In brief...

I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
My interests vary from conservation to education to heritage to Nature (biodiversity & wildlife) to outdoor activities to life in general.
They occupy most of my waking moment.
Do read my blogs, follow me on Twitter (@jocelynesze) and friend me on Facebook (subject to my discretion). Visit my Nature blog, Nature Rambles, at http://natureramble.wordpress.com.

UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit jocelynesze.wordpress.com if you're interested in more recent writing.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

this is bad, 10 days before A levels, and i'm watching more tv than i ever had the past 6 years of my life.

watching stuff on conservation in madagascar, human trafficking in cambodia (which is most heart-rending and upsetting), and on threats to the ocean. and also Mythbusters (which is totally cool and i wonder how the hell they get jobs like that. though it is very destructive yes) and Top Gear (only because my brothers like it. though i do agree that the host is very witty and entertaining).

and i just fool myself into thinking that it's for gp. but it's a lie, haha i know i wont be able to remember anything enough to write them into my essay.

brothers are annoying because they choose the channel, usually happening to be something about borneo or madagascar or something on nature, and then they leave it on and do something else. like read their book or the newspaper. and i'm left sitting in front of the tv, watching it. when i'm supposed to be studying nooo.

i'm amazed by the number of similar shows there are out there. like Hooked, Monster Fish, River Monsters. all on fishing scary fish with sharp teeth or something along those lines. or Man Vs Wild, Survivorman, Man, Woman, Wild (or sth like that), Dual Survival. all on some human trying to survive in the wild, just with different variations (like bringing along a wife, or going with someone else who's totally different in approach and value system). and i'm sure there are a lot more out there, of which i'm unaware.



and i alternate between being very excited about a levels (it's a crime to feel that, i know) and being worried about it (esp gp!!! and econs. and bio chem math.) i just want all of it to be over!! i think it'll be hard for me to go back to the pre-prelims level of muggerness already. and i highly doubt i'll go on a hiatus, though everyone else is. kay i need more self control.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

spent almost the entire day at the Outdoor Education Conference at SOTA today.

i think really, i'm quite blessed and fortunate to have been able to participate in quite a few conferences/conventions/seminars over the past few years, whether as participant or faciliatator or some sort of speaker, whether it's on leadership or peer support or service learning or the environment or outdoor education. and for all this, i really must credit my school for the opportunities and teachers.

and maybe some might think it's a waste of time or really not worth it, that 12 days before THE A levels, we're still not spending our every breathing moment mugging. not that i'm fully prepared for As; i am quite scared for what may come, with everyone studying as hard as they are, afraid that i may screw up and forget something that i totally should have known. but still, OEC was a good experience (as always).

it's all quite inter-related. outdoor education, biodiversity, climbing, adventure and outdoor activities, experiential learning, nature, the environment. and getting to meet people in these fields, talking to them, it just reinforces the fact that there is more to life than all that we're doing now, or what most people are doing their entire lives.

it's quite interesting how people are impressed with what youths are doing/can do. how they are inspired by what we have done. because honestly i didnt expect such an overwhelmingly positive response. the book that we authored and published, i didnt think too much of it. i thought that perhaps it would just be left to languish on bookshelves of libraries, its ripped and torn pages handled by careless kids who read the book, but cant care less about the message behind it. and that it would soon be forgotten. or maybe it will be; it's too soon to say.
and people seem more interested by projects done by youths, more willing to listen. in any case, the affirmation is heartwarming. but i dont suppose anything could really diminish the importance of A levels.

i really dont know what i can do in the future, without getting good grades for As. i am not particularly eloquent or a good advocate, able to give a convincing speech about what i believe in, and i dont have much literary skills, nor artistic or photography skills. not to say that i think i'm untalented; God gave everyone a talent. i think i'm good at doing saigang(:


and i really dont know what i will do in the future. academia, or shaping the minds' of future generations, or outreach. i dont suppose they must totally be mutually exclusive. but well, i really dont know.

ah wells. better study hard first. just 12 days more.



no point stressing over things which we have no control over. study hard and hope for the best.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

just re-read Tuesdays with Morrie.
the times we live in today are so conflicted.

we say, the people today are increasingly narcissistic, self-absorbed, spoilt, uncaring, apathetic about world affairs. consumeristic, chasing material wealth and status and all that glitz.

yet fundamentally, even though cultures change and societies have evolved over time, we are still the same people. humans, who crave love and emotional comfort. perhaps we replaced emotions with materials. but fundamentally, we've remained the same. and to say that today's generation is uncaring and unfeeling would be an over-generalisation, cos there are still so many instances of inspiring people who live life the way i'd like to live.

why else would books like Tuesday with Morrie touch so many lives and be international book sell outs? or The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch have such a great impact on people worldwide who viewed that lecture millions of times on Youtube?


or maybe the people of today are divided into two camps. one who believe that life is more about living without regrets in a spiritual, emotional way, the other who believe that success is defined by the amount of material wealth you have, and chase that dream meaninglessly. or perhaps, the divide was always in existence, just that with the proliferation of the Internet and all other social factors, it's only now that we realise it.

i'd like to think that i belong to the first group. that i seek to live my life meaningfully by the relationships i have, the things i do, the values i believe in. that success is more about making the world better, than about earning more money. that happiness comes in little things that people say to each other, in seeing Nature's beauty unfold before your eyes.

to not be caught up in worldly affairs, scandals and gossips of people who dont know that you exist and who wouldnt really care if you died. to be aware of what's going on around the world - wars waged by people who lack understanding and mutual respect, the living conditions of those who are neglected and exploited for the satisfaction of wants of the rich, the habitat and biodiversity lost due to short-sighted and mindless ravaging by humans - i do not belittle the importance of international news. but yet i find so many things of this world unnecessary, whole industries created based on human wants. economically speaking it makes sense, yet i think somehow, most of these things are what destroys us spiritually speaking.

i dont know if i make sense; i am probably nowhere qualified to say such stuff, not when i'm only 18, yet to experience the "real world", not when i barely know what i'm talking about, not when i, for all my talk, still enjoy material comforts and have a relatively high carbon footprint.


i think the scary things is when people remain unaffected by people like Morrie Schwartz and Randy Pausch. over and over again, the same ideas are repeated, by people who are dying and people who have lived life to the fullest and die with little regret. they're all about loving others, not focusing so much on material wants, leading a happy, satisfied and contented life, and dying with the only regret being not being able to be with their children anymore. yet despite these reminders, the fact still remains that many of us, after jc and university, are probably gonna end up living life the way we probably did not want when we were younger, minds constantly filled with work and money used to purchase material goods that we do not need, our children ending up with no childhood, only endless tuitions and assessment books and worse, not knowing anything about Nature and what the natural world does for us.

or perhaps, because more people are owning cable tv and subscribing to channels that inform us of the greater world out there (and not of drama stories about non-existent people living wholly unrealistic lives), people will gain greater awareness of what life has to offer us, and live life more meaningfully.


if we can even stay on earth for that long. i dont believe that the world will end in 2012, but i wouldnt be surprised if it did. i saw an article in some old issue of nat geo, on how the earth would be like after humans. i think it's an article on the book written by Alan Weisman a few years ago, titled The World Without Us. it's quite an interesting read, the article, and an excerpt i read from the book. the thought that plastics would survive us millions of years after the extinction of the human race, and how plastics are going to enter our food chain. it just makes me wonder, what on earth were those scientists thinking about when they created all those synthetic materials. no surprises that they probably didnt think about what would happen in the long run, as myopic as humans are, and in any case, we probably hail them as some kind of god for creating plastics. can you imagine a life without plastic?



on a completely unrelated note, i lament my lack of writing skills. hai. gp is doomed. so hard to find words to phrase my thoughts succinctly. gonna need to work so hard to just try to get that A for gp, and the possibility of not getting it is just so high.




Pictures Of You - The Last Goodnight

This is the clock upon the wall
This is the story of us all
This is the first sound of a newborn child,
Before he starts to crawl
This is the war that's never won
This is a soldier and his gun
This is the mother waiting by the phone,
Praying for her son


Pictures of you, pictures of me
Hung upon your wall for the world to see
Pictures of you, pictures of me
Remind us all of what we used to be

There is a drug that cures it all
Blocked by the governmental wall
We are the scientists inside the lab,
Just waiting for the call
This earthquake weather has got me shaking inside
I'm high up and dry


Pictures of you, pictures of me
Hung upon your wall for the world to see
Pictures of you, pictures of me
Remind us all of what we used to be

Confess to me, every secret moment
Every stolen promise you believed
Confess to me, all that lies between us
All that lies between you and me

We are the boxers in the ring
We are the bells that never sing
There is a title we can't win no matter
How hard we might swing


Pictures of you, pictures of me
Hung upon your wall for the world to see
Pictures of you, pictures of me
Remind us all of what we could have been
Pictures of you, pictures of me
Hung upon your wall for the world to see
Pictures of you, pictures of me
Remind us all of what we could have been

Friday, October 15, 2010

farewell assembly was today. half felt like ponning, but glad i didnt, and in any case i wouldnt have. i have never ponned school.

so we've "officially" graduated from this school, from this community. and though we've just been in rj (or technically ri) for 2 years, we've been in raffles for 6 years. and really, though there are times when i dont say hi, seeing familiar faces around school have been quite reassuring and comforting. probably something i've been taking for granted these few years. though there is something nice about going to places and feeling completely anonymous and invisible.


award presentation was. not completely boring. watching familiar faces go up on stage to receive awards, multiple awards at times. there's that sense of pride that there are others, friends who managed to achieve so much in the same few years. and i just wonder what will happen from henceforth.
and like what the goh said today (i think he made a really nice speech though haha i think he was quite nervous. justifiably so.) awards really arent what you remember when you look back 5, 10 years down the road. i cant remember much else about what he said, just remembered him naming a lot of his batchmates and what they were doing at the moment. but well, about not fitting into stereotypes. i dont know. i think i know what i want, and i hope i'll be able to achieve what i want, without going an extraordinarily long way. and i hope that 10 years down the road, i'll be able to look back and reflect on my life and know that i've had some accomplishments. that i've achieved success. or perhaps, 10 years is too early to tell.



anyway, halfway after getting bored of studying, i decided to take a walk around school. all those feelings of nostalgia started coming in. revisiting memories, things that took place at certain locations in the school, shared experiences and almost-forgotten memories.


graduating from rj, it's really bitter sweet (to borrow the words of someone). in part, i cant wait to leave. the education system, the endless mugging and stressful environment (when everyone around you is carrying prelim papers and being so focused), and well, there are some things that i could do without. but there's also a slight reluctance. but i believe... that next year i'd be happier, i'd have more fun and a more interesting life. and that's gonna keep me going(:




but i think what's most important, is to leave with no regrets. i tread quite a different path in rj, from what i did in rg. took a chance, between what was familiar and what wasn't. i look at my friends, and i think, i could have gone down that path. it would have been very different. but i really dont regret my life in rj. i think i did the best i could in most of what i was in, and i tried to enjoy as much of rj as possible. i whined and complained and moaned, but i was also retarded and hyper and random. maybe less so than in rg, but i think well. the whole raffles experience has been quite awesome, for me at least. maybe some would think i'm super pc and whatever, but that's just the way i am.




i wish i decided to repair my specs today instead of yesterday. hai. i didnt even manage to watch the farewell videos properly.




perhaps one thing that i regret, is that. things could have turned out better. i see what others have, and i wonder why i do not have it as well? or perhaps, i've been the one excluding myself all along. maybe i could have done more; maybe i couldn't. in any case, it's too late to do anything about it anymore. towards the end, i think i tried my best.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the start of the dreaded exams creeps closer. i guess now is the most crucial time. just a few weeks more, then it'll start and there's nothing we can do about it. i believe in God's will, that if He wants me to get As, i will (and naturally i believe that He wants me to do well), so it's kinda like whatever happens in the next two months, it's already "fixed". in a sense. not that i'll stop studying, but well it's kinda reassuring. to study as much as i can and just leave it in His hands.

now's the time we try to perfect our skills and content knowledge, or try to reach a satisfactory standard. and i guess we're all stressed. i dont think i'm consciously stressed, but maybe subconsciously. if that makes sense.

anyway to everyone who's been tolerating my nonsense, thanks (: this period of life is gonna be over soon and well, whatever that lies ahead is gonna be more fun and interesting! i hope.



The Riddle - Five for Fighting
There was a man back in '95
Whose heart ran out of summers
But before he died, I asked him

Wait, what's the sense in life
Come over me, Come over me

He said,

Son why you got to sing that tune
Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon
Let an angel swing and make you swoon
Then you will see... You will see

Then he said,

Here's a riddle for you
Find the Answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I...

Picked up my kid from school today

Did you learn anything cause in the world today
You can't live in a castle far away
Now talk to me, come talk to me

He said,

Dad I'm big but we're smaller than small
In the scheme of things, well we're nothing at all
Still every mother's child sings a lonely song
So play with me, come play with me

And Hey Dad
Here's a riddle for you
Find the Answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I...

I said,

Son for all I've told you
When you get right down to the
Reason for the world...
Who am I?

There are secrets that we still have left to find
There have been mysteries from the beginning of time
There are answers we're not wise enough to see

He said... You looking for a clue I Love You free...

The batter swings and the summer flies
As I look into my angel's eyes
A song plays on while the moon is hiding over me
Something comes over me

I guess we're big and I guess we're small
If you think about it man you know we got it all
Cause we're all we got on this bouncing ball
And I love you free
I love you freely

Here's a riddle for you
Find the Answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I...




brief spells of brainlessness have been hitting me again. my bro stole my brain and refuses to return it to me.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

i'm glad SAT II is over, after haunting me for the past two weeks. i actually dreamt of it last night. dreamt i was late for the exam. but anyways, i'm glad it wasnt prelims, else i'd be utterly demoralised.



havent really been studying much and i'm feeling quite guilty about it, but the inertia has half settled in and i'm really finding it so much harder to study now. to start studying again.
especially since i think i studied hard for prelims, yet still didnt manage to do as well as i expected due to carelessness and brainlessness. it makes me wonder if there's really any point in studying harder. ah wells. just the last 30 days or so, better not waste the hard work of the last two (ten actually) years of my life.




school has kinda ended. in any case not gonna have classes like tutorials anymore. i dont know, usually when it's farewell of some sort, it's usually pretty sad and you wonder if you'll see each other ever again. but maybe because it's near the As/SATs and everyone is busy studying and in any case, you'll still stay in touch with people whom you're close to, i guess. last day of school doesn't seem like a big deal.

but i keep wondering, if we'll keep in touch. if facebook and msn will help us keep in touch. if we'll still be talking, or still be good friends. i wonder what we'll be like 5, 10 years down the road. or perhaps just 1 year on. which unis we'll be going to. what career. then getting married. then having kids. or maybe not.
if we'll ever fulfill our dreams. if we'll lead exciting, interesting, fulfilling lives. if we'll make a difference in other peoples' lives. positive differences. if we'll ever be successful.



or maybe, i should stop wondering, and start studying.




i think i am very fortunate to have a very awesome family. and especially retarded younger brother. i suspect there is an allele that codes for retardedness. and another that codes for sanity. and they're incompletely dominant. and while my parents and my older bro and i are heterozygous, my younger bro has both retarded alleles. but he makes my day(: usually.


Friday, October 01, 2010

prelims have been bad, sad and disappointing so far. made way too many careless mistakes, and everyone says it's okay cos you know you wont make those mistakes again during As. but that's not very reassuring, to me at least. if i can make them during prelims, why not during As?

but wells, in any case i'm thankful they arent any worse. and i'm sure God has His plans for me. should trust in Him and just do my best. maybe there's a higher reason why i got the (disappointing) grades i got.


like maybe i'm meant to do outdoor ed in australia instead of conservation bio in uk/us/somewhere. or maybe i'm supposed to take a gap year instead of applying this year. or maybe it's just to keep me on my toes and not get complacent so i will really get my As for As.



now is a very sad period. cos it's just studying day in day out. it's very horrible, because when i study in the day, i dream of studying (some subject) at night. and when i dont study in the day, i cant sleep at night.



i think actually maybe i need to study less. and go out and play a bit more. might just help. cos i was never this careless/brainless before. might be a side effect from all that studying. as ironic as it sounds.


but i think, in rj, people judge by grades. somewhat. ah wells i should stop moaning about grades right. not when other people in the world have much more pressing things to think about.




i shall think about happier times. like during the two-day break. a very smart someone called si hui was happily mixing the salad (the ready made kind you get from cold storage, where all you do is pour in the sauces and shake the bag), and she tipped it upside down so the vege stuck to the bottom can mix as well, when everything just poured out. and we were having a picnic at dairy farm, so it provided much entertainment(:



i like hanging upside down from a tree branch. or any bar.



oh and my pet caterpillar hatched while i was not at home >:( okay that's not technically correct but yes. the lime butterfly emerged and flew away while i was eating lunch at manna cafe. hai.




Same Mistake - James Blunt
Saw the world turning in my sheets and once again I cannot sleep.
Walk out the door and up the street; look at the stars beneath my feet.
Remember rights that I did wrong, so here I go.

Hello, hello. There is no place I cannot go.
My mind is muddy but my heart is heavy. Does it show?
I lose the track that loses me, so here I go.

And so I sent some men to fight, and one came back at dead of night.
Said he'd seen my enemy. Said he looked just like me,
So I set out to cut myself and here I go.

I'm not calling for a second chance,
I'm screaming at the top of my voice.
Give me reason but don't give me choice.
'Cause I'll just make the same mistake again.

And maybe someday we will meet, and maybe talk and not just speak.
Don't buy the promises 'cause, there are no promises I keep.
And my reflection troubles me, so here I go.

I'm not calling for a second chance,
I'm screaming at the top of my voice.
Give me reason but don't give me choice.
'Cause I'll just make the same mistake,
I'm not calling for a second chance,
I'm screaming at the top of my voice.
Give me reason but don't give me choice.
'Cause I'll just make the same mistake again.

Saw the world turning in my sheets and once again I cannot sleep.
Walk out the door and up the street; look at the stars.
Look at the stars fall down.
And wonder where did I go wrong.





yeah i'd really rather wish they dont give me a choice (of econs essay questions to do) cos i might just make the same mistake again. and then wonder where did i go wrong (cos we wont get them back the next time).