Hello there. I am Terry and I am a full-time undergraduate based in Singapore. I take photos, write a blog and design websites.

And no, I'm not a teddy bear.

Of Goodbyes

It  just so happen that I was rewatching Ugly Betty Season 4 – yes, in the middle of the exams to destress myself – and I’m now at Episode 11 (Back in Her Place), where various main characters leave the show to pursue the lives they wanted. Owen Connor, the locked up swindler that amassed Mode’s fortune and absconded with it, decided that it is for  his and Wilhemina Slater’s best interest to stop seeing her and put their wedding plans to a grinding halt. Meanwhile, Matt  Hartley decided to quit his position as the editor of Mode magazine and join a six-month tour to Africa as a volunteer, leaving Betty Suarez absolutely heartbroken.

The separation between the lovebirds Betty and Matt inspired the former to start an article titled Goodbyes, which I think was absolutely well written. Betty wrote:

What we can’t do is we can’t live our lives always afraid of the next goodbye – because the chances are they’re not going to stop.

Of Goodbyes

As the semester drew to a close, a horrifying prospect suddenly emerged out from the thin air. That wouldn’t be an accurate description – I knew that it would happen some point, but I was completely unprepared for it, for it to come charging at me in the middle of the exams when my mind is already fully crammed with enzymatic pathways and whatnots.

Remember that bunch of funny, fun-loving and absolutely hilarious exchange students I met? Most of them will be leaving really soon. Alan, a close friend of mine who hails from the sunny country of Mexico, will be the first person that I will have to bid goodbye to. He sat for his final paper today, and he will be heading off to Malaysia to catch a flight today evening.

And I’m only half done with my exams! Of course a selfish part of me wished that all of them could just stay in NTU for a little longer (perhaps another semester) so that I don’t have to say goodbye too early. Sadly, reality is always something that consistently go against your wishes.

Maybe that’s why it’s called reality – a sudden realization that you will have to suck it up, and face the most horribly prospect that you kept replaying in your mind over and over again like a broken record.

Ever so quickly, the semester melted into obscurity. I almost forgot how I met them – I was stuck at Jurong Point after the last bus heading to the campus left, and I met a bunch of them who decided that we should just share two cabs back. That’s how I met Alan and Merel, who introduced me to a few of their friends along the way.

I have never really mingled much with exchange students. It’s not that I did not want to – I just did not have the chance, and partially because I am a little shy and introverted to begin with. But this group of people showed me that there’s nothing for me to feel ashamed about, and they’re as eager to learn about me as much as I wanted to understand their cultural backgrounds and countries.

Alan and I shared a common interest in photography, and I made sure he tagged along in one of my club’s photo outing to Kusu Island. Speaking of which, I’m yet to update you guys about the trip! Shame, Terry, shame.

It’s just too hard to believe that everything is ending so soon. Alan is leaving today. Merel and Marcus will be leaving next Thursday. Melisa’s flight is on the insane, ungodly hour of five in the morning on the 28th. Alex will be flying off on the 30th. I could not fathom the fact that I have to bid goodbye to so many people in the span of a week and a half.

C’est la vie

Then again, when is life without goodbyes? Just like what Betty had wrote – if we constantly live in fear of goodbyes, life won’t be too good. We only live for goodbyes, and they’re not going to stop. I have to say I’m proud of myself for cherishing the times we had together – from dinner times to silly slapstick comedy (and Alex is exceptionally good at pulling that, I wonder if all Germans have humour in their genes) – I enjoyed it all.

It is really a huge honour of knowing you guys. And this is not the final goodbye. I’m sure we will be able to meet again – if my visa doesn’t fall through, I’ll be in Denmark next spring – which promises me the prospect of a rendezvous with Alex in Germany, Merel in the Netherlands and Marcus in Sweden. Susanna told me she might be in Europe next year, so I’m not going to miss the chance of meeting that lovely (and most of the time cranky) Canadian girl. For Alan and Melisa, if I ever travel to the US in the future, I’ll make sure to list Mexico as one of my pit stops – and pay them a visit.

To quote John Gray – we only part to meet again.

In Retrospect

Jeff Jarvis on Visa, Mastercard and Paypal

Jeff Jarvis on Visa, Mastercard and Paypal

Jeff Jarvis from Huffington Post said it well.

p/s: I still have four more papers to go. Wish me luck :) See you guys next Thursday!

Destination Denmark

Much apologies for not updating this site in a long while – to keep things short, this semester has been the busiest one ever, but also the most interesting one I’ve ever been through so far. 2010 is a year full of discovery and learning more about myself and the people around me. Life has never been better.

I’ve  got closely acquainted with a few exchange students who are doing their stint in NTU – Alan and Melisa from Mexico, Merel from Netherlands, Suzanna from Canada, Alex from Germany and then today, Marcus from Sweden. Not only did they give me valuable insights of their cultures which I might never have learned of if I didn’t meet them, they’ve taught me what friends are. Seriously, you guys are tops :)

Aarhus University

Aarhus University

And now the main thing – around a month and a half ago and after three excruciating rounds of selection, my university finally nominated me to Aarhus University as an exchange student. That means that I’ll be spending 6 months in Europe in 2011, starting from 18th January and ending probably around 14th July.

Jaslyn, my classmate, was nominated to the same university too, which means we’ll be travelling together and my parents will no longer have to be worried sick of me flying alone. We’ve booked our flights and have got our accommodation offer. I’ll be staying in Børglum Kollegiet, which is an interesting-looking building built in the 1950s, with each room having a pentagonal floor plan (now, how cool is that?). Plus, Danish loves biking a lot, and being a fan of cycling I can imagine cycling around the city and appreciating all the sights and sounds in the suburban sprawls and the old downtown.

Of course, I’m looking forward to visit my friends, real life and online alike, who are residing in Europe during that time. The thought of travelling around Europe with my camera is already getting my hyperexcited.

Exams are just around the corner, I guess I will be updating you guys when mine ends on the 23rd of December. Until then, see you!

Infrared photographs and vintage post processing

This is a really old post – in fact it was drafted almost one year ago and remained in limbo until I decided to post it today.

I have to admit, I’m not particularly good with photo post processing – and looking at how others do it (namely Ember, Latrina and IngSiang) I got motivated to try out different techniques. By blending adjustment layers differently and expreimenting cross processing + blending mode combos, I’ve reprocessed a handful of IR photos of mine over the weekend and here they are:

Tree-lined Lane

Tree-lined Lane

A scene from my university, somewhere near the International Student Center. In Singapore, most of the roads have trees planted by their sides to shade pedestrians from the sun, as well as to absorb the carbon dioxide produced from vehicles. Although the island nation is almost completely developed (with only one true village left – Kampong Buangkok), we’re not short of green lungs across the island. More photos are available after the jump.

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