Professional clarity leading to personal clarity
Since departing Malaysia almost seven years ago, it both then and now felt like an unfinished chapter in my life. My time abroad didn’t end of my own volition and therefore I have felt like there was so much more to learn about this place I lived that in a way taken from me rather than I chose to walk away from. During that time I learned a bit about this far of the world as an immigrant, seeking to understand a place that operated in ways similar and different from my own.
One of my often noted inspirations and person who “fed me” over those past years was Anthony Bourdain. Since his passing I have found myself often shying away from watching episodes of Parts Unknown that are favorites or I have still yet to see. I don’t know how much might be temporary shifts in taste vs steering away from the pain that he is gone. Regardless, last night I watched an episode on Singapore I had never seen before. In the course of it I was taken back to the city-state I was able to visit a couple times, seeing its efficiency and beauty roll across the screen along with its infamous oversight and heavy-handedness that has allowed it to flourish as it does. One thing that often goes unheralded when discussing Singapore is the intense food culture they have. The people of the country are from all over the world but there are exceptionally deep roots in Malaysia, Indonesia, China and India. The Strait of Malacca that it sits along has been one of the most traveled channels of water throughout time and remains that way today. I learned on the episode 20% of all shipping containers pass through Singapore.
As a result of this you have intense cultural intersections in this corner of the world. You can find dishes both traditional and unique to each culture as well as those have naturally fused over the course of hundreds of years. As I watched the episode I found nostalgia tugging at me and wondering yet again how long until I might return to that corner of the world.
Around the time I was working to stay in Malaysia through the time I ended up departing, something that became clear as I searched for opportunities was finding the right one was in part hard because “what I do” as a specialty or from an industry standpoint was not clear to others or me. Despite that feeling still being with me today at times, it dawned on me the idea gathering and synthesizing project I have been working on for the past couple weeks is a potential remedy to that confusion. The greater clarity I can gain around what I do and how I impact individuals / organizations will better enable me to find opportunities here and abroad as I seek to be unique and world class in that way.
All along the project has been intriguing and compelling but to think about the potential benefits playing out beyond the work itself was an exciting thing to realize.
Go Forth Boldly