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first singapore expedition

These pages, for the first time since all the 1996 – 1998 online dispatches and expedition information were accidentally deleted in 1999, aim to archive the story of this landmark 1998 expedition. This landmark Singapore expedition was led by David Lim. The idea of a Singapore Everest expedition was first mooted by the then President of the Mountaineering Society, Lawrence Lee, and supported by a small group of climbing enthusiasts in 1990. This was after the first successful Singapore expedition to scale a 6000m peak – Lobuche East, in November 1990.

The interest raised was so significant that a local politician was quoted in the press as follows:

When we celebrate National Day in 15 years’ time, our flag should be flying not only in every home but also on the top of Mount Everest

Mr Matthias Yao,
Political Secretary to the First Deputy Prime Minister, July 1st 1990.

However, within a couple of years, the idea died as the rules laid down by the Nepalese government dictated that any expedition to Everest had to be endorsed by a national alpine association – which Singapore did not have until 1993. Suffice to say, after David Lim’s own passage into Himalayan mountaineering in 1993, the idea was revived, and David then took reins of the project. In October 1993, he applied for, and obtained the permit for the 1st Singapore Mt Everest Expedition; with a preference for climbing the peak in Spring 1998. On 20 Aug 1994, the first official meeting of the group that hoped to be part of the project was established

This was not an easy project, least of which was a) there are no mountains in Singapore on which to train, b) the initial stages were almost a mess when various parties of well-meaning, but committee-types wanted to take charge of a project David had initiated. c) a team had to be found, financed and equipped, and 4) after the expedition, the team returned to face fresh controversies over the nationalities of our team members. The “us-and-them” friction between many Singaporeans and new immigrants may seem strange in a nation full of immigrants, but the challenges  faced by the nation at the time of writing this in May  2012, still seem to challenge and confront Singapore and Singaporeans.

These webpages will be slowly populated over the next few weeks in June 2012 with the dispatches, stories, and the journey of the team from 1994 to 1998; including the successful ascent of Mt Everest on May 25th 1998.