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The 2017 I’m grateful for

It’s been a while since I’ve looked at the year gone by the way I did in my days as a blogger. I have been very privilege to have had numerous platforms to reflect over the years – this blog, Twitter and of course, my newspaper column, The Bangsar Boy.

But as we all know (and some refuse to admit), Twitter is dead, no one reads my blog anymore and my column is retired.

So, I decided to write this post for three reasons: 1. I’ve been messing around with the back-end of my website and have been thinking about this blog a lot; 2. I kind of made a pledge to write more last month and 3. I actually have a lot to be grateful for and I wanted to end the year with some positivity to propel me into what I expect to be the toughest year yet in my PhD journey in 2018.

Here goes, in no particular order:

1. I, umm, published a book! Who would have thought? Many thanks to Sze Mei and her team at MPH for the opportunity, and Yuen and the Kakiseni team for making it happen. Now, stop asking me about the second book until I’ve submitted my PhD okay?

Niki poses with a cake and his book at the preview event at APW Bangsar

2. First time ever playing hockey while it was snowing! Yes, I still can’t believe I’m playing hockey after all these years. But snow. SNOW! (Sorry, I come from the tropics).

Niki holding up his hockey stick while the snow falls

3. I ran the fastest 10k ever! This year has been great for me fitness wise. I’m regularly at the gym, and playing more sports than I have in years, But the milestone has to be that run I did in May where i not only raised over £500 for Cancer Research, but also ran my personal best ever after recovering my a ligament tear. Many thanks to Tom for helping me get there!

A selfie of Niki with his finisher's medal from the Bristol 10k run

4. Expanded my academic family! Two highlights of my academic career moving forward will surely be having these people in my life – the SuSo family I met at the ECREA Summer School 2017 in Milan, Italy, and my Aussie academic family I met in Finland at the Affective Politics of Social Media conference (big thanks to Amelia for getting me there in the first place!). Academia has also allowed me to visit places I’ve never been before, the same way journalism did in the past).

Niki's nametag from the ECREA Summer School he attended in MilanSusanna Passonen opening address

5. Surprised mum! It was mum’s 70th birthday this year, so my sisters and I plotted to get her siblings across the border and lots of family and some friends to celebrate the occasion. Really pleased I was back in KL around that time to be able to help make this happen. With some of my immediate family members in the picture below.

Niki with some members of his immediate family at his mother's 70th birthday party

6. My annual story-collecting project turned 5! Each year, I collaborate with some of my creative friends to collect Malaysian stories to commemorate Hari Merdeka and Malaysia Day. This year was the fifth installment of the project, and we marked it with a major retrospective of the numerous projects I have worked since 2013.

Text explaining the Sejarah Kita project

7(ish). Bring on 2018. Hopefully I’ll have more than just one entry next year (which is basically: 1. Handed in dissertation). Actually, I take that back. That’s the only entry I want to make sure is in that list!

p/s I lied. While scrolling back through Facebook, it reminded me that I did write a post reflecting on 2016 as a self-reminder to be grateful for all the good in my life despite the bad.


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