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  • Sharon Koay

What now after 17 years in IT?


I started my career in IT sales & marketing way back in 2003 at Computer Systems Advisers (CSA), then moved on to Sun Microsystems, followed by Dell and Quest | One Identity. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, many companies had to make decisions on downsizing or restructuring their workforce. My role at Quest | One Identity was made redundant two months ago, and the burning question I had then was: "What now after 17 years in IT?"


It was also 17 years ago when I was baptised at Trinity Methodist Church Penang. Last month, Trinity celebrated its 63rd anniversary with Rev Dr Gordon Wong (Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore) sharing from the book of Ruth and talking about ordinary people, luck, labour & love, which resonated very well with my question on "What now?"


* Watch Rev Dr Gordon Wong's brief animated and humourous points on this YouTube link


Like Ruth in the bible, I am an ordinary person who has recently encountered a couple of ordinary tragedies: first with losing my job, followed by losing my mum a few weeks after. By luck, I have met many people within the last 6 weeks: Felix Nair, my mum's undertaker, and Dr Oo Loo Chan, founder of Charis Hospice Penang, were two notable ones. With a little labour, I have "interned" with Felix at ten Christian funerals in the last 4 weeks, and signed up as a volunteer at Dr Oo's hospice. With a lot of love, I spent quality time with my 82-year-old dad and my 96 year-old aunt-in-law. And with this combination of luck, labour and love, I have learnt so much about death - but more importantly, about life.


I have learnt that even though we all know death is inevitable, we will still never be able to fully prepare to lose a loved one - not so much what to do after their death, but the things that should or could have been done with them before, when they are alive.


I now know that the most important thing about life is to celebrate it - whether it's with food, family, friends, activities, etc. Over the last few weeks, I have started to do this for my dad and aunt-in-law, and this has been one of the most fulfilling feat I have done - just to see & feel the joy that comes from a favourite meal or a good movie, connecting with loved ones far away, reminiscing about their lives through old photos and conversations, building a family tree, or just going for walks together.

It is unfortunate that with the COVID-19 travel restrictions, many of the elderly in Penang have not been able to see their loved ones who are working/living overseas. Some of these elderly aren't very tech-savvy either (like my dad and aunt-in-law), so staying virtually connected with loved ones is a challenge.


And so to answer the question of "What now after 17 years in IT?":

  • I would like to be a bridge for those who are not able to celebrate the lives of their loved ones in Penang - whether it's due to distance or time limitations/challenges.

  • I would like to be that familiar face to your loved ones, for them to release their stories & memories, and for me to capture these for you, so that legacies can be kept alive and handed down to future generations.

  • I would like to help them stay connected with family and friends, regardless of location.


And I can do this in so many ways:


Videos:

I can create video stories, capturing new memories of your loved ones today and/or old legacies like family cooking recipes and traditions.


Photos:

If you have old photos to share, not only can I compile them physically and/or digitally, I would want to also take time to listen to the stories the photos tell, and capture these so they can be remembered.


History:

I can help to start/build your family tree online, and while taking down the information, perhaps some lost relationships can be rekindled.


Sharing/Connecting:

I can organise gatherings, be it virtual or physical, intimate or large, annually or more regularly - or even through a family newsletter or social media groups.




If you know anyone with a lonely or elderly loved one in Penang who would benefit from having a familiar face visit regularly, please do share my contact with them: Sharon +6012-474 1477


SILVER LINING

For many people, good relationships with parents are one of the joys of life. However, some may feel differently if they have been ill-treated or neglected by their parents, or if their parents come across as controlling and meddlesome. Even if we have good relationships with our parents, there may come a time when caring for them may seem like a burden, simply because of the time and work it takes. If aging or dementia begins to rob them of their memory, capabilities and good nature, caring for them can become a deep sorrow.


Yet the fifth commandment from God to "honour your father & your mother" comes with a promise “that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you”. So be assured that by appreciating & celebrating our parents when we have the chance to do so will provide us longer (perhaps in the sense of a more fulfilling) life now, and in God’s kingdom.

Exodus 20:12 (New International Version)

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you."


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