Thursday, 23 June 2011

Flexibility and communications

I was going through some handwritten notes, typing them into softcopy slides so that I can get rid of the dead wood.

Then I came across a point on flexibility and changing course as necessary, and I recalled an incident that took place some 10 years ago.

It was during my 21-day OBS course. One of the expeditions was a four-day kayaking trip around Singapore. We met with a storm one day at the "hockey stick" at Tuas. For an entire hour, no matter how hard we paddled, we couldn't get past the three chimneys looming to our left.

A few kayaks capsized and we had a couple of people who were very very sea sick by then. Eventually, the instructors told us to go to shore and wait out the storm.

After quite a while, we moved on again. But it was getting dark. So the instructors went round to all the kayaks to tie light sticks on us, and told us to paddle in the general direction of a tower visible in the horizon.

On this leg, I traded partners so that my stronger partner could help a very sick pal. So I was really really tired by the time we got near the tower. By then, we were one of the few kayaks at the end. One other kayak was near us. I can't remember what exactly happened, but the girl in the other kayak was saying something like we should head to the tower as instructed. But the tower was all dark while all the lights were gathered further ahead to our right!

I was quite flexible right? But my comms was really bad when I corrected her - I snapped at her. Sharply.

Thinking back, I still feel quite bad for doing that. Yes, I was tired. And I did the right thing. But really, there was no excuse for the way I did it. It really was a test of how I handled adversities. I didn't do well that time. 10 years on, I hope I can do better in future.

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