Reflecting 2017

Today is Sunday 31st December 2017, the last day for the year. In the blink of an eye, another year is going to be over again. Time flies so fast and furious that we all sometimes lose track of our time. This had been a very difficult and tough year, basically it continued on from the year 2016, I thought it would be more of a stablising and foundation year, instead, things never go to plan sometimes and I was thrown off track while trying my best to get things up and running.

I started wrapping up my year 2017 on 1st December, it’s not that I am closing shop for the financial year, it’s more of clearing up as many back logged things/matters to the best of my ability during the final month. Concurrently, I also took the time to deeply reflect on my year 2017 as well as planning and strategising for year 2018.

First and foremost, I would be sharing my reflection 2017 thoughts, feelings and views in my article here today, in no random order of significance:

  • A very difficult and tough year, mentally and emotionally exhausted – Losing 6 people in the space of 1 year from 2016 to 2017 totally drained me out, high and dry. 2 of them were very close to me, my paternal grandmother and big auntie. I wrote remembrance and dedication articles for them, published inside here, my personal website/blog.
  • Things didn’t go as planned, business has been very slow in a very tough, challenging and disruptive environment – Starting a small business at the start of the year 2017 was a huge calculated risk venture, I was mentally and emotionally prepared except that the mountains to climb were so much bigger and higher than I prepared myself for, a lot of lessons learned in my first year of business, whereby most of the time was put into setup, establishing partnerships and networking.
  • Partneships established – During this year, I established working partnerships and collaborations with Hpility SG and The Epiphany Duplet (Tiffany Yong and Peps Goh). I had showcased some of my photography works and collaborations with them during the year 2017, you can find my stories and photos in my photography and travel blog.
  • Behind the scenes / product shoot with The Epiphany Duplet on Love At Second Sight short film project – I was involved with a group of friends working together on The Epiphany Duplet’s short film project, just keep a lookout for my updates in January 2018! I am eagerly awaiting for the release of the short films and I can share/broadcast them!
  • No holidays taken in year 2017 – Due to the extended family matters that took place, I didn’t have the opportunity to take even a short holiday getaway to a destination nearby. I was kind of stressed out without a proper holiday break.
  • Photo book and photo zine postponed – I was planning to produce and publish a new photo book, things never go to plan due to extended family matters and the plans were postponed again to year 2018.
  • No exercise – No excuses, I was lazy and ill-disciplined. This must change, this must stop, I must be disciplined and determined for year 2018, a healthy and active sporting lifestyle.
  • Diet changes – I started reducing my carbohydrates intake in the year 2017, it’s a start and this can still vastly improve further. Working on my diet eating plans for year 2018.
  • Need and Must read more books – I bought some books on business, entrepreneurship and travel. I need and I must read more quality books to feed my brain, mind and soul, to seek improvements, upgrading and learning new skills and knowledge.
  • Acknowledge depression (slight) – The human race is facing lots of stress and pressure in today’s society, we all might (or have faced) depression at some point in time. After a long and thorough self evaluation and deep reflection, I have slipped into a slight depression during this period from 2016 to 2017 (especially in the Q2 and Q3 of 2016)
  • ??? by ??? MayDay – This song means a lot to me, check out their YouTube video and you will understand what I went through and be enlightened.
  • PerseveranceI did a Facebook fun test “What was your most important lesson of 2017?” The result was “Perseverance”. It was totally spot on, jackpot, I didn’t know how I managed to persevere and grinded my way through year 2017 with all the things happening and throwing me off track. The most enlightening matter was I did it, I persevered and I succeeded.
  • Social media / blogging – In this segment, for the year 2017, it’s a year of mixed results for me. Some agencies that didn’t know about me previously started to engage via press releases emails, that’s a start definitely. Some were lost, some got better.
  • Gratitude, Humility, Count my Blessings, Be Thankful – Of all the things that happened during this year 2017, the good and the bad, I am still here, still around. No matter what happeend, I am grateful, I count my blessings.
  • Upgrading, learning new skills – Lifelong learning is my personal philosophy and I will continue to do it forever. There are still so many more skills and knowledge to learn and improve on myself. Personally, I feel that there is a lot more that I can do to upgrade and improve myself, in an era of technological disruptions.
  • No personal photography projects – Due to extended family matters over the past two years, my personal photography projects took a back seat. It’s time to bring it back, complete them and I can embark on new personal photography projects.
  • Disruption by technology, disruption to life and work – Disruption is huge, it will only get bigger, further and wider. Are we ready for them? Or are we too comfortable in our own comfort zone, complacent and ignorant? It’s very scary how technology disruption is going to impact and affect us, in both life and work, in both a good and bad way.
  • Issues in society / friends / family – Human beings are/can be complicated, selfish, lazy and fearful. We all need to work and strive harder, to improve ourselves, judge less, criticise less, learn more, know more and understand more.

At the end of this article, after writing down so many thougths, views and feelings, it’s like something heavy was off my shoulders, mind and soul. Overall, a very difficult and tough year 2017 and I am very happy to wrap them up, close “Year 2017 Account”, archive them and start “Year 2018 Account”.

A new chapter, a new hope, a new and fresh beginning, coming very soon, in less than 24 hours time. The start of “Year 2018 Account”.

Remembrance – A 99 year old matriarch of 5 generations

She might be small in size, however, don’t ever underestimate her. She was a fierce and commanding figure, the head of the extended family for 36 years since her husband’s passing in 1980. Her awareness of situations and meticulous to details, numbers and things gave her a reputation of – don’t try to pull any tricks or cheat me. Growing vegetables at the side of her home, tending to her ducks and hens in her backyard, climbing up the starfruit tree in her front porch to pluck fruits. She was full of life, energy and zest till doing all the above things until she was in her 70s to 80s.

Having to take charge of the family, she was fierce and protective at times because she loved her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and a great great grandchild. Being the eldest grandson of the family probably has its perks, extra pressure and responsibilities. I do get quite a lot of nagging and scoldings from her, all in the name of love, care and concern for me.

I remembered an incident very clearly when I was a young kid, probably during my early primary school school days. I was back home in Malaysia, celebrating Chinese New Year festival. I was running around and playing in the village, I encountered a wild dog bigger in size than me, barking and chasing me. Since I was just a small young boy, I got scared, turned and ran back to my grandmother’s home, I dropped a slipper behind. My grandmother asked me what happened, I replied that a wild dog chased me at the corner of the road down from the house. She held my hand, walked with me to the place where I encountered the wild dog. She chased and scolded the wild dog with my other slipper, helping me to retrieve my other half of my slipper back. That’s my grandmother in action!

Her travel wanderlust was just as amazing and inspiring, traveling to many different countries. In the village, she would probably be one of the most well traveled seniors! I have yet to match her travel feats at this point in time! She traveled down regularly to visit my family in Singapore during my childhood and teenage years.

My paternal grandmother was an amazing role model, I think I got some of her traits from her – hardworking, not giving up, travel wanderlust and very meticulous.

At her 90th birthday celebrations, I still had many fond memories of her big birthday bash and those photographs will be wonderful memories for the entire extended family when they all came together to celebrate a milestone for her.

As she started to age over the past few years since entering into the 90s age band, old age and deterioration of the body was inevitable, every human being will face it some day in the future. Her movement became slower and she required walking aid. Yet, she was also very amazing, still being alert of her surroundings and people when she was in her 90s.

She was planning to celebrate her 100th birthday in the month of May 2017. Sometimes, things in life don’t go as planned like we all want it to be. She passed away peacefully on 20th November 2016 at a ripe old age of 99. I was very shocked, not expecting it to happen even though I was pre-empt by my parents a few weeks ago to be ready in case it happens. I had it really hard because I attended my university junior funeral wake on the night of 19th November 2016, she was just 36 years old. Their passing, were like “back to back”, this was a double blow that shook me really hard and to be honest, I was lost for three weeks – pain, shock, agony and sadness penetrated inside me heart, mind and soul, you can read all of them here.

I did not visit my Grandmother as often as I should and could, over the past few years. I would like to confess that I am very sad and disappointed that I did not get to see her alive for one last time before she left us. I was still having hopes that I can do something special for you on your 100th birthday celebration in 2017 with my photography and story telling. This is not going to take place at this point in time and I am planning of another photography channel to remember and honour your life.

During her funeral, it only dawned upon me on my role and status in the extended family since I was the eldest grandson in the family. I had to perform some of the rituals along side with my dad and uncle.

Reaching a ripe old age of 99, she’s the big mother of the extended family of five generations under her. That’s another remarkable feat that not many people can meet up to. She led a good life with a big extended network of descendants under her, guided and taught by her authority, teachings and lessons. She may not have live a life of rich and wealth during her life time, she definitely live a great and good life with many filial descendants of good upbringing and teachings.

Our dear matriarch is now watching all over us from the sky above, taking care and blessing us, just like before, nothing much has changed. I have a personal photography project (on my grandmother and the 5 generations under her) in my mind that I hope that I can produce and show it to you when the time is ripe. This will be a testimonial and tribute to your matriarch status as well a legacy for the current and future generations to remember you.

Goodbye and farewell to my beloved Grandmother, I will always remember you in my heart. Yes, I do miss your scoldings and nagging on me.

Entering into the 40s band

The time now is 10:01 am or 10:01pm on the 10th January – 10/01.

Today marks the day, whereby I officially enter into the 40 age band. The last time I entered into a new age band was 10 years ago, entering the 30-39 age band. The thoughts and feelings were so different from then 30 years old and now 40 years old. I had mellowed down over the past 10 years, slowly getting myself away from nonsense and rubbish on the social media platforms.

There were times when you can see and feel, that you are getting older, just by looking at the people around you. My nephews and nieces have all grown bigger and older, my friends children had grown and some of them had more children in their family.

Entering into the 40s age band is like the new era of 30s, there are still many opportunities and great things to achieve ahead for me. Although I would not be as fast and energised like when I had the health and body energy of a 30 year old.

Age is truly a number, no doubt about that and you cannot run away from it! While I can never run away from getting old, my heart, mind and soul can still be forever young with a higher and increased level of maturity, thinking, experience from the life journeys. While I may not run as fast as before, I am still learning and growing, exploring and setting new goals and objectives. A person’s life learning journey must always be ongoing, no matter how big or small the lessons are.

Oh yes, in Singapore, when we reach 40 years old, we are automatically enrolled into this health insurance program known as ElderShield, you can read up more about this program here. I have a feeling my younger friends are going to give me the short end of the stick again for getting inside this program. Alright, this is also a huge and constant reminder to take good care of my health, keep and stay fit, exercise more!

While I am having mixed feelings of hitting the 40s, I am excited of the new journeys and adventures ahead that I embarked upon at the start of the year 2017.

Oh yes, welcome to the 40s club!

Reflection: Gratitude, Staying Down to Earth, Humility

1st June 2015, a new start to a brand new month. That would also mean 5 months of 2015 had passed through my life, our lives. This is not a half time report for 2015, if I am planning to do it, it would be in the month of July when 6 months of 2015 have officially been over.

The past 5 months of 2015 had been quite a bit of a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, it had also been an a period of heavy workload, responsibilities, strategic directions and making changes. Chatting with friends, some of them seemed to be in a similar situation with me, on the heavy workload portion. Some of my leisure activities were affected to the extent that it wasn’t too healthy and I decided to realign my work timings, allowing me to go back for my leisure activities on the weekend. This would allow me to rest, clear my mind and thoughts before heading back to work on a Monday. Writing and sharing articles on new IT gadgets and products also took a back seat recently in the past few months. I am trying to get this area back running again, starting to share about new IT gadgets and products with my friends and readers.

Some areas that I had been working on for the past months were on branding, public relations, brand awareness, publicity and networking. This process was learned through life and work experiences over the years, networking, learning from fellow peers, mentors and experienced seniors in their respective industries. Planting the seeds today doesn’t guarantee that it will grow up big and fast, sometimes, it can be a very long journey. “You reap what you sow” is so true for me.

During the time and behind the scenes that were building up towards the two key months of May and June 2015, I classified it as the branding, public relations, awareness and publicity months, for both work and personal. While the seeds were planted, grew, matured and ready for harvesting, there were blessings that came and appeared upon me.

It’s like 99% consisting of hard work, sweat and tears before that 1% of special blessings that were delivered to me, making it 100%. 

There were some really big highlights for me recently in the past 6 months, in my day job work and photography. This newspaper feature (of me, on my life, on Marina Bay and my photography) on The Straits Times on 20th May 2015 was definitely a pinnacle in my life!  My old primary school classmate (31 years not out and counting) gave me gentle reminders that I need to remain down to earth and grounded. I am very thankful and grateful for such reminders!

I am filled with gratitude, reminding myself to remain down to earth and be humble. I would like to say a Big Thank You to those who believed in me, supported and encouraged me all these time over the years!!