Journal #312

After waking up at around 8am, I decided to laze around in bed until about 8.30am. Then I went to have my breakfast. At about 9.30, I started cleaning up my room, starting from the window side of the room.

That window side is also where my computer desk is located. So I had to spend some time disconnecting all the cables and moving the desktop away. Only then I could move the desk and start cleaning.

Systematically and as methodically as I possible can, I cleaned my room in a clockwise direction. By the time it was 1pm, I only managed to clean half. I spent the next 3 hours cleaning the other half of my room.

For this cleaning session, I decided to apply some minimalism.

I removed one desk that I rarely use and consolidated some of the decorations that I have. I also removed a wall picture because it was falling apart. I have also moved my television console table that have my Apple TV and Playstation 4 to the space previously taken up by the desk I removed.

So now my room is more spacious, less cluttered. I am loving what I have now and I do feel happy.

But I’m not done yet because I still got a whole bunch of papers and old documents that I have yet clear. They are still stuffed into whatever drawers that I could find space.

Other than clearing and cleaning my room, I helped my parents washed the windows and the grills in the living room and kitchen.

Having spent the whole cleaning, my whole body is aching. I also had a craving for some western food. So I suggested to my family to eat at Hot Tomato and it’s my treat.

After a shower, waited for everyone to come back home, and then we made our way to the nearby mall. At Hot Tomato, I ordered a cup of earl grey tea and mixed grill.

Mixed Grill is basically a collection of spaghetti, pork chop, chicken chop and pork sausage.

After that, we went to Cotton On because my sister want to get some clothes for the New Year. I didn’t want to get anything so I loitered around until it reached a point when I decided I rather go home. So I took my leave and got down to craft this journal.

So here I am.

Tomorrow I will be heading out with my friend to get some stuff. Until tomorrow’s journal…


Journal #293

Recently, I keep finding myself making mistakes when it comes to numbering my journal. I fixed the most recent set of errors yesterday. It’s embarrassing.

What happened

I went to office today dressed with layered clothing, a grey T-Shirt with an Olive-green flannel on top. For the past few workdays, I have switched up my dressing style and found joy in that.

A few months ago, I bought three olive-green flannels to establish a personal uniform as part of my minimalism lifestyle. Now nearly five months later, it became clear to me that I’m already a minimalist in my own right because I know what I am looking for in life and everything else is superfluous.

I have also looked at my own spending and it turns out I have never had to take on any debt to fund my lifestyle. I have sufficient savings to keep me going even if I’m out of work for six months straight and still have enough to buy the occasion gadgets that I want. So I don’t need a uniform to tell the world. Instead, how I dress is to show my personality, my desire for authenticity. That is one of my core values.

At work, I spent one-quarter of my time chit-chatting away with my colleague, one-half to implement, and test a new feature for phase 2 of the project. I also went about preparing a new executable with the latest changes from another colleague for her to test tomorrow. Towards the end of the workday, I went and discussed the database schema for the next phase of the project. Since I have a stronger command of English, I went about defining the names for the columns and table.

During lunch, I went on my own. After that, I had the urge to get some new books. One is for my sister.

The book I got for myself is Smart Product Design.

The book I got for my sister is the Color Index XL because I wanted her to have a good tool to do her design and art work.

At around 6.20pm, my colleague and I decided to call it a day. In the meantime, I was already feeling my stomach growling and was getting uncomfortable.

Throughout my journey home, I had some difficulty breathing and kept coughing. It was because while I was crossing the road from my company’s building, I accidentally walked through a hidden cloud of second-hand cigarette smoke. The concentration was higher than what I usually breathed it and it caused my airways to constrict significantly. I kept coughing all the way. Half way to the MRT station, my throat start to hurt and felt sore. The back of my lower jaw also started aching.

Even after I reached home, I still had a hard time breathing. It took quite a while before everything went back to normal.

If I can participate in any class-action lawsuit against smokers and tobacco companies for causing serious health damage, I will.

Once home, I went to watch Star Trek: Discovery and have a sumptuous dinner.

What I plan next

Since I got some free time tonight, I will go back to write something for my book. Yesterday, I managed to expand one of the scene from one paragraph to five paragraphs with proper descriptions and I want to continue to do that.

How I feel

I feel great today because of the joy I get from being myself today, being authentic with all my flaws, strengths, and quirks.

What am I watching now

Here are some videos that I have been watching today.

Gary Vaynerchuk – Why My Personal Brand Is Successful

Lauv – A Different Way

Troye Sivan – My My My!

Lifestyle or life changes

I realized I have actually added probably 2 to 3kg of weight due to my 5 to 6 meals a day. I suspect it was because I haven’t been very active compared to two years ago and have been eating junk food during some of those meals.

What am I thinking of now

Most people by the age of 33 stopped looking for new music. They are stuck with what they already know. They lost touch with what’s trendy. Let’s see how true it holds for me. As far as I know, I am randomly looking for new music to listen to and still can keep up with some of the recent cultural developments.

Journal #270

Saturday is coming to an end and that bring us closer to the end of 2017.

What happened

I went to bed after 2am and only slept about 6 hours before my mom woke me up and asked if I want to join her and my dad to the wet market and hawker center several streets away from my house.

I groggily agreed. I got myself out of bed, had a cup of water, changed out of my PJ and joined them. On the bus, I was still feeling the effects of not enough sleep. Instead I chose to focus on playing some games on my phone.

Once we got to the hawker center, we looked for a seat. I ordered some vegetarian food while my parents ate something Yong Tau Foo.

After breakfast, we went to the wet market to get some prawns and fish before making our way home. Along the way, My mom and I found ourselves swarmed by cigarette smoke because there were many senior citizens.

Once we got home, we made ourselves each a cup of instant coffee from the coffee maker. I made an especially big cup because I wanted to try and do some writing.

I came across a Facebook post made by my friend about Apple’s battery issue and wanted to comment. One paragraph of comment became five and then I decided against it. I cut to the chase and commented with just one paragraph.

That comment served as an inspiration to me that I should write an article about my thoughts on the whole issue. So I saved the comments I wrote for future reference and went to watch Travelers season 2 on Netflix. I finished the season 1 previously and I enjoyed the show. In part because it was as science fiction and deals with time travel.

It was around early afternoon when I went to brush my teeth. I continued watching some more episodes and tried to get myself to write concurrently. But I was too tired to think of anything and feeling hungry too. So I made myself some instant oatmeal and have a yoghurt drink before deciding to stop watching the show. I got my MacBook off the desk and went to my bed and see if I could do anything.

On the bed, after making myself comfortable, I started writing something for my novel. Even though I wrote only a few paragraphs and did some re-writing, I shall take the win. At least I wrote something. By now, I was already dozing off and so I decided to put my laptop aside and got down to napping.

I woke up around 6.30 pm feeling refresh. I had some water before telling my family I wanted to get some new business casual clothes to replace the existing ones that I have, which are ugly, old and stained. Some of which are too bulky.

So we went to the mall to have dinner at Thai Express. We ordered Fried Prawn Cake and Stir-fried cabbage with fish sauce to share amongst ourselves.

For my own main meal, I ordered pineapple seafood fried rice with an additional egg.

After the meal, we made our way to G2000. Initially, I wanted to get clothes in the same colors but I got persuaded by my parents and went with choosing different shades and design, all of which I’m fine. (Looks like I will find myself choosing what to wear again. It will be a waste of my time and energy. Brandon, you are pathetic for letting people influence you.)

After that, we went to Bossini where my mom, dad and sister got some clothes for themselves. I waited outside the store and played Sky Force: Reloaded on my phone.

Once my family was done paying for those clothes, we took the bus home and here I am writing the journal.

How I feel

I feel like crap today because of the lack of sleep. Even after napping, I still don’t feel particularly good.

What I plan next

I need to get back to the minimalism path as I know I have slipped when it comes to purchases. I wasn’t being as intentional as I should be.

Since I got some new clothes, I will discard old clothes that I no longer wear. It’s all part of minimizing the things I owned. And I already know what to get rid of. They are those plain colored polo t-shirts which I haven’t been wearing for like more than 90 days. So tomorrow I will spend some time clearing stuff out.

My junk drawer is also pilling up with old receipts that doesn’t seem to add any value any more. Originally, I wanted to build a receipt management application but then I lost interest. Another reason was because I couldn’t find a market for it. So I will get rid of those receipts too.

Being grateful

I’m grateful for my family.

Why I use Apple products as a minimalist

As a minimalist, it’s all about living your life according to a certain set of values.

One of my values is quality. The things I output or consume has to have a certain quality. In most cases, I buy higher quality stuff, spending more money in the process, to replace the lower quality stuff that I have to get rid of.

Most of the metrics I use to define quality are subjective while some are qualitative. It is usually the subjective ones that make me happy, bring me joy or reduce stress whereas the qualitative ones primarily reduce stress.

This is why I am more than willing to spend the kind of money I do getting Apple products, becoming a fan in the process. Their products have really good build quality, provided convenience due to the tight integration across the products, and simplicity.

Majority of Apple products are well built and well designed. The attention to details given to each product by the Apple’s design and engineering teams is rarely found in other products from other company. The solid feel, simple and clean aesthetic of the exterior, and being highly functional combined bring me joy. With their products, I don’t feel like I’m carrying with me a cheap piece of item that I get from a discount store.

The highly functional aspect of their products bring about convenience for me.

You see, inconvenience is a major stressor for me. All I want to do is to solve more pressing problems with the tools I got and not wanting to deal with the hassles before I even get started on solving those problems. Going through multiple steps to enable an option in a piece of software, the need to install and update device drivers that has no guarantee that they will work 100% of the time, the software not doing what you expect it to do, or it takes a while for you to even understand how to use a piece of software or application are such inconveniences. They stress me out.

And I’m sure everyone knows what stress does to one’s creative process, how stress prevent one from doing their very best.

Unlike Microsoft products, Apple products mostly just works out of the box. I don’t really have to deal with all the hassles I described earlier. Their products are also intuitive and simple to use. With that, the tools get out of my way and I can focus on solving the more important problems. When tools get out of my way, my time is saved, allowing me to do more things within the same 24 hours everyone else has. Time saved is the qualitative metric that I use to judge the quality of something. How much inconvenienced I am is the subjective metric I use to judge the quality.

Other than quality, the other value that is equally important is security. I feel safe when my data is well-protected and private enough. If my data is not well-protected and private enough, it means criminals and the government can use my data against me if they do get their hands on it.

That strips away my security, which increases my stress and unhappiness, which is not what being a minimalist is about. At least in my view.

Now, before bashing me about the naivety of my subsequent statements, I will state up front that I recognize Apple may change their privacy and security model that completely expose the user and make them less safe and private, and get to keep a plaintext copy of whatever your store or send but that’s another topic for another day. When that day do come, then I will re-evaluate again.

At least for now, I do feel safe with storing personal data on Apple devices and their cloud storage and trust that my data is not readable by anyone. Their devices like Apple Watch and iPhones come with built-in encryption that protects your data, including your fingerprints and credit card information. The MacBooks and iMacs with latest Mac OS support encryption through APFS and/or FileVault. Their software services like iCloud uses end-to-end encryption with keys that only you own for the data you choose to store there, preventing unauthorized access or views.

So this is why buying stuff and using stuff from a company such as Apple as a minimalist isn’t wrong. It is not wrong either to be fan. If it helps you to live in accordance to your values, then you shouldn’t feel guilty about the whole thing. You just have to be very intentional about it.

Journal #221 – Some decluttering, reading, and gaming

After I woke up today, I decided not to use the computer and instead focus on reading books. I spent most of my morning after breakfast reading the Jony Ive biography and managed to finish the whole book by earlier afternoon.

After I was done with reading, I went ahead to do some decluttering stuff by going through the big boxes that I have for storing other electronic boxes. I used this opportunity to go through old electronic accessories or gadgets like modems that I no longer use, old cables, old computer power supply units, etc. I also used the chance to go through old manuals, receipts that I have for these electronics. I separate them out and discard them in the recycling bin near my house. Through this process, I was able to free up some space within these big boxes and I stuffed the other smaller boxes that I had that were sitting on the outside. These smaller boxes belong to the Network Attached Storage and a drone that I got from my drone piloting course. I kept them for warranty purpose. Servicing centers tend to want the full package when you send your devices in.

Hmm… on second thought, the drone box could probably be discarded…another time.

After going through this process, it made me feel better because these are actions that fulfill the desires of my inner soul, which need the peace and cleanliness associated with having less (junk).

After that, I decided to buy The Frozen Wilds DLC for the PS4 game, Horizon Zero Dawn. But for me to do that, I need to reset my Playstation Network password. So I did that, added my PayPal account to my PSN account and buy the DLC.

That game was one of my favorite ones on the console due to its insanely good storyline. I have deep respect for the storywriter of this game.

So when I started out writing this journal, the DLC of about 7.7GB was downloading. Of course in the middle of writing, I went to get some snacks, etc. Reaching this point of writing, now that I turned around to look at my television, the download has finished. I finally can start playing.


You know, it felt kind of good to actually finish the main story of Everspace and then moving on to another game. This kind of closure is important because it allows you to move on. It’s part of the decluttering process too. Think about it. Finishing a game is like finishing a task from your todo list. When you finish the task, you remove it from the list, just like how you remove a physical item from your space. If you didn’t finish that game and proceed to get another and then repeat that a few times, you will find yourself overwhelm by “stuff”. I have a friend who did that. So now he actually have nearly twenty days that he didn’t get around to play because he is now paralyzed by choice. On another hand, it’s a waste of money. You buy something but never actually consume it. Overall, it’s kind of stressful for him too. So you see, it is not so different from having a big pile of clothes, or boxes, or whatever.

I’m pretty sure most minimalists can agree. Digital clutter is not different from physical clutter. It creates mental stress, especially if you are someone like me who spent a vast majority of his time in front of a screen.

So yeah, minimalism can also be applied to video games.

The last couple of hours, I played The Frozen Wilds DLC on my Playstation 4. So far, I am loving the new story and the new weapons. The new enemies are pretty challenging too. The aesthetic of the game has always been great. With this DLC, they expand further on the snow environment. I suppose it’s $26.90 well-spent. Now I really hope Guerrilla Games spent as much effort, or maybe even more, to create the next sequel or DLC. I like to see expansion of the story. To me, I don’t mind paying if the end product adds tremendous value in terms of storyline, aesthetic and gameplay. Quality is something I care a lot about.

One last thing before I move on to catching up on other TV shows that I have missed. My family joined me on a vegetarian diet too. We had mock meat with beans, stir fried vegetables, and seaweed soup. My younger sister however is not particularly happy with our recent diets. But I can’t blame her really. All of us have different taste when it comes to food and that she always preferred a diverse choice so that she can pick and choose. I personally have to agree that a pure vegetarian diet is at times boring. Mock meat can never replace the taste of actual meat. The nuances in terms of texture, taste, smell, etc. However, for me, ecological conservation is more important. So I guess we will have to wait for the day when lab-grown meat is a reality and only then I can switch to a mixed diet.

Journal #202 – Minimalism goes well with high-sensitivities and neuroticism

People with very neurotic personality are always constantly worrying about things, even if they seem trivial to others. I know because I’m like that. Combine that with high-sensitivities, you are practically drowning in your own mind.

Now, allow me to start with a back story so you have a context.

After graduating from university, I got a job and I finally could afford to buy my own things and so I did. I bought gadgets, ate at restaurants, bought a lot of stuff like clothes. It went on for a while and I completely forgot about my own value system and what I enjoy doing.

And with my newfound affluence, my neuroticism was directed to things and money. I’m constantly worrying about things spoiling, someone stealing them, and the need to replace them. Or I’m constantly worrying about not being able to buy the next big thing that I want. I started to worry about money. I found that I’m afraid of losing whatever money that I did gain.

After about two years working at my first full-time job, I left. One reason was because of the lack of emotional and moral support. I need those quite a lot. Another reason was because I wanted to build software products but the company I worked for is a system integrator. And reality was that back then, I felt that Singapore just isn’t the place for product development. We have too many system integrators, not so much of product houses. So I switched to chasing the money and do consulting work. I wanted to be able to afford my lifestyle.

It felt good for a while having a much higher salary. Then over time, I ignore who I truly am and became somebody else, trying to be a consultant. I didn’t know I was a highly sensitive person too and my neuroticism also kicked into high gear. That was about four months into the job. It was about January

Then things start going wrong constantly until I finally slipped into depression by June. Had to see a psychiatrist, hang out with friends, talk it out, and I also decided to leave the company. I knew if I stayed on any longer, I would probably be so overwhelmed and take a shortcut out of life.

Long story short, I lost my way.

If you have been following my journey, you probably know that I went on a month long break from work and used that time to do self-discovery. It was then I discovered minimalism and implemented it.

Over the course of the month, with minimalism, I was able to focus on who I truly am, what I truly want in life, and why do I care so much about buying the latest and greatest stuff. With minimalism, I find myself less worried, less neurotic. I have a clearer head. I used minimalism to ground myself, focusing on the now and whether my short term actions align with my values. I care less about stuff. When I do consume, I consume with intentionality and focus on the quality, not quantity.

Minimalism helps in many way if you are a highly-sensitive person, especially if you are some kind of environment empath where you can feel overwhelmed just by stepping into a place full of stuff, or full of people. With it, you would have been less inclined to buy stuff, more inclined to clear stuff from your environment. With less stuff around you, happiness is derived because of fewer stimulations.

That leads me to the next point of being less busy.

Being highly-sensitive means you get overwhelmed easily by being given a lot of things to do. I am like that. So by being a minimalist, you intentionally make yourself less busy. You will have to train yourself to reject work that comes your way when you know you can’t handle it anymore or really want to focus on one thing at a time. Personally, I use the principles in minimalism (maybe a little bit from Buddhism, they do share certain things) everyday to focus on doing the essentials with focus on quality and then intentionally push myself out of the office at 6pm because there are other more important things for me; like writing or getting my me time to get rid of the stuff in my system caused by my sensitivities or get the chance to sleep at my natural hours without suffering from insomnia (can be brought on at the snap of the finger by a combination of over-stimulation and excessive worry).

But I also know it’s highly dependent on your work environment and your current situation. It may not be possible for you to do what I do. In that case, you really have to ask yourself: do you need this job or do you want this job? If you don’t really need the job, then it may be a good time to re-evaluate what you should be doing next. If you need the job, then you will have to determine for yourself if you can handle the pain, make the necessary arrangements, and keep going until you see some light at the end of the tunnel. For me, I am in the process of building up my savings that are liquidable to keep me going even if I leave my current job and stay jobless for up to two years. And I’m single, so I have less responsibilities or commitments. But then, I think, if you are a minimalist, you would have evaluated if some commitments are just unnecessary and take the necessary actions.

Journal #194 – Mental Peace, Contentment

In today’s world, everyone must be able to multi-task. Your boss demands it. Your customer demands it. Your family demands it.

Some people can do it. Some people just simply can’t. Everyone is just different. For me, I am in the latter category and mental peace can be a foreign concept to me.


I am someone who is high on the neuroticism personality trait. My mind is always worrying and when it does that, it tend to be stuck on a loop about a certain event or situation. That usually happens because I perceived a threat.

The past me won’t be able to deal with a lot of things effectively.


I know constantly worrying about something specific and have it on a loop in my mind doesn’t help. It’s a waste of mental energy and raises my stress level. It has caused me to suffer sleepless nights. I have since learned to instead attempt to divert my mind’s attention elsewhere more lighthearted. Daydream about something I like even.

Not only that, I have also practiced to write down my worries on paper and put down what are the possible solution when the diversion doesn’t help. I have also tried and talk it out with maybe friends or colleagues. These processes helps to prevent build up inside of me, which brings about the mental peace that I need.

But that doesn’t mean my mind is peaceful. It is only more peaceful than what it usually is. Because being a highly-sensitive person means I also get overwhelmed by my physical environment easily or when I have lots of things to do or handle in life.

So this is why I found minimalism so helpful. It taught me to prioritize. It helped me to decide what are the things that’s useless to me and what are valuable to me. With that, I focus on doing the essentials. I focus on decluttering my schedules. I focus not so much on material possession but more on experiences. It is all about being un-busy.

This bring me to my work. The past me would be extremely worried about the current schedule of my current project. It’s too tight and there’s 101 thing to do. My manager in all her wisdom decided to accept instead of taking a strong stand against pilling on more features just because the customer refuse to budge. Yet these days, I’m not worried at all. I just focus on doing what I need to be doing. I take my break from time to time. My neurotic mind knows very well that I can’t finish on time and yet I made a conscious choice of focusing on crafting my code. Why? Because software development is an art to me now.

You see, I’m now perfectly ok if my boss decides to kick me away, scold me, or fire me for failing to meet the requirements. Because at the end of the day, my company isn’t going to be there when I suffer major health problem. They aren’t going to pay for any future illness that I may suffer in the future caused by overwork during my younger days. They aren’t going to be there to provide psychological services when I need it. It’s up to me to take care of me. I know my body, my mind, and what I want in life.

So now, I’m at peace. I’m content.

Journal #183 – Time Flies and Minimalism Is Now Part and Parcel Of My Life

Before I knew it, the first week of October is almost over. This also mark the second month since my adoption of the minimalism lifestyle.

I think I can call myself a minimalist now.

During these two months, I have seen myself stopping myself from purchasing items outright without thinking twice. I kept asking myself whether I need the item and if I do need the item, how long do I need it or for what purpose.

Take iPhone for example. I wanted iPhone X because it’s shiny and it has brand new features that my iPhone 7 Plus don’t have. But I knew that I don’t even need it. Those shiny new features serve no purpose and doesn’t add any value to my life. The money that I will be spending on it could be saved up for future use or be part of my retirement funds.

As I mentioned previously in my journals, I even applied minimalism to my clothes. I have my own personal uniform that I wear everyday to work. My colleagues have of course commented on it but once I mentioned that I am a minimalist, they understood. Everything that I do or own is intentional and the bare essentials. The only few people that have yet to comment are my bosses. If they do ask, maybe I will use this chance to tell them that I also apply minimalism to work. I will only do the bare essentials and we shall see how they react.

I have also cleared out my wardrobes, gave away my graduation gown, got rid of old video games that I no longer play, and even certain old boxes that don’t really serve any purpose. I cleared out some old letters by sending them to the shredders too.

Now I finally realized that those things that I did threw or gave away was really there because I’m sentimental, or that I felt insecure, or just feel inferior. I buy stuff to make me feel good or reward myself for handwork. Now, I don’t want stuff. Instead, I need to focus on relationships, my health, calming my neurotic mind, and have enough money to feel safe and stable.

So what’s next for my minimalism journey?

I will probably replace my current wardrobe and remove cabinets until I only have three furniture in my room: A smaller (twice as small), new wardrobe, a bed, and finally a small computer desk for my MacBook Pro, a 27 inch monitor, and the essential hardwares that I need to go online and play certain kind of games.

I will get rid of my existing Windows-based desktop too, except for the GTX1080 graphics card which I will keep for e-GPU purpose. I don’t need two machines when I do majority of my work on my MacBook instead of my desktop. I will get a new 15inch MacBook Pro because it has to have sufficient power for me to do the occasional programming work for my client, light-medium gaming, and support the e-GPU. In general, the 15inch will serve as a desktop replacement. My current 13inch just doesn’t cut it, except maybe for lightweight programming, watching videos, listening to music, and writing. Gaming is a no go, well…more like it’s not at an acceptable standard or level for me anyway.

So what about you guys? For those who just adopted minimalism, how has your journey been like? Let me know down in the comments below.

And a final update about my day today…

The integration work has been going fine. I managed to resolve an issue with data binding of a User Control defined in the ControlTemplate with a data source in the data context. But of course, my whole morning was to deal with the fact that my company didn’t give me the license key for Visual Studio Professional 2017 edition and the software expired today. I had to uninstall it and install a community edition as a temporary solution because development work still has to continue.

Anyway, Visual Studio, Windows, and the whole development ecosystem has not been a great experience.

This is the first problem.

It took 1.5 hours just to reach 49% and I started installing at around 9.50 am. By the time it reached 79%, it was already lunch time.

Then, every edit, every key press or something, visual studio will hang or being doing some god-knows what processing.

And if I add a new file or something, I get this dialog which stays on for up to 3 minutes.

Maybe it’s my development environment or the machine itself or maybe the network. But because everything in my office runs on Windows, it just simply made me hate the platform even more.

And that’s why I switched to Mac and bought into the Apple ecosystem. Yes, Apple has its own problems but nothing as bad as the craps I have to deal with ever since Windows 8.1 came out until Windows 10.

Ok, I’m done with my ranting.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Journal #164 – Minimalism, Gratitude, Patience, and 5% More

Singaporeans sure complain alot; I complain a lot. We all are miserable.

Let me be clear. I don’t know of the minute details that led them to complain a lot but I assume it has to do with them NOT doing the following:

  1. Simplifying their lives
  2. Be grateful for what they already have
  3. Have patience for things to happen
  4. Applying 5% more effort, more time, to achieve what they want.

Of course, you may get upset and ask: how I can assume that? You may just say: I am not you or him or her. I am stupid. I haven’t experienced enough.

The list goes on.

I do question myself: Am I right or wrong with my assumption?

All I can say is, I don’t know. But what do I know? I drew my current conclusion through my observations thus far. And I do know I am like that too. I didn’t simplify my life. I wasn’t grateful for what I already have. I wasn’t patient enough to wait for things. I didn’t apply 5% more effort, or more time on whatever I want to achieve.

It made me unhappy. It made me FUCKING MISERABLE!


I simplified my life when it comes to material goods and owning things. Having access is more important. I buy only when I truly need it, and after I have asked myself several questions and answered them.

It doesn’t mean I am not affected by advertisement and the emotions associated with getting new things. I personally love getting gadgets. In the past, I got new phones, MP3 players, Discmans, etc., just because I want them. And at this stage of my life, I love Apple’s products and wanted to get the latest and greatest (iPhone X, I am looking at you). I am afterall like you, a human too. However, I applied 5% more effort to change my mindset (I am a lazy person and enjoy things status quo, so it’s a struggle everyday) and accept the feelings I have, then I moved on.

Simplification also come into play on what I have to say next. There is one thing in Singapore that always grind parents’ gears. I am not a parent nor do I foresee myself getting married anytime soon. So I don’t know what is it like. But I see it everywhere and I do know what it brings. It brings unhappiness. It makes everybody in the circle fucking miserable. I see it in every parent’s face.

What is it? Education.

Parents in Singapore always compare with their friends and colleagues when it comes to their kids’ educations. They fret over the school their kids go to, how much tuition their kids should get, etc.

Why they do it?

They have good intention behind it. All parents want their kids to have a better life than they did. They applied their worldview of having more money and climbing the corporate ladder as having a better life.

But it has gotten to a point where it becomes fucking excessive, especially when it comes to tuition or expectations parents have of their kids. It put pressure on both ends, no doubt. Parents, wanting the best for their kids, send them to the best school and tuition centers, spending out thousands of dollars every month. It strained their finances, creating unhappiness. Kids have more homework, less play. They suffer from unnecessary anxiety. As kids, they tend to suffer more because they are unable to articulate out. They internalized it as just went “because my parent blah blah blah…, I have to do it.” When they fail, they blame themselves. That leads to the increasing number of children committing suicide. When that happens, parents will be putting the blame on themselves. If they have more than one child, the other children in the household will also suffer.

So my question is: Is it fucking worth it?

And that question applies to your finances, and your family’s happiness and wellbeing.

That lead me to gratitude. I have also applied gratefulness whenever I am aware of it. There are times when emotions run high, I forget about it or didn’t realize it. I am grateful that I am alive, have a family, and friends. I am grateful that my parents allowed me to explore what I like and dislike. I am grateful that I am not living in poverty and had a decent education. I am grateful that I had and have decent jobs (though I don’t like my current one, it just pays the bills), so that I can have some stability in life.

I have also tried to be more patient. I am an extremely impatient person. I like to see results the moment I applied some action. It is still a work in progress. But over time, I have learned to take it slow and enjoy the process. Just like right now. I applied patience to my writing. In the past, all I thought about was wanting to be maybe a New York bestseller or at least be the best science-fiction novelist from Singapore. And I couldn’t wait to get there. Now I know it’s not easy. And it will never be. It takes patience and hard work.

Both gratitude and patience can go hand-in-hand too. It applies to my family and friends. I am also grateful for the fact that Singapore has a decent, working public transport that can get me to most places and try to be patient when there is a train fault. No need for random outburst or public display of unhappiness. If you can’t wait any longer, accept the situation, move on, and find an alternative.

If you studied and applied stoicism, even at the bare minimum, you will be able to understand what I am talking about.

But most Singaporeans will just complain. I don’t think they have that patience anymore. I also don’t think they have the gratitude anymore. They are always looking for greener grass without wanting to do anything about it. Or they just blame the politicians. I know I do. But it doesn’t change anything. Now I know that. You can vote out the politician at the next election cycle but the real problem is YOU.

Has always been you.

I have come to acknowledge and realize that politicians deal with big picture. They have a grand plan of how to make Singapore a better place. Someone has to do that so that we as nation has a direction. It is up to us to implement. But have we been implementing? We may have but is it enough?

That lead me to the part on 5% more. 5% more effort. 5% more time.

The loudest Singapore complainers are who I assume to be lazy. You can get all defensive with that all you want or lie to me or make up some excuses. I don’t care. At the end, you could be lying to yourself to make yourself feel good and then continue to feel fucking miserable. So start asking yourself, what have I been doing and finding an answer to that.

From what I have observed, these people are NOT spending 5% more effort and time to be on the ground, focusing on making changes to their immediate environment or to themselves. Instead, they rather spend the energy and time doing something as meaningless as complaining.

It’s just noise really. No meaningful actions.

I’m pretty sure even entrepreneurs also say that complaining does nothing. Only by doing, you see result.

And what do I mean by doing? Here are some examples:


If you are a rail engineer, put in 5% more effort (even if you are not fucking paid for it), when it comes to train maintenance. How much is 5%? I don’t know the actual amount for you. For me, as a Software Engineer, 5% more simply could mean running an additional unit test on a piece of function before pushing out that piece of code.


If you are a parent, put in 5% more time to instill patience in your kids so that they grow up to be patient to wait for things to happen. You see, impatience is a major contributing factor to quality problem at the end. People just want result or get something done and over with at the snap of a finger. So they cut corners instead of spending 5% more effort, 5% more time or even both to deliver quality. Technology these days has made us even more impatient. We get instant dopamine rush or gratification from our smart phones. Instant notifications. Instant news. Instant feedbacks. So much so that we forgot what is it like to wait.


You see, if we on the ground didn’t even do things properly within our immediate environment or with ourselves, be fucking patient with the process, be grateful for what we have already achieved, how the fuck can we effect changes at other places.

For me, minimalism was hard. Gratitude was, and sometimes, is hard. Patience is hard. But I applied the same 5% more mindset to them. The end result is. I’m happier than I was. I’m less miserable than I was.

So I hope you can see that, it all starts with us, as an individual. I’m good now. Are you?

Journal #146 – Perpetually Happy, No Such Thing

There is no such thing as being perpetually happy.

Happy is an emotion state. It comes and go. Just like any other emotions.

Life will take it away from you.

Life will give it to you.

What you can do is try your best to achieve a certain level of internal mood stability and contentment.

How to do that? I don’t know about you or what’s your life like so I can’t give you any advice. As for me, I’m still figuring it out as I go about my life.

Now what I can tell you is what I have tried and what worked for me based on the many YouTube videos I have watched.

I know minimalism has put me one step closer to contentment. By intentionally focusing on what I need and removing things that I don’t need or use anymore, I was taking away mental clutter. It cleared my head.

Taking a step back and recognizing the fact that you are alive, surrounded by people who love you, and be grateful for that is also another thing that helped me to be happier than how I was two months ago or maybe even one year ago.

Learning to let go. It’s a work in progress. My neurotic mindset is always having me think of the worse that could happen to whatever event I will be going or to the thing that I do own. I let the feelings in, I acknowledged the feelings, and review what I can do about it. If I recognize that I can’t do anything about it, I let it go, and apply the 5 second rule. Then I switched focus on the next important thing in life.

Diet. Diet plays a bit part on your mood whether you acknowledge it or not. For me, my recent diet of salad and proteins for lunch with minimum carbohydrates has definitely helped improve my mood. I felt more alive and more courteous to strangers whom I interact with. And so I’m gonna keep doing that.

Here I conclude my journal for today.