One of the most enticing elements in a treasure hunt is research and general knowledge . Sometimes if one were very good in researchperhaps he's efficient in googling up answers from the netor maybe he's prepared in terms of general knowledge, then that element alone can be a decisive edge against other teams. But sometimes one needs to know what to search for to start with. For even with the best of search engines on the net, that is of no use if one didn't know where to start.
General knowledge can be in many forms. In the game of treasure hunt, general knowledge in terms of knowing the style or tendencies of the Clerk-of-Course (CoC) may be paramount, although admittedly that can't work all the time.
I've been hunting in a number of hunts clerked by the Time Out Solutions (TOS) before; a few in past KK City Hunts, a few in other hunts in KK, and also in KL. For a while now, I've noticed a peculiar tendency whenever TOS sets the KK City Hunt. On the surface, they usually appear to fashion out the hunt in favour of the KK folksmost of the route questions will be quite easy and straightforward; the games and challenges are aplenty and given overwhelmingly ridiculous weightage against the route questions. But there is always one element that stands out from the rest, and that is this: one of the several treasure clues will be a popular or well-known item in West Malaysia, but not in KK.
Some years ago, we have had the Kit Kat Bites as a treasure in one of the KK City Hunts. Back then, that particular product of Kit Kat was very new in KK. More recently still, we have had the Green Spot. I'm sure we have had several other instances, but I can't quote from the top of my head right now.
A few days before the KK City Hunt yesterday, I was exchanging text messages with a strong local hunter. And I found it amusing that he had noticed such tendency too. I don't know if the above is just a pure coincidencethat the CoC sets the treasure clue without even checking if the item is readily available in KK; or that a special knowledge is required to solve the clue, which is unique only to the West Malaysians. But what I can say for sure is that when a Sabahan hunter is put up against a West Malaysian hunter of similar hunting abilities, the latter has a better shot of getting the required item.
In yesterday's KK City Hunt, we had an interesting treasure clue. It was like this:
Minuman in kaya dengan vitamin C,
Sedia diminum dan akan buat kamu berani,
Pek yang akan diterima hanya satu sahaja,
Hanya yang ada kaitan dengan penaja komunikasi kita.
The first line of the clue is helpful, but not of much value. There are many, many drinks in the market supposedly rich in vitamin C. But that is a good start anyway.
The second line is a bit more useful to us. From it, we know that it's some kind of beverage that is ready to drink. So anything in the nature of syrups which require dilution with water, for example, can be ruled out here. And then a good cryptic solver can very quickly see that "buat" is a common anagram indicator. That indicator tells the solver that the letters found in a neighbouring word(s), i.e. the fodder, must be rearranged to form another word(s). However, safe for some exceptions, that fodder must be located next to the indicator; it can be before or after.
In the second line of the above treasure clue, we have "buat kamu berani". The CoC had intended to rearrange those letters in "berani" into "Ribena", i.e. the name of the required drink. And here, I immediately saw the offending "kamu" blocking the influence of "buat" on "berani". Cryptically speaking, this clue is technically wrong. But the reality is that, as I have said many times before, sometimes even when we know the CoC is wrong, we still play along anyway for the sake of winning the game!
That was my position very shortly after we were flagged off at Nexus Karambunai in the morning. But beyond that lies a deeper riddle. The third and fourth lines are very significant in that they warn the solver that only one specific pack of the item will be acceptable. That packaging must be connected to the telecommunication sponsor of the hunt, i.e. Celcom. Failure to bring in the correct pack of Ribena will yield no score at all. Therefore, even if one were able to solve Ribena, but brought in the wrong packaging, that item will be rejected!
Now if one were to go to the supermarket, he would find that there are many versions of Ribenasome in bottles (as in Sparkling Ribena), or with other flavours, e.g. lemon, or with added glucose. Some also come in small boxes. But in KK, the less popular one is the one below.
It is obvious that the whole riddle is about looking for the connection between the item and Celcom. I spent a lot of time between hunting sectors studying these possible alternatives, having bought them rather early during the hunt. For a while my attention was drawn to the one in the box with a "Tetra Pek" on it, remembering the "X-Pax" of Celcom. Is that the connection the CoC had in his mind when he set this question? But although it's very tempting, in the end, I decided it was a long shot.
In between intervals throughout the hunt, I revisited this problem over and over again. I considered many other possibilities, e.g. the purple colour. Up to the dying minutes, I failed to find the connection. But from very early in the game, I told myself that if I can't find the connection in the end, I will submit the above pack on grounds of it being less popular in KK.
Little did I know, when the above pack was first promoted some years ago in KL, it was promoted as Ribena Mobile Pack. There is no "Mobile" anywhere on the pack itself. And the CoC intended that word "Mobile" as the connection with a Mobile telecommunications company, i.e. Celcom. That is the only strength upon which the mobility of the packaging of the item rests on. There is nothing on the item itself that claims its mobility. Therefore one may argue that the one in a tiny box, and ready to drink, is also a "mobile" pack?
At any rate, this was a fluke shot for my team. Had I failed in this treasure, I would've fallen out of the top 10 winners. Sometimes things can turn for the better too.