Monday, February 1, 2010

Personal history

When you have a full time job, being a full time husband and dad of a tot, I just don’t have much personal time. I once even count how many ‘free’ hours that I’ve on an average day, the answer is just pathetic! That’s why, I do once in a while think about how much free time I had back in the old days. I don’t miss it wholeheartedly, cos life to some extents is fair. It is always a matter of give and take. I do gain a lot of things that I didn’t have before. I’m neither complaining nor having any regret here. So, I always just tell myself to stop whinning in my mind and just deal with it. Well, that’s life, I guess.

I’ve carried over few days off from last year and have to spend them all in Q1. So, I do have few extra days that I can have some times off for myself. Yes, I still will have to shoulder certain responsibilities at home. However, I think sparing few hours here and there to do some personal things just something I cherish very much as well as I do need. Last Friday was just one of those days, I spend few hours in the afternoon sorting out my stack of old books, letters, and boxes of things, etc. I never like to ask other people to help on such tasks, not even my close ones, cos it is just something have to be done by myself as only I would know what to keep, what to throw away, and where to put what things at the end of the day. The funny thing this time around is that, something that I used to keep, I trashed them without second thoughts. I used to think that those are valuable stuff that is part of my personal history that I wanted to keep and would like to take a look at them someday. However, I guess my mind has just evolved, I guess I just ‘distill’ what matters to me and those things do change over time.

When I flipped through some old photos, memory just popped up while holding them in my palm. Some of those photos are in black and white. I found that their quality are surprisingly better than some color photos that was taken a decade later. I’m so glad that they are preserved. Cos, though many people have tried to restore things, but they rarely do that well particularly those with vivid history. That’s why I don’t like those movies about recent history, cos no matter how hard you try, those historical figures are simply too fake in my eyes. I guess…No matter how much effort you want to try to ‘recreate’ the past, most of the time when things are gone, they are GONE! In my case, it is about images from my past. The photo that I can see the smile on my parents’ faces when they were holding me as a tot in their hands, is simply priceless to me. How can I or anyone recreate that? That really got me thinking after looking at the photo. Not only about how to protect such personal historical remains for now, but also preserving and CREATING the present records for the future.

As technology enhanced, we have plenty of records now than what I had as a kid. What matter to me now is how to keep such digital records for good. Burning them on DVD RW would be nice, but I heard that they needs to be ‘reburn’ in few years if the discs are not stored properly. I like to backup files in hard-disks. However, such magnetic form of storage also has risk. I don’t wanna print everything out, it is just not cost effective, time-consuming, and not ‘GREEN’. So, recently, I’ve been thinking about storing my files in cyberspace. Cos, it will be more durable, accessible, and green! However, the services currently available are still too costly (from my point of view). Also, the security side is also my concern as well. I’m not sure if ‘Cloud computing’ would be the answer, is it just another ‘fad’ term that come and go in few years? I’m not sure. Anyway, while I’m still exploring the right solution for my need, I guess that I just have to be careful of my records and don’t lose them or get them destroyed in their temporary forms.


ToM 少 said...


Joyce Hor-Chung Lau said...

Hi Joel. That's funny.
My husband and I are in the same boat. We both had days off to burn, but didn't want to go overseas. So we just finished a week of "stay-cation." (A vacation where we stay in Hong Kong.)
We did many things we usually don't have time to do -- decorate the home, buy some plants, see friends, throw out old papers, take the cat to the vet, etc. It went by so fast.
You're right. Even something like flipping through old photos can take up a leisurely afternoon.
And we don't even have kids!

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