Happy 2018!

Exactly 10 blog posts (and a new blog theme! the old one was ‘retired’) separates the almost-21 and fully-21-almost-22 me. :) I can’t remember when I last made New Year resolutions – I think the past few new year posts for me, have been a reflection more than an actual resolution-setting session, but I figured it could be good to make some! And perhaps write a little about my plans for the next years. If they fall apart, at least it’ll be here in black and white for future-me to have good laugh at, or even to spur me to get on track again! And if they do work out, why, this will be a good roadmap then.

New Year Resolutions

1. Polish my character
It’s a never-ending journey to be a better person, so why not set it as something to keep in mind, this year and in the years to come? I want to be a kinder person, more patient, more accepting, quicker to praise and slower to anger. I want to listen more and learn from others, challenge myself and reflect on my assumptions, be a wiser and respected person. I want to be resilient. Mature in my thoughts and emotions, and young in spirit and soul, and maintain my quirky sense of fun and adventure! A source of cheerfulness and inspiration to the world around me. And most precious of all, keep seeing and believing in the good of others. :)

2. Stay fit without injury
Sports makes me happy, but I think I’ve been slightly careless and clumsy when I’m excited to go go go. I shall strive to take care of myself for the long term. Life is a marathon, not a sprint!

3. Work hard…
Graduate, get my BA Hons. (Cantab.) and do my loved ones proud :)

4. …and play hard
University isn’t all about the grades, it’s about getting an education. I’d like to stay in touch with my close friends, and remember to enjoy life in the UK!

What’s next?

The million-dollar question. I’m currently applying for an internship with Microsoft Research Cambridge, and also for a graduate job in i!. If all goes to plan, I hope to take the 12-week internship, work, then eventually go on to do my Masters in the US (HCI@CMU?). While I’m working and relatively settled in the UK, with a house and hopefully a car, I’d love to bring my parents over to stay for a while! On the standard tourist visa (which includes visiting family and friends), Singaporeans can remain in the UK for up to 6 months! They’ve done so much for me, I hope to give them an experience of a lifetime, something no one else could give them, and money could not buy :) I personally love my life in Cambridge – evening walks by the river, stargazing under skies which are actually dark enough, how everything is accessible via cycling, the multinational community (typical friendly liberal youths of my ilk haha), playing frisbee in the cool weather… Getting out of the city would be easy; the countryside is so near. Even if you don’t want to cycle and enjoy the quiet and watch little brown white-tailed bunnies hop under the hedges, driving along the country roads would be so relaxing. There are quaint cottages to visit, where afternoon tea is served, traditional pubs for a hearty Sunday roast, National Trust parks, English Heritage ancient castles, the breath-taking postcard-like scenery of Lake District/ Peak District/ Yorkshire Dales, the lochs and glens of Scotland, and the rugged coastline and majestic mountains of Wales.

Once I finish my Masters in the US, I might get a job there for a bit, in which case I hope to move my parents to the land of stars and stripes for a stint too. Then finally, after having lived in 2 continents and having had my youthful fill of adventure, I’ll probably move back to Singapore and settle down. What a roundabout way back home! It’s probably for the better though, because Singapore treats middle-level staff better (esp if I get an intracompany transfer from the US to SG!) than it does its fresh grads (zero worklife balance, from what I’ve heard). So perhaps it’ll be strategic to give those particular few years a miss, hehheh.

I suppose I will like Singapore in the end. It’s home, where I’ve grown up, where friends and family will be. And honestly… to lay it bare, being a majority race is a surprising pull factor for me. No more people assuming I’m from China and feeling slightly out of place with the accents and background cultures and what not. It’s safe, and well-connected. (And though skiing isn’t just a 2h drive away, it’s not unimaginable; I’d like to go skiing in Japan/Korea every year!)

Why the shift towards tech?

Tech is the next big thing (if it isn’t already). MIT Tech Review argued that tech illiteracy will probably see you jobless even before automation comes along. I reckon being tech illiterate in the future will be almost as damaging to your job prospects, as being book illiterate in the 2000s would’ve been. My friend who’s interested in computational social science remarks on how quickly the concept and application ‘big data’ has spread through the fields – psychology, geography, sociology, anthropology… It’s better to ride the wave now than hope to scramble later on!


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