“Start the year at rock bottom so that the only way for you is up”
Hell yeah I am starting my 2018 at rock bottom way earlier than you fams. Despite exercising 3-4 times a week, being a flexitarian and cutting down on junk food, my immune system failed me. Fell sick on the last working day of 2017 and took MC for the day. But no worry fams I am fine.
I haven’t been updating my blog much this year so here’s a summary of the major milestones this year. 2017 has been tough but kind to me. Looking back, it was a year of growth and being thankful with what life has put me through so far. It was a great year! Anyway here are the top 10 moments let’s go!
1. Highlighted my hair.
Hahaha so punny! But you only live once so why not go for a wild color? I didn’t want to bleach my hair because I am afraid of burning my scalp so I chose to go for underlights. But the red color washes off easily and so there was a period of time where I went around with rose-brown-gold colored hair. The most inconvenient part was having to spray my hair black whenever I had to attend army events.
Shit colored hair
2. Designed some actual shit
With just a WSQ cert on basic illustration from First Media Academy, I just used whatever skill I had learnt and designed all sorts of stuff for the company, ranging from posters to lightboxes to menu boards to menus to namecards to the company shirt to the staff uniform to delivery vehicle yadda yadda. It was not only for 1 brand, but 3.
It wasn’t easy. Designing was really time-consuming when there was only myself in the department. At times I get told that the design is “missing something” but I have no idea what is missing because I can’t read minds. At times I felt that the end product looked stale but I had no idea how to inject any other refreshing creative elements. It was frustrating and there were many hair-pulling moments but when I see the artwork being printed out and installed, it was worth it.
Some of my work may look amateurish in the eyes of other design professionals. But bear in mind that we were at different starting points.
One of my very first designs – A touchpoint in the new outlet. The company started asking me to design side menus and posters in late 2016 but I have never done such a “big” project before.
Conceptualised the logo for the company’s budding hawkerpreneurs.
Pillar wrap…which was pasted wrongly by the printer. Ffs.
3. Work itself
2017 marked exactly 1 year of working in the HQ. Nearly everyday was a happening day – putting out fire, going out to see new concepts, dropping by outlets to brief them on promotions, conducting supervisor briefings, tasting food, executing events, going to & fro with printing suppliers, engaging in highly-opionated discussions, learning from one another, falling down & making mistakes… the list goes on. Even when I am on leave or MC or deployment, staff were calling me to deal with problems like fixing the outlet TV. I could have written 10 more posts on work-related things but life is not about work.
There were also times where I had to learn how to handle issues that were not within my area of responsibility. Like telling the TV signage supplier where to install the wiring in the new outlet and solving the wifi connectivity. There was also once where the outlet short-circuited and the staff thought it was the POS problem and called me to handle. It doesn’t hurt to learn more.
I spent a lot of time and energy on work, and no matter how tiring or depressing it got sometimes, yes it was a fulfilling year.
Our favourite aunties
Did a home refurbishment for a resident’s unit with Hougang Northeast CDC. We sponsored lunch for the participants and painted the resident’s house. I skipped dragonboat for this!
Other than that we also cooked & packed meals at Willing Hearts and cleaned up homes at Redhill area for our bi-annual day of giving. Anyway this home refurbishment was a good time for me to do some good, because all the while I was the photographer during the company’s charity events.
Did a Christmas mailbox campaign called Send a Little Gratitude across all the outlets. Because sending xmas greetings via whatsapp is getting too mainstream, we decided to go back to the good ol’ classic way of handwriting xmas cards. If you value someone in your life, you will definitely spend more time penning down your message. Once written from the heart, there is no backspace.
4. Love-Hate relationship…with poké bowl!
Poké Bowl (no not pokemon or poking people) was a food trend this year. For those who don’t know, it’s a meal originated from Hawaii, incorporating raw fish with all sorts of ingredients like avocado, pineapples etc marinated in all sorts of seasonings. The base of the bowl includes sushi rice/ brown rice or salad base (Side note: I really dont understand why there are people on earth who are so afraid of carbs). Poké bowls are often marketed as healthy and balanced, thus a hit among health-conscious eaters.
I have tried the one at Aloha Poke and was totally blown away by it. The salomon was bombz!
Long story short, the company decided to launch a vegetarian salmon version poké bowl. I wasn’t involved in the R&D part but more of as a guenia pig tasting the dish. The whole process took longer than expected and I was officially sick of the product by the time it launched.
All the poké bowl versions from the very first to the final. Like pokémon evolving like that. Haha!
Did I also mention that when the final product was out, we also had to do the styling for the photoshoot and promotional video? During media tasting, we also prepared 20 over poké bowls for the attendees. That’s it man, I am not going to eat another poké bowl for the whole of 2018.
5. Mentored interns at work
Mentored 2 design interns so far. But before that I also had to interview the candidates. Usually it’s the interviewee who should be nervous, but it was also nerve-wrecking on my end!
Having being used to the entire department to myself, it was not easy delegating work and entrusting others to do what you have been doing. You may think “Wah good for you, you finally have someone to help you” but I don’t want to be seen as if I am pushing work to others. Since fate wants you to cross paths with certain people, there are certain traits of the person you have to learn from them, and certain traits they have to learn from you. So why not take this opportunity to let go and re-orientate your job scope to a different direction? If you find yourself stuck doing the same thing after 6 months, something isn’t going right.
Mentoring people is like a totally brand new skill set of its own. When someone is better than you in what you have been doing, there’s no need to feel insecure or afraid. Instead you have to think of how to make them best contribute to the company and whatever project you are undertaking. Afterall you can’t be good in everything. Fortunately my interns are both very nice and have a mature understanding towards what they are tasked to do.
6. Watched a live soccer match
Alright, that’s enough of work! No.6 on my list is actually a throwback to International Champions Cup in July which was Bayern vs Chelsea. Okay I wasn’t as hardcore as other fans who waited at the hotel to take photos of the players, but I am content with it.
My next goal in life is to watch a match at Stamford Bridge. Bonus points if I can find N’golo Kante to take a wefie.
7. Took up aikido
After 1 year of consideration and procrastination, I finally signed up for aikido class. To do a parallel comparison, It’s like learning ballet steps in French terms but now they are in Japanese lol. Some of the moves are damn hard to grasp and my muscle memory is not getting it at times. Also had to learn how to break fall properly if not you might end up breaking your arm. Fortunately the sensei is really nice and kept using real-life scenarios to describe the rationale of the moves if not it won’t have made any sense to me.
Aikido is also on the defensive side and the sensei advised against using it on people unless you are attacked, although I might use it on guys who try to hold my hand and I happen to dislike that guy.
Not thinking far ahead of how much I want to achieve in Aikido (cos people go for exams and all and I hate exams). One move at a time.
It’s has also been a year since I started dragonboat! I have to be honest that it was a pain in the ass getting up early on Saturday morning. But as a team, not only the technique needs to be there, but also the chemistry and the commitment to come down every session to polish up whatever that is lacking.
Did 3 races for the year – army ragetta, dragon divas and kdf. Army ragetta was the big one. And what the hell man, it rained like mad the whole morning. Dragon divas was a charity race to help the breast cancer foundation raise funds, and each team had to do up a drags performance. But the highlight was the free flow beer and party afterwards. The other competing teams were ang moh and pinoy professionals so that’s kinda expected. Kdf is another charity race but there was a good mix of professionals and community/club based teams. Got asked to be the drummer which was quite scary at first because I can’t even sit down properly and I was trying not to fall off!
Full speed ahead!
9. Safvc deployment
The hardest thing while being on deployment is to have something go wrong at the workplace and my colleagues desperately trying to reach me, but on my end I can’t pick up the phone if not it would look damn unprofessional.
Anyway it was also a good year of helping out for army related events like planning and helping out for AOH, ndp and also going back to tekong 1 year later to do event photography of the new SVs doing their basic training. Met all sorts of people each time so it’s a really good way to brush up on my social skills.
10. Went for blind dates…and failed
Yes I took a gamble this year and decided to let cupid decide my fate. Signed a contract with this matchmaking agency which allows me to go on unlimited dates for 6 months. Well… some guys were okay, some were trash, some shared similar interests but didn’t seem to go far, some just had no chemistry, some just didn’t text back after the date. I presume they are dead.
The law of average didn’t work out this time and cupid is being a bastard to me as usual. But at least I got my dinner covered for many times because the guys paid. Never say no to free food!
Okay that’s all for 2017. 2018 just started off with a heavy downpour but it is a good time to sleep. Here’s to a more meaningful year and full steam ahead!