The first time I saw the entry form for the KK City Hunt 2011 a few weeks ago, something caught my eyes immediately. The prize list shouted a cold hard cash of RM8,000, amongst other prizes, for the champion; RM5,000 and RM3,000 for second and third place winners respectively. And I immediately foresaw platoons of West Malaysian teams coming to our city for an early harvest of 2011.
With the cheap airfares these days, all it took for a West Malaysian team to make money was to be within the top 3 finishers. I was, of course, aware of 2 West Malaysian teams which would be around, rain or shine, whether or not the prizes were lucrative. But this time it's different—with the kind of cash prizes at stake, I wasn't surprised to see more than 10 West Malaysian teams at the flag off yesterday morning. Amongst them were familiar faces in the KL hunting scene, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a friend and mentor, grandmaster hunter, from Penang.
Apart from the presence of many West Malaysian hunters, there were a few other things different about this year's hunt. The number of participating teams have grown to 145; time control was only 6:30, and the format of the hunt was a bit different. For some strange reasons only known to the organiser, teams were made to drive all over KK city, repeating the same routes several times for numerous tasks, including collecting 8 stamps for hunt passports, motorised and walk hunts, and repeated visits to the DBKK main office. The format was at least weird on grounds of the amount of fuel we had to burn since the theme of the hunt was "1Malaysia Clean & Green".
As soon as we were flagged off, we worked on the treasure questions. And I was relieved to see that they were quite easy this year. We more or less solved all of the clues, except for T2, which was obviously set in favour of the hunters from the West. But otherwise, we were happy. Happy, that is, for having solved them, but of course not for the inaccuracy of the clues.
The mere collection of 8 stamps for the hunt passport alone took us almost an hour to complete. But then again, I am aware of several Myvis which overtook our 100km/h Hilux—they probably completed the task within 45 minutes. After getting all those stamps, teams had to rush to the DBKK office in the city centre where the traffic jams could easily raise the blood pressure by at least 20% (but I probably achieved 50%). There, teams submitted the passports in exchange for the questions and challenges for Leg 2.
Leg 2 comprised 15 hunt questions divided into 3 sectors, two of which were walk hunts, and one was a motorised hunt. Apart from that, there were 4 challenges to be completed within a specific time window. The challenges were at locations far away from the hunt sectors, and they included planting of flower trees, rubbish collection at the seaside and playing games at KDCA. And even these challenges were at different locations from one another.
It became clear to me from the moment we received the instructions for Leg 2 that we needed to come up with a strategy to utilise our precious time efficiently. Since Vivian and I were stronger in cryptic riddles, we decided to handle the hunt questions. So Dennis and Harry dropped us off at Jesselton Point, and then went off to deal with the time-wasting errands.
The walk hunt at Jesselton Point took us probably only 10 minutes, as the answers were glaringly obvious even for the beginners. We then got into a taxi and made our way to the Api-Api development, discussing some of the hunt clues while on the way there. I was fairly amused to see VK and Jay, my hunter friends from the West, arriving at Api-Api in another taxi a few minutes later.
It was while we were going on foot, looking for the answers, that I found out that some of the teams from the West were collaborating with each other. Strange how the big money can bring out the worst in people. These were regular hunters to be reckoned with, by the way!
We were doing quite OK except for one question, but simply had to make a wild guess shortly after Dennis and Harry arrived. We then made our way together to Perdana Park in Tanjung Aru where Dennis and Harry dropped Viv and I off to attempt the 6 questions there, while they went off to deal with the 2 challenges at KDCA. The questions at Perdana Park were not exactly easy, but thanks to our strategy, we were able to spend a bit more time there. In the end, however, we had to leave the sector with one question unanswered, as we were running short on time.
Then another visit to the now famous DBKK office where again the traffic jams raised my blood pressure a little bit further. After submitting the answers for Leg 2, we got the questions for Leg 3: 15 route questions meant for the motorised hunt to some sectors in Penampang, Jln Lintas, Inanam and the journey back to the finish station in Nexus Karambunai. Time then was a bit tight. And while I and Viv worked on the questions, Dennis was busy working on making a turtle out of recyclable materials (this was the final task to be completed).
After we had finished with the questions, we had about 15 minutes to make the journey from Inanam to Nexus. Dennis had by then taken over the wheels from Harry. And while he was blazing through the road like a mediocre F1 driver, cursing every single car in front of him, Harry and Viv were busy putting the finishing touch on the pathetic turtle. I was still trying to rake my brains to make a connection between T2 and the telecommunication sponsor of the hunt. Just like playing chess, we tried our best to give a job to every member, you see.
At the dying minutes of the hunt, I was still unable to solve the missing link of Treasure 2. But I had decided long before that to submit one particular pack from a variety of possible choices on grounds of psychology and common sense (I will elaborate more on this later in another post). We had of course bought the treasures and alternative choices earlier at CKS in Millennium Plaza.
It was a very challenging hunt in terms of the crazy format and limited time for all the tasks. But it ended up with exactly how most of us had expected it. Out of the top 10 positions with cash prizes at stake (no cash beyond those placings), 9 were teams from West Malaysia. It just so happened that my team spoiled the party when we managed to squeeze in by fluke to 7th place.
Perhaps the local hunters should start planning for next year. Shortly after the hunt, already they were plans to try to beat the West Malaysians by using their own strategy. Sounds like a plan to me. But we have a whole year to think if we want to make this about money, and nothing about fun and sportsmanship. We'll see...
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3. Tina Goh, Cassie Forsythe, Chong Voon Kiat, Jayaram Menon (116)
4. Chai Koh Khai, Sin Yoon Leong, Margaret Sha, Chin Siow Lyn (116)
5. Danny Ng, Noriza Bte Esa, Nurzatul Hayanie Bte Mohamed, Masnudiah bte Abdullah (114)
6. Khairul Nazib Mahmud, Hagi Suhaimi Z Abidin, Erawati Hudong, Dyg Ismahanie Ismail (114)
7. Cornelius Koh, Vivian Cham, Dennis Koh, Harry Koh (111)
8. Poljiah Ag Besar, Evawati Hudong, Rosnah Nengsi Hudong (111)
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10. Peh Kok Hun, Yong Kig Siew, Tommy Ng, Loh Chee Kwan (109)