The short story is
I turned these
into this
- The End -

For the long grandfather story, read on

Prelude to the long story: In an hour, I made myself a scrap wood table from er... scrap wood. Yeah, it may not be your fancifully named Castilla table or something but hey, it's free. Then I added the bench for myself, because I had been standing up using the factory laptop for a year. With these, I made myself my work desk with cost next to nothing.

The bench can easily take twice my weight or more
I hate untidy wires so I connect the elect cables under it
That was how I did it
Bad ass, but I don't care
the "control panel" for now
then I taped the extension like how they did for exhibitions in Singapore
done without a fuss, ready for work tomorrow

The long story: A table is just a table. Unfortunately these days, life isn't that simple anymore. As the proverb goes, "Want not, waste not." However, growing up in Singapore with a culture that believes in an entirely different paradigm makes the idiom almost idiotic. We want the newest things all the time. Not just brand new but the latest designs. As new things of a slightly older version are not acceptable, used (second hand) items are generally frowned upon. And scraps .... are worse than what the dog drags in.

When I was a young boy in Primary School, we were introduced to the concept of recycling during lessons. Most of us understood the underlying good in recycling and came up with outstanding ideas and suggestions to improve our environment in Singapore. Some ideas were smart use of small everyday items and some came up with huge lofty ideas that could make transform our infrastructure or even housing into a powerful sustainable eco-system. However, the lesson ends there behind that four walls and nothing significant was brought out of class. Just like the way we saw the chap who scored 100% in his Moral Education test spit at another classmate for losing a Chinese chess game.

I am not sure how good or bad the Singapore carbon footprint is. I am not going into that because it will end up with meaningless debate about so and so country being worse and other pointless justifications. My purpose of writing this the first thing I finished making this recycled table was to explore a possible single reason behind the overbearing peer pressure in Singapore to pursuit material items that I witnessed and experienced as a victim myself. Was it due to relentless marketing of products by companies which shaped our perspectives of how our lives should be run? Why did my friends tell me I had to buy a proposal ring worth 3 times my monthly salary or it would not be worthy for my wife? Who set this kind of damn standards and got everyone not just believing in it but spread it around like pestilence?

I blame Facebook. That is the reason why I avoided Facebook whenever I can. It is a breeding ground for envy, jealousy, pride and hypocrisy. How do you honestly feel when you see someone posting a picture of himself on top of a snow mountain with a grin like a slice of watermelon?  How do you feel about their new car you cannot afford? You want it and you know it, don't lie. These are not healthy to the mind and I decided that Facebook is a shit place to be. If I wanted to rot my mind, I rather do it the fun way by playing MMORPG. At least I can slay a couple of bastards cheaply. By avoiding Facebook, I know it will eventually make me irrelevant to the world, because the living no longer recognise their kind unless they are plugged into the system. Fuck it. I have only a few more decades to live, or maybe lesser than I thought having the cancer time bomb within me.

I asked my co-worker how he felt about the table and bench I made quickly without fuss with just a handsaw, a hammer and some nails. He said, "Wow." I looked at him and said, "Really? Will you use this in your house?" 

"Yes, of course."


"Because there is nothing wrong with it."

There are people who ask why are there Singaporeans who come to Australia to pick up jobs a few levels "beneath them" or why do I do things myself instead of comfortably hiring someone to do it. I'm not sure about others. To me, there is nothing wrong in doing so. The reason I couldn't make myself return to Singapore is that I can do whatever my heart desires without being judged here, without the need to please anyone else who think they have a stake in my life just because they are my friends or my employer.

And so how did you find this story? It was written entirely on a very solid, very stable self-made table from scrap wood that nobody wanted. My post is of a decent length, with the usual consistency of grammar and spelling mistakes and the story line sucks. Nothing has changed.

A table is a table.


  1. Wow I love what you did with that! I'm very inspired by DIY especially with recycled materials, turning nothing into something with next to no cost. Except being Singaporean, I must admit I've built absolutely jack-shit with my bare hands. But I will try.

  2. Congrads! I would use your table and chair. It's also part of why I love my friends AA and EM's home very much. Being thrifty French immigrants, much of what they have at their apartment is recycled from "back alley" and touched up with "love" and a bit of handy-work.

    I learnt Technical in secondary school (those were the days when female students had a choice between Technical and Home Economics). I recognize that my petite size meant that I generally suck at work that requires brute strength, e.g. hammering down a piece of metal sheet. That said, years later when I got my leasehold-HDB, I fixed up all the shower fixtures myself and am a handy-woman when it comes to basic pipe leaks, falling bamboo-pole holders, etc. There is a different kind of satisfaction when one works with one's hands.

  3. looks like the days in the technical workshops in QT came in useful

  4. you have given upcycle a whole new meaning.....and creatively constructed by a singaporean some more! NB, this is super never fail to amaze me! keep these stories rolling!


  5. Making a table DIY style is a vastly difficult task in pigeon hole flats in Sillypore. Hammering noises would attract complains from top, bottom, left, right neighouours. Not to mention the sawdust 'flying' to kitchen in small dwellings.

    Most constricting factor is time. Many sillyporeans are not consumed in overwork that they won't have time to DIY a table. Not to mention expending more physical effort after being tired from work. Just go IKEA or a hypermarket buy & assemble.