December 12th 2013 – I will leave Singapore on a one-way plane bound for Austin, Texas.
I have spent the past three years living in Singapore and it is perhaps timely to pen down some reflections of my first years out of college. At the young age of 19, I put my name down on the dotted line to take on a $400,000 obligation with the Singapore Government in return for a tuition scholarship to fund my college education. (Note: For those who want advice on whether to take up a scholarship, I offer free consultation sessions over Skype.) In choosing between going to school in New York, London or Illinois, I opted for the college-town in the cornfields of Champaign-Urbana to spend three years of my undergraduate life. After three amazing years, I made a painful decision of giving up the opportunity to embark on a Masters program at my dream school, and moved back to Singapore to serve out my scholarship bond. It was going to be a six-year obligation.
During my time in Singapore I had the privilege of meeting some amazing individuals through the start-up community who taught me to be passionate about life. They lived their passions and worked everyday to develop ideas and projects which they believed in. It started with Mel from Books & Beer, then Min from Playmoolah, then the folks at The Hub, and from then on I literally entered “the land of Narnia”. Shortly after exposing myself to this bunch of crazy misfits, I got inspired to start my own little project which has since grown to become an awesome social community in Singapore. (Side note: through the community, I got to meet my girlfriend which may just be the best thing that happened to me this year) I also got to know a world-class hustler and a great friend who gave me the opportunity to work on an amazing idea together with his team. While the government job provided little inspiration to me, the start-up community constantly fuelled my imagination.
In August 2012 I emptied my entire savings, broke my bond and left to explore the land of Mongolia.
After my trip I returned and began work in in-house Strategy Consulting with Dell in Singapore – a great job that helped build-up my finances again (since my bank was sitting near $0 after paying off the remaining debt obligation on my bond). However, my insatiable appetite to develop and launch ideas continued to drive me to create products that impact people around me. In April this year I published my first blog on Singapore-specific lifehacks and a few months later I launched an e-commerce store that solves a very real first world problem in Singapore.
The past three years can be described as one heck of a roller-coaster ride.
Very soon I will be moving to Austin, Texas – live music capital of the world and one of the best cities to live in North America. Coincidentally, it is also among the world’s top entrepreneurial cities! I hope to continue to inspire and be inspired.
I will leave behind:
- My beloved family and friends
- Tete, One Cent and the wonderful start-up community which constantly inspires me
- The best thing about Home – Singapore food
- One of the most unhappy countries in the world
- The burden (for now) of having to take out a 30-year mortgage to buy one of the world’s most expensive housing