A Motto I Live By

Bangkok is always an enjoyable city. The people, the culture and, of course, the food are all wonderful.

While there, I became acutely aware of being part of an ever-connected world. There were a number of work-related communication attempts that I had to turn away. There was also a lot of information being exchanged that I would have liked to digest but simply didn't. I was, after all, on holiday and I wanted to be fully present with my travelling companions.

Now that I have returned to Singapore, I have done the necessary replies and correspondence.

What struck me was how little it mattered that it took a few days longer to get these seemingly-urgent-at-the-time things done. Nobody lost their minds or their jobs, neither did anything become irreparably damaged.

This made me realise how odd it is that many today refuse to leave their work behind for a while or perhaps it is a reluctance to delegate the decisions to someone else or to be seen as 'relaxing' while others are working.

Maybe it is a combination of all the above factors or some others that I have not yet considered.

Of course, If I had known beforehand that an important business deal that had been years in the making would occur during my holiday period, that would have been a different story. I would have set time aside during my trip specifically to get what I had to do done and I would have informed my travelling companions that I would be unavailable for that hour or so. I feel that it is the only right (and polite) thing to do.

Granted, we all live in a world that is constantly connected and last-minute things occur all the time. Despite this, I do think that it is just as important to take time off work to unwind and enjoy being in the place and moment, if only for a few days.

One of my mottos when I first started working was this:

Work never ends. Lives do.

I work by this motto. I believe that I always will.

Applying Lessons From My Past Travels to My First Trip Overseas in 2017

It’s always nice to go away for a while, even if it’s only a few days. I’ll be travelling to the Land of Smiles from 14 – 18 Jan. It’ll be a short holiday, a sourcing trip for household items and I’ll also be fulfilling some gem requests by some local customers, as well as visiting some of Thai locals that I’ve befriended.
One thing that I’ve learned about travelling is to always inoculate your system with some of the local bacteria when you go to a foreign land.
1) The best way to do this is to drink some local yoghurt or have some local fermented products. Since I started doing this, I’ve stopped getting gastrointestinal problems while overseas – something that I used to suffer from rather frequently (and rather severely) in the past.
2) Another thing I’ve learned is to move with purpose even in an unfamiliar area. Stopping and/or looking around with a ‘lost look’ on your face makes you a target for unsavoury characters.
3) Finally, I’ve learned to build rapport with the locals. I do this by spending time observing their customs (especially trading customs) and behaviours. I’ve also found that trying to use a few phrases in the local language helps, as does asking questions and being willing to try the local cuisine (and complimenting appropriately).
Building rapport with the locals makes future travels to their country more fun, because they will be more than willing to shower you in their hospitality, not to mention the friendlier prices that they’ll give you when you buy from them.
Here’s to a great trip and many more in the future!

Missing the Gems and Jewellery Show in Bangkok

A year ago, on this date, I was in Bangkok for the gems and jewellery show. This year, unfortunately, due to the immense number of projects and assignments, I cannot be there.

One of the things I miss about the show is the sheer diversity of people and products that it brings together. Although Singapore has its own gem show, it is tiny compared to the one in Thailand.

It was through that show that I started getting ideas to start my own projects in gems. I saw the possibilities and opportunities that the industry holds and how much it could improve in Singapore.

If the gemstone industry takes off in Singapore, it could be a highly lucrative one. That's what I want to work towards!

Well, even though I can't be there this time, I'd like to be around next year.

Here's to a great year ahead!