Survivor SA Castaway Ting-Ting Says Why She Has No Regrets
The country was in awe Thursday night as Survivor SA contestant Jacques Burger seemed to have wasted his immunity idol – using it to protect himself with no votes shown against him. This was after the industrial engineer had formed an alliance with Ting-Ting Wong; an underdog in the Ta’alo tribe who was the obvious candidate to be sent off the island.
Ting-Ting Wong (25) became the third castaway to be voted off M-Net’s Survivor SA this season. The doctor from Durban felt deeply betrayed and rightly so – as Jacques would have been safe anyway if he had saved his ally and chatterbox Cobus would have had his torch extinguished.
We spoke to Ting-Ting on how she felt on Jacques betrayal, how she would have played the game differently, and why she’s found closure.
How did it feel to go off the way you did – with Jacques not giving you immunity and playing it for himself?
“There’s a myriad of emotions there. My first reaction was just shock! I think you saw my face! I was like WHAT! I think complete denial as well – I went through all the five stages. At the end I saw both sides – the negative and the positive. He did it to protect himself and that’s the game – you have to survive,” she says.
And although she felt betrayed initially, she’s found closure. “Initially, I did feel betrayed because it was promised to me. But in a game like Survivor there is no promise.
“I feel that I have closure, I feel like I didn’t have any regrets – I did my best and I can understand why things happened the way they happened. I think in my heart, I feel I could have come across stronger and more loud.
Do you feel it was a waste of an immunity idol?
“Definitely! No doubt about that. You’ll see in my exit interview, I was like why would you just waste it like that? You could have just kept it a secret! So I knew that he didn’t do it on purpose, I mean if he just wanted me out he didn’t have to play the idol. That just shows he truly was afraid that he was going to be the one going home.”
You were quite the team player. Is there anything you would have changed if you were to go back?
I’m loud and boisterous and I should have just really embraced that.
“Of course, I definitely want to go back and do things differently. I would be more loud and less in the background, my kind of gameplay was just to lay low in the background and watch things go by.
“I don’t think that fared well with my tribe because everyone was just out there and outspoken and I faded out unto the back. Whereas, I’m not someone like that I’m loud and boisterous and I should have just really embraced that.”
You alluded to the immunity idol at tribal council, saying ‘others weren’t playing the game’. Do you regret that?
“No! Not at all! I thought that was a little bit of who I was coming out because people weren’t thinking about gameplay; did they sit down and think about my skills and what I contribute? They thought physically [I was not strong] but mentally it was Jacques and I [who were the strongest].
“That was me coming out of my shadow and I was like guys – game on – because I thought I was going to stay on.”
Who is your favourite to win?
“It’s like you’re asking me to pick my favourite child,” she jokes “The casting is amazing and everyone is so unique.” But surprisingly in her tribe, her alliances still lie with Jacuqes in Ta’alo. “Of course, it’s my alliance, I think I’ll always remain loyal to my alliance. Even though things didn’t go well, it sounds weird but I wish him well.”
How has your life changed since the show?
For Ting-Ting, it’s about representing the Afri-Asian community – a term she’s coined to represent herself and other minorities like her.
“I think more so, a lot has changed inside of me. I have realised that this is a great avenue to empower people – the minority, the people who don’t get a voice. You don’t have to be in a box; you don’t have to be in the box of a nerd and that’s all you can do.
“Be a nerd who’s daring, who’s funny, just breaking those barriers. I think being on Survivor brought out the warrior in me.”
What advice would you have for anyone wanting to enter Survivor?
“I would say find that gremlin, that voice, who says you’re not good enough and just shout it out and just apply and do it. If it’s something in your heart, listen to it and go for it!”