Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's not the antz of the sector yet? But where is the answer? The Truth Is, Out There ...

Kuala Lumpur, 13 Dec 2008: Today, was yet another day of learning.

We have another opportunity to learn once again, courtesy of the Purple Antz at their "MIYC Hunt Dec' 08". I am sure you still remember the 1st one - the controversial "alarms" that were not regarded as acceptable signs in their hunts? FYI - they still aren't.

This time, it's all about what in an antz's world, a hunting sector is. The problem lied in the interpretation of the often vaguely worded abridged version of the rule "Answers are physically and visually within the sector".

This actually means that the signs are physically in the sector AND are "visible" from the car as compared to being hidden from the normal line of sight, not those behind some pillars, or where you have to get down and walk behind structures to see them. Visibility does not determine the eligible boundaries of a sector - it is the physical location that does. A sign, properly located in sector, could be 3 km away, but if it was huge enough to be seen from where you are - it counts.

I was initially very frustrated at the thought of having to write about "nothing". Why would I want to comment about something that had long been established as a fundamental "norm" in treasure hunts for at least the past decade. In fact, it took some 10 years before the sensibility of fair sectoring was finally established correctly.

Now, the same principle risks being brought back into serious disrepute. That was good enough reason for me to want to highlight this for the sake of the sanity of this crazy game. Then, I also thought, I might as well do something useful at the same time - educate budding hunters (and whoever else) in the understanding of SECTORS.

What really "inspired" this post was a question in this recent hunt, that had an answer that was, by normal definition, physically out of sector. It was however visible from the tulip-ed sector. Many hunters spent a long time in that sector, not realising that they had to look "outside of the sector".

Most of the regulars who finally spotted this, put it down as the answer anyway - because it was obvious to them, that the COC had made a mistake. Truthfully, they were thinking about "playing it safe" - just in case the COC "don't realise it, and accepts it". As it turned out, it truly was the case.

At the answer presentation, the Purple Ones explained themselves: "We acknowledge that the sign was not physically in the sector. But the sign was visible within a 360 degrees of view, therefore, in our view, it was IN SECTOR!" My thoughts? Being able to explain something logically, does not necessarily make it right. Other COCs who have made similar blunders, admitted them and decisively canceled the questions.

Let's forget about the question itself. Let's just discuss the education aspect of the argument - We already know about "forget the alarms". What had become more alarming were the questions (and eyebrows) raised about the in's and out's of sector : "What actually defines the limits of a hunting sector? What tells you where to start looking, stop looking and where not to look?" Was it in or out? Here, even video re-play technology could not help.

I created these diagrams to show you the correct reading of a "SECTOR". Agent 007 was kind enough to lend me his Sunbeam to add a bit of colour to them:

Let's use one of the most recognisable tulips - the T-junction (as above). The T-left or T-right junction will be indicated as in the insets of the picture above (one of them at a time, of course). Let's assume that this is the "End of Sector" tulip. Don't worry about turning left or right for the moment. You just needed to arrive at the end of the junction - period.

Your flow of direction (a very important consideration) at that moment is considered to be heading "north" i.e. straight ahead but stopping just at the first line of the junction. When your car arrives (or when you arrive by walking) at this junction, by normal definition, signs "A to F", "N to U" would be "IN SECTOR".

"V to Z", "K to M" and "G to J" would, by normal definition, be "OUT of SECTOR". The "demarcation line" would be as indicated by the "line of little rings". If the "F" shop or the "U" shop had floated a giant helium balloon, some 50m above the shop and the balloon stayed behind the "line of little rings", it would still be "IN SECTOR". BUT not, if the balloon had floated over "the line of little rings", say above the main road or above the row of shops across the road. I hope no COCs will try to set a question on such a balloon! They may just get blown away at the presentation session later!

If the "F" or the "U" shop had a vertical signboard hanging off its wall, that would be "IN SECTOR", the walkway or pavement is considered part of the "SECTOR", but NOT the main road itself. That is why, you will see hunters taking a "peep" around the corners of junctions to check the signs "on the side", but they will ignore any "words" painted on the tar road and the shops across the road.

BTW, here was where the "controversial question was planted" - as one of the "K to M" signs. You can see them right in front of you, but they are beyond the "demarcation line".

So, please learn this well now - for all hunts "K to M" are OUT OF SECTOR, when you are heading in this "north" direction in an end-of-sector marker. We shall see what happens at the next Antz's hunt. Do remember to clarify again with them before the hunt starts, or you may just suffer the same fate again! Anyway, let's move on ...

Now, what happens if this was the start of a NEW sector and your tulip was one of those T-lefts or T-rights? Let's take T-right first, Mr. Bond:

"A to F" and "G to J" are IN SECTOR, but not "N to U" and not "V to Z". Interestingly, "K to M" are IN SECTOR. The new demarcation line is the "line of small crosses". Now take note, If the "U" shop has a vertical sign, that will now be considered as OUT of SECTOR because your flow of direction is now "east" - i.e. turning "right" and away from all the signs "N to U" and "V to Z".

When you "turn right" or "turn left" - everything behind you is OUT of SECTOR, but those at the "side of you" are IN SECTOR. Follow?

In other words, "K to M" which were "OUT of the PREVIOUS SECTOR" are now "IN the NEW SECTOR". See where the controversy could happen? The Antz people would consider all of them ("A to Z") as IN SECTOR because they are all visible, if you looked back too! OK, Ok, ok! I will move on ... let's take the T-left junction, James:

Your direction now is "west" or "left". Therefore, "N to U", "V to Z" and "K to M" are now IN the NEW SECTOR. "A to F" and "G to J" are OUT of the NEW SECTOR" - they are behind your flow of direction. The "demarcation line" is now the "line of dashes". To the Antz? "A to Z" are IN SECTOR. Same reason - you can see them all from where you are. Getting the picture now?

Now let's check our progress, thus far. If the word "BERHENTI" was painted across the tar road at the junction between the row of shops "N to R" and "A to D", would that word be in sector, when you turn right or left into the new sector? Not sure? Read my notes again.

Simple, so far? Or have I further complicated things for you?

My dear fellow hunters and COCs - do you realise what this could mean if we accepted a reversion in the definition of a sector?

Whenever we cannot find an answer (for whatever reasons) we now have to also search in the SECTOR behind (for whatever distance your eyes and binoculars can see) and the SECTOR ahead of the original hunting sector (for whatever distance your eyes, aided or not, can see). That can mean another 20 to 100 more signs to consider! Don't forget to look up into the sky and grounds of those adjacent sectors too!

How about this one?

You have completed hunting on one sector and you are confident of your answer. You are now waiting, as the first car in the front of a traffic light cross-junction and waiting to drive cross it to go into the next sector. And then, you spotted a sign in front of you across the road - some 10 metres in front. And this sign fits the same question that you have already found an answer to. Now, do you have two answers to consider? Does it now make one of the last questions, out of sequence? Do you "extend the sector" and hunt further into the next sector to find the "last question"?

How about this next possibility? What if a COC, feeling horns growing out of his/her head, decides to "get naughty"? S/he can set a question at the end of the previous sector (the one that you have just driven past BUT instead indicates on your tulips, that the Question starts on the next sector - the one you are heading towards?

Then, you will be wondering why you could not find it. Later, at the answer presentation, you will learn with great disbelief and disappointment, of what happened. "Hee! Hee! Hee! Got -cha! It was behind you. If you have looked back as you entered the next sector, you would have seen it! Next time, Tengok Belakang Baik-Baik Sebelum Masuk!" Cheeky and unfair, it would have been!

Sheesh! How do you feel so far? Defeated? Like being bullied as a school boy/girl? I talked to a few regulars and they all agreed that "360 degrees visually" was not the correct definition of a sector. Nobody had another definition. I dare say, nobody else will have.

I had to stop here. I was feeling too flabbergasted to continue. I was not attempting to make a mountain out of an anthill, but the mind was like flipping back and forth a rolodex, looking for the right "answer card" - What on earth was the COC thinking? Was it not obvious? Wasn't it just a simple matter of admitting an error in judgment or understanding and then accepting what was time-tested, never-a-problem-with-any-COC-or-hunter "norm"?

Or was it just plain disinterest to re-mark, especially when it would not make a difference in the final standings? Another case of hiding behind "the skirt", maybe? Couldn't they have picked up the phone and consulted some "older hands" in the same business - especially if it was brought to their attention by "old hands" in hunting? Something else here that we have missed?

Not to worry - I am not asking those questions anymore. They were all just playing in my idle mind - a.k.a. the devil's workshop.

Speaking of "old hands" - I wonder what their thoughts were? Every regular I spoke with, shook their heads in disbelief and some just happy that they took the chance.

I must snap myself out of this "bad dream" before I become an indistinguishable part of it. You know how the X-files stories go - "The Truth Is Out There" and I shall add, " I am believing it is with the COCs!"

I am glad that we have a familiar hunt the next day - a decent chance to put this behind us. This definitely calls for a couple of Cool Rhinos before I hit the sack.

Here are the results :

13 Dec: MIYC Treasure Hunt (Full score 155 pts)

1st: Ramesh Rajaratnam, Liew Kok Seng, Chong Foo Seong, Lim Kong Yew (149)
2nd:Chai Koh Khai, Vincent Woo, Margaret Sha, Chong Voon Kiat (144)
3rd: Claire Chin, Julie Tan, Goh Teck Koon, Teoh Cheow Teong (139)
4th: Venkateswaran Nagappan, Buvanes Tharmalingam, Eeeswaran Kanesalingam, Simon (130)
5th: Artemis Angels (129)
6th: Yeap Heng Boon, K Pavananthan, Ho Mun Yee, Loh Siew Fun (128)
7th: Cheok Wye Leong, Elaine Cheong, Khor Pee Lynn, Sin Yoong Leong (127)
8th: Steven Arockiaraj, Sanjay Abdullah, Sumita Devadas, Rahmah Othman (126)
9th: Philip Karrupiah, Joehari Jabad & team (120)
10th: Saleh Yusof, Ahmad Zahrol, Sharifah Nurlaila, Amir Hamzah, (120)

The Nutty Gang demonstrating the westerly evolution of the blues -
from blue lightning to blue skies and a purple patch -
only missing the deep blue sea!

Since it is the end of the season for Treasure Hunts with The Purple Antz this year, I would like to summarise how Hunters R Us fared :

GISF Hunt : 2nd (Lost in the ties)
UMIC Hunt : Second (Got too "alarmed")
MIYC Hunt : Kedua (If not for "Was it in or out" and thrown off the mark by the coconut dice!)

What does it take to win a Purple Antz's Hunt? Hmm ... perhaps the winners of these hunts could tell us? No. I doubt they will! It is for them to know and for the rest of us to find out!

To The Purple Antz Team - we thank you for bringing these hunts to the community. We greatly appreciate your invaluable contributions in promoting the game! We hope we, the community of avid treasure hunters, have done enough to encourage you to continue and with even greater success and care!


Cornelius Koh said...


I'm smiling right now.

It's been said that whenever I analyse or discuss about something, I'd go into ultra detailed consideration of all the points. I'd go to great lengths to illustrate and argue my case.

I'm therefore very happy to see the trouble you've gone through to produce those diagrams - including that model car - to illustrate your points.

Agent 007 and his Sunbeam, huh? How interesting!... hehehe

Claire said...

This is indeed very educational. Thanks for the detailed explanation, Ce5nT. I never really knew the exact meaning of a SECTOR... until now! But perhaps thanks to "ignorance", the intended answer was found!

BlogCe5nT said...


No wonder! In that situation, it did help your team to "look out of the box"! In that case, your team name should read as "Too Sneaky & Too Innocent" then! (Ha! Ha!)

Cornelius Koh said...


Maybe it is excusable when the hunters don't know what exactly constitutes a "sector". But the same can't be said of the CoC.

If the CoC, perhaps because of his whim and fancy, decides to introduce some sort of departure from the norm, then he owes it to the hunters to make such alteration (s) clear during the briefing.

Otherwise, one of these days, one of us might want to use, say, "cow" as an anagram indicator on the grounds that "this is my hunt, and I want you to play it according to my rule!"

Cornelius Koh said...

A friend wrote to me to say that "cow" can also mean "to frighten" and therefore might be used as an anagram indicator.

I checked my dictionary and found that he's correct! When I used "cow" as an example, I did not bother to check its alternative meaning (s), which was rather reckless of me. I remember when I was hunting in Jayaram's hunt, he used "Harry" as an anagram indicator, which was very clever of him!

But the point I was trying to make here is that we have certain "rules" or parameters of what can be used as anagram indicators. And CoCs should not just throw in just anything they like without heeding the "rules".

I have mentioned before that there was a CoC who used the question mark (?) as HIS anagram indicator. But I can't find any literature which would support the use of "?" as the anagram indicator. I'm not very surprised that the "?" has no longer been adopted as the anagram indicator after that.

BlogCe5nT said...

Yes, frightening isn't it, when you start to look at words critically? "To cow" to such indiscipline is really a very sad proposition for treasure hunts.

Maybe, corny, you should have used "lembu" as your example ... can't go wrong with that one or can it?