2015 – The Year in Review

I can scarcely believe the speed of time when you get older. I began this year returning to the city where people habitually throw the proverbial dice, Jakarta.

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And this time i came more than prepared, job in hand – check, community forged – check, place to live – check, projects to do and mission to accomplish.

In addition, my parents has generously given me their car for me to use to travel around Jakarta’s notoriously bad (and dangerous) traffic.

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The CSM gang

So with that i set off my sights on fortune.

Things went quite well for the first three months or so, my social calendar was filled, my job was where I fit in, analytic and business development.

Then like most things, stuff did not turn out as smoothly as i expected. The place i worked for started moving me around to the next stage in the sales pipeline, from analytic to marketing, and then to sales, then eventually to customer service and battling fires whenever there were one. Throughout all these my compensation did not change one bit, but my roles has been significantly widened to terms that were not in the initial contract. Nevertheless, i soldiered on and climbed a mountain on the side.

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Meanwhile, in my personal life, finally things took a turn for the better and I met the girl whom i feel i have a very good connection with. I have lots of hope for the future, and we started our relationship around mid-year.

I wished i have the dual fortune to succeed straight away in work and relationship in the same year, as that would have been great, but the customer service work was too much for me to take, i did not take this job so i could babysit nagging customers for fault that isn’t mine, and as well as collecting late payments from troublesome customers.

Meanwhile, a deal that i was offered last year verbally (but not written) didn’t materialize and for me this was the last straw. I mulled over one and half months before finally deciding it is time for me to resign. I had initially loved the job, but clearly looking at the company stuff turnover was not encouraging, and neither is being somewhat cheated on.

And now in November, i am back again in square one of career, figuring things out from the beginning again. It would probably require a compelling offer from reputable companies to get me to work for someone else again.

Pushed into a corner, with not a lot of money to burn, and a relationship that i will fight to the end to keep, i chose to consolidate my capital and restart anew. The positive thing i got from all this ordeal is that i’m lucky that i made these kind of mistakes and learnt these kind of things (including being featured in a major newspaper) when i’m still at the age of 27. Had i been older, the cost would have been significantly higher. Well, this is Jakarta anyway. Survival of the fittest here.

In between my resignation and the resumption of my search for a business to do, i had the fortune to travel with some of my old friends to Taiwan, and it was good. Dined, traveled till our legs could carry us no more, and chat till the wee hours.

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Super awesome roasted pepper bun (I ate four in two days!!)

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Yeh, it was a good break from a tough life.

But now its time to begin again. I hoped the preparations for 2016 will be well underway when the year turned. It could turn out well, it could turn out not so well, but either way, 2016 is here, and i have to be ready.

I hope God will give me wisdom for me decide which path i should take, it has been a long way from home.

Goodbye 2015, it has been good knowing you

With much faith, hope and love

-Aries

 

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What Great Men says about Relationship

I recently read an article about Talulah Riley, the wife of SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk about what it takes to achieve greatness and they are obsessed about something. And i came to wonder if most entrepreneurs put aside their wife in their quest of stardom.

But from a few of the heroes i admired, i find comforting quotes in their memoirs and biographies.

From Warren Buffet, about his wife Susie,

“Susie has been the sun and rain in my garden for 25 years.”

And yet when Susie eventually does die, Buffett can’t cope. As his daughter, also named Susie, is planning the funeral, she tells him he doesn’t have to attend. “Warren was overcome with relief,” Schroeder writes. ” ‘I can’t,’ he said. To sit there, overwhelmed with thoughts of Susie, in front of everyone, was too much. ‘I can’t go.’ ”

There are some challenges even the world’s greatest investor can’t handle.

From Lee Kuan Yew, about his wife Choo,

“Without her, I would be a different man, with a different life. She devoted herself to me and our children. She was always there when I needed her.

“She has lived a life full of warmth and meaning. I should find solace in her 89 years of life well lived. But at this moment of the final parting, my heart is heavy with sorrow and grief.”

I am a firm believer that behind every great man is a great woman, and these two heroes, have clearly shown that they too can maintain a great relationship while building a country from scratch (literally). Who else would have the priviledge to say that.

Seeking Myself

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After watching the really great film Winter Sleep, i somehow imagine myself in the shoes of Mr. Aydin, former theater actor of 25 years, who now own a small hotel in Anatolia, Turkey.

Though having the appearance of an old man, inside, he was still struggling to deal with settling back into his apparently much lesser life. His constant struggle to find new things to do, a sister who herself lived through a divorce and a young wife, idealistic but naive.

I reflected at myself, long after the credits roll were finished, that I at some points are seeking the remnants of my former glory. Although I am only 27, I knew and remembered I once had it all. I was doing very well at uni, i was well-respected by both teachers and fellow students alike, I had a girlfriend once, and I was living in Melbourne, the city that until now i still misses.

It is truly one of life great mysteries, how wheel of life keep turning, once you are on top, now you are at the bottom, struggling to make your way up to the top again.

Beyond that, I longed for a partner, who would understand me, and connect with me on a level i have not had since, and due to a mix of semi-permanent stubborness, and a foolish desire for the occasional rare comets, i am still a single. Drifting in and out of social events soon grew tiring.

May God and I, have mercy on myself. Give yourself a chance man. You can do better than sitting on a balcony watching the moon came in and out behind the cover of cloudy skies and darkness. Find yourself a girl who will sit with you, who will offer her lap for you to rest your weary head and heavy shoulders.

From Me to Myself

-Aries

My 27th Birthday Surprise!

Its been a really long time since i last had a birthday surprise with this many friends, and its been a while too since i felt good about where my life is.

For the past three or so years i struggled to settle down into a life in Indonesia. Though I knew a lot of people, i have not really found friends where i could feel i could connect. I was missing it so badly from my former friends in Melbourne and Singapore.

27th Birthday Surprise!

The first three months of 2015 seems to have passed by in a whirlwind of adventures, emotions and memories with you guys from CSM (you know who you are!).

I am really thankful to have found you guys, for the companion, the support, the conversation, and the adventures we took together.

Though i dont know how long will we have each other backs, I will enjoy this moment.

Thanks for the birthday surprise and the cakes guys! Much appreciated.

With much faith, hope and love

-Aries

2014 – Year in Review

Cant believe its been 9 years since i first wrote my end of year review, and this year i am going to write a pictorial one.

In 2014 I attended a close friend wedding

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Involved in building a bunch of stuff

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Have a feel of how tough it is to be a property lessor

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Learnt how to be a property surveyor and going to far away places in search of a good one

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Finally visited my old home Melbourne and met some long lost friends. Attended a beautiful engagement party

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Witnessing my own’s sister engagement

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And capping the year with a break in Macau and Hong Kong

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Although at times i felt that this year my career has not progressed much, looking back at these pictures i am glad to have an eventful year.

Hopefully, in 2015, i will be able to report some long overdue work achievements.

Until then cheers!

-Aries

The Lone Wanderer

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The Twenties. The years you spend wandering through the desert of your mind, searching for a place to anchor your next stage of life.

The early twenties was like the YOLO years. I studied, i gamed, i aced exams, i go on dates and i had my buddies who were always behind me. My friends was plentiful and they were not difficult to meet-up with. They know me well, and i could just rock up and not have anything expected of me. I had it all.

But the late twenties saw my life gradually transformed beyond my control. People grew up, they start working, they start getting engaged, and then married. Some have already started raising their kids. Things seems to move so fast once you are out of uni. And the less evolved people like me stay behind in this mythical desert, seemingly alone, alone in the crowd.

And this really made me wish i had Doraemon’s door to everywhere. For all the advances technology has made in aviation and long distance teleconferencing, nothing beats meeting out your friends in person. And it is difficult to meet all of the friends i miss because financially i couldn’t go where ever all my friends are.

Singapore, Malaysia, Melbourne, Hong Kong, China, New York, Sweden, Germany, South Africa. So many countries, so little cash.

Words cant express how much i miss my uni years and how much i wish i can meet my old friends as often as I used to.

Life’s journey is difficult, and I have never felt more like a lone wanderer than I do now.

I miss all of you.

-Aries

 

We Got Married…and Relationship

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Recently my sister came back for her university vacation bringing me tons ( or GBs) full of fresh goodies to watch and amongst them was this show called we got married. Some of you might know just by looking at the picture above, of the Adam couple and instantly have a reminisce the feeling when watching them together on the show.

I am fully aware that it is a reality show and a virtual couple, but i would assume that something else was happening, where the lines between virtual and reality somehow become blurred and they were sort of feeling like the actor in the Avatar movie.

For somebody like myself who have loved and lost, it is truly endearing and refreshing to see a couple who just only begins their first relationship. It was so fresh, so new, everything was like achieving a significant milestones and I am reminded that I was once like that too. I was once a young man learning the ropes of a relationship, learning more about the other person and being accomodating. Relationship is definitely not an easy thing to do, it gives you a myriad of unexplainable feeling. Sometimes you feel so happy that everything you do turns out absolutely perfect. But at other times, it leaves you wondering why do you even bother with one at all.

There was a point in time where i felt dismayed and discouraged after a failed relationship that i wonder when would i be able to open my heart again, to try again. Its a feeling i dread just thinking about, the prospect of having another broken heart. It has been close to two year now since my last relationship and i am still sitting on the sidelines watching friends after friends getting married and starting a new family of their own. It doesn’t particularly bother me that they did, its just some people have already found their other half and I have not.

It was only when I start watching this show again recently that I felt a sense of joy i haven’t felt in a long time, the feeling of making somebody else so happy it brought tears down their cheek. The feeling of being dependable for somebody else to rely on, and doing the things you would never do on your own. Its a crazy world, relationship. And although i still have fear about approaching a new relationship, i think i am encouraged and reminded of just how much joy it can bring and that is what i shall kept in my mind for this new year.

I hope out there that God above would help me find my final missing puzzle.

 

with much faith, hope and love

-Aries

 

Entrepreneurship and the failure factory

The last two weeks has been tough, exceedingly tough. The indonesian rupiah is free-falling, the index down, and the interest rate has risen so fast. 

For my fledgling property start-up this is bleak news. Many of the partners are not feeling very confident about the future outlook, as am I. It is at this point that i started feeling rather sad about it. Although we are still running, i doubt we are going to take up any project this year. The risk is just too high. And in property you cant afford to fail.

So while my fellow partners has mostly quietly gone about doing their everyday business, i who is feeling a little unemployed, thought what could i do now, a million questions popping up in my head till the early hours of the moninrg, should i find a job, should i try to start another business, if its a job what job, is my skill suitable, is my skills enough and so on. 

I can finally realize the full impact of what my former lecturer said in entrepreneurship class. You have to be a crazy to venture down this path. The path is fraught with danger, abnormally high level of stresses and unknown traps that lies await. 

So as I ponder my decision to become an entrepreneur, and sometimes asking God if this is really my path, i read a magazine that was given to me, last weekend in a seminar. It was a motivation magazine, and in it, story after story of successful businessmen, who has a much much tougher start than I am continue to persevere. 

Then today, when i was in the taxi, back again when i was pondering, I saw a blue bird magazine in the back seat pocket, opened up to the first page and again i found encouraging words.

” Do not be afraid of failure, it is better for you to try and fail because at least you are making efforts towards your dream, rather than not try and sealing your dream to the boxes”.

I think the short quote above does encapsulates the essence of entrepreneurial endeavor. It was never going to be easy. Its never going the way you wanted it to be. Life will never be fair to you. There is always somebody better, faster, well-resourced and far more connected than you. 

Nevertheless, looking back at my decision now, i knew that deep down in my heart, starting and running a business was all i could ever think about. I thought about it day and night, in the restaurant, in the shower, in the cinema, at the mall, at the office, even while talking with people. I sometimes wonder whether it is a gift or a curse, that I am such a dreamer.

And i thought to myself, if i really only live once, it would be such a huge regret in my life if i stopped trying. In my old age, i can picture myself saying why didn’t I do this or that. And as much as an entrepreneurial endeavor is painful, i think living life full of regrets of not trying to fulfill my dream would be even worse.

And so, I will soldier on.

-Aries

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