Iíd Already Won Everything I Wanted to WinĒ Ė An Interview with Survivor: Chinaís Chicken
by David Bloomberg -- 09/21/2007
Chicken may be the happiest player ever to only make it to the first vote. Why? Youíll have to read on to find out. Plus, why did he go from making suggestions to not even answering questions? What strategy did he try? Chicken talks about all of this and much, much more!
Some reality show contestants give short answers to specific questions. Others like to tell their stories. Chicken is definitely in the latter group. In doing so, Chicken was probably the most talkative first-eliminated contestant Iíve ever talked to, and one of the most talkative contestants, period. We might not have seen much of it on the show, but he had his reasons and he made up for it now. Indeed, he answered a number of my questions before I could even ask them. So read on to see what he had to say.
RealityNewsOnline: Hello, Chicken, and thanks for taking the time to talk to RealityNewsOnline! What was your strategy coming into the game?
Chicken: Iíll tell ya, when I caught the flight out of Charlotte to JFK, I had a game plan. After preliminaries to the day I left, I had a game plan. I watched many many episodes in my chair at home, [thinking] you need to do this you need to do that. But then I said Iím just going to be myself, Iím not gong to fit a piece of the puzzle that a I think would fit in. I was going to be myself, period.
Basically, thatís what I did the whole trip until last night, I took one day at a time. But a lot of people were talking about being really disappointed. Iím not disappointed. Iím very proud to be a small part of this for many different reasons. And Iíd go back tomorrow.
Itís not a money thing, itís just the people that you meet and itís hard to talk to these people. Theyíre basically from a different culture. Itís just like last night, they drug that old frame out of the woods. I had enough sense to know even if we made part of he shelter out of this thing, itís not going to hold together. They thought they found a flipping gold mine. Thatís when I first spoke and said this is not going to work. You canít make something out of nothing. I just voiced my opinion and that was the last time I did, they wouldnít listen to me.
Then we slept in the rain and walked in the mud, the circumstances were bad for them. For me, I walk in the mud every day. When weíre sorting cattle, we donít take the day off because itís raining or because the mudís a foot deep. When we got into that truck at the first of the show, there was about three or four inches of mud. They said, ďoh good gracious, the mud.Ē Iím thinking to myself, ďyou ainít seen nothing yet.Ē
I donít criticize these people and I hope they donít criticize me. This cast is absolutely super. Sixteen people from 16 different walks of life. Theyíve done an extraordinary job of casting these people. That is what I like about this show. I donít care where youíre from, rich or poor, youíre all even. And how it plays it out is whatís great about this game. It requires a little bit of luck and depending on who you are, maybe a lot of luck.
When I landed in China, Iíd already won everything I wanted to win. From that day on, it was just a plus. You take a great journey and youíre at this party, and you really donít care what happens. People think youíre strange if you donít care about money. But moneyís not the issue for me. This was the greatest trip in the world for me. Iíve never flown, Iíve never rode a boat. I didnít miss nothing.
RNO: Speaking of the experience, what was your opinion of the ceremony at the Buddhist temple and the way Leslie walked out?
Chicken: Leslie shouldnít have done that. This is my opinion. Jeff was very very clear on his instructions Ė this is not a religious ceremony. He explained more about Buddha than you saw. I was astonished with the temple. Iíll never forget the temple and what Jeff said at the start of the game. This is a way of life for these people and when they invite you in, a perfect stranger, [you should honor it].
What you seen last night took about three hours. This is a big part of their culture and theyíve shared it with you. Itíd be like bringing 250 Chinese people on the farm Ė itís a culture shock. Buddha is not religious, itís like Confucius. Buddha and farming is not really on the same level but Iím using it as an example.
When I took that long walk after the game, I was disappointed. Today Iím not and that temple was extraordinary. It marked me. Iím sure the other 15 people wonít give the same answer. Thatís what makes this cast so good and what makes this show.
Iíve watched a ton of Survivor. You can play all you want to in your chair. But weíre all very unique people from very unique places with a very unique way of life. Those are the pieces that make a great show. This is a great season, going by the cast and what Iíve seen last night. I think it was a good kickoff to one of the better seasons in the last three or four years.
RNO: You mentioned that you gave your opinion and they didnít listen, so you didnít give it anymore. I understand why you decided to back off when people on your tribe werenít listening to you, but why did you appear to go to such an extreme to avoid answering questions when they were asked of you?
Chicken: (laughs) Itís like, I made a ton of suggestions at first. I build things. Youíve got all this know-how, but it didnít show. They went a couple days without water and I didnít because I was drinking water in 20 minutes and eating kiwis in 20 minutes, and these people did without. I voiced my opinion and they were talking about college days and partying. This goes on all day the first day.
Me and Peih-Gee wanted to get it done. Weíre in the middle of nowhere playing the greatest flipping game in the world. We want to get stuff done and everybody else wants to sit around talking about parties and music. I canít relate to that. Thatís when the 16 different people from 16 different places come in. Nobody was talking about hunting or fishing or farming.
When I came out of that temple and saw the other seven people, I knowed I was in trouble. I thought about it and said, ďjust be yourself, whatever happens is going to happen.Ē When Iím trying to tell you something and you donít want to listen, they just brush it off.
On the second day, when they asked me and I didnít want to answer, then it became an issue. I could have gotten down on my knees and kissed their behind and built their shelter. But thatís not the way I am. Then the next day Iíd have to kiss their behinds again. You do something for me and Iíll do something for you.
RNO: We saw you talk to Frosti and Dave about votes, but did you try to form a specific alliance with anybody?
Chicken: On the first evening, when I was coming back from getting water, I come up on three girls, Peih-Gee, Jaime, and Sherea. They were standing about 70 yards from where I was. I walked up on them and they said, ďChicken come here.Ē We went into all this conversation. They said letís stick together, itís early for an alliance but letís take that chance. Letís four hook up.
I told them what they wanted to hear. But my word is good as gold, I wouldíve stuck to the alliance. On the third day, Dave says your nameís come up and I confronted Jaime. She said it was a little early to build alliances. Then we came back from the immunity challenge and we were on pins and needles.
Youíre all standing in a circle and the first name that comes up is mine. The others says as long as itís not me, I donít care who it is. My name was the first one that come up. It could have been anyone else, but then you go thinking about all these other shows and the way this thing was supposed to be played out. If you go by other shows, Ashley should have been the one to go because she done the least in three days. Whether she was sick or lazy or sprained her ankle Ė whatever the reason, Ashley done the least. Sheís the weak link, she shouldíve went first.
You know, on down the line, somewhere, Iím sure they will figure it out and miss me. Whether itís the next day or the next Tribal Council or the next challenge. But itíll be too late then. They made a mistake and so be it. Thereís no doubt about it, I couldíve built the shelter. But why would you want to build a shelter with seven other people standing there looking for you?
That [and teaching them to get water and food] wouldnít have bought you but maybe another week or 10 days maybe even two weeks. But thereís nothing in concrete. When I started building the shelter, me and Dave were doing about 70% of the work. I said, ďDave, why do we want to do this? Theyíre standing right there and we could reach out and smack Ďem. Weíre working our hind ends off, but for what?Ē
I couldíve built the shelter and fed Ďem. Some of my favorite players in past Survivors have been brutal workers. Another disappointing thing about the past Survivors, the guy that does the work and plays the greatest game never wins the money, not the ones Iíve seen. The guy that deserves the money never gets the money.
But thatís a great element to this game. One in 16 chance, the adventure. The money is down the list to me. When youíre a guy from Virginia, you never done anything, youíre just astonished with the trip. Iím never gonna be rich, but the first night there were at least five or six people who mentioned a million dollars. Thatís not me. You can call me crazy, but Iím travel-shocked by the trip. Iím shocked at the way they [production staff] treat you. You go from nothing to something really quick. Itís a feeling youíve never had before. Everything is top shelf. Everything matters and itís just an extraordinary journey.
These other people, it didnít shock in some of our travels. Here we are traveling and I look around so much my neck gets sore. These people are reading books and have their Ipods in, not even looking out the window. I donít miss nothing. This country, the culture, the people, the temple, Iíll never forget it as long as I live. I donít think youíll hear that from the others. Maybe Iím wrong and Iím exaggerating about my trip. But the trip itself was amazing. If youíve done a lot of traveling, it would have been the trip of a lifetime, but for me it was the trip of 10 lifetimes!
Maybe that was my weakness Ė I was so excited about being there that I lost track of the game. But Iím not the type of guy whoís going to take care of you Ė you scratch my back Iíll scratch yours. Thatís the way I am here. My neighbor, if his tractor breaks down, he can get mine, or I can get his if mine breaks down. Itís a way of life and itís not for these people. This is what makes great entertainment is bringing 16 people together and making them build relationships.
It didnít happen for us. I was amazed at how quick the other tribe came together. They would congratulate each other, pat each other on the back Ė you didnít see that with us. Even in Tribal Council, itís gonna take something to bring these people together. I donít believe theyíll ever come together. I donít know what happens in the game, but going by what I seen, these people are not going to come together. I may be wrong, but thatís just my opinion. The other tribe come together and I guarantee theyíre a lot closer than we were.
I look forward to when we all get together and we catch up. You hear stories about this game changing people, but I guarantee it didnít change the others like it did me. Probably because Iíve never done anything or went nowhere. The trip means more to me than the money.
RNO: Your exclamation of ďDamn!Ē when you were voted out may have been one of the best reactions to a vote ever Ė and certainly made a couple of your tribemates jump. Where did the sudden emotion come from?
Chicken: I was expressing myself, let me tell you. You just get over the shock and try to reason with it. Theyíve got no reason. They were standing around and my name come up. There was five people talking and thatís where the luck comes in. My name was mentioned and thereís people who donít care for what reason. Theyíre not thinking I can feed Ďem and take care of Ďem. Theyíre thinking, ďif he wants to take him out Iíll do it too.Ē
I believe my name just come up and four people standing there said weíll send him home. Theyíre not thinking of the reasons, my name come up. Thatís what makes this game so great. Peih-Geeís name couldíve come up. Just one of those things about luck. I believe thatís what happened. No one hates me and my name just come up. Maybe Iím wrong too. Iím not the sharpest tool in the tool shed but thatís my own opinion.
RNO: Looks like weíve run out of time. Thanks again, Chicken!http://www.realitynewsonline.com/cgi-bin/ae.pl?mode=4&article=article7363.art&page=1