Publishing My First Application: Hourrency

Ever since I started working part-time alongside college, I started looking at prices as work hours. This was an effective way for me to budget my money and make sound decisions on spending on luxuries and needs. Looking at work hours as a form of currency did change my perspective of things. It made me think whether spending my money on a product was worth the hours of work I did to earn that same amount of money.

Years went by and I realized it was kinda inconvenient for me to constantly whip out my calculator before making a decision to buy a product. Thus, came an idea for me to code an application for myself so that I don’t have to keep opening my calculator app and trying to remember how much I was earning per hour at my job. However, I had just one problem. I didn’t know how to code.

Over the past couple of weeks, I overcame the biggest hurdle of making my idea a reality – which was to learn how to code. Through various guides and how-to-code applications, I learned how to find my way round Java as well as Android Studio. I spent sleepless nights squashing bugs and figuring out why my application didn’t work or kept crashing. After countless days and nights, I came up with a simple savings-goals application that keeps a list of stuff that the user want to save up for and allows the user to convert prices into work hours. On top of that, users are able to see how many shifts they’d have to work to be able to save up for the item. Well. Not bad for a beginner.

Hourrency Banner
Promotional Banner for Hourrency

I decided to name the application Hourrency. It’s like a combination of “Hour” and “Currency.” I spent hours on cleaning up the user interface to make sure that it’ll look comfortable on the users’ eyes. Over time, I’ll definitely add new features based on feedback, and I’m curious to know what you think! One thing I learnt from this experience is that doing something as simple as this is tedious and time-consuming and we probably owe it to the developers that take the time to develop the software that we take for granted day-to-day.

You can download the Android App here.

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Airplanes

His heart is melting,
from the warmth of the engines,
that take him off into the skies,
like the flare in her eyes.

And she’s stalling,
deep inside,
And in the March monsoon that’s coming,
she’s getting out of sight.

And in the name of the crosswinds of the Straits that meet,
and the South China Sea,
up high, he’s gliding through thousands of feet,
to ground the agony she sees.

But in the cold rough clouds that are bitter,
and it hurts it’s a distance to reach her,
he looked up to the stars at Orion in vain,
“Why can’t we just love like Airplanes?”

Love like Airplanes.

And When His Shield Broke

And there was once a boy from the East Coast. Who had dark brown eyes. And jet black hair, that covered his head like the branches of the palm trees from his hometown. With his black hair, he donned his black rectangular eyeglasses that complemented his lightly-tanned face like grills to a window. And he had a wide smile that never failed to frown be it in the darkest storms of the night or in the brightest sun of the day.

But what nobody else did know was that wherever he went, he would carry along his shield in the pocket of his dark blue jeans. He would carry it to school into his classes, downtown as he hung out with his friends, and into his bed when it gets cold after 10. His shield served as his only protection. His only protection from his enemies; the canon fire, the swords, and the torch arrows that lay siege to him every single day. And at the end of every attack, the shield would always remind him in an assuring and calming voice, “I will always be there to protect you.”

And by the belt of Orion in the equatorial night sky, and the monsoon clouds of the South China Sea, the shield never failed to defend the boy; the one person it unconditionally loved and supported for years. However, the love wasn’t surprisingly mutual. The two never looked eye-to-eye with each other. The boy was pretty much discarded by the cracks on the shield’s metal plate and the blows it took to make sure that he was able to breathe through life safely and soundly. And never did he ever thank the shield for its service to him as his protector because he knew the shield was merely observing its God-given responsibility.

But then came an unfortunate time, when the boy’s Golden Age had begun to fade away, and the invasions and attacks became stronger and stronger. And although the hordes came pounding and knocking on his walls, the shield held firm unwillingly to surrender. But as the walls begun to crumble, realisation hit the boy like a twenty-pound sledgehammer — the shield he held on to was not going to hold out any longer. In desperation, the boy closed his eyes and waved his shield in the air knowing that it was his only last line of defence against the invasion. Wave after wave the shield took the blows of longswords that mercilessly strike at it, and the arrows that puncture through its already cracked-filled weakened skin. And this was when not even hope and love could keep the shield together. And when a clamorous thud of canon fire was heard, the boy opened his eyes to only see ashes in his hands. The shield he had held firmly in his hands for years had been broken.

Danish Danial on the staircase shot.

And when his shield broke, nothing else could protect him from the continued attacks. And all he did was vigorously spread his arms, looking left and right in disarray trying to pick up the ashes of the shield and hoping that it would come back to shape. And all of this was pointless and the boy knelt down crying burning tears of hopelessness as the attackers crawled their way into his heart and begun hammering it down ferociously. As cracks expanded like creases to paper on his heart, and as spears impaled through like sticks to a fruit, the boy did nothing and only stood there hoping for a miracle to happen. As his heart was starting to break, the dark brown eyes had begun to turn blood red. His jet black hair that covered his head began to shed like trees in autumn. His eyeglasses dismantled into countless pieces. And for after a long time, his wide smile began to frown.

But he knew deep inside the very same heart of his, he shouldn’t let the attackers break him. He knew that if he just stood there, the cracks on his late shield’s metal plate and the arrow blows it took was all for nothing. And he didn’t want to disappoint the shield that loved and cared for him all of these years and continue the legacy that his shield fought and protected for.

And by the belt of Orion in the equatorial night sky, and the monsoon clouds of the South China Sea, he stood back up, clenched his fists and fought back the invaders. His enemies went down one by one, repelled away, and started to retreat. And as he saw the invaders run away like an army of ants from a gust of wind, he realised that all this while he was able to protect himself and he took his late shield all for granted. And finally he glanced at the ashes of his shield, with love and tenderness, and in the same calming voice, he replied, “I knew you were always there to protect me.”

The Fall Of Societies

PREFACE

Personal Dwellings

I have to disclaim that writing about the functionalities of communities ain’t my forté, and what I’m doing here is simply publishing right out of my alley. I’m no doctor nor professional analyst, for what most would call what those people do, but I’m just one of them who had been intrigued by this topic of study for a couple of years now, and I believe I wanna write down what I had found so far. I have to admit though that my thoughts can go all over the place so, some headings seem not to kinda link to each other. My language isn’t proficient as well to express my ideas.

An Introduction to Technology

It has become increasingly obvious to anyone that with the advent of rapid advancements in technology, our human-to-human interaction started to fall apart. These advancements in technology would essentially include the usual social media platforms we use everyday, the addictive mobile games that we have on our phones, and entertainment applications such as YouTube. These mobile applications are accessible anywhere so long as you still have some of that charge on your mobile phone. It is no doubt that in the oblivion of the masses of people utilising these, not only do they play a huge part in our modern lives, they also consume the social aspects of them. Well, if you are unaware of how troubling this is, if by any chance you are at the dinner table with your friends or family whilst reading this, I bet that a majority at the table are staring at their mobile screens at the current moment.

“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” – Albert Einstein

Social Media

My Take

While I do agree that this advancement in technology brings some benefit in bringing our loved ones far away closer, at the same time, it does in a way push those close to us farther. Saying this, I still do believe that it is a double-edged sword starting to grow sharper on one side, and blunter on the other. This is something that I personally take as an extremely worrying issue because not only does it eat up our lives, it is starting to integrate into our lively routines as if it had always been. It is integrating to the point where we are dipping into an age where passion becomes only interest. Interest becomes routine. And routine becomes chore.

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Take for example the role of social media for instance. I have to admit it’s something closer to me since I am a victim myself. Social media is a place where I find most of my comfort. On Facebook especially, I can find funny videos and pictures all at one go on my news feed, and Instagram where I can go all out creative with my photos. The problem here is that initially, from platforms that help me update my friends on what I’m currently doing, they turn into popularity-greed tools. With reference to the popularity idea, over time, social media start to appeal to the narcissistic side of people which start to grow and overwhelm them. This means that users don’t go to social media for information on their close ones’ well-being, but rather go there to check on the number of likes or followers they have. Contrary to some belief, these numbers do actually result in users worrying about the syntax of how these numbers grow and fall. It’s funny because eventually the amount of concern they put into these numbers grow to become much more significant than the amount of concern they put into the issues they are facing in real-life, and this is already an example of how social media is already starting to occupy a huge part of our lives. As a consequence, these users tend to post content that would get a lot of attention to maintain their “numbers”.

On Passion and Sincerity

Nowadays, content that would get a lot of attention are those that appeal to people’s pathos, or the emotional aspect. A really good example would be volunteer work. While volunteer work is a good thing, making it a big thing over on social media can spoil it. Taking reference to the idea of popularity, obviously, the insincerity of the person doing the work can be highlighted in the over-emphasising of the “good” work he or she had done in the bid to get more attention. This is an example of how passion subsides to become a chore. A chore in trying to attend as much volunteer work and get as much media coverage as possible to share it with people online. Social media does a great job in a way in creating a barrier where people pretend to be someone they are not. How does this contribute to the fall of a society? Well, if social media already set the trend, we can only expect more “insincerities” in the next generation thereafter, and we can only watch this tradition grow. This is a bad thing especially if we want to see a harmonious community in the future connected by strong passion and belief to help one another in terms of volunteer work.

With relation to content-making, in the light of a couple of funeral events for the past few years, you can see huge numbers of people whipping out their phones to record almost every single moment of the funeral. This is starting to be sort of the trend now, and it’s sad because the tradition and the elements of sorrow and forlorn in the funeral service would just eventually disappear over time. Life will just turn into one whole concert. The problem here is that once a community abandons its traditions, you can only expect its downfall.

“Social media sites creates an illusion of connectivity .” – Malay Shah

Human Interaction

On Comparison

In the past year, my family and I went on trips to a couple of cities overseas which included Bali (well it’s technically an Island), Busan, and Seoul. For me, there was a really huge contradiction between these cities, and it came to me as a big surprise.

Bali

Bali, the most technologically underdeveloped region among the three, consists of quite a number of villages that are still trapped behind time amidst all of the development of the top-tiered cities of the country. We cycled down Mount. Kintamani and followed a tour where we passed by a couple of traditional Balinese villages and communities. It was quite a heart-warming experience. As we passed by houses, children and people would come out and flail their arms in the air and greet us, and this happened not only in a particular single community, but multiple communities as we cycled down the roads. We would also see kids running around the fields and pathways playing their own mini games as they should be, and grown ups grinning at them as they play.

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It is quite evident here that instilled in every villager here is the sense of community, working together to get through with life affairs, and at the same time, striving to become happy while doing so. It’s surprising that they don’t need the help of technology in doing so.

Busan

Moving on to Korea, we visited the cities of Busan and Seoul. Although both of the cities are situated in the same country, the two cities do differ quite significantly in a number of ways. For Busan, I noticed that there was a higher percentage of elderly people as compared to Seoul. Keeping in mind the higher proportion, usually, we would assume that the elderly are not the kind of IT savvy group of people, and so largely, Busan’s population is not really hyped with all of the technology. In the subways of Busan, I had a very unique commuting experience. Most of the commuters didn’t really have their phones with them. Instead, they would talk to the person next to them and ask about how they’re doing, how they’re coping with life, and sometimes, they would share stories of their own as well. As an added bonus, there were multiple times when the elderly would actually offer to have my youngest sister on their laps throughout the train journeys and I thought that it was something very sweet.

I remember finally getting a seat next to this elderly man after standing for a long period of time. Well, I was minding my own business staring blankly towards the floor when he started gently tugging my black glove that I was wearing on my left hand. In my head I was thinking, “What is this guy trying to do?”

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I mean it was out of nowhere and I didn’t know the man at all. So I turned my head towards him with the “confused-stare” look and he immediately asked me with a smile in a soft, frail voice, “Cold?” I replied with a simple nod of the head.

He went on to ask, “Where you are from?”

“Singapore,” I acknowledged.

With a heart-warming grin on his face, “Welcome in Busan.”

He continued by asking for my age and he started talking about the things that he did when he was my age. He also shared about his work life and stories when he was transitioning into his work life. It was evident he was not proficient in English but he did make the effort to form coherent sentences for me to understand. I went ahead to ask for his age and to my surprise, for such a fit looking person, he claimed that he was 72 years of age. For me the fact that he was 72 is surprising for me since he probably saw the war happened when he was a kid.

After a little bit of story sharing, the train finally reached his intended stop. He gave a small bow, stepped outside of the train onto the platform, and waited for the train to leave. Only when the train left, he gave a small bow and waved at me with the same heart-warming grin on his face.

I guess I can say that what really made my trip here in Busan memorable was the people. How they made me feel like I’m no stranger here, and made no one else feel like a stranger here. I really do believe that the impact the people and then culture left on me here is really something that I will not forget for a long time.

Seoul

Seoul is probably a city that I would safely compare with Singapore. A city going through rapid development, having a very tech-savvy population, and behind the concrete urban jungle, there’s all sorts of cultural elements. To my shock, when I arrived in Seoul from Busan, I notice that there was a change in culture, I would say. It had begun to remind me of Singapore. Commuters all focused on their mobile screens. I didn’t at all have the same experience and hospitality that I received in Busan (not that I expected really).

Precision

On The Smallest Of Things

Thanks to analog, we now have good degree of precision be it in calculation or checking the time. In precision, we tend to care for the smallest of digits, and the smallest of things, and in this, we make the smallest of things look big, in a way. Sadly, while precision does have its benefits, we human tend to take the psychology and thinking from this and apply it wrongly to real-life. Take the time to scroll down Facebook and read the comments sections of articles that mainly talk about “new measures” or “new initiatives”. Even if the article talks about initiatives that actually benefits the community and public, there are bound to be comments that actually find a way in complaining about the matter. This growing culture of complaining is worrying since it is drowning out the amount of appreciation that we have for the good things that we have currently, and this is just something that deviates us from the golden principles and traditions that we had.

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Fin

What This Means

I read this article on The Straits Times last week about how Singapore isn’t the same as it was back in the 1960s. It described how development destroyed the “kampung spirit” that we have in Singapore. In a way, this can be attributed to the advancements in technology that we are currently experiencing. How so? As I described, technology such as social media plays a part in drenching our minds in self-interest, and it is this self-interest that leads to the breaking up of communities. Along with this, without us knowing, it invites us to slowly walk away from our past traditions, as well as moral values.

So What

We need to pay attention and study the human-to-hardware interaction, and make ourselves understand that whatever happens in the hardware itself is something separate from how we get through with our lives. In gaming terms, it’s sorta like an extra DLC to a game. In order for our next generation to not be consumed by such a technology, we need to make them understand the ethics and morals of such technology usage in a bid to not allow them to be faced with these extra negative side-effects.

If this were to continue, in the future, we can only see ties of kinship be severed, and people will only free those whom they only know, and we will witness the fall of societies.

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Publishing Little Gray Dot

After a long school term,

I’M BACK.

Well, life at school had been quite hectic. Submitting assignment after assignment, and it seemed as if I didn’t really have time to do the other things that I loved to do, including blogging. It’s finally the summer holidays and I am looking forward to the long 2 months of relaxation ahead of me!

During one of the weeks of the school term, I suddenly had this whole crazy idea of publishing a book. Well, it’s crazy because number 1, I suck at writing. Number 2, I’m still quite too young to publish a full fledged book. However, just recently, I saw that dream came true for me, and that dream was the Little Gray Dot photo-book.

At the end of the term, I compiled all of my notes together and stitched them together to form pages of little paragraphs to accompany my photos. Afterwards, I started choosing the photos that I really liked to go into the book. To be specific, the photos were street and cityscape photography that I had taken over the past few years since I started my interest in the field of photography. I really feel that this book would work because I doubt that nobody out there have ever stitched together a nice little book comprising of photos that weren’t even captured using professional cameras. That’s another double-edged sword thing because I realised that the quality of the photos won’t look as great as well… however I just went with the risk.

Singapore Skyline

The aim of the book is to show people around the world a different perspective of Singapore. Most people think that Singapore is a very typical city, however, I believe otherwise. Under the rapid development and behind the concrete jungle, there are things in between that people tend to miss that makes Singapore, Singapore. Those little things are what I like to call things that contribute to the diversity of the society of the city that I live in.

For the cover page, I managed to choose this picture of the Singaporean skyline that I took from the rooftop of a residential block. I spent a few hours designing the cover page as well as testing out what fits. Afterwards, I went ahead to choosing how many pages I wanted and so, I stick to about 100 pages since it fitted nicely within my budget. Then comes the tricky part of how I wanted to place my photos. This took me a few days because I couldn’t perceive how large the photos would look in real life. The other part of the book I had to complete is the writing bit. Well, this didn’t take me long because again, I basically just stitched up my past writing work into paragraphs.

Cardboard collector in Telok Ayer.

After a few days of hard work, I finally did it. I published my first book ever. And I am really excited to hear responses from the public on my book! It’s exciting because I know I’m a guy who loves to hear criticism from people and through that, I can improve myself! Nevertheless, this is definitely a milestone in my life and something that I would definitely look back to in the future.

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You can find the book below!

Siemens C651 Memory Project

AHOY TO ALL TRAIN ENTHUSIASTS!

According to a few sources on the internet, as well as The Siemens C651 Train Fact Page on SGTrains, the Siemens C651 trains running on the East-West and North-South lines are going to undergo a refurbishment and upgrading process. This process involves changing the look of the train, interior and exterior, as well as changing the engines (WHICH MEANS THAT THE MELODIOUS TUNE IS GOING TO GO!).

I believe that for most of us, we regard this train as something that’s very dear to us; the yellowish-stained interior, the unique tune it has to its engines, the original white and red livery it has. Ever since I was little, I get really excited once I catch such a treasure because again, I really like the melodious tune of the train engine and the unique look it has as compared to the other trains. For me, personally, I know that I am going to miss the train in the future once they’ve all been refurbished with completely new looks.

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ALRIGHT SO…

For the past few months I have been working on a personal project to archive some images and videos of this particular train after hearing that it’s going to undergo refurbishment for the next few years. Only now, I decided to open up to the public to share pictures and videos of your own and probably share your own stories with this particular train, well, since it going to be a “completely new train” once it’s all refurbished.

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I am interested to see what all of you can come up with. It can be some sick serious photography work or like a picture of yourself with the particular train. If the response is really good I might actually feature a few pictures on my Facebook page for your viewing pleasure. On top of that I might actually create a forum thread in the future on SGTrains on this particular project and see how it goes. In the meantime you can always send the photos through the Facebook messenger, or email them to danishdanial@danishdanialbinanuar.com, or post your stories on the SGTrains thread!

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The other reason as to why I started up this project is because I want the future generation of train enthusiasts to know what trains were like in our current time. My secondary objective is to also encourage creativity among the public. Anyways, I really hope that this project will go better as planned as compared to my other public projects and I’m waiting to hear from all of you soon. (:

As always, time is ticking.

Facebook | SGTrains Forum Thread

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Istana Woodneuk

HISTORY.

HOW IT CAME ABOUT.

In 1890, Istana Woodneuk was built by the then Sultan of Johore, Sultan Abu Bakar, for his wife Sultanah Khadijah. In 1904, just before The Sultanah’s passing in the house, the palace was sold to Sultan Abu Bakar’s son, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar. By 1935, Sultan Ibrahim’s plans to expand the palace was completed to celebrate his 62nd birthday and 40 year reign as Sultan of Johore. The expansions was built to impress his Scottish-Born wife, Helen Bartholomew, whose he had married in 1930. She was made Sultanah Helen Ibrahim in 1931.

INVASION OF SINGAPORE.

During World War II, in 1940, part of the palace was mainly used as the Indian Regiments’ Head Quarters. However, it was also used by soldiers of different nationalities. A famous historical figure in the South-East Asian context who occupied the palace at one time included Governor General Malcolm MacDonald. A military hospital was also set up in the palace. On the 12th of September 1942, the Japanese bombed the palace in an air raid killing 700 medics and patients.

POST WAR.

By 1948, Istana Woodneuk was finally returned to Sultan Iskandar after military use. With the death of the Sultan in 1959, there are many questions as to how the palace was utilised afterwards. Some sources indicate that the house continued to be utilised by close friends of the Sultan as a form of a place of stay. However, there are very little sources that indicate when the house was eventually vacated and left abandoned. Since it was abandoned, graffiti artists have been intruding the palace to do some “wall art”, and there were possibilities that Satanic Cults used the palace as a place of worship. In 2006, a fire engulfed the palace, devouring everything including the blue-tiled roof. It was deemed uninhabitable ever since.

MEIN EXPERIENCE.

A friend of mine and I agreed to visit this palace when we were scrolling through places to visit in Singapore. Istana Woodneuk caught our eyes because when we saw all of the cool graffiti that littered the house, we thought that it was a great opportunity to take a few pictures.

It was in the afternoon that day so Holland Road was quite busy. We tried our best not to look too suspicious and get caught so we went in through a small trail next to the overhead bridge opposite Peirce Road that was paved in the woods, rather than the other popular trail to get in (It had a Police perimeter set up around it, and a signboard warning trespassers).

When I first went inside, I was confused as to where to go because there was no distinct trail to follow. This was all I saw.

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Eventually, I had to use Google Maps to make sure that I was walking in the right direction. Along the journey, there were obstacles like cobwebs, large monitor lizards, vines that can trip you over, holes to jump over, and also steep hills to climb. On top of that, we also had to be aware that were are actually trespassing private property, and be aware of people who happen to pass by.

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After a couple of mosquito bites and spiderwebs sticking in our faces, we were overjoyed to finally find the palace at the end of a dirt trail.

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There was more vegetation than I expected. I mean, I saw the photos posted by other urban explorers and there was supposed to be a clearer view of the building from a distance, not covered by the trees and grass.

When we reached the entrance, we were greeted warmly by old furniture at the entrance.

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As we went further inside, we saw more and more unused furniture that people dumped inside the living room.

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On the first room to the left, there were a bunch of unwanted water containers.

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We didn’t really explore further into these rooms. In fact, we went straight to the second floor through the old rickety wooden steps that could seemingly collapse at any time. But before that, we took some photos of the living room.

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As we went up the steps, on the stair landing, we saw this chair oddly placed in the middle, and so we thought that it was a great place to take a photo!

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When we looked up, we saw the effects of the fire that burned down the roof. There were even black canvas that were lined on the ceilings to catch the falling tiles.

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From the top of the steps, we could see multiple rooms and corridors since most of the doors were taken down, and the most of the walls collapsed.

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Well, sadly, again, we didn’t explore too deep on the second level either.

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So this was why we stopped exploring the palace. When we were at the top of the steps, we actually heard footsteps moving from the right to the left in the living room. There were plastics sheet on the left side of the living room which made some rustling noises when the footsteps passed it too. Freaked out, we decided to leave immediately. But of course, we took a photo before leaving the territory completely.

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Overall, it was really an exhilarating experience!

P.S. I set up a new Facebook page here!

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TapakBesar

COLLEGE’S BEEN A PAIN.

…and it’s only Week 1. However, to add on to the pain, I created a new Instagram account to showcase Cityscape and Street Photography in Singapore. However, the stress comes in when there is almost close to no engagement on the account whatsoever. So, I have been pulling my hair out for the past few days trying to publicise this.

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Actually… the main reason why I created this account is because my current one is too… messy. There’s personal stuff mixed in with some of my photography work. So I thought that creating a new account with just my plain photography work can make it well… “clean”. On top of that, since most of the youth nowadays are so hooked on to Instagram, Instagram is probably a great way to inspire more youth to work on creativity because I believe that creativity can leave a huge impact on our future.

The name for the Instagram account is inspired by my physical appearance. For a long time people called me “big foot”. …and big feet produce big footprints. …and so I translated this into Malay and that’s how @tapakbesar came about. I actually had a lot of trouble with the profile picture for the account. I initially wanted to have the letters “T” and “B” in Arabic combined together in a logo but this didn’t really look attractive. In the end, I was happy with a picture I took of myself in front of a bunch of HDB blocks in Rochor Road.

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I tried to create a unique identity for the personality I have on my new Instagram account. For example, I decided to type all of my sentences without the use of capitalisation. Also, I try to cut my sentences as short as sweet as possible without losing any of the substance. As for my biography, I added in an “amen kau” next to my email which is a slightly aggressive Malay phrase which translates to “take that”. Or something along those lines.

Hopefully I can get some publicity soon with some advertisements. I guess we will see how this works in the next few weeks.

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instagram.com/tapakbesar

The Heck Am I Doing Here?

It’s been more than a year since I’ve started this whole thing. So why the heck did I start The Amygdala Of Mine in the first place?

Well.

A year ago, I started to have interest in photography. Looking back, honestly, the photos that I produced then were kinda bad looking. However, in my head during that time, I thought my photos were great. So, I thought I wanted to write stories behind the photos that I had taken through this blog. On top of that, I had a lot of free time after my major ‘O’ Levels examinations.

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The main reason why I thought my photos stood out from the rest is because I did street photography. Street photography usually involves taking photos of strangers on the streets doing their own thing so… it involves a little bit of sneakiness. For that fact, of course not that many people do street photography and as a result, turn to other forms of photography like architecture or maybe landscapes and scenery. To add on, I had (and still have) the challenge of doing all of that in a smartphone because I didn’t (and I still don’t) have the money to get a Professional Camera.

I knew I was doing something different.

…and therefore, to give more feeling to my photos, I added a little bit of story. This also gives me an opportunity to share my thoughts about things like school life and possibly social life.

Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?

I’m a person who likes to get a lot of attention. HAHA. Trust me. I know myself. If I don’t, I’ll start to get a little lonely and slowly slip into that sad state. In real life, if I wanted some attention, I do it in a form of some emotional gesture or body language. Sometimes, I share emotionally appealing stories too.

Actually, I do have a personal journal, but sometimes, it can get a little boring because you don’t have anyone “alive” in my journal to comment on the things that I had written. But you can always give your journal to your friend next to you and ask them what they think, right? No. It’s just plain weird. HAHA!

What topics do you think you’ll write about?

Like I said, most of my posts are going to be accompanied or based on my amateur photography work. For me, the reason why I do street photography is because I kinda like to explore the way different people live and you know… kinda explore their cultures a little bit. So, my posts are going to be largely be on things like Social Issues, Travel, and occasionally, Food. I’m probably going to write about my personal life once in a while if I feel like it too. I mean it’s MY BLOG right? I can do whatever I want.

Who would you love to connect with via your blog?

To be honest, I have no specific target audience, neither do I have anyone specifically I would love to connect to via my blog. I’m happy as long as there’s some readership here and people commenting their thoughts and sharing their ideas on my posts.

If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

I’m a guy with no goals. I just go with the flow. I really don’t hope to accomplish anything much… except maybe to get some recognition for my photography work and the stories behind them, and probably get other bloggers to have an exposure to the different things that I see for myself everyday or in my travels.

How… should I end this?

Hmm… well I’m just a teenager doing what most other teenagers do; sharing everything about their lives on the internet. But the reason why I chose blogging as compared to other social media sites is simply because the blogging community seems to a very vibrant community and blogging is less confined or restrictive as compared to other forms of social media. I mean… there’s a whole blank page for you to write whatever you want to write about, with endless possibilities!

Oh. and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Tempeh In A Pot Of Kimchi

So.

After 3 years with my phone, it died of the cold here in Seoul. All of my work, projects and photos went with it. However, I looked at this more of an eye-opener rather than a… erm… loss. I mean from what I learnt in Busan, not having a phone actually made me realise the importance of disconnecting with the virtual world and re-connecting with the real world. I was able to appreciate every moment and every second of my time here in this vibrant city.

Anyways, like I said, I lost most of the pictures I took here (coincidentally, ALL of them were pictures of food) in Seoul, and as a substitute for my phone, I brought along my MacBook Pro and used the front facing camera to take photos. So, I’m sorry if the quality of the photos degrade as you scroll down this post.

THROWN INTO THE POT

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It was about a 2-hour bus ride from Pyeongchang to Dong-Seoul Bus Station where we rode a taxi to our little motel in Hyehwa. The long journey was painful but the sights and views as we went along actually helped alleviate the strenuosity of sitting in a tight, confined seat for a long time.

My first impression of Seoul was that it was a City of Bridges. I mean… it’s kinda hard to miss a bridge here. Well, they have to build the bridges to link up both sides of the Han river that cuts through the city core. There are bridges of all kinds ranging from suspension bridges, to regular beam ones. Most of them have eye-popping architectural features that make them stand out in the city skyline.

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PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

As always, the subway is a popular choice of public transportation for tourists. Like we did in Busan, we did face some complications using the subway system for the first time. I’ll just list some tips here in case you want to know how to get around some of those problems.

  • When entering the gates, tap once and enter immediately. I was confused the first time because when I first saw the gates fully opened the first time, I thought the gate was faulty.
  • If you were rejected entry after tapping (like me the first time), go over to the wheelchair gate, and press the “HELP” button (or a huge button there).
  • Make sure you take note of our destination station, and take note of the next station after your station of departure that is in the direction towards your destination station. This is so that you enter the right platform when you tap in the gates since the most of the platforms are separated.
  • If you happen to enter the wrong platform, tap out, and proceed to point number 2.
  • Remember to get your refunds for your single use cards.

…and here’s a remix of Seoul’s Subway announcements I did when I was bored.

Alright. Now that’s out of the way…

I feel that there is a huge different in environment and culture here in Seoul’s Subway as compared to Busan’s. Like I said in my blog post about my experience in Busan, smartphones seem to disconnect people from the real world which takes away opportunities to socialise with people and getting to know one another. In a developed and hectic city like Seoul, of course people have to be stuck to their phones to keep up with… “important” matters.

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Once again, it’s a developed and hectic city. So, I expected a lot of traffic going through the system which means that peak hours were a “blast.” Like really. I pulled my hair out looking at the crowds that swarmed through the stations.

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Did I have to stand for long periods of time? Surprisingly not! There were actually many kind citizens that gave up their seats to us tourists!

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Oh yeah. We had to walk quite a bit in the underground link-ways that connected the different lines in interchanges.

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Surprisingly, there little shops that actually sell food are common along those link-ways. It came as a shock to me because in Singapore, food and drinks are not allowed to be consumed in the subway. Other than food, goods that are sold include apparel, toys, and even fruits!

COMMIES IN SIGHT

On our third day here, we got DMZ (The Korean Demilitarized Zone) train tickets to take us towards Dorusan, which is the northern-most station in Seoul. We simply got the tickets at the main ticket counter at Seoul Station. It takes about 2 hours to get there.

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Dorusan is located in the DMZ Zone, which is a buffer zone that separates North and South Korea. It was created in an agreement in 1953 during the Cold War. It is considered to be one of the most dangerous places on Earth since both the North and the South have never signed a peace treaty. So basically, while you’re on tour there, bombs and rockets can start to fly and bombard out of the blue.

Sadly, we only stayed around Imjingak, which was the station before Dorusan. At Imjingak, there was a carnival (I thought it’s kind of weird) and a couple of tourist attractions which include a bunker that showcased art from the Korean War, and an observatory that allows you to peek into the opposite side of the border.

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There were also a couple of monuments to honour those that died protecting South Korea against the communists from the North.

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I think what I learnt from my trip to the DMZ was that actually, behind all of the “aggression”, the Koreans one day long to re-unite the two Koreas under one flag.

And actually… I made this post on Facebook…

Interestingly… if you walk around the souvenir shops, if you look closely at the maps and the globes that they sell, especially the ones that are made in Korea, the entire Korean Peninsula is combined into a single nation, with Pyongyang and Seoul as twin capitals. One day, the people hope that someday… Korea will be united under a single flag

THE OUTSKIRTS

So… to Everland we go… It was quite a distance actually. We had to book a taxi to get here. Everland is basically a theme park with loads of attractions which were unfortunately closed due to the bad weather. …and the weather literally turned Everland into EVERLAND. I mean it takes you to a different place when the heavy fog kicked in.

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Of course we wouldn’t end the day without fireworks!

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STREETS

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Like I always say, my favourite part of the trip is to sit by the side and watch how people carry out their normal lives, and you can pretty much find all of these in the streets. It can be a really fascinating place to understand better one’s culture.

For me, I understand culture not only from the “people”, but also from studying architectural structures. You can find this wall entrance at Dongdaemun.

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…and this is the Lotte Tower which is under construction.

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…and some other buildings…

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Here… we explore deeper into the minor lanes and streets…

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Like in Busan, cardboard collectors were a common sight.

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Well, after 10 days in Korea, I can say it was an exhilarating experience. For more pictures from Seoul, you can head over to my VSCO Grid!

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