It seems like just yesterday when I wrote the annual reflection posts 7 Major Moments of My 2013 and 10 Worst Things I Did in 2012. Maybe gods of the five directions of the universe are always there to popi my soul lah; miracles continue to happen this year and I can’t be more grateful to have achieved what I need to archive before 2015.
As I grow older I have come to realise what is important in life is not always about attempting to achieve X number of tasks within Y period of time. I think it’s more about finding meanings, it’s about having the passion and a sense of anticipation in what we’re doing. Most importantly we need to learn to accept the ups and downs of life as we pursue our dreams or what we enjoy.
Now that 2014 is coming to an end. Yours truly has panicked a bit upon realising how time has passed so damn quickly this year. So let me quickly roll out the red carpet to make way for this entry.
Here are the 6 major events that sum up the whole of my 2014:
1. Pulling unplanned travels outside the country over weekends
And I used to call that a waste of money, until I did it and realised it was actually a bliss.
I have done quite a lot of travelling in and outside the country for the past five years. And I’m thankful that despite having to work 6 days per week, my job is able to give the flexibility I need, allowing me ample space and freedom to pursue my studies and do some travels in between work.
But things have taken a turn after I assumed the role of a head of department last December. It’s not a bad thing, but I no longer can travel long enough without having to worry about my staff, students, and the operation of the department.
But still work is work, laozi has travel thirst to quench. So I have ended up resorting to spontaneous travels over weekends, even when that means travelling out of the country. Some of you may disapprove, but hey, this is how I find my work-play balance.
2. Being blessed with a very special convocation
To be honest, this was a convocation I didn’t feel like attending. It was because firstly I had gone through my first convocation, and I reckoned this would be yet another variation of it. Also, unlike during my bachelor’s degree time, this time I didn’t have coursemates to throw the mortar board with. So sad!
Nevertheless, being a very good boy, I still obediently signed up for and attended the convocation because I was certain my parents would wish to be there to witness the moment.
And I’m glad I did, because on my convocation day, I would find myself showered with so much love and surprises.
It had been closed to four years since I left the very university that I worked at as a tutor. Who would have ever thought that years later I would share the same convocation as some of the students I used to teach before?
My former student Venz and her colleague Saravani were thoughtful enough to have invited me to attend a meet-and-greet cum press session after my convocation. There I got to exchange some conversations with the guests of honor and journalists, some of whom I personally knew.
Thank you Sara and Venz.
The next day, I woke up to messages from friends telling me my face was on Sin Chew and The Star.
3. Celebrating first Songkran with my Thai friends
For the first time in my life, I’d had so much fun participating in both Songkran and the lives of my Thai friends.
Nothing beats the good moments when my friend Pom took us on his bike through the hectic streets of Hatyai to a stall where we would enjoy the most delicious Tomyam noodles in town. We were cold and wet all the way because people kept dousing water on us from the street.
To know that Pom did so because he remembered I was a fan of street food, it was just touching. And you know the best part? He wouldn’t even let me pay for a single meal during my entire stay there!
This dude has got to be one of the most hospitable friends I’ve ever had.
I remember walking down the streets together with my gang, getting all ready to shoot not just water, but ICE-COLD water, at random people with our water guns – mine was a 1500-psi plastic water gun Pom had prepared for me even before my arrival.
While water-dousing itself is indeed fun, it’s actually also the bond of being together with a group of Thai counterparts that makes the celebration the more enjoyable. I don’t think it would be as much fun and meaningful had I done it alone.
Well, I can only say it’s really great to have friends like these. I’ll definitely make sure I play a good host the next time they come to visit me.
4. Publishing my first book
This is a project I had quietly worked on for a total of 13.5 months. Deliberately titled “Wanderful Odyssey”, what is special about this 112-page, all-colour book is that every word, every page was carefully crafted according to my own vision.
To me it’s not just a book. It’s an art. My vision of “Wanderful Odyssey” is for it to be seen as a motivational book and an art piece that is also a fun read for those who own it.
I want the whole production to be felt like a gift; I want receiving, unwrapping, and flipping through every page of the book to be an unusual experience. Hence all who have ordered “Wanderful Odyssey” directly from me have received a special copy that came with wrapping like shown in the photo below.
Eh, not easy can!
I had spent MANY sleepless nights writing, editing, designing, reviewing, and perfecting the book – all on my own. Being a perfectionist, I was rather controlling in that I wanted all aspects of the book, including creativity and content, to go according to the way I had envisioned it.
I remember receiving the proof copy of my book back in May – I was all stoked but still left unsatisfied with certain aspects of the outcome (check out my IG update on this):
That very night, instead of celebrating because the proof copy probably means the end of the book publishing journey for some writers, laozi sat in front of the laptop, took a long deep breath – just like what you would do before entering a loo in China, forcefully smiled a “yes, you boleh” smile before clicking open my file again – maybe for the 214122407th time – to re-edit my work! I wanted to vomit after that.
Somebody faster put this in the Guinness Book of World Records liao.
Some friends have asked about the sales of “Wanderful Odyssey”. The thing is, I have no idea. I’ve never asked about the sales, nor have I ever been concerned about it. Maybe it won’t even sell that well.
For a person who sees it as an art, naturally I would care more about the artistic value. I’m more concerned about how I would be able to execute whatever creative ideas I have in my mind, into that final tangible piece.
Let’s just say “Wanderful Odyssey” is supposed to be a rather personal workpiece that I put together in order to fulfil what I wanted to do since young. My original intention was to share it with people in my social circle, but it has turned out a bit differently than I thought. It has exceeded my expectations.
For that I’m really grateful.
5. Falling in and out of love
I know, I know, this is so not me. So please don’t judge!
Nothing is perfect in life anyway, so just like any others, I too have my not-so-great moments.
For eight years straight I haven’t been in any relationship. I’ve chosen to put my focus on work and chasing dreams. I’ve been super rational and sceptical at once when it comes to love because I know very well the price that comes along with you’re in a relationship: quarrels, frustration, heartbreak, and countless of sleepless nights because she won’t pick up your calls.
I’m one who loves freedom and needs a lot of space, so I’ve known it all along that love isn’t something for me, at least for now. But sometimes shit happens.
LAOZI’S TRAIN DERAILED A BIT THIS YEAR.
I went through a bit of emotional turbulence because unfortunately it was one-way love. I wish it hadn’t happened, but then it did. So disastrous, just like Christopher Nolan’s latest film Interstellar. HAHA!
What to do? At least the experience made me feel a little more “humane” after all these years of abstaining myself from being in a relationship.
Well, now that I’ve walked out of this disaster so gracefully, so I shall move on.
Okay, I’m ending this post for now. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.