2017 – A year in review

I’ve had a few goals in mind that I wanted to accomplish and managed to complete them.

I wanted to contribute to the free software movement, contribute more to local tech community, learn more about software engineering, be more courageous and confident, become fitter and get AWS certified.


Contributions to the free software movement

I contributed to the free software movement by sharing some of my useful configs and tools onto my GitHub account, under the Expat License (A.K.A MIT License). The reason behind using the Expat License is because these tools weren’t super innovative or complicated, therefore, there was no need to use the GPL license. As of today, my most starred repository has 35 stars; which is quite an accomplishment to me. I’ve also written some articles about Open Organization which would not have been possible without Bryan.

Alas, I’ve stepped down as an Open Organization ambassador and did not host any Fedora related events this year. This is partly due to my (obligatory) commitment to serve my country as a conscript.

Contributions to the local tech community

I am extremely fortunate to be living in Singapore, where there is a passionate and friendly tech community that are knowledgeable and experience, and most importantly, always willing to help. This community has taught me a lot of technical things and also soft skills. On top of that, it has given me an environment where I could learn and grow without fear. Without the existence of people like Chee Aun, Michael Cheng, Valentine, Chern Jie, Alex, Elisha, Min, Stefanie and many others, the tech community would not have been as vibrant. Many of us look up to them, some of us wants to be like them. But don’t forget, every member of this community are just as unique and wonderful, and you are (most likely) a pillar that supports this community.

To give back to what the community has given me, I’ve given some tech talks on what I’ve learnt and played with. Hopefully, the knowledge and experience I’ve shared has helped at least a person. Or maybe inspire someone to share and help too. I’ve also volunteered to help recording with Engineers SG and organize some tech events.

Learning more about software engineering

Kudos to my tech friends, Josh Long (especially), Lennard, Bob Jin Chow and Michael Cheng for your guidance. Through them, I’ve learn more about maintaining software, communicating and collaborating with people, and managing engineering tradeoffs.

Josh Long has always been patient and kind towards me, mentoring me closely and always ready and happy to answer my tough questions that I could not find an answer to. His experience in tech opened up my eyes and view of the software engineering world. He is a remarkable person whose actions are consistent with his words – displaying empathy and compassion towards the less fortunate and everyone. I will always remember this phrase that he mentioned to me:

If you get a job in software you do not get to say it’s because you earned it. Never forget: you and I are children playing with toys while there are people who you starving or sick right now. We’re the luckiest people on the goddamn planet. Never take it for granted.

Of course, not forgetting those whom I’ve met at conferences. I’ve learnt a lot from Burr Sutter, especially on topics like databases. His working experience, which involves dealing with enterprises, wowed and blew me away.

Courage and confidence

Giving talks at meetups and conference did a great help for my courage and confidence. I would like to thank the community and the conference organizers for giving me such opportunities to speak up and share. Small conversations with folks also help me learnt to be more empathetic and attentive towards others’ needs. I learnt that one should not only be confident in speech but also willing to listen, admit mistakes and reconsider philosophy. We also need to have the courage to take stance on an opinion.

Fitness and health

Inspired by Lennard, who previously had diabetes. He told me about his diet of drinking Starbucks drinks and a can of Coke everyday, which resulted in him getting diagnosed with diabetes.

He changed his diet – drop the sugar and started exercising. A year later, after his hard work and effort, the doctor said that he had recovered from diabetes.

Another person that motivated me was my friend, Richard Wang. He used to be slightly obese. Girls used to dislike him. Thereafter, he started going to the gym and exercising more. Through years of efforts, his fruits of labour had been realised and he became physically muscular and attractive. Girls, and even guys, started to chase after him. He demonstrated that with consistent effort, one can reshape and change their bodies.

I’ve always been doing static exercises in the morning. After meeting them, I started being more conscious about my diet and exercising more – going for runs and swims whenever possible. My static exercises would also be more intense, incorporating more planks, side planks and more.

Through this, my weight has dropped from 58kg to 50kg and my abs are starting to form. I’ve also became healthier and fell sick less frequently.

The not so completed part

Alas, I did not have sufficient time to get AWS certified. This would probably require me to commit more time to studying AWS. And hopefully, I will be able to get this done in 2018.

Road ahead


The road ahead is always an uncertain one. We all don’t know when we would leave this world, nor do we know when others would. But my journey so far has been a great one, thanks to my friends’ support and encouragement. Metilda, Siti, Josh, Richard, Lennard, Sheralyn, Stefanie, Valentine, Zion – words cannot describe my heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

Plans ahead

So here are my plans for the upcoming year:

  • Spend more time with family (perhaps go overseas)
  • Get certified in AWS
  • Give my 100% in the military and contribute my tech skills
  • Be more involved in Fedora Project
  • Give a talk at an overseas conference (tried many times, but didn’t get accepted, hopefully I’ll be good enough in 2018?)

To my friends: what would you like to achieve and how can I help you achieve it?

Author: Woo Huiren

Currently a student at National University of Singapore. I contribute to opensource projects - primarily PHP and Angular related. I write about PCF and PWS related stuff too.

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