View Poll Results: Are we being taken advantage off?

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  • Yes we are killing ourselves.

    242 34.82%
  • No, this will benefit the newbies.

    142 20.43%
  • I dunno.

    42 6.04%
  • Its all part of the game.

    269 38.71%
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Thread: Has ClubSNAP become a sourcing spot for cheap photographers. Are we being taken adv?

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed
    But your attitude is typical of what I've been saying, people who do not appreciate photography as a profession. Good photographers are no different from good doctors and good lawyers. Or good accountants. Or good designers. As you say great skill deserves good pay, so why not S$1200 for 8 hours of work? During an attachment at a law firm, I was writing letters in 20 minutes that got the lawyer S$1000. And believe you me, that required far less skill than taking pictures at a wedding. At least, if you want to take them well.
    ooooh, i heartily agree with Jed on this one. $1200 for 8 hours work is too much? i know folks (and i mean local guys, not overseas photogs or celebrity photogs) who get $2-3K per wedding day shoot. so that's too much? not to the couple who got the fantastic wedding album which captured their once-in-a-lifetime occasion perfectly. if you're seen a really good wedding album, you'll know what i'm talking about. i myself wouldn't mind paying $2k for that kinda standard if i had the need/occasion and i could afford it. like what ydanz said "one cent worth, one cent's stock" (meaning you get what you pay for).

    skills - it's very sad but photography is a strange animal. i can't remember who said it, but photography is probably the most technical form of art around. no other artform requires so much knowledge and expertise, so it's not hard to see why there's a common misconception that any Tom, Dick or Larry (hahaha) can take great photos with a expensive camera. but IMHO, photography is a skill, and no piece of expensive gear can help you if you suck at it. in other words, you're not paying for someone with a camera to come trigger the shutter @ your event (be it wedding or corporate). you're paying for someone's keen judgment, understanding of exposure, eye for details and composition and a gazillion other intangibles to come capture the moment, and oh btw this person is using XXX type of equipment. Jed's analogy about accountants, doctors, lawyers and other professional fields is very apt. you're not paying for a joker who can type to write a letter, you're paying for years of training, legal experience, knowledge and the backing of a professional firm.

    equipment - there's no escaping it, but photography IS a very expensive skill. for those long-time shooters, think of all the money burnt on film, prints and darkroom stuff. and then digital came along, and hey, the price of photography has just tripled! but when you hire a event photographer, you're not only paying for his capital costs, but his backups as well. e.g. if you pay $500 for some guy with a camera and 2 lens, fine and dandy. but when his camera fails or CF crashes, there's little you can do about it except rant and rave. sue him? for a measly $500 fee? that's kinda pointless. but when you pay $2k for someone else, that person better be prepared with backup cameras, lenses, flashes, a gazillion gigs of storage cards, even an assistant/backup photog if the need is there. and that, everyone, costs money.

    there are horror stories of people screwing up couples' actual day photogy. my own family was a victim - the photog for my sis's wedding (part of the studio package) actually dropped/lost one single roll of film at the ballroom and that roll happen to be the most impt roll - the grand entrance of the bride and groom. i'm not saying that top pros don't screw up, of course they do, but the chances of that is soooo much smaller and they're prepared to answer for the boo-boos.

    just my 2 f-stops worth of comments.

  2. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by Watcher
    For amateurs, I feel that they can do for free if they want, but should be aware that 1) they distort the market 2) understand that pros have other mouths to feed besides themselves and 3) pros have to pay for equipment, etc while they do not (usually from some other source of income). At least, they should try to understand that the rates are not unreasonable and that every free job they provide, it means that they are denying someone else revenue.
    Every free job they provide, it means that they are denying someone else revenue???

    I do not agree, everyone has their own budget, just as the pro photographers have their rate.

    Just as WE should not judge whether the pro photographer's pay is high or low and it's up to him to charge, it is also the customer's right to use the services of someone who meets their asking price.

    In the past, if you need services, you have to go find out how much, and if exceed budget, you increase the budget or wait for more budget.

    Now, it's more like a consumer market, where the customer says "I need some one to do this for $xxxx, who can do it"
    The service providers will bid for it, and provider A will say I can do it for only $xxx, provider B will say I can do it for only $yyy.

    So the customer decide who to do it, whether it is the cheapest guy first or the best guy first, depends on the customer's needs.


    So if the pro's price does not meet the customer's budget, and another guy does it for cheaper or free, you cannot accuse the other guy of denying the pro of revenue.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winston
    Every free job they provide, it means that they are denying someone else revenue???

    I do not agree, everyone has their own budget, just as the pro photographers have their rate.

    Just as WE should not judge whether the pro photographer's pay is high or low and it's up to him to charge, it is also the customer's right to use the services of someone who meets their asking price.

    In the past, if you need services, you have to go find out how much, and if exceed budget, you increase the budget or wait for more budget.

    Now, it's more like a consumer market, where the customer says "I need some one to do this for $xxxx, who can do it"
    The service providers will bid for it, and provider A will say I can do it for only $xxx, provider B will say I can do it for only $yyy.

    So the customer decide who to do it, whether it is the cheapest guy first or the best guy first, depends on the customer's needs.


    So if the pro's price does not meet the customer's budget, and another guy does it for cheaper or free, you cannot accuse the other guy of denying the pro of revenue.
    heh. weirdly enough i agree with this. to echo something that our resident mod Ian would say, "Low rent photographers are great for my business, as it removes the rubbish clients from my door."

    i myself have stopped pitching/quoting for open jobs, unless the client approaches me directly. it's just too competitive. if they don't know my work and has a low budget, then too bad. i'm not gonna work for peanuts cos after a while it affects my professionalism. that sounds elitist but it's true - if you've gotten clients used to paying bare margins for your services, don't expect them to accomodate your request for higher pay next time.

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry
    ooooh, i heartily agree with Jed on this one. $1200 for 8 hours work is too much? i know folks (and i mean local guys, not overseas photogs or celebrity photogs) who get $2-3K per wedding day shoot. so that's too much? not to the couple who got the fantastic wedding album which captured their once-in-a-lifetime occasion perfectly. if you're seen a really good wedding album, you'll know what i'm talking about. i myself wouldn't mind paying $2k for that kinda standard if i had the need/occasion and i could afford it. like what ydanz said "one cent worth, one cent's stock" (meaning you get what you pay for).

    skills - it's very sad but photography is a strange animal. i can't remember who said it, but photography is probably the most technical form of art around. no other artform requires so much knowledge and expertise, so it's not hard to see why there's a common misconception that any Tom, Dick or Larry (hahaha) can take great photos with a expensive camera. but IMHO, photography is a skill, and no piece of expensive gear can help you if you suck at it. in other words, you're not paying for someone with a camera to come trigger the shutter @ your event (be it wedding or corporate). you're paying for someone's keen judgment, understanding of exposure, eye for details and composition and a gazillion other intangibles to come capture the moment, and oh btw this person is using XXX type of equipment. Jed's analogy about accountants, doctors, lawyers and other professional fields is very apt. you're not paying for a joker who can type to write a letter, you're paying for years of training, legal experience, knowledge and the backing of a professional firm.

    equipment - there's no escaping it, but photography IS a very expensive skill. for those long-time shooters, think of all the money burnt on film, prints and darkroom stuff. and then digital came along, and hey, the price of photography has just tripled! but when you hire a event photographer, you're not only paying for his capital costs, but his backups as well. e.g. if you pay $500 for some guy with a camera and 2 lens, fine and dandy. but when his camera fails or CF crashes, there's little you can do about it except rant and rave. sue him? for a measly $500 fee? that's kinda pointless. but when you pay $2k for someone else, that person better be prepared with backup cameras, lenses, flashes, a gazillion gigs of storage cards, even an assistant/backup photog if the need is there. and that, everyone, costs money.

    there are horror stories of people screwing up couples' actual day photogy. my own family was a victim - the photog for my sis's wedding (part of the studio package) actually dropped/lost one single roll of film at the ballroom and that roll happen to be the most impt roll - the grand entrance of the bride and groom. i'm not saying that top pros don't screw up, of course they do, but the chances of that is soooo much smaller and they're prepared to answer for the boo-boos.

    just my 2 f-stops worth of comments.
    Yes, I agree with Larry that Photography is a skill, however, like doctors and lawyers. There are also GPs who charge $16 and specialists who charge $1000+.

    If I am a patient and has a cough only, I do not want to be treated by a specialist though I know he is very capable and good.
    I only need a cheap GP or maybe even cheaper alternative is to head to the clinic, and buy a bottle of cough mixture over the counter for $4 and self-medicate.

    Sure, I may screw up because the cough is not a simple cough but a sympton of a more serious illness where a specialist can detect, but there are many people who are willing to take the risk and try the cheaper method.

    Similarily, there are weddings (Mediacorp actress and actors) that are millons of dollars and weddings that are only a few thousands w/o dinner only a simple garden party. so the couple who spend millons on wedding who go get themselves the best, and the garden party wedding couple can ask a newbie to do it for $50 (or what ever)

    I have seen some couples who look at the shots the newbie photograhers take and say "very good, it's good enough for me" and they may not even be able to identify which photograph was taken by a pro and which was not, so does it warrant him to pay for a pro when he cannot see the difference?

    Evian mineral water and the bottled mineral water from indonesia (VIT) taste the same to me, and I also opt for cheaper ones (sometimes, even Free from the taps, since singapore tap water is safe to drink by WHO standards), does it means the cheaper mineral water or the free tap water are depriving Evian of their market share?
    We really should not say that photographers who charge cheaply or free are spoiling the market, cos sometimes there is a demand for such cheap labour.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winston
    So if the pro's price does not meet the customer's budget, and another guy does it for cheaper or free, you cannot accuse the other guy of denying the pro of revenue.
    That's life in the business.

    As for misconceptions, I heard not-so-long-ago a young wannabe shooter comment that he wants to be a wedding photog in Singapore. Reason being he wants the money ("...so-and-so charges $x,000 for a day's job..."). This is an old refrain. The poor kid had neither the knowledge nor the composition, IMO to make it. Spent 1 day out shooting (apprenticeship) and he quit! He could not take the hectic pace and the pressure.

    Sigh, that's misconceptions for you.

  6. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by Winston
    Why not, spend $400 for TWO novice photographers, with 6mths to 1 year experience, to cover more angles and use the $800 left over for a holiday for 2 to Thailand.
    but sometimes all you need is that ONE photo that tell what those "many other photos with other angles" cannot tell

    look at it this way, when used in publications, or even in our memory, we don't use/remember all the images. All we use/remember is just a handful of the STRONG images.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by szekiat
    a sourcing pool of free and GOOD photographers?
    "Free" maybe but "Good"? I doubt so. There's alots of monkeys running around with good and expensive cameras, doing jobs for peanuts. And frankly speaking, once these monkeys get hold of a good cameras, they "starting" thinking they have "arrived". The worst is when they manage to do one or two assignments, and they start calling themselves freelance photographers. Craps man.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by e_liau
    "Free" maybe but "Good"? I doubt so. There's alots of monkeys running around with good and expensive cameras, doing jobs for peanuts. And frankly speaking, once these monkeys get hold of a good cameras, they "starting" thinking they have "arrived". The worst is when they manage to do one or two assignments, and they start calling themselves freelance photographers. Craps man.
    haha, .

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by e_liau
    "Free" maybe but "Good"? I doubt so. There's alots of monkeys running around with good and expensive cameras, doing jobs for peanuts. And frankly speaking, once these monkeys get hold of a good cameras, they "starting" thinking they have "arrived". The worst is when they manage to do one or two assignments, and they start calling themselves freelance photographers. Craps man.
    hehheh that reminds me of Thomas Huxley's analogy that a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters could, in an infinite amount of time, type out all the works of Shakespeare.

    so, similarly, 1000 monkeys with 1000 DSLRs would eventually produce some keepers...

  10. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverfrond
    this isnt only happenning in your industry but also in the entertainment / modelling industry.

    many actors work for little or no pay because they want credit for their portfolio and also to be seen and heard. they may score an interview/photoshoot with a popular entertainment mag/newspaper which is more valuable to them than some pay, cos in the end, they get hired again (and usually for better stuff)

    models agree to pose for free in magazines (and its not as if mags cant afford to pay them) because they want the credit and tear sheets for their portfolio and also for publicity.

    hairstylists, makeup artist work for magazines for free too because, people will talk about them and they get credited in the mag. free publicity, and also gets them clients who book them for commercial work after seeing their work in mags.


    see, it happens everywhere. if word gets 'round that you've got a superb working attitude and skill, clients wont mind paying for you the next time 'round. trust me, it happens. you just need patience and a back up plan in the meantime.
    Aren't you one of those who charges $$$ from photographers to shoot your models' portfolios?

    "Model's portfolio shoot on sunday, 7th dec, looking for 10 photogs "

    silverfrond ---> <--- eyes

  11. #71

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    It's all about technology.

    Next time, when U can buy off-the-shelf diagnostic machines from your local electrical store, the doctors will cry foul too.

    Next time, when U can teleport from place to place, the airline companies will cry foul too.

    Next time, when the law changes to Free-For-All, wedding planners will cry foul.

    Next time, when we've created the ultimate matrix, we all cry foul.

    So what's next?
    It's all part of the game. Situation changes, people move on. Let's move on. Shall we? Most amateurs provide shoot & minimal post-processing only. Why not professionals provide extra services? Aren't professionals creative people? Or are we only just technically inclined?

    Gone are the days of "My service is $xxx, & I provide shooting only. No more, no less. No bargain." Let's all move on...

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by e_liau
    "Free" maybe but "Good"? I doubt so. There's alots of monkeys running around with good and expensive cameras, doing jobs for peanuts. And frankly speaking, once these monkeys get hold of a good cameras, they "starting" thinking they have "arrived". The worst is when they manage to do one or two assignments, and they start calling themselves freelance photographers. Craps man.

    agree totally man...

    a good example: S.H.E was in town recently and an event company needs photographers. As I was in Taiwan at that time, my friend called me up to ask if I'm interested coz it's the next day after I return back to Singapore. But lo and behold! When I arrived back, my friend called me to say that the event company has hired 2 "cheaper" photographers...... and when I took a look at their shots... I sighed....

  13. #73
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    I have been following this thread since it started, and being non-pro, but once in a while paid, I'll say a few words (Yes, just a few ).

    I will put the analogy of a student dentist and a professional dentist, the difference is actually a mere certificate! You pay $5 for an extraction by the student, and $50 by the pro. You pay $50 for wisdom tooth by the student and $500 by the pro. Are the pros poor today? No. Because discerning comsumers will know to go to the pros, for security, quality and experience. But are the students charging zero? No, there is a minimum charge to cover the consumables, and in the case of dentists, the government/university actually subsidises mcuh of the actual overheads.

    Back to photo (in my case, video). If a non-pro or newbie does a shoot for dirt pay or no pay, then who settles the servicing and consumables? The term 'paying school fees' means 'I am your guinea pig' to the client.

    When I tell my friends that I can shoot a video for them for free (man-power) but charge for camera servicing and software upgrade, and to support my hobby, many wouldn't mind chipping in a little (a few hundred bucks).

    There is certainly a niche to fill, where the client can afford some payment, but not pro-level payment. Let the students/newbies go in, but let's be realistic and charge a nominal sum.

    My stand, reasonably cheap is OK, expensive, but delivering good stuff is OK, but zero charge is crazy! Note before the flames start: reasonably cheap.

    Maybe it is high time to unionise photographers (pros and freelancers) and standardise the charges. That way, the only difference will be the individual skills and how much the client is willing to pay for that.

    Will it be good to have a poll on the rates a freelancer should charge, and that a pro should charge? The hospitals have already gone public with their rates, maybe photographers can do so, too.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by yowch
    I have been following this thread since it started, and being non-pro, but once in a while paid, I'll say a few words (Yes, just a few ).

    I will put the analogy of a student dentist and a professional dentist, the difference is actually a mere certificate! You pay $5 for an extraction by the student, and $50 by the pro. You pay $50 for wisdom tooth by the student and $500 by the pro. Are the pros poor today? No. Because discerning comsumers will know to go to the pros, for security, quality and experience. But are the students charging zero? No, there is a minimum charge to cover the consumables, and in the case of dentists, the government/university actually subsidises mcuh of the actual overheads.

    Back to photo (in my case, video). If a non-pro or newbie does a shoot for dirt pay or no pay, then who settles the servicing and consumables? The term 'paying school fees' means 'I am your guinea pig' to the client.

    When I tell my friends that I can shoot a video for them for free (man-power) but charge for camera servicing and software upgrade, and to support my hobby, many wouldn't mind chipping in a little (a few hundred bucks).

    There is certainly a niche to fill, where the client can afford some payment, but not pro-level payment. Let the students/newbies go in, but let's be realistic and charge a nominal sum.

    My stand, reasonably cheap is OK, expensive, but delivering good stuff is OK, but zero charge is crazy! Note before the flames start: reasonably cheap.

    Maybe it is high time to unionise photographers (pros and freelancers) and standardise the charges. That way, the only difference will be the individual skills and how much the client is willing to pay for that.

    Will it be good to have a poll on the rates a freelancer should charge, and that a pro should charge? The hospitals have already gone public with their rates, maybe photographers can do so, too.
    yeah bro,

    ohhhhh, u reminded me of my years in the army donkey years back where *student dentists*, *student doctors* forms the basis of the so-called 'army medical services'. ouch. painful memories. we were really the 'live' guinea pigs.

    i will now, of course, pay more for the EXPERIENCE(very important) and of course, Professionalism of the certified dentist. unless the *student dentist* can prove to me otherwise? and of course, not every dentists or doctors on internship will make it in the final stages...
    most of us won't be the guinea pigs here, will u then?

    i agree with u that offering free services is pure madness unless it is for a notable and good cause. but how low will most people sink?

    the poll on the rates different photographers charges, a unionised one, is unlikely and it will only happen in an ideal world.

  15. #75
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    As with any profession, the rates are driven by supply and demand. 5 years ago, setting up a website would cost several thousand dollars for a simple site. Today, you would be able to get sites done for a few hundred dollars. The situation comes about as the software to create sites becomes easier to use, and there are more people providing such services. There are, however, established organisations which are still able to charge top dollar based on their credentials and reputation.

    A similar thing has happened to photography. Equipment has become much cheaper nowadays due to technology, and Digital photography has helped in creating better amateur photographers......the amateur, armed with a digital camera, has no issues perfecting his skills by shooting several thousand shots within a few days....if it was film, it would be a different story.

    IMHO, if I were to require the services of a pro, impression matters...ie, equipment he carries, knowledge, portfolio, etc. However, the average CSer here could carry an expensive camera, be knowledgeble by reading through the forums, and have enough photos which would look quite professional after attending a couple of "newbie" workshops. How would I know who are the real pros? By the time I find out, it would already be too late!

    The only way that pros could be recognised (and compensated) fairly, would be to have a professional organisation that ranks each photographer based on their skill sets or on feedback provided by PAYING clients. The pros can then issues cards that classifies them as "Master Photog", "Class 1 Photog", "Class 2 Photog" etc certified by a recognised and respected body, much like MCSE certification by Microsoft. Members in the "Pro" category would then be bound by certain code of conduct (and pricing) or they risk having their certification revoked.

    With this certification, I would then know what I am paying for (or not) and face the consequences if the shoot turns out badly due to not hiring a certified pro.

    just my 2 cents!

    Steven

  16. #76
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    ranking... another Singapore's first!

    first, they rank students who are in Primary 4 into different education streams, EM1, EM2 and EM3.
    then they sort them out again in their PSLE...
    then their GCEs...
    then...
    then...
    and then...

    and now photographers will be ranked as well! like in the army!
    i want to be Master Photographer! (does it mean i'll stay at this rank forever i.e Master Sergeant in the army?)
    You'll Never Walk Alone! - i have the best job in the world!

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    Thank you for all your helpful insights..... I think I'd rather open the floodgates...... for the pros and freelancers to vent their pent-up frustrations....

    Although I do not begrudge the money that others make, pro basketballers, or pro photographers, the reality remains that many people are satisfied with a simple photographic record of their wedding day... and frankly if they cannot tell the difference between a competent pro and a decent amateur (of course the top notch ones are out of reach), then I think they won't be willing to pay for the pro. It's all about perception, not about being cheap....

    In any case, if the amateur is willing to shoot for free or for a minimal fee (often for friends), then I think that's his perogative. At the end of the discussion, there must be demand for your skills to survive, and if our society cannot appreciate the difference, and hence go for the amateur because it is cheaper (and not necessary worse, tho' it might often well be) then it's nobody's fault. The nature of the industry is such that the advent of technology has made it possible for anyone with some time to experiment to produce a half decent shot which if in the opinion of the client is satisfactory, then I see the current situation persisting.....

    Well, I do hope that I dun become a pariah here but this is just a discussion of the perception of pro photography in Singapore in today's context.....

    I do appreciate more the kind of work that must go into a pro shoot to produce the exacting standard that most of u set for yourselves (that is why u are pros!) and so I would say that paying >$1000 for a single day wedding shoot would be justifiable.

    But I must reiterate this: Not everyone sees the need to pay that kind of money. And that has nothing to do with amateurs or part-timers offering to do jobs for free or a much lower fee. So dun blame them cos finally it's the perception of the client. If he thinks that a half-decent job is good enough, who are u to say that it is not good enough? Like the S.H.E. shoot. If the organiser thought it was good enough, then it is good enough. If it was not good enough, then those 2 cheaper photographers won't get another big job like this.... it's all about the perception of the client and this breeds demand.... so if u are good enough, u dun have to worry about not getting a job.....

    On another issue, the way I see it, most of the pros or freelancers here feel that the free-of-charge photographers (who might be part-timers) produce poorer quality pictures (and I feel that might well be true most of the time)..... but then they are might just be trying to get some real-life practise. And since they are not particularly competent enough, they dun charge premium prices for they cannot guarantee the results are up to the expectations of the client (and even their own).... and if they find that they can make ends meet by continuing to charge these prices, then kudos to them for managing their finances in such a way as to allow it.... and if they are just out to earn some cash to pay for a hobby, then what?

    I dun know the answers to the last question but I just thought I'd raise for consideration.

  18. #78

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    Umm.. I got sponsored for an expedition trip in a jungle, got bitten by bugs, hit my head on a log, went to hospital via helicopter, stayed a few days with a few very beautiful nurses, went back to the jungle again... and came back alive.

    I didn't ask for a single cent. I loved the experience.

    Am I spoiling the market?

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by VincentLin
    Umm.. I got sponsored for an expedition trip in a jungle, got bitten by bugs, hit my head on a log, went to hospital via helicopter, stayed a few days with a few very beautiful nurses, went back to the jungle again... and came back alive.

    I didn't ask for a single cent. I loved the experience.

    Am I spoiling the market?
    well, u got sponsored for the trip and the 'exclusive' stay in the hospital with beauties surrounding u, hey, not forgetting the helicopter ride!! haha

    what more could you have asked for?
    You'll Never Walk Alone! - i have the best job in the world!

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    Quote Originally Posted by VincentLin
    Umm.. I got sponsored for an expedition trip in a jungle, got bitten by bugs, hit my head on a log, went to hospital via helicopter, stayed a few days with a few very beautiful nurses, went back to the jungle again... and came back alive.

    I didn't ask for a single cent. I loved the experience.

    Am I spoiling the market?

    Of course lar! Wah piangz...... sponsored then some more got helicopter ride!!! Still want to ask for money..... where's the gun?!

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