As the year draws to a dark and rainy close, I thought I would pen a few thoughts about how 2011 has played out for me.
It wasn't the best of years. It wasn't the worst. The biggest change was moving to my new house, getting all the renovations done and helping everyone to adjust and adapt to the new home. It wasn't always easy, but now we are nicely settled down and I'm grateful.
We had a few incidents with unpleasant neighbours. There were also various unhappy incidents between other neighbours (not involving me). One of them reached the point when a defamation lawsuit was actually threatened. I spoke to friends and acquantances and it seems that such unhappy incidents aren't exactly that uncommon in cluster houses.
A contractor told me point-blank that in his experience, the owner of the largest unit always has problems with neighbours (I happen to own the largest unit). According to the contractor, the underlying cause is their jealousy. Well, I put all that unpleasant stuff behind me now. But there is a particular neighbour whom I will completely ignore for the rest of my life. Either that, or I will give her a cold glare. My children call her the "fat bitch". In this particular instance, I won't object to their language.
I was pleased that at the start of the year, we managed to get our son transferred to a better primary school. He is now a Catholic High student. He has adapted well to his new school and enjoys being there. At his previous school, he was shy and quiet and had been targeted by bullies more than once. Catholic High seems to have given him more confidence and he has even assumed a leadership role as class monitor.
My daughter had a great Primary 1 year in school and enjoyed herself thoroughly. She isn't in one of the top schools, but sometimes maybe things work out better that way. She's having a fun time being one of the top students. It's a self-esteem building experience which she probably couldn't have had, if she had gone to a more competitive school.
At work, I had two surprises in the early part of the year. The first was a surprise of the disappointing kind. Despite many earlier promises and positive words, I didn't get promoted. The second surprise was that I received what was a rather large bonus (considering the state of the financial industry these days).
I think that to some extent, the organisation was trying to make up for my non-promotion by giving me a bigger bonus. Oh well. All in all, not such a bad deal, after all. Between an improved corporate title and a big sum of cash, I'll take the cash anytime.
The work itself was pretty interesting. I did a lot of legal work relating to very new developments in the industry, concerning how the governments in various countries are creating new laws to regulate the OTC derivatives industry, post the 2008 financial crisis. I think I've carved out a niche in this area. I was invited this year to speak at a conference on such topics, and I have another invitation to speak at a conference in April next year.
I took another CMFAS exam, and passed. I am now qualified to be both a stockbroker and a personal financial adviser. Not that I have any concrete plans to do so anytime in the near future, but hey, everyone needs some kind of Plan B. In 2012, I may sign myself up for more CMFAS exams.
I didn't travel much this year. I did take the family to Penang and Langkawi in June, and to Korea this month. Penang has plenty of good food, and a temple or two that's worth a look, but otherwise it's still a rather sleepy town. I found Langkawi more interesting, for the eco-tourism aspects. We explored a bat cave and fed some eagles and visited a fish farm, things like that.
It was very cold when we visited Korea. The temperature was down to -2 degrees in Seoul, and even colder when we went to the mountain area to see their national park. But the kids had plenty of fun in the snow and ice. We also went to the northernmost point of South Korea, where after passing several military checkpoints, we got to peer at the mysterious land of North Korea, using telescopes at an observatory.
On the writing front, I had a few old poems published in new anthologies. I was a featured writer in the Singapore Writers Festival. I was also part of the Moving Words project, and had a poem featured on Singapore's MRT trains. Those were the highlights, but overall it wasn't a great year as I hardly wrote anything new.
A dear old aunt of mine passed away in February. Colorectal cancer. I worry sometimes about my uncle (her husband), who's in his 80s and now lives all alone in a little HDB flat in Ang Mo Kio. I know that he was very, very affected by my aunt's death. I hope he's gotten over it by now.
It waa a crap year, as far as my own health and fitness was concerned. For a while, it appeared that I had borderline high blood pressure. I resolved to exercise regularly, but it didn't quite work out that way; I just never managed to stick to the plan. All the good intentions would peter out in a few weeks, then two months would pass, then I would try again, then the cycle would repeat.
I did succeed in eating more healthily (I now often have a salad for both breakfast and lunch). My BP has fallen back into the normal/healthy range, but whatever the reason was, it sure wasn't because of exercise.
I'd say a few things about Mrs Wang's year too, but she's told me not to. She likes her privacy.
My happiest moments of the year were the same kind as the happiest moments of the past seven years or so. Private moments with my two children - playing with them, talking to them, hugging them. I love being a dad, and watching them grow up.
P.S. My daughter just asked me why my blog is known as "Mr Wang Says So", and not "Mr Koh Says So". Long history, my dear. Tell you another time.