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It’s initially the religion that turned me into a vegetarian 17 years ago, only after getting to know more of the food source and bad treatment to animals and consequences to the mother nature,  I started to change my diet to be a vegan.

Wasn’t easy to give up the food I like though, eggs, chocolates, honey and cheese have to be out of my dietary few months ago. Afterward, I started to realize that, to be a vegan is more than just the food, it does including many of our daily necessities.

Other than the reason of not wanting animals to be exploited just to fulfill human desire (of tasty food), to minimize the harm to the earth is what important as well. (As farming is also one of the factors of pollution)

As a result,  I began to shop consciously for cruelty free/ no animal-testing/ environment friendly products, ranging from food to daily items such as detergent, skincare and personal care products .

It’s undeniable that I’ve got to pay higher for the same non-vegan items, sometimes it can be up to triple of the cost that I used to spend, however this won’t stop me and shouldn’t stop us to play our part to conserve the nature and to be kind to animals.

While some friends joking that being a vegan, “you shouldn’t kill plants as they have lives too”, and if I do really want to save environment, “you shouldn’t use a vehicle as not to release CO2 … you shouldn’t purchased items as those packaging are taken natural resources.”

Some other friends think that vegan are actually “ruining” the food chain, thus causing imbalance of the ecosystem.

Oh well, I truly agree with freedom of speech, I don’t confront them & respect their views. Nevertheless I do have my own justifications to stand firm as a beginner-vegan.

First, I personally believe that plants don’t have spirit & emotions like animals do, furthermore I don’t think Vegan is “destroying” the food chain as most meats consumed nowadays aren’t over-numbered wildlife animals, instead THEY ARE BREED ON PURPOSE TO SATISFY HUMAN TASTE BUD!

Secondly, I do bring my own recycle bag to shop whenever possible and reject receipts to be printed if not necessary. (yes and sorry to the earth that I’m guilty of still using a car)

I do wish to have a healthy cycling lifestyles, but there are some factors that make it impractical. WHY? If it were in my country, I’m either highly exposed to the risk of being a victim of criminal, or  have higher chance to die in an accident before arriving my destination with my bike (as not every nation is having cycling pathway, as well as parking facilities ready.)

If I were in NZ as currently, it’s much possible to cycle to work, the only concern is the extremely cold weather (for me, it’s 3/4 of the season) and the time taken. As I usually work for 12 hours, If I need to bike 1 hour to commute, plus preparing breakfast and dinner, I would be lack of time of resting, which I’d lost quality life.

Ok it may sound like excuses, anyway the message I wish to convey is what I always telling friends, “We are living in a modern world, we can’t deny that as long as we are still alive, we are “costing” the environment, but what we can do is to reduce the harm to a minimum level.” (That’s why some people are minimalist.)

For instance, computer is made from metal which they are thrown as waste when broken, thus it caused pollution. But the thing is we can’t eliminate to use them as a source of information and connect to the world using internet.

I think the key should be not changing gadgets frequently when new series of products are released. Send it to responsible recycle station/dealers only when it’s not responsive anymore, not just throw as a usual garbage,

Similarly, various factors make us not able to give up driving, thus we can choose to carpool with more people traveling to same destinations. They’re a lot more little things that we can do, shut the car engine while waiting, switch off power for anything not in use, reduce/reuse/recycle of  whatever you can think of.

What I’m practicing now is self-controlled on buying desires, not because of affordability (as I’m not a materialist), it about needs vs wants. Regardless of the price, I learn to ask myself “do I need it?”, because I know that the producing process of every item costs resources.

Eventually, things in the life are relevant to KARMA (I’m not trying to spread Buddhist teaching, haha), I simply believe that everything is correlated to the principle of “you’ll get what you’ve done”. For instance, girls make-up so that they feel more confident… some people never skip the daily skincare steps, that’s why they can have perfect skin… A person is so lovable because he/she is friendly and nice to everyone etc.

So does the climate crisis now, because human have always been taken mother nature for granted instead of appreciation. I knew that I may not bring a significant change, but together WE SURE CAN! I can only practice what I believe and try to influence others, and hopefully this get pass on.

At the end of the day, we’re all responsible to the planet.

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From time to time in recent years, I keep thinking on how to improve my life to make it more meaningful and happier. Especially saying goodbye to my 20’s, entering a new life milestone soon.

I am not rich as others as this age, not having a professional career either. Working long hours as a forklift driver in NZ, but I keep remind myself, life is not only about work. Dedicated most time to factory life, that’s why I must do some other things to create a work-life balance lifestyle.

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I always believe in karma as a principle of everything, how do u treated something/ someone, you’ll bear the same consequences. So, in order to improve my skin condition and have a healthy body, I decided to have boiled vegetables for most of my meals , give up artificial meat and processed food. Giving my body good foods, wishing that it could put me in a better shape.

To be honest, it’s quite hard for someone who is a big eater and get hungry easily like me. I was famished the first few days of trying this, getting better now. I’m dealing with controlling the desire to eat rather the the real feel of hunger.

Another plan of this year is to turn into VEGAN from vegetarian, because I started to realize no animals are born to serve human. I respect different views, but for me EARTH IS FOR ALL, not just human!

Due to the inconvenience to get a bread,cake or cookies that’s egg-free, I would try to make all these by myself. And so I am renting a “studio” unit soon. It will surely double-up my living expenses, but getting a proper privacy and have the full kitchen by myself is what’s worth for. (NOTE to my dear friends, if anyone happened to read this, sorry that my flat will be totally a MEAT-FREE ZONE, haha)

As a human in this planet, I believe we need to have some contributions back to the society in whatever means, as we more or less are getting something from the society from time to time. So I finally put into action of what I always wanna implement — donation to child-focused charity organization in NZ, other than I already did for world vision Malaysia. (I thought I would donate to UNICEF, it’s SAVE THE CHILDREN NZ in the end, it’s just fate).

$NZD15 per month sound a little, but it’s what I’m afford for now and I do hope you can join this kind of good deed too if you are reading until here. If we couldn’t afford to be the permanent volunteer, why don’t we support those who put in effort to make this world more wonderful?

To add value to myself, I forced myself to revise the online Spanish lesson every night before going to bed, regardless of tiredness after 12 hours work. It’s quite interesting and this kind of “force” actually makes me feel happy instead of stress. I finally make it through for 30 days continuously and I will make sure I keep on going. The ultimate goal is to have a long travel in South America communicating with locals in Spanish, rather than using body language.

Although I am kind of “live the moment” person, somehow it’s necessary to plan for our lives. I don’t wanna procrastinate further because you’ll never know when is the last day of your live that I finally bought an accidental death policy. Surprisingly the monthly premium is so low.

Of course we don’t want bad things to happen, but if I unfortunately leave the world, at least I have something  to my family. We know that money is not everything, but the reality is you couldn’t get anything done without money. It’s better to pay a little to have peace of mind.

My other targets are to learn to be a minimalist, which required high level of self-control. I’m not a shopaholic, but I do have desires too. The only way to stop from spending on unnecessary items is to always remind myself  priority of things that need to achieve, and make the amount to be spend comparable to daily expenses or days of hard work. I will also try to  get rid of Facebook addiction, hopefully this will be my last post this month. Btw will still use messenger though as a mean for easier communication.

Plenty of thoughts & plans recently, hopefully all things can happen smoothly as I wish.

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It’s been 2 months since my return to NZ from Malaysia. First few weeks were quite hard to adapt, even harder than the first time I left home for working holiday in 2014. Mainly because I have a clear mission which I know will make me away from home for much longer time.

Not only mentally, after resting for 7 months also make it harder for me physically, which is to carry on the job I used to do – THE BIN BUILDING (in simple words, it’s carpentry job that requires hammering quite a lot, and a wooden bin is more than 60kg).

Anyway, I slowly regained the “power” and used to the working hours and life here very soon (despite the first two weeks that were so miserable to stand with the cold and force myself to get up early).

Of course money is important to implement my plan, but wonderful life does matter too. Instead of being slave for money, a balance and happy life should play a important part as well, especially when I am thousands miles away from home alone. I am so fortunately to still having good friends here that always kind and care about me, and willing to accompany me for certain activities.

This last weekend of October was the most meaningful and happiest ever since I back to work on September. It’s getting warmer and this week wasn’t just busy for groceries then stay home all day as usual.

I did my first ever running program in NZ- MISSION MOUNT SOMERS (5km run) with “mi vida” on Saturday morning, which I actually just ran about 2km and walked for the rest of the miles,haha! Congratulations to “mi vida” who has won 2nd prize of the 18+ category (luckily I asked him to not wait for me & keep on going since the beginning) .

On the same day, I joined World Vegan Day Dinner in Christchurch, which was a great and brand new experience. Most of the diners were above middle age, but me and my friends did enjoy our first ever 100% vegan meal and the conversations with others.

Coincidentally, those few persons that we talked to are all well-educated. A couple from U.S that always will be in NZ for few months annually to teach in Canterbury University, and a lady who is pursuing her PHD research on trans-gender issue. Interesting to get to know new people and new things.

I always try my best to keep my life not only fill with work, must do something different over the weekend. Look forward for the Longbeach Coastal Challenge in Ashburton on November, should I participate on 12km run or remain on 5km?hahaha….

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After months of being jobless, I have officially started to be a freelance photographer on June, working for a company on most weekends.

I was nervous before starting, as it is not just a shoot & go job. When photography becomes a paid task, the end result is to satisfy the clients, no only shoot for what I like personally.

Some friends said that it’s not worth to have the job due to the wages calculation method, as photographers will not be paid if the client do not “top-up” the package after the shooting. To a certain extent, I do agree with them.

But still, I take up this job even if I have to make an effort to across the border early in the morning, which I have to get up almost 4 hours earlier than the actual start time. I was sweating before I actually start shooting.

I decided to do it obviously because of my interest in photography, and since I not yet have a job, why not step out to “reactive” my shooting mode after being neglected for years.(so guilty….)

Although the pay is not guaranteed, but I take this as a opportunity to meet new people,be it clients or other photographers, learning from them, not only the shooting skills, also including communication with clients and some techniques about selling the photos.

I am lucky as the photographers are nice and willing to share their experiences. It’s very interesting to handle different kind of clients, ranging from family, couples and friends. Fortunately most clients are easy to get along with and cooperative during the 1 hour shooting session.

After working for few weekends, most challenging thing to me is firstly,to deal with the uncontrollable small kids, either babies that couldn’t understand instruction, or kids below primary school ages that are in their MOST playful time; secondly, the poses for couples, as they are just 2 persons which I was run out of poses very quickly.

It required patience to deal with kids and I keep on learning how to deal with all kind of situations to make the shooting smoother, in order to get the clients satisfied with the photos taken.

Generally, it’s easier to close a deal with family than with couples.It appears to me that family that came for shooting tend to have higher chance to top-up the package because not too often they can gather all family members for outdoor shooting. Especially when there are kids in the family, as people would like to have all photos of their kids, so they wouldn’t mind to pay for that.

However, it needs more skills and diversity in the photos to convince couples, after all the whole series of photos are just the 2 people.

After I failed to close a deal to the first couple that I shot, I asked to the coordinator (who’s also the senior photographer of the company) “WHY?”. He then browsed through my photos and said poses and overall are OK,the reason could be the couple couldn’t see at least 30 photos that satisfied them in terms of poses. Hmm it seems to be true, a lesson learned for the day.

There’s another chubby photographer that guided me when I initially start up, he showed how’s a shooting session goes on and few important tips. One that’s crucial to get your client to think your photos is to know how to play with the psychology.

For family,first and last few photos are important, it’s better to set the beginning and the ending for family group photos that shows strong family bonding. Also, consistency of the photo exposure is important, in order to make viewing experience smooth and comfortable, as it somehow portray your skill. In short, impression plays a key role in deciding to buy or not to buy.

So far, I had some memorable experiences. They were a combination of few families, about 20++ persons. They were assigned to me and another photographer. I taken the 10 persons as a group.

The father started to show a “pissed off”face after his son keeps running here and there that makes the shooting harder, and one of the relatives teasing on a wrong use of vocabulary of me, which she thought I didn’t hear it or she purposely let me hear it. Hahaha!!!

Another woman brought her 3 children with props that represent each child preferences, guitar, basketball and doll for youngest daughters. I took group photos as well as quite many portrait for the kids.

Their comments are quite positive while browsing those photos,I was a bit disappointed when they decided not to top-up. From my point of view, if you spent the time and effort to bring so many things for a shooting session, why not just pay little money to get all the photos, instead of choosing limited 5 pieces of photos.

There was another family of 5 pax, they didn’t top-up and just choose to 10 photos out of more than 100 photos taken. I don’t mind people not to buy, but they took nearly 1 hour just to filter again and again, which made me be the last to go home.

Anyway, I take every experiences as a learning process. When I failed to close a deal, which mean I wouldn’t get paid for that shot session, I won’t blame clients for not appreciate my work or get sad over the matter.

Instead of feeling these ways, I will find out the reasons and see what’s wrong with the photos and what need to be improved. At the end of the day, produce convincing photo is the key point to sell your work.

Just that I couldn’t understand when some clients think the charges are high (which is actually less than SGD100). Because they don’t know a camera, lenses, maintenance needs money, as well as the effort of a photographer needs to be paid off.

Other than some negative encounters, I do have some clients giving appraisal to my photos, and it’s the greatest feel when they say they really like it, and you can tell that from their expressions and responses while they viewing the photos.

The other photographers always motivate each others whenever some of us didn’t manage to close a deal.

In photography, there’s not right and wrong or perfect photos, as every photographer has own style and preferences.

In the journey of photography, I still have a lot to learn from a lot of people.

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網絡上不時都有逗趣圖集表達不同關係的周邊人對自己做某件事的想像,對於沒有親歷「打工渡假」者而言通常只選擇性看到我們悠閒的生活,難以想像背後的「代價」。

親友們對出國打工最直接的代名詞大概是「採蘋果」,有人還真以為22個月我都在果園生活。其實只在最初的4個月體驗了蘋果和葡萄園苦差,之後開始室內的馬鈴薯切割的季節工。

季節工通常兩個月就結束,機緣巧合下,經理願意發給我們工作簽證,繼續留下。不知道什麼原因,選擇留下的都是大馬人,另一些朋友在簽證到期選擇回國,最後剩下的是包括我在內的4名女將。

基本上,工廠分為室內的生產線廠房(俗稱factory)和戶外的粗活,多數人都會選擇能遮蔭的廠房工作,尤其是很怕被曬黑愛膚如命的亞洲女生們。不過這邏輯好像不存在於我的圈子裡。

每次聽到factory就退避三舍,尤其是當內部人手不足要求從外部調派助手的時候。然而,當中也只有我因為之前一些逼於無奈的因素在裡頭待了4個月,很多人不明白為什麼我堅持申請調遣到外部。

在四季分明的國家,就工作環境而言,廠房確實讓人不必忍受氣候的不適,雨天也不會變落湯雞,但代價是不停運作的機器噪音和極度沈悶的工作內容。

由於戶外是儲存馬鈴薯的大倉庫,每天都弄得滿面灰塵,但工作內容讓人能多走動、沒有噪音,偶爾又能做伸展操、抬頭看看藍天白雲。再說,當木匠至少還得動腦筋,而已還意外地鍛鍊出臂力。

馬鈴薯收割季節結束後,善良的經理為了讓我們保住飯碗,又明白我們對廠房工作是「寧死不屈」的原則,安排我們專心負責製作和維修用來裝貨的木箱,造就了幾個女漢子的形象。

後來,公司連叉車執照考試都為我們安排,最後大家都考上了,所以廠外經常可以看到幾名亞洲女子,帶著帽子、墨鏡和口罩,開著叉車忙進忙出的。

如果不是到國外走一趟,當慣了白領階級的大家又怎會想到自己也有開叉車的一天,實在是經驗難得。

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