June 15th, 2009

Start Up

Sadly, my computer hard disk died on me last week.

Luckily I have back ups done for my client work on a regular basis but 6+ years of personal stuff – sketches, ideas, plans, stories, etc – are all gone.

When I fired up my email application yesterday, my inbox was empty. I’ve lost all my emails too.

My computer hard disk died

A similar event happened to me a few years ago.I used to have backups of all my work on Zip disks then (does anyone remember those blue disks?). When my then PC got corrupted beyond repair, I didn’t really worry because thought I could rely on the backup data on my zip disks. But no – ALL the disk were corrupted and unreadable. 5 years of work gone. ;(

I have to admit there’s a certain amount of liberation, starting on a clean slate. But I’m a little worried about data preservation at the moment. Will my data DVDs last? If they do will there still be DVD readers in future? Do I need to transfer my files onto a new hard disk every few years? Do I need to upload all 89 million terabytes of my digital photos to Flickr? Should I carve my ideas in stone? Or blog every tiny detail of my life online? Hmmm…

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November 4th, 2008

The Wedding Poultry

I’m back. I probably have 3 (5? 10?) loads of washing to do and currently in a state of post-holiday slump. Well technically, it wasn’t really a vacation:

“You will be the free-range photographer.”


“There will be an official photographer capturing the couple’s every move. You’ll document everything else.”

“Oh, I get it, I’ll be running around like a crazy chicken.”


PS: Happy Election Day, US folks!

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July 3rd, 2008

Apparently Not The King
Overheard Conversation Between Two Early Teens

Overheard in a fast-food restaurant:

Who is Elvis PresleyA: Who is Elvis Presley?

B: You don’t know Elvis Presley?!

A: No, I don’t. Who is Elvis Presley?

B: He invented rock.

A: Nope, I’ve never heard of him.

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February 12th, 2008


Do you know how much I love paper cups?
Sometimes I wonder if my love for coffee has more to do with the cups they come in rather than the coffee itself. I have a habit of collecting paper cups(properly washed, of course) only to have them thrown away by someone else.

In my previous job, located in the middle of a busy shopping belt, I frequently buy coffee for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner from one of the many cafes dotting the area. Of all the coffee houses, I frequented Starbucks the most, not because they had the best coffee, but because it was located nearest to my office. Every Christmas season, my cubicle will see the addition of another red Starbucks Holiday Cup. I kept one every year since I first started working there. I’d even find a good use for them – potpourri holders.

I loved looking at them. It’s amazing how many times I’d been inspired to do something creative just by looking at the paper cups lined up on top of my monitor. Once I wrote a story about a sad coffee bean. Another time I designed a book cover based on the color scheme of the cups, just for fun. The cleaning lady at the office would make sure she put the cups back in their exact location when she was done wiping the top of my monitor, something I greatly appreciate. The people I worked with were aware of my love for paper cups, some even offering their cups for me to keep. But paper cup-collecting is a very personal thing for me. I like to get to know the cup myself before welcoming it into my life.

One day, out of the blue, I find my cups missing from their usual location. I tried to locate the missing cups in the pantry but was met by a stranger from the cleaning company. He said the old cleaning lady was sick, so he’s taking over for the day. I asked him if he’d seen my potpourri-filled paper cups. He said he’d thrown them away because he thought they were filled with “mouldy things”. The next day, the regular cleaning lady resumed work and the first thing she did when she saw me was to apologize for the loss of my cups.

My most prized possession was a set of slender, unusually-sized cups(too big for an espresso, more like a generous demitasse). I bought them for a few bucks from a shop selling odds and ends near my house. They came in a pack of about 10 pieces and each one of them was beautiful. The base color was off-white. I’m not sure whether this was on purpose or because the paper had slightly yellowed with age, but it made a nice canvas for the main element – an exquisitely-rendered watercolor painting of different flowers. It stayed in my kitchen drawer for probably 7 years before I decided to use one for a special occasion (I got a pack of fancy tea as a birthday present), then another, and yet another, until only three cups were left. After that I decided I don’t want to be using them anymore as they were too precious to me. A few months ago, I find them gone. My mother had thrown them away, without my knowledge. She said that the cups looked too old to be useful.

Each time my cherished collection was thrown away I’d feel a little sad, but only for a minute. No matter how sentimental I feel about something, I accept that most material things in life are disposable.

I love paper cups a lot, but I treasure relationships with people more.

PS: Sticking a “Do Not Throw” message helps. :)

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January 19th, 2008

A Conversation with An Unlikely “Friend”

I used to be so afraid of failing. But why did I fear failure so much? Was it because we were strangers?

Failure: Hi, I’m the guy better know as Failure. My real name is Hard Lesson. People fear me because they choose to see me in negative light. I’m just part of everyone’s life journey, like Success. Now, that guy’s something. He’s got everyone pining for his company. What many people don’t know is that you usually need to be my acquaintance first before you can be his friend. I’ll always have something that you could take with you till you’re ready to meet him. It’s called Wisdom.

Illustration of failure

Me: Well this is me saying hi to you, Mr. Failure. I guess you’re not too bad. A bit harsh sometimes, but now that I know you better, you don’t seem as frightening as I imagined. But that doesn’t mean I have to like you. No, if I stick with you too long, I’ll be welcoming Depression.

F: Yeah, she tends to come without warning. We can still be friends right?

M: Er.. Can I ask you something? Why are you spelt in LOLcat? And why do you have such puny legs?

F: Actually I’m web 2.0 and secondly…it givs u the lulz?
Hmmm…you know what, I don’t really like you that much either. You ask too many questions. And you always find a need to validate my existence. I prefer the quieter, loser types. They just accept me as I am. Plus your types are a little, you know…

M: My type?

F: You sound like you have a quite a bit of Crazy in you.

M: Eh? Why’s that?

F: Well.. for a start you are having this conversation with me…

I’ve had more than few visits from this little guy over the years. The good thing to know is that once he is with you, the only other way to go is up. :)

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