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On November 7 of the year 2013, the BBA batch in Singapore took it upon themselves to challenge the very essence of nature by donning their sportswear and giving the Ketam biking trail a go. The trail, located in Pulau Ubin, is a world-class mountain biking trail which proved to be worthy of its title by challenging the students with its various terrain and merciless twists and turns.
However, I am getting ahead of myself. Our trip began in the afternoon when we left the campus by bus at 2 30, eager for the chance to stretch our legs on the solid ground of our destination. As we neared Pulau Ubin, our anticipation only increased as the scenery around us changed to match the almost pulsating greenery that one would expect from a mountain trail. When we arrived at our destination, the tension that stemmed from our impatience due to the long and arduous journey fuelled our enthusiasm. Despite our apparent readiness to board the ferries that would take us to the mountain path, we were warned that it would be best to fill our bellies with the Singaporean cuisine that was made readily available by the numerous stalls in a nearby food court in order to prevent hunger from becoming an obstacle once we had arrived. Following this logic, we ate to our hearts content and even bought several water bottles to take with us in the foreseeable event that we get thirsty.
After our meal, we separated into teams of twelve in order to allow more room for flexibility in our decisions. We then proceeded to board the ferries, setting our sights on the dock closest to the vender that would rent us out bikes to use for the afternoon. The ferry ride itself was extremely relaxing. Having the cool breeze blow against ones face made it so that nothing else mattered in the world but the sun, the sky, and oneself. Once we arrived, we each rented a bike to our liking, then made our way down the road with expectations as high as Mount Everest. Needless to say we were not disappointed.
The rest of the afternoon was spent riding our bikes along the path, making our way around the island, free as birds in the wind. It wasn’t that riding a bike was easy, contrary to that belief, riding a bike can actually be pretty difficult. Not one of us managed to get away without being drenched in sweat and being covered in dirt. Some of the more unfortunate individuals even managed to take home a few cuts and bruises as souvenirs. Nevertheless, it was all part of the fun. The uphills may have been like mountains, and the downhills like cliffs, but it was the challenge that made the whole experience worth the effort. We took things in stride. We pedalled our way up roads and focused on steering going down peaks. Despite all the physical exertion however, it was unbelievably easy to become mesmerized by the view around us. The vegetation that surrounded us may as well have been one whole living, breathing, yet undeniably enthralling creature.
Yet, as sad as it is true, all good things must come to an end. As the sun began its descent, the muddy and weary students made their way back to the harbour in order to wait for the ferries to take them back. I felt that it was a bit of an anti-climactic end to the trip, seeing everyone trudge ever so slowly back to the land of deadlines and presentations. But as I looked closer into the face of one my neighbours, I saw that I was wrong. I found a newfound gleam in my compatriot’s eyes, a new kind of fight, a new type of life, one I knew, that would never fade. As my eyes continued to wander, I found the same change present wherever I turned, and it was at that moment that I knew that this experience would be with all of us for the rest of our lives.
~ Yuji Matsuda, BBA13