2021 in review

It’s still hard to believe how fast this year has gone by. My mind is probably still stuck in 2020.

Anyway, let’s get on with the list.














My 2021 is really all about my health. From the first quarter, I’ve been experiencing symptoms like dry mouth and random coughs. After a few visits to the clinic, it seems to be related to my gastric issue, probably reoccurring since the last time in 2019.

On May, suddenly I got hospitalised due to acute migraine and giddiness. Did MRI scan of the brain, nerve test, and MRI scan of the neck. The speculated problem seems to be this weird neck spine structure that I have since birth. The doctor basically gave me a lot of painkillers.

Hospitalised at the Farrer Park Hospital

The first half of the year has been nerve-racking. Vaccinations were provided for the public based on age, starting from oldest batch to the youngest possible batch. I was waiting very patiently as most of my family members have already been vaccinated with double doses. From June onwards, vaccinations for students age 12 and above began and somehow it delayed my batch.

I was actually feeling impatient to get vaccinated because my initial symptoms from beginning of the year are slightly similar to the main disease. It’s psychological draining because there are always lingering thoughts that I might have it, or not.

Having it or not, is not the main concern. Unknowingly spreading it to other vulnerable people is my number 1 concern. This pandemic has never been about individuals and what everyone thinks about themselves. It has always been about what everyone thinks and cares of the people around them. The thought that we could unknowingly spread to other people and destroy their lives is more dreadful than anything that I could think of. The sense of guilt would be unimaginable.

Around April, I remember that the doctor was suggesting that I should do a PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) swab test, the one which they poke the nose deeply. He said, it’s not to suspect that I have it, but it’s more like to give me a sense of relief, if the result is negative. And the result came back negative on the next day, so I really felt relieved.

Surprising that the swab test also indirectly solves mental health issues.

For the second half of the year, I still have random health issues like gastritis, but it wasn’t as bad anymore. After gaining the “Fully Vaccinated” status (2 doses) at the end of July, it’s another huge relief for me, as everyone in my current household is also fully vaccinated.

Despite that, number of cases in Singapore were quite high, thanks to the new variants. To slow down the rate of transmission and ease the strain on the healthcare system, there were some measures taken while most of us were still working from home.

Before the end of the year, my family members and I got the booster shots.

Ups and downs

In 2020, I was sort of still familiarising myself with work-from-home environment. In 2021, I’ve become completely unable to separate work and non-work (life).

Cases were going up and down. Measures, rules and restrictions kept changing so often that we all need a site to have a quick and updated reference.

I’ve been staying at home most of the time, unable to plan meetings ahead, unable to promise anything, due to my unstable, random occurrences of symptoms. My mind was occupied with work, and sometimes guilt that I’m not performing well enough, while at the same time, I understand that everyone else is going through the same struggle.

My hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation leaves somehow made me felt really good, as I was completely cut off from work. The painkillers are also muscle relaxants and they’re sleep-inducing, thus making me more relaxed and quite refreshed after that.

Sometime around the last quarter of the year, I realised that I haven’t taken long (paid annual) leaves. Before the pandemic, I usually take 7 to 10 days of leaves for my travels. It felt kind of awkward to take non-travel leaves, but the post-hospitalisation leaves made me aware of how important they are. So basically, I applied for a week, and literally try to draw the lines clearly between work and non-work.


On September, I started my own newsletter! 📰

My Twitter profile showing my newsletter with Subscribe link

Revue was acquired by Twitter and the integration seems like a good time for me to try it out.

My first issue was sent out and I mentioned about how I feel about it:

These days, some tech folks have been into newsletters all over the place. Hype is real, curiosity is strong and therefore I shall dive in to learn more about this.

Emails have been a funny thing for me. In the beginning, everyone uses emails. I subscribed to a lot of newsletters like LangaList and LockerGnome (Anyone remembers them?). Then maybe it got spammy, so we move to RSS (blogs & social networks?), then for some reason, we’re back 🔙

I’ve subscribed to a few newsletters myself just to get the feel and so far I like cassidoo‘s style the most. This newsletter will follow her style first and slightly remixed with my own unique quirks.

I plan to send the issues on the last day of every month, which I think should be a good “summary”, which rhymes with my previous attempts with “summary” tweets.

When the second issue was sent, I realised that I kind of enjoyed writing it.

The newsletter contains 4 sections:

  • Highlights of the month: I move my “summary” tweets to this section, as a way for me to keep track of things, and also for my followers to keep up with my tweets.
  • Interesting discoveries: This is mainly for things I sometimes tweet out. This also reminds me of the times when I always share cool stuff to whoever sitting beside me at work, in the office, which is impossible now due to work-from-home setting.
  • Story time: Due to work-from-home setting again, it’s getting rare to have one of those ad-hoc conversations with friends or colleagues about some random thing I learnt or experienced. Yeah, just a section to make the newsletter feels more personal.
  • Neat bookmarks: Just a quick list of links. Like the good-old Delicious. Also, a reuse of my old Chrome extension’s name.

This newsletter is like a cross between my long-form blog posts and my short-form tweets. For the old-schoolers, shouldn’t that be Tumblr? 🤷‍♂️

Weirdly enough, I do still post things on my Tumblr. 😆

Wrapping up

Singapore Flyer, ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands and Merlio, at night

🤕 Honestly speaking, post-vaccination side effects are not fun at all. So is my gastritis.

🔊 Noises, like from road or building constructions, while working from home, are not great.

😎 Of all my projects, ExploreTrees.SG 3D is officially the most satisfying and coolest project I've done yet.

📹 The most enjoyable video I’ve made is also ExploreTrees.SG 3D.

⤴️ Akihiko Kusanagi (@nagix) is perhaps my best follow of the year because he made so, so many cool stuffs.

📺 World Trigger and Kingdom are totally the most anticipated anime series for me.

💻 MacBook Air M1 is my most rewarding investment (bought before 2021) among all the random things I bought.

🛩️ No travels. Still too troublesome. Things are still in flux. Not the highest priority as of now.

Yeah, time flies.