well, hello 2012

I read this editorial today from the Malaysian paper, The Star, and these words struck me:

“There is nothing magical about the calendar year, save for the fact that it puts some organisation and predictability into our lives.

“And so, without fail, we make resolutions to help us navigate through the new year, knowing full well that fulfilling them is another matter altogether.”

The new year is always a good chance to start anew with a blank slate. It’s a new cycle. But of course, change cannot be overnight. Everything happens gradually.

I had dinner recently with a Singaporean who shared with me how she has been making a plan for each year. It’s not just a random planning of, say, losing weight. But she sets goals. I have always wanted to do that but was scared of failing and looking back at my year-long plans and seeing that none of them ever came true.

However, this year, I am going to take that challenge. It’s not just planning, but having specific goals. I shall call them my projects.

Photo Project 366

One of my multimedia journalist tutors said it doesn’t matter what camera you have, if you don’t have it with you, then it’s useless. The thing is, my DSLR has been giving me a bad shoulder so I decided to buy a point and shoot one to take with me everyday. I settled on Canon Powershot AS2200, nothing fancy, it’s not even expensive (a little more than $100). It was recommended by a colleague and I like it because of its toy camera features like fish eye (with my DSLR, I still have to buy a separate lens to have that effect), miniature, poster etc. It’s more for taking fun photos and not for serious journalism work of course and I reckon it fits my daily needs since it’s very small. My Photo Project 365 366–a photo a day (I just found out that 2012 is a leap year)–can be viewed on Flickr, yes after thinking long and hard on whether to allow Yahoo access to my GMail.

Project Fukushima

It will be the first anniversary of the March 11 tsunami and earthquake soon. Every year, we are given a chance to choose an Asian country and do stories that we want to pursue. I chose Japan this year because of the Fukushima disaster. I have to start working on this now as I have only three months to arrange the logistics and covering in a foreign country is not easy especially where there is a language barrier.

Final MMJ Project

I am attending this multimedia journalism course–the first ever of its kind in the region–for working journalists and it entails a final project that aims to showcase what we have learned the entire year in terms of video and audio production, photography and writing. The writing part, I shouldn’t have any problem. But I am still struggling with the video part. I hate video editing, but I gotta learn to love it if I want to earn my degree. I have a topic in mind already but as a friend likes to say, I am keeping my cards close to my heart.

So those are the projects and here are the resolutions:

save more, shop less — this won’t be an easy feat especially if you have a market next to the office that sells everything from clothes to food every day. Thailand is not just famous for its nightmarkets, noontime markets geared for those working people who may not have time to shop, also abound. But I reckon, shopping loses its excitement if you do it on a daily basis and you end up buying stuff you don’t need anyway. Shopping should be a periodic endeavor when you can really shop till you drop and enjoy the process, and not just turn it into a break from work. Good luck to me and my goal to save X amount by the end of the year.

speak no evil — this means hear, read, see no evil. Like I wrote on my Sina Weibo profile, I wasn’t born mute. I speak my mind and people don’t have to agree with me. Of course there are those who disagree and I’ve gotten into a few discussions last year because of this. This year, I will try to avoid things that will only annoy or distress me and prompt me to open my big mouth and say something that others won’t like. I will just look the other way or look to heaven or pretend I don’t hear anything or bite my tongue. Oh dear, this is gonna be tough.

sleep early — I have serious sleep deficit and I should be more disciplined when it comes to bedtime. Starting tonight, it will be lights out at 10pm so I’m sorry Roy Qiu why you so hot, I’ll just watch you tomorrow.

read more — (As if reading an average of 20 news stories a day ain’t enough.) I have stopped reading fiction a long time ago and buy mostly hardbound biographies and those about my favorite countries Japan and Taiwan, arts, mangas (OK, the only fiction I read now aside from fan fiction) and entertainment (Arashi photobooks are books… right?). Just this Christmas, I went crazy at Kinokuniya and bought six books including Steve Jobs’ biography and Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 (one has to make an exception for Murakami too, deshou?). I made a lame start on the Steve Jobs book. My bookshelves are filled with books I have read halfway or haven’t read at all. By the end of this year, I hope to be able to say I finished one book each month.

My mantra this year is

“live well, laugh often, love more”

Live well — I have tried and failed to go to the gym regularly so I might as well live well by eating less fattening food and taking the stairs to the office because the five-minute walk to work is not enough. Our office is on the sixth floor so it should give my body some workout but I don’t think I’ll make it up 24 floors of my apartment though. Now, once we move to a different office–where rumors have it we’re going to be on the 32nd floor–then that’s another matter.

Laugh often — I miss laughing with my friends. I do have some really funny colleagues. Only last night I was laughing so hard at SMAP’s performance at NHK’s Kouhaku Uta Gassen. OK, it wasn’t supposed to be funny but… nevermind, I’m just gonna break my speak no evil resolution.

Love more — I have been discussing this with one of my closest friends on how life is too short to waste on the wrong people. That’s why of late I have been investing more time and effort–however way distance allows it–with those I truly care about. It’s not about loving more people but loving more the people who matter. Enough said.

The past year has been so tough and painful, it brought me a lot of lessons that for sure I’d continue to learn this year. So dear 2012, be kinder and gentler to me, hao bu hao?

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Copyright © 2012. theasianpopculturist. All rights reserved.

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