Sunday, December 30, 2012

An eventful few months

This is a personal post, meant to update the people who actually read my blog whom I may not have met in some time.

[Yes, as odd as it may seem to the people who read my blog for my insights into current affairs, this blog still does serve the purpose of a journal of my thoughts and experiences =)]

I ended a brief relationship a few months ago. It was my first real relationship. I learnt a little about myself, but more importantly, I learnt with certainty that I need not be in a relationship to be happy. It would be nice to have someone of course, but to be with someone with whom things are not working out should not be a goal to aspire to in itself.

M., if you are reading this, I do treasure the moments we spent together. It is rare for me to put into words in the public domain an intensely private experience, but here it is. I should not allow the moment to pass before the desire leaves me.

It means something to me that you touched my life in a positive way. If nothing else, being with you gave me a push to move forward in my life. When things ended between us, I told you that I did not learn much about myself that I did not know already, and that is true, but I did grow from our time together.

Perhaps it is true that we prepare our previous partners for better relationships ahead of them in the future. If so, I hope that I left you with something that will enrich the relationship with whomever you will be (or are) with.


I passed another one of the actuarial exams which I had taken in October 2012. Results were released less than two weeks ago. Another step to qualification as a Fellow in my plan to complete a career transition from research engineer to actuary.

The result was not unexpected; I generally know once I see the exam paper on test day itself whether a pass is in the offing or not.


I found a new job. Surprisingly enough, it was the job with the very selective requirements that I blogged about in a previous post.

Turns out one interview (albeit a very long one at two hours) was enough to cement their confidence in me.

After a number of career setbacks, it was a strangely affirming experience to have someone else validate my view of my own abilities. It also didn't hurt that the new job came with a large pay rise that exceeded what I used to draw as an engineer.

Then again, perhaps it was because my new bosses are American and new to Singapore. Unlike other hiring managers in the industry, they did not have the convenient fallback of hiring only from a pool of people of known quality that they already knew, as I blogged about previously.


I'm currently in progress on a personal project that may or may not help in my new job. Learning Python and the Django framework to allow me to build database driven websites.

This was related to a project proposal that I had submitted which unfortunately did not get funded. However, that doesn't necessarily mean the project will die.

In time to come, with the skills that I intend to acquire, I may embark on the project on my own anyway.


After a hiatus of a few years, I returned to the Pokhara valley in Nepal for two weeks of advanced paragliding lessons. Sarangkot beckoned.

I was originally signed up for an SIV course (Simulation d'Incidents de Vol -- french for Simulated Incidents in the Air).

For a good idea of SIV, see this video. It's not a course for the faint of heart; it involves simulating adverse incidents in the air and learning to recover from them under radio instruction. Basically, doing all the things you are NOT supposed to do while in the air. Ironically, this makes you a much a safer and more confident pilot, now that you know the limits of your glider.

For safety reasons, SIV is almost always done over a large water body, like a lake.

Well, I bailed on the two friends of mine who were also doing the SIV course. Instead, I found out about and switched to a concurrently running thermalling course which I thought would be better for my development as a pilot.

As it turned out, the thermalling course involved learning some SIV maneuvers as well. Looks like I would get plenty of opportunity to scare myself as well.

Only the SIV pilots got to do the really scary stuff: spins/SAT, full stall/backfly and reserve parachute deployment.

However, I had the same opportunities to do frontal collapses, asymmetric collapses, B-stall, dynamic turns and wingovers.

Bottom line: Amusement theme park rides now hold absolutely zero appeal. My adrenaline threshold just got raised again.

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