Who's Robert?

Robert is a late bloomer. A failure in primary school and languishing in the bottom 10% in early secondary school, he beat all odds by graduating with 1st class honours in aeronautical engineering at Imperial College London and topping his final year class, which earned him the Governor's Prize. He went on to obtain a PhD on a scholarship in the same university.

Academics aside, he dove into 14 college clubs, eventually focusing on mountaineering which became a passion. He climbed extensively in Norway, France, Spain, Corsica and UK. He was elected the first non-European treasurer and vice-president of the Mountaineering Club.


On Everest without oxygen with
Edwin (left), 2005.
Excelling in both academia and mountaineering, Robert led a full life in the university, during which he found the motivation to push limits and reach beyond the expected.

On returning to Singapore, he joined DSO Laboratories, the research arm of the defence ministry, as a research scientist. In his 12 years there, he rose rapidly, eventually becoming a Principle Member of Technical Staff. Among other major projects, he was instrumental
in establishing Singapore's National Trisonic Wind Tunnel facility, the first in South East Asia.

In tandem with his work, Robert embarked on major expeditions, including the First Singapore Everest Expedition in 1998, the First Singapore Antarctica Expedition 2000. He also led a Singapore team to climb mountains into the death zone above 8,000m without supplementary oxygen, the first South East Asian team to do so.

Robert's team, called The Singapore Mountaineers, was formed in 2001, dedicated to cutting-edge expeditions, and climbing without oxygen and minimum support. With Robert as leader, the core members comprise Everest summitter Edwin Siew, outdoor instructor Lim Kim Boon, medical doctor Mok Ying Jang, and base camp manager and writer Lulin Reutens.


Robert climbing Mount Cook, 1998.

Delivering a keynote address in DSO
National Laboratories Staff Conference,
2006.
 

Robert's passion for mountaineering led him to initiate a unique programme to groom new mountaineers. The Make It Real Student Mountaineering Programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS), launched in 2001, offers students a taste of high-altitude mountaineering in the Himalayas. To date, he has nurtured almost 100 climbers.

In 2005, Robert directed an Everest expedition comprising NUS staff, student and alumni, that put three climbers on the summit. For 12 months in 2005/2006, Robert and his team mates directed the Singapore Women Everest Team in the women's successful training climb on Mustagh Ata (7,546m).

One of Robert's most arduous adventures was when he man-hauled and skied to South Pole in 2000. Co-leading the four-man team, he fought blistering -50 degree Celsius temperatures and burning winds for 55 days in the polar desert in Antarctica.

In September 2006, Robert set up his own company, 29,000FT, specializing in motivational and keynote speaking.


At Xixabangma advanced base camp with Edwin (left) and Mok (right), 2002.
 

Robert understands the power of passion and a shared dream in human endeavours. He feels that reaching for the peak -- striving to do better, whether in your home, your well being, at work, in relationships -- is the essence of growth. And that it can enhance your satisfaction and happiness which will stay with you throughout your life.

It is Robert's belief that everyone has a passion that, if pursued with commitment, will lead to success. Finding this passion in whatever one does is the individual's personal Everest, and having climbed it, one is often faced with a greater challenge. In this way, you can reach your full potential. The seemingly impossible then becomes possible, and the far-fetched a reality.

This is the philosophy in Robert's adventures and the teams he mentors. And their success testifies to the efficacy of his methods.

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