Sunday, November 25, 2012


It's 1.57am.

What am I doing here? I don't know.
Why am I here? I don't know.
Who am I with? No one.
When am I going to bed? I don't know.
Where am I? Lying on the bed.
How am I able to keep myself awake? I don't know.

2am is the golden time for me. Normal people would be in their utopia, hopefully with their spouse catching the sunset. But for me? It's the exact opposite. My idea of utopia is probably the same as the rest of the population. But I've never experienced anything close.

People say life is hard, for that I've to agree. But while some have it better than others, do they really deserve that? Or vice versa? Sure, to err is human. But what about forgiveness? If we can do wrong, why is it so hard to forgive others, because it is only human that we commit sins?

Because of one mistake, I ended up in my place. Looking back, if there hadn't been desire, there wouldn't have been action, and I'd probably be off reading Java tutorials instead.

The past is over; it's too late to regret. But is it really that hard to forgive? On D-day, I walked into the seminar room with 15 other people. They were in the same situation as I. It'd be inappropriate to call them horrible, because they're not. They made a small mistake in their judgement and they've paid for it. The surface is not everything, of course there's much goings-on beneath the naked eye. Those 15 people live with the memory; the pain; of almost having their life shortened by a year. Leading up to D-day, their mind would've been full of what-ifs. The thought of losing their close friends, the thought of being made fun of, of being insulted, of having wasted a year.. Et cetera.

Fourteen of those people walked out half an hour later thankful to have escaped Armageddon. So what about the remaining one?

One. There's the special emphasis on this word: one. It symbolises many things. Independence, success, you name it.

Sure, one may be positive. But let's take the other stand: how about alone?

Him, ALONE, has to face the music.
Him, ALONE, watches, heartbroken, as 399 people move on, full of anticipation, to the next phase of their life.
Him, ALONE, set in an unfamiliar environment where everyone is younger.
Him, ALONE. What has he done to deserve this?

We were told that he was not remorseful, unwilling to improve, et cetera. Whether or not it's true I will not argue, because I do not feel the need.

He was at the top of the list of the paper, seemingingly the most likely one to make it. But alas, Murphy's Law is at its work again, he failed; alone, with 15 people behind him succeeding.

Surely a few people's judgement and perception can't make such difference?

But it could, and it did. He was a cheerful and friendly person. He did his work, and although he messed up at times, he was nonetheless a very good friend.

His fate, forever, did not lie in the people most familiar, but rather, the opposite.

Would it be different if he had been given a chance just like the others? Certainly. 399 other people would be happy. He would be happy. At the same time, it'd be a wake up call.

But who cares about that now? It's too late. And as I lie under the warm cover of my blanket, I can't help but think, why has it turned out like this?

Whatever happened to forgiveness?

You could say it's present since 15 people made it. But him, at the top of the list, did not? He should've been given priority.

But as if the numerous underlined numbers on the report card aren't hurting though?

How much more do you demand? It's one person, but it's one person's future.

Zhe Xun, stay strong. We all hope for the best.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

2 years as transport enthusiast: looking back (part 1)

This is a typical bus photo I would've taken 2 years back.

This is what I would snap now.

But I still upload shots like these:

It has been a fruitful 2 years.

When I first stepped into buses in August 2010, I mostly lurked around SGForums. I had the perception that a good shot must have a clear rego. Those people then were my role models, I strived to be like them, to be better than them...

My first few photos were never very good. I had no idea what shutter speed, ISO index and aperture was, neither did I know about rule of thirds, motion blur, angles... it was just the standard "stand here, press button, repeat process", that I still do now when I'm bored. But that could well be my biggest regret.

About 2 months later, I came into contact with Kai Wen.. he was my first bus enthusiast "friend", outside of Danish, who was actually my junior. We also met Mel Ken, who we unfortunately had left after some time due to his behaviour. I never regretted it, and I still do not.

It was not until around December that we began to realise our horribly low photo standards. We went by "quality, not quantity", and through that period, our friendship seemed to falter, as my photos always looked inferior, and I was often criticised. But no, I pressed on, and I did get some satisfactory shots. Turned out that it was not really that much of criticism, but more of feedback.

Fast forward to March 2011. I saw my dad's DSLR lying in the drybox, and I thought to myself: Why not take it, and get a few shots? That was exactly what I did. It put me on the path to who I am today. I was impressed with my first attempts at photographing with the DSLR. The details of what happened after that was pretty vague and I did not have much memories of it, except my photo quality continuously improving.

Dabbling into photography as a hobby came in July 2011. Dad and I went to Harbourfront to grab some night scenes. He taught me about basic photography skills, and from then on, I abandoned auto mode altogether. It was difficult at first, getting my shutter and aperture right to prevent over- /underexposure, and I often stuck to the lowest ISO setting to prevent "noise" - which severely limited what I could do with the camera.

August was National Day, and I went to shoot fireworks. I still have the photos in my computer, somewhere, but it's late and I don't have the time to find them. They were probably my best photos then, and it threw me into a night photography frenzy. The city lighting, cars' light trails, and the huge amount of possibilities longer shutter speeds opened was too much to resist. I never specialised in night photography though, I enjoyed shooting in the day just as much.

Before this turns into a story about my life as a photographer, I still loved taking bus photos. October was an especially exciting month, with the launch of the new MAN NL 323F low floor buses. I failed to catch them on their debut, but on the very second day, I was at Bukit Panjang, camera in hand, bus guide in bag, phone fully charged, waiting to document the bus. This time it was successful, and I managed a short chat with the driver too, when usually I was too shy to even make eye contact. October, however, was also a very stressful period for me, as I was going through a disciplinary case in school and I had examinations to handle. I did not let it affect me; I stayed strong and I overcame it, and here I am today.

The December holidays were also very interesting, due to the massive MRT disruptions. I was there specially to cover the disruptions and to get pictures of the MRT shuttles. It turned out to be extremely chaotic due to the ridiculous traffic jams and poor crowd control. I did not have many good shots, but the experience of being caught in a disruption and how I ended up directing the clueless drivers themselves was never to be forgotten.

In 2012 I began to cut down on bus spotting. Mainly because of other commitments, but also because I realised the massive amount of time I had devoted to it. I had little friends in school, and no social life outside of transport, so I spent this year trying to catch up. It was more or less successful, but my life didn't take any major turn, mainly because the "friends" weren't true at all, just puppets, and frankly, I turned into some emo guy. Returning to buses won't help, I told myself, so I mostly spent time on programming, CCA and photography. The latter did help a bit with my friendship problems but I was liked for my material possessions (ie camera) rather than for myself. Till now, I do not know if I should regret cutting down, because it just gave me a new set of problems.

It's 12th October 2012. 12 days after I announced my stepdown from buses. The politics here are too much to bear, the discrimination, conflict, too unneeded. It began to interfere with my life, and already having gotten myself into so much trouble, I did not want any further things to mess up my already horrible life. I felt I had to let go; and I did. I now snap for leisure, and I spot for leisure. No more hardcore spotting, no more politics. It was one of my best decisions in life I had made. But it's 11.22pm, and it's getting late. Signing off.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

aviation spotting

as always, aviation spotting when there's no school.

i miss the old days.

british airways 744

singapore airlines 333

fedex md-11