Doctor, there is an angry man waiting in the lobby with a dog.

What’s his problem?

I don’t think there is anything wrong with him. It’s his dog, it’s got a busted leg. 

Tell him I am not a vet. We don’t do animals here.

That’s what we have all been trying to tell him. But he told us that you owe him and he wants to cash out his IOU on the dog. Something to do with some war that both of you fought in. The Ascen something or rather.

The Ascension wars?

Yes, thats right. The Ascension Wars. He said something about pulling you out from a burning spaceship in the nick of time just before it exploded. I didn’t know you were in the air force Doctor? Coming to think of it, when were we ever at war?

That’s a very long story nurse. Besides that happened 250 billion light years from Earth.

250 billion light years from our planet! What are you talking about Doctor? You’re starting to talk like that nutcase.

Let’s all try to be professional about this. And let’s leave name calling aside for the moment nurse – could you kindly show Darkness and his dog in please.

The Suriman Tales – The Brotherhood Press 2011 

  

Let me be perfectly honest with you…is it Mr third stage Navigator?

Let’s just dispense with the formalities. You can call me Navee. Why don’t you begin by sharing with me the exact nature of your problem.

You see it’s like this Navee. I really don’t know how to deliver your message to the decision makers. I am not shitting you Navee. I don’t even know where to begin – without coming across as a bloody fool that is. You see its like this Navee. You guys don’t even have a physical presence! You don’t even have a postal address! All you have is an imaginary HQ called Primus Aldentes Prime, that just happens to be like a man made death star. You know like the one in that movie……

Star Wars?

Exactly Navee. Look here, let me introduce you to someone higher up the food chain and maybe you can convince him?

Thats not necessary. As far as we are concerned the message has already been delivered. Look here, you’re new at this so let me give you a crash course on how this usually goes down – consider this, someone in the food chain comes across the transcript of this conversation – now that person, who I imagine is in all likelihood a bottom feeder is probably going to say to himself when he comes across our cloak and dagger tete a tete- “hello, hello, what do we have here?” In all probability, he’s not going to run the risk of being accused of sleeping on the job, as what’s written here may very well turn out to be kosher intelligence then again, it could be smoke and mirrors – but my point is, that bottom feeder is not going to just keep it in the KIV tray - so what will probably happen is, he would refer it to his superior and so on and so forth – that’s how it usually goes up the food chain to finally find the man who signs off on the Bukit Bintang Sentral MRT deal.

You people have done this before haven’t you?

Let’s just say, we prefer quiet diplomacy to standing up on a soap box and shouting at the top of our voice to get heard. Don’t you think that’s a better way to respect ones friends?

  

I want you to understand one thing. No, I am sorry. I meant. I want you to convey this to your masters. You may lose the next general elections in Malaysia.

Is that so. Why?

You see it is very simple actually. Let me explain this to you like a baby. Are you aware that your government currently has plans to gobble up a row of old shophouses in Jalan Bukit Bintang?

I wouldn’t use the word gobble, if I were you. You are correct. There are plans to acquire shophouses under the land acquisition act. But you have to understand, this is to make way for a new MRT station to meet the public transportation demands of urbanites in KL. In what way does a couple to shophouses affect the interest of the Brotherhood? I fail to understand.

Tell me something. What sits on top of this train station?

I see what what you are getting at? There will be a mall and office spaces. It’s after all prime real estate.

Then may I ask, are you going to compensate these small landowners equitably? That’s to say, are you people going to pay them market rate for those properties? Since building a train station seems to be the last thing in your mind. Let me speak off the record, we all know that this is just one way for you chaps to grab prime real estate.

What if we decide not too?

Oh, if you do that, then we may have a very serious problem – now do you see why I said earlier, that you people may lose the next general elections.

You people are delusional. How can a bunch of misfits. Who play online games possibly pose a threat to us?

Please calm down. I want you to understand, this is not personal, it’s business. Let me put it like this. There are around 2 million gamers in your country. Each one them ranges between the age of 14 to 45. Now let us say that each one of them has a social network numbering 10 to 12 people. This figure of course includes members of their families and their inner circle…….

Wait, wait…wait. I see where you’re coming from…. Oh my God! I see what you mean.

Yes, Oh my God is one way of putting it. I am so happy, we understand each other perfectly now. Our hope now is that your people who are in the business of building malls now understand why you cannot hide behind the national land acquisition Act to materialize your goals – please understand, we do not mind relocating our servers from these buildings. Only through the years, we have build up a very strong association with some of these shop owners – our only desire now is that your masters are internally persuaded that these small shop owners must be compensated along market rates and not be forced to foreclose under fire sale terms  - our hope now is that your people will finally see the wisdom that we have every intention of keeping our pact of neutrality with the government of the day.

May I ask what ties do you people have with these shop owners?

Let us just say that in the Brotherhood, we value friendship above all else. 

(Conversation between a third stage Guild Navigator and a undisclosed person held at 0845 somewhere in the vicinity of Bukit Bintang Malaysia – transcript captured by the mineral cruiser KDD Californian – the Brotherhood Press 2011)

 

A dog with a broken leg

August 27, 2011

Darkness: Eva, in the moment of my youth – I did something that has always colored my days.

Eva: I know. I read about it in your personal file.

Darkness: Let me finish please Eva. I left a man to die on a mountain .

Eva: No Darkness! You saved six men. You brought them down safely. You’re a hero Darkness.

Darkness: I don’t see it that way Eva – you see Eva, everything can be reasoned and rationalized – you could say I did it to save six other climbers. But I am not so sure that was the right thing to do. Not now Eva. You see Eva, I’ve had alot of time to think of over it – that’s why I’ve got to find a way to fix Milo. Right now everything tells me the best thing to do is cook Milo his favourite mutton goulash and when he is sound asleep put a bullet in his head. But I am not going to do that Eva.

Eva: What is the reason then?

Darkness: I need to believe Eva. I need to believe in a land called hope.

Suriman Tales 2011 – The Brotherhood Press 2011

Eva: Have you ever thought of returning back to Singapore?

Darkness: After here, then Honduras, Burma and Africa. Then maybe.

The Suriman Tales – The Brotherhood Press 2011

President Elections?

August 22, 2011

Eva: Seems like you people are going to have to make a very difficult decision with the coming Presidential elections – stick to the road that you have always known or decide to rediscover another way of doing things.

Darkness: Yes, yes, yes…Eva – now can we please set aside the pie in the sky and move on to more important things – do you like French windows?

Eva: Why? Yes of course. But…

Darkness: Okay, it’ settled then. Eva, you see that hill there next to that tall tree. I’ve just bought that piece of land. And I think its time for me to build a mansion on my plantation…smile Eva.

(The rest of this conversation has been deleted)

The Suriman Tales 2011

Darkness: Politicians all over the world love to put the blame of the London riots on run away welfarism; that’s given Eva. You could even say politicians have no choice but to buy into that sort of twisted logic. For starters, that sort of explanation absolves them from the responsibility of doing something or for that matter anything constructive, except maybe fold their arms and mutter something really self serving like ‘burn baby burn.’ And secondly, it automatically confers upon them the moral high ground to continue doing absolutely nothing – so it’s a farce Eva. I never ever invest myself into lies Eva.

Eva: So what’s the real cause smarty pants?

Darkness: Our way of life?

Eva: Why do you say “our”? It’s a European problem. 

Darkness: Eva you can only believe it is a European problem, if you deny the whole idea of globalization and the entire idea the vast majority of the world has already bought lock, stock and barrel into one method to deliver the good life. If the truth be known Eva, this isn’t so different from the whole idea of everyone in the neighborhood going into the same bookshop and buying the same cook book. It’s a global problem Eva-  globalisation, privatisation, consumerism, individualism and the ‘culture of greed’ essentially makes up the whole idea of the secret recipe that we all refer too as the milk and honey comfort food dish. Globalization and privatization created that paradox where the rich got richer and the poor steadily poorer as it condoned that corrosive idea cost is the primarily determinant everything else is really the stuff of details – but worst of all, globalization ravaged the brains of working-class, convincing them that they too could live like celebrities or royalty, so in a sense Eva, the riots are nothing more than a primitive attempt to mimic the conspicuous consumption of the rich and famous. 

Eva: Gordon Gecko once said ‘greed is good.’

Darkness: Eva, Mr Gecko was referring specifically to the Long Island crowd – sure Eva, greed is definitely good for a select few. But what about the whole idea of the common good? I mean where does the average Joe end up when corporate honcho’s and delusional politicians end up paying themselves creamy salaries and helium filled bonuses? What happens when basic necessities such as healthcare and transportation are privatized without regard to stagnating incomes and the prospects of having to live with lower wages? I mean all this goes back to what I said earlier. The riots are a bi-product of globalization and privatization – both these ideas are well and fine in moderation – but when they’re left to the vagaries of market forces. Then what invariably happens is, they warp both the social fabric and culture. No Eva greed is no bloody good for anything. 

Eva: So what do you see as a prescriptive cure for our times?

Darkness: Dignity of the deal Eva. May sound crazy Eva. But you know what that’s really the root cause – when folk feel shortchanged or worse still marginalized that’s really the spark that burns down the whole house – and that idea could well encompass a whole geography of motifs – could be the simple idea they don’t perceive that a certain politician deserves that salary because all he seems to do is rattle off excuses or even something like being able to get a seat on the bus after paying for a ticket – my point, is there has to be dignity in the whole transaction – it has to be able to pay homage to the whole idea of fairness. I mean, Eva if I wanted to dig a ditch in my land. I guess, I could use a tractor. But how will that serve the common good, if only one man benefits from the whole transaction – makes far more sense to pay 10 men from the local community to do the job. May be more expensive, but at the end of the day, you’re going to get less grief from the local community. Let me try to put it another way. Eva, nothing gives me the keenest pleasure than to give a man a good deal when he decides to do business with me. You could say, I like that feeling so much that it’s probably the only reason why I went into business. Having said that, from time to time, I like to get a good deal back in return. You know the type where I just feel completely satisfied with the transaction.

Eva: And what if you don’t get a good deal?

Darkness: That’s easy Eva. I’ve probably take to the streets.

The Suriman tales 2011 – the brotherhood press

Eva: Darkness, you don’t Facebook do you

Darkness: Nope. Don’t Twitter either.

Eva: Don’t you consider these technologies useful?

Darkness: Sure, they tell me it proved useful in Egypt and they might yet prove useful in Libya, but that’s like saying snow boots are useful in the tropics.  ‘Woke up, fed the dogs and dug two holes.’ What relevance is that to anyone Eva?

Eva: That’s social networking.

Darkness: What’s the bloody point Eva. Why not just throw a rack of lamb on the grill, open up a case of beer and have a real conversation with the people who you really want to network with? I don’t understand Eva.

Eva: That’s how people connect these days.

Darkness: Yes, Eva, there’s a lot of talk of a new techno class system these days  - those loonies actually believe in the not so distant future, the world will be divided between those who are neck deep in social networking and those who don’t. You know what Eva, I’m really not bothered by those classifications and I care even less about what type of human the rest of humanity will label me – all I know is, it’s pretty dumb to invest yourself in technology for nothing else but technologies sake – sure, social networking has definitely brought the spotlight on some people –  Nicole Seah for example is a good example of what can be done with the power of social networking.  But I hope the generations to come learn to be a little bit cynical and learn to drill deeper. Because when you have a real conversation with her, the only thing you will realize is she’s just a very empty person. She is no bloody good for anything. I wouldn’t even trust her with a shovel in my plantation – so who the fuck in their right frame of mind would even give two hoots whether she supports either Mickey Mouse or Tan Jay See as the next President? I mean you have to be really crazy to make a decision to vote for someone based on something you either saw, hear or simply just trawled from vignettes and sound bites in the social networking scene – Eva, that’s OK if just want to know whether it’s worthwhile to kill time watching that movie. But when it comes to really jugular decisions like marrying that girl, enrolling into a 4 year degree course, buying a house or starting a business – I really don’t think, you can ever bubble wrap yourself from human connections.

Eva: That’s the way the social networking game is played Darkness.

Darkness: Then it’s a pretty shitty game Eva and as I said, I don’t see the point. I rather be alone reading a good book.

The Suriman Tales

Eva: You know what Darkness. You’re a highly misunderstood chap I reckon. There is a soft side to you after all – you’re a softie when it comes to saving the planet.

Darkness: Eva, you Germans are all full of shit – there is absolutely nothing altruistic about this whole idea of using blow out tires as one way of improving the irrigation in my plantation – trust me Eva, if I could use dead bodies it would do just a well. But if you’re talking about the whole idea of selling the concept.

Eva: Concept???

Darkness: Yes Eva, there is money to be made here – so you can’t run away from the whole idea of having a concept.

Eva: And what would that be?

Darkness: Well first of all Eva. You have to buy into the remote possibility, the whole idea can’t be so different from a spitfire novel – you know the type that keeps you turning the pages beneath the sheets even when you know it’s going to knacker you the next day.

Eva: Yes, go on Darkness.

Darkness: Well first of all you need serenpidity. You can’t get anywhere without that. That’s closely followed by epiphany. And to top it all off, you make full use of the power of cute – that’s to say, a kid needs to feature beside the main protagonist.

Eva: What a bastard you are Darkness.

Darkness: Oh of course. You need the villian as well.

The Suriman Tales – The Brotherhood Press 2011

Cowboy towns

August 18, 2011

Eva: Your PM says the internet is a haven for cowboy towns.

Darkness: That doesn’t surprise me, bad carpenters usually blame their tools when they can’t seem to get things to fit properly. He is no exception. Coming to think of it Eva, why should he even be an exception?

Eva: Why, are you disappointed?

Darkness: Disappointment is a lovers word Eva. No, I just don’t see the point any longer. Insanity is defined as doing something again and again with the expectation of getting different results. Let’s just say, its time to shift gears and go where we choose to go. Besides whatever he has to say has absolutely no influence on either the trajectory or speed at which the internet will unfold. So I really don’t see anything compelling about what he has to say.

Eva: That’s it, no windbag rhapsodies about how, who or why?

Darkness: May sound like nothing, but trajectory and speed just happens to be everything and much more Eva. You see I know where the internet is heading – that’s to say, I can stand up on a soap box and talk about this subject for a good 2 hours without even peeling off the veneer of the deeper substrate – but he can’t do that, neither can his advisors – all they see is a blank wall with dots.

Eva: Elaborate please.

Darkness: I take the world as it is Eva and not what I expect it to be. I work and plan within those constrains and if any opportunities arise its usually what I make of it and not what I am waiting to come about – do you understand what I mean Eva?

Eva: What you’re saying is you accept the internet for what is it and you work with its strengths and weaknesses.

Darkness: Sort of, but you’ve missed out on one thing Eva.

Eva: What’s that?

Darkness: I can accept the idea the internet will never ever be a place that resembles anything we regularly see or experience in the real world – that doesn’t quite hit the spot – let me try again – I can accept the reality the internet will be what it is, the wild wild West.

Eva: Doesn’t that frighten you?

Darkness: Not really.If you look at the internet it’s really not so different from how the Sierra’s used to be when the first wagons scissored their way into the red indian territory – sure, you can say its hairy and you could even fear getting hurt or ending up 6 feet beneath the ground – my point is most of the risk can be effectively managed to create opportunities. I mean let’s get real Eva – where do you think we are? We are in the middle of the jungle. There is no running water, no gas, no law and order – but do you see anyone dying? I mean anyone could just come in here at night and take their chances like one of those high noon shot outs – if he pulls his gun out cleanly without blowing off his foot and aims it right – that man takes the high ground.

Eva: And you don’t consider that wrong?

Darkness: No. it may well be wrong Eva in the normative sense. Because you can say that’s not the best way to organize any society – but that’s just the way it is around here – I mean most people work with those constrains and make the best of the situation – that’s really all I am saying. We have to work with what we have and not what we wished we have. There is a world of difference Eva. For example, I can’t stop people from harassing me here from time to time. But I can make it darn expensive for them. And if you just keep the pressure up. A time will come when they will just say, “OK, this isn’t working out, let’s try happy families.” I think, the internet is not so different. One just needs to go through the grief and hope that somewhere in the tumble and grime, you get spitted out like a seed and emerge out from the other side.

Eva: So you feel that he hasn’t got the right attitude to succeed in a cowboy environment.

Darkness: That’s up to him and his crappy advisors to figure out. All I know is the internet is the new frontier and if history serves to tell us anything; all new frontiers attract the brightest and most agile to take to the high seas, Prairies or that place the Spaniards once called Terra Incognita – I don’t ever see the world or for that matter humanity negotiating around those realities.

The Suriman Tales – The Brotherhood Press 2011


Darkness: Eva, anyone who wants to do so can train his or her brain accept the unacceptable. Granted Eva, you could say in any given culture, few people will want to. And that’s to be expected. But my point is each one of us can be conditioned – the key word her is “can” Eva.

Eva: I really don’t see what this has to do with the whole idea of you going to your own bookclub. I am not going to sit here and listen to your fanciful excuses again.

Darkness: I don’t see the point Eva. I am happy here!

Eva: That’s the problem – how are you going to speak in Munich, if you haven’t touched base with real humans? You know what? I think you’re just scared of stepping into a room full of people discussing your works.

Darkness: OK, you win. I’ve go, but on one condition – I want the guilds to pay for my new technical diving mask.

Eva: You can be so childish sometimes. Alright, I can approve that without consulting them. So we have a deal?

Darkness: Yes, but I warn you Eva – for all I know I’ve probably be kicked or laughed out of my own book club.

Eva: Why?

Darkness: You’ve got to understand Eva, there were thousands of people who read what I regularly churned out – I mean, there were thousands of them. And one reason why I declined every single invitation to attend one of those horrid reading sessions was because I was mortified by the whole idea of someone looking at me and wondering to themselves – did it all come out from that fellow? I mean Eva, I don’t exactly have the persona or for that matter the face that goes down too well as a romantic fiction writer. You know its like a bit of a boxer collecting butterflies syndrome – the fit has never ever been right – besides those read clubs have morphed. Those people don’t bunch together these days to discuss what I once wrote – its become one of those really high class tea parties filled with erudite women. Any way I don’t have a clean shirt. And even then, if I had one – it will probably be the wrong color or prints.

Eva: Here.

Darkness: It’s pink.

Eva: You wanted to come across as a sensitive man – I am a trained psychologist. Now go and fetch your diving mask, but make sure you spend at least an hour there. Remember I’ve be watching you! Sit. I said sit, you need a haircut!

The Brotherhood Press 2011

Solitude

August 7, 2011

Darkness: Eva, there’s freedom in being alone with one’s thoughts. I know this may sound like the hermit’s almanac, but all I am saying Eva is diminish that solitude and we may even begin to doubt ourselves and even our sanity – for starters we wouldn’t really know what trully belongs to us or not. Do I really think a dollop of cream goes well iced Americano? Do I really like my eggs fried sun side up slightly runny? Look here, I am not saying that’s its not possible to arrive at one’s own opinion when one is marinating in the thoughts of others. Only Eva, it’s conceivable when we know no other way to live but in the company of others 24/7 – then it’s natural for our minds to lean ever so slightly, imperceptibly, towards a position that belongs to others and not our own – Eva, I could have gone into any other business in the world – but one reason why I really wanted to be a planter was to find myself again. You see I live only once and it would be sad, very sad indeed, if I knew everything and everyone, yet knoweth not the man in the mirror. In these few months, I’ve discovered many things about myself Eva some good and others that may require some reworking – my point is I don’t think I would have discovered so much about myself, if I am trying to be someone else or worse still pretending to be someone who I am not meant to be – do you see my point Eva? Anyway, I’ve be going for a few days into the interior of the jungle – stay here with Orpuk and the dogs – they will keep you safe – be good Eva. When I return, I promise to drive you to town buy a nice dress and we will have steak with lashings of wine – how’s that? Now be a good girl and eat your dinner and make sure you finish those veggies.

The Suriman Tales – The Brotherhood Press 2011

Eva: it’s a bloodbath Darkness.

Darkness: That’s good Eva, very good indeed. You know what Eva – I might just drive to town tomorrow and buy me a few stocks to commemorate the death of the global economy.

Eva: You’re crazy Darknesss, the market all tanked out and investors are helter skelter from Tokyo to Madrid – and you’re talking abt buying equities.

Darkness: It’s TT or TT.

Eva: What abt the others?

Darkness: Reasons will be found to disqualify them.

Eva: There would be an uproar in the online world.

Darkness: So what? These people dont have much choice – for starters, their radar is all busted – they couldnt even predict a broadside in the last GE – so I dont see them taking the risk this time in entrusting a rickety feedback system that’s really good to boot.

Eva: What about their feedback sites like TR?

Darkness: What abt them? They have data spewing out from every single orifice, but do they have the ability to make sense of it? Think Eva – the world is in for a rough ride this time; these people arent going to run the risk losing the ball – by hook or by crook, the system will be rigged to ensure a one horse race.

The Brotherhood Press 2010

Eva: How did you discover the Suriman Trail?

Darkness: I didn’t Eva, it found me.

Eva: Fiction!

Darkness: I am serious Eva. One day I chanced on a really old world war two transmitter.

Eva: You mean like the ones that spies use.

Darkness: Not really Eva, this one was disguised as a switch board. But let me just continue with the story – there I was wondering whether perhaps I could retrieve the last message that was sent out by this transmitter.

Eva: Is that possible?

Darkness: I wasn’t really suire Eva – that was one reason why I stripped the whole thing down to it’s bones – look, I am not going to bore you with the details – the long and short of it was this – there were three wheels in this machine, and each time the operator punched in a code, these wheels would turn and when that happened, it transmitted a coded message. So what I did was retrieve the last transmission by reversing those wheels.

Eva: What was the message.

Darkness: Let me show you Eva.

The Suriman Tales – The Brotherhood Press 2011

Eva: Orpuk tells me you are using chemical weapons against the animals in your estate!

Darkness: Do you mind Eva. I am shaving.

Eva: You’re naked!

Darkness: Calm down Eva. I’ve cooked you breakfast and I’ve show you what my solution to the invasion of the planet of the apes – you realize of course an army of monkeys flanked with boars have invaded the lower section of my estate?

Eva: OK.

The Suriman Tales – this excerpt has been intercepted and bounced by the deep space scientific cruiser KDD Arturo – The Brotherhood Press 2011

The Brotherhood Press 2011 – this excerpt has been proudly brought to you by both the ASDF and the Interspacing Mercantile Guild in conjunction with the Timberlinger Gessenschaft Guild based in Munich, Germany – Holovision was made entirely possible by the Mineral Class deep space stations – KDD Opportunity and KDD Liberati – The Brotherhood Press 2011

Strife

August 2, 2011

Eva: Is there a need to fight?

Darkness: Probably not – but you must understand this is not Singapore – this is the edge of the known world Eva. Folk here don’t just give respect for squat. Not especially when they see outsiders muscling into their operations – I can understand if they want to negotiate around that idea to gain an advantage. You just have to make it very expensive for them to take a slice of who you really are – I don’t see it as an issue of choice as it remains a fact of life – and what I am saying could well apply to relationships, office politics or how and where you wish to draw the line when it comes to having a purpose driven life with your church – you just need to draw that line and say these are the house rules and it’s not open to any negotiations. Sure they may poison my ground water, trees and even every single one of my dogs. But if you keep rachetting up the price. I think sooner or later they are just to going to say; this fish simply has too many bones, it just ain’t worth it.

Eva: And you think that’s the only way?

Darkness: Probably not Eva. But I just want you to believe me, when I say, nothing would give me the keenest pleasure for people to love me to bits around here; but if I can’t get that despite trying my level best – then I don’t really mind settling for second best idea.

Eva: And what’s that?

Darkness: Fear Eva.

Eva: So it’s true what they say, the devil lives on top of this hill.

Darkness: Probably Eva, but you’re talking to a man who thinks the whole idea of heaven is overrated.

The Suriman Tales – The Brotherhood Press 2011

Bye Bye Hansel

August 1, 2011

The Brotherhood Press 2011

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