Saturday, April 15, 2006

Turning points

It is inevitable, I suppose, with the current permeating climate of change, for me to be taking stock of my life and to start planning ahead. For the past few days, I find that I've been dwelling a lot on the turning points of my life...

...Months before the PSLE, I had made my choices of which secondary schools I would like to attend. That was probably the first major decision of my life. My parents and elder sis had given me some advice but left the final decision to me. In the end, my choices were pretty prudent (read not overly ambitious). I had also intentionally chosen NOT to put down any of those so-called top all-boys schools.

After the results were released, my form teacher asked me if I wanted to transfer from the secondary school I was posted to a "better" one, for I had done well enough to enroll in any of those. She added she would appeal on my behalf if I wanted to. I gave it a minute's thought and declined her offer. I was happy with my first choice of secondary school.

And you know what, that turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.

I most thoroughly enjoyed myself in the secondary school I had stuck to. I was also to go on to learn many valuable lessons about life in that school, many of which I doubt I would have learnt in a top school. I've written about some of my experiences in that school whilst
guestblogging for my second regular reader, so I won't be repeating them here. Suffice it to say that I still hold fond memories of my time there.

Of all the schools and institutions I've attended so far, it still lists as my undisputed number one. If any parent were to ask me to recommend a secondary school for their child, the choice cannot be more obvious for me...

...When I was 18, after the 'A's, I was one of the first to be enlisted for NS. In fact, I went from student to civilian to soldier in the space of a fortnight. During BMT, right up till the release of the 'A' level results in March, I was still undecided about the university course to sign up for.

That was until a JC classmate brought to my notice the actuarial course. The funny bit of this was, she had intended to sign up for the engineering course. The actuarial course was not well-known then, because it was (and still is) hidden under the guise of Business. Not only that, Business was as far from Engineering as chalk from cheese. So how she found out about it, I don't know. Why she told me about it, I also do not know. Indeed, years later, I was to ask her these same questions. She told me she had clean forgotten!

In any case, after she had told me, I did some research on my own about the course during the months leading to the application deadline. The rest, as they say, is history


I sometimes wonder what course I would have ended up in had she not told me what she told me...

...At 25, I was standing at another crossroads in my life. I was largely happy with my work and work environment but the long hours were hurting my actuarial examinations preparations. I knew if I kept up the pace, I would either start failing those exams or get burnt out. Something had to give.

So I made that fateful decision. I quit my job.


What initially was a two year hiatus from work became two and a half, became five and finally (and hopefully) five and a half. Again, with the benefit of hindsight, it turned out to be the right decision. I might have lost out on financial rewards and career progression, but what I've gained in the past five and a half years is invaluable. For one, I've progressed in my actuarial examinations. And I've made a few vital self-discoveries that will serve me well in my life...

...Backtracking a little, at 27, just after my two and a half year hiatus, I was deciding between returning to the workforce or coming over to Sydney.


I had spotted then, a really interesting job in the papers. It was from the Singapore Pools. They were looking for a game analyst for the Italian Football League, Serie A. Now, you would know by now that I enjoy my football and I certainly enjoy my probability. I applied for the post with much expectation. Given my actuarial background, I thought I might have an edge over other candidates.

At the same time, I had already applied for a few universities in Australia. But nothing had been heard of them yet.

This time, the decision was (sort of) made for me. Singapore Pools never got back to me for my job application, whereas I got my approval for the Australian university soon after. And that was how I came over to Sydney.


If it had been the other way round or if a job offer had been made before the approval from the university arrived, I would have taken up the job and stayed put in Singapore. As things turned out, that didn't happen.

Which is why you're reading this post...


...Now I wonder what's next.

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