Spread the Love – November 2015

Every November, I was overwhelmed by love because it was my birthday month. It was good to receive greeting messages from friends for it was a good chance to catch up with them. Of course, I was unable to list down everyone’s name but I was very thankful to them for bothering to message me.

My younger brother did the arrangement for a feast at CHIJMES and also bought me a cake.

Gilbert and I had our birthday celebration held together as usual. However, Gilbert did all the hard work to book a staycation at Siloso Beach Resort and also bought all the necessary items.

Spread the Love – October 2015

During our meet-up at Bishan after my interior shoot at Sky Habitat, Gilbert tried to give a dinner treat again. He chauffeured everyone to the next location “Wimbly Lu” for dessert and selflessly sent me home after that. Eventually, he got fined for probably parking at the wrong spot and remained calm instead of grumbling.

On the very same day, Wanling had given Gilbert and I our advance birthday presents. One of the items was a very well ergonomic coin pouch, which I would be keeping it until my existing one, made by my mum, decides to die on me. She also gave me another keychain with a picture of a Dachshund, which was very thoughtful of her.

Both of them are my rare buddies who are always ready to share their joy with me.

Spread the Love – June 2015

My ex polytechnic classmate, Thiam Hing, messaged me through Facebook suddenly. Often, old friends who would message me were likely just seeking help but he had something nice to offer to me for free. It was a Gardens by the bay ticket to the two domes. He knew that I loved photography and thus he thought I would want to go there for photography. However, the problem was that the expiry date was very near. He mailed it to my home address but somehow, I did not receive it.

Gilbert, my buddy, as usual, did not fail to do kind things for me and others. He organised the outing to give Wanling a simple belated birthday celebration. He drove us around and had to endure the nasty evening traffic jams due to NDP rehearsal. We even had to make two U-turns due to road blockage. He refused to split the bill for the tea break at a cafe at Dempsey Hill and also sent me home as usual. If I were him, I would be totally drained by the time I reached home.

It was the durian season and since it was also the fasting period for the Muslim, there was large amount of durians being shipped over from Malaysia to Singapore. The quality of durian was great. My elder brother bought some durians home after his work and shared with everyone. He was never selfish with sharing food.

While I was doing interior shoot at my client’s client’s place, the owner Daniel hosted me well. He helped to move away his stuff so that they would not appear inside the photos; of course, I had to leave out the areas that were more occupied and thus there was some restrictions in the angles. Halfway through the shoot, he even offered me some beer. After that, he shared a lot of knowledge and experience with me.

When I did a sexy photoshoot with a foreign model, Nathalie, I made a last-minute attempt to get Lurvelle to join us to save me from the awkwardness. Lurvelle rushed down in cab immediately after she settled her stuff. At first, I was only expecting Lurvelle to accompany us but she offered greater help than that. She helped Nathalie with makeup and then helped to pose her, so that I could turn my head away to avoid seeing private things.

Spread the Love – April 2015

My mum had an advanced birthday celebration for her 60th. My younger brother did most of the preparation work after we went to the cafe for scouting. If it was not for him, I would probably be further stressed.

Needless to say, we had many great friends who were very generous. They not only shared the cost of buying an iPad Mini for my mum, but some also gave her ang bao. I was not very sure exactly who had chipped in for the present though. Although to me, the iPad mini was a waste of money since my mum already had an iPad 2, which had bigger screen. The desire for this new gadget was simply due to peer influence. I did not even have a tablet to present my work to potential clients.

Lurvelle was one of my models who had tried to help me the most. She did help to promote my photography and also recommend clients to me, even though I thought they were not so potential. All the bees were just trying to get in the good book of this hot girl.

Sharon Koh arranged a meet-up with my younger brother and I to give us a treat. We roped in fatmama in order not to leave her home alone on a Friday Evening. Somehow, she insisted she got a good job because of the testimonial we gave her for helping with Smart Tuition. It was very detailed and honest piece, written with “feel”, unlike the usual boring templates. We were actually not so sure about its efficient but I was sure potential good bosses would enjoy reading it. Anyway, since she knew it was my mum’s actual birthday for the next day, she ordered a bouquet and balloon to be delivered to my house on the next day. She was one of the most detailed and kindest lady I had ever met.

Gilbert, my long time best buddy, got his car as demanded by his company since he was doing sales job. He started to arrange outing and also helped me to go through my website.

Spread the Love – November 2014

It was my birthday month. Other than the advanced birthday present given by my best friend, Gilbert, my sister-in-law had given me a present – a bottle of perfume.

Max, the cute little dachshund, was migrating out of Singapore with his parents. His mum organised a farewell party for some of the closest sausage dogs and their parents. This Japanese lady was so generous that all the guests were very well fed with good human food in the pet friendly cafe.

It was Jingkun’s wedding month and he asked for playing of indoor volleyball for his “bachelor night” since we had not played on the court for years. Weitat ended up arranging for it by himself. He took the trouble to find an indoor volleyball court, paid for it himself and also gathered the large number of players.

Jingkun’s gate crash was in the early morning. Weitat had to work overnight and thus did not want to house me since it was quite inconvenient (I did stay over at his house before when we both teaching at ITE Clementi). Besides, he wanted me to rest properly on my own bed and not having to carry extra items (clothes, toothbrush etc) along. Therefore, instead of I took the trouble to travel to his place the night before, he actually drove over to my house to pick me up in the early morning. His place was nearer to Jingkun’s house and he had to wake up much earlier to travel all the way to central to pick me up and drive back to the west.

Tricia’s maid had left Singapore and she had finally decided that she was too jinxed to own a proper maid after changing around three to four of them within a year. She was very unlucky. Hence, she had become the new maid of the Foo family for the first time after over ten years of being a “tai tai”. Due to her detailed character, she became very busy. Despite this, she helped me to look through some of my photoshoot work.

While I was too cheapskate to get a flash band to tie my colour gel on the flash head, I thought of doing one by myself. To be honest, the main problem was I was afraid of getting a wrong one through eBay. With a mum who was working as a seamstress, other than having to live in a poor family, it was easy to get some rubber and sew one properly to cut cost.

Spread the Love – October 2014

– My wrist rescuer
It had been long since I injured my right wrist due to an event shoot for JGC and the injury gave me problems during my Sunday volleyball games. I started by using my old wrist guard but it was bulky enough to prevent me from playing. Desmond lent me his wrist band and it helped a lot during the game play even though it was not as strong as mine. When I told him it was difficult to get the wrist band, he tried helping me to get one as well.

– Birthday came early
Gilbert asked me to go downstairs my house to pass me something. At first, I thought it was a souvenir from overseas since he had just returned from his holidays. After meeting him and receiving the small item, he told me it was because he was going overseas again the following week. It took me a few minutes to realise it was my birthday present.

The present was a piece of magnet with my photo on it. It was a brilliant gift, which I could do it for other friends in future. However, it also made me feel so guilty and helpless that I was not able to think of anything creative in return for him.

Spread the Love – November 2013

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.

People Take Things for Granted

Just recently, I faced another setback in my life in the name of kindness.

Many months back, a net friend of mine approached me to take photos for her son’s one-year-old birthday party, which would fall on 21st September 2013. During that time, I was only doing voluntary work for charity and friends, and I was not prepared to get any paid shoot. She was a young mother (born in year 1991) after all and I thought I could help. However, I did not want anyone to take things for granted, and thus I told her I would not do it for free but she had to give me a red packet. She even had to ask her husband about engaging me and the green light was given the next day as expected. Then she confirmed with me the location, date and time.

Within that few weeks, I saw photos of her son doing baby photoshoot in her Facebook profile, which she stated cost hundreds of dollars – nearer to a grand figure if I did not remember wrongly. It was really stunning because not many parents whom I knew of had spent that amount of money. The most outrageous thing was that she could afford such photoshoot package and yet tried to get me to shoot for her for free. That was when I regretted promising her for the birthday party shoot but a promise was a promise.

The day before the event, I messaged her in Facebook to check if there was any changes, which photographers would usually do. She took a while to reply me, telling me “Yes. Currently bz. Text you Later..sorry!”

I realised something was wrong and went into her Facebook profile again. I was amazed to see a photo of the printed invitational cards that stated 22nd September 2013 instead of 21st. It was obvious that she had changed the date of the party and she had left me out totally.

Anyone with a brain would have informed the photographer (or any party) if there was a change of date, time or venue. Even if she was not interested in getting my help, she could have told me directly. If I did not check with her, or rather, check it on my own, I would have gone down to 30 Sturdee Road like a fool on the initial date she had told me. The most amazing thing was that when I messaged her, just the evening before the “actual” date, she did not even bother to tell me immediately that the date was changed.

Instead of getting back to me to explain anything or cancel the appointment with me, due to her very busy schedule, she could update her own Facebook photo. To think I had even told my elder brother that I could not attend his company’s barbeque session, which fell on the exact “same” day and time, it was silly. I actually had blocked out the date in my schedule for her party.

It took me lots of patience to message her again hours later at 11 plus in the night. I blasted out the little intelligence I had gathered and she simply said she was overloaded that day that she had not even taken her dinner. It was only when I pointed out that the the invitational cards were ready a week ago and that the date was definitely changed earlier, she admitted it was her fault. I got to realise that it was the actual birthday of her son on that day itself and she had spent money to engage another freelance photographer for a photoshoot during the day, which “explained” why she was so busy at night – I could not understand it though.

I was lucky because I did not get to help her eventually. I was used to do free work for the society and friends, but I would never want to give any free work to people with such attitude.

My mistake is trusting people too easily and being too kind to net “friend”. The fact is even rich people ask for “free” stuffs and thus do not assume people are not well-to-do just because they want free help from you. The reality of life is that if someone is given something free or almost free, she will likely to be unappreciative of it, and probably forget about it. This incident will act like a gun pointing at me, reminding me to be fair to myself and also to collect a deposit upon confirming a photo shoot. I’m also done with free event photo shoot, unless it is for charity organisation.

Birthday and Friends

Another year had passed and things had remained almost stagnant. There was neither surprise nor excitement. More friends had gone quieter or probably found their fun in other places.

This was the first time my mum was absent in Singapore on my birthday. There was nothing sad about it but merely a new experience to be noted.

The usual trend in this era when social media was dominating was to receive birthday greeting in Facebook. People did find comfort when they received overwhelming wishes from their contacts. As unpractical as it could be, I did not turn off comments by friends because there were reasons to continue receiving the well-wishes.

The greatest advantage of enabling comments from friends on birth date itself was to communicate. We made new friends over the years and strayed away from the old ones, including those we used to chat with daily. It was the best excuse to regain some momentum with friends when they started posting “happy birthday”.

Another reason to be vain was to be able to judge people. Sometimes we had acquaintances who added us into their friend list and we did the same to others whom we found interesting or pretty. Over time, we had too many strangers on the friend list. Besides, we were also uncertain over which old friends would bother about us. Receiving a short text could greatly assure that we did worth something in our friends’ hearts; at least they bothered to sacrifice a few seconds of their time and some energy to move their hands in order to make our days better.

This was the main reason why I had bothered to spend time sending greetings to my friends on their birthdays. It was one of the easiest ways to do my part as a friend to make their lives happier. I doubted everyone would appreciate but I knew I had done my best as a friend or net friend.

The biggest problem with social media network was that not everyone would log in daily even though most young people should have owned an account at least. With the emerging of more platforms such as Twitter, the concentration of users had been diverted or split. As life got more hectic, we began to find friends missing in action from social media.

Social media was kind of an imaginary third dimension. This was the reason why popular school debates had included whether social media was bringing people closer or distancing them away. There was no definite answer.

On my birthday, I had my elder brother and his girlfriend treating me to lunch while Gilbert and Titus showering me with food for dinner. It was far from what my greedy heart had expected. I had the same wishful thinking as most people on their birthdays but I was not lucky enough.

I do not need to own the whole world but just one… just be free for me.

Not a Good Time for Birthday

It was a different birthday from the past twenty plus years. There was nothing special except that it happened to be a down period.

I am never good at expressing myself verbally nor physically; but it does not mean I do not care. Friends who know well enough should understand that I am much more emotional than most people. Little things can easily affect me a lot and forbid me from dozing off. I have been trying to kick my bad habit but many friends have somehow aided the devil within me. I am failing badly.

I have been doing self-reflecting more than usual – and in fact it is my daily habit. If you were to use my horoscope to describe me as stubborn, this is perhaps the best example because I am not good at apple-polishing and not want to pick it up. But come to think of it – who is never stubborn in certain aspects or things that he or she strongly believes? If you have been insisting in things being done in your way or expecting your analysis to be perfect, does it show that you are more stubborn than any Scorpion?

If you have a certain opinion on someone, have you ever look back at yourself to check if you are actually far ahead in the same attribute? If someone has not done something that you think is necessary, which by not doing so will not cause any harm to anyone, will you pass a certain judgement on him without considering what have been stopping him?

I am extremely lack of skill to even take care of myself to anticipate what others may need. For me, I always try to keep things simple. I will not try to get or do things that are non-essential. I also do not wish to be tied down by anything. If you are judging me based on the lack of these, you probably do not know me well enough to even judge.

Perhaps, I can see how much I have changed over the past year – my self-esteem has been totally wiped off. I guess that is worse than the lost of my creativity and smiles. I am being drained off of everything.

I do not hope for much, except that nobody will put more unnecessary pressure on me due to imaginative. I need more time to sort things out and get essential things done before I can sit down to think of how to become a better person in all aspects such that nobody will ever feel being neglected by me.

This birthday has received fewer wishes than the previous one, which describes how I have been distancing away from friends. If I have a choice, will I not choose to be everyone’s best friend?

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