[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Saturday, April 05, 2008

[Mt Sinai]
1. I had never felt so physically exhausted since leaving the SAF a long time ago. From St Catherine Monastary to the summit of Mt Sinai where Moses received the Ten Commandments was a steep ascent. We rode camels for an hour and a half to the base station before climbing the last 750 steps. At an altitude of over 2000m, the air was thin and I had to rest every twenty steps or so. The journey back was worse. We had to walk all the way because riding a camel downhill was dangerous. The sloping ground was uneven and put great stress on my knees. I had to concentrate on every step.

2. But the view at the top of the Sinai was breathtaking. There is a small church and a tiny mosque, pointing in different directions, the mosque to Mecca and the church presumably to Jerusalem. By the side of the mosque is a hole in which Moses was believed to have prayed 40 days. I was glad to have made the effort but don't think I want to do it again.

3. St Catherine Monastary itself is a treasure with a history going back to the 4th century. When Arab Muslims conquered the area in the 7th century, the Prophet Mohamed granted the monastary special protection. The document drafted by Ali was touched by the Prophet and still exists in the Topkapi in Istanbul. But for this protection, the monastary would have been destroyed centuries ago. Copies of the protection order also gave the monks who lived there free passage in the Muslim realm. There is a wonderful library of old books including the earliest complete bible in the world.

4. The Greek Orthodox Archbishop who received me has lived there 47 years. When he learnt that I was going to climb Mt Sinai, he gave me a special blessing. It was only later that I appreciated why he did so.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG


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