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UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit jocelynesze.wordpress.com if you're interested in more recent writing.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

On parenting and education.

Just some articles I read today in the newspapers (The Sunday Times and Today on Sunday) to share and archive.

It's not i-Family time by Frances Ess in Today on Sunday

Why life skills trump book smarts by Tee Hun Ching in lifestyle, thesundaytimes

Today is so much more awesome than The Straits Times. To get an article from Today, I can simple Google and find it very easily online. On the other hand, The Straits Times makes is so hard to share articles online! You have to subscribe to view full articles (usually), and for Sunday Times, I think it's some premier thing and you can't even view an abstract. Just to get that article, I had to scan the hardcopy, stitch two photos together and upload onto my Dropbox so I can share it online.

Seriouslyy, does The Straits Times think people will steal their articles, or their subscription will drop just because they provide free online articles? Can't they generate avenue from the ads instead of something?? Blehh.


And I chanced upon this website, which chronicles a child's upbringing and the family's journeys. I don't quite know how to phrase it nicely, but anyway, it's worth checking out. This Singaporean family took their only child out of school for a year to explore the world and do community projects etc.



And I do fervently hope that the children of today are not as dependent as Hun Ching made out and have more real-life social skills than what Frances suggested. After all, they're our future and hope for a better world ><

Friday, February 24, 2012

not much.



Not Over You - Gavin DeGraw
Dreams
That's where I have to go to see your beautiful face anymore
I stare at a picture of you and listen to the radio
Hope
Hope there's a conversation where we both admit we had it good
But until then it's alienation
I know
That much is understood and I realize

If you ask me how I'm doing I would say I'm doing just fine
I would lie and say that you're not on my mind
But I go out
And I sit down at a table set for two
And finally I'm forced to face the truth
No matter what they say I'm not over you
Not over you

Damn
Damn girl you do it well and I thought you were innocent
Took this heart and put it through hell
Still you're magnificent
I
I'm a boomerang
Doesn't matter how you throw me
Turn around and I'm back in the game
Even better than the old me but I'm not even close without you

If you ask me how I'm doing I would say I'm doing just fine
I would lie and say that you're not on my mind
But I go out
And I sit down at a table set for two
And finally I'm forced to face the truth
No matter what I say I'm not over you

And if I had the chance to renew
You know there isn't a thing I wouldn't do
I could get back on the right track but only if you'd be convinced
So until then

If you ask me how I'm doing I would say I'm doing just fine
I would lie and say that you're not on my mind
But I go out
And I sit down at a table set for two
And finally I'm forced to face the truth
No matter what I say I'm not over you
Not over you
Not over you
Not over you


No, there isn't any one in my life whom I'm "Not Over". It's just that this is a nice, sad, emo song. And emo songs are well-liked (click to read why).


At this point in time, I just got the feeling that I've got so much going on in my life; and yet, nothing at all.  And you feel like you're doing so many things; but yet you're still just this small, insignificant creature in the big, vast world of almost 7 billion people.

Many things to do, but what I feel like doing is just sitting somewhere quiet outside, not doing much, not thinking much, just sitting there, looking at the green/blue, feeling the wind in my face, and feeling contented with life.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

that forgotten feeling.

I seem to have forgotten how it's like to climb and do outdoor activities, been too absorbed in other things. Still in the outdoors, but mostly bio-related and not so much activities.

But I spent almost entire day climbing/various on Saturday (18 Feb), and I've just been re-discovering that feeling, why people would spend the entire day at the climbing gym. I realise I miss climbing. Haven't quite had the time to climb much lately, and I somehow don't think I'll have much time to climb often in the few months ahead either.

It was supposed to be some Adventurers Weekend Singapore thing. When I arrived a little before noon, there were a few people at Dairy Farm already, mostly going for the traditional climbing course or bouldering introduction. But not long after, it started pouring! Before that though, I was glad to put my skills learnt in ODAC to good use -- tent-pitching!

We hung around for a while in the rain, before heading over to Onsight gym. Where I did some climbing (even lead-climbed a 6A+, D: when I hadn't lead-climbed in half a year or more I think!) and tried slack-lining. I've improved, from not being able to stand on the slack-line for more than 5 seconds, more than a year ago in Krabi, to being able to make 1-2 steps before losing my balance. Yay!


Anyways, great to be doing some things that I love doing again. Too bad didn't get to climb outdoors at Dairy Farm at all.

Huge pile of rocks next to the road leading up to the climbing crags. Some construction for a path going on, I heard? :/

Only available place for natural rock-climbing at Dairy Farm

Hiding from the rain!

Tents to hide the equipment from the rain :)

Argh can't rotate the photo! :/ But anyway, hardcore climbers still climbing in the rain


Smart ones bring along an umbrella. Or pick it off a tree.




Really need to make time to continue doing outdoor activities, and not neglect that! Useful skills to be had.

[The following two paragraphs will be replicated and expanded upon on my other blog]

Just finished a camp with an international school in the Zoo, and I realise that most local Singaporeans have forgotten the value of free play. The teachers will actually give the kids time to just run around and use up their energy, instead of getting them to sit down and be quiet. And then again, our kids barely even spend that much time outdoors anymore.

I still don't get why is it that, as kids, almost everything's about outdoors and animals and playing, but as they slowly grow older, it becomes just computers, televisions, indoors and studying? If you look at children books, most are about exploring Nature, or set in the outdoors etc. You rarely see books about using the television/computer, or shopping sprees in shopping centres (if any, they'd be about grocery shopping). Why why why this disconnect?

Ash Wednesday.

Today (22 Feb 2012) is Ash Wednesday. It marks the start of the Lent season in Catholic calendar. 40 days before Good Friday.

The Lenten season is rather like the Muslim's Ramadan. We're supposed to pray more, give more alms, and fast (or abstain). To reflect and think about God's unconditional love for us, how Jesus died for our sins, and to try and be more selfless, and think of others' before ourselves.

I wonder though, why is it that we don't do the above the whole year round, but specifically single out this season. I guess it's kinda hard to force this down everyone's throat the entire year, but during the Ash Wednesday mass just now, my parish priest also mentioned how we'll be doing this as a church community, so there is that sense of solidarity, I guess.


But the thing is, Catholics aren't so strict, at least not in my church, or my family. We never do proper fasting, in fact I don't even know what exactly is proper fasting (only eat before sunrise and after sunset, like the Muslims? We're, thankfully, still allowed to drink). Today though, I tried to just have breakfast (ahha Jungle Breakfast at the Zoo cos I was having camp xP) and skip lunch and dinner. Which works out pretty well, I can feel the hunger. And my parents were evil, tried to tempt Jon and I by eating right in front of us at dinner! Though they just had salad and plain bread.


So I'm thinking, perhaps during the entire season of Lent, I shall try to go vegetarian. Not even pescetarian. Been going vegetarian 3 times a week since Chinese New Year, and so far I've been more or less sticking to it, sometimes going pescetarian instead of vegetarian. But anyways, this season of Lent will be a challenge. And to pray more, and often, and for others.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This day, 70 years ago, Singapore fell into Japanese hands.

With all the hype surrounding Valentine's Day, which is yet another commercialised, over-rated day in the year, it's not hard to overlook a highly significant date in our history.

We've been studying Singapore's history all through Primary school to... Secondary school? I don't remember having anything to do with that in Junior College. But, it was "just another topic", and not one that I particularly like, for that matter. World War II, and the Fall of Singapore was just something else we had to know and learn about, which I duly did. I know Lim Bo Seng, Elizabeth Choy, the Malay Regiment and Lt Adnan. But again, it was just something I had to know about, for exams' sake.

This year though, I went for the Battle of Pasir Panjang heritage walk, brought by the Raffles Museum Toddycats. And dragged my parents along.

It was on Sunday, 12 Feb 2012, and we had to meet at NUS University Cultural Centre at 7am. Along with some 100 other people who were also willing to sacrifice their Sunday morning.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable time, walking along the ridge where the Battle of Pasir Panjang was fought back then on 13/14 Feb 1942. Siva, Oi Yee, Airani, Kenneth, Stella, Alvin, Chee Kien and Von Bing are amazing guides, and told really good stories. And with most of them being biologists, we also learned more about the flora of Kent Ridge.

I had tragically forgotten to bring my camera. But with a decent phone camera and a 3G sim card, I still took photos and uploaded them onto Facebook as we went along. Sorry, not been able to figure how to rotate my photos since they changed the layout.

Certain parts of it that struck me in particular, I shall list in point form cos I'm getting quite sleepy now:
1. I always thought the Malay Regiment were Singaporean Malays. Like, a bunch of Malays that were recruited to fight. Turns out they're actually Malaysian Malays (yeah I know this was before Singapore was Singapore, but you get the idea!). Like, troops from Malaya, trained excellently and deployed to help in the defence of Singapore.

2. I never knew that Kent Ridge was once Pasir Panjang Ridge. And was renamed to commemorate the Duke and Duchess of Kent [update 23 Feb: refers to the son and the mom, not husband and wife] visiting the troops that were stationed here.

3. The entire Pasir Panjang area used to be occupied by British Military. But there were also Malay and Chinese villages dotting the area. And Pasir Panjang means Long Sand.


At this moment now, I can't quite remember what else captivated me during the walk. Apart from learning more about the flora and fauna, which I'll spare you from reading about (mostly because I can't quite remember also :/)

We ended the walk 5 hours later, at Reflections @ Bukit Chandu. Which I also visited, years earlier as a student. But it holds much more meaning now, knowing the details of the Battle and how much courage and determination and pride went into trying to fend off the Japanese. Not just of the Malay Regiment, but also the Allied troops from Britain and Australia.


I don't know if it's the times of today, or my friends, or just cos I'm out of school, but it seems like there is little appreciation by the larger community of Singaporeans out there, of those significant years in our history. Of course, you'll have school groups visiting Memories at Old Ford Factory, Changi Museum, Kranji War Memorial and many other historical sites. But still, I wonder if they fully understand and appreciate the bigger meaning behind it. Because I certainly didn't, not even in my Secondary School days.

15 Feb, which is Total Defence Day, was just another day where we had food rationing (2 tins of Khong Guan biscuits), some talk, and the Public Warning System will sound at 12.05pm to let everyone know and familiarise with the different signals.



Perhaps it's cos I'm leaving Singapore for further studies in the UK in about 7 months' time, and I want to be able to talk about Singapore and her history confidently to others who may think that Singapore is part of China. Or perhaps it's just cos I'm on my gap year and hence have more time to think about these stuff. Or perhaps it's just a growing sense of awareness and appreciation of history and culture and heritage.


In any case, do spend some time thinking about the people who gave their lives to defend Singapore 70 years ago. I wonder if the NS guys now are of the same standard, people who will proudly and willingly fight for Singapore and even sacrifice their lives. Not coming from any moral high ground, I don't know if I will even stick around should a war come to our shores...







On an unrelated note, my new Macbook Pro has arrived! Annoyed though, Chrome doesn't seem to be working well, not sure if it's my internet connection or something else. My old Mac (which I'm using at the moment) has not that many internet connection problems (it's a little erratic, but at least I can load sites!) so might be something to do with the new Mac itself. Ahhh! But at least I can always see what I'm typing I guess.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Annoyed, because laptop didn't come. Or I guess it did, but my grandma's maid, who was at home at that point in time, sent the delivery guy away. AHHHH! sighs. and Apple is supposed to email me, but they didn't. how now brown cow. I absolutely need a new one by next week; how to work like that!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Alright, time to post something new. That dumbest post is pretty embarrassing :/

Been meaning to blog, but circumstances have discouraged me from doing so. Mainly it's the state of my MacBook Pro. Got it in July 2009, and yes, I know it's relatively young. But since around mid last year, the screen started becoming very weird. It would suddenly have all this white picels appearing, and the screen freezes, and pretty soon the entire screen is um. Well the picture says it better.
Yeah, essentially I can't see what's happening on the screen, which makes it very annoying when I'm trying to do something apart from listen to music. But for a while it was still okay, tolerable. A couple of prods and the screen would turn back to normal. I obviously went to google this phenomenon, and it turns out that there are other Mac users who experience this too! So it's NOT cos I dropped it one too many times, or due to any negligence of mine okay... Contrary to what many believe..

Anyway, it got worse after a while, and now, even spending a couple of minutes adjusting the screen won't cut it, the moment I let go of the screen, it just well, freezes. Meaning every few sectences, I have to adjust the screen again and check if I've made any errors in my typing. So that was very leh cheh (meaning tedious?), and I couldn't be bothered blogging. But I finally did so, cos I guess the blogging bug bit.

So anyway, on Sunday (5 Feb), the problem got really annoying, and I couldn't stand it anymore. Been thinking of changing but kept procrastinating. Initially I thought perhaps if I get a scholarship, it could cover. But turns out it doesn't, but anyway, I guess my parents cannot 见死不救 (See someone dying but not bother saving the person)! Exaggerating yes, but well, my laptop's really important to me! So yup, finally got round to ordering a new one, from the online Apple Education store.

And then it took a while processing, and I thought it would arrive today, but turns out it's coming tomorrow instead. Hopefully. And then comes the tedious process of transferring all my stuff over! Need to start uploading my iPhoto photos onto my extremely inactive Flickr account, backing up my "archived" documents, and noting down what apps I'm using now, so that I can re-download them on the new one.

So much work D: But I'll be glad to finally be able to bring it to work and use it in lieu of the shared desktop there.




On other matters, I was intending to jog around Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) today, after work. But laziness and fatigue got the better of me, I ended up lying on the grass and just dozing off. It was a very nice day, pretty blue skies with fluffy white clouds, and it being evening time, the sun was about to set and everything was pretty shaded and cool, and it's a dry spell now (apparently there were bush fires on Coney Island) so the grass is dry and not damp and soggy.

Life just seems so peaceful and happy and it makes me feel so contented. Simple pleasures in life. I wonder why there are so many tortured, unhappy souls out there. I suppose if what you're doing is not aligned with what you like, then the disparity causes sadness and grief... Or something..

Of course, there are other issues, but wells I shall just trust in God's plan for me.