After battling the sea for nine years, it's time to move on.
That's what I told myself when I first stepped ashore to search
for a land job. The decision was not made on the spur of a
moment but after much thought and soul searching.
While I was working aboard ship, many of us talked about working
ashore some day. I heard people saying they were quitting and
then much later, I would find them on another ship. My conclusion
-- many have tried to quit, but very few have succeeded.
Whenever I see older seamen on my ship, I feel a bit of pity for
them. I can feel their frustrations. And I know exactly what they
will face over the coming six to nine months.
They will face the rigors of the sea and extreme climatic
conditions, such as huge waves, strong winds, icy cold and hot
weather, the boredom and loneliness when nothing much happens,
seasickness and insomnia when encountering heavy weather for weeks
on end, and of course, missing the home and the family as well as
missing out on the many other things that a normal life can offer.
But it's not really a bad life at all if you are still young. It's
a life that can offer many exciting experiences and adventures, a
lot of traveling, and sightseeing in places that can be far off
the normal tourist routes. It can be a very satisfying experience.
I still have fond memories of my experiences while working on
When I first started sailing, I collected souvenirs from all the
countries that I visited. After a while, these started collecting
dust and I had to get rid of them. Furthermore, I found that some
of these souvenirs were actually made in other countries.
That made me decide to take photographs as my souvenirs. I now have
almost 3,000 colour slides of my travels.
What can I do with these? Well, some of the images have been
accepted by a stock photo agency, but this is just a small portion
of my collection.
I was seriously into photography at that time and even bought an
expensive SLR camera with a set of interchangeable lenses so that I
could take good quality photographs. I even sold a few photographs
to some magazines during that time.
When I realised that my photographs were being published to support
articles in the magazines, I started to take up writing.
After that my articles were published in the local newspapers and
magazines. But that was a very long time ago when computers were
Even after I quit the sea, my experiencees on board ship made a
lasting impression on me. I still wanted to explore new places. I
was fascinated by computers when they made their debut in 1987.
These had the 80286 processor, I remember.
A colleague taught me how to use the Lotus 1-2-3 software and I was
delighted with what I could do with it. I was able to created graphs
with this WYSIWYG program.
But computers were expensive and not very affordable at that time. I
still had to hammer on the keys of my trusty portable typewriter to
produce any work.
I moved on to other jobs later, but my fascination with computers
continued. Being an engineer, I was very much interested in creating
engineering piping diagrams. I learned to do AutoCAD drawings that
were very much better than the ones I had to do during my college
days with pencil, T-square, eraser and paper.
Later on when I was introduced to the Internet, my interest
practically shot right through the ceiling. There was so much
information available. At about that time, I decided to build a boat
for myself. (It was a dream that I had been keeping in my head since
the time I took up sailing during my college days.) So I began to
search the Internet and discovered how other people built boats. The
whole project took about three months of research and manual labour.
The result was a custom-built kayak that was carefully crafted for
speed, manoeuvrability, portability, and durability. And specially
built to suit my weight and the length of my legs.
I had experienced the power of the Internet. And I love it.
Being trained in marine engineering enables me to be flexible in
using technology or any other tools available in order to get the
job done. You see, when working on board a ship, we were expected to
make do with whatever materials were available to solve problems. There were no contractors that you could call in to help, in the
middle of the ocean.
Anyway, I later decided to learn web designing. I found this quite
interesting. And once I delved into web designing, many other subjects
also caught my attention. Search engine optimisation, designing for
fast loading, html language, marketing, affiliation, advertisements,
writing effective sales copy, etc, just crept up along the way.
I even made my own website about marine engineering.
Then I stumbled into e-books and e-zines. I found some of these very
interesting, and I started to mess around with them. Eventually, I
produced my first e-book entitled "Sign Off -- A Guide to Career
Success on Shore".
Now I am into self-publishing and I can publish whatever I want. I
shall not receive piles and piles of rejection slips anymore. As an
author-publisher, I can also design my own illustrations and layout
in whatever way I think best, and most important of all, I don't
have to spend money on printing, paper, binding and whatever else.
I can also pass around my e-book to people in the form of downloads
and e-mail attachments or even CDs. Unlike webpages, people don't
even have to be online in order to read my book. I believe that we
are in this world to be a blessing to others. Whatever experiences
that I have gone through need not be wasted but can be used to help
somebody somewhere. That's why I wrote my e-book.
Also, being involved in a 34-week "Becoming Disciples through Bible
Study" programme for the past three years, I have come to realise
that by giving we receive.
With that in mind, I searched through the memory bank in my brain,
and also my notes, and found that I have many things to share with
people. After going through many years of working experiences on
land, I think it is worthwhile to share some of the experiences I
have with those who are contemplating switching jobs.
Just like the photographs that are gathering dust in my home, these
experiences should not stay in my memory or storeroom and be lost
forever. I should leave something behind to benefit future
generations. So I quickly got my stuff together and started writing
the e-book. It took me about three months of free time to complete.
Most of the visitors have an interest in life on board ship, but
the e-book I wrote is about working ashore. So that makes the
information relevant to anyone else too.
E-books have the potential to spread marketing messages to potential
buyers. They can also be instruction manuals for users, for
displaying products as catalogues, for publicising services, and a
thousand other uses. The outcome of any tool depends on the one who
wields it. It only takes a good writer with a flair for IT,
marketing concepts and visual communications copywriting and design
to make it work.
Below are some useful items that I have picked up in my journey on
Many years of working experience in Marine, Facilities,
Construction has given the author material for writing e-books
and articles related to engineering, and management. Subscribe to facworld ezine