25 things that defined 2016

1. Hong Kong trip!

Started off 2016 with a trip to Hong Kong primarily because I have traveled around (Japan, Korea, China, Philippines) but not Hong Kong which is right in the middle!

Good weather, beautiful island and insanely delicious dessert would definitely bring me back to Hong Kong someday. :)


I have a few post (never got to writing the rest) for H1K6:


2. 2D rocket

This video probably do more justice in explaining what the rocket is like:

We design this Design Challenge from scratch in house and I believe no university has the same project as us. Students are allowed to vary the wing design and weight distribution, while striking a balance between power and required distance.

I played the behind-the-scenes role of piecing the work of various groups and stepping in do some work that requires machining competency.


3. Internship

This summer, I embarked on an internship with a Rail operator in Singapore. My burning curiosity on the mystery behind the increasingly frequent train breakdown was the motivation to intern in an industry unfamiliar to me.

It is definitely an eye-opener and I did a wide spectrum of work from software programming, 3D model design to detective work that allows me to figure out why some issues where dangling for a long time.


4. Book reading

Aha! I stepped up on the number of books that I read this year and hope to continue doing so on this life journey.

Here's the list that you might be interested in:

  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • Far North by Marcel Theroux
  • The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
  • 50 Stories from My Life by S R Nathan
  • The Hackware Hacker by Andrew 'bunnie' Huang
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (still reading)

5. Spectrometer lab activity

In preparation for the freshmore module in February 2017, we started working on the lab setup that would aid their learning through experimentation.

We always strive to deliver better content and work through difficulties when commercially available education kits does not fit what we need. I never realized that there are people who are dedicated towards our education to such a great extent and I'm grateful to be working with them to get this working. :)


spectrometer that allows you to understand what spectrum of light is a particular object emitting

6. Exercising

Gym + Swimming that did not continue after the second half of semester six but I am glad that i managed to preserve for six weeks! Time to work out the schedule for 2017 and exercise regularly. :)

7. Penang Trip

Made a trip to Penang with my Grandmother as part of my personal effort to visit relatives that I have yet to meet with! It was a good getaway from Singapore and traveling to another corner of the world that I have not explored.

I guess the highlight of the trip was driving in a foreign land with the aid (luckily) of internet!


8. Analects recitation

We started off on this global project where everyone would recite The Analects on a daily basis and eventually be able to memorize them! It allows us to cultivate ourselves and impart great wisdom from the sages.

9. Children Camp facilitator

Just ended this December and I'm proud to be part the facilitators team who volunteers their time in hopes of inculcating good values to our future generation from young.

credit: Blossom World

10. Logistics coordinator

On 19th March 2016, many of us gathered at Lawn@Marina Bay to pay tribute to our founding fathers of Singapore. We Love Singapore - Legacy was a simple event but one with great significance.

I was fortunate to serve as logistics coordinator for the event!


11. Presenter

For the second year running, I volunteer my time to engage with awardees to celebrate their success but at the same time realize that there's a team of people behind them that contributed to this achievement.

Often times, it's easy for us to feel that our parents nag too much or annoys you in some way or another. Through the engagement, we guide the young ones in reflecting upon the sacrifices that their parents have done and take the opportunity to thank them!

Volunteering for this programme trained me to be more confident when it comes to public speaking.


12. Volunteer experience sharing

Being an active volunteer for 3 years, sharing my experience at a charity book launch presented a chance to reflect and consolidate all my learning thus far.

The book launch raised as much as 30K of proceeds and I am humbled to be there sharing and showing gratitude to our generous donors!


13. Refurbished a 3d Printer!

I never imagined owning a 3D printer though prices have dropped to the USD300-500 range for an entry level model. Ever since repairing the printer, it has been working hard printing a ton of stuff!

Full post here:

14. Learned FPGA design

I always wanted to learn about Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), something really fancy and long talked about electronics thingy but never had a chance.

A module this semester taught us about the inner workings of computers and we were required to create a game out of pure hardware.


brick stacker woohoo!

15. Fireflies Health farm

Recently, there's a school trip to Fireflies farm that promotes organic farming in Singapore. They were short of volunteers and I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to visit the farm and at same time do some good work!

We taught the students how to make a plant out of drinks bottle! Recycling + learning = win-win.


16. 22 day push-up challenge

Thanks to Yi Keng, i took up the challenge to do 22 push-ups for 22 days. I must say that kept me in shape and shows that having a goal in mind is the most important thing to achieving it!

17. Switched over to Circles.life

I switched to Circles.life since my old contract is over and that gave me more control over my mobile plan.

For $28/mth, i get 4Gb of data and 100 minutes of call (in + out) + free caller id! That's sufficient for my usage and you are free to "boost" your plan when you need more data/sms/talktime for a particular month.

Here's my referral for you to enjoy bonus data: LVYWF

18. Helped with Park(ing) day

Park(ing) Day is an activity where carpark lots are converted into a Park! This year, Pokemon-themed parks are encouraged and I helped to build one for the ever Pokemon enthusiastic friend, Suzy baba.


19. #46 Blood donation

Keeping up with my monthly Apheresis donation this year! Apheresis collects plasma and platelets that are essential for patients suffering from illnesses like leukemia.

If you are fit and well, do consider blood donation!

20. Reducing plastic waste

At the start of 2016, Teacher Zhen Ru strongly advocated the need to reduce plastic waste as they end up in the ocean, killing lives of animals big and small. Plastic bags are termed as serial killer as it kills a life but continues to live and kills another.

Here's some things that I did in 2016 to reduce plastic waste:

  • carry a set of utensils in case the hawker centre uses plastic ones
  • have a tote bag handy and use them for purchases
  • bring containers when taking away food so plastic ones are not needed
  • change my lifestyle by dining-in and purchasing canned drinks or hot one instead

I'm sure if everyone do their part, we can change the world for the better! We should not take the current situation as it is, but instead strive to change it and make it right.

21. First friend's wedding!

Our first friend in the clique got married! Looking forward to more in the next few years where wedding bells would start ringing. ;)


22. SUTD Women in Tech workshop

This is another programme that I spent time preparing for. Behind every successful and engaging workshop, there's always a team who made it possible.

preparing to launch their water rockets! Some can go up to 4 stories high

23. Upgrading a potato cannon

I never earned a chance to visit MiT and graduation is nearing. However, I am fortunate to have worked with a passionate Professor from MiT. He always supported our work for the Design Challenges and imparted valuable knowledge that I am thankful for.


Thank you Prof J. Kim Vandiver!

24. Charity car wash 2017

Helping to run a charity car wash as well!

Start off the brand new 2017 with a good cause and bring joy to the less privileged and bring warmth to their hearts. See you on 7th January 2017!!

Get a ticket: http://tinyurl.com/jge8huv

25. Costal Cleanup

Together with three talented students, we co-organized a costal cleanup in partnership with Nparsk Sungei Buloh. I am sure the participants enjoyed themselves and learned more about how polluted our oceans have become.

I always enjoyed nature and this is a way that I give back what I believe in; caring for our environment.

Maybe you think it's hard, or it's "weird" that you do things like as for no straw, no plastic bag. But once you understand how much good we can go to the environment that we live in, there's nothing stopping you. Remember that ultimately, our actions will cycle back and we will suffer for our actions. Food for thought!


2016 has been a fruitful year. I started off 2016 without setting any resolution but I guess the resolutions set themselves up along the way. Learning to have lunches alone that seems like a taboo in asian context but it turns out to be a good therapy where you enjoy the peacefulness, free of chattering and mind blogging issues. Taking scheduled breaks along the day and enjoying Teh-siew-dai (Tea with milk and less sugar) keeps me motivated throughout the day as well. There are times that I would leave my phone in hostel and head off for dinner or read a book at the garden. Living in a digital age results in unnecessary distraction and therefore, lack of focus.

I also worked with difficult people but that allowed me to learn more along the process. Whining is easy and what we are used to doing but maybe working harder and making learning your responsibility is better, though harder. Always be humble, even if you are clear of what's going on, let the other party continue and explain their point. Every teacher loves a humble student and a humble students learns the most. I also learnt that "buy ins" are more important than the idea itself. You may have a brilliant idea but it means nothing if you cannot convince people to support you.

With the festive season approaching, it's time to show gratitude to people around me and thank being awesome in their own way. It's also the time for me continue reflecting and set my resolution for 2017. As we celebrate and welcome the new year, let's take a moment to be grateful for all that we have, for there will be people who are less fortunate than us. This would in turn transform our "complaints/unhappiness" into appreciation.

As 2016 comes to a close, I hope that you will spend some time, sit down free of distractions (aka phone) and reflect upon all that you have done thus far.

  • Have you been showing care and concern to people around you?
  • Are there areas that you can improve as a person?
  • What are some goals that you set but did not fulfill this year?
  • Did we show gratitude to our loved ones and work towards a good attitude towards them?
  • etc...

I would really love to read about your reflection for 2016 so do send them to me after penning your thoughts down!

Happy festive season friends XO!


25 things that defined 2016
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