DESIGN: TAY CHERN HUI PHOTOS: JEAN QINGWEN LOO, DMITRY SHAROMOV and YONG SHU HOONG
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20 2009
out of Taipei’s
An Earthwatch expedition to the world’s largest glacial outwash
plain in Iceland reminds JEAN QINGWEN LOO of the terrain in
The Lord Of The Rings, even as she collects ice samples.
Youths see world
Under explorer Mike Horn’s
New temporary venue
$1.2m box beside Indoor Stadium
jean qingwen loo
took a deep breath and sighed at the black
cones of volcanic ash and glacial sediment that
seemed to go on forever. “Gollum, where are
you?” I yelled at the top of my voice.
Standing in front of what I believed could
be Mordor, a crucial battleground in J.R.R. Tolkien’s
fictional universe of Middle Earth made famous by
The Lord Of The Rings film trilogy, I let my imagina-
tion run wild as images of hobbits scampering across
the terrain flashed in front of my eyes.
The air was still and the silence at times deafen-
“Don’t expect to see anyone else other than us,”
said geography lecturer Fiona Tweed from Stafford-
shire University, who was one of the team leaders.
I had been tasked by HSBC and the National
Youth Achievement Award Council to photograph
three Singaporeans on this expedition to Iceland.
Mr Daniel Chiam, 25, Mr Lim Junying, 21, and Mr
Chen Zhirong, 23, had each won a youth environmen-
tal award – in 2005, 2006 and earlier this year –
initiated by the bank and youth organisation for their
efforts in spreading environmental awareness in
As part of the honours, they were invited on a
sponsored trip to Iceland to take part in an Earth-
watch glacial expedition and work with scientists.
The Earthwatch Institute is an international
non-profit organisation which conducts expeditions
involving researchers and volunteers who pay a fee
to take part in environmental projects, which range
from saving Kenya’s endangered Black Rhinos to
conserving the coastal shores of the Bahamas.
Our group of 15 people