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KALAU BOLEH JAWAB CUBALAH

An A-Z of Treasure Hunting
by Chong Foo Seong

A is for Answers. It is important that all answers are neatly written and in full . For example, although the clue in a question relates only to the word "Mayflower", and you come across a signboard reading "Mayflower Tours and Travels Sdn. Bhd", you should write down the complete name instead of just the word "Mayflower". No marks are awarded for incomplete answers.

B is for Briefing. Pay attention to what is said at the briefing, for that is where details concerning the Hunt and instructions for tulip reading and how to approach questions are given. Sometimes, even vital hints and information are dropped. If you are uncertain about anything raised at the briefing, ask.

C is for Concentration. It is impossible for any team to do well if team members are constantly joking and fooling around in the car. In sectors without questions, time should be spent discussing forthcoming questions so that the team will be prepared to tackle the question when you arrive at the right sector.

D is for Doubling-back. Sometimes it is necessary to double-back in a sector to find an answer. But remember this: doubling-back just once means that you would have traveled along the same sector three times. If the team cannot still see the answer after so many attempts, it would be advisable to continue on the journey. Generally, it is also good policy to travel to the end of the sector before doubling back.

E is for Encyclopedic dictionaries. Thesauruses, fact books and all other reference materials that you think that will help you in a Hunt. They should be brought along and made easily accessible in the car and, if possible, at least one team member should be delegated with the job of research - it is pointless bringing reference materials if no one wants to look at them.

F is for Food. A treasure hunt trip can be long one and a team should stock up food and drink so that constant stoppages for something to eat and drink are avoided.

G is for Groundwork. Prepare for the Hunt. It is a good idea, particularly in newly-formed teams, to have a pre-Hunt discussion to identify who is to do what. If you need a specific book, find time to get it. When you next go to a supermarket, look at items with the Hunt in mind - who knows, you may be identify key words on a wrapper that you may relate to a treasure!

H is for Hiding. Your team may have solved a treasure that other teams have not. Be careful and discreet when you pick up treasures, otherwise your rivals may get the treasure without doing the work!

I is for Interaction. Doing well in a Hunt requires teamwork. If you think that you have figured out an "angle" to the question or treasure, do not be afraid to voice your views. No one knows everything, so the more discussion, the better.

J is for Junctions. Remember that not every junction, traffic light or side-road is indicated in the tulips, it is sometimes impossible to do so. It is crucial that the Navigator and Driver keeps track of the distance between tulips so that the correct junction is identified, otherwise you may end up heading in the wrong direction.

K is for Knowledge. It goes without saying that all questions in a treasure hunt is based on some facts or the others. Although usually the knowledge required is of the general type, a good treasure hunting team should consists of members having wide range of interests and good memory power, sometimes for the most trivial of things!

L is for Letting go. Knowing when to give up looking for an answer is an important skill to be learnt. There may be arguments within a team as to whether the team should give up or continue looking, so it is sometimes a good idea to appoint a team leader to make this decision.

M is for Management, in particular, of time. As each team only has a prescribed time to complete the Hunt, it is important that the team has an overview of the entire journey. Too much time spent trying to find answers at the start of the Hunt may end up with the team having very little time to get the answers at the closing stages of the Hunt.

N is for Noting down. Sometimes, no matter how hard the team tries, it may not be able to pin down the answer to a question. In such cases, it may be a good idea for the team to just jot down whatever they can see for consideration in sectors where there are no questions.

O is for Observation. Apart from understanding the questions, this is the other most important skill that team members must have. Look everywhere - answers need not necessary be on major signboards - and keep looking - there could be "red-herrings". It is a good policy to read out what you see - your team-mate who has not seen it may suddenly tell you that is the answer!

P is for Punctuality. Being punctual when you check in at the start of the Hunt means that you will not miss any last minute instructions that the Clerk-of-the-Course may provide. In addition, late-comers are likely to be flustered and not in a proper frame of mind to tackle the Hunt.

Q is for Questions. Read each question carefully, each word can be a possible clue. Look at the question from various angles and try to identify the key words. If you cannot get a grip on the question, looking for the answer will be much tougher.

R is for Resourcefulness. Help can be found in the most unlikely places. Sometimes the coffee-shopkeeper may be able to give you valuable information or the "budak" in the "kampung" may be able to tell you where to pick up a flower for a treasure. Don't be afraid to ask, but remember that collaboration between teams is a definite no-no.

S is for Safety. By far the most important rule in any Hunt. You are on public roads so ensure that you comply with traffic rules. Drivers should concentrate on driving and make it a point to draw to the side of the road when driving slowly and looking for answers.

T is for Tulips and also for Treasure. Tulips are navigational aids and when the Hunt flags off, each team will be given pages of tulips which will indicate the route to be taken. They should be held by the Navigator in the team who will read them and give the instructions to the Driver. Instructions as how to read tulips is usually given at the Briefing, and for efficient navigation, Driver and Navigator should devise a system of "call signs", e.g. "check right", if the tulip is side road on the right. A treasure is an item of items - read the riddle carefully to ensure that the right item is identified - and ensure that it is obtained and delivered in order to score points.

U is for Utensils. The basic tools you need for a Hunt, besides your eyesight and your brain, is surely pen, paper and clipboard, preferably one for for each member of the team, apart from the Driver. However, you may find it useful to bring a stapler, liquid paper, etc. along.

V is for Vehicle. The onus is on each team to ensure that the vehicle they travel in is a road-worthy condition, with valid license and road tax. Having a breakdown in the middle of the hunt results in valuable time being lost and in all likelihood, the team being unsettled.

W is for Wordplay. Many questions are nothing more than the Clerk-of-the-Course fooling around with words to try to trick you. It could be in the form of an anagram, removal or insertion of letters, etc. Identifying the key words in the question, try juggling the words yourself and you may yet figure out the answer!

X is for Xerox. In some Hunts only one set of questions is given to each team. As having to share this among team members can be disconcerting. Making photocopies can solve this problem.

Y is for Yawning. Be assured that you will see this happening in your car, as most treasure hunts starts quite early in the morning and can be both physically and mentally taxing. Go to bed early on the night before the Hunt.

Z is for Zero-trip. Remember what was said about the tulips not showing every junction, side-road, etc. in a sector and the importance of keeping track of the distance? The means of doing so is for the Driver to keep tripping "zero" as he reaches each tulip. When distance and tulip matches, you will know that you are on the right track.