Archive for August, 2008

The Audi Convertible

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

An image I saw at Kathmandu, Nepal last year still stuck with me and I got reminded of it yesterday on the train.

The image of an Audi Convertible in the form of a newspaper cutout kept in the wallet of one of our most loved Sherpa, J.

J said with a huge grin that it’s his dream car when I asked him about it. Cute. J rides a motorbike in Nepal, one of those which are so ubiquitous on the streets of Nepal. My guess is that J is your average Nepali wage earner. Probably not struggling to make ends meet but also not so highly paid to be labeled wealthy. In fact, high altitude sherpas are generally already decently paid. ( or so I gather from my limited knowledge) I also know he has many repeat clients who ask for him simply because he is competent and such affable character. But to afford an Audi, that’s a hell lot of money.

In fact, I have never seen an Audi being driven in Nepal. Do they even import it there?

Maybe I’m being terribly pessimistic but before I wrote this entry, I was thinking it would be so difficult to fufill his dream given his situation and location. However, as I write, I begin to think that the scale of his dream is not so different from the typical Singaporean’s dream of exclusive condos, fancy cars, premier club membership etc. It’s not so different from our team’s dream to scale everest despite the lack of funds. Maybe things are not that unattainable afterall. If J has successfully summitted Mt Everest (besides other honourable mountains) so many times, he must possess the qualities many of us attribute mountaineering to – determined, focussed, peservering etc. Qualities which most believe can steer us through almost anything.

So perhaps, to achieve great things, one must dare to aim for the seemingly impossible and not be afraid that it would be ridiculed or unattainable.     

Highlight

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

The highlight of today is giant prawns.

My mum roasted these giant prawns on banana leaf for my post breakfast snack. 

And as the day concludes, I sit here at my computer thinking what my highlight of the day was, apart from the women’s table tennis, the PM national day rally which started off really light hearted and even a tad humorous , the eighth gold for phelps, the defeat for lee chong wei, marveling at the speed marathons can be completed, trying to understand how one competes in the indoor biking, etc and I realise it’s the giant prawn that stole my heart for today. 

giant prawns 

huge prawns the size of my entire hand. not just the palm mind you, but the hand.

They could pass off as baby lobsters. They tasted smoky and it was just most fun dissecting the prawn head and picking at every edible flesh.

I never would have realised when I was eating the prawns this morning that they would actually be the highlight of my sunday today… 

Why Aren’t You Afraid?

Monday, August 4th, 2008

This is the question this student asked me at the Aspiring Mountaineers Program on top of the abseiling tower at Safra last sunday. 

I answered her almost instantaneously. My answer was that I think fear keeps us alive in precarious situations.

It’s fear that reminds me to double check my knots, that my prussiks are clipped in, that my figure of eight is clipped in all the time so it doesn’t fall off. It’s fear that prevents me from doing any daredevil stunts and it’s fear that keeps us moving, the fear of not making it to the next camp in time, of not having enough food, water, oxygen.

However, I did also mention that although its inevitable to be scared, it shouldn’t handicapp us. and to do that , one simply acknowledges the fear, attempt to think rationally and find the ‘daring’ in us to forge on…. 

I don’t think I plagiarized this from anywhere but I remain astounded that I concocted this genuinely sincere answer that makes so much sense at a snap.