ORD Farewell Address to Unit

23 September, 2019

Good morning CO 1AMB, various depot KAH, fellow batchmates and 1AMBians,

It has been 586 days since the first day I stepped into 1AMB. That sounds like a very long period of time. Yes, indeed, I ain’t going to lie. It felt so great yet surreal to be standing here right now, looking at all my batchmates in front of me, on the verge of completing our 2-year service.

We were once recruits, taking the ferry – some for the very first time – to the resort called Tekong. It was a moment of mixed feelings because we knew a little too much of what is expected of us during BMT.

Some of us were excited, maybe because you get to live your dream as a character in your First-Person Shooter game, living in barracks, holding a gun.

Some of us were overwhelmed, maybe because you watched too much Ah Boys to Men and were afraid to be tekan by your sergeants, signing extras, doing unlimited sets of 20 push-ups.

Some of us were clueless and emotionless but because this is a process of growing up as a Singaporean son, you have had no choice but to report for enlistment.

I was the third kind of recruit. I knew it was my duty as a citizen to train, to protect, to fight for what’s around me – my parents, my friends, my people, and the foundation this country is being built upon. I remember sitting by window seat, looking out to the vast sea, allowing the rhythm of the crashing wave accompany me through the journey while envisioning my military life over the next two years.

Fast forward a month later, I found myself in OETI, training to be an armour technician. I have no clue, no clue at all why I was placed there. I graduated with a Diploma in Chinese Media & Communication, it has nothing to do with science, nor engineering. I felt out of place when my peers seems rather confident in answering questions by our instructors. I was the most clueless person, no doubt.

Yet, thankfully, my peers were all very helpful. They showed me their notes and even explained to me of concepts that I was unsure of. It is camaraderie shown by them that helped me get hold of the basic concepts, that helped me through this rather steep learning curve. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible for me to be trained in 3 different platforms – Bionix, Bronco and Leopard. Without them, I would be overwhelmed by the theory and concepts so stranger to me. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to bring home the honour of being the Best Recruit.

On a very significant 15 February last year, I came into 1AMB as a fresh graduate from OETI. The month ahead was another period of settling down and adjusting to another new environment – our 3rd new environment in less than 6 months.


Gedong was a whole new place to me. When I thought Tekong was far enough, I never expect Gedong was so much further. The road to Gedong is depressing, I think we all agree with that. There was no scenery at all, no vast sea, no sounds of the crashing waves. All that were left were spooky cemeteries, remnants of the old Neo Tiew Estate and rows and rows of plantation.

As much as how Gedong might seems depressing at the first glance, it turns out to be the main highlight of my 2 years in service.

This is where I learnt more about the Leopard Main Battle Tank through the regulars who are so willing to pass on their knowledge to us.

This is where I forged closer bonds with my batchmates, supporting each other during times of need. We worked together, played together, got scolded together, clean our bunks together and even nights out together.

This is where I was given the opportunity to be grow and be nurtured into a section commander, a leader to lead my men towards the betterment of our depot.

This is where all of us fought together day and sometimes, night, to maintain or even improve our vehicle turnover rate, to support our combatant counterparts in all their trainings and exercises.

This is where my mentors and friends are and I am thankful for them to walk this journey with me.

To the new OJE guys, this is just the beginning of your life as an armour technician. Learn whatever you can and do whatever you could. Serve with pride and loyalty. Though we might not be like the combatants, driving the vehicles out for battle or engaging the enemy face to face. But keep this in mind, each vocation is like our body part, and only when they work together, the body could function.

For without the hull mechanics, there will be no chance the vehicle could move out for battle.

For without the turret mechanics, we will not be able to engage the enemy and deter them with a display of our firepower.

For without the comms technicians, we will not be able to sustain a proper channel for communication during battle.

Every vocation, and every single one of you counted. I once told my fellow batchmates that no matter where you are from, you pledged your loyalty to the flag. No matter who your boss, your superior is, you work not for them but for the uniform you are wearing. No matter which unit you are supporting, you are involved in the defence capability of the state. This is your country and mine, and we play our individual parts

I know how tough it is to adjust to a military lifestyle – the discipline and regimentation. Some of you are still struggling with it till today, but it is normal. I understand because I’ve been through all these.

But remember, when you walked through a storm, hold your head up high, and don’t be afraid of the dark;

Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain, though your dreams will be tossed and blown.

Walk on, walk on, with your hope in your heart, and You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Now turn to your buddy to the left and right side of you and say, “Thank you for being here with me, and we will survive this together.”

I hope you guys will carry this battalion on, bring out your fighting spirit and always strive for your best. For loyalty, honour and a willing heart.

And this is 3SG Eddy signing off.

And to my fellow batchmates, ORD loh.

2018 In Review

If I were to choose a word to represent my 2018 experience, ‘battle’ would be the most suitable of them all.

As 2018 is coming to an end (update: it has already ended when I actually am done with this piece), I finally able to sit down with my cup of kopi o kosong in my room to quietly reflect on what happened in the past year. There are so many things that are going through my mind right now that I needed a peaceful time like right now to consolidate all my thoughts and get my acts together.

Mental Health

2018 has been a year where I had to battle my self-doubts and all the internal struggles I had within me. It wasn’t a year that was friendly to my mental health or my physical health as a whole. There were a few instances that I suffered mental breakdowns. Despite the most recent episode happened a few months back, I am still suffering from the side effects today. I knew and I could feel how I became less patient with almost everything, I could flare at any behaviours that irk me. I stumbled with my words so frequently that I find it hard to start a conversation with anyone. My self-confidence was at a point so low that I wouldn’t even dare to establish any eye contact with anyone I am having conversations with, my eyes will naturally float around. It was downright social anxiety. Although things got slightly better towards the end of the year, it is a key concern for me. I just hope that I’ll eventually recover and return to that more extroverted self who found so much comfort in front of a crowd.

Binge Eating & Loss of Fitness

Mental struggles played a large part in the slight deterioration of my physical health and how I looked overall. Stress has given me the excuse to binge eat at almost every opportunity available. It went to the point that this action has taken a toll on my fitness level. I’ve basically undone whatever I’ve worked so hard on throughout 2017. My weight went back up to 72KG, my 5KM timing went beyond the 30min mark, my resting heart rate went up to an average of around 52-56 bpm. I felt my asthma could come back anytime soon (it relapsed earlier in the year and my stamina went one way down from then on).

I got too tired easily. I couldn’t be sure if that was due to the workload I’ve got to deal with these days or that I’ve completely lost the fitness mentality. I find that I do not enjoy my runs as much as before. It became more of like ‘if you want to balance out your diet, you’ll have to run/workout enough’. It became more of a mandatory routine instead of a form of relaxation. The purpose has steered too far off from my original intentions from 2016. I wouldn’t have persevered on, had I not have the motivation from the group runs I was part of towards the second half of the year.

Now that I am back to the ‘dad bod’, I think it might just take me a while to find back the enthusiasm I had for fitness and to go back enjoying every moment of it. I just hope that in 2019, workout returns to its role as a stress reliever instead of a contributing factor to my stress level.

Of course, 2018 did not only consist of all the bad things in life. There were moments that positively defined my year. There were also moments that reminded myself that there were still hope at the end of the day and I was more capable that I thought I was. I have specially chose to rewind on 5 of the moments as part of this post and here they are:

5. FINAL VISIT TO SRJC

I was considering between my birthday celebration with JCFC and my last visit to SR to be included in the Top 5 moments of 2018. Both were as significant but that afternoon at SR has that extra reason to make the mark into this list.

The feeling of pity was that reason. I have every reason to feel pity about the closure of the college that I once hated so much being in it. Yet, as I left the place and went on to pursue my dream, I realised the importance my 10-month stay there is to my life.

I wouldn’t have meet and befriend such a lovely group of people in the form of JCFC had I not went there.

I wouldn’t taking up running as a hobby had I not suffer under the intense running training around the Will Run route every PE lesson.

I am so glad that I was able to get there in time to take a final look at the college with Viv and document all the ‘scenery’ on camera. I initially had plans to visit SR for the final time during the flag decommissioning ceremony earlier last month. However, I was unable to do so due to some last-minute changes to my schedule.

4. JOINING GROUP RUN

The moment I knew I was losing motivation to conduct my own runs on Saturday evenings, I decided to join any open running crew during their running days. I even tried to revive the group run chat that I had with my JCFC girls who ran at Sundown 2016. Taking reference from the chat name Charmz has created, Fitspo People Athletic Club (FPAC) was formed. More commonly known as Fitspo People, the club surprising grew in number after the original crew added their friends. I started running with new running buddies like Justin and Jaslyn during the second half of the year as preparation to the year-end Stan Chart Singapore Marathon. We took our runs from my first base camp around Marina Bay to places like East Coast Park, MacRitchie Reservoir Trail and Coney Island. We basically travelled half of the country on our legs.

During times when FPAC weren’t running, I joined the other running crews with their runs as well. For example adidas Runners in October. One thing about adidas Runners is that they have limited slots of the public to sign up for whenever they have a run. It was like trying to grab hold to Ed Sheeran’s concert tickets. One would have to be online on Facebook as soon as they published the sign-ups for their upcoming runs in order to get him/herself successfully registered. It could have been my second club had the registration was made easier. In the end, that run in October was the only run I had with them so far. I don’t know when’s the next time I would be able to run with them again.

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From the second half of October onwards, I went full swing into training for my first full marathon. Running Department happens to be the official pacer for the race so they have like pacer runs that we could join in. I usually don’t join for pacer runs because these runs always are held on Saturday morning — which does not seem to fit into my schedule. Yet, for the next two months, I managed to make things more flexible for myself. The reason why I decided to join the last few pacer runs was that it covered some very long distance: 30, 33, 21, etc. I don’t think I can find the motivation to run some 10km more than the longest I’d run previously. I need proper water points and route to keep myself going and to better gauge the form I was at going into the final phrase of training. Two months of running with RD gets me rather familiarise with their culture and they seems to be really fun people. I swear I don’t get to find people who still put on smile after waking up that early for a long run.

After Stan Chart ended, I eventually joined them for an exploration run at MacRitchie Reservoir. It could easily been one of the toughest runs that I’ve done for the entire 2018 (apart from the 35km run I forced myself to run and the other MacRitchie Run with FPAC). I could foresee more runs with them in 2019.

3. BACK TO CONTENT PRODUCTION

The decision to return back as a producer was met with another round of internal struggle. It took me a while to actually convince myself that I need to return back to content creation — both editorial and video. Editorial wise, I was technically on a 2-month writing hiatus since early June. Even so, the articles I’ve written in June were mostly for clients, making my last more original content dated back to May 27.

I never had any intention to return to content producing as long as I am still in the force. Yet, while taking up role as the Media IC during my Specialist Course, I reignited my passion for content production. I felt so great having to edit off Premiere Pro again after so long. Content creation has been my life for a good 4 years leading up to enlistment so that kind of explains why I missed it so much when I decided to take a hiatus.

In September, when randomly surfing YouTube, I came across one of Casey Neistat’s vlog. I was impressed. Very. I was thinking if it is difficult to think of ideas to create online shows like the very-long-never-update EC Show, why not I try to document my life through weekly vlogs. It would provide me the motivation to live a more interesting life every week. After that, I continue to watch more vlogs and got introduce to prominent vloggers/YouTubers like iJustine, MKBHD and Jon Olsson. Once I saw Jon Olsson’s vlog, I was thrilled by the idea of creating cinematic-style vlogs. That’s when I fell in love with colour correction.

Ed’s Filmologue was thus created and my YouTube channel was revived. It provided the main content for my channel and given me a completely new lifestyle. I got myself a more portable vlogging camera and I was ready to go. On September 8, I uploaded my first vlog episode and by the time the year concluded, I have created 15 episodes. Quite an achievement I feel.

Screenshot from Brown Sugar Milk Tea Taste Test.

Apart from Ed’s Filmologue, I also revived the Try Out series where I tried some ‘crazy’ things so that other people wouldn’t have to. The biggest project of the year came in December when I collaborated with a few friends – Kishan, Yapz, Hui Shuen and Jing Xing – to try out almost all the brown sugar beverages in Singapore. I swear we almost died from diabetes. The amount of sugar beverages I had that day could easily be more than the amount I had over the past 2 years combined. We had fun and I definitely gained some experience from the production itself.

2019 will see more of such contents created and I can’t wait already!

2. GRADUATION FROM MASCC

On 23 August, I marched out into parade square at Leaders’ Square, Pasir Leba Camp, receiving my new third sergeant rank. This is the biggest milestone of my National Service ‘career’. It is my proudest moment of the year no doubt. Going through the Maintenance and Ammunition Specialist Cadet Course (MASCC) was a whole new experience to me. Being a PES C soldier means that I only get to go through the modified BMT where outfield only consists of 2D1N. It was like a walk in the park, although I got infected with conjunctivitis after that. MASCC was different. It provided me with a more wholesome experience as a soldier. We kind of planned our own 3D2N outfield and our sector deployments. It was tough.

Despite it was the period of time I suffered one of my biggest breakdowns, I believed that I’ve learnt a lot from my peers. We worked together, suffered together and eventually graduated together. It was fun while it lasted.

1. FIRST FULL MARATHON

The completion of my first ever full marathon on 9 December has to be my greatest moment of 2018. Despite my drop in form throughout the year, I managed to clock a sub-6h. I didn’t expect that, I was still in doubt over whether I could finish the entire route before the 7-hour cut off time. Well, I was an hour ahead. I still felt that had I been more consistent in my training and my diet throughout the year, I could have performed much better.

This is the biggest milestone I had so far since I started running in 2013 (cue SRJC). If you told me back then that I’ll be running in a full marathon in 5 years time, I will regard you as bonker because it was unthinkable. That morning, I’ve turned unthinkable into thinkable, dreams into reality. I thought myself one lesson, nothing is impossible as long as you keep going and be more patient with your progress. Results won’t be imminent, but as long as you don’t give up. Maybe 5 years later, I’ll be running a good sub-3?

Other than moments that define my year, there is also the human factor that makes 2018 a more pleasant one. These are the people – whether old friends or new – that walked 2018 with me either throughout or at some specific time and played a big part to the moments I had.

People I’d Want To Thank

Justin & Jaslyn

Firstly, would like to thank these 2 new friends whom I’ve made this year. Justin and Jaslyn were the ones who kept me motivated in running throughout this year. Trust me, I would have steered way out of my running program because of all the stress if they hadn’t consistently been running with me. From Marina Bay to Bishan Park to even the hilly and muddy MacRitchie trail, I couldn’t have been so spontaneous without them. Of course, thanks Wanz for introducing them to my life.

Huiqi

Huiqi was always that supportive friend who I could count on when it comes to all my crazy production ideas. From the failed projects of one or two short films and Kaleidoma to projects that actually went public (aka my vlogs), she has been there. She showed me the support I need, despite not wanting to be in any shots. Really very appreciative of her to the point I felt so bad if anything were to fail along the way (like previously). At least, that’s some motivation for me as well.

Viv

Viv has been my driving force since the time everything started crumbling down in 2016. Although we don’t go for runs together that often anymore, but her mental support all these well kept me going still, in 2018, like helping FPAC with the SCSM admin. She hadn’t had a good 2018 and I am that lousy friend who couldn’t provide her more comfort like she had done before, other than just merely offering my listening ears. But I believe, we will become stronger in 2019.

Swee, Edwin, Manfred, Daniel

From OETI to Sungei Gedong, these were the guys I could rely on to make my NS journey a pleasant one. It wasn’t easy adapting to a new environment when we were posted to our unit after completing our course at OETI. There was so much uncertainty back then but we had each other to count on. Although Manfred left for his new appointment halfway through, he was the one whom I found comfort talking to when we were both going through MASCC. Swee, Edwin and Daniel have been the most supportive back in unit. They took initiatives to lighten my workload and really makes significant contributions to our unit. Most of the time, I find them more capable than myself. I really looked up to them at work. I swear I would have lost my mind if weren’t for them.

Hui Shuen

Hui Shuen has been one of the supportive figure after seeing my relentless call for help on my Instagram Story. It all started back then I was so stressed that I was contemplating about getting a personal assistant to sort out my mess. She offered her help but I eventually didn’t get a PA because I don’t have that financial capability to do so. (Hey, I ain’t earning big bucks just by writing this blog or creating random YouTube videos.) However, when I was looking for people to collab with me for YouTube content, like the Brown Sugar Milk Tea episode, she came forward to help. I was really very touched. She’s like my extra pair of eyes to help me check for ‘blind spot’. I can confirm that that very episode couldn’t be possible without her helping me to brainstorm and checking out on points that I have missed. Really looking forward to more collab opportunities.

Everyone else in JCFC

Lastly, I’d want to thank this very special group of people who never left even though we are all busy with our work. Although tbh some of you guys got me so pissed at times (is it confession time), but at the end of the day, you guys are still here while a lot of people just disappear from my life – some without any notice at all. Thank y’all for being such an understanding bunch of people who still bothered to tolerate my shits, unpredictable mood swings and awkwardness.

As 2018 ends and 2019 arrives, my only wish for the new year is for it to be better than the old one. It just want to build on from what I’ve achieved in 2018 and slowly remove the negativity that I’ve carried with me over to the new year by the end of the year. 2019 will see me ORD and start my gap year. It could be an interesting year, if I plan it right.

That Night, They Brought Chomp Chomp to the Indoor Stadium

It looked like a normal Saturday evening. I was due to have a short run with Vivian. Initially, I was planning to go for a 12km but my schedule was screwed up and I ended up rushing for time. Sometimes I just have nothing to say about my time management.

Viv reached before me so I’ve got to make her wait for me while I went to change into my outfit. The sky started to become dark as we walked out of OCBC Arena. Viv was like asking me if we are going to run outside or at 100plus Promenade. I took the risk to run outside.

It was a bad bet. About 500m out, the rain came and we were forced to head back. Even before we were able to seek shelter, the rain became too big that we were so close to being drenched. We headed up to the Promenade to continue with our run.

I screwed up the run. It was the worst run I’ve done so far. I felt so disgusted and uneasy throughout the entire run. I slowed down so much to the point that Viv was like saying, “You know you can just run faster, don’t need wait for me.” I struggled a little inside. “I couldn’t go any faster now.”

Painful reality check just one month before my first full marathon.

Anyway, by 7pm, we were returned back to OCBC Arena to wash up and get ready for dinner. Viv initially wanted dinner at Old Airport Road but changed her mind to settle it at Kallang Wave since ‘it was nearer’.

We ended up walking around Kallang Wave looking at clothes. From H&M to Cotton On to Weston, we covered clothing ranges across the gender spectrum. She still offered no hint on where in the mall are we going to have out dinner at. I didn’t even bother to ask. Then, she brought me out of the mall, wandering into Cheers. Thereafter, we left Cheers and I followed her up the stairs leading to the Indoor Stadium because she ‘wanted to take photos’.

She took over my camera and started filming as we walked up. At least for once, I’ve got my own videographer.

We reached the top and walked towards the Lawn Bowls playing area. A group of people were seated in the middle of the place. “Did you see that?” Viv asked. I nodded. At the point of time, even though that I kind of expected something, I was touched and quite lost for words.

Kishan and I trying to save the flames so that I could take photos with the tiramisu.

Wanz became my main photographer/videographer of the day. She shot in her Olympus Pen E-PL7. Maybe next time I could loan it from her and do some test shootouts with it HAHA.

So, they actually got the food all the way from Chomp Chomp and brought it over to the Indoor Stadium. This is like Chomp2 under the stars (okay, not much about the stars because the skies were still misty after the heavy downpour earlier on). 

Actually, little did anyone know that those food (the prawn noodles, BBQ Chicken Wings, Satay and Orh Luak) fell easily within my Top 10 all-time favourite delicacies. Prawn noodles comes second after the undisputed wanton mee. I know it’s a bit hard to believe because almost everyone perceived me to be a clean eater but hey, how clean can I be.

The usual chat sessions begin with Kishan and me knowing near to zero what the girls were talking about. I just sat there, enjoying the food and most importantly, the company. It has been too long since I see them all again (we were still short of Nic’s presence though).

We ended the night with a group photo. But it seems like I ended up having fun taking candid shots of them.

Can’t be more thankful enough for their existence. <3

Happy Birthday to Me

Once again, it has been long since I posted an update on this blog. Being in a camp that is so far away from home means that it is more convenient and comfortable for me to stay in in camp instead of travelling through and fro every single day. It’s not easy to focus too much time to blogging these days but I will still try my very best to update this blog every now and then.

Anyway! I’ve decided to venture back into vlogging so yay Youtube, here I come! I used to vlog last time and had thoughts of turning it into some sort of a daily commitment. It is obvious now that such thoughts had not come into fruition.

Recently, while I was surfing through YouTube randomly, I came across various vlogs that caught my attention. Nope, not NAS Daily (since he only post his one minute video on Facebook) but Casey Neistat. I was amazed at how vlogs can be presented with such beautiful cinematography. Then I came across other vloggers such as iJustine, MKBHD and Jon Olsson.

I was impressed with the different ways vlogs are being done and how much of an artwork each individual vlogs are. Vlogs can be simple — just grab your smartphone and start filming yourself, but it can also be complex — production-like vlogs setups including the use of proper lightings, proper audio and equipment. I told myself that maybe I could use vlogging as a way to upgrade my videography and editing skills so why not? It is impossible for me to work on any films during this period but I could do at least a vlog each week as some sort of a scaled-down production.

Also, since I’ve got those under-used gears lying everywhere in my room, I should start utilising it before it becomes some evidences of me overspending. Oops

I decided, at the start of last month, I would focus my time on vlogging and crafting story ideas. I’ve place a link of my latest vlog down below, and it included more reasons why I’ve decided to vlog!

Ok, now back to topic. Last week I was on a 5-day vacation so that I could find time to enjoy and rest during my birthday. Birthday is nothing special actually, at least to me, but I tend to favour using this day as a time to really rest my soul and to enjoy myself a little after long period of work. It’s like my own version of Thanksgiving weekend — giving thanks to myself as well as people who’ve done so much for me.

It was a simple vacation.

20th October 2018

Started off the weekend with a long-distance run with Justin and the folks from Running Department. It was the first time I ran with RD but it was really quite fun. Despite most of them being running enthusiast, me as a novice was able to blend into the crowd. 

There were difference paces led by RD pacers as preparation for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon at the end of the year. That morning, we were all ready for a 30km pacer run. I think running is the only thing that could wake me up as early as 0400. It was raining by the time I reached the meeting point at East Coast Park, so the run got slightly delayed. Obviously, that doesn’t dampen the mood of everyone there. We waited and eventually started running around 0630.

Justin, being a much better runner than I am, joined the faster pacers. I followed the 6:45 pacers and I was all-good until I hit the 19km mark, when I started to lag behind them and slowly, by the time I crossed the 22km mark, I couldn’t take it anymore. I mean I could still run back I was close to drop dead. I changed strategy: to run and walk alternatively every 1km. I kept to that strategy until the end of 27km. I told myself to stop right there because I would be way too late for work had I continue on. HAHAHA EXCUSES.

27.2km is the final distance I clocked. The longest run I’ve ever done, both in terms of distance and duration. Despite both my legs screaming for help, I felt good after the run. Maybe one reason is due to the sense of satisfaction and achievement. It’ll be 30km the next time with RD.

21 October 2018

It was a simple Sunday. I was primarily using it as a recovery day after the run. But yet, I decided to head down to BloodBank@Douby Ghaut for blood donation. 

The fun thing about blood donation here in Singapore is that there are freebies given to you, especially when you reached a certain milestone or when it’s your birthday. HAHA I sound like a cheapo but I find fun collecting all these. That day, I was given a face towel with a little note hung outside. So cute I cannot.

22 October 2018

Despite being the cheaper alternative to the a6500, the a6300 provides stunning quality that I become so impressed with Sony that my loyalty to Canon has shaken.

I haven’t been spending actual quality time with my parents since enlistment, so times like this provided chances for me to do so. It was the eve of my birthday and I went wandering around the town, doing some photoshoot with a new camera — the Sony a6300 — that I’ve gotten lately. I’ve gotten it to replace my current 70D as my main vlogging & videography camara. The reason is simple, Sony range of mirrorless cameras has been in the lead for the past 5 years and the ability to shoot in 4K really deserve the I think I might replace the 70D completely with a full frame after ORD for better photography experience but I shall leave it to my discipline to save up the necessary money and whatever Canon’s going to reveal later next year.

I couldn’t be much more impressed by the quality of image I got from such a lightweight camera. I’ll probably write a post in the near future about the experience I have about this new gear. 

Things started getting boring because there wasn’t much event on a Monday in town so I went to Cineleisure to catch a movie.

Yes, it was Johnny English Strikes Again. I haven’t really been catching any movie since Chinese New Year so I guess it’s a good time to catch one that day. I need to admit that the amount of movies I watched thus far ain’t really enough to prove that I am a former media student (or film student, though not really specialised in that aspect) and a filmography enthusiast. Maybe I should really get my ass down and start reviewing films and learn from those cinematography masters on how to plan shots and how to tell a story.

Johnny English was nice, I managed to laugh a lot although it wasn’t that kind of movie that I would walk out of the theatre and say, “Hey, I want to rewatch it again.” It’s more of like laugh and move on. I understand why it wasn’t that well rated on many review sites.

After the movie, I head to Somerset MRT Station to meet up with Pa & Ma and we headed off for a birthday dinner. It’s one of the rare occasion that we eat out because we have a culinary master in Pa.

We settled the dinner over at Kiseki because I was in the mood for some Japanese food. This was the third time I’ve been to Kiseki and I need to admit that I am getting bored of the selection of food there. Well, maybe because it was on a Monday so the variety of food isn’t as much as previously? Or maybe I was full from the sushi and prawns that we’ve gotten before I could go around searching for more food.

23 October 2018

My actual birthday was marked with a rather impromptu lunch with Huiqi. It wasn’t planned long ago but just a few days back. She wanted to pass me my birthday present on the upcoming Saturday but unfortunate I would be on duty that day. In the end, it was suggested that we could meet up on 23rd and maybe have a quick birthday lunch together. 

We decided on settling the lunch over at Forty Hands, a cafe at the heritage Yong Siak Street in the vicinity of Tiong Bahru. Although I’ve sort of been to the area before, especially during the times when I was teaching tuition at Redhill, I am still mesmerised by the architectural style of the buildings around there.  

I realised that whenever we went out to eat, just the both of us, we tend to explore cafe that we don’t normally visit. The previous time was Brawn & Brains.

Such thoughtful presents. It looks like I need not buy an everyday carry weekly diary for next year since I was given this personalised planner. Silver on black, how classy! There’s also book that Huiqi got from China which is quite apt for me right now because of how I perceived the world to be rather cruel. As the title goes, “This world can be cruel, yet gentle.” 

As we left the area, we stumble upon another cafe at the other corner of the street. Could this be our next cafe destination?

Last Will Run

Haven’t really been blogging over the past few months because I was so busy. I couldn’t really find time to really sit down with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and complete a blog post. There are so many things that I felt like blogging about but because of time constrain, they are either still languishing in my draft box or it has been forgotten for good.

I think I will update this blog with my trip back to SRJC earlier this month. It was the last Will Run ever to be held in the college. It was a pity that I couldn’t make it back in time for the run. However, I managed to reach the college in time with Vivian for the post-run carnival.

  

Actually, my main purpose there wasn’t about the carnival. It was to capture some moments and to revisit some of my memories. It doesn’t felt like I’ve been away for 4 years. I thought I’ve left the college for good back in November 2013, but I still kept coming back to visit my ex-classmates, CCA mates and juniors. I don’t know what made me still want to come back despite how badly I had wanted to leave. 

It wasn’t even a tough decision to make. I didn’t feel at home or attachment to the college over that 10 months when I was there. I tried to isolate myself from everything and anything — but it was impossible because of my status as a representative of the class. I ended up exposing myself to more people and events.

I never really settled in but I am still thankful for the people and culture that make my short stay at least a memorable one. From Thespian to Will Run to SR Thanksgiving, these are the memories that will be deeply rooted right inside of me. I think that’s why I developed that sense of belonging over time but I left even before it could be fully ‘developed’.

Since the school is going to be gone, I felt a need to revisit some of the memories — those familiar yet not so familiar memories. The feeling is like, you developed the slightest feeling for something yet you realised you don’t really know that something really well. Ok, I don’t really how to explain using descriptive that everyone else understand. (That’s why I’d always lived inside my own utopia)

Places of SR

  

I think I shall start with this. This is the foyer of the college, with the words ‘Discere Servire’ imprinted alongside the college crest on the facade. The phrase means to learn, to serve in Latin, which no doubt makes the strong core value that is deeply rooted within the culture of the college.

I shall carry on with the some of the places I was kind of attached to during my time there.

  

During the first half of the school year, when I still have that slightest of motivation in me, I could be found inside this reading room known as ‘The Study’. The girl was seated right at my usual spot or, I would say, my favourite spot in the room. Why so? In fact, I have no idea why except that it was one of the nearest towards the exit of this part of the room. I could vividly remember how I tried to rush my Econs or Chinese Lit homework right to the final second. It was my war zone. 

  

In case anyone is wondering how the GNC looks like. This place would be filled up and the long queues started to form especially when everyone came out of the General Paper’s lectures. All for their puff, ice cream and most importantly, ice lemon tea. Perfect way to destress right after a stressful GP lecture.

  

My second half of the year was spent mostly (less lesson time) at this area just outside the Good News Cafe. I was either doing my revision there or spending time chatting with Nicole and Ratna while munching on to the signature Rendang puff. The people from 1SR07 (our neighbouring class, I was in 1SR06) would sometimes be there as well, although I seldom talk to them other than Teck Ching and Jiayi – who happened to be in my Chinese Lit class as well.

  

One of the most iconic places in the college – De Yuan. We were introduced to this place right from the start during the orientation days. Built with the money the alumni and seniors before us collected during fundraising one of the years, the place was — if I weren’t mistaken — for students to relax and take a breather during their break. It was not a surprising scene to see students dipping their bare legs into the water, enjoying some sort of a spa-like treatment.

However, the pool ended up having another main purpose: to dunk whoever celebrating their birthday that day into the pool. Although I had not personally been thrown into the pool before but I think we’ve tried throwing someone there. You could see the expression of the ‘victim’ right before the throw was executed.

  

Alternatively, if anyone wants to relax, I recommend staring at this fountain, which is located just a few footsteps away from De Yuan. The fountain has some therapeutic effect somehow.. I felt at ease every time I walked past that area to and fro lessons. 

  

Who could have not visited this place when they were still studying in SR? Uncle Henry’s is the place to get almost all the things you’ll need in class, that is, our lecture notes and tutorial book. We’ve also went there to print stuff as well. Being a class rep, I think I frequent there quite often to collect those booklets and yes, I still remember having to chase after the whole world for money to pay the uncle. Trust me, that wasn’t a pleasant experience, given how soft a person I am.

  

Nah, it wasn’t that tidy when the semester was going on. You could see notes piling up right at every corner waiting to be collected.

  

The Performing Arts Theatre, or more commonly called the LT5, is the biggest lecture theatre we have in the college. Although I had my GP lecture there, together with the rest of the ~1000 students from my cohort, I remembered this place more for SR Drama’s rehearsals and the 2 Thespian productions where I returned as alumni.

  

The General Office. Not that I really have much memories of that, apart from going in there to retrieve my withdrawal form. HAHAHA. Ok, I’ll probably need to mention the two entrances at both sides of the office (not in photo) where the teachers’ pigeon holes and the telephone to call the teachers are located. 

I remember collating and handling in forms and worksheets/tutorial books to the teachers via the pigeon holes. Oh ya, you would see the area being cluttered with notes and gifts during Teachers’ Day. That’s probably the only occasion when the area seems more livelier. 

  

The school field played another big part during my time there. It was on this field where I started training for long distance running. From 3km to 4km to 5km and slowly progressing to 10km, it was here where I picked up running. I finished my first long distance (9.3km) here in the morning of 3rd August 2013. I recalled receiving the prize on behalf of the class later that day as an appreciation for clocking the longest total mileage (I think).

Faces of SR

SR would be just another college if they were without the human factor. It was the people that makes the college rather unique from others. I was fortunate to meet 2 of the very familiar faces during my visit that morning: the security uncle and the drink stall auntie, and had a small chat with them before carrying on with my itinerary. 

  

Everyone knows Uncle William. He is probably the first person that you will encounter at the college gate. Having been serving the college for 11 years, Uncle William is more familiar with the school than any other alumni and probably most teachers as well. During our short conversation that day, he shared with me about how the rate of late coming is on a rise. I ain’t that surprised because after all, we students take our own time to stroll into the college after loitering outside. The thought of it just makes me smiled a little with slightly some sense of guilt.

When asked about what he had after the merger, Uncle William calmly replied that he will wait for the instructions from his company and is ready to be redeployed to another place.

  

Of course, I didn’t forget about the ever so friendly drink store auntie. It still awed by the fact that she could recognise and remember almost everyone of us. I mean if she could only remember Viv, I wouldn’t be surprised because she was there for roughly three years. 

  

For someone — who meets hundred and thousands of new students and teachers every year — to remember a random dude whose existence in the college can be considered to be quite negligible, it requires a whole new level of memory skills. I swear her brain is made up of thousands TB of memory space. HAHAHA

  

Of course, there are more faces in SR that either I didn’t manage to meet or ain’t that familiar for me to approach for a feature without feeling awkward. And oh oh oh, see the poster above? The five alumni has been the ‘faces of SR’ since my year. Not sure about the guzheng and the dance girls, but Fayuan, Siyinn and Neesha were the people whom I am familiar with because they were my batch mates.

Will Run

  

After going through a round of reminiscent since the start, it’s time for me to at least touch on the topic that makes the title of  the post: Will Run. As I said earlier, we came after the conclusion of the run. However, we managed to walk down the ‘memory lane’ where the posters from past events were being put up for display. 

  

Alright, I didn’t expect that to have actually still kept these gigantic ass posters. I mean, these posters should have taken up quite a bit of space in the store, shouldn’t they?

  

Viv wore her 2012 Will Run event tee, so it was only relevant if she took a photo under the poster for the 2012 event. That was her first year in the college, running her first Will Run. 

  

I arrived to the college a year later, so the 2013’s event was my first Will Run and my only run as a current student of SR. I couldn’t reiterate again how much this run has been a life changer for me. I am just thankful that I came here, got stuck here and forced to embark on a long-distance training. I am sure that I couldn’t be taking part in half-marathons (and signing up for my first full marathon 5 years later at the Singapore Marathon 2018). Thank you Siao Running JC.

This is probably the second last or final time (if I couldn’t make it for the Farewell on 8 December) that I’ll be stepping foot into this compound before the entire college moved over to Anderson JC. I am glad that I went back to capture some of the memories so that I will never forget my time there — despite how bad it was. I guess my love-hate relationship with the college is something I still couldn’t explain till date. The hate was obvious, but the love portion? I guess it lies in the friendship, experience, exposure and opportunities (in drama and running, more specifically) that eventually shaped my bond with SR will now.

Final Curtain Call: Thespian 2018

As Serangoon JC (SRJC) heads into its final year of existence, with its merger with Anderson JC looming around the corner, SR Drama has showcased their final Thespian performance in front of a sold-out crowd on 12 April, 2018.

It was a bittersweet event for me, as I booked out immediately from camp and rushed my way down to show my support to this final batch of SR Dramateers. To think about it, it has been a good 5 years since I took my place on stage. Thespian, to me, is one of the best takeaways in SR and the most memorial part of my college life.

It was 2013 and I just crossed into the realm of post-secondary college life. It was a confusing affair, I’d admit. I wasn’t sure of anything at that point of time — I didn’t know what subject combination I should take, I wasn’t ready to socialise and make new friends all over again. Yet, there was one thing I was certain: to continue my interest in drama and acting. SR Drama wasn’t one of my choices for CCA, it was THE choice.

I remembered how we worked towards Thespian 2013. It seems to be the only other Thespian to be held out of college (the 2012 was held at SOTA while the subsequent editions were held in LT5 instead). I had never felt so hardworking before, turning up for every rehearsal and putting in my very best effort. I didn’t know at that point in time that it could be my very last theatre performance until 2015, so I am thankful that I had put in my all for that.

I was involved in two of the pieces, Seven Deadly PrincessesCrazy School (? actually I forgot about the name of the second piece oops).

Seven Deadly Princesses was based loosely on the seven sins. Each of the princesses represents different sin. I played the protagonist – Allan – who was ‘sabo-ed’ by his mother to attend this blind date, leading him to a near mental breakdown.

I was thankful for the chance to play the role become it was relatively challenging. One main reason was that I needed to work with not 1, but 7 girls and at that point of time, I was still awkward interacting with the opposite gender. I tried to be as natural as I could. I remembered Yap Qi (who played the role of Mulan) realised that as well, and gave me some tips and confidence for me to continue with my role.

Everything eventually paid off. Everyone showed enthusiasm in wanting to make this show a good one, we helped each other to fine-tune our acting skills. Ms C and Mr Tsui gave us their inputs and our biggest critics came from everyone else in the club. Similarly, we critic the other plays as well. Despite running short of time, we had never compromise on the review sessions. We reviewed each other’s plays and blockings regularly and that’s how we bonded.

Yapz playing the role of Mulan.

Kheng Yin portrayed Rapunzel, showing her wrath side to Zhirong, who played the waiter.

Zhirong had been a very patient mentor to me during the training sessions. Undoubtedly, he is one of the best actors I’ve worked with.

With the cast of Seven Deadly Princesses.

With Annas, who played a foreign student in the second play I was involved in.

As I reiterate, the thing about SR Drama is that, from teachers-in-charge to committee members to seniors to juniors, we treat each other like family. There is not much segregation between us. We worked, played and ate together. Especially during the intensive training in the month leading up to the actual performance, we bonded so well together that we dreaded the curtain call at our final show.

Our beloved teachers-in-charge Mr Tsui & Ms C.

Even as I left the college, I did not hesitate to return for help out with the rehearsals when Mr. Tsui called for help in 2015. It was the year I briefly returned to theatre. This time, the wanted to reenact the Seven Deadly Princesses script. I was there, together with Donna, Kheng Yin and Zhirong to help the new batch of actors on the roles – especially with the roles that we once took up 2 years ago. It felt like a deja vu. Everything was so similar – the script, the people and most importantly, the enthusiasm.

The new Rapunzel, waiter and Allan, played by Shirin, Faizul and Ernest.

With the new cast of Seven Deadly Princesses.

This year was a little different. The enthusiasm remains, but the news of the impending merger of the college clouded the emotions of everyone. We knew, for sure, that this would be the final Thespian to be held within the college compound. Despite that, the core group of seniors turned up in almost full force to witness the final curtain call. I rushed down from camp to make sure I don’t miss it – which is evident how important and significant Thespian is to me.

We might have dreaded the previous curtain call, but this was the curtain call we dreaded the most.

With my junior who happens to be Eddy as well and, coincidently, was also from Ang Mo Kio Secondary.

We rushed to take some photos before being chased out of the college compound by the security personnel. The catch-up session was so brief that we didn’t have much chance to interact and speak to everyone. I just hope that these will not be the last group photos we will take as a club. Yes, Thespian might have meet its end, but friendship and memories will remain.

Before I end this post, I think SR Dramateers from all these years deserves a standing ovation.

My 21st Birthday Celebrations

Hey I am back again. I know it has been like about 6 months since I turned 21st, but I think it’s really time to update this blog with photos and records of my other two 21st birthday celebrations. You can recap on my first celebration here.

29 October, 2017

A week after my confinement ended, I finally have the chance to actually spend my weekend out of camp. As it was the weekend right before my field camp, I feel that this was the moment I should really enjoy my hearts out before booking back into THAT ISLAND, facing nothing but army boys and trees.

The bunch of lovelies from JCFC got me out to BOUNCE Singapore, a trampoline park located at the top level of Orchard Cineleisure. It wasn’t my first time at a trampoline park but I knew the last time when I went to one left me with some soreness at the tip of my toes. I was praying that this time around, my muscles would spare me some agony.

The moment we went into the arena, we just kept jumping on any trampoline that we stepped onto. I was like trying to jump as high as I could, so as to feel free – although I knew right at that moment that it was meant to be a temporary one. I just left every inch of stress and thoughts to the back of my head and told myself to enjoy every single moment with this bunch of friends.

At some point, some of us started to try out ‘synchronised trampolining’. As the term suggests, it meant that two of the players will execute the exact same routines concurrently. Something like this:

But as we all expected, the first few trials weren’t something that we were really proud of. Either the timing was off, or we landed up lying flat on all fours. HAHAHA. Yet, some of us eventually executed it well. That’s some kind of achievement, I supposed.

Anyway, it would be rather boring to keep jumping up and down for the entire duration of one hour, so we decided that it would be a good idea to try out one of the ‘challenges’ there: the X-Park. Also known as the Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course, it consisted of a rock wall, running pathway and even a zip-line. The objective is to complete the course in the shortest time possible.

Of course, none of us really quite made it through every single obstacle. I have already lost count the number of time I came crashing down to the ground.

The zip-line was probably the easiest out of all the available obstacles there.

At the end of the hour, our bodies were fully worked out. There were sweats but there were more laughter and memories made. Ever since enlistment, I’ve felt that my life has been confined to nothing but military businesses. I realised my time with my closest friends are getting more and more limited. I knew that I need to treasure every moment with all of them, despite just a short evening out. Well, it’s not about quantity of time, but quality of time after all.

After we were done cleaning ourselves up and getting changed, Mish had to return back to Hall so we were left with the 5 of us. And apparently, there was a second surprise of the evening.

Nic and Yapz hailed a private hire car each, with Nic sharing one with Wanz and I, while Yapz travelled with her boyfriend. I was forced to put on my earpiece while Nic and Wanz told the driver our destination. Despite me being seated in the co-driver seat, I felt as though I was being kidnapped by two very familiar persons and was on the way to uncertainty.

The vehicle drove off as I was blasting my favourite playlist into my earpiece. I looked out of the window, trying to make a guess where this would lead me to. The vehicle went up the CTE, bypassing some recognisable scenery that I used to enjoy while running downtown from home. About three songs later, I found ourselves on Braddell Road. It was the route I would take if I were to return home by private transport from the city. That moment I thought, could I be heading straight home?

Before I even questioned my guess, the vehicle made a swift turn into a secluded Woodleigh Park. There was no way I knew where we were going. I got more confused when I saw JSSL training grounds. The vehicle came to a complete halt right outside this cafe called Cafe Football.

The moment I alighted from the vehicle, I felt exactly like this:

via GIPHY

Cafe Football seems to be a quiet dining option for football fans. Apparently partly owned by Manchester United’s legends, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville (alright, I seriously didn’t know about this until I was doing research while trying to write this piece), the cafe provides a comfortable surrounding for football viewing and also, if you are in the mood, a game of footy at The Arena – where the cafe is located at.

We ain’t here for a game, especially not after an hour of bouncing up and down. We were here to fuel ourselves after a rather tiring day. For me, I took it as a chance to get pumped up ahead of field camp. You just don’t understand how much I miss salad in Tekong.

Charmz joined us after work for the dine in.

After eating, the girls decided that they wanted some desserts. And guess what, when the order came, it was accompanied by a candle and a few of the cafe staffs. Much to my amusement, THE SONG echoed around the cafe.

Thank God we were the only large group there. There was a couple whom I thought was too engrossed in their conversation to ever notice any foreign disturbance. No doubt, I was touched by the gesture. For the second time over the span of 2 months, I got to feel loved.

And look, they even got me a Ralph Lauren pullover!

11 November, 2017

As long as I am in any clique together with Junwei, he always had to be the one ‘fishing’ me out and make sure I had some free time in the evening. The case on 2 September was being repeated again two months later.

He wanted to chill at my house after I returned from Kranji Camp (yes, I was being posted there after my one-month ordeal in Tekong) after a remedial training. Well, that’s what he said. The last time he said that, I ended up having a whole group of Pedoro darlings appearing at my doorstep. (Ok, to be fair, that’s like good 3 years ago)

He was supposed to reach my house at 5.30pm but ended up only to leave his own house at around 6.20pm. I knew that was not like him at all. I didn’t give much thoughts to it nevertheless. Slightly later, after our last Whatsapp exchanges, the doorbell rang. I opened my door and see 4 humans standing outside.

It was another surprise. Although this time it wasn’t the entire group of them but at least I was reassured that I am not a loner celebrating 11.11. Junwei, Weihao, Hong Kiat and Wei Fang walked through my door, wishing me a belated birthday.

We chilled a while over at my place, watching some Fresh Off The Boat episodes before heading off for dinner at one of the nearby food centres.

One of the reasons why I love my neighbourhood is that there are many delicacies around the area. We were so close to ordering one dish each from every stall but thank God, we didn’t. Instead, we did have some absurd ideas in mind. We decided to try out the spicy ramen challenge.

We ended up having 6 packets of Buldak Spicy Ramen and a carton of fresh milk in our groceries bag on the way back home. But before that, we stopped by a Lazada advert at the bus stop for a snap. No particular reason, just to show how single af we four guys are. (Look, I am still using the present tense of ‘are’ 6 months after we took the shot. Oops~)

I ended up creating 2 bowls of spicy ramen once we reached back home. One of which I named it the ‘Ultimate Devil’s Bowl’, where I actually added the satanic bhut jolokia chili together with the chili packet provided. No doubt, it proved to be one of the hottest things I’ve ever tasted.

The rest of them just rejected my creation and went straight to the less torturous bowl of noodles. Despite that, they still managed to finish the carton of milk without actually finishing the noodles.

via GIPHY

Our months didn’t stop right there despite being a little numb, no thanks to the spiciness. We took out the Oreo cake that they’ve bought for me and lighted the candles. They were so thoughtful that they got me a cake with less sugar. DAMN THOUGHTFUL PLEASE.

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But even without less sugar, the sugar level will still be lesser than the sweetness in them.

Taobao or Lazada doesn’t have the best 11.11 deal. These darlings are my best deals in life.

My Dayre and I

On February 10 this year, Dayre announced through its CEO Desmond Kiu that they are going to close down the microblogging platform for good.

Here’s the full transcript of the announcement:

Dear Dayreans, 

The news about the closure of Dayre saddens me, beyond words can describe. I empathize with all the Dayre users, especially those who’ve expressed their thoughts in the comment thread of the news piece.

I thought that the least I could do is perhaps explain the key factors which led to this decision – a picture that you would likely have no visibility of, as a user.

1. Did not hit critical mass.

Dayre is a platform. The goal of every platform is to grow its user base. Once you have a significant user base, you can monetize it by a) selling ads, b) selling user data, c) selling subscriptions, d) selling the platform (like Instagram did) and etc to sustain your platform. There are also platforms like Wikipedia, which sustains itself by raising donations from its users.

But before you could do (a) or (b), you will need big numbers to make it worthwhile for advertisers, advertising and media agencies to spend their time selling it to decision makers, planning a campaign, scripting, QA, trading, monitoring, optimizing the campaign and reporting. Unfortunately, we did not have those numbers. For illustration purposes, FB & IG have 23 million active users in Malaysia alone. Dayre on the other hand has less than 50k active users across the world.

I will explain (c) under point 4.

2. We did not have the funds to take it to critical mass.

To take a shot at bringing it to critical mass, you will need a development team, a marketing team and plenty of marketing funds. There’s also time cost from the management team, administrative and regulatory costs. 

To give you context, you should Google up the size of development teams behind popular apps that you use. And Google up marketing dollars spent by apps like Traveloka and Grab too.

I’ve been a marketing man all my life, and even the thought of the prospects of developing and marketing Dayre at a large scale excites me. However, we simply did not have the funds (we’re talking millions of SGD) to pursue the Dayre dream.

3. Did not generate enough ad revenue. 

Considering all the monetization methods mentioned above under point 1, selling ads is always the lowest hanging fruit. And that’s what we tried to do for almost a year – despite us not having the numbers to begin with. We had to swim against strong waves, but my team is always determined to take on challenges.

We created a sponsored post ad unit – like the ones you see on your FB and IG newsfeeds. We started selling sponsored posts on Dayre, like what we do with our Nuffnang community. We gave away free brand and product mentions to allow advertisers to sample. We bundled it with sponsored events. And many other methods explored by my very capable team that come with decades of experience working in the largest global media agencies.

We also made our top sales people spend additional hours to bundle Dayre into their client pitches and do diligent follow ups. We were able to generate some ad revenue, but regretfully, it was not sufficient.

4. Did not generate enough subs.

When I was appointed by Netccentric in March 2017, I have looked at our subscriber base of Dayre Plus and it was not at all encouraging. I remember discussions with my team to ramp up the base of Dayre Plus and one of the ways we agreed to pursue was to lower the barrier of entry. We went on to reduce the price of subscription and saw the base grow significantly, from where it started at least.

Today we have 338 Dayre Plus subscribers. We are very thankful to all our subscribers, but again it wasn’t enough to help us make Dayre a viable platform.

5. Commitment to shareholders.

As a CEO of a public company, I represent all the executives and am answerable to a board of directors, who then report to shareholders.

When I was appointed in March 2017, my biggest mandate was to turn the group around and start generating profits. One of the key strategies deployed by the management team was to scale down on loss making entities and scale up profit making ones. Dayre unfortunately belonged to the prior and in spite of that, we went on for a year to try and turn it into the latter.

Regretfully, we’ve come to this day. Beyond the above explanation, which I’ve tried my best to personally deliver, I would also like to offer interested parties the opportunity to make offers to acquire Dayre. This would perhaps be another way to keep the Dayre community alive. 

Thank you for all the support you’ve given us. 

Best regards,
Desmond

Fast forward a month later, it seems to be business as usual for the app. Some of my friends are still using the app, ‘liking’ posts and/or posting their entries. It felt like nothing has changed, everyone’s still using the app like before. I guess Dayrians will just continue with the microblogging platform until it disappears. One day.

9 days after the announcement of closure, I wrote my final entry on Dayre, roughly two years after I started using it.

With a heavy heart, I wrote:

Goodbye everyone. This is probably my last post here on Dayre before it closes.

Dayre has served me well over the past 1-2 years I’ve been using it. It accompanied me through one of my toughest time (during the 2nd half of 2016) and my fitness journey last year. So many milestones and memories have been recorded over here and I am thankful for its existence.

It provided me with the platform to vent my frustrations whenever I need some kind of venting outlet – be in relationship, work or fitness. Although at the start of the year – even before Dayre announced its closure – I’ve been using it sparingly, but I know there’s a place I could seek comfort in at the end of the day.

Through the help of Dayre, I managed to embark on my fitness journey some point at this point in time last year. The 100 days might seem short but it was hell lot challenging. Through Dayre, I recorded my progress and everything that comes along the way. Getting to know like-minded people and encouraging one another to become fit together. That was the best moment in my life thus far.

I know I lost myself towards the end of last year and undoing what I’ve worked so hard for. Gaining 5kg eventually, I feel that I’ve let down a lot of people – those who’ve encouraged me and those who, if any, were inspired by me – and most importantly, myself. I have no face to talk about fitness anymore and I am unfit – pun intended – to be speaking about it anymore.

The closure of Dayre seems to come at the right time for me. I will need time to get myself back and I promised right here, right now, that I’ll 振作起來. This journey will be tougher than the one I embarked on last year and my only hope is that I can survive this totally. As mentally and physically draining it’s going to be, I will not fail this time because I have everything to lose.

I will take a break from everything after this as I search for my motivation and my resilience. 

But I’ll promise a different me in a year time. And let’s hope the better me will emerge as a result.

I’ll be back. Stronger.

Dayre has gradually become a vital part of my life ever since I started using it. It was like a medium for me to vent my frustrations and also for me to sort out some of my deepest thoughts. It is like a haven to me. Like I’ve mentioned in my entry, Dayre accompanied me through my toughest times.

It was the period when I was suffering from a heartbreak and pressure amounting from schoolwork and internship. I basically threw all my thoughts onto Dayre. Dayre was like a public diary for me, I penned down my thoughts openly. During the initial phase, I was a little restrained because I was afraid how people would view me.

But, as time went by, I realised that I am more reliant on Dayre to seek some sort of mental asylum. As soon as I am done ranting, I felt a little better. I could compare it to breathing into a paper bag to calm myself down. I didn’t really bother about how I would be viewed, I placed my mental well-being ahead of anything else at that point in time.

Whenever I was down, there was no restriction. I will just pour out whatever that was on my mind. Everything.

via GIPHY

Every time I finish ranting on Dayre, I felt that I’ve freed my soul from the inner struggle. Yes, the problem might still be there, but at least, I ain’t facing it with a heavy heart.

Of course, apart from negative pieces of stuff, there are also hilarious incidents that were recorded.

Look, I ain’t that negative after all. Dayre is basically where my inner thought resides. Yes, I might have a blog right here where I could post my daily happenings and thoughts, etc, but it can never be as convenient as Dayre. When thoughts came in, I’d just whipped out my phone from my pocket and start typing it right away.

Dayre was also the platform for me to jot down my fitness progress last year – although the efforts eventually went down the drain by the start of this year. Nevertheless, it recorded my journey to fitness – for a period of time – and how I eventually lost my sense of direction. It’s a tough journey and I really wonder what motivated me to actually embark on such a journey.

To be fair, I was given the support I needed during that time. Dayreans like Eunice, and friends like Viv and Yap Qi, would spur me on. I realised as I enlisted in the army, my time with Dayre dropped and maybe that’s why my motivation went down the same path.

Nevertheless, as Dayre meets its fate, it looks like its time for me to start all a new again. My life and my fitness journey will never end, just that I might have to take some time off to really think about those things and plan it well.

It’s just painful to see how your efforts go into waste.

Just like all those entries we had inside Dayre.

The Earliest Birthday Celebration

This is one of the most bizarre stories I would be writing this year, probably in the history of my life as well.

This could also be one of the most successful surprises ever pulled off on me since people started celebrating my birthday half a decade ago.

Saturday, 2 September 2017.

Junwei, my ever so trusted confidant, managed to get me out of my shambles. I haven’t had a chance to head out to town with a friend ever since I was mentally plagued by some personal issues.

The only times when I was out of my house were when I had errands to run or I had a run to go. I didn’t feel like going anywhere else or meeting anyone else apart from the usual few.

Junwei wasn’t being a usual self. I didn’t realise the abnormalities even when he reminded me about our meet-up 5 days before.

“Eh reminder, sept 2 go out.” “Scared later like last time you forget.” “LOL.”

“Ok hahaha.” “Why do you sound like Elyssa?”

He had never reminded me about any meet-up over the course of our friendship.

To add on to the list of atypical behaviour he possessed, he never tried securing my schedule weeks in advance. Our meet-up are mostly impromptu. It was more of like asking each other out for dinner an hour before and praying that the other party is available.

Probably I was a little too occupied to even surmise any aberrations.

He said he wanted to go to the Kinokuniya outlet at Ngee Ann City. We browsed through some books before making dropping by Bras Basah Complex to browse through more books.

Nearing sunset, we hopped onto the train which transported us down to Chinatown.

“Actually, why do you want to go Chinatown?” I was a little caught by surprise when he initially suggested on going to the ethnic enclave.

“To get clothes.”

“Who the hell go to Chinatown for clothes?” That was the first time I heard anyone shopping for clothes in the cultural suburb. It makes more sense if it was during the Chinese New Year’s festive season when a bazaar was going on.

 

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I continued to complain about how full I was from my lunch and how my stomach felt more bloated as the time went past. I don’t know what’s wrong with my stomach but all I recalled was that I didn’t have a heavy meal that afternoon.

On the other hand, Junwei was on the other side of the hunger spectrum. He was already hungry by the time we arrived at Chinatown.

I had asked him earlier on while we were at Orchard about what we would be having for dinner. He proposed on settling it over at a KBBQ outlet in Chinatown.

I am ready for a feast of meat. That’s what I was thinking the moment he voiced out his cravings.

 

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Looks like I was a little wrong about how my appetite would be when he said that we are going for dinner once we stepped out of the station. Nevertheless, I complied. We went circles around Chinatown in search for a KBBQ restaurant that his friends had recommended. We got lost, turned on the navigator from Google Maps and got to our destination eventually.

We should be glad that Singapore does not have a large plot of land mass to begin with. If not it would have been a good workout before a scrumptious meal.

The Surprise

We arrived at Wang Dae Bak restaurant.

“Room 3.” Junwei told the waiter as he was being approached.

“Since when did you make a reservation,” I followed closely behind him, feeling kind of puzzled. We never have the habit of making a reservation at a restaurant. Besides, we only decided on having dinner just an hour before we met up.

“My friend said it’ll be crowded,” he convinced me.

I didn’t ponder much and followed him and the waiter in.

We walked past a row of private rooms which caught my eye. It looks like a scene out of an epic Korean War movie.

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I was engrossed with the old-school interior that I almost didn’t realise that I was so close to losing the sight of those two ahead. I quickened my steps and we came face-to-face with a sliding door that looks like it is made of hanji material.

Someone slided the door open, revealing some familiar faces in there.

The first two persons I saw were Justinn and Sheri. It was not long before I realised the presence of Elyssa, Stefanie and Ashley.

Before I could process what was happening, a chorus erupted in what was supposed to be a serene dining place.

 

Anyone could see how shellshocked I was. People were singing birthday song as Junwei and I made our entrances into the room. There was no reason for them to be celebrating any birthday at this point of the year. At least from what I know, neither of our birthdays lie during the late Aug/September period.

Everything felt so preposterous.

Everyone looked at my direction whilst Junwei rushed to the nearest seat, as if sending the message to the rest that his job was finally done.

That was the earliest birthday celebration I’ve ever had in my life. And if you are wondering how early this celebration was, I was only 20 years 10 months and 10 days old on that day.

The video showed how stunned I was – and I remained that way throughout the rest of the night. In fact, I still felt how everything was so surreal at this point of writing. I didn’t see it coming but as I pieced all the abnormalities in Junwei’s behaviour up to the point, it makes sense after all.

I was presented with a cute panda, which I felt it kinds of resembles me because of the dark eye circles, and a present which I shall not unveil just yet.

Chateraise panda
DARK EYE: I was presented with a Panda-shaped cake which looks something like this. (Image: Dairy and Cream)

Once we settled down (okay, not really the case for me because I was still recovering from the shock that they had given me), we turned our attention to the food that was being laid out so nicely on the dining table.

 

Photos & More Photos

After we finished our food, Elyssa suggested that we take some kind of burst mode photos. She wanted to duplicate those neo-print/polaroids-like photos tourists took when they visit some sort of carnival.

The quality of the photos came out to be nothing less than perfect. It looked as if we’ve just gone for a day out to Seoul.

The five of us were from AMKSS.

The SR Drama quartet.

My partner in crime for the past 8 years.

From AMKSS to SRJC, Elyssa has been one of the closest friend I have had.

My first partner in crime actually. Stef was our Class Chairperson during my lower sec years, while I served as her deputy for half a year when we were in Sec 1.

Stef and I ran out of pose before Justinn prompted from the side to do a ‘throwback’ pose. I was immediately reminded of the photo we took when we were helping our school’s Red Cross unit with their skit performance in 2009.

One conclusion: We all grew up well.

I just realised I had forgotten to take a photo with Stef and Ashley together. It’s okay, there were be more chances for us three to take photo together(although I might feel as bright as a light bulb but well…)

We looked like we are about to release an ‘album of the year’.

I think we can call the album “The Early Birds”.

For the past few years, my groups of friends are kind enough to plan surprises for my birthday. I didn’t know how birthday surprises felt until the whole group of them from Pedoro dropped by my house to give me my first birthday surprise ever. The next day, Nic, Rat and the rest of the JCFC girls pulled off another surprise.

I was 17 back then.

Because it was the first two times that I was surprised on my birthday, I remembered those moments very clearly.

Two years ago, Pedoro almost made my heart stopped while I was ‘attacked’ on the way home after a shoot. That was the third time I felt the surprise element for my birthday.

Those were the three times when my friends successfully surprised me.

This time round, as I head towards my 21st year, I was given another shock of the lifetime. The difference between this and the previous few times was on the timing. You won’t get many chances to celebrate your birthday two months in advance.

“Do you feel touched?” Elyssa asked me after the celebration.

I was lost for words. My mind was blank and I had no idea how I should react. That remained the case for the entire night. Eventually, I start to get hold of what had happened to me.

Yes, I felt touched. And it will take a while before the feeling subside.

Thank you guys for making sure that I get to celebrate my 21st birthday with you guys before I enlist into the military.

Thank you – especially Elyssa, Stef and Sheri – for planning this since July. That’s like 3-4 months ahead of my actual birthday.

Thank you Junwei for coordinating with the girls and making sure I fell for the plan.

Thank you Ashley and Justinn for being there for the celebration.

I know I can’t thank you guys enough with just these few words, but I am deeply moved by the efforts you guys had put in to ensure this was a success. I think judging by my reaction, it showed how well your plans had been executed.

 

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I will take good care of myself in the military so you guys need not worry much alrights! We will meet up again soon!

Cheers to more years of friendship ahead!

 

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PS: I would also want to thank the staffs over at Wang Dae Bak’s China Square Centre outlet for almost getting your crews to come in with the birthday cake and singing the birthday song together with us. Thank you for your patience when we requested for photo taking and helping us with the taking of photos. Absolute class in customer service from Wang Dae Bak.