Friday 30 September 2022

Month of September 2022

It took a while and I finally broke the duck by embarking on a first business trip since Covid. Travelling to Jakarta with a colleague, we squeezed in an exhibition visit and eight meetings over three days. We adopted a new meeting concept where all were held in the hotel lounge so as to minimize road journey time and avoid the notorious jams. The only downside was there were not much meal options in the vicinity but we were fortunate to meet local friends who drove us out to malls and other eateries. The food experience was memorable. I tried Sup Buntut, various Nasi combinations, seafood and the all important Avocado juice. Spicy as they were, I enjoyed every bit until the payback came with a fiery toilet trip at the end of each day. Only managed to clock one gym session which meant the pants endured some buckle pressure. The airport and flight experience were smooth and felt the same as before. 

The SMEICC conference was held from 13 - 14 Sep at Suntec Convention Centre. I had the privilege to attend and hear sharings by various industry professionals on their respective views on exploring new trends and innovate towards a challenging future. The best takeaway was in regard to artificial intelligence (AI). To most people, the first impression is a complex, scary and yet exciting field of discovery. The key to manage this is to understand that AI needs good data to operate and can only manipulate what's given. The speaker offered his view on two areas which I found interesting. One, the humanoid AI robot depicted in movies is not coming any time soon because we must first crack the brain function code and that's not even close. Two, the jobs of the future cannot be scoped on manual or plain processing role such as warehouse packer or accounts management. An AI machine can compute faster and at a precision level that no humans can compete against. So we must make effort to understand machine learning, operate it and offer a creative and human touch. The biggest worry of a rogue robot comes not from its self learning but the bad actor behind the controls.

This month also saw a few meetups with old friends from secondary school, junior college and ex colleagues. People whom I have not met for six months to 4 years. Some spoke on their dealings with toddlers while some mentioned their intentions to get married. Such a spectrum of life hustles and we are mostly around the same age. One guy commented on the need to create new memories instead of reliving old ones which I totally agree. Now, there are two different groups of friends proposing an overseas trip next year. It's been such a long time since I travelled with either of them. Looks like something potentially exciting could happen!

I was about to regret my procrastination but fortunately the LKY musical dates were extended. My wife and I found a compromised schedule to spend a weekday night giving support to a local production. It was played to a packed theatre and for over 2.5 hours, we were touched by the stellar performance although we agreed the role of Mrs Lee could have been explored deeper. To end the night, we bought supper from a porridge shop in Chinatown that we had not visited for many years. The warm and velvety taste was reminiscent of our dating times while the kids were young and asleep.

Tip: Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, fresh, fruity and medium bodied. Ready to drink

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