香港 (Hong Kong)

Cantonese 101: 馬死落地行 When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything positive on the news since the pandemic. It just seems to get more negative as the days go by, but I read an inspiring article today and decided to share it with a friend from Hong Kong, who then replied:

廣東話一句,馬死落地行 (literal translation: If the horse dies, walk.)

Translated, it roughly means: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Unless you accept reality and make changes, the society will move on without you. He’s willing to let go of his ego. Not many people can do that.

Indeed. It’s a tough period for everyone, and it will continue to be challenging for everyone. It’s not the time to be picky about what you do to make a living. You go wherever there is demand. It doesn’t matter if you are a photographer who graduated from one of the top universities in Singapore or if you are a business owner who’s used to having people work with and/or for you. If things are not working out, pivoting is key.

When the Circuit Breaker was first introduced, I knew my photography and videography business would be in trouble. I didn’t believe that things would return to normalcy after a month, so I quickly turned to employing my other skillsets to continue making a living while working from home. True enough, just a week before the Circuit Breaker measures were supposed to be lifted on 4 May, we were told that it would be extended by four weeks. And just when everyone was about to rejoice that the Circuit Breaker would finally end on 2 June, we were told that there will be three phases to reopening the economy. Essentially, Phase One is not that much different from the Circuit Breaker and it will last… for another four weeks at least.

Had I not taken immediate action to tap on my other income-generating skills, I might be in deep trouble by now; the demands for certain jobs would have been met by people who were ready to supply it.

That said, when I first pivoted, I was still unwilling to let go of my rate per hour. I mean, why would I work more hours for less money! … right? But it only took a few weeks for me to realise that I am not in control of the economy and that clients have more choices now because the market is saturated by people who have lost their other sources of income. In other words, the supply has surpassed the demand.

I certainly look forward to getting back into business. But for now, I’ll just have to ride on my attitude to life, which is to go with the flow and take a step at a time.