How to lose your sense and friends – MLM

I have this friend of more than 10 years together with her twin sister. They were the famous “Boonlay twin towers” during the great old volleyball days.

Many years ago, Peiyun asked me out to catch up. She suddenly told me she had a talk to attend and requested me to accompany her. We reached the place near Hong Lim Park very soon (that was the reason for her to pick our original meeting place) and to my disgust, it was a MLM talk. She then told me her brother had joined and she was still considering. I was very traumatised by the speaker and the devoted (like a cult) audience that I left the room. Peiyun’s friends who were outside had a conversation with me and I was told that she had already joined the MLM company. Then, I realised it was a trick to lead me there, in the hope of persuading me to join. I pretended nothing had happened (she had conned me) after that.

Recently, Peiyun started contacting me again to offer to give me “free software” for my company because she wanted to “help a friend”. I knew it was not so simple and managed to dig out the fact that she was working in a company that was tapping into free government grants like PIC and ICV. I finally agreed to catch up with her to meet her and another entrepreneur whom Peiyun claimed might help me in my photography. I did not take up her offer for the “free software”. The meeting wasn’t bad.

Not long later, she contacted me to meet up urgently but refused to tell me what it was. I turned her down. Days later, she contacted me again and told me she had quit her job to start a new company with a friend. Then she told me she needed a photographer to cover an important event for her new company. She then tempted me with a second event and told me to meet up for discussion for future photography services. Eventually, she changed the appointments with me many times at the very last minute.

It was only until one busy day for me, she contacted me in the late afternoon and proposed to come over to my place instead. Late at night, she came over to Bugis to meet me after I parted with my friend. She led me to a table at the McDonald’s where a man was sitting at and I initially thought she was just sharing table with a man who was trying to be friendly. It took me minutes of her meaningless introduction for me to finally realise that guy was her partner and that was a little creepy. At that time, she was passing me over to him and that was how I could confirm his status. He started doing a presentation to me on his laptop and I thought he was just trying to explain about their business so that I could judge whether if I wanted to collaborate with them for my photography services, which she had claimed. That guy was weird and soon, I realised he was trying to sell me something instead of getting my photography services. When I took a glance at Peiyun, she was nodding like she was doped and that was very scary. On one of the Powerpoint slides, I could see “World Ventures” at the top right corner and then I confirmed it was totally a scam by Peiyun to trick me down for sales talk. It was the second time I was conned by her and this time was a more terrible one-on-one hard selling and not a “mass lecture” that I could escape immediately.

I didn’t expose her immediately until she suddenly asked me how did I feel (about the MLM scheme) and none of them would have expected me to say “I’m feeling very uncomfortable”. Of course, none of them was intelligent to know I was more uncomfortable about being conned to meet up with them. The guy (I didn’t know his name) closed his laptop immediately and said that was no point carrying on, and I thanked him (for stopping his bullshit) which he likely didn’t know why. We stood up and I was clapping inside my heart. However, I realised it was just his tactic and he didn’t plan to end his hard selling. He started to lecture me for giving up the opportunity. He talked about me being selfish for not wanting to bring my parents overseas for holidays and give them good life. He talked about me not able to start a family. In his harsh tone that he was trying to scare me into giving in, he claimed he wasn’t angry but was simply feeling sad for me. As he continued to lecture me, he also tapped my trolley, which made me even more comfortable. We probably stood there for around 10 minutes or longer for him to end his miserable night of failing to con another guy into joining them. It was a relief for me finally that I didn’t have to smell his bad breath (he was likely a smoker).

Peiyun has taught me well not to trust any friend too much, especially someone with a bad track record and only approaches me when she has a selfish agenda, which she twists the fact that it would benefit me. Well, I could have started a $10,000 photography course that would benefit all the participants and does it mean she has to sign up? Eventually, I’ve learned to lose such “friend”. Hopefully she would not ever try to contact me again even though I have already blocked her.

One scary thing that I have noticed is the evolution of MLM tactics. In the past, they would use freebies to trick people down to listen to their sales talk. Then, they learned to get friends to “accompany them” down for talks/seminars. Eventually, more people are being tricked and aware of their tactics and thus refusing to waste their time for “meet-up”. They start resorting to con businessmen to meet-up to discuss about the businessmen’s products/services but the meet-up is only about their MLM scheme.

Not all MLM schemes are scams but many MLM “players” are scammers. Of course, they would claim they aren’t MLM because of some internal structures. _|_

The girl from hell

I was busy with my life as usual but I was also curious about iLight Marina 2017 since I had visited the past two years’. As lazy as I could get, I didn’t really try asking around. Since social media would draw reactions from weird people, I couldn’t be direct about asking who wanted to go with me. So, I posted a status asking who hadn’t visited it to observe the responses. I did receive quite a number of reactions.

I could see that one of the girls was obviously interested. She was just a net friend whom I had not met before but she was quite interested in modelling. She had quite ordinary looks and was rather flat chested, but I was sure my HMUA friends could do a good makeover for her. Obviously, she wasn’t that bad since she was petite and would be easier to be captured. Looks aside, she had mentioned about doing sexy shoot and that was a bait, although she did show me a few examples and I thought she was rather immature. She also suggested to shoot in a hotel room and I thought she was rich.

I wasn’t desperate for a girlfriend and I knew she wasn’t my type simply by judging through the online interaction – it wasn’t about looks but her weird character. Anyway, I would usually try to maximise the action I do, such as going out with her. Firstly, I hated going out alone feeling like a loner and secondly, I wanted to know more about her simply for photography purpose.

Of course, I regretted my decision.

Princess-wannabe

During the discussion to visit the art festival, she had already instructed me to carry her laptop for her. She was upfront and serious about it, without showing any shyness, like as if every girl deserved the good treatment. I wasn’t very used to it since most of my female friends were independent and would not want to take advantage of their male friends. Usually, I would be the gentleman to insist to help them (regardless of their looks) carry their stuffs and they would be rejecting me genuinely.

Lack of surviving skill and not funny humour

Since it was a raining day and I remembered SIM would be cold as the lecture rooms were all air-conditioned, I showed her some concern by asking if she had brought along a jacket or cardigan. She said no and she wasn’t afraid of cold. After we met up, she did admit she was a little cold. It wasn’t her first day in school and she should have known. Besides, I didn’t find her joke/lie funny, but she thought it was. Was it fun to make me mistake that she was very strong?

Lack of update, no sense of urgency

We didn’t set a time since I didn’t know if her class would end earlier or later. However, she didn’t update me right after her class ended. Instead, she only texted me when she was at the bus-stop. A normal person would have contacted me right after she was ready and not acted as if we had already decided on the exact time and location to meet.

“Sotong”

She had stayed in Singapore for about 10 years and I was sure she could do simple research about travelling around. I gave her the easiest method to travel down from her school – direct bus – 75. I also listed out the landmarks the bus would be passing by to assure her that I knew the way. Besides, she used to stay near my place and I didn’t expect her to know nothing about the transportation. At the bus-stop, she couldn’t find the bus number. I told her it was operated by SMRT and double confirmed the other bus numbers with her to make sure she was at the correct bus-stop. It took quite some time for her to figure out I didn’t made a mistake. If you had been waiting for buses in a particular bus-stop (less than 10 bus numbers) for many months, you would probably have observed most of the numbers. It was beyond ways to describe someone like her. Of course, I wouldn’t take this flaw into consideration for friendship.

Her hunger

My plan was to hop onto the same bus she was taking even though I had other better buses (more direct) to the venue. It was about helping her since she didn’t even know where to alight even though I had told her to alight at the final stop. Anyway, she told me she was having gastric problem. After attending the school for long and knowing the routine, she should have better prepared herself! If she knew that her class would end late (in fact, 7pm seemed fine), she should have prepared some snacks. Besides, there were food stalls in SIM and she could grab a quick bite, not as if she was late since we didn’t confirm the time to meet.

Her instruction

After getting into the bus, she instructed me to get food and drinks for her even though I had told her the place was very near my house, which meant that we would be having dinner very soon after I boarded it. The bus journey to reach my place could be between 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the traffic, and it wasn’t a long time to do shopping for her. I grabbed some snacks from my house. Then she asked me for milk and she named 7-11. It was crazy to take any cold drink when someone was having gastric pain and thus I decided it was better to get packet Milo from NTUC, which was also much more economic as well. She then suggested buying hot Milo and I thought it was a bad idea for I could foresee her spilling it inside the bus. So, I walked very fast down to the NTUC but realised they hadn’t replenished their stock. I got some chocolate milk instead and ran home to pick up my bag and kept the extra packets, before running to the bus-stop.

The elixir

After having a few slips of the chocolate milk I passed to her, she claimed that she had felt very comfortable. It was simply weird to me because even medicine wouldn’t have such immediate healing effect. Nevertheless, if she thought she felt good, that was good.

Buff up

One of the few topics she ranked up was that I should have buffed myself up. I didn’t go to the gym and many girls already thought I was fit. I thought it was weird for a girl to ask a friend to buff up just because he had fetish for guys with big muscle; I wasn’t even her boyfriend. On the contrast, she was underweight and didn’t look very fit.

Language

At first, I thought she was from Malaysia and thus most of them prefered to converse in Mandarin, which I was more comfortable with. I tried to talk to her in Mandarin but she kept it in English. Then, I realised she was actually a Canadian. Even though it seemed to me that her English language wasn’t good as well, she had tried to correct me.

Self conscious

She asked me to compare her real person with her photographs. For people who had been through waves and tides, we knew it was trap. It was a difficult task for me since I hated lying but luckily, she resembled her photographs in her styling – long hair hiding much of the sides of her face. Of course, there was blurring effect by the phone app automatically or manually and thus she looked much paler with not-so-good complexion in real person. I didn’t tell her that her nose looked bigger in her photographs.

Lectured on joke

Somehow, the conversation led to the topic of joking. She was in a serious tone, telling me not to joke using physical looks. She was right to an extent but her tone was really bad like as if she was lecturing her student – not that I had offended her. I tried to reason with her that if a friend make obvious jokes, it was very okay. For instance, if a girl was very pretty and her friend (yes, FRIEND) told her she was ugly, obviously it was just a joke. Another more obvious example I gave was that if her hair was long and her friend called it short, it was obvious a joke as well. Eventually, she was insistence and didn’t buy my explanation. It wasn’t as if people would joke about their friend’s disfigured face or any physical inability. To me, all my friends trusted that I meant well to them and I needed not hang out with anyone who had any slight doubt in me. She was obviously not an easygoing girl because she set her own rules and everyone had to follow her instructions.

Extreme thick

Apart from some rough skin, it was “thick”. As we entered the shopping mall, she told me she didn’t have cash when the ATM machine was around five metres right in front of us. She didn’t bother to withdraw money. She borrowed money from me instead and the only good thing was that she didn’t demand to dine at a restaurant. She was quick enough to ask to share table with a couple in the foodcourt and then got the money from me before she left to get her own food.

Find her church friend

She regretted going to the foodcourt because she saw many of her ex churchmates who probably came over from Suntec City. she had stopped joining them and she didn’t like many of them for they didn’t like her. Then she made one abrupt and stupid demand (yes, she was really serious about it) for me to look for one of them in green bottom. I didn’t see the need to do it since she was not going over to say hi to that girl even if we could find her again. Logically, the foodcourt wasn’t small and there were some stalls blocking the tables on other sides, and that we were seated down while that lady could be seated as well. She was really weird and demanding.

More fluent in Mandarin

Her male friend passed by with a tray of food and I assumed he was from the church as well. She invited him to join us immediately. The first thing I noticed was that she was speaking to him in Mandarin and she was more fluent in it compared to English – I didn’t see why she could accommodate to him and not me, by using the language.

Embarrassment

She was complimenting her friend for he seemed to be popular in instagram for he was working with Jack Neo in designing clothes. I was totally freaked out when she asked him directly if he was earning a lot and I could sense that he wasn’t very comfortable. I knew it was tough working with “big brands” or “celebrities” because you would either earn little or nothing at all, but of course, I kept quiet. Then, she started asking him for jobs in marketing and I was a bit taken aback when he realised she was talking about part-time job instead of full-time job – I had no idea what she was up to. Then, she even sought help from him to become an actress in Jack Neo’s movies. As a third party who was listening to the conversation, I felt she was trying hard to sell herself like as if she was going to swallow him up. I actually felt embarrassed and if I had the chance, I would want to explain to this guy that I wasn’t dating her. Obviously, I was treated as invisible. He didn’t get a chance to chew on his food and after some time, he had to excuse himself for he was in a rush and it was weird that he left the table and seemed like he was looking for another empty seat – obviously, he just wanted to excuse himself from her.

Excuse me

After the dinner, I was glad I was finally able to get straight the goal of the night – see the iLight installations. We crossed over to the Esplanade’s side and had to cut through Makansutra but it was very crowded. I led the way by the side and we had to cut through a bar’s outdoor area. An ang moh waitress was probably having a bad day and used a high pitch tone at me, “Excuse me!” like as if I was trying to block her way. My heroine friend decided to play a prank by using a higher pitch tone to repeat it. The waitress was at the door when she turned back, “Like, seriously?!”. I was at a total lost because I was already exhausted (running around before catching the bus) and feeling unwell (usual indigestion), and I was just trying to get over to the river side as quickly as possible. She explained to me that she was trying to tease me by repeating after the waitress. Later, she suddenly blamed me for not reacting so that the waitress wouldn’t mistake, in a speed second, that she wasn’t trying to anger the waitress.

Needs no explanation

It was one of the unluckiest nights ever when iLight met Earth Hour and we rammed into the start of that one hour. Most of the installations on the Esplanade side was shut down, apart from the Art Zoo at the floating platform that required purchasing of tickets to go in. Even the street lamps were off and I explained to her that the street wasn’t so dark usually but she didn’t seem to buy it. I didn’t see a need to explain. Anyway, that was the start of her using her phone intensively.

Stare at her boobs

There were some stalls under the audience seats in front of the floating platform. She was excited and went in. As clumsy as she could, she dropped the sample food, blaming the food for being too soft to be secured by the toothpick. She started cleaning her footwear with a piece of tissue and I didn’t really realise she had actually made quite a big mess of herself. After getting out of the crowd, she asked me to check her out for any stain and I finally looked at her from her head to toes and realised the cake had caught her top on her boob. She sounded very frustrated and blamed me for not noticing it like as if it was polite for a guy to stare at a girl’s boobs. I would avoid staring at sensitive places even during my photoshoot with models!

Glued to phone

Although she was holding onto her phone, updating her Instagram Story and texting her friends or friend, she did entertain me by telling me about her crush. However, she repeated her stories a few times to seek assurance from me that he was interested in her. The entire conversation was almost meaningless to me for she already knew the answer long ago. It was also very nasty for her to do that to a male friend and I counted myself lucky that I wasn’t interested in her at all.

Food and queue

Even though we just had our dinner, she was eyeing for food. Given her size, I was certain that she couldn’t finish up two meals in such a short span of time. Moreover, she didn’t even have cash with her. Luckily, all the queues were long, or otherwise, I would be treated as her ATM again.

Ridiculous blaming game again

By the time we had reached the Gastrobeats compound, she was already badly glued to her phone that she had almost stopped talking to me. As she looked very engrossed, it was difficult for me to engage her. Suddenly, she lectured me for not leading the way as she claimed she would be able to follow me even though she was busy with her phone. She was actually doing something I hated most – gluing to her phone instead of talking to me – and yet she could sound so arrogant. We actually missed some of the installations, not just because they weren’t very interesting, but mainly because her mind wasn’t at the festival. I was glad when she decided to call it a day.

Finding way home

The underground pathways around the place was messy to me but I was certain they would be linked to Raffles Place MRT station. We entered one of the entrances and took the escalator down. There was a label “to shops” and she didn’t believe me that it could somehow be linked to Raffles Place MRT station. Of course, I was not 100% sure but was more than willing to take the risk. We exited and somehow made our way to the nearest Downtown Line instead.

Same old selfie

She started doing selfie inside the train, it was all the same closed-up shots with hair covering quite a lot of the face. She then asked me to try a shot using her phone and exclaimed I was holding it very near her even though her selfie was closer; besides, there was no good background.

Gentleman

Despite having all the shit throughout the night, I still tried to be nice and asked if she preferred to be alone for the rest of the journey. I knew the answer since she was still busy on her phone with her crush. So, I counted myself lucky and alighted at my station. Of course, I was the one who remembered about her laptop and returned it to her.

iLight without photography

The main reason that I didn’t even bother to take my camera out from my bag was obvious – the person didn’t deserve any professional shot from me.

Intention to return money

She did contact me to ask me for my bank account number. According to my analysis of her, she was kind of “testing market”. It was another trap for guy. If a guy were to get back the 10 bucks, he would be considered as ungentleman to some girls for not treating a “cheap” dinner. My real friends knew I was stingy to myself but I was generous to friends. However, for this girl, I was very reluctant but to tell her that I would have the 10 bucks parked at her side to accumulate interest. I was also trying to test her reaction and she didn’t insist to return. I didn’t help to continue the conversation.

Petty and cheapo

A week after the meet-up, she commented on one of my Instagram photographs and stated that I looked like Steven Lim. Since Steven Lim was a comedian who was often being related to “disgusting”, I assumed she was trying to play teasing game with me when she suddenly texted me in Whatsapp, repeating it. She hated people joking about physical looks and yet she was doing it on me. So, I played along to tease her that she was weak for her whatever hiking trip and linked it to sleeping at home. She exclaimed I was rude and proclaimed that I was not going to have my 10 bucks back. Then, she removed me from her social media. To be exact, she unfriended me in Facebook and unfollowed me in Instagram, instead of blocking me.

Year 2016 – The Pressure

– Family
There was a dramatic change in my family as my elder brother and his wife moved to their new BTO flat at Marsiling, together with Luckie. From a badly clustered house to a house with only three people left, the sound of silence filled the atmosphere most of the time. There used to be a lot of unhappiness for everyone had very different lifestyle that we wanted to live in. The limited space had always been causing frustration and thus I could firmly testify against those rich hypocrites who were running the country akin to North Korea. I was probably too used to hearing complaint from my younger brother about how the couple forgot to switch off the toilet’s light and my mum who would bottom up every matter to grumble only in front of my younger brother and I.

With the reduction of conflicts, loneliness began taking over. I knew well even with the very limited help in finance in the past, my elder brother actually contributed in other ways. I never wanted to part with my elder brother but I knew it was inevitable. It was simply impossible for them to get a house within or near the CBD area – apart from having limited space for new flats, the price would be scary. Sooner or later, we had to move far away from the city.

I helped out a lot in packing up the remaining stuff to bring over to my brother’s new place. It took quite a number of trips to empty the room they used to stay in, even though my mum quickly turned the room almost as messy as before. It was not because she wanted to keep a memory of my elder brother by creating similar mess, but because she was simply a collector of everything. Somehow, everything could somehow turn useful one day for the poor, maybe no in near future.

Apart from the sadness from the moving out of my elder brother, Luckie’s absence in the house was a big blow to me. I was the one who used to sleep with him when he first joined my family. Since I worked from home, I was the one who had spent the most time with him. It was also because of him, I always hesitated to leave the house since he had fear in loneliness. I stopped my occasion afternoon jog to places like Marina Barrage and Henderson Waves mainly because of him.

The most dramatic thing happened soon after they moved out as Luckie got his first slip disc problem. His lower back caused his legs to become strengthless. After his operation, I went over to take care of him during weekdays since both my elder brother and sister-in-law had to work. Seeing Luckie in such sorry state hurt me a lot. Before he was fully recovered, he had a second slip disc that caused him greater pain than ever. Just as I thought Luckie would be out of my life, the couple spent another 10 grands to save him. I did my part by going over to take care of Luckie during weekdays.

– Friends
The closest friend I had was as usual, Gilbert. He helped me in everything without expecting anything in return – not that I was able to help him much in anything. Apart from him and my volleyball friends, I hardly had many chances to meet up with old friends. I also made many new friends through photography even though it was back to business that not everyone would keep in touch with me after they had gotten what they wanted.

– Relationship
In the third quarter of the year, my relationship ended. She was the most intelligent girl I had ever being with but we had very different priorities in life. She was more into the YOLO lifestyle while I was still struggling with my own life to make ends meet. There were also some differences that we had always struggled with, such as I felt obligated to stay over at my elder brother’s place to look after Luckie but she was fed up for she knew I was unable to work over there without even a proper table. I always felt bad for my mum’s attitude towards her even though she had always been showing respect and offering helps. Unfortunately, it was a bad start after all and my mum was more inflexible than me. I was glad both of us had tried very hard after all. I blamed myself for I was unable to give her a better life – not that I was able to.

– Health
Cough caught up with me for months and I knew well I did not recover because of the food I had been eating – my mum loved spicy food and she would deny cooking them. As for my injuries, my ex-girlfriend helped a lot. After her mum brought me to a Chinese doctor, my back injury improved a lot because it did not ache very regularly. Since she had learned some massages on the acupuncture points, she also improved the conditions of my other injuries, such as my right shoulder. Towards the end of the end, I suffered from a new injury on my left shoulder after carrying the bulky and heavy camera equipment for too long – the nerve was pressed too much that I felt weakness on my left arm.

– Finance
The tuition agency business dropped tremendously since both of my main coordinators were too busy with their lives. One of them had too much family issues to handle while another could buy a condominium just by giving tuition lessons instead. They were both not obligated to spend their time to help me in my business and thus I was more than happy that they still spent some time whenever possible to take up some assignments. Whereas for the rest of the coordinators, they were busy with their lives too.

For my photography services, I was still unable to make any breakthrough as there was a huge competition from photographers who undercutted the market while most enquiries were from clients with low budget. I knew the standard of my work and the market rates, and my strong principle insisted me not to lower down my value or further harm the photography market.

Spread the Love – July 2016

Letian organised a baby shower his newborn and invited Tze Khit, Daoxiong and I. After that, Tze Khit gave me a lift to the nearest MRT even though he was running late for his appointment.

Gilbert brought me to the Fitness First gym at 100AM again. He managed to push me to do some real workout with the gym equipment and then a swim at the pool.

Yaozhong spent quite some time to go through computer’s component at Sim Lim Square, creating a shopping list for my new system. Not every friend would spend the effort and time when he was busy with his life.

I had a photoshoot with Jolene at Gold’s Gym The Strategy. I was glad that Bobby had suggested the outlet or otherwise, I might have used one of the two outlets in Tanjong Pagar, which was much smaller and the result would not be so good. Jolene was one of the best models I had worked with in terms of her attitude and intelligent. I was mesmerized by her appreciation for every single thing I did and said.

Weitat organised three volleyball games at Yusof Ishak Secondary School. Even though he had grumbled about the tedious job, he sacrificed himself, knowing nobody else could do better than him due to his connection with all the small groups of players. For the first game, Weitat had to rush off immediately as he had a plane to catch and Jingjie gave me a lift at Clementi MRT station after our supper. I was glad that he had opened out and shared some of his troubles with me. However, I had to rush off to catch my last train and thus could not accompany him longer at the car park to chat. Anyway, “black bean” uncle and auntie gave us a treat for the drinks again. For the next two volleyball games, Weitat gave me a lift home as usual and I didn’t stop him for the last trains were probably gone.

After Shuh broke up with me, Olivia and Stephanie gave me some cooling time before contacting me about a week later to show me concern. It was very sweet of them.

Justine was another sweet angel who had been texting me to show her concern after I posted any new Facebook status. She could be blunt and fierce, but she always spoke with a kind intention.

I visited Wanling at her place and she cooked lunch for both of us. Candy gave me a lift to the MRT station in the evening. A week later, Gilbert and I went over as well and we had a more splendid dinner.

It still hurts

動力火車
還隱隱作痛
作詞:尤秋興 作曲:尤秋興

要傷心多久 我才能看透
離開妳多久 手才會放鬆
是否我在妳的心裡還有一點痛
愛情隨風 心徹底放縱 讓自己瘋

還隱隱作痛 還記得妳笑容
這回憶多麼沉重 寧願沒有過
還隱隱作痛 還看見妳放手
這回憶多麼美麗 刺痛我心頭 我心頭

超人 – 張衛健

詞:吳向飛
曲:伍仲衡
主唱:張衛健

明明是一個脆弱不堪的靈魂
卻為你心甘情願變身為超人
愛的 精疲力盡
才明白我並不是無所不能

也許因為我的天資不夠
算不出來什麼時候會分
肉體凡身
憑什麼 想要你愛我一生

逝去的青春 就像我們
曾經留給對方的傷痕
兩個人無話不說再到最後陌生
我想我都可以去忍

路上的燈 看著我們
冒著雨 在情節裡飛奔
希望有個人
能明白 我的眼淚
和我的後半生

陪著你走過五彩斑斕的世界
不代表我就擁有過你的一切
謝謝 你的告別
可以帶給我這麼多感覺

也許因為我的天資不夠
體會不到 你對我的體貼
但是可能
你對我 並沒有那麼了解

逝去的青春 就像我們
曾經留給對方的傷痕
兩個人無話不說再到最後陌生
我想我都可以去忍

路上的燈 看著我們
冒著雨 在情節裡飛奔
希望有個人
能明白 我的眼淚
和我的後半生

曾經站在大雨中 等了又等
為了你扮鬼臉活躍氣氛
你說天氣太冷我馬上 引火燒身

那段青春 就像我們
曾經留給對方的傷痕
兩個人無話不說再到最後陌生
我想我都可以去忍

路上的燈 看著我們
冒著雨 在情節裡飛奔
希望有個人
能明白 我的眼淚
和我的後半生

原來我一開始 就陷的
那麼深

Year 2015 – On the Verge of Breaking Down

Relationship

The most significant changes of the year was the removal of my “single” status. I was never ready to be grounded because reality was cruel and that money was as important as oxygen in Singapore; I didn’t want to take up responsibility that I couldn’t shoulder. Without money, I didn’t have time. For the past countless number of years, I had been alone not because I hadn’t met any nice girl, but because I wasn’t ready and thus didn’t take any action. In year 2015, while career was still vague, I still wasn’t ready yet.

As a photographer, I had countless interaction with pretty and hot girls. Most people would probably think that I was a typical superficial guy who would only go for “super model” type of girls with hourglass figure and flawless looks. Looks would fade but every aspect I loved about her would stay. She wasn’t my ideal type of girl by looks for I had always favoured the athletic build or “SYT” types of girls but her intelligence proved to be more tempting. Nobody could understand me more than her, although nothing and no one was perfect. She had also showed her thoughtfulness and tolerance towards me. Our communication was great and it was rare for anyone to achieve that with me. She had been my personal doctor and English tutor, displaying her excessive talents and appreciation for her imperfect boyfriend.

The biggest problem was that she was extremely clingy, which I liked, yet couldn’t afford to enjoy due to work. My mum often acted as if I was jobless, in fact, she treated any job without CPF contribution from a boss not a job. Therefore, the amount of time I had to spend on the two women was really killing me and sometimes I wished I could just give up on everything and laze around at home just to entertain both of them. There was a few times we got to meet each other for seven days straight. She was also a superwoman who could multitask and text me regularly. Work got piled up as my production rate declined badly. I couldn’t do some of my internet marketing work while I was forced to delay some essential tasks, such as posting my work within the golden hours. My private photographs taken with friends during outing would be delayed for many months before I could squeeze some time to work on them. Whenever she behaved like a little girl while showing her appreciation to me for doing some things, I felt more pressurized than ever for she was unintentionally expecting me to do even more when I had already pushed myself to the limit. Her optimism was a double edged sword for the positiveness would influence me; however, she took things far too easily, which differed from my style of doing things.

The journey to adapt to each other’s flaws proceeded beyond the end of the year.

Family

I continued to be the free receptionist of the family since I was at home most of the time. Everyone, except my mum, had been purchasing items online and the delivery-men would trigger the dogs’ (Luckie and the neighbour’s crazy dog) barking often. Salesmen, surveyors, flyer distributors and retired neighbours were culprits too. No matter how much you loved a dog, sudden loud barks would definitely make you “jump”. I was also abused by telephone calls from weird friends of my family even though everyone already had a mobile phone to attend to their friends. Luckie continued to bother me by waking me up with his barking and then pestering me either for food or to bring him down for a walk. My only break-time was when my elder brother reached home and until my sister-in-law went to sleep – Luckie would be locked out of the bedroom, which finally saw a change for the later half of the year. My mum would even call me just to check the location of anyone or if she had forgotten to switch any appliance off. Very often, she would also turn back to the gate after leaving home to ask me to pass her her forgotten items like mobile phone or keys. Instead of calling my mum directly, my elder brother would sometimes text me to tell my mum when he wasn’t coming home for dinner. Despite my mum would always go to my younger brother to seek help, nobody realised I was the one who had spent most time entertaining her since my elder brother would be inside the room whenever he was at home while my younger brother was not at home most of the time and slept before my mum got home from work. I was the one who had to listen to her grandma stories multiple times because she would tell me directly, loud over the phone to her many friends and then to my siblings. I even had to answer to my mum over any new or misplaced item in the house since I was home most of the time and she expected everyone to notify me everything. The list of problems was too long to be remembered. The perfect job of working from home was soiled badly, affecting the progress of my work.

The harmony was shaken a few times throughout the year in the low income family, having too many people squeezing inside a small house of two bedrooms. The biggest argument was about fairness. We spoke up our minds and finally, around five years since Luckie joined our family, my elder brother started allowing him to sleep inside the bedroom instead of bothering me at night when I was working.

My younger brother had his own way of pampering my mum that I totally couldn’t agree on, because it caused my mum to be extremely over relying on us while he wasn’t at home most of the time. My mum was often simply behaving like a kid and thus it was definitely more challenging. Being filial didn’t have to be overdone, even though most people would agree to over-pampering her since they didn’t know the full scenario. I was the quiet observer in my house who stayed at home most of the time and nobody knew what was going on better than me. I knew there should be a limit to everything and besides, I had my own limit too. To put it in simple words, I wasn’t as capable as my younger brother in term of money-making and I really sucked at it.

Friends

I owed a lot to Gilbert. He appeared most of the time in my monthly hero list. Often, I felt stressed for I knew I could never help him as much as how he had helped me, including all the small kind gestures.

The most depressing thing was when I tried to get back the money I lent to my old buddy years ago for his marriage, he suggested paying me back through installment but didn’t even make the first payment. I often recalled that time when he promised me to return me around two months once he received his salary, it dragged on for countless years without receiving any cent from him while his son was already three years old. The most ridiculous fact was I was probably the lowest income earner in our group of friends and I was the only one who lent him a hand. I felt betrayed and it caused me sleepless nights. I learned to be more careful with whom to help in future.

I made new friends through photography but unfortunately, I didn’t have time to meet up with most of my old friends. It was such a pity to drift away from friends who had been through a lot with me in the past. There were only a few volleyball games and thus I could only meet up with the guys once every few months.

Work

My tuition agency was giving me more headache than ever. Apart from the daily chores, I also had to build up on security for the website. It was endless trouble that most people wouldn’t know the effort and doing things behind the scene was making me feel helpless and unappreciated. The problem was that I could see many things had to be done but it was going to be a hell lots of work. All the automation and information would require time to work on, and yet without doing them, I would be doing some same boring stuff often. To sum up, the effort and time I had spent on the business overwhelmed the revenue. Eventually, it was years of effort that I couldn’t give up.

There was some slight improvement in my photography work but it didn’t make much difference though. The fund generated was not even sufficient to cover up the cost of buying the equipment. I couldn’t take up too many projects for the time I had to spend on post-production was too much. I spent more time on marketing than the actual shootings. Although I did meet many kind clients and nice models, I had also encountered many time-wasters online, in fact, more of the latter.

Fallback in Photography

I got badly slashed on the route to expand my photography portfolio when one of my younger brother’s friends showed her true colours. During the early days of my photography journey, she volunteered to collaborate with me for a couple shoot with her then boyfriend. As she was an educator and they were together for quite long, I didn’t anticipate any problem. I spent weeks to do professional post-processing work for the album and gave her ridiculously large amount of photos that would cost over three grands for the standard. Obviously, in the name of building a portfolio for couple shoot, it benefited the couple much more.

Unfortunately, they broke up a couple of years later and she asked me to remove the photos entirely because it would somehow hurt her whenever she got to see them, like as if she would even visit my portfolio. I explained to her professionally, including the fact that male and female models who didn’t know each other would take up couple shoot projects together. She probably knew the facts that I had the copyrights over the photos even though I didn’t raise the point, and she resorted in using bitchy lines to try to insult my professionalism. She was so disgusting that I could feel the chill deep inside my bones that I decided to take down the photos because having a bitch inside my portfolio would tarnish my reputation – not because I was afraid of putting my younger brother in a difficult position or what.

Alas, she got what she wanted, from the start, a free professional couple shoot which many young couple were dying for and yet couldn’t afford, and eventually, the removal of the professional work when she no longer thought they were useful to her. However, this spoiled brat had also displayed her true self – someone who could be very nice to friends during good days but could do anything to them if they were to go against her childish demands, especially during bad days.

It was a gigantic damage to me because the shoot covered three locations and I had been trying to do photoshoot in different parts of Singapore to add to my list of beautiful places in Singapore. I could persuade my clients to shoot at the same locations but every shoot would occupy weeks of my time and I could only take up a few shoots per month.

Another hurtful thing was some friends took pity of the bitch just because she broke up with her boyfriend, likely due to having different directions in life and definitely not due to any unfaithfulness. None had considered the effort and time I had put in for the entire album of over 70 professionally fully edited photos for the couple who didn’t have professional hairstyling and makeup on when the gentleman had quite bad complexion. The travelling around with the heavy photography equipment and the weeks of frustrating effort to produce the final work were taken granted for. Even the lady who had insisted me in doing commercial standard of editing photos was soft on the bitch. Even though at this point of time, my equipment and skill in photography had already far exceeded the quality of that album, the master pieces of work were already better than most of the outdoor pre-wedding shoot albums I saw in Facebook.

Finance

Despite doing freelance photography, the income generated from the shoots was entirely spent on equipment upgrades and replacement. My main income source was from the tuition agency, which could hardly cover my monthly expenditure. Dating put further pressure on me even though my girlfriend wasn’t the type of girl who would demand good food and branded stuff. From a near zero spending staying at home to having to spend for two people made a very big difference.

My younger brother unintentionally placed huge burden and pressure on me since years ago by upping the sum of contribution to the household. I had to turn down wedding invitations and I didn’t even want to renew the ridiculously expensive Singapore passport. Years of having extremely low income together with the high expenses was a torment to my brain. The most ridiculous thing was that my monthly contribution to the family and mum was a few times higher than the combination of my elder brother and his wife’s, while their combined income was a few times higher than mine. Their reason was they had to save up for their new house. Nobody had probably given a thought that I had to save up for marriage and to get myself a house, which I was dying for, in near future as well.

While my mum’s fiance health was extremely good with the extra contribution from my younger brother, nobody seemed to know what she had been spending the money on other than lottery. Often, when I came to know that she had bought useless things after being conned by strangers or friends, I would feel very upset because I couldn’t even bear to pay for some essential things for myself; even when I had to carry 18 kilograms of bulky equipment out for work, I would rather risk injuring or over-exhausting myself than to spend money on cab.

I didn’t know how I managed to survive as there were months that I had to “eat into” my saving.

Volleyball

Weitat organised and paid for using the indoor court at the OCBC Arena a few times. However, my shoulder and feet injuries (could be plantar fasciitis) made me a cripple during my last two games with them. It was terrible to feel the pain before I could even take off to do spiking. I couldn’t jump to my usual height and even if I could reach the peak, my shoulder injury forbid me from doing the swing to hit the ball. It was pretty useless to explain about my conditions when everything I said was treated as an excuse, or at least I didn’t appreciate much of the sarcasm.

Alas, I was also quite unlucky that I was always placed in the same team as one of the most competitive and inconsiderate guys. He played as the setter most of the time and I didn’t get to spike even when I was playing as the main spiker. When I was lucky, he had no choice but to set the ball to me, which happened at most twice during every set of game out of 25 points. Since it was a “no choice” situation, the ball was always delivered badly while I had already given up and thus unprepared. Playing volleyball under such situation killed my confidence. Besides, he was quite a show-off and decided to waste lots of opportunities by dropping the second ball over, as if he had a high scoring rate. Of course, I didn’t voice out since I didn’t want to make anyone feel stress or awkward over such leisure games. I hated being there just to make up the number although my main motive was to spend time with them.

Health

I got seriously ill for only a couple of times, which was much better compared to the previous years. However, more injuries plagued me as it further affected my mood for the worse. My right shoulder and feet injuries were the main devils while my girlfriend was able to reduce the pain of my back injury with her skill learned from a Taiwanese physician. She also brought me to a Chinese physician at Ang Mo Kio who further eased the pain caused by my back injury. I felt weak as all the injuries restricted my freedom of movements.

2015 was certainly one of the worst years ever. I was mentally stabbed and robbed of my calmness and patience. There were many lessons to learn from and the most important thing was become stronger and not give in to shit.

The Two “Blur” Things I Did Yesterday

It was not the worst day for me yesterday but at least I did not have a very easy afternoon.

The first joke was totally on my outfit although it might not be very obvious – I wore it the wrong way – inside out. It was after I travelled from Tanjong Pagar to Eunos, then to Bedok and finally on the way home, I noticed it. Laziness had actually caused the awkwardness as I had somehow realised it even before leaving the house. The lucky thing was that it was not easily identified as the thread’s colour was similar to the sports singlet’s main colour and that the label at the back was printed on the top itself instead of being attached with additional material. The most obvious thing was the inverted Nike logo at the front, right at the centre. Since none of the people who had been with me for the day had even noticed it, I was sure outsiders would not be staring at me so much to see through my “shame”. Throughout the journey, I kept my back on the doors of the train and tried to block the Nike logo naturally with my hands while using the phone. I got myself mentally prepared that if anyone were to ask about it, I would just reply naturally that the other side of the top was dirtied and thus I flipped the shirt over. I thought the reply was cool.

The final stunning thing I did was after I entered the lift to my house. I actually took the old lift that did not have any recorded announcement for the storeys. Two policemen came in when I was engrossed in texting on my phone. I confirmed they were going to a different storey as me since they pressed the lift button, although I did not really look at the button. When the lift’s door opened, one of them made his way out and the other one stayed put. After pausing for a couple of second, I thought the one next to me was going to another storey and thus I pressed the “close” button to close the doors. Suddenly, the first policeman tried to come in and I was confused. When they asked if I was getting out, I realised it was my storey. To be honest, I was confused by the policeman who went out to “give way” to such a small size person like me and it was not totally caused by my inattentiveness.

Promises are Meant to be Broken Not

Dejection, disappointment, frustration – these are just part and parcel of lives. However, within this two years of my life, I have been encountering them probably on a weekly basis on average.

It all begins with my photography journey, from a total rookie to a confident photographer who has a portfolio solid enough for models and clients to approach me regularly.

Sometimes, people will ask me how I have managed to find so many models. I will tell them honestly that every beginner has to approach his friends or pay for freelance models, and when people start seeing nice work from him, they will approach him instead. Unfortunately most of the new portraiture photographers who can afford to pay for freelance models are mostly into sexy hotel kind of shoot and thus their skill is more difficult to be improved since they have to think with two heads during every shoot.

Only experienced portraiture photographers can understand the hardship I have gone through all these while. For every 10 potential or cannot-make-it models you approach, depending on your personality and popularity, probably three will be discussing enthusiastically with you. However, out of the three, two will promise to “get back to you” once they have gotten their schedule. The final one is quite likely to postpone the shoot once somehow.

Even after I have started taking projects from clients, I would still need to look out for potential models to collaborate for themes that no good-looking client will be paying for, partly for marketing purposes. There are also some friends whom I wish to take nice photos and do good write-ups about them. Model-wannabes of all shapes and looks have been approaching me. With all the friends and model-wannabes who have talked-about-heaven-and-sea with me, it is no surprise that I have been facing huge number of empty promises.

“No matter how often people are breaking their promises to me, I would never play the same game to hurt others.”

Some people say “promises are meant to be broken” but I will never agree with it; this theory is simply from people in despair and I uphold my principles till this day.

Also, I have this good friend telling me that those people who have promised me anything are nice enough to have promised me, which I have to disagree. If you are not interested in something that can benefit you as well, do not waste time and then cause more severe disappointments.

Of course, how many people still keep promises nowadays? The very few losers.

Fake Friends

The feeling of people ignoring your texts and festival greetings, and only return to you when they need help is bad. Would you consider them as your friends?

How about someone who spams you to LIKE certain photo for a Facebook competition and becomes hibernate when you ask for a return favour to LIKE yours?

They are lower-grade than hi-bye friends.

If you have met such people, don’t bother to get angry because they are just everywhere. Nevertheless, they do give you the assurance that they are not worth much of your time. Skip them and spend your time on better people.