While I was struck with extreme bad luck during the beginning of the year due to a few models who had wasted my time, Boon Hui helped me when I was in need of someone to test playing with my new white backdrop. We had a “last minute” shoot and it helped me to test the limitation of my equipment to prepare me for an important shoot with Joy.
After the shoot with Joy, she gave me a good treat. I felt guilty for I was not someone who would appreciate good food and dining at an expensive restaurant was really a waste of money.
There was a volleyball game in NUS new town. Jingjie gave me and others a lift over at Harbourfront Centre after our lunch at MacDonald’s. After that, we went to Tampines and he was the driver who also sent me home. Anyway, Jingjie was the coordinator for the game and it was very kind of him to help to arrange with us even though he was very busy with work.
My younger brother arranged for a Mother’s Day dinner. He managed to get discount through an application and we got to enjoy expensive Indonesian food at low price at the new Tanjong Pagar Centre.
I went over to Marsiling twice to help to take care of Luckie who had his third slip disc problem. During the first stay, my elder brother helped me to fix the tablet he had passed to me much earlier – the WiFi was down after doing windows update. During the second trip, he tried to fix my trolley’s wheels but realised the ball-bearings were spoiled. Then, he found out the model number so that I could get new pieces online.
During the interior shoot with Rashi, her mum served me with treats. It was a very kind gesture.
I had a portrait shoot session with Marjorie and I was glad that she trusted me with the planning and she was even generous enough to engage a professional hair and makeup artist as well. I appreciated such clients for their generosity and their drive to get better photographs.
When my sister-in-law informed us of Luckie’s second operation within less than two months for his second slip disc problem, I thought she was joking. Since they had already poured in 10 grand of fund for his first surgery, I did not expect them to save him for the second time. They were actually planning to have a baby this year but they gave up since their saving was drained. Some people would say that giving birth in Singapore was not expensive but they did not factor in many small details. Most importantly, if you were to give birth to a child and not able to supply him/her with the necessities to equip them for the future, I would rather you give up the thought of having a baby just for the sake of having one.
I met my best client ever. She was Angie who helped people to design picture frames that fit the interior. Her clients consisted of many expats and she was definitely very wealthy. She was elegant, energetic, inspiring, kind, generous, appreciating and helpful. During my first shoot with her, she suddenly enlightened me on a wrong use of word for one of my lengthy worded portrait photoshoot albums. I supposed she had gone through my entire website and she told me she appreciated my writing and I supposed she could tell my sincerity from my writing.
My volleyball gang and I had a beach volleyball outing on one of the Sundays and Tze Khit was finally able to join us. He drove over to my place to pick me up and thus saving me a lot of trouble even though Weitat and Jingjie would definitely try to pick me up near Vivocity as well. I was still owing lots of conveniency to the drivers at this point of time and at times, I felt useless.
My mum had an advanced birthday celebration for her 60th. My younger brother did most of the preparation work after we went to the cafe for scouting. If it was not for him, I would probably be further stressed.
Needless to say, we had many great friends who were very generous. They not only shared the cost of buying an iPad Mini for my mum, but some also gave her ang bao. I was not very sure exactly who had chipped in for the present though. Although to me, the iPad mini was a waste of money since my mum already had an iPad 2, which had bigger screen. The desire for this new gadget was simply due to peer influence. I did not even have a tablet to present my work to potential clients.
Lurvelle was one of my models who had tried to help me the most. She did help to promote my photography and also recommend clients to me, even though I thought they were not so potential. All the bees were just trying to get in the good book of this hot girl.
Sharon Koh arranged a meet-up with my younger brother and I to give us a treat. We roped in fatmama in order not to leave her home alone on a Friday Evening. Somehow, she insisted she got a good job because of the testimonial we gave her for helping with Smart Tuition. It was very detailed and honest piece, written with “feel”, unlike the usual boring templates. We were actually not so sure about its efficient but I was sure potential good bosses would enjoy reading it. Anyway, since she knew it was my mum’s actual birthday for the next day, she ordered a bouquet and balloon to be delivered to my house on the next day. She was one of the most detailed and kindest lady I had ever met.
Gilbert, my long time best buddy, got his car as demanded by his company since he was doing sales job. He started to arrange outing and also helped me to go through my website.
When you boast and degrade others over your contributions, you causally overlook how bits and pieces of shit are being picked up by them.
No one man can do everything while not everyone wants the limelight. Always remember the fact that no one is indispensable. Without you, life may or may not be as good, but it will still go on.
Before you sit back and walk through the past carefully, you never know you may be the cause of several major problems. Nobody is pointing fingers at you because everyone recognizes your effort and good intentions.
The next time when you try to belittle others in your team, open your eyes wide and explore how they have been doing their part to ease your life. Do not play the blaming game because it can hurt much more than what you expect.
This post is dedicated to all the unsung heroes.
03 February 2015
My younger brother and I were using the same phone – Samsung Note 2. He was an explorer of a few local online shopping sites and when he bought his “unbreakable” screen protector, he got one for me too. It was a selfless act, especially when he did not expect me to pay him back, which I did together with the monthly bills payment.
I started to understand the limitation of my Canon 430 EX-II and thus I knew I had to invest in a better flash unit. When I tried to buy a Canon 600 EX-RT, Stephen, instigated by Samuel, offered to lend me his Canon 580 EX-II. He was such a nice and honest guy who was ready to lend his friends all his equipments.
The flash power of Canon 580 EX-II and Canon 600 EX-RT were almost similar, except that Canon 600 EX-RT had Canon’s radio receiver built-in and the buttons were better designed. If I were to buy a new piece, I would choose Canon 600 EX-RT for its value would stay longer. Whereas for second hand unit, both were fine to me and of course Canon 580 EX-II would be much cheaper. However, I was quite scared of getting bad second hand unit, which I probably would not be able to find out the fault until using it.
My dad’s youngest brother (my uncle) suddenly messaged me in Facebook and asked me if I had received his SMS. At first I thought he was looking for me for some urgent matters. He had actually sent the SMS to my old number, which was not in use since many years ago. Anyway, he was asking me if I had bought my new camera. He promised me to split the cost of a new camera with me during last December when I borrowed his house for a Christmas theme photoshoot. I felt too pampered and thus did not talk to him over it after that day. I had actually forgotten about it after I used my saving to buy my new Canon 6D camera and Canon 24-70mm F2.8 II lens.
I told him I would need a stronger flash unit like Canon 600 EX-RT at the moment and he wanted to get it for me. Even though we were blooded family members, I did not get to meet him often, except during Chinese New Years and I thought I did not deserve such expensive gift from him. I supposed my dad had been “borrowing” money from him long time ago when he was still alive and if that was real, they were definitely bad debts. Lastly, I was also hoping I would be able to earn through photography to purchase the necessary equipments on my own. The struggle within me was torturing. Eventually, I decided to take this “shortcut” by accepting the offer from my uncle. I supposed I would also cherish the new flash unit better if it was a gift.
I thought it was a good chance to meet up with my uncle and auntie to get the new Canon 600 EX-RT flash unit together but they were too busy. To me, it was weird but he offered to do a bank transfer over instead. He got my auntie to do it on the next day and there was even an excess of money, which would help me to get a much needed external harddisk as well.
About a week after Shujuan returned from her OCIP trip, we met up for photoshoot. Actually, I wanted to try playing with different angles of light but she was too exhausted. Eventually, I felt bad for occupying her time when she was already so tired after meeting up with friends daily till late hours.
Max roped me in for an event shoot for PassionArt and he gave me some pointers after the event. He shared many things with me like as if I was a newbie and that really helped because I got to learn quite a couple of new things from him. Learning by myself resulted me in knowing things “here and there” and sometimes not complete. He told me my basic skill required improvement and eventually, I was very frustrated because I was not sure what else I would need to learn other than to practise more.
My light stand’s bag was torn and my mum helped me to fix it. The joints were actually very thick and it was not an easy sewing job. In fact, my mum had always been helping my family to fix and alter things like clothes and bags.
Gilbert tried hard to meet me for a swim at the Amara hotel, which had tied up with Fitness First to share its swimming pool. So far, he had brought me to visit all the swimming pools of Fitness First as he could bring a friend along during weekends. I was speechless with having such good buddy who would only think and sacrifice for me, trying to please me all the while.
More than two years ago, I wrote a compliment letter for a Canon staff but their website was giving problems and thus I didn’t get to submit it.
I called the service hotline at 12 plus just now and was received by a very well-mannered lady with an extremely sweet local voice. I didn’t get her name clearly but it was something like “Lorraine”.
I was actually calling to check if I could get a replacement for “my” camera len’s cover. I was actually doing on behalf of my friend.
When she heard that I had lost my len’s cover, she responded immediately in a natural sympathizing tone. I was very pleased to be received by someone who placed herself in customer’s shoes.
She immediately gave me a solution by re-directing me over to the showroom’s hotline to check for availability of stock.
She, in fact, did not do much during the short conversation; however, her attitude had actually made a big difference.
I think good customer service would make a big difference in my decision to choose the brand when I need a new gadget in future.
Thank you for reading this.
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.
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.
In the process of upgrading my photography equipments to do better photography, I was kind of being conned to buy a super over-priced second hand lens by a very good (in skill) salesman who took advantage of my softness. This guy simply played hard with words and rushed me to buy his old lens without detailed checking. He kept asking me to take photos and look at the result through the small LCD screen at the back of my camera instead of checking the quality of lens. The greatest trick of his was to arrive late and behave like as if he was in a bad rush.
Eventually I went to my favourite camera shop at Funan Centre – John 3:16. Samuel and Steven helped me to look at the lens, which I felt so uncomfortable purchasing and they verified that the lens had been badly abused before. Samuel gave it a 4/10 rating and Steven said 5/10, while the joker earlier mentioned 9/10. They showed me a second hand same model lens and I was devastated. At the rate my tuition agency was going, I would need more than a month to earn the money back.
There was a black particle, which was much larger than normal dust, inside the glasses that was not very easy to be seen without being guided by experienced users. Apart from that, there was dust inside. There were countless tiny scratch marks on the front of the lens, which could be caused by wrong wiping tool. At the back of the lens where it was supposed to be connected to the camera body, there was fungus. The turning of the zoom ring was unusually rough at certain focus distance. The external body was quite badly scratched as well – I didn’t mind the ugliness but I recalled that he told me the condition was 9/10, which made me feel very cheated (I was too soft at first). Anyway, he told me he had just sent the lens to Malaysia’s Canon for servicing and thus there should not be any problem with the dark particle, dust and especially fungus. Unfortunately, the result (photo) due to these problems would not be seen easily, unless by professional or being put under a test with the exact same model of lens.
To put it simple, the lens that was sold to me at $1180 could probably worth $600 or less. It required servicing from the manufacturer – Canon. The front glass with countless of tiny scratches would cost hundreds of dollars to be replaced. Overall, the scratches on the external part made the lens unappealing and it would definitely cost more than a hundred dollars to replace it. The lifespan of the lens was definitely going to be shorter than others’.
After being persuaded by the two heroes, I tried hard to refund the lens. I spoke to the joker professionally and told him that I looked up to him as an honest seller and I had bought the lens in a rush all because of him. Eventually, I took the pain to go to his place and had to meet him up again on the next day to get back my money. If he had not returned me my money, I would have made him famous online. There were many reasons to believe he had made numerous lies during the entire process and I would write a detailed story about it in my photography website’s Tips on Buying Second Hand Camera and Equipment in Singapore page to “save” others.
I did my first ever couple shoot with David and Michelle. They didn’t mind being my “guinea pigs”. Apart from gaining the experience of shooting couple, I tried a different style of shooting. David was an observer and Michelle was a happy-go-lucky kind girl, and it was really great to use them as models to try my first shoot with less pressure. Apart from having limitation with my equipments – lack of sharpness and wrong auto focusing – the quality was quite decent. We had a fun day together and they insisted to treat me to dinner.
Right before Chinese New Year, Meifeng took time out to have a cheongsam shoot with me. She had been working overtime for almost every weekday and had her church commitment during weekends. Thus, she took great effort to spend the day with me. Unfortunately, renovation work, new year decoration and early campers spoiled my planned shoot at Chinatown. I could have recce the location a few days before the shoot. Nevertheless, I had a great day out with her.