Archive for the ‘by jane’ Category

who/what/where would you like to be ten years from now?

Monday, July 7th, 2008


over the past couple of years on various occassions, i’ve commented to yihui that i think both of us were really lucky to have been in NUS and gotten into the Make It Real Student (MIR) Mountaineering programme back then. MIR gave us the opportunity to become mountaineers and it all began with one simple step of answering a poster stuck on a random notice board to attend a talk given by one of the MIR seniors.

who would you like to be ten years from now?

i’ve always been very thankful for the mountaineering opportunity that MIR gave me and now with SWET, i’m glad that as a team, we’re committed to sharing our team experiences with youths and inspiring them to find their own passions in the prime of their lives, to climb their own “Everest”. just as our mentors gave us inspiration, encouragement and a platform to develop our potential, as SWET, we aim to be inspirational role models for the youths that we meet as well.

now, for the very first time, SWET is putting together a holistic programme for all youths to experience what it is like to be a mountaineer. it’s a two day programme which we call the “Aspiring Mountaineers Programme”. invitations have been sent to schools and the two-day event is brought to participating youths free of charge, thanks to the generosity of our venue partners, the National Library and the Safra Adventure Sports Centre at Yishun Safra. in a show of support for our efforts, our patron, dr vivian balakrishnan, minister for community development, youth and sports, will be gracing the event as our guest-of-honour.

and because i think we’re doing an awesome event that is so totally worth screaming about, here’s what we have planned for the two days:

Day 1: Saturday 2 August

National Library, Victoria Street Level 16 POD
on this first day, we’re going to share our journey as a team with our young participants. why climb mountains? what are the challenges? do we fight? how do we train 6 days a week and still find time to work and have a life? how cold does it get up there? can anyone climb? what lessons can climbing a mountain give? is fulfilling a dream hard? why dream at all?

what would you like to be ten years from now?

following that, we’ll invite our participants to share and identify their own goals on our brand new “specially-created-for-this-event” website. so while we’re reaching for our literal Everest, our youth participants can commit themselves to their own “Everest” on our website. we all have our own mountains to climb and that is a challenge to celebrate and be proud of.

finally, we have this really cool set up in conjunction with hivelocity that will simulate a high altitude atmosphere and participants can experience for themselves how it feels like to climb at altitude.

and all that, on just the first day.

Day 2: Sunday 3 August
9am to 1pm
Safra Adventure Sports Centre, Yishun Safra

we’ll follow up the excitement from the first day with a superultramegacool challenge activity of simulated ice-climbing at Yishun Safra. if you thought rock climbing well, rocked your world, then wait till you get to strap on crampons and swing an ice axe.

and i’ve saved the best for last. nope it’s not another adrenaline pumping activity, but rather, how this two day programme all links back to mountaineering.

Day 1–Talk by SWET: “Base Camp”
Day 1–Online Pledge: “High Camp”
Day 2–Challenge Activity: “Summit”

when we climb, there is always a base camp, a high camp (sometimes more than one) and of course, a summit. each “check point” represents a phase in the realization of a goal. the aim of our Aspiring Mountaineers Programme isn’t to turn all our young participants into mountaineers, but rather, to use our unusual sport to demonstrate that it is possible to reach for the stars, (or a summit) and surprise! you’re not crazy. what we’re doing, is providing a unique platform to engage youths and invite them to consider where they would like to be, what they would like to achieve and offer them a chance to challenge themselves with an activity that is out of their comfort zone.

so we all need to start with a “base camp” somewhere and just like how yihui and i responded to the MIR talk years ago, if you’re interested, come for our talk on day 1.

where would you like to be ten years from now?

who knows? it might just be the first day of the rest of your life.

if you’re interested to come either as an individual or together with your school mates, drop us an email at

spaces are very limited and priority goes to students, so rsvp with us soon!

2009, here we come!

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008


A fellow climber once joked that climbing is “long periods of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror”.

Usually, each climbing expedition factors in anything from a few days, to a few weeks of waiting time at base camp, as a precaution against bad weather, when no movement up the mountain in possible.

Although waiting out bad weather at base camp is less strenuous than a treacherous slog up ice cliffs at higher altitudes, it is by no means easy, physically or mentally. With every passing day spent at altitude, even at rest, the body deteriorates in reaction to the lack of oxygen in the air. This in turn leads to slower brain activity, general sluggishness, loss of appetite and eventually, muscular atrophy. Most of all, waiting takes the biggest toll on one’s mental state. The heightened state of anticipation, when met with the headwall of frustration at being unable to move any higher, can be agonozing to bear, especially when physical deterioration begins to set in after long exposure at altitude.

After climbing around the world for the last 4 years, all of us could probably fill tomes on the downside of waiting, twiddling your thumbs, feeling your muscles shrink by the day and still not having a clear day to move up the mountain. However, we’ve also waited though enough bad weather cycles to know that unforseen halts in our climbing schedule are part and parcel of the entire expedition experience and these also have to be overcome before we can reach the summit.

This year, we’re doing a rather different sort of waiting.

The Singapore Women’s Everest Team will aim to be the first all-women’s team from Singapore to summit Mount Everest in 2009.

We have postponed our Everest expedition by a year because we’re still seeking additonal funding to send the minimum number of climbers up Everest. We will aim to summit Everest in Spring 2009, sometime in the middle of May, when a suitable weather window opens up and the perennial jet stream on the summit ceases to blast everything standing into Tibet.

Coming after 4 years of climbs, six-day a week training regimes, publicity blitzes and fundraising drives, all of us were heartbroken when the decision was made, but we have accepted it as another obstacle to be overcome in our long journey to the summit of Mount Everest.

Since our decision to postpone the climb, we have been devoting ourselves more than ever to our fundraising campaign. It meant the world to us when our current sponsors received the news with great understanding and support. Some of our sponsors even interpreted our postponement as good news, as we now have an extra year to extend our partnership and generate more public awareness together!

It was especially heartening when our family, friends and supporters rallied around us to cushion our disappointment with their support, at a time when we all needed it the most.

So not to worry, all of us have bounced back with renewed energy and a positive perspective! With an additional year to go, we’ll have more time to execute some ingenious fundraising ideas and extra time to prepare ourselves physically.

Following the stellar success of our Cho Oyu (8201m) expedition in Tibet last year, all of us are confident of our bid for the summit of Everest. The final leap for all of us to make, is to raise enough money within this additional year of time that we now have.

“The mountain is always there”, as one of our wise mentors used to say and what’s more important than recognizing that, is knowing that our team can overcome this unforseen challenge to wait another year. If Rome wasn’t built in a day, then an expedition with the magnitude of Everest is definitely worth the anticipation.

Obstacles are put in the way of success not to deter us, but to allow us an opportunity to reach even higher. When we step onto the summit of Everest next year, figuratively, we would already have climbed it more than once.


Friday, November 23rd, 2007

One of the best things i love about working in RP, is the fact that my office is at the Sports Complex, i.e. having an olympic-sized pool at my doorstep! I went for a lunch-time swim with some colleagues (another bonus: colleagues for company!) since the day was too beautiful to not be in the pool. Finished a 50-lap swim and I feel GREAT!

Swimming has got to be the most boring sport in my books, but I’m addicted to the after effect of feeling really taut and toned after a long swim (even though it only lasts until after the next meal). After a long run, i just feel like jello and after a stairs session, the only thing I feel is this overall soreness and bloatiness which I attribute to having a hip belt pressing down and ankle weights weighing down on me.

Perhaps if I invested in a nifty underwater mp3 player (it really exists by the way), long swims will be less tedious.


For the first time in two weeks, I had some spare time for myself last night. In between the conclusion of one meeting over beer at the Penny Black and waiting for Kyo to meet me for dinner, I had half an hour to myself during which I didn’t have to rush off to meet someone, do something, be some place or get somewhere. What a luxury.

I took a nice stroll down from Boat Quay to the Esplanade and at the park area near the waterfront, there was this couple that was walking towards me and all of a sudden, the guy just stopped and pulled the girl down in a totally exaggerated Hollywood-style kiss that can only happen in the movies.

If the couple caught up in the acrobatic liplock had bothered to surface for air, they would have seen me walking past with a quizzical frown. Don’t get me wrong though, I wasn’t furrowing my brows from the perspective of a prude, cuz god knows what I’m guilty of, but it’s the fact that such acts of spontaneous romance can still exist.

I think I have unconsciously become a romance-cynic.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the nice things like a lift home after a long day at work or a sandwich waiting for me after training, but it’s the entire stable of that romantic spiel of flowers, candy, hallmark cards, hot air balloon proposals and related “grand gestures” that just inspire a raised eyebrow.

Just what is the deal with “romance” anyway? We’re sold bucket-loads of it every year during Valentine’s Day. And from all that lovey dovey blitz that I’ve been bombarded with over the years, I am supposed to feel as unloved, unwanted and undesirable as a three-legged cat with a flea infestation and one eye, if I am not wined, dined, given hallmark-approved “surprises” and the like.

Anyone with enough time on his hands to execute some (pretty standard) planning can be romantic. A large part of the romantic appeal is that “Oh! I didn’t expect this!” factor that comes from being spontaneously surprised, but isn’t romance just a small word for one big premediated effort? If you ask me, lust can be spontaneous, love is nurtured and romance is well, just premediated.

I think life is too short to be wasted beating around the bush. Which is essentially what romance is all about isn’t it? Showing love and appreciation with the help of flowers, cards, bears, limos, dancing gorillas, gondola rides and sky-writing.

By my standards, true love only comes in one form and it doesn’t involve surprising grand gestures: when your boyfriend doesn’t make the choice between beloved PSP or girlfriend time and instead, gives you the PSP to amuse yourself on the commute to work. =)


Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

6 babes, free beer and an adrenalin rush???

Man this is just too good to be true!

Ok, so the term “babes” is pushing it a little, the beer isn’t exactly free and the adrenalin rush may be vicarious, but what the hell, come down for the MARMOT MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL anyway! Esther has already blogged about this event and check out the great looking poster in an earlier post! So now you have absolutely no reason at all not to come after reading about it twice! =)

The event will be held on the 15th of Dec at Ice Cold Beer, which is a pub on the ground floor of SMU, on the side facing Chijmes. Come find out more about our amazing Cho Oyu climb from our video and slideshow presentation and we’ll tell you how we braved 8000m and returned triumphant from the jaws of death! we’ll show you photos of death-defying high altitude stunts and showcase videography at its most extreme!

Obviously, I’m bragging, but hey, with the FREE FLOW of Stella Artois beer, you won’t even notice after a while.

All proceeds from the ticket sales will go directly to the team so if you’ve been thinking for ways and means to fulfil some karmic duty and help us, then this is it!


Marmot Mountain Festival
15 Dec

3pm till late (we promise to entertain)
Ice Cold Beer (SMU ground floor)
$30, inclusive of food and free flow of beer
Tickets are available at Camper’s Corner #01-13, Capitol Building (It’s the white building directly opposite City Hall MRT and diagonally across the road from Raffles City shopping centre.)


In other news, I’m totally pleased. My horribly sprained left ankle (thanks to a particularly careless trail run at MacRitchie) has finally healed! Or at least, it has healed enough for me to run! I did a 10km run yesterday after an agonizing one week hiatus and it was great! It’s amazing what post-run endorphins can do for you. I was feeling crabby the entire week with lots of excess energy that upper body weights training wasn’t dissipating well enough. So yippeeeee I’m back! And in good time, with less than 4 weeks to the marathon.

Speaking of marathon, Yihui, Lihui, Esther and myself are taking part in this weekend’s vertical marathon. We may just turn up in our packs and decked out in our climbing gear for kicks. Wave if you see us. =)

jane blogs!

Monday, November 5th, 2007

i’ve gone and done it again. not blog for yonks. i maintain that i was always meant to be a luddite and all things that come with wires are repelled from me.

the singapore river regatta came and went this weekend past. on a happy note, my younger brother, paddling for RP, took home a silver medal in the men’s open category. yay for younger brothers! =)

on a not too merry note, i realised just how much i missed the whole being in spc (singapore paddle club) thing! true, i only paddled for sava ‘06, but because of my relationship with kyo, a permanent dragonboat fixture since like, 1965, it seems like i’ve been around the sport for a much longer time.

climbing is my first love, but i’m also a real water baby at heart and when i was actually training for it during the post mustagh climb break last year, i thought the sport was totally fun. no plans of hanging up my crampons EVER, but hey, there’ll be some room for more paddling in the post-Everest future. =)

i was only at the race for short periods last weekend, but that was long enough to catch up with some old friends and timely enough to get a load of kyo’s broken paddle. which i thought, in utterly bimbo fashion, was such a turn on. kyo actually managed to break his carbon paddle in half while doing a draw stroke before a race start. without much consideration for consequence, i thought hefting a broken paddle was pretty amazing, to his consternation.

anyway, on an even more ridiculous note, i shall leave off with some monday comic relief, courtesy of mr a*** t**. some things (and people) just never change. =)

you HAVE to see this

colleagues @ rp!

Friday, October 19th, 2007

i’ve become annoying and used the ubiquitous @ xxx that government bodies and organizations seem to love these days. the spelling proficiency of our nation has a strange inverse relationship to literacy rates. just think of smartass “convergent” names like “skindulgence” which i saw the other day and the like. anyway.

PR a bit… haha

i’ve survived my first week of work and i actually think i may have chanced upon a happy niche for myself! things have been great, largely thanks to a team of “same wavelength” colleagues. to illustrate, our office is now known affectionately as “base camp” and sabrina, one of the managers, refers to the stickiness of problems in terms of climbing lingo: “i think that’s a 6b+ problem ah; wa lau! this one 8a man!”. here, people actually exemplify the oft-touted but less practised “work-life balance”. training is encouraged and everyone went play floorball before lunch today (i’m sat this one out to rest for my 20km run after work–it’s not an excuse to nuah btw. jane isn’t superhuman! =P). it’s totally cool that everyone’s passionate about the outdoors, physically fit, into sports and has a particular “pet” adventure sport where their expertise runs! it’s such a far cry from my last job, where i felt uncomfortable not doing voluntary O.T like everyone else and left on time instead to go for training. it’s great to no longer be the weird odd one out. =)



this is pringles, my rp bear. he resides permanently in my harness bag and he doesn’t tend to do very much except stare pensively into space, through his little mesh peep holes. in the forseeable future, he’ll make a good fish tank algae scrubber for the office. i’m sure he’s pretty absorbent.

assorted fishies!


the office pets! there’s the tank of angel fish that just stay motionless alot, sort of like pringles, plus 1 x sucker fish that was seconded from a tank in the pantry to do the job of eating the tank algae. so far, it has been rather inefficient, which is why pringles may have to be activated very soon. there’s also a landscaped tank of teeny fish that no one can see, or pays any attention to.


seung joined rp at the same time as me, but as you can tell, for some inexplicable reason, he’s experiencing some preliminary work stress. it could be because he’s the honorary office “receptionist”, since the open door literally bangs smack into his desk. i’m not too sure if it’s the work stress, or if he’s manifesting some sort of disturbing psychotic tendency. he’s actually an avid biker. both the engine type and the manual huff-and-puff kind, hence explaining the weirdass bike part he’s holding. i’m sure load-testing on parts has achieved a measure of technological advancement, so he’s still a little old school here.


this is sabrina, who deserves special mention as the FIRST BUYER OF THE TEAM’S 2008 FUNDRAISING CALENDAR (btw, if you should require a super gorgeous wall calendar replete with awesome climbing shots taken by the team, which we ALL do, since calendars are such an important staple of life, contact us to purchase a copy and contribute to the everest expedition! more shameless PR. =D) since she was the VERY FIRST BUYER, sabrina received a totally cute yellow “hug me” teddy bear wall hook. she’s into collecting wall hooks. people have all sorts of collecting hobbies these days: stamps, antique toys, college degrees, random bed partners, and now, wall hooks. so i thought cute bear wall hook was really sweet, until the warped recesses of sabrina’s mind popped to the fore and she had to remark:

“eh the bear like a bit obscene hor?”


said offending bear.

and that, from the person who has been asking people rather coquettishly: “do you want my buns? they’re sticky and sweet”…

wall hooks aside, sab is the culprit behind all the dive gear clogging my work space, but since she’s also a contact rugby player, i try not to whine too loudly about that fact:

fortunately, i thrive in mess, sort of like log moss and leaf litter insects, so i’ve pretty much settled into our storeroom of an office.


this is david, better known as “giant david”. others get lazy and abbreviate that to “GD”, which is rather unfortunate, since that acronym has been misinterpreted before as “GoonDu”. he’s also my reporting officer, so i try not to be too blunt about the fact that huge people should not wear size S t-shirts for the sake of everyone else’s optical comfort. david’s the antarctica man, having skiied to the south pole in 2000, but his “waaaaa” factor is severely downgraded by his obsession with the “salted egg superman”. i guess too many years in OBS instills a sort of strange ultraman idolatry.


this is michael. he’s the damn zai rock climber in the dept. in real life, he’s pretty hamsum and lean (0% fat content! don’t play play…), but he has ruined his image here by choosing to take the “sensitive new age guy” thing one step too far. i maintain that guys and cuddly bears don’t go together. those cuddly bears should join pringles in the tank algae cleaning brigade. one might even mistake michael for a hongkong superstar, especially since he insists on speaking in a faux hongkee accent, ala glenn ong’s long dead and gone honky-tonk man.


this is xinyi. see what i mean by guys and cuddly toys don’t go together? and notice that the office is filled with an incongruous mix of outdoor equipment, fish and stuffed toys. xinyi is my carbo-junkie partner in crime, but it’s less bad for her than it is for me, since she’s about the size of yihui divided by three. together, xinyi, michael, david and sab make up the “lim” family, cuz they’re all of the same surname. xinyi is the young lim, sab is the old lim, david is the dinosaur lim and michael’s the punk lim, all for rather obvious reasons. haha

the fallen comrade!

then there’s jean, the adventure racer of the group and i haven’t seen her yet cuz she’s on mc from a burn! aieeeee… i hope she recuperates soon and comes back to work before my image of her gets increasingly distorted… for now, she will have to be represented by her bike!

the boss man…

finally, there’s wilson, the boss man. he’s the owner of all the fish in the office. i should hold my peace about him, for fear of future repurcussions. well, but if door decorations make the man, then he is damn cartoon. hurhur. 

so that’s more or less my dept and no office can be complete without it’s very own, totally out of point, banana-shaped door sign:



Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

i haven’t yet fallen off the face of our planet, i’ve just been tardy in updating.

which WAS a teensy problem that i WILL rectify. =)

i’m dying to have a long blog post about the wondrous adventure that was cho oyu, but until i get my hands on the team’s entire library of photos, i shall restrain myself.

training woes…

i’ve actually been busy with training since i got back. i think i’ve become slightly paranoid. to my great horror, my running has dropped more than i expected as a result of the rigours of cho oyu and 2 months of not having done any running. last week, i did 50km over 5 days. sounds like pretty normal, pre-cho oyu standards right? like, NOOOOOO.

before cho oyu, i was clocking 50-60km a week, on top of stairs, bukit timah training, spinning and gym and i was ok. in contrast, by last sunday, i was complaining of full body aches when there wasn’t even intense weights-training to speak of. last saturday, i did a 10km run, followed by 5km of intervals and then retired home early, thanks to cramping calves. i repeated the same thing on sunday and voila! the completely intense aches and pains.

one of the not-so-great things about climbing, is the fact that i can feel like the bionic woman just before i leave and about as fit as a pack of McDonald’s fries when i get back.

so the stan-chart marathon is under two months away and there’s absolutely NO WAY i’m going to let kyo “i have been clocking billions of kms while you were climbing in a bid to outrun you” tan beat me to the finishing line.

i shall start doing “secret remedial training” without his knowledge and he’ll have to wipe his smug smirk away when i leave him in the dust (like, sure). haha.

work it…

i actually love my new job!

i started work at rp’s adventure learning centre yesterday and so far, it’s been GREAT! my office is cosy and totally looks like my room at home: there are 5 mountain bikes sticking out of cubicles, coils and coils of climbing rope heaped on a desk, helmets, harnesses and hardware just beside, running shoes on the floor and a pile of BCDs and boxes of diving regulators and masks behind my chair.  

I LOVE THE MESS! especially since it’s made up of all my favourite stuff and i’ll add my backpack and climbing boots to the stash very soon. =)

my colleagues are totally cool as well. i’ve known my manager since some years ago, cuz he climbs with the team’s mentors (they’re all from the same lao chiao group)

there are 6 ccas under my department, split between the group of us. there’s scuba diving, kayaking, adventure racing, mountain biking, trekking (mine! duh…) and strangely enough, astronomy.

the best part of all this is, part of my workplan is to set up a mountaineering club! so now i’m in the happy position of sourcing for equipment and planning for skills training. how cool is that? i shall propose expeditions based on where i want to climb next! bwhahahaha.

on a more serious note, one of the things i like best about the job is that i’ll be able to constantly upgrade my skills. as it is, i’ve already been slated for a wilderness first aid course in november and next year’s training plans include a mountain guide course overseas. the ultimate best thing of all, is that i’ll be able to get together a group of young people, train them up and then bring them on climbs! yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee fresh blood for the mountaineering circle!

anyway… my colleagues are great! 4 of us (including 2 managers, no less) spent our lunch time running together and thus, i finished my run plus intervals with company. where else will i find ppl crazy enough to willingly run in the noon day heat?


guilty as charged, i’ve been eating truckloads of food the past week! although strangely enough, while i spent two months in tibet/nepal with a paltry ONE day of diarrhoea, i’ve been having the runs every single day since arriving back in singapore! ack! to think, towards the end of the cho oyu expedition, i started getting totally lazy with the whole hand-sanitizer thing, with nary a tummy rumble!

but having said that, no amount of post-gastro-indulgence suffering was enough to deter me!

literalizing pigging out…

food’s only so-so. at least the portions were satisfying =)

check this place out! it’s a newly opened dessert bar at holland village (on the second floor, opposite the subway sandwich outlet) called 2am:dessert bar. it’s owned and run by gracie (mir-team mate)’s best bud, who’s a totally talented 24 year old chef! how cool is that? it stays open till 2 am btw. duh… that’s daddy kyo sitting by his lonesome self at the counter (actually, he’s just blocking yihui, gracie and mao mao on his left). he isn’t very space-efficient.

the dessert’s almost too pretty to eat! all the ice-cream is homemade and trust me, they have THE BEST hot chocolate you will EVER taste!

with my team mates, partaking in our third most-favourite-activity (climbing and training come first and second!): eating. loads and loads of food. we had a send-off dinner for amok who was flying back to shanghai to work. my team, plus amok (expd doc), kb (base camp manager) and chu (from the other singapore team who was at cho oyu), gathered at geylang lorong 9 for a feast of numerous pots and plates of frog-leg porridge, grilled sotong, grilled stingray, pig’s trotter vinegar, fried oyster omelette, beef hor fun and boring vegetables (mostly for joanne who has given up on decimating animal numbers). damn shiok! i didn’t realise how much i missed our local fare.

met up with my gorgeous darling babe, miss lee wanyi last friday! we had dinner at hooter’s before going to barfly at clarke quay. btw, miss lee was the annoying culprit who had me going, “THIS IS JANE! YOU KNOW? JANE! YOUR HWA CHONG FRIEND JANE! THE ONE CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN!” at abc on the satellite phone, cuz she couldn’t hear me and because of the lag time, we were talking over each other. grrr.

anyway, barfly is a pretty nice place! i didn’t realise they have a live band that plays jazz (standards) and bossa nova beats.

kyo came along too. men. they’re like puppies. can’t leave them alone at home or they’ll whine…

…and once in a while, you have to let them believe that they’re somewhat attractive with the ladies.

speaking of delusional arrogance, kyo deserves to be bitchslapped once in a while. he’s going for reservist this thursday and two days ago, he remarked, “i have my ippt on thursday. i’m only worried about my pull-ups…”, to which i was like, what the hell? 

“…i’m worried that i won’t be able to make up my mind on how many i should do. just 12? or until they make me stop?”


so after listening to all the hype on radio, kyo and i finally went to try out botak jones at toa payoh last saturday. here, i’m shamelessly advertising for them (since i have no idea where my food pictures went) cuz the food is actually really good! they serve great value, no frills, more-than-decent-sized western food.

plus, i like their slogan: “if you don’t look good, we don’t really care”.

found this uber pretty candy store at vivocity on sunday!


i developed a taste for lassi in kathmandu. it’s great! i was going on and on about how i missed the naan and tandoori chicken in kathmandu (chu brought us to this hole-in-the-wall place, “annapurna restaurant”, in kathmandu and they serve extremely yummilicious tandoori chicken and freshly-baked naan!!!). so on sunday, kyo brought me to this apparently famous place that i have never heard of, “muthu’s curry” in little india. so they did have lassi and tandoori chicken and naan and (god forbid) CAULIFLOWER IN CURRY (our most-hated dish in cho oyu base camp…), but the food at annapurna restaurant is still waaaaaay better!  

my face looks damn red cuz it was a super hot day and earlier on (post run/gym/various forms of self-inflicted torture), kyo and i went to sentosa where we stood under the hot sun watching some animal show where macaws had a foot race with each other.

for some reason, kyo the animal-hater was enraptured with the concept of macaws on a foot race.

i digress. back to food.

yday was yet ANOTHER day of more pigging out. it’s hard to avoid pigging out when us girls get together. calvin, the boss of campers, one of the team’s partners, treated some of us to dinner at whampoa market. you have got to try the grilled seafood at stall no. 150! it’s how hup grilled seafood (or something…) and it’s awesome! we had grilled halibut, cod, squid and best of all, grilled prawns with garlic and cheese! amazing stuff!

this is precisely why whatever weight loss sustained on a climb never stays off. oh well.

hit me baby…

last saturday, kyo and i went to watch a couple of live muay thai fights for the contender show. it’s some reality tv competition that will be airing on axn on cable. there were three events, with the main event as the last. the first event was more or less a crowd warmer with the two fighters dancing around each other for the alloted 3 round; the second was the women’s championship match between thailand and australia, where it also took pretty long, finishing the alloted 5 rounds. so imagine our surprise, when during the main event (determining who gets into the quarter finals), the fight was over in less than 2 minutes! the losing guy was floored in less than 2 minutes, literally knocked out cold. paramedics rushed on stage and doused him with water and oxygen and whatnot and he was just out cold in the ring. from ONE punch! wow. looks like all that crap on wwf is more fake than i thought it was.

shall (abruptly) leave off with a super “awwwwwwwwwwwww….” picture…

















staring incident… uncle vs nephew


Summit bid tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

we’re finally going for our summit cycle tomorrow! weather permitting, we’ll reach the summit on the 23rd and be back at advanced base on the 24th with a couple of rest days to ponder over the feasibility of a second summit run. pretty psyched right now, prepared and raring to go! i can’t wait to see how horrible navigating the rock band at 8000m is gonna be. wish us luck and i hope to be able to update happy news on the 24th! woohoooo! THIS IS IT!

Camp 1 & further!

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

hi all! email update doubling up as a blog entry to save on our very volatile solar power source. =) been away for almost a month now and the expedition life has pretty much gotten under my skin–literally. these days, the limits of my personal hygiene are restricted to the tolerance level of my tent mate. since we all have our personal tents at ABC, i’m getting away with lots of things, the best of which is getting up in the middle of the night and not having to go to the makeshift loo outside. instead, everyone’s peeing inside tents using this really nifty pee device. anyway, i’m digressing.

so we’ve been up at camp 1 and farther on to the first ice cliff en route to camp 2. we’ll be leaving ABC tomorrow for the final acclimatization cycle, where we’ll sleep at camp 1, sleep at camp 2, climb up to camp 3, sleep back down at camp 2 and then descend all the way back to ABC and all the way down to nyalam for a final rest before the summit push sometime in mid sept. this is totally exciting. by golly we’re actually doing it!

at this point of time, i’m trying to envision the good bits (i.e reaching camp) instead of the superhuman effort it’s been taking us to climb. i swear, clearing the stretch of vertical ice on that first ice cliff before camp 2 (with a second one to go) stretched me almost to the limits of my physical endurance. front-pointing at 6700m is seriously no joke, especially not with sub-zero temperatures, howling 70km/h winds and painful spindrifts. i’ve lost more weight already than i’m comfortable with and as is it, whatever leg muscles i used to have are getting dangerously shrivelled. my shoulder and mini biceps are also non-existent and my hip bones dig painfully into the ground when i sleep on my side. i love these rest days at ABC cuz it means i can eat as much fatty bacon and eggs as i want in some vain attempt to replenish said wasted muscles. i’m swallowing as much chocolate, chips, nuts and assorted high-calorie food as humanly possible, so i’m hoping body-breakdown doesn’t happen so fast.

cho oyu is seriously MASSIVE. it’s like, HUGE. i mean, what does one expect from an 8000er anyway. it’s gigantic. i can see the entire thing from ABC and there’s always a jetstream blowing from the summit. the last time we slept up at camp 1, a massive avalanche roared off above camp 3. i guess with cho oyu, this is seriously the big league. everyone here is experienced and raring to go. i’m like probably the youngest person in the entire place and looking around, my team is probably the youngest team around. i’m getting a kick out of us being the “kiddies” on the mountain, yet we’re also the fastest, having gone up higher than anyone else at ABC.

so ABC is turning into a UN congregation. there are climbers from countries all over. we’re sharing our camp site with an american team (with two cute leaders. haha. lack of personal grooming has not fogged my eyesight over), an austrian team and another singapore team. just around the corner lie the rest of the international teams. it’s pretty amazing. all the big names in mountaineering are here, since this is cho oyu season and it’s a veritable city out here at ABC. what i’m hoping to avoid is a population explosion higher up, especially at the ice cliffs, cuz a bottleneck at altitude would be horrible and potentially fatal.

Second Acclimatization Climb at Nyalam

Monday, August 20th, 2007

We had an early start this morning and climbed up to a high point of 4200m with hopes of seeing Xixabangma in the distance. The weather was good for a change and it was actually cool rather than freezing for once. Unfortunately though, we were unable to see Xixa due to clouds in the distance. Oh well, always another time.

Even though it was our first time up at that altitude for this expedition and having not had much rest, I thought the team did great! We made the ascent in good time, none the worse for wear and in really good spirits. =)

At the top, we staged a couple of (in our opinion) hilarious “lifestyle in the mountains” type photographs to show off our sponsored marmot gear in publicity shots as part of our sponsorship duties. That, coupled with the 200 postcards we’ve been signing, has upped the ante on our amazing superstar status. Hurhur.

Speaking of postcards, we’re sending out about 200 totally gorgeous postcards specially designed by Esther, to sponsors, friends and supporters of the team, so look out for yours in the mail if you’re related to us in some way! =)  

So life on the climb has been good so far and now that the rain has cleared, our remaining gripe has to be the permeating smell of pee and poop that pervades our lodge. Someone had the brilliant idea of building a really basic, non-flush, no-proper-door squat toilet on the ROOF. Why on earth pee and poop are made to flow through the building into the sewers, is anyone’s guess. As a result, the entire lodge smells like pee and poop. The only place safe from olfactory suicide is our room and that’s only cuz the smell of our accumulated grime masks everything else. Anyway, rather than whinge about the permanent stench, it has become a source of mirth whenever we attempt to make the distance from lodge entrance to room in the shortest time possible,.all the while trying not to breathe in the noxious fumes. The collective ability to laugh at almost everything keeps us all sane.

And we are officially scaring everyone with our power eating. We actually eat more than a table of Sherpas or caucasians. Never let it be said that girls eat less than guys. I suspect that after our climb, we’ll each be eating rice straight from the giant serving bowl. I’ve got to say, being on a climb is a ticket to unrestricted eating, cuz the physical exertion, altitude and cold burns much more than we can humanly eat anyway. After yesterday’s first acclimatization climb, we ate 3 heaped plates of fried potatoes alone, and that’s just one dish out of 6.

So it’s on to Tingri tomorrow via 4WD. We’ll be there for two days and following that, we’ll arrive at base camp, where the next blog update will be made. In the meantime, do check out the team’s expedition progress update at for more info on how we’re doing.

Hope everyone’s great in Singapore!

yihui and jane at 4200m! =)
yihui and jane at 4200m! =)