This year’s edition is late again, for most of December and January, I was doing my Japan itinerary, so this had to wait for that to end. Can’t believe I’ve been doing this annually for 9 years now, next year will be a decade of this. You can view the previous years’ editions here:
Anyway, let’s get started. (if you are wondering why 9 and not 10, read one of the earlier posts)
1. Bernie Sanders
Most people will remember 2016 as annus horribilis, with Brexit, Donald Trump, and the celebrity deaths. The US presidential election was an especially hard pill to swallow, more so as I was rooting for Senator Bernie Sanders. Sure, nobody (other than his hardcore supporters) really believed that Bernie could win, but I sincerely believed that the he was cheated out of the DNC nomination. And he would have stood a better chance in defeating Trump. But all in all, I felt he was refreshing change in US politics, and definitely more relatable to me than any other candidate.
2. New Job (again…!)
On the personal front, in 2016, I changed jobs. Again. Hah, yes. My ex-boss made the call, I said yes. So in April, I moved to the new company just down the road. Higher post, better pay package and benefits, but tougher job and environment. Hopefully this one will last longer than the last one.
3. New Car
Let me put this on record – my previous car was already TWELVE years old. Although it was still okay with no major problems, it was getting old and costlier to maintain. I was holding out for the new Camry, but after so long they did not launch it yet (as of today, they still haven’t released it yet). When the Honda Accord was launched, I went down to the showroom to take a look. It looked good, the price was very competitive. So I bought it. Been driving for more than 3 months now.
4. Land of the Rising Sun
On the family side of things, this past year was one marked with holidays. in the 13 months from November 2015 to December 2016, we managed to squeeze in 4 international holidays, starting with Seoul & Jeju (read the itinerary here). For 2016, it was the last holiday that was the biggest and most ambitious – our 9 day trip to Japan, covering Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. The trip was one year in the making, and was thoroughly enjoyable. You can read the itinerary starting here.
5. Hua Hin & Bangkok
This was a last minute organized trip, mainly because of the desire to escape some stress at work. Hua Hin is a royal beach resort some 3 hours drive away from Bangkok. It is a perfect holiday away from the commercialization and crowds associated with other beach resorts like Koh Samui and Phuket. After a few days in Hua Hin, we also returned to Bangkok for the weekend to visit Chatuchak and Platinum Mall. Our itinerary can be found here.
6. Macau & Hong Kong
And the other holiday we did was Macau and Hong Kong during the chilly spring. Macau was a much postposed destination since 2007, and we visited HK as a day trip to savour some awesome food. You can follow our itinerary here.
7. LRT & MRT
Now back to the year on a national level. Too many events happened in Malaysia that affected our day to day lives, most of it subject of an immense amount of criticism and complaining (mostly on FB). But on a more micro level, the LRT extension was finally opened in my area of Puchong, and towards the end of the year, the first phase of MRT was also completed. Although I don’t frequent the LRT or the MRT, I feel this is a small yet significant accomplishment in making Greater KL a better city. Most people will say ‘oh its expensive and I won’t use it’ or ‘why can’t it be better planned like Singapore or Bangkok’ but being in the industry I can understand the problems and limitations the planners faced. And I am already looking forward to MRT Line 3 soon.
8. LeBron Brings the and the Cavaliers
Let’s talk about sports. Most will remember 2016 for the Euros (which Portugal won), or the fairytale story of Leicester capturing the EPL trophy. But for me personally, this past year I started to follow basketball closely once again after an absence of more than 20 years. And all through the year I’ve been drawn to LeBron James, and how he came back to Cleveland to right his wrong. And on his second season after returning, he won the championship against the Golden State Warriors, coming from behind 3-1 to win the series 4-3 (it had been a long time since that happened, I don’t really follow the stats). I remember for Game 7 I was in the office working, so I could only watched delayed highlights online. And yes, I do believe LeBron is one of the greatest of all time.
9. And Yet Still Reading!
Yup, I’m still doing it. This year I read 105 books (according my Goodreads app) and I’m surprised myself how I found that many books to read. Through it all, I read some really good ones, that rank as my favourites – like Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson.