My Samsung Note 2 was initially accompanied with a bookcase cover, which was rather inconvenient. Moreover, it did not protect the side of the phone. I was lazy and thus repeatedly asked my elder brother to get another one through eBay (I did not have an account there). He told me to do it on my own and eventually, I had forgotten about it. More than a month later, we received a parcel and it was my new handphone cover! It was not an expensive item but it took some effort to purchase it.
Amelia approached me for a photoshoot and I roped Guoxin in so as to catch up and instigate him to go further into photography. Since Amelia had to go to her new school first, Guoxin picked her up before fetching me to Kaplan. Later, he drove us to Lorong Kampong Buang Kok for the kampong shoot and then Woodlands Waterfront. He even sent both of us home after that. Without him, it would be very inconvenient for us to travel to two locations. After that, he had to rush off to fetch his girlfriend.
For my Christmas photo shoot with Tisha and Evelynn, my dad’s youngest brother hosted us for the indoor shoot. My entire gears was near 18kg and luckily they went for breakfast picked me up from Hougang Mall. They even bought breakfast for us. My auntie, Iris, helped me with dolling Tisha up in her outfits and settled my dinner for me. My only blooded cousin, Jocelyn, helped me with blowing of bubbles for one of the sets. I was overwhelmed with the impromptu help.
Sharon sacrificed her time to do voluntary coordinating for a charity organisation who had approached my tuition agency despite her being sick.
When I was having lunch with my mum and younger brother on 24th December (Christmas Eve), my brother complained that he was molested by the mosquitoes during the short trip to the nearby coffee shop. I noticed that there was a pool of water being trapped at the construction area of the new lift below my house. I was quite worried about mosquito breeding and thus I decided to inform NEA about it. This time, instead of using email, I used their Android APP to take a photo and submitted my feedback.
Two days later, I received a call from a NEA officer telling me that he had checked the place and assured me that the contractors had poured some oil over it. Even though they took two days to get back to me, it during Christmas period and I was really impressed by their speed of work.
November was the month of my birthday and thus there was no lack of sweet actions from my loved ones.
On my actual birthday, my younger brother, Kaiwei, was out of Singapore. The rest of my family arranged a simple dinner at a nearby coffee shop with me. Initially, I felt something was weird when they took a big round table and I was somehow told to take a seat instead of free seating like usual. Although they almost made a blunder when the waitress was asking for the size of the dishes, I was somehow too tired to notice that. Eventually, ET, Derrick and Peisee turned up to surprise me. They had brought along my present, which was my Thinktank Airport Essentials camera bag. I had also gotten many “vouchers” that I could use for photo shoot. My younger brother had actually planned for it before he went to Philippines for his holidays, which made him the biggest hero for the month. I also felt bad for making his buddies come down after work just to accompany me.
For the previous years, Gilbert had been making great effort to meet up with me and Dexter Peh to celebrate our birthdays together. We were three great army buddies who happened to be born in the same month. This year, Dexter was too busy and hence, we had to do without him; besides, he had already celebrated with Gilbert together with their mutual friends. Titus and Wanling joined us for a special morning. They took a cab in the early morning to pick up Titus and I before we headed to Sentosa. Gilbert prepared the cake and salad, Titus did his famous bread and Wanling made some juices. Although I almost died listening to Gilbert and Titus “arguing” for the entire morning. Sentosa Palawan beach may not be the best place to catch sunrise but it was the company that mattered most.
The month of November had filled me with lots of love by my family and some of my closest friends. I knew they would be there for me whenever I need them.
For certain thing such as photography, your skill is restricted to your equipments. I may not be an excellent photographer yet, but I’m already being annoyed by the restriction, such that my full potential cannot be shown. My current camera bodies cannot give me the clarity of photos that I need to impress (to get businesses); my flash is not powerful and has limitation in rotation, and I need at least two of them for portrait photoshoot. Such restrictions can be neglected by playing around, but, at the lost of creativity. Therefore, I have been looking at refurnished (second hand) gears that I can buy at a cheaper price to move further in this trade – photography.
I have so far done three meet-ups and two are disastrous.
I saw this advertisement for a Canon 580 EX-ii flash and the owner made it sound like it was a very good bargain. Indeed, for the price ($400) and extra goodies that came along with it, it was a good grab given that the owner was honest about the condition.
I arranged a meet-up with him at Vivocity last week at 6.30pm. I went earlier to look at stuffs and at the meeting time, he replied me that he was still in a meeting and could not turn up. I told him I would wait for him for some time since I had to do some shopping. About an hour later, I had to leave since I had to packet food home for my elder brother and sister-in-law, and thus I dropped him another text politely. He did not reply me since he told me he was held up in his meeting, showing no sense of guilt.
A few days later, I saw in his forum post that he had sold his flash unit away. I would describe him as irresponsible and proud.
Number: 9six5899one9 (96589919)
My next disappointment came after I saw a canon 24-70mm F2.8L mark i lens on the same forum. The seller insisted to meet at Ang Mo Kio and I made my trip all the way down, thinking it was a good bargain again since it’s written as “good condition and clean”.
The seller turned up earlier than the meeting time and I thought all was good. He started speaking in English and I thought he was an Indonesian Chinese who could not speak well in the language. At certain point of time, I could not figure out what he was talking about. When I noticed that there was problem with the lens and was discussing with Gilbert right in front of him, he suddenly started speaking in Chinese and I realised he was a PRC.
When I looked through it at the light, there were something like bubbles. The seller kept insisting his lens was in good condition though. It was obvious that there was a big issue with the glass of the lens at the part where it would fit into the camera, which was very unusual. I was not able to make out what those things were, but they were obviously not dust. I tried asking him to use a spectacle cloth to clean it but he insisted we could only use a blower, which I did not bring along. He was also quick to want to brush off the deal politely, which showed his guilt.
I realised he posted a new advertisement on the same forum a couple of hours later. There differences were:
1. The price was reduced from $1200 to $1100.
2. “good condition and clean” description was removed.
3. Rating of condition was reduced from 9/10 to 8/10.
If he was not guilty of the condition of his lens, he would not have done these. The problem on the lens was definitely not dust, which could easily be blown and wiped off. To put it in simple, the lens was not even 1/10 for the condition – it could not be used at all.
I’m not sure if he is out to cheat.
I had an appointment at ITE College West during October to meet up with my ex-colleague (a great chef), Edwin Phua, for some photography projects. I went slightly earlier to visit other colleagues. It was near 6.30pm and most of my ex colleagues had left. However, as I had expected, my ex boss, Lim Wee Lian, was still around. It was around an hour after the official working hour had ended and he was one of the few hardworking civil servants who were still slogging hard.
I started chatting with him inside his office. During the half an hour’s catch-up, the topics were mainly resolving around my current well being. Wee Lian was busy thinking of ways that I could work on to generate some income. At the same point of time as I was amazed by his creativeness, I felt so guilty that I was actually delaying him from finishing his work, such that he would have to leave for home even later.
It would at least take half a day’s time to list out the great things he has done for me. I would just sum up that he is someone I would sacrifice my time for. That was the reason I had stayed on for three more months by his request before I left; moreover, he had forgotten about my new degree paper that would fetch me at least a thousand bucks more in total. Three months, no, I doubt I would do that for anyone else.
The heroes for September 2013 were my younger brother and sister-in-law.
My younger brother, Kaiwei, took my mum out of Singapore for holidays. Even though he was spoiling her seriously (yes, I’m serious that she’s behaving like a kid at times and it’s not funny at all), it was very brave of him to bring her to China alone. The culture of China’s native Chinese was far different from Singapore Chinese’s, although people from different parts of China do vary. I would not say European countries would be safer compared to China, but all the negative stories about China had really scared me – passengers-by ignoring injured person, fake food, milk powder with harmful ingredient… etc. After all, my younger brother and I would appreciate people who are more soft-spoken.
Although it was an eye-opening experience for him and my mum, it was definitely tiring to avoid being scammed almost at every part of Hai Nan Dao. The island was so commercialized that most people were out to cheat you for extra bucks. Nevertheless, the amount of money being conned might not be a lot. For example, the staff of a tourist attraction would ask tourists to take some “holy” water from a fountain like as if it was free and it ended up that they had to pay for it. Some shops would use some prize winning tactics that when you pass by, you would happen to be the lucky winner – my younger brother dared not try on them to see the actual result though. Overall, it is a place where anyone who does not know Chinese mandarin would definitely be conned.
Would you visit such a place that most things are cheaper than Singapore but you have to keep worrying about being conned? No, I don’t fancy that because holidays are meant to be enjoying yourself without worries.
While my mum was away with my younger brother, my sister-in-law, Ivy Leow, did the laundry work. There were a couple of times when my elder brother was not coming home for dinner because of delivery work or soccer game, my sister-in-law bought food for me after she knocked off from work.
The heroine of the month of August 2013 went to Tricia Lee.
Apart from having to take care of her three monkeys and my tuition agency business, she has spent a lot of time guiding me on my photography, especially for the post-processing work. Unfortunately, she is a super detailed and nagging person, and thus the amount of effort she has to put in for helping me is unimaginable.
I’m not a fashionable person as I have not been reading fashion magazines. Moreover, I have not been working with makeup artist. Tricia has been my advisor on fashion and also guides me along on which part of the model requires touching up.
She has no interest in holding onto the camera and thus she does not have much knowledge on the features – for example, she does not know what is depth of field. However, her countless years of commercial makeup experience has geared her with most of the knowledge and sense of art for photo shoot. In fact, she is also able to fit the job of an art director.
Without her, I will not be able to progress so far within a year. I can even proudly say that I can differentiate ugly and nice eyebrows better than many girls.