Goodbye Xpan

I will start off this post by saying this: “I’ll probably regret for selling this camera in the future.” Why? Well, because this is really a one of a kind camera that you will hardly find elsewhere… this is the Hasselblad Xpan (or Fujifilm T-X1). I was equally in love and equally frustrated when using this camera. Due to its panoramic aspect ratio, it was extremely difficult to compose, and yet extremely rewarding when everything falls into place.

I had been shooting with this camera for close to 2 years, and I really enjoyed my times with it. And now I had decided that its time to move on. I sold it off to another guy who is doing cinematography, who plans to use this camera to practice his vision and framing under the panoramic aspect ratio. I believe this camera has found a good owner who will make full use of its potential.

I think I had shared about my love to this camera in the past, together with the frustrations of scanning the film etc., so there’s no need for me to repeat that again. After I think hard about it, I finally made the decision to sell it away. A painful decision, but then again, all good things need to end some time… some where.

For film camera, I’m left with only the Zeiss Ikon. Will I keep it? Will I sell it away too? I’m still pondering. We’ll see how things unfold in the days to come. Till then.

The sense of Entitlement

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“Hey, I got 10,000 followers on my Instagram. Shouldn’t you offer me something free?”

“Hey, we are friends right? Can you help me do this?”

A sense of entitlement. Perhaps everyone thought that everything in this world should be “given” to them. Maybe they thought that they deserved it. Maybe they thought that when you asked about it, people will tend not to reject you. And in the end, this sense of entitlement has made someone to take things for granted.

Imagine you are in a queue. You are next in line, and the person behind you said: “Hey, please let me go next okay?” You ignored that person, but when the queue moves, that person still try to cut in front of you while you are moving forward. You gave that person an angry stare, and in return, that person labelled you as petty, unfriendly, not caring, bastard… and so on. Whose fault was it? I wonder.

Recently something similar to this had happened to me, and I was really puzzled. How can people had this mindset that they were entitled for anything they asked for? And the funny thing was that if they don’t get what they want, it’s your fault and not theirs. It’s always you never think about them, never care about them, never respect them, never fulfil their needs and so on. And they were never wrong for demanding all that from you.

Oh wel, life goes on although I’m getting sick and tired of these.

 

Travel… Japan

I had travelled to Japan for the past 4 years, covered places from further south of Hiroshima, Okayama, Himeji, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Wakayama and up to Tokyo. If you ask me, I will still revisit these areas as there are still many places within the area that I would like to explore further.

So why Japan? I don’t know, honestly. There’re something about Japan that keeps drawing me in. Perhaps is their culture, perhaps is their scenery, perhaps is their people, perhaps is their way of life. I enjoyed anime and Japanese drama when I was young, perhaps that had shaped my perspective on Japan a little.

Of course it’s not all great, they still engage in puzzling activities such as mass killing of whales, and some of the people are less open and dislike foreigners. But my point of travelling to places is to immerse yourself into their culture, look at the goods and the bads, pick up those goods and learn from it, adopt it and enrich yourself, and Japan has a lot to offer in this regards.

Rubbish management, recycling program, the politeness, the respect they gave to people, their public transportation, their professionalism are among the fews that really worth learning from. Of course there are more, and they are the things that you really need to go and experience yourself to truly understand it.

Japan also offers a wealth of nature beauty, shrines, temples, well preserved and managed cultural and historical sites and so on. My home country Malaysia do have a lot of great sceneries too, but sadly most of them are not very well managed or maintained, and a lot of times these locations are almost impossible to access unless you drive. There’s still a long way for my home country to improve in terms of public transport system.

So, will I still be heading to Japan next year? Well, hopefully. There are still a lot of places that are yet to explore, such as Kyushu, Hokkaido, Okinawa and so on. Hopefully I can visit all the amazing places in Japan while I’m able to do so. But that does not mean I will not travel to other locations other than Japan, so… what’s next? I’m looking forward for the trips to come. Till then.

A Plastic World

Recently I had watched two documentaries (Link to one of it here) that talk about the same topic. It’s about plastics, and how it ended up into the ocean, into the stomach of wildlife, and eventually it may come a full circle and ended up in our body. I think everyone knows that plastic is bad for the environment, it doesn’t degenerate, it will stay in the soil for almost forever, it’s toxic, it will contaminate the soil and water etc. But I believe most of us just stopped here, knowing the existence of the problem but taken no action to rectify it. Yes, and that include myself.

Isn’t it convenient to just grab a plastic bag, or maybe two, to carry all the groceries you just bought from the supermarket? The takeaway lunch that was packed inside a plastic container which then carried by another plastic bag? Not to mentioned the plastic spoon that came along with it? How about the straws that you use? And the plastic cap over your paper cup? All the plastic wrappers and tapes that come along with your parcel delivery?

I’m not a saint myself, and I’m not an environmentalist either. But when I sit down and think about it, it’s mind blowing how we can just live on and ignore something that’s so obvious. Perhaps this is human nature, just like how we still smoke when we know that it’s bad for our health. Mankind has evolved enough to become too ignorant and no longer giving a damn on anything other than themselves. But I certainly think that we can really do better.

The Problem

Plastic takes forever, if ever, to decompose themselves. Hence, this waste will stay on earth for almost forever. The more we create such waste, the more we need to live with it. It’s toxic, you can’t burn them. They can hardly be recycle. It’s like a time bomb waiting for it’s time to explode.

The General Reactions

“So you are trying to say that we should stop using or producing plastic altogether?”
“How am I suppose to drink without a straw?”
“Without plastic bag, how am I suppose to throw the rubbish from my home?”
“How do I carry all my groceries without a plastic bag?”
“There are bio-degradable plastic anyway, not to worry.”
“It’s not my fault, I use the plastic and dump them responsibly. If the plastic ends up in the ocean, it’s the problem of the waste disposal company.”

My View

  • It’s impossible for us to live without plastic in our daily life, somehow we will still need to rely on them on some of the items we use, at least for now. Those plastic items with long usage life will probably still stick around with us for quite some time. The key is to reduce or eliminate the short-lived plastic item that are literally disposable within minutes from our hand.
  • Like all environment driven program, there’s always the 3R aspect: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. To reduce, the first thing we need to do is to substitute the use of plastic with something else. If that’s not possible, then we reduce the use of it.
  • Bio-degradable plastic should be able to decompose faster than ordinary ones. However, when such plastics ended up in the ocean and break into smaller pieces, marine life will eat them thinking they are planktons.
  • Everyone is equally responsible for the plastic waste. If we do not have the needs or demand for disposable plastic product, they will not be produced and hence will not become a problem. Everyone plays a part, not just the government, the authority or the waste management company.

What We Can Do

  • Shops can replace plastic bag with paper bag.
  • Instead of plastic box, paper box can be used to pack takeaway food. Or taking a step further, bring your own food container for takeaway food.
  • Stop drinking with plastic straw, or bring your own reusable straw.
  • Keep reusable cutleries with you to reduce reliance on disposable plastic cutleries.
    Bring along your own shopping back with you, which can be reuse as many time as possible.
  • Corporates can look into their product packaging and reduce the use of plastic as much as possible. Don’t over-packed your items.
  • Recycle program should really be governed properly by the regulator, and this should goes hand in hand with education program that educates the younger generation on sustainability. Japan is a very good example where by law all waste and rubbish are being segregated by organic waste, plastic, recyclable material and so on. Everyone from young to old are able to follow such practice, and this is something valuable that other countries should learn and try to cultivate into their culture.

The key message is to not just sit there and leave it as it is. I believe there are some other things that we can do and change in order to at least mitigate the problem that we are facing at the moment. I’m trying to change my habit as well, slowly, step by step. I had gotten myself reusable bag, straw and cutleries. I tried to use my tumbler more often when I order a take-out drink. I tried my best to say no to plastic bag whenever possible. Yes, in many ways it does caused me some inconvenience. I’ll need to carry those reusable items with me all the time, I’ll need to trouble myself while others are not doing it anyway. But like I said earlier, it’s about culture. It’s going to be a battle of habit change, and this is the kind of battle that I’m willing to embark on. When all these “trouble” are being integrated and embedded into my daily life, it will no longer be cumbersome, and hence I would have achieved my goal in reducing my reliance on plastic, especially those disposable, short-live plastic.

I think I had been rambling too much. Just thought that I would like to note down some of the things that gone through my mind. I’m not perfect, and if I can start off and make some efforts in reducing my impact to the environment, I believe everyone else can do the same too. Our mother nature deserves better from us, and we can make a difference if we really want to. Hopefully this post managed to inspire someone to start thinking and looking deeply into this matter. Till then.

Travel Solo

Come to think of it, other than business trip, I had not traveled alone before for personal vacation. Well, even for this time it was actually a business trip, but I had extended my stay for a few days to accommodate for a short solo getaway.

It was my first trip to Hanoi, my first trip for my current company, my first trip to travel solo, and my second birthday spent oversea. It’s the trip I shared about in April’s post, where all the high performer from the company gathered for meeting and discussion, and of course to have fun and celebrate our successes.

During my extended stay, I moved into a hotel in Old Quarter of Hanoi, where all the buzz and crowd are located. I only have two days to spend, and I had made full use of it exploring places and meeting new people. I explored the streets of Hanoi, stopped by at Hanoi’s first Starbucks Reserve and had a nice chat with the barista, got a taste of local dishes and of course, some Saigon Beer at night.

I had also spent a day out at Halong Bay, joining a group tour through a local travel agency. I got to meet with people from India, Korea, Japan, England and so on, and it was a memorable experience, both on the location itself and the experience of mingling with the rest of them. A couple of us were traveling alone, and when everyone got together, we started sharing our experience in Hanoi.

It was indeed a very enjoyable experience traveling alone. When you travel with friends or family, your focus will mostly be on your own group. But when you travel alone, you opened up the opportunity to forge a relation and connection with like-minded traveller or locals. These experiences were different and unique, and perhaps that’s why a lot of people prefer to travel solo.

For me, I really enjoyed my solo trip in Hanoi, and hopefully in future there will be chances to travel solo again. I’ll cherish my memory in Hanoi for the days to come. For those who have not tried traveling alone, do give it a try and don’t be afraid. Till then.