Tag Archives: heart

2011 Wrap: An Accelerating and Exhausting Year


This month of December mark one year I have been back living in Bangkok. One year is not very long but it seems there have been a lot coming through. I could say it is the progress after all those years struggling professionally, financially and mentally in Sydney. But every time you step on an accelerator, fuel is getting burned up as well. It all comes with the package. In summary, there are two main aspects that got me both progressed and exhausted:

The job

The day before I left Sydney, I got a call from the World Bank in Bangkok about the job I applied for six months earlier to inform me that I got the offer. That changed the entire packing mood from uncertainty to some level of excitement.

There are so many challenges in new the job, it does not only acquire most of my skills: web stuff, video editing, photography, digital asset management and so on, but also takes a lot of my energy. In addition to that, there are so many new things to learn. I was worried that I would lose the mojo since I haven’t made a proper single personal work this year. And this blog now seems to be the archival of my declining tweets.

However, looking back, there were a lot has been done. It comes to realisation that I actually do what I would like to do for a living, not just to fulfil the needs to express how I see the world as I did most in Sydney years. And it does make me feel worthy again.

The physique

In July, I went for an annual check up. Everything was fine except the high blood pressure and the doctor found split heartbeats. I was recommend to see a cardiologist and had my heart checked with echocardiography. It turned out that I got stage-two hypertension. It was not actually a surprise even though I am considerably young for that since there was a heart palpitation earlier.

This chronic illness certainly changed my lifestyle. I joined the gym prior to the check up but did not take it seriously until the heart condition was confirmed. The determination to lower my blood pressure kicked in. Along with the medication, I started to go to the gym every chance I got and shed hundreds of calories out of the body. The personal trainer has become my new best friend (and also an expensive one).

I turn into an anal retentive in terms of diet, for an example, asking every restaurant what kind of oil they use for cooking. The generic cooking oil in Thailand is palm oil which is high in saturated fat. And street food are unfortunately my rare treat. And I keep track of the intakes and the activities on the daily basis as much as possible.

The only bad habit I cannot change is alcohol. I did try on the first month controlling it but, unlike the gym or the diet, I just could not enjoy it at all. You only need one last crucial thing to keep your disease going. To be honest, this post won’t be done without sitting down in a pub with a bottle of Shiraz.

However, four months later, on the latest visit to the cardiologist, the blood pressure went down to normal (although it comes up again recently, well, only if I could stop drinking). Now, I lost around ten to twelve kilos and took ten centimetres out of the waist. The body mass index (BMI) is down from slightly overweight to in the middle of normal range. Such a reward!

Working out is a new territory for me. I never thought I would be having fun with this transformation, especially later in the life like this. Maybe it is just the same as you create a video or photography work but this time it is your own physique. Or maybe it is just a joy of discovering a new adventure in your life.

A year wrap, if one could wonder how far they come in a year, just see how exhausted you are at the of the year. I am very, very, very exhausted. Although it is still a long way to get to the finish line, wherever it is, for now, what I am OK with the effort I have made in the year. Just need a break to reflect it, like tonight with a cheap shiraz under a cool night in my very homecity.

Love Post 2042

Love Post 2042 from ApostrophePong on Vimeo.

2042 is the postcode of Newtown/Enmore, NSW, Australia where I have spent half of adult life for almost ten years. It is one of the best places in the world to live in and it will be one of the things I will be missing the most.

This video is a series of photographs I took in a Summer 2006 at Bank Hotel, next to Newtown Station. Folded window panes reflect commuters passing by an old post on King Street. Something is living in oblivion.

This is the last video I make for Kino Sydney, the last video in Australia. However, there are still some materials I shot in Sydney to make some videos and they probably will be produced when the time comes and I settle down a bit in Bangkok.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Australia License.

Music: Colazione su saturno (Menion) / CC BY-NC-SA 2.5

I’m Farking Fine

As I am writing this, RUOK day is over and I am glad. Not because I am being cynical about this campaign raising depression awareness but it is to the point that a viral campaign becomes repetitive and you feel like being brainwashed, this time not from mainstream media but from every little stream you turn. And you cannot hide from it, just like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

I have to remind myself that I still am climbing out from the hole of worth depression myself and genuine concerns from people around you play a very important role to get through it. A simple question “Are you OK?” is a powerful step to make people with depression realise that there are someone out there who cares. I have made that in my short film Memory of You | Reflection of Me.

The next short film—EXiST—as a part of DASS (Depression Anxiety Stress Scale) trilogy, tackles on anxiety. It is fascinating how our minds affect our physical body, not just our behaviours. And I have experienced it myself.

While I was rewriting the script on breakfast at my favourite café near the work, there was a feeling like a punch in my chest and my palm were sweaty. I stopped, took deep breathes and it went away. At lunchtime, the tightness in my chest was back and lasted longer. I knew it was heart palpitations. In the afternoon, I could feel my heart pounding on the fabric of my shirt. After work, I decided to check myself in and tried to stay calm on the train to the hospital.

When I got Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the heart rate was about 100 bpm with irregular frequency. They put me on ECG monitor, traced the heart rate, had my blood tested and my chest x-rayed. The doctor examined my medical history including the depression breakdown, which I got the last major one on April-May, and told me she did not see what caused the palpitation, “You are a perfectly healthy young man.”

It was six hours in Emergency Department until I got discharged with a letter to my GP. It pinpointed to the stress I had and the only concern physically was my high blood pressure. By that time, I had enough of watching other patients, their relatives, nurses, doctors and other medical staff in the ward.

Even though the script was not finished and the project was not updated as planned, I felt energetic when I left the hospital for a number reasons. The first hand experience of the stress effect to the body was an invaluable material that could inspire the conclusion of the trilogy. It was good to find that there was nothing wrong with the test result. And most of all, I did not get carried away with panic or struggle with the attack that my own mind created.