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Was on a nature trail on Saturday at Macritchie to find some macaques - profiled a guide...

This Production Life.

Was on a nature trail on Saturday at Macritchie to find some macaques - profiled a guide who is a 26 y/o girl. At around 5-6pm, we absolutely could not find any monkeys around. Sabrina, the guide, panicked a little though she appeared cool and calm. I was worried that I couldn't film any wildlife. Didn't want my cameraman to be pissed off as well because he was lugging a huge ass camera. And I didn't want to see disappointment among the 30-odd trekkers who came all the way just to see the monkeys.

Sabrina held off time by speaking to the crowd about this one monkey who was hanging around. And I wondered if there were any other monkeys who were gonna come out to play at all.

Then at around 6pm, as you can see in the above pictures, a whole troupe eventually appeared at the boardwalk!!! It was a beautiful scene... the sun was setting and the magic golden hour was right there. I felt really happy. Everyone was fascinated by the monkeys and there's something special about being surrounded by nature and humans just quietly observing these monkeys who, after so many years cohabiting with us humans, weren't afraid of us at all.

After I wrapped my interviews for the day, I went back home feeling satisfied.

There's something about production life... I used to be worried about filming and whether I'd get the shots I want yada yada.. I used to get really stressed about that. But I think after a little bit of experience and a little bit of loosening up, I realised that production life is actually quite all right. In fact, production life has taught me one really valuable thing and that is...

There are just some things that are out of my control and I can only hope for the best, or a turn of events. And it was only when I gained this insight when production life became a lot easier... Like the monkeys. I was worried at first when they didn't appear but within me was a quiet calm... Like I knew that the monkeys were not something I could control and all I needed to do was wait. And if things work out, that's great. And if they don't, I'll make do with what I have or try to work something out after that. Whenever I thought that way, I'd be a lot more at peace. What's funny is also how things always seem to work out in the end - and better. Who knew that I'd have awesome golden light to boot?? And awesome interviewees?? (Usually when the media approach people to talk about anything, they'd shun) Even Sabrina said that was her best walk by far, after all these years doing guided trails.

I went to Macritchie feeling real tired, but left the place feeling energised!

Production has certainly taught me a few things about life and I've come to like it a little more than I used to. In the past, before going out to shoot, there'd be certain expectations. And when things like the weather don't work out, I'd get frustrated and irritated, almost helpless and stressed. But these things are out my hands. I leave it to whatever the universe wants to feed me. And I take whatever that's fed to me.

Sometimes, it's a whole lot better to let go.

Recently, I've been enjoying my production shoots, probably also because I'm working on a Youth-themed series. Interviewed many inspiring young people who are about my age and I'm just amazed by what they do - setting up their own business, social enterprise or publication. The enthusiasm gets rubbed off on me and it keeps me going. Also, it feels like there is a lot more hope in society because there are people as young as I am, out there getting work done and making things happen. It's not useless idealism - there are proper action and results as well. So that's very heartening, truly!

After work, I get tired by the end of the day definitely though.

So when this came by on Thursday,

Postcard from my Swiss friend!
I was excited!!!!! It's nice to know that friends abroad remember. And I'm always touched when I know that people actually bother. It's not easy to do something like that, no matter how simple the gesture may be.. It's nice to know that people care because it's so easy to get caught up in whatever that we're busy with that we don't take time out to reflect and appreciate people and experiences and just life in general.

So I'm thoroughly thankful when I receive these things.

And to receive is an incredibly wonderful feeling~

I decided to write back to her immediately two days later. And also send another letter that I had written a while back but just never got down to sending out.

It was a letter to Dom, that Philip would help to place at his grave...

I never could find the right words to say to him. I even wrote one way back 2 months back but decided it didn't have the right tone or feeling... Until, one night a month ago, I dreamt that he had said goodbye to me. In that dream, he literally waved and said bye to me. And the next scene were letters, not necessarily mine, but other people's flying up to the sky. I took it as a sign, no matter how fluffy it may sound like. It helped me write better and I decided that this would be the letter that I'd send.

I try not to mention about his passing here or in real life too much in case people around me think that I haven't got over it, but like what I wrote in my Instagram post, his death has changed my life and how I see things... I still think about him a lot, especially when I feel sad. Because I'd wonder what he felt - the kind of sadness or loneliness that enveloped him so much. Was this the same feeling? How much was too much that he felt like ending it all?

Thankfully, they are just thoughts that remain as thoughts and don't lead to anything else other than that. So don't worry haha.

But I think having been through this phase has also helped me in a different way...  because.. I'm about to do a story for CNA on a rise in youth suicide in Singapore. I tell this to my friends: I didn't pursue the story, the story came to me. I was approached by an old friend who used to be my profile from two years back when I was working for On the Red Dot. He wanted to catch up. Eventually, I found out why he wanted to speak to me. He was extremely concerned by the sudden spike in youth suicide in Singapore. It's real, the statistics are there. What's funny was that when an earlier report came out in July, and when I first came on board at the News Department, out of all the producers... I was the one who was asked to write it. What are the odds?

Sometimes, I think things happen for a reason. And I take it on as my job and almost like a purpose in life - The whole reason why I came back to the media. Seeing disturbing trends, bringing them to light, and hopefully also bring about a call to action.

It will not be an easy one. I already foresee some challenges. It's quite a complex issue - many factors lead to suicide. I also don't want to stereotype youth suicide. Neither do I want to cause unnecessary harm. It is a very sensitive topic. And emotionally, I hope to be able to separate myself from the many stories I will hear...

Nevertheless, I know that it will be for the betterment of society and it's a story that's important to me. So I will do it with a lot of heart.


Huixin's wedding :) Hi Huixin! Crazeh Stephanie I've only met Huixin twice and...

Till death do us part

Huixin's wedding :)

Hi Huixin!

Crazeh Stephanie
I've only met Huixin twice and I was so honoured to have been invited to her church wedding two days ago! I was truly touched and of course, happy for her. Weddings are beautiful! And I think Huixin and her husband, who happens to have the same name as my brother, are a beautifullll couple. I think they both have good, kind hearts. And two people with kindred spirits are meant to become one.

I know Marriage and Death sound highly inauspicious when put together. But there was something Hanyang, the groom, delivered in his speech to Huixin that was particularly melancholic, which I found hard to forget..

"I always tell Huixin that Marriage is both a happy and sad occasion. Happy because when you marry someone, you're actively choosing who you want to spend the rest of your life with. But it is also a sad occasion because you've also chosen who you want to depart from." 

He carried on saying how they'd always tell themselves that their love is never a destination and to always be reminded to enjoy the journey.


And in the face of death, sometimes I feel like nothing else matters - all your fears, worries and doubts - they will disappear. They feel so small when I see something so big and ominous like death. It truly is my greatest fear. Nothing else scares me as much as death does. Not ghosts, bugs or failure. Nothing comes close to the D. So it serves as quite a powerful driving force for me.

When I told my dad my fear of death this morning, he shared how he's come to accept death and that he doesn't find it scary. The only thing he feels sad about is having to leave loved ones behind because you'll never see them again...

*waterfall one more time....*

Then my dad told my mom of my fear of death, and sniggered while doing it. Urgh so insensitive this one. Sigh, sometimes I think I'm just so full of life that being lifeless scares the shit outta me. lol.

Anywhos, I am only happy for Huixin, truly and deeply. No wedding ceremony is not worth the effort. Every single moment needs to be celebrated - birthdays, weddings, graduations, baby showers - they are all of life's highs. And who likes the lows? They say when life throws you lemons, you make lemonade. And so when life throws you moments of pure joy, you better make more than just lemonade. You better squeeze the damn juice out of the fruits of your labour, in a juicer or blender whichever you prefer, and celebrate the hell of it.

Because they are precious. So very very very much.

It's true.. Before waltzing into my new job, I came with an open heart. Not much expectations. Of myself or of anyone. And not really ...

Work can sometimes be incredibly lonely

It's true..

Before waltzing into my new job, I came with an open heart. Not much expectations. Of myself or of anyone. And not really knowing what would lie ahead.

I just knew that at the end of each day, I'd like to end my day well.

But of course, I don't achieve that feeling all the time. Sometimes, happy and elated at achieving my first milestone or even the slightest task. Like just last week I produced my first ever story for SG Night Fest. Or other things like being sent out for breaking news. It's adrenaline-pumping and very exciting.

Then there are some days when I make mistakes or worse, have miscommunication with my colleagues.

Sometimes I think that work is never tough. Once you've mastered the ropes, getting from point A to B is easy. So it is never the work that is tiring - it is the people whom you've to deal with. And that's where it gets tricky.

Being the new person around, making mistakes is forgivable but patience wears out quickly in the newsroom and there are a lot of times when I feel the need to prove my worth, and maybe even fight to show that I am capable.

And being new, my social circle hasn't formed yet. My colleagues haven't grown to know the person that I am and neither have I... I don't know whom to trust, and whom to confide in. When I need to ask for help or simply have someone to talk to, it is quite difficult. I know there are one or two of my workmates whom I can rely on, but the relationships aren't as deep yet. There are things... that I simply can't talk about.

So... I do feel quite alone at times.

I tell myself that things will tide over. And trust will build overtime.

Yet, a part of me thinks that this is what work is. It is the nature of work. It isn't like school where all colleagues can be friends. There is a certain degree of passive-aggressiveness and over-politeness. They are things that can't be overcome even with the grace of time. It is what it is.

I suppose this is my transition to the real world and my ideals are put to the test. There isn't space to be vulnerable - because not everybody appreciates it and not everyone wants that in the workplace. It's about getting the job done and ensuring that each has their own backsides covered.

That's what makes it difficult.

In my new workplace, they know me as "the one who came from the Current Affairs department". And they'd always ask how's it like over there. I tell them that I actually prefer my work now compared to back then. However, the one thing that I like back where I was, would be the network formed over the years with people I've come to trust. I feel absolutely at home there with colleagues whom I can definitely say, are my friends. Whom I can call on, even for personal matters. Who without a doubt, would also call on me should they need help.

It isn't the same now. Here, I'm always on my tippy toes, unsure of what's expected of me or the intentions behind what's being said.

So whenever I see my previous colleagues walk by, my face would awash with signs of glee.

Yet.. if you asked me if I'd like to return to my old place, I'd say no. Because it is comfort. And I think I tend to get complacent when there is comfort. It is only when I have a mammoth task ahead, do I get my game on.

I feel lonely now. And I'm glad I'm aware of how I'm feeling because... it might affect my work later had I not been.

One consolation is knowing that I'm not alone in feeling alone. A quick google search and out came articles from Harvard Business Review, Guardian and Huffington Post that talk about how work loneliness is a real issue out there.

That even though the office is bustling with activity, people can feel very lonely as well because of the inability to connect in a place where we spend most of our day at.

Well, what I can do now is to focus on my potential for doing great work and at the same time, continue being my optimistic self. To come to work not knowing how my day will turn out and still be unafraid of being my best self. Because I still believe that in time to come, people will see me for who I am.

All I need to do is to show up. And that in itself, is a courageous act.

Just opposite the Istana With no real intention at all, I happened to walk by the Istana today,...


Just opposite the Istana

With no real intention at all, I happened to walk by the Istana today, and I decided to drop a message.

And as I was walking towards the guarded area, which led to the station where all the cards and gifts were laid, I met with the little scene above. I dunno what the picture means or the motivation behind it, but it gave me a little sorta feeling that I can't explain. Something about the state flags, and our foreign workers still tirelessly milling and tending to the flower patches. Maybe from India, maybe from Bangladesh? They seem oblivious to the event taking place over at the Istana. And the sun was beating down on them.

I dunno. They were just random thoughts but I still felt something. Maybe it was the golden light that shone, making it all fairy like.

Or maybe it was because right before that, I randomly stepped into a quaint chapel along the way while I was walking from Clarke Quay.

Needless to say, I stepped inside. I mean, I am an explorer overseas and I am an explorer at home.

Maybe it was a certain mood that followed me.

And it was a mood that I carried the past few days.

I think from the time Schooling won our first gold, to the moment when PM Lee gripped the rostrum during NDRally and the passing of our former President, I felt a little shift in me.

Perhaps, they're signs that things are changing. A cycle of renewal. The old making way for the new.

And I believe that I am part of that renewal. Singapore moving, changing, evolving and heading towards something new and uncertain. Slightly unsettling, yet at the same time, ever so exciting.

Gives me a lot of energy and motivation to do well in what I do.

Last night, I was at work when Mr SR Nathan's passing happened. There was a bit of chaos in the office as my boss was trying to get everything into order - to ready the public for the big news to come. Reporter was deployed to the scene. Others stayed back to initiate support. Everybody's adrenaline pumping. Atmosphere slightly tense. It was quite inspiring actually to watch my colleagues in action... though some were complaining that they had to work into the night.

Then there was me, a newbie amidst the fray, waiting with bated breath for the news anchor to go live on air.

Finally the press statement from the Prime Minister's Office came in,

and it was the moment.

Lines were delivered,

people were tuned in,

then a quiet sadness slowly enveloped the country.

And in that instant, I knew why I do what I do every day.

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