Can You Make It?


201217_256  Are you ready for an adventure of a lifetime? Photo Credits: Red Bull

Imagine yourself in a situation where you need to hand over all your smart devices, cash and credit cards while you are travelling in a foreign country, what would you do?

In addition to that, you will need to rely on your negotiation and bartering skills and several cans of Red Bull energy drinks to get everything you need on your journey – food, accommodation and transportation to your next destination.

So, can you make it?

If you are wondering if anyone has made it, the answer is yes as ‘Red Bull Can You Make It?’ 2017 Malaysian team – Hibiscus Tigers shares their experience with Tech Side Tales (TST) in an exclusive interview.

To begin with, Hibiscus Tigers is a team that consists of three 24-year-olds; Jason Lee Jia Wei, Kayla Teh Khe Sin and Alston Teoh Yeong Chee. 181217_143

The trio is also pursuing their tertiary education in the Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the University of Malaya.

Hibiscus Tigers’ submission video. Credits to Jason Lee Jia Wei

TST: First of all, could you share with us what is behind the name of your group, Hibiscus Tigers?

Hibiscus Tigers: We wanted a name that has a strong relevance to Malaysia. Initially, we had thought of several other names but we decided to go with ‘Hibiscus Tigers’ as hibiscus is our national flower while the tiger is symbolic to our nation too.

Plus, it had sparked curiosity during our ‘Red Bull: Can You Make It?’ adventure in Europe as many Europeans have never heard of the word ‘hibiscus’ before, thus opening up plenty interesting conversations.

TST: So what is the ‘Red Bull: Can You Make It?’ adventure all about?

HT: ‘Red Bull: Can You Make It?’ starts off with a group of three current university students (aged 18 and above) shooting a one-minute video to convince everyone why their team should be chosen.

From Left to Right: Kayla, Jason, a local and Alston.

This is where each team can go crazy and creative where they will then upload their videos to Youtube and Vimeo.

The teams will need to start campaigning hard to get votes – teams with the most votes from the five different countries will then be chosen to participate in the ‘Red Bull: Can You Make It?’ challenge.

Upon being chosen, each team will then fly into one of the five various starting points within Europe. From there out, the participants are required to hand in all their personal cash, credit cards and even phones (these are sealed within tamper-proof bags).

Even though participants are allowed to bring these along during the 7-day challenge, they are prohibited to open the bags during the competition as any team found cheating will be immediately disqualified.

So in return for giving up all personal effects, each team will receive 24 cans of Red Bull and a pre-programmed smartphone.

What are the 24 cans of Red Bull for? It is for the team to charm and barter as a form of currency their way through the week-long challenge to get food, accommodation and transport.

Hibiscus Tigers battering Red Bull drinks for a coconut.

From there, teams are required to travel to six checkpoints before reaching the final destination – each checkpoint will have a set of challenges where it will test the team’s capabilities, both mentally and physically.

TST: It must be surely challenging, so how did you prepare yourself to be part ‘Red Bull: Can You Make It?’ challenge?

HT: For our one-minute video submission, we have to be thankful that we are living in such a technological age where there is a thing called Youtube. We did some research and were inspired by Zach King, an American ‘Vine’ star, filmmaker and Youtube personality.

Youtube personality and filmmaker Zach King

His videos are very entertaining and we tried to incorporate some of his ideas into our videos such as the toy car that we used.

At the same time, we referred to several other viral videos on Youtube and tried our best to modify them into our own video.

TST: How was the experience of not having your smartphones on hand throughout the challenge?

HT: Well, we did receive an alternate mobile phone from Red Bull as it was our only point of communication to and fro with the Red Bull headquarters.

Despite just sharing a smartphone among ourselves, we have learnt that it is not impossible to survive living with shared a phone.


Hibiscus Tigers with their ‘new friend’ Sun Wukong.

The mobile phone that Red Bull gave limits the use of any other forms of social media platform but an app was pre-installed where we used it to map our way through and to get the guidelines to help complete the challenges.

Other than that, we took turns taking photos and videos throughout the adventure.

TST: As we all know it, many of us are becoming too dependent on technology. How has this competition changed you as you had limited use of technology and still being able to get through the challenges?

HT: To be honest, without our smart devices, we did not have the constant urge to check our social media profiles or to play games or spend time doing random stuff on our phones.

Red Bull Can You Make It 2016 Hibiscus Tigers

However, it allowed us to spend more time with each other as well getting to know the other teams and people we met along the way.

And with our strong bond, we generated good chemistry to work as a team which really helped us along the way with the challenges.

TST: So let’s say you have the chance to develop an app for ‘Red Bull: Can You Make It?’, what would it be and how would it help the participants?

Jason: *sigh* Well, I would create an app that will tell us where are the nearest public and free toilets. This is because I, in particular, had trouble to keep it in.

Kayla: I would say an app that can show the nearest eateries with the menu and pricing. We had some difficulties in bartering food and if we had known the prices from the start, we would not need to step into a random eatery and peek around looking like some suspicious person.

This app will be of great help as participants can estimate the cost and where I’m gonna make him (eatery owners) an offer he can’t refuse.giphy (quoting Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather.)






TST: Could you share what are some of the lessons and skills you have learned from ‘Red Bull: Can You Make It?’?

Jason: Personally, I have learned that if I were to put my mind and soul into something, I surely can achieve great things that even I do not know I could ever do.

It was beyond imagination that I am able to represent Malaysia in this international event as we were only doing it for fun.

Kayla: Through this experience, I have learned to put my ego aside and to not be shy to talk to people. For all our lives, we are taught to be cautious but often if not most times, we are all but humans – and most humans are kind in nature.

I have also learned to be more trusting towards others as I have seen how other teams are more than willing to sacrifice for us or with us – even though we only became friends for a short duration. So yes, it has taught me to be willing to help each other to get through hardships together.

TST: Lastly, share some of the highlights from your seven-day adventure in Europe?

Kayla: While we were stuck in a small town called, Holyhead (Wales), we were contemplating whether to walk the entire highway to our next destination where I met into this old lady at the bus station.

We started a conversation as I shared our adventure with her without the intention of asking her for help but out of nowhere, she volunteered and paid for our bus tickets.

It was such a heart-warming moment as she told me that I reminded her of her daughter.


Jason jumping for joy!

Jason: Well, I did not have such a heart-warming moment such as Kayla…as one time I had to do a “big business” onto a cardboard and then threw it into the dumpster.

Another ‘highlight’ was I nearly drank Alston’s pee because he had released himself into a bottle and I thought it was Red Bull when I woke up. I was lucky as it was still steaming hot.

It was a close call.

The Hibiscus Tiger came in at 27th out of 165 teams and became the No.2 in social media reach in Asia in ‘Red Bull: Can You Make It?’ 2017.




So adventure seekers, are you prepared to get your wings for an opportunity of a lifetime this April 2018?

And if you are that bold and fearless university student, it is your time to shine as ‘Red Bull: Can You Make It?’ 2018 applications are now open.

Are you game to be next Hibiscus Tigers or better?

Do you truly believe that you can make it?

For more information on ‘Red Bull: Can You Make It?’ 2018, please visit:




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