I started going back for volleyball with my buddies but things had changed tremendously. I found myself landing in a “foreign place”. My gang was sidelined somehow for we were playing too causally whereas all the competitive players took the main court. I supposed nobody was at fault since everyone had different goals in the sport. However, I was very upset over the distancing of some friends. I did not get to play very often since my team was busy and seldom could make it.
My health was not in good shape. Apart from the long term back injury (frequent aches) from volleyball and feet aching suffered during national service, I had problems with my gums and complexion.
I might have accidentally hit my gum with toothbrush a few times when I was trying to brush my teeth fast. It ended up with a tiny hole where food always got struck inside. I did go to the polyclinic once but the unprofessional doctor turned a blind eye in order to knock off early from his work. Finally I went back and a better doctor assigned me to the National Dental Centre (NDC). I did a minor surgery to borrow some flesh from the upper gum to fill the “hole” before pulling the “skin” up to cover it. The pain lasted for more than a week and I could hardly eat since the donor’s wound was at the centre. Within a week, my weight went down from 54kg to slightly below 50kg. As expected, upon recovery, the gum could only cover the root level and tiny food would still get stuck inside. It was quite a costy surgery that I was not even use my Medisave to pay, which was ridiculous.
On the same consultation day with the better polyclinic doctor, he also assigned me to National Skin Centre (NSC). My main concern was a tiny lump right below my nose, which looked like an acne. I did try to pluck it out with my nails but the wound would stay bloody for some hours before it reinstated. I was told by a friend that it could be due to hardening of pimple that I did not take good care of. While keeping it under observation for months, I also had medication for my acne problems. In the end, I had it extracted, which was a fast surgery.
My only source of income from Smart Tuition was stagnant and decreased tremendously towards end of the year. With the increase in living expenses, life began to get tough and I started to feel the pinch on my pocket. I was poorest during polytechnic days but at least I did not have the pressure of supporting the family.
I continued to stray away from friends as everyone progressed with their own lives. Occasionally I went out for volleyball with my gang and other than that, there was very few meet-up with other friends. I did make new friends but none of them was free enough to spend more time with me.
We had a big setback as my younger brother was diagnosed with mild stroke a few days right before Chinese New Year. He had numbness over half of his entire body from head to feet, even though it did not affect his strength. We were all surprised since he was a very disciplined and active guy with no bad habit. All along I thought he would be the most successful guy in my family who could help to take care of my mum if I were to vanish someday.
My photography journey started after I bought my first decent camera – Sony NEX F3 – a mirrorless camera. I started helping Eng Teck with phototaking of his performance during Sunsilk Academy Fantasia competition. After that, I tried portrait photoshoot and started to learn more. It was a very tough journey for me. I faced countless rejection and many models would “back out” halfway or a day before the shoot after wasting lots of my time. Apart from pre-shoot planning and the actual shooting, filtering and editing the photos robbed me of my time.
I had another year of clean sheet with relationship. Other than being busy with my tuition agency work and photography, there was no drive for me to get a girlfriend. I did meet many nice girls but they were never free for me to begin as friends.