Monday, August 17, 2015

Hey look! An Update

No, I haven't stopped writing. But I guess I've reached my dry point (You should see the amount of drafts yet to be published. Plenty of things started, but to no avail). Maybe a change of scenery will help. I hear Medium is a pretty Medium to blog with nowadays. Who knows?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Here's to the Future

Guys, we've done it!

We've come a long way.

I'm glad that I've walked this road with all of you.

And when you guys go up on that stage, just know that I'll be one of those people down there cheering with the rest of us who were slightly more gung-ho.

It has been one year and four months now that I've been out in the "real world" and I must say that what I said exactly one year ago still holds true: That the best days of our lives are behind us now. Because the best days of my life was spent growing with you guys. They were the pinnacle of learning, and now those carefree days are gone. We are all "contributing members of society" now. We have to do "responsible" things now. We can't blame naivety or lack of knowledge anymore. We are now equipped for the real world.

And I'm quite confident that we're ready for the real world.


Because we have each other.

We've gone through sleepless nights together

P.C. Justin Hiew
And we've done some pretty crazy stuff together

We've gone places together

We need to do this again soon.

And we've celebrated together

And this is only the beginning.

Sure, we'll probably not meet as often and see each other's beautiful faces every other day that we use to. Sure, we probably won't be as "close" we once were, but what's the definition of close? All I know is this: You guys had my back throughout the last FOUR (yes, this is our fourth year knowing each other...omaigoshwearesoold), and I know that you'll still have it from here onwards.

We're not sure of where the future will take us.

We could be in a dozen different countries in five years.

We could be settling down with our own families in five years.

We could be famous people in five years.

The world could end in five years.

But what is important is this. That for that little speck in human history, with all the possibilities of our paths never crossing, our paths merged. Where it takes us now is an unknown, but where we have been, I will cherish for a very very very long time.

So when you collect your piece of paper that says that you have brains tomorrow, just know that I'm going to be one of the crazy people (probably with the rest of the other gung-ho crazy people) shouting and cheering you on.

Here's to the future guys.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Push

 "Running away when things get harder is a race you are bound to lose."
Life is difficult. That's the lesson of life. If life was a piece of cake, then you're not doing life properly. There's always something else to do, something else to learn, something else out there that tells you that you are not done. In the words of the once-innocent, once-country singer, "there's always going to be another mountain." and it is seriously about the climb. Every road we choose to take, every little turn in another direction could take us into new territory, unexplored places. These places terrify yet intrigue me. Taking shortcuts means you miss the wide open spaces. Taking the easy way out, means you may reach the destination sooner, but your life isn't richer.

Experiences grow us. We are creatures with the knack to learn, and learn quickly at that. We don't need to repeatedly touch a hot stove 20 odd times to know that we're going to burn our hands. These experiences break us so that we can learn to make ourselves again. People who do amazing things are able to achieve because they've had the rough edges polished. They had discipline. They had experience. Sure, talent contributed to that. Sure, might as well throw in genetics too. But honestly, talent and genetics is only a fraction of the pie, hard work and determination takes the larger chunk (at least that's what I feel).

Welcome brick walls, because they teach you how to climb higher. Welcome friction, because it teaches you how to run faster. Think of the future you want and then evaluate where you are now. If they are miles apart from each other, then something has to change. Start making that future today, because the sooner you can push yourself to that future...that's where the better challenges await.

This are the words of the voice in my head. It's my little personal life trainer, always telling me, "why have you stopped walking? You haven't reached the top of the mountain."

That's all for now, I have things to do.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

We are but a speck in this speck of place we call our whole world.

It has been an intriguing month. For those who don't know, I started a new job in a new field. I'm slowly getting the hang of it. I'm slowly getting to understand the people and the culture. It's taking longer than I expected, but I guess it was expected - seeing that this was my first time in 5 years starting on a blank slate. But I'm learning and I think I'm doing alright.

So I won't talk much about work except for the fact that it has taught me that free time is precious. I'm a little more pressured to count the seconds of freedom I have and it turned out to be a good thing. I'm spending more time on things that matter and starting personal projects that mean a lot to me. One in particular is #thepeopleproject2015. I'm catching up with people who matter.

Another thing that took off is my video projects. I'm a little more driven to making content now. And this is evident from my release of Banana below.

Making this video took so much time that I don't have the patience to make a "how-to" or blooper reel. But I'm glad it's up. I'm glad that it has garnered the attention with hundred plus views and counting.

That's about the highlights so far. Two amazing projects. One ongoing and one a stepping stone to other projects.

And that ends the good news.

I was struck by grave news on Wednesday when I found out my former colleague passed away. I guess it hurts a little more not knowing until so late. I guess it hurts a little more because there was no one I could consult when I found out. I guess it hurts a little more because I kinda never got the chance to say goodbye. I knew her health wasn't great, but I brushed it aside. Told myself that there would be another time for goodbyes. I wrote a goodbye note on my last day in HELP and passed the note through a third-party. Til now, I still don't know if she even got the chance to read it. I guess it hurts a little more because you helped me secure an interview by putting in a good word for me. I guess it hurts a little more because I couldn't say a final goodbye. I guess it hurts a little more because it shouldn't have happened.

Goodbye. Somehow I feel guilty. Though I know I shouldn't. Now when I'm alone, I shall contemplate just how insignificant our very existence is. We are but a speck in this speck that we call our whole world.

So what's the point of my projects if they are going to fade away in time? That's a question, I'm going to have to wrestle with.

Friday, January 9, 2015


I guess you may call me strange for making friendships a project, but the way I see it, if I don't put effort then what's the point? Those of you who have been following this blog (I don't know why you would be, but thanks?), you would know that some time last year, I started an initiative called: Project: Begin Again. And that project was to focus on lost friendships. I'm happy to say that the project was a success of some sort. I did reconnect with friendships past and now I shall move on to the next step: #ThePeopleProject2015 ! *cue intro music*

While Project: Begin Again was about finding friendships, #ThePeopleProject2015 will be about maintaining friendships. It's about keeping in touch and I do not mean in an I-saw-and-read-what-you-posted kind of way, but in a let's-meet-up kind of way. It's about making time for the people I find important in my life. If you are my friend on Facebook, you would have noticed that I've already started this with an album dedicated to #ThePeopleProject2015.

In a way, this and last year's project goes hand in hand and share many similarities. I am still connecting. I am still reconnecting. Nothing much changes except maybe the focus. I've thrown out a wide net last year, not it's time to narrow that net. I've always cherished one-to-one conversations to grouped ones (Though I can be pretty awkward in smaller groups) and this project is about the depth. I don't want to be that hi-bye friend.

So to those I've already met, I'll be seeing you again soon. To those I'm seeing soon, Hi. And to those I've yet to contact, I'm making time. If I don't contact you it could mean one of two things: 1) I meet you so often that there's really no need to make a dramatic effort i.e. Family, Church peeps and former colleagues and 2) I'm not really close to you (but if you want to change that, feel free to drop me a message).

Note: I do realize that my album on Facebook seems rather sexist, but I assure you, I have male friends too.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Throwback 2014

If I could condense 2014 into one word, it would be spontaneity. This year pushed me out of my comfort zone far more than any other year so far. I am thankful for the people who shared this journey with me. Some of us have met a fork on the road and are now waving goodbye, and yet, I know somewhere along the road, those paths will meet again. I would not be lying when I say that 2014 was my biggest year by far and so let us head straight to the highlights of the year. I am going to pick one major happening per month.

January - #Tutorship
It is the month of beginnings and this was no different. January kicked off with my first full time position as a tutor for the HELP Psychology department.

I am tremendously grateful for good colleagues of many whom I call friends. We never did remain just colleagues. We ended up hiking, jogging, catching movies, going out, eating meals, going on holidays together. Though balancing between our professional relationship and friendship was sometimes a hassle, we pulled through and there was very little drama all things considered.

My colleagues were not the only fun part of my work - after all, you become a tutor to tutor people. I am tremendously thankful for great kids students. Most of them were sporting and did not mind my messing up. Though I often forgot all their names, it did not mean they did not leave an impression (it just means I have terrible memory). I know you kids students will do well with the remainder of your psychology degree and if you don't, I will hunt you down.

February - Broga Hill
The status quo of driving to work in the wee hours of the mornings become mundane and the colleagues decide to take it a step further and wake up even earlier on a Saturday morning to conquer Broga.
Credits to Jeremy Lim
We should try this again soon. 

March - Legal Runs
Because March is a special month for me, it gets two entries. First of all, I turned 21. Though I have already been enjoying all the benefits of being legal (the only thing left I want to do as a legal adult is vote). I am thankful for the people who went out of the way to plan a surprise for me especially my family who masterminded the whole thing.

Neon run was another big thing in 2014. It was definitely an interesting experience running with so many people and the company was great. Guess, I'm going to start looking for more runs this year.

Credits to Lum Wai Lun
April - Graduation
Even though I graduated about four months before, it was finally time to collect my scroll. It was time for my 5 seconds of fame. It was great to meet the people I haven't seen in months coming over to support. I'm sure making the effort to see you guys when it's your turn in a few months.

Let's not forget our get together that night. Maybe we should have another one soon?

May - Chilling
A birthday here, an outing there, and the highlight I would have to pick would be hiking Sungai Chilling. It wasn't the hardest hike I've done and the waterfall at the end wasn't really worth the hike, but the company made it worth it.

June - Anyong!
Outings were numerous in the month of June, but one that definitely stuck permanently was meeting these group of Korean missionary kids.

They were a fun bunch of people to have to privilege of meeting and I'm hoping that we will manage to cross paths again in the near future.

July - Youtube debut
With the "jam-packedness" of the traveling month about to begin, I rushed myself to finally start something that I have been putting off for a long time: entering the Youtube scene. Though the video wasn't published until much later in the year, we technically wrapped up majority of the filming in June.

I'm thankful for sporting people who were willing to work with me and film this crazy video. Though I haven't uploaded anything in a while, I haven't given up on the Youtube thing yet.

August - Traveling
Though the highlight of August was the traveling you can read more about it here, it was also filled up with meetups with people who mean a lot to me. I got closer to a ton of people and managed to reunite with others. Also started something that turned out to be quite a highlight of my 2014.

September - Downtime
No. September wasn't "unhappening". But there was a certain low in September that could be attributed to the high in August. Guess, good things were not meant to last. Closed a door in September and felt generally down the entire month.

Oktober Fest
October meant the celebration of Oktober fest and this year was my first time partaking in the tradition. Managed to meet up with uni mates for a bottle and honest conversations.

November - Shooting people
Though I am thankful for the opportunities of increasing my camera skills via the various events I was invited to shoot this year, I am most thankful for the opportunity of shooting for the EO24 event because I had the privilege of hearing Marina Mahathir speak in person. Also met Uma from BFM there! I guess the event could be considered my first real paid gig and I would like to thank Eugene Khoo for trusting me with such a big job.
Credits to Eugene Khoo
Credits to Eugene Khoo

The event really taught me a lot more about the pressures of a photographer and I enjoy the process tremendously.

December - Korea-HK
Though I didn't contribute much to the planning of the trip, I'm glad that my family decided to spend one and a half weeks traveling. I now know that winter should only be experienced ONCE.

And here it is, my highlights of 2014. I want to wish very special people who contributed to making my 2014 unforgettable.

My Family
Thank you for understanding that I wanted freedom. I want you to know that family is a priority in life and though I may not be taking an active part in the family business, it is still dear to my heart.

My Colleagues Frolleagues
Thank you for making the office more home than office. I leave my tutorship with a troubled heart because I am not sure whether I could ever find a replacement for you.

Malaysian bound 93s 
We're still here. Thank you for keeping me in the loop. I get closer to you guys every year.

Fellow Psychos
It's been a year and we're still in touch! Well, at least most of us are. Justin gets a special mention for being the bro that he is for helping me with "life issues". Millie gets a mention too because she too has helped me with "life issues".

Pica Pica
Thank you for including me in your circle and for not making me being a tutor awkward. I'm looking forward to the day when it's my turn to bring my plus one to one of our outings.

Makan Buddies
Guess our presemester lunches will not need to be presemester lunches anymore.

Special mentions
Because you guys don't really fall into a group of people, your individuality is worth mentioning. My year will not have been the same without you. Suets, Lav, Ming, Nicole, Rachel, Gloria, the other Reuben (hey look, it's a guy's name!), Vania (technically you belong to Fellow Pyschos but I've known you longer), and John (another guy's name!). You guys contributed a ton load to my 2014 and I hope that you will continue to contribute to my 2015.

Now with this recap done. I think I can say goodbye to 2014 with this: I loved the ups and downs, and you are one year that is going to be tough to beat. 2015, I'm ready for you!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Assuming Christian

We all know about what people say about those who assume (I'm assuming you know). Well, for those who don't, just read the first three letters of the word and you'll probably get it. Assumptions, like stereotypes, are heuristics that help us everyday. And like stereotypes, assumptions are usually the beginning of not so encouraging behavior. It saddens me that the most assuming bunch of people I've ever met are the people who share my faith - Christians.

(Though it could be argued that because of my faith, I'm surrounded by Christians already and they will of course be the most "anything" bunch of people I've ever met, but let me assure you that I'm not the only one who thinks this.)

To top it off, I agree that we, Christians, sometimes can't help but to assume. After all, Christianity is the largest religion in the world in both numbers and reach. We are supposedly everywhere. And numbers do not lie. The numbers say that we should expect people to know about our faith without our need to know about theirs. People should have been exposed to Christianity because we are everywhere - music, movies, TV shows, books. Everywhere. With all this readily available sources of information, how can a non-Christian NOT know about Christianity? How can a non-Christian NOT know that Jesus Christ IS the Lamb of God, Lion of Judah, the Promised Lamb, the Vine, Son of Man, Son of God, etc? How can a non-Christian NOT know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, left Heaven and came to Earth as a baby boy, lived a sinless life, was betrayed by one of his own, was crucified, and rose to life after three days? After an unteenth amount of Christmas and Easter skits, songs, plays, and poems, how can they NOT know?  How can a non-Christian NOT know the salvation story?

Could it be because of our arrogance? Could it be because of our assumptions? We're sending out the message but is it translated into something that other non-Christian-jargon-speaking human beings can understand? Are we all caught up in flowery language and prose that we have forgotten the reason why we speak in the first place? I've seen Christian stage plays more interested in plot twists and flamboyancy that the salvation message is lost. I've heard evangelical speakers preach about the "sacrificial blood of the Lamb of God that was slain" without even thinking about explaining what it meant to the probably confused audience. I've witness theological debates turn into jargon-throwing cacophonies of complicated Christian mambo jumbo.

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. - 1st Chorinthians 13:2" 
Love. It is as simple as that. Why are we complicating it? If we have love, grace and faith will follow. If we have love, we will stop trying to outsmart people. If we have love, we will be humble. If we have love, we will stop assuming that everybody knows the 10 Commandments like the back of their hands. If we have love, our testimonies will be better than a big budget evangelical project. I understand the need to up the ante, but are we losing the purpose? Unless you can tell me straight to my face that the Salvation story has gone so stale that we have to constantly think of something more creative, why are we focusing on anything else? I get the fact that we have to incorporate and change with the times, and I agree. The medium should change, but the message should remain the same.

I end this with a song that should be used for reflection. What is our message and would our assumptions hinder that message from being translated clearly?

A Say for Today

If right-handers use their left brain, doesn't it mean that left-handers are always in the right mind??