「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


On giving up

By Tan Ying Zhen


"Never give up!" How often have you received or dispensed this piece of advice? Probably more often than you remember. We also often hear inspiringstories about individuals who overcame tremendous odds to realize their dreams ― impossible had they given up halfway.

So when faced with a challenging situation, we often encourage ourselves or our friends to persevere. But is perseverance always good? Are there situations that demand otherwise? I found myself thinking about these questions on a recent hiking trip to Hong Kong.

Many people associate Hong Kong with city life, food and shopping. But about three-quarters of the hilly territory is actually countryside. It is also home to great hiking trails such as the MacLehose Trail.

The 100-km trail is named after Sir Murray MacLehose, the longest-serving governor of Hong Kong and an avid hiker. The trail is divided into ten stages, starting in the east and running all the way to the west, crossing the central mountains and many of Hong Kong's highest peaks. There are impressive valley reservoirs near the end of the trail.

My friends and I decided to attempt the first stages of the trail, which were 10.6 and 13.5 kilometers long, respectively. Our plan was to cover both parts in a day. At around 9 a.m., we started Stage 1. The first part was generally flat and we kept to our schedule. We even found time to take several pictures along the way.

What we didn't expect was how challenging Stage 2 would be.

There were several steep climbs and one of my friends started to experience altitude sickness. She had to take a rest often, and we fell behind schedule. It didn't help that the weather was getting hot and we didn't have enough water. Not having done enough research, we'd wrongly assumed that there would be enough water points along the way.

At around 3 p.m., we realized that we had not even covered half of Stage 2. My friend with altitude sickness was keen to continue. She had always been a fighter and she did not want to give up. But the rest of us were worried. Soon it would be sunset and we did not want to be stuck in the wild after dark.

After weighing the pros and cons, we finally decided to head back.

It's not the most inspiring story, but on hindsight, I'm glad we turned back that day. I wouldn't have wanted us to be in any danger, or to have ended up troubling other hikers.

We haven't given up on the hike though. But next time we will definitely be better prepared.



The Japan Times ST: October 16, 2015

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版