Facing the fear factor


The good thing about being a blogger is that you get to experience things you probably never would if you weren’t a blogger.

The bad thing is that, sometimes, you find yourself stuck in very high places.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

I was recently invited to put my courage to the test at the Safra Adventure Sports Centre, where all kinds of adventure await the brave and the thrill-seeking.

I was first put on Singapore’s only Canopy Challenge Walk (CCW), a 100m walk through the tree-tops of Yishun Park, suspended on a height of 18 metres.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

Eighteen metres is about as tall as a six-storey building!!!!

Looking at the trail from the ground, the CCW looked like a walk in the park.

I will never overestimate myself again!!

Being at that height and not having something firm beneath your feet is about as scary as it can get!

Well, it is literally a walk in the park, except that you have to walk on thin wooden planks which are supported by ropes that sway crazily when you move through them, sometimes having to fight off leaves and branches from the tree-tops that are sharing your space.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

The worst part is that the wooden-plank trail is only one quarter of the trek. If you manage to survive the planks, you are rewarded by having to walk on ropes next!

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

And after you complete that (above), you will have to go through THIS (below) to get to safety.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

One look at that and my face turned white.

Can you imagine walking through that with the knowledge that the ground is so freaking far away that you’d need to take a space shuttle to reach it?

Ashamedly, my friends and I only made it through the first section (the planks).

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

Looking at it from the ground, I really thought I could complete the course even with my fear of heights.

But actually being up there, clinging on to ropes that sway with your every movement, makes you want to just hug something solid and never let go.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

Even getting through the planks required the most steely resolve I could muster. I tried to exercise mind over matter by telling myself, “This is fun! I’m enjoying it!” every step of the way.

It did work. It transformed hysterical paranoia to just simple heart-pumping fear.

Admittedly, the CCW is actually very safe. Before being allowed on it, we had to strap ourselves in safety harnesses.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

I took Minou and Kerrendor with me for this adventure.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

Minou was as scared as I was, if not more. But Kerrendor was very gutsy. He was my photographer that day and even stopped in the middle of the trail several times, one hand holding on to the rope while the other hand held the camera, to take photos.

For girls with long hair, it’s recommendated that you tie your hair up instead of letting it fly around like mine.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

After putting on our helmets, Minou said she felt like Super Mario.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

Then we were strapped to steel cables by a yellow lifeline which would follow us through the trail to prevent us from falling to the ground in case we missed our footing.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

Then it began!

Iskandar, our guide, followed closely behind us to offer us assistance if we needed any.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

After what seemed like forever, we finally arrived at the first docking station, which is a tiny wooden island with a pole which I wanted to cling tightly to and cry and vow never to leave it.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

Of course, I did nothing of the sort.

We gungho-ly posed for photos even though we were paranoid that the wind was going to blow us off our wooden island.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

And then it was time to turn back. (Normally, one would carry on with the tight-rope walking, but we felt that that activity was better left to the experts.)

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

I was quite brave, if I may say so myself. My yellow lifeline somehow kept brushing my face on my trek back, so I kept having to use one hand to adjust it, while leaving only one hand on the rope while walking!

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

And again!

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

My heart kept screaming at me, “BOTH HANDS ON THE ROPES YOU IDIOT!!!”

In any case, we all made it back before our hearts imploded on us.

That was quite an adventure. I’m glad Iskandar allowed us to turn back after the first segment, although I’m ashamed that I didn’t complete the course.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

Rock climbing next! OMG.

The Adventure Sports Centre in Safra Yishun has five different kinds of climbing facilities, including ice climbing, sport climbing, crack climbing, slab climbing and indoor boulder climbing. You can check them out here.

I got to try the tallest free-standing sport climbing wall in Singapore, which goes as high up as 25 metres.

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

Again, I overestimated myself. I thought I could maybe make it at least one-third of the way up. But I only made it up like five metres, if even that.

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing


In fact, I wanted to quit the moment I got on the first anchors because this challenge is seriously harder than it looks.

But Dean, my climbing instructor, kept egging me on to go higher and higher, telling me which anchors to grab on, until I got to this part where the rocks above my head began to jut out.

When you’re in that position, it just looks impossible to scale. It feels like you’re going to slip and fall because you can’t see the next anchors and your hands are slimy with cold sweat and your feet simply refuse to move.

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

I was also worried about the descent. The higher you go, the more distance you have to fall when you’re done!!

The safety harness for the climbing is not as elaborate as that for the CCW.

Safra Yishun Canopy Challenge Walk

But it’s just as safe. You’re strapped to a belay device, which allows your instructor to keep you in the air even if you were to let go of the anchors (I didn’t know that before, which helped to fan the paranoia).

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

And when you’re ready to come down, your instructor will belay you down as slowly or as quickly as you want.

It’s all very simple and safe.


Dean showed me where to step when I first began.

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

The first step was quite easy.

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

It gets exponentially harder!

See the green anchor I have my left hand on (above)? I had to put my left foot on it next.

IT IS FREAKING FAR. You really have to stretch all your limbs to get to the next anchors.

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

You need strong arms for this, too.

Next step up: Right foot had to travel all the way up to waist level to step on the next anchor.

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

I don’t know how I did it. I just did, with Dean’s encouragement.

I was, like, “I can’t do this anymore!” *wail*

And he was, like, “Yes you can. Put your right hand on the next anchor.”

“Can I come down now?”


“Argh! I can’t go any higher!”

“Yes you can!”

So I went higher and higher.

See how far my left foot had to travel in one step:

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

I felt like Spiderman.

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

Anyway, that was as far as I went. It started drizzling at this point and I didn’t want to be stuck on that wall in the rain.

And it was getting impossible.

So, when Dean told me to stretch my right hand out and grab hold of one particular anchor which looked to me like it belonged in another continent, I put my right foot down, instead.

He finally relented. “Okay you can come down,” he said.

“How do I come down?”

“Just let go.”

“WHAT?!!!! You’re joking, right?”

“No, just let go.”

“Can I climb down the way I climbed up?”



At this point, you’re supposed to hold on to the rope attached to your harness and your instructor will bring you down.

Of course, I didn’t know at that time that the speed of your descent can be controlled. I thought it was all up to gravity, and I let go very unwillingly.

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

I screamed the entire way down.

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

In retrospect, it wasn’t all that scary.

But it was definitely fun. I want to do this again!

Minou and Kerrendor didn’t get to try it because the drizzle started to get heavier and heavier.

I took one last photo before dashing off for shelter.

Me and Dean!

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

I need a Safra Country Club membership!! It can be used at any of the four Safra Clubs (Mount Faber, Yishun, Tampines and Toa Payoh). Each club boasts a different specialty, although all of them also have the regular facilities you’d expect to find in a country club.

Safra Yishun is the most exciting, since it houses the Adventure Sports Centre as well as an indoor air weapons range.

I didn’t get a chance to try the parachute jump and the abseiling, which is fortunate!! Haha.

I also didn’t try this other climbing wall.

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

It’s a crazy wall lah!! It bends outwards!! How to climb that??!!!

But I saw this dude climbing it expertly.

Safra Yishun Sport Climbing

These people are the real spidermen!!

Anyway, I also did something else in Safra Yishun which is just as fun but minus the fear factor.

This was with Jayden at a separate occasion.

Safra Yishun Indoor Air Rifle

Air rifling in the indoor range! It’s VERY FUN! And, again, harder than it looks.

The target is very small!! But I think we did pretty well, considering it was our first time.

Safra Yishun Indoor Air Rifle

It’s really quite hard to be accurate because the air rifle is very heavy and when you’re looking through the tiny scope, it will keep moving even though you’re trying to keep as still as possible, even if you resort to holding your breath.

Safra Yishun Indoor Air Rifle

After a few shots, we graduated to even smaller targets!!!

Safra Yishun Indoor Air Rifle

That was really hard.

We had a friendly competition after some training. Three rounds of six shots each. But our arms were aching by then and we didn’t do as well as during the practice.

I lost by two points.

Safra Yishun Indoor Air Rifle

Jayden’s cards are the three on top. Mine are the bottom ones marked with a V (for Venus).

By the way, the Safra Yishun Indoor Air Weapon Range is designed to International Sports Shooting Federation (ISSF) standards and is the biggest in Singapore.

There is also a Group Marksmanship Training Simulator where you can shoot at enemy soldiers. Uh, computerised ones, not real ones.

Safra Yishun Indoor Air Rifle

We didn’t get to try that but it looks fun.

I never knew there were so many fun things to do at Safra Country Club! The best thing is that the membership fee is very affordable. It’s available to all NSMen and their spouses/children.

Between all the four clubs, you can enjoy virtually anything and everything. There are also tons of activities planned for members all the time, as well as interest clubs organised for all kinds of hobby groups, from gaming to music and movies to archery, and more.

Click here to find out more about Safra Country Club. No excuses for being bored during weekends or holiday periods!

43 thoughts on “Facing the fear factor

  1. Avatar


    Should have tell me earlier hehe i can go cheer for u lol !!!!
    I stay very near only wahahaha, don’t forget to remind me to bring along the best part of the caterpillar.

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    @Sheylara: Even though you didn’t manage to clear the bridges or the wall, I thought it was a very credible and praiseworthy first attempt. Well done!*applause*:) But your firing stance could use a bit of work if you intend to continue. Don’t lean back too much or you’ll start to ache after a while. Still, great shooting!:)

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    Oh no!! Suvena is watching Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2008!! Can you bring her to the canopy walk, rock climbing or rifle range some time? You know, healthy life style :p

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    hey Sheylara… that was awesome… what next? bungee jumping? sky diving? i know.. i know… bikini wrestling with fiona xie.. =P

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    @Sheylara: Well done girl, you at least conquer a part of your fear! Thanks for the intro. Now I just need to find a way to drag my wife there :P

    Not bad for the air rifle. Bring back my secondary sch memories when I was part of the school air rifle team. I am a marksman then, but how come I still sucks in playing FPS games??? Hmm….

    @RN1209: Thanks for the advice, provided I can get someone to got there wif me.

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    @Morte: You are talking about THE Victoria’s Secret Fashion show leh. I am walking too now while typing this comment. This year’s girls are much chio-er. As Shey would say SHIOK!

    (or AWESOME! for those who prefer English) :P

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    zhuzhu: How I know you live in Yishun?! Anyway, I did that about a month ago or maybe longer, can’t remember. :P You mean one small caterpillar you and Peach share you still got leftover?? CMI leh.. :P

    RN1209: Thanks for your encouragement, hehe. I hope I have the chance to do better next time. Er, but not the CCW… that one I auto opt out. Haha.

    But my firing stance is taught by the instructor leh. He says the optimum stance is weird like that.

    Morte: HELLO! I invited you two to the event that day hor… who came very very late har? :P

    DamnMorgan: You know what… no thanks to everything you mentioned, especially the last one. haha.

    tiger4: Is your wife the adventurous sort or will she need a lot of persuasion to try those stuff?

    Anyway, FPS and real firing very different lah. Aiming a real gun (or even an arcade gun) is so much easier than pushing triggers and toggles.

    And… I didn’t know you guys were so into Victoria’s Secrets…

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    OH MY GAWD this real life game seems damm fun fI wanna do it!!!

    Poor sheylara got scared….

    Doesn’t matter. not many people died in this stuffs.

    Next time I will shout “TONITE WE WILL DINE IN HELL!!!!”
    and then charge forward!!!!

    (am I really that violent?)

  9. Avatar

    I wanted to do the canopy walk so much!!!! but… but… it’s all Morte’s fault!!! :P

    QY, shall we organise a Healthy Lifestyle (HLS) day?
    No gaming, no unhealthy snacks/titbits/drinks..
    We can either go sentosa or ECP

    And yes, I know I am opening to firing range from TGF…….. but….. moi immune le! Muahahaha!

  10. Avatar

    hey Sheylara.. ever thought of picking up kick boxing?? my gal , who is a lawyer, goes for kick boxing classes.. she told me it is fun, healthy n helps to fend off jerks…

  11. Avatar

    @Sheylara: Well, I’m sure the instructor knows what he’s talking about:) I guess there’s a difference between air rifle and assault rifle (like the M16 or SAR21) shooting fundamentals. We were taught to lean slightly forward and place the rifle butt tightly into the shoulder pocket, to minimise the impact of recoil.

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    @Sheylara: Hello! Victoria’s Secret Fashion show leh. Hot looking models wearing very little walking around. Which hot blooded male wouldn’t watch it?

    As for my wife, she is those really timid type. Driving down a gentle slope also frighten her. :S

  13. Avatar

    @Wang Wang: Can me and Tiger4 join in the HLS day? Got application form or not?:) By the way, the expressway (ECP) is not a very healthy place to hang out leh… haha, joking oni lar:)

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    @RN1209: It’s East Coast Park (ECP), not that ECP I referring to! :P

    You have to ask our Club President (Morte) and our Sheylara for application form :P Lol

    But actually right now, what I am really really interested in is Batam’s spa.. LOL

  15. Avatar

    hey Shey..
    would be awesome if you and friends visits the children homes and old folks homes.. spend time with them.. yeah.. maybe the readers can join in and cheer up the kids n the old folks..

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    Yup, that’s the proper stance for air rifle; or at least, the way I was taught to fire it in Uni as well.

    Air rifle has no recoil, but is heavier than M16 or AR15, so the stance was developed to optimize the shooter’s balance and stability.

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    Can you get membership if you’re a chick and have no relations to anyone who’s an NS men? I’ve always wanted to use the facilities, but never figured out how to go about it. Looks like tonnes of fun!

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    Relax: I’m actually not scared of dying. I’m scared of the falling sensation. I really hate the feeling. My body hates it. My mind hates it. Every nerve of me hates it. That’s why I’m scared of heights, cos my brain keeps imagining that I’ll fall and feel that horrible sensation. :P

    DamnMorgan: Haha, I doubt we’d even last the first round of Amazing Race. We are very unfit. :P And the Goonfather hates running. We can probably only win if it’s a driving competition lol.

    Yes, I have thought of kick boxing, although I’m more interested in Chinese martial arts. The only problem is I really don’t have time for more classes. I don’t even have enough time for drums as it is. I’m paying $200 a month to learn the same thing over and over again cos I have no time to practise. :P

    And yeah I think organising a trip to children’s homes would be great too. I wanted to do one for Christmas last year but got the idea too late and didn’t have time to plan. See if I can find another date this year.

    Peaches Mode: Knee breaking? I think it’s mind breaking. Haha.

    Jesta: Haha. I actually enjoy the chance to have different experiences, even if they are experiences that turn me to jelly.

    Wang Wang: If you all want HLS day, it means no smoking for the entire day. :P Can?

    zhuzhu: Why does everyone seem to think I’m fit enough to join Amazing Race? lol.

    Yoi: lol what?

    RN1209: Haha, I guess. Air rifle doesn’t have recoil. Or rather, just so minimal you hardly feel it.

    tiger4: I would think you can get photos and videos of hot looking models everywhere on the net every day. Don’t have to wait for VS. :P

    Monster: I didn’t have much of a choice. Haha.

    Mince Pye: Did they also teach you the “cheating” stance of leaning both elbows on the counter? That one is so much easier and more comfortable. Heh.

    Angie: Unfortunately, you can’t get a membership if you are not related to any NS Men. But you could have a friend who is a member bring you in as a guest to use the facilities. :)

  19. Avatar

    I was describing the feeling when you are somewhere high and you didn’t know that you were on something that high and then you accidentally see the edge then you knew that you were really high.. like your kneecap become so soft that you feel like it is breaking kinda feeling… I don’t know what it’s called, hence the double “.. heheheh!

  20. Avatar

    hey shey..
    $200 for drum lessons?? dude.. i teach guitar n drum lessons FOC every wednesady nite in church to a bunch of awesome kids… yeah they comes from broken homes.. music lessons helps them to feel good bout themselves.. yeah.. some of these kids now plays for sunday worship.. and their parents are proud of them.. me too..

    besides the music lessons… i made the kids some pasta with spicy tomato gravy with lots of chopped up sausages, mushrooms.. and lots of cheese… damn shiok…

  21. Avatar

    @Mince Pye: Thanks for the info, bro. I learnt something new today, hehe:)

    @Wang Wang: I know what you meant by ECP lar, me was juz kidding:)

    @Angie: I’m a SAFRA member, can lend you my card if you want…:)

  22. Avatar


    Well, you are so Brave and Adventurous, not many gals are like you willing to try to clear all the obstacle even you scare of heights.
    Sweating and expose under the sun is not the main factor that will stop you from trying.
    The main factor is yourself … whether you can beat you own fear and a heart that will never give up, Maybe we see that in you.

    Fit or not fit is another thing, fit does not mean you will win Amazing Race you need to have brain also. :P

  23. Avatar

    Peaches Mode: I see… I know what you mean. For me, it’s not my kneecap that goes soft.. it’s my whole damn body! Haha. :P

    DamnMorgan: Well, it’s $50 a lesson, about standard for a good instructor. Well, I’m not an underpriviledged kid so I can’t get to enjoy free lessons from kind souls like you. :P Your kids are really lucky!

    zhuzhu: Aww thanks for the compliment! :) I never watched a full episode of amazing race before actually, only saw a few snippets here and there, so not very sure what kind of challenges they have :P

  24. Avatar

    Um… at your face while you’re trying to cross that, thing.

    I probably couldn’t have done the other two either, fear of heights ftl.

  25. Avatar

    Well, no cheating stance (supposed to be professional air rifle team, y’know!), but they did say that the elbow is supposed to be stabilized on your hip.

    Which means that actually, you need to lean back even lower, and support the rifle with your fist, if your forearm isn’t long enough…

  26. Avatar

    It’s a girl’s thing i presume. I would never grasp the methodology or the equation behind the good looking girls saying that they are ugly.

    How’re those less blessed ladies are supposed to feel?!

    /derail, naw. Not ugly, but hillarious.

  27. Avatar

    Jayden: Wahhh so brave! Of you not scared of heights? :P How about the rock climbing?

    W: Wapang!

    Mince Pye: Phwaaaah, professional air rifle team! Did you guys take part in competitions?

    Yoi: Supposed good-looking girls have times when they look ugly too. Just take a look at all those paparazzi photos on the Internet where they snap celebrities without makeup or looking particularly gross. :P

  28. Avatar

    That doesn’t even make any sense. There are ugly celebrities outside and they’ll still look ugly with or without make up imo, still they are celebrities.

    I’m just gonna stop trying.

    Enormous buck teeth girl will look like that with or without make up, and catherine zeta jones will still look better in her messiest appearance.

  29. Avatar

    I think we’re probably not really discussing the same issue. What I’m trying to say is that good looking people can also have ugly days. And, as a matter of fact, I’ve had many people comment that I’m ugly (like in articles and forum posts about me).

    So, sometimes it’s also subjective.

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