Of Leaf, Fleas and Michael Faraday

Quick! What’s the answer for “barbarian greeting”?
Yi told us the answer, and we were stupefied. Well, it did sound plausible and yes, there was that shop sign which fit her explanation.
At that time, 12.34pm, we were major stressed out. The four of us didn’t see this coming. In fact we thought it would be a walk in the park.
Oh. How mistaken we were!
Five hours after flag-off from Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang (the starting point for the hunt), we had gone from York Road to Dato Kramat, puzzled our way to Aboo Siti Lane (we cheated, we went along Aboo Siti Lane twice just to check our answers, which btw, were dead wrong!), drove along Macalister Road, past the Penang Hospital, right until we reached Farlim. From Farlim, we had the toughest questions to crack and then drove like nuts to Paya Terubong, down Relau’s winding road, coming out through Jalan Yeap Chor Ee, back into Island Park and finishing at SMK Georgetown in Batu Lanchang.
And by that time, we had vowed to take a rest – give our brains a break because we almost popped some Panadols (yes, one of those must-haves in any treasure hunt for any amateur!). We thought we could win at least a consolation prize (a hamper) but heck, not even a mote of dust we won.
I thought my brains were working at their hardest today, and I can still feel my pounding headache.
But the Mensa Penang Treasure Hunt was good experience and lots of fun as well. Suddenly we had to really pay attention to signboards and shop signs along the route, and put our brains to the test – whether it was anagramming or just plain general knowledge. Some of the questions were really tricky (“happy to see you around” – the answer was “Mercury”; “that which waits within an aging kennel” – the answer was “NGK”…all the answers were visible on shop signs or the front of shops!) and some we solved immediately, you know, that type of Eureka light bulb going off in our heads and later we were left wondering, “How come we knew that?”
Besides 40 of these impossibly nutty questions, we had to also solve 5 cryptic puzzlers and find 2 unique landmarks of Penang. All within 6 hours. If not, we would be disqualified.
One of the puzzlers which stumped us was one involving Michael Faraday. You don’t want to know because the answer was LEAF. Everyone either whooped with joy or laughed with embarrassment when the answers were revealed and the winners announced at the end of the hunt.
The Roadrunners (yes, there is actually a team of hardcore treasure hunters in Penang going by that name) were excellent organisers, and gave us supreme mental workouts. Well, as first-time hunters (the four of us were absolute amateurs!), we scored a total of 62 out of 176 points. As we knew Penang inside out, we took the liberty of doing a shortcut during the last 10 minutes as we zoomed to the finishing line. Still, the KL teams totally annihilated the Penang teams. Then again, these folks are pros.
As Michelle, one of our team-mates, said, “All I want to do is immerse my head in some water. It’s literally burning!”
Oh and the answer to the “Barbarian greeting”?
“Yohun”. (From Yohun Bakery).
“Yo” as in hello, and “Hun” as in Attila the Hun (barbarian).
And my Cousin Yi, all of 24 years old, got this right.
Tickle your brain and join a treasure hunt. I bet you’ll never look at signboards the same again!
Me? I am going to stop my synapses from firing too hard tonight. I just want to do something totally brainless (ha!) and recuperate before I hop onto the next hunt. And yes, it is addictive because once stretched, your brain craves for more and more.

4 thoughts on “Of Leaf, Fleas and Michael Faraday”

  1. I am the last person anyone would want on their teams for a treasure hunt. Last time we went, we won third prize (arab-malaysia group only) and I did NONE of the work. I must say that I am one of those people who would prefer to sit around and WATCH other people think and then write down their reactions and dissect their personalities. Hee hee!!

  2. hi eyeris
    well, take it from me, even the Mensa high IQ people got stumped.
    hi marsha,
    yeah well it’ll be good to get me on board because i truly like a good mental workout and i always have this competitive streak in me….


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