I haven’t done exhaustive research, but I don’t think there are any official fan clubs for the venerable Yau-Man Chan. Well, consider me the first member. For the uninitiated, Yau-Man Chan is a contestant on Survivor: Fiji this season. If you saw Yau-Man on the street, you would come away thinking very little; he is a very small, very frail man of Asian descent. The truth is, you probably wouldn’t ever see him on the street. He’s that small.
However, the geniuses at Mark Burnett Productions cast Yau-Man on this season’s edition of Survivor and, for me, he’s been the highlight of the show so far. Yau is a native of Borneo (which is cool in and of itself) and speaks with an accent to prove it. Unlike the similarly syllabic Cao-Boi of last season’s Survivor, Yau-Man isn’t all about his race. In fact, I don’t believe Yau-Man has talked about his ancestry outside of “I’m from Borneo”.
Yau-Man, if we’re going to stereotype here (which I’m going to, apropos of nothing), fits in the wise-elderly-Asian Mr. Miyagi role. Kind of. He is certainly wise, which is one of his many charms. But, whereas so many supposedly wise old men on TV are self-aware and overt about their knowledge, Yau-Man is matter of fact. He is the least pretentious smart guy in reality TV history. The way he spouts his knowledge (like how best to break open a crate) is ego-less, and this makes him an original.
Outside of his wisdom nuggets, his physical appearance is notable. During challenges, especially, it’s awe-inspiring watching Yau compete shirtless against dudes in the prime of their physical lives. My best guess for Yau-Man’s attributes: 5’6”, 105 pounds. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Yau checked in at double-digits. He is a frail man. Yet, he throws himself out there with reckless abandon, which is at once invigorating and frightening. Seriously, I think I could throw my cell phone at him and break one of his ribs.
I want Yau-Man to win Survivor. It would make my year. Anyone else who wants to join the Cult of Yau-Man, feel free to comment below.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer