Archive for July, 2007

28 July

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

Brought up the topic of gender power with Esther..I asked how is it that it seemed that whichever industry, (less nursing and teaching), the males seems to play a dominating role…is it really that the women are of lesser capabilities..from the women that I have encountered, I don’t think so..there are a lot of capable women around..but why are they less prominent?

Esther then cited that the current richest and most successful writer is JK Rowling and the CEO of advertising industry is a woman..yet there were so few and far in between.

Not that I purposely want to see powerful women in action, as my personal belief is that the best person for the best job..but I cannot help wonder as a society are we harnessing all our resources in the most effective way.

Being a woman is not a born flaw..our capabilities are very much determined by what we choose to do with the resources that we have..

I guess that more needs to be done…especially where women in lesser developed countries are still fighting for their basic rights to dignity and education.

27 July

Friday, July 27th, 2007

A friend of mine made this very stark remark (cannot remember the exact words but it went like this): When a man is busy, people will say that he is busy. When a woman is busy, people will say that she is stress. That was after my comment that she seemed stressed up…It set me thinking am I guilty of gender discrimination without my own knowledge…perhaps..perhaps..

Whenever people ask me whether is it tough to work in a male-dominated environment, I would reply that as long as one performed his/ her work to the best of his/ her ability,they would beĀ  given a fair opportunity to perform.

Is it because I have not reached the top to really feel the glass ceiling effect…or that I have chosen to turn a blind eye to what is potentially a discrimination or perhaps, I am just oblivious of what is really happening…

The only incident where I felt distinctly uncomfortable was when a senior officer kept asking me whether I was out of the team so much so that I asked him point blank why did he keep asking me that; was it because he was hoping that I would be out of the team..he replied that it was his way of motivating me..the reverse way… to me.. it was just b#$# sh@#.

Death

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Such a remote thought..it seems to be on my mind recently. Random images of me trapped in an avalanche, with hardly a mouthful of breathing space… I wonder how fast will my breath expire in that small confined area; that is if I manage to create a cavity between myself and the thick layer of snow…

Suffocating..a slow and painful one or one that is quick and painless… I wouldn’t know..

People died while pursuing this sport known as mountaineering.. just the week before, Joanne smsed us that there were 3 climbers who perished in Muztag Ata (the 7500m peak that we had climbed last year). It did not seem to be a very dangerous mountain and I still remembered trudging alone on the way to summit path. No sherpa or team mates were beside me..they were ahead of me, keeping an eye on me from a distance. Good weather had given us good successes.

It was a so matter-of-fact team discussion on what will the team do if one of us had fallen..to bring the body down or to leave it up there. I had thought of staying up there because it would simply take up too much energy to bring the body down and then someone reminded me that the body is another form of litter on the mountain…so it was better to be brought down.. So, I think that I will sign on the body disposal form to bring my body down..

These morbid thoughts somehow occupied my mind for the past few weeks. So much so, that I ordered the DVD ‘Living and Dying on Everest’ from Amazon to understand the people who did not survive the climb. How do you know when you have reached the point of no return? Unfortunately, the DVD did not give me an answer.

Even as I pondered over this for weeks, I know that my immediate family and close friends are worried about me too. When I first told my family that I had applied to join the Singapore Women’s Everest Team 2008 back in 2004, my mum looked visibly worried. She remarked that every dinner that I had with my family could well be the last one that I spent with them..morbid thoughts..casual yet serious…that’s my mum.

Much as I feel that everyone has to leave sometime, somewhere and somehow and that most probably, my passing on will not change the order of day, the sun will still rise and set, the waves will still keep moving..I am still accountable to the people around me..to do my part and shower them with my love and attention as long as I am still around.

Why then do I still climb the mountain? I embarked on this journey to find a purpose larger than my existence. To rise above the mental and physical challenges that it posed. Interestingly, the challenges that I had to face were not found on the mountain only. It was a process when I learnt more about myself on how I would respond when confronted with fears, anxieties, difficulties, disappointments, self doubt or even doubt by others.

This awareness of oneself brought about choices, choices to change or stay the way I was..change was painful yet it also paved the way for growth..

To understand a bit more why some choose to be there; view from Everest summit:
http://www.panoramas.dk/fullscreen2/full22.html#Anchor-HHHH-49575