Formula One is a ballsy sport. That’s part of the attraction. That’s what makes next weekend’s Singapore night race the visual extravaganza that it is. Otherwise why cough up a chunky wedge to see drivers sling their machines around the city as such insane, inhuman speeds? (If it’s to watch a howling Mariah Carey, please keep it to yourself.) These guys hawk their talents in front of crowds that bay for a crash just as vociferously as they would a goal at a football match. So, is it any wonder then that in the quiet hours before strapping in for the race, these outwardly fearless heroes head for the privacy of their trailers … dealing with jangled nerves and knotted stomachs. Away from prying eyes, some throw up, others try and sleep. But at the end of the day, they still go out and get the job done—facing their fears and testing their mortality. Why, you might ask, do they do it? For one, the rush of adrenaline is incredibly fun—especially after conquering one’s nerves. (Alright, so the prospect of untold riches if they win helps a little.) We too all have our own fears; things that make us nervy, testy, jumpy. Instead of being held down by such fears, why not channel your daredevilry and live a little by doing something that’s well out of your comfort zone? Here are some of the best places to get your freak on.
Do you fear heights, yet find yourself digging documentaries on okto which extol the joyous, acrobatic virtues of Cirque du Soleil performers, batty flying lemurs and Sumatran orangutans? Then get up early one morning, sprinkle some carpe diem on your toast and head off to the enchanting utopia that is Sentosa. At the Flying Trapeze you’ll be coached on the various stunts and moves that go into becoming a passable amateur trapeze. Here, you’ll improve your coordination, get your vertigo fixed (you’ll do knee-hangs and somersaults 10 meters above the ground) and be fully prepared next time your company wants to do team bonding exercises (a horribly frightful prospect) down at Pulau Ubin’s Outward Bound School.
Where: Rasa Sentosa Resort, 101 Siloso Rd., Sentosa, 6371-2943. $10/swing; $20/3 swings.
Bike This Way
Not one for the faint of heart, this. If you want to combine extreme sports with the genuinely wild environment of a tropical jungle, mountain biking at Bukit Timah is it. After trying the six-kilometer “kamikaze trail” here, you can (with only a little exaggeration) say you’ve tested yourself against monitor lizards, icky tree snakes, nutty monkeys (bring extra bananas) and the prospect of slamming face first into a pile of mud, rock and chunky tree roots (fear not, Singapore’s rhinoplasticians are among the region’s best, we hear). Hey, it’s not all bad: It’s still better than cycling on the idiot-strewn roads of the city, and you won’t be the only headcase around, as this place is packed on weekends.
Where: Bukit Timah Mountain Bike Trail, start at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Car Park. Get off at the bus stop opposite Bukit Timah Shopping Centre and Beauty World Centre, or along Jalan Anak Bukit, opposite Courts, and walk to the end of Hindhede Drive.
Not since Chuck Palahniuk wrote Tyler Durden into our imaginations more than a decade ago has white collar boxing been so popular. If you can look past the macabre irony (that of lieutenants of industry subjecting the very brains that gave them the right collar color to participate in this sport to a pummeling) then step right in. On a more serious note, there’s a lot to learn here. If you’ve always wanted to be more confrontational and assertive in the office, this is the perfect breeding ground. After a walloping (or, better still, thumping the daylights out of your opponent), office skirmishes will be a cinch—just be sure to keep your fists to yourself in the workplace.
Where: Vanda Boxing Club (#03-00 Ganges Centre, 554 Havelock Rd., 6305-2288) has classes for both men and women, and will schedule fights.
Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’
Although it’s ridiculous that Singapore wants to send a team to the Winter Olympics in the not-too-distant future, we think that ice hockey is a pretty decent way to expend some excess adrenaline on a weekend. The reason why most give this sport a miss is the fear of landing ass over tit on ice. But once you learn how to stand, move and skate, the rest is a cakewalk. OK, we lie, it’s a little harder than that, but it’s still no biggie. Ice hockey builds concentration (take your eye off the puck and you might find someone’s skates slicing your jugular), engenders teamwork and keeps you lean (unless you spend the rest of the weekend a recovering wreck nursing a case of Tiger).
Where: Log on to www.singaporeicehockey.com or www.nihl.org.sg for more information.
The need for speed is as old as time. This controlled environment is perfect for stepping on the gas—big time—and channeling the ghost of Ayrton Senna. Though it’s one of the more expensive pursuits around, go karting is nevertheless a thrilling activity that allows you to pit your skills, bravery and determination against friend or foe.
Where: Kartright Speedway, #01-05 511 Upper Jurong Rd., 6265-3303, www.kartright.com. Adults $32-45, students $22-$34; 2-seater kart $50-$66 (Prices depend on time and day and are for a 10-minute session).
Kill with Color
Let say that due to some quirk of circumstance, you ended up being a sorry 9-to-5 clerk during your national service days. Now, when your office mates are busy swapping tales of removing leeches in the jungles of Brunei or careering down a mountain face in Taiwan, you sit sheepish in the corner wondering whether to offer up the anecdote of the missing medical docket circa 1996. Well, you can undo your pansy cred by rounding up those combat guys for a spot of paintballing. Get that adrenaline fix you’ve always craved for and put the rest to a skirmish test and try to get one up for the long-suffering, oft-misunderstood service vocation.
Where: Bottle Tree Park, 81 Lorong Chencharu, 6755-7537, www.weplaypaintball.com. From $10 (for 30 paintballs) to $84.90 (for 250).
Ichthyophobia (fear of fish) is one of the most underrated phobias around. Many of you have it, we know; don’t even ask us how many people we’ve seen fainting at the sight of a busy aquarium. And since 1975, we’ve had a (horribly rational) fear of sharks (hey, how many can be as heroic as Roy Scheider or Richard Dreyfuss). So what better way to douse such a crippling fear than by plonking yourself in a public aquarium and swimming with sharks. You’ll even get a free t-shirt for your efforts. After all, we Singaporeans like nothing better than a free tee.
Where: Underwater World Singapore, 80 Siloso Rd., 6275-0030. $120 for 90 minutes.
Go Fly a Kite
Does spending the weekend with your arms raised skyward and your feet secured to a plank appeal to you? Perhaps you should give kite boarding a go, down under the flight path of Changi Airport by Stinky Bay (the newish patch of reclaimed land on which they have the airshow). Basically, its wakeboarding with flaps; but it’s quite a thrill being propelled so fast (and so high) by waves and wind. And don’t worry, you won’t drift off and get sucked into the engine of an A380; there are in-built safety release systems on these mod kites.
Where: Log on to www.singaporekiteboarding.com to get the latest information on the price of training and equipment, or alternatively, contact Vincent Lam on 9666-4625.
Who Ya Gonna Call?
Much more satisfying than raiding the National Library dressed as Egon Spengler, Peter Venkman and Ray Stanz, ghost hunting involves expeditions with local paranormal interest societies to spooky outposts throughout the island. If you can summon the courage to investigate the alleged vengeful ghosts at the Old Ford Factory, to go on a pontianak hunt in Sembawang or even investigate UFO sightings island wide, then call up the relevant intrepid ghost hunters and tag along. You may even want to make a watchable docu-film (unlike the recent one about the Old Changi hospital) about your exploits.
Where: Log onto the websites of the Singapore Paranormal Investigators (www.spi.com.sg) or the Asia Paranormal Investigators (www.api.sg).
Smooth Ass Scrotum
Yanking follicles off one’s privates in a sterile environment isn’t for everyone. But, in the spirit of trying everything once, we dare you to give it a try. A tip from those who know: Once you get your boyzilian done, you’ll want to keep it powdered for a few weeks. (Ladies, since you not unfamiliar with this, how about doing something else just as scary—like holding a snake?)
Where: Pink Parlour, #01-229 Marina Square, 6 Raffles Blvd., 6100-5489. $68.
Feel this Snake
Easily the most loathed reptile around, snakes induce the kind of fear that nothing else can. Face your fear, like they always say, and allow one to coil itself around your hands or neck. It might not cure your ophidiophobia, but on the plus side you’ll learn all sorts of interesting facts, including that a mini reticular python has the strength of a WWE wrestler and that it’s not slimy at all; just cold and dry. Try to keep your brekkie in.
Where: Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Rd., 6269-3411. The chance to feel up a snake comes as part of the Jungle Breakfast buffet. $25++ (adult); in addition to entry fee of $18 (adult).
Standup and Curl
Easily one of the most nerve-wracking things you’ll do—far scarier than getting a boyzilian in a haunted attap kampong house full of cobras. Jerry Seinfeld once remarked in his standup routine that people are more terrified of speaking in public than death: “This means to the average person, if you’re at a funeral, you’d rather be in the casket than give the eulogy.” So give standup a go (it’s far scarier if you’re not funny) and experience the horror of mentally disintegrating in the moments before you go on stage. You’ll find that a mere five-minute set can feel like 20 years in a Soviet gulag.
Where: First Wednesday of every month, 9:30pm. BluJaz Café, 11 Bali Lane, 6292-3800.
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