Taking the initiative to challenge Nature, three Singaporeans have decided to climb the world’s tallest mountain. This will be the first expedition of a Singaporean team to scale Mount Everest since 2009.
Dr. Arjunan Sarvana Pillai, Nur Yusrina Ya’akob and Jeremy Tong, will leave Singapore on March 26 to proceed towards Nepal and will reach Everest’s summit early in June.
Their expedition is being supported by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National Institute of Education (NIE) and they have raised SGD 150,000 so far for their journey.
Dr. Pillai is an experienced climber who has scaled various peaks including 6,400 m Mount Kang Yatze II in India. He is a teaching fellow at NIE.
Jeremy Tong holds the record of being the first Singaporean to climb two Central Asian peaks above 7000 m in height last year - Lenin Peak in Kyrgyzstan (7,134 m) and Peak Korzhenevskaya in Tajikstan (7,105 m). He is a graduate of NTU’s Sports Science and Management programme.
Yusrina is a trainee teacher pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Physical Education at NIE. She was the part of the team that went to scale Mount Everest in 2015 but had to abandon midway as a powerful earthquake rocked Nepal that year. She was the co-leader of the Aluminaid Team Singapura Everest 2015 team.
Recalling the event, she said, “Having made it more than halfway up the mountain two years ago, I was disappointed that the team had to abort the climb. But had we departed just one day earlier, we would have been in a much more dangerous situation higher up the mountains.”
However, this time, the members of the expedition team are more optimistic as they hope that their mission will promote resilient and can-do spirit among Singaporeans.
While speaking about the challenge of climbing Everest, Dr. Saravana said, “Beautiful as she is, Everest is also extremely unpredictable and volatile, which leaves climbers with a sense of humility and respect for the mountain.”
The three members of the team have also consulted other Singaporeans who climbed Everest in the past, including David Lim, who led the first Singaporean expedition that climbed Everest in May 1998, and the Singapore Women’s Everest team — who were the last Singapore team to successfully scale the mountain back in 2009.