Everyday Heroes

Countries are locking down after one another. People are practicing social distancing. Businesses are closing their shutters, and some are unlikely to ever open again.

This is a scale of unprecedented isolation, forced upon by a virus we have yet to find a cure for. The impact descended upon the world by COVID-19 is more than just death.

We see the ugly side of humans – the fight over toilet rolls, the hoarding of groceries, the tussle for surgical mask. First world nations or not, the innate nature of human behaviours do not differ much. We are still as paranoid over the loss of basic needs as our ancestors were over their next meal.

While the spotlight rightfully shines on the dedicated healthcare workers sacrificing themselves for the wellbeing of many others, lets not forget plenty of other frontline heroes that are also selflessly working to keep the system going. They are the difference between chaos and social sanity.

They deserve every bit of our respect and more. A sincere appreciation from the bottom of my heart to:

  • Grocer
  • Police Officer
  • Cook
  • Wait Staff & Server
  • Bus Captain
  • Taxi Driver & Private Hirer
  • Childcare Worker
  • Pharmacist

And many more who have dedicated themselves to serve the public during difficult time like now.

Watch Them While They’re Asleep

Have you ever watched your child sleep?

I’m sure you did.

I just returned from my son’s room. He’s asleep. The shimmering of his belly, the gentle whizzing of his breathes, and the peaceful curl of his lip.

Watching your kid sound asleep is one beautiful sight. You know once they’re awake, they’ll be so eager to get going.

But for now, the depleted soul will get a good night’s sleep, ready to learn and create comes tomorrow.

Staying Home

For office dwellers, weekends are precious.

They recharge us. They rejuvenate our well-being. They allow us time and space to do things that’s not possible during weekdays.

Things like sleeping in. Eating a slow and hearty breakfast. Lazing on the sofa through the humid afternoon. And Netflix through the night with ice cream for supper.

I treasure my Friday nights. They’re my happiest time of the week.

They said 4pm on Sunday is the witching hour. The time when the feeling of having to work on Monday sets in. I experienced this for the past two Sundays.

Though it’s Sunday (and still a weekend), I’m already looking forward to next Friday. The tendency is to always look ahead. But does it come at the expense of being detached from the present moment?

After the exhaustion during Christmas and Chinese New Year, I’m definitely relieved to spend more time at home.

Time to read the papers, play with our son, to munch on snacks. Simple pleasures. But oh-so-good.

These days, we’re eating out less and cooking more. Healthier and cheaper meals.

Not by choice, but by necessity.

I got a pay cut.

The impact caused by Coronavirus is being felt globally. People are shunning crowded places. Restaurants have more wait staffs than diners. Malls look like ghost town.

The occasions when we eat out becomes a luxury.

The crisis has set in. It’s about making ends meet.

Almost 4pm on a cloudy Sunday afternoon, the dampening mood is gradually devouring the sunshine.

Writing When There’s Nothing To Write

Been through this phase before. Writing dries up, completely. Just like a drought depleting the well of water, sleep deprivation is depriving my mind of clear thoughts.

The loss of clear thinking likely contributed to my quality in writing. I desperately wanted to get going. My day job requires me to write – a lot. Email, marketing copies and the likes.

This irks me. Nothing good came out. Backspacing. Deleting. Rewriting. Then eventually giving up.

And it has affected the way i speak too. I started to stutter. My confidence slipped. It has a knock-on effect. A simple sentence became too hard a challenge.

My mind is a blur these days.

Miniature Fire Engine That Could Actually Save Lives

How adorable is this tiny fire truck?

Seen at CES 2020, this mini fire engine co-developed by Panasonic and Tropos Motor is powered by battery alone. Designed for urban crowded cities where lanes are narrow, this vehicle get to places where conventional fire engines have difficulties reaching.

(via Monocle Minute)

PS: Monocle Minute is the next best thing to Monocle magazine itself. Balanced view of happenings around the globe, sent to your inbox daily. I especially look forward to reading the Monocle Weekend Edition, where Andrew Tucker’s words are a treat.

10 Minutes

What can you do in 10 minutes?

Finish a breakfast?

Take a shower?

Journal the day’s happenings?

Create a system, and let it became your habit. Eventually, the habit becomes second nature.

Starting today, I’m going to read 10 minutes before bedtime.

Winding down from the ubiquitous screens everywhere, and easing myself to sleep.

And 10 minutes is all it takes to build a lifetime of habits.

Twenty Twenty

It’s the time of the year where resolutions are set. It’s also the time of the year where lofty ambitions are not scoffed at.

I don’t have any goals or expectations this year. I’ve experienced enough in the past decade to know events in life come and go, as they like.

2019 was a whirlwind of a year and I’m happy to see the back of it. The only way is up. I’m quietly optimistic of what 2020 and beyond would be like.

I’m beginning to dip my toes into film photography. I enjoyed it as it forces me to learn about the concept of photography, delayed gratification, moving on with things that cannot be undone. And instead of having hundreds of snapshots, I’d probably have a roll of photos I’d treasure more – regardless of how they turn out.

I ended the year like a busy bee. Having started a new job just 3 weeks back, I’m still learning the ropes and coping with different demands. Really grateful I’m amongst wonderful colleagues that help me every step of the way.

Here’s a toast to the new year. May everyone stay healthy and happy.

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.