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Writing Prompt Mondays

8 Sep

I found a writing prompt on Reddit, and here is the result.


A ray of warm light lands on Steve’s face. Another sunny day. Steve instinctively turns away from the sunshine and he is comfortable again. Just as he settles in his new posture, a blaring noise screams 5 inches away from his head. Jolted by this sudden noise, he slams his hand on the ever annoying alarm clock to get 5 more minutes in bed.


A nudge in the back was enough to keep Steve from drifting off again. When he didn’t budge, another nudge came, only more forceful. The nudges kept on coming, and at the end, Steve had enough and opened his eyes. His fingers reached across the bed to turn off the “Nudger” of the MORNINGRISE3000. He is already regretting his purchase of this machine, supposedly a substitute for those who are single and in need of a morning push.


The blinds are lifted with the push of another button on the MORNINGRISE3000 console. Not for the first time, the blinding yellow sun greets Steve with a harsh stare. From the 13th floor of his apartment complex, everything looks beautiful. The palm trees are moving in the wind, the waves are hitting the shore rhythmically, and the sands on the beach are inviting him to join them.


With another touch on the console, the coffee maker prepares his coffee and breakfast. Bacon and scrambled eggs are his favourite. Steve drags himself from the window and decided he should get himself ready for work. As he walks out the door, the bedroom darkens. The sun no longer hangs in the sky, and the beach with lapping waves ceased to exist.


Steve could only hear the static of dust particles ramming into the residential complex magnetic shield, and the echoes of the wind are already playing in his mind. His routine shower was particularly cold this morning, and his only thought was that beach he had seen a million times out that window. His coffee was tasteless, as usual. A drink once meant to be an enjoyment is now merely a brain enhancing chemical mixed to look like the golden brown liquid that men once loved.


Without missing a beat in his routine, the closet opened with his shirt of the day just as he finished his last sip. Quickly slipping into his gear, he walked onto the door mat and the computer scanned his suit to ensure all seals are tight. In a few seconds, the screen read OK and a green light lit up beside it. Steve pressed AIRLOCK on the touchscreen and a tube instantly encased him and sent him down. On his way down, Steve look a deep breath of compressed air, and waited for the tube to unseal.


I am doing research

11 Aug

Monday. A slow day. I watched the hands on my watch tick, hours became minutes, minutes became seconds, seconds became lapses. I can’t believe how I am spending my Monday – reading silly articles online, looking at cat pictures, and the occasional Too Cute on Youtube. I must admit: that Corgi pup melted my heart. 

All that took the whole of 10 minutes to do, and soon I was back to twiddling my thumbs. I had to maintain my concentration, but just staying awake was getting harder and harder to do. Maybe that huge lunch wasn’t such a good idea. Thanks to science, I now know that the brain is feeding me Melatonin because the stomach needs more energy to digest all the food I managed to shove down my throat. Thanks, brain.

Outside, the clouds are shifting quickly. I vividly remember the sun spraying my eyes with death beams 10 minutes ago, but all that’s left of it is a shade of yellow smearing through the cracks between the overcast clouds. 

The tabs on my browser are shifting rapidly as well. The symphony of keyboards drown out the whispers from the far end of the office. Unlike everyone who seems to be using most of their keyboards, the keys I am using are Alt and Tab. Juggling between cats, silly articles and Corgis is no easy task when your back is to the boss’s office. Do you read keenly and have a good laugh? Or do you slightly tilt your head so your eyes can scan the edge of your vision to detect imminent danger?

That is a tough choice, and on a slow day like this, the lure to read deeply to have a good chuckle is concrete. After an intense debate, I decided to look at funny pictures. Just as I am getting into it, a voice screeched from behind, “what are you doing?”

“Fuck,” I nearly blurted out.

What I dreaded really came to pass My boss was as tall as the Statue of Liberty behind me. She raised her eyebrows, “are you doing anything important?”

Determined not to look like a complete tool, I uttered the greatest lie a writer could use at work, “I am doing research.”

She arched forward as if to look at the picture in greater detail, squinted her eyes and turned towards me with a wtf look, and waited for me to explain.

“Shit, I haven’t thought that far ahead,” My brain informed me.

I gave the best poker face and looked at her sternly, pointed at the picture, “we need to do research on museums, and this is exactly what people are like at a museum. I am trying to get a feel of it. Inspirations.”

I had no idea what I said. She, however, did. Her face began to relax, eyebrows returning to their natural resting positions, mouth nearly uttering an “oh”, but the voice wasn’t there. I kept my poker face up, looked at her dead in the eye, waiting for her next move, like a chess master who just made a master stroke of a move and staring down their opponent. 

She said in a moment of clarity, “OHHH, right, for that wine thing. Good work. Carry on.”

In that moment, I knew I won Monday.

What I was looking at:


10 advantages of working overtime unpaid

6 Aug

Capitalism and freedom lovers, you will love this. Communist and socialist pigs avoid!

1. Save money by not going out for dinner

If you are working, then you are not going out with friends. If you are not going out with friends, you are not spending money on an overpriced meal. That’s more money in your pocket! Cha-Ching!!

2. No need to talk to anyone after work

By the time you are home, everyone will be asleep, so you can enjoy the sound of silence after your boss and coworkers buzzing in your ear all day. Do you wanna hear your girlfriend/wife/children’s droning after a long day? I think not.

3. Guaranteed to fall asleep (the best cure for insomnia!)

14 hours in the office will definitely make you want to look for a bed, or at least some piece of furniture that vaguely resembles one.

4. Contributing to society

You are working to fill your boss’s linings by working more for less! Great work! This is the true capitalistic value at heart and you will do well to work more and contribute to society. You don’t want to be a communist pig now, do you?

5. Save on TV subscriptions

Who needs TV when you have that sweet 24″ LCD flatscreen monitor at work so you can youtube all day long when the boss isn’t watching? More cash in your pocket!

6. Sleep will be glorious on weekends

Who doesn’t love to sleep 12 hours straight? Now you have a good reason to do it too! Let that fatigue build up during the week so you can unleash the fury of your snores on Friday night like a super hadoken!

7. Save money by not going out on weekends

Going out is a chore on weekends after a 70+ hour work week. Isn’t staying home the better option? You are tired and going out isn’t going to help. Plus, you get to save money if you don’t go out! Staying in means more cash.

8. Budget time instead of money

Look at all the people who scratches their head when it comes to money! Well, not you! You don’t need to scratch your head because you aren’t spending yours! In fact, you are thinking real hard on where to spend your money because you don’t have time. Hey, would you rather be struggling for time or struggling for money? That’s what I thought.

9. Saving money

Need I repeat myself? CASH CASH CASH!!!

10. The circle of work

Hey, after a refreshing weekend, you have excess energy. Where best to spend that energy than at work where you will be a productive member of the society? When you have exhausted yourself, you will feel accomplished and ready for another glorious 12-hour sleep. Rinse and repeat for best results*.

*Best results include having down-payment for that sweet, sweet apartment you have been eyeing for the past 20 years. Maybe if you had worked a little harder, that down-payment would have arrived by now.

There you have it! All the perks of working overtime unpaid! Capitalism is truly great! All hail capitalism and freedom and free market!

The state of the state of the state

21 Jul

What. The. Fuck. Is. Wrong. With. Hong. Kong.

On a Sinking Ship

2 Jul

sinking ship

Thirty years ago, Mom told us we had to go, and that gnarly scary looking uncle in red was actually our biological father. We were shocked. We didn’t want to go. No child would want to leave their mother. But at the end, we reluctantly got on Uncle’s boat, and sailed away from Mother’s distant embrace.

Uncle, now turned Father, patted our heads and smiled, “don’t worry, little man, I know you aren’t used to sailing with so many people, so I got you a little boat so you can have some space. Do whatever you will on there. We will just be in front of you, towing you along. Welcome back to the family.”

It was great, we got our own boat. We even get to choose our own captain. Sweet! I guess leaving Mother wasn’t so bad after all.

That was seventeen years ago.

Today, the once shiny and glorious ship is reduced to a rusty bucket of bolts. We are patching the ship up daily just to get it sailing, and all the sailors that Father sent over aren’t helping either. They are either drinking wine with the captain or snoozing on the lower decks, waking only to the sound of dinner. I wondered why Father even bothered in the first place.

Everyday, from the decks, we look up to the bridge tower, made of ivory, gold and beautiful gems. Everyone wants to go there because that’s the only place that’s not brown and rusty. What does it matter anyways? The ship is slowing sinking. Too many holes, too many sailors, and not enough wood. The captain doesn’t care, he can’t see a thing down here from his ivory tower. All he can see is the shiny big boat that Father is sailing in.

I see the shiny big boat too, and I only see a bigger version of our boat. Blood and sweat on the bottom, ivory tower on top. The captain talks to the big hats on Father’s boat everyday. With every call, our boat sinks deeper, the food is more scarce, the language around me is more foreign.

We tried to speak up, but our voices aren’t heard. I guess he can’t hear anything over Father’s voice. All we get is “everything will be alright.” Yeah, alright. The holes on the hull are getting bigger and the patches aren’t holding up, and everything is alright.

If you are reading this, and if you are on the same boat, then we can fix this boat together. Before it sinks, before this boat becomes forgotten in the pages of history, before we are only mentioned in myths in the distant future.

Seamless Transition, part 1

14 Apr


The great robotic minds of the future knows which line to change, which lines to say, and which lines to run when a change is necessary. They do this with ruthless efficiency, and will shed blood. Heck, they will even bring down the moon if it means doing the job properly. They are only bounded by programs, algorithms that tells them what to do and how to do. Just think of the Terminator – a cold killer who does nothing except executive the tasks assigned by his masters, a collective intelligence, or in the second and third movie, a human. You tell him what to do, and he’ll get the job done. Guaranteed.

We are edging ever closer to this reality, where essentially Terminators could take up anyone’s mundane job, deeming workers redundant. These excess workers will then be “displaced” (read: fired) so that management could better devote resources for other critical ventures. Millions will lose their jobs at a second’s notice. No emails are sent. Just a slip in every worker’s hand, and off they go. The cogs of the great corporate machine have just been replaced by better oiled cogs. 

Millions upon millions around the world, now replaced, return to their homes, contemplating on the coldblooded decision. Even Tim, the most efficient worker on the line, can’t understand why they would do this to him. He’s got Employee of the Month 6 months in a row, always had the best productivity, never complained, and was touted for promotion. He couldn’t understand why they just let everyone go. 

The news had no mention of any corporate downsizing tonight. The robot anchor, in her synthetic human voice, only read news of the anniversary of the invention of quantum computing, and various interviews with corporate big wigs and a bunch of dying scientists. Someone else’s joy was covering his sorrow. He couldn’t sleep that night, and just went to bed in his greased navy overalls, still thinking how did he ever lose his job. But, he was also thinking of a bigger problem now that his mind began to function again. Money. The bills are coming.

Mind Numbing Wait

3 Apr


It is 11:47am. I am sitting in the office with a stack of paper in front of me. The stack is essentially recyclable material because I am done with them. Draft after draft of printed ads really do add up quickly. The first piece of paper on that stack is scribbled beyond recognition. Blue pen marks, red pen marks, green highlight on top, pink highlight at the bottom and yellow highlight in the middle. I can read some of the scribbles on there, as I should, as half the blue pen marks are my own grand work, but I do realize my penmanship is terrible. I do remember penmanship being one of my worst graded work back in my elementary school days.

Beyond that stack of paper is another stack of paper. This stack is from another project, and that too has barely legible writing on the first page. What makes this stack different is that I am writing in Chinese, which makes things even worse. If you have seen me write in English, then take 70% off on craftsmanship for my Chinese handwriting. It could probably pass for caveman scribbles. As I am trying to read my own writing, I see my question mark taking resemblance to a worm squiggling out of a hole in the ground. I really can’t write in Chinese.

Yes, I have done a lot of work in the past few days. So I guess I have been productive. Now, I am merely watching football highlights on the internet while writing this. Actually, I can’t bare to watch the highlights. What a terrible game Chelsea had last night. A two goal deficit. At least they got an away goal, so they got that going for them, which is… nice…?

You may be thinking why am I writing lots of non-content. Well that’s because I am waiting for stuff to happen. Yes, waiting. I wait a lot at work. I wait for my copy to be approved, I wait for designers to be done with their artwork, and I wait for a response from clients. This is the waiting game. I now have the right to put down “has incredible patience” or “has the patience of several saints” on my CV. Perhaps I could update that while I am waiting.

Yawn. Please don’t start sending me emails at 5:30pm, because this sort of practice is bullshit. I work better at 2pm than at 6pm.