February 26, 2009
No one in this planet does it better then the Koreans when it comes to pumping out tear jerkers – they are the indisputable Toyota motors of love stories; and when I first started writing love stories; they were simply inspirational in every way possible – from plot, cadence, speed and texture – I copied these masters unabashly, now you know why the brotherhood press love stories division is so prolific – some may balk at all this; and say most of these yarns are nothing more than superficial rehashed Mills & Boons reads – I disagree; the plot may seem trite only because you’re distanced by your prejudice and ignorance – but once you immerse yourself in them and get beneath the triteness and invest your heart and soul in them; they’re astonishingly beautiful, sensitive and heart warming in every sense – many years ago before the internet age began; I lost someone who was very dear to me to lymphatic cancer – she left suddenly and it left me with this incredible hole in my heart which I can only describe as an eternal abyss – at first, I tried to bring her back to life in the virtual; I scoured the world for the best animators, best mathematicians, best illustrators; money was no object; I even once stormed a replica of Taj Mahal with 100 Sardokhan elite troops to create paradise for her - despite their very best efforts no matter how real they fashioned her; they were never able to capture her essence; – her spirit always remained elusive and afar; and that hole in my heart was never ever filled – it was only when I sat down and began to write love stories and started churning them out like a cookie factory; that I began to understand for the very first time in my life – how pain and joy are in fact one of the same reality; and the rest is really grist to the mill; as I had to immerse myself into my characters and experience what they really felt – and with that came a deep spirited understanding of love and courage.
Someday my animators will get it right and she will smile the way I remembered her – till then while the story goes on – somewhere in amid the tears and laughter, there will always be a place called paradise and she will never be far away from me.
Happy Birthday Sarah,
Darkness forever – I’ve see you in my dreams.
February 25, 2009
[Before we begin, please take some time to check out the new Brotherhood Press portal in http://wayangparty.com/ I know many of you have heard many negative things about Wayang, but I say, you owe it to yourself to find out first hand by yourself – this new portal will go a very long way to enhance your accessibility as we now have Ekunaba; PBK along with SLF1 to SLF2 – check it out!)
Recently when Channel Neuter Asia, celebrated its 10th anniversary year, Mr Lee floated the idea there is a need for a channel which is not wearing what he termed “Western spectacles”.
He went on to add, in this new landscape of news; there was scope for reportage from the perspective of the Asian eye. One which hopefully would not promote ideology or a doctrine, but just present the facts.
Well, I guess if you gut out the gobble-d-guk, what LHL is trying to say is: the western press simply isn’t willing to play ball with the government of the day; they are really a loose canon – that’s to say they have a habit of calling a spade a spade (I wonder why duh!) and that fear is perfectly understandable when you consider how things haven’t really been going that well for us - with many of our great plans giving way like the river to the sea – the Byzantine losses incurred by both Temasek and GIC recently – along with ricketty idea of the 1st division dream team – all these dissonances can only continue to get the electron microscope treatment; so I guess one way of countering the influence of the western press is to create an alternate universe of “news.” Yes, throw out the rule book and write a new one - from where I am standing; that’s really how I see it (but please prove me wrong, if you dare).
Now as some of you may already know; I am not a very big fan of cultural hyperbole and it doesn’t really matter whether its from the East, West or the planet of the Apes – and one reason why I think that’s a bankrupt strategy is because it’s so pastry light; it doesn’t even have the resilience to stand up to a decent kung fu panda kick.
For example if you begin to pick at lets say any homegrown icon like (e.g Peranakan values = where it seems their only preoccupation in of a Nyonya is torture chamber maid no end) our much vaunted Asian values – and begin to peel away the layers of embellishment; what you’ve eventually discover is the whole idea is really predicated on a myth rather than anything resembling anecdotal truth.
Having said, that I don’t discount – the fuzzy idea of Asian values is still very much the preferred crowbar for politicians whenever they run out of bullet points; only lets be clear; it’s never because Asian values or heritage is reliable purveyor of solid reasons to do or not to do something, but rather it’s the direct opposite: bias is the very point of heritage – and there lies the danger when the idea of Asian as an idea or construct is juxtaposed against the broader canvass of what we normally term as news.
And let me tell you another thing: why when you combine heritage in the form of Asian, Persian or Planet of Apes values into something as malleable as news – then you will never be able to get an open inquiry and even less of a comprehensive truth that may even keep scrupulously close to the anecdotal evidence – since the idea of Asian is essentially a term that invokes heritage – and heritage excels on bending, exaggerating, inventing and embellish the whole idea of the truth –what sort of news do you think you are going to get - a la rojak lah or maybe primadelli chocolate kanasai cake variety?
The other bunfight that bothers me about mixing heritage with news is unlike history, heritage is never open to critical challenge – as it doesn’t seek to compromise as much as assert its raison detre - its very much the stuff that belongs to that grey area of faith, hijab, taking off your shoes before you enter, eating rice with your hand that you dont wipe your ass with yada yada yada yada yada yada lah/ You get my point lah – if you really want real news – then the last thing you want to do is go down that road of this cannot think – that cannot say – because it is patang or soey – no thank you .
And this should prompt us all to consider whether it’s such a good idea to combine the two – as even the timing may all be wrong – at a time when the world is besieged by conflict, enmities, and recently loss of faith in so many of cultural set pieces, like wall street, government and corporate leaders – the whole idea of combining news with heritage / doesn’t open up our minds to solicit deeper understanding – as much as it narrows our already myopic vision further by focusing on homily sugary hear only the good news stuff – as I said when you begin to peel off the lid on something like Asian values; that’s all it really is – bottled air – it’s a cloud; not unless you want to be served up with soundbites and doggy sized vignettes instead of whole disquisitions that may be able to provide an intelligent explanation for the before, during and after (like how did Temasek lose so much money – come on down here and debate with me – I will put you in a nice citrus smelling pine box – unfortunately, I dont know, as it was really like Haley’s comet when it was featured in our beloved rag)
I am not saying for one moment heritage doesn’t have the capacity to work it’s spell; it does; only what we need to be mindful of here is it leverages specifically on our emotional strengths and weaknesses. No doubt that’s a good thing sometimes (why do you think, I invoke it at the end of every month when I run out of money and need my woman to pay the bills), without it countries cannot win wars; they would have the moral stamina to see the through the tough; governments will capitulate and anarchy will rein unbridled. Only what we need to be mindful of is when we talk about heritage; its not eu de cologne as it’s very much parfum – a little goes a long way; and if tipped over the scales – heritage has every capacity be oppressive, decadent and sclerotic – trapping us all in obsolete attitudes and promoting xenophobia and blind nationalism – and the danger is amplified considerably when its combined with such a capricious thing as news.
Besides the whole idea of Asian values and the logical extension of Asian news – is hardly a settled matter – historical observation may suggest even something as ram rod no nonsense as Asian values may in fact have more to do with fairytales and even less to do with listening to our elders; personal sacrifice and towing the line obediently – all too often when comparatives are made between the decadent West and Asia – the Asian values bullocart is often rolled out to account for our moral rectitude along with probably our iron willed work ethic to why Asians can survive on a diet of insects and twigs – and usually the song and dance is cued to suggest; if good triumphs over evil; good prevailed over bad by the narrowness of margins and this could only be purchased with endless self sacrifice to freedom, democracy and free speech – all these were placed before the altar of necessity to deliver us the good life – here what you may need to ask yourself is whether this simplistic account of to get the good life – you need to stop sticking out like a nail is such a good idea - dont get me wrong; I am a willing tax payer; only why should I give any governments the card blanche to do anything they want in return for the good life? I will not and its really as simple as that. Again its something to consider.
And this leads me to the kicker – history may even suggest our understanding of Asian values – as a body of knowledge – or school of thought – may actually have nothing to do with how it’s commonly sold and marketed by politicians ; during the dark ages for example when Europeans were busy chasing vampires around country sides to stake them and burning heretics; Emperor Akhbar Khan had enacted the most comprehensive laws guaranteeing freedom of worship along with creating a haven where intellectuals of every genre were encourage to revivify the arts and sciences – bottom line: truth reveals real Asian values has nothing to do with blind sacrifice – blind obedience – or valuing the idea of the community in such a way where none of us may be willing to rock the boat. If anything it illustrates that we should continue to go and question boldly and confidently.
And that’s what I am doing now. You chew on that for the time being (to be con’t)
Darkness 2009 – The brotherhood Press 2009
February 24, 2009
(Before we start, I just want to give three cheers to our friendly Malaysian side kick Cowboy Caleb for helping us out – yeeeeeeeeeha! Meanwhile take some time and check out our new Brotherhood Press portal here – http://wayangparty.com/ - go on blow your mind out! Check out the cartoons – they’re hilarious!)
In these few days; an obsession with moderation and self regulation of internet material has mushroomed all over cyberspace and the MSM – you know what? I am actually in favor of moderating the internet; that’s why I was looking forward to it; only I can’t help feeling something is amiss……
Don’t believe me, then read this and try to figure out what’s wrong with these statements:
“Anonymity in cyberspace is an illusion. You will remember in 2007, we prosecuted three persons under the Sedition Act because of the blogs they put up which denigrated the religion of one of our communities in Singapore. ” – Vivian Balakrishnan Feb 2009
“But even in the Internet, there are places which are more considered, more moderated where people put their names down and identify themselves. And there is a debate which goes on and a give and take, which is not so rambunctious but perhaps more thoughtful. That is another range.” Lee.S.L Feb 2009
Question: what does anonymity have to do with the broader subject of moderation and self regulation?
Well the miniskirt prognosis is nothing actually.
This leads us to consider: what really accounts for this mish mash then?
Well, if you want to understand what’s going on here; then you really need to think like a weapons specialist; it’s not designed to be a weapon of shock and awe; it quite the opposite really - like a submarine or nerve gas, its supposed to operate just beneath the periphery of our consciousness where it helped along by being odorless and colorless and unseen – we should all decide to shirk off our anonymous tags like wet blankets; we’ve come of age; if we don’t step forward into the light, then we must all suffer from some grave defect of character (which shouldn’t be too hard proving a few times over in my case).
What really accounts for this strategy of reductionism and simplification? My feel is we may be dealing with a classic case of good odle fashion scare mongering, and. We are not even talking about the smart variety either; as it smacks of the same dumb & dumber variety that Christian fundamentalist usually resort too whenever they suggest the spread of AIDS is due solely to the permissive gay lifestyle; that may be palpably true if truths are gleaned from one level of intelligence, if only you didn’t realize, the predominant cause for the spread of HIV these days is due to the sharing of infected needles by junkies and it’s in fact perpetuated by heterosexuals who have no concept of safe sex – African women these days are the main carriers of HIV.
That I suspect could be why the subject of anonymity is slipped alongside the broader issues of moderation and self regulation as an adjunct; apart from being a great way of establishing guilt by association; its also a very effective way to muffle the truth, cook the logical accounts and distort the whole debate into something which it obvious not meant to be – criminalizing anonymity – stands the test of reason; give a dog a bad name and you have every right to shoot it on sight – consider this: if the whole idea of the feral and brutish net could be easily explained away by just fingering anonymity as the culprit and root of evil; who stands the most to gain from it?
You get my drift now - instead of government having to deal comprehensively with the cogent question which require keeping scrupulously close to the evidence (which might incidentally incriminate them, could this by any chance have something to do with how many people they have put in jail and bankrupted? No, surely not – I am sure anonymity and the army of 12 monkeys are to be blamed) – the whole debate about how to drive out bad and seed the greater good is effectively reduced into a declaration of faith – a fait accompli –where none of us may even feel the need to ask: why do so many people feel the need to remain anonymous? What accounts for the pull factor?
Not having to own up – simply means responsibilities can be shirked away surreptitiously – and ‘no regrets’ galore can be invoked with impunity – along with perhaps perpetuating the mantra; its business as usual. No need to streamline government policy, attitudes and outlooks either to find ever more inventive and creative ways to stop the incentive for anonymity. The attitude towards progress is reminiscent of Joseph Heller’s wartime satire piece about the mind numbing pathos of war in Catch 22 – “….scrub out battle fatigue and soon all the symptoms disappear along with the disease and hospital beds and soon everybody is good to go again for another round of hell. No need to even explain, no need for long reports, a broad tip marker would do the job nicely – scrub out the word, I say! That’s an order!”
That may sound comical; but it isn’t when you consider; if the imperative is to get right down and created a better platform to facilitate online discourse then why are we eliding whole sale the deeper underlying reasons which may yet account for online anonymity?
Why for example do so many netizens find anonymity (real or imagined) so comforting? How does anonymity serve to palliate the acute sense of fear of netizens? What really disturbs me is when the whole issue of online anonymity is served up like a prawn cocktail beside moderating the internet – everything testable, comprehensive in so far as belonging to a universal chronology of cause and effect that would have been able to sensibly explain the root cause for anonymity is simply thrown right out of the window – it’s like wet glass, it even manages to slalom such contentious issues once brought up by Catherine Lim when she wrote about the climate of fear along with it’s corrosive effects how it may retard society as a whole.
My point is simply this; one cannot place the horse before the cart and expect to make meaningful progress; if the imperative is to get people to come out into the open; then its foolhardy to believe this gargantuan mental shift can be purchase on the cheap without having to first discuss and dismantle the culture of fear that accounts for the acute anxiety that makes online anonymity such an attractive proposition – here one runs the real risk of prescribing panaceas which may exacerbate rather than resolve the cognitive dissonance.
Neither does it serve the greater interest – if all government can do is advance the dodgy sound bite theory; all our problems will melt away happily like lemon drops, if only all of us are prepared to step out from our anonymous tags – again that idea is based on the assumption anonymity is the main reason that accounts for the feral and brutish net. No one denies anonymity may embolden some towards unmitigated nastiness just like perhaps binge drinking – it’s a failing common to everything from fruit machine addiction to perpetual masturbation; but to suggest for even one moment stepping out from anonymity alone may by it’self be able to drive out the bad and somehow seed the good has to be at best an overtly optimistic take and a worst a presentist view of a far deeper social problem.
Like all such broad sweeping claims, this medley raises some awkward questions:“will people continue to speak without fear and favor if they don’t have the benefit of the anonymous tag?”
What particular disturbs me is no where in the whole debate about seeding a greater good does this question even feature once (which in my opinion remains the most important question). And yet even many in the net have frequently pointed out – that sufficient people will only step forward out from their anonymous shells, if they believe it is not just useful, but safe to do so – and again this leads us to all to consider – how might the government’s record endear itself to such a happy exodus of mass belief (or delusion)? Again it’s something that must be worked through; if the imperative is to get at the truth.
The perverse effect of all this enquiring could well produce the reverse conclusion: anonymity may yet remain the best way for us to grow holistically as a community; when we recount how even the luminaries of lore so often wore it as a badge of honor to deal with parochialism, narrowness and insularity of their age – I am reminded, things just don’t get picked up for no apparent reason; usually there’s an impulse behind it and it’s coupled with a good reason: African women for example, still carry water on their heads in earthen pots: reason, their well endowed hips swings outwards at 20 degrees as a result of their gait displacing the kinetic energy of the extra weight reducing it to a zero – far more efficient that even military backpack – drains in Calcutta slums don’t have gratings because they double as public latrines.
Similarly, when people plumb to remain anonymous online; its usually for the same good set of reasons – that could be the reason why Galileo Galilee first published his treatise anonymously in direct opposition to the catholic view that all heavenly planets revolved around the earth thereby starting the first internet correspondence with other anonymous medieval scientist who did the same to probably avoid being stretched out on a pelt rack by the Spanish inquisition; the same can be said, of that other famous pamphleteer Thomas Paine who once vigorously cried out for independence against the occupational forces of King George and later went on to be one of the founding fathers of the American constitution – these were the prototypal bloggers of their age; they were the intellectuals who once not only shaped the direction, cadence and verve of the social narrative of their times but they did so under the cloak of anonymity as it provided them a means of speaking out without fear or favor.
The case is too clear to deny; too strong even to displace on a wimp and fancy; its one that even suggest if government really desire netizens to step out into the full glory of light; then they should first dedicate themselves to earning the trust and respect of the online community; start by laying down the hatchet that you once used to knock Catherine Lim, Mr Brown and countless others whose only crime was to speak their mind for the betterment of the collective good; better still beat that hatchet into a ploughshare – then and only then; do you ask people to come out into the open. Otherwise no deal – go and die lah.
Meanwhile I remain yours truly; very happily in Darkness 2009.
February 23, 2009
I love to sail. One of the greatest misconceptions about sailing is you don’t really get away from it all – as much as get deeper into yourself – that may sound odd; but that’s only because most of us don’t really know ourselves; most of the time we just get by with the idea we know ourselves and since land is a pretty forgiving place like a kiddies playground – that idea never really gets tested and our sense of vulnerability is never pushed to the razor’s edge – like I said, you don’t really know yourself till you’ve gone sailing all alone by yourself.
The sea is not a place to fuck around – for one it can kill you in about 2 million ways.
If you think real hard about it; how can you even claim to know yourself these days?
From the moment you wake up to the moment you switch off; we’re always in contact with people; whether you like to admit it or not; people do prop up our lives; for one they tell us sweet lies to make our unbearable life more bearable - I know this only too well, for some reason every woman seems to like asking me; “is my bum too big for this dress?” – the problem is the right answer never comes around -get my drift – so usually, I come up with something saucy like, “you look great!” – great my hairy ass lah!
Even the people who regularly cause us grief prop up our lives; they give us plenty of excuses to dump on them – blaming them to take the edge off our own mistakes; and those who we like to hang out with do their level best to keep our decrepit reality intact – it helps when you buy the drinks – only let us be clear; we don’t really know ourselves – all we really have is the faint illusion – we have it all together; life that is.
My point is in this frenetic age of fast forward and full frontal; you never ever get a chance to connect with the deeper ‘I’ most the time, usually its invested somewhere in the broader and greater ‘we.’
I suspect the problem with our age isn’t so much that Singapore is getting crowded; as much as how many of us are really lost within ourselves – its getting so crowded in our own skulls with the lives of other people besides ours that somewhere in this madness – we seem to have lost ourselves – the “I” has given way to the broader “we” – we may even need to rediscover ourselves very much in a way a man in jungle moves forward by slashing away with a machete just to find some lost city.
I am not exactly the Dalai Lama, so this realization didn’t come after sitting on the sofa and meditating all day long. It dawned on me one fine day; when I just decided to jump into my 30 footer tub boat and take off for 2 weeks to the Comoros islands – actually, I was aiming to reach the Seychelles, but a strong southerly wind kept pummeling me; so somewhere between a ripped sail and a mast that seemed like it was going to snap like I twig; I decided not to tempt fate.
The curious thing about sailing alone is– it’s a bit like shacking up with a woman that you just met; in the beginning you’re always sure fire certain everything is going to work out – I know myself, I am the master of my own destiny along with a fistful of crap – but after a few days of tossing around in the angry sea and trying to figure out whether your kidney hasn’t migrated to your knee caps, it rapidly dawns on you how feeble you actually are and if you were standing outside your own body looking at your miserable lot – you probably wouldn’t even trust yourself to carry the eggs back from the supermarket.
That really is how humbling an experience sailing alone can be – if, you run out of fuel and have to resort to renacting the final moments of the Titanic – it’s because you fucked up! – if you find yourself sailing around in big and small circles – you fucked up on your charts! It exasperating when you have no one to blame but yourself; but its also downright humbling and if its worked through properly upstairs, it can even be a very rewarding experience – getting to know yourself again.
As what you will eventually come around too (after about a week when you start to look like caveman and smell abit fruity) is the whole idea that you’re not so independent and dependant after all – usually it’s the little stuff that reminds you, there’s still some work to be done in some areas of your life; such as the smallness of one’s courage when you have go up one to one with a killer storm (I tell you that is no fucking joke when you come up against waves the size of Northpoint mall or something close to that) – along with minor conveniences such as forgetting to bring along the can opener; to how impatient you really are when a simple knot gets the better of you – but eventually everyone who has ever sailed alone will begin to make his peace with the deep foreboding sense of solitude and his shaky set of delusions of grandeur values – trust me; you can’t fight the sea day and night; its just too debilitating – ultimately the sea wins – she always does.
For starters; solitude presents us all with the opportunity to explore ourselves. It gives us a chance to regain our sense of scale and perspective that has been turned up side down by the world. It renews us by allowing us to see where our weaknesses really lie and how so much of what we once considered as our strength is closer to the imagination than fact– in short, sailing alone has to be very close to piano tuning for the soul; it’s a way of centering us back to that mythical line; so that we can all go out there and reclaim everything that the world has leached away from us – our humanity, compassion and sense of well being – to finally make us whole again – happy sailing.
February 22, 2009
Trust me when I tell you humans aren’t so different from computers; every single one of us are born with hardware; some fast others not so fast; and with time we load all sort of software into our heads – most of it serves us well others could be better; but it is never how good or bad a hardware (IQ) or software (education) that really makes the difference in a human being.
Rather how often do you flush the recycle bin in your head? – that’s one of the things that I struggle with constantly – garbarge disposal; I need to remind myself constantly; my room like my head is not a place where clothes go and die; my own nonsense must be recognized as nonsense – it may have served me well once upon a time; but with chastening passage of time it has become nonsense and it doesn’t pay to hold on to broken logic – it’s no good, it just doesn’t come around.
Once I am prepared to see it as nonsense – my mind’s eye throws it out in a flash – I don’t even feel the need to defend what I once said or wrote so passionately. That’s not necessary. There’s no need to even re-invest my reputation into the path of reinforcing nonsense. I can forget about it and move on with the rest of my life, the power of nonsense has no dominion over the rest of my life; I am free to set a new course and change direction even to journey away from nonsense towards the truth – it can never come back to bite me.
This applies to most things in life; broken relationships, unfulfilled dreams and even the whole idea of leading a purposeful life – recognizing and throwing nonsense is necessary – that’s why I feel very sorry for people who regularly go around perpetuating the myth of the cult of infallibility – that has to rank as one of highest forms of nonsense on this planet, especially when you put it besides the mega losses that we have incurred lately as a nation – it beggars the imagination.
As I said, nonsense is nonsense; it’s like shit; it doesn’t pay to step on something brown; wipe it all over your face and say. “it feels like shit.” Take a bite of it, “it even taste like shit.” Only to comfort oneself by proclaiming to the whole world – “luckily, I didn’t step on it!”
That’s what happens when one tries to fashion reality by using the cult of infallibility – the art of nonsense is elevated to a veritable science.
No, once you surround yourself with nonsense; it dictates every though and action; you’re in the gyre; you’re not going anywhere; it’s a merry-go-round; its not how well you play the game; it’s how well the nonsense game plays you; you can never win in life when you invest so much of your being into nonsense – worst still, you may just have to bite the bullet and invest more of yourself into it, like a gambler who puts his last chips on a number to try to get back what he once lost; and that’s sad; its sad because it’s unnecessary and self inflicted; and the worst is yet to come; because that is what happens when you put your hopes in nonsense; doesn’t matter whether it’s a relationship, business venture or just simply signing on to something that you should have taken more time about – eventually when nonsense permeates your being; no one is going to believe you; you’re going to be like a piece of camphor giving yourself up constantly to the atmosphere; it may take years; but it’s a slow rot that guaranteed to be a sad enterprise – one where you will get smaller and smaller, till one day you just give yourself up the chastening winds of history – to be forgotten forever like a piece of dried up shit.
No, like I said, nonsense has to be seen as nonsense; it matters little whether you happen to be policeman or someone who going places; if you don’t know this, you just have lived and you better laminate this and carry it around in your wallet – it may not be page turner; but I assure you; its certainly a life changer.
February 21, 2009
As some of you know; every year, we try our very best to arrange an informal meet with our readership – the purpose is to touch base and get to know some of you.
This year, Singaporedaddy has kindly loaned us his yatch for an island cruise. We may not be able to fit everyone onboard, but we will certainly try to make as many runs as possible.
We will make a few stops as we did last year, but this time, we will try to arrange a makan; one of them is a kelong owned by a good friend of mine, William; where I hope some of you can try your luck at open water fishing. So bring your sun hats along ladies along with plenty of block; we’re going sailing.
We will stagger the trips throughout a four week period to make sure; everyone gets an opportunity to take part / and I assure you all, the same cock up that happened last year will not be repeated again; where some readers couldnt be fitted in – these readers who missed our previously will get a ‘special’ this year ONLY please understand this is not due to the power of bitching; but because we feel very strongly; you should all give us a chance to make up for the shortfall (it is regrettable that some of you have not only decided to boycott me and but have even organized yourself into resistant cells; may I just say this, that I will do everything in my power to make good on many of my unfulfilled promises and many of you should consider giving me another chance as I am trying very hard to rehabilitate myself to be a good and kind person – what you say?) - I have all your names and we will even arrange for a mid ocean night fire works tour along with a moonlight cruise; those who personally sent death threats to me may also be persuaded to join me for sotong fishing which can only be done at night / my feel is in this challenging times this remains a good way to keep the bonds and ties strong – we may not be able to keep it together for the whole world or country, but I believe very strongly, if we keep our own community tight and strong – things will hopefully sort themselves out.
As for our new readers; I don’t know how to fit them in yet; many of them don’t know know where they stand with us – my advice is hang in there; this isn’t your fault; its ours and its something we really have to sort out.
My sincere hope is some of you will take this opportunity to get to know all of us better – remember, you’re always in control – and when you’re in comfortable everything is possible and nothing is impossible including stepping forward – it’s the most natural thing in the world.
(Postings on specific launch dates will be posted in Ekunaba and SLF 1 to 7 )
February 21, 2009
I think I would be a much more centered person if I didn’t take myself so seriously – that was what my friend Audrey once said to me. Audrey is a neuro-surgeon – I met her some 6 years back ago when I hit my head real hard. Since then we’ve been great friends – it was only in passing, but those words somehow stuck to me through these years – yes, its would be nice, if I could just regard myself as a baby from time to time; everyone knows what’s best for baby; no one bothers to ask baby when or what he wants to eat or whether he’s had enough; they just seem to know; that’s just how it is when one learns not to take oneself too seriously – everything just falls beautifully into place; there is no need to jostle for rights or to rush up the moat to save people and planet – all those things suddenly dont seem very important when one views the world from the end of milk bottles where everything just warps around so very nicely – if we all considered ourselves as babies; for one we may be less inclined to invest ourselves into the things which make up our known universe; we would be less likely to believe the world centers around us; be it relationships; work and even competitive play; that has to be good – no one expects baby to win and everyone knows baby doesn’t mind losing either; they seem to be only people on this planet that can face defeat and success with such grace – babies are so centered; they’ve probably got it all figured out from the word go, that’s why they never ever worry or fret over things which usually preoccupy most of us day and night; maybe I am going in the wrong direction – maybe the goal in life is to go the other way?
Yes, we should all strive for babyhood, not brotherhood, I think.
Then perhaps when we open our eyes we will really begin to see; and when we hear; we will really listen – to beauty that is, that’s always been there all this while – that only babies seem to be able to see and smile at.
February 21, 2009
I know this may come across as a trifle hared; but 2008 was a very good year – not only did I manage to triple my stock portfolio; I even managed to ace the S & P with a few times to spare – for the better part of 2008, it flowed sweet and clear.
Most of my friends are duly impressed that I got out of the stock market just before it took a swan dive; that seems to be the main topic of conversation whenever we met together for drinks – “that’s the man who went the other way; when the whole world headed South” – “he’s got all the cool moves all lined up.” Yes, I admit, I am vain and I don’t even mind keeping silent about it as it seems to serve them pointing to a myth.
Only I need to be perfectly frank and honest about it; cutting the right moves has nothing to do with skill and everything to do with intuition – that’s to say when I pour out the marbles on a table and begin to separate the good from the bad; I cant even tell you for certain how I managed to make all the right moves. A big part of me tells me; it may not even be a conscious decision – so there you have it, the truth.
Truth is I am capable of selling myself on just any point that takes my fancy and it doesn’t even have to make sense either – its not realistic to believe every decision I make has to be based on something monumentally logical and sound, usually it isn’t – I once dropped everything; boarded a plane and traveled half way across a world because a woman who I cared for once told me she was on the verge of dying; and when we met I realized she had lied, as all she really wanted was to see me; I didn’t even get angry all I could think about when I saw her was how good I felt about seeing her again and it was much latter than the brain and the heart kicked in; when I began to serious wonder whether I would still have a job when I returned to Singapore – my point is it felt too right to claim a wrong and sometimes it pays to go with the gut rather than the mind.
I guess, what I am trying to say is its not always true to say the best decisions are those made under cool and rational judgement – that may be true in some cases, but it doesn’t hold true all the time. For me the part that I struggle constantly with; is when do I let go and when do I pick up the slack by going with the mind?
To be honest with you; I dont know and there is a very good reason for that – I dont really trust myself and I’ve made plenty of decisions which I have simply regretted no end. Enough probably to sink a few battleships ten times over.
Yet on the otherhand, I’ve also aced it in ways which still continues to marvel me no end.
If I had to pin it down to a nub; I will ONLY go with something because it feels right; like when I decided to pull out the stock market sometime back in the middle of last year – it felt just right then, despite my own broker giving me sidelong looks of “well, I don’t know….”
I realized some people may keep telling you; this economic crisis was unforeseeable and if you press them, they could probably come up with 10 bullet points why getting it wrong isn’t so wrong after all – I don’t agree with that take as its misleading.
That may be true if all live offers is one side of the coin but many people have also managed to came out from this crisis smelling sweeter than when they jumped in – not everyone made losses – many doubled and tripled and even quadrupled their portfolios – only I think what really separated the losers from the winners this time wasn’t intelligence or raw skill; but rather something so common and basic that it may even be something that you don’t even need to go to Harvard or Princeton to acquire – trust your gut feel.
And they say there are only lies and disinformation online – well this time, it all came out sweet and clear.
Thanks, the internet for saving my chops – again! Owe you a big one there Mr Internet.
February 21, 2009
I still shoot in film – I know, it sounds awfully old fashioned; but I haven’t been able to make the transition to digital despite repeated attempts, something about relegating it all to a microchip riles me no end. I am stubborn, possessive and incorrigble.
I am a control freak. Nothing is more satisfying that loading real film into the sprockets and feeling the forward glide as I crank it to level it for the next shot; I guess, if I had to pin in down to one word; it simply has to be serendipity; yes the idea that one can never really be sure till one gets the prints processed; that I feel is missing from modern photography; the slow burn that is – the sense of expectancy even. But as I said, I am awfully old fashioned.
These are just some things that I find incredibly hard to let go.
This goes out to Audrey and her love for Nikon’s (we shared many afternoon’s in Paris together), reader No. 1490 of the brotherhood press – I think about her a lot about these days.
The clip, I have attached is from a good friend of mine, a kendo buddy who I just know as Hiroshi – need I say, he shoots in film as well – and need I tell you why?
Good night Audrey and Hiroshi
February 20, 2009
Auto Gen referral / Did you miss out on this?: The Incredible Koreans
You know what? I actually believe we should all be kind and show compassion to the board of Temasek, GIC and the entire 1st division dream team; we should all consider an internet fund raiser and get them a lifetime supply of brain balm to soothe away their pain – no one deserves to suffer without relief, I mean no one.
Let’s all try to be kind.
Are you an avid love story reader of the brotherhood press love story division? – Then don’t miss out on this: The Incredible Koreans
February 20, 2009
You know what? These days with the roof caving all around me – I find myself turning less to the internet for more doom and gloom and instead searching for online joy – you can even say that’s a sure sign of the times – I know; some people swear by their fish tanks to take the edge off office stress; others may prefer a spot of desk bound hatha yoga.
This has to take the cake; only because I can’t really think of a better reason to keep a roof over my head – hang on there!
February 19, 2009
This has to be a mini skirt post. As some of you know, I happen to play the acoustic guitar (not very well, strictly for fun only) – now, one thing that I really like about jazz, unlike the classical repetoire (if you want know more abt that go ask the owner of this site, Dotty, she happens to be a concert violinist) where one is restricted to just reproducing a set piece; there’s always a lot of room for improvisation and experimentation in jazz and it really depends who you are jamming with – get the right crew and you’re smoking; get it wrong and you’re just making noise. That’s really the long and short of it.
This is one of my favorite pieces by Casiopea; the lead guitarist is Yoshihiro Naruse, but what I really like about this piece is how the pianist edges him on and if you listen carefully, there’s a charming gun fight going on between the pianist and the guitarist; a case of what you can do, I can do better, that’s why, this stands out as one of their most memorable pieces that they have not been able to reproduce, not even when I went over to Montreux to watch them, it was nowhere near the verve and panache of this sitting - if you’re wondering why the tunes he’s belting it out has so much tonal range; wonder no more, its a super negra – super lux (to those who know, you know) – check out the mid range F crossover at 3.15, where he just changes the tempo and goes ballistics.
Now this is what I think, he just got fed up with the pianist edging him and he just said, “fuck it, I am going to split her in two” and he even manages to pull it off leaving the pianist in the dust / its simply sublime and a must hear- I’ve never ever seen it go off the scales that way before – NEVER! (not with F minor cross over, never! You’ve got to have 6 fingers to even do that, but he managed to pull it off admirably pay close attention to the rapid cross over at 3.25, came off clean and sweet); the only person who I know that can do that sort of )- 60 in zero is Jimmy Hendricks and he’s dead – once in a lifetime – enjoy.
February 17, 2009
This is part of a new novel I am currently working on scheduled to be released this quarter; its loosely based on Yeonriji; another Korean mini series tear jerker – I’ve adapted the story somewhat as a continuation to “the tree that binds.” It seems to work.
Though I have gutted out most of the plot; the basic set pieces remain as part of a continuation.
In the tree that binds; Han Hye-won, who wants to happily live despite the imminent prospects of death falls in love with Lee Min-soo (I am not going to be a spoiler, so you all need to go and buy and read the tree that binds if you want to know what happens there).
Anyway, this story takes place some 5 years after Hye-won has passed on; Min Soo, heart broken has since moved to California.
One day, out of the blue; he meets Jie-woon; a freelance impressionist; she also happens to be the long lost twin sister Hye-won (apparently, they were separated during birth, I still need to work out the plot, its very complicated) – but somewhere in this great coincidence; our hero is involved in a train accident – he suffers a concussion and forgets huge chunks of his life – this segment is an excerpt when he returns back to work whilst trying to piece up the missing jig-saws of his life – Chapter 12 ‘That feeling.’
“There are times when I sense something else is going by, just beneath the surface; like still waters running against the current. Something I had known a long time ago; it’s as if there was a time when I saw it all so clearly; like a farmer watching the passing of a season only to call another in – but in these few years; life has taken my clarity away, muddied it even with layer upon layer of thoughts; that feeling of familiarity; that feeling that now seems like something I once knew, stands as a stranger.
But, it’s coming all back.
Sometimes when I awake from a dream, it seems I have it just within my grasp, but it slips away; it occurred only last night somewhere between the time when the moon slipped over the mountain just before dawn; I saw it all.
It’s all coming back now; yes – that feeling of familiarity; I am almost there; it shan’t take very long before it all comes around. Remembering that is.
What am I talking about? Let me tell you; remembering…to hear it all; the elves when the wave curls ever so gently; to see it in the stars when they’re so heavy that you might believe, they may even drop from the heavens like ripe fruit.
Yes like fruit; that feeling of familiarity that is; sweet, succulent like wet fruit; cool to the touch dew dripping freshness; I remember that feeling following me when the doors slid shut in the train this morning – I said to myself, I shouldn’t fight it – it will past, it always does and I shall stand in its wake; in the elevator when a familiar scent brought in all back again, it came once more and during work even when I poured the intensity of a full day into a hour; it never once left me.
yes, that familiar feeling – is you – I realized, you were always in my heart and you never left. From that moment onwards I knew it was pointless to fight it; this small life of mine can never compare to that greater other that lies like another country – how silly of me not to have realized it.
Why did I even bother to fight it ? I belonged to that beauty; the same one that we once shared and everything is as it should be – with these thoughts the rain stopped.”
Musical Score: “나보다 조금 더 높은 곳에 니가 있을뿐“ You’re now in a slightly higher place than me – sung by Shin Seung Hun
February 15, 2009
You win Dotty.
“Pain can never be taken philosophically; otherwise it isn’t pain. Today Dr Kim told me she will certainly die within the month. Yet as I walked aimlessly through this streets, I feel nothing – can it be I am still yet to live and experience life? My eyes have hardly opened, have they? I am simply a child standing before the portal of life – all this is so clear when someone you love only once in your life has to suddenly leave you.
The old say, the more humane we become, the more likely we are to suffer the pain of others. To love simply means to embrace vulnerability, to be even woundable in the way a man grips and searches out the sweetness of her lover in a moment’s ache. Never made easier by the solace of simply observing from afar, but here where she is before me, I can no more deny her existence any more than I can say, I never once existed.
If it is not given me to know the course of time, then the best I can do is to be attentive, to watch the moments go by, to feel her occasional caress and to revel in her closeness. You could say this is how a man who has never loved ambles his away across this strange terrain.
It’s like trying to work my way along a wall in the dark, It doesn’t serve me to turn and rail against the wall; it may have been placed there so that I don’t slip and fall over the edge – that evening, after finishing my fifth cigarette – I decided to walk beside her again….slowly, one step at time, I retraced my steps to the hospital - lets see where it goes. If this is the script the story teller of life has penned for me, then I shall simply have to utter my lines! Do I even have a choice? What I will have to do can never be considered an accomplishment or failure worth mentioning – it’s simply what it takes to be a human being who loves another more than himself – to live for the moment, that is and not to expect anything in return except pain. You could say, I have finally discovered my purpose, my reason to live and a reason to enthomb my selfishness……and with it, this has to be the first day of my awakening….breathe…this is my first day and as day’s goes. A day when a man simply loves a woman.”
The latest e-novel, Tree That Binds sells for 4,000 Imperiums per episode, get it now from your read club! 70,000 copies sold – subsequent copies will be autographed and first 1,000 will be invited for a book club meet. Get it now!
MY FIRST MEETING WITH READER No: 90312
Did I tell you how Yeonriji (The Tree that binds) came to be written – it’s actually based on a Korean tear fest – Yeonriji came somewhere “in the between” period of my life in between a new job when I just knew things weren’t going to work out between me and my new boss, in between throwing my faith into the dustbin and making peace with the idea of living with the seven habits of highly ineffective Christians – in between the sudden and very real realization that I had as much writing talent as a nail whistling against the wind. (I am just being dead honest of how I felt during the period when I wrote Yeonriji).
You see till then, I hadn’t had much success in writing – my first novel the Singaporean Gangster in London had a circulation of some 50,000 sounds impressive, right? Only if you didn’t know most of it was given away free – my second novel, “Spring Moon,” more or less found the same line; till then, you can say; most of what powered me to write was very much like a man shoveling coal into furnace; as curious as this seem; I hadn’t even stopped for a moment to consider where all this was leading too; it just seemed like an emotional reality that filled up all the dead spaces in airports; train stations and platforms where time had to be killed. And for all I cared, I was out to burn down the house.
Like I said, these thoughts came in somewhere in “the in between” period of my life; only this time; it all change when I suddenly found myself on transit in KL for a connecting flight to Tokyo – as usual, I found myself waiting.
I don’t know about you; but I happen to like airports very much along with the whole idea of serendipitously meeting an assortment of strange people. So, having been a little cynical about the whole idea of writing – I clambered back and hacked away at my laptop thinking that nothing would ever really change.
But sometimes like some bizarre astronomical coincidence; serendipity kicks in eclipsing two disc – two lives – two destinies.
They say synchronicity; like magnetic forces and probably the power of Reiki crystals account for why great things happen; only it’s one of those distant hopes like winning the national lottery; one never believes it can happen to moir till of course it does – changing everything.
But in those rare moment when it lines up, its always an extraordinary upside-down experience, as the world suddenly stops while the moon’s shadow shoots over – like
“Are you Darkness by any chance?” The lady standing before asked and her outstretched with a manuscript that I must have absently left behind.
Of course, it feels a little dangerous to experience the eclipse feeling naked; I didn’t answer. I didn’t have too. Why should I?
However fatuously the moment had arrived, even if its only a passing glance, something akin to the truth is formed by this crossing of two lives. For a moment while it last; the bubble of anonymity seems to be pierced, yet a new space seems to have been created – where life’s burning question is; what do we leave in our wake? It isn’t grandeur and glory that gives a life its eternal watermark, but the sum of these minuscule moments – when two lives come together unexpectedly.
Sitting in the empty plane to Tokyo that night, somewhere between the sea of Japan and the nine o’clock line of appointments that awaited me when I touched down; I made my way down the aisle; there she was; the lady who had once returned me my manuscript and discovered who I really was – there was really just two of us – I didn’t see how I could avoid it, the truth that is – I know it seems curious; as writing till then had been distanced, solitary and hermetically sealed – like a man marooned in some shark infested island writing, bottling and throwing it out into the wide expanse of anywhereville – one never expects an act of faith to ever come full circle; never, and anyone who tells it different is just fibbing; that’s just how it is – when one writes and throws it out into cyberspace - one never ever expects anything to come full circle.
Standing there I had stripped of all seemingly essential who-are-you, where-are-you-going – yet I had a clear sense of continuation, of being, of ongoing existence, I had not panicked yet; neither did I feel newborn; it felt right.
I was suddenly familiar with myself again, And for the moment that vivid and peaceful awareness was all I ver wanted and desired – to connect.
As I walked up to the lady; I am reminded it isn’t true what they say: we are all born into life – for most, life just waits there like a closed door. It’s only when we decide to walk through it - that we really begin to live, until then we’re just existing. And anyone who tells you different; just hasn’t lived.
The other side is always be complicated – sticky even - hey! but that’s usually what happens; when we decide to cross a line and connect - somehow that didn’t seem important then; what’s important is to begin – the journey of life, that is.
“I am sorry about earlier….I really am. Yes, I am very much Darkness.”
“I thought that much.” Dotty.
I am Darkness 2009
[On the return trip from Japan, I wrote Yeonriji in one sitting – "the tree that binds" - went on to sell 90,000 e-copies / this is dedicated to reader No: 90312 – Darkness – The Brotherhood Press 2009]
Regular BP readers please note: due to the closure of SLF 1 -7 and the suspension of the newly commissioned Ekunaba line / transmission has been disrupted – The Brotherhood Press will resume transmission and normal publications @ 1300 hr GMT – February 16 2009 – KOHO.
February 14, 2009
How do you like it now Darkness? When the tables are suddenly turned? - never thought the rest of the brotherhood will sell you out on a drop of a hat did you?
I told you never to mess with me. Do you believe me now Darkness?
PS: Don’t you think I look like her? Keep calling, I may decide to pick up.
February 11, 2009
I may not be responsible for what happens in this crummy world, but I can elect to change the shape and speed of how these thoughts affect me,
I may not be responsible for whether there is peace in this crummy world, but I can shift my perspective and see peace instead of war,
I may not be responsible for whether the future will promise deliverance in this crummy world, but I can decide and say the past will have no dominion over me from now onwards – it has no hold on me and I am a free woman,
I may not be responsible for whether man will continue to fight in this crummy world, but this instant where time and opportunity intersects I shall say I will not judge and shall instead be a peacemaker.
I may not be responsible for whether there will even be a sunrise tomorrow, but I am determined to it not as a crummy but happy place.
I have the power to do all these things. I am Dotty. At this moment, I am the most powerful person in this planet as I have faith. And you must believe me Darkness.
February 11, 2009
Just yesterday, I read a teacher was charged for having a sexual liaison with a 15 year boy under her charge. What really surprised me was how it provoked a wave of smugness in so many of my colleagues in office. They weren’t horrified. Angry or even contemptuous - if anything, they understood.
“he (the husband) probably pushed her to it.” – “that’s what you get for ignoring a woman.” – “what do you expect?”
That set me thinking. Why aren’t we appalled by this? What if, it was a man instead who preyed on a 15 year old? Would the reaction be different?
I think that sometimes we in toy nation get so immersed in Louis Vuitton bags we forget the power of real emotions. Everyone loves real homegrown emotions. For one they cut through the increasingly nefarious world that we all associate with the fake. It doesn’t even matter if its murder, providing its not the cold blooded (fake) type and committed in the name of unrequited love or passion. The chances are if you have a good lawyer like me to defend you in court, you are likely to walk.
That is how powerful the power of the woman’s thingy is – it’s real enough to cut through prejudices and doubt. No one likes a fake, except the faker.
That’s why I think, if this was a male teacher the DPP would probably have asked for ten years and ten of the best with the rotan. Its smacks of fake.
As it is, all I feel is a profound pity for this teacher. Not contempt. If it was a man, it would be very different indeed. I know it’s silly. That I should even harbor double standards, but I can’t help it.
That’s the nature of a woman. And that could really be the only point I am trying to make here. It doesn’t have to make sense or even come across as understandable. For it to be a woman thingy, it must be an act beyond silly (personal satisfaction). It has to be unspur and apart from our known world. The emotions that accounts for why this teacher did the things she did, I mean. If anything they are fuzzy, fluffy, flismy, soft and totally doomed to failure, like trying to sail across the Atlantic in a paper boat – that’s real (for a woman at least, impracticality has to feature – why do you think, we wear high heels and dont go around in knap sacks?)and they resonate in every woman.
That’s why men can’t understand why women drive the way they do. Its not that we are bad drivers, it’s just that cars aren’t made by women for women and we aren’t hardwired to read maps – the vanity mirror is always on the wrong side. The handbrake is too stumpy and the doors don’t open wide enough when you’re in a frock. Like I said, it’s an emotional thing, that why even manufacturers and marketers have registered this growing feeling, demand or whatever you want to call it.
The pull that is. The one that makes us do the things which may even seem silly, like buying a car just because the cup holder is just the right fit or how somehow has bothered with the minor details of provisioning space for face wipes – fuel consumption and performance doesn’t matter – taking the corner matters even less – that’s a man thing.
Just keep one thing in mind, though every woman may say, she doesn’t understand why this teacher did what she did, deep inside she understands it only too well. Trust me its something that only a woman can understand.
And you don’t even need to learn anything new either to understand it. All you have to do is unlearn many things you already have bouncing around in your head.
Dotty ( and I am not of the brotherhood. I am just a person who started a blog one day and wondered why a flying saucer is suddenly in my backyard. It’s nice. There are flashing lights and all that. I just can’t figure out why if they can travel across the vast expanse of space – they can’t seem to design a better looking space suit that’s all. Their diplomats tell me they are lost, looking for this place called home. Meanwhile the evil emperor of the known universe is out to hunt them down. No it’s not the story. Not even the mind bending plot that grabs me. Its the way the diplomat looks intently in my eyes when he says all these things. Or maybe its the way he plays around with his muffin with his teaspoon. They can’t seem to distinguish reality from illusion. It’s gone horribly wrong somewhere. And I believe it may be true. They are lost. Like I said, it’s a woman thingy, a little just goes a very long way, that’s why its just stuff.)
February 10, 2009
All night the stars watch from long away,
You said you’re going now, but you changed your mind,
When you are not with your friends you are true to yourself,
whether or not you know it, it tells in the way you look on when it rains,
The dawn rain that is. The type that no one ever stops to see except cats and dreamers and perhaps those who wonder why there are those who look on with eyes of rapture. Everything is soaked. Water in my hair, face and flesh, its everywhere. But like you say, it’s a nice mess.
And then the sun breaks through a white clouds and touches the patchwork that was once an afterlife of where we spend a moment. Awake without a question and ready to go even though the whole world is soaked in rain and somewhere our dreams float amid it all like paper boats.
February 10, 2009
You know what recently I came across a really dumber than dumb plan that some one is trying to sell to the MOE, MICA and police; here jump down there and read all about it and come back here again http://theonlinecitizen.com/2009/02/big-ambitions-for-anti-cyberbullying-website/
I know it even sounds like a well meaning kind of thing to do. Right? The whole idea that we should all protect kiddies – wrong, you see there is a big flaw somewhere in this loopy logic; for one it presupposes that conflict is necessarily bad and secondly this whole idea will drive out the bad leaving only the good.
Incidentally, that’s what they said about nuclear energy and genetically modified produce as well; it will drive out the bad leaving only the good. Not that you know it once you start glowing like a light bulb when you get too close to a nuclear reactor or you hold out an orange the size of a beach ball in the supermarket.
Something just doesn’t sit right here.
Like I said, I am not a big fan of wrapping up kids in cotton wool. I am not for one moment suggesting; where bullying slips into criminal intimidation and harassment it wouldn’t benefit from the sharp, short and shock treatment. Sure I do. ONLY I believe there are already adequate systems and processes in place – we don’t need another layer of regulation – and we certainly don’t need well intentioned amatuers to make a meal out of weekend warriorhood. (now don’t say I am putting words in the authors mouth. You go and read that article. I posted. And you come back here again and tell me. I’ve got the wrong end of the stick.)
Besides in the vast majority of cases as curious as this may come across; conflict may even be good for kids; that’s to say they learn valuable life skills such as conflict management and how to put their heads back when it gets lobbed off in sandbox fights, just like perhaps the way cubs learn to hunt when they chase pigeons or play.
What I think we must remember is that kids – and even teenagers – are still learning about how to interact with each other and they would benefit more from a dose of laissez-faireism than panoptical regulation; this is especially so in Singapore where the learning environment can be both restrictive and corseted; I could be wrong but my feel is they may need much more freedom when compared to even their Western counterparts and what really concerns me about this whole anti bullying idea is instead of freeing up young minds what we may be inadvertently doing is putting a policeman in the head of every kid.
That means everytime they type something online – subsconsciously, they may feel the need to ask: will my actions be construed as bullying? Will I get hauled up by the police for posting this or that? What if what I say gets me in trouble? What if this happens? What if that….and so on and so forth Eventually somewhere in this medley kids will begin to censor themselves; and this can only mean instead of nurturing minds who are confident; all we would have really done is level down the field of possibilities to something that encourages mediocrity and sameness.
Conversely; having an anti-cyberbulling site around may simply mean kids who would otherwise be better prepared for life, will never ever see the need to develop life skills to manage conflict – why should they? If all they have to do is run to their keyboards and press the chicken button on the first sign of distress - result: kids will never learn how to adapt and overcome conflicts, they don’t learn the art of managing themselves and others; and what happens when they go out into the wide open world without those survival skills? You go figure that part out. That’s fine if only all of life like art mimics the affairs of the internet; tragic reality suggest; the world for lack of a better word is just another metaphor for a jungle and there are all sorts of animals bent on a spot of mayhem at every corner. And don’t fool yourself just because you’ve made all the right moves to make it all to the board room in the ambient 25 degree celsius sitting high above the world, its somehow more civilized and safer up there. My point is the world will ALWAYS be a jungle – a place filled by motherfuckers, conmen, hucksters, charlatans, bent pastors and girls who are just out to suck you dry for what you’re worth in your POSB account.
You see it’s an illusion to believe we can somehow insulate ourselves from the vicious and feral world; WE CANNOT!
And this simply brings into sharp focus: why then are we trying to sell our youths the idea that life is a fairytale?
You know what? I can’t think of a better way to disable a kid and retarding his progress (and I am not kidding either). Can you?
Another reason why I don’t like this suggestion of creating a anti bullying watchdog; is it leverages on our collective sense of vulnerability– if we don’t do something about it real fast; the situation is going to get worse.
Now I am not suggesting kids don’t get bullied online; ONLY if we really want to understand the issues from the inside out; we may need to buy into the idea bullying has been around ever since man figured out one easy way to get dates is by using a big bone to knock out the competition; my point here is to state the obvious - this is not a new as it remains a very old problem.
And why is that observation pertinent? Because what it underscores (as I mentioned before) is there are already established and proven networks involving parents, educators and professionals to manage conflict amongst the young – so why do we even need to create a new caption and another layer of regulation to manage something which we have already been managing all these yonk years?
I mean if your roof leaks; do you built another roof over that defective roof? Or do you fix the leak instead?
Another gripe that I have with the whole idea of the anti cyberbullying idea is how it attempts to organize itself as some regulator (the liaison officer, Singaporedaddy even called it, the Spanish Inquisition!); now why is that so bad? Well the short answer is simply this I don’t trust the government or for that matter any government on the face of this planet, not with pure and unbridled power at least – anymore than I would consider trusting Count Dracula to manage the blood bank - I rather put my trust in good systems any day.
The way I see it anything that is framed in the context of kiddies just runs the risk of extending a card blanche to governments; as sooner or later what is bound to happen is function creep; now if you don’t understand what that word means just remember the idiom; give a inch and take a foot; that unfortunately is what usually happens when power is left very much like prime cuts on a window sill; it just gets gobbled down. As a result things just get ratcheted incrementally like how once upon a time; the Germans thought it was a great idea to instill discipline in kids by inculcating military values into work and play regimen; then somewhere along the way another layer of militarism was added in and another and so on and so forth, till what happened was something not so different from the return of kids from hell who regularly spied on their parents in the name of the state.
As I said, it starts small then it just snowballs and here lies the danger when we frame anything alongside kids; it doesn’t really matter whether it is politics to selling Volvo’s; put a kid with a cute teddy bear in the picture and 9 out 10; the brain skips a beat and you get your message across with hardly any resistance - you see those motherfuckers can never out snake me; who are they? Big corporations, Big government or for that matter blogs who pretend to be Big when they are actually very small like theonlinefuckingcitizen – don’t believe; why do you think every fast food chain comes with a playground? Kids! Why do you think most people sign up for personal insurance plans? Kids! Why do you think both Stalin and Hitler were regularly considered father figures? Could it have anything to do with the fact; these mass murderers were also regularly photographed with kiddes? See my point now; put a kid in the picture and you could even pass off gas chambers as a day in the Banyan tree spa – and not only that; if you really want to know how useless a politician is; all you have to do is divide the number of times he presents his views to kids and inverse it with the period he has been in office; that roughly gives you his approximate weight in a unit of measurement; I call bullshit!
Nope. If I had my way; I would even go further; and declare every school an independent sovereign neutrality; like the Vatican; I would even depoliticize schools very much in the way we regularly gut out faith from politics.
Exploiting kiddies isn’t my ONLY concern here; there is also the very real and present danger if we are not mindful about the whole idea of how to structure measures to get on top of cyberbullying; the whole idea of what constitutes bullying may even overreach into a domain that may threaten to infringe on our civil liberties.
Hey, I am not joking man; that’s what happens when something works really well; (and again, don’t said, I am putting words in the author’s mouth; like I said, go and read the article and pay special attention to the part how information is extracted. (You know what, I even spent $3.20 to buy Dotty a curry puff just to get a legal pov she said; “it’s unconstitutional.” And I don’t think she was referring to my eating habits either) the idea gets extended by analogy very much in the way lousy mechanics try to solve every mechanical problem with a hard knock with a hammer; that’s fine providing it doesnt skip a whole lot of processes – the problem is by couching the solution with kiddies right smack in the center; what we may be inadvertently creating is the problem; rather than proposing a viable solution.
I happen to be a great fan of processes; the way I see it; they’re like airbags; there is no such thing as having too many – more the merrier. That’s because where there is a process – someone has to evaluate and make an informed decision. In other words, its a form of checks and balances.
And one of the shittiest thing about this anti bullying idea is instead of shoring up the current system and processes by trying to make it better; what it attempts to do is to wing it alone; as I said; we already have laws and the law enforcement agencies to take care of that area (and mind you, we have one of the most professional police force in the region, if not the world!); the last thing we should consider doing now is to muck around with it something that already works; improve it by all means, tweak it even but don’t ever try to change or supplant it by making a mountain out of a word by taking it beyond its dictionary meaning.
My gut feel still tells me, if anything, we should be trying to find new ways to dismantle the acute climate of fear along with perhaps innovating new ways to further break down barriers and if possible destroy the policeman in the head of every kid.
This may mean letting kids resolve their own problems and if possible even letting them come up with the solutions themselves. Its bound to be hit and miss, some may even fall through the cracks; but in the long run my feel is this may yet still be the most reliable way for good to triumph over evil.
Check out the what’s happening here. You have to fill in the blanks yourself. I can’t help you all the time. A good place to start is why is does the moderation policy keep changing all the time in Theonlinecitizen?
[48) Singaporedaddy on Your comment is awaiting moderation. February 9th, 2009 11.18 pm
February 8, 2009
I want to speak of well being; of sparkling morns; when you just know everything is going to be beautiful the moment you wake up.
I want to speak of peace, like birds nesting in each other’s warmth; the quiet type; where two people speak mostly through their silence.
I want to speak of wholeness; the kind no one ever spoke or wrote about; the one that I heard sweeps ever so ponderously filling your heart with wonder and awe.
I want to speak of epiphany, the one that tugs ever so gently and when the truth just draws out like silk scarf through a ring; the type that makes a smile break at one corner of your mouth and spreads to unite the mind and heart.
I want to speak of serendipity; the kind that stretches the heart like a blanket over the soul; wrapping your core in a sense of warmth and comfort – in the calm assurance; it was always meant to be this way.
I want to speak of beginnings and endings; the beautiful kind; the sort that even holds out the promise of redemption; where two people may be apart, yet remain very much one of the same.