Last week, Simon Yin, the host of HISTORY channel’s new adrenaline-laced programme, “Hidden Cities: Extreme” was in town for a little rendezvous with us. Hah! We saw it as a golden opportunity to put him through some hardcore interrogation about the half hour six-series that will be premiering on Malaysian television soon.
And Simon says:
So tell us, before you hit up those places in “Hidden Cities: Extreme”, are you required to do any research on your own? Or do you just jump into the dangers that may be?
“Uh well, they kinda hand me a script and a fact sheet before I arrive at the locations. So I get to look over what I’m going to be doing. But if I need more research I hit up Wikipedia and Google historical facts. The fact sheet they provide me with is usually quite thorough – it’s kinda all I usually need to wrap my head around what I’m going to be doing.”
Hold up – when did you wrap up the shooting for “Hidden Cities: Extreme” and how long were you in Malaysia for?
“We wrapped up at the end of September and I was in Malaysia for a week. Wait, it was only six days, actually! Not even a week.”
Talk about super crunch time! What surprised you most about Malaysia?
“I think..the great rich culture and the people. And what they’re so passionate about. With Malaysia it’s really all about the people and how passionate they are about what they’re doing. It was like that fishing guy that I met – he was just so..it’s like it’s what he genuinely loved to do. Fishing was, for him, a hobby turned career and he loved every single moment of it. Also, everybody in Malaysia is so nice!”
We are, huh! What was the craziest thing that you were made to do and not necessarily Malaysia-centric. The craziest thing ever in the production of “Hidden Cities: Extreme”?
“The craziest thing..in the Philippines, I was made to climb a coconut tree that was 25 feet tall. It was only my second shoot in the entire show and I thought that it was gonna be quite dangerous because it had to be done without a safety net or a harness or whatever – but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to chicken out so early in the production. So I’m just like, okay I’ll climb up so it’s like climb, climb, climb, I got up there, and you know..the coconut tree leaves are like a maze. I’m up there, I’m frozen, and there were ants all over me. I think even the camera was shaking because the cameraman was laughing at me. But I did it, nevertheless. I collected the sap from the coconut and I got back down safe and sound.”
If you’re afraid of heights, well, that must’ve been like fighting fire with fire or something..
“Yeah! I got to face a lot of my fears and challenges – and I manage to overcome them. I mean, right now, I could probably walk by the same tree & go hey I could totally climb that!”
In situations that are, for lack of better word..extreme, how did you prepare yourself?
“When the first told me that I was going to be doing this, I thought oh..this is all going to be very physical. So I went running every day, I did pushups in the morning, but most importantly it was the mental preparation. I had to get into my head and tell myself to just be open to whatever that was going to happen without psyching myself out.”
Last one for the road – you’re an American born Chinese, right? Has being in Asia changed helped you reconnect with your roots?
“I’ve been in Asia for about five years now and yes, it has definitely helped me reconnect with my roots. Coming here is like, wow, there’s so much more to this world than just America and barbeque. Doing the show has definitely reaffirmed that, you know? I got to witness firsthand how people here still hold on so tightly to their culture and traditions. I love it!”
Aww. That’s a proud Asian boy right there. Thank you for speaking to us, Simon.
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“Hidden Cities: Extreme” premieres on HISTORY (Astro Channel 555/Beyond Package 575), 29th October 2012 (Monday) at 9:30pm, and it airs every Monday after at 9:30pm.