2014 in review

This year was quite the doozy. Lots of thinking was done, hard decisions made, some goals achieved, some left unfulfilled.

Fresh beginnings

A photo posted by David Chieng (@dchieng) on

Biggest move of the year was finally making the decision to switch careers, leaving the relative comfort and predictability of the past decade’s work in both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, leaving technology journalism and jumping headfirst into the world of public relations. Thankfully, the role involved working with various technology brands, which helped smooth the transition somewhat. Since starting in May, I’ve had the great fortune to be exposed to, and to work with, some of the biggest brains around powering the behemoth that is Ogilvy and Mather Singapore. I’ve organized a regional media junket across four countries (more or less solo), and managed to land some new business while helping to grow others. I’ve been reminded time and again that despite spending 10 years covering tech that I more or less know zilch in the grand scheme of things. It’s certainly very humbling. A shoutout goes out to my buddies both in and outside of the business, whether current or former, for all the advice, insight and support that you’ve graciously thrown my way. Big props goes to Grace too, for giving me the space and freedom to face down this challenge, in the face of similarly daunting challenges in her own career.

Biz class monkeys #latergram A photo posted by David Chieng (@dchieng) on

On the home front, living with two hyperactive toddlers and trying to work out a daily schedule with Grace that doesn’t involve the both of us crashing and burning in exhaustion at the end of the week has been a learning experience in itself. Every time we think we’ve figured out a routine, the universe (and work) team up to throw a spanner or three into the works. We’re not giving up, although it’s ridiculous that the weekdays are less tiring than the weekends, and that we barely spend a total of 20 hours with the kids on Mondays to Fridays. Even then, a lot of the 20 hours is spent feeding, changing, putting them to bed and waking them up. Hopefully that can change some ways in 2015.

Today 106, next Monday, 110! #liftheavy

A photo posted by David Chieng (@dchieng) on

In 2014, personal (and physical improvement) took steps both forward and backward. I got back into lifting (focusing mainly on the 5X5 routine), with a month spent training with the folks from Fortitude Gym. Unfortunately, as the year went on, I lost momentum. The excuse is that I’d been putting more energy into learning the ropes at my new job, but deep down inside, the lack of discipline did me in. Long story short, I’ve definitely added on to the waistline as 2014 closes out.

The same month I spent training at Fortitude was also spent bumming around, with a weak attempt at building (yet another) content portal with some buddies. The whole thing went to pot as everyone ended up finding full-time jobs, but I’m optimistic that we’ll make something out of the framework we slaved over yet; for that reason alone I’m more than happy to continue paying for the cost of both the hosting as well as the domain name(s).

Predictably, 2015 will start out headlined by the usual “Ini kali lah, I must lose this gut!”. As for everything else, I’d be just as satisfied with having both family and friends being happy, healthy and fulfilled.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to all.

Critical Thinking, and a T-Rex’s Short Arms

A couple of weeks back, Isaac (my 3-year old son) chose his favorite book about dinosaurs for his bedtime reading. Grace (my wife) read to Isaac about the physique of a T-Rex – short arms, long and strong tail, you get the picture. Here’s part of the conversation that followed:

Isaac: Mama, look, this is how a T-Rex with short arms looks like! (Bending his arm to imitate)
Grace: Hmm… If his arms are short, how does he scratch his back if it itches?
(Isaac thinks really hard for a few seconds.)
Isaac: He will have to ask his other T-Rex friends to help scratch his back!

Both of us weren’t quite prepared for that remark, though we were both pleasantly surprised by the way he approached the “problem”. We’re not entirely sure if this level of critical thinking is to be expected for a 3 1/2-year old child though. Not that we’re complaining.