Sunday, July 12, 2009

YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE, DEAR VINCENT - A PERSONAL TRIBUTE

video

Having met and known Vincent had made my life a whole lot richer for the last 4+ years. It was both an honour and a privillege for me to become acquainted with him for this short period. He was all this to me and more: a mentor, a friend, a room mate, a confidant, a family member. His demise will leave an irreplaceable void in my life.

Our paths crossed on 5 Sep 2004 when I was invited to join the Hunters R Us (HRU) team for the Rotary Dialysis Treasure Hunt, a charity event clerked by Pava. At that time, Vincent, was returning to the hunt scene after being side-tracked for a few years due to a business venture, while I was a budding novice eager to stamp my mark. Overawed by the occassion, I was more engrossed with the tulips (to avoid embarrasaing myself) than helping out with the clues. Hence I explicitly remember that my only contribution that day was to ferry three fine Masters around Klang city in my Honda. But through the strength of Vincent, Margaret and Mrs Lim (nee Loh Siew Fun), we finished the hunt a respectable 2nd. I learnt a lot that day just observing the three of them at work.

From that initial meeting, our friendship blossomed. The fact that we shared a lot in common helped strengthen our friendship.

CNY Mouse Hunt, Feb 2008

We were both devoted to treasure hunts, second only to our own families. We shared the same ambition - to hunt as much as we possibly can (as Vincent used to say, "..... because it's there") and to win every one of them. Vincent was never one to harp on mistakes instead choosing only to learn from them and moving on, a trait I shared. But Vincent went one step further. To ensure that the mistakes we had made do not repeat, he went from bookstore to bookstore in search of reference books that displayed that rare word; he equipped himself with advance tools to ensure that we had information on-the-move, investing heavily on expensive large screen PDA phones, laptops and signing up for Mobile Internet; not known to many, he also developed his own Anagramming tool to help our cause. Vincent was one who gave 110% in everything that he was passionate about. We also shared similar principles, especially about the fifth-man.

Vincent was a definite asset to any team and HRU is fortunate to have him on our side. His strengths were his impeccable command of the language and wealth of general knowledge. He was also a very fine clue breaker too, definitely deserving of the Grandmasters title. A very dependable one too. Countless times he emerged as our hero, successfully solving questions that he was dropped off to pick up. HRU's consistency (> 75% podium finishes in the last 4 years) can be largely attributed to his presence.

VK & Vincent - Air France-KLM Treasure Trail Champion, Jun 2005

HRU - theSun Hunt Masters Champion, May 2006

He was a man of a few words. And when he does open his mouth, it is usually to share his wisdom or to encourage a fallen friend. He prefers to express himself through his writings. That was one of the reasons he agreed to start up A Hunter's Tale. He entertained many of us with his postings, narrating in explicit detail events that took place during a hunt with paragraphs upon paragraphs of wit. He never meant any malice in his writings but instead had words of encouragement to CoCs in his way. He enjoyed encouraging hunt novices too – occasionally coaching (some) from his home. Those who could not attend his classes, instead learnt from his writings (eg. his trademark A to Z). An ambassador of treasure hunts, he was one!

Vincent had a rather mischevious and playful side to him too. This was evident in his work here .....

Q: Call out this Gaulish character by shifting a board number.
Ans: *
(A Vincent Woo original craft: Bloggers Hunt, 2007)

And here .....

HRU - Penang Food Hunt Champion, Dec 2008

We both shared a love for Liverpool FC and had spent many hours into the wee hours discussing Rafa's strategies and purchases. When I openly criticized the likes of Luis Garcia, Craig Bellamy and Djimi Traore, Vincent merely nodded in silence. Much later I understood why. A true-blue Reds fan never second-guessed decisions made by the club and the manager, and his devotion was clear.

Another thing we had in common was food. Vincent does have a passion for buffets, which belied his lean frame. Vincent always insisted our families shared in the spoils. We had lavish dinners to celebrate our victories. We went for vacations together. We were not just a team ..... we were family!

HRU on vacation to Sipadan, Dec 2007

HRU on vacation to Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, Dec 2007

Dinner at Damansara Village Steamboat, Oct 2008

All of us will miss you dear Vincent! This blog especially will miss your presence!

But I take heart that you did not walk those steps to Heaven alone, for I trust that God had held your hand and led you there.

Au Revoir, until we meet again!

3 comments:

cikumuffin said...

Hey VK!

Thanks for the wonderful tribute.

I'm glad that my dad has made a mark in your life in so many ways.

Thank you so much for those memorable days that you have spent with him too. I'm sure he enjoyed his hunting days, holidays & makan-makan with you. :)

Take care! Let's stay in touch! :)

Love,
Yi Lei

Ee said...

VK!!

Thank you very much for this special tribute!!!

I am sure he had a time of his life treasure hunting as a member of the HRU team.

Thank you all very much!!

Keep in touch!!

Much love,
Ee Wen

Anonymous said...

Your tribute to ce5nt is so very true to the man.

I knew Vincent more than 10 yrs ago and we were sometimes together in a team. We actually won a Hunt together (can't remember which one, but must have been at my peak having since faded away from Treasure Hunting) but even though he was a man of few words, he was a sincere person and as you said, has his sense of humour as well.

He will be missed.

Dennis