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UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit jocelynesze.wordpress.com if you're interested in more recent writing.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, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter - for He is risen!

I somehow always felt Christmas was a more celebrated occasion than Easter, perhaps because of all the additional hype from present-giving. Here of course, there is all the chocolate egg and bunny sales going on throughout the period of Lent, which makes it difficult to think of the penitential season (Advent is a penitential season too I know). To be honest, this was probably my least Lenten Lent in a while, I've been finding it difficult to keep my faith without the support of a community like Fisher House. Nonetheless, it's Easter.

He died for our sins though He is without sin, and is risen now. And that is why we are Christians, and why we believe.

At the last minute, I decided to attend Easter Vigil at the Brompton Oratory last night, and I'm glad I did. It was in Latin, and though the first time I attended Latin mass it was somewhat of a shock, I quite enjoy it now. Makes the order of the mass somehow more beautiful. The lighting up of the altar was also really nice. And I am reminded, perhaps at just the right time, to be a light in this world, and bring light to others' lives, and not despair.

Brompton Oratory all lit up after Easter vigil

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Escapism.

I've always been a bit of an escapist, which is why I read (fiction especially). The past week and a bit, I've been in a real low, which I would like to attribute to it being weeks 9 and 10 (and I'm used to 8 week terms). Was getting rather frustrated over trying to work some stuff out in my project, and I really wanted a break and to get outdoors. Visited some friends in Oxford over the weekend, which was quite nice and made me more cheerful for a while, but it didn't last long. Even watching the awesome films at the Banff Mountain Film Festival yesterday provided just temporary reprieve from the foul mood that had settled over me (in that my default expression was resting bitch face, and I was tending towards more negative thoughts, though if you talked to me, you probably couldn't tell anything was different).

In this dark mood, my sensitivities towards humanity/human nature/living are heightened, and I find myself feeling miserable for all the inequalities that exist, especially how much one's life is determined just purely on where one is born, to the point that I wish I could just escape all my emotions. Went for a wander around Brompton cemetery this morning with a friend who was doing coursework on it, and instead of elevating my mood as I had hoped, I found myself on the verge of tears for all the lives lost during the wars, especially of the lost years of living for the youths.

Escapism however, can always be found in the world of Harry Potter. I had read the books (in a continuous loop) when I was younger, and even ventured into fan fiction for a while (stopped myself cos it would have taken over my life). After 3+ years in the UK, I finally went for the Warner Bros. Studio Tours in Leavesden (Zone 9 of London). And though it was really expensive (£35), it was really really good. Cheered me up immensely.

The entrance. We had a 4pm entrance ticket, which was pretty good timing

Amazing Hogwarts model!

Seriously amazing, the amount of effort and detail that went into making the film.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Beautifully haunting music.

This song has been stuck in my mind the past few days. I usually listen to instrumentals (Studio Ghibli, Yiruma, Brian Crain, Richard Clayderman) or film OSTs (HTTYD!, LOTR, Hobbit) when I'm working.



Into the West - Annie Lennox (from LOTR: The Return of the King)
Lay down
Your sweet and weary head
Night is falling
You’ve come to journey's end
Sleep now
And dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across the distant shore

Why do you weep?
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see
All of your fears will pass away
Safe in my arms
You're only sleeping

[Chorus]
What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
All souls pass

Hope fades
Into the world of night
Through shadows falling
Out of memory and time
Don't say: «We have come now to the end»
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again

And you'll be here in my arms
Just sleeping

[Chorus]

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
Grey ships pass
Into the West



Was talking to a friend about it and she said it would be a really nice funeral song. And I fully agree.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Cycling in London and the idealism of youth.

They're two somewhat disparate concepts but both thoughts floating around my brain the past few days.

Another difference between this year and the last three years (on top of the cooking, drinking and boredom) is that I've been cycling a lot more. Despite Cambridge being a cycling city, I just never really had to cycle much - unless I was going somewhere more than a 10 minute walk away, cos then it's just 'too far'. And Peterhouse being wonderfully located 10 minutes away from my departments and the Catholic chaplaincy, there was just very little need to cycle much.

Being here in ulu (Singlish slang for isolated/rural) Silwood though, where the train station alone is about a 40 minutes walk away, I find myself cycling way more, as I chronicled last week with my grocery shopping trip. When I have to go to London for my project (which is with University College London; UCL), I bring my bike in as well (love it that bikes can be brought onto trains for free in the UK, though only during off-peak hours) so I can cycle around London instead of paying for the Tube.

Cycling in London is pretty terrifying. I usually try to cycle during fairly off-peak hours so I don't get overly petrified on the roads, but sometimes that's just unavoidable. Last Thursday, I was cycling from UCL to Oxford Street to meet my friend for dinner, and on Bloomsbury Street I was seriously overwhelmed. There were cars/cabs/buses all around, stuck in traffic, and while I was trying to figure out which lane to get into, cyclists were swooping all around left right and centre, swerving around vehicles and cutting in front of them. I was honestly amazed - are they not terrified of getting hit?? I guess you become a fairly hardened cyclist once you've spent enough time on London roads.


I've also been meeting the other Singaporean naturalists?biologists?people-into-biodiversity? in London a fair bit as well, every Wednesday for the last two weeks and the upcoming one. And it's pretty energising, cos I've honestly become so much more jaded and passive over the last few years about speaking up for nature/biodiversity. I still love it, no doubt, still geek out about it with friends, and still do post a horrendous amount on my Facebook (sorry FB friends), but I feel I no longer talk about it with a zeal and passion that maybe I used to have when I was younger. Scrolling through my old posts on Nature Rambles (my nature blog; pre-2013 posts), I am suddenly reminded that yes, I used to do a lot of trips and was so excited to see all the different organisms and blog about them.

Somewhat terrifyingly,  I am now perhaps just as excited or even more about plotting pretty graphs in R and getting my script to work. O:

Anyway, with the Cross Island Line (CRL; no idea why it's not CIL) being the hot topic in Singapore right now in the nature community, that was naturally what was on our minds too. The youngest member among us, who a fair number of people have compared to me (as in she reminded them of me, when I was on my gap year), has a contagious passion and will to get things done, and it's amazing. It makes me wonder if I used to be that passionate, and somehow lost it all in the intervening years. The idealism of youth though, is so precious. If not for her, I really doubt we'd have gotten anything done; we'd just have spent a lot of time griping about it and resigning ourselves to being able to do nothing halfway around the world. As it is, we managed to get an event organised for next Wednesday, with Ms Faizah Jamal, former Nominated Member of Parliament, talking about the CRL and other environmental/governance issues in Singapore at UCL. I was like 'let's take a bet on the attendance - 10?', and on FB we now have >50 who indicated that they're going. Even with a 50% dropout rate, that's still double the number I thought we would get. That's how cynical I've gotten :/


Meanwhile, I'm getting really restless. Want spring to come proper so I can get outdoors and go camping.