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UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit jocelynesze.wordpress.com if you're interested in more recent writing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

the yearly caffeine spike.

It's exam period again. I've been pretty good this year, trying to keep disciplined, and staying away from my computer (and online distractions). Kept it up for like a couple of weeks and just totally zzzz today. Thought I was doing pretty well actually, until the afternoon. Woke up at 6+, went for a run, showered then went for lauds at Fisher House, to the geology department to run through some stuff with lecturer/supervisor, did some work, lunch then just crashed. Couldn't really concentrate on any work, wandered around town for a bit running errands, tried to go to the library to get some stuff done, but ugh just cmi. So I went back and napped and then just wasted my time away online. Such as reading stuff like "20 More Slangs Only A True Blue Singaporean Will Know".

It's less than a week to my first paper. Next week is gonna be insane. I try to keep it in mind that exams aren't the end of the world, and that they won't really matter a couple of years down the road. But meanwhile, they still consume every part of my life. Just so so so bored with revising and studying and prepping for exams now. Doesn't help that people back home have ended exams and photos of holidays are flooding my Facebook and making me extremely jealous and restless.


Also, was reading this "This is why young Singaporeans think their lives suck" and I kinda agree but disagree. Agree with everything – we want a lot, we think the world is our oyster, we want instant gratification, we blindly chase goals (paper qualifications to be specific), we have lots of choices, social media makes us think our friends' lives are better than ours, we think we're special (not too sure actually...) BUT I feel like I do know that hard work is necessary for success, that many failures comes before I can/will achieve anything, that paper chase is pointless and that I'm not any more special than most other people. I don't think my life sucks – as much as I'm whiny, I'm still really glad and grateful for the opportunities I've been given. This might be contradictory after the first two paragraphs of this post, but my short term emotions do not equate my perspective on life as a whole...


Anyway, as much as I think I'm just an average Singaporean, I can see that there may be people who might disagree and so, I'm just gonna head off and do my laundry and start working like I should have 4 hours ago.

Click to see How time gets wasted.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A mystery of the universe.

There are many mysteries in this life. Some, I don't even know exist. Others, I usually try to live with without attempting to understand, because my head hurts when I try to. But when I am forced to try and understand, like how some people think, makes me frustrated and upset. Like why are some people so full of anger and hatred. Especially for religion.

How is it that people can be so consumed by hatred for religion (or maybe just organised religion?) that any value (by which I mean stuff like abortion etc) that is remotely linked to a religious origin is simply dismissed as something religious and therefore bad.

In most circumstances, most religious things are just confined to the religious. But when things like morals and values come into play, then should religions step in? Or in secular states like Singapore (and increasingly in the UK) is this out of religions' jurisdictions? Even if laws affect society as a whole? But I guess as long as beliefs are held and practised by the religious, there's no need to bother the rest of society and get them to follow. In stuff like gay rights movements, I'm not overly bothered. There is definitely discrimination against LGBT in Singapore, especially Section 377A of the Penal Code of Singapore which criminalises sex between mutually consenting adult men. And that is definitely wrong.

I personally think that families should be founded on the mutual love of a man and a woman, but I'll not impose my views on others. With abortion though, it is a life we're talking about. Even if others don't regard it as that. I don't know how strong I want to be, or even can be on this issue. I realised (while arguing on Facebook, which is definitely the best place for debate right) that I've recently become a lot more outspoken on these issues cos they are issues where I take my guidance from my faith, and in secular Singapore, we don't talk about religion for fear of inciting violence and riots. Keep the peace, you know. So I never did talk about it, and probably so never really developed my stand on these issues. Just kinda swept it under the carpet, along with lots of other things. Here though, surrounded by people who do speak up, and having understood these issues just a mite better (though there's still much to know, on both sides), I get myself in the firing zone occasionally.

It hurts my head because once again I am forced to wonder if there is every such a thing as absolute morality, and when people disagree on the fundamentals, is it ever possible to reconcile? And I guess that is why there will never be world peace, which hurts my heart :( Cos even though religions usually preach peace, some issues cannot be compromised?

On one hand, I don't want to be quietened because someone else is shouting at me, and that person is usually bigger, taller and has a louder voice, cos I think what I have to say is somewhat important. On the other hand, because of my passion for nature and the environment and conservation, and because this concerns the future of humanity and the planet, I feel like perhaps airing my religious views might result in people dismissing my conservation views. Some people can perhaps, discriminate between the two, but I don't know, humans are strange and unpredictable and very scary at times.

To be honest, I think we're all heading towards a certainty of doom anyway, whether as an individual, population, or species, so once again, the question arises: Why do I even bother? And as often as I question myself, there is still that irresistible urge to go into conservation. Maybe because I don't like conflict when there is no way to come to a resolution, but I am outspoken and like expressing my views, and so with conservation it is definitely something that is good and necessary regardless of race language or religion. Right? :/ Sighs.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Too many things at once.

Mother's Day (in the USA and in Singapore, cos the UK's one was long over) just passed, and my Facebook feed was flooded with photos, poems, and proclamations of love and thanksgiving for my friends' mothers. I didn't, for one because I feel that would just be jumping on the bandwagon, and for another because the world doesn't need to know how much I love my mom – only she does. But at the same time, I thought, does my mom, perhaps, not think that I love and appreciate her very much then? Cos while I didn't need to proclaim my love for my mom to the world, at the same time (being all Asian-y), I didn't call her up and explicitly say to her all those things I might have posted on Facebook.

In some ways, because I'm away from home, because I don't make the trip back often (I only go back once a year for just about 4 weeks, instead of at every opportunity for the longest time possible), because I seem to prefer travelling instead of going home, it could seem like I don't miss home, don't miss my family/friends, don't miss my country. It might seem like I'm one of those who flew the nest and don't ever want to go back. That, I think, isn't true. Haven't fully thought out my post-graduation plans yet, and further studies somewhere else are on the cards, but I definitely do want to go back (at some point at least).

I think a part of me wants to travel as much as possible during my "short" holidays (about 4-5 weeks' long, between Michaelmas/Lent and between Lent/Easter terms) because I do want to go places, but I think in part also because I'm not going home, and to avoid homesickness, I seek novelty. And to assuage feelings that I might be one of those who never want to go back, I try to keep myself up to date with happenings back home (helped greatly by Facebook, of course), reminding myself of home.


I just wrote an article for a science-writing competition (very hastily in the middle of the night), and asked some friends if they would kindly help to proof-read and give comments on it. It's always quite hard to listen to criticisms, cos part of you want to justify yourself and always thinks you're in the right. But (constructive) criticism is good, and sometimes it can be hard to give it as well (cos your friends might think you're being too harsh/picky/unfair etc).

Right now, as I type these poorly-constructed sentences and lack-of-flow paragraphs, I can hear them in my mind. But there are too many things in my mind that need to get out, too many things to think about to write a good piece (and definitely too many topics to cover for exams), and sometimes you just want to rubbish it all. I promise I will try to write better next time.

Meanwhile, it's way past bedtime. Some things to occupy more of your time/thoughts:
Before and after: seeing how much the world has changed in the last century will blow your mind!
Can't stand these bait-y titles, but it is interesting. And quite scary. Reminds me of the Big Yellow Taxi song.

Food for the future
I came up with that title, cos this isn't an article and I think you wouldn't click on it if I just used their title. Though I'm not sure if mine would.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

countdown.

It's less than 3 weeks to the start of my exams. And as usual, I oscillate between panicking/being depressed about not being able to finish covering the content I need to know, and enthusiastic determination in studying what I enjoy. I have been quite a bit more disciplined this year, I think, but at the same time I'm afraid of having too high expectations of myself. Anyway, I do try to stay away from my computer as much as possible, lest I get distracted. As I just did.

But while I do think too much technology in our lives is bad, and we still need reminders as the following YouTube video does, at the same time, the ability to read about other people's stories online helps remind me of the struggles other people face and makes me reflect and think about what ultimately is most important in life.

Moderation, I guess, is the answer and the best advice for almost everything, and we should all try to live in the moment, and make the best of what we have.


And this beautifully-written and brutally-honest article by a cancer doctor on losing his wife to cancer.

I recall reading a similar article about a doctor losing his wife to cancer sometime ago, but I can't find it now. Tried trawling through my Facebook in an attempt to find the article, but my high output on Facebook meant I just wasted an hour or so. Anyway, I realise I really don't remember half the things I read online, even when they pertain to things I'm interested in. Does not bode well for exams.