Food, Passion, and the meaning you give to your work


Published 14 October 2016

I have been busy for the past four weeks due to travelling to conduct training in Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore which is why I have missed writing about data center or technology or my own insights in the daily grind.

And the muscle at the back of my left ankle swells from standing and walking a lot during this period, on the other hand my spirit is good. Why, because I enjoys doing data center training and the positive feedback and energy it gives me.

But let me first talk about one of the favorite past time of Singaporeans – food. Specifically hawker food, or for those of you unfamiliar with the Singapore food scene, it is the closest we Singaporeans have to street food. We have multiple websites and twitters, blogs, and what not that are all dedicated to finding where the good foods are and posting latest photos about food. Google “Singapore food blogs” and the pages just roll on and on.

However in general, I feel that the quality of food served at hawker center has been on the decline that is in opposite direction with the economic status of Singapore. My own thoughts are that both demand for speedy satisfaction and the difficult work conditions of hawker chef versus other line of work are the main reasons. I remember the 70s and 80s where the stubborn and proud hawker owner and cook (all-in-one) insist on procuring and preparing the food ingredients, and cooking each plate of fried noodles with such focus that today’s hawker stall employees standardized one bowl of noodles per minute just cannot compare with.

Long lines of queue still line the few stalls that insist of preparing and cooking their famous fare but these are a dying breed as we cannot expect the younger generations of those stall owners to forego the economic imbalance of working as a hawker stall boss cum chef vis-a-vis most jobs that pays better with shorter working hours. Nevertheless, in our heart we hope those few hawker stalls with passionate boss and staff continues to stay in business and not go the way of my favorite wanton noodles stall that sold the business to a franchise which opens a chain of wanton noodles that churns out a bowl of noodles at twice the speed but at half the good taste, and oh at 20% higher price.

Back in the mid 1990s, I lead a team of data center network people and we hardly meet any other people besides our own team and a few colleagues from the network security policy team, i.e. no more than a dozen people. One day my most senior subordinate and I were talking about an urgent and complex network set-up request from a user organization and he sounded a little frustrated because the work is tedious and takes a lot of co-ordination effort with our vendors and the network security policy team to get it done. I gave him a pep talk about how to give meaning to our work because we never know how urgent the request is but we should give it due consideration, imagine this user organization (which is a uniformed government organization) needing this network request to be completed to support their humanitarian effort and lives could be at stake. He perked up and immediately went to action and he completed the task well ahead of schedule with such delight. I think when we give meaning to our work, we can do wonders.

A new contact whom I have yet to meet came to my training class in Beijing and sat in the class while waiting for the tea-break time to chat. Ms Du said she admired the passion I showed when I deliver the course and sprinkled the material with real life scenarios unlike the experienced senior trainers that she have had in her training institute.

Before she came to meet me, I was feeling a bit down with the travelling and cool weather in Beijing and the sore left ankle but I soldier on and psych myself up each morning before going to the training venue. While it was the first time we have met, we talked about data center training in China and elsewhere and we came up with an idea of a possible new project and we talked for 3.5 hours, well passed the time we both have planned.

Another Singapore data center practitioner, Mr Joshua Au have been wanting to start a Singapore Data Center group that is both open and technical in nature, we hit it off and Joshua have single-handedly roped in multiple companies and individuals and I think we will have a great start to take it to the next level. It is all because of passion about what we do, and believing in what we do have greater impact to the lives of others through what we know best and how much more we can contribute in the ways that we are most comfortable with. I encourage anyone who is passionate and like to contribute to come forward, or approach a suitable organization that interests you. I am an individual member of the Green Grid and writes stuff about data center and shares it with the public through linkedin and wordpress.

Weekend is coming up. Tomorrow morning I will be up early to go to my favorite fishball noodles stall to have a great breakfast. I hope we continue to enjoy great food, great company, our work and our close ones.


Food, Passion, and the meaning you give to your work

2 thoughts on “Food, Passion, and the meaning you give to your work

  1. Tom In says:

    I love your insights on Data centers. I am a portfolio manager at a NY based hedge fund. We invest globally. I would love to discuss with you your thoughts on GDS


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s