Ahh..when I was a kid. At 16 years old, below..my only concerns were passing exams and photography.
And the school band and later putting together the school magazine.
Being the "guy without" material things, I always had an intense envy or rather a desire to one day own a big house and have all the guy's toys I used to see in my classmates' homes...uber Hi Fi sets, classy furniture, cars and all sorts of sheer good stuff.
In other words, my goals in life were not lofty.
Of the 4 guys here..we grew up to be pilot, doctor, banker and photographer (deceased from liver cancer).
Then came Med school and graduation...and work.
$2,300 a month in 1980s.
Photography was my main hobby.
This was what I looked like then...picture taken during a work group meeting.
Meeting my wife Dolly was the BEST thing to happen.
Because we then had 2 kids, and started shopping for a small affordable home.
Here she is in 1990.
We had already bought a home a few months back, and it was a doer upper...in other words, it was very cheap...and affordable. $800,000 approx in sgd.
After some rebuilding...it cost us $900,000.sgd.
12 years passed, and our daughters grew to 16 and 14..here they are.
By now, we were comfortable...but working way too hard.
7 days a week..with 18 hours at the office.
Here we are in the present, this pictures were taken months back.
Our home had grown thru extensions and modifications, and my girls are attending university.
I have asked my parents to stay with us.
We have much more than we need.
Not rich in the "Singapore" way...I do own good stuff...but I have always believed that we were still not living at the top tier.
Statistically, I later discovered that the rest of the country was living at 1% of what I had...I was to learn again and again...be satisfied with what I have...relax...not to work too hard...blog, watch movies, read, exercise...
Looking around my "place", this is my "public" area..where friends meet.
The private family areas are similar, but with more clutter.
The colors and stuff are extremely random, and not planned...I had built up all this working 18 hour days.
But...I like it.
NOT designer stuff...just lived in..23 years?
The home is dense with history.
All the items and photos of how we grew up...all of us..Dolly, my 2 girls and me.
Then 2 floors up...my parents..with all their better history even.
We were not clever, but just very fortunate that God or provenance to those who don't believe...gave us this unique place 473 feet above sea level, with one of Singapore's lowest ambient noise levels.
It is one of the 20 highest landed homes on the island, which is a very tiny place. Smaller than Geneva.
I guess my extreme love for books and reading...EXTREME...made me what I am more than anything else.
And later my wife Dolly and my children and parents, had the GREATEST effect on me.
Today, I can spend much much more time reflecting.
And trying to nurture and share with the less fortunate, some of what I have managed to understand...not materially, but mentally and spiritually.
Teaching how to fish...
The wristwatch is my "tool" for understanding when enogh is enogh...and humility.
I focus on what is of value, and what would give more "returns" than money.
Hence...the watches I own are such...tools for character building.
Maybe it will work...I don't have the answers.
My home ofiice during the day.
And at night fall.
Monkeys and squirels stare at me thru the glass.
It has been a lot of HARD work.
Hard work that took 20 or more years.
This is where I work today...more for the development of understanding others...I find people fascinating!
Chuckles..the only doctor whose desk will look like this...above.
I must tell myself to STOP wanting more.
To take the high road. To contribute...but what can I give?
How relevant am I?
I often don't know at all. Hence this blog. A place to share that even with money....one can be nothing relevant. And yet the exact opposite...in cycles.
Soon..I will look at the SEIKO watch that I have secured with great difficulty...and wonder why I do these things.
Certainly, if anything, I have surrounded my family with all things good. And from there, I hope, it is a well spring of good intent.