The first day

Do you remember your first day in kindergarten? I do not have memories of my own of this day but my mother has told me hers. I am the eldest child and as a result my mother was apprehensive when the day came for her to leave me for the very first time in foreign care. Kindergarten in Singapore is not a playgroup but rather a pre-school. Children learn how to read and write in Kindergarten. I even attended Mandarin lessons as a second language. Unfortunately I was not allowed to continue it in primary school.

Where was I? Oh yes, kindergarten! My mother put me in my uniform, packed my school bag and walked me to the kindergarten. As we approached the building, she saw children freaking out to varying degrees. Some were hanging onto their family members refusing to enter the classroom. Others were crying their hearts out. Some even ran away and were caught and carried back to the classroom. My mom couldn’t bear the thought of seeing me crying. (Actually she admitted that she felt like crying herself.) However I surprised her by taking my school bag from her hands at the entrance and entered the classroom willingly. She still couldn’t bear leaving me alone and peeked through the window to see how I was coping. She said that when I saw that I waved at her; waved at her to go away that is. 🙂

Tomorrow I have another first day ahead of me. On the one hand, I am really excited and looking forward to starting a new job in a new company. I will pack my back tonight, pick out the clothes to wear tomorrow and check out the train schedule. Things I imagine little Irene might have done the day before she went to kindergarten for the first time too; except for checking for the train schedule. J

But there is a part of me that is feeling apprehensive, and afraid. So many ‘What Ifs’ fleet through my mind. I wonder if little Irene was afraid that day too? Did her joy to learn outweigh her fear being left alone, being with strangers or to fail? Maybe I am thinking too much about it. After all my instinct says that it was the right decision to take on this job and that it is exactly the kind of work I enjoyed.

What are your experiences on your first day at a new job?

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Forget him not

This flash fiction is inspired by the following photo prompt. the challenge is hosted by Madison Woods.

I welcome constructive criticism that’s why I am posting these pieces on a blog. 🙂 Thanks in advance.

Wordcount: 100

A barbwire fence separates me from the spot, where he took his last breath. I see the emergency crew laying him on a stretcher. They try in vain to get his heart pumping again. But his body had slammed into the steering wheel with a tremendous impact. The damage was too much for his young body to bear. Why didn’t he buckle his seatbelt? Why did he drive drunk? Why didn’t his friends stop him?

Now I stand beside the road and brave the elements to serve as a warning against the senseless loss of life. Don’t drink and drive!

5 Reasons – Why procrastinating writers should not be blogging

Reason 1 – Blogging is simply another way to continue procrastinating
I was actually proud of the fact that I have actually kept one of the resolutions I made for this year – to blog every day. I was happy until the moment I started analysing what I have accomplished in the first quarter of 2012. I am ashamed to say that all of my other resolutions have failed. I am far from a flat tummy. I haven’t even started exercising yet! I stopped keeping a To Do list a long time ago. It was supposed to help me overcome my procrastination by setting doable goals every day. Instead I spend hours on the internet researching for the next post, writing the next post, replying to comments on past posts or researching my Stats page every other minute. While every view makes me feel happier it also binds me to continuously refresh the Stats page, wanting to get another adrenaline rush associated with a new view.

Reason 2 – Writing posts takes away time that could be used to write that book
As some of you might be aware of, I have been procrastinating in various areas of my private life. One such area is writing a novel. I have aspired to become a novelist for as long as I can remember. I love writing and I believe that I can communicate my ideas well in the written form. Therefore as I was making my resolution for this year, I decided that this would be the year I write that first book of mine. At that moment, I thought blogging would be a great way to get writing practice. While I might have written a handful of fictional pieces, most of my posts are about topics that caught my interest somehow. These posts take time to research and to condense the information in a readable post length. (My hunch is that most people do not read posts that are about a thousand words or more – too time consuming.) All that time invested for nothing much to show for it except for maybe a couple of likes. In the meantime that time and energy could have been invested in finally writing that draft novel.

Reason 3 – Building and maintaining the blog’s followers is a time consuming process
What is the use of writing, if no one is reading it, right? Well spread the message that you have a blog! You could post it on your Facebook profile but as I have mentioned in another post, chances are only 16% of your “friends” would even see that post. More than 2 months after I started blogging, I keep getting questioning remarks on my Facebook wall asking, “You have a blog?” So even if you have hundreds of Facebook friends, the number of views referred by FB could be really low. At the moment I get an average of 2 views per day referred to my site by Facebook. I have about 365 friends. You can calculate the percentage rate.

What else can you do? If you want to increase traffic to your site, WordPress advices you to read other blogs. But reading and liking a post is not enough to entice other bloggers to your own blog. You have to leave interesting comments on them. It might sound kind of sneaky but there is some sense to what they are proposing. After all, a comment is a teaser, showing your writing style and personal interests. Furthermore reading other blogs could help you improve yours, find new inspiration and simply become part of the blogger community. I have to admit that I have come across a few blogs that I would not have found otherwise. But the point is it is time consuming to get people to read your posts. (How many hours were there in a day?)

Reason 4: Bloggers are too nice to criticise
I have had the good fortune that I have only had friendly people visit my blog. Most visitors leave encouraging comments. I have posted some creative pieces, which I personally thought had weak parts. But I was surprised that I only received positive feedback. As I mentioned, the blogger community is too kind. I was thinking that I should add a comment at the bottom asking for constructive feedback. My work is not going to improve much, if it continues in this fashion.

Reason 5: Blogging is an ego-inflator
This point follows reason number 4. With all the praise and likes a post receives, it is difficult not to feel good about oneself. Feeling good is a good thing, right? Wrong! Feeling good in this case would mean that you are reaping the reward before even seriously starting to work on that book. For this very same reason, it is not recommendable to talk about your goals. It is how our brains are wired and I wrote more about it in this post. If you feel the reward, what is to entice you to do work afterwards? Suddenly I catch myself dreaming about getting Freshly Pressed instead of being published.

Conclusion
While blogging brought me into writing mode, it is keeping me away from the writing that novel. Soon I would be working fultime again and have much lesser free time. I shudder when I think about it.

Do you agree with me? Are you an aspiring author? What is your experience with blogging in relation to your goal to write a book?

Can you lose something that was never yours?

Yesterday I watched “Schlag den Raab” on TV; it is the German version of “Beat the Star”. Actually “Beat the star” is a copycat of “Schlag den Raab”. I wrote about Stefan Raab in one of my earlier posts. Yesterday’s candidate, Alexander, had the chance to win a million Euros. The game went on for more than 6 hours and was the longest show in the history of this series. Unfortunately Alexander lost the 15th game and with it 1 Million Euros.

Strictly speaking Alexander did not lose a million Euros. It was never his to begin with. What he had was the chance to win it. However I am pretty sure that after the show he must have felt the loss intensely. He was literally one shot away from a million Euros.

The 15th and final game was to kick a football through a rather large hole in a portable goal wall. It was also a game of sudden death; meaning that the game was over the moment only one of them does not score in a round. Just before he took the shot, Stefan Raab mentioned that it was a mean game. He said that people would not understand it, if one of them does not manage to shoot the ball through wall, because it looks relatively easy. He simulated the kick several times before finally kicking the ball. The ball sailed through the middle of the hole.

I wonder what Alexander’s strategy was, if he had a strategy in the first place? He kicked the ball relatively hard and hit the wall instead. The game was over after the very first shot! Six hours of hard work and nothing to show for it! Throughout the evening I was impressed with the strength and general knowledge of Alexander. He was as cool as a cucumber and a worthy competitor for Stefan Raab. Therefore I was surprised that he took the shot quickly and without obvious consideration.

How does he feel today? Does he feel the richer for the experience or the poorer for the loss? Would he be able to teach his kids play football in future, without thinking about how close he was to becoming a millionaire?

Can you lose something that was never yours?

Are my goals doomed to fail?

Today I watched a TED talk video by Derek Sivers titled: Keep you goals to yourself. Imagine how I felt when I watched it! I started blogging because I thought, if I told the world out there about my goals, I would feel obliged to see them through. According to Derek, it has been tested and proven that the opposite result is likely. Basically when we are admired for our goals, we feel satisfied. We are rewarded even before we achieve something and therefore we lose the dedication to see our goals through. It is the way our brains work. Continue reading

Thank You Teachers!

During my secondary school years I hated mathematics. Math was a nightmare for me. Somehow I could not memorise formulas or the rules to solve algebra equations. In the following four years, none of my math teachers could find a way for me to see the sense in what I was supposed to learn. Just before my GCE ‘O’ Level examinations, I was put in a special class together with others, who were in danger of failing the Math final examination too. Continue reading

What is in a name? Just about everything!

I read that a lot of parents regret the names they have given their children. One reason cited by parents for desiring a change is that the name is too popular. Don’t tell you did not see that one coming? I wonder why the name Edward ranks at about number 40 in the UK in 2010. Think you’re the only one who read Twilight and likes the old suave gentleman sound of the name? Continue reading