24 years after Chernobly

August 28, 2010

(To Increase the font in this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) In the infamous “Red Forest” just 30 km away from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor nothing ever survives for long not even in spring. There are no roses or sunflowers; there are no geraniums or wild mushrooms. Only an endless stretch of sickly yellowed canopy. The locals in Prypyat call the red forest – the Sakura of Russia, here everything grows at double or triple the rate – from one day to the next, the once empty fields fills up – they blossom. Then, just as quickly, they die. It’s an apt description of life in the dead zone.

Biking through the red forest to the South towards “atomic city,” the once prosperous model Soviet city of almost 60,000, is a mere 15km away. We needn’t have bothered with maps the Geiger counter is already generating disconcerting crackling noises. It reads nearly 1470 micro-roentgens. A few kilometers deeper into “the zone of death” and the counter, begins to whirl off the scale. We have to proceed by foot from here, vehicles are strictly prohibited.

In the distance lies the silhouette of atomic city beyond it across a barren plain the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear stack. There entombed within an enormous steel and concrete sarcophagus lies the number 4 reactor. Twenty odd years ago on April 26, 1986, the reactor core exploded. The complex simmered for fourteen days, contaminating tens of thousands of square miles in northern Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia’s Bryansk region. It was the worst nuclear accident the world has ever seen.

The fallout, 400 times more radioactivity than was released at Hiroshima, drove a third of a million people from their homes and triggered an epidemic of thyroid cancer in children. Over the years, the economic losses—health and cleanup costs, compensation, lost productivity—have mounted into the hundreds of billions of dollars

As we arrived at the edge of Prypyat a tall barbed wired fence cordoned off the city area. It too had seen better days like rows of rusting soviet vehicles which stood frozen leaning against each other like drunkards splayed out. We slipped through the fence. Curiously radiation levels here were lower than the red forest, but as soon as we climbed a platform, itchernobyl2.jpg stirred up the dust and the counter began whirling again.

‘Better get down from there,’

said Atomic Monkey. He should know, he was the science officer on this exploratory mission. I complied. We stood in a row embalmed in the eerie silence clicking away on our cameras. Like a tour through a gigantic cemetery, it’s a trip that provokes the question, “is this the end of the world?” The mood that Chernobyl imposes on the visitor is almost climatic, oppressive even. Here and there strewn all around us, remnants of the past – a ragged doll, decaying bumper cars in an abandoned carnival, a skeletal Ferris wheel squeaking against the wind – not a sign of life except for a few stray dogs. We might as well have been on the surface of Mars.

In and around atomic city, creepers grow in profusion. They grow in the ruinschernobyl3.jpg of an old hospital and outside it stacks of medicine boxes appear to be haphazardly stacked some with even decomposing trailers of parachutes. They grow along the dilapidated town hall, beside the remains of the barracks, around the hollow shell of what used to be a nursery. They grow inside the partition of apartment blocks, built in the days when the city still believed it would continue to grow on the dream of the nuclear promised and abandoned when it became clear that the great experiment had turned into a nightmare. In the distance as the sun began to dip the clouds looked dark. The day was ending and with it the wolfs howled.

“Kakh vamn nravitsa Prypyat ?” asked the guard: “How do you like our little Prypyat?” It is hard to imagine the contemporary inhabitants of the dead zone asking visitors to share their civic pride, but those who once called this wasteland home do expect praise even if they it’s a sprawling cemetery which once boasted the best facilities in the whole of the Soviet Union.chernobyl4.jpg

For Prypyat was more than just an embodiment of a nations hopes, it was the short lived realization that Soviet man had managed to successfully conquer, tame and harness nature to produce in vast quantities a cheap source of energy. The Soviet authorities fashioned Prypyat as the model city where the forces of nuclear energy could subsist along side modernity, it was a sort of show case with its modern apartments which boasted even lifts, malls, swimming pools and schools: those who once lived, worked and played here were the brightest in the Soviet Union, they came from all over Russia, united in their goal to see the dream through – well-paid, praised, flattered and fêted these Soviet heroes of labor, patriots represented the hopes of the entire communist party and beyond that cradled the great hope to the masses throughout the Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.)

Walking around ghost city, around the cemeteries, around the ruined theatre, a once proud structured, complete with Corinthian columns, Leninist portico and red emblazoned star – one cant help but feel the cost of the dream finally proved astronomically high; its enough to make one stop and ask the question;

“Where did it all go so wrong?”

Not that anyone else readily admits that this is what happened either. “There will always be hope,” one of the former residents of Prypyat told me a few days later. Hundreds have since returned to ghost city around the periphery of the “dead zone,” reclaiming their former life’s in the contaminated region outside and even within the zone.

chernobyl5.jpgI soon realized the irony of it all: If your whole life has been associated with a place, it is hard to admit that the place never existed. Even if that place is widely famed for being the most radioactive spot in the world and a monument to Soviet stupidity, mismanagement and inefficient, it makes little of no difference, not to those who once called this ghost city the star of the East – it’s even harder to admit that it ought to be shut down good.

“This is our home!” 67 year old Yuri banged his fist, a touch over-dramatically, on the table. Then he proceeded to share his radioactive vodka with us and even offered a slice of radioactive wild boar meat that he hunts regularly in the red forest, to explain why recently pensioners and old couples have begun the pilgrimage back to ghost city. It offers one way of closing the chapter of sorrow in their glorious past – it helps them to move on, to even make peace with their broken dreams – as Yuri shared with us a sepia print of a young man who once lived and died here during the first few days of the Chernobyl meltdown – his only son – Vladimir an engineer, the pride in the fleet, who once worked in the fame star of the East, Chernobyl.

“They will come back someday,” the old man insisted banging the table again.

“They always come back. I see them sometimes, I do. There is nothing out there in the world. Nothing! Here is where it all began the dream and we will live it through again with or without the damned government.”

In between swigs of vodka and sliced ham, Yuri punctuates his sentences with the words, “Etuh bolshayar problyemah?” (It’s a small problem isn’t it?) His wife Olga nods silently in one corner her eyes wide with excitement or radiation sickness we’re not sure whenever her husband talks of the glorious days. When Brezhnev and before him Stalin visited Prypyat with foreign dignitaries. He was young and strong then one of the elite who were considered the classic candidate for resettlement in atomic city. Looking out of the window I couldn’t help but feel a sense of passing of a great era – sort of lingering death. A pack of wolfs howl in the distance it cuts through the conversation. We fall all silent.

As the night seeps deeper into the darkness, it begins to rain. Stepping out into the verandah I looked out across the horizon towards, the great soviet star that once showed the way for all to follow. It was so very dark. In the foreground Yuri prepared to cut his quota of radioactive firewood, his wife says – it’s a form of therapy. He has been suffering from depression lately.

Turning towards us, the once proud soviet man smiled weakly. I couldn’t tell if his face was wet with rain or tears. That I am certain was how he wanted it.

Annex:

According to our guide the radiation dose you get from a day at Chernobyl is less than the dose an cosmonaut gets in orbit for 3 days. It’s very safe though certain places require a face mask – just keep your hands in your pocket and don’t lick anything.

Two types of tours are currently conducted in Chernobyl – tourist and scientific – they have been going since December 2000. They cost between US$140 per pax which includes two non radioactive meals transport and a complimentary guide book. Please note photography and filming is strictly prohibited by order of the ministry of information.

Scientific tours are free but booking ahead is a must; the KGB need time to vet you. Scientific tours are preferred as one can explore the ghost city – but bring along a Geiger counter and some Yeo Hiap Seng tin curry.

The Chernobyl mission was conducted recently by a four men scientific team from the 130th and funded by the Interspacing Guild – its mission objective being to document first hand the aftermath of a radioactive fall out and its effects on the environment – the information will be used for a book which darkness is currently working on.

This exclusive travelogue has been brought to you exclusively by the Intelligent Singaporean and the Brotherhood Press.

(By Nacramanga, Trajan, KOHO, Atomic Monkey – Exclusive Travelogue Special Series – Chernobyl Revisited – EP 9902382 – 2007 – Republished again by The Brotherhood Press 2010)

Brotherhood Liaison to the Balkan Trade Route, Singaporedaddy: “Come this way quickly my Children…quick I say, dayai-wah!…dayai-wah!…leave that child…hold my hand…and follow me. All of you….follow me!”

Dimitri “Sergei Singaporedaddy is it true  what they say…evil comes this way?”

Singaporedaddy: “Yes child, it will be like those Волки в Чернобыльской зоне, now do you understand children? All of you must get up to the top of the hill…or I shall change my mind and leave all of you here…please…we have send space ships to take you away from this evil place….now please hurry.”

The Specter – The Age of the Typewriter – The Book of Ages, Page 2,048 – The Chronicler – The Brotherhood Press 2010.

 

(To increase the font of this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) It’s a safe bet to state conclusively that a heart wrenching story can only be expected to go so far; stretch the plot too thin and it will simply snap - yes, I should know, I’ve written enough really lousy love novels that no one in their right frame of mind would vote with their wallets to reach that realization - the problem with trying to make a meal out of only a sympathy plot is it’s like trying to bake a fruit cake with only nuts without the raisins - soon the whole enterprise runs out of depth; that’s rapidly followed by an overwhelming vapidness when the plot fails to really engage. And the next thing you know, storyline just begins to unravel like the onion story, the more you peel, the more you cry…only to end up with nothing  - and after a while it, the story suffers from the same failing it tries to inspire – it just becomes too boring to sustain.

That I am afraid is what the Vui Kong plot will eventually suffer from – if all The Online Citizen can do is to sell the idea of heart wrenching soundbites about the misadventures of Vui Kong who suddenly found himself saddled under the weight of big bad wolf Mr government.

Granted as far as plots go – the Vui Kong story certainly seems to have all the set pieces for a melodramatic story line that even promises to go the full distance - the problem is the plot suffers from the same flaws it tries to inspire in it’s readership - believeability is an issue – for starters, the Vui Kong narrative tries to do the impossible by attempting to take Coca-Cola’s selling theme literally - “it’s the real thing.” 

To put it crudely, since the narrative makes free use of sentimentality; it distort the story of Vui Kong into an urban myth. Some may say there is nothing wrong with lacing a story with emotions to give it depth and nuance. Agreed! These are positive things as it allows us all to recruit the heart. 

However premising a decision on emotion and not anecdotal evidence can also be the worse form of oppression, defeatism and decadence – as what it does is trap us in an attitude where we vilify the factual approach as cold and uncaring. 

Nothing can be further from the truth to suggest the factual approach has nothing to offer - as one problem of trying to simplify a complex story like the life and times of Vui Kong into something like an emotional roller coaster manga comic strip is at some point – even the most optimistic amongst us will begin to ask: What happens when we get another Vui Kong case after we have managed to save this Vui Kong? Are we going to use the same narrative of the hard luck story of a boy who was simply seduced by the bright lights of the city again? How many Vui Kong’s might there be after this?

This should prompt many to press the pause button and ask the question – How sustainable is the emotional based approach? Shouldn’t we take the trouble to craft a evidenced and factual based approach so that in the future, we can at least defend the same ground vigorously? Or should we continue to base important decisions on purely emotional grounds? Or should we instead premise our decision on sound and logical arguments?

My point is jugular when we see that any emotional based decision has to be at best biased and at worst a diservice to the enterprise to save Vui Kong. As any emotional based decision is the direct opposite of an objective inquiry that is aimed at getting at the truth or, at the very least, at keeping scrupulously close to the evidence. Emotional based decision making is none of these things. It is instead a declaration of faith – a fait accompli – which makes free use of pie-in-the-sky material which usually cannot be questioned as it has the character of the sacred.

Hence we should wherever possible try to avoid the intellectual equivalent of what nutritionists call the empty calorie trap i.e emotional based decision making - and instead reconsider adopting an open, comprehensive, and collaborative approach that is based on pooling the results of research by many enquirers.

Indeed, one will always be hard-pressed to sustain the sheer weight of the narrative that Vui Kong should just be let off the hook simply because his family believes he deserves a second chance - as the adage goes:  what’s true isn’t new, and what’s new isn’t true – and this could just as well apply to Vui Kong case - as the charges facing him are so serious that if there is a road leading to salvation, then it can only lie somewhere between the fine line where reason and logic intercepts. And never in the barren heights of emotional hurt-my-head fairytales masquerading as a thesis that we saw recently in The Online Citizen.

Montburan & Darkness 2010

Darkness: “The problem with an emotional approach is it is essentially a close quarter weapon – so it is not so different from a noisy Stuka dive bomber or a sawn off shot gun – they all make alot of noise, but when you consider the merit of their firepower, they offer very very little - that means it’s more a shock and awe weapon; if you want to learn how to use this weapon; you need to first understand the psychology of warmaking……I learnt this technique of deployment from the Koreans..these people are the Toyota Motors of the tear jerker genre. They know every twist and turn, that is why if you observe them, they are experts in using this type of weapon….but even they will use the emotional card only once…never twice.. only once. The problem is when you use it again and again..it decays. Then the audience will get angry with you. As you are insulting their intelligence. When that happens…they will turn against you….and fatigue will set in and they will lose interest. So remember, the emotional card should only be used sparingly…this I can understand as when I was in University…..very few girls wanted to go out with a date with me……as I had a habit of being very factual and matter of fact with them. I just told them very plainly that I cannot buy them dinner, so I had a novel suggestion that we just skip dinner, the movies and get down to the part where we are both really interested in…..most of the time when I said this, they would just give me a blank look. At other times, I would get slapped. Most of the time, I got slapped pretty hard. I have never told anyone this before…..as it is quiet embarrasing.”

Montburan: ” How curious, I used to know a strange fellow like that as well…..what we did one day was all the ladies got together and passed the hat around to hire a hit man to sort him out.”

Darkness: “Montburan that could explain why so many people wanted me dead then.”

Montburan: “Can you tell me Darkness, why am I not surprised at all…why Darkness?”

Darkness 2006 – A thread in Ekunaba.

 

(To increase the font of this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) Want to know why the stock market these days just can’t seem to get it up? Well first of all – forget what the politicians have to say about the economy – truth is they know very little about what’s actually going on to the tune of fuck all.

Secondly, even if they had some pea brain idea, the problem is probably so big; they don’t have the tools to fix what’s busted.

Don’t complicate your already complicated life – keep it simple – and that basically means cutting off all the stuff that doesn’t add any value to the bigger picture.

At the end of the day, if you really want to know why the economy is belching black smoke – it all boils down to only one driver – CONFIDENCE.

The facts of life are very simple – most people just have no confidence in the well being of the economy – the latest housing figures that just rolled out in the US seems to confirm this. As much as I want to believe August is a one-month aberration. I really don’t think so – not by a long shot lah. And don’t hold your breath for September either. Or for that matter October, November, December. In fact, don’t hold your breath at all waiting for a rebound in housing because all you’ll do is turn blue, suffocate and die.

This is the executive summary – nobody wants to buy a house because in order to buy a house you have to have some bit of confidence in the future. And today there isn’t much confidence in anything that has to do with the economy.

Forget about talk that another big drop in housing prices is needed to spur demand. Prices have already fallen 25% or more from their peak in many areas as distressed sales made an outsize impact in the market. That demand, too, has been slaked. Listen to a radio report on how much farther home prices could fall.

No, the only thing that will turn this mess around is jobs. Until this economy can put people back into 9 to 5 work – then no amount of PR publicity is going to change the fact – we are in deep shit.

That my friends is the low down. But having said that I believe this downturn is a great buying opportunity for some stocks.

I am going into the following – National Bank of Greece and Boeing Aeroplane Group. You want to know the reason…it is very simple…whenever people run out of a burning house…that’s what I call a fire sale! Life is very simple.

Darkness 2010.

DISCLOSURE: THE AUTHOR HAS POSITIONS OF NBG AND BA.

 “In life I realize that some people do things for fun and some do it professionally – if you do a thing professionally – and I don’t really care whether it is something that gives satisfaction to lonely men or if you are just a reporter for the Strait Times – either way the attitude is the same, you really need to focus on what you’re doing. That’s to say, you need to cover all the bases. You need to make sure the front and back end is all sewn up real nice. I happen to know this; as I put myself through university by playing pool professionally – that’s to say, I earn money from it – so I know the discipline of the game very well. And let me tell you something, it is not so different from playing the stock market – one thing is for sure, the market will always test you. And if it turns ugly, all you have is your two guli’s and what may come – if it a bad game of pool? It could be a knife or gun. There is no where to run as most pool halls are in the basement…so you learn to deal with it. The way I saw it then; if I didn’t pay my school fees – I was dead meat any way. So the way I figure it, if I end up dead on the pavement – it wouldn’t make one molecule of difference either way. I had nothing to lose!

If you play pool just for fun, I don’t think, you will ever know what it feels like to play pool the way I used to play it - then I guess you could just as well throw the game. But if like me, you are playing it to pay your school fees or to put food on the table – then you just have to go with the flow, smile and make the best of it – that I believe is what differentiates the professional from the amatuer – the latter can always walk away – the former cannot, that’s his life! For better or for worse.”

Darknes 2009 – Captured by an auto-bot in a thread in Ekunaba.

(To increase the font on this interview piece – please hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +)

Q: Dotty, how true is to say that the powers of clemency has been hijacked by the cabinet?

A: Not true at all. This is a misrepresentation of fact. This whole debate turns on ONLY ONE CONSIDERATION. AND IT IS THIS.

Q:IS THE PRESIDENT EMPOWERED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OR ANY OTHER LEGAL INSTRUMENT TO GRANT A PARDON?

To date that question has been answered in the negative in academia and most recently by the courts.

So returning to your question Harphy Boy –  how is it even possible to wrest “power,” that doesn’t exist from the president and give it to the cabinet?

Q: Let me quote this to you. Mr Ravi says the president seems to be the person “directing.” the whole clemency process – and he even claims if the idea of “power,” is not vested in the personage of the president – then how can you explain the whole idea of presidential clemency powers?” How would you respond to that?

A: I believe that in the previous series. I have already responded to that question by highlighting the difference between perceived and actual power.

Let me put it this way. You may if you like Harphoon write a letter to Mr Sherlock Holmes who resides in No.10 Baker Street in London. Since all the evidence based on the reading of the Hounds of Baskerville and your dubious friendship with Darkness has probably led you to perceive that such a famous detective resides there. But the question still stands, does Sherlock Holmes actually reside there?

In the same way, we can argue till the cows come home whether this or that points to certain perceived powers that the President may or may not have – but whether those powers actually exist turns on constitutional considerations - as I have explained in my earlier interviews: both history and convention plays a preponderant role in shaping many of the constitutional set pieces that we see today in the executive, legislature, judiciary and also the office of the President.

Q: I am sorry for cutting in, but I need to be clear….can you please explain something very simple to me, if the idea of power is not vested in the president – then how can you explain the whole idea of presidential clemency powers?

A: I do not think it pays to immerse ourselves into the meaning of what is meant by powers within the context of presidential clemency powers. Anymore than it makes sense to ask why is there no prerogative in the royal prerogative? And why do millions of bureaucrats in the British Isle and the Commonwealth keep on insisting they are hold office in Her Majesty’s Service? What does this sobriquet term actually mean?

That is why I keep stressing the need to return back to historical context whenever we talk about the powers of the President.

And the reason why I don’t wish to go into that debate is because it is slightly only better than a confidence game, where we are merely attempting to capitalize on some historical grey areas to elude the constitutional core through disingenuous means – by deliberately embellishing, exaggerating and rendering ambiguous the powers of the president – if one really wishes to make a case out of the flimsy grounds of semantics and how words are regularly structured etc. Then we could just as well go around in circles.

You could I guess take issue with the whole idea of why even today the official head of state in the UK and Common wealth is still the Queen – though she lacks the power to foreclose on her superior position. And how might the whole idea of prerogative powers be subservient to the whole idea of executive power?

My point is if you want to premise an constitutional debate on the structural propriety of words and what they might mean; then you cannot do this successfully by trying to interpret words and meaning literally. If you do that then you will not go very far. If the goal is accuracy, then you would have to frame those words and sentences alongside historical artefacts and on-goings.

Lawyers call this the golden rule  – and a good example is the Internal Security Act; when one reads it today – it sounds very draconian, something that would probably come out from the Brotherhood in one of their land grabs. But when one considers it was a urgent response to what many law enforcement agencies at the time considered to be a clear and present threat e.g the Communist Insurgency. Then many of the provisions begins to make sense and even acquire a sense of perspective. My point is there is always a need to frame the word, phrase or sentence in a historical context.

The same rationale applies when you read the term – Presidential clemency powers.

Q: Mr Ravi says the cabinet should not be the final decision makers of the clemency process as since they are preoccupied with matters of policy, then will not be able to decide on issues of mercy. There is also the issue here that since the cabinet is the legislature, there is a conflict of interest. And they should not be the judge in this case. How would you respond to what Mr Ravi has said?

A: Mr Ravi misleads again. First of all –  is there a conflict of interest when the cabinet decides on clemency briefs? – No. As what Ravi failed to inform you is the cabinet is still ultimately accountable for whatever decision it makes to Parliament – and here you need to understand –  the cabinet is not Parliament. The cabinet is a subset of Parliament.

Q: But Dotty isn’t Ravi right to say the President is a better person to decide on clemency matters than the cabinet?

A: Mr Ravi misleads again. The problem with the idea of resorting to the President as a form of checks and balances is that it does not truly address what it purports to solve. It promises to solve a problem, but creates a bigger one – as what it does is put all these powers in the hands of the President, who is basically a figure head. And so that raises the question: is he the best person to make an informed decision concerning clemency? If you take the argument further; you could even suggest that we revive the whole idea of rule by kings, queens, hereditary peerage etc – where would we be then?

Then Harphoon Boy, you need to ask yourself the question why did we even bother in the first place clipping the powers of the monarchy?

Q: Andrew Loh claimed that the position of the misuse of drug act currently doesn’t make sense. He claims that he has read press articles of people writing to the ex- presidents and it all doesn’t make sense…

A: I don’t wish to be rude, but I don’t think it pays for me to comment on what others may choose to think about their objects of interest. Besides I have no idea who is Mr Loh.

What I will say is this. Many watching these events will probably deduce that what Mr Ravi has to say makes sense – in some way or another. And that remains a problem, as go a little wrong is law is to go so very wrong, I am afraid -  so my point is when one is confused, disorientated and overwhelmed by new facts and information – return back to the start point and ask the question: does the President have the power to grant a clemency under the constitution?

As I said earlier this entire debate turns on only this one question.

Q: So what you are saying Dotty is we should not go further unless; we first answer this question?

A: Yes Harphy Boy, because if you think long and hard about it – it is like what Darkness always says – “there is no point talking about roof tiles when you have not even laid the capstone yet.” In the same way. If this one question is not prioritize and answered exhaustively. Then subsequent discussions will only serve to confuse.

Look  Harphy Boy, no one is saying for one moment new elements cannot be introduced into this debate concerning the MDP. Along with probably reshuffling set pieces that have become familiar in the death penalty debate – all these things can be done – plausible departures from the conventional model can even be considered. Along with maybe flight of fancies into even other possibilities – but all these things can only be accomplished if one keeps scrupulously close to the evidence by not distorting the law. The problem as I see it is how are we to get at the truth, if the method used instead resorts to omitting, bending, exaggerating, inventing and embellishing the law when necessary just so as to produce a story that satisfy certain needs?

I don’t think this will serve anyone least of all the accused and his family.

End

The Brotherhood Press – this interview was conducted between Harphoon and Missy Dotty and first published in Ekunaba and Phi Beta Kappa in response to the following developments here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1i4qDlnuoqo&feature=player_embedded

————————————————————————————————————-

“When I first read law in London. The first thing that struck me was it’s clarity. When I returned to practice the law. The first thing that struck me was how vague it was towards some things; for instance, although arguments about the role of mercy and merciful judgments abound.

They could never seem to show themselves in the law. This was strange to me, so very odd that one day I began to speak to these matters to my confidant Darkness.

I asked him why was it mercy as an idea flourished in religion, fiction, philosophy, and poetry, to say nothing of the conversations of daily life among parents, children, educators and those who regular use them like hammer and sickles. As common as these arguments are in daily life – where might they be? What might they mean? Does mercy transform judgment and the law? Or might it be the other way around? Can literature deepen our understanding of the legal role and how it might give life to the idea of mercy?

I asked these questions and much more from Darkness, but yet he had no answers….this worried me.

As I realized then the law was much more than something that allows me to buy pretty dresses and nice shoes.”

Missy Dotty extract of a conversation in a secured thread in Ekunaba in the year 2007 – captured by an auto-bot crawler built and operated by the Interspacing Mercantile Guild – This series has been brought to you by the Brotherhood Press 2010.

At this level. The National Bank of Greece is definitely a buy of a lifetime in our opinion – http://www.google.com/finance?q=NYSE:NBG - so we are in! And that’s it! We don’t care, by hook or by crook, we are going to make her go up and up and up, up, up and up!

Darkness 2010

Darkness: Yes, I support the Youth Olympics. That was why I wrote this: The Youth Olympic Games – Why it makes sense to support it! . But even I did not expect it to be a PAP fest!

Shahlimhar the Clown: You are right neither did we Darkness….we are really so sorry…can we pay you more for the inconvenience?

Darkness: You don’t seem to understand me. This reflects very badly on us…the accounts need to be squared.

Shahlimhar the Clown: Why have you brought the Totenkopft with you Darkness? Singaporedaddy, please reason with him! I implore you!”

Singaporedaddy: Pls try to understand, this reflects badly on us….besides the accounts need to be squared Shahlimhar. Please don’t take it personally….it is strictly business….”

Darkness: “Centurion, Kill them all and confiscate all their credits!  They have failed the brotherhood! Understand this Centurion…..we were not here…..we did not say or do these things….do you understand?”

Centurion: “Long live the brotherhood!”

Captured by an auto-bot crawler in the strangelands

(To increase the size of this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing + ) Now if you have been following this blog and reading up about how we have all taken the science of bochap, dowan lah along with sataying Singapore to renewed heights – it should not surprise you all in the least if we now turn our ongoing investigation to the serious question of what has happened to our elusive Singapore spirit?

This however should never be confused with those other spirits; though by all accounts – they seem to be having a whale of a time; as the YOG committee has considerately made arrangements for the 7th month troupe to watch the games, please see photo below of hollow man & Co.

Now back to the question at hand – what has happened to the Singapore spirit? Here I am reminded sports can be a very emotional thing – in the fleeting connections with people, the rollercoaster hopes and disappointments, and the passionate partisanship and camaraderie, this is something that we should rightly be seeing in YOG! The problem is all that I’ve just mentioned seems to be missing from YOG.

And that’s a pithy summary of what’s wrong with the Singapore spirit – its gone AWOL, taken a hike, put on tennis shoes and run off into the night – and that should provoke all of us to ask: why?

IMHO, a big reason for the mass ambivalence has to do with how YOG has become so enmeshed with the whole idea of mythologizing the origins of the PAP instead of promoting the idea of sportsmanship; as a consequence, the whole business of YOG seems dull, stolid and irritable; and in a way merely a confirmation of what we have always suspected about this event – this is basically just another ego trip by PAP to perpetuate its own crooked political agenda to ensure that they remain the effective and dominant ruling power – in other words YOG is just another grotesque instrument to enable crooked politicians to consolidate their hold on power, thus perpetuating their class politics – it has nothing to do whatsoever with the common man!

To further exacerbate matters since the apparatus of assimilation has been directed to drum up populist support for YOG – this only serves to confirm our already depressed cynicism about the endless hype and spin news culture that usually accompanies such mega events – once again, that’s just a big turn off. Worst still it merely guarantees whatever that is likely to emerge out of YOG is more of the same excruciating dullness that we have come to expect from the rhetoric of officialdom.

Government it seems can’t win even when they have the wind on their side…..why? Where did it go so wrong with YOG?

Consider this: what would the outcome have been; had YOG not been politicized and linked to the machination of the PAP? Yes we all know that Singapore was once just an obscure fishing hamlet at the tip of the peninsula yada yada yada yada….the problem is not that we do not know the yarn of how good defeated evil yada yada yada yada; it is simply that we have come to associate all these montages with everything that is designed to mythologize the right to rule rather than having anything to do with the spirit of sportsmanship.

My point is: the government pitched it’s case too vigorously with YOG; they should have just taken a hike and done themselves and everyone else a great favor.

The problem; when the games acquire such a conspicious political tenor, then it just becomes very difficult to love – and instead of clarity of vision and mission what we have instead is a polyglot of exaggerations and embellishments to produce a story that serves to satisfy everyone except those who should be the rightful beneficiary of the games – perhaps had YOG not been so willing to be used as some appendage of the government in the way the Hitler Junged was once used as an instrument of the state to cherish perfidious faced myths and besmirch the counter narrative – or that the political leaders had bothered with the whole of idea of just going out for the evening and leaving the children to do their own thing.

Then something tells me – the outcome of YOG would certainly have been very different….very different indeed.

Darkness 2010

The Brotherhood Liaison, Singaporedaddy -”Salam Malaikhum.”

Caliph of the Saffron Route, Al Mahjeed – “Malaikhum Salam…that is far enough, stay where you are Singaporedaddy….we have you sorrounded from all sides with at least 50 plasma guns…we were told earlier by the magistrate; you people may come this way!.”

Singaporedaddy: “Bismillah Rahtman…alhamduillah…we come in the name of peace my friend.”

Al Mahjeed, “Tell me Liaison officer….why did they chase all of you out of the last town?..I heard they boycotted you all…denying your caravans water, food and shelter…so now you know why, you and the others have to turn back…you cannot past through here….”

Singaporedaddy, “Tell me Al Mahjeed, do you really trust what those dirty government spies tell you?”

Al Mahjeed: “You mean they are spies!”

Singaporedaddy: “Not only that, they ride on hogs…can you imagine criss crossing your lovely deserts in pigs.”

Al Mahjeed: “You speak slander Singaporedaddy!”

Singaporedaddy” “Do I? Then tell me what separates a pig from a camel Al Mahjeed?”

Al Mahjeed: “I don’t know how to explain Singaporedaddy, but when I see a camel, I know it to be so.”

Singaporedaddy; “So there you have it Al Mahjeed..your eyes have been opened…I see a pig, so it is a pig, that is why they hate us, because we call a pig a pig!…now let us past safely my friend…and when those pig ridding government spies come this way, kill every single one of them.”  

Al Mahjeed: “Hold on Singaporedaddy, but you all ride on the same animals as they do! “

Singaporedaddy: “Al Mahjeed, the sun has fried your brains…yes, it is unfortunate that our camels are not as beautiful as yours…but what can a flower even one as odd as this do, except be the flower that it is; but they not pigs – this I assure you, they are just very unfortunate camels who happen to look like hogs….now do as I say, when they come this way Al Mahjeed…kill every single one of those government spies…now if you please, let us through the gates.”

Somewhere along the Saffron Route, in the Calyspsol Basin of the Jai Bha Harabmat Desert – in Planet D’ni – The Age of Steel – The Book of Ages, Pg 5,039 / The Brotherhood Press 2010

 

 

 

 

(To increase the font size of this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) Yes, I know, YOG is just unlovable. But have you really wondered what actually lies behind this wave of schadenfreuding YOG?

How true is the assertion? – most people are simply peeved off by the games – as YOG and the PAP is seen as one of the same reality? Or does it have something to do with how so many people seem to perceive (real or imagined) an open contradiction between how the government doesn’t seem to have any problems spending on YOG; but when it comes to bread and butter issues; they just can’t seem to find the same enthusiasm to do the same? I wonder why?

This question of what really lies behind this mood of schadenfreude is devilishly hard to pin down –because as we begin to peel away the layers of consciousness; what we immediately begin to discover is this subject comes enmeshed with so many other facets of the love & hate relationship that many of us have with Singapore that it’s almost impossible to single out one dominant cause as the main reason why most of us can’t seem to love YOG.

At one level, it’s conceivable, much of the negative public reaction towards YOG  stems partly from our own fears and anxieties concerning the whole idea of authenticity or the lack of it.

In this topsy turvy account you may probably be asking yourself what the fuck does this all have to do with authenticity Darkness!

Well just bear with me – while I try to explain further.

Now consider this: we share alot with roaches – as time and again, the government via the apparatus of mass assimilation ST and Mediacorpse regularly crop spray us with ever more inventive concoctions to engineer our consent – the truth is most of what they regularly use of us has long past it’s sell by date, it no longer works, it fools nobody – as after a while, we just develop immunity to the endlessly bouts of spin doctoring. And that’s true of special effects, pyrotechnics, double speak, contrived reality et al – like roaches we learn to deal with this surreal reality by wordsmithing our own manifesto for the disillusioned – we develop special powers to filter out the hype and spin along with probably developing really nifty skills like learning, how to read between the lines – my point is up to a certain threshold; we will all rebel against a system that attempts to supplant our version of reality with theirs on the higher ground of consciousness.

This sort of conflict is inevitable; it was bound to happen sooner or later.

That’s one reason why every attempt by the state to blur the lines between real and fake invariably fails – as what it actually provokes is the opposite reaction that forces many of us to cling to what’s real with more enthusiasm than ever before.

Wonder no more why despite the endless surreal projection of theme park contrived reality of YOG pumped out by both ST and Mediacorpse; many of us are responding in equal measure by reasserting our own version of reality to challenge the spin doctors in earnest.

This countereaction may well take the form of featuring Youtube clips of Fandi Ahmad belting goal after goal as the lead striker of Singapore or some other homily sugary narrative that we keep replaying in our mind’s eye.

My point is what we may be witnessing here is a genuine craving for depth and  real experiences. And not the chemically enhanced surreal reality that is so often forwarded in the kitsch version of a la YOGland. Most netizens especially don’t want anything whatsoever to do with the branded reality that is so often served up by both ST and mediacorpse –  they know it’s fake – they know it taste like McDonald’s cardboard chicken – and most already realize, its not real.

IMHO what really undergrids this crie de couer is the simple feeling, the sense that my life and much of the life around me is no longer ‘real.’ That leads one to ask: what does it mean to be “real,” and why should so many netizens even we care about it so much, that they are trying to reclaim back their version of what it means to be passionate about something?

The answer to that question may well suggest - people are genuinely anxious that their sense of who they are and where they’re heading may be slowly frittering away like camphor to the atmosphere – worst they live in perpetual fear their sense of authenticity is somehow slipping from them giving way to a new dystopian nightmarish world controlled by the spins doctors in ST and Mediacorpse – that it’s silently been co-opted and vatted away.

What’s beginning to emerge for me: when I sink deeper and deeper down this rabbit’s hole to search for the underlying reasons accounting for this mood of schadenfreude is the realization – much of our fears and anxieties that we feel towards YOG has a lot to do with power and politics. And more importantly how it relates to our definition of who were are and where are we heading?

My point is it’s just conceivable the roots of this new demand for authenticity lie snuggly somewhere between the no man’s land of fear and fascination – the former relates to our innate fear that reality itself is up for sale to the highest bidder. And the other is the tragic realization we can’t do anything about it, not when the actors of this anti-thesis happen to media giants like ST and Mediacorpse.

Yes, I understand. I understand you completely Singapore.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood

“There is no right or wrong way to play Desafilnado Dotty – just as there is no right or wrong way to make a Magarita. Someone lied to you and you bought into into his version of the lie….that’s why you have so much trouble trying to make out the shapes and forms in your head…you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole….let me tell you that person sold you a lie – and right now, you are somewhere in that lie playing snakes & ladders – and if you go on like this you will end up in a big knot. And I will have to sent you home in an ambulance. You don’t believe me! Then just see how I stretch the F major in one straight line like a rubberband till it snaps. Like so…..how do you explain that? My point is this -talking about structure in Jazz, is like talking about snakes in Scotland – the thing doesn’t exist Dotty!…you just go by gut feel…..cha..cha…cha..cha..cha…chiaroscuro…so there will always be a lot of room for improvisation in Jazz. All you need is a melody in your head and you’re good to go.

There is no need to get all red like a lobster just because you can’t seem to find the line - let me tell you a secret Dotty. There is no line….you just go by feel and make it all up, as you go along….I can’t tell you what is real Jazz, you need to feel it….take my hand, hold on to my hips and hold this tight..I want you to feel it past right through you and let it come through the other side..just go with the flow..don’t fight it….I will guide you through the keys….it doesn’t get realer than this…..once you reach the other side, you never ever want to go back again.”

Darkness 2009

A Conversation.

 

 

(To increase the font of this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) Once we recognize that size matters. It’s only a matter of time before we get around to asking what’s the best size for stuff?

Well it depends really? If you’re talking about my Chinos then 32 around the waist will do quite nicely, an eight for loafers and a fifteen half for shirts – but what about firms and governments? What’s the best size for them?

For governments that’s a no brainer anything larger than a postage stamp just spells big trouble to me –  the way I see it; when a nation looks up to its politicians for inspiration; then something is seriously wrong; as that’s just a sure sign the national psyche is still roughly the size of a tadpole and hasn’t really learnt how to be comfortable under its own skin – stands the test of reason. Tell me! Do really emotionally secure people look up to others expecting them to validate their way of life? Or even rely on the approval of others to seek a sense of worth and edification?  Come on work those issues through!

Or maybe really independent and confident people are so busy living their lives and being true to themselves that all these things are rightly just trivial pursuits to them?

You go figure it out.

If I had my way, I prefer it if governments take their cue from air cleaners and ionizers, where they hum silently in one corner inconspicuously doing what they do best – taking care of the stuff. It’s just the way I see things; I don’t like the idea of big governments or for that matter anything big really – to me the idea of big has always been synonymous with the idea where everything worthwhile in is just squeezed right out of the individual into the broader expanse of the generic. Big means you’re either with the system or you’re not with it; you’re plugged in or square, functional or dysfunctional, a team player or an anti social psychopath, with me or against me. Get my drift, that’s the whole Tao of big; its one giant machine where you’re either a size 8 or 9, there’s no such thing as a size eight and three quarters for my left feet in the universe of big – just as there is no such thing as degree course where you decide to skip one year just to travel around the world on a motorbike – in the world of big the rules are clearly spelled out – you do it our way or you simply don’t do it.

Well there’s where I don’t really mind – doing my own thing outside that is, al fresco style….I am perfectly comfortable…I am in my element.

Darkness 2010

“I think in life you really need to develop confidence from deep down inside you. And one of the best ways of doing this is by consciously making a decision to lead your life for yourself and not others. This simply means you have to put the effort in being really comfortable in your own skin.

When I was younger that meant if I went out for a date with a girl. I would probably have to tell her that I don’t have enough money to pay for her dinner. That could have been one reason why I wasn’t really hot with the girls.

These days being comfortable in my own skin simply means when I see a shovel then I call it a shovel. Whatever happens after that happens. Someone calls my boss. I get called up. A door closed. Whatever.  I make a conscious effort to put those things somewhere in the back burner.  My whole being is governed by this attitude.  And trust me many doors have been slammed in my face. But to be fair, many other doors and a few unexpected windows and trap doors have also sprung open as well.

All in all, I am happy with the accounts so I have to keep on leading my life this way for better or worse. Because when I stop and look around me what really scares the living daylights out of me is this, all I see is whole truck loads of people who are speaking lines which belong to other people, usually dead people. For all I know some of them may also be living lifes that don’t really belong to them –  and perhaps they are even be living out whole destinies which come from someone else life – the way I see it we already live in a nutty world, where everyone in this world is so busy trying to lead a life that belongs to other people – most people don’t even know themselves….trust me, that is a big problem….a very big problem indeed.”

Darkness 2010 – captured by an auto-bot crawler in a thread in Ekunaba.

(To increase the font size – hold down the Ctrl key and press +) Why do so many Singaporeans derive a perverse glee whenever they see pictures of empty seats in stadiums during YOG? Why do they even revel when they hear of people coming down with the runs due to bad food?

What’s really the reason behind this perverse delight in schadenfreude?

To be honest with all of you – I dunno. One problem with trying to figure out why people have such a great time barbecuing the image of their country on the spit – is it’s darn hard to make out whether the underlying motivations are based on innocent three stooges banter or does it stem from a darker psychotic impulse?
 
The problem with trying to pin down this public attitude that relishes  schadenfreude is it suffers from the same defect as attempting to define pornography: while impossible to put down in words on paper; no one denies you know it when you see it.

So let me share with you what I’ve been able to gather from our new national past time of Schadenfreude - for one it would not be all together wrong to describe this attitude as a character that reflects a significant portion of public consciousness – and character as we all know is the art of possibilities – but what does this national pastime really say about all of us?

The only reason why I am asking this question is because I still can’t seem to wrap my brain around the whole idea of kicking a kid in the stomach and laughing about it – may sound strange and misplaced but that’s what most people are actually doing when they take a bite out of YOG! And this begs the question why?

One reason may have something to do with the idea of big government - the problem in Singapore is the persona of government comes in an XXL fitting – and that simply means government is perceived to be omnipresent. And found in virtually every aspect of work, life and play from womb to tomb.

A corollary of that idea also means – people will naturally associate everything big with government – wonder no more why YOG just happens to be the natural target for a spot of government bashing – it fits the bill, it’s big and worse of all it manages to embody all the metaphors of big government.

Here in the Gulliver larger than life form of YOG is not only the idea of government on an allegorical scale. But it also manages to embody nicely the metaphor of everything thaty is wrong with the idea of government from smoke machines to happy perfidious faced marching kids – the image of YOG mirrors exactly the persona of government – it is all pervasive as it is all encompassing and worst of all it’s full frontal in your face .

That idea of big government also means when people are dissatisfied, they are likely to lash out at anything that corresponds to the iconic image of big government – even if it means the Youth Olympic Games.

The ostensible paradox of this condition is when they do so; they become the very image of those who they deplore most – and there lies the real tragedy of the waste that is YOG.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood

“If you look at the Olympics today. I would say, 70% of the benchmarks were set in stone in the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

Before that. And you will never hear this from any where not even Wikipedia, the Olympics was just a travelling circus show with a couple of semi naked people running barefoot on some dust bowl. Those sportsmen were only slightly better than a bunch of acrobats and performing monkeys.

The 1936 Olympics changed all that. For the opening, you had 50 bands playing – Alle Menschen werden Brüder wo dein sanffter Flugel weilt and this was even broadcast live for the very first time in Munchen and Dusseldoft  - to ferry the sportmen to their meets – BMW invented a new planetary drive, they called the gessenschalf - today we call this the automatic transmission – and even the Olympic stadium in Berlin designed by Albert Speer had a mini rail track for Leni Riefenstahl to shoot many of the events for the very first time in Technikcolor. Even today, if you ask sports directors, they will say, for it’s time, the German Olympics was way ahead of it time - for the event, even Leica developed the super fast Summicron 390.7 format that subsequently became the famous 35mm that Hollywood eventually used – so what I am trying to say here was the Berlin Olympics was much more than just the games. It was an opportunity for the Nazi to tell the whole world that they were the master’s of the universe. that is why, it shall always be considered - the greatest success as it was the greatest failure of the Olympics history.

The same can be said about YOG. Many years from now, when all those sportsmen are in wheelchairs – the Singapore YOG 2010 will be the defining benchmark as the Berlin 1936 for the games. This is by no means an easy feat to pull off – to set the Rolex standard for the games – Malaysia cannot do this, neither can Zimbawe or for that matter even half the countries in the EU, they cannot do all these things as they organizational, planning and logistical skills required has to be zero error for margin. As there are a thousand and one things to look into and each of them can go wrong – so to me, it is like a lunar mission – there are many people working behind the scenes. So I would have to say the organizational and management skill is top drawer – if you put 10 ministers in charge of this, I do not think 7 will even cut the grade, they will either suffer a nervous breakdown or commit suicide – the pressure must have been tremendous on the organizers and their downliners. YOG is not easy to put together..so Singapore is set to go down in history as the Berlin of the YOG. We have really set a gold standard in terms of the staging the YOG that we can be proud of like the Germans. But since the YOG Singapore was also so enmeshed with the PAP..that is why – it  too shall always be considered the greatest success as it was the greatest failure of the Olympics history.

Darkness 2010 captured by an auto-crawler in a thread recently in Ekunaba

(To increase the font – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) I don’t really know whether some of you may have noticed this. Maybe I am just really slow at catching on to the game – or maybe I am just the trusting sort.

This is how it goes: as soon as a point of view is forwarded by someone from government – then what happens the following day is the apparatus of assimilation i.e ST and Mediacorpse et al goes into over drive and goes all the way to substantiate the point made by the politician by selective reporting.

Take for example our abysmal baby birth rates. Recently it was mentioned by Big Daddy Lee and what was the follow up by our beloved rag? Well today an article laments the same trend in countries like Japan, Taiwan, Korea etc – but what I consider disingenuous about all this is how thoroughly the ST has managed to elide worthy examples in France, Scandinavia and even our neighbor up North that it’s possible to reverse this trend by rolling out holistic policies which are able to strike a happy balance between work, life and play.

Granted population dynamics is a complex business – and Singapore I am sure is no exception to this rule. Only I don’t see the point of showcasing “failed” cases that merely reinforce the myth the baby blues cannot be reversed. Truth is they can be reversed and the question here is simply this: why wasn’t the other side of the argument fully discussed?

As a strong correlation between fertility rates generally decline as development rises, and this has indeed been happening in most industrialized nations. Birthrates in Italy, Germany, and Japan, for instance, have dipped to 1.3 children or fewer per woman. But recently a team of sociologists in the United States and Italy revealed a twist in this pattern. When development—measured by income, education, and life span—improves past a certain point, they find, fertility picks up again. The study was published in August in the journal Nature.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood

“If you speak to people like Cherian George. He will tell you that one reason why we do not have a free press is because the government does not allow the ST to write freely - so what this two short planks of an academic is trying to say is the chicken came before the egg – as what he is really trying to say here is whether a newspaper is free or corseted is entirely a function of government attitudes – but what Cherian never ever told any of you is this –  if every government on this planet had its way, every single newspaper on this planet, even the Guardian and Le Monde would still be playing a nation building role, even today! - truth of the matter is no such conditions ever presented itself to any press on this planet as Cherian once described where a political order has handed the right to write freely to any newspaper on a silver platter- such a country never once existed, not in the Americas, Europe or for that matter any where else in the world, except in this fellows mind. In every case if you look very carefully at the history of newspapers – it’s independence and right to write has always been seized from the death grip of governments – so now you understand why I do not care very much for either Cherian or his logic….if he says, I am causing trouble by stirring up intellectual offence….then tell me why does he continue to cause thinking folk pain by saying the things he says?”

Darkness 2007 - Captured by an auto-bot in a secured thread in Ekunaba – The Brotherhood Press 2010 

(To increase the font in this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) It’s now official, China has finally overtaken Japan as the world’s second-largest economy. According to the latest gross domestic product figures for the two countries, China’s second-quarter nominal GDP of $1.343 trillion topped Japan’s Q2 GDP of $1.295 trillion. The trend is clear. China is on the rise, so how does this affect Singapore?

Well if you ask me not very much – as GDP figures by themselves don’t really tell you much except measure how much folk are spending – they don’t for example, tell you stuff like what are they spending it on? What is their expectation? Is it long or short term? Or even whether what they are spending on has a sustainable value or something that is closer to a pipe dream.

In short measuring the wealth of a nation by GDP is pretty imprecise at best. And at worst so misleading that all it can do is lead one down the proverbial hall of mirrors.

For starters, stellar economic growth doesn’t always tell you at what price are these goodies delivered – do they for example come from an exhorbitantly high, social, cultural and ecological cost?

Potential investors and China watchers alike should be aware that investing in China is not a risk-free proposition. Neither should they buy into the state run propaganda tag line – all is fine and life is just great!

Although the country is red hot, China is still a developing country that is grappling with the simple hubris of trying to fit old with new to come out with something that works – that has not always produced happy results.

Labor relations between workers and employers are already beginning to surface - the demand for fair and equal wages due to dehumanising working conditions that regularly transforms Chinese sweat shops into suicide hubs is a growing social problem – the chronic shortage of affordable housing and the run away real estate market continues to mire city slickers.

All these problems when seen from a macro perspective tell us that China is not the Shangrila that it’s so often portrayed to me - to exacerbate all this there is a polyglot of nick nacks that will continue to stymie China from being considered a role model economy – patchy accounting systems, corporate transparency, and governance are not nearly as well-developed as they should be to fully support a No.2 economy.

The degree to which the Chinese government can interfere in the economy is also something that continues to trouble many China watchers. Along with it’s fixation to control the internet at every cost. Even if it means hiring stadium loads of cyber troopers.

And while no one doubts China may offer a compelling long-term and sustainable model for many poor countries seeking astounding economic wealth, no one can say all this was not proferred at such a high price, it may not be worth it at all - it makes the Faustian pact look like two kids agreeing to trade Pokemon cards. No. Personally, I don’t think the China model offers anything at all. No hope. Nothing…except maybe….darkness.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood Press 2010

“China is a very funny country. If they think you are a cyber crook. The first thing they will do is knock on your door at 4.00 am and take away all your computers. And they will tell your employer you have been detained. So of course you will be sacked. Then after doing that they will give you a receipt and put you in a room with a one way mirror and they will look at you for days. Sometimes they will put on the heater in summer. At other times, they will deliberately keep the room like an ice box in winter. What they are trying to do here is to play psychological warfare - 9 out of 10 people crack and never get beyond this level - only one get through this meat grinder. Then after that the police will say sorry to you for fucking up your whole life. And just in case you didn’t get the message; they will tell you this case may be reopened again any time in the future. Yes, it is a very funny country, because as soon as you leave the police station. Your hatred for the system will be so great. That if you happen to be the one of out the ten, then you will probably make it one of your life long ambitions to learn everything there is to know about fucking up the establishment - this would never ever have happened had they not have done what they did. And this is what the Chinese government do on the scale of mass production every single day. They do this to thousands of young people everyday. Like a farmer spreading the seeds of bad karma. No country on this planet has ever pissed off so many gamers in this planet before. They have elevated the art of pissing people off into a theoretical science and to a level that makes Toyota motors look like a Mom & Pop outfit. That is why for every fire wall they erect. There will never be a shortage of cyber tunnelers. Then they wonder why they have so many enemies – yes, the Communist Chinese are very funny people. They are so clever that even I do not understand them. But one thing is for sure. I think, I will continue to help and fund anyone who wants to drill holes in the Chinese fire wall. Yes, you heard me load and clear.I will fund you! That is to say, I am prepared to give you all the technology, training and funding that you need….you did not hear wrong! And what can the Chinese government do to me….well, they can do fuck all! Remember my name….I am Darkness of the Brotherhood!”

Darkness 2008 – conversation captured by an auto bot in the confederation somewhere in Bavaria.

http://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NYSE:NBG - National Bank of Greece is a strong buy. Tonite is the night, when everything is going to happen. The Turks will be going in after lunch time in the NYSE.

Happy Hunting

Darkness 201o

Disclosure: The Author has positions in NBG.

 

This is quite hilarious – I don’t know which version holds up as the true version – but I am sure given the benefit to technology and the grapevine these days, it shouldn’t be too hard to ferret out the truth. Fact of the matter is these sort of incidences are good in my opinion and a sign that society may actually be more confident – as it is only when people continue to question the system that it will improve. Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood 

Cyclist in the thick of accident puzzled by joint reply

I AM puzzled by the joint reply of the police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (“Police, SCDF at accident site within 20 minutes”; Aug 6) t(“Police and ambulance slow to respond to accident”; July29).o Mr Teo Kai Loon’s letter  I was also involved in the accident. While the joint reply was correct in stating that a call was placed to the Police Emergency Call Centre 999 at 6.30pm, the subsequent details were not quite so.   

The casualties were conveyed to Alexandra Hospital and not Singapore General Hospital.   

The first ambulance arrived about 30 minutes after the call, at about 7am, and not within the purported 15 minutes.   

We were still calling the authorities’ call centre at 6.50am, asking about the estimated time of arrival of the ambulance and I have phone records to confirm it.   

The Traffic Police did arrive 15 minutes after the ambulance, as the joint reply stated, but the police arrival was at about 7.15am, which was 45 minutes after the call.   

I know this because I was helping to guide traffic at the rear of the accident scene, using my bicycle tail-lights to try and slow down vehicles and feeling very vulnerable because of the oncoming traffic. I was constantly hoping for the arrival of a police vehicle to provide better protection at the accident site.   

The first personnel to arrive were in fact the Coast Guard from a nearby unit, who arrived at about the same time as the first ambulance.   

They helped me guide traffic, but they did not have the necessary tools to screen off the accident site.   

If the authorities deem that a 30-minute to 45-minute response time is appropriate given their resources and constraints, all we wanted was to be told as such.   

Perhaps the call centre staff could have been better equipped to ascertain the location of an accident, as I struggled to communicate our exact whereabouts.   

If the nearest units were indeed, unfortunately, 30 minutes to 45 minutes away, and this was a particularly busy morning for the police and SCDF, then assess whether we need additional resources or resource placement.   

If it is an unfortunate one-off incident, we will just have to accept it as such because we understand that it is not always possible to be everywhere for everyone at all times.   

All we hope for is that we can learn from this and help improve responses to such incidents in future.   

Roy Tan   

“Let me understand this clearly….you come into the virtual. You call me a gangster. Then you call me a racketeer and then you insult my mother. And you want us all to submit to your laws? Am I hearing all these things right?”

“Yes that is right Darkness!”

“Tribune, take all this people and execute them all, leave only this fool here to carry back this message to their people.”

“You cannot do this! There are laws against this Darkness!”

“Yes, you are right, there are laws against this – but who protects us when you people seize our servers and shut down our virtual goldmines all the way from Xiamen to Harbin? I want to be a good man. I do not want to kill people. But how do I go about the business of rehabilitating my evil nature when you people keep forcing me to be bad – do you not see that I am as much a victim of circumstances. I want to be good. But how can I be good when the people who are supposed to serve and protect us are wolves? So I must also be a wolf? Am I right? Besides, I do not recognize your laws…not here at least. Don’t worry dying here is not a problem. You will be back next week…..next time when you see me again make sure you don’t insult my mother again…travel well.”

The Carphatian Incident / 5,000 parsec EE of the Andreammo Galaxy – The Age of Steel – The Book of Ages – The Brotherhood Press 2010

(To increase the font – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) Recently Ah Lee Baba big Daddy (minus the 64 thieves) told everyone that the success of Singapore was attributable to 4 main factors – good people, a kick ass arm forces….err the rest I have forgotten. But I am sure you can more or less dredge the reasons out from memory.

There was one area where Big Daddy Lee admitted was not so fairly straightforward and that related to the abysmal birth rates.

Then again Big Daddy Lee fell short of ascribing the blame to his government – instead the whole subject was magic carpeted away and we are just told, the silver bullet is more migration – now what really drives me up the wall is this – why is it so difficult for the government of the day to simply come out clean and say – we fucked it up right and proper?

Fact of the matter remains the lousy baby figures we have today is directly due to the “two is enough, three is a crowd,” population control policy launched somewhere in the early 80′s – the problem there was most of the planners were so fixated with making the idea work - no one bothered with the emergency brakes – wonder no more why it worked so well that even today it’s still working to entrench the misplaced idea in the national psyche, babies = burden. In other words someone fucked it all up.

Why does every serious screw-up have to be accompanied by pork belly politics? I mean if GIC and Temasek fucked up on their investments in Citigroup, UBS and the Stuyvesant condo deal in Lower Manhattan – why can’t the government of the day just tell it the way it is. Why does it have to be laced with condescending platitudes where failed investments are passed off as paper losses or long term investment – in short why can’t the government just admit their mistake and give us all a break from the cult of infallibility song and dance?

The way I see it, it may not be such a good thing when government keeps on insisting on every turn, they are the best in the world. Or the reason why they are successful today is due to nothing less than cutting all the right moves.

That idea only holds water, if you are prepared to believe it’s possible to go through life without making some errors – worse still that sort of attitude does very little to add value to the culture of continuous improvement as what it silently endorses is the corrosive idea that being wrong is somehow shameful  and seen as stupid.

This dog chase tail attitude already pervades our culture: we applaud the public figures who “stay the course”, even if what they may actually be doing is simply reinforcing failure very much in the way a gambler keeps on doubling his stakes on his number – and boo the ones who are prepared to admit their mistakes, return back to the drawing board, do a “u-turn” etc. In other words we are condoning the type of behavior that we know will lead us nowhere; while punishing those who are simply man enough to admit, I’ve fucked up and I think, I need to change the course.

The implications of what I just mentioned are pretty startling when you juxtapose them on running a country. Truth of the matter is stark and brutal, if it was difficult in the period when Big Daddy was trying his to break out from the gravity of poverty and missed opportunities back in the doldrums of the 60’s and 70’s, when Singapore had just a few mud huts – then these days, it’s got to be triple or quadruple harder – as firstly the vagaries of the market and how the affairs of the world may choose to unfold poses such a challenge these days to planners;  that it may even stretch sense and reason to render all accurate prediction painfully limited – we may already be living in a world that is so utterly complex and unpredictable. Any further attempt to beacon out the murk is simply a forlorn dream, that we can no longer take the idea of “good” and “sound” decisions as being solely the by product of the best minds. That idea may have once held water admirably; these days, it holds us much intellectual merit as a leaky bladder.

So the meaningful question about the human condition isn’t really about: do human get things wrong? With these limitations in our ability predict events accurately, even the best of us will make mistakes. The real question is:  have we taken enough time to create an working environment where it is possible to admit our mistakes and more importantly learn from them? Or are we still so caught up in the gyre of keeping steadfastly to the macho – I can do no wrong, did it my way attitude that – we will even continue to defend the indefensible only because doing otherwise would reveal us for what we really are, then and now – we are after all just humans, nothing more or less. That may not make for a page turner – but don’t be surprised, if that’s what really needed to be a life changer today and tomorrow.

Darkness 2010                                                                                                                               

“I have made some really bad calls in my life – there was this time when I made a call to buy a share,  the day I called it, it dropped 20%, the next day, it fell another 8% and the day after it gave another 10% of grief – and through it all I was acutely mindful of how I stuck to my guns as I had already invested so much of my sense of worth, ego and reputation on these calls that I had no choice but to insist seeing them through.

But when I look back at what I did now – I was really just a die die I am right even if I am wrong asshole….that’s why these days when I fuck up. I just take a long look at it. And if I really fucked it up. I take full responsibility for it – once you root that sort of culture in your work place, then people will see failure as an opportunity to improve – they will not hide problems and paint rosy pictures all the time – you can just learn from your mistakes and move right on. It can never come back and bite you. You will be very surprised. Some people can live to even 100 and not know this. That’s why they keep making the same mistakes again and again. And there is no improvement at all. If there is progress and improvement, it is all up there in the mind!”

Darkness 2007 – Pumori Failed Expedition – The Brotherhood Press 2010

(To Increase the font size on this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) This is a continuation of the interview series between Harphoon of the Brotherhood and Missy Dotty.

Q: Missy Dotty could you please explain to us why so many people find the term “mandatory death penalty,” when applied to drug offences so contentious?

A: I think many people consider it a moral aberration. And to be perfectly fair to them, they have a compelling case.

As the term mandatory when applied to offences these days is something considered inane – and the direct opposite of what most people consider to be progressive law – where it could be said the main objective of the law is always to act as a shield and never a sword i.e the law should never be quick to punish the offender or even make him a cause célèbre of deterrence. Instead it should try to rehabilitate the deviant and reintegrate him back into society.

Q: Allow me to cut in Dotty, could you please explain this modern role of the law that is so appealing to progressives. The part where you mentioned, the law is a sheild, not a sword – how might this work?

A: The means to past from the realm of theory to reality is to provision sufficient flexibility for judges to determine the best sentences on a case by case basis, that’s why we have judges and lawyers adjudicating over cases and not computers and clerks making final decisions.

However when the term mandatory features in a context of any offence – what that means is instead of the law progressing; it run the risk of regressing. As not only is discretion severely curtailed by the doctrine of strict liability.

Since the idea of strict liability makes a person legally responsible for his or her acts and omissions regardless of degree of culpability – it is also seen to water down the requirement of mens rea.

Hence there is no way for the judge or for that matter anyone to modulate the outcome of the sentencing due to extenuating circumstances, intervening causes etc – so what invariably happens is the final process of sentencing becomes no better than a clerk filling up a checklist to derive at a binary one or zero, zero or one decision.

Now Harphy Boy that idea of strict liability is fine, if you happen to be talking about someone like Baby Darkness who we all know has criminal tendencies and will park all over the place including your head if you give him half the chance – he deserves to have the book thrown at him. But can the same be said to apply to something as serious as a drug offence where the penalty is death?

Q: If laws had to be mandatory, then it makes sense Missy Dotty to apply them as you mentioned to traffic violations. And not to cases where the penalties involves doling out death – tell me are you saying that when it comes to mandatory death penalty type offences the perception that justice is not seen to be done is more apparent?

A: Yes Harphy Boy, you could say that –as one of the common indictments that has been leveled on the mandatory death penalty is the common perception that the entire process of adjudication has been hijacked (real or imagine) by legislators who typically use the courts as a platform to proscribe their firm stand on a particular offence.

I am not saying that is actually the case. But what cannot be denied is this is often seen to be the case.

Naturally this begs the question – is this the right way to dispense justice? And on whose behalf is the law serving? Who is the beneficiary? Is it the state or the individual? If it is the latter then what is the cost? And if it is the former does the means justify the moral cost? As you can see this is really a hall of mirrors that doesn’t seem to sit very well with ethics and jurisprudential tenets.

That could be one reason why the imperative of justice never ever seems to be fully served when it comes to mandatory type sentences as the accused are often seen to be just victims our laws. Hence the mood of J’accuse.

Q: J’accuse…Emile Zola?

A: Mais Qui…you all speak French right? la verite est en marche et rien ne l’arreter….certainment? Do you see how it is Harphy boy?

Q: I just wish to know Missy Dotty as I am not a lawyer but a layman. Where does this idea of deterrence come from? Is it premised on firm ground? Or is based on an old idea? I have tried to look for information all over the place to justify the idea of the mandatory death penalty and I have really failed. So what is ultimately the justification for it?

A: I think that is a very good question Harphy Boy. As ultimately the question of whether the Mandatory death penalty is justified or not cannot turn solely on endless moral and ethical canting.  

So the real test of whether an action is justified has to turn to the question of where does it derive its legitimacy from? From an academic standpoint where does the pedigree of it’s underpinnings stem from? 

What needs to be emphasized Harphy Boy is this has nothing whatsoever to do with the law.

The whole idea of deterrent sentencing and it’s efficacy has more to do with criminology than the law actually Harphy Boy – and I think it’s fair to say - in the very beginning, it’s hard if not impossible to draw out any real underpinnings concerning deterrent sentencing other that the loose idea – it works.

This doesn’t for one moment mean the idea of deterrent sentences doesn’t come with it’s own body of knowledge – only much of it gathered paced some 30 years ago and more or less formed a covalent bond with the whole idea that we now call zero tolerance.

So Harphy boy when we talk about Mandatory sentencing – it’s really the idea of zero tolerance that we are talking about.

The idea was first proposed in a article entitled broken windows first introduced by social scientists J. Wilson and G. Kelling, in an article which appeared in the March 1982 edition of The Atlantic Monthly.

The key quotes there are as follows:

“Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.”

Though the authors discussed the theory in relation to crime and strategies to contain or eliminate crime from urban neighborhoods. As you can see there is clearly a strong logic that supports the idea of coming down hard on criminals – hence for a successful strategy for preventing crime, is to fix the problems when they are small. Repair the broken windows within a short time, say, less than 24 hours, and the tendency is that vandals are much less likely to break more windows or do further damage. As you can see Harphy Boy when we talk about deterrent sentencing these days the same theory holds true.

Q: How much do you think the average netizen knows about the whole idea of Mandatory Death Sentences? And what is the best way to educate them?

A: Harphy Boy I don’t think it is really our role to educate anyone here - I share all this only for the benefit of our little community here and in private forums such as Ekunaba and Phi Beta Kappa. If others elsewhere wish to read it. They are most welcome. And fine by it.

But if you are talking about proactively engaging broader blogosphere then I say, it will always be a challenge – since sites like The Online Citizen has alienated almost all the educated people who can sensibly speak about this subject in any intelligent way. In Ekunaba and PBK if I spend 15 or 30 minutes writing a comment about a point of law – no one is going to delete my post for no good reason – but the same cannot be said about those other sites.

They certainly have hits. But of what use is that if all it amounts too is just a cascade of noise? Do you see my point? They seek freedom of choice. But can there really be real freedom to choose what is right and wrong in a state of abject ignorance?

I hate to say this, but Baby Bambi Darkness is right – he once told me, once the head is cut, all that the body can do is walk around aimlessly.

What many people do not realize is this is precisely what we are witnessing right now with the Vui Kong case in blogosphere. There is activity. Energy even. But all these things can never amount to very much without brain power.

Q: I am just curious Missy Dotty, what happened to all the windows in the buildings when they weren’t fixed within less than the 24 hour period?

A: Didn’t you know Harphy Boy? Every single one of them was broken…now tell me Harphy Boy. This new toy that Darkness has found recently. Do you have any idea where he got it from? You know the one where he films himself along with other strangers? You know what we all think he looks like don’t you? Yes, a two bit used car salesman – it’s time for us to speak directly to the Liaison officer of the brotherhood – I have been speaking to Montburan and the Lady of the Lake, we don’t like what we have been seeing lately Harphy Boy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w2g71qEShQ&feature=player_embedded#!

Q: Dotty, perhaps, we should take this matter off line.  I am sure it’s just a passing phase Dotty. Darkness is fascinated by it. And so are most of us> But I am sure it will past Dotty.

A: Yes, I am sure it will Harphy Boy.

The Brotherhood Press 2010

——————————————————————————————————————–

“Yes, what they tell you is true, I am Darkness, the invader of your lands. I cannot undo what has been done in your planet. Many wrongs have been done in the name of the brotherhood. Those things lie strewn in the past.  

What we can do is build a new future. And we have the power to do this right now! Not tomorrow or the day after. 

You are my prisoner. I realize you are not happy. But I will visit you everyday here in this garden that I have created specially for you. And we will play a bit of chess and talk about life.

I know you hate me. I even know you want to kill me. Take it! It’s a milk knife. Only this can kill me, not that fork you have undernearth your skirt. All I ask in return is you give me one month. And if after that time, you still want to kill me. Then neither I nor anyone shall stop you. I give you my solemn word…my name is Darkness. Darkness of the brotherhood.

Now please sit down Princess Arullian and can we just play chess.”  

Arullian Annexation in the Planet D’ni – The Age of Reason – The Book of Ages – The Brotherhood Press 2010

(To increase the font size of this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) Selling yourself as a product has to be a vital life skill that sits along side breathing, shitting and eating – I don’t care what anyone tells you – it’s important!

Some people do it by squeezing all the knowledge into their heads like a phyton. I can’t think of anything more painful to get ahead!

Besides, I have a low tolerance for pain, so naturally, I try to get it off others for absolutely free. And that just means you have to learn the art of selling yourself.

It stands the test of reason. If no one even finds you interesting enough to want to spend time with you. Then how the hell are you going to get them to share with you what’s really important in their lives?

The way I see it. Everyone has an angle that they have been nursing to break free from the litany of everyday life. They have too, that’s the last refuge of the workers manifesto – the condition of hope is to believe somewhere in hopelessness, there is hope! So they dream on – they hatch their get rich schemes – the deal of the century etc etc etc.

It matters very little what they do – they could be really boring people who lead really boring lifes and have to even put up with really boring bosses who do nothing all day long except say really boring things, but get it in your head - every single one of them without a single exception has an escape plane, a secret tunnel that they just believe deep down may hold the promise of redemption if only they had the guts to pull it off – and all they need is someone to come along who they can really trust to tell the whole plan too.

That’s what I really mean by getting into the inside grove – it’s two parts creating the right mood for collaboration and one part just being a blank canvas where others are prepared to put their faith in you.

The inside groove that is. Once you are there and everything is lined up perfectly. You will find that the system works for you in more ways than you could have possibly imagined.

While your competitors are working hard and sweating bullets to beat the system pound for pound, muscle for muscle and inch for inch. You are working smart and cutting all the right moves by going the other way.  In this place, you just cruise on the inside lane. There is no resistance. No Jack in the boxes. No surprises. Its all there layed out in one straight line like a highway. All you have to do is keep to the line and the line will keep you!

14139762 click me to play a video

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood

(To increase the font of this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) This is an interview has been conducted between Harphoon and Missy Dotty (who is a lawyer with a Master’s degree from King’s College in International Law) concerning the recent controversy sorrounding the Vui Kong case and the role of the President in the clemency process.

Q: Dotty how would you respond to the assertion, where it is stated, “It is clear that the framework under the Constitution is such that in situations where the President is empowered to act in his own discretion, the relevant provision provides for the President “acting in his discretion”. This is to be contrasted with Article 22P where a contrary intention appears from the use of the words, “may, on the advice of the Cabinet.”

The question I wish to ask Dotty is does “may” used in this context synonymous with “must” take the advice of the cabinet? Does this mean that the President does not have any role in the clemency process? And if so why is there a need to even keep up appearances?

A: I am sorry, you have raised too many issues for me to be able to respond to each one of them coherently. Allow me to just say this. The issue has never been in dispute. The president cannot act by his own accord when deciding on the matters of clemency.

Q: Not even if the constitution specifies it?

A: I am not so sure the constitution expressly specifies this.

Q: But isn’t it clear to you the provisions of Article 22P, shouldn’t this apply to the clemency process?

A: That is my point, its silent on the matter, hardly clear at all. There may be a need for legal context to clarify the spirit and intent of Article 22P, but I have to insist Harphoon.  I see no provision that either impliedly or expressly states –  the president has the power to act on his own accord. The provisions may require some historical context.

Q: What do you mean by historical context?

A: History plays a preponderant role in determining the actual role of the President when it comes to the clemency process.  Lawyers refer to this as either case law which derives from the doctrine of precedent and constitutional conventions – that is practices that are widely accepted as being the sine quo non in the absence of legal text.

Q: So are you saying the clemency process may be a constitutional historical artifact?

A: “May,” is the key and operative word here. You may need to direct that question to a Constitutional historian instead of a lawyer. All I am saying is the law is steeped in history. And if we really wish to understand how the president has a role in the clemency process, it may be helpful to look at the whole process from a historical context.

Q: Can you give us an example where you have mentioned history may take precedence over the written law to either give or restrict the power of a figure head?

A: Yes certainly. If you look at the constitutional make up of the United Kingdom. The first thing that strikes you is unlike Singapore, there is no written constitution! So this behooves most to ask where does the constitution derive its legitimacy from? Well in the case of the UK, it comes  largely from both case law and convention. Both make extensive use of history.

Q: Could you give us an example of where a figure head has power but is not able to exercise it completely because they are restricted by the power of convention and caselaw?

A: Certainly, if you look again at the UK constitutional make up. On paper, it would appear the monarchy has the final right to either ratify or reject an enabling act that is passed by the legislature in the form of the house of commons – but since convention dictates the role of the monarchy is only ceremonial – although the queen can in theory stymie the passage of a bill through Parliament, she cannot decline the royal assent as it is assumed she would take advice from her ministers.

Q: Are you saying the role of the President has been colored in part by historicism?

A: Yes, I think it’s fair to say that harphyboy. Though I would prefer it if a historian gives it his seal of approval first. But what most people may not realize is Singapore was once part of Malaya. And we were therefore part of the greater Commonwealth. So many of the principle tenets that make up the DNA of our legal framework is really an accretion of British constitutional inheritance, rather than a product of legal evolution. It’s important to bear this in mind, otherwise we run the risk of adopting a presentist attitude –historicism does play a role here, without any shadow of doubt to determine the role of the President and law.

Q: Dotty I am sure as a lawyer who has a speciality in International Law you have followed this case in the internet closely? Tell me where do you think the campaign to save Vui Kong went wrong? How could the message have come across better to most netizens?

A: Yes I have been following this matter very closely. But since I get most of my briefings directly from Singaporedaddy who happens to be our Internet Liaison officer. I can speak only for our little community who number less than 800 or so and not for others in greater blogosphere. Besides our community is already quite cut off from the rest.

I think most of us are confused as to what is the main thrust of the save Vui Kong campaign. None of us can even agree on what are the main issues. To add to the confusion.

Many of the commentators are not legally trained so they may not have the requisite knowledge to navigate through the thicket. I am not trying to be elitist here. Only the law can at times be very misleading even if it appears to be clear, I have personally experienced this where many people have pointed out to me, the law said this. Only for me to explain that it actually meant a completely different thing.

It’s worth emphasizing Harphy Boy, the law lives in the valley of its own sayings. So when a layman tries to decrypt it – at best he is most likely to confuse himself and others, at worst he may simply find himself barking up the wrong tree. Do you understand Harphy?

Q: Yes Missy Dotty. So in your opinion, Mr Ravi and The Online Citizen should have distilled their goal to a few points?

A: Yes that’s terribly clever of you Harphy. Distill is the right word. As what that word implies is boiling everything down to it’s essence.

I think when we talk about essence in the context of mounting a campaign against an existing law like the death penalty – a good place to start is by first coming out with a manifesto to encapsulate all the views from all the camps represented.

As what many may fail to recognize is there are so many vantage points to view this subject from. One for example can view it from the position of Mr Alex Au as he writes about it from Alan Shadrake perspective about the death penalty. Then it can be approached from a humanitarian stand point. Added to all this there is the uncertainty as to whether these activist are against the death penalty or do they just take exception against the Mandatory Death Penalty? And does it apply to only drug offences? Or is it equally applicable to the violent offences?

As you can see Harphy Boy, this is really an awlfully big geography to squeeze into one’s head. So one really cannot blame the average reader from feeling completely disorientated and confused by all of this.

Had these activist come up with a manifesto from the very beginning. I believe they would have been able to offer a compelling case that could have been considered by many on a serious basis.

As it is they were really checkmated by the Brotherhood Liaison. As not only did he perceive this weakness. But he even capitalized on it to deadly effect.

Q: Are you saying as it is, there is no basis to consider it on a serious basis?

A: Of course not Harphy Boy. Are you trying to be evil like Darkness by asking me leading questions? All I am saying it’s very difficult to make out the trees from the forest when things are so foggy. There are no rights and wrongs here. Besides it is very easy for me to talk. But you have to bear in mind that I am not actually in the thick of it..wot?

Q: How do you think TOC could have better handled this matter?

A: From what little I have been able to gather, only 150 turned up. Now this seems small even by our standards. As even if my read club threw a pot luck party. I am sure to get at least 3 or 4 times this number. So I think it is fair to say, TOC alienated many netizens. And the only reason that I can think of is when they censored and deleted the comments of the Liaison officer of the Brotherhood. He is a diplomat. So naturally many people consider this a slight. And when this is done repeatedly, they will of course ask, what else are you deleting and censoring? And what is behind all this? What are you hoping to accomplish?

Of course if you ask TOC they will have their reasons. They may even be valid reasons as to why they have choosen to adopt this attitude. They may even circulate private e-mail amongst a few select bloggers to explain themselves admirably as to why they do this. But TOC should remember, the Liaison officer has been a feature to us for as long as we can remember – even predating the advent of Mr Brown and TOC.

Once you silence a diplomat with under handed arm twisting methods. No matter what the reason. You have already lost so much moral ground that it’s hard if not impossible to recruit the support of the righteous especially if what you are purporting to do is to right a moral wrong. 

You really have to be consistent in your thoughts and actions to delicately manage the public perception. As many people are really watching you.

To be fair to TOC, this may be something the Brotherhood Liaison does not tell people. 

Singaporedaddy is after all a very crafty chap who regularly selects information like chess pieces. But I think his influence should never be underestimated in blogosphere. You may not believe this. But to most sane and educated people, blogosphere is much more than the sum of TOC, Yawning Bread and the Singaporedaily. Much more.

Q: The Brotherhood Press thanks you Missy Dotty…

A: Before, we end this Harphoon. I wish to convey a personal message to Mr Yong and his family – our thoughts are always with all of you. May you all continue to derive strenght and comfort from your faith, family and friends and never despair. Though words, however gentle, can never take away your feelings of loss, my hope is these wishes sent now will help comfort you today, tomorrow and forever. Our thoughts are always with you Vui Kong and your family. And should you require any help in any capacity. Please do write directly to me and I will personally make sure it reaches Darkness. Thank you Harphoon.

The Brotherhood Press 2010

 

 

This is a video blog that I have made recently about this subject.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xeffnr_wheat-scam_webcam

This is something I decided to video blog about as I felt the Strait Times had misrepresented the real reasons behind the price hikes - I don’t blame ST as firstly, many of the “journalist,” are poorly educated.

Secondly many of them lack the exposure to allow them to scale this problem accurately beyond taking and running with what is usually offered as the most plausible explanation.

And thirdly, many “journalist” is ST may simply lack the mental lattitude to fully comprehend the breadth of the issues – and this is not unusual as Vivian Balakrishnan has mentioned, “The Strait Times is not the fourth estate.” And as our Northern cousins, the Malaysians would say, if you don’t use a knife, it will rust.

So I hope in future, ST will stick to topics such as nation building issues and parroting the leaders of our times et al.

The moral of the story is very simple. Never ever send a sheep to do a wolf’s job….never! If you do so, the real wolf will simply have to show up and put the sheep in a nice citrus smelling pine box…the end!

So far this series has score just under 800 viewers in Ekunaba and the PBK, they don’t seem to be very interest – nonetheless I hope you enjoy it.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood

“Singaporedaddy, you are the brotherhood Liaison are you not! Why don’t you pick up the phone and call those aliens to help us Russians? If you people can lift stones for the bloody Egyptians jut to built their useless Pyramids, then surely you people can help us with the fires over here?”

“You bloody Kaftah! How many times do I need to say this! This people have nothing to do with building the Pyramids! Go back and milk your mummy’s goat! А что ты сделал для тушения пожара?”

“We have sent that bloody idiot Putin! Once we drop him into the fire, there is enough hot air in him to blow out every fire in mother Russia! Одним махом да еще сразу два пожара… (силачем слывусь не даром семерых одним ударом). Лохи МЧСники! Летают летают и в пожары попасть не могут а еще по 6 лет на летчиков учились а Вова хренак… и два пожара как не бывало. Вообще молодец! Ездит по стране и учит летчиков летать, пожарных тушить, комбайнеров сено собирать, доярок доить, татар сабантуй праздновать а детей в пионер лагерях отдыхать. Ну кто мы без него?! Петр первый да и только!”

Two Russian Gamers somewhere along in the Balkan Trade Route – 225 Km off Minsk – Captured by an Auto-Bot Crawler – The Brotherhood Press 2o1o

Panorama Club

August 13, 2010

As many of you may already know in both of our secured networks, such as Ekunaba and PBK. The Brotherhood Press has recently been broadcasting using a proprietry technology known as Panavisiontech – this is basically an initiative that is started by a 37 nation group of pano ethuist.

If some of you like to hook up with Singaporedaddy – pls visit the site here: http://www.panolab.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=16eb40567d0e21eb09d96e8bc03ad0e8&topic=366.0

At this point in time, 360 degree technology is pretty nutty – there are alot of developers but many of them are just goofing around. We don’t know what will happen with this technology, but we know enough to say it has tremendous scope for growth ranging from gaming to defense.

It’s early days, so my gut feel tells me that we should just run with this for a while before we decide to come in and dominate this technology. Let’s just see how it all goes down.

If you want to collaborate with us. You are free to do so. Only please understand, this is a multi-national effort, so you really need to take off your Singaporean only hat and put on your rainbow – we are the world. And hopefully that way, you will not beat yourself up and even enjoy yourself!

Darkness 2010

(To increase the font on this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) Before taking a bite out of this in earnest – let me just declare. I am not a great fan of Warren Buffett – or for that matter anyone who claims to be a legend in his field of expertise. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business and I guess through the years it has developed into a sort of attitude – where I have always taken kudos, chupatzh and everything to do with the cult of veneration and adulation with a heavy dose of askance.

Now that I’ve qualified myself – let’s dive right in – the big news is morning is Warren Buffet is taking the contrarian view and positioning Berkshire Hathaway’s for higher inflation. Has Warren lost his marbles here? Because anyone worth his salt will tell you provisioning your fund for higher inflation these days makes as much sense of building Noah’s ark somewhere in the Gobi desert – probabilities do not make for possibilities – so what is the plot?

One way to understand Warren Buffet’s game plan is to appreciate that his investment fund operates on a 20 to 30 year time horizon – if you take that into consideration, then provisioning for inflation when there is no signs of inflation makes a whole lot of sense. Sure, the immediate risk we face is deflation, but the longer-term risk (looking beyond 2013 and beyond), without a doubt, is definitely inflation. In that regard, Buffett isn’t wrong in taking a contrarian view as he is taking the long-term view. The difference here may be subtle, but nonetheless they represent different approaches to managing risk.

The second thing about Buffets latest move is what it shows is a growing perception amongst clever money that we may already be well into the end of the simple Simon game theory – this is a theory that only less than 50 people around the world know about. So if you happen to be reading this right now, congratulations, you are the 51st! As what the end of the simple Simon game theory suggest is the age of predictability is coming to a rapid end and what we are going to see instead is a period of wild and unpredictable swings that will begin to characterize market conditions.

So when you see Warren’s latest moves against this new development and against a new system as complex as the national economy, Warren knows that when inflation comes, there is usually no warning – it creeps up on you like a thief in the night; the timing is therefore almost impossible to predict, and it could happen faster than the market currently anticipates. To exacerbate matters in a market where the only thing that is certain these days is more uncertainty – it makes perfect sense to plan for the worst case scenario.

Happy Hunting

Darkness 2010

P.S: Today I will try to finish off on the video blog

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xef3zb_wheat-fire-getting-hassled_webcam

on why I believe the wheat rises on the recent fires in the Ukraine is just mumbo jumbo – hopefully this time we wouldn’t get interrrupted by irrate customers calling, crazy traffic wardens etc (by the way, I managed to weasel my way out from a ticket!)….. stay tuned to go where no mind dares to go!

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