Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rock Climbing

I promise myself I will learn something new each year. For 2008, I've learned more than one new thing. Rock climbing is one of them.

My first experience with rock climbing came in the GISF 2008 Treasure Hunt. One of the challenges was rock climbing. Some of the hunters will remember the image below very well.

The challenge back then was to climb up and touch the flag the mid-way of the wall. I was the one who volunteered in my team to perform the “stunt”. I was scared at first but determined to reach the half-way mark. I did. I’m glad that I did. I almost fell at the last step to the flag. But I took a leap of faith to use my last burst of strength to reach the flag. Eventually our team finished fifth in GISF hunt.

This rock climbing facility is in SynarGym, located at Sooka Sentral, just a few steps away from KL Sentral. I happened to join this gym later in July this year, about 1 month after the hunt. I took the opportunity to learn rock climbing.

During my first few attempts to summit the top, I failed. It was the easiest trail among the rest. It was the same trail I took back in the GISF hunt. I know I can reach the top, not just half way. I stopped to watch the experts. I learned the right techniques. I realized I lack upper body strength. I worked on those. Finally I managed to scale to the top at my 4th climbing session. The feeling was… unbelievable. It felt good. This is easily 5-6m (about two-storey high) vertically and the view from the top was terrific.

Following my success to the top of the first trail, I proceed to try on the other trails. First few attempts failed. You can probably imagine why by looking at the photo below.

Some trails were designed to slant outward from the ground. This makes it harder to climb because you need more upper body strength to support your whole body weight.

I failed many more times here. I bruised the back my hand near the knuckle. The wall is made of glass fibre or some kind of resin, and the surface is as rough as sand paper to mimic the rock texture. One wrong move, and you could bleed from scratching the surface of the wall. The scars are still visible here.

Now I have scaled to the top of all the trails in the gym. It was a really satisfying feeling to say the least. Had I had the belief that I cannot reach the top, I would never have reached the top. I would probably stop half way or after a few failed attempts. But instead I believe I can make it to the top, I imagine the view from the top, I never gave up, I didn’t lower the par, I raised it from half-way to the top and from the easiest trail to the hardest. It is because I have this belief, I strive my best and improve my abilities. Eventually I got the results.

There were some other climbers around me that were better than me, some females included. I didn’t mind that, it was not them that I wish to challenge. It was the top. I know that if I can make it to the top, I can do it again and again and again. And I can challenge harder trails in the future, if given the opportunity.

I believe I can.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The 5th Role

For completeness, I need to highlight the 5th role in a treasure hunt team.

The 5th role is the pivotal role of the captain/leader. The captain’s tasks start before the hunts, continue during and after the hunt.

The captain can assume any role (driver, navigator, passenger 1 or 2) during the hunt. Of course he must first work with team members to agree on the role most appropriate for all.

Role: Captain/Leader

Primary Responsibilities:

1. Organise team. To get the team members. To enroll team. Getting logistic arrangement (who provide car, food, dictionary etc.) sorted before hunt. Assign role to team members.

2. Moderator. Often during the hunts, there will be arguments or disagreements. The captain has to make sure it will not go overboard. The captain has to make decision based on the already-agreed method to resolve differences.

3. Motivator. There will be times that the team members will be discouraged during the hunt. This can be caused by reasons such as inability to get the answers/treasures, behind on time etc. The captain has to lift the team up and if possible, bring the fun factor back to the car.

4. Financial controller. The will be expenses incurred by the team in a motor hunt. The captain has to seek agreement first from team members on what cost needs to be share and how to share it. Then he/she has to keep track of expenses, and who had paid for it. In the end, the captain has to work out, the share of the cost to be borne by each member. If the team performs well, there will be rewards/prizes/winnings to share as well.

Attributes to look for:
Good leadership skill, good financial-keeping, calm under pressure, good people skills, resourceful.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Roles & Responsibilities in a Treasure Hunt team

From my past hunts experience, I compile here my version of roles and responsibilities in a motor treasure hunt team. I hope it can help you to prepare for the upcoming hunts.

Normally in a drive hunt, a team is usually consists of 4 persons maximum in a car. Each team member has his/her own role and responsibilities to play. Normally there are 4 roles, namely: Driver, Navigator, Passenger 1 and Passenger 2. Here I explain their responsibilities. Primary responsibilities refer to essential tasks that he/she has to perform well. Secondary responsibilities refer to extra tasks that this person is encouraged to perform, or only when not compromising his/her primary responsibilities.

Role: Driver

Primary Responsibilities:

1. Drive the team safely from start to end. The driver has to think safe and drive safe. Treasure Hunt is meant to the fun. Remember treasure hunt is not meant to be a race. Driving recklessly and irresponsibly, endangering people in the car and on the road is not accepted.

2. Control the pace and timing of the hunt. Driver must keep in mind the hunt finish time and keep the correct pace in the hunt. Driver must drive the vehicle at the correct pace when in question sector. Driver should aware of the time needed (plus buffer) to get to the next sector, or to the end station. In the event of the team taking too much time in one sector, the driver should alert the team of the time. This is to avoid rushing at the end when finish time is near.

Secondary Responsibilities:

1. Spotter. Driver can assist in spotting the answer, if the answer is straightforward or shout out the candidate answer to team members while scanning the question sector.

2. Solver. Not many people can do this. Keeping concentration on the road and still thinking about the clues and how to crack it. But in the event that the driver is out walking with the team in a sector, then he/she can be a bonus to the team if he/she can help to solve clues.

3. Challenger. Since driver is not required to solve clues primarily, he/she can question the validity/suitability of the answers proposed by other team members. This is to make sure answers are to not taken for granted as there may be red herrings.

4. Navigator. It is good if the driver can read tulips as well. In the event of wrong turn made, or plan route, driver can discuss with navigator what is the best way to proceed.

Attributes to look for: Responsible, Good Driving skills/experience, good sense of direction, good concentration/focus.

Role: Navigator

Primary Responsibilities:

1. Read tulips and navigate the team from start to finish. Navigator is probably the most important role in the car. If the navigator lost his/her way, it will cost the team precious time. Navigator needs to alert team mates when the question sector is near. When arrive at beginning of the sector, it is always a good practice to shout out how many questions in the sector and for how far.

2. Keep time. Together with the driver, navigator has a good sense of how long distance left and hence the time needed to solve the remaining questions and get to the finish station in time. If the team is taking too long to solve a sector, the navigator may be entrusted with the final decision to drop the question(s), if the other team members are too involved to let go.

3. Plan route with driver. Some hunt tulip will start with a tulip that is far away from the actual start station. Or sometimes there may be a better route to avoid traffic jam to get to the next sector, the navigator must work with driver to explore other options for the best route.

Secondary Responsibilities:

1. Spotter. Navigator can assist in spotting the answer or shout out the candidate answers to team members while scanning the question sector.

2. Solver. Keeping concentration on the tulips and still thinking about the clues and how to crack it is not easy. This is especially true in local hunt when the distant traveled is around 50km with 30-40 clues to be solved. This leaves little time between sectors for the navigator to read the clues. But in the event that the navigator is out walking with the team in a sector, then he/she can fully concentrate on solving.

3. Challenger. Since navigator is not required to solve clues primarily, he/she can question the validity/suitability of the answers proposed by other team members. This is to make sure answers are to not taken for granted as there may be red herrings.

4. Driver. In a normal local hunt, the driver needs to drive about 5-6 hours. In outstation hunts, it can be up to 7-8 hours long. If needed, the driver and navigator can switch role.

Attributes to look for: Good sense of directions, good time-management, good adaptability.

Role: Passenger 1 and 2

Primary Responsibilities:

1. Solver (including research). The solver has to read the clues and break them. Once the solver has an idea on what to look for, he/she has to inform all team members on what to look for. E.g. if the clue is a sounds-like clue, he can ask all team members to look for some words that sounds like the intended meaning indicated in the clue. There are also treasure questions that need to be solved. Passenger 1 & 2 needs to coordinate on how to divide/share the tasks on the road and treasure questions. E.g. who is suppose to do research on internet, dictionary, thesaurus; who is suppose to take care of the treasures; who is suppose to etc.
2. Challenger. As there are two main solvers in the car, the solvers have to challenge each other’s thought and agree on the answers. If there is no agreement on the answers, then the candidate answers must be written down. Then the decision needs to be made after discussion with all other team mates. At the end, when the answers are written down by one, another person has to double-check them before submission.
3. Spotter. Since the passenger 1 and 2 are fully focused on the clues, they should shoulder the main responsibility as a spotter as well. Of course, all members in car can be spotter as well.
4. Buy treasure. This task seems obvious but you will be surprised that some people just didn’t manage (or forgot) to buy the treasures even though they can crack the clues. A good practice is to work on the treasures early and buy them as soon as possible.

Secondary Responsibilities:


Attributes to look for:
Good analytic/problem-solving skill, good English/Malay proficiency, creative, attention to details, good observer/spotter, resourceful.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One Utama Walk Hunt Question - Che?

Q4. Recall the words spoken between a man and a woman.

Answer: Guy Laroche

This question caught me early as I suffered from mental block at the beginning of the walk hunt (like in most hunts).

Keywords here are "recall" and "between". Looking at "recall", the question directs us to look for a word that means something if read backward. The word "spoken" can mean verbal, oral etc.

In the word Laroche, there is laro. If read backward, we have oral. Then this word is in between Guy and che. There you have it, the answer intended: Guy Laroche.

But if you check carefully, che (in Malay or English) does not mean woman. Che sounds like cik, which can be used as salutation of a (unmarried) woman (or even a man/woman that you don't know well) according to Kamus Dewan.

So technically, che doesn not mean a woman or anything that relates to a woman. If it is intended to be a sounds-like clue, there is no sounds-like indicator in the question. So what do you do? Under normal circumstances you will choose this answer anyway, hoping the CoC has equated che with cik.

This kind of adaptation (select best answer based on a technically wrong question) is one of the skills that hunters should have. Probably it has been accepted that not all questions are perfect.

For this question I didn't got the answer right. Spank, spank, spank.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Neighbourhood Fun with theSun Walk Hunt - One Utama

theSun has been a strong supporter and sponsor for the treasure hunt sports in Malaysia. Every year, theSun organises theSun Motor Hunt and some consider it to be one of the biggest hunts of the year. theSun also organises smaller walk hunt event in its Neighbourhood Fun with theSun.

On 20 Sept 2008 (Saturday), Neighbourhood Fun with theSun moves to One Utama. This hunt is not open for the Masters. It was more for the family and casual/novice hunters. I enrolled in the hunt with family as the registration was free of charge. Well, it was a free tuition/warm-up for the biggy (theSun Motor Hunt) to come. Why not? In total, there are 70+ teams participating. Noticably, the winner of the Discover Smiles Treasure Hunt with his gang were there.

This hunt is a medium-difficulty hunt, i.e. not too hard, but not too easy. Good mix of questions with anagram, container, replacement, and observation. Only one treasure question is a bit vague and some consider it hard. I may post my comments on the questions later. But let's see the result here (full point 60 points):

1. Team # 47 (Song Eu Jin, Joanne Tan Lin Chao, Lenny Wan and Tan Tean Poay) scoring 54 points
2. Team # 48 (Teoh Seok May, Hong Jing Hann and Hong Jing Qi) scoring 51 points
3. Team # 35 (Edwin Ong, Lee Kin Fui, Siow Choo Yan and Goh Chiou Yuh) scoring 47 points
4. Team # 37 (CP Tan, AK Tan, Ashley Tan, CH Tan) scoring 47 points
5. Team # ?? scoring 46 points

Our team was position 4. Tie with 3rd place with 47 points, but lost out because coming in later. THe champion walked away with RM500 cash, RM100 SUSHIGROOVE voucher and lots of 7-up Revive. 2nd place got RM300 cash plus the rest (the same with champion), 3rd place RM200. 4th place to 15th place received RM100 plus other goodies.

I was satisfied overall with result from this hunt. Due to the fact that my family is not my usual team mates in open hunts. Basically, I have to do almost all the cracking of the questions. This was quite a stressful situation when I have to break the clues and at the same time, teach my team mates to break clues and spot the answers. Overall, I felt it was a good hunt since my team mates (family members) have only hunted about 5 times.

Hopefully, I can train my darling and my daughter more, so that we can be a stronger team to challenge the CoCs (note that I am not talking about challenging the regulars or masters). Watch out!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yoga, some like it hot

It is public holiday in Selangor today, but I work in KL. To have a day off, I need to use my annual leave. So I did.

The day started with my darling and I went to try out the Hot Yoga session in True Yoga. Well, I am a beginner in Yoga, just started to learn in July. I have promised myself that I will learn something new every year. Yoga is one of the new things so far. (I may talk about my other new learning in my later blogs).

The special thing about this Hot Yoga is that the class is conducted in a room that is heated to 40 degrees Celsius. What Hot Yoga claims are many benefits, including better flexibility, reduces stress, helps to improve many conditions due to illnesses etc.

The instructor was a guy from India, he has a very strong Indian accent. I have difficulties understanding what he said in the beginning, but slowly catch on later.

The class was quite full with many people from all ages. It was nice to see many people in a class. It really motivates you.

I have been attending regular class in my gym. I was trying out this class to "sample" it.

Anyway, the class was not too tough, but I still have some balancing and flexibility issues. The instructor even come to my aid and literally "bend" me with one foot on my buttock while holding my up-stretched arms. (Sorry no illustration available). I guess I need practice, a lot of practice to improve.

In the end of the class, I sweat a lot. My T-shirt was really soaking wet and my darling told me that I really "smell" like a man. :-)

Maybe I will go try it out again later. Hope to post some photos later. Stay tuned.