I hardly post any end of the year reflections and new year goals. I will make an exception this time since it’s worth noting down what 2023 has been.

Slump and Anxiety

The first quarter of the year was mainly focused on the effects from the great tech layoff. At the end of 2022, massive layoffs happened across the tech industry. This comes after a huge growth after the pandemic.

I’ve been through a few layoffs in my career at the company. I never had any fear of layoffs in the past but this time is different. I had just moved to a new country with the family. There will be a lot of trouble to relocate back to Malaysia with the family and start again. Since I was new to this country, I am not confident I will get a job here so easily because of the work permit situations. Luckily I was not impacted this time.

Although I was not directly impacted, a lot of my colleagues in the team were. It is well known that in tough times, program managers and managers are the first be impacted with layoffs. After the layoffs, there were management and leadership changes as people leave voluntarily. Within the first few months, I have 3 levels of my management changed.

Due to the laws in EU, it took some time for consultation process to take place between company and impacted employees. The employees were told earlier in the year that they were impacted but didn’t leave the company till March.

The Happy Times

My parents came to visit us in March. They came just in time to celebrate St Patrick’s day and stayed for a good 80 days. I feel happy that they are able to come and visit me, though I think my kids feel happier to have grandparents around.

Took them to places like Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, Kilkenny Castle and all the tourist places in Dublin. Later on their stay, I just put them on the Paddywagon tours to Belfast and Cork. I don’t think I can endure such a long journey on a daytrip with them.

They had fun but I can see they suffered a lot with the cold. They are not used to the cold and they are definitely not prepared for it. Luckily towards the end of their trip, it got hotter and they are able to move around better on their own.

Was in Shekelton Garden concern and had our picture taken by the official photographer. Our picture got posted in Fingal County Council FB page.

Preparations Paying Off

The second quarter was also when power on happened for the project that I was working on. Power on is the time when the silicon first comes back from manufacturing and is turned on for the first time. This is an event where we will first see the chip come alive.

A lot of preparations need to happen before power on. We spend about a year developing software (ie drivers and firmware) on simulation platforms. We worked on enabling validation test cases on the software that was written. Finally putting all the plans together with the hardware engineers and the bigger program power on team.

At the end of the power on, which took about 6 weeks, we were able to basically get all the models running and also the run the Microsoft application for video conferencing.

Power on was hence a success and that paved the way for the team to optimize the software and handle any bugs that come.

The last power on I did was in 2018. I was proud of that project since I brought more than 30 of the folks from Penang for the Power On in Ireland. That project also indirectly brought me to Ireland.


Kids have 2 months of summer school break. We had earlier plan to go back to Malaysia on the second year in Ireland as a formality. We spent 2 weeks in Kuching and another 4 weeks in Penang. I took up the chance to work from home while in Penang. I get to met the folks back in the office and catch up. In that one and half years that I have left Penang, a lot has changed in the office. Most folks moved to a different office on the other side of the industrial park. A lot of colleagues also changed jobs or departments.

Working from home following Irish time zone was crazy. Technically I start work at 4pm Penang time and finish at midnight. However people are asking to meet for lunch so I end up being in the office at noon. Lucky someone borrowed me his 5G internet mobile router that I allowed me to work from home during the long days.

First stop in Malaysia trip is visiting the research team in Monash. I am currently working with them on a CREST research grant. It is one of the project that is leftover from my time in Malaysia.

Selling the house

A few months before going back, we also sold off our second home in Teluk Kumbar. We have not lived there for 7 years. Parents were living there for a few years after the sold off their Tg Bunga house while waiting for the new apartment to be completed. We sold that place for almost the same price as we bought it, so it was a loss if you include the bank interest. We wanted to sell it off earlier but could not fetch the price that would incentivize us to give it up. Moving to Ireland, we had to bite the bullet and sell it off. Going back in summer was the right time to send off the final handover and we say goodbye to that second home.

Stress and Despair

All good things must come to and end. Coming back from Penang, project that I am working on was facing release after release. Although we had a good power on, the program team continues to increase their expectations. There does not seem to be let up of pressure to deliver. In a good way, there seems to be more demand for the product than expected. So we are asked to increasingly support more features. We are also still struggling with optimizing the performance of the software.

It has come to a point where I am wondering what job is there out there that does not have that much pressure at work. In December, I decided that I need to start off my day in the gym. Was cleaning up my google photos and saw an old 2018 picture of me being a bit buff. That was the time I spent evenings in OFA gyms on the way back from office.

What is in store for 2024?

In the start of the 2024, I need to work on the renewal of my Stamp 4. This is so that I can continue to stay and work in Ireland. We have started the process with the agent from the company but it’s going to be a few nail biting months to get the renewal.

We also have a planned vacation to Italy in the second half of the year. One of our dream place to visit is Italy. One of the reason we moved to Ireland is so that we can easier visit Europe. Tickets and hotels are booked, hoping all goes well.

The project that I am working on will be completed in June 2024. I don’t expect any let off on the pressure to deliver. I need to find the strength and purpose to push on till the project is done.

Second half of 2024 is still a mystery. Looking at things this year, 2024 will be a journey. I am always working with universities and Red Crescent back in Malaysia. I felt I have a purpose to push me forward, something to look forward to. It has been 2 years in Ireland and I had wanted to find a purpose in the first year. I will maybe find my purpose in 2024.

This picture popped up when I was cleaning google photos. Was working out in OFA gym and I want to get back in shape.
Hi, I’m neeshen

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