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UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit if you're interested in more recent writing.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

After more than a month!

I finally got the chance to climb! I really don't know what I've been occupied with the past month or so (my calendar tells me dinner meetings, working at Night Safari & French lessons), but I've not had time to have many dinners with my family, or equally tragically, to climb!!

So finally, finally went back to Climb Asia, and went to boulder. Because I had no one to belay me :( But bouldering's not a bad start, my stamina is so atrocious, I need to do more laps. Was not expecting much of a crowd cos I thought everyone was having exams, but I forgot about the SMU & poly students.

And so I was sitting there, feeling a lot of inertia, and also feeling very noob cos I was just looking at the others climb and recalling the times when I probably was able to climb at that standard too, or thereabouts.

But anyway, previously, when people asked, why do you love/like climbing? I could never really give a proper answer. But once you've stopped for a while and you go back to it, sitting there and just thinking (as per my usual self, I suppose), I kinda realised why.

It's being able to challenge yourself, not just physically, but also mentally. Many times, you may think it's an impossible problem, you just can't do it, it's beyond you. But maybe it's just a matter of will, of how much you're willing to push yourself. Yes, there are certain physical limitations (if I'm only 1.57m tall and my next tile is 3m away, and there's nothing else, no side wall, no feature, nothing except a blank wall, yeah probably impossible), but usually it's a mental problem.

And the sense of achievement you get when you thought you couldn't do it, that it was beyond you, that you will fall - but you didn't! It's that feeling that keeps me coming back, I guess.

Also, it's amazing how climbing problems are never rigid. There are many ways to solve the problem. Just cos you're the tallest and strongest doesn't mean you'll confirm win. And just cos you're small may not necessarily mean you're at a disadvantage. It's a lot of innovation and creative problem-solving. Not that I'm particularly creative or innovative.


Perhaps ultimately, it's the sense of control I get that is what I really like about climbing. Knowing you have to be in full control of your mind and body to get it to do what you want and achieve it with a sense of calm and determination. Fully focused on the wall and the problem and how to solve it to get to the end point.



Yes, I definitely missed climbing, and I'm glad I made the decision to stop working at Night Safari so I have time for more dinner gatherings and climbing. Because come June, there will be little time left for these important things in my life.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Moments with my brother.

So just a few days ago, April 20, to be exact, I had a little relevation that I was not spending enough time with my younger brother (often referred to in my many conversations about him as Jon. or Jon Jon xD).
conversation with my brother (who stayed up unusually late today):
Jonathan: See you on Monday jie!
Jocelyne: You'll see me on FB! There's still supposed to be wifi there :)
Jon: That's the only place I see you now...

:( Oh man I need to re-look at my life and my priorities.
·  ·  · April 20 at 12:13am ·
I knew I wasn't spending enough time at home, cos work at Night Safari (which will end soon because I can't take it anymore!!) and French classes and all sorts of other things were taking up my nights, and I was barely having dinner at home most days. But I guess I didn't realise how much my bro would miss me, especially in light of the fact that I'll be leaving for further studies overseas soon...

So again tonight, he stayed up late, and came over to my room to see what I was doing. I just finished a talk at Queenstown Primary School (blogpost will be up on Nature Rambles. soon) in the morning today, so I thought I'd show him the slides. After all, how can I be going around educating all these kids (or attempting to), but neglect my own brother?
I came to the introduction of talk slide.
PowerPoint Slide Show   Marine Talk Queenstown Pri  23 April 2012 ppt 2
Could not think of a better nickname, so used the old one. And it was extremely hard trying to find a photo of me doing fieldwork, so this was grabbed off Facebook. (Maybe I don't do enough. Or maybe because I'm usually the one with the camera.) It was popular like, about 5 years ago. A simple google search would bring back embarrassing photos and fond memories of doing my seagrass project (with Si Hui and Si Ling) all those years ago. And all those spooky moments of revelation when I realised that my whole life since I started the seagrass project was probably schemed and planned among The Elders.

But anyway yes, back to my brother, I think every time I talk to him about something like that, I spook him a little. Sometimes when it comes to climbing, sometimes about biodiversity matters. Or perhaps he's just too easily impressed. Don't know what he really thinks about me (apart from the fact that I'm getting fat and lazy, which he tells me all the time), but I think he holds me in relatively high esteem...

I don't expect him to get straight As and be a doctor and save lives, or be a lawyer and work late at night, or work in some bank/business and earn lots of money (or whatever the stereotypes are). All I want, is for him to be happy and do well, do good in society. Even though I think his goal in life at the moment is to fatten people up, as long as he doesn't kill or harm anyone in the process (diabetes & obesity not included), and sticks by his moral values that I'm sure are pretty sound, I'm happy and proud of him <3

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What kind of world do you want?

World - Five for Fighting

Got a package full of Wishes
A Time machine, a Magic Wand
A Globe made out of Gold

No Instructions or Commandments
Laws of Gravity or
Indecisions to uphold

Printed on the box I see
A.C.M.E.'s Build-a-World-to-be
Take a chance - Grab a piece
Help me to believe it

What kind of world do you want?
Think Anything
Let's start at the start
Build a masterpiece
Be careful what you wish for
History starts now...

Should there be people or peoples
Money, Funny pedestals for Fools who never pay
Raise your Army - Choose your Steeple
Don't be shy, the satellites can look the other way

Lose the Earthquakes - Keep the Faults
Fill the oceans without the salt
Let every Man own his own Hand

What kind of world do you want
Think Anything
Let's start at the start
Build a masterpiece
Be careful what you wish for
History starts now...

Sunlight's on the Bridge
Sunlight's on the Way
Tomorrow's Calling

There's more to this than Love

What Kind of world do you want
What Kind of world do you want

What Kind of world do you want
Think Anything
Let's start at the start
Build a masterpiece

History Starts Now

Be careful what you wish for
Start Now

So during the trip to Tioman, I met this guy who, over conversation, asked me, what do I want to do, after university?

"Change the world." 

Make it a better place, for you and for me, and the entire human race...

Heal the World - Michael Jackson

little girl talking
(I think about the generations
and they say they want to make it
a better place for our children and our children's children
so that they they they know it's a better world for them
and I think they can make it a better place)

There's A Place In
Your Heart
And I Know That It Is Love
And This Place Could
Be Much
Brighter Than Tomorrow
And If You Really Try
You'll Find There's No Need
To Cry
In This Place You'll Feel
There's No Hurt Or Sorrow

There Are Ways
To Get There
If You Care Enough
For The Living
Make A Little Space
Make A Better Place

Heal The World
Make It A Better Place
For You And For Me
And The Entire Human Race
There Are People Dying
If You Care Enough
For The Living
Make A Better Place
For You And For Me

If You Want To Know Why
There's A Love That
Cannot Lie
Love Is Strong
It Only Cares For
Joyful Giving
If We Try
We Shall See
In This Bliss
We Cannot Feel
Fear Or Dread
We Stop Existing And
Start Living

Then It Feels That Always
Love's Enough For
Us Growing
So Make A Better World
Make A Better World...


And The Dream We Were
Conceived In
Will Reveal A Joyful Face
And The World We
Once Believed In
Will Shine Again In Grace
Then Why Do We Keep
Strangling Life
Wound This Earth
Crucify Its Soul
Though It's Plain To See
This World Is Heavenly
Be God's Glow

We Could Fly So High
Let Our Spirits Never Die
In My Heart
I Feel You Are All
My Brothers
Create A World With
No Fear
Together We'll Cry
Happy Tears
See The Nations Turn
Their Swords
Into Plowshares

We Could Really Get There
If You Cared Enough
For The Living
Make A Little Space
To Make A Better Place...

[Chorus x 3]

There Are People Dying
If You Care Enough
For The Living
Make A Better Place
For You And For Me

There Are People Dying
If You Care Enough
For The Living
Make A Better Place
For You And For Me

You And For Me
Make A Better Place
You And For Me
Make A Better Place
You And For Me
Make A Better Place
You And For Me
heal the world we live in
You And For Me
save it for our children
You And For Me
heal the world we live in
You And For Me
save it for our children
You And For Me
heal the world we live in
You And For Me
save it for our children
You And For Me
heal the world we live in
You And For Me
save it for our children

Monday, April 16, 2012

Taking a step back.

This post is mostly a compilation of reflections.

Gap Year

So I went back to RJ (now Raffles Institution) to talk about my gap year last Tuesday (10 April). Dr Adrian Loo (Raffles Science Institute, RI) first proposed the idea of talking to my juniors about my gap year when I met him earlier in the year, sometime in mid-Feb. And it eventually became a concrete thing, something I cannot run away from, after Siva (NUS) and Mr Lim (RGS) heard of it. So there was some measure of stress there, with the 3 of them watching.

Turnout was better than expected, had an audience of about 15 or so. The slides will be uploaded onto my Gap Year page, after I've edited them to make them more comprehensible without narration, and also with more organisation.

There were a number of things I meant to mention, but forgot. And I can't remember at this point in time either. But I'm glad the response from the talk was generally positive.

Life at this point in time

Who was I kidding when I said earlier on, that with a busier month ahead, I probably would use less Facebook? I've realised that Fb will still be used, no matter how late I reach home. It just means less sleep for me. The only times I don't go online, is when I'm staying over at a place with no access to wifi and with no laptop.

Probably also because of work at Night Safari and other miscellaneous things, I realise I haven't quite been taking proper dinners at proper timings. Not a good thing, eating late at night is bad for health! :/

I don't know if it's a family thing, but my birthday really doesn't mean much to me. I make it a point to come home for dinner, and because I already had friends and relatives over the day before, that was about it. No fuss. The awkwardness comes in when others ask "oh so how did you celebrate your birthday?!", cos I don't. I know my parents love me, and I see it in the actions they do all year round, I don't think they need to do anything special just on that one day... And there is certainly none of that "Oh no, I'm one year older now!" feeling; I've been feeling that since the start of the year, when you see juniors progressing to the next level, and you realise, shoots, it's been a year since I had NO student concession.

Went to ADEX last Friday (13 April) and got myself fins and a dry bag! Yay, now just need to borrow BCD/reg. Am looking very much forward to diving at Tioman the coming weekend :D

Oh and just went for my Powered Pleasure Craft Driving License (PPCDL) course over the weekend (14/15 April) and it's quite fun driving a boat! Theory lessons were a terrible bore and made me dread starting school though, 2 cans of coffee didn't save me from drowsiness and I was sleeping during every break (we had a 10-15 mins break every 2+ hours) save lunch break.

Perceptions and opinions of me

I like to be aware of what others think of me, as a checkpoint to see if I'm changing (in a good/bad way), to see if I should improve in any way, and just for the sake of it.

Usually not all that positive (because I suppose in Asian culture, it's not good to sing praises of someone in front of them), many people think I am:
 - scary (yeah I get this quite a lot)
 - whiny
 - always hungry/eating
 - always sleepy/sleeping
 - incapable of taking care of my stuff
 - messy

I suppose the list is much longer than what I have here. Sighs but I suppose that's what makes me, me. Though I disagree with the part about scary, hungry and incapable of taking care of my stuff. I am probably scary until you meet me (and then I become retarded), I get hungry just like any normal human being, and I haven't really been killing any stuff of mine recently!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Coffee to keep the Zzz monster away

[Update 15 Apr 2012: Realise I forgot some important things that were mentioned (Question 10.) during the forum!]

Lately I realise that I'm starting to rely on coffee to keep me awake. I don't doze off, but I don't seem to be particularly productive either. And sometimes, even coffee doesn't keep me awake. Oh noo....

Anyway, a number of things I meant to blog on from long ago. Wayy too many to be in one post, else it'll be TLDR (Too Long; Didn't Read). This is probably already wayy too long.

Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum 2012

So I crashed the forum (supposedly open to NUS students only) last last Wed (4 April) courtesy of Zhao Yang who was organising it, as part of NUS Political Association. It was pretty interesting, my first time attending something like that. GOH was Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), Minister Of Finance (MOF), Minister of Manpower (MOM). The title of the forum was No Singaporean Left Behind.

I meant to live-tweet the event, but had trouble getting access to the NUS wifi at the start, and so gave up.

His key note address was on social and economic policy: (in point form cos I'm lazy. Blue font indicates my thoughts)
- difficult to distinguish between the two because economic policies are not just about econ. growth. it's also about growing the pie and ensuring that all singaporeans have a fair share.

- not all policies are targeted. They are also about ensuring society still has drive. Not too sure what drive he was referring to (can't quite remember if he mentioned). But does our society now have a drive, not just to own material goods, but to succeed in a meaningful way? 
- everyone should have a fair chance, no matter where they start. And they should also feel like they are part of the making, with everyone playing a part, taking responsibilities.
- everyone aspire to move up, and we should spread opportunities. I agree, but then who's going to do the stuff "at the bottom"? Can we constantly be having foreign worker to help us with those?
- as we progress, social mobility becomes more difficult to sustain. we will always need to improve more, and work harder. Those who start off at a disadvantage still can succeed. So how you become in the future doesn't depend on how you were born/your parents. But what about the "low jobs", that the average Singaporean doesn't really want to work as??? The cleaners, rubbish collectors, telephone operators, majority of sales staff, construction workers, marine/port sector workers etc... 
- we need to train specialists to help kids with learning disabilities, to get all students involved in schs, keep them active doing things they enjoy.
- we need to do more, to keep improving and picking up new skills even when people enter the workforce. To be constantly learning, constantly improving. And improve their pay. 
- EU's social policies look attractive but are not sustainable. They keep passing the debt on to the next generation, they don't think hard enough about the next generation to make sure it's sustainable. so Sg needs to step up sustainable policies, so as not to increase the burden on future generations. 
- population integration, have a grounded approach to policy making.

1. Does it take a General Election (GE) to remedy social issues? Is the government doing things cos of lessons learnt in GE?
It's an urban myth. There have been some things done because of recognition of sentiment/mood during GE eg housing. But many like elder care, training schemes, medifund & housing grants etc. are not because of GE.

2. How can Sg take care of economic well-being while ensuring social welfare?
This is something that every country has to deal with. Having high tax and high debt is not sustainable. Sg needs to find the right balance, step up targeted social policy so that help goes to those who need it most: the low income & disabled, while not neglecting the middle income. Don't postpone problems to the future.
Our economy stays competitive because it's an incentive for people to work hard and improve, while the low income has help and middle income has relatively low tax rates.
We have people who are coming forward and wanting to do something to help others. It's not difficult to do but most continue to do more.

3. Everyone talks of social equality but no one talks about racial equality. LKY mentioned something about how Malays will never catch up. If that's the belief of the people-in-charge, then should there not be minority protection (like Affirmative Action) in the economic scene, just like in the political sector (minor representatives in the Group Representation Constituency)
Yeah the Malays are much further behind the Chinese. But the Malays have improved significantly. Our Malays = the best European Union countries, in terms of performance in exams. AA is bad, because you want people to think that you got to where you are because of what you've done and your qualities, not because of the colour of your skin or anything. 

4. I graduated from NUS, am working in an events management company, and my income is less than S$2000. I am the minority as most there are foreign workers. When you have PhD-holding foreign workers wanting only $1900, how to benchmark against them? Is it because there are too many foreign graduates in our market, that makes it too difficult to find jobs? And because of foreign workers, wages are depressed?
We welcome talent. We're hardworking uhh really? I think majority just do the minimum necessary and leave it as that... & well-trained. We will be disadvantaged if we compete only with Singaporeans, at a  disadvantage because of our much smaller population. Whether we have foreigners or not, we still have to compete with "them". And most of our economy is part of the global market. There is currently a talent drain in taiwan, where they've locked out talent, and still lost their own. Many SG want to work abroad, especially the most capable. Our graduate unemployment is the lowest in asia. There are companies such as Venture Corp that is globally competitive because they hired both Singaporeans and foreign workers.

5. Why is there presence of AA in the political arena but not other places?
I hope that we will come to a day when we don't need it, but we're not there yet. It is not AA, it's just that there's multi racial teams. 

6. A Singaporean was the one who released the android system and stuff. He developed some system for some Android phone or something like that, I'm no techno-geek but here's the articleDaniel Makuthum is studying Normal (Technical) in Swiss Cottage Secondary School. He was mentioned in tech blogs all over the world, but not mentioned in Singapore. Why always the focus on foreigners, what about locals?
I don't know why people don't know about these kinda stuff. Hmm maybe because no one "up there" cares about these kind of things, no platform for sharing, no nothing?? Lots of Singaporeans have a knack for technical things. It is about whether they can pursue their dreams, not whether it's in the newspaper or not. But you know, people would be more supportive and more willing to enter into such fields if there was more recognition for what they do? Although of course, whether or not there is recognition will not deter the really passionate and determined. There are things to do in the Education system, to reduce emphasis on paper qualities, from primary schools to university level. We should not place so much emphasis on just one particular form of learning and assessment (academic). But we have been making significant moves. N(T) is improving, to do more attachments outside school. And the kids like it DUH! Different people learn in different ways. To learn about how systems operate, need to learn by doing. We need to provide opportunities for people to discover strengths and talents. There is now more emphasis on Co-Curricular Activities. Support MOE, support kids in CCA, not just those with exceptional talents. They should spend more time on CCA. They may not have talents, but will grow tremendously anyway. Have less emphasis on winning, recognise more strengths, give them time to discover strengths they never knew they had. Keep standards high, and anyone with ability has chance to go far.

7. It's a nice title "No Singaporeans Left Behind", but how realistic is it? How can we, as one Sg, keep this aim and how long will we have to wait?
No society achieves this, but we have to try your best. It is easy in politics to think that if someone is poor/not trying hard, how to help? You can only help if they first helped themselves. But when you want to help them and have people who want to help them, it changes people. They will want to help themselves. Maybe think this system is not suitable/unfair. But they will rise to the opportunity. Social culture is core of the issue. Everyone needs to aspire. 

8. Regarding trust in Sg's society, since GE till now, we seem to have more educated and discerning Singaporeans in society. There appears to be rising cynism towards govt policies, for 2 reasons, 1) an overly sympathetic press 2) a political system that is heavily skewed in favour of the incumbent party. In face of this situation and more educated/cynical Singaporeans, what can the Govt do to win them over? How can the Govt win trust in spite of cynical voices?
We need to make sure the govt is trusted. As rate of improvement slows down, there'll be greater dissent and questions. So the govt needs to engage more, and not became complacent. Take nothing for granted and win adherence because people feel that the policy course they're on is in the best interest of Singaporeans at large. Our civic society is more active than foreigners give credit for. There are many informal things happening without official engagement. We should keep it up, with people having more say and people feeling they can make things better. Singaporeans are a discerning lot, if you do too much on mainstream media, they will discount. The opposition media did get a good spread and the internet is more overly sympathetic to the alternative!

9. [A question regarding housing issues for the middle class, long term job security, education etc.]
I think this issue has not received enough attention, but there are now more benefits for middle class. More are eligible for education subsidies by raising income criteria. I missed out exactly what he said. Health subsidies as well. We have been expanding tertiary opportunities. The middle class, mid-career people are feeling that they're not progressing enough. Devising schemes to improve professionals is not easy, but we can probably do better, like ensure companies play their role of nurturing Singaporeans even if we stay open to foreign talent, make sure they look for Singaporeans and help them. 

10. Regarding less favourable jobs, to look beyond this generation. Everyone wants to go up. So who will take the least favourable occupations? Like hawkers? At the moment it's older generations or foreign "talent". But how to make less glamourous jobs more attractive to Singaporeans? I was very pleased when this question was asked, because it was exactly what I was thinking!
The most difficult question asked. I've traveled to some of the most developed cities in the world, go to restuarants/small enterprises and people wear their blue collar uniforms with such pride, proud of being waiters/waitresses. We won't truly be a developed society if people don't respect those job holders and they don't carry themselves with pride. We have seen a drift away from tough manual jobs, and then service jobs (hotels/restaurants/retail). Customers need to treat blue collared workers with respect. I fully agree, we tend to take service staff for granted, expecting them to do a good job. I mean of course, they should do their job, but it won't kill us to show our appreciation! It makes my day when guests (from the Night Safari) come up to me and thank me/tell me they enjoyed the tram commentary. Even though it is my job after all. And these people tend to be from Western countries, though of course, there are Asians as well(: [updated 15 April: Added in this line] (and over here, I don't remember exactly) We need to move to a stage when the mother-in-law does not disapprove of a blue-collar worker son-in-law; when parents do not mind their kids dating someone else who is doing a blue-collar job. The blue collared workers are core to our work force, we should pay them better, respect them, and grow their careers. Have more blue collar jobs from middle class. Regardless of qualifications, we still need to have these people. We need to re-instill that pride, and everyone, employers, employees, and customers need to play that game.  
Yeahh okay, so HOW do we change and improve? 

11. [Someone else asked a follow-up question] What are some concrete steps to shift perspective? 
We need to start earlier in school, with everyone, to give a real sense of what real life is like out there. Secondary school, tertiary, polytechnics. They need to know what a real job is like, be an apprentice for some time, and not wait for education to be over. We should get people excited in jobs earlier on, need to place more emphasis on this.
In other societies, academically strong kids also want to do other things, not just be 'bankers'. The best schools have laboratories that involve machines and the kids like getting dirty. Technical and applied studies are not just for those who are weak academically but also those who are bright. Oh yes, but this doesn't seem to work the same way here... A JC kid wanting to transfer/go to Poly would have to undergo lots of counselling.

12. [Another follow-up question, I think] We need to have a cultural/mindset change. But the fact remains that there is a sense of prestige given to certain jobs in Singapore, with respect given to certain professions. Other ppl earn more, why would you want to do something else. Is it a matter of frame of education or society? 
This is a very complex question. Part of the problem is not enough skills invested in these jobs, so productivity is low. We use too many people instead of having each person in each job being of high quality. Hmm maybe because those jobs aren't so highly demanded by "capable" people, not implying that people in those jobs now are incapable. In other countries, they can get good tips and a high quality job. We need to improve skills and improve respect. 

13. [Regarding the housing issue.] For S$1000/month, we can afford but how to live still? Our quality of life will be neglected, still want to have enough to go on a holiday and stuff.
Housing Development Board is working hard to ensure that people who buy flats need and deserve it.
The low income people get substantial special housing grant. The government's strategy is focusing on home, jobs and skills. We should be able to own a home if you got a job, and if you're out of job, you get skills. These all work hand in hand. I've missed out other points/examples.

14. [Regarding car ownership.] It costs a lot of money. Certificate Of Entitlement (COE) is supposed to be a deterring factor to relieve traffic conditions but it's not working, even though the government is trying to build more roads (at the expense of residential areas). Instead of denying the less advantage, why not reprimand bad behaviour? 
Our transport would be far worse without COE and Electronic Road Pricing (ERP). We need to find ways of curbing car ownership & usage of car. We need to rely on some other way, i.e. Price mechanism because we can't force people to not drive to work. It's a real challenge to improve the quality of public transport system, to have a better Mass Rapid Transport (MRT)/bus network. What about improving the cycling network and encouraging more Singaporeans to use bicycles instead?!? We are spending S$60b on improving public transport to make it more convenient for people to not have cars/not drive everyday. But our public transport companies are private and profiteering companies! Should they not have the innate incentive to improve the system? Or something like that?? Comparing ourselves to other societies, we are not bad. The average Singaporean has a higher Standard of Living (SOL) than most Asian societies, even after adjusting for Purchasing Price Parity (PPP). The average SOL of a Singaporean is the same as one in Great Britain, although we started so far behind them. We caught up while they slowed down/stagnated. We are not where we want to be yet but we have improved a lot. Will we still improve in other matters as well, not just economic issues (here I am thinking of environmental)?

15. [Regarding social issues] Aid patients don't get help, single moms don't get help. Their kids are not eligible for post Secondary Education account and they don't have baby bonus. 
Re. aid patients, we must look at it as a whole society, not everything can be subsidised. Maybe yes, but we cannot go overboard, because the tax payers must foot the bill. Hmm I think tax payers are already paying for a lot of things that may/may not be all that awesome anyway. 
Re. single moms, in Great Britain, they are offered more, so it is probably better to be single than married. Which is obviously not what the government wants. We need to be careful. We need to make sure that families will want to take care of themselves and stay cohesive and not rely on the government to take care of them.

The Q&A session was cut short due to lack of time.

DPM ended off with It is good that we are thinking actively about the kind of society we'd like to be. After graduation, get involved in something. You don't have to join the PAP though you are welcome! Just do something in society. Get together with a group of friends. Together, make this a better society! Lofty dreams and ideals, I wonder if it will really happen? 

Further reflections of mine
I am also skeptical of the video that DPM showed during his key note address, which featured people who were given opportunities to upgrade themselves. Of course, always show the better ones, the ones you want people to see. Is it not like that in all places, even in school? Like that time, in my J2 (2010) year, was supposed to be involved in some 1823 Fund collateral, cos of my involvement in Raffles Science Institute (RSI), doing things like Walks of Life, and I think RSI wanted to showcase some biodiversity efforts being done so they can get more funding. But perhaps I couldn't provide a good enough story, didn't really require funding from 1823 Fund for Walks of Life (1823 Fund funded our EcoLit project to produce a children's story book though), and so anyway, eventually it didn't concern me. You choose what you want to show, don't you? Sighs, but I am getting cynical/skeptical. It is great, really, that the government cares for the people, and of course, upgrading one's skills is always important to stay relevant and competitive (:

And aspiring singaporeans? Maybe aspire to earn more money. Is that what we want? I sure hope not.

Also, I just find that there is no platform for greater engagement, everything is all fragmented, un-coordinated. No forums (apart from newspapers)/avenues like Stomp for questioning the government. We have so many statutory boards, I don't think the average person really knows whose is whose territory.

And again, it just seems (may not necessarily be true, and I surely hope not!) to me that the people in the government ministries all seem to follow the tide, with no one challenging much. 
The people working in/for the government may get complacent, but how to not feel that way? How to keep the desire to change and improve, and not just take the easiest course out?

Overall, I find that they know what to say, the "politically correct" answer. But what is often not said, is HOW. This is a rather feel-good thing, with the Powers That Be feeling good cos they are engaging with youths, the audience (like me) feeling good cos hey! I'm taking an active interest and attending this forum to engage the Powers That Be, and the organising committee (NUSPA) feeling good cos they are actively creating opportunities for people to get engaged! Not that it's a bad thing, this is definitely a good start, and change is definitely, underway (:

Apologies for this dry, content-heavy blog post. But I just had to post it I guess, for my records sake.

Monday, April 02, 2012

looking down the other path.

i guess i always knew what i got myself into, when i chose to take a gap year, when i started falling so hopelessly in love with biodiversity (dont mind the flowery language, my mind cannot think of better substitutes at this time of the morning) that i spent my gap year surrounded by it (or things related to it) and intend to study it and have a career around it. i honestly cannot imagine myself doing anything unrelated to biodiversity.

but perhaps because most of the people i hang out with, or meet now are all doing related fields, are all more or less of the "same type", that i've forgotten what "typical" is.

but every time i read the blogs of my peers, i realise how vastly different our lives are. my life doesnt revolve around studies and exams, nor birthday celebrations, nor competitions, or i dont know, anything related to schooling life of a teen in general. of course, i'm soon graduating from teen-hood. nonetheless, i just wonder, would i be more like them if i had stuck to the typical course of life?

and i wonder, now we're only at the very start of our lives as adults. as we continue down the journey of life, will our paths diverge even more, that i am unable to have a proper conversation with them?

i think i can interact better with adults (or rather people older than me) than with my own peers. fortunately or unfortunately.

yeah, feeling rather emo now. think the lack of sleep is finally getting to me. poor memory and short attention span and generally not as chirpy as usual. and on a random note, this is my 1000th post on this blog D:

Sunday, April 01, 2012

end of the Lenten season!

This is undoubtedly one of the longest Lent I've ever been through. Well not literally of course, Lent is always 40 days long, starting from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday (I thought previously that it was until Good Friday. Thank God I was wrong.)

But don't think I've ever felt every single day of Lent so acutely till this year, mainly because I gave up meat (and subsequently ice cream) as a sacrifice. First few weeks were still okay, but towards the end I was really wanting to eat some nice burgers and certain food dishes, so well it was quite something to have to resist that temptation I guess!

So now that Lent has ended, the first thing I ate was Cookies & Cream ice cream made by Jon! :D Tastes pretty awesome, rich and thick and creamy.

Two more months until Freedom! Well not that I am lacking freedom now. Perhaps two more months until Unemployment would be a more accurate description. And then, I'll (hopefully) be traveling around the region and completing the last parts of my gap year.

Just finished a camp for French School kids in the Zoo last Friday, the kids kept singing this song. Super cute, it's stuck in my head!

un pingouin du pôle nord (A penguin of the North pole)