiwanese products. Task 4 – promotes new Nescafe coffee machine. Task 5 – make biggest profit from trading with virtual money. Task 6 – manage part of Hilton KL hotel for a day. Task 7 – design new set of uniforms for AirAsia staff. Task 8 – produce a live commercial for Volkswagen Beetle. Task 9 – face interviews with Fernandes’ associates.

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(Image source: http://www.xfm.com.my/Xfm/files/d6/d62eeaad-62b1-4edb-ab5c-4c682ea1ab35.jpg)

I missed the first episode. Never mind. Out of all the tasks, I find Task 2, 3, 6 and 7 to be the most interesting. And the final task shown in the finale episode aired just now is to organize a charity fundraiser for AirAsia Foundation with a cocktail event and a charity auction which should be the biggest thing the finalists have to handle respectively. In the earlier episodes, I see potential from Alexis as seen from his solid performances in all tasks, but too bad, he performed not very well on the interview task (Task 9) hence getting eliminated. Then, I start to see credibility on Andrea from Singapore and Jonathan from Phillipines whom eventually became the two finalists, responsible for the final task. Both are equipped with great knowledge, strong passion, intellectual thinking, dynamic leadership, etc. There are three Malaysian contestants (that’s a lot), but all three are seriously not good enough, and so no where to be seen later on. It’s now only between Jonathan and Andrea.

But still only one will be chosen. In the final task, it’s quite obvious that Andrea felt isn’t very comfortable and slack in performance, while on the other hand, Jonathan managed to get to the top of situation with his right attitude of dealing with such events. In the end, as predicted, Jonathan is hired (means he won the show) and becomes the first apprentice of Asia. Congratulation to him! He must be very happy and that Philippines (his country of origin) would be very proud of him too! Andrea is still a very talented young adult, but I find she still lacks some skills, perhaps regarding her emotional management and slight attitude problem. What I dislike about the show is that there are too much attacks of words in the boardroom. That doesn’t necessary show how good you are, but instead, only show off to people how great your English proficiency is.

But sometimes, I do like how their ‘fire’ pushes them to voice out everything they can to obtain an opportunity from Tony Fernandes to prevent from getting ‘fired’. If there is a second edition, I’m looking forward to it too. But I wish to see participants who are better prepared (more deserved to be on this kind of game show), and involvement of more countries in Asia (like Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, etc); and also limiting the competition to only ‘one country, one contestant’. So far, the first of ‘The Apprentice Asia’ concluded just now was quite a good show too.

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