My secret?

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“How long have you blogged?”
“How can you be consistently posting and updating your blog?”

I was being asked on these questions recently. I think a lot of people felt surprise that I had been doing this since… once upon a time? Is there a secret behind it? Well, not really. I think the main thing is being disciplined and stick to your plan and work things out. It’s not easy, but yet it’s not impossible.

My current workflow is pretty simple:

  1. Write on my phone whenever there’s any idea that come across my mind.
  2. Develop the idea into full post bits by bits. Usually I’ll be doing this when I’m commuting, waiting or whenever I’m free.
  3. Let the writings sit for awhile. Usually a few days. Come back later and read through them again. Sometimes post may get deleted and never see the light, sometimes I may rewrite the whole post.
  4. Once it’s done, I’ll upload the draft post onto wordpress and make further formatting and adjustments as necessary.
  5. Schedule a date and time to post the blog post. WordPress will automatically post on my behalf when the time comes.
  6. The key is to build up backlog of posts, so you can play around rearranging their posting dates, and also it gives you time to slowly think and write about your next post.

Yup, that’s about it. Nothing fancy, and nothing difficult actually. For now I have set my limit to 1 post a week, I “just” need to crunch out 52 posts per year… which I think is still manageable as of now. Will I ever feel tired and wanted to give up? Of course I do, occasionally. During the lows, I try not to force myself to think and write too much. With sufficient backlog, I should be able to get through the lows and start writing again.

What will be the future of this blog? Well, I wonder, but we’ll see how it goes and for those who actually read my blog, thank you. Till then.

《书店不死》石桥毅史

在台湾旅行,逛着书店时,我发现了这本书。日文名字“本屋”虽然翻译上来是“书店”没错,但是其实作者比较想探讨的是独立书店的未来。在日本旅行时,不难发现商店街中偶尔会穿插着几间书店,有些小得只能挤入两三人,有些卖着新书,有些卖着二手书。在这大型连锁书店施虐的年代,这些独立书店是否还有存在的价值呢?它们存在的意义又是什么呢?那些成功生存的,它们的秘诀又会是什么呢?

书店是怎样的一个存在,书中提到的一个结论是心意与诚意的传达。书店老板和顾客交流,从中介绍他们一本书或一名作者;然后这份心意与诚意,这份温暖,从书店老板的手中传递给顾客,让他们也能够感受到那份温热。

另外,书店对店员与老板来说,就像是画家的画纸一样。这个角落应该摆放什么种类的书,这种类的书中又应该卖哪一本,该怎么摆放,该怎么让顾客注意到某本书,该怎么让顾客知道这是一本好书等等。这些都是一门学问。

透过观察一间书店,你就可以知道老板的细心程度,老板是否用心的想把那份“温暖”给传递下去。在新加坡,独立书店实在不多,但隐约记得我曾经光顾过一件挺有意思的(虽然现在已经没了),也许那时候我所感觉到的“有意思”,就是老板想传达的那份温暖吧?

这本书还讨论了整个从出版到销售的过程,也针对书店和书本的未来而进行了研究。电子书确实能够让阅读更普及化,简化出版过程与成本,但是它能够传承那份“温暖”吗?大型连锁书店只是跟着总部的指示摆卖书本,这能让顾客发现非主流的好书吗?书店会沦落成为一个枯燥乏味,单单只是贩卖书本的卖场吗?将来是否连这些枯燥乏味的连锁书店也会被淘汰?

我觉得不会,我也希望不会。我还想继续享受着在书店的架子间游走,那仿佛在寻觅宝藏的感觉。我还想闻到那书香,感受那手指翻阅着每一页章的感觉。希望无论是独立书店也好,连锁书店也好,也能够继续坚持营运下去。而我能够做的,也就是继续买书,继续阅读,然后透过这样的文章和大家分享,让那份温暖得以延续。

每个人的心中都有一首五月天

五月天的粉丝分为几种级别,最低级的算是“五迷”吧,在热血一点的算是“铁粉”,然后最高级别的是“骨灰粉”,其实就是那些从五月天出道就追随他们到现在的粉丝啦。那我算是什么粉呢?

认真想一想,我是何时开始认识这个乐团呢?当他们发行《五月天第一張創作專輯》时是1999年,那时的在我读初中一年级。老实说,我真的没什么印象我有认真听他们的歌。也许综艺节目上有看过他们的脸吧。但是,一直以来对他们的印象就是“五个很吵很白痴的大男孩”。真正对他们的歌曲产生印象的时候应该是他们的第三张专辑《人生海海》,那时候我并没有完整的听过他们整张专辑,但是记得在电台上听过《人生海海》这首歌,觉得旋律还不错。那段时期的我没什么钱买CD,而且那时候也没怎么追流行音乐,就只是家里有什么CD或卡带就拿来听,也不常听电台。

而真正让我开始留意他们的契机是《神的孩子都在跳舞》这张专辑。还记得我是在亲戚家发现这张CD,然后我就出于好奇的把整张专辑给听了。这张CD让我想起了“啊,还有五月天这个乐团。”,然后也让我对这乐团的印象开始改观。可能是因为随着年龄的增长和经验的累积,他们的词曲给了我不一样的感觉,至少能够让我觉得他们已经不再是“五个很吵很白痴的大男孩” 了(其实他们到现在都还是,哈哈)。这张专辑最打动我的就是《倔强》这首歌了。我想这首歌应该也会是许多人的最爱之一吧!那时候我也很喜欢《超人》这首歌,不过老实说,那时候的我也还不能算是他们的粉丝吧。

无论如何,从那时开始我会偶尔特别的去留意他们的歌曲。《为爱而生》这专辑也是在那亲戚家给听完的。不过,真正让我开始追随他们的转折点应该算是《後青春期的詩》这张专辑吧。那时候正好是大学时期,除了读书就是吃喝玩乐(笑),也有比较多的机会接触各种各样的流行音乐。这张专辑,不好意思的说,也是从朋友那里拷贝过来的(我还是一个穷光蛋啦)。那时候的感想,印象中是被他们的词给吸引吧?我一向以来都对文字比较敏感,所以词很重要,曲是其次。《突然好想你》,《你不是真正的快樂》和《我心中尚未崩壞的地方》是那时候我的最爱。

在大学时候遇上了一些五迷,唱卡拉OK时她们都会狂唱五月天的歌曲,所以我也渐渐的开始补完五月天的旧专辑,也开始发现许多旧歌其实也蛮好听,词也很不错。之后《第二人生》这张专辑更奠定了五月天在我心中的地位。若要说,我最喜欢的专辑,那就是他们的第九张专辑《自传》了。喜欢的歌其实也真的好多,不过最近在我脑海里挥之不去的,是那首《转眼》。无论是词还是曲,甚至是MV,都让我听到很有共鸣,都会让我留下眼泪。一直以来,五月天的歌并没有与我人生的某个时机对上, 像是失恋还是什么的。但是这首《转眼》却是来得很适时,最近生活的迷茫,感叹,似乎都被这首歌给道尽了。

听着他们的歌,那如诗般的词,每次却能够感染我,让我看到许多的画面。有人说五月天真正厉害的并不是他们的创作,而是他们的live。结果,在被某人的怂恿下,我出席了他们的演唱会。第一次看五月天的演唱会是《諾亞方舟世界巡迴演唱會》,说真的,那某人并没有骗我。他们的现场真的就是很不一样。后来也去看了《Just Rock It!就是世界巡迴演唱會》,但是去年的《人生無限公司巡迴演唱會》我就错过了。有一点遗憾,但是呢,人生也许需要一点的遗憾才会更美好吧。

不过,我还是买了这本《早上六点半遇见五月天-人生无限公司纪实》的书来看。翻看着这本书,看着别人的故事,为什么他们会喜欢上五月天,他们最喜欢哪一首歌,他们的感触等。看完这本书的感想是:好期待下一次与五月天的相遇,无论是新专辑也好,演唱会也好。五月天曾说过他们只要出十张专辑,这也许是他们开的一个玩笑,这也许是他们给自己设下的一个目标。无论如何,我希望能够继续听着他们的歌,就算哪天他们真的不再唱了,我还是会细细的回味着这些年来他们所创作的,那一首首的经典。

我相信每个人的心中都会有一首五月天,就算你不是他们的粉丝,五月天应该会有那么一首歌可以打动你的心。那来到最后,我到底算是“五迷”,“铁粉”,还是“骨灰粉”呢?称我为“铁粉”我会有一点不好意思,因为我知道许多比我更“铁”的人,所以我还是乖乖的做个“五迷”好了,就让我静静地躲在一个角落,挥舞着我那荧光棒,默默的为五月天加油吧。

Minimalist

I always have an affection in being a minimalist. Imagine living in a room with little furniture, only the basic and essentials are there, with warm natural light flooding through the window… Although I’m far from one at the moment, but I do feel that I tend to gradually bringing myself to that direction.

I don’t like to associate myself to any brands, I don’t want to become a fanboy for any brands, hence I tend to prefer things with minimalist design and even better, without any logo that identifies it. Often you will see fashion brand like to stick their brand name and logo right in front of your face (take a look at brands like Nike and Adidas). As I overhaul my wardrobe, these were the clothes that got tossed out first.

From time to time, I will reorganize my stuffs to ensure only the essentials were kept, the rest will just got threw away. Perhaps living in a rental room for the past 5 years does helped me in reducing clutter. As my mindset and behaviour changed, as my interest and hobby changed, things got reshuffled, reset and restart all over again. I’m still far from being a minimalist. Hopefully one day I can really simplify everything in my life? We’ll see.

What kept you going and why you decided to leave?

That’s the question I was asked during interview. I took a few seconds to ponder about it and gave them my reply eventually. I’m not sure whether they were pleased with my answer, but at least now that I looked back, I was honest to myself in giving them the answer.

I started my first job back in Malaysia, joining a Japanese air-conditioning manufacturing company. Worked for 3 years, posted to Dubai for a year in between, all my efforts were well recognised. The people within the organisation was the main driving factor that kept me going. We were like a big family, everyone was close to each other, work hard and play hard. I really enjoyed my time there. The reason of leaving was completely personal, I wanted to see what else are offered in the job market, and I thought of working elsewhere instead of Malaysia. I shared my thoughts before in a couple of blog posts previously.

Then, I moved to Singapore, still within the same industry, but this time working as sales in a US company. I did learned a lot from my colleagues, but sadly they weren’t the driving factors that kept me going for almost 6 years here. A lot of time, I drew more energy from my customers than people within the organisation. It’s a stark difference compared to my previous company. After completed my part time MBA study, I decided it’s time to make a move to different role and industry. Similarly, I wanted to see what’s out there to be offered by other industries.

Everyone has a different opinion on my decision, I’ll leave that discussion as it is. On the final few days of my job, I met some of my customers, informing them that I’ll be leaving, at the same time tidying up any outstanding matters while I still can. I was getting a lot of “concerns” from them, asking why am I leaving, how much they had valued my assistance, while some offered to write-in to my manager to seek for my promotion, or even offering job to me. It feels touching indeed, at least my efforts were recognised by them, that’s more important than anything else.

I will still be in Singapore, at least for the next few years I guess. I had moved to a different role and industry altogether, let’s see what I can achieve here. Till then.