In A Nutshell: 2016

What a year twenty sixteen has been. It has been a roller coaster ride for the entire world. I started the year with an album called #BLANKSPACE2016 as I believe each year is a blank canvas. As we move through the year, we paint this canvas with colours and fill in the blank space with stories. As a tradition, I like to summarise a year with some of my top unforgettable moments that happened in my life.

#1: Two Decades of Formal Education

I have come such a long way to complete my Masters of Professional Engineering (Chemical & Process). It has been a long way to get to where I am today. I recalled from my very first spelling test to my last exam ever, spanning over nearly two decades in schools and university, I am happy and relieved to say that I am done or at least taking a break from formal education. I do not believe learning stops after school. Learning is a lifelong process.

#2: Overcoming Odds

As part of my masters degree, I am required to complete a thesis and I have been allocated the topic of LNG & Its Properties. Working under a team where there is a demand for high quality, high performance and high speed was not an easy one considering I have my other commitment happening in life. I thought of quitting halfway through but I am so grateful of my family and friends whom I confide a lot. I am regularly on the phone with some of my best friends. They offer me the most precious moral support I cannot find elsewhere. Finishing my thesis with a Distinction is perhaps one of my proudest achievement so far. As I close this chapter with the team, I know when I move forward into the future, though there will be bigger obstacles but I know I have the resilience and the support I need to move forward.

#3: ECM Kimberley Cup 2016

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This year I was lucky enough to be selected to represent my University at the ECM Kimberley Cup in Broome 2016. Broome has always been on my travel list. I am so grateful to have my first ever #spon trip. Broome in many ways have opened my eyes and broadened my horizon. Spending a week in Broome has not only reaffirmed my strong belief and passion in education equality, I have had the best experience living in the country area and blending in with the Aboriginal community. I am forever grateful for this trip to Broome.

#4: SRRC Conference in Sydney

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In August, I am awarded my second #spon trip of the year. It can’t get any better than this. This time I am sponsored by The Institute of Engineering & Technology to fly to Sydney to attend a conference. The conference has been an eye opener for me too. Not only did I get to reconnect with old mates when we had the conference in Perth in April, I am fortunate to meet other engineering students and young professionals around Australia and New Zealand. Spending a weekend in Coogee has helped me in many way. Despite it is in the midst of my thesis, it helped me to recharge physically and mentally to march forward.

#5: Anndrea and Leon Take Melbourne

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Anndrea and I did a sort of spontaneous trip to Melbourne, one to reward ourselves for finally finishing our engineering degrees, two to surprise Sarah, one of our best friends, who recently relocated to Melbourne for work. Spending 4 days 3 nights in Melbourne was a retreat we both needed so much after all the exams, assignments and stress. It was such a fun and unforgettable trip. I look forward to more trips with Anndrea in the future.

#6: My First 4K Run

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This year I have also ticked off another item on my bucket list which is to do the HBF Run. I am so proud I finished the 4K run under 30 minutes. Leading up to the run, I have undergone training with HBF and preparing myself by going a lot of outdoor running. I also want to shout out to Sarah for doing the race with me. She has been a great motivator and I am so grateful for a training partner like Sarah. In 2017, I aim to do the run again and to finish the run at a shorter time.

#7: Zhann’s Got Hitched!

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Zhann (middle) is one of my closest friends since secondary school. We knew each other for 13 years now and this year she decided to tie the knot with her husband, Roland. She is the first among all my friends to get married. I am so elated and excited for her. I decided to fly back to my hometown Kuching to attend her wedding. Almost one year into her marriage, she is already expecting her first baby. I cannot wait to meet baby Koey in January!

#8: First Australia Day in Australia

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This year finally I get to celebrate my first Australia Day in Australia. Usually I am overseas in January but this year I happened to be in Perth for a school camp. I decided to stay for Australia Day and I am so grateful I get to spend a lovely arvo by the river with some of my closest friends. These friends mean a lot to me as they welcome my arrival with open arms. They make me feel like home again.

#9: Chinese New Year Trip to Hunan

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For something different, Dad has decided to fly the entire family to Hunan for Chinese New Year. It was great to experience winter for Chinese New Year. This trip is special one to us too because we went there not just with our family but also our family friends whom we have known for decades. It was definitely a unique experience but nothing could compare to Chinese New Year at home. Plus, all my friends who know me would know I struggle to survive flights on budget airlines. Never ever I will want to fly on budget airlines again.

Life sails forward as always. As we usher into the new year, let us put all the bad and sad things in 2016 behind. Let us continue to sail forward with positive attitude and energy to embrace 2017. Till then, Happy New Year 2017!

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