First "Surviving the Sky" challenge

Surviving the Sky, Singapore’s and Asia’s first reality challenge in a cable car, took place from 16 to 23 March 2004.1 The event was held in conjunction with Singapore Cable Car’s (SCC) 30th anniversary. Participants had to endure living in a cable car for seven consecutive days.The winning team received a grand prize of S$50,000 in cash and prizes.3

In celebration of Singapore Cable Car’s 30th anniversary in 2004, the company organised various activities throughout the year. One of the planned activities was the first “survivor”-type event of its kind in Singapore and the world, the “Surviving the Sky” challenge. The challenge was open to participants from six countries: Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea. The youngest participant was a 21-year-old male from Hong Kong, while the oldest was a 54-year-old retired teacher.4

Teams, comprised of two members, had to endure living in a moving cable car for a total of 168 hours, or seven days, in order to win the challenge. For the duration of the competition, the cable car travelled from Mount Faber Cable Car Station and Sentosa between 8am and midnight before being parked at Mount Faber for the night. 36 teams participated in the challenge that began at 12 noon on 16 March 2004.5

There were strict rules and regulations that participating teams had to comply with if they did not want to be disqualified. Each team had to comprise a male and female participant. Teams were allowed only a 10-minute break every 24 hours, which they could split up so long as they did not exceed the daily allotted break time of 10 minutes. Three meals and three litres of drinking water were provided daily. There were minimal creature comforts – each team was only given one blanket and one pillow. Each team was also allowed to bring one non-electronic “luxury item” with them. In addition, participants were required to perform standard and surprise tasks that the organisers had planned. Points awarded upon completion of the tasks were to be taken into consideration in the event of a tie. Teams were disqualified once members were deemed medically unfit, lost 2kg or more, or failed to adhere to any of the stipulated rules and regulations.6

Three of the 36 teams were eliminated just seven hours into the competition. Two Singapore teams had failed to make it to the starting line and a pair of university students from Bangkok quit even before the official start of the competition as the female contestant was struck by motion sickness caused by swinging of the cable car. By 7pm of the first day of the competition, three more pairs had been dropped: two for throwing up in the cable car and the third for eating snacks, which was prohibited.7

At the end of the competition on 23 March, 19 of the original 36 teams remained. This was a situation that the organisers did not anticipate. Thus, they had to decide on the winning team based on the least amount of time taken for toilet and other breaks throughout the competition. Based on this criteria, the team of Abdul Rahman Bin Selamat, a sales assistant, and his teammate, Zaiton Majeed, a henna tattooist, emerged as the winners of the challenge. They had accumulated a total break time of only 22 minutes and 15 seconds for the entire duration of the challenge. The duo won the top prize of S$20,000 cash and a weeklong Mediterranean Sea cruise worth S$30,000. The second prize of S$3,000 cash went to Indonesians Rachmat Karsono and Tense Manalu, and another three pairs of runners-up received handheld Hewlett Packard PCs and printers.8

Nureza Ahmad

1. “Singapore Cable Car Announces “Surviving the Sky” Challenge Winners,” Getforme Singapore, accessed 26 June 2018.
2. Crystal Chan, “7 Days in a Cable car? Some Can’t Even Last 7 Hours,” Straits Times, 17 March 2004, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
3. “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast − in a Cable Car,” Straits Times, 7 January 2004, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
4. “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast − in a Cable Car.”
5. Chan, “7 Days in a Cable car?” 
6. “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast − in a Cable Car”; Chan, “7 Days in a Cable car?” 
7. Chan, “7 Days in a Cable car?” 
8. Kor Kian Beng, “Bonding with Dad, the Cable Car Way,” New Paper, 24 March 2004, 7Chan, “7 Days in a Cable car?”; Getforme Singapore, “Surviving the Sky” Challenge Winners.”

The information in this article is valid as at 2018 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


Survival skills--Singapore
Special events--Singapore
Sports and games