I am currently reading this book, “Philosophy for Polar Explorers: What they don’t teach you in school” written by Erling Kagge, the first person to surmount the ‘3 poles’ - North pole, South pole and Mt Everest. One of the lines that struck me most - “One of the most important things is to get up in the morning” . On the ice, or in the mountains, it’s always tempting to remain in one’s sleeping bag when the temperature dips to minus 20 degrees, or lower. I remember on our Cho Oyu expedition last year, I woke up in my tent to find my sleeping bag covered with frost and tiny snow particles. I spent some time trying to unzip my sleeping bag, after which the effort left me so breathless that it really wouldn’t hurt to fall back asleep. Coupled with the low temperatures and wind gusting outside the tent, it does seem to defy logic to purposely pluck yourself out from your warm cocoon. However, Erling Kagge maintains that getting up can be painful, but what’s even worse is lying there dreading doing so. I think this applies so much locally, when one has to wake up at 5am to work, go for a 15km run, go to school, or mop the house (my mum used to do that) . So, one of the most important things in the world is to get up in the morning.
I just caught the film “The Alps” (IMAX) in the Hong Kong Space Museum at Tsim Sha Tsui. It was produced by MacGillvray Freeman Films, also the same company who produced Everest IMAX. Although a short 45 min documentary, there were lots of stunning images of the Alps. I especially loved how the film was projected on the entire inner surface of the concave ceiling of the dome-shaped building. Many a times, I really felt as if I was there in the mountains, plodding along / skiing on the snowfields. And I also felt my heart jumped out everytime the climber slipped as a result of an unstable placement of his ice tools on the slopes of the Eiger. The ‘lead’ mountain in the film is the Eiger in the Alps of Switzerland. In particular, the north face of the Eiger (4,158m) has earned itself a reputation as a killer face, with its particularly steep face, regular rockfall,navalanches, flaky rock and unpredictable weather. With its knife ridge section leading to the summit, it sure looks more daunting when viewed from the top (as shot from a helicopter). Lots of amazing footages, sure recommend this to everyone.
Visit the film website: http://www.alpsfilm.com
It’s yet another brand new start tomorrow - it be will be my first day at my new job! Although i really feel sad to leave my dear colleagues at the Y, i’m also looking forward to this new challenge. New challenges present new growth and also new perspectives of learning and looking at things. I must say the decision to leave my previous job wasn’t an easy one to make, due to the conducive working environment and great colleagues. And perhaps you tend to better appreciate what’s good after you decide to leave. I think decisions like these are always difficult to make, because it’s easy for people to imagine how they are already worse off (having to leave a conducive workplace, wonderful colleagues, facing the ‘unknown’), but it’s difficult to imagine how things can possibly get better with a change like this. Sometimes all you need is to take the plunge, and trust in God that it is in His mighty plan.
Thks j for the note!
Jeremiah 29:12&13 (”The Message” version)
“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”
The team was invited to attend a public forum organised by Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, which is one of our sponsors. Personally, it was good “health education” to listen to an expert in the field of anti-oxidant research, Chronic Disease Prevention and Aging to expound on Health and Nutrition. I was also a little surprised by the turn out - the whole auditorium was filled with about 500 people, all happy to spend their Sunday afternoon listening to what the speakers had to share about Healthy Living. A good sign indeed for Singapore!
Dr Jeffrey Blumberg , an expert in dietary antioxidants, chronic diseases prevention and ageing from Tufts University shared several research findings on the role of antioxidant nutrients and vitamins in promoting good health and the prevention of chronic diseases. In general, Dr Blumberg recommends taking a multvitamin everyday - to fill the nutritional gap (as it is very difficult to ensure that we eat well, every meal in modern living) and help prevent and in some cases, defer (postpone) the onset of chronic diseases.
Dr V P Nair, senior consultant cardiologist from Mount Elizabeth Hospital spoke about the importance of heart health and the various measures we can take to prevent heart attacks. The heart is pumping 72 beats a minute, 105,120 for an average person and 2.6 billions beats in about 66 years). It is so easy to forget that it is there - working hard, silently.
Both Nutrition and Heart Health are topics really close to my heart (pun unintended) - being a healthy, active person, I sometimes tend to take good health for granted, not realizing that illnesses can strike anyone at anytime.
After the session, we also took the opportunity to take photographs with both Dr Blumberg and Dr V P Nair.
It was an afternoon well spent indeed!
Now, I must remember to take my Centrum.
Team Photo taken with Dr Jeffery Blumberg (centre) and Mr Lam Pin Kee (extreme left)
Team Photo taken with Dr V P Nair (centre) and Mr Lam Pin Kee (extreme left)
Photo of me with Dr Blumberg
I’m currently reading this book titled “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World” by John Wood. It’s about how Wood left his high ranking job in Microsoft as the director of business development to pursue his passion and a cause that needed to be addressed - providing books and education for children in impoverished countries like Nepal and Vietnam. And it took just a trip to the Himalayas to convince him to give up his career and girlfriend to pursue this desire that was more lasting and significant. Although I do not have such ambitions like him to provide books and education to students in countries like Nepal (at least not now), there is something in me that tells me my priorities should change and it may not be wise to remain status quo and remain in my comfort zone. Will this be the right thing to do? I don’t know, but I guess it’s also time to stand up to what I’ve always wanted to believe - to face the challenge when it comes and more importantly, to embrace change.
Watching “My Secret Sports Identity” on Channel 5 last Saturday brought back fond memories of the team’s ice climbing training in Sichuan, China in January this year. Looking back, we had a really good time practising our climbing techniques on the frozen waterfalls in Shuang Qiao Gou. As part of our preparation for Mount Everest, Kim Boon and his guides set up a 400m fixed rope circuit for us to practice on, with us ascending and descending several times over and over again for 4 full days. Towards the later part of the training, we also loaded our backpacks with rocks of increasing weight, eventually up to 18kg! Although the climbing was hard, the distance that we covered was still nowhere near the 1,300m of continuous fixed ropes up the Lhotse Face of Mount Everest – imagine carrying a loaded pack, “front pointing” with the two front points of your crampons and balancing on your toes above 7,500m for hours!
Physical endurance and good health are definite prerequisites for us to be able to hone our technical skills on the slopes. Thus, the team pays a lot of attention to proper food intake and nutrition to support our intensive level of training. In order to perform at our best during local and overseas trainings, such as the recent one to Sichuan, we make sure that we bring along plenty of food to maintain our energy levels. To complement our diet, we are disciplined in consuming CENTRUM multivitamins daily. Taking CENTRUM multivitamins are especially essential on overseas climbs, when the remoteness of our training locations often mean that we are unable to obtain sufficient food varieties to be able to meet our nutritional needs optimally. From our experiences over the years, when conditions are harsh on the mountains and nutrition is compromised, consuming energy drinks and supplements such as multivitamins can definitely provide the extra edge needed.
I received a totally pleasant surprise during our company’s Chinese New Year staff lunch yesterday.
It was the usual Loh-hei, makan, singing of songs and playing games….then i suppose it was coming to the end of the programme and time to head back to our desks to work. Suddenly my manager, jacq went on stage and announced that I was going away to climb Everest and asked me to go up and receive something. I was like ?!?!!?!?!? * totally shocked*
My first reaction was to try and hide under the table as this took me completely by surprise. However I realised the space under the table wasn’t really big and I couldnt stay down there forever anyway. But I really felt quite embarrassed as I haven’t even done anything great at all, definitely not worthy to go on stage!
My “prize” was a hard cover National Geographic book on Everest and what was extremely special was that it contained, in the first 3 pages of the book, well wishes penned by my dear colleagues at the Y.
I mean, what can I say??? I was so touched I wanted to cry on the spot…… It is certainly one of the most meaningful gifts I have received I actually found out that it was my manager’s idea to pass around the book and let everybody pen their well wishes and present the book to me before I depart for Everest so that I can read and draw inspiration from it. I must say that I am extremely blessed to have such a nice and supportive boss
It was 4 sets summit path, 4 sets rangas path & 9 sets jungle fall for bukit timah training today.
And it’s never wise to do bukit timah circuit the very next day after staircase training @ Toa Payoh.
Only into the 1st set of summit path, I could feel my quads burning and legs generally sore. My legs did not feel fresh at all and it seemed as though I was doing my 4th set during my 1st set! Glad that Esther, Maomao, Chu and later on Lihui were training together as well and somehow we completed all the sets in about 3 hours.
i simply love the feeling after a great training session.
We had a session last Wed with Roland Krueger, Managing Director of BMW Asia and also the first German who skiied to the South Pole unsupported. Very inspiring and humble person who was ever ready to share his expedition experiences. He told all of us that we should put on more weight. During his South Pole expedition, his team drank oil and ate mayonnaise. Cool. Hmmm judging from our rather intensive training schedule, I think it is quite difficult for us to put on that much weight, Although I must say I’ve been eating more than 3 meals a day! (albeit unconsciously) As Esther says, maybe we should consider eating weight gainers…… it’s time to bulk up!