Doesn’t the name ‘The Apprentice’ ring a bell? (I amuse myself!)
Originally an American TV series, ONE Championship, the world’s largest martial arts organisation, revamps the show and presents us with the toughest Apprentice in history: ‘The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition’.
Set to premiere across Asia on AXN, on 18 March, 16 candidates channel their inner competitive spirit to survive weekly eliminations for the greatest prize on the line – a US$250,000 job offer to work directly under the one and only ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong for a year as his protege in Singapore!
The stakes are high, ladies and gents. But the 16 candidates from different countries, cultures and walks of life, relentlessly gave it their best shot, as they filmed this in Singapore itself while obeying all health and safety regulations. Indeed, a moment of pride for us Singaporeans!
But that’s not all. Out of the 16, there are two Singaporean candidates – Alvin Ang and Joy Koh!
I had the honourable opportunity to interview them, and they shared more about their experience working on the show. Of course, while refraining from giving away any spoilers!
Let’s start with Alvin Ang! He has actually “been part of the Singapore martial arts scene for almost ten years” and “has watched ONE’s meteoric rise since Day 1”, which made his representation as one out of two of Singapore’s candidates so much more meaningful to him and us. Being the only Singapore martial artist and the only one who makes a living out of it in the show, as he runs Singapore martial arts tournaments and seminars, he felt like he had this third eye which allowed him to see this competition with a unique insight!
Unlike the intense picture the trailer painted, Alvin shared that he “went in expecting cloaks and daggers but got claps and friendships instead”. Well-said! When asked what else he was expecting to experience but did not, he mentioned that he was expecting more dynamic business challenges (must be the inner-Singaporean in him, huh?), but due to the ongoing pandemic, that was not exactly possible.
Nonetheless, if this is indeed ‘the toughest Apprentice in history’ as Chatri Sityodtong said himself, I can’t wait to see the challenges the candidates posed!
He wanted his participation in the show to prove “that there was another way to “make it” in Singapore, that we’re in a different age, an age where young people, given enough talent and grit, will be able to monetise their passions and turn them, however crazy, into reality”.
His words really touched my heart. I’m sure at many points of our lives, we feel that being in Singapore, we’re at a disadvantage compared to those around the world, and we’re quick to complain about it (as our Singaporean blood demands). But it’s time we change this thinking of ours. Many of our fellow Singaporeans are making the impossible happen, so why can’t we? Indeed, with talent and grit, we can make anything happen as long as we set our minds to it.
Next, we have Joy Koh, the only female Singaporean to participate in the show! Her humility shone as she mentioned how she must have been “selected among all the others who applied as (I’m) sure Singapore would have had many competent and impressive applicants.”
With the pandemic, Joy expressed how a sense of finiteness had dawned upon her, and she started questioning what was important. She shared some food for thought as she explained, “Opportunities are all around us, but how many of us actually grab what’s in front of us and run with it?” ‘The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition’ was one such opportunity that she knew she had to seize for herself.
A sense of adventure, the feeling of experiencing the unknown, engaging in adrenaline-pumping activities that allow her personal and professional growth – these were the reasons she cited as to why she decided to pursue the show. “In addition, the show had a unique combination
of sports and business, which I love, so I thought, ‘why not!’” she added.
Joy mentioned how it was an individual fight since day one. The stakes were laid, and they were high. “In previous seasons of The Apprentice, there would be a lot more collaboration and group work”, but in this season, things were definitely harder and tougher.
But as Singaporeans, we’ve been trained and mentally prepared for hard and tough. Joy attributed her life in Singapore as a core reason why she was able to perform to her utmost best, as she added, “Growing up in Singapore has certainly prepared me to work well under pressure, pursue excellence with a high sense of integrity and to never give up.”
Both these candidates worked hard throughout their durations in the competition. Representing Singapore as the show was also filmed in our very own home ground, we are so proud of them and can’t wait to see them in action from 18 March.
Some little nuggets they’ve told us to look out for in The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition (don’t worry, they aren’t spoilers!) are that we should expect to see innovation, an exhibition of strong Asian values that we’re so proud of; and of course, entertainment! In Alvin’s words precisely, “Joy and I are not your regular run-of-the-mill Singaporeans; we’re confident and not afraid to speak our minds. Expect a lot of excitement – expect, most of all, to be entertained!”
While we enjoy the show, let’s also value the story each individual brings with them, and recall the stories of Alvin Ang and Joy Koh – one who wanted to prove that we can still make it as Singaporeans regardless of what we think, and one who sought opportunities, adventure, and growth even in a time when this seemed impossible.
So, Singapore, mark your calendars for 18 March, and be ready to cheer for our beloved representatives on AXN! Watch the trailer now!
Alvin and Joy, you will always have us in your corner!
Visuals courtesy of ONE Championship.