Changes and More Changes: The tenth anniversary blog post

So just like that, ten years have passed since I began this blog site.

In one way, it hasn’t really changed from being a place to pen my thoughts, and to share my passions or ideas.

In another way, it has sort of chronicled the major changes in my career, my family and my understanding of myself.

In 2005, I was still a journalist in The New Paper, working to fill the pages of a technology section within a mass market tabloid paper (I know, it still sounds weird but it actually worked out well.). Sometimes, it’s such a faint memory…I forget I was once a press photographer too.

In 2007, I was blessed with the opportunity to join Microsoft where I stayed for a very long eight years. I got to drive the marketing (and later the business management) of iconic products like Xbox 360, Microsoft Hardware and then Surface. Along the way, I got involved in the launches of three Windows products (Windows 7, 8 and then 10), and each launch couldn’t be more different from each other.

And in 2015, I joined the third company in my working life – Andios. It’s an e-commerce startup and we hope to do some cool things for consumers when we launch in the near future.

So in summary, I went from writing about technology, to selling technology, and now I might get the chance to help shape technology. What a natural, yet unexpected progression that has unfolded over a long period.

The 2005-2015 also marked a massive tectonic shift in consumer technology trends. You can essentially divide time into “Before iPhone” and “After iPhone”, and I looked in wonder as smartphones and tablets up-heaved every single media industry vertical from journalism to music to movies to books.

In terms of family, my kids have gone from toddlers to almost teenagers.

Where they used to wail and waddle around, we now exchange jibes and insults (when we’re not telling them to study or clean up their rooms)

I sometimes muse to myself that if I didn’t know better, I could be their older brother instead of their father. Or their chauffeur.

How is it that we can have offspring that be so unique, yet so different from us? Such is the wonder of humanity and parenthood. It’s a lot of pain and effort involved to bring up any kid, but thankfully my memory is very short too, I tend to remember only the good stuff.

As for my understanding of myself, I always remember what I told one of my ACS teachers back in the 2000s: “No matter how much I think I know myself today, I know that I will have a different take on myself in five years’ time.”

It’s remarkable, but that has proven to be self-fulfilling.

Like most men nearing 40, I have mellowed somewhat over the years, and can keep a poker face a little longer than before when I hear someone talk out of their derriere.

But I never imagined that I would end up becoming health-conscious or writing a weight-loss book that has actually helped others lose weight (a friend just shared she has lost 30kg!).

I also never imagined that I would start to reject materialism (after all, I still love technology), and I’ve actually gone through the past ten months not buying more than a few shirts and selling almost all my excess stuff.

And of course, I never planned to become a full-time biker as well, since I spent most the 2000s driving my Altis.

This was largely forced by circumstances – the expensive parking at the Microsoft office made me resolve to ride a motorcycle to work – and then I ended up making so many new and different friends in the biking community.

Another result is that this blog may have become the most-read motorcycle blog in Singapore, and I’m still not quite sure what to do about that. I’ve started work on this crazy Ultimate Motorcycle FAQ and I’ll see how people respond in the next few months before I decide it should continue.

At one point in the past decade, I thought maybe I should use my writing to change society for the better. For two years (2012 to 2014), I used this blog to rail hard against the primary school education system and the transport system, but I’ve also kind of lost the desire to, because it may be futile.

We often blame the system and the government on these issues, but we may not realize it is the citizens themselves who perpetuate the crazy tuition industry here, or continue to feed the COE system with its steep licence fees.

Systems, whether good or bad, don’t realize their full potential unless people actually accept and support it.

This society is shaped by both government and the people, and the sad truth is that the people often act in ways that affirm the government’s behavior and policies (for better or for worse).

So in this aspect of writing essays against the system, I’m also not sure if I want to keep stating the obvious, even if I have a knack for telling it as it is.

Finally, this blog has also chronicled my ongoing journey with Christ.

I once thought that if I could write my testimony down on this page, and share my frank thoughts on Christianity, I could help convince more people to be more accepting of the idea that Jesus is their only salvation.

Over the years, I’ve written a lot about my Christian walk, and my critique of how we Christians behave (largely, and sadly, we tend to be poor communicators and hypocrites in a material world), but I now question what’s the point of talking about Christian behavior when I should be talking about Christ.

I guess in the early days, I just wanted to show people that Christians were not unaware of our flaws and struggles but this year, I was reminded that action talks louder than words, and discipleship is the mission for every believer.

So I will probably focus more on real-world sharing to others and try not to get upset at “health-and-wealthers”.

In closing, this blog was called Empty Vessel because it was a play on my old ICQ nickname “Flask”, and you know how empty vessels do make the most noise. It’s funny how I used to write more frequently on this blog in the early years but the stories were hardly read by the public.

Now that I write less posts due to work (and generally having less things to say out loud) …social media sharing and search engines drive more traffic here than I ever thought possible.

I have no interest in being a “blogger” but I do wonder how I can make the content more useful to a greater swath of people.

Despite all the changes in the media and blogging scene, I still stick to the belief there is a space for a personal website that does not rely on controversy, angst or shallow advertising to make its presence felt. There are many capable writers in Singapore, but not enough who believe that you can write candidly about life and religion without turning people off or trying to make it a social crusade.

To be honest, I don’t spend my days thinking about how to fill this blog with content. This blog exists to remind me that I started out as a writer, and shall remain one as long as I can type on a keyboard.

Thanks for reading, my friend. I am always grateful for your presence here.

It’s great to know somebody actually wants to read what I write, and that’s good enough for me to keep this going.

2 Replies to “Changes and More Changes: The tenth anniversary blog post”

  1. Dear Ian
    Thnks for great writing and succint intepretation of many things i myself wanted to express but could not put it down in words (despite having a Masters in Lit & Eng) and teaching the subjects over 30 yrs. Lol.

    I started reading your blog when i started riding again after 25 yrs. I realised that its ok to love your bike and the ride even more. What gives me courage was that ironically it is ok to love to ride and still be faithful to Christ. The latter has seemed to be greying over the years but your sharing has greatly helped me to realise i can balance the two.
    Apologies if i have not been able to once again, say what i really intended.
    Keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Gerard,

      Thanks for reading and providing your feedback! Personally I never felt there was any conflict between riding a motorbike and God – because before every trip I will ask Him to keep me alive and after every trip I will say “Thank you, I’m alive!” 🙂

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