And that is after three years of simplifying my life. I still feel that I am owning too many stuff for my own good. I started digitising magazine cut outs so that they do not take up precious physical space. That helps a whole lot although it might become a time bomb in the future to tackle a glut of virtual clutter.
I gone through my books once again and at last, I am able to let go of five more books; I’m in the process of finding good homes for them.
For things which are really precious, such as souvenirs and presents gifted by my closest friends, well… these are difficult. Until I found this article by Amanda Kendle who offered me a solid reminder:
Tip No 5: Use them. Accept that they will one day break, or worn out, or stop becoming useful and that would be that.
I am both happy and troubled whenever a friend gifts travel souvenirs. I’m very happy that they thought about me even when they are overseas but I feel troubled trying to find a place to keep them. Even when I have completely used them, I will still end up keeping them for I have quite an exceptional memory for many of the memorabilia which I received.
A few months ago, I have started using the collection of fridge magnets and key chains which I received from my friends. They have currently found a home in my office (where i spent most of my time) nicely displayed. The idea is once I feel that they no longer serve their purpose, I will let them go. And I will do what Marie Kondo do: thank the item for their service and the joy that they have given me and let go of it.
The hardest thing for me is to convince myself that letting go does not mean that I do not treasure the friendship.
I think it is about how we let the gifts go when they no longer serve the purpose they meant to serve.
And this is how I let go of my most treasured present…
My most treasured present: a set of bowling gear which was gifted to me from a group of officers at the Navy whom took great care of me. I no longer bowl and don’t intend to pursue bowling. It was a big item that took up a bit too much space and a yearly hassle to maintain it and just to look at it purely so I can remember it. Yet, it was a painful process to let it go.
After what seemed like over 8 years of contemplation, I suddenly knew how to do it. I found the bowling gear a new owner, an aspiring bowler who would bowl with it instead of gathering dust like what I did with it. On the final day, I took pictures of my bowling gear and have a bowling game with the new owner while using my gear for the final time. During the game, I continue to polish the ball as I usually would, treating it with the same respect as I would.
At the end of the day, I handed my bowling gear to the new owner and reminded the owner to treat his “new” bowling gear well. I let him know the history and the value of the gear and my reasons for letting go of it.
The only thing I kept was the pair of bowling shoes which could still serve as great memory to use it if someone ever invite me for a bowling game.
I let go of my most treasured present in the best way I can to honour the gift and honour the friendship and the circumstances it was given to me.
I will continue to remember how it was given to me.
Most importantly, I will remember the mentorship and the fellowship that you have given me, even though our ships are now heading towards different directions.
And I didn’t know I will be returning to Vietnam for a second trip. This time round, it is a business trip at Danang. The traffic that filled with the constant honking continues to amaze me.
Seeing how a roadside chic juice store operates along an esplanade is even more amazing. Here’s a picture of it:
“Let’s do what the locals do,” I suggested to my colleague.
And we proceeded to one of the “front row” seats located outside the store.
The first thing that attracted me about the cafe was that where possible, everyone who was patronising the store sat facing the road and the river bank, oblivious to the air pollution and noise pollution. The seats and tables were small and arranged neat rows in the tightest possible configuration to fit in as many customers as they could. All seats were arranged facing the road and the river.
There were actually a couple of such cafes located all along the road. Some selling fruit juice but majority selling coffee. And only coffee. No snacks, just tea and coffee. The seats were almost always small, almost always arranged in a way such that you could look outside.
For this particular one, it comes with its own valet service manned by a team of six to eight young men!
They were extremely organised in my opinion. From observations, I believe they have split themselves into three teams:
The first team comprises the person who I perceived as the team leader, along with another would proactively call out to customers, ON BIKES, on the roads, to ask them to enjoy a drink in the store.
The second team will mark the bikes with chalk and safe-keep the keys for the customers.
The third team will ride the bikes to a parking space just behind the store.
The amazing thing was that business is extremely good! Every 2 minutes or so, the team will be able to attract business into the store. I wouldn’t have thought that such service could work.
Sometimes, interested customers may end up on the opposite side of the road, facing difficulty to ride across the other side of the road against the crazy Vietnam traffic. The team would then cross the road to help the customers to handle their bike.
Talk about personalised service!
I don’t think I ever saw such modus operandi in running a roadside cafe. It was an eye opening experience for me.
I don’t do a lot of shopping or eating or massaging when I’m travelling although I do enjoy a bit of touristy stuff once in a while. What I enjoy most is to learn the culture and observe how locals live their daily life. Another way to describe things, to “soak myself in local colours”.
We seldom meet and seldom speak. But we knew can have the most intellectual conversations together even after not contacting each other for so long. It’s always great to meet an old friend and reminisce about the past. Time really flies and it’s almost two decades since we’ve known each other.
And so, eventually, the topic about how N and I studied for examinations came into our conversations. My pet topic with the polytechnic students I teach. I find it an imperative to let them know how hard the JC students actually studied so that they won’t get a culture shock when they hit the university.
“… and I started studying during the mid-term break at about 9 weeks before the examination, doing past year papers, even though the Professor has not finished teaching more than half the material.
By the time we got into the examination study week, I would have almost ran out of past year papers to do!” I proudly declare it to N.
“Same here. I started studying two weeks before the start of the semester. As in, I will always read the lecture notes two weeks before the actual class.
By the time we got into the examination study week, I’ve already ran out of past year papers to do so I started search for Harvard and MIT papers from the Internet to do.” N spoke about it casually.
Didn’t realise he was that hard core.
There’s one thing we can both agree. Don’t ever study the last minute. We both spent the day before the examination doing something else much to the envious eyes of our own groups of friends.
It has been slightly more than one year since I’ve started designing this game, with the focus on getting a few mechanics which I thought would be interesting to work on. It has been a difficult time trying to push the project forward when I have so many other mini-projects which I am working on at the same time.
Nevertheless, I’m proud that at the very least, the game managed to be play through till the end! This will mean that major parts of the game has stabalised. Moving forward, tweaks are needed and I can probably focus on a different part of the project a bit more. Like game balance, artwork, and UI/UX aspects.
At first, I was thinking that I will close the project after this play test as it has been taking far too long; I can’t commit time to work on it quickly. A small part of me wanted to see it to fruition as a published game now that it seemed like I’m close to completion. Deep down, I also know that this is probably not fun enough a game to attract players and I don’t feel like putting in that much effort into it. Hence for now, this is a dilemma which I have.
It is actually not the first time I am faced with this dilemma. If I’m being absolutely truthful with myself, I probably didn’t see the push factor for me to drive it to be published – just too much work on top of my day job to see something through.
That’s what happen to music. I’m one step short of getting my music published in some way. I felt that there’s too much money to be invested in order to produce a proper demo to be sold. I’ll need to venture into bits that I don’t like to do, such as picking up the technical skills to do a proper demo recording. I felt bored as there was no longer a breakthrough.
And then I stopped.
And then I moved on to something else.
Come to think of it, I believe this is a dilemma that is going to limit my potential again and again.
While I’m not sure what to do with it yet, I better do something about it fast.
Carrying an injury into the half marathon and completing it in a bit over 2hr 25mins. Not my best run but at least it qualifies as an average.
The aftermath was unbearable though. Pain sets in.
The Chinese physician whom I consulted said I sustained injury to multiple joints. These include my right hip and my 3rd lumbar vertebra of the spine. The knees are not going well too.
“Swim. It’s good for you. Don’t run or jump or it’s going to aggravate the situation,” the physician warned.
“Am I going to recover?” I asked.
“Of course, you will. How old do you think you are?” he quipped.
I find little relieved in his words though. These days, every injury I sustained seemed to take me longer to heal. This is the first time I had an injury to my spine. Physically, I am really feeling my age.
Deep down, I really fear that I couldn’t run anymore.
But there’s still so many runs I have not done! Like the 4:30 pace for my 2.4km, the sub-2 Half Marathon, and I really wanted to do a marathon in Japan some day.
Bit my lips. Thank it. Placed it aside to be given away.
Feel like keeping it. Thank it. Placed it in the rubbish bin.
Give up an active pursuit to learn it. Learn to let go of it. Told myself doesn’t mean I stop it totally. Just means more time and more focus for more things that matters more.
Throwing away stuff everyday, Stopping an active pursuit for something that isn’t active in the first place, The never ending mission to lighten my load.
Need to be free.
I still think I own too much stuff and have too many passion. The irony is that these passions became passive, and if that’s the case, are they still passion?
I decided to stop learning Cantonese as a 5th language formally. I’m giving away my dictionary of Cantonese Slang to my friend and throwing away the Cantonese Drama which I never watched. But this doesn’t stop me from learning a bit of Cantonese here and there right?
And there’s so much more passion and hobbies I have that I better have some clarity how I want to pursue them soon.