June 29, 2012
Today was a great harvest. I reckon it has to be a world record in the farming Olympics – 4.6 metric tons of palm oil fruit bunches per imperial hectare. Its got to be a world record. Now that I’ve reached this mythical point – I am neither happy or satisfied. I know this sounds rather spoilt. To be honest with you I am rather surprised at myself that I am not jumping up and down with joy. As not so long ago, this mythical figure of 4.6 tons was really the only thing I cared. Its one of those things that men like to obsess over. And they never ever shared it – like accumulating 10 million frequent flyer air miles or completing ten consecutive runs of the New York Marathon. It’s one of those things that a man usually obsesses and fantasize about privately.
The sun is setting. I’ve put a baby hog to roast. It should be about medium rare after my shower. The Pinot is breathing, its something that I’ve been saving up for – it’s just a small bottle, but it’s guaranteed to wish you had a neck as long as a giraffe to enjoy it.
4.6 metric tons.
“Every evening before the sun sets. I start the generators. lower the steel shutters and electrify the perimeter fence. This has been my daily routine since I came here. I don’t think many people can do what I do. They may be able to take maybe two weeks of this. But by the third week, they will start to lose their nerve and their judgement will be affected. For me, it’s just another day in the office. Neither do they know what sort of risk I take every single day. If they know maybe they would wonder whether its really worth it - but I don’t see it in those terms of worth it or not. Not at all. You see a good harvest is a good harvest. Some people may say that since the risk is so high whatever you get out of it just isn’t worth it - it’s like pouring water into a kettle with a hole – but at least the effort you put into it endures – You see it’s a bit like forgetting to bring a book on a long flight, only to discover another book that someone has left behind and saying to yourself, I am stuck with this book - know this, not all books are easy going – not in the few first chapters at least – you either never get through the first few chapters and chuck it to oneside or just read mid way till you decide. This isn’t really going anywhere. But in mycase, the decision to commit to reading a book from cover to cover is really the most important thing – whether the storyline is engaging is really not the point here; the act of reading itself it’self is the most important thing - as sometimes the act of reading itself can answer something, some need or desire. As for the story, whether it ends happily or sadly is really not the point. This attitude is very hard to explain. I want to stop here right now, if you don’t mind.”
Extracted from a thread in Ekunaba very recently.
Whose law is higher? Man or God’s? Till now this question has always been like a forgotten novel that is lost in some shelf in an obscure library somewhere in Singapore. But now with Kong & Co battling it out with the law, this story that we have all never heard before is set to begin.
My fear is even something as evergreen as right and wrong may not be that clear cut any longer. As man’s law is not necessarily compatible with God’s law and vice versa. And if they cannot even see eye to eye. Then how is it possible for everyone to agree on the outcome?
Do you all understand. What I am saying?
I hope you do?
“As this trial unfolds. What the perceptive observer will begin to pick out is roughly two sorts of people. The first will always believe the pastor has done nothing wrong other than the will of God and he has been falsely accused like JC. The other group will see him for what he really is, a slick confidence trickster who just couldn’t say “no” to his demanding happy-go-lucky wife.
What we have here Gentlemen are two distinct groups of people who have nothing in common with each other playing the same game with different rule books – and as this trial continues to unfold. These divisions and contradictions will begin to get more pronounced. The respective positions of these two groups will begin to grow sharper with each successive day. They will become so clearer till at some point, you will have a sort of face off between God’s way and the state’s way – and at some point the PAP would have to decide whether they should get up from their big backsides and draw a line on the sand.
I see this scenario to be 100% with no possibility of deviation from what I just said. You see, that is what invariably happens when two people are playing the same game with different rule books. It’s hard, if not impossible to carve common ground under those conditions. The law for example doesn’t care whether you heard a booming voice from upstairs asking you to pick up your shotgun and rush to rob the nearest bank in the name of JC. the only thing the law wants to know is whether you were there in the bank as what your charge sheet described and trying to rob it – if it is 0, you go free. If it’s 1. you’re going to the Grand Hotel Changi. The law is very simple.
Gods law however is not so simple. It can get pretty confusing at times. Messy even and that is why it’s the preferred crowbar of the huckster and charlatan – as there are really so many ways to interpret the word of God to justify anything under the sun. I think it’s jugular for people to understand that there is plenty of room for improvisation when it comes to God’s way. And this is clearest, when one tries to superimpose God’s law with man’s to find out whether the lines match up – its never a good match. Not even a passable fit, like the impossibility of trying to square off a ball and a cube. And this is what most people in one quadrant of Singapore will begin to experience as this trial goes on – most of them wouldn’t know what they are seeing at first – the dissonance will very high and confusion is likely to rule the day with even harsh words being exchanged from both sides – words such as brainwashed, cult and charismatic leader will begin to pepper many of the articles about this subject in blogosphere – on one side, the audience will begin to wonder, “why aren’t these people repentant after dipping their hands into the cookie jar? Why are they so hao lian?” On other side of the spectrum – you will even have those who will pity the vast majority of Singaporeans for not being able to see the miraculous work of God in technicolor, currently showing in the courtrooms of Singapore – a play entitled the passion.
Yes, I am not kidding – The Passion. Most people don’t realize this. They don’t have to write sappy love stories to buy fertilizer and dog food. I do. So I know about how a story can turn out by just looking at the set pieces in the first chapter. You could even say this is something I excel in – predicting outcomes or events based on very little information.
Like I said. You have all the set pieces for a ripping story from that other great comic – even as I write this we are beginning to see the rough outlines of where this story is going. Let me walk you through it – look do you see the split in blogosphere where the narrative of the misunderstood, disrespected and persecuted “for my choice of church” and “what my church decides to do with the $, is our business,” can only grow louder and louder – soon a kind of siege mentality will even begin to set in – where you may even see many perfectly ordinary Christians defending their pastor and their church, pointing to all the miracles that has happened (real and imagined) in their lives as proof that there must had been some misunderstanding and that the world just isn’t ready for God’s message – presumably like those Romans they didn’t understand – It’s Pharisees and Christians with a bit of Romans thrown in to spice up the plot all over again. I don’t think it reasonable for anyone observing this to conclude that common sense will prevail from all this – not when religion features so strongly in this case. Only let us get a few things clear – the devil is not furiously at work to undermine the church. There is no great conspiracy to deconstruct the work of God on this planet. All it is, is a group of delusional people who simply got high on their own products. In a sane world, that would be the logical conclusion – but what we are dealing with here is really a different kettle of fish.
Do you all see where all this is going? Are you all beginning now to register why this isn’t just a case about misappropriating church fund. It’s much bigger than that I am afraid.
I hope the people who started this have simulated the possible scenarios. As this will not be just be another walk in the park. I think the sooner people realize this, the better prepared they are to deal with the fall out. If they don’t know this already, then I think the outcome will be very acrimonious and sad.
Extracted from a thread somewhere in District 80 /.
June 27, 2012
“There are many lessons to be learnt from this incident. But I don’t think any of them are new. Not at all. So I really don’t see the point of elaborating on something that has come so many times only to go through to the other side and into the rubbish heap of history. We have all seen this before. And if we don’t even know what it is – then it just means, either we are so deep into it that we can’t see it for what it is. Or maybe it’s so terrible that a part of us is able to swallow up the other half to convince the rest of our brain that this can’t be happening. For me, making the decision to cut away from my faith was perhaps the most difficult decision in my life. Understand no one wants to break away from their faith. It’s not something that a believer does, not even one whose embattled. As when each of us try to find faith. It’s not so different from a man or woman looking for his other missing half. So when one decides to put this thing called faith down – it’s really a way of saying good bye to the idea that you will never ever get to sit down and talk to your other missing half who is running somewhere in this world. And you are really just the man or woman who says, “I am too tired to search for you. I love you. But I can’t do this any longer.” Let me tell you where all this happened. There was this time when I went to Isreal for some Christian tour. Somewhere in this hillside town facing the Sea of Galilee. I woke up really early to go for a jog with this kid called Jason. We ran all the way up to the hill in Hafia. It was fun. As some of the sections were so steep that you can’t even stop if you wanted too – your body just keeps on going and going. I was going through a rough patch then – so although this kid was with me. My mind was really miles away spread out like the morning fog. All I was focussed on was that yellow amber halo on the top of the hill, as the sun began creeping behind the hills – when I reached the top. The kid was still mid way up. I remember standing on a promontory as I took a full sweep of the city. Even made out the tiny hotel where we started the run, it was tiny and really faraway like the idea of The Maker – I had no idea that we had scampered so far in such a short time. I checked my watch. We had maybe less than a hour to get back. But I wasn’t worried. Instead of felt incredibly peaceful like someone who had just reached the end of a very long journey. You know that feeling don’t you? When you have arrived at the point when you can no longer go any further. It’s like a river when it discovers the sea. I don’t know whether you have ever seen the river as it mets the sea from an airplane window or in a picture. But even from all the way up there, you can always make out clearly where the river ends and the sea begins – there is always this line in the water that separates fresh and salt water. This was how I saw myself, as the river that had finally reached the great expanse of the sea – there was really nothing else to do anymore except give all of what’s left of myself to this one moment. I remembered feeling sad that it had come to this. You see I have been trying to hold on the best I can. No one suspected that I was reaching a point when I could no longer hold on. No one. As I am by nature very good at hiding my feelings and emotions – nothing ever leaks out. Then very suddenly I realized, this was the most beautiful moment in my life – I realized this at the precise moment when the first rays of the sun pierced through the grayness of a slumbering city and touched my face – it was a moment of ephipany. I wasn’t highly blessed and highly favored. I wasn’t a new creation. There was no great architect in the sky. There are no invisible lines where destiny and hope intersects with some heavenly design – it was just all a crock of shit. As for all this nonsense called religion – it was just a great diffusion of energy that really signified a great nothing - god did not exist. He was simply a figment of my imagination. I just made him up in my mind. It might as well have been a dream. And now suddenly I was awake – and for the very first time in my life – I could see what I had to do so very clearly before me. You see, I wanted to believe in this idea there is such a thing as goodness. But that idea doesn’t exist, its a myth. Perhaps when we all want to believe in something so much. We make it all up as we go along like a song or poem. That is how I see it. But whatever we choose to fabricate with the raw material of mumbo jumbo can never last or endure – at some point, your mind always finds a levelling point between what you want to believe and what you should believe. I think for me, the finality of the realization that I was irrevocably alone in this planet and that there was nothing after this thing called life hit me especially hard. You see my friend, you cannot possibly have any idea how much I wanted to believe. I really wanted to believe.”
Extracted from a thread very recently in Phi Beta Kappa.
Way back to the time before I decided to wing it as a farmer. I lived in the East of Singapore. Since I like nothing better than cycling. It was not unusual for me to ride whenever I can. One of my regular riding companions was a chap by the name of Chock Fei. “Chocky,” wasn’t really part of my original cycling troupe, but since we kept running into him during our evening speed trials along the stretch of road parallel to the Changi runway. He just became part of the cycling team. One day Chocky invited me to his church. He told me God was there! No kidding, I exclaimed – how could I possibly refuse. So one Sunday, I accompanied Chocky and his wife and kids to service. I am not going to analyze or go too deep into the reasons why I found the whole Sunday service uninspiring – all I am willing to say is that was really my first and last time – and since I am the sort who doesn’t seem to be embarassed or paiseh about saying “no” to others – in subsequent invitations from Chocky to go to service, I just said, “I have better things to do with my time.”
Eventually Chocky and a leader from church came over to see me – they asked me why I didn’t want to fellowship with them. I asked, “who specifically is them?” The leader replied, “the body of Christ, of course.” I asked, “which body part would that be?” By this time, I could see that both Chocky and the leader was getting abit irritated by my barbed repartees. So true to the spirit of a farmer, I told them that I was really not interested. As there are really better ways to spend my time on a Sunday, than to sit down and listen to someone who is just trying to squeeze as much money as he can from an unassuming congregation. When the leader pressed for prove - I simply replied, “if you can’t see it, then you have no wisdom. As it is clear as day to me. It’s a con job.” But I could see that the leader was a very a persistent fellow who was accustomed to handling skeptical and suspicious characters such as myself - so I gave him the reasons in bullet point fashion why I didn’t feel it was a good idea for me to get myself any deeper into church life.
In summary I just told chocky and leader, “I don’t believe churches should be allowed to accumulate so much wealth. I don’t see the point. Besides the money could be better used for the needy, such as the unemployment, aged, handicap and the mentally challenged” The leader exclaimed, “you’re not giving to the church, you are giving to God.” So I asked, “where is Mr God, can I make an appointment to see him?” By this time, I could see that Chocky was getting embarrased. As for the leader I could see that he was definitely not in familiar ground – so I pushed right on by stating my views about money and religion clearly. I told the leader point blank that he was dead wrong that I wasn’t giving the money to God, but rather a man and I was simply uncomfortable with that sort of arrangement. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the leader stormed out with Chocky in tow who flashed me an embarrased look – I guess didn’t end very well for both of us and that was the last I saw of both Chocky and the leader.
In the weeks and months following that parting of the waves – I still ran into Chocky during many of my evening rides with the boys - but he was always distanced and guarded. Whenever I asked Chocky to join us, he would just make all sort of excuses and it didn’t take me very long to realize that he was avoiding me. So once again true to the spirit of a farmer – one day I simply asked Chocky point blank, “Do you have an issue with me? Have I pissed you off?”
And it all came out – Chocky called me all sort of things. He said that his leader told him that I was the sort of person who can break up a church as I have no faith and such people are simply the destructive sort and should be avoided at all cost. Since Chocky was so forthright about what he felt about me as a person – I didn’t hold back either so I told him what I really thought about the proudest moment in his life – when he had undertaken to foolishly donate 10% of his salary every month to the church – I told him that he should use his mentality, as his eldest son was autistic and since his wife was recently retrenched, he should instead save up the money and forget the whole fantasy of giving a substantial part of his salary to the church. Any way the conversation was pretty heated and the only thing that I can remember about it was Chocky’s last words to us, as he peddled away “I don’t ever want to get mixed up with you people again.” With those words Chocky rode away into the sunset as all of us looked on.
That was 7 years ago. This morning when I opened my e-mail. There was a note from Chocky, it simply read, “Hi Darkness, the truth will set you free!”
I am not going to say what I wrote back. But I will say this, if there is such a thing as a supreme being, then the last thing he needs is your money. I guess what many people don’t realize when they marinate their mind, body and spirit into church life is the pressure to tithe 10% of their salary is so impossibly strong that it’s impossible for even the best of us to say ‘no’. That’s especially the case when one is unfortunate enough to join a church where the pastor is so confused that he thinks, God wants him to make his wife into Lady Gaga or fashion himself as Bob the builder, then what can only happen is the congregation will get milked for money right up to the hilt. And since hypermarket churches are so well organized and synched with the needs of the public, it’s really impossible to say no to them – the only way I know to avoid being conned is to walk away from it all.
Many people cannot do this. And even if they can. They may feel its not worth it. As often they believe that their derive so much out of church life – community, shared fellowship and common beliefs are just a few things worth mentioning. There is also the comfort and sense of security one derives from being part of a large community.
But as I once said to Chocky, “You have to keep your eye on God and not focus on the man who is asking you to keep your eye on God. Besides if you want to find your father, you can do it anywhere. You don’t even need to go to a church or commune with other christians – you could just as well find God right in the middle of a plantation right beneath a palm tree or in some valley smack in the middle of nowhere – as for giving 10% of your salary to the church – that is the dumbest thing you could possibly do. The best thing you could do for yourself your better half and the greater kingdom of God is to put that 10% in an education fund for your kids – that after all is what a real Father would want for his children - as for the rest, it’s just a crock of shit!”
June 26, 2012
Please go through this. http://www.aarsb.com.my/AgroMgmt/OilPalm/FertMgmt/Research/FertMgmt&Product.pdf
Pay special attention to the last few pages – there are charts and study reports / there is a conflict with R23 recommendations as to sub-soiling / find out also why does broadcasting beyond palm circle involve (what does this term “beyond” mean? @ manuring /4 annual @ 3.5 kg per palm using NPK + trace elements @ ratio mix of 12 – 0 – 25 + TE / assumptions for the following models should be programmed into palm growth simulation / growth rates will peak at year 7 / year 1 to 4 fertilization will follow NPK program with priority for N and P. K is not required as palm at this stage is not productive @ 4.5 MT per FFB bunch / kernel oil programmed restriction <2% / simulate run for two calendar years with drought featuring @ month 5 to 8 / rainfall weightage enter as nil / command run with 5 hours sunlight / trees facing West subject to azimuth of 25 degrees to rotate at 6% to 13% at axis point in lattitude 10.5. Elevation at 300 meters above SL. Incline: progressive 5% from West orientation to South East at curvature of 3 degrees @ 2 minutes. Request drone to fly using spectral imaging scan to determine front size and radial coverage at month 5 to 9 / spectral analysis is not required. Program the following assumptions to fertilization regime for 1,2 and 3 quarter to be repeated for 3 calendar years @ Nitrogen: 10 Phophorous: 5 and Potassium 25 / simulate moderate drought in all templates from month 5 to 8 with nominal rainfall not exceeding 2 mm per month. Soil nature pH reduction <4.5 acidity 6.3 – 6.0 stop gap with variation ranging @ 5%. Please advice ASAP as to manuring schedule and whether there is a need for sub T irrigation / last revision @ ref 3304-2011. / please determine nitrous oxide fluxes response current advisory: http://www.worldagroforestrycentre.org/sea/Publications/files/journal/JA0195-05.PDF
contains misleading information / again there is a conflict with data set – reasons unknown. Preliminary trial runs suggest there is a difference between soil condition that is used between control and experiment / run simulation based on the following assumption, soil status: alluvial / pH @ 4% vector/ spectrum: > acidic with no phosphorous augmentation in last two calendar years.
Can someone please run the program simulation and tell me why our results and data are so different from historical median average yields?
I would appreciate it if this ready for my reading pleasure tomorrow at 0430 hrs.
Please note com-sat is down and will be off line for the next 3 days.
June 26, 2012
What is a humanist? Well I used to know. Or at least, I thought, I did. But now that Alex Au has been nominated for the humanist award. I am suddenly not so sure anymore. I know that these days it’s hip and cool to be seen supporting the gay lifestyle – not supporting it means you’re probably a bible stomping parochial and narrow minded red neck.
Not that it bothers me a bit what others may think or even say about me – I have never been the sort to pander to what others consider socially acceptable – I am a simple man and I really don’t see the need to call a spade anything other than a spade – you see, I am terribly confused. Let me put it this way. I just really want to know what is a humanist?
Consider this: how is it possible by any philosophy or logic for a man who doesn’t even feel the natural impulse to commune mind, body and spirit with another woman to be called a humanist? Or to even feel the natural instinct as a member of the human race to raise off springs or to even feel the natural tug to go through the chastening passage of husbandhood, fatherhood and brotherhood to even call himself a humanist?
What sort of humanist would that be? Let me put it another way, let us say, you only know how to play one chord on a guitar – what sort of musician are you? In the same way leading a purpose driven life embraces so many aspects of life, husbandhood, fatherhood and brotherhood as I have mentioned are really just the tip of the iceberg, there is much more before one can even claim to be a real humanist – this I suspect is completely lost to the panel who decided to award Alex Au this tag of humanist.
I hope by now all of you are internally persuaded why this award makes as much sense as Himalayan bottled air – it’s a con job. A cheap attempt to sanctify and legitimize the gay way of life to ease it like KY gel through to the mainstream. Its conceivable these people have an agenda to even promote the gay way of life as one that is superior to the heterosexual way of life. Please understand, I have nothing against gay people. Only why should they see fit to tear down many of the set pieces that straight couples consider to be jugular and important just so they can be treated normally in Singapore. Are these people who awarded Alex Au the humanist mantle suggesting these aspects the heterosexual way of life are meaningless and nihilistic? Are they perhaps saying to the man in the street who brings back the bacon for his family everyday that he is living a great lie. Are they suggesting that the vast majority of humans who have gone through the institution of marriage have all taken a wrong turn and they are none the wiser for it?
Why is there even a need to make people who may disagree with the gay way of life feel as if they are suffering from is the some character flaw? After all, if the militant gay movement can accept the contention, that it’s morally repugnant to impose ones view on another. Then why is it so difficult for them to understand that heterosexuals too have rights that they wish to forward from time to time. Surely it can’t be a one way street – I do not understand.
This I cannot accept. Now you all know why, I am a very confused man. Or maybe this is just a very confused award given out to even more confused people such as Alex Au.
As always I give you the facts, you decide for yourself.
“I think that the fundamental objection to the gay way of life and especially the novelty of gay marriages among most who oppose it has very little to do with mindless prejudice, old dusty assumptions about life or what the Bible has to say about two men playing doctor and nurse. The reason for widespread resistance against the gay lifestyle and the advent of gays marrying is instead premised on how straight couples regularly rely on the institution of marriage to discover what it means to nourish the idea of leading a purpose driven life – this aspect of heterosexual communion – I fear is completely lost to proponents of the gay lifestyle. Hence the gay lifestyle is not so much wrong as it remains doomed to failure at the point of it’s inception – it is really like the built in time bomb that once doomed the Titanic. The layman blames the iceberg. But those who are acquainted with metallurgy know that lousy steel played a preponderant role in the anatomy of failure. But let us assume for argument sake that gays one day will gain acceptance in our society, not that I believe they are marginalized in the first place as what Alex Au likes us all to believe. How can they be discriminated when Alex Au seems to getting more coverage than everybody put together in blogoland?
And that is not all, people like Alex Au are not weak or ineffectual either – let me give you a real life example: if you happen to be a someone who so much as disagrees with the gay way of life – then his clique will just label you as the lunatic fringe and pack you off to Coventry, where they hope you will be marooned in your digital shark infested island as you remain cut off from the rest of the blogging community. But to me, this has always been a very small price that I am more than willing to pay to speak my mind. That is why I set up my own network of readers. I don’t even allow rainbow sites such as Singaporedaily that regularly post skimpy pictures of naked women to aggregate what I write. This is a matter of principle and belief – only understand this! I am willing to pay the price for it! I suspect that could be one reason why I am getting nowhere in this forum. But I digress. Coming back to the point, if gayness goes mainstream and that day will in all probability come – it will not be those who oppose the gay life style that the gays should be concerned about as what will succeed to undo it will be its inevitable failure – gayness as a lifestyle cannot possibly work to produce anything close to the Tao of leading a purpose driven life – as its very ethos and raison runs against the natural order of things. This is not religion or the mumbo jumbo of hate for the sake of hate under the guise of preserving our precious way of life, it is about something much more fundamental and practical: workability. The militant gay will probably tell you that it’s perfectly natural to improvise with their body parts – as love can always be relied to find a way – so they are really not so different from a man who decides to use his washing machine as a concrete mixer – I dont doubt, it may work for a short period of time, but it can never deliver reliably. As it wasn’t designed for that function. When we understand the FORM that nature has blessed us with all with, then the FUNCTION is as clear as day. But if we try to do something with a form that it was not designed for. Then we will either end up in hospital or creating something that is really just a caricature of life – as there is no ying and yang to the gay way of life – no balance – no harmony – no sustainability – no scope for mental and spiritual growth – nothing. So how can something great come out from a polyglot of confused thoughts and ideas? Where is the basis to even suggest for one moment such a person is deserving of the tag humanist?
I don’t understand.
Now please don’t take offense to what I have just said. I am out numbered here by 1,000 to 1. I hope you will all be gentle with me. If I am wrong you should all try to reason with me and perhaps even try to rehabilitate me. Only please try to understand the practical necessity that is required to have this sort of conversation – just as one needs to crack an egg to make an omelette – there is no way in which we can have an intelligent conversation about this subject if I beat around the bush.
I am a farmer. And farmers don’t have time to beat around. They just go directly for the snatch. How well it goes down is really a story for another essay. So I hope that all of you homos will not stretch me out on a pelt rack. As I am just really terribly confused about this whole humanist award business. Really I am. Maybe the next humanist award will go to Andrew Loh? After all these days he seems to believe he is the keeper of the conscience of the internet – he says partisanship is passe now. But that wasn’t the tune he was singing a year back ago. Maybe he just knows which side of the bread is buttered? Only understand this clearly – I know a worthless thing when I see it. You can’t fool me. As I know what it means to live an organically balanced bullshit free life.
So I hope you will do me the courtesy of not trying to sell poison as a mother’s milk – now if you are under any delusion that I am alone in my views, why don’t you poll it and see how many people out there in blogoland agree with me – go on poll it! Just as them all, do you think that Alex Au deserves the humanist award! I dare you all.
But I’ve got a feeling that none of you will take up my challenge – as some times just to make life bearable, do we all not seek refuge in homily sugary lies? I suspect this may have something to do with with how beliefs and truths are not necessarily always the same thing, especially when it doesn’t favor us.”
This excerpt has been extracted from a thread in Ekunaba.
June 25, 2012
For me, climate change is not only about the abstraction of the carbon footprint and some mythical hole somewhere in the Artic, it is not even about the haze or whether our storm drains in Orchard road will be able to cope with the next coming of the seasonal rains.
It is all about something much more basic and down to earth – FOOD. If you really want to know why food security is so important – just cast your mind back to the pengshan days of soaring food prices in 2008 – when a global food supply crunch led to price hikes all across Singapore island. You would have thought such a nasty run in with food hikes would have prompted the PAP to shift gears from it’s business as usual lackadaisical attitude of: Why grow our own when we can air-freight food in from all over the world?
Have we become too dependent on food imports that we no longer see the long term dangers? Should the government be doing more NOW to try to secure the long term food supply, so that most citizens and residents can continue to have access to affordable food?
What surprises me is how little has been done by the Singapore government to insulate the average Singaporean from unexpected price hikes of food – when one considers how so many countries such as China, India and even Malaysia have been vigorously expanding overseas into South America and Africa to secure long term food supplies for their citizens – the PAP seems to be taking the cinchai attitude – we are not price setters, we are just price takers. I guess what they are trying to say in not so many words is this is really not the PAP’s problem – after Singapore only has a land area of only 710 square kilometers (284 square miles), since the vast majority of people live in high-rise apartments and industries are clustered together that leaves only a sliver of space for commercial farming.
My feel is having a space constraint even one as acute as Singapore’s should not absolve the government from doing more to secure cheap food for citizens and residents overseas. This is after all what most countries are already doing in earnest – everyone in Singapore has an elemental right to affordable food. If the government is going to hold on to their laissez faire attitude of passing the buck of food hikes to the average Singaporean in the way they manage oil, electricity and public transportation. Then what will probably happen is most Singaporeans will have no choice but to content themselves with eating cheap and unhealthy food. And we all know cheap food ultimately leads to poor health – further down the road, our children will suffer. They suffer as cheap food can often trigger anti social behavior, poor grades, attention deficit disorders etc – when consuming cheap food people also seem to be more susceptible to allergies that exacerbate their health problems. Worst of all they all suffer from the economic anxieties associated with the failure of the PAP to prioritize food security as it does conventional defense – they suffer not only physically, but mentally as well - as when the price of food turns solely on the vagaries of market forces, that simply means, eating well is no longer assured and living can no longer, be cheap. As for happiness in Singapore, that might as well be another story in a faraway distant land called, “four square meals.”
“Understand this! We can all live without cheap clothes, cheap Ferraris, cheap iPads and all that -as these things are fun to have, but they aren’t necessaries. But we all cannot live without reasonably priced food. Even today in Singapore it is already very expensive to eat healthily. As for the PAP they don’t seem to be taking food security seriously. I haven’t even seen a single minister talk about this subject, it seems to be off their radar – haven’t even seen a single AVA land rover in Africa or South America. Looked high and low.Nothing! Every day we are hoping to see someone from Singapore come down the road – as it would be nice to bum off a few boxes of Maggi mee and Bak Kuah from someone who comes from home – but this I can share with all of you – we have all seen plenty of four wheel drives, helicopters and surveying aircrafts and plenty rugged individuals from China, Indian, Russia and even Maldives who are all frantically looking to grab land in every conceivable corner of the world to ensure that their citizens can eat well into the middle of the 21st century and beyond. But as far as Singapore is concerned, a big nothing. One reason for this may reside in the fossilized attitudes and worldview of the current political hegemony that runs Singapore; they don’t see themselves running a country as much as operators of a five star hotel. To them if they don’t have enough rice or onions, they can always pick up the phone and within the hour a truck will just pull up to the service entrance to make up for whatever is lacking in the kitchen. As for the price hikes this can always be reliably pass on to the hotel guest – that kind of Inn keepers supply chain management may have worked in the past, but these days it is coming under considerable stress. I don’t think that sort of attitude necessarily adds any value to mitigating the soaring price of food in the future. If anything that sort of cinchai attitude will simply translate into missed opportunities that will affect many Singaporeans and residents negatively – a day will come in Singapore; when its conceivable, we will even see the emergence of a new underclass who are defined by what they regularly have to eat instead of should eat – the poor will simply not be able to afford to eat well. When that day comes, what is the PAP going to say to all of us?Are they going to stand up on a soap box and tell us all, “we don’t have a choice, we are too small, we have no land, we are price takers not price setters.”
If anyone in PAP is dumb enough to say that publicly some where down the future, then from this corner, where I am standing right now, you will certainly hear plenty of serious men shouting more than fuck you sir! Come on think! When was having a constraint ever an excuse for sitting on your big backside and doing nothing? Singapore may not have enough real estate to effectively train pilots and tank commanders. But this can be augmented by having joint agreements with countries such as Australia, Brunei, Taiwan and France that don’t face an acute shortage of land. My point is this problem is surmountable – its winnable. If I had the backing, I would seize land like Rommel through out the Ivory Coast right up to the East in Mogadishu and move upwards to Chad and Libya. It is a fallacy to believe, we are price takers – I do not accept that logic Gentlemen, that is defeatist – the only quarter of the population this serves is the PAP. They seem to relish in the bad habit of telling everyone – we are price takers, not setters. This I don’t deny may prove true for oil, but I don’t believe it applies right across the board to include food – as this is really something that is foreseeable and can be interdicted – it’s winnable and doable IMHO, providing this people can get out from their air-conditioned caves. In 3 to 5 years, the door will be shut for good – by then, its cut and dried. So don’t be surprised, if you hear some of these serious men saying:
“We have (or had one, at least) a choice! We may not have land, but there is plenty of land in Africa and South America, we need not ever be price takers, we can set the price. We can take control of our destiny.”
June 24, 2012
Brazil is opening up. They are finally opening up the world’s green lung giving free land away. All you need to do is submit a working paper to the Brazilian Palm Oil Federal Government.
“I think it’s naive to believe people will just give you something for nothing – that for your information has never ever happened once in 5,000 years of human history. The facts of life are plain and simple – people really need to feel comfortable with you first. As the host, your role is to create a delightful surreal paradise where these people can let their hair down and step right out of their skin and relax. To accomplish this feat, I think at some point in the life cycle of every businessmen. He needs to set aside some time to study and research the finer things in life. There is nothing elitist about this, these are simply the tools of the trade. Just as a Mossad agent knows every aspect of a .22 – its strengths and limits along with its nuances. A businessman should learn to play the role of the host with panache, verve and a certain savoir faire - as let us face it, there will always be limits to trying to accomplish great things if all you do is take them to Safra for a round of golf and put them up in Furama Hotel. That is simply no bloody good at that level. Wonder no more why the Brazilians told the guilds, “we will call you please don’t call us.” Now that is just code for: you have no fucking style lah - sometimes when one has to influence those who are guarded and skeptical, it pays dividends to be able to set the ambience like a good stage manager, so that one can create the right mood for opportunities and possibilities. Here the little things in life count and they speak the length of a sentence about the man – his education, experience, worldview along with the values he holds dear to his heart - at this level everyone is really eyeballing you for clues as to who this man really is? Can we work with him? Is he a psychopath? And this they will do by observing the way you speak and carry yourself - in this sense business entertainment is nothing short of war. So I am really not so different from that character in fantasy island, you know the guy who is always with that midget that keeps crying out, “the plane, the plane.” If the person I am entertaining likes to hunt, I will get Orpuk to chase in some hogs into my plantation and arrange for the finest handmade shotguns to be laid out during breakfast. If he likes the open seas, then, the theme will be nautical – but I think at some point – you really need to learn those thousand and one useless things that only the well heeled know and claimed or pretend to appreciate. Even if you happen to be a peasant as in my case. I think it pays to cultivate a certain je ne ces quo in the way you deal with your guest – the ability to hold a witty, yet intellectually stimulating conversation, where when you break away, the other side wants nothing but to continue the conversation – the knowledge that you are the world and the world is of you – how to splice a Monte Cristo cigar without spoiling the draw; knowing whether Altamura should come before or after a Chardonnay and where a stiff Reisling should give way to a mellow Cognac – standing up when a lady walks into a room, being the last to take your seat, as only the man of the world knows, women notice such things. Knowing the difference between a Mercedez Benz and a Jaguar and which is best suited for sending a woman’s heart fluttering like a butterfly when its driven hard like a bank robber on the run on twisty Brazillian roads – the subtle difference between Oysters flown in from Maime and St Tropez along with why tuna from Zamboanga should never be spoilt with lashings of Wasabi to perhaps cultivating an expression of sympatico when this man steps on board a private yacth full of gorgeous ladies and he smiles as if to express, “the evening is young.”
You see to you and me this may all seem over the top – but this is how it is at that level of the business world. It’s like one of those boutique hotels in Monte Carlo where they lay out bread sized linen on a silver tray to wipe your ass. So please don’t confuse yourself this is the sandpaper toilet rolls of the YMCA league. This is a different league – so these people are really like top drawer folks. And if the goal is to get through the door and stay in the room – then I think you have to play the game by their rules.
I think If a man does not study these aspects of the finer things in life. Or worst still he allows his ego to win the day by coming up with something stupid like, either they take as I am or they don’t take me at all. Then you may just have to get used to the standard reply, let us call you, please don’t call us. Then I think, it will be very difficult for this man to wing it successfully in the International world of business.
You see the Brazillians aren’t country bumpkins. They are very classy people. There are not just going to give land to a two bit farmer who doesn’t even know the difference between Sentosa cove from the Four seasons or even his soup spoon from his dessert spoon – that’s just impossible. It’s never going to happen I am afraid. Many people call me an opportunist, when I tell them that I even keep a special black book where I jot in all kinds of stuff about how to behave like a gentlemen – they think it’s all trivial pursuits like a vain man collecting cuff links. But isn’t, like I said, business is war with me. So I take these things seriously. That’s why instead of being called an opportunist. I much prefer to call myself a realist. Remember my friend when you go over there and turn the wheel of life is, the key word is sympatico.”
The principle problem of feeding the world in 2050, when the global population is expected to peak to 9.2 billion people, is to increase food production without extending the area of land set aside for agriculture.
I am one of those farmers who do not believe this can be done. In theory it seems simple enough. As all that seems to be required is by bridging the “yield gap” between what a plot of land should be able to produce, with the best techniques and practices, and the actual amount of food produced.
In reality higher yields are only possible with scientific farming techniques – this regrettably is still a science and will remain so for two thirds of farmers throughout the world. Even if that problem is tackled. The problem will be exacerbated by the need to increase yields sustainably without damaging the environment. I do not see how this is possible, when the only way to boost yield is by using the same methods to destroy the land -chemicals, such as fertilisers and pesticides are responsible for many of the planets intractable problems – soil degradation, ground water pollution and soil erosion just to name a few.
Without radical changes in the way we farm along with how we regularly consume food – we will be in trouble just around 2050.
“The age of cheap food has really come to an end. We are just around the middle of the tipping point now. Most people don’t feel it. As it is really like two minutes after the Titanic hit the iceberg – Those who know how to decipher food labels may already know that food manufacturers are already cutting back on the expensive stuff and substituting it for second best.
But that process of trying to make a little go a very long way is not going to be nearly enough to solve the intractable problem of food scarcity some where down the future. What is may be required is something very radical and unheard of – a paradigm shift not only in the way we typically we grow and consume food. But also how we manage the risk associated with drought, climate change and disease.
The only country that I know that can do this is Arcadan Seven – its located in the Orian Nebula System 300 billion light years from Primus nearest Star. In the Western Hemisphere of Orian. There is a race of farmers who feed everyone with virtual produce grown on virtual fields and harvested by virtual robots.
Send a third Stage Guild Navigator to Orian to find out more from the gamers in Arcadan Seven, find out how they increase yield without increasing landmass – how in hell do they do it?
Now you have to culturally prepare the Navigator before he folds space and touch base with this folk otherwise he is going to freak out when he sees them. From what we know, most of the gamers in Orian are farmers – but they aren’t ordinary farmers in real life. As this people are really into experimental agriculture, stuff like growing algea to power cars and planes. Trying to make roofing tiles from seaweed. This is what they do in real life. Thats experimental farming. Most of them are so off beat mainstream that most farmers in the real world wouldnt even give them the time of the day.
Except maybe us.”
June 23, 2012
It is very difficult to defeat an adversary that has made peace with himself and the world. I never fight such a man. Never. Put him in a cell and he will perfectly comfortable as his home is wherever he goes. Take away his right to travel freely and he can do the same with his mind. Threaten him and you are really only sending out the signal, that you are really at your wits end and you don’t know how to deal with him any longer. Try to embarrass him and he will just cultivate his own metrics to measure himself.
Under those circumstances, it may just be a very good idea to just talk to that person. It is only when we have mentally prepared to sit down with our enemy that we can really see him for what he is and not what we think he MUST be to give our life meaning.
“The highest level of Warcraft is to disarm your adversary with the power of the mind. But to accomplish this feat – a man must be highly disciplined. Nothing can be accomplished without discipline – nothing.”
June 23, 2012
“Singapore and Malaysia has always had a love and hate relationship – but what I cannot understand is why is it an abusive relationship, where Singapore always seem to be the one taking it up the ass? Some people say it is rooted in history and goes all the way back to the good olde days of Tunku Abdul Rahman. I do not buy this simplistic abang and adik fairytale bed time story. I think that is a crock of shit!
To me it has alot to do with how the relationship is managed. Or in this case mismanaged. Singapore regularly behaves like the mistress who will do anything and everything to please the man – she is the only country in the world that has bent heads over heels to placate the Malaysian party political hegemony by banning Bersih demonstrations in Singapore. No other country that I know of has even seen fit to do the same. Now you would have thought that the Party political hegemony in Malaysia would be happy as cock – but no. Instead it is really like the sad case of a woman who does everything to please a man. Yet the man remains stoically ungrateful and continues to be abusive. Why is that so?
Maybe life really mirrors art after all? Could it be Tolstoy was right when he once wrote: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. What this means is, this woman despite her best efforts will never be able to command the respect of this man. Because she has failed to do that ONE thing that is most important and vital to create a relationship based on mutual trust and respect. Perhaps if this woman is less obedient and has her own mind. The man will respect her more. Perhaps if this woman even learns how to take a bite out of this man, she will be respected and treated better?
I think that if decision makers who once decided to ban Bersih protest in the streets of Singapore had allowed even a bus load of people to sit in, in Hong Lim Park – things would have been very different today and we would all not have not go through this sort of degrading and humiliating experience – as the decision makers in Malaysia would realize, cooperation is really conditional and must always be reciprocated in kind – Singaporean diplomats would at least have a bargaining chip to parlay with the Malaysians.
Now that the Singaporeans have given away that one vital bargaining chip that could have made all the difference in the world – it is not so different from a woman who has put her heart and soul to please a man – what else does she have left – she no longer has any bargaining power.
After all she has already given all of herself to this man. What esle is there left. That is why if you are a woman, NEVER ever give ALL of yourself to a man – it doesn’t matter how good a man, he is. Always hold back the best for yourself – that way, if it turns ugly, at least you have a bargaining chip.
That is why I think it was very stupid for the Singapore government to clamp down on the Bersih movement in Singapore – they were really so fixated on keeping law and order, that they disregarded the strategic value of such an event or how it can be transformed into something that could add value to the whole idea of managing the delicate balance of power in the region – instead Singaporean policy makers rushed into the marriage like a white laced virgin and simply assumed – if I give my best to a man, he would give me his best – all would end well and it would end happily ever after. But in this case, the man is a good for nothing case. Koyak (loser) case lah. So is it so unusual that this poor woman who has given her all now stands naked before this bully as she prepares herself to take it up the ass again.
Now that the elections in Malaysia are looming. The party political hegemony in Malaysia are scrambling for every molecule of advantage to win votes. The Bersih 3.0 rally is really a very big and unexpected turn of events to them – as all their intelligence told them only 25,000 people will turn out. Instead 250,000 suddenly sported yellow T shirts – so that has to be very scary. After all what must be never be forgotten is Najib believed it was all sewn up. As throughout his administration he has really been like father Christmas for the last 4 years giving out goodies such as the Felda equity shares to small holders in the countryside along with repealing the ISA and even staging youth concerts to win over a generation of voters – I think, in the strategy to win over the voting classes, BN believe they could alienate the most important class of supporters – the intellectuals. There are many of them in Malaysia, but they hold tremendous sway over the collective consciousness. These people are not interested in the trinkets of pork belly politics. They are genuinely enraged by corrosive effects of money politics known as habuan and the cosy insiderism that politicians share with businesses that has created a new oligarchy of businessmen who regularly enrich themselves at the expense of the public – they are not happy with how the country is runned. They remain suspicious about everything from the purchase of French submarines that catmot dive to the questionable forced acquisition of land in Kuala Lumpur’s Sultan street and Chinatown and Bukit Bintang to make way for Najib’s new cho cho train project to remake KL. In short they want to change the system. So the Bersih platform is much more than just a crie de couer for fairer elections. It is really an amalgamation of a broader vision of aspirations and hopes that is best summed in the cinematic prose – to make a better tomorrow for most Malaysians – for many of the middle classes Bersih is not even Pakatan or Anwar Ibrahim any longer, it has morphed to become something larger than life. Most of the middle class do not see Bersih as just a way to hit back at the establishment – it is has become something that they can identify with – it doesnt matter whether they are Chinese, Malay or Indian – it resonates profoundly in the heart of many Malaysians like a touchstone.
So Bersih is not just going to disappear – it is really here to stay like the haze and it will get bigger with each successive year.
Now the planners in the ruling party hegemony in Malaysia are not stupid. They know that Bersih is here to stay. They know only too well, it pays out naught to fight fire with fire. That is a lose lose game these days. With everyone armed with a camera phone and YouTube – they cant possibly hope to win this game with nasty Gestapo tactics. They know that time is against them. As Bersih can only exert a gravity to suck in more and more Malaysians – they don’t know how to diffuse this time bomb. So now they are going on a strategic offensive to discredit the Bersih movement as some covert black ops that is sponsored by a foreign governments – this is not a new strategy, not at all, it is the same strategy that PAP uses whenever you see one of them, floating the philosophical ballon – will Singapore be able to survive beyond the 21st century?
I can understand why the BN strategist have decided to pin the blame on Singapore. I understand completely. After all, if Bersih can be undermined by associating it with regional geo political player that is predominantly Chinese the it’s really like putting Bersih in the same league as the Freemasons or aliens planning to invade and dominate earth. When this happens most Malaysians will begin to question the raison of the Bersih movement – they may even be turned off by the whole idea of taking to the streets. This is a subject that hardly requires any explanation – all of us know how effective it is when the woes of a country are blamed on malevolent foreign forces – wonder no more were we have cultivated our Singaporean habit of blaming FT’s and PRC’s for everything that is wrong with us. When the blame game is directed to either Jews or a neighboring country – people will cease to think, they don’t need to think. That is the beauty of invoking nationalism – is not based on fact or even reason, why do you think so many men have rush off to die in that rather ridiculous idea of King and country? Anything premised on the bedrock of nationalism is closer to mythology and mumbo jumbo since it is fait accompli – it permissible under the name of nationalism or patriotism to embellish, confect, exaggerate and gloss over the truth. When the BN strategist pins the blame on Singapore. What they’re trying to do is link Bersih with the idea of Singapore imperialism that is really the only thing they want to affix in the minds of most thinking Malaysians.
And this should lead most Singaporeans to ask: was this foreseeable? That I leave to you. I think things would be very different, if Singapore had just allowed Malaysians working in Singapore to stage a Bersih protest. I think that it was cavalier and ill conceived for Singapore to play right into the hands of the BN spin doctors by doing something as incomprehensible as sending a couple of ladies who worked as tea aunties to the recent Bersih rally. I really for the life of me cannot understand how they could have made that sort of stupid mistake of sending a sheep to do a fox’s job – this beggars the imagination.
I am begin to believe that those who find themselves in a relationship where they are regularly used and abused – deserve to be in that sort of relationship. It takes two to Tango. Really it does.”
June 20, 2012
The power of networking can never be underestimated. Never. As no man is truly an island upon himself. We are all without exception relying and depending on others even if we think we aren’t – man is after all a social animal – he was designed by mother nature to marinate with other human beings. Otherwise why did providence design our faces to have 43 muscles to express every hemisphere of our thoughts and emotions? Why didn’t mother nature create us with a frozen smile like a dolphin or give us the vacant look of a crocodile? If we were meant to be loners and marooned from our own species. Why did mother nature bless us such an impressive range in our vocal cords? Why not just give us the single cord of the lone owl or the murmuring rush of a cobra when it raises and fans its head for the kill? Even the human hand is designed to socialize as it can sense temperature, texture, shape and gradations.
When we understand the reason for our human form. Then we will know how to live a purpose driven life. When we are blind to the obvious, then it is very easy for us to take pride in the false belief – we don’t need anyone, that we can do everything by ourself.
How wrong we are.
“one day I am going to write a book about the Singapore blogosphere. Now this is not going to be your run of the mill IPS or cherian George comatose inducing, “why did I decide to be an academic instead of a real journalist.” This will be a blockbuster. It will definitely out sell those sappy love stories I write by acres of paper.
Somewhere in this book. There is a chapter prosaically entitled, “PAP’s ten lost years in Absurdistan.” That is exactly what happened. For ten long years PAP did not know how to communicate with netizens – they had absolutely no idea what to do except what they have always been doing since independence lah. That why when you look at their return on investment and energy in all their efforts to neutralize the net – it’s a pretty lousy innings. But that is sadly what happens when a hegemony, institution or even a firm doesn’t have a good feel of a thing. It can only confound them and stress out their way of doing things.
We were watching all this. And at some point, it dawned on us, the PAP had no idea how to respond to this emerging social political blogosphere – so what they did was, they collated data and statistics, we know this. But our lips are sealed. But all this only added to the fog of war instead of beaconing out the murk. It may even have lulled them into a false sense of security that what they were really dealing with here was an inconsequential collection of shrills from the wilderness – like a couple of misfits fighting over who won the football world series in 1965. I think that emboldened them to reinforce failure. They believe they could punch a hole through the wall of noise in blogosphere and still get their message across – but they couldn’t. What disturbs even today is what we are witnessing here is a complete breakdown of the response system in officialdom – there was no sense of urgency to understand this thing called the social political blogosphere beyond data collection and very rudimentary analysis – such as character profiling (oh this we know as well lah) – again all this only served to reinforce the PAP’s belief – we have this matter under control.
But what stupefies is HOW these series of failures to scale the problem accurately and to respond to them effectively was virtually non existent in PAP’s game plan. Some of us were alarmed by this – you see it is very dangerous to play the game, when the other side doesn’t know how to play the game – when the rules of engagement are foggy, it is very problematic – that I think was the point when we realized, it was best to pull the plug from the intelligent Singaporean. Most people do not not realize this, but the exit was a well choreographed curtain call. This time we did not participate actively. We merely watched as our stat counters dwindled away – but yet nothing happened. The PAP for some reason couldn’t find a way to reinvent themselves to prosper in the digital age.
I think many years from now when our kids have all grow up and when we realize teeth are not supposed to last beyond 60. Many of us will read this chapter called the ten lost years of PAP and laugh out loud – in the way we probably laugh at people who think that lobotomies and radioactive whitening cream was as good as mothers milk. Because the real irony was the PAP did not really have to go through 10 years of mumbling and wondering how they should best deal with the emerging social political blog scene. All they had to do was to make a face to face connection.
Face to face met is the gold standard. I mean, I mixed with farmers in the Internet long before I was actually farming. I even visited their plantations. My point is, there is only so far you can go in the Internet to foster anything meaningful, if you want to keep your mask on. Even those who elect to remain anonymous online realize the limits of having a meaningful discussion under those conditions. They know it only too well for very obvious reasons – but how do you defeat anonymity? Do you treat it as a character flaw like perpetual masturbation in the way the PAP did towards anonymous voices that regularly criticized them in blogosphere? Now if you do that, then in my book, you’re not giving the conversation a chance. Perhaps a wiser thing to do is to start by respecting the idea of privacy and personhood and to create enough trust to even pitch the idea “Hi, I want to be your friend.” I think Facebook did certainly without a shadow of doubt ease PAP’s transition into the digital realm. – it was a very congenial platform that brought a lot of netizens face to face with each other – but I don’t believe that PAP had to wait for Facebook to knock on their door before responding to the challenges of the social political scene – they could have responded earlier – and I really think they don’t fully appreciate what the cost is when a hegemony falls so far back in the game for 4 to 5 years. The cost for Singapore, has been monumental. The only reason why it doesn’t seem expensive to us is because we are so accustomed to seeing a gain or loss in terms of financial metrics such as GDP and GNP. But when you consider the cost of how slow the PAP were at getting up to spend with managing the new media; and how that led them to bleed good will and trust. Then it is easy to understand why this was really a game changer of PAP – as Internet years are like space year, one year is an eternity, one year on earth is just a year, but in space time that period of time could well be 59 years or life time depending on how close or far you are from a black hole. So Internet years should be seen in those terms to truly appreciate what PAP lost in those ten years.
My point is PAP could have gone off line and just picked up the phone and said, “I am throwing a BBQ, do you want to come?” They could have done that through a liaison officer like when we project into distant and faraway galaxies in our own game – we create a I get to know you and you get to know me better conduit – and through that platform PAP could have made meaningful connections. I think many years from now, another generation of Singaporeans will learn from this brief timeline in our nations history. The lessons will be powerful and instructive – try to connect face to face – sit down for a meal if possible, don’t make it official. You don’t even need to talk about politics, it could cars or football – you just really into the conversation about this whole idea of how we are all barreling like a bullet train into this brave new world and we are still stuck on first gear playing police and thief – surely, there must be more to this! I mean this doesn’t even make sense does it – all we are doing is working towards a better tomorrow in Singapore. Yet why is there so much grief and strife? Regrettably these thought provoking questions could only have transpired in a face to face conversation. A conversation that never took place for ten years. Now the conversations seems to be in earnest. Everyone from Andrew Loh to Mr train driver Gintai is suddenly having a conversation – all seems to be well huh?
Not quite, look closer…..you don’t see it do you? Do want to waste another ten years?
I really don’t want to hold out. But I must. However, I will say this. Whether there are any measurables to be gained from having a conversation is not important – the most important thing is connecting first. The rest will come after that. Of that I am very sure. But you’ve to be the one making the effort to connect first.”
June 19, 2012
Modern life does not encourage a calm state of mind. If you ask most people about their POV about cultivating daily calmness – they will probably say this is something, they would probably do during their retirement. This always seems odd to me, as they really need calmness NOW and not later on in life.
When daily calmness is practiced, it permeates the groundwater of our character and shows through our acts, deeds and thoughts to eventually become a way of life. As we nourish this idea of calmness daily – we will see the world much clearer and can respond much more effectively to the many challenges that come our way.
“There are many people out there in the world and even the Internet who are paid to rob you of the most precious thing in your life – calmness. They will sensationalize this or that story and if you are not mindful. You will be swept away like a leaf during a monsoon storm. When this happens again and again. At some point, even the best of us will lose the ability to remain calm. When there is no calmness in our daily life – then there can only be anxiety and turmoil – this creates perfect conditions for others to invade our minds without our knowledge.
That is why in Kendo and in business, the most deadly exponent is never the one who is the strongest or fastest or even the smartest.
He is usually just the calmest. And because he can do this ONE thing CONSISTENTLY like a metronome day in and day out – it is very difficult for others to secure a decisive victory over him. If you come across such a fellow in the Kendo halls, it is best not to make eye contact and quietly do your thing in one corner. In the business world, do not lock horns with such a character either – even if you have reserves and he doesn’t – do not advance – it may be a bloody trap. Instead resort to diplomacy and strive for mutual co-existence. If that is not possible, then resort to politics to secure detente. But do not posture and never fight. If you r stupid enough to do that, then you will find yourself putting all your chips on one opportunity to finish this fellow off – if it goes well. All is fine. But if you read it wrong (and in all probability you will read it wrong. As whatever you know abt him or have heard abt him was probably planted by him!) then you will end up fighting a costly war of attrition. This is why, when ppl say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer – this does not mean you are gyming, golfing and karaokeing with him. That is not the variety of “CLOSER” these ancient strategist are referring too. It is the “closeness” where you use your inner calm to see through and beyond your enemy, as a friend. It is only when you can make this perceptive shift and regard your enemy as a kindred spirit that you can be truly closest to him. When you see your worthy adversary in this calming light. You will begin to ask, “why are you fighting him? Perhaps you and this fellow should try to find common ground and collaborate together? The ancients always say, the highest acme of war is to defeat your enemy without using one molecule of hardness – they don’t tell you how this is accomplished. As that knowledge is a top secret. But I can share this with you, what makes this possible is the skeleton key called daily calmness – this underscores the importance of cultivating daily calmness.
Please research and study this thoroughly. As it is very immature and a travesty of reason to fight when you can make peace and work with such a worthy adversary. Consider how much can be gained, IF you can share intelligence, resources and opportunities.
For three thousands space years, we have been able to successfully consolidate our power and influence the affairs of the universe with the invisible hand. As only our tribe has mastered the craft of parlaying with the four houses calmly. Left to their their own devices, the four trading houses that make the four fingers of the Brotherhood will annihilate each other leaving only us, the thumb – as none of them have learnt this secret chapter of Warcraft. To them calmness is worthless. To us, it is everything and much more. If we can do this in the virtual, who is to say, it cannot be transplanted successfully in the real world?
Please consider this carefully, as I offer the road that leads to a happy place called peace. Please try to see reason. Set aside the burden of our ego; walk away from your trench lines that you have dug somewhere in your head; try to see us for who we really are and not who we must be to feed this senseless war – where we have even taken our enmity and blood thirst into the real world. That queer Prussian Von Clausewitz was spot on, war is the continuation of politics. Do you think I am blind brother? Do you think that I do not see how many of us are forming up into guilds. Each guild loyal only to themselves. In the way we did so in the game. But that was only a game – so what if you lose a few galaxies on a bad hair day? Hey, it’s no big, just ask the game master to flesh out another storyline to increase the real estate in the universe. The game goes on. But in the real world, oil palm only grows on a narrow longtitudal sliver of land. Two thirds of this landmass that makes palm oil cultivation commercially viable is in places where kids are playing with AK 47′s – the rest is in the hands of old money oligarchs and dead grip political hegemonies that are not going to be around in the next 10 to 20 years. What am I trying to say Brother? The vast majority of landmass for commercial farming is in the hands of incompetents. We don’t even make up one percentile of this trade in OER – how can we feed the world? When we are already fighting each other in this early stage in the game. The Guild to the North does not want the Guild who is in the South to prosper. The Guild to the South doesn’t want their lands to be encroached further by the Northern Guilds. So they don’t even share oil mills when they share the same railway track and the only distance that separates them is within sight of each other. How clever is that Brother?
Do you now see how senseless this all is? I think since you have flown all the way here to seek my advice. It may a good idea for the Northern and Southern guilds to take off a week and go to one of those island resorts where everyone is drinking color cocktails with those paper umbrellas, bring their wifes and children along as well – make it a family thing. In the evenings when the wifes are tending the kids to sleep. You should all talk to each other calmly. Set aside your prentensions and fantasies – no body is impressed by how smart you are; they only really care whether you treat them respectfully. Please get that superglued in your head. I don’t mind mediating providing both sides can buy into my house rules of how we are going to work through this issue. I only ask for one assurance, let us work this out calmly like businessmen – gentlemen, the child must grow up, the sleeper must awake. Perhaps it is time for us to consider the unspeakable, it may be time for us to pull the plug from the game? Either we do this now or it will destroy us all completely – you see there is a flaw that is programmed in this game. I have always suspected of this thing sinister in the program, seen it even once, as a wall of that grows like a tree dividing brother from brother – for many years I and others who know this terrible secret have tried in vain to find a cure for this disease we all call the thing sinister. We have reached the conclusion, this evil program has burrowed itself too deep into the substrate of the game to be removed surgically – wipe out an entire code and it will just mutate and replicate itself like a virus – since its isotropic, it even gets smarter every time some get wiped out – those that manage to survive climb higher and higher latching themselves to the upper reaches like moss that one finds in the upper reaches of the most desolate mountains. We cannot remove this source prograam as it is woven into our fabric of our world, it is there in the curellean skies lingering over Primus – always radiating like the sun in Oraluvian. It even runs in our virtual blood. We need to shut the game down brother. I cannot do this alone. As the game has created a class amongst us who only wish to perpetuate the game. Pulling the plug will not be so simple – I need to know whether you are with us or against us brotherhood.”
June 19, 2012
I’ve decided to cancel my river boat cruise with my tribal friends, Orpuk & Co and opted instead to spend my holidays in the Planters Club. The club is located smack in the middle of the jungle right in the inner sanctum of nowhereville – a sprawling British colonial mansion constructed by one Major Handerson during the 1800′s – since then it has been refurbished and luxuriously appointed by the serious men as a retreat for planters who share a common belief abt the destiny of mankind and what role they should play to shape the affairs of the world – the planters is only accessible this time of the year by helicopter. The dry season has dried up most the river passages - it took me me two fucking hours to persuade Orpuk and his merry men to get into the chopper – now that we are here; I seem to the only one here. Orpuk and his men prefer to camp out in the sprawling grounds – since I am the youngest member and I suspect the poorest of the planters. They have appointed me as the curator of the library. I am just going through many of the old leather bound books in the basement, came across a few sepia photos of turn of the century planters, will share with all of you, once I get it downloaded – life here is bliss, a la planters, that is. Everything here is literally the best, the finest cellared wines along with the best food and luxurious accommodations that even puts Raffles Hotel in the YMCA league. There is an international staff of 9 attending to ONLY moir – 2 chefs from France and the rest comprising mainly of housekeepers and grounds keepers – and I am the only guest in a turn of a century colonial estate. My only gripe is a stupid dress code in the planters – we all have to go around in ridding breeches and jack boots. I mean if there is horse around, then it would make perfect sense. But there only seems to be cows around here. I looked at the mirror this morning – looked quiet ridicolous and exactly like a Japanese officer, this is really dumb. But since I am the poorest of the poorest here; I am not about to rock the boat by complaining or standing out like a sore thumb.
I have never felt more desolate and marooned before in the Planters. There are many chapters of the Planters all across the world, but this seems to be the most opulent. It seems as if, I’ve stepped into some sort of time machine circa 1800′s – this world is seasoned ivory, old velvet, sepia porcelian, connolly leather and hand painted tiles – it harks all the way back to an age of empire. I can make out the faces of these men who once came before me in the many sepia photographs that hang in the billiard room and library – they all seem to be attired just like me, in their mirror finished ridding boots and puffy dresage trousers – there is a quiet confidence about these men that you don’t see in men these days. I can tell, it’s the way they carry themselves – there is almost a nouveaux riches swagger about these early planters. Many seem to be posing with either their brand new Rolls Royces or cake like mansions in the background – there is even one fellow who is posing proudly next to what seems like the first commercial electric lift – he is holding the door open and just beneath it, is the signage – first electrically deluxe operated lift. There is another fellow sorrounded by a row of darkened natives – they seem to be carrying a Steinway Grand Piano, it could be the Congo or Malaya or even Lanka - standing in a foreground is a man roughly my age sporting a topi and a well trimmed handle bar moustache. Underneath there is a caption, “wife will like this when I send for her!” There is a whiff of mischief about this fellow that one usually associates with the Victorian and Georgian working classes. Many of these prototypal planters started off with virtually nothing – they certainly weren’t from the privileged classes. Neither did they have much in the way of finesse or education either. In the planters drawing room, one can see how many of these early planters who once came from a highly regimented class conscious society, tried to make up for their lack of education and finesse by just splashing money around - the finest silver and bone China are all displayed with themes of rubber trees, tea plantations, nutmeg and peppers with natives happily toiling away – all this have been reclaimed by the present day planters from the many auction houses throughout the world at great expanse.
I once asked one of the serious men why they had spent so much money recreating the past. Only for them to say,
“we are like trees, we have roots do we not? We did not come from nowhere. And we are very proud of our lineage.”
I am slowly realizing planters are not like bankers or even industrialist. They don’t seem very interested to mix with others who are not from their own industry. They all without exception consider politicians vermin – lower life forms that should humored be humored like children. There is also this idea that if something is complicated and cannot be reduced into one understandable sentence, then it’s probably cow dung. Planters are people who abhor abstractions. They are certainly not deep thinkers or people who take readily to new ideas. Most of them are also ultra private and very suspicious of strangers, especially the second and third generation Planters who are still Europeans. It’s almost impossible for a journalist to get an interview with one of these men. As generally Planters harbor a great mistrust and I suspect an inferiority complex for the educated classes.
Space that comes from owning land may be one reason that changes the way, a planter sees the world. In Singapore, it’s inconceivable for us to think big in spatial terms, the idea where a man can spend hours walking his own lands is alien to us, as land has always been a constraint. But once you are a planter, one’s understanding of space and time is redefined - everything is big in a plantation life – and that sense of scale permeates not only attitudes but even the architecture of this jungle jewel – the ceilings go up at least 3 to 4 storeys, the washrooms are so big, you can even play football and as for the verandah’s, they run for acres. This would make sense if there is enough traffic to justify such excesses. But no one ever comes here unless there is something important to discuss- from time to time as I wander through this private world that remains secluded like a secret garden from the modern world, there are still reminders of modernity in the Planters, the satellite oversized dish, the ultra silent generators at the back of the mansion that powers everything from the airconditioners to the Turkish bath complete with hand painted tiles from Istanbul can still be heard, if one takes the trouble to do so.
Yesterday, I dreamt this will be my life. Somewhere in this dream the man who was sporting the handle bar moustache came to life and said to me, “how do you like my grand piano, old boy?” - I really do not know whether to feel happy or sad.
“I have no illusions about business. Business is war, it is as simple as that, to me that is how I have always seen it – but let us all be practical – we need to network and in certain cases even adopt the attitude of a Mossad trained secret agent – that really is how I approach business. It is not a walk in the park for me – do you all understand what I am saying? So it is not so different from the game we all play in the virtual, only this time it is real. So I know, I don’t hope, you will all give me your vote – if you don’t, let me be very frank – I will take over your lands and that will be the end of it – so I hope all of you sister fuckers will do me the courtesy of not giving me the grief that I once bore in the virtual – as gentlemen this is no longer just a game. Please do not feel insulted, as I do not mean any disrespect, it is never personal, as it is always business with me. I am not asking for your vote. I am demanding for it. I want to be crytal about this. Thank you.”
June 18, 2012
If you have been following this and you do not know what is going on. Then you are either very inexperienced or naive or both.
Somethings do not require any elaboration.
“Justice is really not so different from the ma’am who lives in a plantation bungalow on a hill. The lady can always be counted to behave with dignity and is always consistent in words, deeds and thoughts. Everyone in the village looks up to her. She is really the living symbol of temperance and justice in a village. While no one ever bows to the farmer, as everyone considers him a hard disciplinarian and enforcer. But the lady is very different, she is the only one who everyone must stop work and bow before, as she is the living personification of equity. Understand this! The law is always masculine in the countryside, it is always a revolver with six bullets in the holster of the farmer – but justice and equity in the countryside is always feminine. She is really like Kuan Yi, Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale and Joan of Arc all rolled into one nice package - as since she is the mistress of the landowner she can always be counted to intercede on the behalf on those who seek justice and equity. While the law is frequently implacable, inflexible and hard like granite. Justice and equity is always wearing a Laura Ashley dress – it is always spoken in the feminine context. In the olden days in the plantation, it was not unusual for the villagers to bring a baby born out of wedlock before the feet of the lady of the house. As only she can save this child and the disgraced mother from being ostracized by the villagers. The law cannot save her. As the law is very clear about such infractions. No else can save her except justice and equity. So even today, if you go to any plantation, it is not uncommon to see a line of women and men early in the morning waiting with flowers to petition the ma’am of the estate. But if the lady of the house does not know her role or the farmer has been derelict in educating his wife in the role she has to play – then she can only behave like the capricious sort and thinks, acts and says whenever she likes without regard to history, culture and social precedence - and when a woman is muddled, she blows hot and cold and leaves a trail of question marks wherever she goes. And that can only provoke everyone to wonder: why is it like this for this case? And like that for another case? When that happens, then I don’t think you can blame others if they eventually regard her like a cheap dancing girl. As this woman does not seem to know her role or for that matter even know where she fits in along with how she is expected to behave under certain social settings. Coming to think of it – if the farmer does not teach his wife how to behave in a plantation setting and she goes around as if she is in happy Singapore dancing in Zouk or having a gala time in Marina Sands in ladies night, then it is really only a matter of time bfr the villagers will regard her like a common whore. lie down and spread your legs. That is all she is good for. Or rather that is what they think she is good for. That is all she deserves.
When justice and equity give way to widespread suspicion and disbelief – then I think, the farmer has to take 100% of the blame – as he has really fucked it all up – that is why a wise farmer is always very attentive and careful of adhering to the social customs of country living. He knows how to jaga (tend and care) not only his wife, but also makes sure that everyone is respectful of her. As she is the symbol of justice and equity.”
June 18, 2012
We all know the saying, honesty is the best policy. But how can it possibly be the best policy all the time? I don’t disagree it’s definitely the best policy for those who we love and know very well such as family and close friends. But to apply it generally is NOT a very good idea. As it can really only work to reward the honest man IF everyone is playing the game honestly. But we all know honesty is like flying saucers and big foot. Everyone knows these things don’t exist. But nonetheless, we all want to believe…. Truth is governments are not honest. Neither are businesses. They are all corrupt in their own way – as power corrupts – it corrodes away the good - the issue is whether they are completely or partially corrupt, that is all. If you believe they are honest and you should be honest, then my advise to you is don’t ever go into business – as you will probably run it into the ground and end up running a charitable organization instead of an enterprise.
“The rich will always be treated differently from those who are powerless and poor. If you do not have eyes to see this in Singapore and elsewhere. Then you are blind and probably stupid. If you have eyes, you will be able to seek out this contrivance in the way a man sees a thing for what it is and never what others want him to see it.”
The rich will always get richer – it’s not about good or bad genes, right or wrong living – that is just the way it is. As when you are rich, it is easy to hire the right people to hide your wealth. Go on try to follow that elusive paper trail – well you cannot. Not without running aground at least. As there are really so many dead ends and cul-de-sacs, that at some point – anyone stupid enough to ferret out that electronic trail will just reach the inexorable realization: this simply isn’t worth it.
As for the poor they are always screwed by the system. But since they have very little to start off with. Usually the system ignores them – as how much can you really get out from someone who has nothing? Besides the system isn’t dumb, they aren’t going to spend good money chasing after loose change.
But the group that really find itself taking up the ass all the time has to be the unassuming middle class. As since they aren’t so rich that they even feel the need to hide their wealth. They are really ambivalent when it comes to protecting their money and so they are really easy prey. The middle class are the perfect victims for the vampire state. You could even say without the systematic exploitation of this class materially – it is impossible for Singapore Inc to prosecute on its goals and to even exist.
I think when you read what Christopher Balding has to say, that is really the gist of it. In life, you really need to take something big and complex and reduce it all into something as compact as a pill – So if you happen to be middle class, it may be a good idea to get accustomed to the idea your way of life in Singapore will progressively come under stress.
Perhaps if you are middle class and living in Singapore, it may be a very good idea to see yourself as just a battery. That I feel sums it all perfectly.
“I have blogged for over 10 years. And the sum of what I have written really amounts to a great zero. I have to be brutally honest with myself and you as well, if this conversation is going to mean anything. The facts are crystal clear and undeniable. Zero is zero. Zero cannot be one, two or one hundred, it is zero, no matter how it is spliced. I am not saying blogging is an altogether useless activity, it definitely isn’t – as any acitivity that forces you to use the power of the written to convey thoughts is really something that is never a waste of time. However as I get older and become much more comfortable in running my own business. I am slowly beginning to understand the relationship between money, power and politics.
This a man does not usually notice in the first half of his working life – but in the second half. I think this is something that will gradually reveal itself when you cultivate more and more friends and begin to appreciate the power of networking.
Let me give you an example of what I mean by this trilogy of money, power and politics . Lets say that I control a few oil palm refineries stretching all the way from east to west of central Africa from Cameroon, right through to Angola to even perhaps the Eastern cost of Rwanda and Somalia. Now there are only a few roads and railway tracks that run Northwards, up to Chad. In the dry season when the Harmadan turns the roads ochre and the Zambilli runs dry, only the railways can really transport goods. Now lets say, I happen to know a few serious men who own these railways along this route. Together many things are suddenly possible. Do you now see the relationship between power, politics and money?
The same can be done for steel, rice, cement, corn or even corrugated zinc roofing. Control one aspect of this commodity and it is really not so different from how we are able to establish command and control over the entire universe by just monopolizing the trade on spice melange. Without this commodity, it is impossible to fold space. Without the ability to tranverse the infinity of space in a single bound. Whole communities will be marooned. They will not be able to trade – so do you now see how we have been able to consolidate our position as compradors to the four trading houses in the virtual for over 3,000 space years?
In the same way, when you have an owner of a oil palm refinery, a plantation owner and a maybe a man who owns a couple of ships sitting in the harbor of a trade route – these are just not a loose and random collection of people that you would usually find on a train platform - as when they are combined, they hold the possibility for great expectations, very much in the way when you combine perfectly benign items such a saltpeter, charcoal and sulphur – then at some point, these things are no longer just stuff that sit on some dusty shelve – they suddenly acquire a deadly purposefulness.
So do you now understand apprentice when you have a proprietor of an oil mill, a plantation owner and a chap who owns a couple of ships in the dock speaking to a government official in Nyapidaw or Nariobi, it is really not so different from putting a loaded revolver on the table – this in my experience is not such a bad thing – as ALL governments only really understand ONE language, the mathematics of necessity, it is pointless to try to speak to them in any other vocabulary or to even try to appeal to some higher calling like ethics or morality - that is really a waste of time that only guarantees platitudes and hollow words – the most reliable to have a productive dialogue with governments is to use the alphabet of plus and minus. You see apprentice, when you are in a position say to them, in next year 3,000 jobs in X or Y region MAY disappear or that you expect to see cooking oil going up by 50% next year – then you will suddenly start to find governments pricking up their ears; they are not so self confident any longer - and they will begin to listen to you like a child – there is not need to wave this revolver around like a bank robber – you do not even need to raise your voice or to slam any tables to be heard. All you have to do is tell them politely in a whispering rush what you want to see done and what MAY theoretically happen IF those things are not done.
I believe as a man begins to marinate himself more and more in the business world another dimension of reality will begin to unfold before him. That is the way I see us playing the game in maybe 3 to 4 years down the road. I think for me, it is really too late to play this game. You see. A serious man needs at least 10 to 20 years to accumulate the chips to play this game. I have regrettably started too late in life. But for the rest of you, it is still very early days. Let the games begin.”
But if you can’t fit into your work place?
Ordinarily this may seem hard to understand – so let me start off with a few assumptions. Firstly, no one goes into business willingly. Why should they? Its far easier to turn the wheel of life as a salaried man. As I mention earlier it’s hardly a matter of choice – sometimes one is just compelled by circumstances to go into business. That’s one reason why whenever I hear people talking about the courage to start their own business. It reminds me of people who simply don’t know what they are talking about. They are like children talking about things they don’t really understand and have only gathered from picture books that are printed with oversized alphabets – the construction of the words are simple and leaves nothing to the imagination – and the pictures are always far more interesting than the plot itself. This is how it is whenever I hear about people who believe that starting your business is necessarily a courageous thing.
Well it’s not. Not to me at least. Or any of my friends (and I happen to know many businessmen – I mean tons and tons of them!) And I suspect that may well be the case for 99.9% of the people who regularly turn the wheel of life by running their own business – it matters not whether it is running a clinic, law firm, char kueh teow stand, mamak corner shop or even running a basement factory that churns out vibrating toys to make spinsters happy during cold and lonely nights – in every single case, whenever you get to know more about the man who runs his own enterprise. The chances are….
He never once had anything resembling a choice – it was either this or nothing – do or die.
“Speak to any businessman and 9 out of 10, he probably wouldn’t tell you the real reason why he felt the need to go into business. All they will tell you is that they want to be their own boss. But if you look at their history, usually it is checkered and pockmarked – they were probably the ones who got a rough ride as a salaried man – they might not have been great team players or even model workers; they may have even been passed over for promotion as their bosses felt, he just didn’t have the right attitude. Or maybe they simply couldn’t fit in wherever they once worked and stuck out like a sore thumb. Some may have even be considered crazy by their work colleagues.
In summary, the vast majority of these people simply had a hard time fitting into the system.
My point is when these people first decide to START their businesses – many of them only really have one thought in their head. They no longer want to live their for others anymore – they are have reached an end point. A decision nexus in their life where they simply feel rightly or wrongly: enough is enough – and from now onwards all they want to do is to do their own thing. Their own way, without having the grief of someone bearing down over their shoulders – in other words, these people have all been defeated in one way or another by the world.
That is the reason why you will never get the truth out from any businessman when you ask him – why did you go into business for yourself? As the truth is probably something very embarrassing. As these people have actually failed in their day jobs.
But the funny thing abt running your own business with this sort of mixed bag attitude is that you can really only do very well in whatever you choose to go into – and the reasons are very simple. Failure is not an option. Fuck it all up and you will probably have to beg for your day job back. So in the first three years you put your heart and soul into it and get to know so much about your industry that eventually you even become an authority on your own industry – and when you speak about your area of expertise there is a gravitas and a seriousness that you rarely find in people who might also be in the same industry – but since they are just salaried men, they really haven’t seen or experienced the nuanced side of the business process yet. You know almost intuitively – it’s is really no urgency in their words or even the way they organize their thoughts.
You will probably see this somewhere in the second year of running your own business – by this period of time, you have gathered enough to crave up your own way – to know what works and what is likeliest to explode into a million pieces – to even know whether you can stay out late and still make it for that killer appointment tomorrow at 8.30 am. What I am trying to say is you will know more and more about yourself – and this will really come across to the people who you will mix with in your church, the golf club and even when you go to the shop downstairs to get a carton of milk. In other words you have become a different person from the man you used to be – something has changed; you can’t be sure of it yourself. But others who have known you before sense this change – they can see that hard substrate that lies beneath your affable and congenial self – they know that you have gone through a door and walked into another level of consciousness where you NOW see the world with very different eyes. As for you. You will never really know how much you have changed.
I wish, I could say this change is all good. But that would be dishonest. But that is really another topic that is best left for another day.”
June 13, 2012
The dry season is finally here. And my tribal friend Orpuk has sent a boat. It is time for me to make the long journey deep into jungle to continue my research.
I will be back in 5 or 6 days.
“To find yourself you must sometimes lose yourself. What this actually means is, you can really only know more about yourself when you are thrown into a situation where you might find yourself asking “why did I just not stay at home and watch TV?” That at least is what most new age books tell all of us. But I don’t believe that one has to sail the seven seas, climb the tallest peaks and even do anything memorable to really discover what you’re capable of. The reason why I say this is – I’ve done most of those things. Hello no big deal lah. Even cripples in wheelchairs have scaled Everest. Besides, people change. If I came across as brave then. Who is to say, I wouldn’t chicken out today? So I know those experiences we all consider once in a life time don’t maketh a man. I am not saying you don’t discover new things about yourself, like how you can wear the same underwear for 30 days straight and still believe that you smell like a bar of Lux soap, when people all around you are either fainting or dying from nerve gas. My point is none of those brave cinematic moments in our life can ever maketh the man. One reason for that is because every single one of those so called significant moments have a very define start and end period. You can’t climb beyond the pinnacle; there is nothing else beyond the seven seas. So how can possibly create a new you within that short time frame? That doesn’t make any sense to me. Not even a bit. Like I said, that’s why all those new age guru’s are full of invisible shit.
My point is you don’t have to do something heart stopping to discover more abt yourself to make you a better person. There is really enough terror in everydayness to compare with all the seven seas and Everest put together and much more. Even the act of waking up to go to work every morning can sometimes be an act of uncommon valor. As the vast majority of mankind don’t like their jobs – they may tell their colleagues at work that they love their work. But deep down inside they know, they could have done much better, if only…even when we see our friends who seem to be doing much better than us, we beat ourselves us by asking, “why cant we be like them.” Contrary to what those new age guru’s spout out. Everydayness is the ONLY place to discover the HERO in you. You don’t need your baptism of fire anymore than you need to sit in an oven for one hour. That will not change your outlook in life. You don’t need to find the place where serendipity and epiphany intersects on some mountain top. That also will not change your outlook in life. But what WILL change your outlook to life – is when you just do the same thing day in and day out – you could just as well find the hero in yourself when you’re pulling out teeth, driving a bus, piloting a plane, planting a tree, lawyering, doctoring or even just taking time to be with your wife and kids.
As in litany of everydayness lies real terror that you can never find elsewhere – here terror is relentless, its bone and spirit crushing in it’s repeating. The daily monotony of going to work, returning from work, trying to find interesting ways to spend your off day without ending up in a police station. All these things can wear a man right down to his bones. Even the best of us. As what really heightens the terror in everydayness is the terrible prospect that you can never run away from your own life – that this is your life for better or worse, that as you turn the page of life everyday by doing the things you know, you HAVE to do and don’t have a choice abt it. This is your life.
Courage in everydayness takes forms that we don’t usually associate with courage, that’s because we have been brainwashed by Hollywood to believe in an archetypal hero – the guy who crushed the serpent head etc. No one ever associates the daughter who decides to take on the responsibility of caring for her parents when the rest of the siblings don’t even seem to care, a heroine. Neither does anyone associate the mother who continues to believe in her autistic child despite what others may think or say, a hero mum. The cookie cutter man who holds down two jobs and brings back the bacon. The lone opposition politicians who pushes ahead despite incredible personal cost to himself and family. The father and salaried man who has to suffer an evil boss and sweat shop working conditions who makes it a point to always be cheery to his wife and kids – as he doesn’t want them to know his sorrow. The survivor who needs to approach work like a Mossad trained secret agent as he knows failure is not an option. As he only has enough one bite at the cherry. If he misses, he is looking at bankruptcy. The father who has to give up everything that is familiar to go to distant shores to find his fortune as he knows he cannot be content with just happy middle class – as they will be squeezed – correction: they MUST be squeezed if Singapore Inc is to work. All these silent acts that the world never seems to register is the raw material that makes possible the idea of courage. The real McCoy my friend, the variety that’s good to cash in the Bank of England, that to me is real brass-stacks farmer approved courage – as its as real as it ever gets.
Like I said earlier, sometimes just to wake up in the morning to go to work is an act of uncommon courage. You should give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far in the game. Really you should. I insist, let me give you my Aikido bear hug…”
Entry extracted from the SLF 4 locale: Strangelands / SECTOR A109 / Planet: D’ni / System: Ursula Bilbao Toon / Town: Canaania / Tenement (if any): unable to ascertain / Systems: Warning cover screen detected – auto response force shield up – general quarters alert – evac sequence initialized – battle systems fully primed / launch commit sequence on standby/3258u9/4li
Transmission re-boot KDD Evergreen. FAIL.
I would have to say, yes definitely. I will write when I’ve figured it all out. Now is not a good time to write. This subject needs to be approached deftly.