Friday, April 30, 2010

Rolex Millionaire

There was a commotion in the office shortly after lunch today. Vinnis was going around the office to sell tickets for a Rolex lucky draw. The tickets were priced at RM20 each, and the prizes are Rolex watches. Apparently each watch is worth RM500,000. So these two in the picture would have a combined worth of RM1 million! Vinnis spent a brief moment to tell me that these watches are made of pure gold and diamond studs!

This lucky draw is in conjunction with the Palliative Care Association Kota Kinabalu (PCAKK)'s fund-raising dinner in May. The PCAKK is constantly trying to raise funds to run its activities, so if you are in the mood to give a bit of charity, please help out by buying some lucky draw tickets. I bought a booklet containing 10 tickets, so watch out, folks, in less than a month from now, I will be a Rolex millionaire!

Speaking of charity, I received a text message from Teo this evening, telling me that he won 3rd prize for the Sky's The Limit BIM fund raiser category. You see, the Borneo International Marathon is also allowing some people to join the race while at the same time help to raise funds for charity. And Teo, having done his part, won a 3D2N trip to Danum Valley. But I bet he's gonna be jealous when I become a Rolex millionaire next month!

Later in the afternoon, I received a call from Ellen Yee. She was the coordinator for last year's PCAKK Treasure Hunt. She told me that this year it's the Kiwanis Club of Kota Kinabalu's turn to organise a treasure hunt for fund raising. My heart raced for a bit because of the excitement, until she told me that I will be the one to clerk the hunt! Last year, Team Main Tembak did their part in clerking the PCAKK Hunt. So I guess now it's my turn to do a bit of charity work!

Come to think of it, it's been some years since the last time we've had a Kiwanis Hunt in KK. If I'm not wrong, we used to have one every year. But somehow it has been discontinued since a few years ago. If indeed it could be revived again this year, that would be good for the local hunters. I'm sure many would welcome it. I just hope that the new hunters won't be scared to join when they know that I'm the CoC! (Smile)

Maybe I should organise a pre-Kiwanis Hunt to prove to the new hunters that I can do an easy hunt too. We call it the "pancing-pancing" hunt. Alvin and company did the "pancing-pancing" hunt successfully last year in their Tembak Series 1. But he unleashed quite a major punishment when he subsequently clerked the PCAKK Hunt!

If the word "Challenge" is not in the name of the hunt, I need not make the hunt very challenging, you know! Based on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the easiest, and 5 being the hardest, perhaps a 3 would be just nice? So, hunters, if the Kiwanis Hunt materialises, what scale of difficulty would you hope for?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Leap Of Faith

Some of you may still remember my post about Noah's Ark some time ago. In it I raised several questions which I had hoped some of my readers would answer. But as I had expected, no one did. The whole story of the Ark is of course fantastic to the last degree, and it takes quite a leap of faith to actually believe it.

Over the years, I have revisited the discussion of the Ark many, many times; and with different people too, and all ended with no conclusive answers. From those discussions, the obvious conclusion I can draw is that believers are divided into 2 main groups. The first group comprises those who believe the story literally to the very last detail. The second group comprises those who believe in the story, but not in the literal sense.

The first group argues that the Ark is logical if viewed from the magical point of view, since God had a hand in it. So why would it be hard to believe that the animals, for example, could be controlled from eating up each other? I responded, if we want to bring in magic into this story, then why bother with building the Ark at all? Why not just let those animals and Noah and his family float on water throughout the flood? That would be much simpler. How did the fresh water fish survive the flood

To take the second group, they argue that the details are not to be taken literally. For example, the duration, i.e. months, days etc, are only indications to give an idea of the measurement of time, but not intended to be exact. To this, I said then why bother to be specific, .e.g. the dimensions of the boat? Why not say something like huge, or very large?

There is also no logic when thinking of the amount of water required to flood the entire world. There is just not enough water on earth to flood the world to the extent that the Ark could come to rest on Mount Ararat.

And now, some people claim to have discovered the remnants of the Ark on Mount Ararat. The exact location of the discovery is being kept a secret at the moment, but photos have been published. If at all there is any truth in the Ark, it should be about 4,800 years old by now. It is interesting to know how, in one of those photos, straws were seen in one of the compartments in the Ark. I don't believe that straws can last that long without rotting. And if those are new ones, then someone must explain how straws grew on the snowy mountain.

All in all a very hard-to-believe affair which requires a magnificent leap of faith. Maybe those who claim to have found the Ark should have done a bit more research before announcing the discovery. Now many people would want explanations. And not ridiculous ones please.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I signed in to my Facebook and started typing what I thought was a short message. Unfortunately, I forgot that I am cursed with the problem of including too many information even when they're not necessary. After I finished with my "short" story, I tried to post it, but a box emerged on the monitor and said my message was too long; there is a limit on Facebook. So instead of deleting and wasting the effort, I thought I'd just cut and copy what I wrote, and post it here. Thank goodness I still have this blog!

Here's that message:

On my way back to the office from visiting some business friends, I made a detour to Damai Specialist Centre (DSC). I have a bit of problem with my ears which I've been neglecting for a while now. Thought I might as well deal with it today. I think someone mentioned that the service at the public hospitals is just too slow, so even if private hospitals are more expensive, it's still a better option!

Well, I reached DSC and had to go round a few times to get a parking. At the reception desk on the ground floor I was directed to Counter 1 on the first floor. Finally, I wrote my name, birthday and phone numbers in the appointment book. So now I am all set to see the doctor at 4:40pm on 4th May 2010. That's about one-week-and-5-hours' wait. So much for fast service.

Monday, April 26, 2010

In Confidence

Have you ever heard of that phrase "in confidence" before? It is such an intriguing and powerful phrase—almost magical in a certain way. I think the first person who came up with that phrase must have intended to use it for the sole purpose of attracting the attention of the person he was talking to.

But not only does it have the effect of attracting attention, that phrase has a kind of magical tendency to give rise to an unfathomable inclination on the part of the recipient of that information to spread it to others as quickly as he can!

When someone in the office had to resign, the reason for that resignation was strictly to be kept a secret. It's unclear why it had to be kept a secret, but the option of revealing that information at a later time remained open. Whether or not that option will eventually be exercised by the management remains to be seen.

And then from somewhere within the administrative team, someone, somehow had committed the indiscretion of revealing that information to someone who's not supposed to know that information—in confidence:

"I'm telling you this in confidence. Make sure that no one else knows about this. Only a few of us know, so don't go around spreading it!"

That in confidence thing then has the curious tendency to spread at an increasing momentum. From one informant to another, the information spreads like wild fire. There will be numerous versions of the tale, of course, but absolutely all of them contain that phrase "in confidence" and "you didn't hear it from me."

After a day or two, the whole office would know about that well-guarded secret, because the information was imparted strictly in confidence. Yet everyone did a wonderful job of keeping that secret!

Truly, that phrase "in confidence" is so powerful...

Borneo International Marathon 2010—Countdown

This is it, the countdown to the Borneo International Marathon 2010 (BIM) which is on this coming Sunday! It will be the third time I'm running the 42km. And Mia will be making her debut in the 42km race too. So this ought to be interesting!

Over the last couple of months, while training for this Sunday, I've also joined the New Balance Pacesetters 30km at Padang Merbok, and the recent Energizer Night Race in Cyberjaya. But those were 30km and 21km races respectively. This Sunday, it will be the full distance.

The first time I ran the full marathon, I did it in 4:40. But when I tried again in Singapore, I ended up with a disastrous 5:02! Well, my ambition to improve to 4:30 is still intact, but I have a bad feeling that it's not gonna happen this time.

I've been seeing how hard Dr Peter Ong train in Likas, and I'm beginning to think if it was a silly thing to actually accept the bet of a lobster. I jokingly proposed a bet of just a simple meal, but Dr Peter upped the ante to a whole lobster. Impulsively, I accepted the bet! Since then, I've been seeing the lobster gradually drifting away in the direction of SMC, but there is still this whole week to lure the lobster back.... here lobster, lobster... come to papa!

Some of our friends are only running the half marathon this time round, because they're all planning to set their personal best in the Gold Coast Marathon in July. They include Dr Helen, Dr Liaw, Andrew Voon, and that guy who's looking forward to a bright future in the sport of curling, Teo Chen Lung! Judy and Kevin are also going to Gold Coast, but they're brave enough to still run the full marathon in the BIM. At any rate, both of them are very strong runners who will probably rush out from the start gun.

So it seems that Dr Peter and I will be running together—well, at least for the first 3km I hope—at 4:30am this Sunday. I hate to think of the unpleasant thought of him leaving me behind after the 10km mark, but I hope to meet him again at the 30km mark.

Vivian will also be running in her second half marathon. And this year, Johan Amilin is making his first attempt at half marathon. I saw both of them running in Likas yesterday morning, and I must say that they were looking good. Dr Felice was there too, and it seemed like she's having cold feet. She said she might want to run the half marathon instead of the full course. Dunno if it's possible to do that now. Perhaps the biggest surprise of this year's BIM is that my brother, Harry, has taken up the challenge to run the half marathon too. If I'm not mistaken, I think he has covered the distance of 19km during training, so he should be good enough for this Sunday. I have a feeling that he will finish well within 2:30.

I ran my 33km long run 2 weeks ago, and it still felt quite exhausting. Yesterday, although I did only a short 12km slow run, it still felt exhausting. Not exactly a good sign for this Sunday, but hopefully with one full week of rest, sufficient sleep and food, I would be able to fully charge my energy.

In the mean time, Dr Peter disappeared from the radar over the weekend. I believe he mentioned going to Kundasang. But I think he has secretly performed a blood transfusion on himself, say something like pumping in 2 pints of Kenyan blood into his system. Yeah, that should help him add a bit of boost. Incidentally, this morning he texted me, saying that when he returned yesterday evening, he tried running in the evening, but he had to stop after only 7km because he was running "frighteningly fast." I wonder if he's still got anymore Kenyan blood available for me.

Oh yes, since Harry is also running this year, he won't be there to take photos. Instead, Buddy and Sophia are kind enough to be our "official" photographers. Well, of course they will be taking the photos of some other people too, especially at the finish line. So ladies, if you really must raise your arms triumphantly when crossing the finish line, please remember to shave your armpits, hmm?

All the best to you all this Sunday!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


At approximate 4:30pm today, which was just a little over 20 minutes ago, I made a major, life-altering, breakthrough—I actually registered myself on Facebook! So many people—oh! you have no idea how many people—have been asking me for my Facebook name all the time, and I have come to a stage where I would feel a bit embarrassed for not having a Facebook account! I mean, people would actually give you that look, if you know what I mean, if you don't have a Facebook account, as if they're saying, "Which planet are you from?"

And so, today, I am making this earth-shattering announcement that I am on Facebook too! So go ahead, y'all, ask me if I'm on Facebook!

I've been spending, I think, about 10 minutes on Facebook so far, and I haven't the slightest clue what's the excitement all about. And as of now, I don't even know how to post anything. I'm seeing some familiar names in my so-called homepage, and have spent a bit of time viewing mostly pictures and short messages.

It took me like a million years, but I have finally arrived on Facebook. Wow! I am really on Facebook! And now I think I will spend the next million years to figure out what to do with my Facebook account.

KK Challenge 6—Photos

Well, folks, a little late, but here are some of the photos from this hunt as promised.

Somewhat too small, I know, but I have the original size taken at 10 megapixel which I'll be sending out to the teams via email soon.

Team No Plastic Bags, stuck at the very first question of the hunt. But as you can see, they're all smiles! Sadly, they eventually left this sector without finding the answer.

Meanwhile, Jaco, the remaining member of No Plastic Bags, decides to work on the clues in the car. This strategy didn't work too well though.

Sophia Lai of Cili Padi. She is pretty as is hardworking. They eventually tembak E'Wen correctly. Way to go, Cili Padi!

Team PAAMAD, adopting the all-stay-in-the-car strategy for this sector.

And here's Talissa and Andrea of Team PAAMAD again, this time hunting on foot in this sector.

And of course it is very amusing, at least to the CoC, to see all these people walking aimlessly in the hot sun.

Buddy, yet another hardworking member of Cili Padi. Now, listen to the CoC, Cili Padi, do something about your treasure clues. Submitting only one of four required treasures is not gonna help your team very much!

If not for the KK Challenge 6, I wonder how frequently people like Gan Po Tiau of The FourGetables spend this much time in the morning sun.

The Fabulous Mamas, making a comeback after a 2-year break. Obviously very happy to be back again.

The remaining team members of The Fabulous Mamas. Equally happy to be back to treasure hunting again.

Team B+, finally hunting together once again after a long break. Some of you may recognise Vivian (the not-so-tall one with a wonderful smile)who hunted with me in the Palliative Care Association Hunt last year.

And this is Ah Moon of Team B+. Well, actually her full name is Chan Mon Hueg. Don't ask me, I honestly don't know how to pronounce that "Hueg", but according to Ah Moon, it's most certainly not huge. She uses the abbreviation CMH at the office, but not to be mistaken for cha mee hoon. As you can see, she appears to be perpetually baffled.

The Farmerz, first introduced to the wonderful world of treasure hunting last year, and has since been hopelessly addicted to the game.

The Farmerz once again, still showing the thumb up. Way to go, Framerz!... just a bit more, and you will be there soon!

The family team of Jolly Roger. A loyal supporter of the KK Challenge series. Been within the top 3 finishers before, but requires a bit of fine-tuning.

The Green Spot working together on the Trivia Challenge at mid-point control station.

And this is Shirley and Dr Liaw of Green Spot. From Shirley's expression, you can tell that she doesn't think that the "Beautiful garden" is amusing at all.

FLAME at the Trivia Challenge. I must say that they performed beyond my expectation this time. I somehow have the impression that this team has the tendency to give up somewhat too quickly in the past. But this time, they fought hard till the end, thus finally achieving third place. Well done, FLAME!

But of course after the Trivia Challenge, it's a good idea to quickly grab a bite to recharge the mind.

Richard and Jeffrey of Team Just Four Fun, consulting that huge intimidating dictionary.

Just Four Fun once again, braving the hot sun in search for the last answer for Leg 1 of the hunt. Unfortunately, they suffered temporary blindness, and failed to find the required answer: BLIND.

However, not all of the team members of Just Four Fun are so brave to endure the hot sun. George (middle) decides he could work equally well from under the shade.

When it comes to slow and steady, none of the teams can beat M2. Come rain or shine, they will play the game at their own pace. They come, they hunt, they reach the end station and incur a 4-point time penalty and set the record for the biggest penalty of the hunt!

I know Alvin and Audrey of Team Main Tembak don't look very amused in this photo. But trust me folks, they're having a swell time!

I know I have said it a few times that day, but I just wanna say it again here for the record: I just love those hats! Way to go, Tomb Raiders!

A team member of Tembak Bukan Sembarang Tembak, showing off his soya bean milk. Check out those buns in the plastic bag on the passenger seat!

And while their friend is enjoying his soya bean in the car, these two are busy searching for the "Beautiful Garden", not realising that the answer is located very closeby of course. If only they would look behind, instead of just focusing on the shops all the time. By the way, she is an expert about dwarfs, and won a colour printer because of her expertise!

Innocent Hunters, Claire Chin, Sin Yoong Leong, Chai Koh Khai, the Champion of KK Challenge 6.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Perfect Victim

Can you still remember that nerd in school who was small and frail; his hair combed all the way from the front to the back and held concretely in place whole day long; glasses which looked more like a pair of binoculars? At the canteen, he would sit alone and try so hard to stoop very low so as to ensure that no one would notice his existence? He had that "Please, by all means, bully me as much as you like" written all over his face?

It's weird if you come to think of it, but there is one such creature in almost every generation in most schools. They are the perfect source of entertainment. The teachers can only observe from afar—sympathetically. These are the kind of people who are the perfect victims whose only sin is to have been born into this world; accidents just waiting to happen, if you like. And whenever they are caught up in fights or anything unpleasant, there's a 99% chance that they are the victims.

And so, when an orphaned girl of 14 cries rape, there is that tendency to immediately conclude that she is the victim. Because, of course, she is just the perfect candidate to be a victim. Who cares what happens to an orphan, right? [The Star]

She claimed that she was raped repeatedly over the last three weeks in several places in school—in the canteen, field and classroom. And the rape which took place in the classroom apparently happened during recess.

Three weeks! Think about it! For a period of three freakin' weeks, the perpetrators repeatedly raped her all over the school, and no one knew. Well, OK, no one other than those involved in the act. And I'm guessing that it's within those 3 weeks that someone, somehow, managed to insert a pencil into her private part and that pencil has remained there without her knowledge until last Tuesday.

I must make it a point to ensure that my JJ knows that pencils are for writing—and only for writing.

I think there is something deeper here, and I'm not even talking about the pencil. Raped repeatedly for a span of three weeks, but she is a month pregnant. Doesn't really add up. Maybe the doctors miscalculated? Or maybe this sex all over the school thing (and possibly beyond the school's vicinity) has been going on a bit longer than three weeks?

Seems like there are some jigsaw pieces still missing from the whole picture. She does seem like she can easily qualify to be the perfect victim in this story, of course. I'm thinking, I won't be surprised if she's not! But I accept I may be wrong...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another Porn Star

No—I'm done talking about Joslyn James. This is not about that porn star—this is about another porn star, Dr PORNthip, the famous Thai forensic pathologist, the doctor who desperately needs a good advisor to deal with her unruly hair.

Now, I know this may be surprising, but apparently she's afraid for her life. Yes, even a person like her can be afraid for her life too, folks! She has decided not to testify in the Teoh Beng Hock's inquest in Malaysia because she claimed that she's been threatened. In response, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said that the excuse is considered illogical.

According to Hishammuddin:

"I had repeatedly assured her that she would get the best security, the police would do everything necessary to ensure her safety as soon as she arrives in this country until her return home. She would be fetched at the airport in a police vehicle before being taken to the tribunal and we would deploy members of the Special Action Unit (UTK) in her room. We will ensure that she returns home to Thailand safely."

Now I don't really know what the good doctor is up to. Is this something she came up with for the sake of becoming famous? Is she lying because she's being paid by some party for some ulterior motive? Well, I suppose everything is possible! Frankly, I don't know all the facts, and I doubt that all the facts will ever be known or made known to the public. But I'm just commenting on things, seeing them from the surface.

Dr Porn (you won't mind my addressing you as Porn, would you?) has a lot to gain if she testifies in the Beng Hock's inquest. Whether she will eventually testify for or against the powers that be, she's bound to be remembered, for better or worse, for a long time to come. She is likely to become more famous than she is now. And usually, though admittedly not always, money comes with fame. She may decide to write a book about this whole affair in the future, for example, and make a lot of money that way. Never mind if she's not gonna make anywhere close to the kind of money that Joslyn James can make. But on the other hand, she has something to lose also. Or at least might lose. And that is her precious life.

But is there any reason for her to fear for her life? Is it really illogical for her to be so afraid? It seems that Hishammuddin has given an air-tight guarantee for her safety, so there is the tendency to agree with Hisham that Porn's no-show at the inquest is illogical.

Unfortunately, in Malaysia, I feel it is not exactly illogical to fear for one's life if he is in Porn's shoes. I have said before that we have quite a number of cases of police brutalities. Prisoners are blindfolded and then beaten up to the extent of unconsciousness. Some of these prisoners lived to tell their tales, of course, but not all of them were so lucky. Whenever prisoners end up dead while they're in the legal custody of the police, people tend to raise many questions—what the hell happened, and how did it happen? And our police are not known to give very satisfactory answers judging by the reactions of the people who raised those questions.

And I would be even more fearful for my life with the mention of the fanciful name "Special Action Unit", because the more special they are, the more dangerous they are. I think it was one of those so-called special units' folks who brought an unarmed woman into the jungle not too long ago. There in the jungle, they shot her twice in her head before blowing her up into pieces. So much for assured protection from the Special Units.

I know Dr Porn looks like she's not a very intelligent woman because of her hair and all, but even a stupid person would, logically, be fearful for his or her life in such a situation. Well, except for Hishammuddin, of course.

Monday, April 19, 2010

KK Challenge 6—On Balance

Another question which stopped the top team from getting the perfect score is not one that I would describe as "elegant". I made sure that the solution is sound, of course, but in terms of entertainment, I don't really like it. As I have mentioned before, I like the kind of questions which are achievable by most teams, but for their trickiness—those which would make the hunters want to kick themselves when I reveal the solutions!

Q13) When everything is taken into account on this.

The reason why I don't really like this question is because I think not many of our local hunters had the required English ability to solve it! I think we have quite a number of Sabahans who can speak very fluent English, and know the language well. But in this case, we are dealing with a phrase. And not a very common phrase too!

In the above question, "on this" is supposed to be the "definition" part of the clue; and the rest of the sentence gives the meaning of that "definition". Essentially, it all boils down to whether one knows the phrase ON BALANCE, which is not very commonly used. It means, well, "when everything is taken into account", word for word from my dictionary!

So we say,

On balance, it was a well-organised event.

Which means,

When everything is taken into account, it was a well-organised event.


Like I said, I don't really like this question. Once the hunter is ignorant of the phrase "on balance", there is a very slim chance for him of ever getting the solution! I don't do this all the time though. In fact, most of the time, I try my best to allow a second and/or third possibilities to arrive at the same destination. So if the hunter is ignorant of one element required to find the solution, he may still find it anyway via a different avenue. For example, check out this question which was located in the Donggongon sector:

Q28) Terribly rough beginning, a wild kid will grow up to be this.

Perhaps not something which could be immediately solved on paper. However, upon carefully scanning the available choices in the sector, one is able to guess and connect the remaining part of the solution. And that guess can easily be confirmed by counter-checking from a dictionary.


From the word "beginning", which is an initial indicator, one is very likely able to spot TR from "Terribly Rough". And within that sector, if I'm not much mistaken, there is only one board with a TR in it. And even if there is another, it would be very easy to quickly narrow down the search anyway.

A hardworking hunter would then be able to look up for IBEX in the dictionary, and he is bound to find that it is a mountain goat with curved horns. This is of course assuming that the hunter does not already know it. I just happen to know it from my Scrabble years. And then beyond that, it is also easy to check and confirm that "kid" can refer to a young goat. So in the end, even if the hunter does not know KID = YOUNG GOAT; and IBEX = MOUNTAIN GOAT, it is still possible for him to find the answer!

Another example:

Q15) When found in a bus, you can count on it.

The kind of question which is solvable on paper! As long as one can remember the item and know what it is called, he will know that we're looking for AC, because when AC is found in A BUS, we will get ABACUS.



Update (Added at 1:10pm on 20 April 2010):


Update (7:40pm on 20 April 2010):

Still a bit too flowery, but the name on the shopping bag held by the woman is most certainly M7.

KK Challenge 6—The Camper

I have a number of interesting hunt questions in my Question Bank which probably deserve some sort of recognition in the Hall of Fame of Treasure Hunt Clues. But some of them have been there for quite a while. Whenever I organise a hunt, I would pick one or two from my Question Bank as an insurance policy—as something that would prevent the best team in the field from getting perfect score! I'm not being a sadist, but I derive so much thrill playing with fire! These are the questions which in my opinion are solvable, yet very tricky!

However, in my last few KK Challenge hunts, I've become increasingly stingy with my questions from the Question Bank. I used to churn out several of them in each hunt. But what I realised in the end was that many of them went to waste, because hunters did not even bother to answer them!

In the KK Challenge 6, because we had some strong master hunters from the west, I decided to pick one of my masterpieces from my Question Bank:

Q32) One who goes camping to the south and east?

I know some of the new hunters may see this question as impossible to solve. But I would insist that it is within reach, provided that the hunter has a bit of hunting experience and cryptic skills.

Basically, this riddle involves what is known as the charade operation. The solver replaces some of the words in the clue with synonyms and then join those resulting words or letters to form the answer. It is quite simple when you come to think of it, but the question is whether one is then able to connect to the answer after that charade operation?

One who goes camping = CAMPER

I have said before, when the solver has to come up with a word, the scope of search must not be too wide. During the presentation, I invited the audience to give me a word they could think of to fit "one who goes camping", and the first word I got was CAMPER. Later on, when talking to hunters from other teams after the hunt, I was told that they, too, thought of CAMPER first during the hunt.

south = S, and east = E

These are common abbreviations widely used in many hunts. And with that alone, one is able to get the answer! The clue can now be simplified to:

CAMPER (join to) S AND E

So the resulting word, which is the answer itself is:


Except that the solver has to connect that to what he finds in the hunt sector, in which case, the answer that fits:


Because AMPERSAND is the name of that symbol "&". If you knew the meaning of AMPERSAND, that's fine, you can immediately confirm the answer there and then. If not, it's quite easy and fast the confirm it. But of course some of us are not so hardworking to check.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

KK Challenge 6

The KK Challenge 6 is by far the most successful of the KK Challenge series. Actually, I have assembled a larger crowd in one of the past KK Challenges, but in terms of quality of participation, KK Challenge 6 is most certainly the winner!

Over the last couple of days, after the article of this treasure hunt appeared in the Daily Express, I received quite a number of calls from people interested to join, but I had to reluctantly reject because the venue of the hunt was simply too small.

I started the hunt with what I thought was a mild clue:

Q1) Inside here, we notice the business name.

A1) E'WEN (Unisex) Hair & Beauty Saloon

Yet I was surprised to note that most of the teams, including the regular ones, were stumped! Maybe they were somewhat rusty from lack of hunts; maybe it was a case of blind spot. But later on, still early in the game, I had another surprise—a number of teams got stuck with this clue:

Q) Di pulau ini kuda kepang lompat tinggi.


I didn't think that questions in this hunt were impossibly tough to solve. I gave some easy ones too, like:

Q12) Sudah tentulah sakit jika kepala dan ekornya dipotong!


A treasure question and its intended solution caused something of a stir during the presentation. I gave a bit of leeway to the audience to debate for a short moment, but in the end, I cut short the debate with my CoC's authority (smile), and promised to discuss it here in this blog. Check out the clue:

I need some food to fill my stomach
Something forbidden in the Garden of Eden
The red kind, not green, for the full mark
Submit both for 5 points in return

I think I can safely assume that most of you would know that we are talking about apples. But the debate was mainly because of the last 2 lines. What do you think am I asking for?

(1) 1 red apple & 1 green apple; or

(2) 2 red apples; or

(3) 1 red apple

(4) 1 red apple & a bunch of grapes

Think about it, and we will discuss and, if must, debate about it later.

As the Clerk-of-Course for this hunt, the challenge I faced was how best to set the hunt in such a way that would ensure the majority of the teams would pass with at least 50% score, but at the same time the best teams in the field still find it tough enough to whet their appetite! Well, in the end, 15 out of the 21 teams passed the hunt!

Another thing I did differently in this hunt was to include a Trivia Challenge to add a slim percentage of "uncertainty" into the game. I didn't think it would actually make any difference in the end results—as it usually would—but I suppose the Trivia Challenge made some teams happier.

As usual, I will follow up with discussions of some of the interesting questions in separate posts later. But now, the winners!

(1) Chai Koh Khai, Claire Chin Siow Lyn, Sin Yoong Leong (91/100)
(2) Bernard Liew, Alvin Wong, Christine Netto, Audrey Chin (81/100)
(3) Francis Omamalin, Eileen Yeoh, Lee Tze Jim, Moina Liew (70/100)
(4) Tan Cher Kian, Teo Chen Lung, Frederick Samson (61/100)
(5) Mary Lokupi, Shirley Lim, Ellen Yee, Dr Liaw Yun Haw (59/100)
(6) Ernie Ripin, Roland Ripin, Jude R Ripin, Norazimah Shazana Abdullah (59/100)
(7) Harry Koh, William Ting, Buddy Jiliun, Sophia Lai (59/100)
(8) Elizabeth Malangkig, Robinetta Malangkig, Talissa Kiandee, Andrea Abidin (58/100)
(9) Richard Tsen, Liaw Lam Thye, Jeffrey Fong, George Ligunjang (57/100)
(10) Gan Po Tiau, David Wong, Winnie Chee, Shirley Chai (57/100)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Look Who's Talking

He said he stopped communicating with Melvin and did not reply to his messages ... because he felt something was not right.

Look who's talking! It's not clear if it's something that "Melvin" said; or was he referring to what Melvin wanted from him, but "something was not right"? This coming from someone who masturbated through the internet to show his friend how to do it right! The way I see it, maybe there's something not quite right up there with this lad from Sarawak. In fact, I dare say he deserved the trouble he is in right now.

But who the hell is this Melvin fellow anyway? Was the guy who showed up at his house really Melvin? Or was that only the scapegoat? I think it is quite possible that this Sarawakian chap is taken for a ride.

Now this is food for thought—I wonder if what Nalla said about his old pal was true. I thought it was quite far-fetched that his friend would actually migrate to Sarawak for the sole purpose of "capturing" the state in the next general election. [The Star]

Hmmm... now that Chong is telling us this story about "Melvin", I don't know, if indeed Nalla's friend is migrating to Sarawak, maybe there are other reasons for it... I mean other than winning the election and becoming the Prime Minister.

Truly, this is a mad, mad world, don't you think?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reliving The School Days

It was shortly after 5pm two days ago when I made a quick visit to the supermarket near my office after work to grab some frozen chickens. As I was walking to Wisma Jubilee where I parked my car, I bumped into an ex-classmate in front of HSBC.

Upon seeing me from a distance, she started laughing. I thought I had forgotten to pull up my fly or something. When we were close enough to each other, she told me between uncontrollable laughs that another ex-classmate of ours had introduced her to this blog. And she was saying that she found something very funny here. I hadn't the slightest idea then which particular post she was referring to, since she was struggling to control her laughter—I only caught something about swimsuit—but because of her infectious laugh, I found myself laughing too! In the end, I said that I was glad that she enjoyed my blog, and welcomed her to keep visiting regularly.

Then later that night, during the 50th anniversary celebration of our company, I was seated at the same table with that other ex-classmate. Well, at least she was able to control her laughter, and was therefore able to tell me which post the other friend was referring to. Apparently, they have been talking about this blog!

And then as fate would have it, yet another one of my ex-classmates was also seated at the same table (yes, this is indeed a small world!) And we got to talk briefly about this blog which she did not know of. Well, maybe from now on, I really need to be careful with what I write about in this blog, just in case I can get into trouble because of my posts!

Actually, when I was still very young and in primary school, I was such a lazy bum. I can still remember that I wasn't exactly very popular among the teachers. In fact, that continued up till form 3, if I remembered correctly. As a result, I wasn't anywhere near the top achievers in class—far from it! On the contrary, I was very close to the bottom!

Those were the days when my entire life was supposed to be about memorising the 7 colours of the rainbow in the correct order; that the name of a state in Tanah Melayu came about because a fool from Palembang saw a mousedeer kicked one of his hounds under a tree; that Sang Nila Utama had no blood relation with Sang Kanchil. Those were the days when Hang Tuah was said to be a legendary Malay warrior, when actually he was a Chinese.

Schooling wasn't really fun back then, and I did not find it very amusing at all. I can imagine what JJ must be going through right now with learning about what they call science these days. But although people like me would find it hard to suppress a smile when seeing JJ's kind of science, I bet the subject is not very amusing to her.

Hang on there, JJ, my dear girl, it's not too bad, really. You only have to endure this whole ridiculousness for the next 15 years or so. Now surely that is not too bad?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Borneo International Marathon 3—Routes & Distances

Some of my friends from outside KK have been asking me about the Borneo International Marathon (BIM) which will be held on 02 May. In particular, they want to know more about the respective routes and distances at certain points of the course. As most of you know by now, the descriptions given in the organiser's official website are not very clear, and in some cases wrong all together. So I thought it would be a bit helpful to give some help in this blog.

This is the map for the full marathon from the organiser's website (click on map for a larger view):

And this is the description by the organiser:

This begins at the Likas Sports Stadium and runners will make their way out towards the Coastal Highway, turning right at the roundabout and running along Likas Bay towards the Likas Mosque. Runners will proceed towards the Tun Mustapha Tower roundabout. The route then turns left along the seawall, into the Tun Mustapha complex, and out again to the roundabout, onwards to 1Borneo Hypermall. Running around 1Borneo, runners make the first loop of the marathon and return past the Tower and the Coastal Highway towards the central business district. Passing Jesselton Point , runners continue towards Wisma Merdeka Shopping Complex and towards the central market, past Le Meridien towards Wawasan Plaza. There, they turns right along the Coastal highway till they reach Sembulan then off to Tg Aru trafficlight where they make turns to right (Tg Aru) then of to Tg Aru Beach roundabout next to Waikiki condominium passing the Air Asia terminal junction and rugby field. After completing this loop, runners head back to the stadium for the finish.

Mostly an accurate description of the route, except for some portions. So I'm giving here the corrections on my own accord. Upon reaching the Tun Mustapha Tower roundabout, runners will NOT "turn left along the seawall, into the Tun Mustapha Complex and then out again to the roundabout." Instead, they turn immediately to the right (not left) in the direction of 1Borneo.

Runners will NOT be "running around 1Borneo... make the first loop of the marathon and return..." No, that is way too easy, and would fall short of a few kilometres! Instead, runners will run past 1Borneo (as opposed to running around it), and the northern loop is located a few kilometres beyond 1Borneo within the vicinity of 1Sulaman. There, runners will make the first loop for a return leg to the south.

Then the rest of the organiser's description looks sound to me, including those for half marathon and 10km races. For those who've run the full marathon last year and the year before that, you will notice that we no longer enter into the Sutera Resort this year. Instead, runners will proceed directly to the Tanjung Aru Beach roundabout where they will make the southern loop for the return leg to the Likas Stadium which is the finish line of the race.

Some of you have asked me for estimates of distances for certain points of the race for numerous reasons. So I've done a bit of calculations, and although my figures may not be 100% accurate, I'd say that they're very, very close. Well, I have worked out the distance from the Likas Stadium to the northern loop to be about 12km. By the time runners reach the Wisma Perindustrian roundabout, coming from the north, they would have covered about 23.5km. And at the southern loop, i.e. Tanjung Aru roundabout, that would be about 31.5km.

The 2 following maps (click for better view) are those of the half marathon and 10km races. And the descriptions given in the organiser's website are accurate.

I have also been given to understand by the Event Director, Mr Andrew Voon, that this year, road markers will be placed every 1km intervals. I think many runners would appreciate that very much. However, I suspect that these markers are positioned not strictly based on actual measurement on ground; rather based on GPS readings. At any rate, I am convinced that the margin of error, if any, would be very negligible.

As you can see, the full marathoners will be running an exclusive route up north to 1Sulaman, making a loop there, and then all the way back to the coastal highway. Upon reaching the Wisma Perindustrian roundabout, however, they will merge with the half marathon and 10km runners. And here, depending very much on your pace, it can become quite congested. At any rate, there will be enough room to run.

Based on the past 2 BIMs, it is likely that the organiser will run out of cups at the last 2 water stations. And in my case, when I reached the finish line (4:40) last year, they also ran out of drinks whatsoever. The only thing available then was cold Milo, but runners had to wait a good 15 minutes or so for them to replenish the supply.

I will try to invite the Event Director, Andrew Voon, to add further comments where appropriate. If you have further concerns about this event, please feel free to raise them here.

3 weeks to go, folks! Excitement is mounting. I have a bad feeling that I'm gonna lose that lobster bet against Dr Peter. But I just love the challenge!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Do Or Die

Yet another reason why many parents would try their best to prevent their daughters from marrying men from the rubber estates. From my own experience as a young boy when I accidentally spilled a small amount of formic acid onto my hand, I can confirm that it is a very, very corrosive acid. In the village, it's commonly known as cuka getah. In its concentrated form, it can easily burn the skin within seconds; and although I haven't seen it with my own eyes, I was told that if it comes into contact with the eyes, one can become blind.

What a asshole! Some men would beat up their wives. Others would give the cold treatment—y'know, refusing to talk for a couple of days? But splashing a pail of formic acid onto the wife, that's quite something!There will be scars, I'm sure. Hell, maybe even disfigurement! All of which the wife will have to live with for the rest of her life I guess. Then again, maybe it's a blessing in disguise. Who knows if the wife becomes ugly, she won't be so appealing for the dumbo, and he won't be asking for sex at 2am in the morning no more?

Some people!... dumb and scary people!

OK, I'm walking to the fridge to get something to drink. Then I'm watching a bit of TV, and hopefully I'll be able to stop thinking about these strange people!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

For Want Of Respect

Tiger Woods has recently come back to competitive golf after several months of a self-imposed exile from the spotlights. But actually, he hasn't really been very successful in living a quiet life—thanks to the many women he slept with, whom were mostly out to profit from his misery.

Apparently, millions of bucks have been paid for their silence. But I have a feeling that for a person like Woods, those millions were merely like a few drops of water in a bucket. I doubt that he will lose much sleep because of the money. Whatever it is, I think he deserved it.

I can accept that Woods is after all flesh and blood, and therefore may become vulnerable to temptations. And because of his fame and richness, there will be plenty of temptations around him. I may be wrong, but I am convinced that he really did go through hell when his wife finally found out about his favourite pastime. It took a while, but he has since come out and admitted his mistakes and claimed that he's taking full responsibility for them. That's quite a brave thing to do.

Of the women who slept with him, I doubt that any of them seriously believed that they could eventually win his heart. I think from the very beginning, it was all about bragging rights—that they actually had sex with the one and only Tiger Woods! I'm also convinced that the notion of potentially selling their stories must have crossed their minds too.

All said and done, I don't condone Tiger's behaviour, cheating on his wife. But I also can't accept how these women are profiting from him now. But then again, I suppose one can't expect anything very highly from these women anyway.

Of all those women, I'm attracted to this news about a porn star named Joslyn James. Reportedly, she's not interested in the money. Instead she's expecting an apology from Woods. According to Joanna Molloy, the writer of the article, "What James wants is R-E-S-P-E-C-T," which is quite amusing, really. She is a freakin' porn star, for crying out loud, who's probably had had sex with practically everyone in town. Maybe to her, that is not a very shameful thing to do for a living, I don't know. She wants respect; yet she hasn't a clue what that word means. She should first learn to respect herself, maybe that is a good start. And speaking of apology, perhaps Elin deserves it much more than she?

I was having lunch with my brother, Dennis, in a coffee shop not too long ago, and a friend who happened to pass by then joined us. After lunch, Dennis had to run, and I was left with my friend. I'm not sure if it's something that Dennis said to me, but my friend asked me what I did to make Dennis respect me like that. I told him quite truthfully that I did not make my brother respect me. Respect is earned—not demanded. And quite often some people have high expectations, and it will take quite a lot to earn their respect!

I think Miss James should learn the meaning of that word R-E-S-P-E-C-T. And maybe she can then learn to respect herself in the process. Perhaps there is something good about this woman, but I can't think of anything respectful about her right now. And if it's true that she rejected the money, and only expecting an apology and respect, then I must say she's really dumb. That would explain why she's only good for a porn star.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Uplifting Tale

Maybe it's just me, but I seriously doubt that all the men who sought her services had any problem with their libido. I think it is quite possible that at least some of them used the libido thing as an excuse to qualify for the services. But of course I have no evidence to support my suspicion.

Interestingly, there is a mention that she's not a prostitute! Here is inter alia a definition of the word which I found in The Pocket OXFORD Dictionary (Revised Edition)—the most practical and user-friendly pocket dictionary available:

—n. woman who engages in sexual activities for payment.

Obviously quite debatable, but technically speaking, if construed in a particular way, maybe she is qualified to be a prostitute. But I leave it to you all to decide on your own.

What I am keen to know, especially from the Muslim readers, whether such a profession is halal? I'm asking this strictly from the religious point of view, regardless of whether she is licensed to do what she's doing. And this is all assuming that she's a Muslim, of course.

Please don't get all too excited about the above paragraph; I'm just asking a question. I'm not asking you to agree or not; merely seeking your opinions.

What do you think?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Nuts and the Coconuts

This is the story of the nuts (referring, in a slang way, to the idiots) and the coconuts (referring to the—well—tropical fruits.) It so happened that his neighbour is the nuts who had the habit of conducting prayers under his beloved coconut trees.

Unfortunately, those old coconut trees were said to be tilting and liable to fall. The other nuts, the neighbour, requested the City Council folks to cut down the trees, which they did. That was in June last year, and both those nuts have been at "war" because of the coconuts. One nuts has been abusive and has been throwing rocks, garbage and pig's body parts into the other nuts' compound. The latter has been lodging police reports—roughly once a week since June last year. He has to this date lodged 42 police reports against his neighbour—so far. [The Star]

The nuts who've been a frequent visitor to the police station asked an interesting question:

"Will the police take action only when my neighbour kills me?"

Silly question, don't you agree? Obviously the police are more occupied with more pressing matters instead of dealing with the nuts and their coconuts? Of course the police are busy beating up their prisoners. And oh! they also go in pairs to nab those who did not turn up for the summer camps organised by the government. [NST]

Nah... just kidding. Actually, the police had been looking into this matter. Only that the other nuts had also lodged several police reports. Very, very strange people!

But damn! 42 police reports—what the hell do they do with all those reports? I bet it's all nicely filed up in a cabinet somewhere.