Sunday, January 29, 2017

2017 Birthday statement

In the event of becoming one year older (and hopefully wiser), i want to write something about my recent self.
Last year 2016 was a dramatic year with lots of things happened to me and around me.
The biggest positive thing ever happened to me, my wife and our families is only one -- Yee Chern. He is loved and adored by so many people (even strangers), we are blessed to have him in our family. We feel lucky that he is such a good boy, far better we expected before he came to the world. Even there was a few tireless nights occasionally, we have forgotten about the incidents when he woke up with his best charming smile thereafter. On a trivial note, whenever YC was in his 'bad' days, I would usually get the brunt more from the stress he caused to his mama Also to say, most of the times he really ‘performed’ well before our guests/friends, because we tried our best to fit best timing for him to meet you. This credit goes to YC mama. All normal and healthy babies do cry and have temper sometimes, especially when they are hungry or tired, ok?
I am glad that my wife Xiao Hui first made her decision to quit her job in Singapore moved in with me in Penang in her first trimester of pregnancy (which was then early 2016). Really want to thank her for the life-changing decision and the bold move. Life was relatively easy in Penang Island, where we lived in a comfortable and convenient area called Relau. We only moved back to the Klang Valley last October, so we spent at least 9 months in Penang living together, including a significant event and moment occurred on the 25th May So many beautiful memories I have collected in Penang for the wonderful 2.5 years living and working there. Therefore it is hard for me not talking about my Penang experience here.
Many northern Islanders very seldom passing by this place called Relau, some even regard it as a very ‘ulu’ ‘migrants haven’. Despite all the bad description which we do not agree, we really enjoyed staying there. All the major facilities are close to my old Penang place, ie. Bayan Baru market, Queensbay Mall, Airport, First & Second Penang Bridge, Tesco, etc. I appreciate the local Monday night market, where I made friends with a few vegetable vendors and a honest & chatty Kuih lapis baker from Balik Pulau. Also, the local Relau Agriculture Station and Relau Metropolitan Park I consider as the hidden gems of Relau worth visiting.
I don't think I can quite forget my balcony view ... the grand view of Bukit Jambul, I which certainly I would miss dearly in future. I had personal attachment to the hill. I was rather a frequent hiker to the 'Gazebo' peak of Bukit Jambul. I love the short hike, had even brought Yee Chern up once when he was just 4 months old. In fact, Penang hills are all in my eyes. I enjoy greenery, loathe any development that would destroy the hills.
Before Xiao Hui moved to Penang, I was also a rather frequent user of RapidPenang bus services. I really did not mind a bit of walking (1 + 2 km) and waiting. I really want to thank my colleagues for occasional drop off at the Penang general hospital for my bus. I appreciate Xiao Hui sometimes came meeting me in my Penang office area by taking RapidPenang bus, with Yee Chern still inside her womb. Public transport mode in Penang is still catering only for minority, and the bus journey from Relau to Pulau Tikus is hilly with ups and downs, bumpy sometimes. Really have to praise Xiao Hui for this adventure.
I miss working with many good people in Penang, including my dear wonderful Penang Institute colleagues and friends (not all from PI though, I must stress). I had pleasant experience also working with great personals from some local Penang NGOs. Their professionalism, expertise, boundless energy and long-term commitment to good causes, really amazed me. I learned much from them. From musician, filmmaker, environmentalists to arts and cultural lovers, I share many sentiments and views with them. They truly concern and vocal about certain issues which are close to their heart. I wish to see Penang continues thriving in a sustainable development manner. The beauty of its natural heritage cannot be overstated, cannot be substituted by any mega project. Some said Penangites (read: Islanders) can easily get to hill or beach side within 10 mins car drive. I simple do not have that kind of privilege here in Klang Valley now. So Penangites should appreciate and value what they already have right now.
I really miss Penang.
The move back to Klang Valley was actually previously planned under the pipeline, just that I personally did not expect it to come that early. I saw the opportunity came knocking on my door when I could apply for a transfer back to the KL office due to timely vacancy. My wish to focus on my research works on the Malaysian healthcare policies, prompted me the move back to the heartbeat of the country where national policies are made. KL office suits me just that, with a very supportive General Manager Dr Ong Kian Ming (MP for Serdang). Finally I can make use of my research skills on issues that I am most passionate about. That will be good for my career development, as I would like to be recognised one day for policy research contribution in the health sector. In Penang, I wore too many hats, attended to many state government duties, and I had to become an all-rounder for many socioeconomic issues. Though I appreciate the experience I gained and I had met many experts from different fields along the way, unfortunately that could not be a long term goal for me.
What makes the transition back to the KL office goes so smoothly is my nice colleagues and friends in this tiny KL office. They are very accommodating and supportive. Just within 3 months, I have produced some research works and turned some into press statements. Definitely I feel more productive, positive and upbeat here in the KL office. Fortunate enough, I share many common interests with my new colleagues here, be it food, hiking and games. Furthermore, now we have a very interactive common collaborative workspace environment in Uppercase Bangsar, I really enjoy working here. I make it a habit of taking public transport to work whenever possible, ie. ride LRT, combine with cycling and walking.
My hope and resolution for this year: 
In terms of family, for sure I want to see Yee Chern growing up happily and healthily. I will do my best spending more meaningful time with him, learn to sing and play more new songs, develop new interesting acts & tricks that keep him amused, read more books to him, bring him out more to explore the world. 
For Xiao Hui, I will try to make use of available time at home to share the household duties burden, also wish to have more time to do things we enjoy doing together, eg. watching movie at home. Hopefully we can make it for a long trip together as a family of 3 to the Trumpland to find Uncle Macha this year.
In terms of work, I hope to complete some of my healthcare policy research projects, hopefully publish a few papers (in whatever format), and engage the public to share my findings and thoughts about the current status and future of our Malaysian healthcare.
I also wish to make a few work or leisure trips to Penang this year. I am sure my friends in Penang would be equally joyous to meet me and my family too. It is okay to indulge in reminiscence sometimes, for the time being Penang to me is my second home in Malaysia Don’t forget Yee Chern is a Penang Lang.
In terms of personal fitness, I have a target to keep my weight below 80kg (which I did last year), and reduce further 5kg if possible. Go for weekend badminton training consistently; hike more hills around the region; occasionally join the weekly yoga (free) session in my workplace; cycle more to LRT station for work, cycle to car ratio should go higher than 70:30.

This year 2017 is highly likely to be a general election year. Though I know it is highly improbable event for the opposition coalition to win, given the current sociopolitical climate and circumstances. Still, I hope to see the fall of UMNO-BN as the ruling party for the Federal government. I do not want to just see the change of hands in government but reform agenda must take place to strengthen our institutions, liberate our society and make Malaysia a progressive, just and fair country for all.

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