Tuesday, November 4, 2008

WORDSWORDS - Verbal Coated Excalibur? A.K.A The Long Winded Hunt!

SHAH ALAM, 1 November, 2008: "Everyone got a quill? If not, please let me know, I can pluck one for you" - COC Capt Jack Swallow of the TrailBlazers, offered to the flock of some 130+ prey trackers nestled on the grounds of a grand social organisation majestically perched on a well-defined elevation. A portion of the gathering took his offer (Yes - the COC still had all his feathers on him - neck down!).

Captain Jack Swallow and his "Parrot"!

We have all assembled for the final briefing at the 3K-Triple 1 KSAS Hunt, 2008 and soon we'll be taken on a "Trail Less Blazed"!

After a parrot-like (I call, You repeat) roll-call to distribute the sets of "tulips" that had an elaborately multi-shaded membrane as the premier page, each participating team's leader paid close attention to the chief narrator, in what I could safely refer to as the largest gathering for a proof-reading session ever conducted at 350m above sea-level.

"OK. Pirates, please turn to the 3rd page from the back" - a cryptic way of saying Page 7?

Everyone had this look on their faces as if to say "could the Captain be having visual challenges of the fowl kind - he could see sharply what's afar but not what's near?"

How else would he not know that all the pages were numbered? Here was the original bird-talk :

Swallow: "Please turn to 3rd page from the back."
Eagles : "Page number?"
Swallow :"No page number."
Vulture:"Page 7 lah."
Swallow :Adjusting his visual aids, "Where?"
And very soon after, with a peevish smile, "Oh yes, got page number! Okay, Page 7."

And then began a literary session on what seemed like a marathon editing of the manual for migratory flight paths. You see - there were no graphics in the tulips - none of those that we were all so familiar with - just words.

There were only narrations of the directions, distances and landmarks - all in words. Each "tulip" or "sector" was a paragraph of written sentences. For those of us who think, understand in graphics - we were challenged to visualise the "tulips" - to determine where one was heading, what to do next, when questions will appear, until where and for what distance.

That would have been perfectly fine - only if there were no need for corrections.

Instead of just graphically changing a stroke or a line - the COC took on the task to guide the flock of anxious leaders, in a hurriedly assembled v-formation, through a typographical journey of removing sentences, adding and deleting words, inserting carets and editing misspellings - TWICE for each change of direction!

The pain was probably felt the most when the flight encountered some turbulence from those who could not follow the dictations and requested for repeats of the already repeated orations. There was almost a dozen of these bouts of "tak tentu hala" conversations.

The test of patience was the order of the day - but fortunately, nobody made mountains out of molehills, although I did pick up a few under the breath rumblings amidst the chirping from the loudhailer. "Use the old fashion tulips lah! So much easier!" "Buat apa cakap banyak, banyak ini, buat susah je?" "So many changes! How come these were not corrected before printing?"

Amending was already arduous enough - I can imagine how challenging it was to write the instructions during the charting of the course. And I wonder, how many rounds of charting and drafting they had to make - probably one too little!

And think about the rest of us on the road - how would we remember the road features in the event of having to go back to previous sector(s)? I guess - there's just one way - read the whole paragraph(s) again!

And think about those teams which had drivers who couldn't read English!

The biggest curiosity of it all was "why this deliberate preference for the Pen instead of the Brush"?

I will embark on this mini-adventure to offer an explanation at the risk of completely painting the wrong picture with my personal choice of words from my vocabulary palette.

I think, they just wanted to be different - to be unique - to stand out - to be noticed - to be recognised - to go down in history - as the people who offered the hunting fraternity an entirely fresh flavour. That's the professional view - at the end I will give you my personal views.

This is afterall a game/sport of word challenges - people bask in the universal beauty of "Words" in many ways. Languages (be it English, BM, etc) hold a lot of intrigue that never fail to mesmerise those who appreciate the multi-faceted meanings of Words and Phrases. Words afterall are the foundations of religion, civilisation, education, society and most importantly - communication that transcend the time horizon (history).

Words are the triggers of imagination! Words beget words! It is a never ending journey!

More and more who have developed fondness for "Words" have found "doing crossword puzzle like challenges on the road or walkways" irresistible. Always eager to take the challenge no matter what the "hunting" environments or circumstances are. Some more discreet than others in their choices of adventures - many still just "Go For It" - "Because It Is Out There!"

This game/sport is a way to honour the Languages - to appreciate their role in society. And the TrailBlazers have chosen to make it their mission to showcase "Words", giving it maximum prominence - leaving no room for any product of the Brush.

Every stroke will only be that of the "written kind". The only lines you will see in their tulips or question sheets will be those used to frame the collection of words and phrases.

But as if to pacify the graphically/visually inclined species - they always had this kaleidoscope adorned skin for each set of tulips and questions! Their promotion banners were colourful too - but "words" were splattered all over every available square inch of writable space! (Refer to the Winners' picture!)

The PEN has just got MIGHTIER - what could be more powerful than having the SWORD in the WORDS!

Finally, as promised, my personal bird's eye views:
Birds Have Problems Deciphering Graphical Tulips.
Besides, What Could Sea-Faring Pirates Do With Road Maps?

My bet is on this reason for the choice :
The Navigator Does Not Have To Risk Mistranslating Graphs To Words - It's All Done!
Just Read The Scripts Out Loud!
What Could Be Safer & More Thoughtful?

Blaze away, Trailers!

Writer's Note : All Said In My Humble Opinion And In Jest!
(Dear Hunters - Don't bother to decipher this remark - this is not a cryptic question!)

Winners Caged!
(Would you believe me if I told you that I deliberately removed myself from this picture?)

And now to Crow About The Winners!
1 Nov: 3K Triple One KSAS Treasure Hunt (Max score 111pts)

1st: Chai Koh Khai, Vincent Woo, Chong Voon Kiat (103pts)
2nd: Wong Chiang Chuen, Claire Chin, Julie Tan, Goh Teck Koon (102pts)
3rd: Johan Salul, Dr Ben Lau, Teoh Cheow Teong (96pts)
4th: Ahmad Firuz, Aeni Haryati, Sabirah Ariffin, Izrin Haryati (86pts)
5th: Loh Chee Kwan, Haji Suhaimi Zainal, Lim Say Chye, Anwar Jeffri (85pts)
6th: Ramesh Rajaratnam, Liew Kok Seng, Lim Kong Yew (85pts)
7th: Steven Arockiaraj, Sanjay Abdullah, Sumita Devadas, Rahmah Othman (73pts)
8th: Wan Kamal Azlan, Mohd Farid, Azhanawati Abd Wahab (70pts)
9th: Thomas Mok, Lim Seng Fook and team (63pts)
10th: Anis Syahrein, Badron Hisham, Shahrul Nizam, Shahril Nizam (56pts)

1 comment:

Cornelius said...


Sounds like you people had lots of fun going bird-watching last Saturday morning.

I have now recovered from a near heart attack condition due to a bout of uncontrollable laughter; and I am still in the process of picking up my jaw from the ground.

Nice picture of the Captain too, and I kinda like his hat!