Category Archives: Reflections

=798= Reflections: Circuit Breaker

Honestly if you asked me, I would tell you I feel really unproductive. If Covid did not happen, I would be doing quite a few different things.

First, I would be recording vocals for the songs we wrote for the musical. This would be really fun to record, edit, mix and master. We were supposed to release our CD. It would have been the first CD I ever produced. I am proud of the songs we wrote and produced. The tracks we did are musical and unique. We really pushed ourselves to make something special.

Next, I probably would meet up with people every week. I enjoy chatting and sharing a meal with people that mean a lot to me. I have a few people that I haven’t caught up with in a long time. It would be great to finally be able to trade stories.

I would be cleaning up the messy and dirty Jamband room. Having the role of JB Pres is pretty cool. Haha, I now have a whole CCA to handle. First course of action, clean up the room. I would be so delighted if the room is clean and have no unnecessary clutter. Service spoiled equipment. Doing up some publicity for Jamband.

Instead, I am stuck at home. HAHA.

I feel unproductive of course, but I look back and I realised that I actually did quite a few things.

I learned many new programs, GIMP, Inkscape, Darktable and Davinci. It was born out of not wanting to pay for software, but I have learned how to use some pretty powerful software. I had no idea that I would be so reliant on Inkscape.

I produced quite a few videos to teach audio. I had an idea to do up some short 1 minute videos to explain audio concepts. It is getting increasingly difficult to produce because some audio concepts are just difficult to explain in a minute.

I designed quite a few shirts. Did mockups that I think is pretty cool. Designing is difficult. Anything is possible and yet designs are seldom unique. To come up with something special and yet visually appealing is really challenging. Collecting useful feedback and trying to improve on your work can really be a challenge.

I practiced drums a whole lot more. I have been practicing everyday. I am pushing myself to practice different concepts and patterns everyday. I am still working on timing of course, but having new and fresh stuff to practice each day is just really fun. I am pushing myself in terms of speed and accuracy. Been working a whole lot more on linear drumming.

I have been teaching online and I have been experimenting with new ways to help kids learn and have fun. I came up with a nifty game for them to play while practicing. I glean a whole lot from the new content created for the purpose of online learning.

I started exercising regularly. Running everyday. Making myself fitter and healthier. Hope to gain back my army fitness. HAHA.

I made some plans for Jamband, trying to make Jamband a fun and enriching place to play music.

I mixed some old projects. Mainly projects that I collaborate with friends from church. It is interesting. I think so differently now. My mind is clear and have a direction on where and what I what to do for a project. I think working with the MDs really made me more confident with my production.

Sure, it probably isn’t the most productive that I can be, but I think it is pretty decent! 🙂 It is sad that I can’t go out to take photos. It is disappointing that I can’t mix the songs I want to mix, but at the end of the day, I think this CB has been quite interesting. It made me do things I never thought I would do.

Friends that have taken a hit because of Covid, don’t be too disappointed, having a break is really so rare in life. Rest. Enjoy it! This might become a period of time that you look back and miss.

Thank you Lord for blessing me with so much. Help me to continue to follow you, for it really is difficult. Help me to work hard for the cell. I feel inadequate to lead, but Father you are with me, help me to hold on to you. Help me have a proper relationship with you. Thank you Lord. -Amen-


=797= Word: Damage Control

I actually never thought that damage control was that important until recently. It is so essential.

I always reason with just don’t hurt anyone, but I was naive to think it was enough.

Just let us take a look at the Covid situation. It was impossible to prevent it from happening at the source, all we can do is damage control. This damage control is SOOOO important.

This damage control determines the death rate. This damage control determines the countries’ morale and trust in the authorities. This damage control separates the capable from the incompetent.

This goes further to life as well. When you hurt someone, what do you? When you accidentally spoiled or lost something, what will you do?

Just think of the responses that one could have. One could own up to the mistake made or one could deny any relation to the issue. One could blame another. One could take responsibility for another. Of course, some responses are more helpful than others.

There is honestly no need to blame anyone when a situation is too bad. Does it achieve anything? Does it help the situation when you push responsibility to someone else? Come on, man up, work your ass off and fix the problem!

Truly, I have underestimated the importance of damage control. Help em to be wise to know what to do if I ever was put in a situation where I have to do damage control.


=796= Word: Ghosts That Haunts Us

When we become adults, there are people that we avoid. Perhaps an ex, perhaps a family member, perhaps someone you haven’t had a proper conversation in 7 years. These people are people that haunt us.

When we see them, we try our very best to hide from them. A feeling grips you by the spine and almost on instinct, we run away. We hide behind someone. We look in another direction.

A few days ago, while lying in bed, I had a conversation with God. I chatted casually the way I would and I received 3 names to text. With much zealousness, I said ok I will text them in the morning. I accepted it well I think. Then as I continued to talk to God, I found myself getting more scared to do so. I went from, “Ok God, I will” to “God, why do I have to do it?”

Funny creatures aren’t we? We promise things before we are sure that we can deliver. We say things with faith in one moment and cower in fear in the next. Nevertheless, I did what I promised and texted them.

I honestly only expected one reply from the three. That was because we made up before and was on good terms. I asked a few good friends what they think if their ex just suddenly text them out of the blue. (I don’t have an ex btw, I was just curious) Many of them told me they would be uncomfortable and unsettled.

I really gave it some thought and I really thought that it could be quite nice. If two individuals that parted on bad terms, both matured to be better people, could have a proper conversation and just catch up with each other. It is honestly getting to know a new person again. You both went on to become very different people and now when we catch up, man I have so many years worth of content and stories to share with you.

I would love to see how you have changed as much as I would love for you to see how much I have changed.

When time has separated two individuals for such a long time, we often forget the conflict that led to the separation. Why did we fight? Why did we do the things we have done?

I know that if I was the man I am now, I would have handled the situation a lot better. I wouldn’t have said stuff that I regret. I would have paid more attention to important things.

Anyway, 2/3 replied. That was better than I could have hoped for. God, thank you for this blessing. I faced three ghosts that haunted me. I at least got a bit of response. Lord, help me to stop cringing at the mistakes I have made. Help me to learn to live life the way you want me to. I pray that I can reconnect and talk to people authentically. Help me Lord.

If you are one of the three reading this. I just want to say sorry for hurting you. I have grown to be a very different person. If you would like to reconnect, trust me, it is possible. I know because I have seen some relationships sour and restored before. Lets be good friends again.


=795= Word: Free Software

About one and a half years back, my Adobe License expired. A little context for you, I use:

  • Adobe Lightroom for photo editing
  • Adobe Photoshop for intricate photo editing and composition purposes. (Not to mention, some telegram stickers creation! HAHA)
  • Adobe Premiere Pro for Video Editing
  • Adobe Media Encoder to convert file formats
  • Adobe  Illustrator for logo design

When it expired, boy was it difficult to produce what I want to produce. Adobe Creative Cloud is by a subscription service. It collects a monthly fee for the software. It is usually S$69.72 per month for all the software or S$13.14 for the photography plan, which only includes Lightroom and Photoshop. Students have a special price of S$26.30 for all the software, which is honestly a pretty good deal! Except that, I wasn’t a student back then…

I was going to be a student, so I was wondering if it was possible to get a cheaper registration early. Just so I could complete my lyrics video for 离别的拥抱. I even tried IMovie. Which even for a free software, I think they cut out way too many essential capabilities. That honestly threw me off a little as I thought that I might purchase Final Cut Pro. Like Logic Pro X, it was a one time payment, so in the long term, it won’t incur additional charges. I like that about a program as I can count on that software all the time, not worrying how long my subscription would last.

Just when I thought that I would get the subscription plan as a student, I contacted my friend that is still in poly. I managed to get access to all the software again! WHOO! It was quite liberating as I could do everything I wanted to do. I could edit photos I took in Indonesia. I could finish my Lyric video. I could do so much! For the whole period, it was very comfortable having this software in my laptop for me to use. Then, recently, the Adobe License expired again. Hias….

This time was the real deal, I really had to either buy the software subscription or find some other software to replace my Adobe ones.

Some things changed from back then. I started studying in university. In uni, there is no software provided. ._. They actually taught us a lot of free source software. Software like Unity 3D was a lot of fun to play around with. I was really impressed with the community for Unity 3D. There are so many tutorials and instructions to help you build in Unity.

I also made a friend that is really good at video editing in hall. He told me that he uses Premiere Pro and Davinci Resolve to edit videos. He even told me that Davinci is the future because it is free. That stuck in my brain, because I have never heard of this program and this is the future? Wow!

So when I needed to edit videos, my first course of action was to download Davinci Resolve and boy was I blown away. The free version is fantastic! I love the workflow, I love the tools and there is no need to render the edited video! It saved so much time! The colour editting tools is so good that I honestly kinda hate how bad I am at colour grading now. I actually thought that Davinci was better than Premiere. It did not crash at all throughout the three videos I edited.

When I experienced how great Davinci was, I can’t help but think there would be good free software to replace the software I use.

The software that I need the most is one to replace Lightroom. Lightroom is a photo editing software which helps with sorting photos and curating images. It has a photo library which really helps to filter out photos you want or batch edit photos. I first tried Rawtherapee. Rawtherapee doesn’t have a photo library which made photo editing quite clunky.

In photography, quite a lot of effort goes into curating. Everyone takes bad photos, even the best photographers, the only difference is that photographers curate the best photos to show people. Curating is EXTREMELY important. Hence, Rawtherapee failed in this aspect. Hence, I found Darktable. Darktable is awesome. HAHA. It has a photo library. The tools are plentiful, there is a favourites tab to customise with you favourite functions. There is a work around for batch editing. It definitely isn’t Lightroom, the work process is different, but it is just as powerful. It is just a matter of getting used to, so I decided to settle on Darktable as my replacement for Lightroom.

During the same period, I had a need to Photoshop some photos for a project in school. The replacement for Photoshop is GIMP. GIMP acts very differently from Photoshop. There is no Layer via Cut or Layer via Copy. That made life quite difficult for the first few times I used GIMP. The tools is really not too bad! Powerful tools, but it took a while to get used to. Now I have a proper work flow after using GIMP so many times.

I started a new project recently and I need graphics for it. You will be surprised at how difficult it is to find proper graphics for it. There is often a need to pay for graphics. For the free ones, there is a need to reference the source, which isn’t difficult, but just difficult to look exactly what I want. Hence I found Inkscape, a vector software. Inkscape is REALLY good. Give it a try if you are interested to go into vectors. It is really good. Interface and usability wise is really quite great! As of now, I have made 4 illustrations and it looks pretty decent! 🙂

That concludes my journey finding free software to replace my Adobe software. I am really pleased.

  • Davinci Resolve replaced Premiere Pro
  • Darktable replaced Lightroom
  • GIMP replaced Photoshop
  • Inkscape replaced Illustrator

I think that more attention should be given to free and open source programs. These are programs that are available to everyone. Having so many powerful software available, it empowers whoever that wants to learn to actually have access to professional grade software. Anyone can have access, this means collaborations will be easier. Free software will bring a revolution to the industry. Please do give these software a try, they are free and very powerful!


=794= Word: Friction

Friction is an amazing thing. Our lives won’t be able to function without friction. Think about it!

No running is possible. You won’t be able to even walk, you will slip and fall. You won’t be able to pick up anything. Nothing will ever stay still.

When it comes to collaborative works, friction is needed as well. If there are no disagreements, no one will try to improve what they have and the end product will be something mediocre. You may think that what you have did perfect, but many people will disagree with you.

Of course, there are times when too much friction causes more harm than good. Too much friction prevents you from moving. Too much friction in a creative project makes the process unbearable.

Having just the right amount of friction is key to working with each other. Just enough to refine the work. Just enough to push the person to strive for more. Just enough to make a good work without spoiling a perfectly good relationship. Indeed, managing this friction between people is such a valuable skill.

Lord, help me to learn how to manage this friction.


=793= Melancholic Reflections: Trauma

Funny isn’t it?

You can get so far doing something and something happens and you realise that nothing much really changed.

You are still that boy that messes up.

I really wonder. When will life change for the better?

Lord, will you please give me strength?

Holding on to you is honestly not the easiest thing to do.

Lord, it is honestly easier to go against what you say. It is easier to lie. It is easier to just go after whoever I want. It is easier to live however I want.

I sometimes wonder how different it would be if I decided to live life doing everything easier?

Lord, but I know that it is worth it. Keep my heart still. Help me hold on to you without any grievances. Father, your design is better than mine.

Lord, where does courage come from? Lord, only you would know. Courage comes from you. The courage to walk right into a trap that you know will kill you. The courage to die for the sheep you lead. The courage gathered by holding on to your Father. Lord, help me have that courage.

Life is not easy Lord. It truly isn’t. Help me. Help me to hold on to you.