Spread the Love – January 2016

For Jun’s photoshoot, Cherie and Ahpa helped me out as assistants. Although my lighting equipment did fall during the shoot, I was glad that I had two assistants to prevent more falling.

I had a short meet-up with Guoxin and Kachua and Guoxin treated me to the drinks again.

One of my previous corporate clients, Misys, returned to me for their event shoot. I appreciated them for liking my work that they approached me again. I managed to get an even more fabulous event portfolio even though I didn’t have time to upload them.

I had a swim with Gilbert and Wanling at YMCA. Besides chauffeuring us over to YMCA, he drove over to pick Shuh up to have dinner together. I felt bad for he had to pay for the petrol and it was tiring to drive.

At the end of the gathering with my group of volunteer friends, Ahpa passed me a singlet that she bought during her holidays. It was to reciprocate for the MacDonald’s treat that I gave her the night before the shoot with Jun. I even thought that supper was a miserable treat for her help.

Spread the Love – December 2015

I made my second trip to the National Gallery Singapore just to accompany Gilbert. He insisted on giving me a good treat besides sending me to and fro my place. He always made excuses to pay for the bill because he knew I was not doing very well. I could have walked over to his office before the trip but he thought it was raining and thus more convenient to drive over instead. I was not sure if that would trigger an extra extortion from the bloody ERP system to his cashcard or he could have skipped all ERP system along the route to our venue.

I accompanied Jonathan Siah to look at a printer and then to the clinic. Before going home, he gave me a treat at Tiong Bahru Market before dropping me near my house.

I had breakfast with my mum and auntie Chwee Lian before going to her eldest son’s house for an interior shoot. Auntie Chwee Lian insisted in giving us a treat at the market.

At the end of an event shoot for my client, Eunice Seah, the couple gave me a lift to the nearest MRT station. Even though the distance was probably less than 500 metres away, it was raining.

Weitat organised and booked indoor volleyball games twice at OCBC arena. If it was not because of him, we would not be able to gather and play the game. It was not just about the money (court fee of $60) but also the trouble. He also took the trouble to give me a lift home as usual.

After one of the volleyball game sessions, we had our dinner at Newton Circle. Our favourite uncle and auntie insisted in giving everyone a treat at the end of the dinner. It was a very expensive meal for two people to foot but they would fight over the bill with us every time without fail, making us feel very guilty.

For my photoshoot with Kaijun, Ahpa came down specially from Johor Bahru to lend a hand, partly because it was a sexy boudoir shoot that I would need a female escort to make the model feel safer. Cherie was another angel who approached me to become my assistant just a day before the shoot. I was also thankful to Kaijun for approaching and trusting me as well. Despite things did not go as planned because our planned venue was cornered off by the police and that the sun was giving me headaches by the time we reached the beach, I had fun working with three of them. My lighting equipment fell though.

My December 2015 was filled with love from many good people.

Spread the Love – June 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Spread the Love – March 2015

Yaozhong introduced me an assignment at NUS, which I actually regretted taking up after I realised the schedule was ridiculous. The first shoot was in the early morning and the last shoot was in the late afternoon. The three consecutive days of such two-hour assignments almost tore me apart. Other than having to wake up in the early morning, I was super unproductive in between. Since I had promised the team, it was difficult for me to back out. Of course, both Yaozhong and Daniel hosted me well. Throughout the shoots, Yaozhong accompanied me to help out and also entertained me during the long idling hours. I was very glad to be able to work with my polytechnic day’s best buddy.

Mandy and Sharon organised a photoshoot and roped me in. The Yeo sisters were as nice as previously when we worked with Lynn. Mandy insisted to give me a treat and I failed to reject her during supper.

Spread the Love – December 2014

During my photoshoot with Lurvelle, Kelvin Sim joined in and offered very great assistance. He was able to even get safety pins during late night at Clarke Quay. During the entire shoot, he had been taking other great initiatives to offer his help. It was a culture shock for me because “escorts” of models were usually not more than “security guards”. I was very impressed with his courtesy and humbleness.

While helping Lurvelle with her three young models for their portfolio shoots, Kelvin Sim, Lester and Jacky joined in. Apart from rendering help, the presence of the three great guys made me feel heartwarming. It was good to hang out with people who were sincerity nice and had no secret agenda.

Mingfa’s youngest son, Elnathan, turned one year old. Weitat was too busy with his work could not make it down. Despite he was the main “organiser” for our usual outing, his absence did not hinder our trip down to attend the party. Gin, the great one took over the role and made arrangements. His timings were good and I was very impressed. Jingjie was another hero who actually took the trouble to ferry us (Gin, Bernard and I). It was an enjoyable trip with them to collect the cake for Mingfa. He also dropped me at Clementi MRT at the end of the day. Besides, it was illegal to stop at the bus-stop and Jingjie actually made a round by dropping me at the car park instead. Last but not listed, Jingkun also made his offer to fetch me from Bukit Batok, even though I took Jingjie’s car instead.

Mandy and Sharon Yeo were the hair and makeup artist and assistant during the couple shoot with Terry and Lynwen. They were very kind and easygoing, and also, literally strong. They rendered great helps during the shoot, including carrying of my heavy camera bag at times when we were shifting locations.

Terry, the man who made both Lynwen and I laughed throughout the shoot was the man who really made the shoot a success. Since the couple did not want any posing during the shoot, Terry had to make his wife smile in order to get natural photos. It was to the point that I forgot to snap photos while I was too entertained by him as well. He also gave us a treat at the end of the shoot.

During Christmas Eve, Gilbert asked me to go downstairs to meet him. I knew he was “up to no good” but gladly abide to his request. As expected, he passed me my Christmas present. While I had been spending all my time on work and photography, I did not leave any room to plan what to get for my friends during their birthdays and festivals. Gilbert was the only person who did not mind not receiving anything from me and instead, kept giving the little “smiles” and support that I needed.

While most of the time when I messaged Tricia Lee, it was for the sake of my photoshoot stuffs, she was glad to help me. Over time, guilt piled up but I continued to disturb her. She was always there for me, even during Christmas Eve.

It was Kachua’s wedding dinner, the sixth and last wedding for the last three months of year 2014 that I had to attend. Gim Young texted me and offered to give me a ride. Since he was staying in Holland Village, Orchard was actually very near his place. He ended up taking a much longer route to the hotel eventually because of me.

Spread the Love – September 2014

Since my younger brother was working under MOE, he was able to get free passes to some local tourist attractions. Each time, he was able to get only four passes though. He took my family and I to River Safari, and paid for the extra ticket and lunch. It was the effort to arrange everything that was really tough.

It was Geraldine’s birthday celebration. I was not very keen in taking up this shoot initially because she was busy with her school and thus replied me quite slowly. However it would be my greatest regret if I had given it up. The party was filled with nice and cute people. Eventually, her mum gave me extra money when she saw my effort. I felt very appreciated.

During my corporate shoot for JCL shipping group, I was greeted by very friendly people as well. During the first night when I knew none of the participants, one of the guys, Peter, kept asking me to put down my camera and grab some food by the side of the pool. At the end of the shoot, Peter got me a glass of beer. On the following day when their conference began, I realised he was the president of the group.

On the last night of the JCL shoot, one of the participants from Sri Lanka, Sunil, passed me a National Geographic magazine. He told me he got it free from the hotel room because he knew I loved photography. Even though he did not pay for the magazine, it was really nice of him to specially bring along to the Gala dinner and give it to me.

I had my worst period of the year – reservist. Not only I had to delay my photoshoot with my models, I also had to turn down clients for event shoots. It was totally a time-wasting period for me. Luckily, I had great company over there and the instructor, Liangwei, was one of the nicest guys I had met. Liangwei was very patient and understanding and he took care of us well.

Spread the Love – August 2014

For the early morning bikini photoshoot with Esther and I roped Gilbert in since he was a creative person. He did research over the net to find poses of models and even printed them out. Even though my actual plan was to do a more natural lifestyle shoot instead of model posing (because Esther was completely new to modelling and we did not have a makeup artist involved), Gilbert’s instruction to pose did help a lot. To find a friend who would sacrifice so much time and effort was rare.

I did a couple portrait shoot for Michael and Valerie with fireworks as the background. It was my first time doing this kind of shoot, which was rare but Valerie trusted me. They hosted me well in their home and shared their precious wine with me. Both of them even invited me over for a second time on the actual National Day.

I forget to bring my tripod along for the second shoot with my favourite couple as mentioned above. It was crazy for night shoot would definitely require the stability. Even though I turned up early and my house was a few bus-stops away, it was too rush for me to get home. I called Samuel immediately and he gladly prepared his tripod stand for me. I dashed over a few buildings to collect it from him. He saved my night.

I initially had a photoshoot with a girl who had approached me. She wanted to do it at an indoor location. ET’s dad gladly agreed to lend me his house. Eventually, the girl went missing-in-action as expected.

I had a photoshoot with Claire. The outfit was meant to be more revealing and thus it was definitely sensitive to a girl. For my usual fashion shoot, some of the models would bring along an escort in the name of “a curious friend” who wanted to watch how a photoshoot was done. So far, none of the “assistants” was really helpful. Besides putting pressure on me, it was a great insult to my professionalism. I appreciated the trust from Claire who went alone for such sensitive theme. She was not a bimbo who would not taking precaution – she did research online about me before approaching me. Besides not treating me as a pervert, I was glad that she did not waste my time like many other girls. I was really amazed because the way she chatted with me made me feel she was not that keen in having a shoot. Claire had indirectly enlightened me that I should not be pinning too much hope on girls who approached me with great enthusiasm.

I had a great gathering with the volunteer gang at Nancy’s place. Nancy hosted us well again. Other than this, she had also agreed to lend me her place for photoshoot, even though our available dates did not match.

Sick of Being Sick

I had suffered a long and serious illness for the past month. It did not come as a surprise for I had been warned three months before that. During that period, I had sore throat before I slept but I always woke up feeling normal. It happened for quite a number of time and I guessed that I was saved by taking a tiny bit of manuka honey every night. However, there was also an obvious symptom – my scalp was growing acne and it was irritating.

My body had been “heaty” since young and thus I would fall sick often. I was no fan of food but I most preferred western food, fast food and just any fried food. I had been resisting them throughout my life because they made me fall sick very easily.

However, for this year, I was rather rebellious and did not practise self control. Other than taking fast food numerous times, there was a couple of times I took fried food like char kuey teow as my main course meal. My mum had also bought packet roti prata from the NTUC Fairprice for supper, which tasted quite good after frying them and she replenished it quite a few times. My mum’s porridge for lunch was rather healthy but not her dinner, which usually came with food like nuggets. I was very amazed with myself throughout the months before my body failed me.

As usual, it always started with sore throat, followed by cough and flu. I did not take my temperature but I knew I was having fever occasionally. Phlegm, blocked nose and ears were gifts from them and the worst thing was to bring down my energy. I was pretty slow in my work then.

The terrors did not leave me soon. They stayed faithfully with me for over a month. Doctor told me it was not that my body was weak, but I did not have enough rest. I had to agree.

I was badly disturbed almost every morning by my neighbour’s puppy who barked loudly for a few minutes. It was obvious that I did not sleep early and thus being woke up in the morning was a torture.

Resting during the afternoon was almost impossible with my sticky dog around. I had only two bedrooms and my mum barred Luckie from entering one and my sister-in-law did not like anyone to enter the other bedroom when she and my elder brother were not around. I could not leave Luckie alone in the living room because he would end up crying and barking so loudly that I would end up not able to sleep.

Since I was sharing bedroom with my mum and younger brother and both of them would “die” without switching the air-con on even when the weather was not very bad, I had to bear with it despite I was afraid of the low temperature. Flu was never tolerating.

While I was sick, I still had to continue with my daily administration work. It was not difficult at all but to do the same old time-consuming stuffs for the past few years was really sickening. Those boring work would not make me grow.

One of the most stressful things was to arrange for photoshoot. Things would be better if the parties I had to alias with did not give problems, and eventually, I had actually wasted my time and effort. I was all along very easygoing but some people might be fussier than me. Not everyone was very committed.

I had one of the most challenging tasks on hand, which was to update the website for my “xiao mei”. She had changed her webhost a year ago but did not migrate her files over. Somehow, she was lucky that her old files were still inside the old server and the host did not remove the files. I had to try log into both her new and old webhosts, and of course the latter did not work. In the end, I had to rip the source codes and other files from her own webhost and it included a flash file, which was calling other files. I spent a few days to fix everything for her. It was mind-blowing. In fact, she was not in a rush but I was just too determined and eager to solve her problems.

That week, I had promised to do an interior shoot for my cousin-in-law. During the first day, a Tuesday, he was astonished to see me turn up at the bar. I was wrecked by the full-equipment bags that I had carried all the way to the place when my body was so weak. He checked his phone and realised it was the correct date and time. The problem was that there were many staffs working there to setup the place as they were still in preparation for the opening the week after. Even one of the string of LED light was loosen and hanging around. We agreed to shoot during the next morning but he texted me a couple of hours before the shoot that the bar’s staffs would be there to work and thus we postponed to Friday. I had forced myself to wake up early over nothing. On Friday, I was smart enough to not bring my laptop along, in fact, there was no need to even bring my lighting along to the cramp place. The person holding to the key was not around and I had to wait outside the bar for around half an hour. Then, contractors continued to go in to fix things while the lady staff was cleaning things up. Many items such as fruits were laying around the bar counter and tables. The tables were not even in order. To conclude, it was a disaster for a photographer. I had to move things around by myself and even wiping the surfaces of the tables and it was impossible to even capture the widest shoot using my 24-70mm lens. I had to also wait for the staffs and contractors to move away before I could set the long exposure for my camera. It was one of the most horrible photoshoot I had ever done in my illness and I was not even satisfied with the angles and lighting.

The thing that had worsen my illness was the NUS TevaSUN beach volleyball competition on that Saturday. Each team consisted of five players, including one substitute. Tony, Gin, Bernard and his girlfriend signed up for it but Bernard had confinement at Palau Tekong and thus I was roped in. As the substitute who had to cover for Bernard, I had to be present so that our team would not be disqualified. I finished my TCM medicine (that was prescribed to me right before my illness turned for the worst) and I did not have time to get new medicine due to my interior shoot. Eventually, I took panadol and flu tablets to fight the virus. On the actual day of the competition, I was still very sick. Every time I tried to use my strength, I coughed badly. My head was heavy and I could not concentrate. I disgraced myself in front of all the girls. Right after showering, as I tried to blow to clear my nose, the mucus came out with blood. I knew it was not due to bruises inside my nose because I did not blow my nose hard. The situation was so bad that after I got home and tried to clear my nose again, the mucus dripped continuously for more than five seconds and it was bloody on my basin. I went to see the TCM doctor again and was lectured by her for not resting. For a week, the blood was a loyal companion. My illness took even longer to go away.

I was naive at times but at least I kept my words to everyone. I did my best but my best was far from even the level that I could accept for myself.

Spread the Love – May 2014

May 2014 was filled with loves from many people.

Kexin and I met up for a photoshoot. She was trying to help me with a jogging theme that I wanted to do since a year ago, however, she forgot to bring a top that we had discussed. She was also tired after her school and thus we decided to do a better one during her holidays. I felt I had made a few mistakes while the sunset was not as good as I had seen the past few times at Labrador Park. I was very touched by her objective, which was to help me.

My health was bad for the entire month and almost fell sick many times. There was once when I was a little down, I posted a status in my Facebook before going for my beach volleyball game. Christine called me immediately to ask me to visit the doctor. She had also messaged me a few times through Whatsapp to help me with my photography. I felt very blessed to have an ex colleague who was so concern about me.

During my dinner with my beach volleyball gang, which Shuwen happened to join us, she helped me to log into her Facebook account on my phone and helped me to invite her friends to LIKE my Facebook photography page. It was very nice of her to have helped me. Not everyone was comfortable to log into their accounts on other people’s phone.

My sister-in-law found a new job finally. She took the initiative to treat my family to a dinner at a new restaurant at Chinatown Point owned by chef Daniel. She needed not go to the expense but it was very sweet of her.

I initially had a sexy theme photoshoot with a model and thus I asked Shujuan to accompany me to become my “bodyguard”. However, the model postponed the shoot. Eventually, Shujuan met up with me on the actual day for a photoshoot at IKEA Alexandra, which I wanted to do since long ago. She was very creative and natural, and thus managed to help me get many nice photos despite the bad lighting since I could not set up my equipments without getting permission. She was also a very intelligent and good listener who managed to hold good conversations with me, making it a fantastic day for me.

Weitat organised two gatherings, helping me to meet-up with Mingfa and our favourite uncle and auntie, and also with our ex colleagues. Without him, it was difficult for me to get to see the wonderful people because I was too lazy and busy to organise any meet-up. For the first dinner, he had probably forked out quite a sum of money as well just to give the elderly a treat.

Tony initially formed a team with Gin, Bernard and Poh Hian to take part in the NUS beach volleyball competition. However, Bernard could not make it since he was in BMT and it happened to be his confinement week. Therefore, Tony roped me in. Unfortunately, I felt very sick. Tony went to buy mineral water for us before we went into Sentosa. It started pouring at the end of our game and he went to collect the goodie bags with Gin, asking Poh Hian and I to go to the shower rooms immediately to avoid the rain. Anyway, I played like shit during the game and disgraced myself in front of many girls.

Spread the Love – February 2014

I had a couple shoot with Derrick and Peisee. ET, my younger brother and mum tagged along since we had a gathering over Derrick’s place at night. Together we managed to create some nice photos. Derrick had the steamboat dinner prepared with the help of his family and he refused when we offered to share the cost of the food. He and his dad drove and sent all of us home at night from the West to Central of Singapore. I felt the love from everyone who had spent their time with me on that day.

I was still trying hard to upgrade my camera gears and finally decided to go all the way for it. As there was a daily limit in withdrawing money from the ATM, I was short of cash. Gilbert didn’t hesitate to loan a thousand bucks to me immediately. I appreciated his trust in me.