There are no elites in the true sense of the word – if there is such thing as elitism, then it lies in only a select few who are trying to sell the masses that idea.

What about the Kennedy’s Darkness, they seem to be natural politicians, natural leaders even. Aren’t they elites?

Well they are also very good at attracting bullets and for some reason flying into the sea – so if you define elitism as cultivating the habit of dying an unnatural death, then they have to be elites, I guess Eva. The sooner we all realize what really makes up the innards of this mumbo jumbo, then better it will be for everyone – for one we wouldn’t just leave everything in the hands of a few – neither would we trust them completely, that in my view is not such a bad thing. The reverse side of the coin is simply this Eva, if we buy into the idea that there is such a thing as the cult of infallibility. Then dont be surprised one day, if you leave everything from rubbish disposal to how to raise your kids to these people; that would be well and fine, if the lines were drawn and set just there – the real problem is when you buy into that idea for even a tiny weeney bit; then don’t be surprised one fine day when you even need to raise your hands for a toilet break.

Darkness 2011

Yes Eva, they are in a real fix. However, you need to understand this is a self inflicted wound. Eva, things were not always like this in Singapore. Believe it or not, once upon a time, Singapore was a functioning democracy with all its appendages. You name it we had it, free press, unions and the full Monty – since Singapore was a British colony, during those days Parliament and the press were modeled along British lines – Parliament then was based loosely on the Westminster style debate – as for the press from what I can make of it, they were free to write anything they wanted.

The irony may well be, PAP could not possibly have rose to power if those conditions did not exist.

But there is a Faustian twist to this happy tale Eva, as I have barely begun my tale. When the PAP got their hands on the reins of power, they began dismantling all those features of democracy that had allowed them to ascend to power – the free press was ball gagged, unions were emasculated under the name of the common good – as for Parliament all the elan, panache and aplomb that we have come to associate with its early days was systematically eviscerated and replaced by a conveyor belt with a rubber stamp at the backend.

But here comes the kicker Eva – unbeknown to them, when those brainless wonders decided to do away with the free press and the Westminster style along with all the set pieces we commonly see in a functional democracy – what they inadvertently also threw out was the very raw material that would have allowed to prevail in the digital age – when we consider why the government seems to suffer an inexplicable failure of imagination to prevail in the digital age of today – the smoking gun must lie somewhere in our distant past – and this should prompt most thinking folk top consider whether something is lacking in the DNA that makes up the PAP. But before you can even understand this Eva – you must first entertain the implausibe Eva, that when you throw out something, it is conceivable you also lose something – that which you lose is usually not discernable in the early days, but lose it you will – there is something karmic here that we can al learn from great civilizations that has waxed and waned. For example, when one packs off the Westminster style of debate and replaces it with a rubber stamp government, then what invariably happens is complacency creeps in. Since Parliamentarians don’t need to spar like gladiators before an audience of their peers; they also don’t need to develop vital skill sets which would have put them in good stead to deal with many challenges brought forth by the advent of the digital age – they don’t need to think on their toes, neither do they see the value of managing conflict to effectively secure consensus – and since there is no free press pecking at them; Parliamentarians these days rarely see the value of managing themselves and others in such a way where they are able to create a positive public image – they say and do very much what they like. These days Singapore MP’s don’t even need to cultivate the vital skill sets to win their seats – all they have to do fasten their seat belts on the GRC magic carpet and someone will just carry them over the finishing line – and to top it all off, they are all paid creamy salaries that even makes the President of the United States look like a car jockey – now all this would been well and fine Eva if the PAP did not live in a world that is continually ravaged by the laws of change – superimpose all this that I have share with you on the digital landscape today and what do you end up with Eva?

In short what we have here is really a group of people who are totally inept to deal with the emerging challenges of the digital age – to paraphrase, it’s a bit like a bunch of cavenmen going up against the lines of the Roman army – the tragedy Eva is all this that we see today could have been easily avoided…very easily Eva, that’s really the epilogue that should make up the Singapore story.

Darkness 2011

The Suriman Tales – Brought to you by the Interspacing Mercantile Guild – The Brotherhood Press 2011. Do not forget to watch the full debate in the Imperium this coming Monday!

Darkness: Gentlemen, I don’t think we should waste our time debating this nonsense in the Imperium. As far as I am concerned the Singapore government can do anything it likes – that is the prerogative of any sovereign state and it’s really a matter that should be left to it’s legislature, executive and judiciary to sort out. Only they have to understand one condition so very clearly that there is no ambiguity concerning our views regarding this attempt to regulate the internet – otherwise, I believe the relationship between the government and netizens will continue to deteriorate.

If they want to legislate, they can, if anyone in blogosphere wants to buy into their manifesto or new rule book, then I don’t think we should stop them either -as I said, we should respect the views of others. Having said that, every netizen should also have the prerogative to say fuck off any regulation that is rolled out by any government. The internet is after all a free domain – it does not have any fixed geographical footprint – neither does it belong to any sovereign state – so we are very clear Gentlemen. As far as we are concerned we do not recognize any attempt to regulate the internet by any government, except maybe the right honorable Gentlemen who claims to represent the planet of the Apes ( laughter from the house). It is for this reason that I do not see why we should even waste time debating this whole matter. We can only sensibly debate the full implications of this latest development, if the Singapore government can first establish as a matter of law, they have the locus standi to legislate on the internet and secondly what they are doing is not ultra vires to existing laws and regulations that already exist in the virtual. As I see it, what they are doing is in direct contravention of the Arullian Protocal signed in the year 903992.

Let me reiterate our position once again providing the government of Singapore can establish as a matter of priori that they have every right to impose their views in the virtual with the force of law – then I don’t think we should waste time speculating whether this possible, the onus is really on them to establish this burden of prove. However, let me just say, I am not very optimistic that any government can even fulfill this burden of proof satisfactorily. They should not regard this matter as a fait accompli – they (the government of Singapore) should try to reason with netizens and use their flair to explain to others how and why they can regulate the internet – they should if possible even try to do the impossible by trying to explain satisfactorily to others how, if for instance, I decide to write an article in Stockholm and post it at 6.00 am Greenwich Mean time and I am somewhere in International waters in my plastic boat – then how is it possible that the government can even claim to have the right to regulate anything? Gentlemen, I think it’s fair to say this is unadulterated nonsense. Just as there is no snakes in Finland, we should not waste our time debating whether it is a good idea for any government to roll out a internet regulation. The onus is on them to establish this as a priori condition – I think we should give them a reasonable time to do this – once this period has lapsed, then I don’t think, our position towards this matter will change. Thank you Mr time keeper. Gentlemen can we now move on to more pressing issues?”

Darkness 2011 – a recent sitting in the Imperium in Primus Aldentes Prime – The Brotherhood Press 2011 – catch the full video in holovision.

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Controller: DZ01, please be informed, you are entering a restricted area. Please key in your access code.

Unidentified space vessel: We are not the DZ01. We represent the People’s Republic of China. We are on a peaceful voyage. The name of our vessel is the Tai Cheing. We repeat. We are on a scientific voyage.

Controller: DZ01, Please be informed your current heading will take you to the next stargate in sector 9210. Please be informed under the Arullian accord, if you do not provide us with an access code, you will have to stop all engines and stand by for boarding.

Unidentified space vessel: Stop our engines! We are a vessel from the People’s Republic of China.

Controller: DZ01. we acknowledge. Please be informed, you have 5 minutes to initiate forced evacuation of your vessel – we have just launched 3 turbina Photon Torpedoes – the estimate time of impact is 9 minutes and 26 seconds – a mercy vessel, the KDD Majestic will pick up any survivors. Message out.

Unidentified space vessel: Stop, please stop. We are on a peaceful scientific vessel. We are coming on a diplomatic mission.

Controller: DZ01. You have 8 minutes and 15 seconds to initiate a full evac.

Incident known as the Tai Cheing 0992 – no survivors were ever picked up from sector 16 – the chronicler of the Brotherhood -2011

Play from the bottom video upwards to ensure the correct sequence.

This video includes some of my thoughts concerning the issue of why I don’t believe the unit of measurement known as the GDP is a good indicator for the well being of a nation. I have also culled some of my experience concerning designing games to add flavor to the subject – I hope you all enjoy it.

Darkness 2011

This video is a condensed version of a speech delivered by Darkness of the Brotherhood recently in the Imperium in Primus Aldentes Prime to the Confederation of Underground gamers Internationale – The Brotherhood Press 2011

I’ve always wondered to myself why the price of basic necessities such as rice, flour, wheat, sugar and cooking oil surges – conventional wisdom suggest market forces may be furiously at work i.e the laws of demand and supply. However, this still doesn’t explain why surges in demand so often outstrip the supply that makes a nonsense of the shortfall – to put it another way, why does the price of let’s say wheat go up by over 40% if the Ukraine only accounts for less than 15% of the global wheat production ?
Makes no sense right? I am sure. No correction, I am certain speculation plays a dominant role in price surges – but what’s less certain is how when governments don’t take firm steps to allay the fears of consumers; all too often this triggers run away train price hikes.

Let me explain how the dooms day scenario pans out, there are essentially five stages:

1) Let’s take the case of rice (since Thailand is now transformed into the Venice of the East) – when most housewife’s hear about price hikes of rice – they’re probably going to brush it off as a kink in the global supply – most would probably switch temporarily to wheat based noodles or perhaps congee – the general attitude is, “ the price of rice has gone through the roof; I am going to switch to alternatives like bread and wheat based noodles to take the edge off till these prices normalize.”

2) One morning when both husband and wife and kiddies are dinning on mud cakes for breakfast – they read in our beloved daily rag that government isn’t really worried about these expected price hikes – why? Because the solution seems to be linked to GDP and the whole idea of earning more to off set these price hikes – hubby turns to wifey, he’s not so sure that he can make up the shortfall – his pessimism is based on the crushing reality, his salary hasn’t risen for the last 2 years and he doesn’t see this trend changing – since government has decided to leave the whole matter of price setting to the free market economy. It dawns on both husband and wife that it’s everyman for himself – hubby turns to wifey, his tone is unusual serious and that surprises her – “Get an extra sack of rice today, no get two, better still three.” Wifey exclaims, “ why?” Hubby replies, “there is no running away from rice, besides the price of rice is going to go up.”

3) When wifey is standing in line at NTUC, she notices everyone seems to be buying two or more packs of rice – the shelves look threadbare and even the staff aren’t sure when her favorite carbs are going to be replenish – that’s really the tipping point – when sufficient people believe that everyone is rushing to hoard more and more rice. People don’t hold back on their spending. They actually buy more to warehouse for the future when the prices will be even higher. Somewhere in the island, seated in some obscure cubicle – a bean counter, notices a funny trend forming in his computer terminal – the demand of money seems to be dropping and demand of products is rising. He’s not sure what’s happening, maybe it’s a computer glitch – he runs through the numbers again – and this time, he’s so certain that he barges into his bosses office – his boss, a man who has cultivated the fine art of playing Soduku secretly at work while being able to draw a comfy salary at the same time doesn’t want to be labeled a dead wood. Besides this is hot potato and he would be happiest to see the back end of this disturbing report – he escalates the matter to the treasury. Somewhere in the labyrinth of the treasury where human existence has been reduced to tabula data and faceless statistics, a scholar suggest, the cabinet should consider relieving the money shortage – the scholar summarises, it’s a no brainer the treasury isn’t printing enough money that must be the reason why the demand for money seems to be dropping. They print more money – soon a critical tipping point is breached where people start to realize that their money doesn’t seem to go a very long way. Infact, it’s getting smaller and smaller.

(4) During dinner when both wifey, hubby and baby are munching on frog congee – wifey turns to hubby, she recounts how the lamentable tale of how her grocery allowances doesn’t seem to be able to cover all the cracks that’s fast showing up – hubby who reads reckons he’s an economist and mathematician reasons – “our money is getting smaller and smaller, you should I buy anything now–just get rid of money because the longer we hold on to it the faster it’s going to depreciates.”

(5) Somewhere in the state machinery – the supply of money skyrockets, the demand plummets and price rises like a helium balloon. Production falls sharply, as more and more people try to get rid of their “valueless” money. By this stage red flags are showing up like mushrooms – the monetary system has broken down completely. This stage is also called Hyper-inflation and to put it another way, we have reached the cold and tepid landscape of a place called the empire of the bones.

Epilogue:

Why are we all in this shit hole? It’s because some brainless wonder believes the greatest way to solve food hikes is by earning more and boosting GDP.
End of story boys and girls, anyone for second helpings of tree bark congee and mud cakes?

Darkness 2011

$ from old stuff

October 13, 2011

I’ve managed to get some really old art nouvea furniture from a old estate bungalow. This is just a review of the items.

I want to sell them.

(1) Ruskin Sofa set – tropical hardword, mixture of teak and chingay timber – condition: good, comes with no cushions – selling price: 3,000 Imperiums.

(2) Art Decor clothes cabinet. Condition: Good. Price: 1,000 Imperiums.

(3) Bed spring set – with cast iron bracket – condition: excellent. I am willing to trade this for a passport to Project Entropia and new identity.

(4) 6 sets of dinning chairs – material: unknown – possibly mixture of mahogany and cherry wood – very interesting feature where the bottom part can be removed. – price: 200 Imperiums each – if you take all of them, I’ve throw in a full length art Nouvea full lenght mirror for free.

If you’re interested please come unarmed to Intaca – I’ve be in the backroom of the bar gambling as usual something around lunch time, primus time: 892001.

Many thanks.

The internet was born out of two different wombs Eva, one was from the top-down and the other bottom-up. Initially computers were developed only in military and government labs largely manned by men in white coats. Computation in those early days was largely a hard science nowhere near an art that it is today, with early computer companies such as IBM exuding a kind of metallic sheen of regimented dependability in order to appear seductive to their clients who were largely buying them to kill more Russians without having to think too hard. In the 1970s, the second womb of the internet gave birth to a small market emerging class hobbyist – I call this the “make do” generation – you could spot them ten miles away Eva – usually, they carried huge plastic bags filled with loads of duct tape, rubberbands and glue – these people believe you could build your own little black box and do all sorts of nifty things with it like automatically switch on a tape recording machine to spy on their girlfriends and creating innumerable ways to spot exams questions by using statistical analysis. That’s all the “make do” generation could do due to low processing power – they just made a whole lot of noise Eva – but that didn’t mean, they didn’t enjoy it – it was bliss Eva – as what they must have created then was nothing short of an alphabet.

Now are you following me Eva? Keep this tight. Latter on, these two halves collided with each other Eva somewhere in the 80’s – the top-down and bottom-up. At first it looked as if the “make do” folks would just belly up and die, as the first computer that rolled seemed to only induce migraine and one had to learn really complicated code just to do really simple stuff like jump from one paragraph to another – it was a nightmare Eva. But then something strange and wonderful happened, as more and more people got their hands on these home computers – they began to fashion their own language – what we see here is not so different from how in the game we made the transition from the dawn of man to the age of steel – they had begun to string sentences with alphabets – and this was the period when Internet start-ups sprouted like wild mushrooms. Most burnt out, but the few who survived exploded into tech icons like Apple and Microsoft – and since then what you have is the steady erosion of the top down IBM approach – I am not saying IBM is dead these days – they’re still doing really important things like using computers to put the lead into wooden shafts to make pencils – only when we talk about computers these days – it’s really the “make do” crowd who has won the day.

Now if you take the whole idea of this great clash of the titans between top down and bottom up – and superimpose it on the idea of government and citizenry – what you’re essentially seeing is the same dynamics – dreary top-down government institutions which used to rely on moribund command and control networks to perpetuate their hegemony and worldview are fast losing ground to the emerging worldview that’s regularly wordsmith in the internet by largely ordinary folk – currently, these bloggers and those who read their essays aren’t so different from those guys who belonged to the “make do” generation – there is a lot of room for improvisation here Eva – and that simply means Eva, one day, the sum of all the chatter we commonly find in the internet will evolve into a distinctive language in it’s own right – currently, if you ask anyone who is from the top down camp, he would probably classify these anti establishment voices as howls from the wilderness – there is no coherence to these thoughts, much of it is discursive, tangled and messy – my point is this could well be the new language that our internet has developed – you can say what A, B or C writes is anti-establishment – you may even categories it as only a state of mind or school of thought – but I don’t believe it’s just an opinion; it has to be much more than that Eva. It’s a language – and that attitude of opposition against the establishment may well qualify as the language that most netizens have learnt to speak with each other – I don’t think the government knows this, that could be one reason why despite their best efforts to turn the tide of collective opinion in the internet, like the old music business – they’re still hemorrhaging market share – they’re using the cold scalpel of logic to try to undo what’s essentially a language Eva – a set of similes, parlances, syntaxes that’s not so different from how I would communicate with Hansel, Richie, Milo or any of my dogs. This may be the reason why its counter productive to try to undo the anti establishment culture that has entrenched itself into the psyche of the internet. This idea may sound loopy and even certifiable, but think about it Eva, if we can all come to terms with the idea that computers grew up around these hobbyist machines and spawned the personal computer market – in the form of Apple and Microsoft. And this led to a gradual shift in the centre of gravity from the top down to the bottom up – then it’s conceivable when a critical mass of young and creative people with any sense of ambition are drawn to the internet, then what will invariably happen will also be a shift away from top down to bottom up – another way of putting it is this Eva, as time goes by, government will fade away, their voices will grow fainter and it’s only a matter of time when their magic will recede – whatever that will eventually replace this vacuum will have to come from that new zone somewhere from the depths of the bottom up.

Darkness 2011

Eva, do you want to know why leaders do the things they do – this is as simple Simon as it gets. Are you ready Eva?

Yes. Shot!

All leaders without a single exception – and this includes the mom’s baking committee, autocracies, dictatorships and even monarchies, gravitate towards the same set of goals. To me, they must have all gone to the same book shop to buy the same book – the goal is to stay in power and keep control over the money. Everything else is negotiable. But that in a nutshell is how politics is conducted when it comes to the whole idea of leadership, power and perpetuating the status quo ante.

That sounds logical, but how is this accomplished?

You’re not listening to me, the key phrase here is everything is negotiable, except the whole idea of staying in power. By this we may have to accept the idea of degrees by which leaders hold on to power. Of course, we can all seek out examples of repressive regimes that frequently exploit, imprison and brutalize their subjects to solicit compliance. Those are what I call the low class leaders. You can spot them ten miles away. What’s less clear are what I call the autocratic leaders – they are much more polished – but don’t be fooled by appearances – as when you strip it all down to the chassis what makes up the innards of their leadership machine, boils down to the same set pieces – only this time, these bent leaders often reward only a small class of loyalists—usually, the army, judges, an inner circle of technocrats, businessmen and of course those who can keep them in power. This ensures that the system never ever changes; if for any reason it changes, it’s only because those bent buggers have discovered a new way of accumulating wealth and more importantly concentrating it in a few hands – that’s one reason why I have never ever been comfortable with the idea of government jumping into bed with big business enterprise – sure they may justify the alliance in the name of synergy or whatever. But at the end of the day, what they’re essentially creating is a money making machine that benefits absolutely no one but a few. For example, I am a staunch critic of mindless privatization – I don’t disagree some enterprises may benefit from privatization as what it does is recruit the profit motive that will turn revivify the level of service and bring value to end users – I don’t however believe ALL enterprises fall into that category – take the example of public transport – now at first it makes perfect sense to privatize it. But that’s only because most people believe its possible to make money from moving people from A to B. I don’t buy into that idea. I happen to believe its a lousy business model. And what it creates instead is a moral hazard, one where the government owes a fiduciary duty of care to ensure the operator doesn’t go bankrupt – so essentially what you end up creating indirectly is a state hand out to the private sector. That’s fine if governments are willing to let’s say give food vouchers or electricity credits so that Ali Baba and his kids can munch on naan bread while watching Sesame street. But no, as soon as that proposition is floated, some idiot in Parliament cries out, that’s going to hollow out our backbone and make us all into spineless creepy crawlies. So what you have here Eva is a system that turns a blind eye to the moral hazard when it applies to big businesses, but when it comes to the ordinary Joe, it’s applied strictly with no possibility of widget room – that idea bothers me Eva.

Why?

Because when you think about it, the only reason why high cost is typically associated with public transportation or for that matter electricity is because bureaucrats rarely ask why are people travelling from A to B, or for that matter what is Mr A or B using that packet of electricity for? If they drilled deeper, then perhaps they might be able to factor it as an accounting cost. A better way of approaching this whole idea is to use a different accounting method – one that takes into account the indirect benefits when people are provided with a cheap and affordable means of moving from A to B. If these people had any imagination, they would not close the accounts at the point when the ticket is sold, but they would also extend it further by including other factors such as how a commuter would buy a cup of coffee, have a meal, watch a movie and maybe check into a motel for a quickie – you know indirect accounting. The same should apply to electricity – I see absolutely no benefit to the taxpayer, when power generation is outsourced to a firm like YTL. None whatsoever – and here again Governments should consider treating public transport and electricity as nothing more than essential services in the way we expect street lights to illuminate up a stretch of road or for that matter basic amenities such as public toilets, libraries, parks, drinking fountains etc. Of course some idiot down the road is going to ask, who is going to pay for all this – to which I would probably answer, what if the cost of moving from A to B is going to be so expensive that a couple has to think twice before they might even consider spending a night out in town – perhaps they would dine in a just watch a pirated video at home – now most people would probably say, there is nothing wrong about that. But what if enough people do this? Then shops will not be able to get enough patrons and if that goes on long enough the whole ecology of business is just going to pack up like a travelling circus. For too long governments have used a form of accounting that at best can only be described as medieval – that was fine in the old economy when wages kept up the cost of living. But these days, wages are not only stagnating some are even regressing and others have simply disappeared completely – and against this emerging challenge, I really cannot see how essential services such as public transport and electricity can remain in the dark ages where all they seem to do is pass the buck to the end user – that in my view is nothing short of state inspired extortion.

You sound almost sad in your last sentence Darkness.

Yes, Eva. if I knew that life was cut and dried, and there were these timeless lines of power and politics that featured in everyday life – I’ve probably, go into politics.

Why?

It has to be the closest thing to the best con job in town. I mean the very best Eva.

Will the one I love continue to love me, will my liver pack up when I hit 50? Will I suffer from Alzheimer in my twilight? Will I have enough money to last till my last breathe? Eva, when we ask why do people get up early in the morning, shave, put on a tie and spend 8 or more hours in their cubicle – it all comes down to these glossary of questions. But more often than not most of us may not realize that life is often full of unexpected surprises and the part that I still haven’t figured out is. A large chunk of it can’t really be explained – you know stuff, like the whole idea of synchronicity, destiny, karma and fate – some people want to know the future; others however don’t even want to know what’s at around the corner. I happen to be the latter. Some feel powerful when they know what destiny holds for them. I don’t, I mean, if I knew that I was going to be smothered to death while making love to one of those big boned German beer maidens – a whole of things is going to change in my life; for one I would avoid beer halls and probably avoid anything beyond D sized cups and stick to flat chested women – not only that Eva, I would probably insist on staying on top and so and so forth – the way I see it knowing your destiny doesn’t really do anything for me. I much prefer escaping destiny by remaining ignorant about what’s going to turn up in the next corner.

OK, so we are talking about destiny, fate and synchronicity – but tell me why do take this matter so seriously Darkness?

I mean it could all be real right Eva – now let me share with you something that may sound like a really bad reoccurring dream. But you’re got to bear in mind, everything that I am telling you right now is as real as me sitting right here now and having a conversation with you. Are you ready Eva?

Yes, go on Darkness.

OK, there was this time, when I kept chancing on this person – you know it wasn’t as if I knew him or anything. But it just seemed, we always found ourselves either in the same train carriage, queue or building. At first I brushed it off by reassuring myself, “Singapore is a small place. You’re bound to bump into the same faces all the time.” Having said that, why haven’t I bumped into some people who I either lost contact with or owed me money? I mean it seems strange right? That I should keep chancing on the same fellow. So one day, I just when up to him and asked him point blank, “Are you following me? I just want you to know that I have a black belt in Karate and I can kill a man with a spoon.” To cut a long story short, we decided to sit down in this café and exchange notes – as it turned out, he was a stock broker and quite a reasonable bloke. But what’s telling in this conversation is we had absolutely nothing in common – he stayed in the South, I in the East and we had absolutely nothing in common in every sense of the word. At the end of it, we came up with a sort of gentlemen’s agreement. We both agreed to change our daily schedules, that’s to say Eva, we both wanted to change destiny so that we would avoid bumping into each other.

I am really sorry Darkness, but I cant for the life of me imagine two grown men sitting down over coffee and having such a childish conversation.

Just bear me out Eva – I understand if you’re probably having some problems understanding why two reasonably intelligent men would sit down in Starbucks for a full hour and come up with a plan to avoid the other. Truth of the matter is, both of us were pretty spooked by this whatever you what to call it. None of us mentioned it directly, but trust me when I say thought the conversation went as well as it could, or better, given that none of us admitted that there was some mysterious force at work that mistook us for gay people whose destiny was to fuck each other – anyway to cut to the chase, it was just incredibly spooky and we really wanted to see the back end of this twilight zone series.

So what happened Darkness?

Nothing changed Eva. We still ended up bumping into each other. You could say we were now bumping into each other so often by this time that we no longer really thought about it – it just became a fixture of life.

Go on.

Eva, there was this one time, when we paused and looked at each other across the two lamppost somewhere in Bugis. I know this may sound odd, but then again maybe both of us encountered a moment of epiphany, one where we both realized this was how it was going to be for now and possibly forever. So we had a drink. Eventually we became friends – and through that period of friendship, I saw him battle cancer, saw him marrying late in life, raising three kids, gripping about not earning enough and so on and so forth.
Now hold on. Is there a moral to this story Darkness?

Perhaps Eva, the only way to escape your fate is just surrender yourself to it.

The Suriman Tales – The Brotherhood Press 2011 – this conversation has been captured by an auto-bot and transmitted by the Niberian Class Starcruiser KDD Preatoria – brought to you by the Interspacing Mercantile Guild – The Brotherhood Press 2011

The demise of Steve Jobs has left in its wake a host of questions in this house gentlemen: for many it has propelled the whole notion of innovation and creativity beyond the cliché. As for the perceptive observer of tech developments, it has stirred a fury of discussions on the whole idea of whether we are really going about the business of creating competitive advantage in the right way.
Sitting here as I have done and listening to the various speakers. One should or shall I say must be prompted to ask: why do we continue to show a poverty of ambition when it comes to innovation and creativity?
My theory is this Gentlemen. The flaw must reside somewhere in our social and cultural DNA. Since time in memorial the culture of business has become encrusted with certain myths that has managed to graft themselves with our collective consciousness – one could even as these days, they have come to pass as even conventional wisdom – the one which I consider a solvent to the whole idea of innovation and creativity; and by this I do not refer to not only the business of churning out mesmerizing gizmos that continues to titillate consumer demand. But also the idea of how governments should relate to citizens and beyond.
Gentlemen I will not mince my words here: what I consider to be travesty of reason and ineptitude is how we have allowed the architects of our elite culture to successfully define and sell us all the whole idea of success – I have no doubt these custodians of power may have been driven by altruistic goals. However, I am also aware, the manner by which they have set the trajectory to achieve excellence may well be wrong.
Allow me to explain. Most of you in this house were scripted to paper chase; by the time most of you hit 30; you may have more options that’s when you will probably begin mulling over the largesse of your stock options and spend most of your time trying to figure out how to get that office with the sea view; by 40, most of you have probably come to terms to with the fragility of your own mortality – trust me, short sightedness and teeth which were never meant to be used beyond 30 has a way of humbling a man down – you worry about whether you have enough set aside for that once in a lifetime operation. Or whether your kids will be able to make it to college without causing cancer of the wallet. At the same that’s also the period when you believe that it’s high time for you to pick up golf or some other expensive horizontal hobbies like keeping a mistress on the side – in other words gentlemen life proceeds very much in a linear fashion.
Some of you may say there is nothing wrong with this image as what it represents may well be the timeless and universal life cycle of any hard working salary man – my point is that idea didn’t come from deep inside you – it was scripted somewhere into your head at a very age – and if that’s not bad enough that message is subconsciously repeated like a broken record till it has permeated the ground water of our being that we have grown so accustomed to this taste – that we fail to take note of the cogent: this is nothing more than an acquired taste. That my friends is the real problem.
I am not saying this road is a dead end, sure you can tear across it and I am sure if you keep to the first gear to stick to the yellow bricks, judging from the number of dead wood here – it may even work out well. The problem that is seldom asked: what if everyone aspires to only this populist belief of what it means to be successful? To paraphrase, what if everyone just wants to get into Lee Kuan Yew & Co, instead of winging it on the high road to end like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Lee Kah Shin? There my friends sums up of our plight. As I can think of no other way to successfully obliterate the spirit of innovation and creativity.
And this brings me to my point Gentlemen – for years our fraternity has extended a home away from home to those who were once named and shamed by our government – it is now that we must call on them to lead the way – for years these mavericks have cut their bones in the West; they have learnt many things that they can teach us by revivifying many of our old dusty ways – I therefore propose that we actively search these people out with a view of reasoning with them – it is time that we called in our tab.
(House sitting excerpt from the 309 sitting in the Imperium in Primus Aldentes Prime – recorded by the Chronicler of the Brotherhood – The Book of Ages – The Brotherhood Press 2011)

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Gentlemen, we are all businessmen. We are purveyors of dreams, but this is only possible if we bother ourselves dilligently with nurturing creches of ideas. So tell me what is the fucking point of waving our card of neutrality when it comes to this whole matter of naming and shaming these scholars? Come it to think of it when has the Interspacing Guild taken a position on anything. If they ran the game, we would all probably still be picking ticks off each others back in some cave. So now you see why I don’t think we can afford to remain neutral – this is shortsighted as it is incredibly stupid not to see value in something that clearly has a latent value. Am I calling Philip Yeo a fool? Only time will tell. But I say this, screw this neutrality motion that is tabled in the Imperium – and let us a take a firm position on this matter. If we stand in one line, the motion will be passed by the midnight sitting – Gentlemen, this is long term investment in human capital; at first these fallen angels will go through hell, every door will be closed to them, but fortunately, we are in the business of picking locks as well – Gentlemen, this is strictly business, but I can assure all of you this; if there is enough grist in the mill, I am sure the system will spit the winners out to that other side of the gulfstream. Over there Gentlemen, they will compete with the very best in the world, they will see things that we will never ever see in our lifetimes and fly so high that we probably need two years to make an appointment with one of these highflyers. I am sure that if we cultivate a long term friendship with the damned now when they are grilling in the hottest place in hell, one day, if the need arise, we can at least knock on their doors and they would have no choice but to say to us, “when I was down, you gave me wings, now tell me how can I be of assistance brother?” I do not think this is an opportunity that we should pass up on, only a fool will throw this opportunity away. A bloody fucking fool at that!

Darkness 2006 The Odessa Project.

It’s not very often when someone walks over the hill – decides to open shop, only to shake the whole world up and down. I mean just look at his life. I know most people would probably remember him for those virgin white ipods. But what many may not realize is Steve Jobs was really the only man in the Western hemisphere to reclaim much of the entertainment technology that the West once lost to the likes of Toshiba, Sony and Panasonic et al. What’s important to note here is around the time, when the West saw their Grundig’s and RCA’s give way to an unceasing sea of cheaper and better products from Japan. It seemed impossible to reverse. I remember politicians called for the boycott of Japanese goods. They were willing to pull out every dirty trick to hobble the Japanese. Then came along this guy with a really bad haircut who just said to all of us, why don’t you try this out, you may even get like it so much that you want one for yourself. Since then like the Americans say, it’s history. If you think about it, there was a childlike charm to the whole Steve Jobs and user transaction, it was soft and incredibly respectful – just like the man himself Apple products never required their users to jump through hoops or do mental Hatha Yoga, all the complications was gutted clean leaving you totally comfortable to do what you need to do – and when you’re at ease anything and everything is possible – so you could say when Steve Jobs built this philosophy into his products he not only changed the rules of the game, but he even rewrote it.

I don’t think most people can be another Steve Jobs, certainly not me, at least. But I think we can certainly believe in ourselves a bit more instead of looking up at the mountains for some dear leader for pearls of wisdom – as what Steve Jobs did by just the act of living was give us all the belief real greatness comes deep within us. And the role of leaders is not to lead, rather to elicit that greatness that’s already within us all. It’s my pleasure to christen this new space station that will serve in the outskirts of Blibao Ursula – the KDD Steve Jobs.

Darkness 2011

(Commemoration of the new Dimitiri class space station in the Stranglelands – The KDD Steve Jobs)

I don’t really think it’s possible to integrate oneself completely into a different society or community completely. No matter how you decide to cut and slice it, it’s got to be terribly difficult Eva. For starters the whole idea of social and cultural intergration isn’t like mixing cocktails – it’s not a science as it remains firmly an art. And it’s made worse when one already has a calcified way of seeing the world.

So you don’t see your government changing the way they interact with netizens despite the advent of the new normal?

You know what Eva – This may blow your panties. But I really don’t know what is the new normal. Coming to think of it, I don’t even think anyone in the political hegemony or for that matter anywhere else even knows what it really means – so far that idea has to be something bordering on myth and half truths –sure, it’s a term that is used by everyone ranging from politicians, journalist and even high class callgirls – my point is the whole idea suffers a failing common to both big foot or the Lochness monster. In other words Eva, it’s still an abstraction and a very long way from a concrete idea.

But everyone is talking about it….the new normal.

So what Eva. You could ask any kid to draw you a picture of big foot and Nessie with crayons – and I bet every class in Scotland and British Isle could pull that caper off – but just because something has managed to fix it’self in the collective consciousness doesn’t make it either real or tangible.

Who’s at fault?

The Prime minister of Singapore. He should get off his big backside and start fleshing out the whole idea of the new normal. Otherwise shut up and not confuse himself and everyone around him – my fear Eva is if this idea is going to just hang in the air. A time will have to come when it will suffer from the Lochness monster syndrome – that’s to say everyone has heard and seen it, but ironically, no one can really tell you really simple stuff like whether it’s a hebivore or canivore. Coming to think of it, they can’t even tell you whether Nessie lays eggs or gives birth like dolphins. And as long as this state of confusion exist, all we can really do is suspend disbelief whenever we hear the word new normal.

The Suriman Tales – The Brotherhood Press 2011.

(Due to a schedule change in the Strangelands – all EVOC transcripts from the Suriman Trail Chapter will only be captured by the new replacement deep space vessel, Dimitri Space Station – KDD Norwegian Wood / Please note, the arrival of the Royal Thai deep space scientific cruiser – KDD Ayutthaya will be entering atmosphere at 08002 – all diplomats are requested to be present Bay 17 of Project of Entropia. Both the KDD Californian and KDD Eng Neo will be shepherding her Royal Highness – the Lady of the Lake. Please try to be punctual – a royal 21 gun plasma salute is scheduled precisely at Primus time: 20292 – the Brotherhood welcomes the arrival of our Thai friends to Primus Aldentes Prime – This EAM has been issued by the Interspacing Mercantile Guilds, the Confederation of Gamers Internationale and the Underground gaming federation)

When a miss MUST be a hit!

October 1, 2011


If the arrow hits that plastic bottle over there, all will go well today and tomorrow.

You missed Darkness.

Come on Eva, surely I am allowed one tiny weenie warm up shot! Are you ready?

You missed again.

That one didn’t count, the wind was too strong. For God sake Eva, it’s archery. Ready?

You missed again.

That one didn’t count either that arrow was most definitely bent – did you see that? Surely you don’t expect me to do the impossible. I mean if Micheangelo just had clay to work with, would you get David? No Eva, he would just end up making really nice flower pots. Ready?

Success! Hurray, we are going to have a beautiful day today and tomorrow then?

Yes Eva, one of the best.

Tell me do you indulge frequently in such naked self deception?

A beautiful day today and tomorrow has to be worth any price Eva. The rest can we can consider as just minor details in the greater scheme of things.

Bemalte blumen duften nicht.

Nien, that’s not true Eva. I can use my imagination to make it all better.

The Suriman Tales – The Brotherhood Press 2011

The Internet is making it harder for us to come up with new stuff Eva.
How so Darkness?

Have you asked yourself why we can’t do so many things that we used to do with remarkable ease – America can no longer send a man to the moon – they can’t even produce Harley’s anymore – these days, they are made in Taiwan. And I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface just yet. If you look at planes, automobiles and trains most of them haven’t really changed dramatically either.

Stop Darkness. Let’s rewind the whole conversation to the very beginning and tell me how this whole idea of brain freeze is connected to the advent of the internet.

It’s obvious isn’t it – or at least, it should be. Now I want you to imagine this Eva. A roomful of engineers are brainstorming . They’ve given up their weekend and the goal is come out with a new product to let’s say save the company.

Like what?

Who cares, a new phone, a new TV, could even be a new vibrating toy that brings comfort and joy to spinsters on lonely winter nights. Now just hear me out Eva– midway into this meeting someone comes up with a spit fire idea – I mean, this a five chili idea. The whole team celebrates the Eureka moment – then they flesh out the idea further and they find out it holds out great promise. Suddenly someone hacks away to do quick Google search on this great idea – it turns out someone has already done it —well it doesn’t have to be a one to one copy, but it’s not exactly a new idea. Now there’s a fly in the ointment, now here comes the kicker, the team then decides to do another search to find out how well that idea faired in the market – they discover, it failed big time. The team is now is a real bind. Since that “new” idea failed, no now seems that enthusiastic anymore about pushing the “new” idea to management – now instead of thinking about product innovation; most these engineers in the room are thinking about ways and means to keep their jobs. You know the whole idea of self preservation.

Why?

Come on Eva. Who in their right frame of mind wants to stick their neck out for an idea that once crashed and burnt?

What if it succeeded?

Again they’re stuck in quicksand. Because If that idea succeeded once upon a time, then no one in the room wants to be labeled a copy cat or a plagiarist – and since its hardly a new idea, no one is going to float that balloon up as it doesn’t even come with the incentive of having bragging rights. The way I see it, the number of seemingly promising ideas that should have made it to market but didn’t because of this sort of team dynamic must run into thousands, especially in a place like Singapore, where face is so darn important.

Sorry Darkness, still fail to see how the internet is responsible for brain freeze.

Eva what if no one had been able to do a Google search? What if one of those engineers in that room strewn with KFC carcasses, stale coffee and butt ends walked right out and headed straight for the patent office or library? What if after weeks of ferreting acres of technical reports, he discovers that although that the idea wasn’t entirely new—there might just be a new way of making it newer? My point is Eva, without the internet, someone in the room would have gone the whole ten yards, instead of just throwing in the towel even before he got off the blocks. You know what’s the worst part of this brain freeze don’t you Eva?

What?

If any “new” gets approved, it’s probably because everyone in that room can take cold comfort in the idea, if it fails, at least they failed traditionally – and since failing traditionally is perfectly acceptable in a corseted business environment that simply means all those mavericks with their marvelously quirky ideas will never ever see their plans past from the realm of theory to reality. No one in the right mind will ever back them – I mean, no way.

You don’t have much faith in humans. Do you Darkness?

I believe Eva. Let me put it another way. I want to believe. Really I do.

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I have been asking you the same fucking question for the last ten minutes and instead of giving me a simple answer – you tell me things that I already know, where you were educated, your grades and all that shit that’s strewn like blown out tires in your distant past. So one more time please, how many patents do you hold? And this time, if you don’t give me a straight answer, I am going thump you really hard.

Seven.

OK, how many of them have made it to market?

None.

How many of these patents have hit the one million mark?

None.

OK. Finally we are getting somewhere Gentlemen – now sit down before you fall down – and another thing, if I ask you a question next time, just fucking give me a simple answer, that means if I ask you the time, I don’t want to hear what you had for breakfast or whether you had great sex with your squeeze the night before. I just want you to tell me the time. Understand? – now sit down and watch because this will blow your mind to a billion pieces – I’ve got an idea of starting a game. Not just any game, but one that will shake the world.

Conversation held in the annex overlooking Liberation Square located in Primus Aldentes Prime – earth time December 1999 – recorded by the Chronicler of the Brotherhood – The Brotherhood Press.

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