Happy Father’s Day

Be glad if you are able to celebrate Father’s Day with your dad. I do not have the chance and not anymore.

He was a drinker, gambler and smoker. My dad had numerous bad habits but nothing could beat his love for the family. He and my mum gave me what I had today.

I started my life in a very poor family. At least, I did not have to starve, except for a certain period of time when he was already not around. He took us out for dinner during weekends despite losing money in his gamble sessions and he had never failed to give us money for school stuffs. He got drunk but he did not abuse. He smoked but he kept the cigarette smoke away from us.

The most unforgettable recollection of him was when he was on his hospital bed, asking me if my elder brother and I had pocket money. Would you be worried like him over such little thing when you are suffering badly and about to lose your last breath?

Although he may not be the best dad on earth, he has certainly done his part.

It has been more than ten years since my dad has passed away. None of us has ever forgotten him. We do not cry and in fact we joke using him. A simple teasing of “Are you missing lao ba (father)?” can be heard occasionally. None of us would admit it.

It seems like pretending to stay strong is not the best way to handle things because the tears of saddest can multiple, such that sometimes when nobody is watching, drops of them can overwhelm the eyes.

If you still have a dad, be really happy about it.

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On the Verge of Collapsing

Life has become more unpredictable than ever since the beginning of this year.

My younger brother and I were always at loggerheads when we were young. He has, however, grown up to become a very sensible person and we become very close.

As I have been putting stress on myself without taking much rest, I am prepared to die of brain cancer or similar illness at a young age. I used to think that I can depend on him to take care of my mum when I am gone.

When he notified me that his body was acting weird, I was lost.

A few days later, when he returned from Bali, we went straight to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department of Singapore General Hospital (SGH). It was one of my most hated places. Scenes over there were nasty, especially when I had to witness foreigners crying over to the lost of their friend.

Half of my brother’s body was experiencing numbness on the right side and it seemed like needles were poking him. Doctors and nurses began to get worried after they conducted X-ray and CT scan. Initial finding was either brain bleeding or blood clot, as we were told different stories by the staffs.

I had to lie to my gullible mum that my brother went over purposely just because he had bought travel insurance and wanted to make full use of it. My acting skill excelled as I remained calm in front of my mum even when my brother was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Perhaps, his condition was not so critical at the moment but it happened that the high dependency (HD) ward was full and he had to be admitted inside the more critical ward.

When my relatives started to find out about my brother’s condition, I had to answer them on the phone besides my mum, pausing for a few seconds to suppress the urge to burst out, before explaining in a relaxing tone. That was what grown-ups had to learn to do.

There was no feeling of festive season. I was glad enough that we could get time-off for him to go out for our reunion dinner. My brother was hospitalized until the second day of Chinese New Year. We did not manage to see the doctor in charge to ask about his condition. We were also disappointed with the management of the hospital.

My brother needs no medication at the moment and we are all clueless about what will happen next. His illness is likely to be “Post Thalamic Syndrome” as researched online. I cannot imagine myself feeling the numbness over half of my body symmetrically and boiling over my leg occasionally.

I’m beginning to feel numb as well. Staying alive is mainly to face hardship. My work alone has already taken away half of my smiles.

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Year 2011 – Year of Living in the Mountain

Year 2011 was one of the worst years in my life. It was a year of isolation that I hardly met up with anyone. Most friends were busy with their own lives and work, and all the outing that some of my ex colleagues had promised to organise vanished with time. I was, in fact, too busy to meet up with old friends individually. One of the ex polytechnic class outing turned out to be disaster when all, except Wenchang, dropped out at the tick of the clock. The lack of communication with people offline made me a duller guy. There was no romance like the previous year, which marked another two years of single life for me. I was not really in a hurry to get a girlfriend since I was not financially stable yet. Sometimes I did turn lonely but work had kept me well occupied. I also knew well that my time was too tight, but on another note, a girl could actually spice up my life and make me push myself harder in my work, which could be a positive effect. It was all about fate after all. I was physically weakened for the minimal number workout sessions I had. I went back to ITE College West for volleyball for about twice and hardly did any jogging. The most tedious workout I did was when I went to Fitness First with Gilbert, but just for at most once per week, and I was mostly lazing about there. There were times when we skipped the outing for more than a month. All gym sessions were accompanied by big feast. I was very annoyed by numerous major incidents that happened in Singapore. The unfairness and deception caused by the greed of rich people were unbearable. There were plentiful of sad news such as public transportation prices were raised to make the rich people richer, while the trains and tracks were discovered to be unmaintained for ten years, only after major breakdown incidents with the service provider taking inhuman actions and responses. I realised I had to live with the great injustice in this society because there was nothing much I could do when I could not even fend for my own life. My family got into a major conflict once when things started to explode between my younger brother and my elder brother’s girlfriend after years of toleration. When everyone started to speak up, there were great improvements although many friends still felt sorry for the house owner and two brothers had to squeeze inside a bedroom so as to allow the elder brother to have a bedroom with his girlfriend who stayed overnight regularly in the same house. By then, my elder brother’s girlfriend had grown fonder of our dog and bought him more food and goodies than she bought for the rest of us, and thus my elder brother’s life got better. However, I found it a great insult when his girlfriend banned me from using her pillow whenever I went over to that bedroom, even though the dog was using it like nobody’s business every day. It reminded me of Bruce Lee’s movies that “Chinese and dogs are not allowed into the foreigners’ restaurant”, but I was worse than a dog. Things were still going well after all, in fact, it was much better. My mum’s super ultimate regular visits to the hospital and polyclinic for check-ups and follow-ups caused great problems as she expected companion. Each trip would waste two to four hours of time because of the inefficient system that required patients to wait for long. I hated the idea of my mum expecting us to foot the bill for her because it was totally unnecessary at the moment and that any excess money with her could be cheated off easily. The time wasted could help me to relax at home. I did not join my mum and younger brother for their overseas trips. Even though there was once when my mum’s friend’s husband had things on, I did not take up the free ticket. Apart from being thrifty, my work did not allow me to have any holiday. Work would only pile up. Finance was sustainable for me somehow although I only started earning my first cent from my tuition agency in February. However, I soon started to feel frustrated when the amount of effort and hard work I put in did not produce good results for me. I was in fact earning much lesser than I was working in ITE as a lecturer. The increasingly pressure on the expenses for both family and business caused frustration in me. Overall, after striving hard for a year, I was not rich but at least I did not starve. My elder brother was jobless most of the time, which added weights to my brain since I had to pay for most of the stuffs together with my younger brother, partly due to my mum’s constant nagging in front of me. I spent quite a sum of money on a double decker bed frame with a pull-out bed at the bottom to house my younger brother, my mum and I inside the small bedroom. It was due to my mum’s complaints of not able to get up from the mattress we initially placed on the floor easily and that she often knocked her head onto the old bed frame due to the height. Next was the changing of lighting in my house as to reduce electricity bill, which did not show results due to the increasing electricity cost. The old lighting had two tubes of round light-bulb each and the inner smaller light-bulb’s electricity consume alone was crazy enough. The third expensive item I had bought was a Fujifilm camera recommended by my elder brother due to his read-up of internet reviews during the IT show, which turned out to be a total waste of money. We lost trust in forum’s reviews. Anyway, I knew I should have spent more money to get a cheap DSLR camera instead, which I had wished for donkey years, even though my younger brother preferred a more compact one. Besides not able to catch up with friends, I was dealt deadly blows twice in this very lousy year. I was initially into planning with Tze Khit’s friends for a new business venture when I was already too tight with my tuition agency. I decided to drop out in the end and somehow, someone backstabbed me, which caused Andrew to confront me. As I thought things were fine, I realised I had lost a good friend when I was deleted away from his Facebook friends list. The lost of a friend, including the fact that I was being falsely accused, dwelled in my brain for months. I began the year in Mike’s office as a freeloader to work on my own business. I was too greedy as a perfectionist but I set my priority quite right to increase credibility and efficiency of coordinators by adding and editing useful features. I started from scratch without any knowledge of the business, whereby it required real life experience to further explore, and thus I had to make changes to the website’s features very often. Nobody could understand the amount of work I had put in when I was the sole person in charge of the researching, designing, coding, debugging, content writing, internet marketing and administrating etc. I had to choose between less prioritised tasks that would require more effort if I did not finish them earlier and important tasks that were more critical but could be more tedious. There were immediate tasks, such as to approve tutors’ profile, verifying of their documents and SEO, which was extremely time-consuming, leaving little energy for me to work on other tasks. There were also times, which I had to help the coordinators to even “debug” Gmail or bugless feature on my website. It could be a very good business many years ago but it was already too saturated and that the levy was actually very low. I learned many tricks regarding Search Engine Optimization from Mike. However, he got impatient with the progress of my work as a mentor. He expected more results from me even though he could not understand clearly the thousands of problems I was facing for operating a partially offline business without experience in business – both online and offline. Every month, he would also raise issues and talk to me in a very irritated tone. The pressure on me started driving me crazy and massacring my confidence when everything I did with my greatest effort seemed to be wrong. I became moody like a zombie with my existing struggles with everything and had phobia going to the office. There was a major communication breakdown somehow and I started to fear talking to him. I could not live up to his expectation even as a normal human as I became weary of everything, not knowing how to show him any slight of appreciation while I was almost breaking down mentally. In the end, he told me he had observed me for over ten months and that I had failed him, and we would revert back to good friends instead of mentor-student status. The thing that hurt me most was my misunderstanding that we had always trusted each other fully since the army days and that was why he had been guiding me along. I ended the last few months of the year with worsened sleepless nights tossing around my bed. I hated myself for not being capable enough to prove my worth so that many things would not have happened and refusing to become a person who could suck up to people. I could have borrowed some of his time from his girlfriend to give him a treat or get him a present even though I was suffering from fatigue all the while to even think of these. Year 2011 was yet another scar in my life.

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Stress and More Stress

I become more stress whenever my younger brother goes overseas for holidays. Yes, “more” stress because I am already very stress. There are various projects I need to accomplish and there are boring daily tasks that I have to finish without much delay. I am battling against time everyday. The worst thing is the weakening drive that is slowing down my pace. From the beginning until business has started to pick up, I am losing time increasingly to work on my initial areas of interest. When everyone is thinking that it is perfect, I can see tiny holes all over, including major security issues. It has been proven that my effort can make things so much better but it is often beyond normal eyes to judge. I am a person who can dedicate endless time to a task. When more things pile up, sacrifices offer insufficient help to perfection. Things are all left hanging around while I try to babysit them one by one and bit by bit, and I am beginning to lose confidence due to my incapability. Friends who are more aware of my situation may be admiring my determination for I have managed to persist for so long. I am already stressed to the extent that I can be agitated easily. I am losing patience for people who do not follow proper procedure and thus causing problems. My brother’s departure for holidays always put additional workload on me. Although checking of account does not take up too much time, but it is definitely distracting and often kills my momentum. When friends ask me to take a break and have a short trip overseas to relax, I know it is almost impossible, at least not at the moment. I do not want to risk getting more enquiries and for sure, my daily work will only pile up, leaving important tasks pending longer. I do not want to risk the brand’s name. Nobody is ready to take a break when many things have not settled down. My younger brother has endless trips from Thailand to Pulau Ubin and Sentosa, and currently Bali. Just when I am getting used to abandon tasks during this peak period, he drops a bomb to inform me that half of his body is getting numbness. I am left helpless as I know little about other countries, having staying in a rather safe country throughout my life. I am feeling very lost.

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How Many Ten-Years Do We Have In Our Lives?

One of my favourite Chinese drama shows, which had just ended recently, was Rosy Business. I was quite surprised that Gilbert did catch it as well. The story was based on the olden days of China during the Qing dynasty and I expected not many people would be interested in it. It was mainly about the family of the major rice seller in Wuxi, China. To them, it was not only about profit but the essential of lives of the people, and thus they had to fight against thugs and their evil family members to keep the business going and the price of rice low. I first caught it when I happened to have my dinner at home instead of dining out on a weekend. My curiosity was spiked by the great plot. It was a pity that I had missed out some of the exciting parts where the main characters applied intelligence to overcome problems. The show was not anything like “Huang Fei Hong” or Tom Cruise in “mission impossible”. The hero was not a saint; he made big mistakes and grew mature over times. His loyalty, courage and intelligence were impressive. The usual quote by the hero was “how many ten-years do we have in our lives?” and it clearly reminded everyone not to waste our lives. I know I have been ill-treating myself for the past twenty-plus years. Though I have not produced much result, I have clearly spent most of my entire life racing. I’m been trained not to have lust on food or travelling. I’m losing myself as days go by and soon becoming a zombie. I’m not a smart worker and I’m definitely bad at priority management. I have clearly disappointed many people. I’m never in need of money not because my family is rich but I rarely spend on myself. I’m used to mess around with hunger since polytechnic days. My dad’s last payslip wrote around $1300 before he passed away and my mum spent quite a sum of my dad’s leftovers (CPF and insurance) on renovation of the rundown house, insurance plans that she could not afford, crappy health magnetic mattresses and she even lent a big portion of it to her boss who had been abusing her verbally. One year before I went to the army for national service, I had to start skipping meals after volleyball games. Nobody can understand how much I have been through and thus no one is in the position to judge me. I have to work extra hard because I’m neither a genius nor apple-polisher. There are also some risks that I’m not able to take. I need to do something for my next ten years of life if I can live on.

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The Sweet Things Yesterday May Not Be Sweet Today

Long ago, I heard encouragements to the persistence of doing my own business. Flexibility of time and working location were great buy. I could do my work at any time of the day at anywhere with my laptop, which meant that I could merry around during normal people’s working hours. Apart from the extra hard effort required and income instability, everything was supposed to be sweet.

I, however, am never a cut to become someone who can really enjoy myself. There are many things I wish to do but have given up. There are also many things I hesitate or hate to do but I’m doing them for the sake of accommodating my loved ones and friends. I’m definitely living a bitter life for now.

I have free tickets and accommodation for overseas trips, but I cannot and do not have the mood to leave Singapore for more than a day.

I also have job temptations from numerous kind friends. I know I should not give up halfway.

I have done my best to struggle alone on various required job roles. I see myself as a researcher, content writer, designer, programmer, tester, blogger, website administration, administrator, marketer, IT support and probably others. The numerous tasks waiting for me to accomplish everyday have killed my creativity since long ago. It is a hectic life for me.

I never have understanding from people surrounding me and not even those whom I get to see numerous times per week. Most friends do not know what I’m working as and those who know do not know what I have been doing. Overall, most people have impression that I’m an idler, although they are very kind to persuade me to get a job.

While most people know about my flexibility of time, they are neglecting the fact that there are huge amount of work for me to finish. So often that I’m neglecting my family for work, especially when we are so bonded together, and I’m always feeling the guilt of turning them down.

I have to deal with changing climates monthly. Even the loudest voice to support my business venture has turned against the flexibilities while I’m being sandwiched by people. I should be feeling great that many kind people are trying to help me but I cannot stop feeling being torn into pieces. I’m still far from meeting their expectations.

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Yet Another Worry Added

My mum’s health has once again placed everyone in worries.

When people get older, they tend to have more problems and this creates the anxiety far worse than playing stock whenever my mum complains about new problems regarding her health.

So far, her previous experiences in visiting to the accident and emergency department at the hospital have turned out quite well. We were more than happy each time to know that she was alright after the big issues despite the troubles and worries.

This time, she complains about her eyes and I hope it is just because of her obsession with her games on the phone that may have given her the signal to rest her eyes more. She is basically lacking of sleep everyday and yet she can spend her time gaming before going to sleep.

May all be well.

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It is my character that is ruining me

I was glad that my brothers had kept my mum entertained with her cell phone earlier on so that I could concentrate on my work.

I was some kept breathless worse than ever with the amount of work piling up.

I remained in my usual contradiating self after all these years, having problems with my priority. I failed to reject friends over and over again.

I could never forget when I was struck with the old Nokia phone that could not read half of my contacts for more than three months, Mike told me he actually planned to buy me an iPhone 4. Even though I did not want him to spend on non-essential items on me, his words had strike me badly.

I could not even fare for myself to help others. The number of times I refused to take a break at the verge of breaking down laughed at me. There were plans for creative as well as critical jobs but I was ransacked totally off my time.

Yes, it was true that I had spent so much time helping others instead of trying to get out of my own poverty, I did not deserve any gift from people who cared so much for my success in life.

I knew my situation well but it was my born character to help others, especially the kind ones. Everytime I stabbed myself to lend my hands to friends, I felt guilty to myself and people who cared for me.

Nobody could understand my woes and few could realize the supposed-to-be little amount of time they could squeeze out from me for their convenience’s sake had stalled the progress of my cumulative result.

I often have to draw myself away from people to avoid more entanglements. Sometimes I mock to myself having to reject freelance jobs that can raise my personal portfolio.

Life has been a great torment all these years.

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