The Amazing Race of Amazing Irony

by Shen Shi'an, The Buddhist Channel, Sept 4, 2006

You can fly away to the end of the world, but where does it get you to? - Pet Shop Boys

Singapore -- "The Amazing Race" just won the Emmy Award again (for the fourth time in a row), for being the best reality competition show. It struck me that "The Amazing Race" is full of amazing irony.

In case you are not already aware, it is an outdoor gameshow that truly goes places, where teams of contestants dash from one scenic spot to another, around the world, in a mad rush to gather and decipher clues, which lead to one destination after another. The aim is to be the first to reach the final destination. The prize is big money.
Something strange and somewhat unfortunate tends to happen during the race. Many of the contestants are right there - smack in the middle of breathtaking tourist spots of attraction, yet they are not really there - in that space and time where they stand... in the sense that they easily miss mindful soaking in of the sights - due to being in a constant frenzy. A case of not living in the moment enough, being too goal-oriented and being inadequately process-oriented. In a bizarre way, Reality TV is where you can see the reality of folks missing reality!

Vice versa, thousands of miles from the actual places of interest, while watching non-live telecasts of the race, home TV audiences are much more relaxed, likelier to appreciate the exotic settings the contestants missed.

There is no hurry, as we mindfully watch and enjoy a "free" and "easy" tour on the tube, while we see the contestants not being "free", being busy trying to win, thus also being extremely tense and "uneasy"! Some like the show because they get to see new places in each episode, while some like it because they find the bickering and politiking among the contestants intriguing. A show of human nature!
Well, as long as we are learning something useful, be we contestants or audiences, "The Amazing Race" is good clean educational fun. When contestants watch telecasts of their races, what will they see? Missed aspects of the scenery and of their character! Wonderful for self-reflection! Life is an amazing race of its own - right to the "end".

A race against time, as we age in the moment. What happens at the "end" of this lap, of this present life? How is the next round like? Well, it depends on the attitude you "run" your life with - now. Ready? Steady... Go!

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