2016 in Reflection

It’s been an extremely good and most interesting year, 2016. And I am so thankful to God for watching over my family and I over the course of 2016.

Health & Fitness

The year started harmless enough.. . With talk of a possible acquisition of the company I was working for, there was cause for some jittery nerves. But, life went on… we should not let things we can’t control affect our moods. We just have to plan and hope for the best, and more importantly, trust in God. With things at work taking that trajectory, things were in a slight limbo, and many projects were on hold, and I ended up having very light days and stable hours. Most days I left the office on time and was mostly home by 6pm or so. It was with this backdrop that my walking regime became more and more consistent.

grand-hyatt-erawan-bangkok-gymDuring one of my trips to Bangkok on the 22nd of January, I wondered about the possibility of running instead of walking. I had by then been walking consistently almost every other day, at 5km per outing. Brisk walking a 5km distance  takes me approximately 60 minutes, at a pace of about 12mins per km. BUT, I had been walking for almost a year now with no significant weight loss. In other words, it wasn’t working. Of course, I didn’t know then that running 5km at 7mins per km would mean that I finish the run within 35 mins, and with my heart rate within a 150-160 beats per min (Aerobic zone), means that I would have a much higher chance of losing the weight I wanted off.

getimageHowever, one of the reasons I stayed off running, was also due largely to an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) that I have in me since 2008. You can read about it here. I had in the months that followed, attempted to run, but in my one or two outings then, was able to feel (not sure if real or perceived) the tugging of the ICD cables on my heart, as well as the extra weight of the ICD on my left chest. The extra weight and tugging made me decide I was unable to run. And, without attempting to try running again, I decided back in 2008, quite prematurely that I wasn’t able to run.

Nevertheless, on that dark morning in Bangkok on the 22nd of January, without thinking
screenshot-24through the detailed math and science, I attempted a run on the treadmill in the Grand Hyatt Erawan. It was the most liberating run for me, as I experienced no perceptible discomfort while running. I had no feeling of any weight or abnormal tugging on my heart which I had (or thought I had) before! Starting slowly, I felt so good, that I was able to continue for 6km! Understandably, this was on a treadmill, and runs on treadmills are a lot easier because you’re assisted by the treadmill engine, so a 7:50/km pace should be discounted to probably a 8:50/km pace. But I was chuffed! I was able to run! and it opened my eyes to the possibilities ahead of me.

And so it began….. I started running, and running, and running…. . By the 31st of screencapture-strava-athlete-calendar-1483155527504December 2016, I had covered 1,075km. I had started the year at over 101kg, and by October 2016, I had dropped just over 12kgs, and I weigh 89kg now. It has been an awesome health journey, and one that I want to continue.


Dramatic drop …

And I am so thankful for good friends who have been on this journey with me, helping to 13256402_10153812511769585_8520833136700451715_nmake this journey interesting and varied. I took part in my first race in May, a 5k Straits Times Run. Being my first run, I was really green, but really chuffed that I could do this with my childhood buddies.

I then followed this up with a 10k Disney Run in September in Hong Kong by myself. The force was really strong with me. This was a meandering run through the Disneyland property in Hong Kong. A fun and easy run.


Cool Troopers

I then took on a Half Marathon in December in Singapore at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. This was a challenge that I thought I would not be able to see through, as I had just undergone an ICD replacement operation in October, and I was really worried in October that I would not be able to run in December. But my fears were unfounded. I found that I had mostly recovered two weeks after the operation.



More photos of my running adventures here.


Still more to lose… but good progress!


On the home front, I have been extremely happy that the kids are growing into confident
young teenagers. They’ve integrated well into their school, 12274264_10208221286995954_7396476150361501967_nand managing young adult relationships among their friends fairly well. I’ve been particularly happy with the way they have been handling the departure of some of their close friends from Hong Kong, and how they still keep in touch with technology.


Ariel had a trip to Huangshan (黄山) in Anhui, China in March.15781633_10154436847219585_307167216372366955_n

And Kyla made a trip to Barcelona, Spain, also in March.

They’ve also adjusted extremely well into the Island ECC Youth Group, making new friends and inviting their school friends to church as well.




As a family, we’ve also continued to be able to spend much more time together than weimg_20160618_114151 ever were able to back in Singapore. For this, I am extremely thankful. We’ve been able to take 3 trips this year.. one to Macau (with Fabian, Karen and Athena), Perth, and another to Hanoi.

The Macau trip in June was excellent as the cousins were able to muck around together having not met since Chinese New Year in February, and also served as a way for the children to follow Uncle Fabian and Aunty Karen back to Singapore while Christine and I ran away to the Philippines for our own little getaway. More photos of our Macau trip here.

And so… Christine and I reached a milestone where we were able to make a week’s trip toimg_20160701_092903 Boracay without the children. Its been a most interesting trip, rediscovering how to fill in
the gaps of silence without the children in tow. We were literally free! Married without
kids…. at least for that week in Boracay. 🙂 I know that we will be exploring future adventures without the children too.


More photos of our Boracay trip here.

We then followed up the June trips with a further one to Perth, in August. This was another long 13882168_10154013688124585_5718801365020807735_nawaited trip, as we last made the pilgrimage to my Alma mater more than 17 years ago. We also took the opportunity to meet with Pastors John and Patti, whom we’ve not met for more than 17 years now. Incidentally, they’ve also never seen the kids before….

More photos of our Perth trip here.13903170_10154022529529585_2131626711992711057_n

Then, we planned a trip to Hanoi Vietnam in December. Unfortunately, Kyla wasn’t able to join us, as she was prepping for her final exams this year. So, only four of us made the trip to Hanoi. But, we were also plagued with the flu and cold for most for the trip, with 15622426_10154413079234585_7696270161553380552_nElkan down with headaches for most of the trip… but we made do and tried our best to enjoy ourselves. And we certainly did. Thankfully, Elkan became well enough on the 4th day, and we were able to enjoy the sights and sounds of Hanoi’s Old Quarters.





Career wise, with the year starting fairly bleak, it quickly progressed to the
announcement of the acquisition in April of 2016, to due diligence activities and to the conclusion of the acquisition by July. Mid-way through the due diligence activities, as I met with the team from the buyer, I quickly made up my mind that I would follow my company into the acquisition (as I had an option of staying on in the larger group of my company, and not follow the sale of the smaller company). By the time I announced my decision to my President, he was more than dismayed, and did not understand why I had wanted to move with the sale. I had to endure a month where he refused to speak with me.

After the sale of the company in July, things moved quickly as we worked to integrate the company with the buyer’s company. By then, we also had some unplanned news as the buyer company had just brought on board a new CEO and CFO. We were sailing into uncharted waters. I began wondering if I had made the right decision. But, by the month of September, I was asked to take on the CTO position in the new company, as the incumbent was asked to leave. This propelled me to a position I had not planned on (at least not this quickly).

On October 1st, I took on the role of the CTO of the new company, now, taking on more than the responsibilities of my previous business, including the businesses of the buyer company. The last 3 months has been more than hectic, but rewarding, as I worked with my new colleagues on reshaping the organization, and the culture of the way things work. There is still much work to be done, and the plans for change will lay the technology foundation for the entire group for the next lap.


And so….. I have so much to be thankful for. For good health, a beautiful and wonderful wife and mother to our children, respectful (ok… sometimes not..) and delightful children…. all of us (maybe except me..lol) having a good pair of heads screwed on tightly on our shoulders, a good job in the market place, and in being in this place during this season where God has placed us. And as I reflect on all of these, I’m again convinced by the wise words of Charles Swindoll, who said

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a Healthy, Wealthy and Wise 2017! Onward March!



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