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Yeo Kheng Meng

Maker, Coder, Private Pilot, Retrocomputing Enthusiast

5 minutes read

2015 has ended and 2016 has just begun, so a new first post of 2016 to mark this moment.

2015 recap

In short,  I felt 2015 was the greatest transitory year I have been.  In some ways, this post is very similar to what I have written just half year ago after I graduated to summarise my Uni life.

The biggest change being moving from a full-time student to being a net contributor to the Singapore economy :). Having now being in a full-time job for more than half a year, I can say the obvious difference is the issue of time. Unlike school which we have homework and fixed timetables, the working world presents me with more control and responsibility of my time. I do not have a timetable handed to me by the school, I write my own timetable depending on how much work and activities I want to take up. Not that I can’t do that as a student, just that I have more leeway this time.

Mistakes made outside school now carry a heavier penalty, not just financially but in professional reputation as well. School mates or profs stay and are willing to take the time to know each other over the school term. Any mistakes students make are insulated and we are protected. The hectic and one-off nature outside means first impression now counts more and I have to consider my words and actions much more carefully. The stakes are much higher now.

2015 is the year I have given more talks and classes than my previous years combined. I used to be introvertly afraid of giving presentations, avoiding them in school unless I had no choice. Ever since I was asked to give an iOS guest lecture in one of the top modules in SoC, I realised it wasn’t such a scary thing after all. After that shall we say, I was on a roll.

Talks given:

  1. iOS Development and Swift guest lecture
  2. Bluetooth Low Energy (4 times)
  3. 3D-Printing
  4. My Android and iOS SoC Print app
  5. Mov is turing-complete academic paper

Classes conducted:

  1. CS2103 tutor
  2. Raspberry Pi and Linux
  3. Repair@School for Repair Kopitiam
  4. Repair Kopitiam training for new coaches
  5. PCB Design class

Even I was surprised when I collated this full list. There are still some impromptu talks I have not included above. I guess 2015 is the year I grew more confident. I still prepare extensively and rehearse in my head before every presentation but no longer do I avoid talking to people anymore.

I used to volunteer with Yishun Reading Stars (YRS) during my undergraduate years. After I graduated, I have traded my volunteer free time for Repair Kopitiam (RK). I guess this evolution is partly caused by the type of people who join these programmes. YRS is primarily made up of undergraduates and I already felt out of place when I went back to visit. RK volunteers are mostly comprised of working adults and it kind of ties in more closely with my technical abilities.

I just finished my first reservist 2 weeks ago. Having not worn my army fatigues for half a decade, MINDEF asking me to don my green uniform and army equipment has long been alien to me. Serving my nation eh, this is my first of a 10-year cycle.

During my in-camp, my old buddies and I were forced to exchange our older stuff for “newer and updated” ones despite our pleas not to do so. Our reasons were not just that the newer vests and helmets was deemed inferior by us, but our memories. Our memories during our days of full-time service were tied to those older equipment. Now they have been stripped from us, just like how the inevitable passage of time slowly changes the world in the guise of making things “newer and better” whether they are actually needed or not.

2016 going forward

I have a couple of general goals this year. I would refrain from calling these new year resolutions as they are not specific and I don’t wish to tie myself to them should I fail. I would still try to take steps to achieve them.

  1. Complete my motorcycle training. I picked up bike training shortly after graduation just purely for fun. It is kinda fun to ride a bike although I have no plans to get a bike after I pass the test as I recognise the safety concerns of my family.
  2. Share knowledge. Many people have remarked to me I can teach very well. I intend to continue by giving more talks and conducting more classes. Keep a lookout!
  3. More making. I have a couple of hardware projects planned out in my head for this year. Will share once I have completed them.
  4. Continuous learning. School has ended but learning has not. This helps not just my personal development but in work as well. I’m sure my boss wouldn’t mind a more productive employee.
  5. Work on my people interaction skills. In spite of people telling me I’m a great teacher, I also get the frequent comment I’m brash or not tactful enough. Friends who know me for a while can understand my directness but strangers may not. So more improvement here is needed and the only way to get better is to interact with others more often.

So this concludes my first post of the year. If I’m insisted on a a new year resolution, I would say this, I hope to be a better person in this year.

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