Tuesday, September 2, 2008

SUCCESS CROSSROAD CENTRE 2008 INDEPENDENCE DARE (aka Maju Junction 2008 Merdeka Challenge)

KUALA LUMPUR: 23 AUG 08: This was one of those "must not miss" hunts/challenges for HRU. We have attempted it since it first started in 2005. Then, Local Champ's team won it and we only managed a few honourable positions behind.

The next year, we were there again and that time - we clinched the title and the prize - what a prize too - RM5,000 cash! KK, VK, VW were the team members then.

There was a "holiday" last year - reason unknown. And this year, "It's Back!" - so the organisers trumpeted! And the regulars heard it loud and clear and responded enthusiastically. Some 10 or more regular teams - to give it a clearer perspective.

The enthusiasm was intense, I believe, because this time round, it was GoForIt's Sam Rahman in conjunction with Swift Events & Services! The previous ones were juxtaposed by Define Event and well-known Baskaran.

Believe it or not - I made sure we were the FIRST to register - for all 3 events (since 2005!). How's that for consistency?

Almost everything about the format of the Challenge had been consistent too with some "improvements". Register by dropping forms into a box, deadline to register - 5:00 pm Briefing Day. Entry form must come with a receipt or more that added up to at least RM50.00 for purchases made within Maju Juntion Mall (any outlet) - this was changed to "of same day" for 2006, and then to "same day and not more than 2 receipts" for 2008.

For 2005 - it was 4 participants. Then for 2006, it was reduced to 3, and for 2008 : 3, but at least one male and one female.

The Challenge + Walk Hunt format was retained : 4 Challenges (2 Fears, 2 Physicals), 2 Walk-Hunts : One outside (a perimeter around the Mall) and one inside the Mall. Outside Walk Hunt first (20 Questions + 3 Treasures), followed by an Inside Walk Hunt (11 Qs). Challenges were done after the last Hunt with only a simple timeline to complete all 4 by closing time, 2:30 p.m.

There was a new element introduced though - a "play-off" Challenge for the top ten. The details of this one were not revealed. Only to be made known after the results were tabulated and the top ten teams would be asked to perform this "play-off". So, I will do the same here.

62 teams registered and I heard that 60 teams finally showed up. This was not as high as 200+ in 2005 and 150+ in 2006, but I believe it was because of the timing - with the school holidays and another major hunt (NPC) on the same day. Still, some 10 regular teams participated!

Anyone knows exactly how many regular teams there are in the Klang Valley or Malaysia?

In case, you are asked : The Machines were not there, no Penang team, no Sabah Team.

It was standard stuff but something that got a little more attention was this repeated 3 times call to "please play fair and do not collaborate with other teams, all right?" Hmm - was there somebody amongst us that was not getting the message yet?

A change in format was the registration of the "Lottery for the Challenges". It used to be - that teams must pre-nominate the Team Member for each Challenge at the Registration Counter BEFORE attending the briefing. And what a queue and jam it caused in the last 2 events.

The organisers had learnt. This time, each Team was given the Nomination Slip and they only wrote the names AFTER listening to the briefing. This time however, they did not say what the challenges would be. The last time, they showed participants what the challenges would be but nobody would know which was A, B, C or D. They could have still informed us of the challenges - but I guessed they just wanted to build-up more mystery around the event.

16 Qs, 4 Bolded

The hunt began at 8.50 a.m. with the OutSide Walk Hunt - with a single-page tulip that showed where each hunt sector started and ended - and there were only about 4 or 5 hunt-sectors around the streets near the Mall.

To give an idea : started from MJ until Odeon along the TAR road, then from Sogo to end of the road - junction with Jalan Tun Perak (Mountbatten Road for those of my vintage), then from DBKL to Sime Darby and from Sime Darby to KFC (Chow Kit), and then back along the TAR road to MJ.

And as expected the 4 1-pointer bold questions took its peril on the hunters - regular or not. Every regular team dedicated a hunter or two for the bolds. We crossed each other several times in all the sectors.

Hunt time : Midpoint opened at 10:30 but most were expected around 11:00 a.m. The Indoor Hunt ended at 12:00 p.m. So, a very tight hunt and one had to manage time well - a peril often faced by many a hunting team - especially in walk hunts.

To give you a bit more perspective on the peril. There were 4 BOLDED Qs mined into the Outside Walk Hunt of 20 Qs. One at each sector - not in sequence with the other Qs. Imagine that! 1 Bolded Q for about a KM or more of shop signs - BOTH sides of the road - and this was a WALK hunt for a team of THREE! Sam sure knew how to make this one live up to its name : SUCCESS CROSSROAD CHALLENGE! And all for only 1 point each - the Kiwanian Rule!


Try the above rebus for a BOLDED. The answer did not require any KIVs. It was a familiar phrase to most. To tempt you to take the Challenge: nobody got that one right.

The non-Bolded's were mostly solvable by regular standards - designed for those with at least 3 or 4 hunts' experience. However, we heard later, that many missed the opportunities to solve all of them because of lack of time - the single most challenging element of every Hunt! Consequently, many did not have enough time for the Inside Walk Hunt.

There were only 3 treasures - how challenging could that be, one may speculate. How wrong we all were - we soon discovered. Nobody got all 3 treasures right - if that was any measure to go by. I guess everyone was caught by "stereotypes" or "familiarities". Play it again, Sam!

VERTICAL HUNT (The Inside Story)
9 Normal Qs, 2 Bolded Qs.

The points here were 1 pt higher than the OutSide Walk Hunt i.e. 3 pts per Q (1 for bolded). So, more points were lost for those who did not have enough time to attempt them. We did well here - very well - dropping only 1 Bolded. Even then we knew what the answer was to that one - but just did not spot it in time - 10 seconds late to be exact. I guess we forgot to shoo away the crowd that gathered to buy waffles and were blocking the signboard which was at waist-level! COCs - please take note - for "fair play"!

Remember, nobody was to know what the challenges would be and in which order (i.e. A, B, C or D). So we had to nominate based on pure lottery. I guessed FEAR, PHYSICAL, FEAR, PHYSICAL and nominated Claire, VK, Claire, Myself. And there was play-off Challenge "E" - VK, the all rounder, for it! Let's see what it turned out to be.

This was revealed to all at the briefing, ala "forced to", by "clever" line of questioning.

We were told that one of the challenges would be an eating challenge and we were assured that the item to be eaten would be "halal". Then I asked - "Will a strict vegetarian be able to eat it too?" ... a few looks were exchanged between COC and Organiser and the response was "OK. Everybody take note - Challenge A will be an eating challenge. Please nominate someone who is not a strict vegetarian to this challenge." One down!

There were no more clues as to what the other challenges would be - but I guessed that one of them would be the rock-climbing inflatable and the other would be the obstacle inflatable - the same ones used in 2006. I also guessed that the other FEAR challenge would involve white mice. We were right! Only that we did not know the order.

The actual challenge turned out to be eating a 4" sandwich (tapa), spread with wasabi and 4 or 5 2" to 3" long live wood worms crawling in them! The sandwich was wrapped in an aluminum foil to keep the worms in.

The challenge was to unwrap the foil and to completely eat the sandwich, worms and all, within 60 seconds. If a worm fell out, it had to be picked up and eaten! Competitor was allowed to drink liquid throughout the challenge.

Claire took a long while to psycho herself - not because of the worms (she actually relished them) but the fear of not being able to swallow the bread quickly enough! She was never brought up to gulp her food! (A Note To Parents - if you want your children to win such challenges - since you can't - don't stop them from gulping - once in a while!) She measured the sandwich, mentally "cutting" it into 3 parts. Probably, giving herself 20 seconds to eat each part.

The she went for it! Watching the stop-watch, drinking some "Revive" in between (not enough in my opinion), and choking from the stuffing!

Then she declared her completion - like the results of 80% of competitors - she did it in 62 seconds - 2 seconds off the mark. Still, we scored 2 points (for unsuccessful attempt). We did not hear of any team not attempting it at all - that would have dunked the team 10 points. And not many made it in time - scoring the full 5 points. Honestly, we would never know if anyone of us would have done any better - we were just happy with the 2 points! Thanks, Claire!

A plastic chain was loosely wrapped around both wrists and padlocked in the middle. The hands were free to be inserted into a plastic, transparent box filled with white mice (coloured actually) and lots of newspaper strips to hide the mice and the keys. There were 4 padlocks and each had 3 keys to it. The 12 keys were thrown into the box and the competitor had 90 seconds to pick the right key, unlock the padlock and thus the chain and then drink 250ml of bitter tea.

VK took to the challenge like a pro - coolly picking up the keys from a bunch of 4, one at at time - and one of them was the right one. And he gulped the bitter tea easily! All in under 70 seconds. I thought I heard VK say "I better do it now since most of the mice are all bundled up in a corner now" before he took it on!" Smart move! I also believed - none of us actually knew that the tea was bitter - it looked like "air tebu" to me. That must have helped too!

5 points in the bag!


I had hoped that this one was Challenge "B" - VK would have been perfect for it. But it was Claire's turn again. So, were we confident? Honestly - only 70%. Because she had never done this one before - a plastic mountain with slippery "rocks" that were not fully inflated! We just believed in her!

It was a vertical climb of one storey high in 60 seconds to touch a "flag" at the top of it! One had to push and pull oneself up - not allowed to grab the rope. And once you slipped back to the "ground" - you were out.

The queue for this one was the longest. Watching 3 big girl competitors struggling to even make the first step was not encouraging at all! One of them even gave up without making a step! And when "34" (our number) was up, we shouted to Claire "Go show them how to do it, girl!" She walked up to it, climbed over the "wall" with a determined look in her face! She grabbed the first rock and waited for the countdown. And she was away! It was looking good!

Until mid-way - she lost her rhythm, seemed to have panicked - probably due to exhaustion. But VK, the veteran real rock climber, was there to shout encouragement and instructions "right hand, right leg, grab - left hand, let go, grab ... " and the clock was ticking away. A slip and two later - she was up there to "slap" the flag! In 46 seconds!

But the episode was not over for Claire. She was stuck up there for a good 5 seconds! She could not figure out how to come back down! "Hey! Why nobody tells me how to come down?!" So after some coaxing and courage garnered - she slipped back down and disappeared into the "ground" - out of sight from the "wall"! We waited - then her head popped up and to our relief, all was well!

Another 5 points in the bag!

This was mine! I was all ready for it! It looked so "doable"! I got "Ah! Your cup of tea!" slaps on my back from VK. 60 seconds to jump through a 4' tunnel, climb a 8' wall and drop down the other side, then clamber over a 4' high two-tiered hurdle and jump through a 3' hole to finish! Piece of cake! At the line, I jogged on the spot to warm up and rubbed my hands in glee - all raring to go!

I was up next - a Media (the other Category) lady was attempting it. We, the men in waiting, all watched - as if hoping to get a final boost of encouragement - "She Boleh! We Boleh!"

Then we heard a loud explosion! No - we did not dive for cover - instead, we rushed to the "8' wall" and to our shock - we saw this lady pulling herself out of a gaping hole in the "floor" on the other side of the wall and still frantically struggling to climb the 4' hurdle and rushing towards the final hole!

The rest of us watching, cheered in loud unison! Not for her - but for the deflated platform - the Media lady had punctured the floor after falling foot first from the 8' wall and had made the entire challenge "dangerous". The oganisers immediately cancelled the event and awarded every team full points! Shouts of joy and applauses all round - and respectfully, quiet gratitude to Media Lady!

And for those of us who cared: the Media lady completed the "run" and was unhurt. In my opinion, the Media lady should have been credited with 300 points (60 teams x 5) and declared the winner of the MEDIA Category!

Hey! I got the team 5 points without lifting a finger! What luck!

There were side-shows while waiting for the results or rather the call-up of the Top Ten. Karaoke contest, challenges for drinking and eating junk food and fizzy drinks given out in our goody bag, dancing together on a shrinking piece of newspaper - all entertaining!

Finally, the Top Ten were rolled called, in team number order (scores were not revealed).

CHALLENGE "E" How Fast Can You Fall! (FEAR & PHYSICAL)
And the pre-nominated member of each of the Top Ten was ushered away to the 2nd Floor of the MJ - where the Food Court was. And finally, it became clearer to everyone what the 2 dangling cables from the top to the ground floor were for! Some speculated that the competitors had to climb themselves up - others thought they had to abseil down. The "others" were right.
How Points Were To Be Awarded For The Final E.
1st - 2nd : 10 points
3rd - 5th : 7 points
6th - 8th : 5 Points
9th -10th : 3 Points

Failure to attempt : minus 10 points. Nobody abstained.

After a short delay due to the ensuing "dancing on a shrinking newspaper" contest and a quick demo of abseiling by the experts - the race began!

By some kind of "draw", two teams were paired to abseil together. "34" and "Local Champ's Team" were paired together to go first. A few just zipped down! Why the confidence - because two experts controlled the descent - they could tug at a control rope and stop the slide at any time - and it was instant! Those who understood that - were brave enough to trust them! One of the members took his time - he literally crawled his way down ala staccato style. That's one "why risk it, play it safe" guy. There was only one lady in that challenge. And she did well!

All points earned from this final challenge were added to the earlier scores. Not knowing the difference, everyone who cared to challenge further, had to do their best. We learnt later that "34" was one of the 3rd to 5th finishers - so we had 7 points in the bag. Well done, VK! Good choice, VW! (ahem!)

And there was the lucky draw (no prize for guessing what the top ten teams won in the lucky draw!). The lucky draw was done in parts - one before the final challenge and one after the prize giving to all winners. Unfortunately, the second draw was not clearly announced in advance and many had left the place after the prize winning ceremony - at least 4 draws had to be re-drawn.

And in tradition with previous years, there were special prizes - for the Best in Outdoor Walk Hunt, Best for Indoor Walk Hunt and Best for each of the challenges, A, B, C, D & even E. But this time round ... no prizes for guessing which of these prizes the top ten teams won!

For example, we did not win the Best Outdoor nor the Best Indoor (remember, we dropped only 1 bold q) and yet we won the entire Event!

And in closing, here are the final results :

Position Maju Junction Mall Challenge (August 23, 2008) Points (Max 110)
1 Vincent Woo, Claire Chin, Chong Voon Kiat 90
2 Muzamil Amzirin, NS Jannah, Mohd Khalid Rashad 79
3 Jeffrey Wong, Viki Lim, Lim Kim Meng 79
4 Teoh Cheow Teong, Julie Tan, Kwan 66
5 Andrew Lai & team 63
6 Venkateswaran Nagappan & team 62
7 Johan Salul, Loh Siew Fun, Dr Ben Lau 62
8 Fong Choon Kit & team 56
9 Mohd Khalil Al-Haqq, Ana Nur Hidayah, Mohd Asyiq Al-Fard 50
10 Peh Kok Hun, Jenny Leong, Ong Hoong Chun 50



2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Wow! You are definitely the right man for a "Results and Review" tell-it-all. I enjoyed "reliving" the entire experience.

By the way I added a Label to your posting. Remember to use the same Label for your next hunt "Results and Review" posting so that they are categorized in the same folder.

Once again good job!

Claire said...

Wow again! Laughed till my sides ached! Thanks for the wonderful memories. I, too, thoroughly enjoyed "reliving" the eventful day. And here's more...

The Daunting Mountain aka Challenge C:
The one event I was so hoping NOT to get...was the event that landed on my plate! What was the fear about? The fear of not being able to get my fat ass 2 feet off the ground!

Glancing over my shoulder, I saw worried looks on the guys' faces. Heh heh. If you are wondering, yes, I did psych myself up...I had lots of time for that in the queue! Then came my turn. Uh oh.

The moment the event person hooked on the "harness" and rope, I was oblivious to everything else. So "right hand, right leg, grab - left hand...” came out as “umph unhh ummmph...”. Going up halfway was fine...then...oops! Fingers couldn’t grab the half-inflated rocks, toes slipping, energy level dropping... HELP! Then “umph unhh ummmph...” took over my hands and feet, as if by miracle! It was like climbing – auto-pilot mode. Thanks for the instructions, VK! A final push and the ‘flag’ was within reach! Phew!

All elated about scaling the mountain, I forgotten about getting down. Not sure if anyone heard...But I let out a little shriek up there! What do I do? What do I do? Climb down? Jump down? I wasn’t sure if that one guy hanging on to the rope could do just that...hang on to the rope! Then off I go, sliding down. Thank God for the soft landing below!

And thank you guys for believing in me! (albeit 70%) ;-)

Claire said...

And here’s the “psycho” part for Challenge A...
Encounter with the many-legged ones:
First thought when I saw the aluminium wrapped bundles: Baked worms on a warm bed of potatoes, bathed in mouth-watering gravy. For someone who had eaten 3 types of worms and probably about 5 types of insects, this should be a walk in the park...right?

Upon seeing that it was worms in BREAD, my heart stopped for a split second. You are right, the fear was not eating wasabi and live worms... it was swallowing the bread! Sticky when chewed and hard to swallow.

So I tried to “psycho” myself. I was trying to “connect” to my heart to slow down the rapid beating. When excitement mounts, the throat constricts. After what seemed like ages, I took the plunge. A worm sprang out from the sides of my sandwich and landed on the place, in a desperate attempt to escape. “Chew chew chew!” I told myself. Sure I could chew...but I couldn’t swallow! My mistake: being overly ambitious, taking in big bites at a time. And probably staring at the stopwatch didn’t help either...only made me more excited watching time nearing 60 seconds!

So how was the taste? DeLiCiOuS!

Such an irony... getting full points for the one event I dreaded and only 2 points for the event I was looking forward to!

Claire said...

About the bitter tea in Challenge B, "air tebu" is such a nice thought... I thought it was someone's diluted pee!

Margaret said...

Wow again & again!

This is surely the longest review on a treasure hunt. Very funny & entertaining. Somehow, wished I was there too. Except for the wriggly grub, everything else seemed like fun!

Congrats VW, VK & Claire on your Success at the Crossroads!

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

According to this daily, we were each supposed to have received RM5000! I want my $$$$.


BlogCe5nT said...

Obviously, the people at that media had challenges doing the maths. If only they were in charge of issuing the cheques!

Claire said...

Heeeeyyy....I want my $$$ too!

Cornelius Koh said...

Well, well, well! It's about time you guys start a blog! Congratualtion! I'm sure Mike would be very happy with this development!

And what a comprehensive review, ce5nt! I'd expect this blog would see a surge in visitors in no time at all.

A special reminder to claire:

Make sure you don't overdo the winning, my dear. You run the risk of accidentally getting inducted into the TOS' master list before theSun Hunt! Go easy on winning, at least until after theSun, hmmmm?

Cornelius Koh said...

Oh I forgot to ask...

"In case, you are asked : The Machines were not there, no Penang team, no Sabah Team."

Who would want to know if an insignificant Sabah Team was there?... HAHAHA!

BlogCe5nT said...

Thank you, ISSMS for you update: your time in history is honourably immortalised here! And also in the treasure hunting fraternity of our beloved country!

Hope to see your interesting mixing, composing and healing (all important hunting skills) team in more hunts soon!

Have a great Raya!

BlogCe5nT said...

Almost forgot about the answer to the word rebus :

"A Cut Above The Rest".

The COC saw "Pain" as "A Cut"
and "Relief" as "Rest".

This was the tagline of SOGO (the Kompleks) along Jalan TAR.

Cornelius Koh said...

So what's your view on PAIN = A CUT, ce5nt?

To me, PAIN = A CUT is taking it a bit too far, unless if there's something in the clue to confirm this equation.

To revisit a question in my recent hunt:

Q) Partially dry acid at this retail outlet

A) Dr Phone Shop

We can argue that PHONE = ACID is not exclusive. But I think PARTIALLY DRY = DR; and RETAIL OUTLET = SHOP, can support and confirm PHONE = ACID.

Do you think RELIEF = REST is strong enough to confirm PAIN = A CUT?

BlogCe5nT said...

Hi, Corn,

I agree. This one was a


It was also
I T A L I T T L E !

But it was an interesting idea - just needed a better choice of words.

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