This is a general-interest introduction. For a more academic-oriented introduction, please CLICK HERE.

Fuzzy Beginnings

“some men are born old” (Tyron Edwards)

Born in Singapore in 1986, my father called me his “Little Man” since birth: serious and mature (read: morose) beyond my years. Peranakan and proud, I ate lots of chili, spoke Malay (but next to no Mandarin) and was extremely entrepreneurial (buying little toy guns for 20¢ and selling them to my friends at 30¢ for a whopping 50% profit)!

An alumnus of Emmanuel Childcare and Development Centre, Cedar Primary School and Victoria School, most of those years have dissolved into an amorphous sea of fuzzy memories. The one clearest memory is of the day I asked the first (okay, maybe thirteenth) love of my life, Monica, out on a date—an invitation she promptly declined. As a result, I vowed never ever to love again. Ever!

Two-years-old, sitting on my brother’s bum in the apartment I grew up in.

Left: My wedding at Tanjong Beach Club on Sentosa, Singapore.
Right: When I was young and eligible.

Meandering Youth

“and I, I took the [road] less traveled by” (Robert Frost)

In my late teens, I enlisted into the Police Force where the powers-that-be decreed that I was to be a desk-bound clerk. Most boys would be thrilled at this stroke of fortune but—call me crazy—I had no intention of being stuck behind a desk! So after applying for every dangerous vocation I could think of, the Air Force eventually took me on as a pilot trainee. I washed out in the end, but that’s a long story…

After this, I enrolled into the National University of Singapore for my undergraduate degree in Life Sciences. I married Monica (who would’ve guessed?) and went to New Zealand for our 50-day honeymoon in my 2nd year of undergrad, graduated, started my Ph.D. and became a father (again in my 2nd year)! More meandering than the river Nile, I’m sure you’d agree, but I would do it all again!

Venturing Forth

“learn to labour and to wait” (Henry W. Longfellow)

Having finished my Ph.D. in early 2019, I’m now a (young?) Research Fellow, juggling being a husband, father (of 3 children now) and full-time scientist. I’m really excited for the future (hopefully with 6 kids!), and I work towards that goal; but who knows what tomorrow may bring….

A Psalm of Life (Excerpts)
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.



Anzel ponders the future.

Doing what I love: teaching. It’s hard work.

Pursuing Passions

“find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life” (Mark Twain)

Unlike the others before, I don’t really agree with this quote. I think it’s a nice ideal, and if someone finds this in their life: congratulations, good on them! But for most people, their career enables the pursuit of their passions and that’s OK too.

I’m a lecturer now and, for me, lecturing is somewhere in between. I love teaching! I love the look on my students’ faces when they realise some fact, see some link or connect some dots that they’d never realised, seen or connected before. I love being a part of that process! Being an educator and influencing the hearts and minds of so many promising young people is such a privilege.

But it still remains work. It is sometimes difficult and sometimes tedious. Some days, I barely have 5 minutes to go to the loo. Some days, I feel like giving up! Especially when there are deadlines approaching and you get a last minute assignment from the boss and the family at home needs your attention (because after all, they are a big reason we work). Pursuing a passion (and I want to invest lots of time to be good at it because it is a passion) can still feel like work. 

And you know what? That’s OK.