2014 Review

Travelled to 10 different countries in Europe with Seb as the rider and myself as the pillion on his motorbike. Fell in love with the Alps. Did 4 trips from Singapore to Malaysia to hunt waterfalls. The 4th one spanned over 3 days to Cameron Highlands. Skied twice - first at Niseko, Japan; then at Thredbo, Australia. Joined a group of astronomy enthusiasts in Mersing and spent 2 nights engaging in some spectacular stargazing and astrophotography.

Learnt node.js, python’s scipy stack, front-end development, devops, databases, APIs. Read one novel. Freelanced for the year and earned a third of my usual salary from the previous year.

Spent 2 months obsessed over a super nutritious liquid blend, bentoblend. I still drink this for breakfast a couple of times a week.

I had various depressing and lonely moments and various liberating and eye-opening moments. My perspective on life changed the most this year and I’ll continue learning and working to my fullest.

Don’t just do, understand

Learning college/university mathematics was hard. I remember being bogged down by the mathematical symbols and definitions. I had memorised the process of solving equations without understanding how it worked.

I do the same with machine learning - applying neural networks and gradient boosted trees without understanding how it transforms my data.

As Richard Feynman puts it: “There is a difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something”. This was also featured in the chapter O Americano, Outra Vez of his book Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character (I highly recommend reading it!).

My aim for this year is to read more on my new a kindle paperwhite (which I named R2-D2) and understand more about the world! I want to do more scientific Python, computer vision, GPU programming, web apps, blog more and get out more often.