Log 31-8-13 PLSE

August 31, 2013

If you are so unimaginative, dumb and bovine to allow someone who knows absolutely nothing about your child to measure and ascribe a sense of ‘worth’ to him - and so lazy as not to bother to read broadly to even buy into the whole mumbo jumbo that this stranger has some higher knowledge to see into the distant future to set the destiny for your child.

Then you deserve all the stress along with getting rail roaded. You deserve your lot. As all you’re doing is relegating the role of a parent and mentor to someone who doesn’t have the slightest idea what your child’s true potential may be - and if you are silly enough to buy into such nonsense – then whose fault might it be? If you child ends up being what this stranger says he ought to be.

Who is to blame? 

Perhaps a better idea would be to slam the door on this strangers face and while you are at it – grab his super duper ruler from him and break it in half and tell him to take his con job with him.

That way, at least – you will come to the finality of the realization whoever your child becomes tomorrow will ultimately depend only on you and no one else – I for one, do not believe that is such a bad thing.

At least that way you learn the true meaning of responsibility and leadership beyond the dictionary meaning.

“Look very carefully. There are two method of planting here. The first is what most people do as that is what it tells you to do in farming books – it looks clean like a hospital and requires alot of chemical fertilizer and herbicides. The other is left to grow like a jungle. It’s a right mess.

But after one full year of experimenting with these two plots of land - you will be surprised if I told you which is one delivers the highest yield and kinder to the planet.

I have a feeling it doesn’t pay to just follow just because you see everyone doing the same thing….not at all. After who really stands to benefit from this great diffusion of energy. Nope, I much prefer to go my own way.”

When someone searches for . All they’re doing is looking for their other missing half – it’s as if they know deep in the marrow of their bones…they’re not whole unless they close that circle of life.

It’s hardly a matter of choice. It’s perfectly natural. Part of the human condition even – from time to time, you stumble on someone who just feels so right – but hardly as soon as that feeling of wonderment washes over you. You’re suddenly seized by an under current of self doubt, only to set this person you once picked up slowly down.

You tell yourself as you walk away half embarrassed mustering all the courage you can to put one foot in front of the other – you don’t have the time, it isn’t worth it. Perhaps you still have enough of yourself to realize that this “thing,” that has become a source of fascination and intrigue can split you in half like firewood – but there’s still enough of you left to tell yourself. Maybe not…. you are not sure – you don’t even know whether you should stop, turn around and go back and pick up where you left off. Or continue walking and putting as much distance as you can between this things which has swelled to be the sum of all your fears and fascination.

Suddenly you stop dead in your tracks….you say to yourself, “what am I doing! This is what I have been searching for all my life.” You turn around and try to search out from the maddening crowd that person who you just walked away from – nothing…nothing…and with this realization, the only thing that remains is the bitter sweet memory of what could have been.

May not believe me when I tell you this – but that’s what most people do when they come face to face with the sum of all their fears and fascination. 

But whose to say what works or not? Who can tell whether it will end happily ever after or spiral into the perpetual grief of tragedy.

That’s why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry too much about what other people think.

Experience informs me that if we are really lucky. We get no more than two or three chances like this in a single life time. Some people don’t even get a chance. They just live and die, not knowing what lies behind this allure of fear and fascination – and if we let it slip away from our fingers, we will regret it for the rest of our lives.

Learning when to put things down or just grabbing it and not bothering what others think has to be one of the greatest skills that a human develops in the course of this great journey called, life. It has to be, I reckon…

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“No! I don’t want to share my trees and birds with anyone. Want it all for myself. There are some things in life, I don’t ever want to share with anyone – if I am selfish, then I am selfish.

These aren’t just stuff to me. I know it’s just numbers on an excel spreadsheet to you people. But there was a time when I didn’t own these things and all I could do was press my face really hard against the glass and look in like a hungry man standing outside a restaurant – so one day, I made a commitment to chase after these things.

I can tell none of you know what that feels like. As your mama and papa are probably rich. I can tell none of you know how it is to put a idea like a bullet in a revolver spin in put it against your head and go click! And to win it all!

And now that I have it – I am not ever going to give up my trees and birds.

I am open to buying you out, you know my word is good. We can even negotiate or we can even duel over it like gentlemen, but I am not just going to give it up. Do you all understand. I’ve come too far to turn back. Put too much of my being into this and so what is there left, but to see it through to the very end. Please do not take this personally, it is strictly business. I shall wait for your answer in the Eastern side of my lands tomorrow morning. I hope you will come with your seconds there.” 

Darkness 2012

If you know deep down (and you have to make double and triple sure about this, otherwise you don’t have a right to do what you need to do as a man. No right whatsoever! So you have to be 110% certain) you’re the best at what you do and for some curious reason you don’t get recognized and promoted. 

Then you have to consider the theoretical possibility, the problem may not reside in you, but there is something very wrong with the system - and if you have to stand on the sidelines and watch half and quart men jump ahead of you. Do not be down hearted. Above all never beat yourself up – NEVER allow doubt to creep in like a thief and steal your conviction that you are the best - as although you may feel sad, I want to assure you, you are in very good company.

No! There is absolutely nothing wrong with you – it’s even conceivable the blame is not with you at all. So don’t beat yourself up. You should keep telling yourself that – I find that laminating these words and carrying it in your wallet helps tremendously.

Let me share with you why I mentioned in the very beginning - you’re are in very good company. As when your bosses don’t promote you even if you are very good at what you do, that’s usually a sure sign that they secretly FEAR you - as you’re probably your own man – to put it another way, they know, you cannot be controlled - you have your own mind –  they even fear that you may one day take over their job and change everything rotten in the system.

You should learn to smile. Congratulate those who have been promoted above you. Lie low and tow the line – if possible even consider assasinating every aspect of your character and nature in the way a spy denies himself the luxury of “I.” As he assumes the role that will allow him to get the job done cleanly and surgically - you may need to do this for years, decades even. To be a YES man and if possible even come across as a bumbling idiot who doesn’t have a mind to call his own – above all your bosses need to be internally convinced, that you are this person who you have fashioned with your hand of deception - and once they take you into their inner circle and entrust you – you turn around and strike decisively. Don’t play small – go for the entire nine yards. Be cold and ruthless about it like a psychopath.

As when you steal a loaf of bread, everyone will despise you and call you a common thief. But if you steal the crown. Even if they don’t like you or disagree with your methods, they will all have to kneel before the king – like I said, it’s all or nothing….a game of sudden death.

Bide your time and run deep and silent. You will win – you see, history is on your side…that’s why I say, ‘you are in good company’……very very good company.”

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“The worst thing that you can ever do when you start working as a salaried person is try to please your boss all the time by trying to come across as smart, popular and dependable - most people commit that fundamental mistake. As they assume, providing they get along with everyone and do a good job, then the system MUST logically keep, reward and promote them.

Unfortunately the system doesn’t work that reliably all the time – as providing humans are in the decision making process. You can be rest assured it’s at best pot luck. 

The suggestion the best will come up tops, may well hold true in a fairytale utopian meritocratic society. Unfortunately in real life most oligrachies are very far from that ideal, especially at the apex, when one gets closer to the reins of power - often at this level of the game, it’s riven with inconvenient truths, internal politics, secret agenda’s and power struggles that are seldom even discussed publicly. All these forces will always militate against the best aspiring to the top.

From my experience old and fossilized hegemonies tend to only favor ‘yes’ men and seat warmers are usually earmarked by the power brokers to sell the masses the sugary illusion – the system is fair, transparent and reliable. In truth, EVERY oligrachy serves only a select few, it’s really only a matter of degree – as for the best, they will NEVER be allowed to rise and threaten the system. 

As when they rise to the very top of that organisation – they’ll always be a threat to the status quo ante.

Understand this! This is not a game for the faint hearted. You can either win or lose everything in one throw of the dice. Imagine someone putting a boot on your face and pressing a revolver against your temple – understand this! It’s hardly a game for those who don’t have nerves of steel. Especially, if you are a small time business man taking on a juggernaut who may be a hundred times bigger than you. All you have is one opportunity. You don’t even have the reserves for a second strike and no such thing as a decisive victory – all you can hope for is to inflict ‘set back’ damage to bring him to the negotiating table to reach a compromise. From there you have to make the rest up as you go along – even then most of the time, you’re raising the stakes when you don’t even have a pair. You’re bluffing most of the time – I am sorry, that’s the brutal calculus when David takes on Goliath – that’s as good as it will ever get – it doesn’t get better than that. Nonetheless one should always consider taking over your bosses job from the word “go”. You should even consider engineering his downfall the very first day you report for work…that way you are always prepared to go to war at the first sign things start to go pear shape. Consider this, what if I happen to be right? Sure, I could be wrong…been wrong about many things, but what if I am righter than right when it comes to your life? Where will you be, if you didn’t even bother to provision for a Plan B?  

You would have wasted your entire life by putting your faith in a crummy system – now what kind of life would that be? Besides, if I am right (which will always be a big IF) how can the system possibly change any other way? …..You need to run deep and silent…but one thing is assured. You will not be alone. Look at those in your workplace….cast your eyes even further and look….look carefully….do you see them? No, I don’t imagine you do…..good that means they are all running deep and silent as well….very good.” 

I am not going to spoil it by talking too much. And just allow the pics to do most of the talking.

These are just a few of photos I took some time back ago during 鬼月in my kampung – if you want prints. 

Just write a comment with a postal address, but be considerate lah ONLY one fucking copy per person lah, as I am paying for it - delivered free to Singapore ONLY (you have to be a citizen or PR) - my ONLY condition, please consider giving back something to Autistic kids in Singapore, could be time in Pathlight School or $, which ever suits you - I am going to work on a honor code and trust you all on this.

So please don’t abuse the trust. Otherwise I am just going to kill everyone and never trust the world again and be a really evil and cynical man and bring hell and mayhem to people and planet (just kidding! Everyone expects me to talk like this, so I just tot, I’ll do it.)

Just add a comment with a postal address. And do give me some time (usually it has to rot a while in my in tray). I don’t usually publish comments, so you are safe.If any of these pics move you (which I doubt, unless it’s to yawn), do write a sentence or two or even better a poem that captures the moment…in your own words. It’s up to you.

Enjoy.

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The older I get. The more I realize that it is not what I LEARN every year that matters. As it remains the very curious case of what I can UNLEARN that truly matters.

That is because when we THINK deeply about who we are, why we even wake up and go to work along with where we are headed - then like me, you will probably begin to discover so many of the roles, missions, goals and attitudes towards life have been scripted by OTHERS and not us – perhaps to serve their selfish agenda of just chalking up meaningless numbers so that they can look good and go on an extended ego trip – but what do I get? What’s in it for me?

Something to think about!

That’s why one of the things I committed to do this year is to throw out many of these old scriptings that has managed to encrust themselves in my mind by SLOOOOOOOOOOOWing down. A militant act of resistance (or maybe petulance on a Byzantine scale). To even go against the grain, just to see where it all ends up. Easier said that done. Trust me. As the poison of going fast is so well rooted in one’s character (probably due the relentless propaganda machine scaring the shit out of all of us, that we even slow down just a bit. We will be munching on mud cakes and tree bark congee. No prices who benefits from perpetuating that great lie.).

I guess most people take the path of least resistance and buy lock, stock and barrel into the highly competitive fast, faster and fasterest lifestyle for no other reason, as they see everyone doing the same – on the surface, being competitive and fast seems to get you all the goodies, gets you that promotion, higher salary, car, house, holiday etc etc etc. But what is the bloody point, if you end up getting a heart attack when you are supposed to be in the prime of your life, only to end up giving it all back by incurring super duper expensive medical bills. What if it comes at a terrible cost to your personal life where your wife, kids and friends are just relegated to passing acquaintances

This should prompt us all to ask: have we become so fixated with the allure of speed that we can no longer perceive the wisdom of slowing down any longer?

Maybe, we all just need to press the PAUSE button and think deeper about the fundamental question of where we are heading along with whether this whole idea mindlessly chasing growth is such a good thing – do we want to put ourselves and our loved one’s FIRST. Or do we just want to mindlessly accumulate stuff just because someone on TV sells it as la dolce vita?

For me after nearly one year of experimenting with the SLOOOOOOW life…all I can say, I am never ever going back to the life of the hamster wheel ever again. Why should I? I only live once…..least I can do when I am here is stop time from time to time to admire the view and smell the flowers…that after all is what life is truly about..

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“Slowing down is not merely important to your health and well being. It’s conceivable slowing down may well be the only way to carve competitive advantage on a sustainable basis – so what if people label you lazy or say that you lack drive. Go tell them to fuck their mothers. Trust me, as when you commit yourself to doing just that, it’s not such a bad thing IMHO - as you will probably have to go into business for yourself. Either that or you’ll be sacked or have to put up with the perpetual grief of an inconsiderate boss who expects you to work after five just because he doesn’t have a life and no one wants to fuck him.

I reckon this corrosive notion of WORK is quite pravalent in Singapore – and the only reason why it is able to latch itself to the whole idea of how work is and must be, is because no one has bothered with the idea of thinking about it deeply – if they did, they would probably say, Enough is enough! No! Dowan! Go and fuck your mother! (that is the gold standard of verbalizing it IMHO) What did I just say? Go fuck your mother lah, while you’re at it do the dog and cat as well!

When you go into business (which you probably have too, if you take my advice what to say to your boss) – you will find that once you have established yourself (after you have learnt the ropes, networked enough to just pick up the phone to get things done, turned the corner etc etc) – there is really so much room for improvisation and experimentation – and when you reach that sweet point – I highly recommend that you experiment with SLOWING DOWN.

One of the things that hits you when you SLOW DOWN is that you’re suddenly aware of things and people and details that previously escaped your field of vision when you were bulleting like a rocket - one begins to lead a nuanced life, instead of just skimming the surface of superficially where everything is just binary, generic along with black and white – things, events and thoughts acquire a sense of precision and scale, they aren’t just framed in neat white and black labels – you will find that you’re able to build stronger relationships, have much more meaningful conversations along with discover new skills like how to smile at a girl in a short skirt on the trains without coming across as a crazed suicide bomber – as since you’re SLOW and deliberate about the whole procenot of whatever you’re doing and just trying to get it over and done with. In your new reborn turtle state of mind you sound less like a robot who is just rattling off from a laminated card – people will even begin to enjoy your company and they even look forward to seeing you (now I finally know why I wasnt too hot with the ladies. And all along I thought it had something to do with my aftershave) – to me that’s when one is living instead of just existing.

But one of the most significant changes in your life as a business man as you begin experimenting with the whole concept of SLOWING DOWN – is you actually become more effective – this at least is my experience.

Granted. It may sound kooky and even counter intuitive at first. But just go with the flow with me on this one – that’s why I mentioned in the beginning – we need to UNLEARN instead of LEARN – as when you SLOW DOWN. Suddenly you will discover a whole field of possibilities that previously escaped you beginning to open up.

Recently I have been encroaching on the turf of my enemies (very gingerly of course) - I am secretly gathering the support of the villagers in his precinct to stage a coup which requires me to network extensively – to drop by at the school and refresh the teachers knowledge on math (which for some inexplicable reason is always lacking in Kampung schools). As I am a God with numbers. So far so good, except for some irritating incidences involving some of the younger teachers poking fun at me and cracking jokes during lectures. Beside that everything is just sweet. Fellowshipping with the kampung folk, finding out whether anyone needs assistance etc etc.

This is the equivalent of my shock and awe – to plan to start this war off by first making sure the hearts and minds is in my back pocket – previously, I considered networking and kissing babies along with attending weddings and kenduri’s (invitations) as just an add on, something that I would normally do, ONLY if you have time to burn - but as I SLOW DOWN and take the trouble to listen deeply, commune at a deep spirited level, take the trouble to understand the issues and to ask deep probing questions etc etc etc  - I find many of the villagers in my enemies territory are not happy.

So you see, I have just discovered a nail that I am going to hammer into the coffin of my enemies – now the learning outcome here is IF I didn’t SLOW DOWN and just did whatever I was doing before by breaking the sound barrier – this strategic intelligence would probably escape my attention and I would probably have to deferred my plans to take over his lands by another five years. But as it is, I am starting to realize that I don’t have to wait that long to launch my great design – all I need to do is kick that rotten door down now! And to kick it so hard that all the bolts fly out – their lands will be mine!

If you want to move forward. Perhaps it makes far more sense to step back. By this, I mean to slow down and start to smell the flowers, admire the scenery along with probably enjoy the conversation and don’t be surprise, if somewhere in all this, suddenly it just goes click – and that’s really the sound of the door that has always been closed to you all this time, suddenly opening.”

The fundamental principle of poise is to strive to be completely comfortable in your own skin – to be relaxed and at one with your environment and those around you like a strolling elephant, yet alert like a panther.

A relaxed mind that is tuned to the PRESENT and not the distant past or future is always highly effective and very pleasing to both the eyes and senses. As when the mind is not suffering anxiety and fear, only then can one maintain a cool composure that speaks of complete and total confidence.

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“If I had to choose been either a ugly person (who I most certainly am) who has poise or a good looking dandy who doesn’t even know what to do with poise and probably thinks its eau de Cologne.

It would take me about half a second to plumb for the former. That is how important I regard poise IF the imperative is to succeed as a businessman. It is strategic precondition to success.

Contrary to popular belief poise has nothing to do with the level of education one may have or even how much money you have in your bank account – I happen to know alot of people who have both, but they are still walking disasters - no matter how hard they seem to come across as affable, congenial and likable. All they seem to do is make everyone around them edgy, restless and suspicious – and this is very sad to watch. As I happen to know for a fact many of my colleagues who seem to suffer from this social problem are actually very decent and honest folk. Most of the time, I say nothing to them – as it is very rude to give free and uninvited advice of such a personal nature.

Ask yourself. Why are you drawn to certain people naturally? If you happen to be a woman – why do you find certain men sexy and appealing although they may have passed their prime or may not even have physically desirable qualities?

If you’re man – why do you find yourself attracted to a plain looking girl when you can easily go out with a sex bomb?

Look it’s a very simple question – a question that all of us irrespective of age, gender or bent can relate too. Usually when you discount appearances along with education and wealth – it boils down to only one factor: poise – truth of the matter is there is nothing more appealing than a man or woman who is perfectly comfortable in his own skin.

That’s really just a cryptic way of saying this person engages you in a way that seems to bring out the best in you. That is why it is very natural to for you to want to be with this person all the time – as you find him or her edifying and even nourishing to be with.

Often we attribute this to charisma – but to me that is bullshit word. As it presupposes that it is mumbo jumbo arcanum –  that you are either born with or have to do without.

I do not believe that to be true for one moment. Not at all. Poise is there for the taking like oxygen or rain water.

What I believe many people don’t realize is –  nervous energy in the form of fear, anxiety or anger can be transmitted to others in the way we carry ourselves and speak to others. We may think, we can mask our emotions, but frequently enough of it leaks out.

Similarly, confidence, trustworthiness and sincerity can also be transmitted to others in the same manner – but what makes this all possible is the power of poise – the way you carry yourself, speak and respond to others is jugular – and often, it can be either edifying or disabling to others – it can either give them confidence in you or simply turn them off.

It is the same with a woman. Even if a woman is fat and the type where others only seem to compliment her on her complexion and very little else – but if this woman has invested in grooming herself from “the inside out,” to cultivate poise at a very deep level - then you will find that she can only be stunningly beautiful – such a woman is truly a marvelous creature for a man to look at – and also very desirable, as when she is not fixated on the idea that everyone in the room is wondering why she is so fat and ugly, she can only reflect peace, serenity and confidence. There is really nothing as attractive as a woman or for that matter a man no matter what his age or even how he looks when he has bothered himself with cultivating poise at the highest level.

As when the mind is not suffering. Only then can we truly shine from deep within.

But if a woman is beautiful, but she is like a meteorite dissipating all of herself in one moment, getting all excitable and jumping up and down – then no matter how well dressed or made up she is – she can never come across as attractive or appealing - it is impossible for a cultivated man to find this girl beautiful – as she hasn’t really got it together. Not yet at least. Or maybe no one bothered to share with her this wonder weapon called poise – She is therefore just a girl – this of course may be a very desirable thing to some men – only understand this sort of girls are ONLY likely to only attract the lowest quality of men – as what decent man in his right frame of mind wants to be landed with a girl?

Let me put it another way. If I can cruise along on autobahn in a stately immaculately engineered S class Mercedes – why would I consider driving a Lada?

To release the wonderful life changing power of poise – we do not need to learn how to walk on water or even turn water into wine – all we need to do is to be mindful of how our thoughts can influence those around us; we need to always strive if possible to be in the PRESENT. Not the distant PAST or even FUTURE. To give this moment NOW our full presence of being like a graceful and calm strolling elephant, full of power. Yet alert and ready to spring into action like a panther. When you do this day in and day out – hour by hour – minute by minute –  you will find that as time goes by, people will just take to you like fish to water.

Practice, practice and practice. And one day it will just be you. And most importantly yours to serve you in your rise to power and influence.

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“Recently, you will find a lot of monkeys jumping on bandwagons and shouting hip hip hurray just because a couple of politicians have thrown them a bone. This people get all excitable like those spining tops in Breakfast Network – who even write toe curling rhapsodies on how and why this or that heralds the coming of a new age….how this is the better and betterest thing since sliced bread and heavy days tampons etc etc etc.

But when the euphoria dies down and everyone begins to sober up and realize that the devil is in the details. Suddenly, we all realize that it’s coming out from our pockets!

Ask yourself what do they all look like now? Come on, it is a very simple question. How do those hacks who always seem to know which side of the bread is buttered and MSM look like now? All dressed up with no one to blow would be an apt description that in my opinion more than adequately captures the pathos of our times….. same day, different shit lah.

Now you understand why I never jump up or even shout out whoopee! Whenever I see everyone falling like bowling pins as they scramble to jump on the bandwagon – many people say I am jaded, but I don’t think so. Let us just say that I know how the game is played only too well.

I reckon in this age of endless hype and spin – one should not be so quick to draw firm and definitive conclusions without first bothering fastidiously with the small print. Never…they just look terribly stupid. And if they keep on doing that again and again. A day will come when no one will take them seriously any longer.”

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All of us have come across smart Alex’s. People who always like to show off how bloody smart they are. Mr Know it all. The guy who likes to put down everyone in the room just to get his point across.

But how do you show others a solution that you simply know they will never be able to resolve even if they lived ten life times? How do you even pull it off without giving others the impression that you are the only one who knows how it’s all going to fit together – the beginning, during and after that is – and most importantly how do you get everyone to buy into the idea that it was they and not you who came out with the solution?

Begin by putting a riddle in the middle of the room and just sit quietly in one corner. Feign disinterest. Soon a crowd will begin to gather. They will start to examine this connundrum - and each man will chip in their two cents – but wait! Do not be impatient – wait….let them swallow the hook, line and sinker……not yet. Wait, watch them all – seek out the leader in the group, there’s always one in every group - now stroll in like a calm elephant and speak only to this leader. You can ignore the others. They are not important – lead this leader to believe this is his plan all along by starting each sentence with the words, “is this what you mean?” – he will nod his head. The others will find themselves agreeing as well, though they may not know why - as what you have done is to use subliminal messaging by leveraging on their leaders power to solicit agreement in a group. 

After all he’s the leader, the last thing you want to do is to piss him off by showing the others, he’s less than a man than you - this way no one needs to lose face. As no one will ever believe you are trying to make them all look stupid. How can they?  It wasn’t your idea any way. Rather all you did was to support what the leader suggested all along….but look closer….look even with the all seeing eye of wisdom…do you see it…yes, it was actually your idea all along.

Research and study this well and your men will follow you to the ends of this earth. As a good leader always leads without giving the impression that he is leading. Do not overuse this Jedi mind trick or people will think you are an illusionist. Timing, calmness and clarity of vision is key to pulling off this mind trick.

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“Understand this! When you go into business for yourself. One reality will hit you like a brick wall. You will NEVER have enough time – that is to say, sooner or later you will derive at a point of reckoning when you simply cannot afford to talk to everyone who comes your way. So in order to remain effective, you must cultivate the skill sets to get people around you to do what you want and in the way you want it to be done – and if possible for them to do it happily.

The most efficient way to accomplish this is not to go up against strong points but to always go around them. But the skeleton key that makes this happen is to leverage on the strength of the existing oligarchy i.e the existing power structure.

For example, if I want to change many of the policies in the PAP. It makes far more sense to infiltrate them and to change them from within, rather than to attempt to do this via the opposition. It is the same when you deal with cut throats, do not walk into the lions den like some fairy. You must have a certain flair about you. An air of danger even in the way you carry yourself and put your point across. The same also applies when you are in the company of businessmen – you should behave like a tai pan. You should try to get into the groove and if possible even try to see the world through their eyes.

To me this is just another way of saying – when in Rome do as the Romans do. For example, if I want to be a successful planter. I cannot go around in a slim cut G2000 like a metrosexual. Kampung folk will get high blood pressure. I have to wear a no nonsense bush jacket. I cannot drive a Masserati, as its no good on uneven and serpentine plantation roads. I have to drive a 4×4 Landcruiser. I certainly cannot stay in a condo that would be the equivalent of committing occupational hara-kiri. Planters don’t do that – they are supposed to be very grounded folk who keep dogs. Neither do I have the luxury to shut the world out either – I need to be step into my role very much in the way an actor has no choice but to speak his lines. If I don’t do all these things diligently along with kissing babies, throwing shoes at laggards who try to game the system, being seen with the elders of the community during festivals, opening temples etc etc etc. Then another planter will just come along and fill that position – and I will be out of business.

I am in competition. As land is finite. And since everyone wants a piece of the action – I don’t even have such a thing as a personal life. That idea died many years ago.

I cannot be as savoir faire as Palmer and enjoy illicit mangoes on the side. Its too dangerous. As every year my enemies deploy very beautiful women to try to entrap me at least twice a year without fail. I don’t even have the basic luxury to call the police when trouble comes knocking on my door. I need to be able to defend myself. I need to be paranoid. I need to be suspicious of everything and everyone, to interrogate everything till it rendered clear.

Above all I need to be very effective in managing myself and others – if I don’t have the discipline to do all these things, people will simply not put their trust in me and everything will just come tumbling down like a pack of cards.

Worse of all, I can’t even be who I really am any longer. These days when you show me a picture of the man I used to be when I was back in Singapore – I don’t even recognize who he is any longer. All I know now is the granite face man who wears a bush jacket, shades and mirror polished black laced shoes who everyone fears.

I reckon that man died a long time ago – and ever since then, I have been searching high and low for him – now all there’s left is this other man.”

I have been living out in the open in the field for so long - I find it almost impossible these days to sleep within the confines of four walls….it’s impossible.

I reckon, I miss my dogs too much. Or maybe through the years of field life, I’ve come to regard the tribesmen who watch over me when I sleep beneath the stars as some sort of security blanket.

But if I am going to learn to live indoors again like a normal civilized human. I have to get accustomed to sleeping without them. I know, I can do this (just need alot of secret passages and trap doors for my dogs and tribesmen to hop right through, to check on me from time to time. I am sure that is quite normal. My architect shakes his head. But what does he know. Truth is you can certainly take a man out of the jungle. But you can never take the jungle out of him.) - nonetheless, I am confident of reintegrating back into normal city living again – as when I was back in Singapore, I stayed in a condo like normal people - if I can do that once upon a time, I am sure, I can relearn it all back again.

After all how hard can it be? My wife says I have changed into a monster she doesn’t recognize any longer – but I am slowly making the effort to change…slowly…one step at a time…slowly.

It is not possible to talk about good luck without discussing bad luck. Both are after all different faces of the same coin – one of the same reality even – part and parcel of life.

I need to go field now. Usually I set aside an hour everyday to write – but something urgent has cropped up and needs my immideate attention in the Western reaches. I hope to con’t where I left off latter.

Meanwhile, do enjoy this wonderful poem by Ruyard Kipling – I always keep a mini sized laminated version of this poem in my wallet – whenever I lose (as I often do) in the game of life and grief threatens to overcome me – it is not unusual for me to reflect on the child like simplicity of this poem.

Poetry is often like wine – it is not just a beautiful arrangement of words that rhymes, or sits neatly to please the eye like a neat row of picket fences. To understand the deeper meaning of a poem – one has to read about the life of the writer very much in the way one endeavors to tease out the various aspects of nature that made that wine so unique. That I shall leave to you the perceptive reader.

And I am sure after doing so, you will understand why this poem resonates with me so powerfully in my many private moments of giref, loss and sorrow and even when things don’t sometimes go so well for me.

‘if’ by rudyard kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

I shall write when I return back from the fields this afternoon.

On a side note – this morning – I was sent an essay by a regular reader who extracted this from the newly set up Potemkin blog, the Independent.

“What if Public Service Commission (PSC) scholarship holders, upon graduating, didn’t have to serve their bonds in the civil service?

What if they could also start their career in the nonprofit sector and local small and medium enterprises (SMEs)?

This is a question I have been asking my friends, who include both current and former scholarship holders, government officials and former civil servants.

The seed of this question was planted way back when retired senior civil servant Ngiam Tong Dow raised hard questions about how we should think about Singapore’s future. Ten years later, his questions have not faded away.

According to him, scholarship holders should serve in both private and public sectors because their bond is to Singapore, not to the government. He adds that Singapore also needs to grow our own timber, even if it takes longer.
if they could also start their career in the nonprofit sector and local small and medium enterprises (SMEs)?”

My take is tolong lah please don’t poison our wells – if scholars enter the business environment, Singapore will NEVER ever prosper. She will be dun for.

If the goal is to create a business culture that celebrates innovations, risk taking and thinking out of the box to crave out competitive advantage – then the worst possible thing that can be mooted is to seed the business community with the corrosive culture of entitlement –  where risk adverse folk who are accustomed to easy, predictable and flabby living dominate the field of possibilities - whose only métier seems to be in excelling in the traditional way of succeeding and failing.

With due respect to Ngiam Tong Dow, he is not only fataly wrong, but his suggestion in my humble opinion is closer to perdition than salvation – if these people stay within the gated communities of the civil service and GLC’s I reckon, it will much better for Singapore and all of us.

As so long as their millionaire culture of “meritocracy” is contained within the four walls of officialdom hopefully it will never reach out and contaminate the Singapore business culture.

The doctrine of historical precedent seems to suggest there is only one variety of individual who time and again has proven successful in business – the man who is so hungry for success that it is even conceivable that he can never fit into a corseted version of society – he is the nail that will always stick out –  if he were to he swim right out to the buoy somewhere in blue waters – this is the sort of person who will give it his all – that is to say, he will NEVER hold back on the account of fear. He wilk gives so much to that one race that he doesn’t even bother to save anything for the return trip. No safety nets. No airbag. No assurance of life time employment. No fast track promotion. No guarantees that it may all even end on a happy note.

The rugged individual. The sort of individual who is likely to look at the tried and tested yellow brick road to success and even say to himself, “I go my own way, I don’t want to follow you monkeys.” The rest, they don’t even come anywhere close.

Think about it…..

I have to go now. Do enjoy the poem and may I wish you a productive day.

RSCN3398

Luck. I imagine plays a preponderant role in success. The $64 million question (sounds like loose change these days, doesn’t it?) is whether one is prepared to be honest to admit this or not – the vast majority of successful people I have noticed never seem to give luck it’s due credit. It’s always me, me and me.

To me that is not only dishonest. It’s also dangerous – as when one chooses to elide the role of luck and how it once played such a big role in the secret recipe of success that can only mean one has began to fashion a God of delusion that can only take us all from reality.

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“To Forest Gump life is a box of chocolates. To me, it will always be one giant roulette wheel. As even when I am in the gyre of something as everydayish such as walking around aimlessly - it wouldn’t be wrong to say, I have some how managed to transform myself magically into an ivory ball clattering on the scales of serendipity - most of the time, I just break even.

I break even - I mean I end up living just another uneventful day, where that day is just a facsimile of yesterday – the only difference is the diminishing size of my toothpaste or that I need to shave - at other times, I end up buying into a whole barrel of grief, that’s when I lose - but there are times, not very often, but enough to remind me that luck certainly plays a preponderent role in one’s life –  when it just all comes together and everything lines up beautifully – that’s when I win! I hit the pay dirt! - it’s as if one has wandered into some mystical time and space – a wonderful domain where serendipity and epiphany intersects seamlessly and I suddenly find myself cocooned in this unforgettable moment where I feel every cell in my body is screaming out with joy.

When that happens - I don’t believe it’s due purely to skill. I guess most people need to attribute their success to skill partly because it’s macho to buy into the nonsense that a man can make his good luck. But how the hell do you go about doing that? That’s why I just believe these people are terribly dishonest – either that or they just have microscopic dicks as that’s a sure sign they’re so insecure with the whole idea of just being comfortable in their own skin to call a spade a spade – so they need to perpetually prove to the world – they did it their way and their way is the best way – along with maybe showing casing - we are the best that money can buy…or it was due to sound planning…great foresight…we are related to Nostradamus…we have the best genes in the world etc etc. But hey, you ain’t fooling me!

In truth if I was called to name ONLY one factor for success – it has to be luck more than anything else I may care to mention - the good luck for things and people to just go the right way long enough to go the distance – like bumping into a long lost buddy on the way to a party – the good luck for this rediscovered friend to still have enough fondness to even suggest we should go somewhere and to pick up where we last left of -  the good luck for him to even spend the time to catch up on the lost years over coffee - the bad luck (or so it seems at that time) of having to stay a tad longer than I was planning to in the cafe – as it’s raining cats and dogs  - and somewhere in this never ending capricious dance between the ball and the wheel, as it just skips along wantonly across the scales win, lose, win, lose, win, lose - that ball suddenly falls into the right slot with the magic number - at that moment, the girl who I see only in my dreams – the one that I just know, I will have absolutely no trouble whatsoever to grow old with and never tire of walks right in the cafe…..her heel catches on something on the door way, she trips…I reach forward to steady her and at that very moment our eyes catch. 

In one breathe, one look…then very slowly like a cyclone unfurling…. Kaboooooooooooooooooooooooom!

But let’s just rewind that whole scene again – this time, let’s just play a game of ‘what if.

What if that day, I decided to hop on a train instead of drive? I wouldn’t have chanced on this long lost friend on the pavement and it would probably be just another day. 

What if long before that day, this friend and me had a falling out and even when our paths crossed, he rather not stop but prefers to forget and instead looks down to avoid me -  while we past each other like two ships criss crossing on a moonless night somewhere in the infinity of the nameless and desolate seas.

What if that day the butterflies somewhere in Seville, Spain, 8,000 miles away on the otherside of the world flapped harder than they usually do in the month of August. What if this caused a low pressure rift somewhere in the straits of Malacca and smoothed out the rain filled cumulus clouds, instead of raining that day, it would probably be another clear and sunny tropical day….what if, I wasn’t wearing my secret agent charcoal turtle neck that day that always makes me look mysterious and dangerous and instead wore my fav “different day, same shit” T-shirt…what if that day I wasn’t scratching my guli’s on the street corner..what if, the pesky auntie brigade didn’t give me evil looks that compelled me to avoid them like the plague by walking across the street…I wouldn’t have even chanced across my friend and one thing would probably never lead to another…..what if…what if…what if…what if…what if.

Do you see where all this is leading too?

Take any one of those factors away from the scene that day, no matter how small and infinitesemial – shift a seat in that cafe even so much as one milimeter forward or backwards…take away one napkin or add another to that table…move the welcome mat ever slightly to the left instead of where it was that day…and the chances are, I wouldn’t have met the woman who became my wife and probably never have married my dream girl and started a family. My life would probably take off in another direction.  

When you look at life through my eyes  – as just perhaps a random chain of events colliding with each other and coalescing to create that one perfect moment where one is able to hold eternity in one second - I happen to believe, I’ve been incredibly lucky in life. 

As I happen to know for a fact, some people go through life and even die and they don’t even get to experience this wonderful moment where everything just clicks and it feels so darn right.

Yes, skill, I reckon is still very important in the general scheme of things – but I don’t think it comes anywhere close to luck. No way!

I don’t imagine for one moment, business is any different…..don’t you think so? Yes….it’s all luck I reckon. That is the way I prefer to see it……..”

Till now all we have been doing is training, training, training, training and training. Hardening, hardening, hardening and hardening. Sharpening, sharpening, sharpening and sharpening.

I did not tell many of you this (only a few of us know the goal). I did not dare. As I didn’t know that we would all reach this far in the game so soon – by my calculation, we are five years ahead of schedule. This was not due to sound planning, foresight or even anything organized – it was pot luck lah.

Do not fear this new chapter in the game – as it is just new dressed up as old – is it not so Gentlemen?

One that I am sure will even stretch all of us – but rest assured although it will be hard in Africa (because it cannot be an easy enterprise to pull off) – I have every reason to expect it to be a pleasant pace of change that I believe will even hold out the promise of being respectful, considerate and even fun for all of you – a sort of change where if the hard knocks on your door, it will not do so in short sharp shocks but rather in steady increments, not so different from the variety that we are all accustomed too.

Now the time has come to go where no mind dares to go…Africa.

—————————————————————————————————————-

“Africa is the only place in this planet today, where providing a rugged individual has not bought into that 21st century nonsense called ‘easy living’ and that other delusion called bubble wrapped ‘safe and law abiding society,’(till today I have absolutely no idea what these idiots are talking about. None whatsoever) – can still go with a $50 AK 47 accompanied by couple of bent politicians and chieftains, plant a flag and declare this my lands.

This is still possible today in certain parts of Africa, deep in the interior – where the law of the AK 47 rules like the omnipotent sun. There deep in the heart of darkness where angels fear to tread – so deep that everything is just up in the air like how it has always been since the beginning of time.

But look very closely at this seemingly unchanging feral landscape – look what is happening in the coastal cities in Africa, especially the West coast – the winds of change is sweeping across this God forsaken continent – now it is just a murmur, so faint, but it will come – and while everyone is still mesmerized by China, we must go the other way BEFORE they pick up the blood scent. The reason is very simple – fortune always favors the brave. This is what they don’t ever teach you in Harvard Business School.

We are not talking about 100 hectares, not even 1,000 hectares, not even 10,000 hectares – we are talking about driving the whole day and night in the field and you haven’t even covered one tenth of the landmass you can call your lands – we are talking about a spatial scale of commercial farming that most people in Singapore can never ever imagine as the geography is so stupendously big that their brain will simply explode if they try to imagine beyond the dictionary meaning of the word ‘big’ that is Africa.

I did not tell you all this in the very beginning of the game, because I didn’t want to scare the living day lights out of everyone – but everything that we have done till now was always meant to prepare and harden you for this one great push….that is the goal.

Africa…Africa….Africa

Africa…Africa….Africa

Africa…Africa….Africa

Sweet Africa…I wish I could return to you my dearest love. But my body is so very weak my children. I have lost so much weight. I can feel it deep in the marrow of my bones. I will die very soon. Perhaps if there is a God. I can met all you again in my next life in Africa. Go now. Do not delay. Plans have already been made. Go to Africa before the world wakes up!

When you are young – and by young I don’t mean that you have to be necessarily a kid. You could even be in your twenties, thirties or well into your forties and still be young – as youth to me is synonymous with the whole idea of not having experienced the full range and hemisphere of what life has to offer – so this idea that you are somehow wiser with the chastening passage of time has to mislead at so many levels – as it presupposes quite wrongly, just because you are older, you are automatically wiser and have access to some super duper arcanum that others may never be able to glean – but if you just take the trouble to really look long and hard at some people (such as myself at times) who are old or claim to be the best that money can buy – you would probably find without too much difficulty that they’re none the wiser even after living X or Y number of years – in fact you rather be alone than listen or read what they have to say and write.

And this underscores the importance when you’re still young to always look for good role models to emulate. Preferably someone who is not like me – by role models I am not referring to people who have managed to successfully mythologize their lives into legendary figures of lore. Those people to me make the world’s lousiest role models as so much of who they really are and what they once stood for has to be closer to fiction than the truth – to me they are really just out on an ego trip.

Rather try to fix your eyes on real people who are facing real challenges in the real world – who you regularly come across daily.

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“Set your eyes on the wrong role model and I can almost guarantee you 100% that you are fucked for life! The truth is brutal. It’s really as simple as that – but who are the right role models to emulate? I have no idea, that’s for you to figure out in your quiet time.

Having said that I can share with you my outlook on this subject. Only prepare yourself for a mother of anti climax as I expect, its not going to be something that will go down well.

Whenever people met me for the very first time – I am always overcome by a wave of embarrassment, that’s because they seem to see is what they want to see. That’s to say, they make most of it up in one part of their brain to convince the other side of their brain that this is how I am. And that always makes me sad, as I know only too well. They have got the wrong end of the stick.

And the worse part is that there is no way to convince them that they’re wrong – if I try to tell them the naked truth. Everyone would just say, “he’s so bloody humble.” Now you know why it always saddens me.

There was this time when I walked into a Gaming convention in Munich and the entire beer hall stood up banged the table with their mugs for a full ten minutes – that was because every level 25 gamer has heard of the man called Darkness. I am not so sure they would have been so enamored had they realized their mythical hero was unemployed, lived in a room where clothes go to die while he has surviving on pot noddles as he led his motley crew to conquer on virtual planet after another – neither is it unusual for climbers and mountain bikers to suddenly fall silent whenever I walk into a pub while they all murmur, that is the man who climbed K2 without oxygen, sailed solo around the world in a bathtub, survived 30 days in the wilderness by eating his boots etc etc.

It’s got much much worse since I ventured into business. As many people seem to consider me a maverick of sorts. But in truth, I don’t believe it is true to consider many of those exploits remarkable and let me share with you all why it may even be dangerous wrong to do so – let me even prove it empirically in the way a scientist would establish the truism that water boils at 100 degrees celsius.

Understand this! No matter how difficult a challenge is – you can’t climb beyond the summit, you can’t sail for perpetuity without reaching the point where you started etc etc. My point is, it’s highly misleading to assume that courage, sagacity and the indomitable spirit is to be found in such exploits – I suspect much of how we choose to define courage, sagacity and determination has more to do with Hollywood – as there is a definitive start and end date to all these apparently great human feats. That means it is finite – so how hard can it be?

Real courage. Real sagacity. Real indomitable spirit to push on without ever giving an inch in truth is usually to be found in the boring litany of everydayness – as somewhere nestled in the daily grind of a 24 hour day is the idea that you will never ever know when it will end or even whether it will end happily like a movie – it just goes right on like one of those roads that seem to stretch on forever – and that is where terror is sharpened and heightened – that’s the place where every passing moment cuts like a knife. The mother of an autistic child who nurtures the idea of hope day in and day out that her child will one day grow up to be whole and independent. She has made the decision NEVER to give up. The family man who commits himself to holding down two jobs as he knows that’s the only way to fashion a better tomorrow for his children in super duper expensive Singapore – where politicians seem to be more interested in shedding crocodile tears as they wax lyrical about how they are the best thing since sliced bread. This man has accepted his lot stoically and uncomplainingly. That to me is sagacity.

The salary man who begins chipping away at the walls to start his own business as he knows only too well – the mathematics of necessity – this is the only way to break free from the bondage of never being able to earn enough to get by living in the sixth costliest city in the world – where his salary never seems to go up in relation to the helium cost of living – this man has made a decision to wing it on a hope and prayer. To put a bullet into a revolver, spin it and level it to his temple and click! Make or break! All or nothing! Win or lose it all in a game of sudden death. And to wake up day in and day out and just play that game without ever once even telling his wife or chidren – as he never wants to burden them. My God that is so courageous. You have to be fucking blind not to see his courage!

Or the lone blogger who writes the truth even when he knows that only his goldfish and sister is reading his blog and bumping up his hits as only they believe in what he is doing – while this man considers the smallness of his courage from time time – as at any moment his live can be crushed like an ant by forces that are so conceited they will always fear the truth. As they now how crumbly the lies are and how easily it is to kick that rotten door down.

These are the role models I set my eyes on. As I said, these are real people who lead real lives and who do what they do without even expecting anything in return except maybe the promise of a better tomorrow – there is no begining or end, no stage even for them all to say, this is my contribution, this is what I stand for – all there is, is the endless stretched out road before them and if you set your eyes on them. I don’t think you will go too far off the mark.”

This morning I dropped by to join my tiny Singaporean community for Bak Kut Teh – to me it is an opportunity to fellowship, network and further extent my sphere of influence – business is after all about networking (bear this in mind always if you want to be successful in business – you need to develop a people orientated personality – you even need to be comfortable and be at ease with people – and the best way to do this is to practise, practise and practise.)

As a general rule of thumb I try to avoid any discussion concerning politics and religion early in the morning. Experience informs me, it’s best to keep to light subjects such as the weather, hobbies, family and friends if one desires to come across as congenial, affable and friendly.

During breakfast when we were all sitting in a large round table – I caught wind of what seemed to be a heated conversation in the next table – there was a loud fellow accompanied by two other businessmen drumming down a poor chap loudly just because he did not agree with Mini Lee’s crocodile teary eyed speech – what I regarded as bad taste was how this obnoxious fuckers proceeded to tear apart this poor chap in front of everyone just for voicing out his opinion – who the fuck do they think they are? Why are they behaving like the overseas division of the MDA aka thought police – that was at least how they came to me and everyone else just then – these three businessmen are new to our circle – I thought to myself and judging from the way they carry themselves, they must have been captains in their industry, heavyweights unlike poor house me who is just a pocket battleship farmer with a miserable veggie plot.

But even if you happen to be rich and successful what right do you have to muzzle people from speaking out on their objects of interest or what they genuinely believe to be true – besides the very idea of three against one just rubs me all the wrong – so I got up and went to the next table just about the time when this obnoxious businessman was pummeling this poor chap who looked very much like a shivering rabbit before a cobra.

“….Whatever our grumbles, whatever we may gripe about sometime, it is not perfect but by international standards they are all excellent and that is a fact.”

That was how the fat obnoxious man put it (I can’t remember his words exactly, but I remembered he spat out the words ‘fact.’) as he and his buddies glared at this poor chap who looked so small that morning. He must have wished he could just go ‘poof!’ and disappear.

That was when I pitched in, “If what you say is true. Then perhaps you can share with all of us – why is it if everything is excellent as you say it is – then how is it by the same benchmark of international standard that you keep referring too are Singaporeans rank as the worlds most unhappiest people? After all that is also fact. So it seems there are so many facts out there. We can more or lesss cherry pick any fact we wish to fit our arguments….yes?”

The whole restaurant fell silent like a tomb – you could even hear an ant tip toeing – I realized then, I may have gone and tad too far – so I adjusted and cracked a joke by pretending to sob and saying to myself, “forgot to take my medication again…” everyone burst out laughing and soon they were back chowing earnestly again.

Thereafter those three fucks glared menacingly at me – had they continue to keep quiet, look down and just pretended to eat their pork chops – I would have been happiest to let the matter rest – but no, one of the buddies of this obnoxious fellow even had the gall to even look me up and down like a jaga kereta boy. I felt like giving them all a round house Bruce Lee flying kick and slitting their throats. At that point, they must have surmised I was a planter – as these days only landowners go around in bush jackets. One of them asked rudely, “how many acres do you have?” I did not answer him and smiled instead. Then another put a gun on the table, metaphorically at least when he mentioned, “we are in property development business.” As he leaned across the table.

Now for those of you who may not be familiar with business parlance that is just another way of saying – you better sit down before you fall down. As you are now in the big league. You are dealing with big boys now. We can chew you up and spit you out like a seed. So you better give respect.

I looked at these men hard and said to them, “Yes, I too am very interested in the hotel business as well.” I notice after that those three loud mouths were not smiling any longer – they even shifted uncomfortably and looked at each other and then at me again.

I am not tell you what this means in the unwritten language of business world – all I can say is, it very clear and ambiguous to those who know how to read this language. This I can assure you all. You need to find out for yourself – to connect the dots so to speak.

Remember what I write should never be confused with the same genre as Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people – as it remains the very real case of regularly having to deal with the seven habits of highly effective motherfuckers and how to neutralize them. But I digress, let me con’t….

I took seat beside these three fucks and shared with them in a very grave and serious tone – diversification may after all not be a matter of choice, but rather a necessity from now onwards and with these thoughts I smiled and turned to one of them and asked,

“Now tell me where do you plan to build your new hotel?”

———————————————————-

“Many things are seriously wrong in Singapore. Some of these problems are already so acute they can even be considered systematic – so just because politicians talk about kiddies and airports doesn’t mean that all is well and fine – it just means they prefer to talk about kiddies and airports. Instead of much more pressing issues that in my opinion require their immediate attention. No! I am not running down Singapore. I am running down the leadership of the government of the day in Singapore. There is a big difference. And I want to make that distinction very clear. No! I am not malicious, subversive or for that matter even harbor a secret agenda – I am just stating a fact that I feel needs to be highlighted. As I don’t believe the government of the day, the media or for that matter so many Potemkin sites such as Breakfast Network want to talk about those inconvenient truths either. To put it plainly, I am just using my brain. And I have every right to do so, as I only past through this timeline once. If I don’t speak up, then we will all be only talking about kiddies and airports again next year and that I think would be a catastrophic disaster.

You are not my judge. You cannot scare me. History is by witness. And that is really enough for me to think and say anything I like.”

Most people get worked up and become excitable for no apparent reason. That is one reason why when you see everyone jumping on the bandwagon and shouting, hip hip hurray!

The chances r, you will probably find me sitting all by myself on a knoll picking my nose as I watch events unfold - I much prefer to keep a distance from the perfidious rah rah brigade – it’s my way of keeping the ‘I’ whole. I’ve always been suspicious of the ‘we’ - as I don’t ever want to get swept away by the euphoria of the cheering mob - rather I much prefer to just look on impassively – you could even say this is very much part of my nature – a feature that if you are unfortunate enough to be acquianted with me, you would probably notice without too much difficulty – there is always a sense of estrangement. A self imposed state of exile even – where one is always looking in from the outside.

Usually I will observe this thing that has managed to mesmerize the crowd. I may eve go around it to try to better understand the underlying motive of this thing .Moving ever so slowly. Gingerly even like a hunter. When the crowd has dispersed. I will usually move in to take a closer – if possible, I will even take it apart and peer into its inner workings to try to further understand it from the inside out.

I will ask myself, how does thing work. Why was it created. Who does it really serve. And most importantly, is it really such a good thing like everyone says it is – even after doing all this.

I would usually suspend all judgement – and instead do something quite strange and inexplicable – I will just let the matter sit, that is to say, I will not even think about it or for that matter even feel the need to rush to form an opinion on the matter.

Then when this thing no longer seems to excite, titilate and enthral the crowd – that is usually the time when I will set it before me and look at it again – this time, I will just sit there and look at it for hours on end – in very much the same way, I spend hours just looking at the birds, trees and clouds.

And when a man looks at a thing long enough – and it could really be anything - then at some point – what will happen is that he will begin to see things that others do not see – he may even find himself pursuing a line of enquiry that others may see no profit in pursuing – but at some point that thing will begin to unravel for what it really is – the truth will emerge and usually and very regrettably most of the time, its an anti-climax. As I find myself clucking my tongue and sighing as I murmuring to myself,

“What is the fuss really all about?”

I happen to believe if everyone just cultivated the good habit of stilling their mind’s instead of behaving like white laced virgins watching a porno movie for the very first time – we will see the world for what it is – rather than being railroaded by spin and hype. After all – this hardly requires any elaboration – all that glitters is not always gold. In many cases, it’s just the old dressed up as new.

What after all is the fuss about? Only time will tell whether it’s really good or bad.

———————————————————————————————————

“During the moment of my youth. I was regarded by many as an idiot child. One reason for this was because I never spoke a full sentence till about the age of eleven – that is to say, if you asked me a question. I would probably just look at you with a blank expression. Most of the time, I was content to look at trees – and it was not unusual for me to spend hours just sitting on a park bench either sketching them or just looking at them. The other boys avoided me. As either they or their parents must have considered me quite a weirdo – Or maybe their parents thought I suffered from some incurable affliction that was contagious.

I failed every subject except mathematics and physics which I excelled in and even managed to win several prizes at University level when I was in primary school - and even then, if I didn’t like the teacher or found that equation too boring – it wasn’t unusual for me to just doodle instead of completing the exam papers - so I was really one of those boys who were written in an alphabet that no one could really read.

One day just around the time when I first started forming whole sentences – a local king pin gangster in my neighborhood came up to me and asked me for my salary. I started working really young at around nine as a guard dog handler for a wealthy plantation landowner. I gave it to him. But when he did not return me the money I went to his house and asked it back – he told me, ‘look idiot, that is not how it’s supposed to work. I take from you and that is the end of it. Do you understand?’ He then took out a knife and started waving it around. I did not understand, so I just stared at him – I wasn’t angry. I just didn’t know what was going on – but even as I a young boy, I had a very intimidating way of staring at people – it might have had something to do with the way my eyes would seem to burn through flesh, bone and into the mind – that at least was how my grandma described it – she said there was too much fire in my star and I was cursed – so eventually this gangster got either so sick, tired or scared of me staring at him every time he met me that one day he just came right up to me and just gave me back my money. Two days later he died in a motorcycle accident – everyone thought I fixed him as he was last seen throwing back the money he took from me into a longkang - they all said be careful of that psycho boy, there is something about his eyes. It got so bad that we all had to move house. This was not the first time we had to move on the account of others fearing me for no apparent reason.

When I went to London to study, again I found that many people would usually boot me out from a job – I had to work and study. As I just had enough money to get there and had to make up it as I went along - usually they would say that I was slow, unresponsive, lacked initiative or that I wasn’t a team player.

Eventually, I found a job as an appretince undertaker in Kilburn, London where I became the employee of the year for three consecutive years (even won a TV and holiday to Spain) - my employer was so happy with my performance he even mentioned that I had the ideal demeanor and temprament to make it big in the undertaking profession – as I seemed to be able to soothe the bereft and hysterical with my elephant clamness could even ward off fainting spells - both he and his wife liked me so much they even gave me free lodgings in the basement. As I didn’t seem to mind being around coffins or dead people. That could explain why I wasn’t a big hit with the girls in my averagely miserable campus days. Besides unlike my previous jobs, there were never any customer complaints. So I was happiest there.

My night job involved carrying money for wealthy restaraunters in China town London – every evening, after finishing my job as an undertaker – I would go from restaraunt to restaraunt dressed in my black suit, black tie, black shoes and carry a briefcase that was handcuffed to my hand – the job paid very well. I think it had something to do with no one wanting to take it up – I can’t imagine why – as although, I worked only two hours a day – I was paid a full eight hours wage – I reckon maybe it had to do with the unusual working hours.

One day as I sat down in a restaraunt waiting for the till to be emptied – three Vietnamese gun man burst in - one of them came right up to my table and pointed a Makarov squarely at me - he began pointing at what I thought to be my bowl and screaming in pidgin cantonese, give me! Give me! So I calmly pushed my bowl of wanton mee towards his direction and pointed towards the chair – I was completely calm. That is the way it is was with me then – there is always a delay. I remember wondering to myself why did he need to go to such ridicolous lengths just for a bowl of noodles  - eventually his hands started to shake so violently that his gun went off accidentally and there was pandemonium, as all the diners and waiters spewed out into the streets – the next thing, I realized, the gun men all just ran out empty handed.

After that day, all the store keepers, merchants and restaurantuers in Leicester Square and Old Crompton street referred to me as the man who you don’t ever mess around with. They saw me as Death. As how is it possible for a man to look at death so cooly.

For my part, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the fuss was all about.

As in truth, I had absolutely no idea what those gunmen really wanted – I know this sounds ridicolously dumb, but that is the solemn truth – the way, I saw it, it couldn’t have been my briefcase – as the only thing that I had in it then was a banana, half eaten sandwich, a box of orange flavored tic tac and a thermos of coffee. You see money was never ever put in this briefcase – it was always given to the owner’s son - my job description only required me to walk around with a handcuffed briefcase all the time - at that time, I had no idea why anyone would even pay me so handsomely to do such a simple job. 

After that incident whenever I walked into a restaurant – everyone would suddenly fall silent and they would all look very nervous.

I remembered the words of my grandma then – she had once mentioned to me, that there was too much fire in eyes, as I was born when Mars was behind the darkest shadow of the sun, so there is hardly any trace of water or wood, it’s all fire - so I went to Boots and bought myself a pair of sunglasses and wore them day and night. Till this day, I still do the same.

Today when I think back, I shudder with disbelief at how the world just passed me by in the moment of my youth – it’s a miracle that I made it so far without dying – nonetheless with these lingering thoughts, I can’t help but feel from time to time, what’s the fuss all about?

As to be really true, there was nothing to really fear about me – most of it had more to do with mythology and I imagine lashings of Hong Kong gangster movies - as all I was then was a ultra blur sotong who had absolutely no idea what was going on around me.

Fortunately for me and to the great relief of my parents – I grew out of this blur sotong phase.

This just goes to show you how most people prefer to see what they wish to see – and even if there is nothing there – they will just make it up with their incredible powers of imagination….this aspect of human behavior never fails to surprise me – that I reckon is why whenever I see people saying to me this fellow is like this or like that - that idea is the best thing since sliced bread.

I seldom ever just take and run with it. Never….as I know so much of it has to do with the fervent will of humans to always put their faith in happy lies – lies they need to regularly tell themselves to perpetuate their belief that tomorrow will always be a better than today – I just wonder what does that idea have to do with reality?

Been through it myself…so I know the before, during and after so very well that you can even say, it’s very hard for me to just buy anything on face value. Only time will tell. And tell it will.”

Log 19-8-13 Nacramanga

August 19, 2013

Estate: Harvested @ 15 day rotation today – first cutting front terrace, BH front and partial back portion – 6.4 / one lorry. FFB weighed at TML mill.

Fertilization: Manured Front L section terrace with CM – stopped my car, took off my shirt and worked alongside the farmhands today – as they were complaining about having to carry heavy loads in the rain. After that everyone promptly shaddap. Discipline must be enforced.

Reprimanded JV, told him that his pay will be cut by a quarter this month as his work is sloppy and he has been cutting corners – he took it like a real man. It is fortunate that he looked down and keep silent when I glared at him and asked whether he had anything to say.

Highlights 1: Nacramanga has started his nonsense again to undermine my credibility and to assasinate my character – this time he has suggested all my studies on optimizing palm oil on hilly and mountainous terrain has been fabricated by “clever heuristics and mathematical alchemy,” – he wrote 15 pages to underscore how I had intentionally manipulated data during a three year period to substantiate what he referred too as a “fairytale” formulation – I do not know what to do with him.

As to be honest, I am very fond of Nacramanga – so I invited him for lunch today / it was a simple field meal – one that I know he appreciates – Nacramanga is very much like me – we have so many things in common – I especially like how he is one of the few who has remained virtually untouched by the trappings of wealth – he still sleeps on a camp bed and his only luxury seems to be a bottle of sherry that he can even stretch out for a whole month – it is very difficult for me to despise such a man – so I asked Harphoon to join us. My hope is Harphoon would be able to use his influence to try to reason with him – if that fails, then I have to put him in his place again.

I do not know why, but on average Nacramanga goes after me every three years – and every time he does so, I need to humiliate him publicly which I don’t relish – as he is such a fine fellow who I respect very much – I respect his Knight’s Templar way of life, his dedication to his estate that I can only describe as the highest level of scientific farming – I even admire his courage and his unwavering spirit. It must have been very difficult for him to deal with the sudden passing of his girl friend – perhaps that is why he needs to take out his frustrations on me – I want to strangle him, but he is someone who I admire and I do not know why he thinks the things he thinks about me – I just don’t understand.

I do not expect a retraction from Nacramanga – as to be perfectly honest, there were some errors and omissions in my tabulation of the yield data in Appendix 6 and 7 of my report – there were even certain assumptions that I failed to substantiate with statistical methods – in every sense he was right – but to assume that I am trying to pull the wool over the eyes of everyone? To even suggest that I willfully embellished and exagerrated my findings to lend credence to my theory that it is not only possible to grow palm oil in hilly terrain, but that doing so can produce a yield comparable to flat land – I would have much preferred it, if Nacramanga had brought this matter to my attention privately. Had he done so. I would have produced the data to back up my assumptions – instead he used it to launch a public attack on me.

I am very sad that someone who I secretly admire, respect and have had the pleasure to call a friend for so many years has done this to me.

I know, I am right. But the damage is so substantial that I may have to lie low for a while till this unpleasant affair blows over. There is no point in fighting such a prestigious man like Nacramanga – he went to all the right universities. I didn’t. He even thinks faster than me. If I fight him, I will have only one thing in my favor – my ability to hypnotise and enthral the crowd. But that is showmanship. A circus act. A glorified used car salesman with his song and dance – I don’t ever want to win that way, not with Nacramanga. Someone else maybe. Not him. I just want him to respect me to treat me well, that is not too much to ask. Not after how I have smoothed the way for him to start his own business and even secretly helped him so many times by using my influence and network to see him through the hard times. I did all this so that he did not have to go through the grief I went through. I did it all without even him even realizing that I had oiled each chapter of his success. Why is he so ungrateful. Why can’t he see the good in me? I do not understand, really I do not.

I know I am right. I just know it deep down in my bones….it is possible to grow palm oil on hilly and mountainous terrain.

 

 

Weather: Another scorching day today. Trekked up to the eastern highland reaches with the tribesmen this evening just before sundown to recover a downed UAV. Mid way noticed ploughed field clouds lighted by the moon. They were low. Very low. I knew they would break before reaching the peaks – at 2234 it started to rain – real rain – it felt warm on my face – I could even taste the Indian Ocean and bits of India.

From now onwards it will get wetter.

Estate: 1,200 bags of organic CM has already been delivered. I would need to plan for the muriate of potash soon – cannot delay any longer due as the monsoon has arrived. Timing will be key.

Highlights: C wants to sell his parcel of land. The price is fair. I will buy it. This will send shockwaves through the ranks of my enemies – as now they will know that I am taking the battle into their home turf – this is the first clear sign that I have torn up the armistice of live and let live – they will try their best to scuttle this deal. But I have made it clear to the elders in their village that I come in the name of peace (that is a lie of course). I told them to remain neutral. If they take sides, I would consider it as an act of war. As I have no quarrel with them and they would do well to think about the well being of their children – as it always pays to be in good terms with the largest landowner in the district.

Their lands will have to go as well – I cannot trust them. After all how can I possibly trust merchants of convenience who don’t seem to have any problems switching sides on a drop of a hat. Their word is worthless.

- the oil barons are getting nervous with each passing day – they must heard rumors that my lorries have been secretly transporting fruit bunches through the serpentine plantation roads even in the wet season – I mean to start a blockade to halt their mills – that is why they have been trying to get me to sit down and sign a new agreement – I must use time as a weapon and delay them – once their chimney stacks no longer spew out black smoke. Only then will I commence price negotiations. Not before.

- I went to church this morning. I wanted so much to believe in the idea of God. I prayed so hard for him to enter me. I knelt down and humbled myself and I prayed so hard that I felt heavy beads of sweat streaming down my back and chest. But nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Instead I suddenly found myself marooned in my own skull. I want to believe. But I feel nothing.

I want to be good. But I am so lost. Have I strayed so far that I can no longer make out the familiar landmarks to get back to the beaten road and join the others – all I can do is stand there all alone and look in from the outside like a confused man standing out in the cold peering through bullet proof glass at folk who seem to have absolutely no problem believing.

What the hell is wrong with me? Or maybe it’s him? If you are the same God who can fashion the world in six days, nuke Sodom in a blink of an eye, flood the world, part the red sea, appear before Moses in the form of a burning bush. Why can’t you step into the desolation of my soul and fill my emptiness and make me whole again to make me believe. To make me good again. How is it possible that everyone else, even the dumb, poor and stupid can believe so effortlessly, while I am condemned to watch them like an outcast, while I continue to suffer the cruel lashes of nothingness. Absolutely nothing. Nothing…..

Are you tuning in?

August 18, 2013

The older I grow, I find the less I listen to people who prefer only talk about the problems they are comfortable to talk about.

I also seem to find less time (in some cases, no time whatsoever) to listen to people who only seem to like to solve problems that they know only too well are easy to solve – while they conveniently sweep underneath the carpet, the difficult problems that I know, they should should be dedicating themselves to solve earnestly.

I find that as I grow older – I sometimes even take off my shoes and throw them at these hollow people. I do not know whether this is due to the onset of age…or maybe I am just growing wiser.

————————————————————

“Tell me, if you r genuine about prescribing a solution to a problem. Do you deal with the symptoms. Or do you address the root cause of the problem.

Let me put it this way, if I have a brain tumor. How effective would it be for a physician to prescribe Panadol?

It is a very simple question.

Now if you want to solve the housing problem at the root level – then don’t waste everyones time talking about making houses more affordable. Instead look into ways and means to create high quality jobs to empower people with higher purchasing power that keeps up with the helium high cost of living in Singapore. As the root cause, is salaries are simply not keeping up with run away cost of living.

Similarly, If you want to solve the healthcare problem at the root – then again don’t waste time talking about medisave, medishield and complex accounting gymnastics where left pocket goes to right etc etc. Instead look into ways and means to create high quality jobs to empower people,e with higher purchasing power that keeps up with the escalating cost of healthcare.

By the same token, if you want to give every child the best start in life – once again don’t waste people’s time and talk about what a stellar job you are doing in education – instead focus on more inventive ways and means to create high quality jobs so that parents can afford to send their kiddies for enrichment and tuition classes. If you want to solve the problems relating to transportation ditto – the same goes for most problems.

Now ask yourself – what can we draw from all this? The answer is, there is really ONLY one issue that SHOULD be discussed. The problem is that it will NOT be discussed. As it is a very difficult problem to resolve – that at least is my considered opinion – and I have every right to use my brain, unless of course you can prove to me that thinking is somehow constitutes a crime.

And if a “leader” doesn’t even want to recognize, talk and dedicate his team to prescribe a solution to that ONE problem that all other issues converge on – the one issue that everyone expects him to talk about – and insteads only goes about prescribing duct tape, superglue and cable tie interim solutions to what I consider to be a whole dissertata of problems – then who the fuck is going to bother tuning in, except maybe the nation destroying press, Breakfast Network et al – who the fuck else is going to tune in and waste a precious Sunday evening listening to someone who is just out on an ego trip?

I think it is important to respect people’s intelligence, respect their time and above all respect their pressing and urgent needs – talk only about what is really pressing and urgent and not what you are most comfortable to talk about – if you are not prepared to take difficult problems by the horns, then don’t be a leader, that is how I see it – if you choose to lead, then you need to dedicate yourself to what is most urgent and pressing – you will soon find that most reasonable people will tune in and prick up their ears.

Life is very simple. Don’t make it more complicated than it already is.”

Less competition. Sometimes to win an argument, you do not require ten bullet points. All you need is ONE compelling reason.

—————————————————————————————————————-

“Singapore in my humble opinion ONLY appears to be safe and secure. But in truth you can be maimed and killed anywhere. Well being or for that matter the crumbly idea of feeling safe is after all at best only a state of mind and at worst it’s just a happy illusion.

Now if you don’t believe me – consider this, imagine if I put you in a bubble wrapped business environment where IF you are confronted with even the merest hint of violence and threat - and all you need to neutralize danger is to pick up the phone and call the police.

Then HOW can you possibly learn to manage danger? WHY for that matter do you even NEED to acquire the skill sets to interdict threats?

Do you do see from this simple illustration – how the whole idea of feeling safe is not only relative. But often we even allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security, thereby exposing ourselves to danger. As since we are lulled into a false sense of security, we can only let our guard down - but the worst thing about living in a bubble wrapped society is NOT that you have allowed yourself to buy lock, stock and barrel into the happy dream state that you are safe - rather the real solvent is, as time goes by, all your natural instincts of survival, such as the capacity to adapt and thrive in a harsh and dangerous business environment can only fritter away. Till you become so risk adverse and intolerant of danger that your threshold to manage conflict is reduced to virtually zero. When that happens how the fuck can you succeed in business – all it takes to send you packing is a bunch of two bit gangsters to send you a bullet with your name engraved in it – and you’re a nervous wreck. Or for them to give you a hard time only for you to throw in the towel and sell your lands to them at a fire sale prices. When that end point is reached, you can work in no other business environment except a place like Singapore. That’s just a polite way of saying you have painted yourself into a corner – or worst still cut off an entire field of possibilities and reduced it all to a miniscule island.

That is well and fine if you happen to believe Singapore is the alpha and omega. The beginning and end etc etc etc.

However if you have to regularly work in a business environment where everyday when you switch on the TV or read the papers only to be informed that so and so has been shot by a gun man etc etc etc – then what you would have to do is learn HOW to be effective in a highly volatile, uncertain and dangerous business environment – that is to say, you will have to develop a very high tolerance to risk and even danger – you will even be able to step outside your comfort into the discomfort zone and manage whatever dangers come your way - but the best thing in my opinion is not that you learn to remain calm and composed in the face of danger - rather what is often discounted in the business case and even elided in the Harvard Business Review is that it’s remarkably easy to succeed in a dangerous business environment – first of all, you have virtually no competitors – as since the polite crowd who are usually addicted to air-conditioners and gated communities (do you notice they are all fat) consider that country you are turning the wheel of life in a basket case – that simply means you would probably need to ONLY put in one tenth of the effort to carve out competitive advantage in your business. That means you can get a very good return on your energy and your capacity to materialize a profit is incredibly efficient. To me having less competition is one big headache that more than compensates for whatever grief you may have to put up with when you work in a dangerous business environment.

I would for example consider the business plan to mine gold in Sierra Leone a far better business proposition than let’s say undertaking the same in civilized Alaska or New South Wales in Western Australia - as although there are armed tribes in the darkest reaches of Africa who are all seem to like pointing their AK-47′s at foreigners - and they have absolutely no qualms in killing and putting people in a pot with a diced carrots just to fill their stomachs.

At least, I don’t have to regularly lose sleep on how to procure the financing to out flank juggernaut firms like Rio Tinto, appease pesky environmentalist, deal daily with anal fixated officers from department of environment, having to regularly make up excuses that I am not pumping affluents into the river or putting up with really stupid things like getting a summons for shooting grizzly bears during the off season just to fill my stomach when I am out in the field.

In Africa, all I need to do is get a couple of bad ass cheiftains to sit underneath a tree without killing each other and sharing with them my business plan which probably sounds like this something you probably read at the back of a chewing gum wrapper, “Hey instead you people trying to hack me into a thousand pieces, let’s make money man! What do you all say?” - even if all fails, what is to stop me from declaring my own sovereign state by setting up my private army - my point is you need to focus on the cogent and disregard what I can only term as distractions - as when you boil it all down to crud –  business really comes right down to only one consideration - return on investment. Everything else is negotiable.

Understand this! What I am trying to say is your chances of discovering El Dorado in a country where people regularly try to kill, kidnap or put you in the ICU will ALWAYS be dramatically higher, as compared to let’s say, if you decide to do the same in a bubble wrapped society like Singapore – as in those countries where foreign investors dare not tread - you have very few competitors and since everything is up in the air or in a state of anarchy, that by itself gives you so much room for improvisation that it can only confer a competitive advantage that you can NEVER ever get anywhere else – least of all a place like Singapore – where if you just step out of line a bit, you’re toast lah. Besides Temasek controls everything under the sun, so what scope of improvisation are you talking about – did you know that in Africa or in certain places where businessmen don’t even dare to go in South America, you can even set up your own currency and bank. I bet you didn’t know that - to me the entry cost for doing business in countries that is so fucked up that not even General Electric or Temasek wants to touch it with a barge pole is so compelling that you have to be either stupid or so incredibly scared of your own shadow just to dismiss the merit of the proposition on the trivial basis that you may get shot – just because you make a few enemies in business who may decide to put out a contract on you. 

So don’t buy into the propaganda that Singapore is a safe country. Or for that matter, you should only turn the wheel of life in Disneyland - after all how safe can you be, if you have to work like a Duracell rabbit 24/7 and the cost of living keeps chipping away at your pay check? How safe is it for that matter if you can’t even afford to get sick as the cost of healthcare is so prohibitively high? How safe can you really be, if you have to pay ten times for a van or car even before you start turning a profit on your enterprise? How secure can you be, if the cost of renting business premises is so bloody high that it even requires to be a millionaire even before you start materializing your first million? - the way I see it, your chances of dying of a heart attack, insomnia and high blood pressure presents far greater risk than getting shot in a traffic light in a country where the crime levels seem to be high.

I hope you are all internally persuaded now that all this talk about Singapore being a safe and secure place is illusionary.

Trust your hopes, not your fears. Life is too short to do otherwise. The ancients were right, where there is adversity, there is always loads of opportunity.”

.”

Train, train, train, train, train, train, train as realistically as possible, train, train, train, train, train….the human body is very intelligent…at some point your muscles will naturally develop the memory to interdict an attack - and when that happens it all becomes automatic.

This is jugular as during a fight. YOU DO NOT HAVE TIME TO SCROLL THROUGH YOUR BRAIN AND SELECT THE APPROPRIATE COUNTER MEASURE. I GUARANTEE YOU THIS! THE GOLD STANDARD IS AUTOMATIC RESPONSE.

You do not need to upload whole book on self defense. Waste of time and opportunity cost. You do not even need to attend martial arts training courses. All you need is a regular sparing partner who shares your commitment of taking FULL AND COMPLETE control over your personal protection – and to dedicate yourself to mastering a couple of moves till it’s like riding a bicycle. 

As for the gun man, 9 out of 10, you’re dealing with amatuers – so even before a hit occurs, providing you’re mindful – you can usually spot him coming ten miles away. The only advantage these fucks have is the element of surprise – take away that one strategic advantage and the hunter becomes the hunted.

The gold standard in my experience is to develop ultra situational awareness. This requires daily practice - where and how you choose to sit, walk, scan a room before you take a seat, fill up your tank of gas, how you open your front gate, the time that you select to go to work, the route you take, the speed at which you drive and how you choose to stop at the traffic light, or even where and how you park your car along with how much you want to drink in public and with who and where – all this is will be the pareto of the 20% that makes possible the 80% advantage to ensure survivability - sharpen your situational awareness daily, train, train, train, train, train, till it becomes automatic - a point will come when your situational awareness will be so razor sharp that you will develop the instincts to spot an assasin even before he is close enought to take a shot – your chances of survival increases exponentially with the amount of training you decide to put in.

If you do not take the threat seriously, you deserve to get shot IMHO - but if you take it seriously, even before a hit occurs - 99.9% of the time, there are usually enough gives to tell you that, you are either been followed, set up for an ambush or that something is just wrong etc etc. Trust me, there are always tons of clues. As you are dealing with very desperate and nervous criminals who have no business even pulling off an execution style hit in the first place.

If youre up against professionals then I think you are done for (I am sorry, life is brutal) - but given that most of these gun men are amatuers who are just trying to turn a quick buck – the odds are about 50/50. To me those are good enough odds.

In my very humble opinion 99% of people who get shot deserve to get shot. As they give usually zero regard to personal protection and instead select to outsource it to third parties such as police.

For many years I have always wanted to give something back to ordinary Singaporeans.

In the very beginning I thought it might have been farming – but the price of land has shot up to such helium filled heights – that to even have a modest hectarage these days, one has to be a multi-millionaire. So that idea crashed and burnt and promptly fizzled out.

Since then, I have searched for another way to give back - not too long ago, I turned my periscope on the highly secretive swiftlet business.

After using my Mossad secret agent techniques to infiltrate a group of swiftlet entrepreneurs – I ventured into this business big time – built a mega bird house the size of a mall. Many people said I was crazy. But it seems the same people are now calling me a visionary. In truth, I just put all my savings on one number and spun the wheel and hit the jackpot. As the current location for my bird house is situated on the equivalent of the bird world Bedok bus interchange. There is no Da Vinci code there. No mystery even. That is the solemn truth. And I am not going to get high on it by mythologizing my success – I want to desperately remain very grounded and accurate.

Based on my first prototypal swiftlet farm – I can say with some measure of confidence I have been very successful. Beyond my wildest imaginations. When one considers only 20% of bird houses make it while the rest crash and burn.

I have been most fortunate – coupled to that my enemies tried to sabo me. They have all been neutralised. Their lands are now mine. End of story.

I am still on the learning curve – no where near a guru, but give me two more years, I will be there with the immortals - so far with the help of the Underground Gamers Internationale and a couple of hobbyist that I cobbled together in the internet - I have been able to develop my own sonic solutions to attract birds, temperature and humidity controllers along with all the supporting software to farm swiftlets in a scientific way.

My goal is to demystify this mumbo jumbo industry and to transform it into a veritable science so that anyone can farm swiftlets scientifically. I mean anyone…it’s that simple.

I still have some loose ends to tie up - I still need to infiltrate the highly secretive swiftlet cartel to create my own silk road to the lucrative China market – I plan to go around the traditional gate keepers and establish my own distribution networks – that is the general outline of the game plan.

I already have the swiftlet farming know how that I have been able to glean valuable data from my current bird house – with the supply chain network, I will have all the raw materials I need to seize the high ground in one bold move.

After that my grand design is to identify a suitable location somewhere in the jungle to build a chain of bird houses – the goal is to use this as a platform to impart skills to aspiring Singaporeans who may wish to enter into this enterprise which would otherwise have been impossible given the secretive nature of the swiftlet business – to smash the monopoly of the old cartels in the way one kicks down a door!

I am very close to completing my mission. Just a few more months and I hope to close this chapter. And begin writing a new chapter where many of my friends who are now languishing in Singapore will be able to join me. Together we will prosper. It will be like the old days again – the happy days where happy hour just goes right on and on.

We will win!

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“For over 10 years, we have all been looking to the PAP for a solution to solve the perennial woes of native PMET’s. During this period, nothing concrete has emerged from government that convinces me that they are serious about arresting the rot of the middle class in Singapore.

All that seems to come out is talk, talk, talk, talk and more talk. Now these same circus clowns are singing the tune, ‘hey, you just don’t cut the grade. It’s not our fault that no one wants to hire you or pay you the market rate.”

Enough is enough.

I want to say this so that there is absolutely no room for speculation, ambiguity and misunderstandings. I am not driven by any hidden or malicious agenda - I simply do not believe there is any mileage in looking to the PAP for a solution to this problem any longer. To me they have long gone beyond the word useless…. and possibly even irrelevant.

And it is pointless to talk further. It is really as simple as that. There is nothing complicated about it. The end. Kaput. Finito.

You go your way, we go ours. That is all there is left. I wish them the very best. Bye bye.

As by nature deep down - I am a very simple man – so when I don’t trust someone – it’s perfectly natural for me to go my own way and to just close that chapter, put it in a cigar box and slide it underneath my bed and move right on.

But I am also a man who remembers his roots. This is a very agricultural way of seeing the world - and I always remember the goodness that once came my way when I once turned the wheel of life in Singapore. As I came across so many Singaporeans who befriended me and touched my life in so many ways that it is not possible even today for me to just turn away and forget.

Impossible.

Even today there I am often assaulted by moments of profound regret followed by guilt that I did not do more to help those who were once so kind to me – it breaks my heart today and even makes me white hot with rage sometimes when I see so many of my friends who were once proud professionals now languishing in Singapore driving taxis or moonlighting as tuition teachers, estate and insurance agents. Many of my friends back in Singapore do not even want to pick up my calls – I understand. I understand completely. As when a man is not down, he is like a wounded animal and just wants to run and hide in the forest – but I say, it is time to set aside childish thoughts.

It is this group of people who I have always been in my mind – my tribe in Singapore - I want to tell each and everyone of you (especially those in my bicycle team) – I never forgot you. You were always in my thoughts. You have been the reason why I have been cracking my head day and night to find a way to break out to a better tomorrow!

This may be very difficult for most people to understand – but I am fundamentally by nature a very simple man – if once upon a time, you gave me a dollar in a moment of need, the chances are, even if ten or twenty years passes by – I will still search you out from the ocean of men and return that dollar plus compounded interest and thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

By the same vein, if you trespass me, I will hunt you down sooner or later, no matter where you barricade your miserable self. I will scale those high walls and one day I will stand before you – and give you and your loved ones the same grief you once dished out so callously to me…with compounded interest, of course. Trust me, this I will do.

I can’t help it – that is just the way I am hardwired as the classical Chinese gentlemen - if I don’t square the accounts, its like putting me a room with a picture that is bengkok – it just riles me no end and I just feel the compelling need to straighten it..to right it..to square the accounts that is. I can’t help it – that’s just me.

That is why the success of this swiflet project is such an important milestone in my life – as this is my first opportunity ever since venturing abroad to seek my fortune – to give back some of that goodness that once came my way so many years ago – to just say thank you very much my friend for all the laughter and good times that my friends shared with me when I was in Singapore – now all I want to do is repay them back, the same kindness from the very bottom of my heart by giving them the key to a door called, opportunity.

I think you have to be very simple minded person to understand this philosophy – you may even have to sit on a park bench and to drive out all of the city from your brain. To reduce your thinking mind even to a simpleton like how a farmer sees the world.

I reckon, if you are patient and persevere…you will understand why this is hardly a matter of choice…I just need to see this through…to square the accounts that is. To close this chapter in my life, so that I can be free of this debt in my heart.

I am very confident you will understand…..if you just try…as I believe there is a farmer deep down in each and everyone of us. We just need to still our minds and find him. 

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