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UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit jocelynesze.wordpress.com if you're interested in more recent writing.

Friday, January 31, 2014

新年快乐!(Happy Chinese New Year)

Some less filtered thoughts from a second-year student spending (yet another) Chinese New Year abroad. Perhaps I should do a Truths (or perhaps my Opinion) About Studying Overseas series, which I kinda already have here, and here.

Most people think studying overseas is awesome, cos you get to travel and you get your independence and stuff. Which is perfectly true, until something like Chinese New Year pops up. Chinese New Year is a big thing in Singapore, and in most other countries where there is a significant Chinese community. Chinese New Year is not so much a big thing here, in Cambridge.

I blogged about my first CNY here last year, which was generally quite a tempered if homesick post. But I sometimes feel that CNY here is a lot about your "social status". Do you have people to celebrate CNY with, outside of organised activities? Or are you going to be spending your CNY eve kinda on your own?

Social media can help make you feel worse, when people upload photos of themselves with friends and food. It makes you wonder if every other Chinese out there is at this moment, surrounded by the warmth of friends and food, and perhaps just too busy enjoying themselves to post photos of food(cos the food is of course, a very important part of Chinese New Year)/selfies on Facebook.

But of course, that's not entirely true. Some of us are just spending a quiet night in our rooms, as any other night, writing our essays/lab reports (or drawing/colouring geological maps). And most probably, missing home/family/friends/food very much.

Not meant to be an entirely emo, poor-me post, but just something I thought about. I Skyped my family earlier at lunchtime while they were having/after they had reunion dinner (yay 8 hours time difference), and while I miss the people and the food, I'm glad to be able to escape those CNY questions for another year. Not particularly keen on hearing "有没有男朋友了啊?" (do you have a boyfriend?) over and over again.

On a side note, I've been seeing a lot less about not eating sharks' fin soup on Facebook in the run up to this year's CNY. I guess people are generally a lot more aware now, which is good, and it seems this is reflected in consumption trends. If CNA can be relied on.


Anyway, no matter where you are/who you're surrounded by, hope you have a Happy Chinese New Year. And if you are celebrating it on your own, maybe you will be comforted by the knowledge that there are many others out there in the same position! I do wish people wouldn't feel alone, cos that's an awful feeling.

A silly video to end with so it's not so depressing a note. (:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Just been a little more than a week...

But it already feels like we've been back for ever. Lectures come and go, and this term I want to really stay on top of things and start revising and generally be a good student. At the moment though, there are other things going on, such as the Cambridge Climate & Sustainability Forum that I'm involved with as part of the organising committee for the second year running. Which will be tomorrow, and I think it's gonna be better than last year. At least I don't see the need to pull an all-nighter to get everything sorted, cos it is more or less sorted (: And I'm really excited for it.

People sometimes tell me, I'm doing so many things, how do I cope? For one, I don't study half as hard as I should. Or half as hard as other people, I think. For another though, I think keeping myself busy with many things (usually non-academic) is my coping mechanism. During lull periods, I spend more time thinking, generally missing Singapore and so wasting my time on Youtube watching various Singapore-related videos and being unproductive. With Things To Do though, organising things, emailing, going out for weekend trips or doing soup runs etc, I have less time to think aimless thoughts. That time I have is so precious I'm just gonna be spending it doing supervision work (or maybe hopefully revising).

Anyways, I should probably get on with what I need to do, instead of wasting time blogging about pointless things. Since you've already read up to this point, why not spend a few more minutes watching this

Argh, annoyed that I can't seem to find it on YouTube search (from Blogger platform) to embed it, so just watch it on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXWcZ_HbHFE

Saturday, January 18, 2014

selfishness.

I thought about this as I was writing my usual end-of-year reflections, but decided to write it some other time instead. Didn't really wanna spoil the mood you see.

People usually talk about how going overseas makes you more independent, having to deal with your 3 meals and laundry and basically organise your own life with minimal parental influence. Which is perfectly true. What people didn't say, was that going overseas also makes you more selfish. Perhaps at this point I should now just talk about myself, cos maybe it's not generalis-able.

I realised this especially while travelling with my family over the Christmas vacation. I've been so used to just thinking about myself and planning for myself, that I have to remind myself, or be reminded, that I'm not the only stakeholder anymore. I would like to think that I have not completely turned into a selfish asshole, but I really do think that I have become a lot more inward-looking. Perhaps especially too, during university years, when it's about developing yourself to your potential, for your future career, for your CV etc. And teamwork, and thinking about others isn't emphasised as much as it was in sec sch/jc. Maybe because of the different level of education, maybe because of different cultural norms back in Singapore versus the UK, maybe because I'm just thinking about it less. Whatever it is, even in my prayers, I do find myself becoming more self-centred.

I''m not saying that thinking about myself is bad, though there does tend to be the belief that selfishness/self-centredness is bad. And yes, while I think it's a fundamental societal need that we think about others and consider others (and take actions that if do not benefit, at least not harm others), but to care properly for others, I think it's equally important that one takes care of his/her own needs first. Even so, I guess I just find this increased shift in focus to myself kinda perturbing. Don't wanna end up as a selfish brat.


Then again, I do have to spend quite a lot of time thinking about what I want to do after I graduate (in the not-too-long future) and that is something I'm having quite a lot of thoughts about. So many things I could do, that I want to do. I'm greedy that way, or perhaps just kiasu (defined by http://www.talkingcock.com/ as "Hokkien adjective literally meaning, "afraid of losing"." NOT the Google definition.).


There's been too much text and not enough photos. So while I'm still in the process of gathering the self-discipline to deal with my own photos, spend a few seconds looking through some amazing photos that will guarantee a smile.
Photo taken from boredpanda.com's article, but check out Elena Shumilova's Flickr album here.



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

25 for 25.

I drafted this sometime last year, after watching this amazing and inspirational video (initially watched on Vimeo, which is not linked to Blogger, unlike YouTube). But as always, there are things we say we wanna do but never actually do. Anyway, finally got round to it.



And so I decided I need to come up with a list for 25, not of climbing routes I want to have done (not that hard-core a climber), but of places I want to have travelled to by the time I'm 25. Which is now, just 3 years away. In no particular order.

To hike/climb/dive/experience:
1. Manta rays and whale sharks
2. Palau and stingless jellyfish
3. Ocean sunfish
4. Whales
5. Galapagos islands
6. Backpack through Patagonia
7. Backpack through New Zealand
8. Backpack through East Europe
9. Hike to Machu Pichu
10. Hike the Laugavegurinn/Fimmvörðuháls Pass, Iceland
11. Hike the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James), Spain
12. Hike (some parts of) the Appalachian trail
13. Denali National Park, Alaska
14. Wolves in Yellowstone
15. Giant Redwoods in California
16.  Rocky Mountains
17. Grand Canyon
18. Mont Blanc
19. Desolation Wilderness, California
20. Climb in the Pyrenees
21. Climb in Yosemite
22. Red-point a 7a (even on an indoor wall!)
23. Complete a multi-pitch climb.
24. Spend a few months in a remote forest doing biology
25. To live for a while in a non-English speaking country

A lot of it is in the Americas, and I know I'm neglecting a large part of the world, but 3 years isn't a lot of time. Maybe I'll have another list for 35. When I'm older and hopefully, richer.


This post needs more photos. But I'm too lazy. Sorry.