Thursday, January 29, 2015

Small little adventures.

I was driving along the road when this small restaurant (kopitiam more likely) caught my eye. It wasn't a very outstanding one. It didn't have a lot of good food. It was just one of those forgettable ones in the middle of a housing/commercial area. If I didn't pass by it, it wouldn't have crossed my mind how special it was.

I was there at that exact place last two years. I ate a plate of HOR FUN or cantonese noodle or whatever thingamajig they call it. It wasn't awesome. It didn't change my life.

You see, the circumstances leading to my dinner there was this:

I was sick. I was staying in a nearby hospital (Penang GH) and I had been in the hospital for a week or so. My life had always revolved around occasional vacations in hospital beds. Last year was maybe the worst of it all. Anyway, I think in 2013, I was admitted to Penang GH. As per usual, we all know hospital food can be shitty. We get the occasional treats from outside in a tupperware, plastic bowl, tin cup ensemble. But one particular day, mom didn't buy food into the hospital as usual. Instead, I asked her to wait for me while I go to the bathroom, change into a normal t-shirt and walk out to the car park with her.

I was wearing those shitty green pants the hospitals make you change into when you "check in". I had a hospital ID tag on my wrist. I knew my medications will be in a few hours time. We decided to take a stroll out to the nearest shitty restaurant and we ate there.

It feels different. The atmosphere, the food, the whole feel is just different. I didn't care whether the food was horrible. I just felt alive again. 

These small little adventures kind of change us. Make us remember. I also remember being shit out of luck with the hot water in the hospital.  I hadn't washed my hair in a couple of days cause I couldn't save my life without hot water.

Guess, what... we drove 20 kilometers away from Penang GH to my home to get a hot shower and then back to the hospital. Life is much more fun being a rebel.

I'm not advocating everyone to do the same but if your kid/parent is not strapped to a hospital bed and your kid/parent is always in and out of the hospital. Make sure you know their schedule, know what and when they need their stuffs. Know when the doctors will make their rounds. Know when the nurses will take their readings. Know what they can and cannot eat...

Then once in a while, bring them on an adventure. They'll feel alive again.


Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 recap.

2014 has been a very tumultuous year.

In January I was experiencing a multitude of symptoms from liver failure. I was jaundiced. I was tired all the time. I had a bit of a swollen abdomen (although I do blame that on overeating also). Most important of all, I've suffered numerous cases of encephalopathy. This is a case of mental disorientation or confusion. It was a state of limbo I would call it. My body and brain would function at a minimal level but the processes are not running through my brain, thus this would result in many erratic behaviors. It was a scary state. I managed to celebrate Chinese New Year on January 31st but a few days after that, I got into a state of encephalopathy. I was admitted into Island Hospital where I again lost 24 hours. I don't know how I got there and I'm not sure what happened in between but I was told I kicked the nurse, I spitted on the nurse, I peed on the doctor and I shouted like a mad dog in the hospital. Don't ask me what happened, I don't really know.


January 31st, CNY Family Portrait.


In february I was called into the hospital for the seventh time  but  the liver was not accepted and I had to go home. This was quite a normal occurence. I believe this was somewhere in February 14-15th. I'm not really sure.

Then I got a high fever on February 22nd and was admitted into Selayang Hospital. My stats and blood condition were terrible.  I knew it was happening but I'm not sure how soon. I thought I was going to be in a coma at anytime. Then on Feb 25th, I was called into the surgery room again. This time everything happened so fast and I woke up on Feb 27th.

The recovery process took me a month. I was in the hospital looking at 4 walls and relying on DIGI internet connection for my YOUTUBE and TVB dramas. My bill came up to RM500 one month. However, I still remember the gaping hole on my tummy, the excrucriating pain of every movement. The pipe they put through my body into my lungs and the staplers on my body. I had to be stitched twice and every stitch took days to recover. They basically had to pull my skin together to sew it back. Any stretching I did was painful.

During these trying times I am very grateful to the people beside me. Mom was the beacon of hope. She was there everyday and held my hand every step I took till I could walk again. I can never repay what she did for me. There's also another girl who was there and my only regret is I couldn't be there when she needed me, There's so many things I want to say to them but I believe that is too personal for my liking here.

Anyway, in Jun the 1st, I officially went back to Penang. My dear friends are getting married Lisa + Yoges. I thought of wearing a mask to their wedding because of how fragile I am but it would really look awkward. I made sure I kept my distance and avoided the mask. Although I didn't eat anything at all on that day, I had a lot of fun meeting the people who was there. My friends, people I call family and of course, being out of the High Dependency Ward is always exciting.

In June, I started working and in July I shot again. I started picking up my camera. I shot for PAN Production's The Last Five Years. It was such a great thing to be holding a camera and creating images. I began to live again. I also shot for Lakefront Records's Gerard Singh. He is now on the US Billboard Top 40 Indicator Chart. Congratulations! But the greatest joy of all was capturing family portraits for BB Ostella Adam and subsequently her engagement. Her family was gorgeous and working with people again is such a relief.
A beautiful bunch at the day of Raya. 

In August, I went out to participate in some of the events for Georgetown Festival. Davina was there at TedX, It was my first TedX and indeed it gave me a lot of inspiration. I was also walking around enjoying the Obscura Festival planned by Vig, They were all inspirational. However, the highlight of the month must be watching HaiKiXinLor with my KL peeps, Nell, Peter and Zakri who came all the way and we watched Chelsia perform. She was a bitch in the movie. Seriously. :) In real life though, such a sweetheart.

Anyway, August marked the beginning of Project #100happydays which I plan to print once I complete it. I am now just at Pic 18 but I believe it is such a joy to be reminded why the small things can make us smile. August also marked the day I started reading again. I bought the book "The Fault In Our Stars" because I wanted to read the book before I watch the movie, Indeed the movie stayed true to the book but the book was so much better.

Since July, I've shot Elizabeth and her family (Denny and Otto), I've also shot (in a haste I must admit) for Chelsia at Hin Bus Depot. The place is such a beautiful art/event space. I've also shot Sherril and Anand. I have to say that this a very beautiful weddding. Spanning over a week and with such beautiful places and great flower arrangements by Brenda of Nook Flowers, I was blown away. Did I mention that Dasha Logan sang at her wedding, Such a beautiful girl and with a great voice to complement her.

The most life changing event was when I traveled to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. I've started travelling again and I want to travel more. I know now more than ever that we should collect experiences and not materials. Materials do matter but experiences are the ones we should cherish more. Don't be afraid to live a little.

Guess what? I ended 2014 with a bang by collaborating with my buddy Vinoth for Sara and Masiha's wedding in Neo Tamarind. I look forward to more collaborations with this crazy person in the future.

Recreating the last supper.

Well, that was how 2014 started and ended. I almost died. I was saved. I suffered. I work. I lived. I traveled. I continue to work.

Cheers to 2015.