Ong Ling Lee
I was bored barely into a year working as a network engineer. I chanced upon an article by Dr Tan Chi Chiu about his Raleigh International expedition to Mongolia and responded to the call for selection. One muddy weekend and six months later, I was part of 93D Siberia. After I returned from Siberia, I volunteered with the locally organised Operasi Raleigh Batam in 1997. Later that year, while waiting for a doctor's appointment, the idea of doing something simple yet challenging for a good cause came to me. With a group of like-minded Raleigh folks, we started “Let's Take A Walk” (LTAW), with the aim to raise $36,000 by walking 36 hours, 100km around Singapore. While I missed some major action when I was away in the US to further my studies, I quickly caught up with Raleigh’s activities when I returned to Singapore. My love (for community and adventure) affair continued with Operation Mingalaba 1999, Operation Tashi Deleg 2001, Project Climb On 2002, and more LTAWs. Raleigh gave me a break when other adventure possibilities turned me down. Raleigh opened my eyes and heart to the many possibilities to learn and to give. Raleigh brought me to many of you, whom I am proud to have as friends and privileged to do meaningful things together. I'm inspired to do this so that we can continue our love affair together.
Siti Maziah Masramli
I learnt of Raleigh Singapore and its local activities from a former colleague, Bridgette (see: Vice President). I took part in Let's Take A Walk 2015 (finishing 50km in 13 hours), got roped into being an LTAW Operations volunteer in 2017, and somehow became Co-Chair for the entire event in 2019. The most outdoor adventure-like thing I've done with Raleigh members is climbing a thickly forested hill for fun during the 2019 Raleigh Asia Regional Conference in KL – and then discovering, in the shower later, that a leech had stuck on along the way. Still, I managed to get almost $30k in Tote Board funding for LTAW 2019, on top of donations and event proceeds, for a total of $102,116.51 to the beneficiary Rare Disorders Society Singapore, so that's something. I've also helped out in volunteer events at migrant workers' dormitories for Raleigh's partnership with Project Chulia Street. Besides the fun of pulling all-nighters at checkpoints for LTAW, and the general good of helping people, the best part of volunteering with Raleigh for me is meeting with people of different backgrounds and experiences.
Being part of a YEP to Cambodia at 15 opened my eyes, heart and mind to the realisation of privilege, the joys of volunteering, a spirit of adventure and the synergy of collective action. I am grateful for this early spark, inspiring me to live and give consciously. Fast forward to my college convocation when the invited speaker, Bridgette See, shared on her Raleigh expedition, infecting me with the spirit of service learning and adventure once again. Years on, the stars aligned for my Raleigh mission in Mongolia. The team repaired a clinic, built eco-toilets, taught English, conducted health checks and planted trees. As Brene Brown said, “We are born makers. We move what we’re learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands.” Cutting gypsum boards, wielding a Makita drill, hammering and sawing humbled yet delighted the urbanite in me. So did the Long Drop experience (with fairy lights) and answering nature’s call in nature (among colourful flowers and a toilet roll on a tree branch). Little girls beamed with pride as they spoke about the riches of their homeland – the grasslands, vast skies and livestock. Let us cherish our Raleigh community which unites us all with a can-do spirit. Quoting Mary Oliver, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I first came to know of Raleigh when I saw a facebook post in 2019 calling for venturers to take part in Operation Amar Sain’19 to Mongolia. Back then, I knew nuts about what I signed up for. All I knew was, I was hungry for an adventure and wanted to challenge myself in doing something different before I started working life. Initially, I felt a huge disconnect with the group and was filled with a lot of anxiety. But fast forward to this day, amidst the apprehension and fear, I’m thankful that I went ahead with OAS’19. It has not only taught me skills such as adaptability but has been a gateway for new friendships that I’ve come to hold dear, and opened my eyes to what beauty there is in simplicity. Since OAS’19, I’ve had the privilege to be involved in Raleigh Asia Regional Conference 2019 and connecting with other Raleigh societies.
‘Go out, take action and discover the meaning behind the things you do’ -Ong Ling Lee. Just as going out and taking action in OAS has unveiled meaning to me, I hope that I can too, help others, take action and discover the things that are of meaning to them.
I joined Raleigh International expedition in 2004, it was in Borneo (04B). Mum won’t let me go at first because I was only 19. After watching a beer commercial (yes back then was still showing), the slogan was “someone’s gonna do it, why not you”. I made up my mind and I’m glad I didn’t take no for an answer. I did it because I want to contribute something to the society, to the world. Now that I’m far from being 19, the Raleigh blood is still running deep and hot in me. And I want to shout about that. I want young and likeminded people to experience what we did. And to pay it forward.
I was an unathletic 18-year-old when I heard my then PE teacher Naomi Tan recount her exciting Raleigh International expedition. Curious, I researched Raleigh and became really fired up about the 3-month expedition to a foreign land (think snow holes people!). I set my mind to “change” my lifestyle and became very active in sports during my four years in varsity. Once I graduated, I signed up for a Selection Weekend – made up of 48-hours of no sleep and all kinds of physical and mental torture – that till now sends shivers down my back. Unforgettable was the casevac through a muddy mangrove swamp (did you know there’s a special technique to prevent sinking in?). Late 1998, I was off to Chile 98H where I built snow holes and helped to create a sliver of a national park trail. The experience of sleeping next to crashing glaciers, while howling winds threatened to rip my one-man tent and me off a cliff, will stay with me forever. Upon return, I helped to organise Operation Mingalaba in 1999 and Operation Tashi Deleg in 2001. I was also involved in Project Climb On 2002, before dropping off to do international voluntary work. In 2007, after the birth of my son, I decided to get back in touch with my Raleigh mates and began helping out on an ad hoc basis. Now that my son is older, I have decided to get involved again with Raleigh. Hopefully, we can do something good with the 2 years we have!
Kee Mui Hong
I still remember vividly the newspaper photo of a Singaporean trudging through waist deep water with his backpack on his head amidst the amazon jungle like environment taking part in a Raleigh Expedition. That photo left a very deep impression in me and I had this dream of joining such a Raleigh expedition ever since then. My opportunity came when my hall senior Ling Lee introduced me to the Raleigh Selection weekend and soon I was off to my 3 month adventure in Uganda in June 1996. It was an eye opening and adventurous 3 months. After I came back from the expedition, I was all fired up and took part in Operasi Raleigh Batam – Geranting Expedition, went on to organise Selection weekends, took part in the inaugural Let’s Take a Walk, was the deputy expedition leader of the Inner Mongolia Expedition Phase 1 in 1999 and part of the recce team for Tibet expedition. I was also part of the pro-tem Committee whereby we set out to bring Raleigh to be a registered Society. I took a long break from active participation subsequently due to family commitments and recently became more active again as now my kids are all bigger and have more time on hand.
I joined Operation Amar Sain, a 2 weeks expedition trip to Mongolia in 2019. Back then, it was a desire to serve and to know more people that motivated me to sign up for the project. When you rough it out by planting 800 seedlings in two days, building a clinic together with the locals, sharing common spaces for sleep and secreting waste into longdrops (so you see and smell everyone's poo), witness spontaneous double rainbow moments and horses galloping from somewhere into nowhere, friendships are definitely forged. I made friends who are like-minded and have a big heart for the community. Since then, I have participated in Let's Take A Walk in 2019 and am looking forward to contribute more to the community.
Mohamad Haiyum Jaafar
I have been involved with Raleigh since 1998 after being selected to go on an International Expedition to Belize. Upon my return, I was involved in various projects and expedition as part of my fourth Raleigh Challenge. Recent expeditions to Mongolia have led me to explore more opportunities for overseas expedition for Singapore’s youth. Beyond Raleigh I have experience in campaigning, volunteer management, youth engagement, event and project management as a Scout Leader and an educator. Besides loving the outdoors, I’m also an avid runner who enjoys going to places to explore new horizons. I am passionate about the environment, volunteering and youth led change and hope to use my experiences and share ideas to contribute to the Raleigh Singapore Exco Committee.
Pooi Choon Poh
When I first heard of Raleigh International in 1999, I was past the qualifying age of volunteering in a Raleigh International expedition. Nevertheless, I signed up for the first challenge of enduring the Selection Weekend and convincing the selection team why a not so “youthful” person like me should be chosen. In less than a year, I was off to Chile, trekking in the Southern Patagonia, building trekking paths at Tamango Reserve and constructing a fire station for a small village that was devastated by fire a year ago. I personally benefitted from the expedition and also witnessed the developmental effect that the projects had on some youth-at-risks. I will never forget how one of them (who earlier told me stories of how he stole cars and got caught) defied instructions to sneak out to work at the construction site at night to ensure that the project could be completed on time. He was beaming in pride when we celebrated the completion of the project with the locals at the end of the Expedition. Upon return, I organised the 2001 Selection Weekend and helped out on ad hoc basis on some of the projects that came along the way. A friend recently reminded me that it was perhaps high time I paid back to the organisation from which I benefitted so much. Hence my decision to be involved again. I am now inspired to embark on this journey to continue the legacy of Raleigh and do something good for the society.