From zoo to web technology. Love, efficiency and everything in between
Recently, I speak about my freelancing journey with Wordpress. If you miss the live talk, you can watch the talk at Engineers.sg.
My journey to tech has not always been sunshine and bed of roses. Looking back at the past decade, my life has taken a drastic deviation from what it should have been. Having always been a student in the top 10% of the cohort throughout my Primary and Secondary School, I thought that I will easily fall into the grand scheme of things, aka, get a degree, get a high paying job and start a family. Truth is that was the path that I left behind me.
Instead, this is the journey that I took: of love, life, efficiency and everything in between.
Back when I graduate from poly, my first full-time like part-time job is working as a show presenter in the Singapore Zoo. There, we take pride in our work to bring joy, education and conservation message during the show. We have ferrets, chickens, rats, cats and dogs, each with story of their own. They are part of our family.
Just like any family, there are good times and the not-so-good times.
At the age of 20, the zoo taught me mortality. While there are no beings that could stand the test of time, it is extremely accelerated in our furry friends. Besides that, to be a good show presenter requires efficiency, patience, keen observation and compassion. Working in the zoo has been crucial in partially soothing the angsty early 20 spirit.
There is no doubt that our show bring joy to people. They love the dynamism and the positive collaborative energy between the show presenter and the animals. On the stage, the animals are the stars, with a story to share.
However, there is one event that stirs the soul of those who are present. It is just like any other show day. Show preparation is executed as per normal except there is a slight adjustment in the show program. We will be including a sniffing act during the show.
What happen is that someone from the audience will pass us his/her belonging to us to hide in a few of our props. And our brilliant border collie, Major will attempt to find the item. Just when everything is going smoothly, there seems to be something else inside the box.
As my supervisor reads it out loud, the stage is silent. It is a wedding proposal. I turn to my colleague beside me, tears well up in her eyes, as we watch from behind the stage. On that day, the animals are not the only stars. We stand rooted for the couple who are on stage. Cheers fill our amphitheatre as a resounding yes come from the lady.
Raw. This is one of my most memorable encounter on love while working in the zoo.
Fast forward, eight years.
The angsty and dreamy 20s pave way to a more stable 30.
While trying to find out where I could position myself during this eight years, I try a variety of stuff. Belly dancing, group fitness training, personal training, yoga teaching, soft skill training, events management and preschool sports coaching. I even try my hands on being a cook.
If school teaches me that I’m intelligent because of my results, my early twenties definitely flip this all around by hurling failures upon failures on me. I dabble in the arts, sports, science, physical and zen. I frequently tell people that when I set off to New Zealand for my working holiday, I’m just taking a gap year.
It is indeed a good gap year that inevitably turn out to be gap years.
It is an escape from the assumed mundane maybe. Perhaps, this is my way of metamorphosing into adulthood. But in 2018, I have been preparing and positioning myself to enter the tech industry. On 25 May 2018, I speak on Wordpress meetup on how I become a freelance developer through Wordpress.
During this event, someone comes up to me and says that I look very familiar. He takes out his phone and shows me a photo of him in the zoo, together with the crew of Animal Friend Show. Squatting at the left side is me, together with our baby boy, German Shepherd, Shane.
It is year 2010. Me, when I am young and dreamy.
What are the chances that fate brings two people to meet on different places after almost a decade?
This is the part of the thread that attaches my life together. From the time I’m born, to the time I deviate from my well-trodden path to now.
Every seemingly random events in my life start to fall into place. They build me up in character pieces by pieces. I am but a culmination of the events that string together in my life. It is only on hindsight, do we realise how much we have travel. And arm with this knowledge, I am ready to march onwards to my goals.