Spread the Love – July 2015

Just as I was busy looking for a coin pouch to replace my spoiled one (somehow, the skin started peeling off), my mum offered me one that she had made herself. After I told her the size that I wanted, she did another two and one fitted what I wanted exactly.

Lovelle helped me to book for my staycation as she was able to get a good rate. I wanted to get one room at M hotel but she accidentally booked Studio M hotel. Eventually, she took up the Studio M hotel room and helped me with my M hotel’s stay.

Weitat not only made effort to book the indoor volleyball court at OCBC Arena, he also paid for it without asking us to return him our share. Other than that, he also took the trouble to gather everyone.

My elder brother bought durians for the whole family – he could have just bought it for him and his wife but he was not stingy over sharing food and fruits.

My voluntary group had a gathering till late. Yongsheng was not only the gentleman who took orders for everyone at the dessert shop and tried to get seats at the MacDonald’s, he also tried to send everyone home. I was really amazed over how he took initiatives like a real gentleman.

Year 2014 – Professional Photography Journey Began

Smart Tuition
The tuition agency business was somehow as stagnant as before. I did not have the time and energy to “expand” it. The lack of credible and suitable coordinators was the main problem. There were quite a number of people emailing us to take up the job but we did not want to take any risk as we really wanted to help clients and tutors to our best ability and not treating it like a business. It was thanks to the existing team, especially Tricia and ET, that the business was able to sustain. We continued to meet weird people along the way and I got more and more weary of dealing with ridiculous and cunning people as well.

Photography
I took my photography to the next level by upgrading to a full frame camera. More people started approaching me and I began to take up event shoot instead of just sticking to portrait shoots. It was a tiring journey. I got to meet more people both online and offline. I was very excited to interact with all the good people in real person. However, just as there were many kind people in this world, I had encountered many eat-full-nothing-to-do people. It was irritating enough for “shoppers” to enquire for the fees when I had already stated the minimal amount on the website, but there were also many who were worse. I had entertained many people who had shown so much interest in engaging my help. We chatted for long time and I gave them advices but they eventually decided to waste my time.

Family
Things were pretty much the same as previous years, except that we were all more enthusiastic towards the arrival of my elder brother’s new BTO flat, which should be ready by end of year 2015 or beginning of 2016. By then, our current flat would be more “spacious” and there would be less conflicts. My house might still be very messy since it was my mum’s characteristic to keep everything. However, there might be a change in her attitude when we had an “extra room” while my elder brother would not help to mess up the living room again. Eventually, there would be a big problem for the family as my elder brother was a handy man. Apart from that, my mum continued to put stress to me, while I worked from home, by creating

Health
I had my right arm and wrist injured for a long period of time. The arm was due to volleyball games while wrist was because of holding to the heavy camera on a single hand for long duration. I fell sick twice for a long period of time too, taking panadol tablets more than I had ever taken in my entire life. My health was badly affected by my neighbours’ puppy who barked loudly every morning. My neighbours were helpless over the aggressive dog who was trying to destroy their main door.

Volleyball
My gang was quite active for beach volleyball games until towards the end of the year. Everyone was very busy, especially for those who were doing shift jobs. We finally had an indoor court game because of Jingkun’s request before his marriage. That was the first time I played on an indoor hard court after years.

Friendship
I felt I was disconnected with most of my friends. The struggle for work and photography had massacred every single thought to catch up with my old friends. I had no time to think of giving away presents or whatsoever. In the last three months of the year, I had to attend six wedding though and I had to be the “brother” for two of them. Photography did help me gain many new friends but not many kept in touch with me, most probably because the models were mainly into getting good photos. At least, they knew my character and felt safe to be with me.

Love
Boy-girl-relationship was a flat zero score for me. Due to photography, communication with people was mainly about the hobby. I did not really find new net friends to chat, except for a few occasions, I was curious with some sites like OKcupid, Omegle and the phone app Tinder. I was too busy to utilize them. Besides, it was not my forte to fight for attention with thousands of guys.

Conclusion
My life was stagnant except for the progress in photography. I did not party nor meet friends often to chill up together. To many people, my life was boring but I was glad that I was living it differently and meaningfully. Some people might be seeking to enjoy their lives to the fullest by partying around, some wanted different experiences of sexual partners; I sought to establish a name for myself and be remembered positively after leaving this world.

Spread the Love – November 2014

It was my birthday month. Other than the advanced birthday present given by my best friend, Gilbert, my sister-in-law had given me a present – a bottle of perfume.

Max, the cute little dachshund, was migrating out of Singapore with his parents. His mum organised a farewell party for some of the closest sausage dogs and their parents. This Japanese lady was so generous that all the guests were very well fed with good human food in the pet friendly cafe.

It was Jingkun’s wedding month and he asked for playing of indoor volleyball for his “bachelor night” since we had not played on the court for years. Weitat ended up arranging for it by himself. He took the trouble to find an indoor volleyball court, paid for it himself and also gathered the large number of players.

Jingkun’s gate crash was in the early morning. Weitat had to work overnight and thus did not want to house me since it was quite inconvenient (I did stay over at his house before when we both teaching at ITE Clementi). Besides, he wanted me to rest properly on my own bed and not having to carry extra items (clothes, toothbrush etc) along. Therefore, instead of I took the trouble to travel to his place the night before, he actually drove over to my house to pick me up in the early morning. His place was nearer to Jingkun’s house and he had to wake up much earlier to travel all the way to central to pick me up and drive back to the west.

Tricia’s maid had left Singapore and she had finally decided that she was too jinxed to own a proper maid after changing around three to four of them within a year. She was very unlucky. Hence, she had become the new maid of the Foo family for the first time after over ten years of being a “tai tai”. Due to her detailed character, she became very busy. Despite this, she helped me to look through some of my photoshoot work.

While I was too cheapskate to get a flash band to tie my colour gel on the flash head, I thought of doing one by myself. To be honest, the main problem was I was afraid of getting a wrong one through eBay. With a mum who was working as a seamstress, other than having to live in a poor family, it was easy to get some rubber and sew one properly to cut cost.

Spread the Love – October 2014

– My wrist rescuer
It had been long since I injured my right wrist due to an event shoot for JGC and the injury gave me problems during my Sunday volleyball games. I started by using my old wrist guard but it was bulky enough to prevent me from playing. Desmond lent me his wrist band and it helped a lot during the game play even though it was not as strong as mine. When I told him it was difficult to get the wrist band, he tried helping me to get one as well.

– Birthday came early
Gilbert asked me to go downstairs my house to pass me something. At first, I thought it was a souvenir from overseas since he had just returned from his holidays. After meeting him and receiving the small item, he told me it was because he was going overseas again the following week. It took me a few minutes to realise it was my birthday present.

The present was a piece of magnet with my photo on it. It was a brilliant gift, which I could do it for other friends in future. However, it also made me feel so guilty and helpless that I was not able to think of anything creative in return for him.

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 – April 2014

Jiayu returned to Singapore for a few days and we had a small dinner gathering. Her dad passed her some money and instructed her to give us a treat before he left the restaurant. It was very kind of her dad for the expensive dinner treat. Her entire family had also supported and helped us in our voluntary work.

Weitat continued to be the hero to fetch and send many of us to and back from our Sunday volleyball sessions. Ever since we bought our own beach volleyball net, he had been taking care of them including the transportation, together with the two water bottles.

It was my mum’s birthday month and we were preparing to have a dinner with her. My sister-in-law surprised her by buying her a boutique of flowers. This kept my mum happy for a few days and she even dried the flowers up in order to keep them longer.

Spread the Love – March 2014

I had three sessions of food photography with the team of ChefatWork. Edwin didn’t fail to give the entire team a good treat at the end of the day. I felt guilty because I was not used to eat good food and could not really appreciate them. He was too generous.

Tze Khit started joining us for Sunday beach volleyball again. Each time, he came over to the NTUC at my place to buy bottles of isotonic drinks for everyone. It was very thoughtful of him.

My team of volunteers had a gathering at Nancy’s place again. She took the trouble to prepare all the food by herself and presented them in a classy manner on the table. She hosted us well. Her effort was stunning.

Fell Sick for a Month

Not many people would believe that I have a rather weak body. Taking too much “heaty” food would take me down, other than being very upset. I usually feel thirsty even though my water bottle is always near me.

I was down with sore throat, cough, flu, diarrhea, and probably some fever almost a month ago. I went to the TCM before all the pests arrived and the four days of good behaviour did not save me. Then, I had to force myself to visit the polyclinic because I was told that green phlegm meant that it was a virus infection. Green poo threatened me more.

I knew I could have recovered much earlier like usual but it was a different scenario this time. Within the first few days when the symptoms arrived, I was deeply upset over certain news that I had lost my determination to resist anything. It made me feel stuffy on my chest and I knew my conditions would be worsened.

It took me a few weeks to pull myself together after trying to accept reality. I was, however, very loaded with work that I could not have sufficient rest. Keeping myself occupied with work was quite a good way to numb myself anyway. Nevertheless, being in a bad shape had slowed down my work by a lot.

The dry cough after the phlegm was gone kept me companied throughout for at least a week more. I still went to the toilet twice or more times daily as a new routine, and there would be bad tummy-ache at least once.

It was until Thursday night, I felt healthy and managed to have a good volleyball game, followed by supper at McDonald’s with my elder brother and mum.

Battling against illness depends a lot on the mind and I know I should try to avoid recalling depressing stuffs.

It just Hurts

My left thumb was sprained on last Saturday night. It was caused by receiving a ball using fingers on the volleyball court when I softened my fingers to place it a metre away for the setter. I did not trim my fingernails and had this phobia, which restricted my movements. It had been more than a year since I last sprained any part of my body as I had not played volleyball for very long. I hate it for causing pain whenever I trigger it. Even squeezing the toothpaste has been made difficult. It reminds me of the doctor warning my mum that losing the power on the thumb will cause disability to nearly 40% of the daily tasks. I am actually quite used to the after-sprained feeling since my back has been hurting similarly for the past ten years. The hurt is definitely not as severe as heartache though. Somehow, I have not forgotten about the hurt caused by my last ex-girlfriend more than two years ago. Every single lie, regardless of the seriousness, from any female friend just pours back the memories. “Please don’t treat me too nice.” I’m quite sensitive to the request from any female friend because it reminds me of my first relationship. It somehow makes girls guilty and the feeling is bad, which also makes them begin to admit their lies, whether big or small. Sometimes I wish I have not been too sharp, which has also been scaring female friends away. I always remember what Baoyu has told me more than a year ago – most girls do not think logically. When I begin to be too frank with my observation, it often draws a line between us. I’m not a smart person and thus I always do my best to make up for the shortcoming. However, I’m often powerless. Most of the time, I can only sit back and pray hard for them when they are in bad times. Whenever a sweet friend whom I have been treating sincerely distances away suddenly, it hurts.