Sunday, September 21, 2008

ATMAH 2008 - Archaic Treasure Made Astounding Headlines!

SUNWAY 20 SEP 08: The announcement said "Atmah Hunt 2008 from Sept 20-21, 2008"! But really, it should have been "Atmah Hunt 2008, Sept 18-21, 2008"!

Pava's Hunt introduced a fresh variation of an old, decade+ idea of a "pre-hunt treasure" (We introduced it in a GSUM (now defunct Graduate Society of University Malaya) hunt when I co-clerked it with Johnny Lim, in the mid 1990's).

Back then, we only needed the contestants to solve one treasure question given out at the briefing, a day earlier - and required them to bring it in at flag-off the next day. That caused a lot of excitement and anxiety but nevertheless, almost everyone enjoyed the "for a change" "early start" to an exciting hunt.

The same sentiments may have been felt by the participants of the Atmah 2008 pre-hunt, albeit more intensely.

The variation was - the pre-hunt started 36 hours before the hunt proper! The clues for the full chest of treasures to be solved, were given out at the briefing on a Thursday! And the 5 treasures were to be handed in at mid-point control on hunt day (about 2 days later).

Right after Thursday's briefing - teams all over KL/PJ/SJ/Shah Alam/Penang were sending emails, sms'es to members with urgent instructions to solve the treasures and to "raid" the stores, markets, supermarts, petrol stations, "don't leave any stones unturned" to get the treasures early!

Not surprisingly - we heard reports of "hunters" bumping into each other in some stores! "You are here also? Looking for the treasures?"

"No, lah! Just doing some late shopping! Fridge out of some stuff!"

OK - that must be cyptic for "Damn it, I have to get those treasures before the shop closes or the other fellow buys them all up!".

Did I mention Penang? Yes, a team from Penang was also in the hunt. I hope they had also received the "Briefing notes" from the organisers in time. (In case you were wondering which team - nope - it was not the usual suspects - but nevertheless a regular Pearly Island team!) I wonder if there were also other teams from outside the Klang Valley?

I also heard that some contestants took time off "working hours", alerted family members to help, skipping or rushing through dinners and other "committments". They even hunted into the wee hours "raiding" 24-hour outlets! The pre-hunt got even more intensed for some teams - when after 30 hours - there was still no sight of it!

And the single treasure that caused this unusual buzz on two consecutive Malaysian nights in several States (thus the title of this blog) was a certain product that apparently was going out of circulation in the market - making it a "Hunt For The Rare One".

While everyone knew that bad girls pen such items that are sold in green containers everywhere, even today, there was one particular version that many still failed to grab and go with. That sorry state of affairs, later, actually cost a few regular teams their podium places and left them a sour taste on hunt day and if I dare add - several more days, maybe weeks to come.

(Red letters are hints of the treasure).

Even for us, it didn't dawn on us the rarity of the product at first and when it finally sunk in - we took it out of the bag while travelling along the long stretches of "quiet zones" to savour the "rare treasure" - took turns to hold and caress it in our hands - studied it like a rare gem and took pictures and mental memories of it to preserve the rare catch - and hoping that it will bring us even sweeter memories later.
Want to get a real sense of this anxiety? Solve the treasure with just the words in red above - and then see if you can find this treasure in the area where you live or work! Wherever that is!

Overall, Atmah2008 was an interesting hunt - we enjoyed it. But we picked up some interesting discussions about this treasure and thought that we could invite more fellow enthusiasts to share their views:
A) Should COCs intentionally set treasure questions on "scarce" or "nearly outgoing" items? Is that good sport?

B) Let's say that it is good sport. What can COCs do to ensure that contestants can and will be able to fairly and reasonably find them?

C) What if the product was really NLA (No Longer Available) - what should the COC do after realising it : say, just before flag-off, during the hunt (from calls, sms'es from contestants) or after the marking was done?

D) What if only ONE team could find it and did submit the rare treasure?

Come share your thoughts and if you were a contestant in this hunt - tell us your side of the story about this treasure! I am sure you have a headline grabber too!

Important Note: Like everything else we write about in our blog, nothing written is to criticise anyone or any behaviour. It is just an invitation to everyone who would like a chance, to share a thought or two about their experiences or to give their views.
So please, for the sake of eternal civility and humility - please keep all discussions in this blog at an "always suitable for family members of all ages" level.


CK Loh said...

Some teams managed to get this treasure in less than an hour. At least two teams that I have spoken to, manage to do that. I take their words.

For my team, I would say it took us a lot of time to get this treasure. We nearly gave up, and we manage to find it on 11pm on Friday. We did start the hunt of the product 26 hours earlier as this is the easiest treasure to crack, yet the most difficult one to be located.

Of course, in between we also need to solve the other treasures and rest too.

But for searching for this single particular product I would say is easily longer than the whole hunt held on Saturday which is a 9 hours hunt.

On Friday, at least 2 cars from our team search from morning and towards to the evening, 4 cars were actually on the road divided into different geographical areas to locate it.

We make a mistake by assuming this particular product most likely to be found at upper market after we can't find it at the usual places to get treasure. Thus, all the major stores in KLCC, Bukit Bintang, Mid Valley, The Curve, Bangsar, you name it, we covered almost all. Not mentioning, the other hyper market like Tesco, Mydin, Giant, Jusco, Carrefour and some of the petrol stations, convenient stores, Indian stores and Chinese medical stores.

As mentioned, we finally able to get it at one of the petrol station at around 11pm.

Are we happy?

Well, for the positive point, on my opinion, I think I learn some lesson on acquiring this product that might be useful for future hunt.

But I would say I am "forced" to take leave on Friday for this hunt, and this is not stated on the hunt entry form. If this is stated before hand, then I might reconsider to join this hunt.

Luckily on my case, it is not so bad. But I must agree for most of the participants, they join this hunt with the asumption of allocating their time on Saturday morning through evening, and nothing more.

Anything more than that is a breach of contract, I mean the entry form sign.

CK Loh said...

A) Yes it is a "good sport". But only if all the teams are given the same amount of time to complete the task.

I mean it must be only done in the actual hunt, where all the team has the same chances to get it or not.

B) Just ensure it is in the hunt tulips. Or a direct hint on where to get it is given.

C) Doesn't matter as long as it is asked during the hunt.

D) Doesn't matter as long as it is asked during the hunt.

Claire said...

I am lucky that my other team mates were able to make the time to hunt for the treasures as I was in Singapore and got home only at midnight on Friday (just before Saturday!). But all is not lost (for me) the "Rare One" was sitting on the minibar in my hotel room in Singapore! Talk about coincidence! haha...

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

At least the CoC was kind enough to provide the treasure questions 36 hours earlier. Can you imagine the chaos amongst hunters on Sat morning if he hadn't.

Cornelius Koh said...

I suppose it all boils down to the "styles" and "tastes" of the respective CoCs.

I know a CoC who's eager to please the new hunters, so much so that all the questions are easy. Almost every team gets full score. Perhaps he has the impression that everyone will be happy that way.

Another CoC conjures up questions which require very specific knowledge, e.g. very good command of the English language. To excel in his hunt, one has to know, for example, words like "mobius", or that "sex appeal" = IT etc.

Yet another CoC conjures up questions with so many variables in them.

Not to forget those who set long complicated anagrams comprising 30-40 letters.

These are all personal tastes of the CoCs and they give some sort of variations and perhaps some elements of unpredictability in treasure hunts.

Different hunters have different preferences. For example, I like Jayaram's hunt. One has to be an all rounder to do well.

So this thing about hard-to-find treasures (or perhaps close-to-impossible-to-find is closer to it) is only another "style".

Whenever I clerk hunts, I'd like my questions to be solvable, not only by the masters, but also by the average hunters. Provided, of course, that they're not careless. Whenever they can't solve the questions, I want them to kick themselves when I reveal the answers because they're simple and easy, but for their carelessness. Most of the time, no indepth knowledge is required. No special English vocabulary is involved. And the treasures, once solved, will be available in several places along the route of the hunt.

I wouldn't ask for something that is near-impossible to find. To me the challenge is in cracking the clues, not "shop till you drop".