Year 2013 – Year of Stagnant & Frustration

My year 2013 was full of downs. It was a year when things were not moving fast enough.

Family

My elder brother finally got married. There was not much difference since his wife aka my sister-in-law had been staying with us for more than half of the weeks for many years. A joy for my mum was that she needed not be working super hard to find out if both my elder brother and his wife would be joining us for dinner everyday. There was less grumble about this and thus relieving some stress from me.

Luckie was one of my greatest problems apart from the joy and comfort he had given to me. As I was staying at home most of the time, he had been posing lots of troubles to me. I had to clear his pee and poo and he would pester me to bring him down for a walk every now and then. My elder brother would usually lock him out of the bedroom at night and I would still be the one clearing all the shit since my younger brother was not at home most of the time. Luckie was unofficially an abandoned dog since his daddy had been neglecting him as I could use my fingers to count the number of times my elder brother had brought him out of the house. There was a period of time when I felt so bad for Luckie that I tried to bring him down almost every weekday but I gave up, knowing my elder brother would continue to neglect him if he knew someone was taking good care of Luckie. Whenever I thought of the moment I told my elder brother that I would not be free to help to take care of a dog before we brought Luckie home, I felt stupid.

My younger brother moved over to his good friend Derrick’s place for some months as it was nearer to his school. That was a period of time when I became even more stress since he was the one who would settle everything in my house, including sorting out bills and my mum. I was also worried about his safety, especially his illness, when I could not get to see him during weekdays.

Money was the greatest evil in the universe. My family was plagued with issues with money as usual that often I wished I could just move out of the house to avoid torment of my ears. Basically, my mum continued to grumble at my elder brother frequently for she expected him to help out with the household expenditure, including grocery. My younger brother also joined in to nag over the wastage of electricity. Things got better eventually after some dramas. I felt our relationships had improved a lot and the bond was strong.

My mum gave me one of the greatest headaches as usual, behaving like a child most of the time. It would not going to be fun when you already had big problems with your work and someone kept asking you obvious or stupid questions, grumbling over small things or repeating stories over the phone near you. For example, she would watch her favourite Taiwanese drama and turned over to ask what was happening in the show when obviously I was busy with my stuff to even care about the noisy television.

Friends

As I was stuck with work and photography, and facing financial downtime, I did not get to go out with many friends. At times, I rejected gathering invitations in order to cut down on expenditure and it was difficult to make people believe how bad my situation was – besides, I was really busy, with many non-profitable stuffs though. The person I went out most with was Gilbert. Even for my volleyball gang, there was limited number of beach outing and there were groups within group. I did a few voluntary work with the voluntary gang and the experience with them was fulfilling. The few get-together sessions with my younger brother and our common friends were excellent. I got to meet up with old friends like Hoay Min, Guoxin, Xiuwen, Mike and Wanling etc. There was a rare occasion of meet-up with ex primary school friends and unfortunately I had not been keeping touch with them and could not remember the childhood encounters with most of them. I also attended quite a few wedding dinners and was a loner at a couple of the tables. I got to meet quite a number of new friends through photography but I was not able to keep in touch with most of them. Irwin returned to Singapore a few times but I only managed to meet up with him for once.

I learned to distinguish between net friends and real life friends, as well as true friends and fine weather friends. I was, however, still trying to learn to lower down my expectation for people in order not to torture myself. If you were to treat others very good, do not ever expect them to treat you even half as good. Sometimes, I just felt too guilty when friends like Gilbert treated me too well because there was nothing I could offer to him as a buddy.

Somehow, I felt very isolated sometimes despite I had quite a few groups of caring friends. There was no close friend who stayed near me and shared the same hobby – photography.

Health

Ah Pa introduced her friend, Dickson, to me and with his knowledge and experience in Chinese medication, my back problem improved a lot, even though it was still haunting me. I got sick less frequently than before ever since I started taking manuka honey, keeping the usual sore throat, cough and flu away from me most of the time. However, my right arm gave me pain for many months due to beach volleyball. At the last quarter of the year, I also sprained or slightly dislocated my fingers after holding onto the camera for too long hours without rest.

I rarely exercised. It was the thought that I could have spent the time to bring Luckie down for a stroll that placed me in a deep dilemma. He could not run for long.

Relationship

At the beginning of the year, I got close to a girl but she was too busy to keep in touch with me after a week. Then, I realised she was not the one for me. I was never close to any girl despite getting to know many nice girls, especially through photography; in fact, I was too engrossed in photography that most of my chats were just discussions about the shoots. At least I could stand tall to say that I did not use photography as an excuse to get closer to girls.

No girl was able to spend time with me and I would never want to go into a relationship that I could only get to see my girlfriend once every fortnight.

I was also never anxious about getting a girlfriend given my financial situation. Perhaps, I had become a boring person with the countless numbers of worries and problems in my mind. I agreed that nice girls would not mind about my current financial status but I would mind if I could not give my girl a comfortable life. I would rather let nature take its own course.

The route to starting a family was not within my line of sight. I was, perhaps, depressed over the price of HDB flats. The supposed-to-be public housing to make sure every Singaporean had a roof over his head was more like a money-generating tool to push GDP up, so that the rich could become richer. I was not confident, at the moment, that I could afford a house in future.

Finance

I could hardly sustain my life despite I had been ill-treating myself. Income was at all time low since my NS days while I had to continue to give “protection money” every month, which was much more than I would spend on myself. CPF’s medisave extortion and life insurance added on to my burden. Basically, I was draining my saving every month with my bank account getting lighter. I got some of the cheapest camera gears but they were enough to weigh me down further more – photography was an expensive hobby and trade.

Most people who knew me well would know about my thriftiness but many did not realise that I was actually not earning much income. Almost everyone did not know I was in fact making negative income due to various financial loads as mentioned above. It was a joke when there were people who still tried to borrow money from met. Obviously they knew I was a very soft guy, and thus they would rather approach me than other mutual friends who were doing very well. This had helped me to reflect a lot on myself.

Due to the income problem, I hesitated a lot over to upgrade my photography gears that would bring me to a higher level. It affected me tremendously mentally.

On a better note, I would never get starved because I was thrifty and there were many kind people surrounding me. Before my saving could exhaust, I would have done better.

Work

My tuition agency was in a bad state as a few of the more consistent coordinators had left or taking up fewer assignments, and SEO was not well. ET got into a Taiwanese singing competition, Super Idol 8, and he had less time to help out, which resulted in a great fall of revenue since he was a very good worker. Unfortunately, the business model was more about helping parents than making big bucks – I knew of more ways that was less manpower intensive. Since it was my only source of income, it explained how bad my financial state was at. On a brighter side, I was also able to spend more time on picking up photography. That was because I was too lazy and frustrated to work on more features on my website.

I had to spend hours on my work everyday, including weekends. The workload was never consistent but the administration work had to be done daily. The least I had to do was to go through every new and updated tutors’ profiles, and also their submitted documents. I had to do SEO at least once in a couple of days. I had to be consistent with these because I placed myself in the tutors’ shoes that I would be anxious about my account and documents statuses. As for SEO, it would fall badly and would take many months or even years to pick up. Nobody understood how much effort I had to put in daily in order for my tuition agency to be recognised.

The most frustrating thing was that most people would think that I was very free. My time was very flexible but I was never free. I did not like the feeling of being the default person to handle everything whenever shit happened. If things had to be done, they had to be done and I would suck my thumb to settle them but not if being forced to. In other words, I hated to be taken granted of. This was pushing me to give up and simply get a “8 to 5” job instead. A pity that I was a very determined person. I had to work smarter but it was never easy to learn.

Photography

I spent most of my time on photography. I went through countless number of Youtube videos and websites. I took lots of time to go through potential models’ photos, discuss with them, shoot and do the post-processing work, which included filtering the photos and photoshopping. Unfortunately, lots of time for pre-shooting was wasted because of “models” who were wasting my time. It was very frustrating when things were confirmed and the other parties called them off out of a sudden or simply went MIA (missing-in-action).

Through photography, I was able to talk to more people but at the same time, I was also distanced away from many people. In fact, I was too focused in photography that I hardly kept in touch with my models after the shoots. Nevertheless, some of them were in relationship and I had to maintain a safe distance with them. I was also able to find out who were my true friends eventually.

Portrait photoshoot was very tough on me since I was too soft when dealing with my models and the shoots usually did not turn up half as good as I had expected. I was never a commanding person – even when I was lecturing in ITE, I would never instruct any student to help me in anything simple. I did learn a lot but the progress was never fast enough as there were too many things to learn at the same time while my gears were limited. In fact, I had to learn how to use the gears, see lighting, get good composition, watch out for model’s appearance and makeup, and pose the model at the same time.

Tricia guided me a lot through her experience but her critics killed my confidence often. I had problems communicating with her at times because of her extremely serious typing errors in Facebook messenger. There were too much expectation on me, pouring pressure and stress over my helplessness. Sometimes I felt like I was trying to fly before I had learned how to even crawl. Throughout the entire year, I spent most of my days in depression because of the photos I owed people despite I had warned them of the long timeframe before the shoot. I was more anxious than the models to get the photos done so that I could move on to other shoots. Tricia was too busy to go through the photos with me but without her catching errors on the photos (mostly due to makeup and hair), the final photos would not turn out to be good.

I got to realise the limitation of my first DSLR camera – Sony NEX F3 mirrorless. The auto focus speed was simply too slow and I could not expect the models to pause their expression, especially during event shoot. It did not come with a hotshoe and I could not attach an external flash without buying an additional costly adapter. I bought my Canon 650D but things did not go smoothly. I realised the cropped factor of the body was 1.6x, which was lousier than Sony NEX F3’s 1.5x – 1x (full frame) was the best. Since Sony was using Carl Zeiss lens, the quality was much better as well. Canon’s 50mm F1.8 lens was far lousier than Sony’s. Therefore, it was actually a downgrade of image quality that I could never get used to and in fact, it was affecting me badly. Instead of working on my creativity during the shoots, I was badly distracted by the quality of images. I lost my confidence ever since the switch. I knew I needed a better camera.

AFter I got both my photography website and Facebook page up, there were more models approaching me for photoshoot. However, most of them were not serious. Unfortunately, I was someone who would be putting in my best effort every time. I was also disappointed by the results of my Facebook marketing, such that the number of fans for a start was far less than what I had expected.

Through photography, I had learned a lot, especially on human. Most people would not bother much if things were to come for free. I had tasted lots of fake enthusiasm. At least, I was comforted by the existence of great friends, especially Tricia.

The Space to Start Family, Not Sex

I was having dinner with Jake’s mum together with my mum and younger brother on Wednesday when she asked me why I did not get a girlfriend.

At first, I told her I could not get any. Later, I admitted to her that some of the main problems were due to lack of time and financial stability, and that my house was small.

Her response was that it did not matter even if my house was very crowded because I needed not to bring my girlfriend home to do business when I was in a relationship.

I was stunned and embarrassed as my brain went into a daze. For some time until we changed topic, I had forgotten my initial reason.

It was not about the space for sex I was talking about, but the future.

If I were to have a girlfriend and we decide to get married one day, we would need countless bidding for a new BTO flat that is “affordable” (my foot!). It would then take at least three years for the flat to be built and be ready.

No, I would not want to get a resales flat in the ridiculous open market and live in greater debt.

The rich people who always pretend to sound puzzled over why the birthrate in Singapore is falling badly are responsible for the downfall. People hate them for good reasons.

I would never want any girl to suffer with me. People may argue that a girl who is worthy of my love would not mind suffering with me but I would still leave things to fate before I am confident of taking care of another person.

Bitch, Bitches

[Wednesday, 24 November, 2010]

I finished up a page about Stress Management for Smart Tuition and went to sleep as early as right after 2am.

I woke up before 6am because of Lucky moving around. I was very scared that he wanted to pee or even do his big business that I opened the door a few times for him. In the end, I switched off the air-conditioner and went back to sleep with the door opened so that he could go outside any time.

I woke up after 9am eventually caused by the renovation noise of the unit above. The disgusting bitch decided to join in the fun of the HDB home improvement after all my surrounding units had completed ours.

The renovation was actually planned well enough that the work would start for one unit on three storeys (vertical) each time for two weeks. In the mid of the two weeks, the next three units (horizontal) beside them would proceed. Upon completion of the first three units, the next three units below would have their turns.

I did not expect the terrible noise and air pollution would come back a month after everything was cleared up. I started cursing her when I recalled how much time I had spent cleaning the kitchen’s windows and frames right after our renovation, because the dust and dirt had their best hideout in between the windows and frames; unless I could remove the entire windows from the frame to clean them, nothing much could be done to clean them.

I was extremely disgusted and disappointed at the management of the project for allowing such incident to happen. The noise and dust had badly affected my family and I. I had to change my plan to go to the gym earlier to do work and train up before the meeting in the late evening. I had to stay at home to bear with the noise with all the windows closed, because I could not leave Lucky inside the kitchen anymore like usual when everyone was out. My younger brother went down to the third storey to escape from the shit soon since he had to study for his exams.

I was very fed up and the nasty network connection worsened my mood. I replaced the old router my elder brother took from his girlfriend with our original tiny one, and the connection was much faster and I needed not refresh the pages multiple times in order to get some images loaded.

In the early afternoon, nobody was at home except me. Lucky surprised me by going into the bedroom alone and slept on my bed. I went in a few times to check on him and he followed me out like normal but he went in again. I was not sure why he was so “emo”. He was never like this even if my elder brother was not home and I suspected it was due to the drilling noises caused by the bitch. Anyway, during my house’s renovation, I stayed inside the bedroom almost the entire day with Lucky, and I suspected it was partly due to this experience that he thought he should stay inside.

In the mid afternoon, my mum returned home with a neighbour who stayed next block. My house was the “show flat” again and I was quite sick of it. Moreover, this auntie asked me to carry Lucky when I was trying hard to rush my work. I got so disgusted for I could not do my work anymore.

In the evening, I tried my luck in Facebook to look for people to go to the movie with me for the next day. Luck was not with me but it was a really good try for I did not expect to get a response that I did not have for many years. Eventually I had to leave my house for the meeting at the gym. I tried to do my work-out but I only got to complete one station before the meeting started.

We were stuck at the same issue until Andrew thought of an alternative. Since it was not foolproof, I still could not see a confirmed success.

.

Assistance Required to Resolve Inconsiderate HDB Corridor Smoking

Will the Media or Government sector or MP reply, first?

reach@reach.gov.sg
frontline@mediacorpnews.com
HPB_Quit4Life@hpb.gov.sg
Contact_NEA@nea.gov.sg
ykbaey@gmail.com

Dear Sir/Mdm,

I reside at Blk 3, TG Pagar Plaza #16-* S081003. My neighbour, staying a storey above me at #17-26, has been lighting his cigarette at the corridor everyday. Since it is very near to my house, the smoke is being blown into my house every time.

The smoke has affected my entire family’s health badly, causing breathing difficulties and cough. It is very unfair to my family. Correct me if I’m wrong but I understand that no organisation nor the government will pay for our medication bill due to such inconsiderate act.

I have approached the man politely on 29th Dec 2009 at around 5.30pm when he was smoking at the corridor in the presence of his wife. He claimed that there was no law prohibiting smoking at the corridor and that he could not control the wind. I walked off in his arrogant tone.

I do realise the sad fact that there is no law against smoking at the corridor. However, since my family’s health is at stake, I hope you can kindly help to resolve the problem before there are greater health issues or disputes arise in future.

Thanks and Regards,
Chan Kai Lun

.

Killed another HDB Appointment

[Tuesday, 05 June, 2007]

I slept at around 3.30am and waked up at 7.45am like usual. There was a meeting at work in the morning and I almost “died” there. Basically I knew I had to work no matter what changes were going to be made, therefore I was not very interested in the contents other that Han Seng was leaving the company.

I had lunch at Amara Hotel with the guys before leaving for home during after noon. Just then, a girl from MediaCorp called me and asked if I were free for a filming the next day and this time I would be given lines. I had to reject her even though it would be another good experience for me.

I left for Toa Payoh and met up with Kelly. It was good that Penis Seah did not go down and instead, he sent Lester and Yanyan down. Kelly did not stay long before leaving with her other client. The clients were late as usual and the appointment was delayed badly. I supposed some of the officers had taken leave and thus, appointments were pushed to other officers, which resulted in the long waiting time.

Actually, I felt very reluctant to go down for the appointment. Anyone could just take my place to go down for completion and since we were co-broking with another agent and we actually represented JTC, Francis had told me I was not required to go down at all. At least, that would mark the end of the interaction with Penis Seah and I was drawing nearer to freedom from those cheap labour jobs.

Before peace could restore in my mind while waiting for the queue to be called, Kelly called me and told me to get number from the buyers. There was this rules that we were not supposed to exchange numbers with co-broke agents’ clients and I felt really weird to abide to Kelly’s instruction. This was one of the reasons why I hated the line because those experienced agents always told me to be straight but I had to start suspecting.

Kelly’s intention was to help the buyers to install SCV, which was her side line. Since she had met up with them a few days ago for the final inspection, she could have taken the number herself on that day. What was more was that she had given them her number and it was impossible for her to forget to get theirs. Anyway, I talked to Lester and got his permission to do it in front of all of them. Yanyan did test the couple out by asking them about the SCV thing.

Anyway, I could have left right after coming out from the officer’s room after the appointment was over but I had to stay for the sake to help Kelly to get the number. I had to wait for them to finish applying for fire insurance and SP services, which took another half an hour.

I tried to rush home immediately and was very disappointed to see that the UOB bank’s teller department was closed and that I could not activate my Visa Mini card, which I needed for renewal of my domain and possibly, acquiring of other new domains.

After reaching home, I dozed off from five to eight. After doing some work, I went into my brother’s room to “blow” air-con and I started playing Condition Zero with him, also to try out his laptop.

Towards midnight, we started checking the price of computer hardware.

The Worst Bank in Singapore

[Friday, 25 May, 2007]

I got to sleep from 2am to 8am and was satisfied with my performance to sleep early. I continued with some work before setting off to my company.

I was intending to fulfil the client’s request by changing an advertisement banner of the S-League website but somehow there was no changes reflected on the actual site. It was only till an hour later, Sheila dropped by and told me I was only uploading it to the company’s server and not the actual one. That was the IP which she saw in my email and told me to transfer the new file into. It seemed like I had to put in much more effort to really figure out everything.

I continued with transferring of contents from an old website to the developing site and I was getting a better hand of it. However, I was not sure of my speed and the most important thing was to meet the deadline. Liza told me it was okay for I was only a beginner but that did not justify the speed of my work. I had been working so hard, trying to avoid errors and also made extra effort to check the actual day of the week of each article when only the date was provided, such that the entire date format would be really standardised. I did not want to work too slow nor fast, which would cause delay or extra workload.

I took a half day leave in this first week of my new job. I left for home at 1pm and my mum had bought nasi lemak for me. While travelling to Toa Payoh, I almost overshot after dozing off and managed to dash out of the train seconds before the doors closed. I took a seat at the first level of the HDB Hub and was shocked to realise Kelly was already at level two, and was more surprised that she did not give me a call. George and his wife arrived later and somehow, we were delayed.

Rinna called Kelly and I quickly went down to meet her. It was the first time I dealt with non JTC resale flat and I was not sure of the actual procedure; worst still, there was a bank loan and non HDB lawyer involved.

The lawyer, Wendy, had told me hours ago that there was a problem with Maybank issuing the Cashier Order (cheque) and she would call me back to update me. I received no news from her and Rinna asked me to give Wendy a call and since it was my job, I tried it but Wendy was not in the office, placing question marks in my brain.

I was so shocked of these “professionals” – Chris Chong Law Firm and Maybank. I was not sure who was at fault but what we were facing was huge transaction of money and existing big players of this market should never give such crap that the appointment time was ripe but we heard no news from them.

We had to embarrassingly tell the HDB officer that the lawyer was not there yet and also told the sellers to go and have some food. Meanwhile, Rinna pressed me to follow up on Wendy and only at the third call, she was back in office. Yet again, she told me she would get back to me when the bank’s Cashier Order was released.

This time, Rinna told me to call the banker directly and I went to the Maybank branch nearby to seek for Grace’s number and the receptionist refused to give me the number. I had to go back to the HDB officer’s room embarrassingly again to retrieve the bank’s letter of offer to search for Grace’s number. Eventually, I was able to contact her but she told me it was not her problem anymore. She put my line on hold for a couple of minutes before giving me a number to contact someone called Steven Lee. I could not get through his line and after a few minutes, I finally succeeded and he sounded quite polite and offered to help me check about it without shrinking responsibility. Rinna got me to call Wendy back and this time, she was besides me and said loudly that the law firm should have collected the Cashier Order a day before. Wendy was already not in a very polite tone, sounding quite pissed, and upon hearing about this, she raised her voice and claimed that it was Maybank’s practise not to release the Cashier Order a day before the appointment. Since I was new to the line, I was not very sure who was at fault but I was glad that I had done my part, and definitely more than that.

After some time, almost an hour after the actual appointment time, Wendy called me back and told me her runner was collecting the Cashier Order at Maybank’s Ang Mo Kio branch and would take another fifteen more minutes to arrive. Steven Lee called me back soon after and told me it was done and I was too boiled to talk more. After some time, Rinna told me to call the runner, Edmund, and he was already at the car park. We finally went back into the officer’s room and did everything, which ended fast.

By the time we finished everything, I realised it was near 5pm and there was no chance for me to hurry back to the agency to submit the cheque from George and to collect the cheque of 219 Ang Mo Kio – my plan was screwed up by either the law firm or bank, or both of them. it was a rare chance that I could take a half day leave to settle stuffs, which was a great sacrifice since I could have saved the leave to go out with friends and not giving any bad impression to my new company for taking leave on the first week of work. Moreover, the following Monday onwards I had to continue to work and the agency would not wait for me after 6pm. The law firm and bank had given me such big problem that I was unable to go back to the agency to settle my stuffs.

I could not help but feel so pissed off even though I had told myself not to get so fed up over bastards. It was just too ridiculous for them to display such unprofessional service. Apart from me, the sellers had taken time off from his work just to attend the appointment and the delay would give problems for him to return back to work in time. In fact, the HDB officer complained to us about the bank as well for their repeatedly delaying of time. Rinna was asking me to cool down but I was the one facing all the stupid phone calls and obviously she was not as pissed off as me.

If any bank is causing delay of more than an hour, it does reflect and clearly show their capability. They play with investment and each second can pose so much difference to the huge sum of money that their clients have entrusted in them. How can anyone trust them then?

If any bank cannot meet the timing of the appointments, causing more than an hour of delay each time, their license for home loan should be annulled. Why would Singapore’s government want to continue the service of lousy bank which gives problems to the entire country, causing inconvenience and time lost?

Law firm:
– had typo errors on the document on the first meet-up
– failed to push the bank to release Cashier Order on time
– failed to contact me to update me earlier as promised
– played “missing” at crucial time
– failed to present proper tone on phone

Bank:
– failed to submit documents to law firm
– refused to submit documents to law firm
– did not practise releasing of Cashier Order a day before
– failed to release Cashier Order on actual day
– refused to give contact of banker
– denied responsibility

Kaven finally called me back from overseas but everything was already solved. Rinna told me to apply SP services for Kaven and I left soon after that. Right after getting up the train, I remembered Mingfa wanted to meet me at Toa Payoh at 5pm and I had earlier told him that I could be rushing to the agency. I called him immediately since it was near 5pm and I could have waited for him there but he told me he had cancelled his appointment. Kaven called me again and I accidentally cancelled it. After calling him back, I checked my phone and realised I had exceeded the free talk time for the month; moreover I gave Kaven an overseas call minutes ago.

After reaching home, I dozed off. Backache was terrorising me the entire day. After waking up, I started packing my work area lazily.

First HDB Appointment with Penis Seah

[Tuesday, 08 May, 2007]

I made a miracle of sleeping at 2am. It was all for the HDB first appointment which I would be facing the bastard Penis Seah. Since his attitude was ridiculous at times, I needed to catch more sleep in order to obtain the concentration to screw him back any time.

I waked up at 6am but continued to laze on the bed for another half an hour. My mum prepared milo and dumped biscuits inside, which was a dangerous thing because it used to play prank on my stomach every time. I realised I should have ordered half boiled eggs.

I took train to Toa Payoh as usual and reached by 8am. I knew for sure the buyers would be late. Fifteen minutes later, I went up to level two since JTC flats were only served there by six of the officers and the clients might have gone up there directly as indicated by the letter. Another fifteen minutes later, I saw someone who looked like Penis Seah at level one but I did not care about him for he could have called me when he could not find me and I did not want my number to appear in his phone.

I called Kelly to confirm if she was coming because she should be more experienced to face the bastard but she sounded like dying and told me she was having a headache. I was hoping she could also pass me Kaven’s documents as well and it was the second time she did not turn up. Since she had done a number of tasks, I could not blame her.

I called Penis Seah immediately and he claimed that I should meet him at counter A since all agents usually did that. I did not want to argue with him saying that we did not agree to meet up there, and thus I just told him I was going down to find him. We met up with his clients soon and proceeded to the room in a short while. During the process, the way he talked to me was surprisingly not arrogant. I was suspecting that it was because of the presence of his clients.

Anyway, it was a fast appointment for the clients were taking bank loan. I followed them to the ATM to collect the valuation report’s money and later, requested them for the commission cheque which they had prepared earlier. I offered to accompany them up to the law firm even though I was not sure if I was supposed to do so, but it was truly based on sincerity since their agents did not tag along. At least, I did manage to learn new things about the procedure and I met my objective of comparing the lawyers’ attitudes. I also got to chat with the clients and realised they were really nice people.

Kelly was asking me to get their contact numbers such that we could find out about the completion date since Penis Seah was not cooperative at all and would never tell us about it in order to make things difficult for us. However, it seemed not right to do to get contact numbers from co-broke agent’s clients even though Kelly claimed it was alright this time. Anyway, I told her they had to contact me in order to bring their contractors down to plan for the renovation as well as treating it as a final inspection. Basically, I seriously thought that we could have approached JTC for all the appointment dates, which they ought to assist us, instead of approaching buyers’ agents. I was really lost because all the while I listened to Kelly and she might not get all the correct information.

The lift’s button at the office was finally upgraded and I loved the luminous blue colour.

I took bus 153 to Bukit Merah Bus Interchange and went to the office. Winnie was away and I waited there quite long for her. James saw me and even passed some documents for me to pass to Winnie. The big boss, Andy Low, saw me and greeted me always.

I took bus 145 home and it was pretty crowded again. On the way, I received a call from Jingkun to ask me down to Clementi ITE to play volleyball. Since Weitat was going for reservice the next day, I decided to join them no matter what. Just after I rushed home and got changed, they informed me of a change of time. It was changed from 2pm to 2.30pm and finally at 3pm.

The delay of time was pretty good for me as Weitat called me after 2pm to check if I was at home and offered to drive me over since he was at Tampiness and was on the way. By the time he arrived at my place, we were already late. Since Mingfa was waiting for us since long ago, Jingkun was asking us to go down to Clementi to meet Mingfa immediately but in the end, we proceeded to fetch him.

We went to a coffee shop near the Clementi MRT, which they claimed was very famous for the western food. I paid $6 for my fish and chips and the fries tasted more salty as potato chips. It was after 4pm, we proceeded to Clementi ITE but realised Mingfa’ students had not set up the net yet.

I joined them to jog one round around the school campus which was a torture to my full stomach. I continued to play with them at the side of the court and during breaks, we went in to do spiking and I had difficulties stretching my body. Mingfa and Jingkun left at around 6pm. Weitat was offering to send me to Harbourfront Centre but Mingen told me to stay behind to accompany him. I knew it was meaningless to play with the girls but decided to stay. The girls played two matches against themselves and I was worried for Mingfa because they might not be able to bring him glory for the competition this year. We did not play any match after that and I was wasting my time around.

Mingen sent me to the T-junction and I walked very fast to the MRT station. I realised a few of Mingfa’s players were quite hardworking for they chose to walk instead of taking bus. After taking the train home, I went to jog. Even though I was tired, I managed to maintain a good timing like the previous time.

After that was catching up with my work and kissing the television set.

I Did Not Sleep Again; HDB Hub, Law Firm, Clementi ITE

[Thursday, 19 April, 2007]

I played Condition Zero with my elder brother from 2am until 5am, but after that, I still could not doze off. It became so obviously that my mindful of stuffs were determined to keep me awake. I left my house at 7am and unfortunately, arrived at Toa Payoh at 7.30am.

Just as I was trying to find the coffee shop which Kelly always brought me to, Kaven called me and told me his sister was at the Ya Kun Kaya Toast. Suddenly, I felt a hit on my leg and it was from a bike. That auntie was absurd to cycle at that area and when she was near me, she did not make any soft voice that would attract my attention. Since I could not find Fui Yen, I went inside the HDB hub and waited there alone.

I knew obviously something was wrong. Kaven had told me before that the appointment was at 8.45am but Kelly told both of us to go at 8am. since for the previous HDB first appointments I had attended, Kelly had told me to reach only fifteen minutes earlier, which she did not turn up punctually everytime as well, I roughly guessed it was too much of an extra effort to go so early.

Luckily Kaven was late for around fifteen minutes and after which, he called me and we met up. It was a terrible situation to have to answer to them why Kelly was not present when she was still holding some of his documents. What was more was that I had not been through a normal first appointment other than the JTC flats ones, which was said to be different.

Rinna’s clients, the sellers, arrived and they got the queue number already. I did not keep track of the time anymore since the presence of the experienced agents seemed more important. The number was called but the counter was empty. I was quite pressured by then for I knew the co-broke agent had to be around even though I should be able to handle everything myself if nothing went wrong.

I made a call to Rinna after waiting for some time and she told me she had just arrived. It was exactly the appointment time, which was 8.15am. We proceeded on without waiting for Kelly. I was worried for her for she usually would set auto answer for her phone but this time it continued to ring and she did not pick it up.

Things went on quite smoothly but we had to borrow the original OTP to make photocopies for we had to go to the law firm after that and the documents were with Kelly. The shop near escalator charged ten cents for each piece of paper and I was sure they had made a lot of money. Kelly finally called me back when I was going to return the OTP back to Mr Kee; it was kind of at the wrong time but Rinna helped me to pass to him instead. The sellers came out shortly. Kaven gave a call to Kelly and thus, we were kind of having a conference. Then, she promised to meet at the law firm afterwards at 11am, which was almost two hours away.

We went to Ya Kun Kaya Toast for breakfast and Kaven bought my share even though I had told him I did not want to eat anything. I had two eggs, some breads and a cup of iced milk tea. He did not expect to get so many eggs and he had to take six of them since he did not want his dad to take any. His dad thought I was from Beijing for the accent he heard.

We set off in Kaven’s car then and I was quite surprised that they found it squeezing to have three persons sitting behind. We went to Shenton Way but could not find the place and since Kaven told me it was besides his office’s building, I thought I could count on him. I learned my lesson that I should check out everything by myself as well instead of depending on others. We went to the wrong building and had to walk over.

Just as we were walking near the building, Kaven asked about Kelly. I called her and she used private number to call me back and I could guess that she could not make it since she was should be at home. She told me she was looking for her bike’s keys and I was quite embarrassed to explain to Kaven that she could not make it again.

It was my first visit to a law firm, which was nothing impressive. Wendy was a middle aged lady, sounding much friendlier than the banker from May Bank, Grace. However, I thought she could do better in her fact-finding from the bank before making any assumption, which ended up delaying the time and causing of confusion. Luckily Kaven was alert and hardworking enough to do his sum.

After spending almost an hour at the law firm (Chris Chong), I took bus 10 to Vivocity. I messaged Weitat to meet him up but he did not reply. Therefore, I dropped my plan to visit him at Harbourfront first and instead, I went straight to the Rip Curl shop. The two girls were chatting all the way until I was very near them, which was different from other staffs in other shops, who would serve their potential customers once they stepped into the shop, or at least gave some greetings. One of them was quite a cute girl and I got the registration form for the Rip Curl beach volleyball competition from her.

I was stunned at first when I saw that there was no slot to put a name for reserve. I stood there for some time to read the lengthy paragraphs but it seemed to be useless. I went out to give a call to Mingfa but he cancelled my call. I gave a second try and he cancelled it faster than the previous time. Suddenly I realised he was using my tactic to call me back using his house’s phone so that it would be cheaper. I explained to him that Jinyang aka sheep had promised to join us, which was quite rare and thus I wanted them to play together, leaving myself out of the team; most importantly, I was not a good spiker for my height and they could have higher chance without me. Mingfa did not want to leave me out for I was the organiser and he told me we should discuss over it some other time. I went back to get a second registration form.

Just as I was on my way home, Weitat finally picked up my call and told me he was sick and did not go to work. Soon after reaching home, Justus arrived and saw me at home. Soon, he came over to do his mathematics works again. Since Mingfa had called me earlier to tell me he was going to play billiard with Mingen, I did not push Justus away. I was having a chat with Xinyi at the same time and she told me she might be going down to Clementi ITE with Guoxin. Halfway through, Kelly called me and told me she was sick. She wanted me to go down to JTC Summit to collect three pairs of keys from Miss Lee.

At first, I was still considering whether to go down to Clementi ITE or not, but since I had to go down to Jurong East, I decided I should not waste the trip since they were nearby. Justus finally left at 4pm and I started to pack up. I gave Miss Lee a call and was surprised that she already knew I would be going down as Kelly had told me to contact her instead. However, one out of the three pairs of keys Kelly asked for was different. Since the four flats had finished the first appointments, I decided to take all of them instead. I called Kelly to double confirm with her but her daughter answered the phone and told me she was asleep.

My 4 branches of old friends and my personal keys

I took train to Jurong East and saw a few cute girls but soon the train was well packed that there was no sight of them. It was my first trip down to JTC Summit and it was only then I guessed that was the JTC headquarter. I was able to find my way inside except that I could not see the “resales” department. I went to the “sales” department and spoke to a guy who went in to find Miss Lee for me. I was quite disappointed when he came out with the keys instead of Miss Lee for I thought I could get to see her after talking over the phone with her. She sounded very young even though Winnie told me she was married.

I took bus 198 towards Bukit Merah. A pretty girl was nearby and I could sense that she was somehow curious about me, maybe for my four pairs of old friends hanging on the Carabineer attached to my phone pouch. I alighted at Weitat’s house’s bus-stop and walked to Clementi ITE.

I joined Mingfa and his girl team in the slow jog around the school. Weitat arrived soon, followed by Jingkun and Guoxin together with Xinyi, which was very rare. I was uncomfortable with the low net but did not do well in spiking despite the low height. I joined in the matches in the end but it was pretty boring for the girls were not strong enough to play against us.

When the training ended, we played three against three and Guoxin refused to join in. We had fun except that my shoe’s sole came off and my moment was restricted. My back-aching problem could explain why I was not able to spike as good as the previous time. Since there was problem with my right shoulder’s joint still, I could not serve normally and had to use back my very old method of serving to use some back muscle, which proved quite useful with the strength. In the end, I took off my shoes and was able to move freely, except that it caused pains on my feet.

Our lao da

Pretty eyes Xinyi

Neo Weitat

Mr available Ou

After the break, I did not join them in the training for my lousy shoes. Guoxin left before we went to bathe and Jingkun went off without us. After that, the five of us went to the famous coffee shop again for the usual western food. We had chicken chops except for Xinyi.

By the time I reached home by train, it was almost 11pm and I missed a few parts of my “Zou Xiang Gong He”.

Headache

[Thursday, 15 March, 2007]

Before I could realise, it was already near 5am. After waking up in the afternoon, I started my daily routine of clearing my emails. I was basically waiting for my mum to come back with my meal and also Kelly to message me the particulars of the buyers for the flats.

After she gave me the details, she sent me another message to ask if I would mind that she disband the group. It was unfair to her all along that Jenny, Mingfa and I were kind of dragging her since she was doing most of the work and that Jenny did not even appear once. Looking at the other angle, also mentioned by friends, Kelly was too busy to really teach us.

I did not finish my lunch and left home at around 3pm as I was afraid the HDB branch office would not wait for me. After reaching the office, I was a bit weary somehow. The two attachment students were at Regina’s counter and the cute one looked quite expressionless. However, I met Regina just outside the photocopier room and she was smiling so happily finally. I got down to a seat and quickly started filling up the Salutatory Declaration forms before going down to the HDB branch office.

This time, the reception counter was empty and I pressed for the queue number myself for the first time. There were three counters available and somehow my wish was granted and I was served by Mr. Ho again. He looked friendliest among the officers and was also most professional.

I went back to the office afterwards and helped Kelly to get an invoice from Winnie. It was then I realised I had keyed in the wrong number into my phone and that was why I was unable to get through her line. She looked extremely shagged and sick that as if she would fall down anytime. Nevertheless, she was still as helpful.

I had a long wait at the bus interchange for bus 167. After reaching home, I finished up the remaining food for my lunch and started bathing. Then, I took MRT to Kovan to meet up with Kaven. His sister, Fui Yen, caught me at the door of Heartland Mall and I was very glad that she still remembered me. I got to meet their mum and later, Kaven joined us after buying his drinks.

It was only near 7pm, which was an hour away from the arranged time. Kaven’s mum wanted to go up to the Hougang flat immediately and I was quite lost. I called Kelly and got Rina’s number from her and tried to see if Rina could arrange to let us go up earlier. I was lectured by Kelly for she said I was supposed to control the situation. Nevertheless, I did my part to ring up Rina who told me the owners were inconvenient to let us go up earlier.

The worst came while we were approaching Kaven’s car, for he and his sister had a tiff. I was not worried about my commission but the sudden cancellation of the second viewing of the flat in jus less than an hour’s time. We paused at a car park for some time before proceeding to the flat. I did not understand their language on the car but I felt so awkward to sit in their family’s dispute. It kept my head spinning.

Luckily, Kelly had reached there earlier to wait for us. I had quite awkward encounter when Kaven’s mum asked me about why Maybank was not giving any gift. I explained to her that its interest rate was lower than other banks and that could be the reason why they were not giving away any freebies. Then, his mum told me she had just bought a house in Malaysia and the bank offered zero commission for the first year. I became quite wary of his mum for I was afraid to give any wrong answer to her questions.

We did most of the documents at the void deck while waiting for the time to pass. Rina arrived at 8pm and we went up together. It was the third visit there and both Kaven and I loved the place. We stayed there to finish up the documents after Kaven and his family decided to buy it. Suimin called me twice to ask me for translation again when my mind was in chaos and was actually busy with the documentations.

After that, we went to the coffee shop across the street while waiting for Kelly to photocopy their identification cards. I did not buy any food for I was having headache. Kelly returned for the second time to let me sign some documents. Kaven was booked for parking his car outside the rubbish dump collecting place and was fined hundred bucks. He sent his mum and sister home before dropping me at my house.

The fact that I had to either get a part time job or switch to a better company troubled me and that could be the source of my illness. I would probably wait till finishing the course at my company before deciding on anytime. That was five months after joining the company, they finally got the course up and I wondered how many cheated people would attend the course for I believed many of them had already gotten themselves other jobs.

First Open Market’s Transaction

[Sunday, 04 March, 2007]

I began feeling worse and almost felt like dropping down onto the floor. The cough was irritating. However, as time passed by, I began to feel better.

I was waked up a number of times in the morning. Two hours after I dozed off at around 6am, my mum unintentionally and stupidly disturbed my sleep just to switch on the fan. Afterwards, my elder brother’s girlfriend came and they made so much noise and followed by phone calls.

I got up at around noon finally after Jingkun told me we were going to meet at 1.45pm. I could not finish my lunch and was eventually late for fifteen minutes. However, I had totally forgotten I was meeting the BMCC guys and I had to be late for an hour in order to match up with the latest comer. Jingkun’s girlfriend cocked up the day for us and eventually I went to Mingen’s house with only Meijun and Weitat.

Mingfa was already waiting there for us. Mingen’s house was big and nice and his mum was very friendly. I stayed until Wilson arrived and left with Mingfa to Hougang. Luckily I dropped Kaven a message for he thought the meeting was called off. Mingfa and I took bus to Choa Chu Kang MRT and finally reached Ang Mo Kio by train. Afterwards, we took bus 88 to Street 61.

Kaven reached there just before us and Suimin called me up when we were reaching. She was asking me about outputting Chinese in her computer. She was behaving weirdly like an insane somehow. This day, she turned into a tortoise.

This was the first time I experienced signing of OTP other than JTC flats’. Later on, I gave a call to Ruoci but she did not really sound like wanting to meet up and thus I followed Kaven home. I joined in the steamboat with his tenant and her friend. Then, I went for a swim with him and afterwards, got to meet up with his another two friends – Eric and Rina. By the side of the pool when I was shivering, I did not say many things and mainly it was because I did not want to say anything which Kaven did not want to announce yet.

Later on, he sent me to the Clementi MRT station and I managed to reach home at around 11pm.