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

UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit if you're interested in more recent writing.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

(yet another) reflection of 2011

So it's almost the end of 2011. It's been an amazing year for me. Thank God for my parents, who are liberal enough to let me take a gap year. Thank God for my friends, who made this year an amazing one. Thank God for everything He gave me this year, I am truly blessed.

I've been to 6 different countries, 11 different places. Tokyo, Bangkok, Wiang Kaen, Tioman, Batam, Kathmandu, Khumbu region, London, Cambridge, Hanoi, Sapa region.
I've learned to DIVE.
I've (attempted to) climb a mountain in the Himalayas, Island Peak.
I've worked with animals, both alive and dead (in alcohol) in the Singapore Zoo and the Raffles Museum.
I've helped build a house in Batam.
I moved house.
I started my nature blog.
I started my driving lessons.
And most importantly, I've managed to keep my friends, the ones that matter.

And throughout the year, I think I've gained much. I learned how to interact in a work environment, to grow up. Not that I was immature before, but less hesitant and shy I guess. I have a better idea of what the real world is like, and how many things aren't the way it should be.

I now have a better idea of what I want, and what I don't want, to do in the future.

I have much to be thankful for, especially in the upcoming year. 9 more months of relative "freedom", before studies re-commence. And in this 9 months, I want to do things that I've always wanted to do, and try things I never thought I would do.

My resolution in 2012, is to clear the checklist of things I want to do in my gap year.

This Christmas, I haven't had many presents, in fact probably only 2. But it's the most awesome present ever.

Bubbles, are some of the most beautiful things ever. Something about bubbles bring joy and delight. Remember the times when you were young, and you went to the park to blow bubbles. And all the little kids would gather round, giggling, chasing bubbles.

They are simply mesmerizing. Maybe because a bubble is a perfect sphere, maybe because of its iridescent sheen, maybe because of its transient and insubstantial nature. Maybe because it light, maybe because it is transparent, maybe because it represents a freedom that we cannot attain.

I shall count down to the new year blowing bubbles. Because bubbles bring joy everywhere :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

no matter how much i feel like simply curling under my blankets and sleeping right when i reach home, i never do. somehow, there are just things to do. or perhaps i just think i have many things to do. or like the illusion of it.

in any case, i am feeling pretty accomplished at the moment despite the late hour and my exhaustion and the prospect of work tomorrow. just made some concrete moves towards my plan for 2012.

the last 9 months of my gap "year" (technically it's 21 months). i need to make full use of it. there are many things that i want to do in my gap year that i have yet to fulfill. my last chance. ideas and suggestions are swimming around in my head, like planktonic larvae drifting in the ocean, waiting for some firm substrate to latch upon.

i'd like to reflect upon the year of 2011 right now, in fact my reflections for the year are also swimming around my head. but i guess i will have to deal with it over the next two days, because i really need to sleep right now.

somehow, reflections for 2011 aren't exactly at the top of my mind though i do feel their presence. i'm definitely more preoccupied with what happens AFTER the new year. immediately after, to be exact.

for those not in the know, i am going off to HK for my final scholarship interview. and then right after that i will get the results of university application. and within a week, i will know the scholarship application results. everything hinges on the first two weeks of jan. when i will be, incidentally, away in Bali on holiday.

on a completely unrelated note, when i was young(er), i always thought it would be cool to be a secret agent. still do in fact, but i know it's not for me. i just watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol with my parents who randomly had some free tickets. from reading all those novels involving (ex) secret agents and all those movies, it's the coolest job ever i think. gotta be super fit and sharp. i sometimes wonder if all those stuff we read/watch are just fiction or really what's happening.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reminder about Life #5

Hold On Tightly
by: Unknown Author

Hold on tightly to what is truly important in life. 

Hold on to faith; it is the source of believing that all things are possible. It is fiber and strength of a confident soul. 

Hold on to hope; it banishes doubt and enables attitudes to be positive and cheerful. 

Hold on to trust; it is at the core of fruitful relationships that are secure and content. 

Hold on to love; it is life's greatest gift of all, for it shares, cares, and gives meaning to life. 

Hold on to family and friends; they are the most important people in your life, and they make the world a better place. They are your roots and the beginnings that you grew from; they are the vine that has grown through time to nourish you, help you on your way, and always remain close by.

Hold on to all that you are and all that you have learned, for these things are what make you unique. Don't ignore what you feel and what you believe is right and important; your heart has a way of speaking louder than your mind.

Hold on to your dreams; achieve them diligently and honestly. Never take the easy way or surrender to deceit. Remember others on your way and take time to care for their needs. Enjoy the beauty around you. Have the courage to see things differently and clearly. 

Make the world a better place one day at a time, and don't let go of the important things that give meaning to your life.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's 15 minutes to Christmas! And I'm sitting all alone at home watching The King's Speech and having an online presence.

Had a great Christmas Eve, waking up late, going for breakfast at Chin Bee Chin Confectionary (along East Coast Road, it's really awesome),  grocery shopping, then baking banana bread/apple crumble, doing household chores, great dinner with family and then stoning at home (:

No Christmas trees or presents this year, and Christmas shopping is non-existent, but I feel just as contented.

Christmas is made out to be a joyous occasion, not because of presents, but because of Christ's coming to us, born to us on this day (: 

So I'm contented enough that God has blessed me with so much this year, and am able to have a nice dinner with my family sans older brother. 

Merry Christmas to everyone, and God bless! Be glad that God sent His only son to us, rejoice in His birth! :D

Babies are all cute
A nephew of my guide in Sapa.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reminder about Life #4

Climb 'Til Your Dream Comes True

by: Helen Steiner Rice

Often your tasks will be many, 
And more than you think you can do. 
Often the road will be rugged
And the hills insurmountable, too. 
But always remember, 
The hills ahead
Are never as steep as they seem, 
And with Faith in your heart
Start upward
And climb 'til you reach your dream. 
For nothing in life that is worthy
Is ever too hard to achieve
If you have the courage to try it, 
And you have the faith to believe. 
For faith is a force that is greater
Than knowledge or power or skill, 
And many defeats turn to triumph
If you trust in God's wisdom and will. 
For faith is a mover of mountains, 
There's nothing that God cannot do, 
So, start out today with faith in your heart, 
And climb 'til your dream comes true!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

feels like a lifetime since I last blogged. something proper.

So the interviews are over, and now it's just a waiting game. They weren't too bad I guess, I've definitely had worse interviews before. But could have been much better. If I had still remembered what I learned in A level Chemistry :/ which I didn't bother reviewing cos I didn't know I would be asked about Chem! Nonetheless, it's all over, and all I can do now is just wait for the results to be out. Getting in would be a real relief. Otherwise, I would have to crack my head and decide between Sheffield and York.

It's rather late now and I gotta wake up early tomorrow, so not gonna say more, but just a few things I've read recently that are rather interesting:
Why I Stood Up and Spoke Out by Abigail Borah from Middlebury College
Limpeh is Foreign Talent

I totally don't feel the (commercial) Christmas vibe at all. I guess it's something that you lose once your relatives decide that you're too old for presents. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ and sharing the love (: (though I don't think I'm doing much of that either :/ getting very self-centred, oh dear ><)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reminder about Life #3

The Road Not Taken

by: Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, 
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 
Then took the other, just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim, 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for that passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black. 
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads to way, 
I doubted if I should ever come back. 
Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Reminder about Life #2


by: Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much; 
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; 
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; 
To appreciate beauty, 
To find the best in others, 
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, 
A garden patch or a redeemed social condition; 
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. 
This is to have succeeded.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Greetings from Cambridge!

In Cambridge for 3 days for my university interview. 2 interviews, to be exact. And they're academic interviews, meaning I need to remember all my A level stuff, plus all the others that I am supposedly interested in! Ahh :/

I keep hearing "aiya you'll be able to get it one lah", but honestly, it's damn hard. Everyone who applies probably have the same creds as me. It's not as easy to differentiate myself from the rest of the crowd, as compared to when in singapore. Haiz ah wells, still gotta try my best. And pray really hard!

The city itself is really pretty though! All the old buildings and architecture, the river and the blue skies. Mostly spent the day walking around, familiarising with the streets and buildings. Went to the Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs for mass. One of those old cathedrals, with glass-stained windows and the typical cross-shaped layout. And the choir includes a clarinet, violin, guitar players! Also spent more than an hour in a bookstore. It's awesome, it's like heaven for bookphilics! It spans 4 floors, and has a diverse range of topics. Reminds me greatly of Borders, which very sadly closed down :( But in any case I spent close to 100pds in that bookstore. I'll probably go London and get more books still.

It's rather cold here (though no where as near as up in the mountain in Nepal), and I suspect if I really do have the fortune of coming here next year, I'll get fat. Chocolate bars are only 50pc!

On a random note, I think my body acclimatises to different time zones pretty well. I'm not feeling jet-lagged, while my dad has already crashed.

Got a day more to prepare for the Slaughter! Though from what I've read so far, it's really not supposed to be scary.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reminders about life #1

Don't Quit

by: Unknown Author

When things go wrong as they sometimes will, 
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill, 
When funds are low and the debts are high, 
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh. 
When care is pressing you down a bit. 
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit. 
Life is queer with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns. 
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out: 
Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow. 
Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt. 
And you never can tell how close you are. 
It may be near when it seems so far: 
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

I think I shall post a Reminder About Life weekly. Cos we all need reminders. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance 
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'
Don't let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance 
I hope you dance
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance 
I hope you dance
(Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder, where those years have gone?)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance 
I hope you dance
(Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder, where those years have gone?)

Personally, I don't dance. But this is one of those songs that you never tire of hearing. Always a reminder of how we should be living life. Speaks to everyone, not just dancers.

I hope you live life to the fullest, with no regrets.
i can feel the stress. it's appearing all over my face :/

going to uk next week for my uni interview, praying really hard that it will go well! and hopefully there'll be more good news sometime this week..
studying/prepping for interview is not easy.

and i finally processed the film from Nepal trip! got the negatives now. turns out my older bro has a film scanner (Canoscan 8800F) that he conveniently (for me) left behind in Sg that i can use! only i need to figure how to use it first. it's not cooperating with me.

then i'll be able to get digital photos :D

finally went to my (paternal) grandma's house for lunch today, after more than a month. she lives in Hougang, in a wooden house on stilts (okay they're not as skinny as stilts. more like short pillars?), has a working well, and all sorts of other cool things that one can rarely find in Singapore anymore. i really think her house ought to be converted into a museum and opened up for visitors.
but meanwhile, what i really want to do, is to jot down her stories and memories and essentially write down a piece of my family history. been wanting to do that since As ended, i think, but procrastination got the better of me (as always), and i told myself i would do it after the Nepal trip. which is now.

i want to record down stories from the past, family traditions and the house. i think it's all part of our heritage, and i feel the need to share it, especially when most youths like me dont know such things. and i guess this is my gap year project.

it's all rather sketchy, still swimming in bits in my head at the moment. more procrastination perhaps, but i dont think i can progress much on this end with uni interviews still hanging over my head.

just a quick preview of what i'm probably gonna delve deeper into
something my grandma adds into her fried rice. it's a pretty long process. but not sure how long this "secret family ingredient" dates back to. at least 4 generations now, but well, for more info i'll definitely need to ask my grandma/granduncle. i wonder what other traditions there are that i know not of.

and some photos of what my grandma house looks like will be up once i process my last roll of film and figure how to scan it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

the period for interviews is here! again.

i still have a lot of work to do in perfecting my interview skills. especially when it involves talking about myself. it's so hard to talk about your positive points!

though i already went through one round of interviews earlier in the year, i dont think i have "mastered" interviews.


it's especially unnerving when a lot hinges upon the interview. those interviews for psb/what not we had in sec sch? nothing compared to university/scholarship interviews.

freaking out.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Volunteerism in Singapore

i was in the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre at Central on Thursday. as i sat there listening to the discussion, it made me think about volunteerism in singapore.

am i the only one who finds it strange that people need to go to a Centre to find causes to volunteer with? perhaps it's just something that never occurred to me, that you could go somewhere, like an all-in-one buffet, and volunteer at a whole host of activities. the end objective is to help these people find a cause that they will commit to, and leave the Centre. kind of like a holding area.

maybe these people just havent found their passion in life, or they dont know where are the places they can go to volunteer. but i think it makes it too easy to volunteer. everything is served up on a silver platter and all you need to do is put your name down.

having to go out there, search for a cause you believe in, and then volunteer with them, i think that's more preferable. at least it shows some sort of commitment and dedication, that you bothered to go find and put your name down. perhaps a kind of filter, a natural barrier.

nonetheless, it's good that people want to volunteer.

shift in mindset
i dont remember who i was talking to, but i recall having a conversation about how singaporeans have changed. in the 1990s (or perhaps before that), everything seemed to be about the 5Cs. Cash, Condo, Credit, Car and Club. maybe that has something to do with population demographics and the profile of the working class back then. and how their experiences shaped their expectations of life. a rather materialistic society.

 yet now, while economic, housing and transport issues still feature, there is also a greater awareness about nature and the environment, volunteerism and charity. perhaps the more humane side of singaporeans are developing. after all, it's only after you have secured your next meal that you start thinking about what to do with your free time.

and all this is great (: i guess that's how the Chek Jawa issue really stunned the government and Singaporeans as well.

digging through messy archives
was clearing Siva's office desk on Thursday after the NVPC visit, and we un-earthed a lot of archaeological finds. it made me realise that all that we see now, was the product of many many years of hardwork. there was research done on biodiversity in singapore manyyy years ago. i dont know if there were more research done in the past than at present, but you know, most people dont even think you can work in this field in singapore! then again, most people dont know what biodiversity we have in singapore, nor our natural history.

but i think it's only in recent years that outreach and education picked up. maybe from the time Chek Jawa was discovered and subsequently rescued. and the scientists/naturalists/conservationists realised that hey, singaporeans actually care about our biodiversity and want to know more. and then when data supporting this was presented to the government, reclamation of Chek Jawa was deferred, surprising all, cos i guess no one really expected that the govt would put aside development for something like Chek Jawa. apparently at that time, the climate was really different, and people were afraid to speak up against the govt.

in any case, looking at historical artefacts really put things into perspective. makes you feel so little and insignificant. and i realise the importance of dating my books! so that when i grow old and look through my books, i'll be able to recollect and reminisce.

Friday, November 18, 2011

the familiar feeling of having too many things to do and not enough time!!

wish we could live without sleep, but unfortunately my body requires min. 6 hours of sleep every night to be fully functional, and i've been depriving it lately.

i need to be way more efficient.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

photo snapshots of the trek!

2 bag packs to check-in, 1 bag pack for essentials on flight and 1 camera bag (on the other side). after passing through the customs, started feeling queer and promptly got a fever on the flight to Bangkok.

trying on plastic boots and cramp-ons at Kathmandu!

our airplane to Lukla

the entire width is probably the span of my arms.

fell asleep before take-off. halfway through the flight i woke up, feeling queasy.

touch down at Lukla, and apparently all those guys are porters waiting for jobs! 

and we started our trek (after i puked a bit)!

lunch: dal baht, which i do not fancy at all.

lunch point, where i first diarrhea-ed

after a night of diarrhea-ing in the town of Chumoa, and another day's trek, we arrived at Namche Bazar! the biggest town in the Khumbu region (Himalayan area)

on the hike up to the hospital. which was closed. i was drugged with pills for diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pains.

Big Joce and Small Joce! inspiration during the trip. 

some mountain in the distance, not too sure of ID... :P

at the last town before Island Peak, Chuk Khung

trek en-route to base camp. the trek to base camp was fairly alright, but the trek back to Chuk Khung was insanely long and tiring. Though admittedly i was having a headache (a sign of AMS)

our tents at high camp! barren landscape, with no toilet. i pooped a few metres downhill from our tents in the snow at night.

after we came back down all the way to Chumoa. 

the world's most dangerous airport runway. vis was not too bad, can see the end of the runway.

on friday (when we were supposed to be back in Singapore), the vis was terrible.

everyone gathered to watch the first plane leave Lukla in 6 days (or something like that) on Sat evening!

at the helipad, where everyone was either waiting for the chopper out, or porters waiting for jobs to come in.

at the military airbase, we met our Aussie friends again! First was at Deboche, second at Lukla, then here. And in Kathmandu, we met the guy on the right yet again! I meant to take a photo with them in Lukla, but we left in such a hurry i didnt have time to go around looking for them. but God must have heard me, cos there they were lepaking on the grass when we landed at the airbase!
they were super hardcore, slept in tents almost all the way and did Mera peak and Island peak.

weather here in Lama Dala (not sure of spelling) was in such stark contrast with Lukla. bright sun and heat! i stripped to just my t-shirt and laid everything else out to dry.

the Singaporean couple we met while in Lukla. they did Everest Base Camp trek, and previously went on many other rather hard-core treks.

last night in Kathmandu, we went to this restaurant called Rum Doodle, where many teams go to after their expeditions. we were given this footprint which we could decorate and put up anywhere in the restuarant; ours was on the ceiling right at the entrance!

sights of Nepal will be up next.. probably after i finally get round to developing my film...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

this trip has been epic on many levels. but it has also been an important one, to me. in terms of group dynamics, i think it turned out surprisingly (or not) well, given how we're all rather different, and the age gap.. but then again, being climbers, i guess we're all also about the same. part of a small percentage of nutters from singapore who would attempt to do such a thing as climb a mountain 6189m high.

anyway, the entire story of my trip would be too long to post here, and i'm not about to write a book (unlike the many mountaineers who pen their adventure/triumph/sorrow as i saw in bookstores). mostly just a reflection of my trip.

so i was asked, on our "last day" of trek, what my 3 main takeaways were. maybe i am used to facilitation, after all those years of formal schooling with "experiential learning", cos i was already thinking about that. in fact, i was already thinking about what to blog.

1) self-discovery. cliche maybe, but when you really climb a mountain (not metaphorically), it exposes who you really are. and i guess i was stronger than i thought i was. in the first place, i already think my comfort zone is pretty big, compared to most others (boys and girls) my age. yet there were many times during the trek when i felt like giving up. close to breaking down, even. in the end though, i still pushed on, and surprised myself with how far i went. (and no, i didnt summit. came within 2 hours of the summit but was too tired)

2) the environment. there are times when you can overcome the physical exhaustion to think about other loftier contemplations that doesnt revolve around your next step.
how the environment is being degraded by such activities, erosion and weathering.
how development in nepal has reached what to me is a rather curious stage, where there are no roads or motorised vehicles and people go to different towns on foot/horseback/yaks, yet people are not in desperate poverty (unlike what i see in many other places).
and most of all, how Nature still triumphs over man. we may flatten our hills and level our valleys, fill sand in our seas and dig up sediments from our land. yet in certain places, no matter what you do, Nature still holds the trump card. and we are at its mercy. mountaineers fully appreciate this. no one tries to "conquer" a mountain; that is too presumptuous of us.

3) faith in God. through the most grueling times, that's when faith is what gets you up more than physical strength. without Him, i most definitely would not have gone as far as i did. prayer and hymns got me up. all i can do is to praise the Lord for giving me strength and determination.

but perhaps the conversations we had on the mountain are the most weighty and valuable. i realise that i need to exercise more clarity and brevity in my thoughts, conversations and writings. and we talked just about everything. mountaineering to relationships to diet and excretion to consumer psyche to education to interviews. and probably more. with little else that we do each day apart from eat, walk, shit and sleep, conversations filled the gap.

all in all, i guess i got more out of this trip than i bargained for. in a good way. and i'm glad i have the fortune to be able to take such a trip at my age, with such company.

on to the more factual aspects of the trip, here are some "highlights"
1) being ill. having a fever, loss of appetite, terrible diarrhea (having to walk 10m to the squat toilet in the cold to 'lao sai' 3 times in the night is no joke), queasiness and vomiting while on a mountaineering trip is not the best thing to start with. honestly, i dont recall having been so ill before in my life, and it was not pleasant nor comfortable having to deal with it 2000-3000m high up. but thanks to the conscientious care and nursing accorded by better-conditioned friends, i recovered well enough to continue with the trek and climb.

2) the summit push. when i left singapore on 18 oct, i had the idea that this would be the main highlight of the trip. guess God had other plans.
when you're on your way up, especially in the dead of the night with just a headlamp to light the way, you really question what the hell you're doing there. pure mind over body. after we reached cramp-on point, and when we were nearing the ice wall, we saw a dead body being dragged down by the Sherpas/porters. he succumbed to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) after coming down from the summit from what i heard. his body was left there for a day or two because of poor weather conditions, before they brought it down to base camp for it to be ferried to Kathmandu (presumably) by helicopter.
mountaineering is actually a very selfish sport. there is nothing in it except for the individual. especially when the risks are high -- climbing at the Death Zone (7600m and above).

3) flight delay in lukla and the subsequent evacuation. the hope that the clouds will clear in spite of how everything indicates otherwise. followed by the frantic formulation of contingency plans. and then the wait. when the plane which got stranded in Lukla before the clouds came in finally took off on Saturday evening, everyone in town gathered around the airport and cheered :D and on Sun morning, right after breakfast, we packed our bags, ran 1.5 hours down the mountain to the helipad (an open field), and took a chopper to a military airbase about 20 minutes away. followed by a plane back to Kathmandu :D

other trivialities from the trip
taking a dump at 5250m

taking a dump when it was snowing at about 5400m

appreciating a toilet bowl and toilet paper. and solid walls. among many other creature comforts.

meeting other people along the path, and talking to them. a few people whom we kept meeting and had some kind of rapport include an Aussie trio who did Mera peak and then Island peak, while staying in tents. met them once while still pretty high up on the mountain, another time when we were back in Lukla, again at the airbase and yet again in Kathmandu.

how everyone there seems united by a purpose, with a common thread linking all of us. not that you feel bonded to them, but just that strangers talk to each other in a way that you dont see on a usual holiday. i mean, no one, while on holiday at the beaches in Gold Coast, for example, would go up to another bunch of people there and make small talk. or maybe there are such people.

definitely, there are many other parts of the trip i've left out. there's just too much to cover, and if i write out everything, this would become an extremely boring, day-by-day account of 23 days in Nepal.

i have realised that there needs to be a fundamental change in the way i live though. but that is a topic for a blogpost another day. i'm too tired to say anymore now.

photos will be up another day. cant wait to develop my film and see how my photos turned out. Olympus was not so tough after all, and gave up on me during summit push.

The team (from left): Alvin, (Big) Joce, Kim, Chew, Me, Joe and Siyuan
Photo credit: Kim and her G11

Thanks guys for the trip of my life (so far) :D

changed my blog template, first time in at least 4 years. i think my old one had more personality. shall see how, maybe i'll switch back after a while.

changed template cos this can receive comments. still havent figured how to incorporate that element into my old template.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

oh dear, meant to post this on Wed night but it turns out it wasn't published. not too late now i guess. (timestamp reflects the date first drafted. post was published 13 Nov 1am+)

i'm back from the mountains in nepal!!!

this trip is so epic on so many levels, i'll need a lot of time to process and publish my thoughts. to make it coherent and clear.

but briefly, it's been a great trip, a great experience. appreciate singapore a lot more.

conversations and company were also irreplaceable.

i learnt a lot from this trip about almost everything one could learn in life.

on a more frivolous note, whoever said we'll lose weight on the mountains clearly generalised.

Monday, October 17, 2011

leaving for Island Peak (aka Imja Tse) in Nepal tomorrow!! excited but wondering if can make it.

itinerary here, if you're interested.

spent the day buying last minute things and submitting scholarship application and half panicking. and i ate durian :)

and i had a $2.60 haircut. :D

2 bag packs (18kg), 1 carry on pack and 1 camera bag with film camera. i hope i manage to shoot decent photos!! but there's always digital for backup :P or maybe it's the other way round, if olympus tough is not tough enough...

k see you guys back on 4 nov! :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

i think i'll change my blog template. but after i'm back from nepal.

anyway it was a pretty good weekend! B&J chunkfest yesterday was a bit of a disappointment. they started 20 minutes late, we all had to wear red wrist tags (that serve no purpose other than to identify you as someone who came for chunkfest) and it started drizzling! it was on a very muddy grass patch too.

so soff and i grabbed our Americone Dream and Late Night Snack, which tasted almost exactly the same except that Late Night Snack was saltier, and left. but at least i went for chunkfest. and know not to go for another one instead. free cone day over chunkfest anytime!!

and managed to pull off my mom's surprise birthday party today. a couple of lies, a house visit to my mom's sec sch friend, some messages and emails, a lot of coordinating by my dad and some from jon, with video contribution by my older bro. it turned out pretty well. mom was very very surprised, the guests seemed to enjoy themselves and best of all, my mom collected $2k plus! cos birthday presents are usually not very useful and it's such a pain for ppl to think of what to bring, and anyway my mom's trying to raise funds for our church mission trip in Dec, so decided to ask the guests to donate money to charity instead of giving her presents. and she's topping it up dollar for dollar :D

so it's been a pretty slack weekend, but i've got lots of things left to do. scholarship application, tying up loose ends for work, last minute buying and packing for the trip...

and i borrowed a film camera from my bro's friend! hopefully photos wont turn out horrendous D: D: film cameras are actually pretty cool cos you anticipate the time when you can develop your film and find out what your photos look like.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I had a wonderful day today!!! :D

first, had an unexpected trip to Changi :) :) with NUS year 1 life sciences students. saw lots of awesome creatures :) they did seine-netting off the beach, and some groups managed to catch very awesome stuff like swimming sea anemone!

and sea horse!
among many other awesome things :) will blog about it here later.

and then after that i went climbing! yay, climbed twice this week :) though no rock climbing for the next 3 weeks... only ice climbing near the peak! D:

being the day before Climb On, there were very few people at Onsight. and with most people not free to climb/overseas, i climbed with jon only, and managed to climb more than i have in a while (:

and i thought i lost my atc and karabiner, but i found it in the lost & found corner of Onsight! :) yayy. and i found a necklace i thought i lost, and my ucas application has finally been submitted!

so today was a very awesome day (: i hope the weekend will be awesome too.

there's Ben & Jerry's Chunkfest tomorrow!! hope the queues wont be ridiculously long and the price ridiculously high.

i'm thinking of changing my blog template. it hasnt changed for 3 years i think. and blogger suggested new templates. should i change? if i do, it means readers can add comments etc, but i think my photos will have to go...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

i suck at a lot of things, but i dont really care, mostly. i suck at physics, i'm not exactly a top sportsperson, i cant really do humanities, and my arts is non-existent. i cant draw, my piano playing is merely passable, i cant dance for nuts, and i can barely sing.

i cant care less about physics, or soccer/badminton/whatever, but something about music really draws me. dance and art can interest me for a while, but not for long. i guess music is something that most people deem as very important as well.

only when i see little kids sing, and sing well, i feel like, damn why i cant sing half as well! and thanks to yapsihui, i totally wasted my night listening to kids singing on youtube. Maddi Jane, Noelle and Connie Talbot (not new. though it's interesting to see how she've grown up since she first appeared on international news).

America has lots of talent, really, i dont understand why they're not trying to save themselves. i saw this article some days ago about America. it was written by Thomas Friedman, about what needs to be done for US to continue thriving and what isnt being done. probably the same old, he probably has been talking about it for quite some time already.

not that i really care about the US, i still prefer UK. my only gripe is that whoever films Connie Talbot's videos should probably invest in a better sound system. Maddi Jane and Noelle sound so much better, though Connie also has a beautiful voice (and she looks more innocent).

argh, my self-discipline is terrible. less than a week to departure and i'm still not done with my scholarship application :/ and it's so late now.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

i have noticed how facebook is taking over the world. my world at least.

i used to go on msn every. single. night. without fail. then i got a macbook, and anyway went to junior college, where i realise most people are busy studying and hardly go online. or they have training till so late at night they scarcely have the energy to go online. and i got adium.

but the new hotmail interface has some chat thingy as well, and that interferes with adium i think, so for a while now, i've stopped logging onto adium. the hotmail chat thing is automatic, when i check my hotmail, so i just leave it there. only thing is, it doesnt alert me when someone's chatting with me, and i hardly visit my hotmail page. so i usually end up "ignoring" them.

and most unfortunately, i check my fb page very often. just like a typical singaporean (we hold the record for spending the most time on fb). but anyway, so i get alerted to people chatting with me on fb very quickly.

so i've realised that recently, i've been chatting with people online almost entirely on fb! D:

and i've been noticing a trend of posting picture quotes on fb. which reminds me of tumblr.

on an unrelated note, it's a little more than a week to nepal!!!! ahhhh. last minute things to prepare. today was the last training D: slack training, i like (:

i have many things to blog. only keep procrastinating :/ (i have stopped using the "no time" excuse)

Friday, October 07, 2011

looking through my gmail now, trying to clear my inbox (learning to use the Archive function). and it just provided me with a kinda sneak peek into the life i was leading back in rg days. research studies (rs) stuff, then there was student congress for a while, and student leaders network (sln), and hadley house committee, then asia pacific conference for giftedness (apcg), then dwen an service learning exchange programme, tripod camp, some outdoor activities club (odac) and overseas service learning (osl) stuff, a smattering of academic subject matters and a bit of work experience programme (wep) and farewell alma mater (fam) stuff...

i dont know how i managed my last 2 years of secondary school life. i just remember it was hectic and stressful but also my most enjoyable 2 years of sec sch.

kinda tired now. went to the Zoo for children's day! (: miss the place very much. was really nice to be back. i realise i really enjoy talking to little kids and telling them about biodiversity/conservation issues.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

had a great weekend (so far).

thursday was half a nightmare, after finding out from the College Admissions Office (newly set up!) that i MUST apply to cambridge through the school, else they wont recognise that i've an A levels cert. minor panicking ensued, but i'm glad that with the efficiency and support from awesome teachers, applications should be able to make it through without further problems

also had a good chat with mr lim, and well i guess i should be writing more. not here, but on my other blog. scientific writing, i guess? :/ gap year is not slack.

after work on friday, attended a seminar on illegal wildlife trade in cambodia, and what Wildlife Alliance has been doing to combat it. captivating and enriching, i really liked what they were doing and it's awesome that such people/organisations exist -- gives people like me hope (:

would have stayed on for the q&a session, but had to rush to snow city to test our gear for nepal, and practice some ropework! undoubtedly fun, though cold. made me wish we were going nepal just for fun and not to climb a mountain T.T i'm starting to question if i can actually make it.

after 2 hours in sub zero temperatures, headed to the zoo for a "slumber party". great fun and payback, but i couldnt hold out past 2am? and for the first time in a veryyy long time, i didnt shower before sleeping at night. was too tired. still am tired. permanently tired and sleep deprived - i think my eyes are now half their previous size.

attended 2 weddings today; first was as part of church choir, second was my distant aunt's wedding at sentosa beach. and saw 2 weddings in the zoo in the  morning as well. been attending a number of weddings, esp this month. which inevitably led me to wonder about my own wedding. needless to say, i cannot imagine the groom (though my church friend predicts someone lean, sporty, intelligent and humourous). nonetheless, i thought about where i'd want to have my wedding, the food i'll have, the ceremonies etc etc. haha and conclusion is i cant be bothered thinking about all that when it's all still so far away in the distant future. the first couple in the morning dated for 12 years before the question was popped. the second couple is in their early 30s. and my dad said i have to be married by 26 or 27, i dont rmb. i highly doubt that will happen.

my brain is calling for sleep now, and my macbook too. guess my symposium (and many other posts) will need to remain on hold :/

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

sport cars annoyed the shit out of me. it's not that they're not environmentally friendly or whatever (though that's a partial reason). it's the NOISE they make. i dont know if it's cos of F1, or cos of where i'm staying now, but i keep hearing a lot of sports cars these days.

annoying people who drive around sports cars in the night, i hear them revving and zooming off, and i secretly hope they'll crash and never buy another sports car again. evil of me, i know, but seriously. people are trying to do work/sleep, and the annoying engine noise the car makes just pisses me off. and seriously, do you really need a sports car in singapore? where there are traffic lights every 50m or something, and the speed limit on expressways is 90km/h or something?

annoying show-offs :/ sighs that was just 2 paragraphs of pure ranting. but i honestly cant stand those cars.

and there's also this thing that makes this beeping noise at night. like a car beeping thrice. pause a few seconds then beeps thrice again. starts at around dusk all the way through the night, i think. wouldnt know if it's exactly all through the night cos i would be asleep by 2am latest. but it's annoying me as well. might be some kind of animal... if i could know what it is, i'd feel better about it. but as it is, it just annoys me as well.

or maybe i'm just in an easily annoyed mood. i cant wait for my ucas submissions to be over.

island peak is in 3 weeks. i'm still feeling a little surreal. i know it's happening but i'm not really processing it. i'm thinking about it in a very logical, rational way, cos i know it's coming and i think about what i need to prepare. but i dont know, still not really really feeling it i guess. a bit like that time in s3 during ringers syf. i went through the whole thing knowing it, but not really feeling it.