The Hopping Hippo

Being a wallflower

I haven’t been doing so well. It seems like I come here to write only when I’m not doing so well. I watched a movie a couple of days ago. It’s called The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It’s about this boy who is a wallflower, that is, an introverted person who attends parties andContinue reading “Being a wallflower”

Happy 10th

It’s our 10th anniversary today. I thought we would be done with each other by now. But still, we are locked in a contract together, trying to break free from each other. This will probably be our last. We have spent the last 6 months untangling ourselves. We have finally disposed of our matrimonial home.Continue reading “Happy 10th”

Covid Chronicles, Day 15

Circuit Breaker – Day 15 Two days ago, I shared a post about recognising mental health symptoms experienced by people undergoing this traumatic period. While this coronavirus period has largely resulted in little change in my lifestyle — the sole exception being having to buy groceries — I too have not been immune to theseContinue reading “Covid Chronicles, Day 15”

Covid Chronicles, Day 14

Circuit Breaker – Day 14 I decided to go out at 4.30am to get some bread from the nearby supermarket, and some pork products which Yihong Trading Enterprise doesn’t sell, because it’s a halal-certified establishment. This is the best time to be in the supermarket. Shelves are restocked to how a supermarket normally looks like. The lastContinue reading “Covid Chronicles, Day 14”

Covid Chronicles, Day 12

Circuit Breaker – Day 12 I have decided to get the bulk of the household’s groceries from Yihong Trading Enterprise and have it delivered. That’s what I’ll be using part of my $600 Solidarity Payment for. Daniel Yap’s business had previously been serving the needs of the Bangladeshi population in Singapore. With many migrant workers locked downContinue reading “Covid Chronicles, Day 12”

Covid Chronicles, Day 10

Circuit Breaker – Day 10 Since Circuit Breaker, Singapore’s version of lockdown, started, all non-essential shops have been made to close their doors. Only essential services may remain open. Here where I’ve been temporarily working, entry to playgrounds are forbidden, fountains have stopped functioning, and even many food stalls are also closed. Some shops doContinue reading “Covid Chronicles, Day 10”

Covid Chronicles, Day 8

Circuit Breaker – Day 8 I did something today that I haven’t done in a verrrry long time. I went grocery shopping. In a supermarket. Since our Prime Minister went on television last week to ask seniors to stay at home, my highly at-risk elderly parents with chronic illnesses said to me, “Daniel, since you’reContinue reading “Covid Chronicles, Day 8”

Covid Chronicles, Day 6

Circuit Breaker – Day 6 I got to speak with a Jetstar cabin crew. As all their flights are grounded, she’s currently working as a temperature screener. Jetstar, as a company, is helping their staff – cabin crew and pilots – find alternative employment during this difficult time. They’ve tied up with government and privateContinue reading “Covid Chronicles, Day 6”

Covid Chronicles, Day 3

Circuit Breaker – Day 3 Took this photo in the public area of Changi Airport. In good times, all four screens would be filled with departure flight information. But in these dark days, there are sometimes only four flights for the whole night. The world is currently in lockdown. In most countries, air travel isContinue reading “Covid Chronicles, Day 3”

Covid Chronicles, Day 2

Circuit Breaker – Day 2 Given our government’s love for the use of mnemonics, they could not have overlooked the implications of naming the Covid Circuit Breaker (CCB). I think it was deliberately chosen so that this inside joke would go viral. Free publicity is the best kind of publicity. Last night, I met thisContinue reading “Covid Chronicles, Day 2”

Covid Chronicles, Day 1

Circuit Breaker Day 1 The train is empty, except for people going to and from work in essential services, have gone to buy food or groceries, or have gone for exercise. I am wearing my freshly collected and handwashed black reusable mask that the government distributed to all Singaporeans. I’m still getting used to it,Continue reading “Covid Chronicles, Day 1”

And so it begins…

About 6 months ago, I went to see a lawyer to enquire about the possibility of an annulment. It seems slim. I brought this news back to my ex, and told her that if she wanted an annulment, she can approach this lawyer. If there’s no word from her by end-Feb 2020, I would proceedContinue reading “And so it begins…”

It hurts

It hurts when the people you’ve loved and cared so much for turn against you. It hurts when you discovered they’ve been talking bad about you in secret. Yes, nothing that is said in secret remains a secret forever. That is why we should avoid speaking ill of others behind their backs. Word eventually getsContinue reading “It hurts”

Ending it

I’ve decided to end it. I’m so sick of the infighting, the distrust of intentions. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m tired. I’ve had it. If I ever do this again, I’m gonna rule with an iron fist. No more mister nice guy. You create problems, you get kicked out immediately. If IContinue reading “Ending it”

Part-time work

I haven’t written in here for a couple of weeks. I’ve been busy. I decided to take up that part-time work after all. I’ve been having difficulty getting a good night’s sleep. No matter what I do, I just can’t seem to get to sleep, or I wake up in the middle of the night.Continue reading “Part-time work”

Unhealthy psyche

It occurred to me today that being able to function as an adult in the world means being able to balance or regulate the wants of the Id with the wants of the Superego. The Id’s wants are all emotional. It has no sense of societal norms. The Superego’s wants are all societal and conformity.Continue reading “Unhealthy psyche”

Sleep

Sleep has been a precious commodity these days. It is a good thing that I’m not working because my sleep, or lack thereof, has been extremely disruptive. Sometimes I’m so tired but I just can’t relax enough to fall asleep. I learned years ago not to force myself to sleep, because that would make meContinue reading “Sleep”

Yesterday

I met you yesterday. We talked for over 2 hours while waiting for the bank to open our joint account. We haven’t talked like that for a long time. It was nice to catch up as friends, or rather, as two people who spent many years of our lives together. We kept it superficial, forContinue reading “Yesterday”

Comparison

Sometimes I look at Rob Greenfield’s blog and wonder if I should be blogging more like him. His posts are all positive because he wants to be a positive force for humanity. He has his down days too, but these are rare, at least compared to mine. Then again, maybe he doesn’t share all hisContinue reading “Comparison”

Dream

I dreamt of you last night. It was a bittersweet dream. In the dream, I said that I have to let go of you now. I didn’t want this. I didn’t want us to have to go separate ways. I didn’t want to divorce. But there was no choice, no way around it. I can’tContinue reading “Dream”

Retirement

I don’t know who Kobe Bryant is, but if he was 41 and retired, then I can call myself retired too. Saying you’re retired at an early age invites annoying questions from people determined to prove that you’re not really retired because it doesn’t fit into their worldview of how things should work. They willContinue reading “Retirement”

Alter Ego 2

I’ve completed this game. It’s a fascinating game. There are 3 characters in the game. There is you, the wanderer, also the Ego. Then there is Es, the Id. And then there’s the Facade, which is the SuperEgo. When you first play through the game, you’re not sure what’s going on. You think you’re theContinue reading “Alter Ego 2”

Hero

I’ve had a few people tell me that I’m their hero. While that can be flattering to hear, I feel I don’t deserve their admiration. I am not the person that the media portrays me to be. Actually, I don’t think anyone is what the media portrays them to be. Media needs to portray peopleContinue reading “Hero”

PTSD

You know how soldiers who have gone through war suffer from PTSD? When they encounter something that triggers their memories and they have flashbacks of their traumatic experiences and these cause them to break down? Turns out, one doesn’t need to have gone to war to suffer from PTSD-like symptoms. Divorce or separation can doContinue reading “PTSD”

Alter Ego

I’m playing an Idle game called Alter Ego. It’s quite fascinating. It gets you to called points call Ego by clicking on thought bubbles. When you have accumulated enough, you can exchange them to do a personality test. Based on the results of the tests, the content of the thought bubbles change. The interesting thingContinue reading “Alter Ego”

Work

I was taking the train yesterday morning at about 8.30am. It was crowded. I haven’t taken the train at this hour for a long time as I normally set my meetings at 10am to avoid the peak hour crowd. Walking through the crowd reminded me of my past life, where I would head to theContinue reading “Work”

Overextended

I’m gradually coming out of my cave. But I made a mistake yesterday and overextended myself again. However, it was also due to unforeseen circumstances, which I suppose could have been better planned and buffered for. One boundary I set for myself as I’m recovering is to meet no more than one person or groupContinue reading “Overextended”

Money management

I had an idea today. People think that being freegan is all about getting free stuff. The truth is, I don’t know of any freegan in Singapore that lives completely independently of money. We all still spend some money somehow, because there are certain things we choose to spend money on so that we canContinue reading “Money management”

Weird

I have an ex-client turned friend turned family. Our relationship is interesting because he was introduced to me as a referral from a mutual friend. He later engaged me for financial planning (my previous career), after which I got to know him better. I’d introduced him to a few ladies because he was looking toContinue reading “Weird”

Ang Mo Kio memories

I went to AMK today. I used to stay in this town, and walking down AMK Hub and Central triggers memories. For that reason, I’ve avoided coming here as best as I could, fearing what memories and tears this place could bring. But today, before I could help myself, a smile was triggered. I thinkContinue reading “Ang Mo Kio memories”

Panic attack

I nearly had a panic attack today. They seem to be triggered by a reminder or memory of a past traumatic experience. I read in Dr Edith Eva Eger’s book “The Choice: Embrace The Possible” that years and decades after she has healed from her experiences as an Auschwitz survivor, she still has panic attacksContinue reading “Panic attack”

Taking on too much

I’m taking on too much too quickly. I’ve been on a break of sorts of late, dealing with the onset of my depression. I decided to cut off all my activities to recuperate. After feeling left out, I immersed myself too quickly back into activity. I need to step back and mark out my boundariesContinue reading “Taking on too much”

Purge

I did a Facebook purge recently. I do this every 1-2 years. You know how it is, you add people as friends on Facebook after having met them once or twice. But you don’t really stay friends, you don’t really keep in touch, and after a while, you forget how this person looks like, howContinue reading “Purge”

Purge

I did a Facebook purge recently. I do this every 1-2 years. You know how it is, you add people as friends on Facebook after having met them once or twice. But you don’t really stay friends, you don’t really keep in touch, and after a while, you forget how this person looks like, howContinue reading “Purge”

Website revamp

I’ve been working on revamping this website. I needed some inspiration on how to do it, and I decided to take a leaf out of Rob Greenfield’s website. I went over to take a look at it and decided that I had enough material made about me to do the same as he does. ThisContinue reading “Website revamp”

Keep it real

I’ve been thinking long and hard about whether I should make this blog private. Usually we don’t like to show others our weak side, our dark sides. We prefer, especially in this social media world we live in now, to show only our good sides, only that which flatter us. It boosts our ego. ItContinue reading “Keep it real”

Who am I?

One of the problems I face is identifying myself with a cause, a passion, a job. When I worked as a church writer and found that because of my depression I could no longer write, I faced a loss of identity. Because if I was not a writer, then who was I? After that, IContinue reading “Who am I?”

Budget 2020

Last year I spent $18,500 for the whole year. This year, I hope the amount will be lower than that. It’s not yet my target though. My target monthly budget, probably achievable in 2021, is as follows: $200 – insurance without cash value $50 – household $30 – mobile subscription $75 – transport Total $355/mthContinue reading “Budget 2020”

Switching back

I’m moving past the anxiety curve and switching back to depression. I spent the whole of the past 48 hours reading 86 issues of Batman (2016).

Escapism

I felt really bad and I wanted to escape it. I sought refuge in video games, but I got bored. I sought refuge in movies, but I got anxious. I sought refuge in books, but I got tired. I found refuge in comics. I’m still there.

Moving on

My mum asked me, “How come you didn’t go to M’s birthday?” “I wasn’t invited,” I said. “That’s… sad,” she replied. “I mean, you built up this community and now they don’t invite you to their celebrations.” “No, it’s good,” I replied. “It means they don’t need me anymore. That frees me. It frees meContinue reading “Moving on”

Is there more to life?

I was watching the starting of Ralph Breaks The Internet last night, after which the movie refused to load so I turned it off. In that part, the two main characters were having an argument or discussion. Both of them spend their days working and their evenings having fun. And one of them asked, “IsContinue reading “Is there more to life?”

Emotionless

I’ve been having conversations with my inner self. I find it especially helpful in bouts of depression, because it allows me to cut through the haze of emotions and see what’s underlying it all. But when it comes to bouts of anxiety, there doesn’t seem to be any emotion. My inner self seems to beContinue reading “Emotionless”

Anxiety

Okay, it’s not boredom I’m feeling, but anxiety. Looks like the depression is gone for now, and has been replaced by anxiety. Anxiety is better than depression, but it brings about its own set of problems. Right now, it’s sleep disturbance. I am unable to relax. I have to stay awake until I feel soContinue reading “Anxiety”

Boredom

I was thinking today if I should go back to work. I’ve been feeling kind of bored. It’s been almost 3 years since I started my mini retirement, when I stopped working full-time. I had thought to spend only 2 years going without work, thinking I would finish spending all my savings and have toContinue reading “Boredom”

Some days

Some days, even before you open your eyes in the morning, you just know it’s gonna be a bad day. Then you have a choice. Either you wallow in bed in self-pity, or you get up anyway and face the day. You keep busy. You do the things you’ve been putting off. Preferably things thatContinue reading “Some days”

Grey fog

A grey fog has descended on everything. Your version of what happened differs from others who were actually there, just as you were. Someone is being gaslighted. Is it you doing the gaslighting? Or is it you being gaslighted? You don’t know anymore, and you no longer care. You don’t know who to trust, whoContinue reading “Grey fog”

The meaning of life

10 years ago, back when I first got depression, I kept feeling like my life had no meaning. Now, I still feel the same. Back then, someone told me that life inherently has no meaning, and that any meaning anyone’s life had, was created by themselves. From there, I came to realise that if myContinue reading “The meaning of life”

Descent into madness

It feels like I’m drowning. It feels like, for a brief moment, everything is going to be alright. Then it feels like I’m drowning again. Like somebody pushed me under again. Busy. I have to keep busy. Lest these thoughts and feelings of despair overwhelm me.

Disconnection

I feel… disconnected. I keep scrolling my social media feeds, looking for someone to interact with. Yet when interaction comes, I withdraw from it. It’s not loneliness that I feel. It’s more of a sense of disconnection. Disconnected from my community. Disconnected from my friends. Disconnected from a bigger cause. Disconnected from myself. But asContinue reading “Disconnection”

Forgive yourself

I have one more person to forgive: myself. Forgive the part of yourself that was victimised, and let go of all blame. Don’t hold yourself responsible for something that’s not your fault. What if blaming yourself is just a way of maintain the fantasy that the world is in your control? We can’t control otherContinue reading “Forgive yourself”

The work of healing

This is the work of healing. You deny what hurts, what you fear. You avoid it at all costs. Then you find a way to welcome and embrace what you’re most afraid of. And then you can finally let it go. – The Choice: Embrace The Possible

Learned helplessness

I’m reading a book called “The Choice: Embrace the Possible” by Edith Eva Eger, a concentration camp survivor. In the book, she writes about learned helplessness: In the 1960s, Martin Seligman, a psychologist, conducted a series of experiments on dogs. It would be deemed cruelty to animals today, but these laws weren’t around then.  HeContinue reading “Learned helplessness”

Okay

I think I’m going to be okay. I no longer feel like crying whenever I see a photo or video of you. 2019 was a rough year. I lost many friendships and relationships important to me. And for most of the year, it seemed like I could not let go of the most significant one.Continue reading “Okay”

Some days

Some days are just a haze. I’m not really present and it’s hard to focus on anything in particular. On such days, I lose myself in a game, a book, an anime, or a movie. I just want the day to pass by as quickly as possible, so that I can go back to sleep.Continue reading “Some days”

Time to let go

I’ve seen you a thousand times, but none of them are you. Your dress, the way you walk, the way your arms bulge, the way your hair falls down by the side of your face When you turn, I look to see your face, but it never is you. Except that one time when itContinue reading “Time to let go”

Longing and loss

Last night we walked along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8, on the way to church. You asked me, how long it’s been since the last time I went to church. Has it been a few years? Not that long ago, I said. I was going to church three times a week. Oh, you said. AndContinue reading “Longing and loss”

Still going strong

2 years, 4 months ago, I decided to stop working. I tell people it’s because I wanted to explore the freegan way of life and figure out how to make it last for the rest of my life without having to go back to work. That’s only partly true. It’s just that the real reasonContinue reading “Still going strong”

Happy 9th

We would have been nine today. But we didn’t make it. I dreamt of you last night. Not the you that you are now. But the you that you used to be. You asked me if I was okay. You looked me over. Then you smiled at me and said, “Not yet. Just a bitContinue reading “Happy 9th”

An untitled post

I realise that I hardly write in this blog, and it’s been about 9 months since I wrote here. The only reason I decided to write a little tonight is because I just renewed the domain name and thought I might as well use it. Let’s see. What has happened in my life so far?Continue reading “An untitled post”

Why do some millionaire Singaporeans still live in HDB apartments?

A few years ago, I accompanied a friend to do door knocking. It’s the first and only time I ever did it — just for the experience. Door knocking is the activity that some insurance agents do to find customers. Other occupations that do this are ice-cream sellers, Christian evangelists, and other door-to-door salespeople. It’sContinue reading “Why do some millionaire Singaporeans still live in HDB apartments?”

How do I overcome the belief that I have to be a millionaire or billionaire to enjoy life?

Sometimes I write answers to financial questions on sites like Quora. Someone there asked the above question. They specified that while they have hobbies that they enjoy, they can’t shake the feeling that in order to truly enjoy life, they would need a significant net worth to allow them to try new things and experiences.Continue reading “How do I overcome the belief that I have to be a millionaire or billionaire to enjoy life?”

What are most people ignorant of that prevents them becoming financially wealthy?

Sometimes I answers to financial questions on sites such as ConsultWho.sg and Quora. Recently there was a question on Quora which asked: Q: What are most people ignorant of that prevents them becoming financially wealthy? The person who asked the question wanted to know the answer specifically in terms of education/knowledge. Here is how IContinue reading “What are most people ignorant of that prevents them becoming financially wealthy?”

Sharing is Caring

A few months ago, I organised a Treasure Hunt event for our freegan community. The purpose of the event was to give a live demo for aspiring freegans on how to go about getting free stuff. Learning from the first-hand experience, they can then go back to their own neighbourhoods and practice it on theirContinue reading “Sharing is Caring”

The road to business failure is paved with good ideas

There are many good ideas floating around. People who create ideas often guard them jealously. However, an idea without execution is just imagination. Our imaginations are powerful, so powerful that it can convince us that we’re doing something when we’re not actually producing any real results. It is planning and execution that turn these ideasContinue reading “The road to business failure is paved with good ideas”

The gift of charity

I never saw the point giving to charity. They say you should give till it hurts. Well, back when I was still giving money to charity, it hurt. And when I saw other donors giving hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, I thought to myself, “What difference does my $100 or even $1,000Continue reading “The gift of charity”

How I overcame anger

Ten years ago, a very close friend ghosted from my life. I knew him from church. Together we organised a big event for our church ministry where we were supposed to speak to all the Catholic priests in Singapore. It was the opportunity to get their buy-in for what we were doing. My close friendContinue reading “How I overcame anger”

The gift of time

Today I watched a young man with his girlfriend. She was staring adoringly into his eyes, but he didn’t notice. His focus was on the Straits Times app on his mobile phone. Throughout the whole train journey, she just kept staring into his eyes, but his attention never wavered from his mobile phone. Which wasContinue reading “The gift of time”

Normal is an illusion

Today I accompanied a friend to a bankruptcy hearing. It turned out well and got the best possible outcome.  Bankrupt. Divorce. Affair. Lawsuit. Orphan. Shotgun. Addiction. Mental illness. Broken family. Parental abandonment. Autism. Gay. Death of a child.  These are things that don’t happen to you, you think. No one you know goes through this,Continue reading “Normal is an illusion”

How to stop worrying about money

Money is simple. But people make it complicated. If you’re just learning about how money works, you’ll definitely come across terms such as investing, debt, inflation, rate of return, risk, savings, assets, liabilities, income replacement, protection, index funds, stocks, bonds, trading, forex, options, CFDs, fixed deposits, unit trusts, mutual funds, and so on. This isContinue reading “How to stop worrying about money”

When anxiety attacks

When I awoke yesterday morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I just wanted to go back to sleep. While this may be normal for some people, it was definitely usual for me. I have trained myself to get out of bed when my alarm clock rings. Yesterday was definitely unusual for me. ThroughoutContinue reading “When anxiety attacks”

Dropbox Nirvana

My laptop died on me today. I got it back in 2013, and it’s been showing signs of its impending death for a few months. I thought it was because I upgraded to Sierra. But no, it’s because the hard disk was getting corrupted. As I was on the train last night, I was contemplatingContinue reading “Dropbox Nirvana”


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