Thank You For Being Part of My 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, I would like to thank all the incredible people I've met this past year.

SG100 Meeting

Whether it was at a Trainers' Synergy gathering, a SG100 meet-up, an APTS meeting, an Introverts' Network get-together, or the numerous workshops, conferences and events I attended or participated in this year, I was glad to meet you.

Thank you for sharing your experience and for being so generous with your time.

SuperBrand Me - 18 Sep 2017
Yangon PDC 2017
Last APTS Meeting of 2017

Some of you I met during mission trips, church events (especially our recently concluded stage production - Close Quarters) and church services.

Thank you for demonstrating the love and grace of our Lord, for doing what you do in God's service, and for being a part of the body of Christ. 

Cambodia Mission Team - 30 Jun - 03 July 2017
Close Quarters Cast

I would like to specially thank you who were at my wedding, my speaking engagements, as well as my book launch. 

Wedding - BC Peeps.jpg
Wedding - SAC People
Book Launch with Trainers

Thank you for being there to show your support, love and care.

To you whom I have known for years, thank you for your friendship. We may not have been able to meet as often as we'd like, but know that you hold a place in my heart.

As we dive into 2018, I wish you clear direction, excellent opportunities and endless delights.

Thank you for being part of my 2017. I look forward to journeying with you in 2018.

Happy 2018

As I Reflect Upon 2016

With just over a week to go before 2017, I decided to take some time to reflect upon my 2016.

At the beginning of the year, I offered my Word of the Year as: Speak.

I refer to this part of my post on January 14 2016:

I intend to:

a) Become a true-blue professional Speaker (finally!)

b) Speak for necessary change

c) Speak, not just talk

d) Speak to new contacts and networks

For a), I have taken numerous steps towards it, having spoken at a couple of events and having joined professional networks of speakers. I consider a) to be fulfilled.

For b), I have come up with proposals for changes in my church as well as long-term plans for change in certain aspects of education in Singapore. I consider b) to be fulfilled.

For c), I have always taken what I say seriously. To fulfill this for 2016, I further reduced unnecessary speech and was mindful to speak mostly when needed or called upon. I took care to reduce Teacher Talking Time (TTT) when I taught, giving my learners time to explore the subjects instead. Of course, more improvement is needed, but I consider c) to be fulfilled.

For d) I have made many new contacts this year, both within the training and gem industries, as well as out of it. I have a much greater appreciation of how collaboration can benefit businesses and individual growth. I will continue to be part of these networks and to contribute to them as I am able. Therefore, d) is fulfilled.

Apart from my Word of the Year, it feels almost unbelievable that so many things (relationships, networks, businesses, personal pursuits) can be started and accomplished in the space of 365 days. Though I often feel that I have wasted a fair bit of that time, I am quite amazed at how much I have managed to get done this year.

I will look to 2016 as the year of explosive growth and development - a year to emulate, as a benchmark for the years to come.

How has your year been? How ever you feel you've journeyed in 2016, it's not over yet! Let's use the time we have left in 2016 fruitfully, in service of others.

Speaking 4

Some Thoughts on Christmas

What is Christmas?

It depends on your worldview, the culture you are in and the commercial world around you.

As a typical Singaporean, when you hear the word "Christmas", what comes to your mind? Snow? Reindeer? Christmas trees? Santa Claus? Presents?

All of the above?

In Singapore, go to any shopping centre, hotel or town centre and you see decorations of all sorts, banners of all kinds, and advertisements of all colours. Go to Orchard Road and frenzied shoppers are jostling with each other to get that present that they didn't have enough time to look for earlier, simply forgot to buy, or had to purchase because of some last-minute invitation to a "gift-exchange" party.

Can I take a second here to state how much I abhor mandatory "gift-exchange" parties? The premise of a mandatory exchange of gifts undermines the purpose of a gift - which is given voluntary and done out of love.

To get over the feeling of being forced to get a gift, which incidentally has no target gender or purpose (because what if that feminine face mask pack gets "given" to a man?), guests to such parties buy useless, generic, boring items which many shops are happily advertising for sale.

Nobody goes home with an item they can really use or that they really need or that they really like. The solution? Stop this ridiculous practice!

I think it is safe to say that Christmas is the most commercialised holiday in Singapore, followed closely by Valentine's Day (a future blog post in the making, it seems).

But hang on, what about the Christian community?

Though many Christians take Christmas as a celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus, a number of biblical scholars have placed His birth day a few months before December. There was also no such celebration in the early church.

Nevertheless, it is always good to gather in His name, share some food and stories, and sing carols. And that is exactly what I'm going to be doing this Christmas!