So, it turns out we sang Taiwanese Opera and did a whole lot more than that.
AFTR competed against companies from Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
We’ve had so much support and are super thankful. Although, I don’t think people quite know what they are congratulating us on doing. And we didn’t know what we’d be doing, until we actually arrived in Taiwan and got stuck into it.
Think Amazing Race (what they call Running Man in Asia) combined with Christmas feasts daily (so much food, 8 courses minimum) meets Project Runway (always on show, videos, photography, making) and Full Frontal (but an Asian version, with lots of LOLz) and you have our experience in the Asia Super Team Competition summarised. Got it? Cool. More details below for those that don’t have it yet.
- 6am wake up call (that’s cool, no really, 6am is fine. Add another 15 hours to it and we’ll call it a day).
- Head to a local village, Jing Liao Farming Village in Tainan, where we explore the village and head to complete the first challenges in an elementary school.
- First task: Scarecrow making — the best designed scarecrow with the most creative story wins. Got this. No, really, we won it.
Meet our double sided scarecrow; Bruce & Sharon, representing an Australian couple. Bruce’s hair gets wilder everytime he misses a bird. Sharon won’t marry Bruce until he looses his beer gut. Our inspiration was drawn by the carts we saw in the local Taiwanese village earlier that day. The carts were filled and given as gifts before a couple are to marry and move in together in Taiwanese culture.
- This was followed by a Taiwanese buffet (8 courses), prepared by the sweet local older folk and some local traditional musicians.
The day didn’t end there. By 2pm, it felt like midnight. It was jam packed. The remaining challenges for the day consisted of:
- Oyster shucking — who knows what Oyster shucking is? A fine technique required, with some pretty looking oysters as a result.
- Our team were told our Oysters looked “ugly”. Despite this, we won this task. I was pretty victorious about the whole thing, I even took a selfie.
- Finishing for local Salt at Zhounan Salt Field.
- 10 course feast. I wanted to marry the fish we ate (strange?). The best local fish I’ve eaten in my entire life.
Midnight bed, wake up call 7am for Day 2. 7am felt like a sleep in.
First task: Eco Soap making in the Maple Community.
Judged on technique, texture and creative display of the eco-soap, Australia managed to get this task in the bag too and loved every second of the soap making.
It was so amazing to meet the ladies who run this community — they also help the disadvantaged by giving them work in the community and donating soap. Beautiful initiative.
Next up was our most challenging yet rewarding task yet. Perform Taiwanese Opera. Sure, cool. Got this. We had 10 minutes to prepare, learn traditional moves, some Mandarin, dress up and get on that bright coloured stage, turn it on and perform in front of a couple of hundred locals and the Mayor of Taichung. And, we did just that. Yes, there is a video, and if you can find it online, kudos to you.
Our song was called, “Ride the White Horse” — a popular traditional song in Taiwan. Original performance of this song is here. We look similar, right?
We made the audience laugh, a lot. I think mainly at our lack of co-ordination and potentially they were laughing at us. But we won it nonetheless.
Andddd… onto another meal. Another 10 courses.
A pretty significant day in the competition. All media eyes there, hosted by the very famous Janet Hsieh (I was star struck even though I had no idea who she was until being in Taiwan).
Worth 50% of the competition points, we were up until the wee hours of the night before, finalising a video that summarised our experience in Taiwan.
This, along with a presentation in traditional ‘Australian’ costumes, AFTR spoke about the importance for us to enter the Asian market, and seeing Taiwan as a springboard for this opportunity.
The final activity we were judged on was a gameshow style quiz about Taiwan. Right up our alley some would say (Zia is a quiz master and a little competitive). She held control of the buzzer. We may have won this too.
Announcing the prize was the most surreal part of it all. There was silence in the room when they announced AFTR as winning until it registered, and I screamed like a 12 year old girl, then pulled it together for the presentation of the reward and interviews.
Being a part of the Asia Super Team competition was the craziest, most random and fulfilling thing I personally have done in my life. The entire team loved it, worked so well together, laughed lots, and cried from laughing lots.
The entire experience was so beneficial for us as a company to understand the Asian culture, how businesses, local communities live and work, and gain insight into the general lifestyle here in Taiwan. We were able to bond as a team, and take fundamental principles learnt throughout the week back to our office to implement in our day to day work.
We met so many amazing people on the trip — from the team members in the competing countries, locals — old and young, business owners, Government officials, and gained new partnerships for AFTR within Asia.
AFTR will be donating a portion of winnings to The Cambodia Women’s Development Agency, helping underprivileged women within Cambodia. Being women Co-Founders, Zia and I feel passionately about such a fund and being able to support women less fortunate than us. We are honoured to be able to do this.
If you find our teams Opera video, let us know. I’ll pay you $101 not to view it.