This video is part of a series of collection that has been extracted by the ASDF & The Interspacing Mercantile Guild known as “Suriman Interview.”
There in total 17 series which touch on different aspects of the Internet and how it may affect the gaming community. This video was first broadcasted in Munich during the 107th International Gaming Meet.
This video was first streamed in Eukanaba and the Strangelands using holovision.
Brought to you by the ASDF of the Brotherhood – This video extract is currently transmitted across the strangelands by all Confederation and Continental vessels flying the free flag of the 4 houses – The Brotherhood Press 2010
July 23, 2011
Scientific Officer from the ASDF: The rains aren’t coming at all, are they?
Darkness: No, the skies roar but nothing really comes down. Its bone dry Eva.
SO: Are you worried that your trees will die?
Darkness: Some already have.
SO: You don’t seem to be bothered.
Darkness: Well, what do you expect me to do…pray. Or would you rather I get down on my knees and atone for all my sins?
SO: You don’t believe in God do you?
Darkness: I used to Eva. May I say one thing Eva.
SO: If you promise to be nice Darkness.
Darkness: Every evening you stroll into my tent with that big bottle of whisky and we dine. We talk about all sorts of things Eva. You and me and for the most part, I enjoy it.
SO: So do I Darkness.
Darkness: Let me continue Eva. This is important. But I am also aware that you were sent here by the Guilds to asses my mental state – so I am going to take a leap of faith here – I am going to say something that may confirm my madness. Now don’t get me wrong when I say that I don’t believe in the idea of a higher being Eva – only I don’t happen to believe that idea has anything to do with the idea of God as we know it – coming to think of it Eva, there’s something self effacingly arrogant about the idea that God must exist – I mean think about it Eva – what if the sum total of what’s happened and will happen in this miserable panet is not so different from striking the lottery? What if Eva, the whole idea of life on earth just happened without any pre-determined design?
SO: Be more specific Darkness.
Darkness: OK – let me tell you a story – what if life on earth came about many eons ago – when an alien spaceship visited our barren planet – and it so happened this alien had a bad case of the runs; so he crapped into our great ocean of life? You know the rest Eva, that flotsam of alien shit just float around – it reacted with the sun and our atmosphere. And kaboom – the whole idea of life just took off from there – have you ever entertained that possibility Eva?
SO: So what you’re saying is everything that we see and experience on this planet came from intergalactical shit?
Darkness: Just go with the flow Eva – my point is, the whole idea of life on earth may have absolutely nothing to do with the idea of God as we know it.
SO: When did you reach that realization Darkness?
Darkness: Well I wouldn’t describe it as a moment of epiphany – but I realize that most people prefer to live in a lie.
SO: Tell me about that lie.
Darkness: No Eva. I know where this conversation is heading – you’re trying to tease out traces of madness in me aren’t you? OK, let me put it another way – which version do you think most people would buy into – version A or B.
SO: What’s version A?
Darkness: What I’ve just shared with you Eva – the idea that we all originated from space gunk.
SO: And version B?
Darkness: The idea that you are somehow special and since your life has been written somewhere up there even before you were conceived – you enjoy some kind of divine protection – and to top it off, it even comes with blessings that come from some higher being that’s always watching over you – what I am trying to say is this Eva – the notion that man is never at the mercy of the vagaries of randomness – better still, since he is a new creation he doesn’t have to suffer the capriciousness of what it means to be a human
SO: Yes, I see what you are trying to say Darkness – and I don’t think you’re mad Darkness.
(The rest of this conversation has been deleted by the Interspacing Mercantile Guild / this excerpt of a conversation was intercepted by a deep space mineral cruiser – KDD Carpthaitia – recorded by the Chronicler of the Brotherhood in the Chapter: The Suriman Trail – The Book of Ages – The Brotherhood Press 2011)
July 10, 2011
Scientific Officer from the ASDF: Darkness, what do you think is really wrong with the PAP?
Darkness: You know what they say don’t you SO? It may well be a funny case of Il y a une femme dans toutes les affaires ; aussitôt qu’on me fait un rapport, je dis, Cherchez la femme!
SO: Be serious.
Darkness: I am SO, my point is when you pose that sort of question, it carries a whole load of undesirable baggages. I realize its vogue these days to blame the declining popularity of the PAP on old hat style of government, the relentless pursuit of GDP, the generational divide and a host of other topic issues – but you know something SO. When you pose such a question, its not so different from asking the main protagonist in Hitchcock’s movie “Rear Window,” – what do you see? – you’re forgetting he’s in a wheelchair just as I’ve been cut off from the world for 8 months and he has no other means to live his miserable life but vicariously through the lives of others – so when I say “look for the woman?” I am referring to the need to identify and pin point an underlying cause.
SO: OK so what do you think is the underlying cause.
Darkness: Well if you ask me. I think they are simply a victim of their own success.Mind you I don’t mean to use this term with that cosy insiderism in the way those in the PAP like to use it whenever they are asked why can’t they seem to press all the right buttons to keep the public cheerful– I am using it in a negative sense, very much in the way the Easter Islands were once a victim of their own success, when they relentlessly fashioned those moais which eventually destroyed their way of life – it doesn’t take a genius to figure out this answer SO. We saw the same set pieces and dioramas unfold in our own game – in the very beginning of the Brotherhood during the age of the dawn of man; we were the Brahmins. Since we were able to foretell the coming and waning of seasons, we had special knowledge and the masses considered us leaders. And during that period of in the game. It didn’t take a lot of effort or resources to establish the mechanism of command and control. Although things were a lot more sophisticated during the age of steel – it was still relatively easy going for us – for example, for us to manage an area 1,000 times the landmass of Singapore we only required one Proconsul and perhaps a handful of garrisons at every trade route.
SO: Those were the happy days – so what you are saying is when things get more complicated, then it becomes harder to manage the ground?
Darkness: Let’s be specific SO. When I use the term complicated – I am referring specifically to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – you know that whole idea where man climbs up the mythical ladder somewhere in his brain till he reaches the pinnacle that allows him to actualize his raison that slaked the question: why have I been put on this planet? – again this is something that we noted in the early days of the game construct. But in the age of the typewriter and the rocket things took a turn in the opposite direction. The Brotherhood found itself beset by a wave of insurgencies throughout many of our colonies and protectorates clamoring for independence etc – by that point in the game – our footprint had become so big that we controlled virtually every facet of the political, economic, social and technological supply chain. Now some people may say that’s a great problem to have. The way I see it SO, that’s bound to come with having a big persona – if anything goes wrong – the tax paying gamers blames us. That in a nutshell is what’s fundamentally wrong with the PAP. They have painted themselves into a corner by selling themselves as the cradle to grave solution. And the predicament is not so different from what we once face. If you look at them. They have their hand in every cookie jar – you name it, they have it. Talk about the economy and the first thing that comes to mind is the juggernaut of Temasek Holdings – what about the judiciary? Again you decide for yourself. What of the apparatus of mass assimilation, the media? The list is endless. Even kindergartens these days bear the symbol of the PAP.
SO: What’s so wrong about being big? I still don’t see the co-relation between big and how it got them into a right fix?
Darkness: SO,don’t complicate life. What I am trying to say is, that sort of Godzilla footprint of government is well and fine when you’re cutting all the right moves and getting the desired results. But Singapore isn’t the US or EU. Besides those guys have their aren’t doing so well themselves – the problem really only shows itself when things get don’t pan out the way they should – that’s when the whole idea of big government just becomes the only game in town – everyone is going to take potshots at it. That’s why it pays nought to sell yourself as the best. And you can’t blame the public either, for instance, if you claim to be the best cook and all you can serve up is rubber chicken, then you’re going to get brickbats. In my view there is no mileage in putting the blame on malevolent forces or generational divide or for that matter an ungrateful votership – that’s immature. It all boils down to one simple formula – what’s sold just doesn’t cut the grade, not by half. You always need to go back to our own game construct to tease out the nuances of what I’ve just mentioned. I think that’s a great vantage, as it allows us a Archimedean lens to view the chronological events leading up to the unpopularity of the PAP in an accurate way. Otherwise you will just end up like Cherian George or worst Bernard Leong and the IPS, who all seem to be in the business of trying to sell smoked red herrings. I think you need to grasp one important distinction here SO. Being big is fine when people are just worried about getting four square meals a day or working hard to fix that leaky corrugated zinc roof – but when affluence sets in, then I think those basic needs fade out and they’re replaced by a new set of priorities. Now you can say these priorities are misguided or impractical. But you cannot deny they are real needs nonetheless and more importantly the general public has the capability and right to prosecute on those needs – it could be higher quality of life; work and life balance or just the general idea they are entitled to a voice. We saw this in our own game – during the early days of the age of the rocket, we could no longer deal with the countless insurrections that broke out throughout our dominions. Eventually we reached the conclusion – it would be better for us to reinvent ourselves as we were fighting a war of attrition and there is no way in which we could possibly win.
SO: Can’t the PAP do the same?
Darkness: They can I guess. But you have got to bear me in mind, there is a big difference between a real political hegemony and something that just exist within the confines of a game – in the case of the PAP, since they haven’t really taken the trouble to delienate what is and is not the PAP – that’s bound to lead to some degree of the blurring and that’s bound to cause a whole lot of confusion – you know the fog of war thingy – where one is not really even sure whether there is a distinction between the executive, legislature and judiciary. The way I and perhaps most people see it the PAP is one big pervasive blob and all these appendages such as the civil service, police and even the chubby uncle who knocks on your door to check whether you are breeding deadly dengue mosquitoes – all bear the stamp of the PAP to varying degrees. And the irony in the age of affluence is when things goes well, the government of the day doesn’t get the credit – that’s part and parcel of a consumer driven society – most people will just say, “we pay you top dollar to make sure things are done properly, so do your job!” An undesirable corrolary of that is when things don’t turn out the way they are supposed too – then the PAP gets it.
SO: Darkness you are not convinced the PAP can reinvent themselves.
Darkness: They will probably try to botox their way out of the problem – but that’s only possible if you believe the main problem is perceptive. I don’t. Its conceivable the problem is systematic and even runs deep into the marrow of what makes up the DNA of the PAP. I think those at the upper echelon realize, they are facing a very serious problem.
SO: What new things do they have to learn to reinvent themselves to an emerging class of voters who may have a different outlook from them?
Darkness: In our game, when we were faced with the threat of civil war – our elders decided it was time for us to take a step back – and we did that – I am not saying we are not as influential as we used to be. But today, we don’t have that ridicolous flag flying in the capital city of every planet – neither do we have a garrison of troops in every precinct – we have instead liaison officers in every conceivable corner of the universe – these new breed of diplomats were key to the process of effecting change not only to those who we wish to foster trust and friendship. But they were also pivotal in changing the fossilized way in which we regularly did business – so their role in altering our mindset can never be overstated – I may disparage the Interspacing Mercantile Guild and the Spacing Metal Exchange from time to time, but retrospectively, I think they did a marvellous job of reinventing the Brotherhood.
SO: Why do you say they did a marvellous job?
Darkness: Because we are everywhere today and yet nowhere. We exist, yet we don’t. Coming to think of it, we don’t even have a real name or branding these days. We are known by nearly 470 names and twice that number of symbols. We have ceased to be an organization – rather when you talk these days about the whole idea of the brotherhood, it’s an indestructible idea – one that anyone can be by just buying into that philosophy. That’s something that I don’t think they could have pulled off with people like me around.
SO: You seem to be saying that you are obsolete?
Darkness: Perhaps. But I think the real lesson here to first recognize the fallacy – the only way to make progress is by learning new things – we should be circumspect of this whole idea of uploading stuff into our heads to make us better. And consider whether a better way might be for us to unlearn many of the bad habits we have picked up through the years and have come to regard them as timeless truths. This is a very hard thing to do SO. Very hard indeed. Even for a man like me.
SO: But you are the man who discovered a new trail in the jungle – seems odd to be that you should put yourself down Darkness.
Darkness: May I call you Eva?
SO: Yes, Darkness.
Darkness: Donning fatigues and ankle boots and going out solo suggests a measure of boldness. But I suspect it may have more to do with the fact, you like to think of yourself as a self liberated European woman – Eva, its easy to see what I do as something akin to going out to dinner alone, in the mind of the European one has to be making nothing less than a bold statement. Treating yourself to dinner all by yourself— particularly a tasty one with wine pairings — is a clear expression that says fuck off to what the world may think of you, but nonetheless Eva there’s an idea here that you want to go out primarily for the food and not necessarily for the company – it appears singleminded, but there are times when I do believe what I am doing right now is so selfish and self indulgent to the point of being self destructive. The funny thing is these days, it’s these qualities that most people consider noble. That could be part of the problem as well Eva. I think when we look at the reason why the PAP no longer commands the same cultural authority it used too – part of the reason has to reside in the fact affluence has made us not only intolerant, but in a sense ungrateful. As what it indirectly encourages is self indulgence.
SO: Yes, you have taken the words out of my mind.
Darkness: Eva may I have another shot of whisky.
SO: Yes, why not.
Darkness: Eva are you happy here?
SO: Yes Darkness. I enjoy our early morning walks in the estate. I like the way you take the trouble to cook for me. I like it here Darkness.
Darkness: Eva, then it shouldn’t be too hard to understand this. I want to tell you something very important tonight.
SO: Yes, Darkness.
Darkness: I am not going to Munich. Coming to think of it, I am not going anywhere – I am just going to stay here in my oil palm plantation.
SO: You lying bastard!
(The rest of this conversation has deleted)
This transmission was interrupted by an unspecified event that is currently under investigation – at approximately 499202 Primus time – 4 Tiberium Class Spacecruisers flying the Confederation flag were destroyed – the KDD Tallymanakhan, KDD Californian, KDD Belarus and the KDD General Santos – no survivors / the general alert has been issued at Primus Time: 38984 – message sent by the IMG.
July 8, 2011
I want to tell you this – I don’t like TKL. I don’t like the way he speaks – I don’t even like the way he carries himself – but I want to tell you this SO. The fault lies with me and not with TKL. This should not surprise you. Because It’s not surprising as the last thing an elite education will teach you is its own inadequacy. The problem with elitism – is its essentially a way of life; that might seem odd to many. But when you consider how the system relentlessly encourages those who belong to that inner circle to flatter themselves for just being there, and for what being there can do for them and their families. The advantages of joining a club of elites are indeed undeniable.
The worst part SO is you cultivate a flawed way of thinking that isn’t so different from those passionate Christians who always seem to believe your soul is imperiled – because you refuse to join their fold. I am not talking about culture wars. I am referring to whole process of induction right up to acceptance. Not just peer institutions of any elite institution, but also the mechanisms that got you there and the sense of shared beliefs and aspirations shared by those who belong to such an institution – but I think we really need to think further and deeper about this – especially in Singapore where the idea of good is so narrowly defined to blot out all other fields of possibilities – and where the whole idea of elitism has been promoted as the only means to deliver the good life – I am not saying we should decamp from this idea completely – that’s why we don’t put people who hear voices in cockpits of jetliners – there has to be a process of selection that makes sense – only we need to be mindful that with so much resources devoted to the idea of fostering elitism in government, business and academia – this should prompt us to ask, what exactly are we getting in the end and more importantly where are we heading? I say its timely Science Officer because – elite institutions never tire of reminding every cohort, they are the leaders of tomorrow.
The logic would hold water if only I am convinced there is merit to the idea – the first disadvantage of any institution that practices the idea of elitism – and this includes the Brotherhood, is that it makes you incapable of talking to people who aren’t like you. I don’t want to sound like one of those death row serial killers who tell you – hey it ain’t my fault, I just happen to be hardwired differently – I think at some point in a man’s life – he has to take stock of where he comes from and where he is really going – I don’t think its possible to cultivate liberal attitudes without at least having some experiential knowledge on a first hand basis – that’s the reason why we get really dumb people who come up with terms like lesser mortals – what we have here is not only an attitude; but a paradoxical position where someone high up wants to speak on behalf of his colleague while struggling in vain to hold a simple conversation with those who he is trying to influence.
This is a big problem SO. Some people say it is not a matter of class. Because Singapore is a Republic, it doesn’t have barons, duchesses, counts, viscounts etc – but what we have managed to do by promoting the cult of elitism is to nurture a facsimile of the class system – where it’s even possible to believe that people who didn’t go to an Ivy League schools, cant speak good English or dine in the Café Royal are simply not worth talking to.
SO, I have spent 8 months in the jungle – in that period of time, I’ve struggled with every conceivable idea of hardship known to man – I’ve come to terms with the fragility of my own body – but the greatest lesson I have learned from these people who sorround our camp is that there are smart people who aren’t conventionally “smart” according to how we wish to define personal and organizational success. SO, there exist multiple forms of intelligence, it’s a matter of finding a place for it to flourish – but first we must give it a chance to grow – the irony is in our world, we consider ourselves civilized , but look around here. There is no currency to speak off, except the exchange of social intelligence and emotional intelligence , to name just two forms – unfortunately my experience in the jungle has thought we one lesson – these qualities are not distributed equally among those who call themselves the elite. The most capable and imminently qualified blah blah blah are at the very best the brightest only in one narrow sense. One needs to wander away from this corsetted idea of elitism to begin to discover this.
I guess what I am trying to convey here is that an appelation of elitism be it education, pedigree of work history etc inculcates a false sense of self-worth. Like I said, I don’t like TKL and that perhaps is the real problem that I will have to deal with – that may well be one reason why I think he deserves to the President.
Sometimes in life SO, you don’t need ten bullet points to win an argument – all you need is one decent point – I think, I’ve found it right here. When I get back to civilization – I think it would be a good idea to invite him for a char kueh teow and lashings of tiger beer. I want to shake his hand and say to you, “My name is Darkness. I think you’re a fine man.”
This excerpt was part of an interview conducted by a 3rd class Scientific Officer from the ASDF with Darkness somewhere in the Suriman Trail – The Brotherhood Press 2011
Scientific Officer from the ASDF: Darkness, let’s just continue from our last conversation – there are a few points which I wish to take issue with you – you contend that public is in general disinterested in social political events – yet you seem to believe despite this condition – the internet can be weaponized – don’t get me wrong, but what you seem to be saying contradicts itself.
Darkness: There is no contradiction – if you really think about why people take to their keyboards and hurl fireballs and brimestones at officialdom. It’s a misconception to believe these people belong to some ecletic class who hold themselves out as socially and politically enlightened. As I said previously, the vast majority of netizens and even the public at large simply do not have the aptitude to understand what is really happening – let alone begin to fashion an informed opinion.
SO: What you seem to be saying is the general public is stupid when it comes to politics.
Darkness: Well not in so many words maybe – I mean look at the Americans, they elected Bush into power and he left in his wake a broken America – I mean anyone who has ever read the good book, will tell you – no good can ever come from having a conversation with a flaming bush – the last race who did that ended up lost and mumbling for directions for nearly 40 years in the desert. Seriously, its conceivable when we talk about the reasons why people feel the need to change things, it may have very little to do with ideology and everything to do with something that simply rubs them the wrong way at best or worst still – blind faith – we saw this in the Obama campaign – droves of people jumping onboard the wagon of change – yet no one really bothered to ask the most cogent question: what conditions have to be obtained to effect change. Today when you ask most Americans about what they think about Obama and his land of milk and honey – most of them just make teeth sucking sounds and slink away preferring to talk about golf or baseball.
SO: OK, you’re not saying the public is stupid, but you’re saying things are complex these days and their understanding may lag behind. Elaborate on the why’s and how’s in relation to how the internet can be weaponized?
Darkness: Not quite SO. Bear me out. What you need to understand SO is the social and political events that determine our collective understanding as to subject A,B or C may well be beyond the public’s range of experience and expertise. This is not an indictment of the public psyche. Rather that’s how it has always been with us – when we talk about the idea of change. We need to be mindful most people have very little idea why or even how change may be effected, let alone dwell on the question of whether that which should be changed is even legitimate or for that matter good – you look at TKL, he promises change; but he doesn’t seem to be able to supply a cogent roadmap on how he is going to step out from the constitutional straight to bring about these so called changes. The same can be said of TT, he proclaims imperially: how can I just sit in one corner and suck my thumb in the face of emerging challenges, but when one reviews his track record one needs to suspend disbelief – the worrisome part SO, is no one has really bothered to ask TKL, “Hey, how the hell are you going to change the system?”
SO: Is this inability on the part of the public due to clever manipulation or is it just part and parcel of the human condition?
Darkness: I think it is a mixture of both. As a big chunk of the reason why there will always be a gulf that separates hopes and what can be reasonably delivered may well pivot on how a typical human being goes about fashioning his worldview – its essentially shaped by “maps” or “images” concerning what should be instead of what can be reasonably delivered under given a set of challenges, resources and constrains – as a result most of us, including myself, prefer to see the world with rose tinted glasses of how we wish it to be. Instead of what has to be or must be – its really a case of imagined right and not really a matter of empirical right. Therefore when we talk about political consciousness in the context of the internet one should at least recognize this does not pertain to the factual “environment” but to an intermediary “pseudo-environment” – take the case of the role of the President. Most constitutional lawyers will tell you straight off the cuff he has no executive powers beyond what the custodians of power demand of him – but this does not erase the fact, many still consider him the keeper of the nations conscience. Now this picture misleads. But my point is it precisely because the general public tends to simplify complex ideas that makes them especially supceptible to manipulation.
SO: Is this “manipulation” by design?
Darkness: In certain cases it must be – otherwise why should the PAP continue to exert their influence on the mainstream media? But then again the internet may also be able to exert a similar gravity to influence the masses. Take the case of Wayang Party aka Temasek Review – and ask yourself one simple question – why would a government sponsor a covert site that regularly throws stone at it? Seems counter intuitive and silly even; but if you factor in what I mentioned about how people in general tend to simplify things into digestable doggy bites – then it makes a whole load of sense. As the goal here to plant the idea in the psyche of the general public the internet is a place where lies galore proliferate. So in very simple terms TR exist for sole reason of keeping the status quo ante and revivifying the idea – the newspaper may well be the only bastion of truth out there, buy it! If you don’t want to end up in a cesspit of lies – this TR does very well with reverse psychology by provoking the “puih” factor in all of us who may believe TR is simply unbelievably believable – but if you really take a look at what is usually generated online – name me one site that is as feral as TR? You will not be able to find it. So don’t for one moment believe TR is there to push the idea there is freedom in the internet. They have a very clear cut agenda.
SO: Let me understand this, what you are saying is because the public in general do not have the aptitude or patience to bear out the technicalities of social and political discourse; that makes them perfect candidates for manipulation.
Darkness: Yes. But I am not talking about just the internet – what I am saying may just as well apply to the MSM. Or even a hybrid that comprises of internet and MSM narratives – whether we wish to admit this or not doesn’t erase the reality “news” comes to us very much in the way a show of meteors slams into a planet. This is fine if we happen to be watching a movie with loads of CGI or if we are just riveted to a football match on telly. Only that sort of haphazard way of making sense of the world doesn’t reliably produce good results when we apply it to something as serious as power and politics – no matter how you choose to cut or splice it; power and politics is really a massive geography that’s too big to fit into the brain of an average person – and this includes stupid moir. Now if you can buy into that idea that power and politics is indeed a complex structural idea that one needs to at least invest some reading on before one is able to form a coherent opinion – then it stands to reason what’s likely to happen when droves of people treat as if they are watching Sex and the City – the result is largely derangement, misunderstanding and misdirection – it gives me little pleasure to say this, but the average voter is at best a passive spectator sitting in the back row of a concert: he does not know what is happening or even why the story is unfolding in the way it is – in short, he lives in a world which he cannot see, understand let alone form a informed decision.
SO: If what you say is true then how can the internet possibly be weaponized?
Darkness: Its because the general public has a predilection to simplify complex ideas that its regularly able to make a mountain out of a molehill that’s how the internet regularly gets weaponized, the internet takes its cue from the tao of superglue, “a little goes a long way.”
SO: What you seem to be advocating Darkness is a means to prevent the internet from being weaponized – how would you do it?
Darkness: You’ve hit the nail on the head SO – but I have very clear ideas of the information versus conversation divide. If you asking me what’s the best way to prevent the internet from being weaponized in this PE. Then I say stage a US style slug out on live TV – where you have all the contenders presenting their respected points of views.
SO: what if the PAP says no?
Darkness: then none of us are wiser for it. You really need to go back to the idea, where I believe polities is not only information, but also a conversation. I think this will depend more on the outlook of the PEC. This cabbot be east.
SO: What about the mainstream press or academia? Can’t they do that?
Darkness: No can do. Whether in journalism or academia – nothing beats a live debate – that’s really the gold standard, if you really want to make an informed decision – the problem with academics who specialize in social media is they tend to hold themselves as more knowledgeable than journalists about the topics on which they comment or write and more circumspect about what others tell them amounts to a crock of shit. They may embody the form by seemingly testing their truths with relevant counterarguments and footnoted references, but what cannot be denied is usually, they tend to fit the facts around their assumptions and not the other way round as it should be – that’s because social media is not like engineering or medicine – there is a lot of room for improvisation – if I were to start life again; I don’t think, I’ve go into plantation – life is too hard – I’ve been a social media expert, that way I’ve just make it up as I go with the flow.
Journalists, on the other hand suffer from a failing that seems common to academics – only teasing out their coquetry and dalliance isn’t so staightforward. But netizens are good a ferreting out their toolkit, usually they (the journalist) treat anything as true if someone in a position of ostensible authority is willing to be say it. If no evidence is available for an argument a journalist can just all well use the famous get out of jail card set of words such as “it appears” or “someone said” to enable inclusion of the argument, no matter how crumbly it is. What’s more, too many journalists in Singapore believe that their job description requires them to adjudicate between competing claims of truth – there is no journalism in Singapore, only self profess judge, jury and executioners – that’s why so many view the newspapers and even academics in Singapore with what I may add as a healthy dose of askance. Trust me, you can never underestimate the use of a dung fork when you deal with these two clowns.
The way I see it – go for the gold standard, put TKL and TT in a full frontal debate before an audience. No notes. No prepared speeches. Just do it like the way we ace it in Primus. As for TCB entice him with a foreign posting as a honorary consul to Siberia – that way he can familiarize himself with what is and is not a Marxist by visiting those gulags.
SO: Tell me, if there happens to be an American style Presidential debate, what question will you ask TKL?
Darkness: Who bakes your shirt? Because they all look like shit.
SO: And TT?
Darkness: What car polish do you use for your head – because I cant seem to get my hair to shine like yours – for goodness sake I have dandruff. Is it snowing here SO?
SO: Could be the jungle gets really cold at night. Another shot of this double malt whisky?
Darkness: Hit me again! Come to think of it, make it a double.
This interview has been transmitted by the Mexican Starcruiser – KDD General Santos – The Brotherhood Press 2011
July 6, 2011
Scientific Officer from the ASDF: TKL is applying for a certificate of elligibility under the basis that he is “in any other similar or comparable position of seniority and responsibility in any other organization or department of equivalent size or complexity in the public or private sector which, in the opinion of the Presidential Elections Committee, has given him such experience and ability in administering and managing financial affairs….
Darkness: Stop SO, you are giving me an earache. I thought we were supposed to have an intelligent conversation? You’re supposed to assess whether I am sane or raving mad remember?
SO: OK, what’s your take on the latest twist?
Darkness: First of all, I would have to say, it’s a great pre-emptive move. He’s covering all the bases to prevent a TKO. But even that may not be enough SO.
SO: Elaborate. I am recording this btw.
Darkness: SO do you believe that within ANY hegemony; there might be the possibility of another hegemony?
SO: Sure, we are a bit like that. We have a generic idea of the brotherhood. But within that general idea, there are labyrinths of what many define as the brotherhood.
Darkness: Close SO. Now consider this. When we look at the PAP. What do we really see. Outside the holy of holies, all we really see is a homogenized political organization. But that picture misleads – as in reality, its really like an éclair. You have the outside and the inner core – now in every hegemony, it’s those within the inner core, the 20% who make the decision for the rest of the 80%. And this leads us to the theoretical possibility whether those decision makers at the core are really comfortable with the idea of TKL running for the EP. If they are, then he is in the race. But if they aren’t, then I really don’t see him getting a ticket. Its really as simple as that.
SO: What do you think is in the mind of the decision makers in the inner core
Darkness: Confused? I mean let’s look at the hard facts. Firstly, their radar is all busted up – it couldn’t even detect an incoming,the size of Sentosa hitting them in the square in the nose during the general elections. On top of that they may have to consider the possibility, their entire grassroot network needs to be retooled, because they don’t seem to be able to feel the pulse of the nation either. As it is, they are at best fair and at worst a liability. And finally, there is always the fear of unknown.
Darkness: No the internet. They don’t know how to get a handle on it.
SO: What about Temasek review? I thought you said these were covert sites.
Darkness: What about Wayang Party? The way I see it. These people were probably given the same loose mandate like SETI. You know that organization in the US where derelict academics who still live with their parents end up. Those guys are responsible for tracking the night sky for little green men – I don’t think anyone has really sat down and worked out a clear cut mission for Temasek Review except maybe using it as a septic tank to gather all sorts of useless information from the internet. Besides, if they want to use TR as a means of engineering consent; it’s not that easy – that’s a hard act to pull off SO – as TR has branded itself by design or sheer stupidity as a fiercely anti establishment blog – so if they suddenly do a 180 degree and start shoveling shit on TKL, that’s bound to raise questions – besides these people don’t have any experience in that area – it would take them at least a minimum of 5 years to be able manipulate information confidently and at least another 10 years to win over the decision makers in the political apparatus to get someone to sign off on such a mission. There is always a danger – if TR goes down that road, they may just embody the very form that they are hoping to avert. I think its fair to say, TR will be asked to sit this one out. I really don’t see them playing a key role in engineering consent, the risk of getting it wrong is simply too high. Besides SO you are forgetting one thing – those decisionmakers in the inner circle all seem to be afflicted with one common delusion – their assessment of the Singaporean intellect is insufferably cheerful.
SO: Insufferably cheerful? Strange choice of words.
Darkness: Yes strange because we are after all talking about strange people who have had it their way all the time. But back to the point SO, to paraphrase, they actually believe, if we give you a person who we believe to be a good candidate, there is no way in which he will be rejected.
SO: But you think differently?
Darkness: Not really. I am a realist. I happen to believe this is a rather entrenched Singaporean outlook. That could account for why they are leveraging on it now. Under normal conditions – their theory will past into reality with very little friction. The really important question is whether those waxworks will do something stupid to create a general distrust of the large-scale political apparatus. And the follow up question if this scenario plays out is whether that wave of discontentment will somehow find a means of expression in the internet only to snowball.
SO: And what happens if that those priori conditions exist.
Darkness: The Internet will weaponized and it will acquire the agency of power by taking the shape and form of a wonder weapon.
SO: So TKL will win by a landslide
Darkness: No, I didn’t say that – just because something has the agency of power, doesn’t mean that it will acquire that power to change things. What everyone seems to discount is the power of the apparatus of mass assimilation – by this I refer to the mainstream press. It is easy to trump the idea, the idea the internet has somehow managed to supplant the power of the MSM. I don’t deny there is skepticism and perhaps even the idea of late, we can no longer trust the tradition figures of authority – nonetheless, you are forgetting that the MSM remains a force to be reckoned with. Not because what they offer the truth. But they have the ability to saturate the consciousness – I call this mental carpet bombing. Granted it’s primitive, but it works. And that strategy should never be underestimated. There is one caveat. The internet must not be weaponized – care and attention should be directed to ensuring this – as if we pit the internet against the MSM in the case of the president elections – I have no doubt that the MSM will emerge the winner.
SO: You don’t have much faith in the internet Darkness.
Darkness: Consider this SO. We all like to believe the internet is populated by an ecletic class of enlightened readers and writers – who from time to time seem to be able to loose a dozen or so poisoned arrows at officialdom. The only problem with this theory is, no such class exist in sufficient numbers to effect linear change, not in Singapore or for that matter any part of the world.
Do you have any idea how many people actually read social political blogs? Well less than 15,000 and when you winnow this number down to those who can synthesize information – we are talking about less than maybe 1,000 people. Now compare this with some of my toe curling sappy love stories, where the readership runs into over 100,000 – I hate to burst your bubble SO, but the truth of the matter is society is generally vapid and devoid of all depth – most people are like quiessential Sumiko Tan. They are really only interested in what Lady GaGa is sporting on a Sunday afternoon after a session of tangled sheets and what brand of handbag she is toting – that’s it. There is no da Vinci code there. Why do you think Mr Brown and Xiaxue is so popular?
SO: You used the term linear change – elaborate.
Darkness: When I use to the term linear change – I am being very specific here; it’s the direct opposite of random and unexpected change – if you look at most causal factors for change they are rarely if ever linear. Most are invariably random – that means they occur within a span of 24 hours and this is usually followed by the socially and politically precipitous event. Usually the causal factors accounting for this random change may have little or nothing to do with the main ethos that is held by the adherents seeking change – take the case of the French revolution, history books wax lyrical, it was the excesses of the aristocrats that broke the bough; but a closer reading suggest it was sparked by a little misunderstanding concerning a canon point at St. Antoine from the Bastille, that’s somewhere in the 4th arrondisment – I think. But what really triggered the march to Versailles, was when the Swiss guards who manned the fort were delivered their rations of bread and booze – an argument broke out about bread, the commandant said no and shots rented out – by the time the nation were marching with their dung forks towards Versailles, those intellectuals were climbing out beneath their beds. My point is they didn’t have the slightest inkling what was really going on – they were just there to flesh out the morsel justification – my point is no one was really staged managed this entire precipitous event – it occurred randomly. You could say the same thing about the Jasmine revolution – my point is it’s a fallacy to assume that change is necessarily driven by ideology. In most cases its driven by the real or imagined perception that those who hold the reins of power are bent and rigging the system – and that’s bound to trigger a very strong backlash of sorts, where ordinary folk believe its their duty to set the crooked system right by whatever means – and where do you think they will go to do this in straight jacketed Singapore?
SO: The internet – I see what you mean by randomness. So what’s the solution?
Darkness: I know this may appear counter intuitive. But the best way to prevent a situation where the internet may suddenly find itself inadvertently weaponized. And the key word here is “inadvertent,” because I don’t believe for one moment, there is some mavelovent force that is able to control the internet – it may be a good idea for the custodians of power to grant TKL a ticket to contest and to proceed with this whole elections in an above board manner; no trap doors, no smear campaigns, no harrying, no hobbling – just keep it fair and square – you know the best man wins the day that kinda thing. That may sound like a great leap of faith especially when you consider the mentality of those who hold the reins of power. But if the goal is to avert the sort of randomness from triggering a backlash from the internet – they may not have a choice but to buy into such an idea.
SO: If that is the case TLK will win and TT will lose.
Darkness: SO you’re missing the whole point of this conversation – it’s the reverse. TKL will lose and TT will win. May seem inconceivable. But if you look at why the PAP seems to be losing at every bout – may well be their reticence to weave this into the way, they so often conduct politics.
SO: You are that certain.
Darkness: Providing care is taken not to weaponize the internet, that is. Mind you that’s a tall order as anything can be the proverbial tinderbox. It’s a wide geography that needs convergence. As no ingenuity in the world, can transform that outcome – I am even prepared to bet my entire oil palm estate for that case of whisky in your tent SO.
SO: what do you mean by “care is taken not to weaponize the internet?”
Darkness: Use your imagination SO.
This interview has been transmitted to the Strangelands by the Mexican Space station, KDD General Santos – The Brotherhood Press 2011.
Interview conducted @ 20139 Primus time / Somewhere in the Suriman Trail
Scientific Officer from the ASDF: Darkness by now you have digested the information on the 2011 GE. We want some of your feedback.
Darkness: Shoot away! There isn’t much to it.
SO: Prognosis on Aljunied results.
Darkness: Don’t complicate matters. What we have here is a classic case of neglect. I understand if GY et al believes this is some mysterious unstoppable force that the PAP was unable to annul. But then again, he has to believe in such claptrap if he wants a face saving exit from politics. Only I don’t buy his bullshit. The truth is he and his entire team were grossly derelict in a few key tasks. Firstly, he delegated too much of the intelligence gathering to the grassroots – he never bothered to check the intel. Secondly. He didn’t have a good feel of the ground. Till the eleventh hour when the enemy was standing at the gates. You can say what you want to say about Miss Tin, but from what I gathered that’s the right way to go when it comes to politics – you really need have your ears glued to the tracks.
That’s one reason why we have liaison officers in every node and hub in the galaxy. As soon as the threat of an insurrection surfaces; we are the first to register it. And that means, we can plan to interdict it.
SO: That’s a bit hard on George Yeo.
Darkness: That’s not a question SO. Can we move on.
SO: You blame the grassroot feedback system. Yet you seem to contradict yourself since you have repeated claimed sites such as Wayang Party aka Temasek Review and most recently The Satay Club also happen to be official feedback channels. How do you reconcile these contradictions?
Darkness: There is no contradiction. Firstly, I believe the people behind TR and SC are mutually exclusive from the grassroot network. There is no sharing of resources or for that matter intelligence. It’s conceivable both TR and SC are stand alone operations in their own right pursuing a mission that is completely unrelated with the political grass root activity. You should not be so presumptuous to believe these people have the intelligence to make sense of data. I don’t doubt TR probably have data coming out from every orifice. But I do not believe they know how to gainfully manipulate his reservoir of information to effectively crave up competitive advantage – what we have in TR is the equivalent of the rotten tomatoes brigade – their job is to highlight topical subjects and to register how many give the thumbs up and down. At the end of the day that doesn’t really tell you much about anything.
As for the grassroot network. Why they failed to register the groundswell of discontent is a far more interesting question. It could be many of the processes relating to the feedback process has been ritualized to such an extent, these people are really just going through the process without bothering to drill deeper. At this point I rather no speculate.
Darkness: It wouldn’t be wise. There are already so many theories floating around as to why the PAP came out of the ring with a bloody nose. You could point to anything from the aggressive immigration policies to even the generational divide – but let us start of with something we can all agree on – between those who believe too much and those who believe too little stands, the internet. This is something everyone can agree on, the internet has changed things. But even then I am not completely convinced the internet is the smoking gun – this is a very complex subject SO.
SO: What do you suggest?
Darkness: The only way is to simulate the whole event using a before, during and after timeline program – I know that will be very time consuming and perhaps even hit and miss; but at least we have a reliable means of winnowing what has operative and not.
SO: And what philosophy should govern such a simulation?
Darkness: We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Samuel Huntington’s Political Order in Changing Societies, was relevant 40 odd years ago as it is today. Say what you wish of Huntington; he was an alchemist and some even say a a connoisseur of catastrophes – but he was also one of the last breed of social scientists who really understood the linkages between political, economic and social change – and if you ask me why so many theories abound as to why the PAP was given a walloping – I think part of the reason has to be a climate of intellectual weakness to maintain this kind of discipline that Huntington once tried to capture – that’s why these days when one reads about various accounts of the dismal performance of the PAP in the 2011 GE, its really a matter of horses for courses – what I find disturbing SO is all these recounts sound convincing, but all of them without exception all suffer from a weakness of precision.
SO: Darkness you believe this is one reason why we have such difficulties, intellectually in keeping up with our contemporary world to supply an explanation as to why the 2011 GE turned out the way it did?
Darkness: Correct SO. Let me take some time to tell you why Huntington provides a reliable vantage to make sense of this political hubris – I want you to imagine yourself looking at a wreck of an airplane – all you see is charred cinders. But that’s because you don’t have a template – if for example, you happen to be an aeronautical engineer – then perhaps, you would be looking out for the set pieces – you know fuselage, engine 1 to 4, dorsal fins, undercarriage etc.
SO: I get what you are try to say – what you mean is we need to approach this whole study by first using some basic assumptions – a template, as you mentioned?
Darkness: Absolutely SO. Now lets move on, otherwise, its going to be a really boring conversation because we have been stuck here longer than I want too. The reason why I think Huntington may provide us all with a reliable Archimedean lens to make sense of what happened in the 2011 GE – was because he was the first to observe “the rich does not equal net happiness” paradox – you know the part where he noted high levels of political instability plaguing countries coupled with increasing levels of economic and social development often led to revolutions rather than a smooth transition to democracy. The reason, Huntington managed to successfully underscore was this SO – sooner or later when a country successfully goes down the road of economic prosperity and I am not talking specifically even about Singapore, a rift occurs between the hopes and expectations of newly mobilized classes and the existing political system – now we registered the same phenomenon in our own game SO. In the dawn of men, we were all fighting over land and resources. But in the age of the rocket, when we didn’t seem to have that problem of land scarcity any longer since everyone could just fly off and plant a flag on a planet to declare their own realm – what happened?
SO: We are still ended up fighting.
Darkness: Exactly SO. Now I wondered about this a lot SO. I mean I really wondered about it for so long that I even ran through footages of the key turning points that led up to this rift as Huntington noted between “hopes and aspirations.” And the main reason why all the shit was stirred up was simply because at some point when society progresses, there is bound to be a lag in institutionalized mechanism for political participation and stuff like. Now who are the biggest troublemakers who cause all the wars in our game SO?
SO: Pest like you Darkness.
Darkness: OK besides people like me, who else?
SO: The well off. They pay the intellectuals to cause trouble.
Darkness: Exactly. Now SO, you may not know this. But what we went through in our own game was empirical proof that Huntington’s theory made perfect sense – what he noted was the real agents of change weren’t the poorest of the poor – lets face it most of them are glued to TV most of the time; the real movers and shakers, just happens to be the middle classes who are frustrated by the lack of political and economic apertures – this could range from anything from having a voice to opportunities— now SO again this may seem like a eureka moment – but what Huntington was registering then was exactly the same phenomenon Tocqueville wrote about when he studied the anatomy of failure that led up to the French Revolution.
SO: OK, I am convinced. Where are those files?
Darkness: Which one’s, the ones that I wrote about our game?
Darkness: Its in the cargo bay of the Wallachia.
SO: And where did you park that boneshaker?
Darkness: Hey don’t get personal with me. The Wallachia is the only shuttle in the galaxy that can outrun Republican cruisers.
SO: OK, where is it?
Darkness: I crashed landed it in the planet D’ni – but to get there you need to use a worm hole – besides the cargo bay in the Wallachia is just the size of a room – and it uses an old fashioned key.
SO: And where is that key Darkness?
Darkness: Let me into the game SO and I’ve show you.
SO: Is this a trick Darkness?
This compressed transcript was intercepted by the Mexican Starcruiser – KDD General Santos at Primus Time 432409
July 3, 2011
This interview was conducted between Darkness and a psychologist dispatched by the ASDF. The objective of this interview is twofold: Firstly, to ascertain the mental state of Darkness. And secondly, to determine the effects (if any) arising from a prolonged period of internet denial by the subject. Since the subject has been disconnected from the internet from a period of nearly 8 months – the ASDF is interested to probe deeper how this may alter the perception of the subject in relation to a given set of objects of interest. (the rest of this preamble has been deleted and is ONLY reserved for the viewing purposes of the Council of the Wise. This interview has been conducted in accordance with the Arulliene Protocal.
Science Officer from the ASDF: What is your name?
Darkness: My name is Darkness.
SO: Your rank?
Darkness: No rank. I was kicked out of the Brotherhood remember?
SO: Just checking. Tell me Darkness. Do you wish to talk about anything in particular in this interview?
Darkness: Not particularly. Perhaps you can choose a topic.
SO: I noticed you have taken the trouble to fashion a book shelf. Why is that?
Darkness: Why do you consider it ludicrous?
SO: It’s just that books are heavy and it seems rather a waste to lug them all the way into the jungle.
Darkness: That’s because none of you idiots know those sakai’s (tribemen). Their women folk can carry 60 Kg on their heads and walk without any loss of kinetic energy for a good 10 kilometers a day. Much more efficient that your military backpacks.
SO: Even so. It seems odd Darkness….
Darkness: I don’t like your line of questioning SO. Please remember this is not Singapore. Please remember you are all my guest here! Do you see that dwarf standing in the doorway, one word and he can….
SO: No need for threats Darkness. Lets return to the subject of books. Tell me why did you really bring them all the way here to this god forsaken place?
Darkness: Actually I did consider throwing them away mid way. There was this time when we were travelling by river boat and those books were just too heavy. And there I was like an executioner trying to decide which books I show throw overboard. I started with the heavy tomes first. You see those two on top shelf. They must weigh a good 3 kilograms. But after thinking about this I began shaking my head and gradually came to realization I just couldn’t bear to part company with my friends. As I stacked my books high on the river bank, and weighed the odds of dumping two drums of diesel instead, it struck me that this scene might be incomprehensible. You know like that dry comic scene in Catch 22.
SO: The one about flying cotton to Alexandria?
Darkness: Exactly SO. Well I felt the same wave of irony. It was as if my friends were suddenly circled by a shoal of sharks and so I decided to dump the two cans of diesel instead and proceed by foot. On hindsight it was a pretty dumb decision. But at that point in time, you need to realize that I had already been disconnected from the internet for a good 3 months.
SO: According to your log it was 4 months and 12 days…what was going through your mind at that time Darkness?
Darkness: Yes somewhere around there. I know this seems crazy. But at that point in time, I felt as if that mental space had been reclaimed by my friends. You know those paper books. And I didn’t realize it before till them how much of that mental space had being eroded by what I can only describe as the Weapons of Mass Distraction that so often surrounds us all whenever we are logged on.
SO: Let me get this right. So you came to a realization that you could not part with your books because you actually believe that a part of you had somehow reconnected itself to this whole idea that you cannot exist without the paper book?
Darkness: No. You make it sound as if I am a technophobe. Or I am suggesting we all hammer our keyboards into ploughshares and return to an age when there is no such thing as the fiber optic cable. When I say, I sensed a diaspora of sorts. I meant to say It’s only when the last of my batteries ran out and I couldn’t connect that I realized: how excruciatingly difficult it was to read a book. I think we should use that as the starting point of this interview – because in that simple act of struggling it really shows why we need the physical book to survive and hints at how so much of ourselves have given in to the digital tsunami.
SO: You asked me not to call you an anti technologist and yet you seem to be saying everything that a technophobe would say. Please clarify.
Darkness: I understand. Let me put it this way. I am not against the whole idea of internet. I happen to love it to bits. Only when I reconnected with physical books again, I was able to discover things about myself that I never really considered important – for example, in those few weeks when I struggled to read I couldn’t quiet my mind to read – that’s when the thought hit me like a full metal jacketed bullet – reading itself is an act of resistance. Think about it SO. When a person reads, it’s an unnatural thing – that person would have to sit down to do it right – he would probably have to fight off the urge to look up at a pretty girl in a short skirt or something, then when he gets into the grove. He suddenly finds his thoughts wandering, imploring him to light another cigarette, take a leak or check for snakes underneath his bed. You know SO that sort of thing. I guess every reader who reconnects back to the idea of physical books will know what I am talking about – that unceasing encroachment into one’s mental space, the sense that there’s something out there that merits you putting down the book – when in fact it’s mostly a series of vignettes – like put down the book for what? To check my e-mail, tweet, facebook account etc – I mean when one takes a look at that sort of transaction – you could say, your flooded with information, but it has to be of such poor quality, because these doggy bites don’t really add up too much except maybe exacerbating our anxieties.
SO: So you see yourself as some crusader when you read paper books?
Darkness: I don’t like the way, you seem to be trivializing what I am saying here. I don’t really believe you understand the philosophy of what I am trying so fucking hard to forward here. And the worst part of it SO, it isn’t because you are dumb. Rather you prefer to distance yourself from what I am saying here. Correction: you need that distance in the way a cripple needs his wheelchair. Matters little to you SO whether limbs are truly necessary. You can take cold comfort in the idea wheels are kinetically more efficient than legs – till of course, you’re confronted with a flight of stairs…
SO: Stop it Darkness! You’re winding yourself up for no apparent reason. I want you to explain to me – what that idea of realization was when you reconnected with your books after logging out for so long from the internet.
Darkness: I don’t need to explain stupid. I think most of us have this sense of what I am talking about, if we are all kind enough to be honest with ourselves. Consider this, if you read a book with your iphone thrumming some in your pocket, it can feel like trying to read with a freight train in your brain. Go back to what I said about the whole idea of reading as an act of resistance – because that is precisely what it is. You need to slow down. You need mental dexterity and maybe some imagination – because books don’t have hyperlinks that allow you to jump from YouTube clips to perhaps the occasionally tangled sheets of online porn.
No, don’t misunderstand me. I think the internet is a great thing. But I also believe this whole idea of living in an ‘wired’ world happens to be an oxymoron – sure, you can live I guess, like houseflies come jump and land on 30 places in a minute – but somewhere in that frenetic dance – I just happen to believe something has to give.
SO: So what gives?
Darkness: Our understanding?
SO: Be more precise. Please elaborate further.
Darkness: SO, if you can buy into the idea that it takes roughly 1,500 pages to fill up War & Peace. And if you even take so much as one chapter or even a page out; that would somehow alter the story – then SO, you would also have to contend with the idea, if we can splice and scissor whole narratives relating to politics into doggy bites; then how could that convey the depth and contours of what we are trying to understand?
I don’t think people really understand how intricate books are, especially novels. Most people seem to regard reading these days as just an indolent pastime. They rather read dieting or self improvement books – my point is we have now reached a point – when we have somehow come to accept the idea of less is more as a socially acceptable idea. I mean think about it – why go through the bother of reading Anna Karenina in print when you could just as well find it in Manga comics. But go back to my point, where I mentioned reading is an act of resistance. And here’s the raison detre of the book – the paper book doesn’t have color, sound or any other form of stimulation that computers regularly offer – it gives it all to you without any bells and whistles; but paradoxically that may well be the only way for mankind to recruit the whole idea of deep concentration.
SO: How does concentrating help?
Darkness: Because most humans have a desire to engage in deep thought and deep concentration. If we don’t find these traits in people who we regularly meet; that doesn’t mean those desires do not exist. It just means, they haven’t really developed the muscles and flexible for deep spirited engagement. And lets face it, the internet can only churn out doggy bites – that’s fine, if all you desire is to learn how to fix your faulty faucet in Youtube. Nothing wrong with that – but if you think for one moment that you could somehow get wisdom to make a better world on just a diet of snacks instead of whole meals. Then I think, you have to be really stupid. I mean look here SO, the PAP is always tinkering for a way to fashion a credible response to the internet – and what do those numbskulls do? They ape the internet. That’s to say, they embody the form of the internet and they hope by doing so the content will somehow be able to transmute itself into a coherent thought somewhere in our brain – think about it SO, that’s a really dumb idea – that’s like saying you can spend twenty hours before the TV and somehow manage to understand the mind of Toltoy. Well it doesn’t work that way, because if you stand in the exit of every movie that has been abridged into a movie – you will always here hoards of people say, “the movie is not as good as the book!” And why is that SO?
SO: I don’t know…but go on any way Darkness.
Darkness: That’s because it takes a lot of effort to read a book. Sure, you can do that with a DVD machine – but your relationship with the world of images will always ultimately be that of a passive spectator. With any book, you are the co-writer, fleshing out the characters and set pieces as you go with the flow – that’s why I think if the PAP want to get their message across, they should go back to deep spirited narratives. You know the sort of boring write up’s that just goes on and on.
SO: That sounds counter intuitive Darkness?
Darkness: Not really SO. Consider this, if everyone out there from The Online Citizen right up to Temasek Review is serving up snacks –then it stands to reason. At some point people are going to want to dig deeper; that’s when they will really want to read more – but what do they do when there is nothing to read. The irony is of course instead of learning anything new, we may have to just learn to forget to get ahead. And that SO might well be a new trick that we may have to learn – forgetting what the Internet has taught us.
SO: Wellcome back Darkness.
(This interview has been recorded by the Chronicler of the Brotherhood – documented under the Chapter – The Suriman trail)
IMG Trans: “Requesting for airlift in the real world over.”
Controller: IMG Trans. Clarification sought, is this in the game or is it in the real world over.”
IMG Trans: “Real world Controller.”
Controller: “Rodger that! By the way, how is Darkness and the others?”
IMG Trans: “Send a priority message capsule ensigned urgent to the Council – send the following, HE IS WELL AND FINE. COMING BACK.”
Controller: “Rodger that.BTW IMG Trans can you take a few photos. All of us here are really curious over.”
IMG Trans: “Consider it done..anything else Controller?”
Controller: “There is a video message that has been sent by a certain Missy Dotty. Don’t know who she is. Not in game registry.”
IMG Trans: “Message capsule as Priority under my account.”
Controller: “Rodger that.”
IMG Trans: “Controller. Inform the Council to destroy the Sarah file.”
Controller: “IMG Trans. You’re kidding us right? We lined up a satelitte link just so Darkness could see. We even have a crew in Germany who haven’t slept for 3 days getting it all together.”
IMG Trans: “Cancel it. I will take full responsibility for it. Meanwhile get us all out from this God forsaken place!”
Controller: “Rodger that!”
Transmission intercepted from the KDD Californian and KDD Elbrus currently in orbit in the Adulliasian System somewhere in deep space – the Brotherhood Press / Primus time: 234972.
IMG Trans: That’s my considered opinion Council – Darkness is fit to represent us all in Munich. He is good to go!
Council of the Wise: Good that is very good!
IMG Trans: That’s only one thing they want.
Council of the Wise: What is it, this time?
IMG Trans: They all want to visit the Behn Meyer plant when they are in Germany.
Council of the Wise: What for?
IMG trans: It’s that or nothing.
Recent broken message sent from the Arullian System to Primus Aldentes Prime – cleared by the Space Station KDD Stalingrad / The Brotherhood Press 2011
3 stage Navigator: Do you think TKL will give the ruling party candidate TT a run for their money Darkness?
Darkness: Let us not jump the gun here Mr Navigator. You have made a few key assumptions, that I consider rash. Firstly, you seem to believe TKL will be given a certification of eligibility to contest the highest post in the land.
Granted the office of the President may well be only ceremonial. And the natural assumption harbored by many is it is really a role filled with primroses and parks signifying very little, except the crumbly idea – the President is somehow the keeper of the nations conscience. But as romantic as that idea may be that doesn’t discount the reality, the perception – he should have power, may actually confer upon him, a power in it’s own right. Truth is this, although the President cannot possibly step outside his constitutional straight jacket. He can still exert a very powerful gravity on how schools of thoughts and states of minds are shaped in relation to whole idea of statecraft. By that token, it is false to assume the role of the President is merely ceremonial. He may not yield power in the traditional sense, but since the context of that power is defined by the collective consciousness of so many who believe he should have power, that illusion has been magically transformed into reality – beware the President of Singapore, he is indeed a very very powerful figure. So this whole idea of whether TKL will even be given a COE has to take into account these realities which I have just described. Having said that I can fully understand why so many netizens automatically conclude TKL will be granted a COE. But they are at best naive and at worst ignorant of the affairs of power and politics.
Navigator: Darkness, we have to be clear. Pls note that I have to record what you say ad verbatim. If you don’t mind. I want to probe deeper to get a clearer picture Darkness – are you saying TKL will not be granted a certificate of eligibility?
Darkness: I do not think navigator. I know TKL will never be given a COE. And let me supply the reason why I harbor this conviction. You see it’s simple mathematics. The math of necessity that is. Lets begin by not taking the path of resistance. This may be hard to do as many netizens seem to suffer from the character defect of running with a point even before considering the baseline assumptions. Most people tend to take a presentist attitude when they broach this subject. This I can understand. That’s to say they fail to factor in the historicism and the chronology of events leading up to this race between TKL and TT. But let us just consider what has happened recently. George Yeo been booted out. Aljunied which was once considered a relatively strong PAP outpost has fallen and the results of the recent GE has more or less left the ruling party reeling as they try to feel their way across this landscape of shattered dreams. Against this backdrop, it is conceivable many within the ruling party may no longer have the appetite to run the risk of yet another setback. Many may not realize the magnitude of these recent events and how it may even come to color the whole idea of political risk taking under a given set of conditions. But, it’s probable as a less confident ruling party considers whether it is a good idea to allow TKL to run the gauntlet against TT. The psychology is one where the fear of losing will feature very prominently. You see it is really very easy to understand this Mr Navigator. Imagine the PAP as a trembling rabbit before a poisonous snake. I don’t believe they have even reached a coherent realization as to why or how they have managed to lose so much ground. Yes, they can point to this or that factor, rising cost of living, the influx of foreigners, the skyrocketing price of real estate etc. But what really confounds them if we boil all these anxieties down is their inability to understand how the Internet has been weaponized to deliver a blow to their broadside. This has to be scary. If it happened to us, many will not be able to sleep. And we are only an entity that exist within the confines of a game. How much more will this fears be if it is played out in the very real world of power and politics where the payouts and penalties are immeasurably higher? Do you understand what I am saying Mr Navigator? So this idea of TKL running for the office of President is really still very much a moot point.
Navigator: So you are saying that the Government will never run the risk of relinquishing power by allowing TKL to run for the office of the President? But will this not create a backlash from the Internet?
Darkness: Either way Mr Navigator if you asses the payouts and penalties – pain is inevitable. The $64 million question is whether the PAP considers the suffering generated by that pain optional? I do not believe for one moment, they are in a position to bear any more setbacks and disappointments. The DNA of the PAP is very much like the will of a man who is unaccustomed to seeing their plans pass from the realm of theory to reality without too much fuss. That has to breed a sort of complacency. Neither have they cultivated the core competencies to effectively control the ebb and flow of opinions emanating from the Internet. They may have Potemkin sites such as Wayang Party aka Temasek Review and recently Satay Club around, but these are just like giant radio dishes – they get loads of data, but so as long as they don’t know how to make sense of these reams of information – they are none the wiser. And this naturally sharpens their sense of fear even more. So I really don’t see them running the risk. You could say if they don’t allow TKL to contest, they are inadvertently fashioning TKL as a cause celebre of the Internet. But you all fail to recognize even if they allow him to run, it is conceivable at some point in the race, there is a real possibility many especially netizens will seen TKL as their de facto preferred agent of change as opposed to TT, who is just there to perpetuate the old moribund system of class politics. So either way you cut it, it’s lose lose Gentlemen – and that means at some point, they have to contend themselves with only losing big or small.
I don’t believe TKL will be allowed to contest. The risk are simply too high for the PAP to bear. Against this swirl of confusion, they are likely to bite the bullet and even run the risk of being labelled as bent or crooked by staging a one horse race. That way they will win. You may say this is not fair. But fairness has nothing to do with it. That’s really how politics has to be conducted, if the imperative is to win.
Navigator: Darkness, what if you are wrong Darkness? What if he is allowed to run?
Darkness: If, If and If doesn’t make for possibilities. And even if they managed to amount to such, surely they can’t possibly add up to probabilities.
Let’s just see.
Interview conducted between Darkness and a representative of the Interdpacing Mercantile Guild somewhere along the deeply forested area known as the Suriman trail – The Brotherhood Press 2011
Navigator: Darkness, we have orders to bring you back.
Navigator: The Council feels it’s high time you gave up this jungle book jaunt and return. Darkness I bear the seals of the four houses.
Darkness: Come on Mr Navigator. Not to night. Let’s discuss that tomorrow when we are all sober. Besides the whisky flows clear and sweet here in the jungle night.
Navigator: Darkness, come back. 8 months is way too long.
Navigator: Darkness do you remember someone by the name of Missy Dotty?
Navigator: She asked me to give you this. We brought it all this way.
Darkness: My violin…yes, I remember, we used to make good music together, me and Missy, very good music Mr Navigator, I remember now. Mr Navigator tell me something.
Navigator: Yes Darkness.
Darkness: Have you ever heard music that ever made you cry?
Navigator: Come back Darkness. This jungle expedition…it’s a failure…come back.
Recorded very recently somewhere in the Suriman trail / conversation intercepted by the Qatari Space Station KDD Tallimanakham – The Brotherhood Press 2011