My 2018 and the year I became proud to be Malaysian

As I lazed around in my family home in Penang, the one thing at nagging me at the back of my mind was to write my customary year end review post on my blog. It did cross my mind about why I would do such a thing. It’s not like many people would read it. It’s an article about myself, and who cares about me.

Then I remembered why. I do it because the process of reflecting on my year helps me to remember the failures I’ve made and appreciate the success I’ve had in whatever things I’ve done. It’s also perhaps something that one day Penny and Fighter could read back to hear what his Daddy was doing with his years.

So here goes.

1. Colony closed another round of funding in the first half of this year valuing the barely 1 year old company then at over US$15-20m.

When I first started Colony, I didn’t expect to grow this fast so quickly but I’m grateful that it did. The best part is that a chunk of this new round of funding came from a PE fund that was introduced by one of our existing investors. I’ve learned that if we do a good job, treat our own investors with respect and radical honesty, they’ll be our strongest advocates in introducing new investors.

2. Colony continues to grow

We opened Colony @ Eco City in July 2018 with a huge anchor tenant deal and as I write this, we’re about a couple of weeks away from opening our 3rd Colony @ KL Sentral. We’ve also signed two more deals for two more locations. One at Star Boulevard and one more that hasn’t yet been announced.

The company is a good place, growing well but of course not without our own set of struggles. The best part though is that I enjoy every day at work. I once told a colleague of mine that I can’t believe our job is to build beautiful offices and work in them.

3. I’ve built many new relationships.

I don’t know if it’s because of Colony or serendipity but this year I’ve had the opportunity to meet and build strong relationships with a lot more people. I pass on the favour best as I can too, introducing people I know to others so they too can maybe start something.

4. I’ve picked up my reading habit again.

I’ve always been reading books all my life but sometimes I go into periods where I fall out of the habit. This year I’ve quite consistently had a reading habit and I’ve learned that it has come at the expense of Netflix and iPad games. Though in the last month of the year I’ve just picked up PUBG with some enthusiasm so lets hope that doesn’t get in the way.

5. I’ve never been skinnier thanks to intermittent-fasting.

Somewhere in the middle of this year I hit 75KG which was my peak weight. So I started intermittent fasting and I don’t know if it’s the fasting itself or that I stop doing my late night munching while watching Netflix (because I watch less TV), but I went down to as low as 69 KG. Now I’m about 69-70KG and I’m trying to stay around 70-71.

6. I’ve learned how little I know about managing people.

Before this year I think I belonged to a group of people who thought we knew how to manage teams because of our past experience. Well this year, thanks to my reading habit I’ve read a lot about management and it became obvious to me that I was doing a lot of things wrong in the past. That really whatever success I had with managing teams in the past were a fluke.

I’ve learned so much and implemented the things I’ve learned in Colony and I think that’s a big contributing factor for the success we’ve seen this year. The thing about learning though is that the more I learn, the more I realise that I don’t know. So it’s still a work in progress to me.

7. I’ve learned to truly be proud to be Malaysian

I’ve always loved my country which partly explains why after graduating in the UK, I wanted to come home. Loving my country and being proud of it is another thing though. I used to love my country but hate what the leaders were doing to it. The corruption in the ruling government and the regular stupid things our ministers would say that would make me feel so embarrassed that these leaders were meant to represent my country.

Then 9th of May happened. Our country showed that against odds and a rigged electoral system, we threw out the corrupt ruling government at the time. It’s hard to describe that feeling but I felt a sense of camaraderie with my fellow countrymen who worked together through the ballot box to say no to the way the country was being run.

Since then, every day that passes has been a delight. News about politicians in the past that we suspected were corrupt being charged and scandal after scandal being dug up. Our new government was given a daunting job of repairing a damaged country but looking at the way they were handling things, I was and still am happy. For the first time in my life I am able to say now that I love my government. Yes I sometimes disagree with some of the new leaders on some issues, but in aggregate I’m happy and proud of the new government in aggregate.

I realise that I wasn’t the only one experiencing this newfound pride. My friends, family and fellow countrymen were all experiencing it as well. For the first time, in spite of the situation our country’s finances are reportedly in, I feel hopeful. For the first time in my life I’m thinking that maybe I don’t have to have a backup plan for my kids to migrate overseas and have a better life. For the first time I am truly truly proud to be Malaysian.

That is something I never expected 2018 would give me. And that is something I am so thankful for. May 2019 be a great year for us all.

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