2020>2021 Reflections

I’m not one for writing long blogposts anymore so I’ll keep this as brief as possible.

Education (Naturopathy & Herbal MEdicine)

My final year of Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine was the toughest and most rewarding one yet. Everything we learnt from previous years were put into practice. Starting with our classmates, we gradually transitioned to seeing other students in the school and finally complete strangers which we had to market and recruit for ourselves.

In total I have seen 16 clients ranging from 14 year-old teenagers to 84 year-old grandmas. Conditions also varied from weight loss to anxiety, sleep issues, asthma, osteoarthritis, gout, back injuries, delayed menopause, skin issues, venous conditions and eating disorders.

I have learnt and grown so much this past year that I feel almost like a different person! More so psychologically than physically – I have learnt to view a person more holistically and not jump to conclusions and assumptions. To keep asking why and let them tell their story. After all, our clients are the experts of their lives.

I have also learnt that many illnesses have a psychological/emotional/spiritual basis and cannot be explained easily with conventional medical science (yet).

Still, the fundamentals of health remain a cornerstone of treatment – good breathing, mindset, nutrition, hydration, sleep, sunlight, nature, lifestyle, activity, life purpose/passion, spirituality, reducing external/internal stressors, loving relationships (with self & others), etc, just to name a few.

Herbal medicine and supplements work as well. With less/no side-effects compared to conventional pharmaceutical drugs and many times more holistically too. For example Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna/laevigata) may have several scientific studies for its benefits for cardiovascular disorders but it also ‘opens up the heart’ (emotionally).


I decided to give myself a break in December and spent most of it de-cluttering the house, writing, reading, staying active and playing video games 😆

Come January, the original plan was to come up with a business plan and start looking for an office space to rent. However, that may not be needed now if I can find a job under someone who is willing to mentor me. This comes from advice from family and peers who are more experienced than me in years and whom I humbly acknowledge their wisdom.

At the end of the day, all I really want to do is help those suffering unnecessarily heal naturally (like I did) and educate everyone else on living a fulfilling life. To make this world a better place.

I feel this is my true calling/purpose ever since I got very sick 6 years ago.

My condition

The past year, has been the best so far. My seasonal allergies (hive-like sausage fingers) returned for a week and stopped when I started taking Albizzia lebbeck.

My arthritis related autoimmune condition rarely came back. I think because I have been eating so clean this year, having lots of homecooked whole-food goodness. The only symptoms I had all year were minor stiffness and joint swelling in my fingers from poor peripheral circulation and indulging in junk food 😋

Since coming back to Singapore, the skin on my right hand got really dry and started peeling as if I was moulting like a lizard! At first I thought it was a change in climate and environmental bacteria but it didn’t affect my left hand.

Then a message from a dream (my subconscious?) told me I probably wasn’t getting enough essential fatty acids in my diet. Another differential was a fungal infection from rock climbing.

After trying many topical applications, I’ve found the best remedy is to smother with coconut oil and then finish with a layer of commercial moisturizer (Nivea Express Hydration). This way I can get the long-lasting moisturizing effect of the coconut oil without oiling everything I touch! As the moisturizer reduces the ‘oiliness’.

I’ve also started taking high-dose activated B-vitamins and Essential Fatty Acids (mostly omega-6s as Sebastian has recently taught me that the predominant fatty acids in the skin is omega-6, not 3!).

In less than a week, the peeling and dryness continues to reduce significantly.


This is week 33 since I started weightlifting again. Progress is slow and I aim for consistency rather than progress. Also still learning to find that minimum effective dose so I don’t feel destroyed the next day but still make gains and be ready for another session 2-3 days later.

I probably need to do some de-loading weeks as I haven’t truly done any.

I’ve started focusing more on 1-arm calisthenics and HSPUs too. Just for fun and because a good friend of mine re-ignited my passion for rock-climbing. Still looking for an MMA gym too.


I feel like my metabolism has gone through the roof since coming back to Singapore! I’ve actually lost weight and am ‘always hungry’ 🤤 Another ‘objective’ measurement is how the moons on my nailbeds have all grown rapidly since returning to SG 3 weeks back.

I’ve pinned it down to a few factors:

  • warmer and more humid climate (sweating all day err day…)
  • smaller meals (our plates and bowls are smaller and meals are more auto-regulated – meaning we have some rice but take from a shared dish and stop whenever we want)
    • I no longer feel the ‘fear or not having enough to eat’ (scarcity mindset) and stop eating before I feel ‘bloated’ (abundance mindset)
    • stop eating by 730-8pm and sleep with an empty stomach (most times feeling ‘hungry’ too but it passes quickly when I fall asleep)
  • more physical activity – everywhere is convenient to walk to so we walk a LOT, I also do more housework, sometimes after meals.
  • more rice, less oil (?) – this one is still baffling me. I eat so much more rice and carbs now and I guess that sends a signal to my body to stop storing fats (?) and use up glycogen stores more easily when I exercise? I find that I put on weight more easily if I go low carb…


Ever since I started making a habit of Earthing/Grounding twice a day (morning and evening), my circadian rhythm has been as aligned as the stars! I get sleepy by 8pm that I sleep by 9pm on most nights (except if I stimulate myself with video games or Netflix 😆).

I still enjoy waking early, praying and getting some movement before doing some creative work like writing.

Taking a 30-min nap is also very restorative in the afternoons and means I sleep less at night too.


I made may good friends in New Zealand and I’m sad to say goodbye to them. I wish them well and thank them for touching my life.

Its been so good to reconnect with family and friends here. Home is truly where my heart is.

3 years away from home has only made me realize how much I missed and love Singapore. I feel so blessed to have everything I need and more here. This is where I belong.

Character wise, I feel more mature now. Slowly learning to let go of that timid and fearful little John and become the man I want to be.

Along with starting a career, I also feel its finally the time find a partner in life.

In summary

2020 flew by like a jet and had many ups and downs. Covid being a major one.

But I have learnt that having faith and optimism makes everything more ‘fluffy’ (😉).

As with all life experiences, its your perspective of it that matters.

2021 is going to be a great one.


“Smiling through my eyes” – the new norm.

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