Yesterday morning, 31 teams hunted in the 1Malaysia Treasure Hunt. The hunt started from the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Kota Kinabalu. The format of the hunt was like this:
30 Regular Route Qs (x 3pts) + 5 Bolded Route Qs (x 1pt)= 35Qs (95 pts)
4 Treasures x 5 pts = 20 pts
3 Challenges x 10 pts = 30 pts
Maximum Score = 145 pts
The Clerk-of-Course = Timeout Solutions
The final hunt briefing was at around 7:15am. But immediately after the briefing, we were treated to the theme song of 1Malaysia. Little did we know that that was Challenge 1 of the hunt! After the song had finished, each team was given a piece of paper containing the lyrics of the song we just heard, the paragraphs of which were in the wrong order. All we had to do was to rearrange those paragraphs in the correct order for the 10 points. I was still in shock when the CoC started the countdown of the 90 seconds allocated time for the task. Needless to say that I did not expect to score very well in Challenge 1, but I was hoping that the other teams were also not doing all too well in the challenge.
Shortly after the shocking—and demoralising—Challenge 1, teams were duly flagged off for the hunt proper. That first leg brought us to the Api-Api Centre where we had to tackle the first 5 questions. Perhaps it was because of the improper warming-up; or because we were still recovering from the shock of Challenge 1, our brains decided to shut down. We failed to answer the first 2 questions, and had to leave the sector to the following one, containing 3 questions. Immediately after we entered the next sector, we quite easily found the answers for Q3 and Q4, but was soon stuck on Q5. I think we spent a good 20 minutes or so on Q5 until we suddenly remembered that we haven't even dealt with Q1 and Q2!
It was then that we decided to abandon our search for Q5, and make a second attempt on Q1 and Q2. And then somehow, it was like all the rust suddenly melted away from our brains. Within a few minutes, we found the answers. But we were still unhappy for failing on Q5. On our second approach through the following sector, however, we spotted the answer to Q5! It is amazing, really, how things can suddenly gain so much momentum like that! But what a torturous start to the hunt. To begin with a lousy feeling on Challenge 1, and then followed by a beating on the first 5 Qs. It was truly nerve-wrecking, I tell you! And the fact that so many of our local hunters had marked my team as one of the top contenders for this hunt was not so pleasant at all. We were put under so much unnecessary pressure!
We were somewhat disappointed that we spent about an hour just to deal with 5 relatively easy Qs, but we kept our nerves steady. No shouting, no arguments in the car. We then found ourselves in the Park near Luyang Perdana for Challenge 2. I thought that was a bit easier—it was merely a task of identifying the photos of 10 famous Sabahans. I thought it was just a stroll in the park, but of course I realised that there's not much reason to celebrate, because I was fairly certain that other teams also found the challenge easy.
Well, we continued on with the hunt, mainly breezing through the sectors and gaining back on lost time, until we arrived at Q8 and Q9, which were both the so-called "bolded" questions. Those of you who're unfamiliar with the Hunt jargon, "bolded" questions are those which are deemed to be much tougher than the regular Qs, yet allocated much lesser points when answered correctly!
I have introduced the bolded Qs in some of my past hunts too, and I noticed a peculiar attitude in the local hunters. They had the tendency to simply ignore the bolded Qs! So I knew that if I could solve some of them in this hunt, I could get an advantage over many other teams! However, I soon found myself stuck on the following Q:
Q8) You can have a read, for a cold blooded one instead.
I did not spend very long on this Q, as we were still a little deficit on time as the result of the ordeal in the first 5 Qs. We then decided to abandon the search. However, we managed to solve the next question, which was also a bolded Q. It was an inaccurate solution, of course, but it is not uncommon that many CoCs are not grammatically accurate anyway. We then proceeded all the way to Donggongon where my team suffered some sort of blindspot phenomenon, thus taking like a million years to find some very straight-forward answers.
For a while before that, however, we have been working hard to crack the treasure clues. And it soon dawned upon us that we're gonna have big problems with the treasures. Of all the clues, we were only able to solve T2 confidently. T1 was not meant to be solved anyway. T3 was debatable, and T4 was solvable, but not meant to be easily found.
In the mean time, there's still Challenge 3, which was merely to take a photo to reflect, creatively, the theme of 1Malaysia. Teams had to actually process the photo and paste it on the paper provided upon flag off, and then write a short caption. It was around the Donggongon T-junction when we saw a huge signboard showing the leaders and some group of people in the background, with the word "BERSATU". It didn't look very appealing, but I thought it's a good idea to just snap a picture there as a backup plan—just in case we ran into time trouble later.
We left Donggongon and headed for Lintas Plaza where we solved another bolded Q, and the other route Qs. We spent a bit of time in the Damai Ph 4 sector, and then soon found ourselves heading north towards Inanam. On the way there, we had a bit of recovery time to reassess our current time management situation. We found that we did not do very well in gaining back on lost time, but at least we were also not behind. At the Kolombong traffic lights, we turned into Giant Supermarket where we spent 30 minutes to search for the treasures and print the photo. We made full use of that backup photo after all!
Unfortunately, although we found T2, we failed to find T4. But at least we have managed to put Challenge 3 out of the way. I thought the final few Qs were quite mild, except for the final bolded Q along the Sulaman Highway:Q28) Beri ijazah kepadanya dan dapat lari atasnya.
A28) Kedai Runcit 8
In retrospect, I don't think it's a very difficult Q, but perhaps because of the mental exhaustion by then, as well as the psychological effect of seeing a bolded Q, the solution did not present itself to me somehow. On the long journey back to the finish station, I let Vivian work on the caption for Challenge 3, while my mind kept working on the above Q28. And then suddenly it came to me! The third of the 5 bolded Qs solved!
After submitting our answers and treasures, we started to mingle around with the other teams. And of course it was time for the usual denial phase of the hunt. Each team would say they did badly against other teams. I was hoping to win the top 3 positions, but it soon became clear from talking to the other teams, that we fell short by a few points. I was fairly certain we got 33 of the route Qs right (2 bolded Qs wrong), but from my conversation with Team De StoneS, they got all the 30 regular Qs right too (they did not even bother to attempt the bolded Qs, just as I had expected). If everything had remained equal, that would mean we had a 3-point advantage against De StoneS. However, I was devastated to know that they found 2 treasures and my team only found 1! It meant that they have beaten us by 2 points! I could hope for a better score in our challenges, of course, but we are not known to perform well in our games.
So in the end, I found myself struggling and hoping for a 3rd place finish. It was possible, of course that we might have ended up worse than 3rd and ended up with a hamper, but no cash prize.
Just imagine my surprise that as the winners were announced one by one, De StoneS were announced at 4th place! I was shocked. What happened? Then the 3rd place winner was announced. We looked at each other and wondered if we have been disqualified somehow. Then finally our team was announced as the 2nd place winner. Still in shock, we went up to the stage for the RM2,000 prize. Team Main Tembak, as expected won the glory of the day, winning the hunt with a convincing margin!
Later on, we started to investigate what had happened to De StoneS. Apparently, they found the answer for a Q which they solved (not just tembak!). But the hunter who wrote the answer tried to be too clever for his own good! He wrote the answer in caps, but decided to re-write it in the lower-case, as seen on the board. Only trouble was that after cancelling the original answer, he re-wrote the new answer outside the allocated answer box, resulting in it getting rejected by the CoC! In another Q, apparently he wrote the correct answer, but it was incomplete, i.e. leaving out the "tagline" which the CoC considered integral to the clue. And so, in the end, De StoneS fell to 4th! Amazing luck for my team, really, because if not for the mistakes, De StoneS would have won the RM2,000 instead, and we would have ended up in 3rd with RM1,000!
The Champions, Team Main Tembak (Alvin Wong receiving the mock cheque, wife, Audrey, Christine).