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.

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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A Stressful Week

I don’t like to fall sick and I can’t afford to. I’m on my path to strive for my future and this is the route I have chosen, which differs from most people’s.

I don’t have medical leaves that others have. When I’m down, progress slow down and it will take longer for me to get away from poverty.

I know if I were to continue at the current pace, I will eventually do better than average people. I never want to give up not because I’m greedy but for my pride.

I may not be born in a silver spoon but I’m considered quite lucky to earn my experience. I have met worthy friends who have been showing me sincere concern – people who have been nagging at me to find a “proper” job. Though they don’t know my real concerns about my future and they never know I can begin something like now, I’m glad they have filled my life with true friendship.

I’m lucky because I manage to find a mentor who has been guiding me without demanding for any reward, except for a greater breakthrough in my progress. Though sometimes he may not understand the problems I’m facing is more than what he has analysed due to my lack of knowledge, I’m glad that the little skill I manage to absord out of his immortal web knowledge has managed to help me to struggle on.

I’m fighting hard to get things done as a perfectionist when I know clearly I’m still far from my own expectation. I’m not trained as a designer for corporate site nor have I worked as a programmer. I’m not even good in my language to create great contents. There are also administrative stuffs to handle such that I cannot focus on any of the tasks.

This week has been really bad. Having to debug the system means a reverse of progress. It has taken away not only my time but also my brain cells.

Now, I’m at the worst of my health after the stressful days.

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Sleeping Problems

[Sunday, 13 February, 2011]

I shared the last bottle of alcohol with my younger brother and I thought I could get to sleep early without taking melatonin. I went to sleep at 1am but the hungriness refused me to sleep. I grabbed some bites before going back to bed but the nose block caused by the air-conditioner spoiled my plan.

I carried my mattress out to the living room after 3am to sleep but it was not comfortable at all because it was thin and the mattress casing was rough. The main thing was that my nose was already blocked. Lucky poured in more agony as he moved around many times, changing his sleeping location. I was not sure what time I eventually dozed off but I went back to the bedroom at 7am.

I woke up at 2pm eventually. It was a tiring day and I spent my day working on SEO for the tuition agency site.

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Another Bad Experience at MediaCorp

[Tuesday, 25 January, 2011]

I went to bed at 2am and woke up at 7am for my haircut. The auntie had some conversation with me after the haircut as she advised me to speak up more.

I went home to take my shower and rest before leaving my house for MediaCorp. I reached at around 11.30am and went to the Annex building to do re-profiling. It started raining heavily and I went over to the wardrobe department. After opening the windows, there were three or four staffs inside and all of them were looking at me. I did not know which one was intending to entertain me and thus I stared in blank for some moment feeling very lost. The guy started reprimanding me for not following their instructions stick on the windows even though I was going there to show them my own clothes and not borrowing any clothe from them. It was merely out of professionalism that I bothered to do it and I did not expect them to be so rude. I assumed they had undergone some stress earlier on but it was definitely not right to take it on others. Due to this incident, I would reconsider over the future project.

I waited outside the makeup room with my laptop for the first time not wasting my time waiting over there. Since I did not borrow any clothe from MediaCorp, I could have left the filming place straight away without going back. I sent Huiying, the AP of the show, an SMS and she called me back to tell me not to return the MediaCorp pass because she did not want the bus driver to pick up everyone at different places. It was purely bullshit because every part-time actor had been doing that and there was no issue to return the pass and wait right at the gate which was less than twenty metres away from the stairs where the bus would be picking up everyone; there was no detouring to be made and all the veteran mini-bus drivers were definitely used to it.

The bus sent us all the way to Toa Payoh Central. The rain delayed everyone and we were waiting for so long. Since the filming crews were ready to shoot any time and there was no place to sit, I did not use my laptop. I spent the time chatting with the part-timers. It was probably due to the delay that things did not go totally like the script. We almost thought we would not be involved until we were called to become super redundant in the background running after the “robber”.

The bus sent some of the crews to Yio Chu Kang before heading back to MediaCorp. However, one of them forgot to bring a prop out and we made a U-turn, which further delayed the time. By the time we got back to MediaCorp, it was around 6pm. I was famished and took dinner there with two other guys including Timothy. After that, Timothy and I went to the same bus-stop and I took bus 167 home. Along the journey, I took out my laptop and continued with my work. I was not sure if it was due to the tiredness or shaky journey that my head started to spin. I reached home after 8pm and dozed off with the headache.

It was a totally disastrous day and I regretted badly to take up the filming assignment. I would rather help someone to maintain the website and I would earn eight times more the money. Apart from the money, it was really a bad experience. It was probably why fewer people wanted to go back to MediaCorp.

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Home Alone Day Two

[Friday, 24 December, 2010]

Eileen messaged me in MSN to solve her Microsoft Word issue and thus I did not go to bed early as planned. My giddiness worsened and I went to bed at 3.30am eventually.

Mike woke me up a few times with his SMSes and I finally got up after 1pm. It was low productive day for me at home in my illness. I spent the most efficient time on photo editing. I heated up the “tang yuan” from the fridge as my late lunch.

I started working in the late afternoon and rewarded myself with a meal from Burger King near 8pm. A few minutes after I started eating, Lucky had finished his dinner and emptied his waste in the kitchen for me to clear.

After the movie on channel 5, Transporter 3, ended, I brought Lucky down for a walk before I started blogging.

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Home Alone Day One

[Thursday, 23 December, 2010]

I went to sleep at 4am and by 9am, everyone was gone and I knew they were on the way to Malaysia for holidays. I felt weak somehow and I knew I was going to fall sick soon.

I went to the office alone and did not take my breakfast. I started tidying up a bit while waiting for the SingNet guy. Given the time range of 10am to 2pm, he came after 12pm. He did not sound happy for it was his second trip down to my office. I saw the voucher and realised I had rushed down to the office two days ago for nothing since the stated date was the day before.

I bought a “mai gai” from the canteen and started doing a bit of my work. Mike came over and after some time, we went to Vivocity for movie, catching Tron. It was the only time I could sit down properly to relax after so many weeks. It was in fact the first 3D movie I had watched but somehow it was not very impressive to me. Mike complained that the movie was too dark.

After going home to feed Lucky, I went down to the gym to join the guys in the Christmas celebration. Tze Khit passed me a list of tasks to do for his website but the place was too crowded for me to do anything when my head was spinning. When there were fewer people, I went home to bring Lucky to play with the kids but they left soon.

I reached home near midnight.

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Flu again after Swim

[Tuesday, 28 September, 2010]

I began the day engrossed in my Chinese show, which I caught at Tudou. I went to sleep at 6am with Lucky. He shared my mattress for the first time. I woke up eventually after 2pm.

My younger brother gave a last minute notice for a swim and luckily my stomach was in a better condition that despite having my meal a couple of hours before the swim, I did not feel as bad as in the past. After the swim, flu caught me again.

My brothers and I went down to walk the dog again. We spent most of the time at storey two, right opposite my mum’s workplace, where my younger brother played with his waveboard. I was busy sneezing.

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Recovering from the Sickness

[Thursday, 2 September, 2010]

I began the day blogging and even though I was still sick, I struggled with SmokeForWhat till 7am in my giddiness and headache.

My elder brother woke me up at around 2pm just to look at some pictures.

I spent the day on SmokeForWhat with distractions. Occasionally I still got some headaches.

My mobile phone was going to die on me soon.

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