Friday, November 26, 2010

20101201 : next phase

To me, the coming December first will be the start of a new phase. I will be leaving my 21 years comfort zone in Philips and starting all on my own. It feels like jumping off a big ship and throwing myself (and family) into the open sea. This seems silly but not if you can see what I am seeing while cruising on the big ship. The vision I have is to help make bicycling an easier and better choice for many people. This vision connect to my belief that bicycle will be an important solution to many problems that we face in modern cities. Such belief is so strong that I lost motivation to continue with the same routine job. I find it necessary to follow my heart and do something more meaningful.

My close friends and family ask with great concern, “How are you going to sustain financially?” I have savings but certainly not enough to sustain for a long time-if we continue to spend without adjustment. The key question is how much is enough to live a happy, stress free life? I need to find that out, together with my wife and two sons. I am blessed and thankful that they are supportive in my decision.

Leaving the financial uncertainty aside, I am really looking forward to the “office hour free” days. I should be able to spend more time riding, blogging, teaching, designing, selling and promoting bicycles, or bicycle related activities. I should be able to apply what I have learnt throughout the 21 years working in Philips, in a new way. Knowing the advantages and limitations a big organization encounter, helps. Having years of experience of working and living in Holland and seeing first hand how bicycle can be a viable transport solution also helps. I learnt a lot from my Philips colleagues and they will continue to be my inspiration and resources.

The Singapore Government has allocated 43 million dollars to improve bicycle infrastructure in seven cycling towns. This is peanuts if compared to the multi-billion dollars road construction works for cars, yet it is a fundamental paradigm shift from the authority: from ignoring to recognition! The same trend is happening in advanced Asia cities like Hong Kong, Taipei and Shanghai. There is still a long way to go before bicycling become as safe and popular as in Holland. I can see there is a lot needs to be done and I am sure there are ways that I can contribute and also make a living from by helping shorten this transition period.

- Francis Chu AKA Chu Wa