I got a dinner date with Guoxin and appreciated that he was one of my old good friends who would contact me to meet up once in a while. He also showed excess concern about my progress in photography.
I forgot to book a timeslot for my haircut and my hairdresser kindly slotted me in. Although it was just for a one-day reservist that nobody would bother about my hair, I still wanted to maintain a good image.
During the one-day reservist, Terry gave me a lift from Yishun MRT to Chongpang camp and then to Punggol MRT after that. He had finally bought his car since talking about it during the first time we had reservist together
Weitat organised two volleyball games at Yusok Ishak Secondary school and one at OCBC Arena, which was booked by Jelly. We had late supper after the first game and Weitat specially instructed Steven to give me a lift home. Steven could have taken the PIE route home, which was much faster. After the second game, we had dinner at Bukit Gombak’s coffee shop. In order not to let “blackbean” uncle and auntie treat, I ordered my food from the western food stall instead of the seafood stall. However, SCDF uncle footed the bill for our drinks. For both the last games, Bernard gave me a lift home using Jingjie’s car as Jingjie was not in Singapore.
The process of doing photoshoot with Jasmine Tan was glad not because I was shooting a cute girl but because she was one of the rare models who could turn up on time for a 7am shoot. She was very cooperative and we managed to get many good photographs.
During the one-day reservist at Yishun Safra, Teck Hui met up with me to walk over. Then, Fabian gave me and Terry a lift to the nearest MRT station.
For the photoshoot with Wanling, Gilbert was the driver to send Yuko and I over to Wanling’s house. Candy played a good host, drove me to package dinner back and sent us to the shooting location and then sent us home.
For the photoshoot with Rouying, Guoxin was my best assistant ever. He helped me to carry my equipment, buy drinks for all of us on his own initiative, shine light for my camera to focus and even paid for the cab after the shoot.
In total, Yuko took up three shoots with me and I was very glad that she could use her talent to aid me in creating the wonderful work.
Gilbert booked a staycation at The Amara Sanctuary Resort and chauffeured both Wanling and I to and from our houses. He also paid a larger portion for the hotel fee. Lunch was on Gilbert and dinner was on Wanling.
The month began with the resuming of my reservist. I was thankful of the great people who had accompanied me through the depressing period. They talked rot and kept me entertained. The drivers, Melvin, Fabian and Kenneth did us favours by ferrying us around.
I had not one but three photoshoot sessions with Ao Xuan to utilise her holidays. Although she sounded super laid back and lazy, she kept her promises despite having obstacles like rain. The first shoot was a lifestyle shoot done at Boat Quay. The second one was a studio kind of fashion shoot using Tze Khit’s gym and finally, a travel blog style of shoot to complete the entire Southern Ridges. It probably took her great effort to find out about me in order to trust me completely to hang out with me alone. (updates: she showed her princess-like attitude later)
Jake was finally able to meet up with me and he gave me a dinner treat. As usual, he was sharing things with me to try to help me while I was already too bored of updating him on my slow progress in life.
One of the luckiest things that had happened in my photography journey was the meeting of good people. Even people of higher status in life had showered me with love. Angie Mui, the woman I looked up to and someone who was busy in her passion, contacted me just to inform me that the photographs that I had taken for her would be released on the October 2016 issue of Expat Living magazine. Little kind gestures and lots of appreciation from her made me feel great.
Yonghao organised a mini hiking session from Harbourfront MRT to Henderson Waves. After that, we made a delivery of fruits donated by a nearby stall to the free chefs at Bukit Merah where they hosted free dinner for residents on every Sunday evening.
My mum noticed that I had many photography equipment lying around and she packed some space at the shelf previously used to put Luckie’s stuff for me to store things.
Gilbert had a free movie ticket as one of his colleagues fell sick and could not go. He even picked me up to go over to Lido together. I stopped him from sending me home after that and I actually made it home earlier than him. It would take him double the time if he were to give me a lift home.
During the re-shoot with Angie at her place, she cooked dinner for both her new social media manager, Mary, and me. It was great to be given a treat by someone of a high status who had cooked personally for us. In fact, Angie had arranged the shoot such that I would gain more exposure for Mary would be capturing the behind-the-scene photographs – if Mary were to use them on her publication.
Weitat arranged around three sessions of volleyball games at Yusof Ishak Secondary School and sent me home twice. During the last session, we had dinner at Clementi and I was able to go home by myself since the coffee shop was quite near to the train station. Alas, he was very concerned if I could catch the last train and I felt very touched. Alas, I could finally feel less guilty by not troubling him. After one of the games, our favourite auntie footed the bill for our supper at a coffee shop in Bukit Gombak, which made me feel very bad since there were quite a number of us. Jingjie bought many bottles of greentea for one of the sessions and shared with us generously.
As I was asking my elder brother about using HDMI cable to replace VGA cable for my computer, he told me he had a spare one. When he came back to my house, he actually remembered bringing it along.
My hairdresser endured another last-minute booking from me as I was about to go for reservist. As usual, she was not pissed off. Anyway, she charged me the same price since twenty years ago and she actually needed not take my business.
During reservist, the drivers Fabian, Melvin and Kenneth gave us free rides that had reduced the amount of time and energy used in travelling. I made a new friend, Teck Hui, a social worker, who gave me a treat on the second day.
After my elder brother moved to his new house, he took along most of the essential stuff but left many things behind. Somehow, my mum moved into the room almost immediately together with some of her belonging. I couldn’t stand the mess and it was actually very dusty. Therefore, I tried to pack the stuffs and put them into boxes and plastic bags. Then, Gilbert gave me a lift over to Marsiling.
I had a one-day low key reservist. It was, in fact, more of a national education tour. We were ferried to the city area and had to walk under the torching sun to complete some tasks. As usual, Fabian was the hero who picked Terry and I up from the nearest MRT station and dropped us at Hougang MRT after the end of the ICT.
On the day of my elder brother’s housewarming for a few close relatives, we had dinner at a nearby coffee shop. “We” ordered some expensive seafood dishes and my uncle paid for the meal. It was a guilty meal. I simply don’t have a stomach to fill any expensive food and I didn’t like any food with shell or tiny bones.
Almost every September was my busiest month of the year due to reservist. I had to wake up before the sun came up and waste my entire day in the camp, only to be able to rush my work at night. This time round, I had two reservist – one low and one high key.
I was fortunate to have a few good reservist-mates. The most important man was Fabian, the driver; without him, travelling inside the camp was a pain in the ass. Sometimes, he also dropped us at the MRT station. I was glad that the regulars were being very kind to us as well.
Since my younger brother was working under MOE, he was able to get free passes to some local tourist attractions. Each time, he was able to get only four passes though. He took my family and I to River Safari, and paid for the extra ticket and lunch. It was the effort to arrange everything that was really tough.
It was Geraldine’s birthday celebration. I was not very keen in taking up this shoot initially because she was busy with her school and thus replied me quite slowly. However it would be my greatest regret if I had given it up. The party was filled with nice and cute people. Eventually, her mum gave me extra money when she saw my effort. I felt very appreciated.
During my corporate shoot for JCL shipping group, I was greeted by very friendly people as well. During the first night when I knew none of the participants, one of the guys, Peter, kept asking me to put down my camera and grab some food by the side of the pool. At the end of the shoot, Peter got me a glass of beer. On the following day when their conference began, I realised he was the president of the group.
On the last night of the JCL shoot, one of the participants from Sri Lanka, Sunil, passed me a National Geographic magazine. He told me he got it free from the hotel room because he knew I loved photography. Even though he did not pay for the magazine, it was really nice of him to specially bring along to the Gala dinner and give it to me.
I had my worst period of the year – reservist. Not only I had to delay my photoshoot with my models, I also had to turn down clients for event shoots. It was totally a time-wasting period for me. Luckily, I had great company over there and the instructor, Liangwei, was one of the nicest guys I had met. Liangwei was very patient and understanding and he took care of us well.
The three weeks of torment has finally ended. To others, they might enjoy it for it was a break from their work. They were being paid as normal to slack and basically needed not use their brain at all. I felt the opposite because I was running my own business and the opportunity cost was high to halt my development. This further made me realise how tough it was to become a young entrepreneur in Singapore. I could not stand wasting my day rotting around and not able to proceed on my website development. The travelling distance was a major turn-off. This time, somehow Terry was allocated to the next batch even though we had attended two sessions together without deferring. I was definitely luckier than most people. Not many could have an easy life when they put on the ugly green skin. There were two car owners and I managed to get free lift. Apart from the first week that I caught the car near the gate, I started travelling down to Hougang to get my free ride. I get daily tea breaks at the canteens. The people were very friendly, which made the experience even better.
I spent the morning surfing, planning and blogging. I left for reservist straight without catching a wink. I met up Kang at the control station and he tempted me to get breakfast at a shop nearer to the bus interchange. I was expecting them to charge me an extra dollar for extra ingredient but I had to fork out two dollars and thirty cents, which I felt was cheated. Kang was quite worried that Terry would cause us to miss the base ferry and I assured him that we could even afford to miss one SBS bus to get there.
Kang made a move fast after checking out from the guard room and he managed to get into the squadron bus. I persuaded the NSF to squeeze in as well and there was only an additional place at the front, which Terry and I decided to give a miss. We took the base ferry instead and I was glad to meet Yutong. We had to walk a much longer distance to get into our headquarter.
While unwrapping the wooden chopsticks, I was injured by the sharp surface. I was not sure if any wood strap did get into my index finger but it hurt and irritated me for the entire day.
I started playing pool with Teng, and dart and Chinese chess with Terry. Finally, we moved to the table tennis table outside and I realised I had forgotten totally how to play the sport. After losing six sets straight to him, I got a hand of it and raced eight sets before losing another set. The final score was ten to seven. He gave up his bat to another guy and I won another two sets before calling for a break. I was drenched by my sweat but managed to doze off after some time.
I took a late lunch before playing table soccer with Terry and Yutong, and other NSmen. I dozed off a couple of times again to rest my back. Everyone was getting restless and we were extremely disappointed to be out-processed at 5pm sharp. We took Peter Chan’s car to Novena again. Terry was meeting his friend and thus I left without him.
It was already over 6pm when I reached home and thus I did not join my ex colleagues at Changi, considering that they were meeting at 5pm and it would take more than an hour for me to get there. I worked on my website instead and started dozing off.
Since my mum had not got home from work, I took my shower before bringing Lucky down for a walk. I brought him into the shop and after some time, the ladyboss’ “white face” husband came out. He started telling me he disliked dogs and that Lucky might bite the customers’ clothes. Then, he said that his “god” will not give me child if I enjoyed the companion of dog too much. He talked about the expense of dogs and claimed that “even human does not have the money to seek medical help”.
I never wanted to give the ladyboss or my mum any problem and thus I did not remind him that he had been jobless for more than ten years, and that his wife had to be so stingy to the workers in order to settle his debt for him. I also did not want to expose him that he had tried to force his wife to buy him a car.
I slept near 4am. My mum made me bread for breakfast and thus I did not buy anything before going to the camp. Mdm Chew came over to my side early and after chatting with her, I started dozing off every now and then until Terry started helping me with forum advertising for my tuition website. At the end of the day, we took Peter Chan’s car to Novena.