Monday, July 30, 2018

Comics: Travel

Sorry everyone, I forgot to update last week!!! So here are 2 strips at one go~
It's always troublesome to sort the photos after holidays, I wonder if my readers are the same too?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Recovering from Inguinal hernia open repair surgery

This blog post is to share my experience with people who have hernia and what to expect after surgery.

I felt a small lump that comes and goes on my right groin without any pain at the beginning of the year so I ignored it for several months. Moreover I was rushing my 4th book at that time and had no time to see a doctor. I was worried if it's something serious, I would have to take time off from the book and I would miss the deadline. But I continued to ignore the lump after I was done with the book because it comes and goes, and there was no pain.

However it became worse after a replacement yoga instructor took over a class that I regularly go to in June. She made us do a lot of hip opening, stretches and core work and I felt pain a few hours later. My right groin area was in small pain whenever I walked. I couldn't tell if it was the lump causing the problem or tendon/muscles got torn so I went to see both a masseur and a TCM (traditional chinese medicine) physician. The masseur suspected I just hurt the tendons but my physician suspected that I have hernia. She advised me to see a gynaecology doctor for a scan to make sure. Meanwhile the masseur fixed the pain I had while walking so I had a glimmer of hope it was just a simple muscle tear.

Unfortunately my gynae doctor had the same suspicion as my TCM physician because the lump disappeared when I laid down and became more prominent when standing. She ordered both an uterus and a pelvic ultrasound scan for me. A week later, the result was out, I had femoral hernia 😢. I was referred to a general surgeon to have it fixed. Because the lump was not obvious, I had another scan done at the hospital, but the result was the same, femoral hernia. Their advise was once there is a hole, it can only get bigger as you age and the only way to fix it is with a mesh repair done. The procedure is common, simple and safe and I won't need to worry about my intestines popping out and get strangulated (which will become life-threatening).

By then, I already felt no pain but just occasional discomfort as if my right groin had a liquid balloon. It was especially uncomfortable when my stomach was gassy. I couldn't do yoga, carry heavy things nor run as these could make the hernia worse. So I opted for surgery in hope that I can do all the things that I used to be able to do.

However I read online about the side effects and grew worried. Some people experience chronic pain and some had an infected mesh that requires a second surgery to remove it. So I asked my surgeon if I could do without a mesh but he still recommended to have it. He said that if there's no problem for the first 2 months, then it is unlikely to have infected mesh after that. So I hoped for the best.

The open surgery
My surgery was scheduled in the afternoon 3.30pm so I could still eat and drink by 9.30am. It would be an open surgery under general anaesthesia because the doctor thought that I was young and can recover faster than the older folks... (so I have been having elderly problem at a young age 😑...) It was the first time I have a surgery done so I was a bit nervous when I was rolled into the surgical theatre. The anaesthesia doctor introduced herself and reconfirmed that I had no allergy before injection. The surgeon talked to me for a while and within a few minutes, my eyelids became heavy and I was knocked out.

The surgeon woke me up after the surgery, which was around 70-90 mins and asked how I felt. I replied ok and continued to close my eyes while I was being rolled back to my ward. It was as if I woke up from a good sleep. The doctor visited me later and told me that I had the more common inguinal hernia instead of femoral hernia and the wound was around 2". There was some swelling and my entire right lower tummy was aching. He said it's because of the pulling of the skin during surgery and it should get better after some days.

Day 1:
There was some pain on my wound after surgery that extended to my right tummy. I was given painkillers which helped. I was able to get down from bed and slowly make my way to the toilet but it was painful sitting down, getting up and moving around.The wound was swollen and of course I opted not to take a bath. I had a sore throat so I drank sips of water.

Day 2:
Getting down from bed and going to toilet was slightly better and there was no pain when I wasn't moving. The back of my heels were getting painful from lying down for too long. I can be discharged in the morning so I sat most of the time at my parent's home. But this made my back uncomfortable and my legs pretty stiff. My sore throat was gone, maybe thanks to the antibiotics too.

Day 3:
I was worried about constipation but luckily my breakfast coffee got me back into "motion". Groin was still swollen but significantly lesser pain when sitting down and getting up. I tried to walk more because I felt my legs swelling up due to lack of movement. I decreased painkillers by one dose as I was worried about its side effects.

Day 4:
There was an odd feeling that the wound was more swollen than yesterday and a bit numb but lesser pain when I sat down and got up. I stopped the painkillers completely as the pain was little and bearable. I tried to walk around the house more so blood can get flowing to my legs instead of just sitting down all the time. I even walked slowly around the block for 20min. The waterproof bandage seemed still intact. I had no sore throat but the occasional coughs made the wound burn in pain.

Day 5:
Groin is still swollen and the waterproof bandage seemed attached to my skin... (I guess it will be painful when it's time to remove). Somehow my right lower ab is a bit more painful than before when I get out of bed. Hope the pain disappears gradually. I walked a bit inside the house instead of outside.

Still swollen and painful whenever I cough. I guess the swelling and pain will take some time to disappear completely.

My right lower ab is no longer in pain. Not sure if the pain in stretching is due to the waterproof plaster or not. I was well enough to walk to nearby mall to eat and do groceries.

Day 8:
Went to see my surgeon to have the plaster removed. Wound is recovering well and clean but still swollen and numb. Doctor said it will take another 2-3 weeks for it to go down. I was given advise to only walk for 10min and not more than that for the next 2 weeks as the wound might ache if I push too much. After which, I could walk as much as I want but still no yoga for at least 2 months.

Day 9:
Not sure if it's because I went to my client's place yesterday to help with their wall murals so my lower tummy is in ache/pain whenever I stand up and walk around. It also hurts more when I was trying to get up from bed.

Day 10:
Tummy ache is gone but the wound still hurts when I move and the whole pelvic area is still swollen. The area around the wound is also still numb, though less numb than before. Maybe that's why I could feel more pain...

Day 11 and beyond:
Swelling and pain feels about the same everyday now. It's still painful whenever I cough or sneeze or use that part of the muscle to move, such as lying down or getting up. I can't toss around in bed like I used to because it would hurt... Hopefully it will get better next week!

The cause of my hernia?
The cause of my hernia could be born with naturally thinner muscle wall, or too much sitting to draw or yoga. I'm not exactly sure but I guess I wouldn't be doing deep forward bends or back bends for a long time...

Monday, July 2, 2018

Comics: Fashion on an Artist

So far I had to replace the soles of 2 pairs of shoes and 1 pair of sandals. Another pair of pump shoes' lining disintegrated after I walked halfway to the train station...

Monday, June 18, 2018

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Face Shower Bar by Irén Review (thorough facial within 30min in Singapore)

I was too busy and did not do any facial for a year already. Coincidently I was invited to try out this quick facial that promises to thoroughly clean your clogged pores and sooth your skin within 30min using their very own formulated skin care made in Japan. So the deal was if it was good I will write a blog, if not I will pay for my own treatment. So as you can see, I was satisfied 😆

Monday, June 11, 2018

Comics: Getting paid as a freelancer

Getting paid as a freelancer is not easy, especially when clients pay by check... many things can go wrong... like finance department is busy, partner agency is busy, boss is busy, lost in mail, etc... One of the local retailers is owing me 9 months of sale, hence one of the reasons why I'm no longer doing books!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Buying my domain from hugedomains

I created my Facebook page on dec 2010 but only decided to register my domain in 2013. But alas, I was too late and it was already hijacked by Hugedomains :(

As you can see, they hijacked the domain I wanted to register in late 2012, during the time when my comics were going viral. I forgot how much they were selling my domain but it was later put up for sale at a whopping US$2650!!!

I think it wasn't worth to buy and bought a local domain name ""  instead. For the next 5 years I did not think of buying back my domain until I started wondering... why a few of my artist friends could get commission work from overseas clients but I'm kinda stuck with local clients.

I did not think my comics were very local and half of it should be relatable to everyone around the world. I wouldn't say my skill is fantastic but it is not too bad neither. So I began wondering, could it be the domain name? Could it be because of the .sg at the end of my domain that made my website look suspicious? So the only way to find out was to buy it back and try out.

Of course, I wouldn't buy without trying to bargain first so I tried to offer US$1500 but it was rejected as the price was too low... so I tried $2400... and it was accepted 😭 I reluctantly made the payment and received the login details for my domain on namebright the next day. I logged in and successfully changed the nameservers but it seems that because the domain was newly transferred over, I couldn't transfer it out to my regular domain registrar.

I hope my investment was worth it.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Temporary Halt of Monday webcomics

Dear all, I've decided to pause the Monday comic strips in order to concentrate meeting the deadline of book4 (end April) with US publisher. There is a lot of inking and coloring work and has a lot more details than Book2: Eva Goes Solo and has to be all colored instead of half-half. The final size is also bigger at 7.5"x10". Hopefully I can finish the book by April, otherwise the book will only be published in 2020 in order to match the US release seasons. (OMG!)

I will be posting my WIP (work in progress) on my Instagram stories instead. Patrons on patreon will see more WIP images.

I think you all noticed I have lesser and lesser time for webcomics. Initially I thought it was age catching up and more commission work, but I later realise it's the books, the books are killing me. I not only have to spend 7-10months working on a book without pay, but also the editing and marketing of the book when it's out. Sometimes it involves me doing new graphics to promote the events. When a new book is released, I get invited to many many festivals to give talks, almost all are not paid :( Initially I thought it would be good promotion for my books but the sales were very weak. I also had to buy back stock from my Malaysian publisher to sell to gift shops in Singapore and rent booths and conventions because of the falling ringgit. Sadly my royalty was based on the ringgit selling price that was fixed when the ringgit was stronger (SG$1=RM2 that time in 2014). And because I am getting more books, I need to hire logistics to help me move them, which adds up to the cost. It doesn't help when many local bookstores do not want to stock my books or put them at very discreet locations. (That's why you only see Mr. Lee and political books).

In the end, I realised I spend a lot of time on books, but the returns are comparatively little. As I sink deeper into the selling of books, I continue need to take in commission work to fill the hole and I began to neglect my social media channels and content. Gradually my reach declined and I am so busy with the books that I didn't care anymore (which is bad actually). Also no matter what I do, it seems still not many people buy books and the bookstores continue to not carry them even up to my 3rd book. I want to thank Kinokuniya, which has consistently hosted my book signing and carried ALL my titles.

So book4 will be my last book unless I am paid a good amount to do another one. There is simply too much work involved and I cannot change the market and influence bookstores to carry or feature my work. I am sorry to fans who have expressed liking my books and hope for more but in this country with a small market, high cost of living (hence high retail store commission and expensive postage), it just doesn't make sense to continue. I prefer to go back where I started, just good old colorful webcomics. I think 3 local titles and 1 international title is good enough for my credentials and for fans to hold on for a long time.

Lastly I want to thank all my patreons, past and present, for your support to become my financial cushion as I ventured into this non-profitable painful journey. I will come back after April with colorful webcomics again! See you!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Comics: Disaster in the Air

This comic was done while I was traveling so the line work is a bit crappy... Wondering if I should pause the monday comics for 3 months so I can dedicate working on the 4th book or continue posting such rough comic strips?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Comics: Wonder in the Skies

Sometimes I get the aisle seat and I would wonder when the passengers inside will go toilet...

I will be posting a series of travel-related comic strips inspired from my recent trips! Sorry no colour cos I am still rushing my 4th book!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Comics: Packing clothes for trips

It's always annoying when you have to pack summer, fall and winter clothes for one single trip...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

OMG it is the end of 2017

There is only one word to describe my 2017: TIRED!

There were some unexpected overseas trips (both personal and business) and several invitations to give talks at various festivals because of my new book. I also setup booths at two major conventions (STGCC and AFA) and two small fairs in schools. Because of that, Monday comic strips had been affected and progress of my 4th book slowed down.

Sadly, after 3 years since my first book, revenue from the books remained modest and I now don't find it worth while to continue after my 4th book unless all sales are taken care of by the publisher. Or I just do an ebook version. This means I won't be buying back my own books to sell at conventions and gift shops anymore. Currently I still have a lot leftover at home and won't be restocking after I clear them all. Besides spending several months making the book itself, I found myself trapped in the selling of my books after it's published. Because my royalties are in depreciating ringgit, I figured it was better to buy back my own books to sell in Singapore. I rented booths, asked retail shops for orders, arranged logistics, generated marketing materials, gave many talks and demo, chased and still chasing payments. The books I had to store and carry increased and I had reached my limit...

Despite my effort to push sales, there is still lack of support from local bookstores. Only books about the late Mr. Lee and anything political would be given prime shelf locations. For the rest like mine, they either refuse to order, or order in very small quantities and tuck them into spaces that are either a few inches from the floor or ceiling (true story). You may say you no longer buy books from the bookstores that don't carry my books, but they are still located at convenient locations. Certain bookstores have their own exclusive titles or imprint and it seems that they want to protect their market share by not ordering my books :(

The fortunate thing is I didn't have to depend on book sales to make ends meet. For some strange good luck I had been having consistent commissioned work to draw comics for organizations and companies. I also conducted a short comic drawing course at a primary school. Support from my Patreon had also been rather consistent. Book sales was an added bonus and I cleared the 5-digit loan I took to self publish back in 2014.

Moving ahead in 2018... I am working on my 4th book with a US publisher about traveling to Tokyo. If I can finish by end of April (*gulp), it will be released in Fall 2019. So you would have to bear with me the B&W Monday comic strips till I finish that book. Luckily the royalties will be in USD and would be sold at bookstores worldwide, including Japan and US (YEAH!). Finally I won't need to depend on local bookstores and market. You can catch the work in progress sometimes on my Instagram stories.

You may ask what about ebooks? Well FYI all 3 books have ebook versions now: Kindle, Google Play Books, iBooks, Kobo, and eSentral. But sales are generally quite pathetic, like only a few are sold in several months. The reality is it only makes good money if your hardcopy is a best seller (like 1,000 copies sold within a week or month). Or you make something with sex and violence, or about cats... ...

I'm not sure what I'll do after I finish 4th book, but definitely not the same as what I have done before.  I'm not going to buy back my books to sell in bulk anymore. Although I'm not in a festive mood to say Happy New Year, but I'll say "THANK GOODNESS EVERYBODY SURVIVED!" May 2018 be better for all of us!

Special thanks to all my patrons at

Monday, December 25, 2017

Comics: Finally over

I'm not sure about other countries, but in Singapore the malls and some radio stations will keep on playing christmas music and carols...

Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday, December 11, 2017

Comics: How yoga help in losing weight

Based on true story, shouldn't have eaten so much before the classes that happen after lunch/dinner.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Comics: I did not know yoga can be dangerous

Happened to me on a Saturday class, which half of the students were pretty advance. I was nearly kicked left and right on the face but I won't really wear a helmet to class... I will continue to practice my dodging skill...


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