Monday, April 28, 2008

Hospis Hunt 2008—Debating Over The Infertile Doctor

During the earlier leg of the hunt, it seemed that we were doomed for another time mismanagement situation. We spent quite a long time on this clue:

Q5) It appears he is unable to procreate. What and where?

A seemingly straightforward clue; and it was a relatively short sector too. Before reaching the sector, we scanned through the clues to prepare ourselves. When we came to the above clue, we were already thinking about words like "stelilized" and its Malay counterpart, "mandul". Of course other words like "infertile" came to mind too. Yet, when we arrived at the sector, and after combing practically every inch of the signboards there, we could only narrow down to a small signboard on the wall of a clinic. On that signboard, amongst others, were the words "infertility management". Other possible—but less promising—choices were "menopause" or even "sakit puan". But they were not very satisfactory because of the word "he" in the clue. The name of the clinic was Ganesan Medical Centre, but that is found on the main signboard, i.e. separated from the one with "infertility management".

Of course it is possible that a man might be infertile, but how does one connect that "infertility management" to the doctor? Would it be satisfactory to link those words with the name of the doctor who's a man? GM Margaret wasn't very happy with that; and so was I. It is more reasonable to construe those boards as the male doctor who manages the infertile women, but there is nothing to suggest that that male doctor himself was infertile. To accept the "infertility management" as the answer would be too simplistic in my opinion. I agreed with Margaret that it's a very unsatisfactory answer.

However, Chai had a different opinion. He was convinced that "infertility management" was the intended answer. I think he agreed with our objections, but he pinned it down to the style of the CoC. I said if the "infertility management" was indeed the intended answer, then I wouldn't be very happy, and would like to listen to the CoC's explanation. On the whole, I didn't think an explanation seeking to link the "infertility management" to the male doctor could hold water—at least not in this particular case.

BUT! as we were debating about who's fertile and who's not, time was ticking away. It would have been interesting to know if there was any of the hunters who actually went to the trouble of going into the clinic to ask Dr Ganesan himself if he was indeed infertile, but none of my team members did. Anyway, as I was saying, precious time was ticking away. At this juncture, I think Chai played a very important role in dragging the team to make a move. It's important to know when to move on. For what's the point of losing too much time on a single question if the time thus lost might help to secure the answers for onther questions at a later stage of the hunt?

Anyway, Margaret kept the option open until very much later in the course of the hunt. During the long breaks between the sectors on the highway, we debated on the above questions again and again. But we always came to the same conclusion, i.e. very unsatisfactory. However, because we failed to find anything better, we were forced to submit that forsaken "infertility management" anyway.

That night the CoC revealed the answer—it was the word "sterilized" which was found on another signboard within that sector. But the whole trouble was that that board had been removed by the time the hunt was held. So every team was given the points for the question anyway. As far as I am concerned, it was a valuable lesson anyway, because had we spent more time within that sector, we might have affected the other parts of the hunt due to insufficient time.

Since the 3rd team lost 4 points due to time penalty, and ultimately lost to the 2nd team on a tie-breaker, I wonder if it had something to do with this particular question. Perhaps GM Chian Min would like to comment further on this? If indeed time was unnecessarily wasted on this question, I can imagine the frustration!

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