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Yau-Man Chan
Survivor contestant
Born August 26, 1952 (1952-08-26) (age 57)
Resides Martinez, California
Season(s) Fiji
Finish 4th place (Fiji)
18th Place (Micronesia)
Tribe(s) Fiji:
     Bula Bula

Yau-Man Chan (born August 26, 1952) was the fourth place finisher in the reality television series Survivor: Fiji. He returned to the show in Survivor: Micronesia, where he was the third contestant to be ousted. He was born in Hong Kong to ethnic Chinese parents[citation needed] and raised in Sabah, North Borneo, Malaysia.

He is the Chief Technology Officer for Computing Services, Network Services, and Telecommunications at the University of California, Berkeley's College of Chemistry[1] and a champion table tennis player.[2] Chan was also the 2005-06 Northern California Division Director for the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association.[3] He has a Bachelor of Science (physics) from MIT and a Masters from UC Santa Barbara.

In the polling at the official Survivor website, Chan was voted as being the favorite survivor of the Fiji season, with a 65.5% popularity rating. The second-most-popular, Earl, only had 10%.

Jeff Probst called Chan an "unlikely hero. There are just some people who have a way about them - instantly charming - that makes you want to pull for them."[4]


Survivor: Fiji

Yau-Man Chan appeared in the reality television series Survivor: Fiji. He finished fourth[5] and was the last person to be voted out. He appeared on the jury at the end of the season and voted for Earl Cole to win the game and one million dollars.

An atypical Survivor contestant, he achieved much success through his knowledge and utilization of basic physics. This was evident from the first episode. After the repeated efforts of much more muscular contestants, he was the only one able to open a box of supplies the tribe received.

While others had used various brute force methods to open the box, Chan simply dropped it on its corner onto a rock, opening it immediately. In this way he was also able to beat younger, fitter and theoretically stronger players in challenges.[6] While not shown on the series, he was also instrumental in the creation of fire using spectacles (something not normally possible with concave lenses).[7]

Chan also used his smarts to find the Hidden Immunity Idol. While Earl kept the tribe at bay, Chan found the idol. It was shaped like a turtle. Immediately after, he created a false idol. This way, if anyone found where the idol was, they would not suspect that he had in fact found it. He constructed the false idol out of coconut shell and painted a face on it. He also painted the letters "I.I.," for Immunity Idol.

Chan was noted to be part of one of the largest controversies in Survivor history. In a challenge where the reward was a new truck, Chan won, and immediately offered a deal to Dreamz. He would give Dreamz the truck if Dreamz, should both he and Chan be in the final four and the latter won individual immunity, would give his immunity to Chan, securing a place for him in the final three.

Dreamz accepted, and Chan sent himself to Exile Island, the first to do so in Survivor history. Chan said in a confessional during the episode that it was because "Cassandra would never survive, and there was no one else to send."[8]

After two more people were voted out, the exact conditions of this bargain were set up, with Dreamz winning immunity in the final four. However, Dreamz reneged on the deal and Chan was voted off. In the reunion after the finale, it was revealed by the members of the jury that Chan might have won with six out of nine votes had he made it to the final three. He has stated that he holds no grudge against what Dreamz did, as it was a risk he took.[9]

Survivor: Micronesia

On January 3, 2008, Chan was announced to be among the favorites in Survivor: Micronesia, which is the sixteenth season of Survivor and began airing on February 7, 2008. On the first episode of the show, he formed a loose alliance with fellow favorites Jonathan Penner, Ami Cusack, and Eliza Orlins. Chan joined the rest of his tribe in voting Jon Dalton off the island during that episode.

As aired in episode three, the Favorites lost the immunity challenge and Chan was targeted by Survivor: Panama favorite Cirie Fields, the swing vote for the two alliances (the other consisting of Amanda Kimmel, Ozzy Lusth, Parvati Shallow and James Clement). Fields targeted him because of his reputation as an intelligent player, and she was scared of what would happen if he found the Hidden Immunity Idol again. Despite Penner's attempts to persuade her to join their alliance, Chan was eliminated and became the third person voted off the island.

However, additional footage released on the official Survivor website revealed another side to these events. Fields, who was one of the first people to visit Exile Island in this season, had shared all the clues to the location of the hidden immunity idol that she had gathered with Chan, with the understanding that the two of them would share the idol in a similar manner to Chan and Earl. After this information exchange, Chan suggested to the tribe that if they won the next reward challenge, instead of following the tribe's earlier procedure of drawing lots to determine which of their own number went to Exile Island, Penner be sent. Upon hearing this, Fields drew the conclusion that Chan had given Penner the clues she had just shared, and that the two men were in an alliance that excluded her. That conclusion was another factor in Fields' decision to eliminate Chan. Post-elimination interviews of Jonathan Penner have told a similar story.

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

Chan received an invitation to be a participant of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, but had to decline it due to insufficient leave.[10]

The Skeptologists

In April 2008, Chan worked on a pilot for a skeptical reality show called The Skeptologists. The pilot is being developed by Brian Dunning (of the Skeptoid podcast) and producer Ryan Johnson (American Dragster).

The show will be a reality TV series that investigates the paranormal and fringe science from a skeptical scientific point of view.[11]

Another Skeptologists cast member, Dr. Steven Novella, heads the podcast The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, on which Chan is interviewed in the April 12, 2008 episode.

Personal life

Yau-Man Chan is married and he has two children. He currently resides in Martinez, California.


  1. ^ "College of Chemistry - Information Systems - Our Staff". Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  2. ^ "Concord Table Tennis Club". Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  3. ^ "National Collegiate Table Tennis Association, Past Officers". Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  4. ^ Rocchio, Christopher (2007-05-04). "Jeff Probst gushes about 'Survivor: Fiji' castaway Yau-Man Chan". Reality TV World. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  5. ^ Edelstein, Wendy (2007-05-30). "After 'Dreamz,' it's back to reality". The Daily Californian. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Johnson, Gordon; Johnson, Debbie (2007-06-25). "Yau-Man Talks Survivor Fiji". Acquatic Times. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Rocchio, Christopher (2007-05-21). "'Survivor: Fiji' castaway Yau-Man Chan using niceness as payback". Reality TV World. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  10. ^ Barney, Chuck (February 10, 2010). "Barney: Yau-Man Chan says women will rule 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'". Contra Costa Times. Retrieved February 11, 2010. 
  11. ^ "The Skeptologists". Retrieved 2008-03-28. 

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