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.

One-Man Show

It requires at least three of me to get my tuition agency site fully done sooner.

One of me is to work on existing big features that everyone can visibly see with a “WOW” instead of “You are idling”.

One of me is to fix up bugs and security measures that everyone cannot see due to the rush to implement earlier features.

One of me is to continue with the minor features that are deem not as important but can actually be done much faster than the major features.

If you want to talk about improvement on web design, addition and amendment of web contents, SEO or marketing, you probably need to engage more staffs.

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Attending Funeral Alone

[Tuesday, 15 February, 2011]

I took my second pill of Melatonin ever at 12.30am and went to bed at 2am. I could not doze off immediately despite it had taken effect already.

My younger brother’s alarm clock woke everyone up at around 9am. I started playing with Lucky and went to office at 10.30am. I did fifteen chin-ups with my laptop bag before entering the office. Mike did not come.

I worked on SEO and also submitted articles to many articles sites for Smart Tuition. I had instant noodle from the provision shop next door at around 4pm and went out after 8pm.

I was very tired but it was the second and also last night for Mei Hoe’s mother-in-law’s wake and I set off at 10.30pm to Zion Road. Hwee Siang had reached before me and I was quiet until he left.

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Valentine’s Day 2011

[Monday, 14 February, 2011]

I spent the early morning chatting in Facebook with Sae Yeoh and Galvin. I went to sleep after 5am and woke up after 2pm.

Uncle Rocky came over to look at the house’s renovation after my mum complained to him about the poor workmanship. He got an Indian guy over to fix up the holes. That guy’s English was really lousy or perhaps, he seemed to be using Indian language to talk to us in a tone that it was our main language. Since I had to wait for the Indian guy to come over again, I did not go to the office.

I spent the day working on SEO but the main tool was down and left me almost paralyzed. I thought I could reward myself on the Valentine’s Day by pushing more keywords up in Google but it turned out to be a sad day.

I had never celebrated Valentine’s Day before and I did not have any urge to do it due to my work.

I had a chat with Jingkun in Facebook during the evening. After that, I continued working on my superb article for SEO purpose.

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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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Visit to Fort Canning Park

[Saturday, 12 February, 2011]

I went to bed after 2am and woke u by noon. I was doing SEO for the tuition agency site before bringing Lucky out for his nail trimming session at River Valley.

After that, we went up to Fort Canning Park to feed the mosquitoes but I was enjoying photography all along. It could be a good place to bring girlfriend along if not for the involuntary donation of blood.

We went to Maxwell Food Centre for dinner and waited for my mum to go over.

Back at home, I worked on the links page for Smart Tuition.

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Working Hard on the Tuition Agency Administration Side

[Thursday, 10 February, 2011]

I went to sleep at 2am but could not doze off. I got up after 3am and worked on my administration pages for the tuition agency site. I went to bed at 6am.

I woke up after 12 noon and started playing with Lucky. My stomach was not well and finally went to office at 3pm. I worked on SEO and followed by the administration pages.

Mike left at 6pm and I stayed on to blog and went home only at 8pm to continue with my work.

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Putting up Air Freshener in Office

[Wednesday, 9 February, 2011]

I went to bed at 4am but I could not doze off as usual. Eventually I fell asleep but woke up as many as ten times, before finally getting up after 12 noon.

I met down to meet Mike near the usual “cai fan” but the place was crowded. We went around the hawker centre but we decided to have our lunch at the second storey where we lost and found our “emperor seal” previously. We took noodle. After a quick shopping at the NTUC, we took a cab to office.

I continued with my SEO work until dinner time. We walked to Pinnacle Duxton’s Kopi Tiam and had our “cai fan” with Mike’s herbal soup. He was a great eater for the evening. We strolled back to office and had ice-cream from the mama shop besides.

Mike was ready to train me with some nailing job but the wall above the door was harder than he had expected. I had some difficulties with the small hammer and nail, and Mike took over to show me that he was well-trained. We finally hung up the motion sensor air-freshener.

I continued with scripting for the tuition agency’s administration pages.

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I slept Early

[Tuesday, 8 February, 2011]

I finally achieved sleeping before 2am because I had a bottle of alcohol hours before that.

I woke up after 9am and lazed around. After sharing with my elder brother about some points in PowerPoint Slides, I went to the office at noon.

I started doing administration work for the tuition agency, followed by drafting an email to my ex colleagues to greet them. I was distracted somehow and my English used was terrible.

Mike and I started doing area cleaning after 4pm until near 6pm before we walked to Burger King for early dinner.

Back at home, I was irritated by an SMS spam. An email to IDA resulted a disappointing reply a few days later to actually show that mobile phone spamming in Singapore is in fact generally legal.

I spent the rest of the night working on SEO for the tuition agency.

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Manager of Costa Sands Sentosa Resort Called

[Monday, 7 February, 2011]

I went to bed at 4am but could not doze off. It was 6am when I got up to do my work. I went back to sleep at 10 and woke up at 1pm in the end.

The manager of Costa Sands Sentosa Resort called me and apologised for his staff’s misbehaviour. However, that Chinese old man had already tendered his resignation letter before the incident and he was already clearing his leave. That was really evil of this guy for sabotaging the resort’s reputation before he left.

I continued with my SEO work for the tuition agency. Mike had a new SEO weapon for me but we were not sure of the power yet.

I left home at around 6pm for dinner.

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