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.

Spread the Love – August 2013

The heroine of the month of August 2013 went to Tricia Lee.

Apart from having to take care of her three monkeys and my tuition agency business, she has spent a lot of time guiding me on my photography, especially for the post-processing work. Unfortunately, she is a super detailed and nagging person, and thus the amount of effort she has to put in for helping me is unimaginable.

I’m not a fashionable person as I have not been reading fashion magazines. Moreover, I have not been working with makeup artist. Tricia has been my advisor on fashion and also guides me along on which part of the model requires touching up.

She has no interest in holding onto the camera and thus she does not have much knowledge on the features – for example, she does not know what is depth of field. However, her countless years of commercial makeup experience has geared her with most of the knowledge and sense of art for photo shoot. In fact, she is also able to fit the job of an art director.

Without her, I will not be able to progress so far within a year. I can even proudly say that I can differentiate ugly and nice eyebrows better than many girls.

Finding Home Tutor for Oliver

After last Saturday’s volleyball and late dinner, Bernard, Oliver and I took a ride in Weitat’s car. We were asking about Oliver’s studies when he talked about his current tuition sessions.

His E-maths tutor charged him at the tuition rate of $45 per hour and he could not understand anything. He did not voice out and continued to waste his time and money. Then, he praised his chemistry tutor for teaching him “shortcuts”. This tutor had also offered to coach him on physics in an additional session per week but both tuition sessions were eventually spent only on chemistry. He told us that this tutor’s mum was working as a nurse and we came to the picture that this tutor had been chit-chatting with him during the tuition sessions. This science tutor charged him at the rate of $36.67 per hour.

Oliver sounded naive.

I was stunned to know about his $710 ($270 + $440) monthly tuition fee, which amounted more than half of his dad’s monthly income. His dad’s fatherly love for him touched me. He also mentioned that his dad had to delay payments for other bills just because of his tuition.

He asked me to help him to get a physics tutor. I knew I could do something to help him since I was running a tuition agency and we had been actively helping needy students discreetly (due to lack of manpower for even the daily operation with little revenue). At the very same night, I reached home late and approached Tricia. She responded fast to accept the challenge and I was filled with guilt because she had been sacrificing lots of time silently to do extra work.

Our objective was to assist Oliver to score better grades and also reduce the load (cash) on his dad.

It was not an easy process to help Oliver. I sensed that he did not seem to have proper communication with his dad, just like how I often found it difficult to talk to my mum. He refused to let Tricia talk with his dad somehow and insisted that he could make all decisions. We thought his dad had a great stake in this matter since he was footing the bill.

He mentioned that the tutors were introduced to him by his dad’s friend and thus both the father and son felt uncomfortable to sack them, which spoke well of his dad in term of his character. However, I felt his dad’s friend had wronged them by recommending such costly and inefficient tutors. The tutors could be good but it was proven that both of them did not have good chemistry with Oliver and the fact was that my tuition agency could provide him with similar quality tutors with more affordable prices.

He decided to reduce the number of tuition sessions with his science tutor so that the extra money could be spent on the new physics tutor instead. It was not a good solution since it would not solve the problems with his e-maths and chemistry subjects, moreover, it would not relieve his dad off the financial burden. For me, if the tutoring sessions could not help him much, I would rather he spend the time playing volleyball instead of tiring himself off mentally.

Being a short-term tuition assignment, it would actually turn most tutors away. Tricia managed to find a full-time tutor on our side who had proven track record and was willing to lower down his tuition fee. He was able to help Oliver on all the three subjects at the rate of $25 per hour. We made this possible because Tricia was on close term with the tutor and we were doing it free-of-charge (not taking any commission at all). However, over Oliver’s side, he insisted not to replace the tutors.

This tuition assignment bothered me for two nights. I even woke up thinking of it. It had cost me a lot of distractions while doing my work and I supposed Tricia had spent more time communicating with the tutor and Oliver.

Finally, on Monday, Tricia gave me a good piece of news that she finally got to talk over the phone with Oliver’s dad and he had agreed to replace the tutors. I was overjoyed because I was sure there was higher chance for the new tutor to assist Oliver in achieving better grades and it would lighten his dad’s burden financially.

The final result solely depended on how determined Oliver was to catch up with his studies after fooling around throughout his secondary school life.

Oliver’s dad was a great man and Tricia was a great woman. Oliver was lucky to have such a dad and I was lucky to have a good friend and co-worker like Tricia.

I Need to Blog

I’m seriously ashamed of myself for not blogging for long. Life is never the same as before and I have to neglect some hobbies sometimes.

Ever since I have started working on my tuition agency website, things have changed a lot. I’m a one-man-show for most of the back-end work. After more than a year, it does look like a professional website, but there are many features I have yet to implement or improve on. I have to worry about SEO and spend lots of time on them every week and eventually the daily boring administration work almost turns me berserk.

I’m also working on quite a number of blogs as well, which are either non-profitable or can earn me money in future. There is also a blog for the tuition agency. This makes my personal blog insignificant compared to them. My contents are also diverted to the blogs.

After all, my time management is really bad. It is not that I’m working 24 hours everyday but I’m always drained and thus operating at a lower speed.

It is definitely good to keep my blog running because it is one of the best ways to relieve my stuffed brain. I rarely get in touch with people and it is bad to keep things within myself, especially my frustration.

However, apart from having lack of time, people around me do give me problems as well. I’m not able to type whatever is in my mind sometimes because I have readers who are stalking my friends. Some people with lower EQ can also quote me out of texts to create problems for me. After all, many things have hit my motivation hard.

Another demoralizing thing is that my plan to move my blog from BlogSpot into my personal domain has stalled for very long. Somehow, I’m quite greedy that I want to keep my existing layout and structure, such that I would need to spend time learning how to edit WordPress template. Recently, updating WordPress for some of my blogs have also given me problems.

I have been tweeting a lot, which auto forwards the statuses to my Facebook, but the limited characters are pathetic. I have tried to forward the tweets over to my blog automatically through Hellotxt but it has shamefully failed me.

I’m a person full of thoughts but I do not have the chance to express myself freely. Blogging is almost the only way for me to become myself. Although it allows people with not-so-good intention to find out more about what is happening around me, it also allows people who are truly concern about me to show their support.

I’m always curious who will still bother to read my blog after so long of idling.

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Year 2011 – Year of Living in the Mountain

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

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Things that we don’t want to remember are most likely unable to be forgotten

Many incidents are dwelling within me and I cannot let go of them no matter what.

When I was a teenager, I already had many dreams in mind to accomplish – mainly are my websites. I had many never-ending projects, which were not benefiting me in term of financial. Those were the days I could afford to help my friends whenever they approach me.

Situation has worsened over the years. More friends are coming to me and most of the tasks are more time-consuming than ever. At the same time, I’m struggling harder with my own life to build a better tomorrow for my family and I. The quantity of the requests has, although, decreased since I have lost touch with many friends, but the “quality” has upgraded.

I started helping Tze Khit with his websites and design work for marketing until he insisted to pay me some money for the work. It was my form of support for a great friend who was beginning with his career. Ever since I started my tuition agency, I found it almost impossible to lend him a hand anymore. He offered to employ me on a full-time basis and I had to reject him, which was making me feel very uncomfortable all these while.

A couple of months ago, Joei approached me to help her to design four posters for her students’ competition. My tasks were already “at my throat” and I rejected her immediately, knowing that I could not “swallow” anymore project. That was an ultimate slash at my heart because she was one of the most beautiful women in heart I had met. My principle since young “nice people should be rewarded” has been haunting me till today. To others, it is very common to reject any call for help, but it is the last thing I want to do, especially to a special lady.

I’m used to sacrifice myself for friends and even friends who are not very close to me; I set aside my work for them. Things are not as simple anymore because besides making my life extremely difficult, my actions will disappoint many people who have been pinning high hopes on me.

Don’t tell me you have experienced it personally, or studied my horoscope or handwriting – nobody can understand how I’m feeling. My situation is far worse than what you can imagine. I’m being hit internally and externally, by myself and others. The pressure is enormous, not to mention about the long period of endurance, which still exists.

I want to make the world beautiful. I want all beautiful people to have beautiful lives so that they can create a beautiful world for others as well. This is a dream, which is impossible to reach – but I’m persistent not because I’m stubborn because I see the importance of it.

My memory is never good but somehow these are the things that can be trapped inside my brain for long. Yes, I have forgotten many unpleasant things almost entirely until somebody mentions about them, but they have definitely bothered me longer than other people.

Being unable to help my friends is one of the worst nightmares I can have, but since months ago, I have met the most incredible incident. When Gilbert told me Raymond had just recovered from cancer, I was totally traumatised. We were very good buddies, together with Peh, during our NS slavery days but Raymond started to stray away somehow due to his busy schedule. I could not afford to spend enough time to keep in touch with all my good friends.

I feel like a shit. My tears fill my eyes every now and then till now, just like how the scene of my dad passing away have been dwelling on me. I was never there for my good friend when he needed support the most. I don’t even know about his critical illness until he has recovered in miracle. What kind of a friend I am? I feel like punching myself sometimes.

My life sucks because I have been such a failure.

Whenever I mention about how I hate my current lifestyle within or at the bottom of any blog entry’s content, it does not mean that I dislike only what have happened as mentioned inside. It is not only about the problems I’m facing in my work, not just the failure to live like a normal person as expected by others, not mainly on the things I can’t do for my friends, not simply because I’m being treated worse than a dog by someone, but many other issues that are bothering me.

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Year 2010 – The Year of Isolation

I stayed at Clementi ITE for three months to help my boss. Eventually, I left the place after spending more than a week to work on a farewell website. Soon, I received my degree certificate from University of Wollongong. I also went back to ITE to help Hirman for the orientation camp of the second time of the year.

I had my second last volleyball game of the year before quitting my job. Somehow, I was greatly disappointed over certain things. Thereafter, I rarely got to see my buddies.

I concentrated on my quit smoking website. After officially releasing the website, I was very glad with myself that I had made some contribution to the world and I thought I could die without any regrets after that.

Tze Khit moved his gym over to Tanjong Pagar. I was very happy to see a good friend whose career took off well. I spent a lot of time hanging out with him and updating his website for him. Those sessions were very stressful because he and his partner were giving me instructions by my side and there was no table to work on. Furthermore, I felt very uncomfortable charging a friend for my services. I got to meet many interesting friends at his gym. I went back to Clementi ITE for volleyball with Tze Khit for once, which was the final time I got to touch volleyball for the year.

As I was jobless, my bank account started draining especially when I continued to give my mum money every month without fail. My Sony Ericsson phone G705 died on me and I started using an old Nokia 3120. I began losing touch with my friends as the old phone could not read the entire SIM card’s memory. Since it was totally not user-friendly, I gave up sending greeting SMS to my friends during festivals. I was not broke but it made no sense to hurt my piggybank more when I was still jobless and thus I waited on for my phone plan to be over.

There was no progress in my relationship. I met two very nice girls but they were too busy to go out with me. They eventually got attached.

Towards the end of the year, I began working on a tuition agency website called Smart Tuition. It was after several bashing from friends that I should not be working on non-profitable websites when I was jobless. Mike saw some light in my working direction and began coaching me. We almost missed our first outing as I could not find his contact inside my temporary phone while he was holding onto my old number.

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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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Blackout in 10 Raeburn Park

[Thursday, 17 February, 2011]

I went to sleep at 2am with Lucky. I dozed off faster than usual because I was too tired.

My mum woke me up after 9am just because Lucky shit on the floor. My stomach was not well again and I had noodle for late breakfast.

I went to the office at 1pm. I was too lazy to do chin-up since the weather was too hot and I did not want to sweat more. It was not long after I booted up the laptop when the first blackout happened. I started going outside to crap with the aunties. I realised it had happened a few times before and it only affected our block – block B.

My eyes were tired again but I struggled on with the tuition agency’s administration page. I started blogging after that and reached home by 7.30pm because my mum wanted to have steamboat on the fifteen day of lunar calendar.

It was a tiring night for me as I continued with the planning of the tuition agency website for tutors to apply with tuition assignments.

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Jingkun’s Visit to My Office

Mei Hoe hurried me home from her mum-in-law’s wake. I was quite worried that her husband would have to stay awake by himself. When she told me that outsiders should not stay behind, I felt like telling her that I was already half her god son and thus should not be considered as outsider. I left at around 1am and walked very fast that it took me only nearly twenty minutes to reach home.

I took my supper, which was the leftover curry, together with bread. I was very tired and went to bed at 3am.

I woke up after 9am and went to the office two hours later. I did fourteen chin-ups, which was one less than the day before. I was alone in the office and felt very tired throughout. I was not sure if it was due to the melatonin or my own health. I was working on the tuition agency’s administration pages before Jingkun came over and we had a long chat.

I reached home at 8.30pm and fed Lucky before taking dinner and continuing with my work. Lucky disturbed me as usual.

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