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.

Happy New Year 2017!

Hello 2017, goodbye 2016!

The first day of the new year 2017, I just want to start everything new and fresh, a brand new start, A New Hope! I also want to put 2016 behind me, strive forward, ahead and climb higher mountains!

I also want to remind myself, not so much of setting new year resolutions

  • Be thankful, grateful and stay humble at all times
  • Adapt, change and upgrade in the age of relentless growth, change and disruptions.
  • Pay It Forward, Pass It On and Give back to society

A New Hope has started for me in 2017!

Happy New Year 2017! Good luck and all the best to everybody in the new year 2017!

Reflecting 2016 – Part 2

In an unprecedented move, I split my reflection of the year into two parts for year 2016, with Part 1 written on 30th December 2016. How this actually came about was that I started writing Part 2 first before I saw a number of various articles on my social media channels that struck a very deep chord inside me that were part of my reflection process for the year 2016.

For part 2, this would be more about more personal, more in-depth, inside my heart and soul. The life lessons will be some of the most invaluable life lessons that society is going to teach and impart to me. A friend mentioned to me that taking stock of the life lessons, take comfort in the trials that ended and focus on a greater year ahead.

Around the world, the year 2016 had taken away quite a long list of people from Earth to another world out there. Personally, I had to deal with the painful loss of three people close to me, a senior scout master, my university junior and my paternal grandmother. I would handle my own closure of the loss of my university junior and paternal grandmother in remembrance posts, similarly to the post that I wrote for my senior scout master in September 2016.

Amidst all the painful life lessons, picking myself up and getting myself back again. I am also very thankful and truly appreciative of all those people who helped me, encouraged and picked me up from the fall, walking with me through the storm, with my head held up high. This is a very humbling experience for me too.

This is also the time to put aside all those horrible memories somewhere behind and also to exile some people away from my life into space.

As I round up my year 2016, slightly earlier than the usual New Year Eve countdown to year 2017, this youtube video by Stephen Colbert & Michael Stipe during the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, a very interesting and slightly remixed REM song to “celebrate” the end of the year 2016.

I totally agree with this song “It’s the end of the year as we know it and I feel fine”

Goodbye year 2016, you had taught me many valuable life lessons, many painful and disappointing lessons during this difficult year.

Hello year 2017! It’s A New Hope! A brand new year, a brand new and fresh start!

Thanksgiving & Be Thankful

Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November (in USA), a time to give Thanks and be thankful.

Received Thanksgiving wishes from friends from the twitterverse, web and friends around, it was a time to deeply reflect in ourselves and myself, to be really humble and thankful for what we have now, count our blessings and be grateful, thankful for what we have now.

Quote : “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” — Brian Tracy

There were many times whereby the amount of time, effort (in a widely heard quote “blood, sweat and tears”) into my businesses, entrepreneurship, photography, personal development, paying it forward to people, friends. At times, it seem that nothing is really returning and like everything is gone to waste.

Quote : “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

However, I always believe that what goes around comes around, whenever we put in our heart, passion and soul, time, effort in whatever we do, it will come back to bless us one day down the journey –

Quote : “Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting.” — Author Unknown

Today, I am very thankful for the blessings and life lessons that I have accumulated today in life, this journey never ends and I will continue to learn, change and develop further in personal development, change, entrepreneurship, leadership and mentoring.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers !