Thursday, May 29, 2008

Kiwanis Hunt 2008—The Elusive Swan

One very important skill which is required in treasure hunts is the ability to spot small signboards. Unlike doing crosswords, observation skill can make or break a treasure hunt team. In a typical hunt, there will be at least a few questions which will test the observation skill of the teams. No amount of analytical skills can help the teams if they are unable to spot the answers on the signboards.

Q36) What the ugly duckling grew up to be? Also tell me where the answer is found.

A very straightforward general knowledge question which requires no analysis at all! You either know it, or you don't. And even if you don't, it is so easy to google up the information or call your kids at home for the answer.

But can you spot the answer within the sector? That is the tricky part.

Such was what my team went through during the final leg of the Kiwanis Hunt last Saturday. Throughout the entire hunt, we were very careful with our time management. We adopted the strategy of dropping some of the "bolded questions" and concentrated only on the regular route questions. The reason we did this was because the "bolded questions" were mostly "impossible" to solve and they carried only 2 points each as opposed to 5 points each for the regular route questions.

Because of the above strategy in our time management, we arrived in Sitiawan, which was the last leg of the hunt, with more than 90 minutes to spare. Then we arrived at the sector meant for the above question. It was drizzling and we saw Alex Hoh of The Machines scanning that sector on foot. And immediately we knew that it would be a very tough answer to spot. We doubled back a few times and there was still no Swan in sight.

A few pictures of flamingos down the road were very tempting. It's amusing what desperation can do to people. Of course flamingos and swans are two different kinds of birds.

Our desperation did not end there. We searched the sector for other possibilities. Perhaps there're signboards where the name of the place, i.e. Sitiawan, might have worn out so that the letters "itia" are already missing, thus leaving only "S"..."wan".

Or perhaps that "Sitiawan" has been put on a folding door somewhere within that sector, and when that door is folded, one is only able to see "Swan".

How about double jeopardy? Say, Awns Construction Co.

Maybe that ugly duckling has a specific name; and it is that name that we're suppose to look for?

And so we had quite a lot of possibilities. But each time we come up with some new ideas, we inevitably came full circle to the word Swan.

Along that narrow lane in front of the temple, there were some cendol stalls. By then I felt I could use some cendol. But stopping to have refreshments and meals did not accord well with the perfect plan of "time management". It's just a little bit more to finish the hunt. We had plenty of time to come back later for the cendol. There was no time to relax, we had to work!

In spite of turning back several times within that sector, we never did find the elusive swan. But it was quite comforting to see some of the masters and grandmasters going back and forth on foot. So all we could hope for at that moment was for no one to spot the swan. That would even things up for eveyone!

Well, we continued with the rest of the hunt and then finally submitted out answers at the finish control. Then we went back to the stall for cendol just as we had planned to do during the hunt. Apparently this particular cendol stall we went to was very famous. I was told that even the Sultan goes there for cendol. There were many people queuing up. We spent a good 10 minutes or so waiting for our turn. I was amused by the fact that the cendol seller had a bow-tie on. He must be the one and only cendol seller with a bow on like that. Well, we had our cendol and then proceeded on to another shopping area to look for a proper meal.

The answer presentation was not until the following night, so we hunters were busying asking each other if anyone had actually found the swan. We were quite happy to have been told by all the teams we spoke to that none of them found the swan.

And then came the time everyone was waiting for during the presentation night. Turned out that the forsaken swan was to be found on the ice-shaving maching of the cendol seller! We were there queuing after the hunt and we didn't see it. But maybe that was because we were mesmerised by the bow-tie.

Here is a picture of the swan which I copied from Michael Pang's blog.

I felt it was very brave of the CoC to choose that swan as the answer because the cendol seller might just have decided to rest on that very day, and the stall wouldn't have been there. But when I spoke to the CoC on Monday morning, he said they went to the extent of ensuring the guy's timetable. He works everyday except on Tuesday!


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, whatever little guilt I have about "METRO" a year ago has just vanished into thin air.

With the recent "Roti Man" and now "Swan", it occurs to me that the challenge amongst the COCs is who can go the smallest!

Cornelius said...


Cornelius said...

Y'know, 2R1I, my brother, Dennis, tried too hard to be original when we hunted the KK City Tourism Hunt last year. He brought along two binoculars during the hunt. While he was holding it in his hand, he was captured on camera by the TOS folks. Later that afternoon prior to the answer presentation, his picture was one of those highlights of the day.

We were laughing at him in the car on the way home. Quite embarrassing, really. We told him not to bring those binoculars for future hunts.

And now with this latest trend, perhaps those binoculars are not so silly after all, huh?... hehehe

Cornelius said...

And by the way, 2R1I, you can't fault the CoC. That swan was visible from the car, wasn't it?... HAHAHA!

I swear I didn't even bother to scan all those statues at the temple. The psychology was that most people would look there, so logically-speaking the swan wasn't likely to be there! But I think my hard-working team members did try their luck... to no avail.

Anonymous said...

Dear Cornelius
Ha ha ... this whole piece is really funny the way you have expressed the analysis.

I enjoyed reading it. Sorry I can't contribute anything yet. Still learning from the Masters and Grandmasters for another couple more years.

Cornelius said...

SWEETS! Where have you been, my friend!? I thought you were supposed to introduce yourself during the Kiwanis Hunt? Or was it your friend who's supposed to introduce us? And I was supposed to be surprised, remember? Did you fly away with the swan?... hehehe

Had a lot of fun. But I owed it to my team members who were a great company. So easy to blend in with them. And we did pretty well with the questions too—154 points for the route questions!

Of the treasures and K Events, don't ask me, it was just awful! I had the honour to do the golf. Can you believe it; MUA!... GOLF! Three chances, and I missed 'em all!

And when I asked 2R1I if he managed any score for golf, he said he got 3 points. So painful when he said he did a "curve" ball. CURVE BALL!?... arghhh! I had trouble with a straight hit, and he's talking about a CURVE BALL!

Cornelius said...

OK, help needed here!

I want to discuss one more interesting clue entitled "Fruity Alloy". But I don't quite know how to do it. The clue has a heart symbol in the first line, and blogspot does not support a heart symbol.

Julie, one of my team members helped me to type out the clue using word and then saved it as a bitmap file (correct me if I'm wrong, Julie). When I tried to upload that into blogspot, it's just too small. But when I tried to enlarge it, it became blur.

Does anyone else know how to insert the heart symbol into blogspot (I mean in between those letters in a sentence)?

Anonymous said...

Dear Cornelius
I was there ... hee hee but you looked too serious. I daren't approach and introduce myself.

It's a big crowd. Couldn't find my friends until much later. We can meet again another Hunt lor ...

You did great. Congrats to your team for the 14th place. You did say top 20, right?

Anonymous said...

Re: Insert ♥

write in MS Word. Insert symbol ♥ copy/paste to your blogspot

Cornelius said...


Yes, I had a modest target of top 20. We worked well together as a team and even managed to crack 2 bolded questions. We didn't get the Mopiko, and when it was announced that many other teams got it, we were devastated. At that point we were convinced that we were not even gonna be within the top 25. Teck Koon wasn't helping; he was mainly the one who scared the rest of us, saying very slim chance to even achieve top 25 (thanks for scaring us, Teck Koon!).

Then when the 25th position was announced, we were so happy, because that team scored only 146 pts. Soon it was obvious that we would achieve that top 20 after all. But by the time the 17th winners were announced we were getting worried again, as we did not expect to get any better than 17th. We thought that we counted wrong somehow and got lesser score than 146pts.

Then there was another break after the 15th winners were announced. The excitement was unbearable; I haven't felt excited like a small boy for a long time. Julie and Lee Quan were greatly amused to see Teck Koon and I working ourselves up to that extent!

Then when we were finally announced at 14th position, we were ecstatic! I didn't expect to get that far with so many masters in the field.

I don't know about meeting you in future hunts, my friend. I choose only reputable hunts to join. It takes a lot of trouble to travel all the way to the west to hunt.

I have hunted some quality hunts in the west, but I like Jayaram's hunt the best so far. His questions were crazy—very tough, but they were tight. The rest were OK too, but I found some looseness here and there; and some inaccuracies and even blatant mistakes.

Who knows, maybe The SunHunt (when is the SunHunt anyway?).

Cornelius said...

Oh! thanks, delurk! I don't know why I didn't try that! OK, good, I shall start another thread!

Anonymous said...

Dear Cornelius
I thought we did meet eye-to-eye for just that fleeting moment...

Anyway, it's fun this way, being your fan than being your visible friend.

My friends will be going for your KK Challenge 4. I'm not able to make it this round. No plans yet. Perhaps, the SunHunt then.

Anonymous said...

Corny, I recommend that you invest in a PS3, if not for your kid, then for yourself. Here's where I learnt and honed my golfing "skills". And if I had not misjudged the speed in my first attempt, I would have had a perfect 2/2 (sigh!).

Cornelius said...


I just received an email from a KL team, saying that they're unable to make it after all. I have a feeling they're your friends. They can't make it for the hunt briefing which will be held ONE WEEK before the hunt.

Anonymous said...

Dear Cornelius
I don't know how many teams from the West are going to join your KK Challenge 4. But I'm sure the numbers can be counted with the fingers on one hand.

Are you going to trick me ... ha ha?