Just telling it as it is

2015, no thanks, bye

The calendar year is going to end soon. For some peculiar reasons, I have a distaste for the number “5”. They always say, “6” is my lucky number, and so be it, I am very eager in looking forward to the following year.

The year has been rough and tough to say to the most extent. It was a direct dichotomy from what I had been through in the previous years. Working outstation in a tranquil transit town in Sabah (Beaufort) somewhat laid down a sense of seclusion in me. And the fact of being an introvert and lived alone for most of the time further withdrew myself from the community, which comprises largely of “uncles and aunties” golden age population. Life was a rote, it was, overall a tedious trade having to work there and what was more in the agriculture industry. A feat that I bet only myself in the world would take on. The journey was not all dreary, though, considering I had the privileges of going through an entirely different path than the others. And I humbly thank the opportunity as it enabled me to discover and understand more about myself. My characters, my strengths, my interests, among other things, my shortcomings and weaknesses.  After all, I guess I find my life correlates with Robert Frost’s infamous

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

I should really be thankful for the entitlement which only a few stood to had. It was in Sabah and Sarawak that, I learned how to prepare a meal, going to the groceries, taking care of my ownself; that, I dealt with kinds of people I had never encounter like the cunning foxes in the business, the Chinese expatriates of the industry, the foreign labours from Myanmar and Thailand, and friendly indigenous peoples and the likes; that, I appreciated the mesmerizing sunsets of coastal towns, the ever-clear seawater of South China Sea, the majestic view of both Malaysia’s largest and second largest lands from the window of twin otters etc; that, among many other countless memories which I wish I have the honour to write them down. Now, I wished I could have stayed longer.

And so as one chapter ends, another shall unfold. I returned to KL at the beginning of the year after my 2 years stint in East Malaysia. Naturally, the next step for me was to look for a new job. While that was being handled, I realized, not a room for doubt, culture shock was taking its toll on me. I mean, what? I came home to my place and I got culture shock! It was true, as evidenced in the adjustments of my tucked-away lifestyle in countryside to the upright hectic, busy lifestyle in city. I became a tame tiny bunny among a wave of frantic frenzied coyotes on the road. Sigh. And during the course of adjustments, my health inevitably took another setback as I suffered from lips eczema. Missed the clean countryside air and healthy living so dearly. So I was struggling to cope with the shockwaves that I totally did not expect and it did not took me long to get a job as I eventually ventured into the real estate industry. Truthfully, I somewhat had my mind partially set to join the industry when I was still in Sabah after plans of purchasing property sprung up. It was from that point I started to took interest in real estate.

The journey in real estate is, as it turns out, NOT EASY! At the outset, things can look rosy and promising for a rookie. I only managed to close my first deal after 5 months in the business. In reality, real estate being a business as its true nature, it requires one to inject money to keep it up and running. This translates to being income-less in the first 5 months. Nevertheless, it was actually something I had expected, and I thought I could one day win it all back, which at one point I actually believed. As fate has its way, it turned out to be a bitter-sweet moment for me. I was one of the top sellers for an upcoming residential project and the developer out of the blue announced that the development will be postponed – Poof! Like a magic, everything disappears with no room for recovery. And that leaves me with only 2 concluded deals in my first year, and a bleeding bank account. I must say I find this industry not an easy ones, again.

If there is one thing I could find consolation from, it is that, I realized I became fascinated with the rules and regulations of the industry, especially after coming across with industry lawyers and to a certain extent, personal issues which also concern with laws, I took up my second degree in laws, for 2 main reasons – 1) to see things from a new perspective, specifically from the legal point of view, and 2) to complement my current job in the real estate industry. Juggling between work and study is not a walk in the park. A lot of discipline is required in order to cope with the study when one is working. Not to mention, the reason my bank account bleeds is because of the cost of study, which is increasingly expensive thanks to the weakening currency. I find that I still like real estate a lot, and I do not wish to forgo my current job for a job in the legal industry which I have been contemplating. At the same time, I am torn between the flexibility of my present job which offers more time to study compared to a fixed or rigid legal-related job I suppose? What could be in store for me in 2016? I do not know but I really hope to pass my intermediate examination which is in a few months time and then only perhaps to consider whether or not to switch the profession. May all be well in 2016.

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Just telling it as it is

If you ask me

How’s it like to live all by yourself, literally just oneself, alone?

It’s not easy, it’s like trying to be a Superman. You are the hero, you can’t have friends, although that’s certainly not the option for me. But my introvert and paradoxical nature pretty much price in for me. This is a place where I have zero association with, I’m only here because of job (or, career?). You see, sometimes I question myself, on the decisions I made. Why didn’t I made the other one instead? If you remember a line in Inception – “Don’t you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regrets, waiting to die alone!”. Regrets can eat me up slowly. On a more freed up moment, I can practically do nothing, the feeling was like one in imprisonment. On some other busier times, I tend to take things too seriously, barely a space for breathing. Paradox. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve been up with some serious matter that can’t be resolved easily for some period of time now and certain workloads, under pressure from my own self. I even lost touch of finding ways to wind down myself. And now, I think my health is taking the toll on me, need to see the doc tomorrow. I’m really yearning to go home as quick as possible at the moment, and I’m gonna kick the ball as hard as I could when I’m on that field again.
Wish that I could cry, and fall upon my knees.

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Just telling it as it is

Bye, Microsoft

Today I shut down my last association with Microsoft, namely Hotmail. Hotmail was like the passport to the wonderful world of internet for me. Started having it as early as the age of 10 through my tech-enthusiast cousin, a simple email then led me to MSN Chat where I had the earliest exposure of Internet Relay Chat (IRC), managed to make some friends through common interest chat rooms and kept in contact until the advent of MSN Messenger. It was the time when most of my peers were starting to get their hold on internet and we added almost every one we know in real life into our own messenger. Sharing music and photos were arguable the best thing to do during that time! Then came MSN Spaces, which was the blogging platform for Microsoft. It was like the extended version of MSN Messenger status update in which instead of posting short and simple status updates, we can integrate photos and videos into it alongside a wall of journal and make every stories in our life heard and read. It was also my earliest exposure in blogging.

The idea of closing down the account never once surface in my mind until the discovery of all the blogs I registered under MSN Spaces were gone, very much vanished into the thin air! I didn’t know they were migrating the MSN Spaces to WordPress and I just missed the train. Mixed feelings struck upon me instantly. Memories aside, I felt like portion of my growing was missing and can never be recovered. Earlier in the year, the discontinuation of Microsoft’s ever-popular MSN Messenger was already harsh to take, and now with the disappearances of my MSN Spaces blogs, little meaning left for me to continue lingering with Microsoft. And not to mention Hotmail though very popular with first-time email users back in the early days, is very prone to security issues. Undeniably, they were really good back in the early days, providing services that were essentially linked to our lives but I guess time has change the game around and like every good things in the world, they all come to an end.

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Just telling it as it is

LIFE, pondered after one zodiacal round

On Monday, my random suggestion to have a sip of coffee in one of the top coffee brewers in Klang Valley congregated my secondary school girl friends. Plainly intended to be a casual CNY hangout, I experienced the most extensive chatting session of my life. From a rainy 1530 afternoon, the chitchat lasted close to 2000 hour. I wondered how did I survived it. The magic of my Piccolo Latte maybe? While the girls as usual dominated the chat before LL and her boyfriend LS arrived later, my concentration was glued toward my “new” iPhone 4! The iPhone 4 impressed me a lot with its smooth UI compared to the Galaxy S which came out at about the same time last 2 years. My sluggish Galaxy S always prompted me to change a faster phone. My valentine gift to my sweetheart exchanged me in return just what I wanted. My part in the conversation finally gained a fair bit of portion after LS arrived. I tried very hard to trigger my conversation cells in the chat. I believe they were always inside there, I just need to live them up! In the end, the effort saw me exchanging questions quite frequently with LS about our job since we are in the different sectors. After the couple left, I tried to blend into the girls’ conversation. Life, was again being put onto the table, after a round of zodiacal turn. At 24, we are all left with the prime question of our life to ponder – what’s life? Is it to do whatever that makes one happy? Is it to live life without regretting at the end of it? Or is it just waking up to another day, eating and then waiting to shit, eat more, and sleep to the next morning? I agreed when G mentioned that the lost feeling became more obvious in the deep once we stepped into the year of Snake, which is our second zodiac year of our lives (disregarding our baby year). In fact, I had that feeling 6 months earlier before the start of 2013.

I completed my university in June last year. I decided to give the agriculture field a try because of close-ties provided by my family and relative. Coincidentally, a seminar was on the horizon for nursery operators on July. I attended it along with a friend since 2 places were reserved. The seminar gathered some of the nation’s top operators under one roof to agitate about the industry as rubber was identified as one of the high income generating commodities under the National Key Economic Area (NKEA). In fact, an award ceremony was held too to commemorate the nation’s top 3 nursery operators in which I witnessed my cousin A being one of the prize winners. It was a good exposure as I am considered a total amateur in the field. In the following months, I had on and off involvements with my mother’s nursery and followed my cousin A on several business trips to East Malaysia. Kuching, Sri Aman, Betong, Bintulu, Beaufort, Papar, Keningau, these names are increasingly familiar to me with each visits. Those visits had provided me a basic but good revelation to the field that I am about to venture in as I listened to what cousin A had to say and offer to me along the trips. He asked me to imagine the industry after some years, when most of the veterans will be retiring and there is little young forces to drive the industry forward. I thought this is a pretty good industry with future as long as the government are at it and profitable too! So why not? I like how the girls put it – at 20s, experiences come first, money will come later. True, money is important in many aspects. The reality is that we lack money. This is where the fear comes in. It makes you think fast forward to questions like what if I still unable to save up some money for future investments etc. Life is full of uncertainties, my stories may be good in the eyes of you, but you never know I myself too live in certain degrees of the “what ifs” fear as my life is left hanging on the thread at the moment. We need to learn the act of balancing. While in fear, we do not forget that we still have dreams as it will drive you out of the dread. Depending on how you think of your dreams, each people have different dreams. It might be to open a shop and be your own boss, fulfilling our desires of having the luxuries, or even doing charity with their fortunes like Bill Gates. It is normal to have fear, but let us not forget, that as long as we are capable, we must never stop dreaming. And always “stay ready”, so you do not have to “get ready”, as quoted by the WWE superstar, The Rock. Life is a cycle and I believe there will again be the day when we ponder about the same question. Until then, just ask your closed friends out for another round of coffee and extensive chat, every thing will be fine.

I wish all my friends a prosperous, plain-sailing, and healthy Chinese New Year ahead.

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Just telling it as it is

The Turning

I was in a lot of doubts whether or not should I jump ship and abandon my trustworthy WordPress blog after discovering Tumblr, before entering this post. Before January ends, and having none of any entries stock into my archives yet, I deemed it I still like typing it out lengthy and ‘word-pressingly’. Microblogging can wait. 😉

It’s the festive season in the year again as we are about to celebrate the Chinese New Year! It’s not difficult to sense the atmosphere of Chinese New Year usually as early as one month before the exact period of it. In Malaysia, to perceive the atmosphere of the Chinese community’s greatest festival early, one only have to be on the look out for temporary-built roadside stalls selling mandarin oranges and assorted decorative items. I mostly get very excited when I see them being set up along the hotspot route. It’s one of the many trademark phenomenons that reminds everybody the Chinese New Year is drawing near. Since I drive to class almost every day now, I always look forward to travel the main road, regardless of how congested it would be, just to feel the once-only-a-year festive ambience. Apart from all the normal phenomenons we commonly see before the Chinese New Year, like streets decorated with big red lanterns, commercial malls adorned with Lunar New Year theme, festive songs being aired on the radios, TV advertisements and so on, one rare peculiarity I notice this year is the frequent transportation of brand spanking new cars in giant caravans on the road to car showrooms. Clearly, everybody wants a new car in the new year. Now it makes me stop to think a while about when will I be able to own a car myself.

The next five years as I deemed it is crucial to me. Things that I’m doing now and about to do, and events that will be taking place, will significantly have impact on myself and my family respectively, in the foreseeable five years time scale. Taking these into consideration, whatever shall happens in the future, it shall be just a matter of time, at least I’m prepared for it. Personally, at the moment, my main goal is to graduate with a first-class degree and at the same time arm myself with all the knowledge I could on the subject I’m taking right now, so that I’m able to choose a subject of interest I think that is most appropriate to me for further specialization. And that also means a considerable amount of hard work, I know. Hopefully the government will not take back what they had said about the conversion of study loan into scholarship for graduates with first-class degree from year 2010 onwards. Well, that’s personal. On another note, I of course wish all the very best to my parents who are venturing into their projects. And to my siblings who might be struggling with studies, with great hope may both of you can achieve something out of it. And to my grandparents, may God continually bless both of you good and healthy life. I don’t demand a lot usually. If it’s about family matter, I only want each and every one to be unharmed, and stay healthy, and that’s what I secretly ask from God every time I pray. Now never do I have to worry about these things when I was younger, or perhaps, I could in turn be the thing that’s the subject of worry to others. Never mind, at least now when I take care of the younger, I can apprehend it. The expectation is there, the responsibility is there, I have to shoulder some of it, if not all, especially being the eldest among the siblings. And I suppose the more we live with the numbers, the more of it I will ought to shoulder.

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Just telling it as it is

Meet the Choongs

Ever since watching the series Heart of Greed, taking family portraiture photo or at least having all of them come together to have a family meal has been high on my wishing list. Please note it is on my wishing list, and it would be a different story if I said that it is on my must-do list. To reminisce the past pictures of everybody congregated under one roof during joyous event like Chinese New Year, I have to travel back in time at least some 10 years ago. Farcical it sounds I know. But the fact that everybody is so tied up to life made this kind of thing feasible. Life is a big word, well, you know it. Let’s not get too deep into this.

Yesterday, something somewhat unlikely to happen in the past decade happened. Grandma was the mastermind behind of this, which is grandpa’s 80th anniversary birthday celebration! This is definitely a wonderful chance not to be missed, by me and everybody else in the family. After all, we are so blessed to have an old man who is in his first 80s and still go strong.

Our most beloved and respected elders

Our most beloved and respected elders

As dusk approaches, we were all present in the private room of a nearby restaurant. “Are you my cousin?” asking one of the lads while looking on doubtfully. I guess this is what we get after getting separated for so long. Alright, don’t get carried away that did not happen. At first, the situation somehow was a tad of blends of awkward and tense, thankfully that did not last long and soon after some noise-makings the party got started! Singing, chit-chatting, eating, drinking, playing, joking, photographing, it was a fun-filled evening. Of course not forgetting the main agenda of the night – grandpa’s 80th anniversary birthday. So dad led the singing and the celebration started with Happy Birthday melodies performed by everybody surrounding grandpa in the middle together with his cake. The next thing we could see was an unbelievable scenario of a newly turned 80-year-old man dancing spontaneously in the crowd which got everybody’s glasses fall onto the floor.

Grandpa gets HIGH

Grandpa gets HIGH

We were all stunned and at the same time too slow to react. We should have danced too! As I mentioned earlier I always wanted to take the photograph of the whole family and I am just glad that I am finally given the opportunity. Surprisingly I never thought of the moment I could become the photographer myself to capture the family portraiture that I am longing for as for all the while I have been imagining all of us spending money at the commercial photography studio to have us framed beautifully and eternally in the pictures. They say good things come to those who wait, with the gear on my hands, and the given beautiful backdrop of golden lights, I cannot ask for anymore, I am simply delighted.

singers-collage1candid-collage1singers-collage2candid-collage2singers-collage3grandparents-collage

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE CHOONGS

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE CHOONGS

*Due to privacy concerns, these are all the photos I could share to the largest extent whilst the portraiture shots will be made undisclosed.

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Just telling it as it is

Gotcha

Have it not been the sudden declaration of mid-semester break two weeks earlier ago I should have by now starting to enjoy my actual mid-semester break, which should include a whole lot of activities that I can only be dreaming of them this instance. Should all things go accordingly I should have *starting to dream now* attended quite a few of events starting from Saturday, by kicking off the break with a visit to the Kuala Lumpur Photography Fair (KLPF) at Mid Valley. I have not been to any photography fair this year and at the same time I have been looking high and low for a suitable backpack to carry my camera as well as my laptop (I have not encountered a bag that is really say buy-me-buy-me at my first glance yet). Apparently there will be trade fair, talks, showcase and a model shooting competition too in the fair. On another note, one of the agendas on my planner is the Dogathon, which is a carnival held annually in my university for dog lover, and I was about to attend it too. You should start seeing me posting photos by now if the mentioned dreams were to become reality. And the reality is that I am actually having my midterm test! The sudden break had caused the midterm test to postpone to another week later which started from last Monday after the resuming of holidays. Basically, my plans are ruined, pretty ruthlessly.

Talk about university life. Week 7 is approaching, it is almost like the half of the first semester, until the imminent midterm test, only it hits me that, oh my goodness test are coming, assignments are incomplete, presentations are half-way done etc. These things are making me wondering what had kept preventing me from accomplishing what I should have done. Clearly there is something I need to work it out or else the water will only become muddier. On a different note, I joined the Buddhist society in university. Becoming a part of this society is nothing much more than pure co-incidence whilst I believe fate has destined me to be a part of it I want to make sure the affinity shall be prolonged. I attended the first class of activity last Sunday and I got this little surprise. They had this out of the blue but a memorable birthday celebration for me. The seniors were explaining about the rules and regulations that each of us the new members should abide and unexpectedly names of several other newbies including me were called out to the front of the crowd. We were questioned by the seniors whether or not we know what we did wrong, as if we were like prisoners. I hardly recognize and do not know what on earth I had actually done wrong. It was kind of annoying and embarrassing to be questioned over and over again in front of so many people. So the lights went off and the next thing I could hear was the song “Happy Birthday to you”. Truthfully I nearly pissed off by the anonymous actions right before the lights went off. They got me I guess.

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