Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Let Go of The Things You Can’t Control

When I was studying for my Bachelor of Economics in University Malaya back in 2007, most of my professors were old-timers who were excellent in their respective field of expertise. They were the G.O.A.T y’all! 

One of them was Professor Yew or simply Madam Yew, as she’d like the students to call her.

Madam Yew was one of the few professors who have etched a mark in my life, both professionally and personally. She taught me Macroeconomics and Malaysian Economy.

One of the striking things about her is how shed like us, the students, to address herself. Unlike other professors, she simply wanted to be called as Madam Yew. Not Professor Yew, or Dr Yew - just Madam Yew. 

And just by that, my respect for her quadruple in an instant. Her humility couldn’t veil the vast accolades, achievements and knowledge she’d harboured after decades being in the field.

Anyway, I’m not going to talk about her but one significant lesson she had taught me outside of the lecture hall.

There was one time when we were assigned for a group assignment but unfortunately only half out of the four group members did the job. Madam Yew was known for being very strict and demanded a thorough result of everything she assigned to us, not a half-baked one. So, I decided to take matters into my own hand and report to her about my non-performing group members and how tiring it was doing the job of four people in a group assignment.

Instead of asking for the names of the students who didn’t do their part and being sympathetic to our predicament, she merely smiled at me after I’ve presented my case to her. Then she said:

“Don’t you think it’s your fault instead? Don’t you think you’re being too rigid and being a perfectionist? So what if they don’t do their job? So what if they did only a portion of the work? The main thing is you do your part and if they didn’t do theirs, then let them be because it will show on them, not you. You can’t change and control everything in life. Whatever thats beyond your control, let it be.”

Ten years on, I still held on tight to that simple revelation - LET GO OF THE THINGS YOU CANNOT CONTROL. Don’t sweat yourself over issues, or people, or situation in which you have no say on. 

Life is like a winding, rocky river. You need to be flexible and not rigid in order for you to keep moving with the flow. Once you have decided to not be bothered by the things unmovable, you win. You’ll be at peace, you’ll learn to look at the brighter side. You’ll learn to see the bigger picture and plan for the road ahead.

Yes, you’ll win. 

So, do not be easily bothered by small, petty things that comes your way. On top of that, do not let any issue gets bigger than you. Once you pull your vision away from the very thing that troubles you, everything will become clearer and less frightening.

We need to compartmentalise our stress into the things that we can do something about and those we can’t. Acknowledge them, detach it from ourselves and we’ll be much at peace. 

As for issue I had with my group project, everything went fine. At least for my part of the presentation. Madam Yew gave a me a huge smile after we’ve finished the presentation, although she wasn’t happy at how incoherently our presentation was.

I still got an A for it though. I always did. Winks. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Turning Three Zero

January 2nd, 2017. Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station.

For every 1987 babies out there, this is the year you turn 30 years old. As for me, I've had my fair share two days ago - on January 1st, 2017.

I never thought I'd mouth these words but here they are: I am thirty years old.

There were times when I thought, for some weird reasons, I'd never see myself in the big three zero. When I was younger, thirty used to mean a breaking point where everything has settled down - you're happy, financially-stable, having the 'life' you're destined to live for the rest of your life. Basically, I thought by the time I reach 30, I'd have everything figured out.

Three days in, 30 still feels normal to me. Nothing has changed much. I don't feel significantly older (aside from the random times I checked on my ID card). 

So far, 30 feels normal

Of course, if I were to look back, I'm nowhere nearby the life I thought I'd have by the time I reached 30. I went through quite a rough patch in the months leading to my recent birthday, even hating myself for not having 'the life' - which I seldom did. I rarely hated myself, always forgave myself for the mistakes I made so to have done so was quite a big deal.

After a while, through some heart-to-heart talks with the closest people in my life, I've learned to make amends with myself. What was done, was done. Now is the time to push the reset button, theoretically, and make do of this opportunity to fix whatever that needs fixing.

Here I am, writing as a thirty year old man, feeling calm. Not extremely happy nor depressed. Just calm - and that's good enough as my ammo for brazing this year ahead.

Here's hoping all of my resolutions will be materialized. Here's wishing for a healthy and happy year ahead. Here's to the wonderful life we've been blessed with.

Happy New Year 2017 everyone. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Photoshop Editing


It's really hard to keep up with social networking nowadays. It used to be just Friendster. Then, along came Myspace. Okay, not so bad about having two social media profiles. 

Now, there's a plethora of platforms where you can express (or expose) yourself according to your liking and interests. I only have Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and hardly on Twitter anymore - even that's tiring enough and naturally, my blog has taken the backseat since I was more active on my Instagram and Youtube. 

No Snapchat for me, thanks.

Blogging used to be fun, at least for me. It used to be the place for me to gag over something I liked, share silly things I experienced or rant over...everything. Then, I had to tame down my blogging ever since I found out friends and family members read my (silly) blog.

But thanks to technology, today, everyone is too occupied with Facebook, Instagram and other easier social media outlet. Our attention span is short so we're always on the lookout for quick entertainment or instant news outlet. Now, nobody has the time to read blogs - and I love it!

I can go back to being the old me and share anything I find interesting here!

So... as my first blog post in many, many months, I'd like to share about the joy of Photoshopping.  

Please bear in mind, I'm no professional in the deceitful art of Photoshopping. I first learned about Photoshop from my school mate and best friend, Andrew, when we were 14 or 15. There we were, in a small, shabby cyber cafe in Taiping, in front of a white, boxy PC with Andrew teaching me how to liquify, spot healing, clone stamp and other Photoshop wonders. 

Throughout the years, I picked up a thing or two about Photoshop tricks through YouTube and applied it on my personal photos. I could spend hours and hours, painstakingly editing my photos to make them look better, in my eyes at least.

However, I'm not into editing my own anatomy or facial features. I thought it was tacky to do so since everyone knew how I looked like in real life. Instead, I just enjoy removing unnecessary objects in my photos and making them look more presentable. 

Here's an example of the picture I uploaded on my Instagram earlier today:

And here's a side-by-side comparison with the original photo I took by myself, using an auto-timer on my Nikon D5200.

I wanted the focus to be on the gorgeous but bland Alexander Wang sweatshirt so I edited out all the furnitures in the background. I liked the shadow on the white wall so I retained it. That one shoe lace falling out drove me nuts so I had to erase it, same goes with the three stripes on my Adidas shorts. 

The sweatshirt looked bigger in the picture so I decided to shrink it just a little around my left shoulder. I left my shining, glossy face on and did nothing to my head a little tuning on my hair. Just to even out the pompadour. 

Finally, I adjusted its brightness and contrast to give it a cooler look. Not bad, no? 

So, there it is. That's how I have fun with Photoshop. Not so much about making myself look better but to make the picture look aesthetically-pleasing and to deliver the right message about my picture. 

Got any Photoshop tips and tricks you wanna share with me? :)
Instagram: @kby87

Sunday, March 1, 2015

10 Things I Love About House of Cards

In conjunction with my favorite series' return to TV this weekend, I thought I'd like to lay down 10 reasons why I love House of Cards and what I've learned from this series. So here they are:

1. You're Never Too Old to Play Video Games

As seen on this show, everyone's favourite mischievous guy - Frank Underwood's - way to unwind and destress is by locking himself up in his basement and playing the Playstation 4. Doesn't matter if you're a ruthless majority-whip-turned-Vice-President by day; after office hours is for playing games. Now, who says playing console games is only for the kids?

2. Words Are the Greatest Weapon

Intimidation and to invoke fear don't necessarily need a few punches and kicks. Frank Underwood does it through his flair of words, from blackmailing a fellow senator with substance abuse to vacating the POTUS' seat - all through his tongue. 

3. Power is Intimidation

Having said words are Frank Underwood's forte, that's also how he secures his power. He invokes fear and intimidates those obstructing his way towards his goal to solidify his position. So, the next time you need to stand out and make sure people take you seriously, intimidate them with whatever you have to bring to the table - Underwood style.

4. To Get What You Want, You Need to Take a Step Back (Or Two)

The best thing about Frank Underwood's manoeuvre on getting what he wants is, he makes it seems like he's not chasing after it. For example, to secure the VP post, rather than directly nominating himself to the POTUS, he convinces the sitting VP to vacate his seat, eliminates the next possible VP candidates by offering them other attractive posts,  brings out second-grade, sub-par nominees until finally the POTUS chose him as the 'most suitable candidate'. Brilliant, is it not?

5. Unconventional Relationship = Extraordinary Results

I love the dynamics between Frank and his equally conniving wife, Claire Underwood. They work hand-in-hand to achieve their goal which often benefits them individually. Having no children makes it easier, and they both are free to sleep with other men/women (even had a bisexual threesome with a Secret Service). Manipulation, blackmailing and hard-talking are the order of the day. Clever.

6. Symbiosis Works, Until It Turns Into Parasitism 

Being a Capitol Hill and White House insider, Frank Underwood uses his inside knowledge to spill out the juicy, unpleasant details of his enemies to the public. The way he does it is by getting a young reporter, Zoe Barnes to do all the dirty works for him. Frank feeds Zoe the news, Zoe gets it out on paper, Frank achieves his goal, Zoe gets famous. See the symbiosis? 

But when things got a turn for the worse, Frank decides to end it all to save his reputation and avoid further harm - by killing Zoe. Ruthless but classic Underwood style.

7. Never Poke the Lion from the Inside of the Cage. You Get Someone to Do It from the Outside.

This refers to the earlier point #6. To fight doesn't always mean you have to wrestle your opponent head-on. You simply have to get someone to do it for you and save yourself from all the dirt. Most of Frank Underwood's 'achievements' leaping from being a majority whip to the POTUS comes from Zoe Barnes, who leaks out dirty stories and scandals fed by Frank Underwood. 

8. Don't Be Afraid of Huge Responsibilities.

Some jobs are too big to handle and naturally they will scare you. But, having the courage and conviction to grab it by the balls and get it done will reward you with a 'pass' you might need in the future. For instance, the education bill Frank Underwood volunteered to get it ready and passed in 30 days proves to be a solid fallback whenever he tries to argue any controversial plan. Getting a huge project single-handedly done says 'I'm capable of anything'. 

9. You Clean Up After Your Own Mess

If you do something wrong, you own it and clean it up yourself. I admire how Frank Underwood takes care of everything he has done, although how he takes care of it is debatable. Still, if you've screwed up, you own it and make it right yourself. 

10. Democracy is Overrated.

Like it or not, the public actually votes/decides based on what is told, and the content of what is told is controlled by the same people running the White House or deciding in the Capitol Hill. Even to secure presidency itself doesn't necessarily means you have to be elected - you simply must know which button to press to oust the sitting President. Just ask Frank Underwood.


That's all. Last note, I unashamedly admit that I put into practice some of the things mentioned above in my daily grind. And yes, they worked - so far.
Instagram: @kby87

Tuesday, January 6, 2015