Saturday, August 25, 2007

Outward Bound memories

Pulau Ubin has been a part of me since secondary school period. Usually I would like to go there to cycle and explore the rustic charm of this wild place. My love for this wonderful place deepened when my friends and I went to attend Outward Bound course about 6 years ago over a week at the western end of Ubin. That time, it was a totally different experience. Firstly, we set off from Punggol, not from Changi point. Secondly, we were visiting a totally unfamiliar area of Ubin. And thirdly, it's going to be a week long stay where we had the best of fun and bonding together.

I am full of envy when teaching scholars get to go to OBS together, not the awardees. Everyone could see they are so bonded after they returned, unlike Teaching awardees, we are so like strangers to one another. I even had to swallow sour grapes when I was working in Chek Jawa for my project like a mad cow when they kayaked past in a big group. How I wish I can have a taste of sea expedition :-)

A recent knowing of Pei Hao has brought me elated again as he has been interning in Nparks Ubin for past months. I've always asked him about has he been to Tg Tajam, the western end of Ubin (just like Chek Jawa is the eastern end) and how is it there (since OBS is there, I wanna know how is that place after I left).

When I visited Tajam six years ago, it was during a night solo walk. The western forest of Ubin is amazing with remnants of the old building foundations and also it is where you can find fireflies! This photo is taken on the jetty of Tajam. I remember there is a generator there too.

I was excited when Pei Hao sent me this photo of Tg Tajam when he went there a while ago. This place though looks unfamiliar, yet I still wish to visit one day, if possible of course.

During the course of my OBS course, I had a wonderful instructor who taught us the secrets of Ubin. We had land expedition instead of the kayaking sea expedition. And one of the stops, we visited Mr. Lim Chye Joo, headman of the island. Sadly, he passed away at a grand age of 101 last year.

It was also OBS that I knew about this highest point of Ubin... Puaka Hill. The view from this high point is really spectacular and I always "force" my cycling friends to make a treacherous climb up. But it is all worth it.

This is the House No. 1 before it now has already the visitor centre for Chek Jawa.

This must be one of the most interesting part. We had to build a raft out of materials and raft ourselves back to OBS. It started raining and the tide was going out. We had to head west, against the tides. We were struggling so hard to move forward, but the power of the tides made our displacement negative. We were pushed backwards instead! Hahaha... What a moment.

There's so so much to remember from this special one week stay. It has impacted me deeply as we learnt about what it meant by teamwork, perserverance, friendship and especially to appreciate and respect nature, God's wonderful creation.

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