Wednesday, December 31, 2008


It's funny how things work out.

If I had succeeded in getting into the Jessups or Shipping Moot team, I'd have become what I wanted to become at that time, a successful litigator. I'd have had a rigorous apprenticeship under a big-name lawyer, and picked up skills and networks that would have helped in my early career.

And at the end of that, I would have become as my friends have become - disillusioned, and wondering if this was all they could do for the rest of their lives, victims of their own success.

If I had gotten onto the moots team, I would not have entered into a (admittedly stupid) business venture.

If that business venture had succeeded despite all odds, I'd have quit law, and entered business. I'd have worked through a moderately successful business, right up to the point of the dot-com bust, and I'd have entered the work-force, having lost nothing but a few years, but with solid business experience under my belt.

Instead, I was outmanuevered, and was forced to make a decision between finding love and finding justice.

And because I was outmanuevered, I was much richer for the experience, because the first rule of business is not succeeding. It's knowing how not to fuck up, and I've since experienced almost every variation of second-hand fuck ups in every job I've been to. It's a valueable experience, knowing how and when things fuck up, because my job requires that I fix them.

If I had not entered that business venture, I would not have met my ex-wife. I'd have been spared the heartache of watching her tear asunder everything we've built. I'd not have been called boring, uncreative, and a typical Singaporean. I'd not have to face rejection from every angle, from someone I deeply trusted, to complete strangers who refused to give me the time of the day.

I would also have missed out the small opportunities that turned into big ones - the unpaid internship I procured in California, which turned into a job here in Singapore. I'd have lost the single greatest opportunity to prove what was best in a "typical Singaporean" - hard work and never-say-die.

I'd never have realised that success is not about huge successes, but of small accumulated wins, and not giving up.

I'd never have realised that life is transient, and all the more beautiful for it.


Here I am now, a failure at everything I had wanted to be 10 years ago, and so much the better for it. I failed at becoming a Jessup mooter. I failed at becoming a businessman. I failed at finding a new job and life in California. I failed at keeping my marriage together.

Yet, somehow, I ended up where I wanted to be at 32 - a decent job, close to family, with friends and loved ones close by.

If I had succeeded then I'd have failed now. I'm glad I failed.

Happy New Year.


-ben said...

Happy new year, KC :-D

Pendragon said...

That scares me.

But, yeah, Happy New Year.

Don't forget, you came thus far, and became an integral part of the PHEMAS family. Have a good one, bro.

Dawn said...

Happy new year Kace. At least you're happy ;) That is a luxury not many people have.

Cowboy Caleb said...

We could learn something from you. Well done. Clap clap clap.

~Pink Miu Miu~ said...

I am sort of gg thru a rough patch now and certainly hope to learn frm you (at least u are happy :)..take care!