A Personal Primer
- Born in Singapore, in the Year of the Tiger.
- Successfully fulfilled the Government’s tenure for compulsory education and gone on to attained a Diploma in Information Technology, majoring in Mobile Computing.
- Completed his commitment to the Republic by serving National Service.
- Previously worked under three different employers in the Information Technology sector starting from technology assistant.
- Moved out of Singapore together with his family to a new township in Johor Bahru, 2011.
- Currently pursuing a degree in Information Technology & Systems from Monash University.
Before the advent of social networks, there was blogging. Since 2005, I have been blogging about everything under the sun, from schooling to life in the camp, and so on. I got hooked to social network when the allure of instantaneous posting and sharing of information became too addictive for me to leave the platform. Due to this, I have had issues with perception and personality from people I know of, both far and near. For this, I decided that writing on my personal website is the best solution to publish my thoughts and information to the public.
I count myself lucky to have a good family that emphasized on long-term education and open-mindedness. My father used to work as a writer for a news publishing company so I had the opportunity to see his works when he allowed me to his office while I was young. His stories have been published on both English and Malay newspapers, and I slurped up at every word he blends & took insight at his viewpoints. When he was given the official golden handshake near the beginning of the Operation Enduring Freedom, I decided that writing should become a part of my life.
I started blogging in 2005, when I stumbled upon an unknown blogger who by chance studied in the same polytechnic as I. It was around the same time I started following the “animé” subculture, and the term “animéblogging” became synonymous with community attempts at successful blogging. Back then it was a time of experimentation and ridicule, and if anyone was around to witness the animé aggregator battles, it was fun times. Indeed, the term “blog aggregators” were the most sought-after service due to the insane number of people blogging and writing. In local context, there was Tomorrow.SG, which I followed with passion.
The years were not kind on me, though. In 2007 I received a love letter from a local company that rhymes with Fedex. I maintained my innocence against their accusations until a judge ruled that they, too, are in the wrong, via a legal challenge from a now consortium-based Internet service provider. That was a period which I was involved in grassroots activities to stop them from gaining traction. It taxed my enthusiasm and sapped me of my motivation to my hobby and subculture. I made more friends, incurred more wrath to enemies and was eventually exhausted by the wind of it all.
Change of Direction
I decided to do something else. In 2008, Singapore hosted their very first animé convention at Suntec City Convention Hall. It was also around the same time that I bought myself a Canon EOS Rebel XSi/450D. I toyed around photography as a hobby to offset the lack of motivation in my animé splurgings (back then I used to buy DVDs off the US). I delved into many forms of photography, but essentially speaking, I found a new calling into a new activity that I distract myself with.
My writing abilities didn’t diminish: with each successive events in Singapore, I usually post them up with my write-up of the events as it happens. I posted for both myself and other people whom I worked with. As with each post, I got to know more people. When I worked with cosplayers whom I got to work with, I slowly build up my network of friends. At first it was easy, since the ones that I knew had their own blogs to host. Then slowly, I started to know people from across the Causeway. Soon I had to find a method to manage these connections.
Then came Facebook and Twitter. I hesitated to write things about what I did there, but if there was an analogy that I can summarized my time in it, it’d be: “I’m in The Matrix.”
The Age of Danny Choo & Animé Bloggging
Around 2009, people were becoming attuned to Danny Choo and his brand of anime blogging. Previously, community-driven blogs were starting to lose their shine as people grew tired of the constant trolling and bickering with each other. The immense number of blogs dedicated to animé meant that some anime aggregators had to accommodate more and more sites, to a point that it was silly to manage my account on one aggregator site. With Danny Choo, it was simply an authoritative voice in anime subculture. Of course, being successful in a subculture garner one’s enemies to lambaste the effects of one’s successes. This was true with Danny Choo, and many were conflicted with his purpose in the subculture itself. While I can’t back my following statement with credible sources, in my point of view, the anime blogging community started fragmenting and “balkanized” into various ideologues and “circlejerks” in conforming to their idealized worlds.
At the same time, the network of people I knew started to diverge on differing interests. Some had had bad relationships with one another, others took a fight online and disappeared. The slow decay of my network connections with each other began to take a toll on my perception of the community of local anime bloggers. Soon, the anime bloggers themselves “retired” or disappeared from the scene, having moved on to other pressing needs (like having a proper relationship with the opposite gender). Anime blogging lost its lustre, and for myself, I too, soon, stopped writing on blogs.
The Age of Facebook and Twitter
The problem with social networks is that the method in which information is derived, posted and shared among your circle of friends. It is fast and instantaneous, but at the same time, it also prevents users from stopping to think about what they wanted to say about the information they either shared from another person or elsewhere. Memes become more prevalent, information retention became a precious commodity, and soon enough I found myself wondering why am I still following the two networks.
In the span between 2007 to 2010 I made 3 “blogocides” against my own blogs (1 was paid hosting, so when the plan expired, I simply let the blog die). I had my last “Facebook-cide” and “Twittocide” in 2010 when I tried removing myself from the addiction to the social networks, but alas it lasted for one month. I got hooked to the idea of instant sharing, and from then on, my views were shaped by my friends’ opinions and comments on contemporary issues as well as the news that is happening in my adopted subculture. It got me to a point where the inundation of information and opinions had robbed me of my voice, few people left any comments on what I posted, and the nature of Facebook and Twitter is that your posts will be “buried” by other people’s posts and tweets.
I decided to write again. The legacy of my time on social networks is that they left me with a habit of writing short sentences to commensurate my thoughts. The simplicity of short sentences leaves out the more nuanced details of writing a proper post. My writings have become more of a communique, bereft of opinion and thought. The ideas that was simmering in my mind became nothing more than wisps of smoke trailing off from a gentleman’s cigar, slowly fading into oblivion. The need for me to write has led me to return back here and restart my process of being able to express my feelings without the pressure of making “attention-grabbing” statements about an issue just to get my friends to comment.
With this blog, I continue where I left off in 2010, and finding myself again in the sea of turmoil that is my quarter-life crisis. Without a proper diagnosis by a psychiatrist, despite my counselor’s insistence on having seen one, I won’t find out if I did suffer from such a travesty of condition. Nevertheless, the return means I write not for the sake of writing, but to better express my thoughts in words; photographs are just an accessory to a written conversation.
I’d still keep my social accounts, until the time has come to commit another social networkocide.