Monday, June 22, 2009


Article contributed by our guest columnist, Claire Chin, with thanks.

“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.”
- Tommy Lasorda

Saturday, May 30, 2009:

This is one hunt I have been waiting for with bated breath since I missed the opportunity to participate last year. Between holidaying in Hong Kong and tormenting my brains in a hunt.... I chose the former. Hence, I made sure I did not miss the hunt this year, as I eagerly awaited my first taste of a Kiwanis Hunt. The Kiwanis Hunt is an annual event which has been running for 26 consecutive years to raise funds for the Kiwanis Down Syndrome Foundation and other charitable bodies.

This year, the Kiwanis Hunt kept to its tradition of being a 3D/2N hunt (with the exception of a couple of years) and brought hunters to Pulai Springs Resorts, Johor. The theme for this year is “Next Change…Reaching Out”. This hunt provides probably the most number of car stickers I’ve ever seen in any hunt. We counted a total of ....40 car stickers to be stuck on each and every participating car. Besides the sheer number of stickers, we have to “sendiri potong” the sponsors’ stickers from a big piece.

The regular Kiwanis CoC who had been clerking this hunt for many years, has decided to experience being on the other side of the fence, and changed hats from CoC to hunter in a sleight of hand. The CoC team this year is the duo of Chen Thiam Leong and Toh Wei Ming.

We arrived bright and early at 6.10am, securing a place to be amongst the first 10 to be flagged off. Ok, not so bright yet as the sun has yet to rise, but early enough! Almost 300 participants gathered at KBU International College for the final briefing and flag off. As I rubbed my sleepy eyes, I wondered how the others could be so energetic at that hour. The competing teams were flagged off one by one from 7am and were given 8 ½ hrs to complete the hunt. Looking around, I could see that everyone was in high spirits. So were we as we began our journey.
It wasn’t long that speed bumps slowed us down. Actually, the speed bumps appeared at the very beginning – with the second question giving most participants a headache! Come to think of it, even the first question proved to be a “bug in the hair” for us, perhaps because we overanalyzed …

Q1: The five principles to encourage local unity linger on.
A1: Rukun Negara @ UPD Bill board

Question 1 looks simple enough on the surface. I remember seeing the five tenets of the Rukun Negara printed on the back cover of every exercise book I had as a kid. But upon finding the “Rukun Negara”, we couldn’t figure out how to fit “linger on”, so eventually we had to linger on in that area for some time.

Question 2 proved to be an even bigger speed bump. We did not realize that “Down” in Q2 was related to the Kiwanis cause.

Q2: Up this way, +1 = Down
A2: 46 @ above Good Road
(Explanation: 46 is situated above Good Road. Down is referring to Down Syndrome. A person with Down Syndrome has 47 chromosomes. Hence 46 + 1 -> Down)

After circling the sector a few times, we decided to leave the area in anticipation of similar toughies further down the road. At one question along the way, we spotted the CoC team holding a sign saying “Question dropped”. This is the first time I see it happening. A big thank you to the CoC team! :-) On the rare occasion, I have seen CoCs sending sms to all teams regarding a dropped sign, but most of the time, we hunters were left to comb the sectors high and low, losing precious time … looking for a sign which is no longer there. However, was the CoC absolutely certain that no car had passed that area before the sign indicating the cancelled question was put up?

The journey was relatively smoother for the next few questions…until we had to look for this:

Q9: Seeing is believing, in such nightmarish times.

Every sign we spotted was believable. Such as “Buy 2 free 1”, “Super Sales”, etc. In Malaysia, we have sales almost every weekend! We began looking for something like “Buy 1 Free 10!”. But even THAT is believable. Then something caught our attention – a cat in a SWAT team suit! This cat was sitting serenely with big bold letters reading “SWAT” on the back of its suit, strategically placing itself in front of a shop which is in sector! Creative (or desperate) juices started to flow:

Member A: Hey! Look at that cat!
Member B: What cat?
Member A: That cat... in a SWAT suit!
Member C: Hey...can that be the answer to “seeing is believing”?
Member D: Yeaahh...maybe maybe... but how to answer the “in such nightmarish times” ah?
Member A: Well, times are bad, economic downturn... until the organizer had to hire a cat as a hunt marshal!
Member B: But the cat can just get up and walk elsewhere...
Member A: Maybe they chained the cat to the spot...

And the rest is best left unmentioned, we don’t want to anger any animal lovers now, do we? Now let me ask you, which one do you think fits “seeing is believing” better?

Candidate 1: Miracle Water @ Water Dispenser
Candidate 2: Consultant is Free @ Neeta’s Herbal
Candidate 3: “We let our price do the talking” @ My Dream Furniture
Candidate 4: The cat in the SWAT suit

The answer is… Candidate number 3! Personally I thought Candidates 1, 2 and 3 were suitable answers. Only reason I didn’t pick the cat was because it walked to another shop as I turned around to snap a photo, else the cat would have won paws down. ;-)

A couple of questions later, we hit another snag.

Q11: Outfit of Ragiaconda?

What on earth is Ragiaconda?? A quick search on Google revealed that Ragiaconda does not exist. But Google asked “Did you mean: Giaconda”. So I clicked on the link. Trying to save cost, I turned off the image display on the phone when using the web browser…which proved to be a rather costly act of “thriftiness”. Scrolling down, I saw Giaconda the dining place, Giaconda the vineyard, Giaconda the biotech lab…and blank boxes which were supposed to display images…of Mona Lisa!

A11: Kedai Perabot MonaRisa

(Explanation: The Mona Lisa is also known as La Giaconda. So changing L -> R for both, we get Ragiaconda -> Mona Risa)

We then continued our journey, sailing rather smoothly except for the occasional bump or two. Halfway through the hunt, a strange thing happened to me. I began to wonder what hunt I was in, and which part of Petaling Jaya were we! The severe lack of sleep for the past few nights (around 1.5-4 hours sleep per night) played tricks on my mind. Good thing the effect did not last very long!

I found this question to be quite interesting, like a satirical question.

Q25: Balkis banker?
A25: Restoran Bakti

(Explanation: Balkis “deposited” close to RM10 million to Bakti’s account when the former went into dissolution)

The easiest question of the day had to be this:

Q28: Furthest of 8 in our system.
A28: Neptune

The shop had a huge sign displaying pictures of the planets in our solar system. And strangely, only planet Neptune was labelled. “Why 8 planets” you may ask. As the CoC kindly explained during the answers presentation, there used to be 9 planets in our solar system, including Pluto. But Pluto is now known as a dwarf planet.

Along our journey, we put our heads together to try our luck at the famous Crack-A-Pots (CAPs). Following traditions, one CAP was related to the theme of the hunt, while the other is sports related. CAPs are the brainchild of Mr. Chen Thiam Leong. We thought we had cracked one of the CAPs, but had no clue what to do with the other. Read more about CAPs on my dear friend, Cornelius’s blog.

Lady Luck was smiling upon us that day. As we completed the route questions in good time, we made a last attempt to look for a treasure that we have not found. Giant Supermarket was in the final sector, and it looked like a good place to search for Mr. Best Brand’s Kacang. Being in a generous mood, we bought the biggest pack of nuts available. Finally, we ended our journey at Pulai Springs Resort in good time. The answers and prizes presentation would be on the next night, so we had the rest of the day on our own.

Sunday, May 31, 2009:

From the stories shared from participants of previous Kiwanis Hunts, we would normally have games and activities on Day 2. There was a Metamorphosis competition going on that morning, with participants creating sculptures of “futuristic” creatures and their habitats, from food products. The kids had a field day with the other tele-match activities.

Then came dinner. I must say that the MC was a really funny guy called Larry. He could move the crowd! At one time, he split the crowd into two teams, Papaya and Banana. And he asked each side to stomp the ground as hard as we could. The side that stomped the loudest will win points. So there we went stomping away… and when we were done, Larry said “On behalf of Pulai Springs Resort, I would like to thank you for dusting the carpet!”

Backdrop on stage during dinner

A team of 2 ladies and 2 guys performed an act about dating in the past, present and future. That added some light-hearted moments. There were many lucky draw prizes as well, thanks to the donations of kind sponsors. Our table won 4 items. When it was time for the answers presentation, everyone’s eyes were glued to the screens. There were 18 prizes in total to be given away to the top 18 teams. One by one the winners were announced, starting from the 18th position. As the number got smaller, the excitement mounted. I could feel a lump building up in my throat. I began to tremble.

On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed myself in my first experience of this unique event. I now know why the Kiwanis Hunt is touted as one of the must-go hunts. Kiwanis 2010 ... here I come!

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