Getting Rid of “Too Much”

Too much time = procrastination

Too many choices = inability to decide

Too much money = squandering on stuffs that are non-essentials

Too many stuffs = cluttering of physical and mental spaces

Constrains can be good. Giving boundaries to things are important. Without proper framing, we are scattered all over the place, unsure of how to proceed and what to do.

Restoring Film Camera


I love all things vintage. There’s character and story behind things that are well used.

To find a young chap restoring and repairing stuff like film camera – it’s not something you’ll see everyday.

The man behind this is Pierro Pozella. His demure, dedication, patience and background seems to fit this trade perfectly.

He didn’t wake up suddenly and realise god as bestow him the ability to restore film cameras. It’s more like the trade chose him.

It started when he was volunteering and people were discarding stuffs. He took things apart and try to savage what’s useable.

As he progresses, he got better and people were knocking on his door. Organic growth through positive word-of-mouth.

That’s how PPP (the name could be better, but at least it’s memorable) becomes what they are today.

And the fact that he’s so keen in training apprentices to preserve this art heartens me.

A Walk In The Park On A Friday Morning

An uncle with a head of silver hair stopped by the side of the pathway. He balanced on his bicycle full of groceries bags, looking intently up the sky and fully absorbed by what’s happening above him.

Fighter jets thundered by, leaving a trail of echo that broke the silence on this tranquil park. A typical Friday morning scene, perhaps?

I looked down, my toes feeling a little edgy and uncomfortable. Not the best choice of footwear – a pair of flip flops. 30 minutes ago, I convinced myself it wouldn’t take long and for convenience sake, it’s the quickest solution to get me out the house.

I would never make the same mistake again.

Walking and nature. Therapeutic to mind and body. Now that I’m getting more accustomed to the rhythms of walking, I yearn to do more. Longer and further. Walk the parks, observe the happenings. Walking hightens my scenes, it opens up the world.

I’d love to do more of it.

Never Gets Easier Applying For Jobs

It’s never easy looking for a job. And it never gets easier.

I can’t help but feeling jaded after multiple applications. Some job descriptions are so wordy and precise that I wonder if there’s one single candidate that’s able to fulfil every requirement.

Some friends around me go round spamming their resumes. I doubt they read the job opening clearly enough, and they have a one-size-fits-all resume they readily dump everywhere. They nonchalantly declare the “if you don’t try, you’ll never know” mindset.

Well, purely relying on sending out mass resumes and hope that one hits, that’s what some would do. I’m incline to doing this because after 3 weeks, I’ve only heard back from 3 companies and attended one interview.

DHH sums the process of job application up best:

“Applying for a job is hard. Every time you don’t hear back, you can lose a tiny bit of yourself.”

Good Writing

What constitutes good writing?

Good writing is a pleasure to read.

Short sentences, concise expression, unpretentious words. And honesty.

I’m drawn to people (and brands) who write this way.

Jason Fried. Shawn Blanc. John Grubber. Hiut Denim.

Jason Fried said rhythm is the most important element of great writing. Great writing has momentum, it has bounce, it propels you along. It’s like gently jumping from one trampoline to another, never slamming onto hard ground. And by the end, you feel better for having read it.

My favourite writers use clear language that are easily understood. That’s the appeal. Beautiful language is simplicity.

Taking this a step farther, Gary Prostov advocates writing akin to music.

Start with short sentences. And draw the readers in. When the readers are rested, engage them with longer sentences – filled with vigour and poise. Write with short, medium, and long sentences. Create rhythm and harmony. Don’t just write. Write music.

Insanely Simple

I’m halfway through Ken Segall’s book Insanely Simple. It’s a page-turner, distilling the concept to its essence. The writing is clear and free of fillers, akin to the title of the book.

One doesn’t have to be a marketer or in the creative sector to appreciate this book. The idea of simplicity can be applied to our lives – par down our choices and learn to live simple.

Obama is the famous example where he wears the same outfit everyday, so he could conserve his limited cognitive energy for more important matters.

Likewise, I’m looking likewise to simplify in my life. What are the areas I could simplify? Last night, I did a quick cleaning and sorting of my wardrobe. Donating away the clothing I almost never wear (about 10% of my outfit), the space appears more spacious and neat.

Is simplicity the same as minimalism? I reckon they share similar traits and could be used interchangeably. Minimalism sometimes gives the vibe of stylish and effortless dudes. Same plain t-shirts in multiple quantities, same color socks so they could lose one and the world wouldn’t end. Their apartment are white-washed, their gadgets are all single colored.

I like the idea but I’m not sure if I’ll ever live this way. Imagine a minimalism gathering where all the other guys are in almost the same outfit. That would be so cool. Wait, cool? Well, isn’t that the kind of uniform for minimalist dudes?

I was in the police force a decade ago and during those years, we wore the same shirt, same pants, same sleeping wear everyday. It sure was liberating because you don’t even give much thought to what you should wear. They’re all the same. I just have to ensure they’re cleaned and ironed.

Essentialism, less but more, simplicity, minimalism.

The concept – that we must be deliberate with our choices – is more important than the words used to describe it.

Pushing Up Good Habits

20 push-ups and sit-ups. Every night, without fail. Did it for 9 straight days. No matter how tired I was, I made sure it was done.

It’s my first 30-day challenge. For 30 straight days, I have to do
20 push-ups and sit-ups. I chose this as I’ve a fitness test coming up in 2 month’s time. My body is also terribly out of shape, the fats protruding out unsightly at my despair and to others’ disgust. Every little bit of toning helps.

Striking out the days is satisfying. It becomes the
Seinfeld’s hack of “don’t break the chain”. For the past 4 days, I was down with tummy upset. Balancing and using my core was tough, and sitting up repeatedly was painful.

So I broke the chain.

The first day after I stopped, I was eager to regain the momentum and get back into action. Second day, less so. By the third day, I was not even bothered.

It shows that building good habits take time. Break the chain and it becomes harder to gain the momentum.

Happiness in a Bag

Last weekend, I gifted my wife a Sandqvist bag as an early Mother’s Day gift.

We’ve been looking for a similar brown leather bag since we first came across a Fossil bag 8 years ago. We contemplated getting it and a few months later, it was gone from the shelves. It probably made way for new season’s arrival. Since then, nothing similar has caught our attention.

Not sure why I’m a subscriber to Sandqvist newsletter, but I’ve been receiving marketing promotions from them regularly. Their emails are clean and direct, right inline with the brand’s identity.

People naturally gravitate towards title with SALE in it. The email reads “Early access to our sale! 50% discount”. Early access, 50% discount. I felt valued and privileged. I had to check it out.

When I saw it, I knew immediately it was the one. It was love at first sight. Her name is Elina. It’s a beautiful brown leather bag that looks almost like the Fossil bag. It’s every bit as striking as it is costly.

But I knew it would fit my wife perfectly. I knew I would regret if I didn’t act on it.

The twinkle on her eyes when she received the gift, the delight on her face when opened it up. And the joy when she tried it on.

It’s all worth it.

Lovely Passport Designs

Countries with rich heritage should showcase it more often. What better way to let the world know than passport. It’s literally the window to the world, one in which if designed properly, subtly boosts its soft power.

I praised the design of Japan’s new passport ahead of Tokyo Olympic in 2020. Besides having one of the most powerful passports in the world, it also has one of the best passport designs anywhere in the world.

Adding to my list of favourite passport designs come in the form of Canadian and Norwegian. The former has pages containing national icons that reveals itself under UV light. Norway’s version has an understated cover with natural landscapes inside, with aurora appearing when UV light is shone.

How delightful it must be when immigration officers chanced upon them for the first time.

(via Ia Inc.)