Braver to Stay? Choosing to Jump Off Macau Tower

“Weren’t you scared?” “You’re so brave!” “I could never do that.”

Those were the words that followed the question of whether or not I jumped off Macau Tower, which I had. It was an experience I would love to undergo again.

I found out about this activity through a show that featured a music group jumping off Macau Tower, and I wanted to try it for myself. I thought that it didn’t look too bad—if I could overcome my fear of roller coaster rides by just going on one, surely I could overcome any fears I might have had about this activity just by doing it. However, I didn’t think that the opportunity to actually do it would come so soon.

To my delight, I discovered that Macau is in close proximity to Hong Kong, which my family, as well as two other families we were close with, was planning to visit. Before the trip, I did some research on Macau Tower. It was built by Stanley Ho Hung-Sun, a Macau businessman, after he visited Auckland’s Sky Tower, which inspired him to build a similar tower in Macau.

It stands at 338 meters tall, a little over 1,000 feet, and holds the title “World’s Highest Commercial Bungy Jump” by the Guinness World Records. I was beyond excited.

When we finally got to Hong Kong, I counted down the hours until we went on our excursion to Macau. Only 40 miles away from Hong Kong, we arrived in Macau after an hour-long ferry ride. However, I had to wait patiently before visiting the tower; of course, our group had to take pictures at various tourist attractions—gotta have those Instagram-worthy pics! 

Meanwhile, even as we played hide and seek at Fisherman’s Wharf, ate our ice cream cones through snapshots of the Ruins of St. Paul, and visited a Buddhist Temple, all I could think about was jumping off Macau Tower. When we finally got to the tower, I immediately searched for the bungy jump attraction. I found out that this company, AJ Hackett, is in charge of these attractions, including a bungy jump, a controlled fall (“Skyjump”) and a walk around the perimeter of the tower (“Skywalk”). Ultimately, I chose the Skyjump option, as the bungy jump attraction was closed during my visit.

The difference between the two is in the body’s position as the person falls and the rebound at the end. The Skyjump keeps the body in a vertical position and does not have any recoil, whereas the bungy jump allows a person to free fall headfirst and experience the rebound effect at the end. While a little disappointed I could not do the bungy jump, I was excited nonetheless.

The idea of jumping off the 1,000-foot tower was exhilarating. Yet, as the time came nearer and nearer, I only grew more nervous in anticipation. At first, the enormity of the event hadn’t quite hit me yet. While our party waited in line for the elevator that would first take us to the observation deck, one of the moms said, “We may not be able to go with you [to jump], but we’ll support you by watching!” Also, as an act of solidarity, one of the younger girls lent me her rubber band to keep my hair out of my face as I jumped. That reassured me and kept me calm—until the elevator arrived.

Then, I couldn’t keep still.

I couldn’t enjoy the observation floor properly because I was so jittery, and my fingers repeatedly fiddled with the “ticket” that indicated I would be a participant in jumping. While my siblings, friends, and friends’ siblings took pictures and played around with the transparent flooring on the deck, I could only stand in line for the elevator. It was the elevator that would take us one level higher to the AJ Hackett floor, where visitors would participate in the attractions. My parents, who were against me participating in such an attraction, stood beside me.

Before I knew it, the elevator doors opened. In what felt like a whirlwind as I was ushered in the elevator, ushered out of the elevator, and ushered to the desk to present my ticket; then, I was lead to put on a shirt and a set of harnesses for safety purposes. After a wait that lasted for barely a minute, I was ushered into the area where I’d be jumping off.

The area was sectioned off with glass walls, so the participant and employees working with the equipment were in one area while observers were behind the glass walls. It was through this glass that the people I was with shouted words of encouragement at me as I stepped in.

Up there, although I was nervous, I knew I wanted to jump. Yet, as the cables were being hooked up, it hit me that I would jump into the air and plummet downward.

For a moment I was frozen, but I reminded myself that it’s like a high diving board at swimming pools: even if there’s no water, the fall is still the same. After a set of quick instructions, my feet were on the edge. This was my last chance to turn back.

I chose to jump.

It only lasted 17 seconds.

I wanted to do it again.

I said as much to the people I was traveling with. However, when the exclamations that what I’d done was brave started filling the space, I grew more and more uncomfortable. Luckily, when we left the tower, the attention was diverted from me to the snacks my mom purchased: dried tangerine peels. Even the tiniest of nibbles left an extremely sour and bitter taste in the mouth that lingered even after a bottle of water and a handful of mints. Like the remaining aftertaste of the peels, the issue of my bravery still plagued my thoughts.

Was choosing to jump really that much braver than staying at the top?

I didn’t even stop to fully take in the view. Compared to everyone else in my party, who had constantly looked down, I didn’t go near the windows at all. It was an option, one that I hadn’t allowed myself to take. Too nervous to look, too scared to try.

Surely, what was braver was staying, as it was a constant affirmation of the fear, while falling was escaping the confrontation.

Whereas jumping can be seen as confronting the fear of falling, it was also escaping the fear of staying. I was facing one fear while running away from another. To stay means to persist through a fear, overcoming it gradually. There is a commitment made by staying. Yet, jumping is the exact opposite. It is essentially an escape.

That decision, choosing between staying or falling, reflects a train of thoughts of deciding whether or not to live. After all, jumping is one way. But staying is braver, as it is a willingness to face what’s left behind, an unknown, instead of not facing the weight of consequences at all. There is a certain courage in accepting and overcoming what life has to offer.

The literal act of jumping may have been brave, but not what it represented.

I couldn’t accept those exclamations of awe, not with that realization of what a willingness to fall means. There is nothing brave about choosing to jump, it is merely inconsiderate to those you leave behind who have to pick up the pieces.  

Just like jumping is a risk, staying is one as well. It can be scary to stay, not knowing what comes up, not knowing if the hurdles that pop up can be handled. However, facing those hurdles is what makes staying so brave. Persevering through those overwhelming moments, the ones that make falling such an appealing option, and overcoming them is what makes staying such a brave and rewarding choice.

I grappled with these kinds of thoughts as I pondered over my choice to jump and whether it was brave in the first place. To me, jumping off Macau Tower was not a brave act because of what it represented. However, because this once-in-a-lifetime experience made me contemplate the issue and come to this realization, I am eternally grateful for the experience. 

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Braver to Stay? Choosing to Jump Off Macau Tower

“Weren’t you scared?” “You’re so brave!” “I could never do that.”

Those were the words that followed the question of whether or not I jumped off Macau Tower, which I had. It was an experience I would love to undergo again.

I found out about this activity through a show that featured a music group jumping off Macau Tower, and I wanted to try it for myself. I thought that it didn’t look too bad—if I could overcome my fear of roller coaster rides by just going on one, surely I could overcome any fears I might have had about this activity just by doing it. However, I didn’t think that the opportunity to actually do it would come so soon.

To my delight, I discovered that Macau is in close proximity to Hong Kong, which my family, as well as two other families we were close with, was planning to visit. Before the trip, I did some research on Macau Tower. It was built by Stanley Ho Hung-Sun, a Macau businessman, after he visited Auckland’s Sky Tower, which inspired him to build a similar tower in Macau.

It stands at 338 meters tall, a little over 1,000 feet, and holds the title “World’s Highest Commercial Bungy Jump” by the Guinness World Records. I was beyond excited.

When we finally got to Hong Kong, I counted down the hours until we went on our excursion to Macau. Only 40 miles away from Hong Kong, we arrived in Macau after an hour-long ferry ride. However, I had to wait patiently before visiting the tower; of course, our group had to take pictures at various tourist attractions—gotta have those Instagram-worthy pics! 

Meanwhile, even as we played hide and seek at Fisherman’s Wharf, ate our ice cream cones through snapshots of the Ruins of St. Paul, and visited a Buddhist Temple, all I could think about was jumping off Macau Tower. When we finally got to the tower, I immediately searched for the bungy jump attraction. I found out that this company, AJ Hackett, is in charge of these attractions, including a bungy jump, a controlled fall (“Skyjump”) and a walk around the perimeter of the tower (“Skywalk”). Ultimately, I chose the Skyjump option, as the bungy jump attraction was closed during my visit.

The difference between the two is in the body’s position as the person falls and the rebound at the end. The Skyjump keeps the body in a vertical position and does not have any recoil, whereas the bungy jump allows a person to free fall headfirst and experience the rebound effect at the end. While a little disappointed I could not do the bungy jump, I was excited nonetheless.

The idea of jumping off the 1,000-foot tower was exhilarating. Yet, as the time came nearer and nearer, I only grew more nervous in anticipation. At first, the enormity of the event hadn’t quite hit me yet. While our party waited in line for the elevator that would first take us to the observation deck, one of the moms said, “We may not be able to go with you [to jump], but we’ll support you by watching!” Also, as an act of solidarity, one of the younger girls lent me her rubber band to keep my hair out of my face as I jumped. That reassured me and kept me calm—until the elevator arrived.

Then, I couldn’t keep still.

I couldn’t enjoy the observation floor properly because I was so jittery, and my fingers repeatedly fiddled with the “ticket” that indicated I would be a participant in jumping. While my siblings, friends, and friends’ siblings took pictures and played around with the transparent flooring on the deck, I could only stand in line for the elevator. It was the elevator that would take us one level higher to the AJ Hackett floor, where visitors would participate in the attractions. My parents, who were against me participating in such an attraction, stood beside me.

Before I knew it, the elevator doors opened. In what felt like a whirlwind as I was ushered in the elevator, ushered out of the elevator, and ushered to the desk to present my ticket; then, I was lead to put on a shirt and a set of harnesses for safety purposes. After a wait that lasted for barely a minute, I was ushered into the area where I’d be jumping off.

The area was sectioned off with glass walls, so the participant and employees working with the equipment were in one area while observers were behind the glass walls. It was through this glass that the people I was with shouted words of encouragement at me as I stepped in.

Up there, although I was nervous, I knew I wanted to jump. Yet, as the cables were being hooked up, it hit me that I would jump into the air and plummet downward.

For a moment I was frozen, but I reminded myself that it’s like a high diving board at swimming pools: even if there’s no water, the fall is still the same. After a set of quick instructions, my feet were on the edge. This was my last chance to turn back.

I chose to jump.

It only lasted 17 seconds.

I wanted to do it again.

I said as much to the people I was traveling with. However, when the exclamations that what I’d done was brave started filling the space, I grew more and more uncomfortable. Luckily, when we left the tower, the attention was diverted from me to the snacks my mom purchased: dried tangerine peels. Even the tiniest of nibbles left an extremely sour and bitter taste in the mouth that lingered even after a bottle of water and a handful of mints. Like the remaining aftertaste of the peels, the issue of my bravery still plagued my thoughts.

Was choosing to jump really that much braver than staying at the top?

I didn’t even stop to fully take in the view. Compared to everyone else in my party, who had constantly looked down, I didn’t go near the windows at all. It was an option, one that I hadn’t allowed myself to take. Too nervous to look, too scared to try.

Surely, what was braver was staying, as it was a constant affirmation of the fear, while falling was escaping the confrontation.

Whereas jumping can be seen as confronting the fear of falling, it was also escaping the fear of staying. I was facing one fear while running away from another. To stay means to persist through a fear, overcoming it gradually. There is a commitment made by staying. Yet, jumping is the exact opposite. It is essentially an escape.

That decision, choosing between staying or falling, reflects a train of thoughts of deciding whether or not to live. After all, jumping is one way. But staying is braver, as it is a willingness to face what’s left behind, an unknown, instead of not facing the weight of consequences at all. There is a certain courage in accepting and overcoming what life has to offer.

The literal act of jumping may have been brave, but not what it represented.

I couldn’t accept those exclamations of awe, not with that realization of what a willingness to fall means. There is nothing brave about choosing to jump, it is merely inconsiderate to those you leave behind who have to pick up the pieces.  

Just like jumping is a risk, staying is one as well. It can be scary to stay, not knowing what comes up, not knowing if the hurdles that pop up can be handled. However, facing those hurdles is what makes staying so brave. Persevering through those overwhelming moments, the ones that make falling such an appealing option, and overcoming them is what makes staying such a brave and rewarding choice.

I grappled with these kinds of thoughts as I pondered over my choice to jump and whether it was brave in the first place. To me, jumping off Macau Tower was not a brave act because of what it represented. However, because this once-in-a-lifetime experience made me contemplate the issue and come to this realization, I am eternally grateful for the experience. 

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