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UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit if you're interested in more recent writing.

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.

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