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Post expedition reflections by Fathen Jusoh

Arctic Expedition? Where do I start? Where should I start? Sharing my Arctic expedition is like picking and arranging the pieces of puzzles. They are all equally important to make a complete story of my experience. Each one of it has a little story and they are connected to one another.


Sultan Mizan Antarctic Research Foundation participants Fathen Josoh and Bella Mohd Salleh of Malaysia on top of glacier on Devon Island. Photo (c) Mike Sudoma/SOI Foundation

The Arctic expedition was a journey of finding my inner self in a northern side of the world. Learning the history of the struggle by the Inuit in the past, the reconciliation they have been through and the effort taken to preserve their beautiful culture and language in the midst of modern and western culture teaches me to value my own culture and identity. Everyone in this world comes from a different background, culture and belief. We have our own history and past through which we learned the meaning of struggle and found hope to live and survive. Regardless of where we come from, we have a unique culture, belief and identity and to respect another’s culture, belief and identity is to value our own.

Listening to the melting glacier and icebergs, the popping sea ice as we crossed the ocean, it hurts me. Being told how normal for ice to melt worries me even more. I wonder what if the ice keeps on melting and declining? It could be a normal process, but too drastic or dramatic changes and melting will do no good to our planet. Seeing a lot more ships on the Arctic Ocean worries me. Can they guarantee the man-made sound does not distract the marine lives and the ships will spill no oil and harm the ocean?

Bella Mohd Salleh of Malaysia explores the coastline of Coutts Fjord off the northeastern coast of Baffin Island during SOI’s 2017 Arctic Expedition. Photo (c) Mike Sudoma/SOI Foundation

How I wish the Arctic Ocean stays as it does, being icy as it should be, so, it will play its important role to reflect the sunlight back to the surface to cool down the earth, to provide homes to Arctic lives and Indigenous people, and be the hopes to the this planet to maintain the ecosystem as it should be.

Coming from tropical area that is far away part from both Polar Regions; the Arctic and Antarctica, I learn that distance is not a border when we actually share and live in the same planet. Whatever happens in the Arctic affects us in the tropical area and vice versa. Every one of us, regardless where we come from, have the same mission to protect and preserve our planet for the sake of future generations. I could no longer tolerate the global warming we’ve been through due to climate change.  If we forever live under the spell of the human greed to exploit all the sources unsustainably and uncontrollably, we might want to wait till one day that we have to pay for the nature debt we’ve made.

I really hope that through my sharing on the importance of the Arctic and Antarctica to my students and community, I will inspire more young Malaysians to get involved in polar science and to be polar scientists, contributing to the betterment of our planet’s environment and indirectly combat climate change.

Bella, Fathen and Yusuf of Malaysia share a Zodiac excursion to explore Prince Leopold Island’s migratory bird sanctuary alongside Canada’s Minster of the Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna. Photo (c) Martin Lipman/SOI Foundation

Fathen Jusoh,
Chukai, Malaysia




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