I Am Sorry, Hee Young

korea

During the late 90s in Singapore, because Facebook hasn’t been invented yet, I made pen friends of the pen and paper variety.

And among the people I exchanged letters (not emails) with, there was a girl from Korea. She liked Chinese idols like Andy Lau and enjoyed reading Slam Dunk, which was popular in Korea at the time. And she would always tell me interesting things about her country. Corresponding with her should have been a fun experience.

However, because I couldn’t understand Korean and her English was not too good, I found it difficult to read her letters. I felt it was a pain to have to read her letters, make something out of them and then write proper replies in proper English that she might not even really understand. So one day, I simply stopped replying to her letters.

She kept up her letters for a while but, after a few months, she realized what was going on and sent me a tearful letter. She wanted to know what went wrong? Was it because of her bad English? Was it because I didn’t like listening to her talk about Korea? Why did I stop writing? Read the rest of this entry

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A New Chapter For My Book?

chapter

* The above image is from Quid Pro Quills.

So, I am already back from my job interview. It’s 1.35 a.m. in Singapore right now so technically, I am talking about the interview I attended yesterday.

It went well but, on the other hand, it didn’t.

It went well because I got the job the moment I walked in. I was told to fill in an employee form and that’s that.

They even offered me a salary that’s higher than I had expected.

So why, did I say, it didn’t go well when seen from another angle?

That’s because I was so nervous during the interview that I just signed everywhere they told me to, without reading carefully.

Well… That wouldn’t be as dangerous as some of you might think. The security agencies here use the same format for their employee forms and contracts. More or less.

There’s more. It was only after I left the office when I discovered that I never did receive my copy of the employment contract. Nowadays, most agencies do hand a copy of the employment contract to their employees. Maybe it’s not the practice of this particular agency? I checked their background on the internet, and according to their webpage, they were established back in 1970s. That might explain their way of doing things. Some of the agencies I worked for between 1999 and 2003 never did give me copies of my employment contract either.

But because I don’t have a copy of the contract and because I don’t recall signing anything that says how much I should be paid, I am worried.

Still, I did manage to wrangle a promise (verbal) from the manager to pay me weekly advances. $200 per week. Payable every Tuesday. So we will know next Tuesday if they are honorable and honest.

The job seems easy and will allow me to write on the job so I will gamble a bit.

I am also a little excited. Like what if they go back on their word and refuse to pay me my weekly advance? Wouldn’t that give me the opportunity to “promote” the agency on the internet? Guards Gone Wild! is basically a whistle-blower’s account of the the security industry. It’s unpublished because it has been rejected by the publishers in Singapore but if something like an agency scamming my pay comes to light, that might give me the chance to turn around and tell those publishers:

“See? I did say more people need to know about the scams going on in this industry. That way, less people will get cheated.”

And my book gains a new chapter.

Loh Teck Yong

New Job Anxiety

anxious

* The above image is from Everyday Health.

Have you ever gotten anxious over starting a new job?

Feel free to share your stories here! I will start the ball rolling!

Here’s my story.

Being a partial hikikomori, I always get nervous whenever I have to go work at a new place.

My anxiety would usually clear up after getting paid for the first time.

This time, I received an offer to work at a 1-person assignment. I should be feeling less nervous since I won’t have to deal with colleagues or managers. But I still can’t help feeling nervous.

Because, this time, the stakes are high. I have to save up enough money for my book publishing effort plus enough to live for a while. Because waiting for the designer to finish with the cover design and the layout artist to complete her work and the printers to finally print and bind the book will take a while.

After that, I will have to hawk my book at public venues, because brick-and-mortar bookstores don’t carry self-published titles. That means I have to pay rent for my booth before getting paid.

Before all that, months before I get everything ready, I will probably have to spend hundreds on Facebook ads.

So yeah, I am feeling pretty nervous.

I also have to wonder what will become of my fitness by then. I have just started running 2.4 kilometer runs at the park. Slowly going back to my peak period in the army. Now, I have to take a long long break from exercising. I have already mentioned this in another blog post, but I will say it again here. It’s nearly impossible to find the time and energy to exercise properly when you have to work for 72 hours per week. Add in the traveling time and it comes to around 84 hours per week.

So I am nervous. And scared. Because how many more years can I throw away? I don’t have that many years left to attempt to master the martial arts anymore. If I grow fat and lethargic as a security guard, my dream of martial art mastery will be for naught!

At the age of 41, this security guard who’s attempting to become a writer AND a martial artist is feeling anxious about his future…

Loh Teck Yong

Six Sites That Pay For Flash Fiction and Poetry

Check out the sites, my fellow writers! 🙂

A Writer's Path

by Robert Turner

List is current for July 2017.

If like a lot of struggling authors you are desperate to get your work sold, why not downscale a little? Try your hand at writing flash fiction or short stories.

The sites listed below will pay you for your submissions if they are accepted, you’ll get yourself published and you might even be able to afford ribbon for your typewriter.

The sites vary in their submission requirements, so do spend the time looking through these carefully before you submit. Up to 20 percent of submissions don’t comply and get binned immediately. The links will take you to the submission pages.

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Should Writers Help Each Other?

Trust Hand Teamwork Keep Cooperation Unity

* The above image is from Max Pixel.

Although there are a lot of writers who say that this industry is already as competitive as can be and what a writer doesn’t need is more rivals, I think there is room for cooperation. Especially among self-published writers.

And here, I will talk about the 2 most difficult hurdles a self-published writer has to overcome.

Shops Will Reject You

For starters, brick-and-mortar bookshops usually do not carry self-published books. I worked at a bookshop myself so I know everyone, my shop and our competitors, only carry books published by established companies. A small independent bookshop MIGHT deal with individual self-published authors but independent bookshops are dying so we can’t really depend on them.

So how can a self-published writer get exposure and sell his books? Well, other than bookshops, bookworms also head to writers’ festivals and similar events for their fixes. But these event organizers only invite established writers to hawk their stuff. So if you are an unknown writer with only one self-published title under your belt, you are not likely to be offered a spot at such events.

I thought to myself. Okay, what if a ragtag band of unknown writers pool their resources together and have their own writers’ festival? It’s impossible for one single writer to rent a venue and have his (or her) own writer’s festival. Because the costs will be sky high and who would come to an event that sells only one title published by only one author?

It’s a different story though, if a group of hitherto unknown writers suddenly band together to make their debut at an event. Possibly some gimmick will be needed to promote the event but that shouldn’t pose any sort of difficulty to a group of writers. Read the rest of this entry

Are You That Kid?

Balestier-Plaza-Balestier-Toa-Payoh-Singapore

The above image is from Property Guru.

Back in the 80s, when the cool kids strutted around with their walkmans and ambitious teenagers aspired to be pager owners when they grow up, I lost a friend.

At Balestier Plaza.

I was probably 6 or 7 years old back then and, if I remember correctly, I was there because my mother wanted to do some shopping and brought me along. But even though you could call Balestier Plaza a “shopping center”, there weren’t really any shop that could hold a child’s interest.

So I wandered around and ran into someone from my age group, who was probably also there due to parental interference.

And naturally, we started a game of hide-and-seek. The entire building was our playground. You could say the game was progressing nicely and maybe, after a good game of hide-and-seek, we could have gone on to become the best of friends.

But that did not come to pass.

Because I cheated. Read the rest of this entry

3 “Sure-win” Moves All Martial Artists Should Watch Out For!

 

martial

In the school courtyard during recess, a preteen hero thrusts out his palms and yells:

“Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms!”

“Arrggh!”

His team of playmates obligingly fall to the ground as if they were just hit by the invisible dragons overflowing from the hero’s palms.

And that’s one of them. The Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms. The invisible dragons released from your bare hands can destroy entire armies, making it one of the most deadly “sure-win” skills in the pugilist world.

Okay, fuck no. No. That’s a lie, okay? And a test to see how many of you are gullible enough to believe in the existence of “sure-win” moves.

So what are the 3 “sure-win” moves and why do you have to watch out for them? They are biting, the eye jab and the groin kick. Avoid martial art teachers marketing them as “sure-win” moves because there are more interesting ways to waste your money.

Why? Because.

Eye Jab

First of all, eyes are rather small targets and your opponent is not going to stand still and make things easy for you. He will most likely keep swerving his head from side to side to avoid hits. Or cover up with his arms. And if the fight is taking place in the dark, like an unlit back alley, it gets so much more difficult to see, let alone jab at, your opponent’s eyes. Read the rest of this entry