Here's a recap of everything! :)
Below was our guide, Mr. Agustar, a very friendly, supportive & heartwarming guy...
Before the race started, we were all gathered in the Singapore Tourism Board office for a technical briefing...in total, there was 25 teams participating, some from Malaysia, India, Dubai, UK, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and of course Singapore and us Indonesia.
I actually misunderstood the mechanism of the race earlier (tee-hee), therefore my explanation here was incorrect. We were not given a list of items to buy, but instead given $1,000 to spend on any items that will allow us to achieve the greatest savings possible (savings = real price - after discount price). Having this, our goal was to locate stores that were having major discounts. And by major, we mean more than 90% discounts! Besides shopping, there were also some tasks we had to complete, such as the memory challenge and cake decorating.
And look! We arrived 1st at the finishing point! Hahah!
The race was won by the UK team (a woman named Amanda who was in this UK team, was also the winner of last year's race), followed by the Vietnamese, then us.
Now here comes the interesting part. We were very surprised during the announcement, as 1) they declared our amount of savings less than what we have expected and calculated earlier, and the fact that 2) the winning team achieved total savings that was practically and mathematically impossible given that we knew exactly where and how much they shopped. We directly raised this issue to the committee, and ended up arguing from 8:30 pm till 12 midnight. Since our debate went up till late, we had to continue the next day.
It was actually a very simple issue to resolve. A very, very simple issue but made complicated. I do not wish to lay out the exact problem here, so all I can tell is that whatever we or the UK team had to say, can simply be verified by the shopkeeper on who was telling the truth.
On the next day, we all reconvened in hopes of wrapping up all unsettled issues & hard feelings we still had from last night...but it turned out pointless. The meeting was opened by a representative of the committee, then continued by Amanda from the UK team who literally delivered a speech she had already prepared and written on a notebook prior the meet up. As her hands were trembling the whole time she read out her speech, she verified that she and her partner had no intention of cheating whatsoever, and denied all of our accusations stating that they did not hear anything we thought they should have heard from the shopkeeper. Therefore, if there was anyone to blame, it would be the shop itself who had made mistakes in the calculation, and the UK team had won out of luck having the advantage of the shop's mistake.
Our point was clear, that all we wanted was for the shopkeeper to clarify this issue as she was the sole key witness that knew everything that has happened inside the shop during the whole time of race. That simple, that easy. Funnily both the UK team and the committee refused to invite the shopkeeper into our meeting, with the reason that "the shopkeeper is not trustable".
I guess Hanzky and I did not see any point in having the meeting after all, so we decided to end it and thanked, apologized to and congratulated everyone there. As soon as we turned around and walked away, we both cried. Sigh. I love you, Hanzky. Sorry for not being able to fight more.
And let's just forget about the other issue we raised but was not followed up seriously by the committee: our savings calculation that was not accurate.
But again, it was a great and memorable experience, and I thank Singapore Tourism Board for inviting us to take part in the race. We won 3rd place! :)
Thank you for all the support, guys! XOXO
PS1: It's a sad thing that I totally lost interest in shopping there though heavy discounts were all around, and these were all I got during my 3 days there...;p
PS2: There's no such word as "trustable".
*All photos during the race courtesy of Hanzky and her hubby :)