A friend remarked recently. 'You've always been a maverick'
It got me thinking. Am I really a maverick?
Every now and then, friends would tell me or make remarks along the lines that I am quite a maverick. I would usually be quite bemused and amused at the same time.
I have never thought of myself as a maverick. In fact, to the contrary, I had always thought of myself as rather conventional, albeit with an independent mind. How can a I, a RI boy, a medical doctor, a ex civil servant be seen as maverick? If anything, I would be 'lucky' not to be labelled 'boring' and 'conventional' with that kind of background.
But the many occasions when friends remarked that I am a maverick, especially more so recently since I started to blog, got me thinking. Me a maverick? really meh? So that got me curious and I began to look at the definition of 'Maverick' and also tried to think some of the things I have done that might have given people the wrong impression that I am a maverick.
The definition of a 'Maverick'
I went to google the meaning of 'maverick'
According to google, a maverick is
an unorthodox or independent-minded person
synonyms - individualist, nonconformist, free spirit, unorthodox person, original trendsetter, bohemian, outsider, rebel, dissenter, informal bad boy.
From google's definition of what a 'maverick' is, I became even more convinced I do not fit into the definition of a 'maverick'. I was amused at google's synonyms suggestions for 'maverick' such as 'bohemian', 'informal bad boy', it was quite funny. That is definitely not me.
The Journeys of a Maverick?
So I thought perhaps I should list down some of the things I have done in the past that were perhaps just somewhat different from what others would have done and which might have given people the wrong impression that I am a 'maverick' ( in random order. Not in any chronological order or categories)
One fine day many many years ago, after practising as a GP for many years, I wrote an email (a cold call) to EDB (Economic Development Board) to ask for a job. They called me up for an interview a couple of weeks later and told me they had no specific vacancy then but still ended up hiring me in the end. So I stopped active medical practice and joined them and ended up staying there for 5 years.
As a medical student in NUS, I had consciously chosen to not stay in KE VII hall where almost all medical students would traditionally go to because I thought it would be boring to spend so much time with people from the same faculty. I wanted to have friends from different faculties and disciplines, so I chose to go stay in Sheares Hall where there were only a very small handful of medical students.
When I became a doctor, I told myself I would consciously avoid dating anyone from the medical industry, be it doctors, nurses, therapists, hospital administrators or even anyone indirectly related to the medical industry because I thought that it would be 'boring' to have a girlfriend or wife and be talking about the same medical related things even outside of work. I also didn't want my girlfriend or wife to have the same circle of friends as I or from the same industry. I wanted my social life, to be one where I would be able to have conversations about anything and everything with anybody from all backgrounds and industries, not just the medical industry or people from the medical fraternity.
When I was in primary 2, I gathered a few classmates to form my own club and called it the 'social work club', I collected money from them weekly and then went to donate the money to an old folks home every year. The club was active throughout all my primary school years and donated money to the old folks home every year and the club was subsequently unofficially supported by the school but remained my own unofficial club, led by me. I did that because schools then had too few CCAs to keep me occupied and I had excess time and energy to burn off, so I created my own CCA so to speak, haha. ( Read more about this in my other post >> Legacy - how I accidentally left a legacy as a 9 year old )
When I was in primary 2, I 'fired' the driver of the school bus that my parents had engaged to fetch me to school because I wanted to reach school earlier than the school bus would so that I would have more time to play before school starts, which kid wouldn't? So I 'fired' the bus driver, took the fees that I had to pay him and went to take public bus with it instead. I didn't tell my parents because I didn't think they would have objected.
After I started taking public transport to school on my own in primary two, I was reaching school so early, before the gates were even opened, that I was bothering and begging the jaga (security guard) to open the gate for me almost every day. The jaga soon gave up 'fighting' me each morning and gave me the keys to the school gates instead to allow me to let myself in everyday. So since Primary 2 or 3, I became the unofficial and unpaid jaga of the school, I was the first to reach school, before the teachers or the students, had the keys to the school gates and was the person who opened the gates for everyone almost every morning. I don't think my teachers or principal ever knew about this, haha.
My secondary school days at Raffles Institution was great for me, because I could take up as many CCAs and activities as time and scheduling permitted (back then in RI, like the rest of the schools, didn't limit the no. of CCAs a student could join like they do now).
I remembered my secondary 2 year fondly, because that was the most packed year of my school life, I was a member of the school's football, cross-country, track and field, rugby teams and was a scout and school prefect at the same time.
I represented RI in the inter school competitions in soccer (where I was the captain, and we were eliminated in the group rounds, sigh), cross-country (we ended up second to the then Chinese High School, sigh), track and field (where I competed in the 100m, triple jump where I ended fourth and missed out on a medal, and was the starter for the 4x100m; and overall as a team, we ended being second to the then Chinese High School again! By just one point, sigh) and rugby (where we became the champion, beating the then Chinese High School in the finals, it was sweet 'revenge'!). And oh I almost forgot to mention, whilst doing all these in secondary two, I was also a boy scout and school prefect. If schedule had allowed it, I think I would have also joined the school basketball team and the school band too, but alas there was only 7 days a week and that many hours a day, sigh.
There was this time, when I was the CEO of a company, I purposely hired an entire management team who were young, inexperienced and were not from the industry that the company was in. Because I felt that in order to achieve something different, I needed to have people who had no baggage or even expertise to fall back on but had to soley rely on determination and pure common sense to make decisions for the company. I felt that would give us a chance to create something different. People thought I was crazy.
Whenever I had friends over for dinner parties, I was always cooking familiar popular dishes with a new spin to it, because I thought if I were to try to replicate exactly what we could have gotten at the restaurants for our dinner parties, we might as well go dine outside instead of bothering to cook at home for my friends.
I have also founded a F&B business and became a chef, all entirely accidentally.
I accidentally ran a full marathon when I was 12 years old. (does that count?)
Now that I have started thinking back about the things I had done a little differently from others, I realised I had a very long list and these are just a small sample of things I have done differently from how other people.
Things that I have done or doing
hmmm...Would I call doing all these a maverick? Still don't think so.
Maverick? No. Adventurous? maybe. Blessed? Definitely.
I never planned for any of these. They just happened, mostly accidentally.
It is just that I have been blessed with many opportunities to be adventurous and be able to explore life to the fullest. I took them.
I am not a maverick.
I am an explorer.
- Waking people up to
The Power of Lifestyle to Heal & Destroy, helping them to maintain wellness & regain lost health through informed lifestyle & food choices
>> My Medical Practice where Lifestyle & Dietary modifications is the first go to medicine
>> My 'School' - Engines of Health - where I run workshops and programmes
>> My Restaurant - The Bento People - where I cook and try to entice people to eat healthy.
>> My Advocacy - The TV & print media where I have the priviledge to advocate the power of Lifestyle as Medicine
Why & What I Blog about
Blog's Top Posts
Lifestyle as Medicine - my journey, my passion, my pain
How & Why I became a Lifestyle Medicine Doctor, Trainer and Advocate
Doctor turned Accidental Chef turned Incidental Chef
Reflections of 'The Food Doctor'
How I lost weight 'accidentally'
Doctor turned Accidental Chef - How it all began
The birth of The Bento People
I made this Tom Yum Daikon-'noodles' because I was 'angry' with how the love for noodles was affecting one of my patients.
No wasted Journeys -
Why I Blog
Buay Chye, God & I. The day God sent me a cook.
Behind every adventurous man is a long-suffering wife
How I accidentally left a legacy as a 9 year old boy
The day blogger Leslie Tay (ieatishootipost) came to visit
The accidental marathoner
- how I accidentally ran the marathon when I was 12
They call me a Maverick.
I say I am an Explorer.
Why & How 'Advocating Healthy Eating' became my purpose, mission & passion.
Sharing about the power of food on Diabetes Lifestyle magazine