Live within your means

It had never really struck me until I sit down, reflect and do the math. Netflix, Adobe subscription, Apple Music, Microsoft Office and etc. are just a few of the things I was paying for on monthly basis all along. I was working in sales, as long as I push myself, I’ll get my equivalent pay in return. Although I wouldn’t say I’m rich in any means, but those are the things that seem affordable to me all along.

With my job switched to non-sales role, my overall pay was reduced a little. Couple that with additional expenses after moving in to new places, my expenses and saving have gone haywire for awhile until I finally spend some time looking into it. Judging from what I really need and what I’m willing to pay for, I decided to make plans in restructuring all my expenses.

As a start, Adobe and Netflix will go, I can’t find justification to continue on as I don’t use them often enough to warrant a subscription. I’ll make do with any cheaper (or even better, free) alternative for now. Next will be Microsoft Office, I’ll make do with Apple’s apps and move most of my cloud backup back to local RAID storage that I already bought few years back. Gym membership from big names has been swapped to neighbourhood gym too. Flickr will probably be next.

The streamlining process goes on and on, and hopefully I can cut away all fats and live a leaner life going forward. “But you only live once”, yes, but still that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be leaving my responsibilities behind. I can still live the best without spending that much more. Perhaps this is a good chance for me to become a step closer to minimalism. Till then.

The Circuit Breaker

Social distancing

It’s almost a week into the 30 days long “Circuit Breaker” period, a period of time introduced by the government of Singapore to curb the spread of COVID-19. People are advised to stay home, wear mask when leaving their house, and only to head out for essential matters such as buying food and groceries. With this measure, hopefully we can contain the virus from transmitted locally and bring down the number of cases.

So how do I survived through the first couple of days? Well, nothing eventful actually, and fairly simple. As usual I woke up at 5am (yes, even at times like this) and instead of heading to gym (all non-essential services and facilities were closed throughout the period), I’ll either go for a jog around my neighbourhood or just do some workout in my house. I don’t have any equipment other than a piece of resistance band actually, so for this one month I’ll just focus on bodyweight or core trainings. It’s okay, there’s no point buying gym equipment at put them at home just to serve this period.

Once done, I’ll head to nearby market to stock up some groceries if required, otherwise I’ll be reading some news or catching up with a few videos, and I’ll have my apple cider vinegar as my “starter” and followed by a cup of home brewed coffee to start my day working from home. Yes, I’ve skipped my breakfast for the time being as I restarted my intermittent fasting routine, just nice during this period of time. Then I’ll cook my lunch and dinner, and end the day reading a few chapters of book.

How about weekends? Well, as a rather “introvert” person who enjoys all sorts of stay-at-home activities, I really have no issue surviving through the weekend. Read a few chapters more on the book, watch a movie, do some writing, spend some time in self reflection and sorting my mind, find some topics of interest and do some research on it, listen to music, take a nap… and there goes my weekend.

For others, this 30 days will be a gruesome one. People with no hobby, no interest, can’t live without going out and staying out will face tremendous challenge to survive. Already there were people who refuse to stay home, still head out and loiter around, still refuse to take personal hygiene into their habit, still refuse to wear mask… sigh. Seems like we are not far away from the extension of 30 days Circuit Breaker period.

The Singapore government has done a good job in controlling the situation, although I do not agree with some of their decision (such as late closure of border, isolation of dormitory for foreign workers), but they have been taking good care of their citizen and residents alike. All in all, I applaud their effort in managing this pandemic. Yes, on hindsight they can always do better, but apparently the world is not ready for a pandemic yet, no matter how hard we tried and prepared ourselves.

Okay, it’s been a long ranting post. Lastly, everyone plays a role in making sure the pandemic does not worsen. Stay calm, stay home, keep yourself clean and do take care of those who are in need as well whenever possible. Let’s work together and work harder to overcome this. Till then.

The state of 2020

“We should just write-off first half of 2020 and let the year begin in July.”

That was what my friend told me. Trip canceled, job lost, pay cut, income dropped, flight grounded, people died, tears dried. Up until the end of March, 2020 has been nothing short of chaotic and a mess. Most of our lives have been disrupted, many were forced to stay home, many were feeling helpless, many were feeling anxious of the uncertain future.

For me, I was fortunate that nothing much was planned for the first half of the year in the very first place. Disruption has been minimal, other than not being able to travel back to my hometown in Kuala Lumpur, some minor movement restriction, life has been pretty much “as usual” here in Singapore. I’m not sure if the measures implemented by the government were effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19, but at this point of time, there’s really nothing much I can do other than leave it to the expert to advise, and of course to wash my hand frequently.

For those who are restricted in movement, do take this opportunity to read some books (if you need recommendation, browse around my blog for some), learn some skills, don’t just Netflix and chill your time away. As the future is uncertain, it’s better to take every crisis ahead and turn it into an opportunity for the days to come. Also, stay safe, stay healthy and stay calm. We’ll get over this for sure.

My secret?

 

“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.

33

Just crossed 33 years old mark a few days ago. As usual, birthday or not, it really means nothing to me. Perhaps I had grew too old, too used, or perhaps too tired to bother anymore? I wonder… Recently there were quite a lot of changes and things going on in my life that I need to deal with, to digest, to overcome, and perhaps… to resolve.

New job has started, my lifestyle perhaps will require some adjustment as well, I’m still figuring things out and hopefully things will get ironed out soon. I got my wisdom teeth extracted earlier this year, and I had also performed cornea strengthening operation and Lasik on both of my eyes earlier this month. Hopefully in terms of health and wellbeing, I’ll be in a better position this year. Also, I need to start training harder and preparing myself for my coming trip. Stay tuned for that.

Speaking about trip, I travelled to Taipei at the end of March. Nothing much, just a short getaway to recharge myself prior to my new job. Didn’t shoot much photos actually, I wonder if I had lost my interest to photography or I’m just too tired? Will have to see in the days to come. Overall, it was a nice trip despite I had been to Taipei previously. The people and the food were nice and welcoming.

What else… dropped my phone and cracked the screen, still feeling lost while pondering about my life, got accused and misunderstood on something by someone… I thought all these would bother me much, but in the end they didn’t. I wonder if I had mastered “the art of let it go” or “the subtle art of not giving a fxck”? Perhaps when you get older you do get a little wiser?

Alright, enough of rant and is time to work harder for the remaining days of 2019. Can’t believe April is ending… need to work on the remaining items on my to-do list. Till then.