An Ode To Farewell

My love affair with Zerek began with the introduction of the live shrimp. I can still remember catching my first few fishes on the lure as soon as i figured out how to use it. Working it was no rocket science, just had to let it sink and give it a couple of twitches and repeat.

I was smitten. I began exploring the other lures in the range they had and before long, i was part of the team. I still remember my first day, walking into the office full of excitement. I was embarking on a journey that would take me on a wild ride.

There was never a need for motivation because i was striving for something i was passionate about. My colleagues, past and present they became friends. We have forged a bond that remains intact even though some of them have moved on to greener pastures.

Fast forward to the present. It has been 4 and a half years. I am much wiser now having learnt the intricacies of the industry through my experiences and guidance from my superiors. I have had the pleasure of getting acquainted with friends from around the region and beyond.

But all good things must come to an end. On the 31st of December 2017, my adventure in the distinctive black and yellow will come to an end. I would like to share some of my memories and my thoughts that will commemorate my journey through some of the photos below.

In my early days with Zerek, i was the fishing instructor for the ITE Sportfishing Club, where i had the pleasure of meeting Lance Ng, Terence Yeo, Oswald N. TianEn, and a cohort later Jonathan Lim, Enzio Quek and Jacky Chan Xiao Jie. Our practical lessons were held at LSR and on the 1st lesson this giant snakehead ate my walk the dog lure. The boys have all blossomed into outstanding young men, who are passionate about our sport.

I always felt a sense of excitement when my colleagues in the product development team showed me prototypes of upcoming products. We'd quickly make plans to take them for a spin. This grouper was caught  in Desaru with Zam Jb on a 2d1n trip where Freddie Lai, Jith Pazuzu Fernando and i took some new jigs for a test run before launch. That night we were visited by a ghost which left jith a love bite. Spooky encounters became some what of a common occurrence when ever Jith was around, and so we dubbed him the "Ghost Magnet".

Over the course of my employment i was blessed to have been able to fish with some of the best Captains in our region. They were generous in sharing what they knew without asking anything in return. One such mentor and a good friend of mine was Captain Badol. He was eccentric and often rubbed people the wrong way with his bluntness.

I remember one day when i was fishing with him when he said to me, "Fish don't discriminate. Only people do". That phrase taught me that on the water all men were equal regardless of the brands they represented or the tackle they used. Only knowledge and experience separated the best from the rest. For that simple but powerful lesson, i will always be grateful.

On a trip to Cheow Lan dam, in Surat Thani, Thailand to shoot a video with my colleague 杨杰辉 and my friend Alan Mak from Rod and Line Magazine. Bad Weather and a severe bout of Food Poisoning made for a challenging situation as we traversed the rocky banks and slippery terrain while we trekked up river in search of the elusive Thai Mashseer.

On day 4, my companions were totally down for the count as i had been the day before. That morning i set off on my own, my first solo trip in another country with a guide i could hardly communicate with. I had to trust my instincts and rely on my abilities. I embarked on the up river trek unsure of how things would pan out. 2 hours later, i pulled this beauty out because i chose to fish in an area where my guide insisted held no fish.

What i am trying to say is that some times we have to be bold, stand up for what we believe in, follow our gut and focus on our abilities even if everyone says it would be easier to do otherwise. Oh, it also helps to have friends like Lewis Ang, who convinced me to drag my lazy ass up river in the first place. ???

This GT was my first. It had me in sixes and sevens for a bit, much to the amusement of my GM at the time Freddie Lai. I didn't know what to expect and paranoia set in. I tried to pump up the fish quickly, when it was holding deep and exhaustion set in fast.

Blatantly giggling at my antics, he told me to take my time as there was 50 meters of line to crank up. " if you can't do a full crank, do half. If you can't do half, a quarter crank will do". I eventually got the fish up. Totally out of breath and smiling from ear to ear.

The take away for me from that experience was that Life is a marathon, not a sprint. We have to keep the line taut on our objectives and work towards our goals, even if it is a quarter crank at a time. It also created a new desire in me. One that will take me in search explosive topwater action. It reinvigorated my thirst to chase the bite.

I spent many weekends on the water away from my family product testing or shooting marketing videos, missing birthdays, weddings and even funerals as i was overseas. In retrospect, i should have been there, But the nature of the job was as such and my family was accommodating because they understood that i was motivated by passion and stood by me without any qualms. Looking back and reminiscing with these photos makes realise that there is nothing more important than family, health, happiness even when you are chasing your dreams!

But chasing your dream is seldom an easy task. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifice. Some people are motivated by money, others accolades. If like me, you are simply enthralled by the thrill of the hunt, keep casting until something connects. You never know what the next few casts will yield.

You might have heard of the saying "a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work". But when they are one and the same, the challenges you encounter are of a different kind. Often improvisation was necessary. Thinking outside the box tends to raise a few eyebrows. Sometimes taking a step back and evaluating another perspective might be the catalyst you need that will propel you forward. Being different makes you stand out.

The beginning of a new journey can seem daunting because of the uncertainties that come along with leaving a familiar comfort zone. You can never be too sure about what is around the corner of the road you are traveling on. If it is opportunity, seize it. If it is adversity, overcome it. Our destiny is in our hands as long as we have faith, hope and an unrelenting desire to achieve.

I shall sign off with a quote from Paulo Coelho that has inspired me not once but twice now in my blessed life. "If you are brave enough to say goodbye, Life will reward you with a new hello."

I don't know what or where my next adventure is yet, but i can't wait to find out!
Happy New Year Guys! Tight Lines, and Rod Bending, Reel Screaming Action Always!

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