Photos courtesy of Foo Xi Yuan and AETN All Asia Networks Pte Ltd

From braving the depths of a Sumatran mine to uncovering a World War II battlefield in Singapore, Anthony Morse, the charismatic host of TV series Hidden Cities, seems to walk the steps of Indiana Jones.

After snagging the gig through a talent search for a host by the show’s producers last year, the 31-year-old American-Rawang (an ethnic minority group of Burma, China and Thailand) has been traveling around various parts of Asia to unravel the mysteries and treasures of different cultures and heritage.

From exploring the grounds of Beijing, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan in the first series, Anthony continues to satisfy the curiosity of the audience, who has been clamoring for more since the end of last season.

With the doubling of the number of episodes, the audience can look forward to deepening their knowledge of the ancient civilization.

For Anthony, his passion for history, and adventurous spirit of taking on various odd jobs, from being a photographer to a white water rafting guide before joining the show proved to be of good use as he embarks on his stint with Hidden Cities.

Series II Episode #3: Anthony unravels the rich and diverse cultures of Thailand, and deciphers the complex history of the country. (Airing on Dec 7)

Learning with the audience

Always eager in getting his hands into the down-and-dirty parts of the journey, such as going through an excruciatingly painful traditional massage in a Nanjing Bathhouse and going down a cobra-infested well, Anthony never fails to complete his task at hand no matter how challenging it can be.

The theology graduate believes in sharing with the viewers through his first-hand experiences.

“To me, part of the excitement and the fun is actually learning new things when we are filming. I don’t want go to there with a sense of  “Oh I already know this! I know that!” I, too, want encounter things for the first time and it makes things more interesting and fun when I host it that way.”

His craziest dream

As an avid traveler, Anthony has set his foot on almost every continent of the world. Yet, the eloquent bilingual host has yet to achieve the craziest thing he’d ever want to do, even within Hidden Cities.

“I would like to volunteer to test out rocket packs, to have them strapped on me and start flying. I would love to do that! If you have any contacts do get them in touch with me!” he enthused.

Series II Episode #2: Beneath the tall infrastructures and urbanised façade, Anthony explores the forgotten places in Singapore. (Airing on Nov 30)

His greatest fear

Given Anthony’s adventurous streak, it’s surprising to find out about his phobia of monkeys, which developed after a harrowing childhood experience of being bitten by one.

As a measure of his professionalism, he kept his cool when dealing with these furry creatures during shoots, like the time he had to conduct an interview at a Buddhist temple in Thailand.

“They were all over… They were attracted to the boom pole, they jumped on me a couple of times and the director had to use a little broom to chase them away,” he shared.

Series II Episode #6: With over 4,000 years of history, China’s keeping up with the pace of globalisation while preserving the country’s arts and heritage. Anthony tries his hand at martial arts. Find out how he fares on Dec 28.

Settling down?

Having to be on the go for 5 and a half months out of a year for filming this season, does the indefatigable human dynamo ever think of putting down his roots somewhere for good?

His response came without hesitation. “Never. Traveling will be ongoing. If I should get married and have a family we’ll travel as a family!” he quipped, laughing.

What Hidden Cities means to him

“To me, Hidden Cities is not just a programme. It’s something I agree with. I believe in the idea behind this show, I really do. I see it as an hour that we’re given to share with the viewers a little slice of that country’s culture and history,” relates the history buff.

Apart from satisfying his thirst for adventure, Anthony also gets the most gratification when viewers give feedback about their growing awareness of their own cultures and roots.

“I hope what viewers would take with them is that awakened sense of curiosity, their desire learn more about their own country and the neighboring countries as well. If we achieve this, I think for me – forget ratings,” he said firmly.

Join Anthony as he embarks on an exciting journey to 7 different countries in the second series of Hidden Cities! Back bigger and better this time, the series of 8 episodes feature Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Yangtze, Sumatra, Si Chuan and Chongqing, Philippines, and Sarawak. Premiering Nov 23, the series is telecast every Wednesday at 9pm on HISTORY Asia.

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