Security And Freedom Are The Ultimate Gifts

Forget material things. Forget money (though you need enough money to achieve security and freedom, don’t be enslaved to them).

At this moment, I’m lusting after a Bellroy Note Sleeve wallet, a Leica Q, and a Nomos watch. They’re all beautiful and well-made products. But do I need them?

Well, my current wallet is showing signs of wear after 4 years (I think) of use. I’m not the most gentle person and I often leave my wallet in my back packet and sit on it. It still holds up pretty well, just not as sturdy as its predecessor.

I’ve no business with a new camera, really. I’m not a good enough photographer to take advantage of the fantastic imaging quality of Leica Q. I’m probably lusting after owning a Leica camera than wanting to take better pictures. I should invest time and effort to take better photographs instead.

I’m a sucker for the supposed heirloom items like watches. When my son grows up, I want to hand something that’s practical, tangible and laden with stories. The wristwatch has achieved peaked design and usability., I believe. A mechanical watch will still be relevant in 20 years time, not than the latest smartwatches in the market now.

What do security and freedom buy us, then?

Security gives us assurance that we will be alright. Security comes in many form:

Money: when we have enough savings for rainy day, we don’t worry as much when something unexpected (they always come at the worst time) happens. Like bringing a sick child to the hospital, a car breakdown, retrenchment. When one is in debt, the situation becomes compounded (that’s me – I’m in debt and retrenched).

Relationship: when we have family and friends to rely on, things become so much more stable. Need a listening ear, friends are there. Need some cash to tide over, family members are always generous enough. I’m lucky to have supportive family and friends by my side.

Can we really achieve freedom then? When we’re liberated from the lust of material goods and continual chase of money, freedom becomes easier to attain. Are we willing to take on lesser-paying jobs to have more personal time? It’s ultimately a trade-off between exchanging our time for money. Living below our needs help.

Chasing all my life for security and freedom then realising that I’m no further from the target than a decade ago. I ought to be more conscious on applying the concept of frugal hedonism.

Midnight Diner

“The setting of Midnight Diner is a small 12 seat Izakaya called “Meshiya” in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Despite the restaurant’s strange opening hours, 12 am to 7 am, it is popular with the busy nightlife of Shinjuku.”


Available on Netflix, I highly recommend to give it a spin. Just 20 minutes-ish an episode, it’s the perfect length for a quick break.

What’s not to like about this short Japanese drama? The opening music is enchanting, the backdrop of Tokyo are beautiful, the characters are everyday peeps you can relate to. And in every episode, the topic revolves around a particular Japanese food.

I’ve been watching this most nights with a beer and snacks. A Kirin beer I bought recently tasted overly bitter and lacks the smooth beer texture. Must be a dud, I thought.

Turned out after imitating the Japanese way of pouring into a cup, it tasted so much better. I normally just drink beer straight from the can or bottle, so having this much of a difference is intriguing.

Hopefully there will be season 3. This show is too good to end with just two seasons.

Failure Is Better Than Regret

I came across this immensely meaningful quote, of all places, in the YouTube comment section.

We all have regrets. And we all have experienced our shares of failures and setbacks. Though failures and hard to swallow, it was those things we didn’t try that really lingers in the mind.

The “what woulds”.

Rather than live another day of regret, it’s better to try and fail. For failure is temporary, regret is forever.

Birkenstock Sandals

Some things get better with time – wine, denim, leather, and Birkenstock sandals.

I’m a big fan of the iconic German brand. Got my first pair about 8 years ago and I’m convinced it’s the most comfortable sandal – once you’ve broken them in.

I just started wearing my third pair, a gift courtesy of my sister who’s always looking out and after us. A new pair of Birkenstock sandal is like a pair of new raw jeans – rigid and uncomfortable. They make new acquirers wonder why the hell do people think they’re so comfortable.

Good things come to those who wait. Like how a good pair of raw denim mould to your body, Birkenstock’s contour cork sole slowly takes after the shape of your feet. They fit really snug and comfortable to walk in. They’re durable and hardy. Lost count of the number of times they saved my feet after I tripped or knocked onto objects.

They’re boring and uninspired, just the way I like it. Outside their vibrant colorway which I shunned, their usual offerings have remained the same for as long as I remember.

I highly recommend Birkenstock sandals to anyone who takes the time to break them in. Because once you do, you’ll never go looking for a better pair.

Viva Monocle

It’s like reuniting with an old friend – familiar, yet a little distanced after spending time away with each other. The understanding, though, is still apparent.

I first chanced upon Monocle magazine more than a decade ago. Whilst serving national service with long days and pretty much all the time in the world, I devoured editions after editions of the mag. I looked forward to every new release and would treasure them like a tome of rare publication.

My subscription lapsed early last year and I chose not to renew it. Too much things on my plate and I didn’t carve out enough time to read. In the bookshelves lies backlog of unopened copies. I couldn’t justify buying more when a glance at the still-sealed magazines already made me felt guilty.

I still can’t resist browsing Monocle in the magazine joints or bookstores. In the airport, I’d most certainly get a copy and indulge in the enchanting magazaine midair. That’s the best way to consume the cosmopolitan, witty, and all-encompassing content that Monocle is known for.

Right now, its influence extends beyond being a mere magazine. It’s a lifestyle brand that has an important voice in shaping various touch points.

I love the way how it is constantly evolving but still remain relevant and true to its roots.

Long may this continue. Viva Monocle!

Minimalistic Fire Extinguisher

Absolutely beautiful. Never image an unity object such as fire extinguisher can be so strikingly minimal and elegant.

The problem is – in a minimal home with similar design ascetic – pared-down, design-free style, would the fire extinguisher blend so much into the environment that it’s harder to spot?

(via: Spoon & Tamago)

Beautiful People Do Not Just Happen

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

I’m trying to summon up any last ounce of energy and courage to move forward.

Since I left my first job, my career has been on a downward spiral.

The gentleman – my mentor – is no longer by boss. In place are ugly people with no glues how to run a business.

People are the cornerstone of every successful endeavour. Just my luck to somehow land in some of the most brutal companies, time after time.

I just wish the world would swallow me right now.

Not Looking Good

Current mood: cranky with frequent mood swings. And unpredictable.

These are the kind of behaviour I exhibit for the past 4 months. Instead of letting up, they seem to intensify.

With a bad job, a horrible boss, a company with plenty of debts, and an uncertain outlook, things are really bleak.

I can’t bear to think beyond the next step. One foot at a time, I remind myself. My company is quick to pull the trigger on terminating staffs. No one is spared.

The culture here is, to use their exact word, flush. Any sense of incompetence in their eyes will result in sacking. Fair, justifiable or not, it doesn’t matter.

Turnover is sky high and now I understand why.

At the stroke of midnight, I received a text message from the CEO that altered my mood since. It was Sunday and the following day is a public holiday. Not only didn’t she respect the personal time and boundary, she did it multiple times already without remorse.

The tone of message is one of demand, with underlying anger and consequence to be bourn from this.

I’m grateful for having a job, but this is becoming too much. It’s affecting my life and that trickles to people around me. Mentally and physically, I’m totally drained.

I can only hope to endure and survive long enough before I hop off.

Reading through this post, it sounds like I’m wallowing in self pity. It probably is. But I’m also writing to reflect on my current state. It hightens my awareness and makes me even more determined to seek better life, for me and for the people I care about.

Specially-Designed Fork for Cup Noodle

The ergonomic of the fork designed by Nissin specifically for cup noodles is a beaut.

I’d love to have one, even though I’m not a huge fan of cup noodles. I can count with 2 hands the cup noodles I consumed in a year.

It would be nice if it’s included permanently in the cup, as opposed to a limited edition release.

(via: Spoon & Tamago)