The Apprentice: One Championship Edition is reality workplace drama at its finest

The boss Chatri Sityodtong in The Apprentice: One Championship Edition. (Screenshot from Netflix)
The boss Chatri Sityodtong in The Apprentice: One Championship Edition. (Screenshot from Netflix)

The Apprentice, but with an Asian twist, was recently released on Netflix.

The Apprentice: One Championship Edition was modelled after the reality TV series that famously featured Donald Trump pitting contestants against each other for a chance to work for him.

This time, instead of Trump, it's One Championship CEO, Chatri Sityodtong, offering a coveted job at his company.

One Championship, a Singapore-based company which Chatri built into a billion-dollar sports media property, is the largest martial arts organisation in the world.

The winner of the contest walked away with US$250,000 and the job of Chatri's chief of staff for a year.

The show had aired on AXN last year, but was later picked up by Netflix. (So avoid articles about the show if you don't want to find out who the winner is before you finish watching the series!)

The Apprentice: One Championship Edition was created and produced by the company itself. That's smart marketing, mind you – but it's also good entertainment, since the show reached the top of Netflix Singapore's daily Top 10 ranking a week after it was released on Netflix.

Filmed in Singapore

Fully shot in Singapore, the show's locations included Andaz Hotel, Sentosa, and the Singapore Sports Hub.

The show has pretty much the same format as the original Apprentice. 16 candidates from 11 countries participated in a series of physical challenges and business tasks for the top prize.

Contestants on The Apprentice: One Championship Edition. (Screenshot from Netflix)
Contestants on The Apprentice: One Championship Edition. (Screenshot from Netflix)

Unlike on the American version of The Apprentice, this version featured diverse contestants from around the world. Candidates came from Germany, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, India, Russia, the United States, New Zealand, Venezuela, and Thailand.

I don't watch martial arts competitions, but I didn't need to in order to appreciate the show.

Anyone who has worked and had to interact with colleagues in an organisation can appreciate the drama that ensues – because at its heart, this is really a workplace drama, but in a reality TV format.

Workplace politics

Week after week, contestants have to work together on business projects. They backstab each other, form alliances, and generally drive each other crazy because of their cunning, ego or incompetence – basically, what happens in most people's workplaces.

For example, there's Clinton from New Zealand, who became Public Enemy No. 1 because, in the words of Chatri as well as his teammates, he was an egoistic "bullsh*tter" who constantly lied and hardly did any work.

Then there's Eugene from the US, who's over-enthusiastic but disorganised, who Chatri initially saves from elimination because of his sob story about how Chatri and martial arts were his greatest inspiration in life.

There's a reason The Office was the most-watched TV show – people can't get enough of workplace dramas!

It's catharsis for people who can't vent their frustrations in their actual offices – if you can't see your colleagues in real life get fired, it's vicariously satisfying to see their reality TV counterparts get fired on TV.

The Apprentice: One Championship Edition just got picked up for Season 2, so gear up for more boardroom drama coming your way!

Spoiler alert: Bonus quotes from Season 1 winner

We reached out to the winner of this season of The Apprentice: One Championship Edition, Jessica Ramella, to ask her about what it's been like to work with Chatri.

Ramella said, "I've learnt a lot from Chatri about how to run a company of this size, and how to make important decisions on the fly, as well as focusing on priorities. Chatri is incredibly good at making sure that while there's a lot of ideas and things that we need to do, we need to concentrate on those that will serve our goals. If they don’t, they will not matter.

"I've also learned a lot about having a growth mindset, learning what your shortcomings are, acknowledging them and then pushing forward. Everything I have learnt so far with regards to e-commerce, martial arts, even One Championship as a whole, has been really exciting and challenging."

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