October’s payday has come and gone and I have reached £9k – and then some. I am confident I can acquire a 5-figure sum before the end of the year, which will be a personal milestone since being debt-free of student loans 10 years ago. I have yet to set aside this month’s savings, as I am considering pulling the trigger on assets for a side project to spark my creative flair.

I miss being creative. I still haven’t spray painted my typewriters, and I haven’t found the time to rekindle my pens and pencils and return to sketching. Of course, there is no financial return on those two hobbies, other than the pleasure of working with different mediums in a creative workspace. The only creative stint that I’ve done lately was revamp my CV, as I deployed a new tactic for personal reasons. I have since axed my high school details and limited the details of past jobs. Overall, I now have 4 extra lines to further detail my current role. So far, I have bypassed a prominent HR firewall which I have already reflected upon, but not yet published until a fateful outcome is known.

Aside from topping up my bus pass for another 10 weeks, I have nearly depleted the whole of last month’s salary on light tech, due to my continued interest in cyber security and business infrastructure. There were also several digital assets, online courses and services that I have since acquired that has dented my potential savings. However, I know they will amplify my practical knowledge and hopefully leverage my technical standing in future opportunities – whatever that may entail.

Creative Aspiration

I am a techie who is a creative at heart. For those who know me, I applied to two undergraduate degree programmes – one in the creative arts, the other in the wizardry of computer science.

Despite losing my self-confidence from high school due to my poor grades in mathematics and physics, I decided to pursue a course in the latter as I knew it would pay the bills. Realistically speaking, I wasn’t supposed to be enrolled at my favoured course. However, I genuinely do not have regrets as we live in changing times. I am sure hindsight is where the LORD gives upon His wisdom to help us recognise that He can use a negative outcome to give Himself the glory. I am sure folk including my parents judge me and think, he’s a lost kid who is travelling around the same mountain. Perhaps, in God’s eyes, this may be where He wants me… to dip my toes here and there for an underlying purpose.

Once again, where exactly am I going with this reflection?

I am daring myself to splash in camera gear and hone my videography skills and develop my portfolio. This evidently will make the third component of the Kingdom-focus vision. Marketing, PR and advertising make for a lucrative industry. Again, I’m not in it for the money. Instead, I want to tell a story using Godly values. Above all, I want to tell an honest story that seeks to honour God.

The world may be cynical towards the LORD, Scripture and the Church as a whole, but the world is desperate for sustaining hope. I want to scatter seeds of God’s wholesome truth to the barren fields wherever He calls me.

You see, I don’t currently have an active hobby and I am desperate to return to tickling my creative buds. I feel dry as a bag of rice biscuits that I see slender girls eat for their lunch. Mmmmm… polystyrene biscuits for lunch. Yummy!

I have been calculating how I could develop a video-based portfolio, alongside my projects in graphic design and photography. My only motion portfolio piece is a 30-second parody video of the Apple Watch, which mimics the old jewellery advert featuring an excerpt of ‘Allegretto’ from the Palladio album by Karl Jenkins. Just Google ‘DeBeers Commercial’ to jog the memory.

I know 4K stock videos is a source of revenue. I know making original content for YouTube and monetising them with annoying adverts is another source of revenue. I know charities are desperate for marketing gurus to socially engineer videos and content that strike the chord of the human heart.

For me, I miss the pure form of creativity. Yeah, I have a pending brand to create and formalise, but it’s a corporate brand. And as much as I find it creatively exciting to develop a real brand, I don’t want to be trapped in a corporate bubble or mentality. The same applies with my current employment. I am no longer learning anything new and colleagues are too comfortable in their ‘working families’ mindset to push out new ideas, never mind roll out advancing technologies any quicker than we are patching the old guff.

I clearly sound like a typical millennial. And in ways, I sound rather entrepreneurial. Well, I am half-Asian (business minded) who is fond of American culture (finding opportunity), but with the faith and attitude of a Brit (self-deprecating and laid back).

Whenever I want to throw money at something, I strive to ask myself, ‘How does this relate to this Kingdom-focus vision?’

In terms of video production, it plays an important role as the Kingdom-focus vision will incorporate an in-house agency for the creative arm, whilst the muscle represents the labour of the front-line team, with God being at the heart of the whole venture. It’s a personal passion to communicate Godly values that are based on true stories, especially in today’s day and age of technology and media. I like the concept of in-house talent. I am in the business, as it were, to invest in people.

Curiously, this whole video thing has been playing in my heart and mind for a good number of years. I would say since 2009, when I considered doing a vlog with a friend. I’m glad I didn’t pull the trigger back then, as my heart wasn’t in the right place. Sometimes, a perforated appendix can bring profound wisdom to one’s thinking.

In all fairness, the video production has tickled my fancy on two levels.

One is to learn the post-production effects using Adobe After Effects, which is something I don’t know how to use. I have access to the authorised training videos. Unfortunately, there is only 24-hours in a given day.

I am inspired by the subtle and classy effects used in tech videos, and popular videos and films. Who would have thought Adobe has given us the tools that can transform a commoner to churn videos in a similar production outfit like Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Lucasfilm’s visual effects and animation studio?

The other component of my heightened interest was when I was browsing through 4K videos shot in Hong Kong. I can pen an entire reflection on Hong Kong – but not today. Watching videos of creative timelapses of Hong Kong and shot on gimbals and drones is quite inspiring. And yes, I am a cinematography fart who finds himself with a smile when I see a crafty scene, yet don’t fully know how it’s done behind the scenes. Christopher Nolan is a notable filmmaker whose work I enjoy, as he strives to use real scaling and build models like classic film making. Computer graphics imagery (CGI) is kept to a minimal. I have lately been admiring the cinematography works of Sam Esmail’s Mr Robot.

In less than 2 years, I am likely to travel to Hong Kong with my folks. It will be to update my ID. Other than that, I have no real reason to visit Hong Kong anymore. At the time of writing, my Chinese Grandad will soon be called home. At a grand age of nearly 90, he is my remaining grandparent. I know when he is called, my Mum’s side of the family will likely keep to themselves, due to internal desires of material wealth.

If I ever go to Hong Kong on my own volition, it will either be bringing my own family to experience Hong Kong and its heritage, or for business purposes. The latter is strangely a more realistic outcome for me.

Ultimately, I would like to capture Hong Kong on video while I have the health and capacity to achieve such a small feat. If only I had the modern equipment to record such epic memory. I understand I can hire the goods to produce a personal project and archive the memory on 4K, but I would like to own modern camera gear as I am still stuck with my 2006 Canon EOS 350D dSLR, which does 8 megapixels (APS-C format) – with no video. At the time of writing, I am eyeing the newly announced Sony AR7 III (a 35mm full-frame that captures 42.4 megapixels in still imagery and can capture 4K video).

Creative Communication

Hong Kong isn’t the core of today’s spontaneous reflection, but rather the creative response to be expressive in communicating Godly values to bringing the glory to God.

Expository preaching is all very well, but one doesn’t need to be creative – you just need the balls of steel to preach the truth and the skin of a rhino to repel the criticism from man. As believers, we need to respond to God’s truth and live out the Scriptures in our words, action, faith and lifestyle. Otherwise, we are folly.

Providing 1st and 2nd line technical support has no room for creativity, other than making small chat and building relationships with people, which in turn buys you the extra time to look for viable solutions to a given problem. One can argue that there are creative ways in providing a solution, but in IT – everything is in binary. It’s either working, or it’s not.

Cyber security. Good money. Comfortable living. There’s nothing obviously creative in the role that I can discern, other than to think like a hacker and striving to be one step ahead of the game.

Ironically, it’s this Kingdom-focus vision that captures my underlying creativity. I accidentally stumbled upon videos regarding the creative thinking of airport lounges, which is now my current inspiration to chew for several weeks more.

Here I go banging on about this Kingdom-focus vision. I find it healthy to share tidbits to what I am wrestling with God in my heart, as I long to make sense of this discerning vision, whilst seeking God to prune me further – that I may be purposeful for His plans, should He see me fit.

In the meantime, I am striving to use God’s money wisely by not wasting it willy-nilly.

My flesh desires to buy the latest graphics card (EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB FTW3), a 4K Dell monitor, a 10TB HGST Ultrastar He10 Enterprise 3.5″ HDD, a digital camera (Sony A7R III), an updated smartphone (Google Pixel 2), an iPad Pro 10.5-inch, and a ThinkPad X1 Carbon (5th Gen) – but would these materials bring glory to God at this defining moment in time?

All I know is that it would instantly deplete the £9k savings in the blink of an eye. It also proves why I need to constantly seek the LORD daily to overcome my fleshy desires. If I blow away money like nobody’s business, then what is the future of this Kingdom-focus vision?

At the end of the day, I am hoping I can be faithful with the financial blessing and provision by saving first and invest richly for His Kingdom Come.

~Richard