Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Everest Girls Rock!

On 20 May 2009, they made history by being the first Singaporean women to plant a Singapore flag on Mt Everest, 8,850m above sea level.

Today, I had the great pleasure of having Jane Lee (team leader), Lee Lihui, Sim Yihui and Lee Peh Gee as my guests in The Living Room to share their stories on their adventure of a lifetime!

I remember the first time I met these girls. It was about 2 years ago when I was still with Vanilla magazine. I wanted to do a feature story on them, and Yihui invited me to join them for their regular meeting after work at YMCA. I sat in for their meeting and they were brainstorming about how to raise funds for this gargantuan project...

In fact, getting funds and sponsors seemed a task even more insurmountable than Everest itself! That's why these girls are genuinely thankful for all the support they've received from friends and family. Each one echoed that sentiment when I asked them what they were most thankful for, looking back. In fact, it was the lack of funds that forced them to postpone their climb by a whole year.

I feel proud of them. Not so much that they're the first Singaporean women to conquer Everest, but that they never gave up nor took their eyes off their goal. It started as a dream 5 years ago, and they fought hard to make it a reality.

And dreams do come true! Here's a postcard I received from them recently. It arrived at the 938LIVE office, with a handwritten note scribbled behind - thanking us for our support. Wow.

Girls On Top: [L to R] Sim Yihui, Jane Lee, Lee Peh Gee & Lee Lihui.

Sim Yihui was supposed to make the summit with the 2nd team on 22 May, but chest pains caused her to step down. She shared with us earnestly about those pains (diagnosed as inflammation of the breast bone & rib bone) and what went through her mind as she struggled with the decision to continue or give up. My heart really went out to her.

"But this is a team effort," Yihui reasons, and for that reason, she's at peace. In fact, she was there clanging pots & pans when her team-mates made it to the summit, one by one. Her support of them was total, and I really admire her for her strength.

My encounter with these amazing women left me truly inspired. But for people who have made it to the top of the world, they are surely the most down-to-earth chicks around! *chuckle* It seriously felt like we were a couple of girl friends sitting cross-legged on the sofa, chit-chatting!

So will the Singapore Women's Everest Team stop existing now that they've conquered Everest? "No!" the girls chorus. They tell me they've plans to take their stories & experiences to others, to motivate them to pursue their own dreams.

"We're now thinking of what to call ourselves after this," team leader Jane Lee says with a chuckle. "But we'll definitely still be around!"

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