A continuation of my diary
Diary entry 22/7/2022
This update to the diary is a little late but as they say, better late than never.
This month also marked the launch of (LL) series of works, LL aka longer length titles is something that I will be pursuing. Response has been encouraging so far. The 1st title comes in at around 50000 words. Subsequent titles will be around 20-40k range give and take.
There will still be a mix of short works in various genre besides the (LL) series. I’ll space them out accordingly to ensure a good mix.
A subscriber emailed me recently to ask about my weight loss journey. I’ve hit a plateau, so I’m sort of just maintaining my current weight at 68Kg. I’ve lost fats, gained back muscles but the defined abs are still a while away I guess. Hopefully by CNY 2023.
I’ve dropped a total of 17kg since March 2021. My wife is worried, she suspects something. She thinks I’m going to have an affair, or maybe I’m already having an affair behind her back. That’s why I obsessed about eating healthy and keeping active.
I told her I did it for practical reasons, one of which is being able to redeem NTUC vouchers via the 365 app. She didn’t believe me, so I told her I have a sugarbabe 20 years younger than me. She rolled her eyes at me before giving me the dirty look at my privates, as if she was doubting the family jewels is capable of that.
Jokes aside, as we get on with age, I guess we try to be a bit more conscious about our health. Besides, I still have kids that are still in school. It’s going to be a while before they fly the coop, and until then, staying healthy is something I have to do for the family.
Coming back to my writing, two years in, I’m convinced I’m on the right track despite the occasional hiccups along the way. The subscription model not only help to give the site a stable taking, it helps keep me disciplined in my writing.
There are no more games on my PC, free time is spent either reading, or working on my stories.
With life slowly going back to the norm and more people heading back to offices, the delivery gigs that I do to supplement my income has also dropped. It takes longer, and more delivery trips to clock the takings that I use to clock. I rather spend more time working on my stories that out and about on the roads, but I’m not stopping it entirely.
Am short listing dates for a barista course too. It’s no secret that I have always been a big fan of coffee, not just drinking it, but also making it. I don’t have the fancy equipment though, but I have friends who allow me to play with theirs when I go over.
Recently, I’ve been entertaining the idea of being a part time barista when I hit writing full time. Clock a half day shift brewing coffee, then spend the other half on my writing. Anyway, I’ll just get the certification and training done first, whatever happens in the future, I’ll take it as it comes.
Who knows, maybe one day I can own a café/book store tucked in a quiet industrial estate?
It’s a gloomy Friday afternoon and I can hear the rolling distant thunder but no rain yet.
Hopefully the shower will come and cool down the temperature.
Stay safe all.
Will update again soon.
Diary entry 13/6/2022
The whole family went for a holiday in the UAE. While I’ve been there for work before, it’s always a pop in, pop out trip. I never got to visit any of the places I wanted to. We were fortunate that we booked the tickets real early before SG announced the opening up of all the restrictions as well.
It was a bit of a gamble since we don’t know what kind of restrictions we will be subjected to but thankfully everything worked out ok. The airfare has surged almost 3X after the loosening of Covid restrictions.
I brought my laptop along for the trip and I was hoping to get a bit of writing done but it’s quite impossible. Being the typical kiasu Singaporean, we try to pack as much activity as we can into the day. By the time we get back to the hotel, everyone was moving like zombies.
While the kids hit the bed, there is still a long list of stuff to be done. The laundry, the drying, planning what to do the next day. Checking entry tickets and all the miscellaneous stuff. By the time we hit the sack, I was absolutely beat.
I even brought along my gym gear along for the trip, hoping to hit the threadmill in the hotel but my wife is right when she asked me not to kid myself. There’s no way I’m hitting the gym on a holiday.
Wife : Work trip yes, maybe. Holiday ? no fucking way.
J : I’ll prove you wrong!
The only time I visited the gym was when I was trying to look for the self-service laundry room.
It’s off-peak season in UAE because it’s summer. And Summer = heat. My friends think I’m crazy. Well, at least I get to see my wife’s pissed off face under a hat at 45 degrees. It’s one that I don’t intend to see anytime soon. Haha.
We got most of the rooms at off peak rates, that really helped to keep the trip within budget.
Checking out the sights in a foreign city does wonders for inspirations. I can almost picture myself walking through the streets as a character in a story. The sights, the smell, the sound are all vastly different from what we experience back home.
Eating food we cannot even pronounce and trying stuff at a buffet line that I will probably not pay for back in SG, it’s been a real eye opening trip for the family. The world is so big and there are so many sights to see and different cultures to experience. I hope to be able to do it with my kids a few more times before they get too old to want to travel with me.
Back to my writing, everything is ok. I’m on schedule to wrap up District S2. Going to have to add on an episode or two to wrap it up. 10 episodes is a bit short to cover the stuff I want to include in.
Going to release ‘Carnival’, a non-erotic romance piece this week. I put in a lot of thought into this, hope it hits the right spot for those into romance titles.
Site takings is going down on a gradual gradient. That’s to be expected given the state of the economy. With inflation and everything going up, spending on erotic reads should be the lowest in priority.
Anyway, nothing changes. I’m still going to continue on this path. Come end June, the subscription model will hit it’s 2 year mark. Will give more details and updates about the future from there.
One thing for sure, I will never stop writing.
Keeping with traditions of setting aside a percentage of monthly takings for giving every June and December, here’s the latest updates.
Donations is slightly lower this period owing to lower site takings, but things usually pick up towards the end of the year base on last year’s results. I’m confident I can get things back on track for the December period.
Thank you for joining me on my journey.
Diary entry 19/5/2022
I gave myself a rare break of not writing anything over the recent long weekend. Having worked out a routine which I keep religiously to, not writing even for a day will trigger a feeling of guilt.
That guilt will claw at me because I know writing and creating content is the only way I can get closer to my dream of writing full time. Every time I try to slack off, it will only slow me down.
Still, I know it’s a break that I deserve and to be honest, one that I looked forward to dearly.
My sole surviving grandparent, my maternal grandmother resides in Malaysia, about a 2 hour drive away. The last time I saw her in person was just before the border closure, around early March 2020.
She’s well into her eighties and lives alone. She’s fiercely independent and brought up a bunch of kids single-handedly. Growing up, nothing ever fazes her.
I cannot even begin to imagine the challenges that she faces when the lockdown was announced due to Covid. She’s so used to moving about in the kampung, pedaling on her bicycle that is older than me. She goes to the market daily, she chats with her neighbours, she just moves about all the time. The pandemic put a stop to all that.
Thankfully, my uncle that stays 30 minutes away from her insist she moves in with them during MCO.
With someone to look after her, it really gives the rest of the family a peace of mind. I pity my uncle though, who has to put up with her grumbles of wanting to go back to living alone but he’s a nice guy, I’m sure he didn’t mind one bit. If not for my grandmother’s stubbornness and insistence to live alone, she would have long moved in with this uncle.
Anyway, the drive into Malaysia is an adventure itself. Without a touch n go card (the ones in the family all expired or got deactivated), I had to go from car to car, hoping some driver will lend me theirs and take my cash in return. I had to do this twice, once at the immigration, and another at the toll booth.
Once we got that out of the way, it’s a short drive to the rest stop where I reloaded my new touch n go card while the kids hit the bathroom. I know the route to my grandmother’s place, there was no need for the GPS but I kept it on because I know it reassured my parents that I’m not driving them up to Penang and into Thailand.
They have a deep distrust about my driving & navigation skills ever since I almost went onto incoming traffic when driving a left-hand drive vehicle in Jeju island about 10 years ago. Almost, the word here is almost, I managed to right it in time that’s why I’m still here writing this.
Unlike previous drives into Malaysia, this time round, I suddenly realized my parents are not nagging at me throughout the journey. No more ‘almost need to turn already’ , ‘ need to exit here already’, ‘slow down’ , ‘it’s there, it’s there, a bit more’.
They just sat quietly and nodding off occasionally. 2 years is a long time, even more so for my mother. Technology have made things a bit easier but try talking to an octogenarian over a video call, it’s really hard for everyone. 2 years of not seeing your mother, can you imagine that?
My mum had to leave Malaysia when she was 16 in order to work and support the family, leaving my grandmother and 6 other siblings behind. At 16, I was only thinking about Diablo and Warcraft III, and Final Fantasy 8.
Looking occasionally to my dad who is seated beside me, I noticed more grey in his hair, I can feel the drop in his energy level too this couple of years. Everyone grows old, it’s inevitable.
Nothing drives the reality of aging home more than the degradation of memory. At one of the last turns to go into a particular lane of the small town, my dad gave me a wrong direction. I took it even though it resulted in an additional U-turn.
Only then did my mum suddenly realized I was on the correct route earlier. Before the squabbles could begin over something so trivial, I culled it by saying it doesn’t matter, just another 5 minutes more won’t hurt.
Wide tar road gave way to uneven stone paths. Driving through a narrow kampung street build for single direction traffic while having vehicles coming both ways is a challenge, especially with cars parked parallel along the sides.
Thankfully I faced no incoming traffic and finally pulled up to the old single storey structure where many happy childhood memories are made.
Seeing my grandmother for the 1st time in 2 years brought back a flood of memories and standing in the yard of the old house with a zinc roof is like taking a trip back in time.
Time seemed to stand still in that place. 90% of what I see, is exactly what my 8 year old self saw back then.
My grandmother has aged a lot too. She still recognizes us, but she could not recognize my kids. My kids went wild running about the place, they still remember their last trip.
Growing up, I held a blue passport. It’s only valid for travel into Malaysia. So a holiday for the family usually means taking a drive across the causeway. I consider myself really fortunate because most of my friends don’t even have a passport back then.
I miss my grandmother’s cooking, she used to whip up a feast when we visit but as age catches up with her, even the simplest chore is taxing on the body. My earliest memory of her is her standing behind the stove, expertly managing the food cooking on both stove while barking out instructions to her children.
Holidays in the kampung meant homely, cooked food, food that trumps even what the most decorated chefs from Michelin star restaurants could serve. You simply cannot get that taste of nostalgia anywhere else.
Holidays back in the small town growing up meant bubble gums, it meant hearing the crow of roosters in the morning. It meant playing in the rain when it floods, and it almost always floods when it rains due to the bad drainage.
Wading in ankle deep water while the rain hammered the zinc roofing, screaming and throwing water balloons at my cousins and sibling, this is what childhood are made of. Although I’m pretty sure the other kids that stay in the kampung think we are crazy for finding excitement in something they see so often.
The smell of motorcycle exhaust lingered in the air when one roared pass the front gate. Then comes the honk by the bread seller. That hand pumped honk used by our garang guni man is used by the bread man over there. In the evening, there will be the ringing of bells by the ice cream uncle.
I chat a little with my grandmother, but the chat fizzes off fast. We simply have very little common topics. Looking at me with her one good eye, I think she still sees me as the young little grandson that is running around her house a few decades ago poking at tadpoles in the drain.
Only this time round, it’s my kids that are doing the running and exploring.
I’m going to skip the
gorging ourselves silly eating part. We did the usual shopping in the supermarket, heading to market in the morning for breakfast, going to the beach area for dinner, the whole nine yards.
Besides catching up and taking a break, I find myself taking over some duties that was once my dad’s responsibilities. Scrubbing the yard floor, sweeping the back of house, and the most challenging of all, clearing the drain.
Due to lack of maintenance, the small gutter that discharges water is overgrown with weeds and there’s a whole mini ecosystem thriving in there.
So while the kids have their nap, I took it upon myself to clear it.
It didn’t strike me to take photos when I started but halfway through, I suddenly remembered that I want to be an influencer/content creator/key opinion leader. That means taking photo and writing a story about everything I do so everyone knows how much effort I put into doing something.
Unless I have photos to back it up and a story to garnish it, it’s all talk.
So I dropped everything and went to grab my phone.
However I was about 50% through by then and I could not get a good ‘before’ picture of the drain covered by weeds and grass. Still, having pictures of the process is not too bad either.
After snapping some photos, I felt it was enough and made a mental note to take a picture of the completed job.
I can almost see the article I will be writing to pat myself on the back for a job well done, earning praises, likes and love from anyone reading this but I forgot about the picture after I was done with the drain. Immediately after clearing the gutter, I helped my dad with the wall and ceiling fans. From there, it’s clearing junk and scraps metal from the yard.
Before I knew it, it’s dinner time and off we go.
It’s not all work and no play, the manual labor may sound tiring, but I honestly enjoyed it. With no WIFI, phone data is reserved only for the most important of matters. I had more time with the kids and family.
A typical day can be as simple at playing with toys and drawing with stationaries we bought from the supermarket. I expected my kids to whine about the state of the room we are going to sleep in. Think decade old mattresses and pillows that are kept in cold storage for years. They are so used to city comforts. They whine about eating out in non-airconditioned places, they whine about dining in hawker centres.
I was secretly gleeful for the ‘tekan session’ to stay in a Kampung, I expected them to whine about no Netflix, no youtube, dirty showers on bare concrete floor and flies buzzing about the kitchen.
They didn’t. They just adjusted their expectations and adapted. The pace of life is much slower, everything seemed simpler.
Perhaps it’s the nostalgia associated with my childhood that makes every visit so memorable.
This is also the first time I let my kids try chewing gum.
First reaction from them was, ‘ Why you let me eat toothpaste?’
Time flies when you are having fun, and I had a good dose of nostalgia. When we depart, my grandmother waved at us from her front door, holding onto the door frame for support due to her weak legs. With the windows down, we waved at her as I put the car into drive slowly.
Maybe she’s glad we’re going, so she can return to her peace and quiet but there’s no denying that she enjoyed having us around. All her children are all grown up with families of their own, 4 set up families in Singapore, while the other 3 remained in Malaysia. The closest one to her is the Uncle staying 30 minutes drive away.
Looking at my grandmother in her eighties made me think how my life will be like in my eighties. Will I still be around ?
The pandemic and the lockdown has allowed many of us to reevaluate our life priorities. How far up the ladder do you want to climb ? How much money is enough ? How much does it take to make one truly happy ?
I used to be happy if I can play in the rain. Then I grew up and got obsessed with the pursuit of happiness and material goods. Then I guess I grew old, maybe not so much physically, but more so mentally. End of the day, as long as we are contented with what we have, it doesn’t take a lot to be happy.
It was a quiet drive back into Singapore. Everyone is fully recharged from the short break.
My kids are already asking when can we go back again.
For now, it’s back to the keyboard.
Diary entry 19/4/2022
The past few months have been very fruitful personally in terms of data gathering. On top of writing, working on my small ID business, I have been taking on side gigs, evaluating how feasible they are, and how can they fit into my schedule when I start writing full time.
On weekend evenings, sometimes I help a friend out on some delivery stuff late at night, but it’s not a regular thing. I need something more predictable, yet one that will not take up too much time since I want to be working on my writing.
This is where on demand food/parcel delivery fits in.
It’s been a few months since I started doing it more regularly. Now I finally have the data I seek.
By data, I meant general stats on the number of hours & number of deliveries I need to do in order to clock $X. By breaking down $X into weekly targets and breaking it further down into daily targets, I’ve sort of come up with a secret formula.
Ok, secret formula might be a bit too overkill, it’s just math actually.
Averaging out the time and number of deliveries I do, less the cost of delivery. I now know how much time I need to set aside to do this if I start writing full time.
Target will be to hit $X with minimum effort and time.
$X is the amount I need to feed myself, cover my phone bills & insurance, and to have some spare change for general spending. I don’t need a lot to survive. $10 a day for food on weekdays, and $20 to give myself a treat on weekend. Average it out, I have a pretty comfortable food bill with some extra buffer.
This may sound pretty extreme but I did not just pluck the figures from the air. I have made some small lifestyle adjustments since last year and averaging it out, I have not been spending more than $10 on food on weekdays for the past 6 months. I still eat pretty well. Working from home and being able to manage my meeting timings, I try to cook my meals as regularly as I can. I’m still 3kg over my target weight and BMI by the way so no worries about self-neglect there.
Just by spending a couple of hours a day doing deliveries around the neighbourhood, I can hit $X every month.
$X keeps me breathing, and if I can cover $X by having the occasional late lunch or sleeping a couple of hours later, that is a trade off I gladly take.
$X is purely for me and only me.
Now that I’ve settled $X, I still have $Y & $Z.
The financial responsibilities & duties as a husband, father and son is a challenge I have to juggle on this journey especially when my spouse still have no idea what I’m doing behind her back. If I were to view the whole sum I need as a whole chunk, it’s going to seem impossible, but I can break it down.
Break it down into smaller bite size bits, and I can see a clearer path.
I can stinge a little on myself, but not on my family and kids.
In a few months, I will have a full year’s data on $Y which is discretionary spendings that includes birthdays, gifts, celebrations, CNY red packet included, with some build in buffer now that the country is slowly opening up.
Then there is still $Z, which is the largest bulk of all. From mortgage, to utility bills, to contribution to the family savings and spending account. I reckon I will have to break $Z down into even smaller digestible chunks.
By June, I will have a full 2 year data on the site takings via subscription and general sales. It’s stable and fluctuates around +-200 range depending on how many subscribers roll over. I will just work with the lower of the figure.
I don’t see the site takings covering X, Y & Z anytime soon but this is to be expected.
I need multiple cashflow sources in order to write full time. Freelance gigs, occasional projects from old contacts, current business with partner, site takings, dividend income from portfolio & of course, savings.
I have sorted out X, and in the process of figuring out Y.
I’m very confident I can sort out X & Y, the challenging part is taking care of Z.
Savings built up over the years meant I can run on an annual budget deficit for a while when I really hit this full time.
I feel like I’m a finance minister already. Haha.
To put things in perspective for myself, I have never been closer than ever to the end point.
And I get a little bit closer every day.
Stay safe all.
Diary entry 7/2/2022
It’s rare to put in 2 entries so close to each other but i want to write this down so i can remember it.
Took my booster shot a few days ago and it knocked me out good.
It’s like getting ram by a rugby player on steroids’. I was fine initially after taking the shot but 12 hours later, i can feel the fireworks going off.
What happened next was a cycle of trembling under blankets, popping of paracetamols and drinking so much water that i peed myself by the time i made it to the toilet. Body felt really weak and it was a struggle to even walk. It was that bad.
I took 2 pfizer and a moderna booster in case you are wondering.
I’m tired and exhausted all the time but my mind can’t seem to settle. It’s like i may be lying down but sleep won’t come. Even if it did come, it’s not the deep sleep where i can rest. Instead, my mind started drifting off thinking of plotlines and future stories.
About 40 over hours after my booster, i finally felt normal again. Woke up to pee at 3am in the morning and ended up writing instead of going back to sleep. Had enough of sleep the past couple of days i guess.
Wrote the outline for a new piece about a overseas trip with a demanding female boss that i will be uploading the preview soon and work on some of the editing for current pieces.
Was hoping to clock some deliveries over the weekend and help a friend out with his business but my body will not have any of it. Guess i needed the break. I’m feeling ok now, even the soreness in the arm is gone. Hopefully we won’t need the 4th shot.
More than 10k cases daily now in Singapore. No idea when it will start coming back down.
Stay safe all
Diary entry 4/2/2022
Sort of have my workplan for 2022 worked out in terms of the titles i plan to release in early Jan. Will be keeping that target in mind and working towards it.
This CNY is the quietest ever, even more muted than the previous year.
With the cap on the number of visitors, i only visited my parents and in laws. Manage to clock in 2 runs in the middle of CNY too in order to deal with the CNY weight gain. I was up 3kg by the 2nd day of CNY hahha. All the binge eating of junk food and steamboat is settling in snugly around my tummy i guess.
Did something different this CNY, since we cannot visit so many places, the family decides to head to the beach instead.
I set up the picnic mat, laid out the food and snacks we prepared and opened up my trusty field chair that has seen actions since my army days. The plan was for me to build a sand castle with the kids and get our feet wet running in the waves, but by the time i was satisfied with the picnic setup, i was left alone looking after the bags and belongings. Wife and kids couldn’t wait and went on ahead.
I opened up a drink and just stared at them from where i sat, feeling the strong constant sea breeze in my face. My mind just went blank.
A good kind of blank if you get what i mean.
That moment where you get to just zone out with a smile on your face looking at your family play a distance away. The wind, the sound of waves crashing on the beach, everything just came together beautifully.
The beach is right beyond the grass, angling down a gentle slope. Wife and kids are down on their hands and knees digging in the sand.
The serenity and calm i felt is hard to describe with words.
CNY has always been packed full of activities when growing up. i even tracked the evolution of activities growing up and broke them down into different phases.
This is the phase where CNY is the most fun. I’m a kid, I have no responsibilities other than my schoolwork. It’s practically the only holiday I look forward to. Half day in school, come home and binge watch cartoons. In the evenings, head over to grandparent’s place for dinner and meet all my cousins. (I have 12 cousins). Can you imagine how lively and noisy my grandparents’ place were back then?
After dinner, we will gather for black jack. At a tender age of 7, I can hold my own court in a game. That is the one day in the year where I look forward to fill my wallet with a flintstone print with dollar bills.
When we’re done with the black jack, it’s off to home where I get to watch the countdown on TV while my parents head to the temple. By the time the fireworks go off and the celebrities start singing on stage in Chinatown, I would have fallen asleep with a smile on my face.
Age 13 – 17
Ah, the teenage years of internet, Diablo, Starcraft and Red Alert, warcraft.
I’m still as excited as I was when I’m a kid. The only difference now is that I can multitask. After the dinner and blackjack at grandparent’s place, the first thing I did upon reaching home is switch on my computer. While watching the countdown programs, I can be spamming tesla coils in my base or cloning items in Diablos.
At this age, moving about from place to place generally puts a frown on my face during the visiting. It must be the hormones, but the red packets made it all the better.
The schedule starts to get a bit complicated at this age because I need to factor in visiting parents and relatives of my girlfriend. Eve of CNY has remained the same throughout the years. Grandpa passed on during this period and it’s not the same without him around but the family still made it a point to keep traditions going.
I stopped watching countdown programs, and started spending more time in my room with my girlfriend exploring the wonders of human biology.
Age 27 – 35
I got married, I had kids. Suddenly in the blink of an eye, I went from the kid happily enjoying CNY to an adult. Everyone of my cousins are all grown up now. While the wager used to be $1-$2 for black jacks, now there are 2 separate tables.
One for low wagers of at least $2, and the other where the big boys play with no limit.
I stopped playing when my kids came along. For someone who learned gambling at age 7, I suddenly feel it’s not appropriate to gamble in front of my children. The married cousins grouped together, those with kids grouped together, those that are still single and dating, formed another group.
Every now and then you will hear a uncle or auntie comment ;
‘Last time, they are all kids running around, now they all have children of their own. Time flies. If only Pa (grandpa) is here to see this. (My grandfather did not live long enough to see his eldest grandson get married and settle down.)
The house we gathered felt more compact, the sofa felt smaller, even the TV screen felt a lot smaller.
Age 36 – now
Even before Covid changed everything, i can feel the change in CNY atmosphere every year. Most of us will be busy on our phones after reunion dinner. The blackjack tables have given way to Mahjong and Poker. I’m hitting my big 40 soon and it feels as if CNY traditions are being filtered down so much it’s like drinking diluted coffee.
Eventually it just feels like everyone is going through the motion for the sake of getting through the day.
I know everyone is busy with their lives, it’s impossible for things to go back to the time when I’m 7. I guess this is all part of growing up, or rather, growing old.
Satisfaction came in the form of food and TV when I’m young, binge gaming in my teens, plenty of sex with girlfriends when I’m a young adult, and now that I’m well into the uncle age, satisfaction and joy come in the form of peace.
I’m happy just sipping my drink and watching the sea.
We are bombarded with so many negative news everyday. From covid numbers to the threat of impending war between 2 countries.
I think we all need to give our minds a break and switch off every now and then.
Even as i am typing this, I’m already thinking of making another visit to the beach soon.
Sure, the innocent joy of my childhood is gone, I don’t really game anymore, and sex comes once a month late at night when the kids are asleep, but i still manage to find joy from other avenues.
My kids are healthy and happy, my wife
earns more than me loves me, a roof over our heads and food on the table.
What more can a middle age uncle ask for right?
May the year of the Tiger bring roaring success and prosperity for all.
Stay safe guys.
Diary entry 27/12/2021
5 more days to 2022. I hope all is well for everyone.
It’s 1.5 years since i started the subscription format for the site and from the data i gathered, i can roughly see where i am when it comes to writing full time.
Draggy explanation aside, in short, i’m nowhere close but i’m moving forward at a steady pace.
I’m not going to wait for stars to be aligned before i take the plunge.
I’ll just have to make it work one way or another.
Currently my time is split 70-30 between day job and writing. I intend to get to 50-50 in 2022 gradually.
I told my partner i need more time with my family and i’m going to hit the brakes a bit on the kind of projects i take on. Currently i’m like a rubbish bin, i just take on everything and worry about it later. Not exactly a smart move on hindsight given the difficult clients i need to work with.
On weekends, i sometimes help friends who are business owners themselves on delivery jobs. The good thing about these deliveries is they are non-perishable items and i can do them at night after dinner at my own pace. I’ve also helped a friend whose driver decided to go AWOL deliver vegetables to restaurants in the middle of the night.
Peeled garlics, lettuce, carrots, broccoli, red pepper, these are some of the stuff i deliver by the basket loads to restaurants in shopping malls in the middle of the night. The streets may look quiet in the wee hours of the morning but it is at this time where you see the group of people that works behind the scene.
I used to think sending stuff is easy but having done it myself, i can say it’s one of the toughest job. I’m done food, parcels, even durian delivery before. G*** food, L***move, ***rcel, you name it, i have tried it. I have all the apps on my phone. Although i’m not a seasoned nor a veteran in the logistics industry, i would say i have enough materials to write some interesting stories.
End of the day, i know it’s going to be a number’s game if i want to write full time.
If you, who like me is married, 2 kids, mortgage, family expenses etc, you can roughly know the kinds of expenses a typical family of 4 deals with. i’ll need to cover my share of the family expenses one way or another.
During the transition, i’m prepared to lose a bit of sleep at night and over the weekends to makeup the shortfall.
In a couple of years, I want to be able to spend 80% of my time writing and working on new titles, and the balance 20% on supplementary gigs. I know it’s doable, i just need to do it.
I may not be able to see the finish line now, but i can feel it, i can smell it. I know it’s there no matter how far it may be.
Am i closer to it compared to this time last year ? Yes.
All that’s left is for me to keep moving towards it.
Stay safe all
Diary entry 14/12/2021
It’s the last month of 2021.
The streets and malls are crowded and it seems the country is moving on from the pandemic.
I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully things can only get better from now on.
There’s been a passing in the family recently and it’s the first time i saw my cousins and relatives since the pandemic begins. On a typical year pre Covid, there would have been regular family gatherings, dinners and outings, even beach picnics. I’m talking the entire extended family kind of massive gathering. However, even those gathering failed to achieve full attendance from everyone.
I understand everyone has their own commitments, their own lives, careers and challenges. It’s not fair to expect everyone to be able to turn up for social gatherings even before the pandemic. I miss the times when i’m younger, where my weekends involve going to the grandparent’s place where all the cousins will gather and play.
Everyone is all grown up now, most have settled down with families. We see each other only a couple of times a year. Sometimes, due to conflicting schedules, we don’t even see each other during CNY. Covid made it all the more impossible to catch up.
I can’t help but laugh at the irony that i get to meet up with everyone in a wake instead.
It takes a funeral for the entire family to come together again.
The wake was done under the void deck of the flat where my grandmother lives. My cousins and i belong to the 3rd generation within the extended family. My eldest cousin already has a head of white hair, while the youngest just completed university. That gives you an idea of how big the family is, and how varied in age the cousins are.
During the wake, all the cousins volunteered to stay overnight at the wake so the 2nd generation can rest. A roster was drawn up and everyone filled in their names for the different nights that they can do so. Some stayed a night, some did 2, some did all 3.
Aside from doing the necessary stuff for the wake, the overnight stay gave all of us a chance to catch up with each other. I am not exaggerating when i say one of the best conversation i had in 2021 happened around a table wrapped with white plastic sheets with cousins sitting on plastic chairs.
The catching up, talks of our childhood years, the funny things we did and just life in general.
We even talked about our own funerals, and whether we need our children to go through the tradition of setting up the wake and all.
The end of the wake is summarised by the solemn bus ride to the crematorium. At Mandai, i was reminded of how efficient Singapore is in almost everything. This includes the final journey for our dead.
A quick remembrance, some simple words, a prayer chant and the next thing i know, we’re at the viewing gallery. Looking through the glass separating us from the gallery below, we said our final goodbyes to the last of the 1st Gen. My paternal grandmother.
Her casket was delivered with precision into the chamber for cremation. The timber door slid to a close, signaling the end of the journey for a lady that arrived in Singapore from China before the war..
As i exited the gallery, i know this will also be the journey that awaits me at the end.
There is nothing like the passing of a close one to remind you about the fragility of life itself. We all have limited time on this planet and our clock started ticking the moment we take our first breath in our mother’s womb.
We should all live our life to the fullest, and make the best of each moment we have left.
This is not meant to be a depressing entry haha, i hope it doesn’t affect your mood if you are reading it.
I just want to pen down my thoughts no matter how random and disorganised they may be. Perhaps in the future, when i read what i wrote, i will be reminded of what i was feeling.
Still a couple of weeks to go before i need to make my new year resolutions but i already have a couple in mind.
I hope to be more patient, more tolerant and not lose my shit so often be it at work, with clients, with family. It going to take a bit of effort to cultivate these virtues.
I lost a total of 15kg ever since i started working out and watching my diet. I’ve hit a plateau for a while now, unless i increase the intensity of exercise, i don’t think there’s much more i can do. I feel better, i sleep better, i eat better. Found a balance i am comfortable with
I’m looking forward to 2022.
Stay safe all
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Diary entry 25/10/2021
Some time ago in 2019 i remember saying i want to write full time in 3 years.
In a few months it will be 2022 and i’m nowhere close to where i wanted to be.
I’m closer now though, compared to where i was in 2019, at least i’m progressing.
Had a really rough week and i didn’t have much time to write. Somehow i find myself dealing with a horde of horrible clients all at the same time. I don’t mind dealing with horrible people, their antics provide inspiration for my characters and i’ve seen my fair share of crazies throughout my working life. However, last week really takes the cake when i’m swarmed with a few of these ‘powerful’ characters. Different work, different scope, same level of crazy. haha.
Anyway, it’s ok, i’m glad it’s over.
No matter how horrible the day, or the week is, it will pass. Just like all storms will pass and the skies will be clear once more.
2020 and 2021 makes me feel as if time has been stolen right under my nose. A snap of a finger and it’s gone. We’re 2 months away from xmas can you believe that?
The pandemic has made a lot of people reassess their life and career. If anything, it has helped me focus even more on what i really want to do.
I’m no longer crawling towards my end goal, I’m on my feet, one step at a time, i will get there.
I have the teaser for book 4 of TBW, and also the ending written. I don’t usually write the ending so fast for a title but there are not many characters left at the end of book 4, so it kind of makes writing the ending quite easy. Will keep editing and improving it.
Also working on ‘District’, it’s going to a fun read. There’s a reason for the zones and segregations, i won’t spoil the surprise for now.
Stay safe all.