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'Survivor: Fiji' castaway Yau-Man Chan using niceness as payback


By Christopher Rocchio, 05/21/2007 

Yau-Man Chan is using the old "kill 'em with kindness" adage in dealing with Andria "Dreamz" Herd, the Survivor: Fiji castaway that reneged on a Final 4 Immunity Challenge deal that cost Chan a chance at the competition's $1 million grand prize.

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"Being nice to him was worse than being angry. He really wants me to be all over him about this, but I'm not going to give him the pleasure," Chan recently told the San Mateo County Times. "Look, life is short. I don't want to hold that anger or a grudge against him. He will have to deal with this for the rest of his life. He's in bad shape because he will have to do a lot of good deeds to offset that image. He committed a major moral infraction in front of millions of people."

Chan, a 54-year-old director of information systems for UC Berkeley's College of Chemistry, is apparently as wise as he appeared during Survivor's recently concluded fourteenth installment, although the deal with Herd may have led Survivor viewers to believe differently.  The deal in question began to take shape when Chan won Fiji's most lucrative Reward Challenge and received a 2008 Ford Super Duty truck for his effort. While he didn't envision himself owning the prize, the wheels in his head were turning.

"When they dropped the curtain, I knew that's not my lifestyle. I own two hybrids. If I took it home, my wife would leave me and the children would have disowned me, but it was nice of Ford to donate the truck," Chan told the Times. "Now, if they would have donated a hybrid Escape, I wouldn't be so quick to trade it off."

As soon as Chan won the challenge, he told Herd he would give him the truck in exchange for a promise that he would give Chan the Immunity Idol if the two were both members of the season's Final 4 and Herd were to win Fiji's Final 4 Immunity Challenge.  Herd accepted the deal and at first, everything played out swimmingly for Chan when Herd won the Final 4 Immunity Challenge.  However once he won the challenge, Herd never followed through with his agreement to give the Individual Immunity necklace he'd won to Chan and Chan was subsequently booted.

"Looking back, I may have overplayed [Herd honoring his promise]," Chan admitted to the Times in hindsight. "I can't read people like [fellow Fiji castaway Cassandra Franklin] did. I found out I don't have a talent for that."

Not only did Chan not receive Individual Immunity per his deal with Herd, but his Fiji ally Earl Cole also turned on him during that fateful Tribal Council. Instead of supporting his buddy, Cole sided with Herd and Franklin, who all wrote down Chan's name and brought an end to his Survivor journey.

"I was hoping [Cole] would vote for Cassandra so we could have a tie vote, but I understand that he felt he had a better chance at the final Tribal Council with Dreamz and Cassandra," Chan told the Times. "I still think that if Dreamz hadn't won the Immunity, Earl would have voted him out instead."

Chan was correct in his supposing about why Cole booted him instead of Franklin, as the 35-year-old Santa Monica, CA advertising executive received all nine votes from Fiji's jury and unanimously defeated Herd and Franklin at the conclusion of Fiji's finale.

"So Dreamz, who was never going to win the million because of what he had done during the course of the show, decided the outcome by not giving me the Immunity he had promised," Chan told the Times. "Earl won the million dollars, and because neither Dreamz nor Cassandra got a single vote, they tied for second and will get $100,000. Since I came in third, I will get $60,000."

Fiji's final Tribal Council proves that karma is already catching up with Herd --  and he's apparently aware of it, as Chan said now Herd is "telling everyone he's going to donate the truck" to charity.

"We all rolled our eyes and said please have a lot of television and newspaper coverage or else we won't believe it," Chan told the Times.

Chan was definitely a viewer favorite during his time as a Fiji castaway, and while that may have been little consolation when he was booted, he said it might wind-up paying monetary dividends after all.  And even if it doesn't, he said he's better for the experience anyway.

"There's a move on the Internet to get a million people to send in a dollar each so I can win the million," Chan told the Times, reportedly with a laugh. "I'm getting a lot more recognition on the street. I'm basically a shy person, so I'm trying to be more outgoing. It's a new experience for me."

(Photo credit CBS)


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