National Day supplement

Celebrating Singapore's adventurous spirit: Woman with a conquering attitude

Scott Tay, 25, trekked through Mongolia to raise funds for cancer. Yusrina Ya'akob, 30, is the first Malay to climb Mount Everest. Eirliani Abdul Rahman, 40, hopes to conquer the South Pole. ST speaks to three individuals with an adventurous spirit.

The Straits Times will run a National Day supplement on Aug 9 profiling Singaporeans who display various shared values of the Singapore Spirit. Here is a sneak peek of one segment focusing on individuals who embody the adventurous spirit.

SINGAPORE - The obsession with mountains for Ms Nur Yusrina Ya'akob - who recently became Singapore's first Malay woman to conquer Mount Everest - began with a poster.

When she was a first-year student at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2006, she saw a poster featuring an NUS Centennial Everest Team that had successfully summited the world's highest peak the year before.

She took it home and put it on her bedside wall, where it stayed for four years. "I just loved it... it was beautiful; it looked very adventurous and it made me want to go to the mountains."

Ms Yusrina, 30, who was part of an Everest expedition in 2015 that aborted their climb after an earthquake struck, was the only one out of a three-person team to reach the peak in May this year.

Her desire to climb the world's highest peak also stemmed from her love for challenges, said Ms Yusrina. "If I don't put myself in a difficult situation, that's not me. I look for challenges, especially physical challenges," she added.

But she knows her pursuit of mountaineering challenges can be dangerous, pointing out that she almost died in her Everest attempts.


The first was averted by the quake in 2015, and the second close shave came this trip when she fell about 6m off a rock face.

She has a quirky motivation method - sending postcards to herself; in them, she writes messages for herself to read after particularly dangerous expeditions.

She has sent herself five cards, all before climbing in the Himalayas. "When I'm writing one, I think I need to be home to read these postcards so I need to be safe, whether or not I'm successful."

Ms Yusrina, who is single, jokes that her excuse is that she is married to Mount Everest. Now, her main focus is studies. Although she is not sure what her next journey will be, she is certain that her fire for adventure will continue to burn.

"It's important to be adventurous because it puts you in an unfamiliar situation, and that helps you to grow as a person and builds character."