Monday, February 28, 2011

KK City Hunt 2011—The Elusive Connection

One of the most enticing elements in a treasure hunt is research and general knowledge . Sometimes if one were very good in research—perhaps he's efficient in googling up answers from the net—or 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 folks—most 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 coincidence—that 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 Ribena—some 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.


2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

(Despite the coincidence) I'd be very surprised if the CoC had indeed "planned" it such as to make life difficult for the Sabahans with one treasure every single year.

I would prefer to wager that the CoC had assumed what is a well known product and/or common knowledge in the West is equally so in the East.

Cornelius said...

Giving the benefit of the doubt, I'm inclined to agree with you on this issue, since I do not have evidence to the contrary. The coincidence, assuming that it is indeed a coincidence, was just something that some of the local hunters have noticed.

Apart from that, I'm convinced that it would have been a silly risk to take on the part of the CoC, i.e. a risk that's not worth taking in the business sense.

In that sense perhaps I was just lucky for choosing the correct item based on notions which were all in my paranoid mind!

Cornelius said...

By the way, VK, what's your view on the available options for this treasure? Since there's nothing on the pack itself that claims its mobility, would you say that the Ribena in the small box, which is ready to drink, has a similar degree of mobility with the other pack?

This won't change the result of the hunt at this stage, of course, but just for discussion sake.

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Admittedly our team was also about 10 to 15 minutes away from throwing in the towel for this treasure, failing to find any connection with the penaja komunikasi kita for a good part of the hunt! It all fell into place only when Cassie was racing to the finish line - the good wind must have blown our direction.

In my opinion this particular treasure riddle is unfair to ALL Malaysians. Like you said, nowhere on the product has it stated that it is a Mobile pack. Unless it is fairly obvious that an apple is an apple and nothing else, CoCs should not assume that their knowledge is common knowledge to all, that is my 2 cents!

Anonymous said...

A bit confused... Another conspiracy theory of yours?! Are there no boardcast of RTM1, RTM2, TV3, 8TV, Astro (local channels) in KK? Coz I saw the promo for Ribena mobile is all the channels mentioned above. And i thought that the channels available throughout all of Malaysia and not merely in KL. As 2r1i said, I'd assumed that its common knowledge in Malaysia.
Based on my limited experience in hunting, I also noticed the tendecy of many COCs to choose items which is relatively new to markets and which i wouldn't have knowm about before i hunted for the treasures, e.g. vitamilk, sting, etc . I think COCs love choosing new items in market to avoid 'repeating' same treasures in previous hunts. Not so sure about the theory that COC is making its hard to Eastern hunters.
I have to agree that its all in your paranoid mind.
Lighten up, dude!

Cornelius said...

Thank you Anonymous for your comment. Yes, I will try to lighten up. Not sure if that's common knowledge in Malaysia, but as you can see, 2R1I is of the opinion that this treasure is unfair to ALL Malaysians. I think I agree with him. I'm assuming that he feels that it's not so common a knowledge in Malaysia.

Besides, Anonymous friend, based on your limited hunting experience, since there is nothing on the pack itself to confirm that that is a "Mobile" pack, would you say that the one in a box pack or other packs are also "Mobile"?