What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2017?

It was the completion of the digitalisation plan for People’s Association (PA). Although the idea was mooted in 2016, we went into full swing of things in 2017.

We had many sessions engaging various stakeholders to understand their processes and needs. We saw many opportunities where technology could be used to improve their lives, work and even play. As my office is in headquarters, it was a humbling learning experience engaging with PA colleagues on the ground, seeing the Community Club (CC) staff patiently interacting with the public, helping them with all kinds of requests such as interpreting government letters and policy changes.

My interactions with these colleagues have caused me to be mindful that while we harness technology, we must not lose the human touch and care for the community.

What technology particularly interests you for 2018?

Artificial Intelligence and Analytics. These are starting to appear everywhere. You have chatbots, Alexa, Siri etc. Nowadays, people are getting comfortable interacting with these as long as they provide helpful information.

Organisations have a wealth of information and data. When an organisation correctly uses analytics, new insights are derived. While staff experiences and knowledge are useful, with new insights, better decisions can be made.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2017, what would it be?

I have known people whose job prospects were affected because of digitalisation. Do not let this happen to you unknowingly. Do not be fearful or resist changes that technology brings. Embrace technology to your advantage. Keep an open mind and be pleasantly surprised how you will benefit from the change. Most of all, be adaptable. I believe adaptability is what humans are capable of.

What was the greatest challenge that you overcame in 2017?

The lack of time to do the things I love to do is my greatest challenge. I treasure family and friends. So this year, instead of going for the usual holiday trips, I managed to find time to visit friends who are based overseas, not once but twice. And when I was not with them, I got to move around alone, rest and be in solitude. I thoroughly enjoyed these private moments.

What book did you read in 2017 that most interested or inspired you?

I read many books but I often do not finish them. But recently I finished one, My Journey in Politics by Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee. I got this book when he came to speak at my church’s anniversary this year. It is a book on practical lessons in leadership. He wrote about his political experiences and distilled from them leadership lessons which I find rather useful. What inspired me is to lead with the heart and that life is to be lived fully: “Enjoy life; enjoy people; enjoy yourself!”

Who inspired you in 2017, and why?

My mom! Due to the 2G mobile network shutdown, I got her a smartphone. She is quite fearful of technology. But this year, she bravely signed up for a CC course on ‘Understanding your Android Phone’. Now she proudly shows me that she can use her phone to launch apps and watch YouTube videos. Currently she is learning how to surf the internet using a laptop! She is nearly 70, but she overcomes her fears to learn new things. It’s a joy to see her getting excited by new experiences, despite her initial apprehension.