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One reason why I have been spending so much time on the whole subject of happiness may have something to do with my vocation. I write reports. And for the most part I work all by myself. Usually everything I need is handed to me in a crisp manila envelope – I don’t know who my clients are as they are represented through an intermediary who doesn’t seem to like me very much (not only does he think I am an upstart, he suspects, I am banging his secretary on the side, he’s spot on; on the second count) – usually the questions are direct and poignant. I reckon my clients are very old people. I say that only because most of the time following each report submission; there are usually follow up questions concerning many of my math equations scribbled on the side of my original reports – a question mark; elaborate further, give details, assumptions? Nothing beyond a mere paragraph and it’s always scribbled in pencil – once took a sample to a stationer in Paris somewhere in the 5th arrondissement, the hawk nose man rubbed a bit of it off and rolled it in the ball of his index finger and thumb only to exclaim as if suddenly greeted by an old friend, “Ah! This is old, very old.” – “how old is old?” I asked. The stationer replied curtly, “These days we are not allowed to sell them anymore .The lead in the graphite is way too high.”

 Recently when I got back one of my reports – written by the side was a comment, “can you find out whether they are happy?” Sounds innocuous enough – only one problem there; I’ve never been asked that question before – don’t even know where to begin – I guess what my client is trying to ask is what’s the cost of fear?

The only reason why I’ve brought fear into the picture is because I can’t think of a better anti-thesis to the whole idea of happiness, except perhaps fear – fear for lack of a better word is the reason why so many of us plan our lives. We pay our taxes on time to avoid the FEAR of fines. We regularly sign up for health checks, to insulate ourselves against the FEAR of our own mortality. We circle the parking lot at least 3 times to seek out those pesky coupon aunties, for FEAR of getting a traffic summons.

Even in the seemingly safety of our hermetically sealed imaginary secret garden, FEAR, the serpent lurks reminding us all, how open and vulnerable. We mull over our job. Even blogging these days is under siege.

I guess what my client is asking me is; what is the cost of living in FEAR?

What lies at the root of this mania and paranoia? There are a number of possible explanations. The first is undoubted due to the changing face of the business environment in Singapore and around the world. Fear is endemic these days in the vast majority of the developed countries where things are not as clear cut as they once was. The age of boom & bust and witnessing our hopes turning into mud or our watching helplessly as our stock portfolio melts away has had a sobering toll on our sense and sensibilities. Gone are the days when we expect past performance to be an indication of future expectations! For one we are less trusting of organizations and even less faith these days, is placed on leaders. After all most of us know those levers to power are connected to nothing. Not even if they regularly tell us they are the best that money can buy. It just doesn’t cut it these days. Most of us have lived through the debacle of Enron, Arthur Anderson, NKF and Shin Corp, know only too well, the valence between the best people, best decisions do not necessarily lead to best performance. It’s at best an illusion that has everything to do with our imagination rather than reality.

The other reason that has scoured much of our confidence is job insecurity. Despite the good times, we have all seen it before – hordes of people who have to down size or retune their lifestyles because they can no longer command the salaries they used too. It’s tough these days in the age of globalization to feel really secure and assured, none of the macro-economic arguments cut much ice with the people thrown out of work. They never have and never will – people don’t want to believe they have an expiry date to their usefulness and no amount of retraining or re-education is going to augment that limitation. Those who are at the point in time dislocated by the forces of competition have a right to feel life in modernity is nothing less than destructive and feral and though much of the job of policy of makers is to explain, they simply need to buy into the idea of going one step further to understand much of the fear that exist today can only be relieved by making the losses bearable.

This naturally throws out the question: what needs to be done to effectively dismantle the climate of fear? What steps are required towards re-engineering systems and processes which can either augment or serve to mitigate the losses of globalization to make the losses more bearable?

Policy makers need to appreciate the cost of living in fear is not only huge but a diservice to the whole idea of innovation and creativity.

When we fear and live in a state that is the direct opposite of happiness – some thing deep inside us just curls up and dies; whenever we succumb to fear real or imagined – it doesn’t enable us as much as disables us.

The cost has to be exhorbitantly high as our children don’t dare to dream beyond the narrow confines of the tried and tested yellow bricked road for fear only falling off the edge, and so are incarcerated to only the unimaginative sameness of what came before – if they fail, they fail traditionally.

The economy hemorrhages because of a lack of entrepreneurialism. And managers and professionals pay the price for their own paranoia, hanging on to unsatisfactory jobs for fear of the unknown, toeing the corporate line rather than cutting their own path for fear of rejection and persecution – because they are too preoccupied with towing the line.

Result: nothing imaginative ever gets produced and we are nearer to the goal of craving out sustainable competitive advantage.

As F. Roosevelt once proclaimed, the only thing to fear is fear itself. These words have never rung truer today than ever before. It’s time to stop fearing – it’s only when we do this can we really aspire towards true happiness.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press 2010

“I know what I am about to say right now may provoke many to write in demanding my head on a salad bowl; but you should never ever marry someone below your station – never.

If you’re a man; you should ALWAYS marry up – that has to make perfect sense as it has alot to do with the whole idea of balance of power and the concept of mutual agreed destruction – I’ve always wondered how did the West and the Communist bloc preserve the whole idea of peaceful co-existence for nearly 60 years?

If you really want to know it had nothing to do with mutual respect and everything to do with fire power – one reason why we enjoyed peace for nearly 60 years had alot to do with the whole idea of balance of power – the whole idea of Nash equilibria – I mean, I can prove this mathematically – I am not kidding!

And that simply means if you marry a woman with no education and just because you like the way she looks – the chances are somewhere down the line in 10 or 20 years; you are definitely going to screw around with someone younger and leave her high and dry – why because firstly, she has zero earning power and that simply means she has no power to protect herself – she cannot inflict damage on you!

Ironically, if you marry a woman who earns let’s say more than you and is better qualified and who has probably a 5 year age advantage – the chances are you will never ever fool around – never – that’s not because you are born good – you’re still thinking about sex 24/7, but you can’t do anything; because if you’re caught with your pants down; she will probably take your spleen along with your liver out – that simply means that’s a great incentive to remain faithful – that’s why every sensible man should seriously consider marrying up and not down – the case is stronger for you; as you happen to be a very attractive man.

If you marry up; the chances are you will lead a healthier life and she will stop you from doing really stupid things and you will never self destruct- because left to their our own devices – boys will be boys and we are all just walking disasters – but if you are married to a really strong woman; she will demand every cent you earn and give you only $10 a day as pocket money – so how the hell can you get up to mischief with 10 bucks is really beyond me? Make sense right? It all boils down to balance of power- so take my advice marry her – I will be your best man – that’s happiness. As you can see; I’ve thought long and hard over this matter brother…..long and hard.”

Darkness 2008 – Captured by an auto-bot crawler in a thread in Ekunaba – The Brotherhood Press 2010. 

 

 

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The pursuit of happiness has to be one of the most overrated preoccupations of this world.

If you’re pursuing happiness the chances are you’re probably trying to ferret it out from someone, something or some experience that will somehow manage to deliver the goodies – try this for size, don’t waste your time, money and energy!

Life will always be full of disappointments, loss, and inconveniences. And let me go on to add something that may just pop your balloon on the whole idea of happiness – If you’re going to live a rich and fulfilling life you’re got to go through the full range of emotions – the good, bad and the ugly – and probably learn to treat all of them as one of the same reality and not just plumb for happiness at every turn and opportunity in the way a kid avoids his veggies and looks forward to only his ice cream dessert – the whole point of a purpose driven life is NEVER to limit the palette of your feelings and experiences to just stuff that is the direct opposite of happiness – trust me, you’ve heard of the poverty trap, well that’s the happiness trap – as even cruddy negative states of minds and really shitty situations all have something  valuable and good to offer.

For one they all cue us into what’s really important and without them; we probably wouldn’t be able to appreciate the full hemisphere of what it really means to be a human being let alone even begin to figure out and appreciate happiness – I suspect that could be one reason why when you look at the lives of highly effective leaders – they have all suffered at some point in their lives, it could be Mandela who spend the best years of his life in a 5 by 15 cell; or Roosevelt who had to deal with a crippling and debilitating illness – Charles De Gaulle: wo had to raise up a disable daughter – all of them have one thing in common – they have suffered – anyone who has ever had to battle an illness, go through a period of pain, uncertainty or simply have to make do with superglue, duct tape and rubberbands just to gety by will probably understand what I am talking about.

The whole idea of the pursuit of happiness is just one big fat mirage that’s perpetuated by the marketing manifesto – buy this, vote me in, put your money here, donate to this cause and you will be happy!

That’s a crock of shit.

In reality the state of mind we call happiness is not a natural state as it’s so often depicted by movies and books – neither should humans think of happiness as a right either – if anything happiness in the traditional sense these days is just product of a dramatic revolution in human expectation which has taken place since the end of World War II –  truth of the matter is happiness is not so different from sadness or any other human feeling or emotion.

In short, happiness would be pretty meaningless if not for sadness: to paraphrase without the contrast of darkness, there will never be any light. And none of us will be wiser.

In my view suffering, loss or anything that stands apart from the whole idea of happiness cannot be taken too philosophically –  neither should it inspire fear or trepidation either – I am reminded as an extreme sportsman and businessman,  every feeling that goes through us has something incredibly valuable to offer – that’s how mother nature intended it –for instance, if we don’t fear, it only means our eyes have not been honed and sharpened to seek out the jagged edges and that just means we will always be make lousy judgments as to whether we should fight or flee  – fear I remind myself is something that is not only very natural but if used properly, it can make us even better human beings –  and it should never be denied an outlet or even suppressed.

As the more humane we become, the more likely we are to suffer the dread of being lonely, disappointed or just feeling lousy over someone, something or some situation. To live, breathe and think simply means continuously reconciling ourselves with vulnerability, rejection and pain – but what did you really expect out of life, we are not old leather, made softer, more comfortable with usage– but that’s not such a bad thing and let me share with you why? – one can only grow based on the ability to look pain or fear directly in the eyes; and anyone who shirks from it – be it avoiding responsibility – in the form of a job, marriage or some experience that demands nothing short of commitment – granted, those who choose that path will certainly never feel pain; but trust me, they have not lived either.

Darkness 2010

“There is no such thing as a beautiful woman; it doesn’t exist – just as there is no such thing as an ugly woman either; it doesn’t exist either – it’s all up there in your head – I can’t believe we are having this crazy conversation on the eve of your marriage; really, it comes as a great shock to me…I am really disapppointed in you…don’t you realize it’s all there for the picking – it can be heaven or hell – it’s all right there in the palm of your hands…..it’s always been there. We better continue this conversation in a secure private line in Ekunaba…I am not very comfortable talking about this matter in a fish bowl.”

Darkness 2007 – Captured by an auto-bot crawler in a deleted thread in The Intelligent Singaporean – The Brotherhood Press 2010

 

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Today, I hopped down to Expo to check out the lastest on the gaming scene – touched based with some old frens as well – like good olde Vader – Vader bro, nothing personal; but you better hit the gym your shoulders are getting rounded! I told you to stay away from that light sabre – too much radiation; it’s bad for your bones!

Lets dive in! One of the really interesting things about gaming is that it’s really a grand canyon of a genre  – there are some who just play the game as it’s supposed to be played; then there are those who play the game within the game (like us) and of course there are those who play it in a way that just transitions the whole affair into the real world – so there is really a lot of room for improvisation and  experimentation: and the genre is always expanding and changing like some organic blob.

And one of the really interesting developments these few years has been the rise of anime and manga comic characters into mainstream gaming cum characterization – in Singapore and Malaysia, the market is still relatively small roughly 30,000 adherents – but in the EU and the US, its already breached the 10 million mark – so in the relative scheme of things; this is a tremendously huge market that is just waiting to be tapped like oil.

To me what’s important is to keep an open mind and remain mindful that it may not serve the greater good to try to impose any structure and order into this ever developing genre; this to me is the hardest discipline to abide too, because by nature I like to micro manage stuff – so letting go and keeping my mouth shut is perhaps one of the most difficult things that I have had to learn in these few years to deal effectively with the advent of anime and manga characters coloring the gaming scene.

I am always mindful that young people will always need loads widget space to develop their own identity and if possible to write their own histories and make sense of where they stand in relation to others in the community they belong too – and the last thing they need is some dusty oligarchy that is pulling all the strings behind the curtains railroading them to think this and that, go left, turn left (keep that shitty attitude up and I guarantee you at some point someone is just going to put his hands up for urination breaks – and that’s game over) – that sort of attitude is just passé; besides it’s arrogant as it is conceited as it presumes that no man is dispensable and that all answers reside in only one anointed group of people – that’s just a crock of shit.

Besides I am way too old for this shit; maybe it’s time for me to start a factory or do something else with my life – but one thing is certain; for the time being; it’s just incredibly edifying and satisfying to know that one is truly obsolete in the way a mechanical typewriter sits on the shelve looking by at the world of modern computers.

My world, the world of the brotherhood is definitely coming to an end and I am glad to belong to that time line that we once had and what may come there after – I don’t think that sort of attitude is defeatist; not at all – I’ve thought long and hard about this during many of my solitary night rides;  if anything that has to be the way of the world – because at some point in every man’s life or even what he may have once dedicated himself too – he’s bound to reach that realization that the simple act of just living; breathing, shitting and being there could very well work against the idea of progress by retarding and fossilizing all prospects of bring about goody good change  – bowing out gracefully under those conditions may just be the best thing to do – the Cantonese have a saying for this: loh tak hei, fong tak lok – what you pick up; you must be able to put down - and those who know neither the time, place or reason to put down what they once picked up simply have no idea what life is all about – they are just incredibly stupid and stupid people will always think and do stupid things.

I’ve been invited to the Anime Expo in the US (though I suspect, I’ve probably be the lowest of the low there and since I hate flying, Harphoon will probaby be respresenting me – beisdes when you factor in the business dimension its a 14 day affair! And I hate American food). The Expo serves to foster trade, commerce and the interests of the general public and animation industry. This event serves as a key meeting place for the general public to express their interest and explore various aspects of both anime and manga, as well as for members of the industry to conduct business. AX 2010 will be held July 1 – July 4, 2010, at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Southern California. More information can be found at www.anime-expo.org.

See you all there.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press 2010

“We adults think we always know best; we constantly try to raise the bar on kids, especially if we think they are gifted. And the surprising thing about smart kids is usually they manage to jump through those hoops we put up. But the irony is when we do this time and again – without us realizing it, kids soon lose that sense of serendipity that only comes from learning through trial and error – worse they lose that deep spirited sense of accomplishment by figuring stuff all by themselves without adults – when that happens, they lose their innate elasticity that nature bestowed on them; they become hard like us adults and even begin to behave like us. And once they get into that hermetically sealed bubble, it’s almost impossible to get them really excited about anything.

That’s why I think we have to be playful and retain the kid in us even as adults…” Darkness 2010.

Captured by an auto-bot crawler – recent commissioning of a new gaming server in Munich, Germany – The Brotherhood Press 2010

 

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Sometimes relying on our beloved  rag is not so different from bikini logic; the really interesting parts are all covered up, the rest is just what you expect to see – so what I did the day before yesterday was take my bike down to East Coast park just after sunset to check out the oil slick for myself – were there any Bangladeshi power working furious to clean up the gunk? Nope. What about a mobile control center? Nope. Emergency lights? Nope. Gen sets? Nope. In fact, nothing was happening.

Hey I stand corrected but that’s how it was – and you don’t have to be a reincarnation of Einstein to figure out when I say nothing is happening, it means exactly nothing – especially, when you decide to walk up to a few Bangladeshis (about 30 men) standing around impersonating trees with that authoritative look – “Who the hell is in charge of this clean up exercise?” Only to be greeted with that look of “we thought you were in charge.”

Interesting I said to myself, it’s now 7.30 pm and to top it off this event occurred at around 3.00 am the morning before and the response is a big nothing.

In Alice in Wonderland terms, what we may have here is a classic case of “experts,” who are supposed to know what to do during a crisis but have absolutely no idea how to respond to such a crisis; that’s to say they are supposed to be trained to evaluate and chart the best course of action to quantify the known knowns and known unknowns. But since they don’t know what to do the response is to do nothing.

You see I just happen to be an efficiency expert; that is what I do for keeps – I write long comatose inducing reports on manufacturing firms that stock broking firms (though I suspect, its read by less than 10 people) regularly use to make an informed decision to either buy, hold or sell stocks abt firms in the S & P that regularly produce everything from combine harvesters to vibrating toys that give lonely spinsters pleasure during cold winter nights – and I can tell you all for a fact from what I’ve been able to make out; on the balance of probabilities NEA did not have any contingency plans to deal effectively with this oil slick. I challenge you directly! There was no template. No standard operational procedure. Nothing!

Hey, as I said, I stand corrected – but that’s the way I see it and you all know that I always call a spade a spade.

Now this is very odd to me, since we aren’t a landlocked country like Montenegro and we are surrounded by water from North, East, South and West – added to that, we regularly have supertankers and vessels that ferry everything from cocoa butter, sweet crude not to mention the odd Nimitz class aircraft carries that secrets weapons grade uranium plying our waters – and you are telling me that no one in NEA ever bothered coming up with a rapid response plan to deal with such a worse case scenario?

You are kidding me right?

Instead what we got from the authorities was a mixture of comic relief and sham that just beggars the imagination – when asked how the containment efforts are coming along – the MPA replied, unpredictable wind and tide conditions had made containment difficult, even though the weather was fine – Oh silly me, why didn’t I realize that an oil slick can be so different from a pack of marauding rats where all we had to do was pay the piped piper to lead them all to the nearest oil sump?

Anyone who knows the sea will testify that she is at best a capricious woman and at worse a siaow charbor (mad woman) – she can’t help herself – the moon affects her – OF COURSE OIL SLICKS ARE UNPREDICTABLE! THAT IS WHY THEY ARE CALLED OIL SLICKS DUMMY!

The one comment that really takes the rubber dodo award of the year comes from the NEA’s director of environmental health who quipped a la non chalant savior faire style, that those affected by the smell were probably more sensitive. He went on to add, “Durian could have the same effect on some people.”

Hey, I got news for you man. I have absolutely no idea where you’re getting your durians from, but it’s certainly not NTUC man? You best go for a stool test just to check yourself out for irritable bowel syndrome.

Some of us nearly pengsan while cycling through those affected areas– I am not kidding, couldn’t even keep my eyes open and had it not been for copious amounts of tiger balm and eye mo in our medical bag, some of us would probably be in the ICU with medical grade tubing sticking out from our body parts.

So it’s really sad to see a senior official making light of what is obviously a very serious environmental problem – if I was the PM, I would reward this lackadaisical official with a permanent posting to man a weather station somewhere in the Arctic where the only oil slick he would be managing is trying to figure out how to make his sesame oil runny when the temp falls below minus 40!  

Next time NEA come with a rapid response plan! This was a relative small oil spill but the next one that hits us may very well be a mother. Get with it! You have no possible idea how much I am holding back on the punches….no idea whatsoever.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press 2010
 
“Do you know that there was once a funny chap up North with a big nose called Mahathir, he thought he was some post modernist Nasser; so what this clown did in the early 80’s was embark on a Byzantine social experiment called the look east policy – the whole idea was to transplant Japanese knowhow to transform Malaysia from an agrarian society to an industrial powerhouse – 30 years after its inception what do you have? 

Well let’s take a look cars that cannot even drive without the steering wheel coming loose; lousy customer service from the civil service and a private sector that cannot even speak proper English – how is that possible? Where did it all go so wrong?

I want you all to think long and hard about this. Let me share with all of you the tragedy of the commons, the story I like to call the empire of the bones – had Mahathir been a Kendo exponent, he would have realized that before real social change can occur the skeleton key that makes this transformation possible does not lie in learning new thoughtware. Think about it. Before you can put in something new into your head, you first have to unlearn many things that is already up there, some of those things may even be so encrusted and fossilized that you may have to take a sledge hammer to them – and that is the clearest expression of the being that makes up the art of Kendo in the Hagakure stable – from the first dan to the third dan, you don’t learn as much as unlearn – it is only in the fourth dan that you begin to learn how to kill proficiently in seven steps, that is why kata is so important in the grading in the fourth.

You unlearn that – pain though inevitable, but suffering is optional. You unlearn that winning is good, but losing gracefully is even better; you unlearn, unlearn, unlearn and unlearn.

Had Mahathir spent one year in the dojo somewhere in the mountains doing nothing all day except waking up in the morning and slicing the wind with a shinai all day long (bamboo sword) Malaysia today would be a giant like South Korea or Taiwan.

That in short is what I call the shattered dreams that is Malaysia then and today – she is a country that has aped the form without really understanding that content is what makes up the form.” – Darkness 2003

Extracted by an auto-bot crawler from the Book of Ages – under the Chapter: The Empire of the Bones – the Brotherhood Press 2010.

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The Dow gave way to the 10,000 psychological marker yesterday – that by itself may suggest the world economy is headed for a second round of grief – it’s no longer just a theoretical possibility after this, not in my book, at least.

The way I see it, the risk of further losses in the global markets remain very high – as most investors are still wary about contagion fears in the Eurozone along with the possibility of North Korea throwing a spanner into the Asia’s stellar economic growth  – you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to square off the accounts – the US is shot beyond all recognition, it doesn’t have nearly enough of the necessary mojo needed to climb out of this hole – as for Europe, the only thing that’s preventing it from being labeled a third world continent is the weather – and don’t count on dynamo China either as at some point even the communist would have engineer a slow down of the domestic economy to prevent it from overheating.

If you really want to understand why the world economy is so fucked up; understand this. The market is essentially a mass of emotions, manias, phobias and anxieties all rolled up into one nervous wreck –  and if I was pressed to give a name and face to the nemesis of every market – it’s simply uncertainty – uncertainty works not just by instilling fear, but by inducing a sense of helplessness.

And all these sudden events such as the meltdown in Greece and the recent saber rattling by psycho North Korea plays into the whole idea of randomness – randomness not only heightens the sense of fear. Indeed, the more indiscriminate it is in selecting its victims, the sharper that sense of fear gets (real or imagined). You see most of us don’t ever want to believe we could be done in by really simple stuff like loose tiles, blind drivers or that chicken bone that decides to lodge itself in our gullet – that’s why we regularly confect really complicated explanations for really simple things – that’s why 8 out of 10 people still believe Lady Diana was done in by the evil royal mafia – and if you ask these conspiracy theorist for proof, they would point to the blood thirsty reign of King Henry and his seven sad wife’s, irrevocable proof that a murderous blood line runs in the Windsor clan – same psychology holds true for the Mayan calendar prophecies; the Bermuda triangle and whether there is actually some creature called the Yeti prancing around somewhere in the Himalaya’s.  

I mean if the market was really mature, sensible and rational it could just as well shrug off all these imaginary fears by putting the entire Greece problem in the correct scale and perspective by asking itself a few sober questions – like how can a country that only accounts for less than 2% of the cumulative wealth of the Eurozone possibly imperil its neighbors? Or how can a country like North Korea that just has a few museum relics of arms and cannot even feed itself without foreign aid possibly be a threat to anyone but itself?

Unfortunately, when the market is spooked – fear drives out all consideration of sense and sensibilities – and all we are left with is that sinking feeling of uncertainty that just takes us deeper into the mental territory which is beyond our comprehension – and once you’re in that zone where you can’t even tell whether its night or day – you left from your right foot – your liver from your spleen – it’s a vicious cycle and the sheer irrationality of this psychology just becomes impossible to drive out.

I am afraid, we may very well see this tipping point very soon – could be wrong – have been wrong plenty of times before – but if I had to hazard a guess the risk of further losses may be substantial. Even a one-third decline from today’s levels over the next 12 months wouldn’t surprise me a bit – that’s really as good as it gets – so tie down everything, suck it all in, take your stations and hold on tight, we’re heading straight for a mother.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press (sponsored by the Interspacing Mercantile Guild & The Confederation of Underground Gamers)

“Our way of life may be coming to an end Gentlemen. For 2,000 years we have successfully cowered the four houses of the Guilds in the way a man holds a serpent by it’s head extracting venom to make medicine.

But look what has happened in just these few years; we have lost our influence from Cardellian system all the way to the edge of the known universe to a new breed of diplomats that the guilds have been developing secretly – already they have full control of the Straits right up to the Balkans, Caucasus and greater Japan across the Pacific Basin stretching to Europa and beyond – their diplomats enter into joint agreements with the Germans, French, Americans and Japanese without even bothering to consult us – and we are not dealing with idiots either; these new breed of Guildmen are not the same people who we regularly used to bully into submission – they are the likes of Singaporedaddy,  Kadjal and Belfair, who are not only well educated but adept in the art of diplomacy, strategy and the weirding ways – so these are men who can multi task, so they are not like Wayang Party or Singaporedaily where you can just fuck them off in the time it takes to empty your bladder – as their patronage and readership is really dispensable; with these new breed of interlocutors, what we do, they not only better us by a yard – but they have also positioned themselves strategically in Phi Beta Kappa and Ekunaba – and they have considerable influence as they are usually witty and congenial – so it is really like the French court of Versailles – the intellectuals love them, when they are around, they create la atmosphere. If they are not arond both PBK and Ekunaba can really be as exciting as a church on a week day – so let me be very clear Gentlemen, the Guilds have come to a point when they are no longer country bumkins that we could just kick around like peasents; these days, they will have no problems in drawing blood if push comes to shove – if it gets really nasty, they will even organize a boycott against us and even challenge us nail to nail intellectually, harass and make our life miserable in the Confederation – and if that is not enough, they have now successfully managed to lobby for a right of veto in the Presidium– against these realities, even tigers need to sheet their claws when the wolfs howl; we need to give way to the age of the guilds – besides they outnumber us by the thousands and they have reserves of wealth that we can never ever hope to amass – we must always remember, we have no lands, we have no rights to minerals, we have no trade routes to speak of even – we are just nomads and we survive only by our wits  – this is why this new treaty with the four houses of the Guilds will be useful, we can use it to buy us at least 5 years of status quo ante after that there are no guarantees.

As for governments. They are the least of my concerns. They are a very predictable lot. For starters. They are all bent. So when they start telling you and I the good times are back.

It just means ONLY one thing; something is going to go up could be taxes, salaries or something to do with putting more money into some one pocket – that is the story of all politicians in this world.

And it may just mean it is a very good time to sell everything and get into the car and drive off somewhere else – nothing complicated about politicians, that is why politicians are called politicians and not statesmen.

They dont worry me as much as the Guilds – as what they do is so predictable that you have to be really so blind not to see their next move – as for the Guilds, things are not so clear cut. 

All I see is plans within plans – this worries me.

Darkness 2010″

Recent conversation outside “the steps” of the Great Hall just opposite the Imperium of the Brotherhood in Primus Aldentes Prime – captured by an auto-bot crawler – The Brotherhood Press 2010

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Is Borders going to shut down? Well, the mini skirt answer to that question is your guess is as good as mine. Judging from the way Border shares have been trading, it’s currently languishing in loose change territory. And most people seem to believe the bookseller is set for the swan dive.

However there may still be hope, recently Borders announced yet another cash injection into it’s ongoing onion story (the more you peel, the more you cry only to end up with nothing) as it tries to reinvent itself against the onslaught of the digital age.

But you know what even with this new cash transfusion, Borders has its work cut out for it, contending with everyone from Barnes & Noble to Wal-Mart , not to mention fierce rivalry in the e-book market from Amazon.com and even Apple with the roll out of the ipad.

Even though Borders has tried to hit back by recently launching its own e-reader, it’s still up against stiff competition.

I’m not even sure anyone can even turn Borders around – fact of the matter is this: Borders just left it far too late; for years instead of buying whole sale into the e-book revolution by shifting gears and reinventing itself to this new challenge; it’s being fighting it tooth and nail to preserve the valedictory idea of the printed word in the way candle makers once resisted the advent of the incandescent light bulb.

Personally, I along with many others will rue the passing of Borders – as people who regularly read (I suspect) have always been prone to an indescribable sense of estrangement that has always drawn them together in the way birds just join a flock to make a perfect wedge and fly to wherever they fly too.

And Borders has always provided that special kind of space for serendipitous meetings to cater for those who really love to read – where it may not be so unusual for one reader to stumble across another only to exclaim silently: “OMG, there are actually people like me!”

And now with the scepter of scythe hanging around Borders – I can’t help but feel a very special locale that has managed to create a tiny community of book readers in Singapore is coming to an abrupt curtain close – and that can only mean that feeling of estrangement becomes much more profound, urgent, and acute for many who make up that community who still loves to read in a world where everything is just served up in one hour and a bit movies – when I consider how many friends I made in Borders through the years ranging from Missy Dotty (the owner of this site) to the loquacious ladies of the famous Siglap read club, Montburan and her Sunday tea party read clubs  – against this sugary backdrop somewhere in the back of my head the prospects of Borders turning into another food court just fills me with an indescribable pain that seems no longer to be obscurity but outright oblivion.

Something tells me – I may go right against the grain on this one and just decide to pick up a few lots of Borders for old time sake – it’s time to give back to Borders – whether it makes it or not isn’t the point – what’s important is that Borders bookshop has been life changing for me in more ways than I can possibly elaborate – and it will never be allowed to go down without at least a decent fight, not if I can help it.

Darkness 2010

Darkness: “I wouldn’t waste your money buying that book if I were you.”

Miss Dotty: “I am sorry, but do I know you?”

Darkness: “No. But you know me now.”

Miss Dotty: “So I presume you know Auster’s work?”

Darkness: “Unfortunately…Yes.”

Miss Dotty: “Tell me. I am curious. Do you go around following and talking to strangers all the time?”

Darkness: “I am so sorry perhaps I should take my leave.”

Missy Dotty: “No, no…. don’t go….I mean….tell me more besides Auster.”

Darkness: “If you like.”

Conversation excerpt captured by an auto-bot crawler an obscure entry in Ekunaba – The Brotherhood Press 2010

 

Playing host

May 21, 2010

I am playing host to the Confederation and the Guilds in Kuala Lumpur for our annual meet. This will be a first for me. Usually, I just attend these meets – now that I have deal with pesky details like accomodation, food and entertainment – I realize a whole universe effort is required to make make the whole event turn – somehow, I’ve never ever realized how much effort it takes to stage such a event – we had to mobilize every single man to do stuff like arrange tours for the wifes and girl frens of the guild members, right down to detailing vegetarian dishes for select attendees – it just opens a new dimension to my understanding  to how I have taken all these details for granted.

You know what? It’s a great pity this event cannot be held in Singapore – but given that till today we still don’t have the slightest clue how Temasek Review aka Wayang Party and soon to be the de facto online version of the Strait Times have not bothered to elaborate on how they have managed to sustain over 37 Doss attacks (which incidentally stands as world record just after Nicaragua) -that just scares the living day lights out of most people – so I guess you reap what you sow man – hey, what did you really expect? Who in their right frame of mind is going to invest on brass shilling in a domain that is has stability like a demented Jack in the box – don’t take it personally, it’s business –  dont say I didn’t tell you sister fuckers what will, would and I guess very well happen when you decide to play with shit – now the question is how the hell are you going to get yourself out of that hole? Well you’re not going to get any help from us – and that just means one thing – your bosses ain’t very happy.

Now you know we do not fuck around – you may also have to realize we are very serious businessmen right here! See you all in Kuala Lumpur….as I said, it should have been Singapore….maybe someone from the cyber trooper division should seriously look into this fuck up? I’ve a feeling we are going to keep on singing the tune of 37 Doss attacks in the way jail house rant pans out.

Thank God, its only a yearly affair.

P.S: But against my better judgement I am going to give you cyber troopers the benefit of the doubt – if you can explain to me – how it is possible for a site to sustain 37 doss attacks without leaving so much as a electronic signature that is traceable to source – I may reconsider scheduling this meet in Singapore – don’t say I never gave peace a chance – here it is – go for it! But there is a warning here – if you so much as insult my intelligence, I will triple or maybe quard the pay back! Welcome to nervous break down territory! You have 15 days!

Wish me luck – Darkness 2010

N.B MESSAGE BY MISSY DOTTY (owner of this blogsite):  DO BOOKMARK THIS SITE, IF SOME OF YOU CLAIM, YOU ARE MISSING OUT, BOOKMARK IT, THAT WAY WHEN WE DECIDE TO TAKE OFF SOMEWHERE ELSE, AT LEAST YOU CAN FOLLOW US ON THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD TO CONT READING SOME OF OUR STUFF . BOOKMARK, IT AS WHEN THEY TAKE OFF, AS THEY DO, AT LEAST, YOU WILL HAVE A LINK, DO IT NOW!– ANOTHER GOOD REASON TO BOOKMARK THIS SITE IS THIS HAS HAPPENED  RECENTLY – http://singaporedaily.net/2010/01/11/daily-sg-11-jan-2010/#comment-7611 , THE BP HAS BARRED ALL FUTURE ESSAYS TO BE POSTED BY THE SINGAPORE DAILY. I DID ASK BABY DARKNESS ABOUT THIS AND THIS IS WHAT HE HAD TO SAY, ” There are two ways to read, one is you let someone spoon feed you like a baby. The second is you choose what and how you want to eat.  Remember, if your body is a temple. Your mind has to be the altar piece; it’s the linchpin that makes possible the grand idea of La Convivencia with you and your community, spirit, mind and perhaps 7 million other things- without this one thing, the power to choose, you are simply a cactus on a window sill! 

So understand this little rich girl, there is reading and there is reading, there is a world of difference, if you dont even bother to argue with the belief, you are what you eat. Then you would have absolutely no problem understanding – why, you are most definitely without a shadow of doubt what you read and dont read.

You can certainly categorize what I write, but you have no right to judge ……that was what Singaporedaily did – a broad line has to be drawn, otherwise, dont be surprise, if someone decides its card blanche to give you and me the mushroom treatment, “feed you shit and keep you in the dark.” So this has nothing to do with Anime 3 and her rubberband brigade. I value her readership and support, but this is a bigger sphere we are dealing with here – so this is where I will draw the line…it will hurt…like that other fake site, Temasek review that kept faking doss attacks; but how could they let the real wolf out without first planting the idea in peoples mind, “if it can happen to me, it will also happen to you,” Think about it – they cried wolf – we helped, but this time, I am not going to stick my neck out for no one…its everyman for himself….I dont even care, if the whole house catches fire…call it tough love, but if you aren’t a hard man, then you shouldn’t be in the ring and that’s the only way to deal with people who cry wolf, its all here, the explanation

http://singaporedaily.net/2010/01/12/daily-sg-12-jan-2010/#comment-7618 – dont worry dotty, the readers will eventually pick up the scent…they always do, you just wait and see, dont ever sweat the small stuff, life is too short – Darkness 2010……”Missy Dotty

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Check this out: http://www.aware.org.sg/2010/05/states-decisions-a-threat-to-secular-society/Let me just share with you what I really think about AWARE. They’re full shit.

As some of you may already know AWARE has been jumping up and down over two recent developments like some petulant spoilt brat.

The first involves the apparent “discrepancies” (according to AWARE) related to how sex educators are linked to religious movements, and.

The second relates to the recent decision of the National Council of Arts to reduce funding to outfits who regularly spend tax payers money to promote comatose inducing plays and stories featuring alternative lifestyle plots.

First thing first, if we are going to understand this discussion – we may need to dwell deeper into the term “alternative lifestyle” - based on what I can make out, it’s just another bullshit term albeit a polite term to render kosher the whole idea of gayness, lesbianism and whatever that generally comes out from being so open minded that your brains are probably spilling out. That should be a pretty good summary of what “alternative lifestyle,” really means.

My main gripe with AWARE has nothing to do with the right to trumpet the alternative lifestyle cause – in a nutshell, there is nothing essentially wrong with being either gay or a lesbian – where the debate about alternative lifestyle may have moved from the sophisticated to the naive is when the custodians of AWARE seem ONLY to be preoccupied with promoting the alternative lifestyle movement – instead of treating it as simply one of many competing values that makes up our social and cultural DNA – rather from what I have been able to make out –  AWARE doesn’t seem to be very AWARE it may even be suffering from an acute fixation complex, especially – when it curious plumbs to treat the subject of alternative lifestyle as if it should be trumped over all others forms of lifestyle –  to the point where it’s even equatable to the whole idea of secularism and liberalism.

Unfortunately how this leap of logic is transacted where we are now expected to view alternative lifestyle as something synonomuous with liberalism and secularism is never quite explain. 

In other words, if you even so much as dare to take issue with the alternative lifestyle movement – then you’re either a religious fundamentalist, gay basher, parochial, insular narrow minded philistine – but I say take a closer look at AWARE and how it pitches the alternative lifestyle cause along with attempting to justify its raison by redefining the remit of secularism and exending the idea of liberalism – and what you will soon discover is this is not a shift in emphasis neither does it involve one of substance – in so far as it attempts to put forward a new doctrine but rather what we have here is the repackaging and remarketing of a good olde fashion – you’re either with me or against me extraneous gunk.

Against this false light that AWARE is using to illuminate the case for promoting alternative lifestyle – even the slightest attempt to enquire deeper into the rights of those who may not subscribe to the alternative lifestyle camp is considered nothing less than an appropriation of elemental rights of those who are either gay or lesbian – in other words what AWARE is trying to impose on the collective consciousness is the crumbly idea. The mere fact that certain practices are sanctioned by a particular fringe community is enough to make it’s placement just in the context of what it defines as secular society; even if those values are diametrically opposed to certain view points held by other groups within that same community – and here lies the main conceptual problem with the pysche of AWARE – as by default what they seem to subscribing too is the pie-in-the-sky idea: all moral standards derive from a single, universal and timeless principle – and all we have to do is simply seek some happy ground where we can all agree on.

Well I’ve got news for those dummies in AWARE – some ideals cannot be reconciled with sweet rhetoric or dogma – and it’s even conceivable some view points may even be so polarised – all prospect of attempting of reaching an agreement on how to define and describe their objects of interest are all bound to fail.

Under those conditions – the best we can hope is to ensure the cohesion of Singaporean society is stronger than it’s division on any object of interest is by leveraging on the whole idea of liberalism and secularism – but to the perceptive reader, I am not referring to AWARE’s self serving definition of liberalism and secularism – as AWARE’s definition is one that not only attempts to rewrite the classical liberal conception of personal autonomy and liberty that liberalism holds out – but the governing logic that AWARE uses is to force down our gullets their version of secularim or liberalism that is clearly weighted in favor of the gay and lesbian community.

And how does AWARE go about accomplishing this feat – well simple, start with the good olde one, two, three right and left hook – first seize the moral high ground – and this AWARE tries to do by portraying itself as some enlightened new age moral vanguard of society by insisting on every turn and opportunity that it’s somehow the sole purveyor of the term liberalism and secularism – or claiming (real or imagined) there is a seige on secularism just because someone decides to raise their hand to ask – “hey, what the fuck are you doing with tax payers money? I mean after so many years of frebbies why can’t you people find the imagination to prosper in the world theatre scene….hey what’s going on man?”

If the truth be known (and this is something I suspect the custodians of AWARE never ever want you to know), the term liberalism applies to a wide range of social and political positions that may actually have very little to do with extending the remit of either the gay or lesbian movement – and paradoxically everything to do with the idea of equality and this includes your rights as a heterosexual, family unit or even someone who simply wants to proclaim in the public square if you don’t hunch you stand 2 inches taller viz-a-viz the requirement that a society should treat all its members as equals (not only gays and lesbians as AWARE would have us all believe), and this explains why there still exist limits on the degree to which individuals can say and behave.

Here it should be emphasized liberalism in the context of secularism – contrary to what AWARE regularly forwards does not automatically confer upon either gays or lesbians the unmitigated expansion of individual rights and the entitlement of those rights if it runs counter to the majority conception of the good life – to suggest that liberalism or for that matter secularism is a card blanche – free for all is to decamp from the common sense school of thought that the society can only progress if it’s able to take stock of the whole idea of common good. 

Unfortunately, it is this narrative of liberalism in the context of secularim that is missing from AWARE as it attempts to paint the picture secularism is some how at seige from some mysterious mavelovent force within government.  

As what AWARE fails to recognize time and again is the linchpin that makes up the philosophy of secularism in the context of a liberal society simply revolves around one capstone – that is the idea of “equality to rights,”  equal treatment means exactly what it means – not special laws and rights for ONLY gays and lesbians at the expense of straight folk, but conceivably even the inconvenient idea, “equality to rights,” would also have to take into consideration a different moral foundation beyond the simplistic notion of liberalism that AWARE is so fond of forwarding – and since that idea of “equality of rights,”  will always be colored by a diverse range of moral interpretations as to what adds up to the good life. And neither is it realistic for one moment to suggest these differing views can be settled without identifying some of the major areas of disagreement about the ultimate meaning of life that may continue to unite or divide a pluralistic modern society.

That simply means AWARE should at least make a genuine effort to understand and if possible engage the concerns of ordinary folk instead of dismissing them wholesale as just howls from the lunatic fringe – neither does caricaturing those who may hold a different point of view from AWARE by conveniently labelling their critics wholesale as the Christian lunatic right serve to beacon out the murk either – if anything all these broken record rhetoric is beginning to sound rather valedictory and serves merely to underscore how defective and shallow AWARE’s understanding of liberal theory actually is and how woefully intellectually vapid it is when it is faced with managing conflict and diverse views in a contemporary liberal setting; as such misguided actions can only serve to widen the divisions by further exacerbating the climate of mistrust between those who seek to genuine understand but cannot given AWARE’s polemic strategy of interpretating liberalism and secularism in a manner that makes it virtually incomprehensible to most thinking people –  in the final analysis if AWARE is to continue to remain a relevant force for facilitating social cohesion in Singapore – sooner or later it would simply have to address rubber meets the road issues, such as whether a parent has the right to hold to the belief their kids should be allowed a right of passage into adulthood without having to negotiate around the superfluous emotional distress of gayness and lesbianism? Or the right for ordinary straight folk to enjoy their morning toast with coffee without having to compete with full frontal gay or lesbian sex qua in all it various forms – in my humble opinion unless AWARE is prepared to face up to these very real and pressing concerns instead of pursuing pie-in- the-sky polemics that can only lead them to insist stubbornly at every turn and opportunity like a broken record that only they – and they alone represent the gold standard of secularism- this would probably mean all hopes of crafting a modern pluralistic society might as well be a forlorn dream.  

So fuck you AWARE.

Darkness 2010

 

 

 

 

“Darkness, you cannot keep on writing about your bike rides…we may have a storm brewing in PBK and Ekunaba.”

“How bad is it?”

“Pretty bad Darkness.”

“Yes, you could be right…besides who am I to second guess a liaison officer – those chaps always have one ear to the ground don’t they…  I think you have to be very careful when you try to fashion a mountain out of a molehill about what Amartya Sen, Buddha or the President of the Mickey Mouse club commented about their objects of interest – the reason why I say this is because there will never be a shortage of intellectual bankrupts who will always consider it an urgent matter to understand who thought what and to award others pluses or minuses for their ideas; but you know what? None of them have ever bothered to ask themselves a couple of jugular questions – first and foremost how much of what we frequently see in the West can be imported into Singapore? Secondly. What conditions must first be obtained before we can even reasonably expect to see good results from these cultural superimposition – this unfortunately is the missing narrative – we frequently make the mistake of assuming one size fits all and what may work for country A can just as well be made to turn for country B,C or D without violence to what they already have in place….well let me tell you a thing or two about that intellectually bovine attitude, it is flawed….do you understand me?

That is to say while we may all have very little difficulty in buying into the idea financial globalization is promoting economic development in poor countries – the cold facts suggest that adage does not always hold true – let me tell you why, global financial thoughtware does not always work its magic – for example, it may make perfect sense to computerize a grocery store in London, Paris or New York, but in downtown Mogadishu or Lagos customers may be too poor to pay for the premium for such investments – in other words, if we can accept that the idea technology is very unevenly diffused, then we have to also consider the theoretical possibility that just because the West believes it is right for gays and lesbians to kiss and hold hands in public in either Times or Trafalgar square, this does not necessarily mean that we can simply import whole sale these Western ideas without regard to the prevailing cultural landscape… that is not only stupid, it is destructive as it is disrespectful…even we the brotherhood do not dare to do this! Besides have you considered many who make up the Guilds are family men, we have to be sensitive to their needs – if we go against the grain on this one – I guarantee you – there will be hell to pay. They will crucify us…under those circumstances, I don’t really believe, we can afford to take a neutral position on this….I tell you what…just give me 20 minutes…I am sure I can write something social political, though in all honesty, I rather write about my bicycle…if we do this and publish it….hopefully, the matter will just blow over. What do you say?”

Recently intercepted conversation in Primus Aldentes Prime, captured by an auto-bot crawler – The Brotherhood Press 2010

 

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Everyone at some point or another has had some kind of discomfort while riding a bicycle.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  If you really want to know why you’re suffering on the saddle – 99 out of a 100, it may have something to do with finding the right fit between your body and the bike. The problem with most people is they don’t ever consider bike fit or geometry – they may consider the color. Or whether the tires match with their chain stay, but a proper bike fit is usually the furthest thing from their mind – unfortunately most bicycle shop owners will never ever enlighten you on bike fit – wonder no more why they don’t bother – as volunteering to fit your body to the frame can be a long arduous process that not only stretches the sales pitch, but it can also very mean – if they don’t have the right fit, then you’ve just walk right out the door – the way I see it finding the right geometry can make a huge difference in the quality, safety and comfort of your ride. 

Next thing, do your back, loved ones and insurance premium a favor don’t ever get a foldable bike – the only reason why foldable bikes are marketed is because there is a whole lot of really stupid people out there who simply have absolutely no idea what is the minimum baseline for a bicycle to remain safe and rideable  – it’s a no brainer and the case goes back to basic mechanical engineering: consider this – would you step into a car, boat or jet plane if it was sawed in half and put together with a couple of nuts and bolts? I rest my case. Well guess what? How the hell do you think foldable bikes are manufactured? Exactly, the frame is spliced in half by probably some technician who commutes to work on a donkey somewhere in China and usually a glorified door hinge is welded to make the folding possible.  Result: twitchy handling ,flex and a fruit cake ride that just adds up to two wheels of grief.

Whether you’re a serious cyclist or a casual rider who just wants to get out into the sun for fun and fitness, it pays dividends to do your research before deciding to buy a bike – I hope this helps.

Meanwhile, I am really worried about Thailand – the way I see it – the market seems to be shrugging off all these aggravation for the time being. But I am not so sure things are going to hold – I am a man of constant sorrow………

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sometimes pitting yourself against the market is like finding yourself in a small boat smack in the eye of the storm – it’s vexing, when the winds keep changing direction. You tack the best you can hopping that she will spit you out like a seed,  but she’s got you in vice. You try again to slip through the iron curtain, but the storm adjust and closes off that route. Over and over you play this out, like some crazy man digging a hole in the ground for no rhyme or reason.

So all you can do is give in to it, close your eyes and seal your thoughts the best you can as you contemplate the smallness of your courage. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time inside this maelstrom. Just the endless swirl of confusion mixed with equal parts of fear and trepidation.

In the final analysis, it’s impossible for one to achieve perfect understanding of something – matters little whether it applies to the vagaries of the market, the human body or even your vocation – I guess what I’ve just said could just as well apply to whatever challenges you may be facing in life – could be battling an illness, caring for a sick one or just raising a difficult kid – my point is all we can really do is stick a licked thumb and hope for an approximation, a gut feel or intuit –  as there will always be plenty of stuff in anything that you wish to peer deeper into to vex, confound and remind you – all you can really do is put one feet in front of another and hope for the best.

There’s nothing demoralizing about this attitude; knowing precisely where you stand against a challenge can actually be incredibly edifying, liberating and nourishing – for starters you don’t ever need to fortify yourself with sugary bullshit that is regularly churned up by the you jump and I jump rah rah brigade – neither do you need to seek comfort and strenght from some bent pastor who is venturing into the experimental architecture business in the name of JC – once you begin to strip away all those non value added bullshit; you can dedicate yourself to what you need to do  – scaling the problem accurately without the distraction that comes from having to negotiate around good for fuck all bullshit – you will be remarkably surprised how effective and efficient and independent minded you can be once you make that decision to keep to the truth instead of believing in tooth fairies.  

Curiously, the people who never ever seem to be afflicted by self doubt are the same ones who never ever see the value of introspection or even auditing their thoughts, words and actions – in other words, they don’t even see the wisdom of sitting down and thinking through things – wonder no more why only this erudite lot seem to see the world with such clarity and fidelity – you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if everything in life is reduced to a comic strip and coupe of nano bites then it stands to reason that everything can only be clear and simple Simon –  though I suspect much of what makes up their world view is closer to how they wish to see the world as opposed to how the world actually is – to them the world is simple only because everything is neatly pigeon holed into yes or no, right and wrong, good and bad, worthy and useless yada yada yada yada – in other words the world is binary – you’re either switch on or off, rich or poor, successful or a failure, functional or dysfunction, with us or against us yada yada yada  that attitude doesn’t mean they are confident, self assured and wise – it just means they are so dumb that they have absolutely no idea how complicated things really are.

Fact of the matter is nothing is ever given whenever you choose to peer into something beyond it’s superficial veneer – at a deeper level, I am reminded even really simple stuff like leaky faucets, cupboards that don’t close properly and toilets that can’t seem to flush properly can be a source of exasperation that can reduce the best rocket scientist into a nervous wreck. Anyone who doesn’t know the devil resides in the details is simply someone who hasn’t really bothered to invest time and energy  to understand stuff beyond the dictionary meaning of the word simple. Anyone who doesn’t know this probably hasn’t lived the full measure of day, all they’re really doing is existing and that simply means they know even less about themselves along with what’s happening in this world.

And that makes them the most dangerous people in this planet.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press 2010

Get one thing clear. Get it so very clear so that all doubt is expunged! I did not predict the fall of dow taking a 1,000 point dive – http://dotseng.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/why-i-am-not-worried-about-goldman-volcanoes-and-even-greece-but-crazy-computers/ I realize this is hard for most people to believe, but that is the truth and nothing but the truth….the danger here is very clear to me…there are some here who believe that I have the power to foresee events and outcome….well I have news for you…I can see nothing beyond my big toe…now I realize why when Vollariane decided to leave the brotherhood, he destroyed every vestige to his name….this is the first discipline of leadership….no one must be worshipped…I do not believe for one moment that is a healthy enterprise.

As for the social political blog scene once the time is ripe we will fire shells again – understand this the war we are engaged with Temasek Review aka Wayang Party is a war of attrition – we fire one case of 155mm, they fire back and it goes back and forth….as to how long this will take it is really an academic question….my take it roughly ten to twenty years…but one thing is certain….we will fire when the time is right….I think they have already factored this in, so it’s fair game…besides what are they going to do…kick us out? I really don’t think so. We would be 10 or 20 times more ferocious if they did that…so it is fair to say this is how politics will be conducted from now till perhaps the end of time….only understand this, we did not start this. But I have a feeling we will end it.”

Darkness 2010 – Conversation captured by an auto-bot in Primus Aldentes Prime – The Brotherhood Press 2010

 

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No direction on the market yet. Just stuck a licked finger out and not even the slightest breeze. I figure most investors are looking for some direction before deciding to lock and load – the fish just ain’t biting – no doubt abt it, it’s a dry spell –  best thing to do under these conditions is to take your mind off the market.

This has always been one of my tried and tested strategies whenever the market is going around in ever diminishing circles – I just step right out of my skin and disappear hours on end doing absolutely fuck all. Literally, I do nothing.

May sound really irresponsible and callous. But,  I reckon learning to tune out has to be a really unrated skill these days; especially in an age when most are us are mentally conditioned to assume – you are only effective, so long as you’re doing something – besides the art of doing fuck all is not exactly something any self respecting faculty would ever teach you in Harvard Business School. 

The way I see it; it makes little or no sense to fight the market; not if it’s turned upside down, shaken and stirred like now – any mental activity at this point in time is like running your car engine full throttle without black oil. Or suddenly finding yourself smack right in a middle of a storm.

You change direction but she chases you. You tack another course, but there she is again. It’s a never ending nighmare.

Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death like a moth circling a naked flame. Why even bother with the grief?  

If the truth be known – this storm is you. And all the turmoil that you’re experiencing right now is simply a function of you deciding to step right inside it. The good news is that also means you can step right out of it. There’s no Da Vinci code to it – all you have to do is head for the exit; it doesn’t get easier than that.

Besides this gives me an opportunity to revive a book I’ve been working on – for the time being, I am just shovelling coal into the furnace, finished 6 chapters last night alone and by the looks I am going to burn the house down to a cinder after another day of pretending to work.

This is an excerpt from the book.

“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. “

Hope you all like it. “I am, I am, I am,” sells for 40 Imperial Shekelians and will be avaliable in 16 instalments.

Darkness 201o

This is an announcement by Aurora for the Brotherhood Press 2010.

“Gentlemen, there are three books you have to read if you wish to manage yourself and others effectively, the first is Tacticus – the lesson there is the importance of form and how it affects the function to determine the outcome in any conflict. The second is Sun Tzu, where deception forms the central linchpin of all warfare and last but not least is Clausewitz, where you will learn how war is simply a continuation of politics by other means – but lets us all not be in any doubt or illusion when we talk about war. As there is war and there are wars and though you can say everything under the sun about these three military classics, they all have one thing in common, that is to say, they all agree that it is impossible to win a decisive victory without the element of surprise. In warfare as in business surprise is everything. These are all very good for managing toxic teenagers, crazy housewife’s, dysfunctional teams and fucked up bosses.

So now you know why the secret agenda of Temasek Review or Wayang Party or the soon to be called the de facto online version of the Strait Times will find it very difficult to establish a beach head in the Singapore blogosphere from this point onwards. Because say what you wish of Darkness and his motley crew, but they have effectively let the cat out of the proverbial bag. So from this point onwards it is fair to say those even those planners must realize whatever they wish to accomplish can only be uphill all the way from this point onwards. The only benefit they can avail themselves is to leverage on the power to forget and count on reliability of the collective consciousness of the internet to have a memory as short as a house fly – I really do not believe that will happen even by the most forgiving standards of how this house may choose to regard human nature. Suffice to say what has been done has already been done, there is nothing else that needs doing any more. It’s finished. It’s kaput….Darkness has done the job….the Confederation has voted 93 in favor against 3 votes and added to this all the guilds have backed Darkness…it is best for the sake of all if the Council issues a retraction as soon as possible to save themselves from further embarassment… maybe I did not make myself clear – last night at 304890 Primus time parachutist successfully captured all communications outpost in Primus – based on our latest intelligence, the Ottomans and the Sardu-khans have imposed martial law on Primus….perhaps all of you should just commit suicide to save us all the trouble…or maybe we can begin negotiations on the ten point dicta that I have before me? Are we clear now Gentlemen?

Kadjal 2010″

Conversation between Kadjal and the Council of the Wise in Primus Aldentes Prime – captured by an auto-bot crawler – the brotherhood press 2010

 

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When it comes to managing safety while cycling – it’s really a matter of touch and go. Sure you wear a helmet, abide by the road safety code, ride in packs and some of you may even light yourself up like Christmas trees.

But I’ve got news for you: all these will do absolutely fuck all to prevent you from getting hit by a car. Fact remains loads of cyclists are either maimed or killed by cars in Singapore. And the reason is simple.

Firstly, most of the roads, junctions and crossings aren’t designed to accommodate bicycles, they don’t take into account blind spots and 10 other things which makes it safer for cyclist. Secondly, most motorist are either blind or have absolutely no idea how to manage themselves and others on the road – that simply means; you’re always at the mercy of the guy behind one metric tons of steel.

Get with it; the law is not enough by half to keep you safe and sound on the road, not by a long shot. Not when you have to usually share the same stretch of road with the seven habits of highly ineffective drivers – and here the law is just a ass, as what it tells you to do is ride with the traffic, not against it – but that only works if you have motorist who are attuned to the idea roads are meant for bicycles as much as lorries, cars, buses and motorcycles.

I’ve had enough. Seen my fair share of road accidents, deaths and horror stories – the best defense is to go on the offence – and one good way to really improve your chances of survival is to be seen. That’s as good as it gets.

I went down to a Nike outlet this evening and got myself a night cycling wind cheater – I can’t say I am a great fan of Nike as everything they manufacture is just horrendously lousy and super expensive – but this kit comes with loads of reflective strips and I think it will go a long way to improve my survival chances on the road when it comes to my night rides.

I hope…..I pray….I think, so I am.

Happy ridding and may the force be with you.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press 2010

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Have you encounter something out of the ordinary at home or in your workplace? What am I talking about? You know the odd encounter with headless horseman barreling down the corridors in your office, flying plates and pans and things that just go boing boing in the night?

Well if you do. Then contact our local ghost busters – believe it or not, they’re homegrown right here in Singapore – I chanced on them during one of my rides. And as usual I just walked right up to them and asked them, what’s up?

Judging from how they’re kitted out; these folks are serious – we aren’t talking about your run of the mill ghost hunters armed with some coat hangers. From what I am able to make out; their gear is high tech space age – we are talking about parabolic listening devices and infrared night vision etc.

They’re on their way to Pulau Ubin for a spot of ghost hunting – so I just spoke to them and even volunteered the services of our climbing team, along with technological assistance from our Interspacing Mercantile Guild.

The way I see it, there is loads of money in the ghost hunting business – as most of the gear from what I am able to make out is make do stuff – I mean, the search for the paranormal is global and if someone could just come out with a comprehensive array of stuff such a thermal imaging imprint devices along with shutter framing software – I am certain the market is just stupendously huge.

The best thing about this crew is they’re all Malay, so this would give me a great opportunity to practice my broken guitar Bahasa on them – we traded numbers and I have a strange feeling we are going to send an exploratory team (headed by Harphoon) to tag along on their next ghost hunting mission.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press 2010

“Singaporedaddy, you wouldn’t believe what I saw today?”

“Please Darkness, just get to the point….I beg you.”

“I came across some ghost hunters in Singapore!”

“Why am I not surprised? Look I am in a meeting….”

“Hold on! I did some research in the internet and there are over 200,000 people worldwide who are into this. Now look here, if we those ******** Germans to build us a super duper ghost hunting machine. I think there is a great business opportunity here. We are talking about serious money here!”

“Mmmmmh….you may have something there buddy – did you say 200,000 psycho’s? OK, First thing first. We need to send a Malay speaking Liaison officer there to spy on them. You know do some industrial espionage that sort of thing.”

“Now you’re talking Singaporedaddy. Now you’re talking Singaporedaddy.”

Captured by an obscure listening post located in the fringes of the Andromeda System – recorded by an auto- bot crawler – The Brotherhood Press 2010.

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There is a new craze hitting the streets these days – it’s called 3D. Guess what? I am not a big fan of 3D. For starters this isn’t new technology as it remains old dressed up as new. FYI 3D or stereoscopic imaging has been around since the Victorian age – when well heeled gentlemen used to huddle in some basement viewing illicit pictures of naked women.

I’m not opposed to 3-D per se. I’m opposed to the way it imposes on us the crumbly idea if we don’t have 3D then we are somehow missing out on something new and revolutionary – but what are we missing out on? The answer is a big nothing.

Unless you consider migraine to be something that one should pay to experience.

Neither do I buy into the idea; the 3D experience offers a new dimension that somehow adds to the whole movie going experience.

Fact of the matter is this: the whole 3-D craze is just one gigantic publicity stunt by Hollywood and TV manufacturers to cash in on the biggest payout of the century – it’s just one of many ways to sell really expensive projection equipment to cinema chains and you and me along with furnishing an good excuse to slap an added surcharge on already expensive movie tickets.

Judging from the latest slew of 3-D movies like Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the 3-D is here to stay.

I am not so sure the movie and TV industry’s move to cash on the current stampede of 3-Dism is going to pay out massive dividends, not in the long run. For starters no amount of 3-D le effect is going to save a crummy storyline, bad acting or a lousy script – I really don’t seem how those fundamentals can be negotiated away.

The other thing is 3-D doesn’t really add any value to the movie going experience –except maybe provoke you to wonder why the subtitles (which you never ever notice before and prefer to be in the background) seem to floating directly before you . For some, this is not only an annoying distraction. For others, it induces migraine and subtracts from the movie going experience.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not opposed to 3-D per se. I’m opposed to how  a bunch of marketers are attempting to redefine the craft of storytelling on the silver screen – along with decamping wholesale from the idea of storytelling by glossing over the idea new technology alone can somehow manage to supply the artistry, style and elan that one so often finds in either good books or memorable movies – in the long run as a new generation of movie goers jump onboard the 3-D bandwagon – I can’t help but feel; they will also gradually lose that instinctive feel for the power of narrative that generations of movie goers once possessed. Instead of focusing on the power of narratives; they will be mesmerized by la effect and cheap digital nick nacks. Neither will they be able to tease out the nuances in the shadows. Or even feel the need to recruit their imagination to complete the story to call it their own.

Nope, it’s fair to say 3-Dism will go through the bubble tea syndrome – I come, see and I disappear into oblivion.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press 2010

Agnes:
Was this a trick you acquired from reading or somewhere else?

Darkness 2006:
Au contraire, technique would be a better word. Actually, it’s something I gleaned quite by accident in the way of photography. I noticed, the really great photos which have the highest dramatic impact were usually in the black and white medium and this intrigue me no end.

It provoked me to consider whether perhaps color photography doesn’t have the same allure because it captures too much of life thereby leaving very little else to the imagination. Whereas the black and white format doesn’t really try at all, in fact it resolutely renounces the real by being color blind, yet despite its obvious limitation, there lies its power to arrest and convey a very compelling narration.

Agnes: Why should that be?

Darkness 2006: I have no idea Agnes…permit me to be forward. I think I should warn you as I don’t want to shock you. But since you are silly enough to give an interview to a brain damaged nobody who everyone seems to think is somebody except moir who still thinks he is a nobody….I guess Agnes, that gives me every right to come across as slightly insane – but I digress, the answer to your question is to be found in what you French call Profonde. I use this as a verb. In otherwords the idea that less is somehow more – it’s like the soapy idea of quand il me prend dans les bras, Il me parle toute bas, je voise la vie en rose…je comprende? In other words Agnes, some things, people and events will always come and go like the seasons and ice cream flavors; but some things, people and events will stay with you till the day you die – those things will never change..never…not because they’re incapable of reinventing themselves, but somewhere in your mind, that’s how you’ve decided to live your life…so that’s how it shall be till the end of time.”

Captured by an auto-bot crawler from the archives of the Intelligent Singaporean – The Brotherhood Press 2010.

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Is Greece going to the dogs? Seems so ‘Riot Dog’ becomes hero of Athens, check this out: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/greece/7705535/Riot-Dog-becomes-hero-of-Athens-protests.html – But let’s get serious.

To be really dead pan honest with you – I don’t know. The European Commission has recently committed a $1 trillion “shock and awe” rescue package to banish evil from Europe. Once again, will it work? I have absolutely no idea.

All I know is, Greece and the other satellite states such as Portugal, Spain and possibly Ireland could well be in for another round of hammering.

As I’ve always said, the stock market is a casino – the odds doesn’t get better than that – anyone who says he can beacon out the murk is either a liar or someone out to snatch your money – in truth: your guess is as good as mine.

You decide.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press 2010

“Gentlemen,

We didn’t fly half way round the world to insult this house. I know…some of you have dedicated 3 years of your life in universities to earn a piece of paper at great personal cost – Javier held two shift jobs to get through college…and he even saved up for nearly three year for his masters degree..and through the years many of you have prospered. The winds of trade and commerce has been very kind to us all. But let us be clear.

To me, the stock market is just a casino. From day number one, that is how I have always regarded it. It’s two rungs higher than buying a lottery ticket. The only difference is you are playing Russian roulette with a solid gold and diamond encrusted revolver……

If you really want a real investment. Then I say, go and start an outfit the likes of Toyota Motors, Boeing Aeroplane Group, International Papers etc….that gentlemen is a real investment. The rest is just gambling under a different name. We have to be clear about this.

Why? Because if you look carefully. The people who have lost everything…right down to their panties…everything! Don’t seem to realize this.

And I think, because they do not realize this at a factual level…they will continue to lose more. That is good, as for clever people to do clever things. We always need stupid people to do stupid things – that’s the economy of a casino, when you win someone loses and that applies both ways.”

Darkness 2010 – Captured by an Auto-Bot Crawler – emergency meeting held in Beonus Aries between the Brotherhood, ASDF, Interspacing Metal Exchange & Confederation – recorded under the chapter, “The Turmoil” – The Book of Ages – The Brotherhood Press 2010

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Many of you may not know this. But not so long ago the old Bedok jetty used to be side skirted with tubular steel railings. You know the green ugly ones – during the early mornings just before dawn; when the wind would suddenly change direction. These tubular railings would catch the wind and resonate hard producing a strange sonic rhythm that would fill the whole jetty like some cascading sonic waterfall – the crescendo never ever lasted very long – at most a few minutes. Then as soon as it started; it was all over in a flash.

I wouldn’t go as far as to declare the range of harmonics belonged to any form that one usually regards as artistic beauty in the traditional sense.

Nonetheless, I remembered it as a clean, melodious and satisfying sound – somehow the sounds were sinuously interwoven like kueh lapis. As if each layer of sound merged seamlessly with other layers to create an illusion one only finds in tribal music.

You know what I am talking about. Or maybe you don’t? That haunting repetitive drone that just goes up, down and up and down and so on and so forth very much like the didjeridu – these days it’s all gone – there is nothing there but silence – all the steel railings have been replaced by ultra silent aluminum railings.

I bet you my last dollar if the bureaucrat who signed off on this work detail ever bothered to wake up before 5.00 am for morning rides with us – he would have thought at least twice or thrice about the whole idea of gutting out those old steel tubular railings. But who in their right frame of mind wakes up before 5.00. And who would even believe there used to be a slice of heaven in Bedok jetty?

Good bye my friend. We all miss you. I miss you. Love always. Travel well.

It’s impossible. It’s impossible.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press 2010

P.S: Thank you FY (you people have alot of class)  for front row seats in the recent Andrea Bocelli concert. I was not around. So gave them to Missy Dotty and her mummy. I have informed both the ASDF and Singaporedaddy (the think tank) to extend full diplomatic access to your appointed notaries; everything that we have is entirely at your disposal.

If there is anything that we can do to help you, please do not hesistate to contact us directly. I would prefer a real world meeting as we would prefer to meet in flesh and blood when it comes to something so big. I am sure you understand FY? 

“Gentlemen,

Greece may seem very far from us. She is after all only a minion state. Famous for producing yogurt, feta cheese and olio exotica – but these days we live in strange times.

And in these strange times it seems to me our destiny is inextricably linked to the real world happenings.

This is a blessing and a curse. As some of you may realize, the Euro has dropped because of contagion fears. And look how it has affected prices in the virtual, everything from the Interspacing Metal Exchange to our new clearing house from Kuala Lumpur to Munich has been affected by this free fall! The price of Sardonyx and Palladium has gone up by 300% standard Imperiums within the last 24 hours alone! Yesterday we had Germans fighting with the French over the new rating of the standard Imperium. The British have threatened to pull out of the confederation claiming this event proves conclusively a single currency does not work.

So I will not spare any of you the entre lo que existe y lo que no existe, el espacio es somos novios treatment. I will not insult your intelligence. But I will say this, gentlemen. I may not know exactly whether Greece is able to ride this storm tomorrow or the day after, but I think I know enough to say what happens in the real world can very well affect us even if we are somewhere in the virtual world. The real world and the virtual may have already merged in the way two lover have eloped and all we can really do is say we did not forsee this, it’s impossible!  We are definitely in a Que passe contigio tio situation!

I know it sounds implausible, impossible even, my fear is the theoretical impossibility has just turned into a possibility – it’s impossible I know. It’s supposed to be only a game. It’s impossible….sorry, it’s possible, I mean.”

Darkness 2010 – This has been captured by auto-bot crawler – key word, search: It’s Impossible – A recent Emergency Meeting between the Brotherhood and the Confederation / Interspacing Metal Exchange / in Buenos Aries – the Book of Ages – recorded under the Chapter “The Turmoil.” – The Brotherhood Press 2010

 

You all know what? The best way to make money is to go up to a new idea and knock on it! It’s as simple as that – no cloak and dagger required.

That was exactly what I did today; we have been hearing rumors for the last few weeks there is a new show in town.

So what did we do? Yes, the Guilds sent me there today. And what I found out was simply incredible!

There is a new way to present Singapore to the whole wide world on a tour bus that uses new technology – I don’t want to give too much away; but it’s like an IMAX version of a tour bus with sorround sound system – the funny thing is we happen to know people who a developing something like this in Germany as well.

Thank you so much for giving me a tour. The offer is on the table; join us Her Karrenbauer; don’t fight us; just join us! Make your life simple! Besides you have no idea how to bend tempered glass 90 degrees – neither do you have the technology to mount such a big piece of glass safely on a 3 tonner – and we don’t nearly have 10% of the sound technology that you have developed – so what I see is a perfect fit.

We are always on the look out for new talent! I am sorry. So sorry! That is as good as it gets. Btw, I’ve given you the clues as to where to find this technology in Germany, do try to hook up with these people – Munich, 1933 and European Patent Office – you have enough there to find us all – now go and play the game!

You are lucky if not for the 37 doss attacks suffered by a certain blog site in the Singapore blogosphere – we would have brought this technology back to Singapore a long time ago.

Darkness 2010.

“I do not see anything wrong with being a copy cat; we copied from the French to develop our Parliament and diplomatic services in the virtual; after that we slit their throats – we did the same with the Americans; when it came to their technology – then we slit their throats as well – and we will do the same with the Germans or whoever offers the gold standard in the market….we copy and copy and copy…we will see you all in court….please go and find us! I don’t understand why do I need to reinvent the wheel just because someone said it is his or her idea? I really dont understand….does that make any sense!”

Darkness 2006 – The Book of Ages – recorded by the Chronicler of the Brotherhood – the Brotherhood Press 2010

“You may have to fly to Buenos Aires.”

“When?”

“As soon as possible…the guilds are nervous Darkness. They are all waiting for you.”

“I understand.”


“They stand to lose everything based on your recent call to back Greece.”
 
“On the contrary; they stand to gain everything and more…remember always – me and the ASDF took us out of the market before this melt down – we are only 15% exposed! 15 miserable percentages against 85%! – even that is not enough to satisfy the Guilds! – but, I you know what? I understand why they are nervous.”
 
“Things don’t look good for you.”
“No they don’t. And thank you for your candor. All I can say at this moment in time is I understand…I understand completely.”
“I don’t wish to come across as presumptous…but is there anything that you would wish me to do Darkness?”
 
“Yes. This is my ring. Can you please give it to Harphoon. Tell him that the privilege was mine and mine alone. Tell the guilds that he has nothing to do with this. I accept full reponsibility for this falure. Tell Harphoon, no man could have wished for a better apprentice…..now go, leave me alone. I need time to compose myself and gather my papers. You of all people know how losoh (long winded) the Confederation can get when it comes to these things?”
“Of course Darkness. By your command.”

The Brotherhood Press 2010 – this conversation was captured by a listening post based in Primus Aldentes Prime / The Chronicler of the Book of Ages.

“You need to understand the internet is not like the physical world; for starters, it has a memory as long as an elephant – if they know the real cost of faking doss attacks – I don’t believe for one moment anyone high up will sign on the dotted line – the only reason why they have faked in total 37 doss attacks is because these fuckers actually believe there is no accrued cost to their actions. In other words, they believe they can just pick up where they lefted off and step on the gas go wherever they want to go – but how can that be?

Tell me – If lets say you happen to be a big firm and you want to site your operations here. Can you just do that?

I don’t think so. For starters you owe a fiduciary duty of care to your shareholders to undertake due diligence – that simply means at some point – you will need to ask yourself the same question we have been asking, how is it possible for a site in the Singapore blogosphere to sustain 37 doss attacks without even leaving so much as an electronic signature! What kinda of attack is this? Because let me share with you all one thing; to the best of my knowledge no such attack exist anywhere else in this whole planet except in Singapore – so this is unusual, exceptional and very very special!

How long will this go on for? I don’t know. I guess we can put an end to it tomorrow, if we really want too. But why should we?

Let me put it another way – how long has the Pakistani and Indian conflict gone on in Kashmir?

At half past three for the last forty years after tea time the Indians fire off 10 shells from their 155/s – the day after that, the Paks reply the same with their heavy artillery – I guess this will go on till the end of time…..war is after all a continuation of politics by other means…I am fine with that…it’s not peace…but at least, we have some semblance of detente…I can live with that…the saddest thing about all this is after a while….neither they or us will even remember what it was all about. But one thing is certain at half past three..those shells will fly over their heads. All they can really do is pretend as if they didn’t hear it whizzing through the air…I don’t think the others will care to pretend to be deaf. You people didn’t…so why should the others?This is war.”

Darkness 2010 – reply to the Munchen Guilds on the recent spat with Temasek Review previously called the Wayang Party.

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Deep down, I don’t believe it takes any special talent for a person to rise above himself – may sound trite. But that’s what I really believe. We all already have it in us—every man, woman, and child—every human being is capable of that feat….I don’t believe you need to learn new information as much as unlearn many of things that is already swimming somewhere in your head to accomplish this goal.

It’s a process –  like letting your muscles go limp – but you can’t do that unless you’re first aware of the cadence of your breathing; the tightness of your muscles around your rib cage and how affected you are by the things happening all around you – eventually you make that connection – you have too; like me just before I scribbled this down.

It’s Saturday Kendo practice at 4.30 am – and the guy before me wants to bang me. I want to bang him. We have been at it for an eternity  – my movements are scraggy; they’re all messed up by this idea I have to get through his defense –  That’s when it hits me – gradually, in the way every climber eventually begins to feel the weight cutting into his tired shoulders; that’s when he stops and rummages  through his rucksack trying his best to lighten the load; from time to time asking himself – “do I really need to carry this where I am heading?” That’s how it all starts – everything else follows from that.

Gradually I begin to release myself in the way a fisherman seeds out rope and immediately feel the tension giving way to relief. Little by little, I give myself invisibly to the atmosphere like camphor. Till everything acquires an indescribable sharpness and clarity – an eerie sort of emptiness filled with silence – where even time acquires the texture of honey – and then, little by little I begin to feel as if I am lifting off the ground and the field of possibilities begins to open.

I see it all in Technicolor, my opponent, his teeth clenched – and then I do something that even surprises myself – I close my eyes – for that brief moment, I felt it all, the before, during and after – he closes in, the whip lash of the bamboo cutting the air with a faint whoosh; the smell of sour sweat and finally the hit followed by the body blow –yet as soon as it all came, it all went right through me and suddenly I found myself in a place far away from anyone or anywhere – a place where the first thing that strikes me is the realization. I’m not so weird to myself anymore….

I think in some crazy way; I may have won this round despite having lost it all. No that’s not bad. It’s good. Life after all is just a four letter word.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press 2010

“Singaporean culture is all about winning and very little else. Being second best just doesn’t get you the ticker tape parade. From cradle to grave this idea has been subconsciously drummed into each and every single one of us – in school right through work (and if we get a chance to retire) the goal is to win.

Even the language we use daily reflects this single track mentality; the market is the high ground; we need to obliterate the competition; better still if we can hammer him into dust – all of these reflects our fixation with the winning mentality.

Only I can’t help but feel, we may be fighting the wrong war, with the wrong weapons, against the wrong enemies and for all the wrong reasons. For starters, the world doesn’t work that way – life is never simply an all or nothing game – If anything it’s closer to a marathon; where if you really want to win it may just do you a whole lot of good to buy into the idea of regarding both victory and success as one of the same reality – may sound easy; but it’s not. Not when you used to winning and having your own way most of the time. But unless you want to keep on beating up yourself or allow things, events and people to muck up your day, week and life – that may be the only way to live with yourself and others without having to be an asshole all the time.

we have 50 knot head wind against us; a cold front is creeping in from the South and we are low on supplies – besides, we’ve been stuck here freezing our guli’s off for the last 3 days waiting for things to change, but it’s getting from bad to worse – so if you want to go out there – go ahead man.

I am not going to stop you – only for me and my crew it makes far more sense to pick and choose our battles, this is where we are going to get into our car and drive back where we came from….besides what’s the big deal, she isn’t going anywhere – this time next year, she will still be here – only she’s won this time – but there will be a next time….trust me….there will always be a next time.”

Darkness 2008 / Pumori Expidition – The Book of Ages – The Brotherhood Press 2010

 

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