A quick word with Bjorn Shen (chef-owner of Artichoke and Singapore’s pioneer of “dude food”) on The Ultimate BROcation, an entertaining reality show featuring four dudes on a fully-paid vacation.
How did you get selected for this?
When I was called in for casting, the crew asked me about my greatest fears. I thought, **** you. I’m not telling you that. They asked me about my most embarrassing moments and if I would be my prankster self with the other bros. I think what sold them was when I sang the Kazakhstan’s national anthem from my favourite show, Borat. From that point, I was in.
How did you get along with the rest?
That was my biggest concern. So you want me to go on a “brocation” with these other dudes I’ve never met before? How does that work? What if it was some epic prank on me? That would have been fun, but not for me.
Anyway, dynamics were very much on track. You have four guys of different ages – Billy Crawford is an R&B/pop star from The Philippines, Sonaone is a hip hop artist from Malaysia and P.K. is a DJ and TV host from Thailand) acting like 12-year-olds. So that was perfect. Plus, we all love the same music, which means we were perpetually singing in the car. Every time we were in the car together, we sounded like a school bus full of kids.
Everyone’s so different.
Each bro had his own personality and brought a different persona to the table. P.K. was the gadget guy. He’s also highly successful. Back home, he drives a sports car and has a supermodel girlfriend. Basically, everyone wants to kill him and take over his life. Sonaone is the super chilled out rapper. Billy is the one with a super high energy. As for me, I didn’t bring anything to the table. There was no cooking! The director told me I was going to need my BBQ skills, but he lied. They lied to us the whole way. Bastards.
What are some of the highlights?
Embarrassing moments, you mean. I was expecting them to make us do all sorts of s**t. Because KIX is a masculine-oriented channel, I thought they’d go in the direction of Fear Factor, like make me eat a corpse or something. But it wasn’t trashy at all, just that through the trip, they didn’t tell us what we were going to do at all.
One episode, we were made to do aerial yoga. Look at me. Do I look like the kind who does aerial yoga? I’m not aerodynamic at all. Yes it was fun, but extremely embarrassing. In fact, it was absolutely obscene. When they put us in tight clothes and make us stretch our body parts, things can definitely be seen.
What is the point of The Ultimate BROcation?
To show off the awesome side of Hong Kong that is beyond shopping and eating, which is what the ordinary tourist would think of. We went to places we don’t normally visit, such as Repulse Bay, which isn’t repulsive at all. It showed us activities we could do that wouldn’t come second nature when you visit Hong Kong. For all that, it made me want to return to Hong Kong.
The Ultimate BROcation is airing on KIX, 16-20 January