why SF?

i'm flying off to SF with my friend in a week and our families had dinner together

his parents asked me why US, why not singapore or China, somewhere closer to home. Why go to the other side of the world?

I mentioned there's something unique about the US you don't get anywhere else but I found myself unable to articulate what exactly.

it's so much about my own idiosyncratic interests, fun experiences and warm memories, my personal values and beliefs, that I couldn't distill into words at that moment.

this happens a lot, and it frustrates me when I fail to explain myself, to bridge the gap of the differences between me and other people, so yet again, I'm writing down what I wish I could say at that moment.

I'm dumping my messy and chaotic thoughts in bullet points, cause I'm tired and I have to get up early tomorrow because I'm playing at church, one last time, but also to capture them and examine them, study their shapes and colors and size.

  • the textbook answer that the ben from 2021 would give before going to the US is the bay area has all the largest tech companies and it's a place where they pay a disgusting amount of money for software and tech people. but it's more than that, because I actually experienced it, I spent
  • two summers in california and i felt alive and excited, I met many people and travelled to many places with them, so these good memories live inside of me, it was the place I wanted to be, and it was hard to leave because
  • it feels like i have unfinished business, I was always planning to stay there since the day I left Malaysia, but because health reasons I was forced to let go of that dream, and cali has been calling me back every since. and it was also the people, the friends
  • I have now are mostly there, and I want to live near my friends, so SF is the place I have to be. it's also a place to make new friends, because everyone who ends up in SF are there intentionally and strategically, they're all similar yet different in many ways, they're a hodgepodge of
  • high agency, cracked, creative, technical, dogged, and ambitious individuals, people who believe they can "fix the world's problem through sheer will", where work and life aren't two separate entities, but melded into one, because to them, meaningful work was crucial to a good life, they do what they love, and they love what they do, they're the ones who
  • start companies with their friends, build things that other people can use, who believes they don't have to just live in the world they see, but they can embrace it, change it, improve it, and make a mark upon it, and being in SF, we surround ourselves with them, in hopes
  • we can become more like them, and that increases our surface area of luck, to do great things too, because to be in this place means we get to dream, it's a place where
  • you can experiment, california has a sense of openness and new possibility, a space to think about what want to achieve in your life, the authority and permission to dream, to ponder about the possibilities of creating something that you love, to solve big problems with amazing people that you won't get the chance to, anywhere else.
  • i also think that since we're given the opportunity, because of my parent's hard work and capabilities, why not aim high and far, why settle for someplace close and safe. we're at an age where we should be taking risks, doing what's uncomfortable, and surround ourselves with the right people
  • and who knows what will happen in a year? in 5? in 10? maybe we end up back in Malaysia, maybe we take what we learn in the US and help make Malaysia a better place. hopefully we do, it's a chance to pay it forward, but there's no need to think that far
  • for now I have full conviction in SF, it's the best place to be and maybe once I experience it again, and I meet more people, my thoughts would be clearer, and I can evangelize my worldview, and explain myself the next time someone asks, why the US?