Happy new year to all. This post came late. But better late than never, :-).
Looking back, 2023 has been one of the most eventful years. I had a major operation, shifted house, changed job, changed car, kids graduated, and with utter sadness, my best friend passed away end 2023.
Refer here for what does H2F3 (Health, Hobbies, Family, Finance and Friends) means.
Refer here for 2022 review.
Feb 2023, I had my first ever major operation in my life. Grateful that it was successful and I am healthy today. Refer to my earlier article here. More gratitude that all family members also ended year 2023 healthy. My weight increased to 82-83Kg this year. I did exercise regularly either by walking or playing table tennis or doing light gym workout. Still, it is difficult to lose weight. Metabolism rate must be lower as I ages.
2023 Plan: Praying for a successful operation and no more tummy pain. Weight to be 78Kg and below.
2023 Actual: Successful operation. Weight still above 80Kg.
2024 Plan: Hit the gym and/or jog at least twice a week.
After more than a decade, I took a leap of faith for a career switch in 2023. It was a brave decision as I am doing decently well in my previous job, hitting sales target and with plenty of work freedom. Relationships with ex-boss and ex-colleagues were good too. Furthermore, the tangible ‘pull’ benefits is petty!
The decisive factor for the move is the same reason I started this blog. i.e. I needed to break my “comfort zone”, and experiences new things. Perhaps, this is what the new role provides. Furthermore, I am moving up the value chain to the customer side of the business.
Given the way things are going now, the transition is much better than expected. Colleagues are all very friendly, and I getting along very well with my team. The market that we are in is pretty robust. I am still connected to many same clients/partners, while getting to know many more. Overall, I am happy despite more busy than before.
Last year’s business trips also brought me to Dubai where I have missed since 2011. It is extremely pleasant to be there again. I also went to Vietnam and caught up with an old friend. Also be-friended many new business friends with good relationships.
2023 Plan: Keep enquiries coming, keep orders running, and most important of all, keep the job.
2023 Actual: Achieved target with many good orders. Kept my job and in fact, changed job!
2024 Plan: Stay in the job. Learn new things and hit target. Good relationships with boss and subordinates.
Net worth, Investment, Household Expenses
Aside from putting some cash in fixed deposit and selling Apple shares at decent profit, 2023 is the year where I paid little attention on the paper value movements of my investments.
It is apparent that our biggest investments nowadays are our kids. So much time and money has been invested on their well-being, studies, sports activities etc. It goes without saying that our household expenses sky rocketed with additional children’s enrichments and coaching commitments. Nonetheless, we don’t intend to withhold the investments as long as we can still afford.
2023 Plan: Increases nett savings by at least 10%! Overall investment portfolio loss not more than 10%.
2023 Actual: Nett savings decrease higher expenses from surgery, car purchase and higher household spending. That said, the basis of our savings are to pay down mortgage. Overall, it’s still positive savings. Investment portfolio loss is still >10%, but improve slightly from previous years due to better stock market in 2023 compared to 2022. Net worth increase >20% yoy in 2023, thanks to the steep rise of property value and lesser loan amount.
2024: Don’t lose money in any investments.
Family is great. Kids are growing up well, busy with studies-sports-friends-play. Raising kids isn’t easy. In fact, it can be down-right hard at times. Yet, we are committed to give them our best, without asking anything in return! Guess this is just human nature for most parents.
Our three children graduated this year. Eldest is graduated a semester earlier than most of her peers and is stepping into working world with great prospects in IT and cybersecurity Already she went for interviews and received offers. The median salary of her 2022 class is at a whooping SGD5,500 per month. Pretty good for fresh graduates.
The other girl captained her school to National School Games Champ in 2023, and has entered Singapore Sports School (SSP) playing Table Tennis. It will be an unconventional experience as she will be boarded and is expected to travel overseas for competitions. The impression of SSP so far has been excellent. I sense a great deal of compassion. Student athletes are in general very well-mannered, independent, disciplined, determined and helpful to one another.
My youngest girl managed to enter into National Junior Squad Table Tennis and also fought for herself many medals in 2023 and we are proud of her. My boy graduated from kindergarten by taking the lead in giving the year end graduation speech. So far, he has no problem adapting and in fact he is quite excited going into a new environment. The only downside is him missing his good friends in Kindergarten.
We had two family holidays this year and both being in Taiwan, because we combined our kids table tennis training there with family holiday. The two trips have big weather difference, one in summer and another in winter. Both are nice. Worth mentioning is Taichung with great weather in December. We are captivated by the sheeps in Qing Jing Farm and the buzz of Feng Jia Night Market there. We also went to Zhongshe Flower market, Gaomei wetlands, Nina chocolate factory, Yi Zhong night market etc.
In Taipei, we spent many days in NeiHu as that is near to the schools and training place for the kids. Neihu is the technology district in Taipei, but also with many eateries and shops. We also spent many days in Ximending, as we love the live performances and the many shops there. Leofoo village and Taipei Zoo leaves deep impressions for us in Taipei. Leofoo combines theme park, wildlife park and water park (we didn’t go to water park), where you can enjoy the rides and also see the animals via tram and bus. Taipei zoo is huge and showcase many animals with wide walking paths. Adult entrance fee is only NT60 which is less than SGD3. Other places we went to include Shifen, Jiufen, Danshui, Bali old village, Taipei 101, Xinyi Shopping area, New Taipei Christmasland, Night markets like Shilin, Raohe etc.
During the trips beside the places of interest, our children and ourselves get to know many new friends. Some became our very good friends and so had many gatherings thereafter.
Our 14 year old family car bid farewell to us in 2023. She is replaced by a new 7-seater with a good drive and ride, and with beautiful interior aesthetics. The safety features of the car also prevented a major accident for me! Thank God!
2023 Plan: Family togetherness, work hard and play hard together. Successful PSLE for my girl. Year-end holiday in Japan.
2023 Actual: Despite not going to Japan for holiday, family togetherness is attained as we spent 25 days in Taiwan last year. My girl also passed her PSLE and entered into the express streaming to Sports School.
2024 Plan: All healthy in 2025. Eldest able to find a job with good prospect and where she has passion in. The second one adapting and enjoying sports school life. The younger girl to be able to improve her studies and sleep early.. haha. My boy continues to be cheerful, smiley and always fill with laughter in his life.
FRIENDS & HOBBIES
While I make many new friends in 2023 and also new colleagues, I also lost a few good ones.
My saddest moment is when my best friend suffered from brain haemorrhaged and passed away shortly after. It is shockingly sudden. He is only 48. A few days before the tragedy, we were still hiking for 2-3 hours with him leading the pack with the best fitness. He is the last person I can think of to pass away at a young age, since he lives a healthy life with no known bad habits. He always chose healthy food, sleeps and wakes up early, exercises regularly, don’t consume alcohol and lights no cigarettes. Both family and work were all good too for him, with good husband-wife relationships and kids all grown up successfully. Neither have I hear of any health complaints nor pain during our weekly meetup!
It is completely unimaginable for his passing away and my heart really aches. From 2nd day of 2023 up to November, I still go walking with him regularly. Really miss him so much!
Earlier this year our beloved and respected blogger friend CW8888 also passed away. Attended his wake with a few other blogger friends. We grieved his demise and am sure he is at Abraham’s blossom now. An ex-colleague at 60, whom I was closed to in the past, also rest in peace recently due to diabetes complications.
Truth be told, life is really unpredictable! It makes me wonder if over worrying and over planning sometimes makes sense? Or perhaps we should make the most of current moment!
Aside from playing and competing in table tennis team events with my kakis in 2023, I also spent a fair share of time coaching.
After going through many lessons, several practical and theoretical tests and on-job coaching for primary school and para athletes, I became an NROC (National Registry of Coaches) SG certified Table Tennis coach this year. One of the most memorable moments is assist to coach National Para Athletes. Their determination and commitment are to be greatly respected despite lower recognition than able bodied athlete. Not forgetting the national para coach and the supporting staffs who exhibits deep passion and love towards the athletes.
2023 Plan: Gather with new and old friends with no new virus, and continues to enjoy my hobbies that includes: table tennis and working out.
2023 Actual: Many gatherings with new and old friends including friends from Japan, Kazakhstan and Vietnam. No covid virus in 2023. Played table tennis at least once a week, and participated in several team competitions. Attained SG coaching accreditation in Table Tennis. Went to gym whenever I travelled overseas, but only ad hoc ones and definitely not enough!
2024 Plan: Continue to hike with other friends as memory of our good brother. Coaches table tennis for other kids. Built back some muscles in the gym.
Hereby, I wishes everyone a Happy New Year ahead. Let’s hope that 2024 will be better.
Even in the midst of dark clouds, we will still be rising, just like the sky lantern in the picture below.