A-hunting We Will Go

It’s odd that I even do this. I am not even in Mensa (that’s a totally IQ thing if you ask me). I first got hooked on motoring treasure hunts last year when on a whim, I told Nic that we should be joining the Mensa Penang Treasure Hunt to show our support. It was also raising funds for the La Salle Learning Centre right here in Penang.
The La Salle Learning Centre offers an alternative way of learning for children whom society labels ‘underachievers’, ‘slow’ or ‘failures’. (If you want to learn more about this centre, you can drop by at its premises at 52-K, Penang Road or call/fax 04 261 7614 for more details on how you can help).
But the four of us (myself, Nic, my cousin and her friend) were all newbies at this game and we didn’t even know what hit us. The pros simply amazed us with their problem-solving skills. Although we didn’t do too badly, we were still floored and a bit embarrassed at our first-time experience and how many mistakes we made. What’s better, all of us had major headaches after the six-hour hunt. We did not manage to get even a single treasure though we managed to answer the hunt questions.
But I was hooked. Nic told me “Haha, never again. Not for me!” My cousin and her friend didn’t seem as gung-ho as I was, after the sad first attempt.
And today, I took part in my second treasure hunt with a group of pros who needed a fourth kaki. In the beginning they wanted me to drive but I think they were a bit worried about my navigating skills or a lack of, or that they did not have the guts to risk it with my navigational skills. Plus it wasn’t even my car.
Thankfully, I was made co-pilot, which meant I sat next to the driver, Teng. I could see how the pros differed from the amateurs. Cecelia and BL brought a whole plastic case of dictionaries, thesaurus and clipboard. Teng came ready with his laptop, installed with anagramming and dictionary software. He even had a plastic holder to hold the tulips/hunt questions in place.
Damn these people DID come prepared!
The hunt was prepared and managed by the Roadrunners, a group of people whose fave activity was to devise questions for others to answer! On a side note, Cecelia told me this group of die-hard hunters – with many having day jobs in Hitachi and Renesas – have been organising Coyote Hunts for a while now. When they’re not organising mind-stumping hunts, they’re joining KL folks in the KL-organised hunts.
In today’s hunt, we had to answer 30 questions, ‘get’ 4 treasures and solve on Maze question in 5 hours. The drive was just around the Farlim area – a mere 14 km – compared to the previous hunt which took us up to Balik Pulau and back again.
It drizzled half way during the hunt when we got out to peer closer at the signboards and shop fronts. Surprisingly I wasn’t too stressed out – perhaps the fact that I was with 3 pros made me a bit relaxed. I knew somehow this good bunch would solve it. I even surprised myself when I solved the first question “It’s fickle when a lie is spread about it” (read answer at the bottom). I contributed a few last-minute answers to the answer sheet but I think I know how my brain works – it needs to be absolutely relaxed to be able to do its work. Stressful situations do not help.
The bulk of the thinking went to BL who tackled the toughest one of all – the Maze. The Maze is a series of interrelated questions to derive one single answer. It means if you don’t know, you won’t know. Of course we did ‘tembak’ some answers at the very end because like the Malaysians we are, we felt there might be some remote chance of getting it right. My team members felt that this hunt was difficult although for me, EVERY hunt is difficult!
The fun part of hunts, I realised, is the answers session when the organiser reveals how we did, and what the real answers were. Groans and moans amidst claps, laughs and cheers aside, the hunt showed us that not everything is literal and arming oneself with good general knowledge (the well-read ones should do well) and having a keen curiosity about the world is essential.
But then again, the objective of any hunt is to have healthy fun, giving our brains a good Sunday wake-up call to do overtime and to realise we can always improve, no matter how awful our scores are!
We didn’t do too badly, getting fifth placing (surprise!) with a small cash prize but I learnt a great deal from watching the pros at work.
And that would serve me well in my third attempt at treasure-hunting!
*The answer is KFC because if you put LIE into KFC and anagram it, you would get FICKLE.

4 thoughts on “A-hunting We Will Go”

  1. wa-yor! You’re really into this ‘thinking’ thing arent you? But it’s a good thing! I’d rather be DOING something. You’re a thinker like my husband and I am a do-er like….erm…like me, I guess.
    How in the world did you solve the ‘KFC’ thing? Don’t tell me you’re also into the Sudoku thing as well.

  2. Hi Marsha,
    Yes, I am surprised I am interested in Sudoku and lately, Kakuro. I cannot believe Nic, the Mensa member, is not even interested in either. I keep telling him that he’s a weird sort of Mensa/IQ person. He prefers programming challenges to these ‘baby puzzles’. Hah!

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