Welp, it’s the time of the year again to review the year.
This year, I definitely didn’t post much. In fact, it was the lowest number of posts per year since I started the blog. It can’t be helped I guess, since I had filled up my free time on many other stuffs.
Last year during 2022 in Review, I picked year of authenticity. However I’m not sure if I achieved that. I felt that without deep trust, it was scary and can be dangerous to do so. At times, I did open up and I was thankful that I did.
There were a lot of things happened in 2023, and most of them are not planned very far ahead. In a way, that’s not a bad thing, as I got to experience things that I normally won’t.
CNY: Bali & Medan
January was for CNY family trip to Bali. It was my first time in Bali, and I didn’t even know that I’ll be back so soon again at the latter half of the year. I felt that Bali is really a place built for tourism as most locals there will be really accomodating to you. We visited various temples, sites, and places; but I think the best part was food, which was quite affordable and also delicious.
I also went back to my hometown, Medan right after the trip to Bali, still part of the CNY saga. I also happened to get dragged to accompany my sister to Tulus’s concert, which is actually pretty good. I met up with some old friends too before parting back to Singapore.
Around end-February, I attended AURORA’s concert! I didn’t expect her to come to Singapore at all. I’ve been enchanted by her voice since the first time I heard her in radio many years ago, when she covered “Half the World Away” for a Christmas ad campaign. Anyway, she has released many many songs ever since, the most popular one being “Runaway“. But my favourite so far is “Exist for Love“. The music just transcends emotions and in this concert, my tears won’t stop when it was sung.1
Penang & Covid-19
I went to Penang to attend my colleague’s wedding around March. Many colleagues and ex-colleagues attended that event too. Some of us even stayed together in the same Airbnb apartment. It was really fun and also tiring. And this trip brought me … Covid-19.
My early April was spent with coping with Covid-19 which went away after like a week. The first few days I had so much rest from the effects of the medicine. But I guess the hardest part was having to coop up in the room for many days. Well, technically I was still able to go out but I tried to minimize those.
Around May, I attended my first ever otaku event, “Doujin Market“, mainly to support my friend who was having a booth there. Turned out it was quite a scary experience as the queue to go into the exhibition hall was 2 hours long. Though, it was fun too, since I experienced meeting many cosplayers and taking pictures with them. I also saw many interesting fan arts in the midst of an extremely crowded hall. In the future I might think twice again if were invited to these kind of events.
This year I attended Wikimania again as it was held in Singapore. The story of this event and how it come to be in Singapore and how I got involved can be a story for another time, but the short version is that: I got to know the main organizer of this event, Butch, from Wikimania 2015 & 2016, and few months before this I got contacted by him to help out in a volunteer workshop event. That event happened in May, and one thing led to another and I was also involved in the “Technology Working Group” meetings which organizes the Wikimania Hackathon.
As part of the Wikimania Hackathon, we thought that it would be nice to have a social event, so I helped to organize a free-and-easy tour to Singapore Botanic Gardens. During this tour, I managed to talk to some participants, but I think the most memorable ones being the two young men from China, who shared quite interesting perspective on Chinese Wikipedia.
Photo by Jeromi Mikhael, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
On the first official day of the conference, I even got roped into giving a talk together with Butch about introducing Singapore. Well well, I was really under-prepared and the slides still had last-minute unexpected edits but nevertheless we managed to deliver them pretty well.
Someone take a pic of me taking a selfie over the Wikimania Singapore highlights.
Photo on the right by Grace Baey for Tiny Big Picture, commissioned by The Wikimedia Foundation, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
There were many things happening in Wikimania, aside from the talks which sometimes can be interesting to follow, the food were all really great. There’s also a lot of talking among the participants and I met many interesting people.
On the final day, it just happened that there was a cosplay event next door, and I managed to get some pics with cosplayers too. The closing party happened at Gardens by the Bay and it was a really memorable one as we’re given a session to explore the Flower Dome at night after it was closed from the public.
Right after Wikimania, my cousin and his family visited Singapore and I spent one Sunday together with them. Well, my nephew is quite big now and he’s quite shy at first. But after a while, he become very talkative and I think he’s at the “questioning everything” life phase, and his questions were all so interesting and difficult to answer, even for us adults.
I went to Bali again in October. This time to attend the wedding of my high school friend, JL. It was really nice escape from reality and to reconnect with the past. I was really touched and happy when the wedding ceremony happened.
Since I went together with friends, we extended a few more days in Bali. I got to experience things that I didn’t normally do with my family, like visitting night club. Well, I can say for sure that I do not like that as I really hate smoke and that the music was too loud.
Other than that, it was also my first time in a very long time riding in a motorbike. Even though I was just a passenger, I still felt quite scared initially as the wind was actually quite strong and cooling even though the sun was blazing hot.
Anyway, since this trip coincidented with my birthday, I was genuinely surprised when my friends celebrated it. It was quite a long time since we celebrated birthdays with this group of people. I am grateful that I got to spend my birthday with them.
Coldplay Kuala Lumpur
In November, I flew to watch Coldplay in Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. I was accompanied by my sister and her friends. It was such an unforgetable event. It rained throughout the concert. I think compared to my previous experience, the seat location this time was better since we can view the whole stadium from a higher vantage. The wristband lights made the stadium really pretty. But the lasers were very beautiful since the rain enhanced its visibility. Though the setlist was more or less the same across different events, it was still really enjoyable, especially during “A Sky Full of Stars” where it was restarted for a no-phone experience, and that we’re really 100% focused into experiencing the song and surprises. The sudden fireworks at some songs near the end were good suprise to me. I think part of this experience was that we went to and fro the stadium using public transport (MRT, LRT) and experienced first-hand on the non-existentence of crowd management between the stadium & the LRT station.
This year I felt like I didn’t achieve much yet if I list the things I did, it was quite a lot. There were some changes in the team, but I persisted and still survived thus far. I managed to involve deeply in some parts of the system and hopefully made it a better one now. While the company welfare got slashed a lot in the beginning of the year, a bit of them got reintroduced in the later part of the year.
This year I didn’t read much books. I guess that’s because I changed my commute routine and reading book is no longer part of regular habit. There weren’t any books I read this year that was outstanding enough to be mentioned.
This year however, I was focusing in learning Japanese. As mentioned in the other blog post, I started learning in April and I’m now on 250+ days streak on Duolingo. I’ve finished the Tae Kim grammar guide, and sometimes will refer back to some sections if I needed some refresher. My focus these days are on vocabularies: spending around 1-2 hours daily on Anki. It was far less rewarding, but these days, even when I saw Chinese characters, I can kind of recognize some of the meaning thanks to the Kanji I learned so far.
This year I met many different groups of people: families, close friends, not-so-close friends, even some people from interaction through the Internet. Sometimes it was interesting to meet different kinds of people, sometimes it’s just tiring. I guess every now and then I’m swinging between craving and loathing for social interaction.
I think this year I got closer again with my group of high school friends, especially since we spent many days together in the Bali trip, and I’m grateful for it. I do hope we’ll continue to be close.
My health this year wasn’t that good. Compared to the previous years, this year I had the most number of sick leaves. There were some days that I got cold. I caught covid in March. And since November, I had on-and-off stomach gastric problems.
I still swim regularly but these days the frequency are now back to twice weekly on weekends only. I do wish to swim more but currently didn’t do so since those timings clash with my meal timings.
One good thing that happened was that my body weight now falls under “healthy” BMI range. Well, time to maintain it on this range.
There were a lot of things that happened in 2023, most of them not planned from 2022. Some are nice, some are unpleasant, but I was glad that they happened.
This year is also the year of my “weeb”-nees. I guess some people have that as their phase of life. I started to watch more anime early in the year, and continued on watching more and more. By the end of year, I got influenced a lot by them: followed some of the communities, attended an otaku event, learned quite a bit of Japanese, and even made plans to visit Japan next year. I made the goal being to visit Japan and use Japanese during the interactions. Let’s hope that it can be executed well…
For 2024, my first quarter is actually full of planned events like concerts and trips. I’ll set the theme to be Year of Experience: to experience things to the fullest and to create lasting memories. I felt like this might be the last few years before my social circle start to dwindle as each of us start a family, so I’ll treasure this chance to do things that I won’t normally do, of course within reasons.
Happy new year 2024~
- Fun fact today I listened to it again after a while and got into an ugly crying session ↩︎