Fri, Nov 21, 2003 - Page 18 News List

Face the terror at Taiwan's Fear Challenge 2003

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wanna get a case of the fear? Sign up to compete on AXN's Fear Challenge.

PHOTO COURTESY OF AXN TAIWAN

Have you got what it takes to put your head into a tank filled with rats, cockroaches and snakes? Could you stomach eating a pizza topped with sheep's eyeballs and raw pig intestines?

If so, then AXN Taiwan wants to hear from you and participate in the AXN Fear Challenge 2003. Based on the popular US TV game show, Fear Factor, a show that is hugely popular with Taiwan audiences and boasts viewing figures of 0.4 percent of the population, the Fear Challenge 2003 is the first such event to be held in Greater China. Previous spin-off contests have been held in South Africa, Malaysia and India, where they proved hugely successful.

The contest proved so popular in India, in fact, that the initial two-day event was developed into a six-part TV show. While AXN Taiwan has no intention of serializing its Fear Challenge, the company has been inundated with far more applications than initially anticipated. Since the company began accepting applications a couple of weeks ago, almost 400 people have already asked to participate in the event, 18 percent of whom are women.

As there are only 20 places, the number of wannabe fearless folk will be whittled down at a special mild-fear challenge knockout contest on Nov. 30. Here the contestants will be asked to participate in some less-challenging Fear Factor-styled events as well as undergoing a screen test to ensure that they have what it takes to appear on national TV.

The first knockout heat of the AXN-organized and Taipei City Government-sponsored event will take place at two venues in Taipei, on Dec. 6 and 7. Those lucky, or unlucky, enough to have been chosen will be asked to do some stomach turning, inane and possibly life-threatening stunts which include bungy jumping in the Core Pacific Mall (京華城) while holding an egg and taking a photo with a mobile phone, retrieving some hidden object from the bottom of a 12m deep swimming pool and eating raw entrails and eyeballs.

The final will take place on Dec. 20 in the parking lot opposite the Neo 19 shopping mall in the Xinyi District. While AXN is remaining tight lipped about the stunts the six finalists will have to undergo, according to AXN's Sofia Ong (翁詩雅), one stunt will take place almost 20m above the ground, one will involve chickens and another will include some rather repulsive creepy-crawlies, dead rats, and yes, you've guessed it, entrails and other such unthinkable parts of animal anatomy.

AXN is also hoping to play host to a special celebrity Fear Challenge on Dec. 20 and has invited several of the nation's most prominent legislators to take part in the one-off contest. Of those asked, however, none has yet accepted the open invitation to look witless on national TV.

Those fearless enough to wish to participate in the AXN Fear Challenge 2003 should log on to http://www.axn-taiwan.com and follow the instructions given. While AXN is encouraging Taiwan's foreign residents to apply, the Web site and application process are both in Chinese and a moderate level of Chinese-language ability is required for participation. Contestants have to be over 18 and applications must arrive before Nov. 29.

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