Category Archives: General/Thoughts

My 2020 in Reflection: The Good and the Bad

As I’m typing this entry right now, my house is in a disastrous state with paint and cement dust all over the place and all my stuff cramped in the living room.

I’m finally giving my apartment a facelift and some minor renovation after contemplating for over a year since relocating back here. It’s time to give the crib a fresh paint job after almost 10 years of owning it!

I have initially set aside some budget to hire somebody to do it for me, but changed my mind three days before the new year. And now I’m doing everything myself with the help of my better half. That’s how to torture myself on top of a number of other tasks I have yet to get done!

I just got back from a dinner with my better half after a whole day of wall painting (such a physically-demanding job!) and had some time to quickly reflect upon how the year of COVID-19 has treated me.

This marks the first time in the last five years that I am not spending the year end and New Year in Thailand, but in the comfort of my own home.

2020, to me, has been a year of work, work and work. While this has been the case for me ever since I was with my previous company, I have probably outdone myself yet again this year with very little break for myself, always working late into the night and even on most weekends. It has been very productive nevertheless.

Below I will list down the achievements I have done in 2020 and what should have been improved in the near future.

The Good

  • I’ve had some steady progress with my PhD – passed my proposal defense and now I can embark on the research work.
  • Took on four other research projects with some still on-going, and got to lead some students to Johore and my home state of Sarawak to conduct two of those.
  • One of the projects has seen some amazing outputs – a talk, a published paper with two others in press – hoping for them to come out in early 2021.
  • Gone on a vacation cum research road trip across various states, including Ipoh, Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang.
  • Home makeover.

The Bad

  • A paper I wrote with a partner from an Indonesian university failed to make it.
  • My taking on too much work has taken a toll on my health. I may not have fallen ill frequently, but I feel my body and my energy level have plummeted.
  • The quality of my sleep has also been affected. While I reckon that the stress I have is good stress as I feel more excited than stressed about the tasks at hand, sometimes sleeping late has disrupted my circadian rhythm, leading to insomnia.
  • I haven’t spent enough time with the better half, even though three-quarter of my time this year is spent at home due to COVID-19.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, as well as its disruption to many industries and our way of life, the year 2020 is obviously not the best year we have been blessed with. Despite this, I believe there is a window of opportunities that comes along with it.

In the coming 2021, while I hope I can keep this momentum going and remain productive, I’m also hoping to improve on the bad.

Hoping for a better 2021. I wish you a blessed New Year ahead!

Malaysian Borders Remain Closed to Non-Malaysians in Neighbouring Countries Seeking to Return to Work

According to news reports from August 27, Malaysia’s borders will remain closed to non-Malaysians looking to return to work in the country.

Driving into Thailand - Bukit Kayu Hitam Border Crossing: Document Checklist and Procedure
Vehicle and Passenger Checkpoint at the Malaysia-Thailand border.

This affects non-Malaysian workers currently stuck in neighboring countries like Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Currently, only specific non-Malaysians who meet the criteria, such as spouses or business owners, are allowed into the country.

Foreigners entering Malaysia are now subject to a 14-day quarantine in designated centres upon arrival and will need to pay for their quarantine and COVID-19 test fees.

Read here for more information on the current situation of Malaysian borders remaining shut.

Related: Bukit Kayu Hitam Border Crossing: Document Checklist and Procedure for Malaysian Drivers