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Before the Daylight.

  • Life

To the team I worked with in AP, part of this post is dedicated for you.

It is mid March already.

No, technically, is tomorrow. Is 14th March as I’m writing now.

I have literally lost track of how time flew for the past couple of weeks, or months. If there’s only one thing that Einstein got it right, I’m certain that will be his finding on “time is relative”.

I have not been at my peak status for quite a long while. Not a good sign.

I need to sew back all the loose buttons, declutter my mess, get my pieces back before everything comes rumbling at me.

So, here I am, ranting. Tidying up my thoughts, reflecting, while I still have some hours until the next wave of journey unfolds:

For the past weeks, it has been, exciting. Huh.

Have been attending interviews, or meeting people through virtual calls.

Ever since the announcement of retrenchment, things have not been going as how I planned this year it should have started. I had great plans.

At the very beginning of the year, I wrote down these three new year resolutions:

Well, guess what? Almost a quarter of the year is almost gone. Looking at the three main theme, not much progress has been done on each of them.

The idea of being an initiator (or a linchpin), to build emotional connection, was put to halt for quite a moment, due to the unforeseen circumstances.

Life cycle has been messed up, spending more than I expected and bad habits surfacing back up in such a short period of time.

Stock market has not been behaving as I expected, took some losses along the journey. Not much bullets left to shoot at the great opportunity window.

What a way to kickstart my 2021, eh?

No, when I wake up tomorrow, it will be a brand new start. Reboot.

Everything happens for a reason. I believe in this quote.

I stepped into the workforce, say, just around one and a half years ago. They said that a person always remember vividly about “the first times”. This is true. I still remember the process when I was looking for my very first job.

Applied to hundreds. Got replies from dozens. Majorities were rejections. Few were interviews. Only three or four were legit offers.

All the emotional roller coaster rides were part and parcel of the process.

Believe it or not. I got my interview invite from AP when I was about to conquer the highest peak of Southeast Asia – Mount Kinabalu. At that point of time, I turned the recruiter down for that interview slot, as I already made plans for the hike.

(More news flash: I actually applied for this position by clicking on LinkedIn Easy Apply without strong initial interest)

Call it fate, or God’s plan, or whatever you want to call it, I was summoned for another interview slot, right after I came back from the hike.

So I went down to the Singapore office for the interview.

I was there 15 minutes early. I walked to the washroom for a quick look at myself, then headed over to the office main entrance.

The glass door was left open. AP signboard was there. Dimly lit corridor.

The first meeting room was occupied. Dr.C seems to be interviewing someone else before me, huh?

Fine, so I knocked on the office glass door.

“Knock, knock”

There were three of them in the room. Someone turned to me.

“Excuse me, I’m here for an interview with Dr.C”

One guy quickly attended me to sit and wait on one of the office seating.

They ran through a quick self-introduction, one of them bragged about how he made an interviewee burst out of tears, then assured me Dr.C is nice, and the same situation will not happen on me today. Yikes.

After the previous guy left, I went in for a conversation. Few minutes later, I was brought into the lab for a quick tour.

Empty. There was literally nothing much at first.

Except for the built-in cupboards, sinks, lab benches and a tiny fume-hood.

After the conversation, I was sold for a great vision. Great responsibility and opportunity to take charge, lead on projects.

Nutrient up-cycling. Repairing the future. New uprising industry. Sustainability approach. High-value biopolymer. Rapid expansion.

Immediately, I was convinced. It triggered my emotions and I can feel the adrenaline running through my veins. This is the vision that I want to work for. And the rest is history.

I then started working in the company a few weeks after the meeting.

The first person to greet me on my first day morning was Mrs.K.

She gave me a quick self-intro, brought me to the pantry and offered me a cup of water, then went back to work on the documents while I wait for Ms.A.

I was the very first hire of Singapore lab position, together with Jan.

Then came VT, and T, and XY. My line manager flew over to SG. Pretty soon after, Y joined the team, followed by SK. Several engineers joined in too.

In the beginning, the office was fairly empty. People started filling the space up quickly and in the matter of months, the office was fully occupied.

People were running up and down most of the time to get the lab up and running. License, vendors, renovations, equipment, consumables.

Then came the assignment trip to Cape Town. Two months overseas.

Flew back, the lab team and setup was almost complete. Couple of weeks later, lab activities started kicking in. Projects and timelines were flying all over the place. More people came in to expand the team, some left.

People come and go. That is something I experience for a couple of times during my first year of work. I don’t like goodbyes, and I’m not good at it.

Work hard, play hard. Organised a handful of events. Had some great time planning the fun with the team. Spent wonderful for public occasion like CNY or Christmas celebrations.

Events like Coney Island Expedition, where I misplaced a plastic bag of mosquito patches on Y bicycle, and we witnessed the monkey attack. How I wandered off track to check what Dr.C is doing, and I lost the crowd.

Bowling day, board & card game, nature walk, Jewel trip, house visiting, coffees, dinners…etc. And of course, not to forget the bulk amount of memories built upon OTs and lunch hours, virtual meeting games during the COVID period.

Alas, every good things come to an end, one way or another.

What a wild ride it as been with this team.

One and a half year in AP certainly showed me a lot more than any other places could have, for kickstarting my career with a proper mindset.

I love the team synergy, and how everyone is dedicated to their work and fight together as a team, to contribute everyone’s best and strive to the best humanly possible way to accomplish various tasks.

Something travel taught me is this – your memory on the scenery or even the taste of foods may start to fade slowly, or become fuzzy over time. Human interactions are the one thing that linger and stay in your brain.

Please allow me to embrace the nostalgic part of myself.

I will probably not forget how I get to meet and interact with everyone here in this team:

Dr.C during the interview that spark my flames.

Mrs.K and Ms.A on my first day to get me started.

VT came in two weeks after me acting shy and quiet.

T came in on the day we had a session with R.

XY came in later and we met in the office.

Y came for interview with occupied mind and we met at the entrance.

SK came in when I was in Cape Town, and we met over WhatsApp call with Mrs.K.

ZH came in Jan and we met at pantry while you were chatting with Mrs. K.

Gen came in during the COVID period and immediately was put to work.

The three SGUnited and came in together and were all super quiet and pretty non-responsive on the first day.

JO and KT lately, elbow-bumping with JO and self-intro with KT in office.

Even right after the bad news, I feel very blessed on how the team was able to come together and value add each other, lending each other a helping hand in this tough period of time.

“What a fortune to be able to work together with great co-workers.”

Thanks to those who taught me the countless valuable lessons that are priceless and unforgettable. Thanks to those who showed me how much more rooms of improvement I have to make to reach my next level. Thanks also to those who take the extra effort to connect the team, spark creativities and render ideas to solve the problem from a whole new perspective.

The journey was full of bitter and sour, and some bittersweet moments. I truly appreciate to be given an opportunity to work with you, and have the chance to leave some footprints behind your memory lane.

As I’m writing this down, I sincerely wish and hope that everyone will enjoy their next venture. When you are flipping to the next page, the next chapter of your life, take a moment to savour the afterglow of this chapter of life.

I told some of you before, that I record music cover as my life checkpoint.

Thanks for going through an unforgettable journey with me.

Fo putting a smile on my cheek.

This, my friend, is dedicated for you – Afterglow.

“Stop the clocks, it’s amazing
You should see the way the light dances off your head
A million colours of hazel, golden and red
Saturday morning is fading
The sun’s reflected by the coffee in your hand
My eyes are caught in your gaze all over again”

“The weather outside’s changing
The leaves are buried under six inches of white
The radio is playing, Iron & Wine
This is a new dimension
This is a level where we’re losing track of time
I’m holding nothing against it, except you and I”

Oh, I will hold on to the afterglow.

Today, is a brand new chapter.

Goodbye, AP folks.

But well, who can really predicts the future?

Let’s see if our paths cross again.

Hello, SFT, VO.

What an exciting journey awaits.

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