Saturday, 2 June 2012

Life in Singapore and the future. From an average guy. Being satisfied, grateful with what I have done with my life?

Ahh..when I was a kid.  At 16 years old, 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.
The high road of doing good and achieving something of greatness or relevance was zero.

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 other words, it was very cheap...and affordable. $800,000 approx in sgd.
After some cost us $900,000.sgd.

12 years passed, and our daughters grew to 16 and 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 satisfied with what I have...relax...not to work too, 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 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 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 can be nothing relevant. And yet the exact 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.


  1. That is one hell of an office !

    I personally see my life as somehow unique. Everyone is unique and has a purpose in life whether it is big, enormous or small we all matter in different ways.

    It is very interesting to ready about your life because you took a different path than a lot of people, especially mentally and in your actions.

    Can't wait to read more.

    I try , as well, to see things in a different way, to understand people better and live life with a different vision.

  2. I don't see bullshit in what I read on this blog. Not a lot of coherence either, sometimes, which just proves the point. Admitting the high road of doing good WAS zero… that kind of honesty, in and of itself, is enough of a contribution, I guess.

    If only it were mimicked.

  3. Hi Marc, hi Sergio,
    Thank you for even commenting. I started this blog to simply learn about myself.
    For one thing, I am forgetting lots of events, as time goes by.
    Another, is that being a relatively "normal" guy who has done pretty well (by my own standards), I am simply narating events, thoughts and stuff...totally it is really off the top of my head, when I post it up.
    I hope it gives hope to others who have nothing in their bank accounts today...because the way fortunes move can be incredibly amazing.
    I am not talking of a lottery or illegal money...but of sheer amount of change in wealth..positively...and totally from an unexpected event.
    One thing I learnt, is that I try my best to be good to others, even when they set out to harm me, or take away from me.
    With great consistency, doing that has brought me wealth...for over the last 35 years.

  4. Hi doc,

    I'm really fascinated from you and your blog! We share the same passion for watches, which I believe it's one of the best way to save your money! For that reason I love your amazing collection!! I noted in some picture "public area" you call it, a black round thing which I believe is a chair, which kind of chair it is?
    How far is your office from your home? Every morning do you carry at the office the LV bag full of amazing time pieces??? Wow....

    Thanks for everything.......keep well !

    P.S. By the way I love the picture that you choose for your office pc, OPUS 5 !!! Great piece! Awesome!!

    Compliments for your blog!

    Best regards


  5. Hello Giancarlo,
    I like things with character, that's why we both like these watches, chairs and the office..but watches we must always becareful to buy wisely.
    The round black ball? That was a 1967 Eerio Arnio Globechair, originally white, but someone broke it off the swivel, so I restored it to black with red cushions, and a newer lower leg.

  6. Dear Dr Cheong,

    I really loved your sharing on this blog and am in awe of your adventures in life. Sorry but I wasn't able to locate your email on the blog as I wondering if we can have the honor of inviting you to speak at an event on watch appreciation to a group of enthusiasts?

    Would greatly appreciate if you could kindly drop me an email at or contact me at 9761 4528 to share with you on further details. Thanks in advance and cheers!

    Evelyn Foo

    1. Hello Evelyn,
      My email is and talks are a part of my life.

  7. Just stumbled upon your blog while reading up on timepieces.I knew you when I was in my teens,in bukit batok.Still remember how really soft spoken you were,and was also fascinated with all the model car collection you had in the clinic!I am 33 now and have moved away from bukit batok.Glad to have found this page and the memories,all coming back to me now.Thank you doc!

    1. Muhd Zal,
      I plan to write up as much content as I can, and use this site to share a part of life in Singapore, for everyone..from migrants, to citizens, to boys and girls and old will feature strongly. But always as a part of life.
      See..even if your house changes, your one GOOD watch will never change!!!!