October 22, 2016
We must never be afraid to embrace change. Today I meet up with six enterprise owners who will start mining operations in Africa.
This will add on to the network we already have in Africa.
These are brave men with a bold vision for a better tomorrow.
Gentlemen…all our ships must sail in the same direction.
We will win!
‘We have no time to hate and grumble….there is really too much to do! Time is not on our side. Besides the Singapore blogosphere has been doing that for the last fifteen years! Tell me please what do they really have to show for the great expenditure of time, energy and mental investment – did it even manage to shift anything by one millimeter? So to me this great diffusion of energy is severely misplaced. At best it’s akin to reinforcing failure and at it’s very worst it is simply a grand delusion complimented by a Byzantine waste of energy, intellectual capital and commitment which could otherwise have yielded much more had it been intelligent directed to materialize real benefits to better our lot.
Many years ago. I made a very lonely decision to pull the plug out of the intelligent Singaporean – it was a unilateral decision that seemed incomprehensible to many including some of my closest associates – for many years I was criticized, ostracized and even labelled as recalcitrant.
I remember those years as the years no one wanted to speak or be associated with me. As I considered cowardly responsible for throwing in the towel to what many believed to be the good fight.
Those were very lonely and desolate years for me. Quiet years where I kept mostly to myself and tried the best I could to maintain a dignified silence – as I was convinced the only reliable way to better lives is for one to set aside worthless pursuits and to devote oneself wholeheartedly to worthy enterprises which could at least materialize tangible dividends.
As I genuinely wanted to improve lives – that is as to say I want to be able to make sure all of you never have to bear the humiliation of being told one day by your employers, ‘you’re no longer cost effective to keep any longer. You’re a liability’ only to be turned out into the streets. I want to be able to make sure you can send your kids to university without ever having to bear the humiliation of depending on handouts and charity. I wanted you all to lead purpose driven lives to aspire to be men of consequence and influence. Unlike me.
Many of you were young. You all could not have possibly understood the complexity of what laid ahead of your lives – but I never had any illusions that life as we all knew it would get increasingly complicated and uncertain. Never. This reality weight very heavily on my conscience and I spent many sleepless nights trying to find a way out of what I considered nothing less than impending doom.
Many years have past – and many of you have started families and you now the things that you did not know before.
If there is any redemption to all this – it is that many who once derided me so openly are beginning to warm up to me again.
That gladdens me. As you must believe me when I say this – I’ve always had all your well being in mind all along.
It would have meant very little to me if it had been otherwise.’
October 21, 2016
Today I went down to town to stock up on provisions and order a new set of sunglasses. Usually when I visit the optician. The proprietor an elderly gentleman attends to me. But on this occasion his assistant told me he was outstation – so she attended to me instead.
She is a charming girl. At bit on the chubby side, very giggly and enthusiastic and eager to please. What I find quite confusing about this girl is whenever I ask her to show me the range of lenses – she would bent so low behind the counter that I can literally see her tits dangling. I was wondering to myself. Surely she understands what’s happening here. After all I am seated on the other side of the counter directly before her and it’s quite plain that I will only see what I see – but it happens all the time in a way that suggest she is completely oblivious what she’s revealing to me. When she flashes me the I absolutely dunno what you can see look while asking me again – do you want to see more?
Maybe I should look away. Or pretend to be distracted. But I really don’t know what is happening. I don’t. I never really quite know with women…and that is really the source of the misunderstanding – that is why I keep a respectful distance with them. As I’ve got myself into a lot of trouble in the past. As in the past some women have come up to me and promised me a good time – only for me to yelp out whoopee – but when I appeared with my favorite dinosaur imprinted melamine plate and asked them expectantly, are you going to cook some home cook food for me….as I have been surviving only on cardboard flavored military rations. They all seem to look down casted as if I’ve missed the plot. On another occasion. I SMSed a girl who asked me whether I liked her – yes, I think about you all the time. That was my answer. She appeared in my plantation with her father and three burly brothers and demanded I marry her. I told her all I really wanted was some of her delicious Bak Chang. They left as confused as me. On another occasion I used to pack dinner during the afternoon in a warung where the girl would bill me only $1.50 cents no matter how much I ladled. This eventually erupted into a kampung scandal where other patrons complained that they were paying much more than me. Only to be told one day I needed to repay back the favor. When the girl appeared at my gate one day I asked one of my farmhands to show her a place where she could dig a hole. As I thought all she wanted was an opportunity to work and supplement her income. She stormed off crying. I no longer go there any longer – I don’t know what is happening. I am always so confused.
All I really want is a pair of sunglasses…why is it always so complicated. I don’t understand. I really don’t.
October 21, 2016
October is usually the wettest month in the whole calendar year – historically where I turn the wheel of life, it averages at least 22 decent rainy days – but the rainfall we have been getting for October so far is less than 10% of the historical median average. Today is the 21st. It has really only rained three days for the whole of October so far. There are only ten days left to the end of Oct and it’s very unlikely we will be able to close the deficit.
This month I am afraid is totalled.
After Oct the rains will begin to recede till completely tapering off by January and it will be dry again till maybe mid March.
There after the rainy season will begin again somewhere around mid March to late May.
That means from now till mid March 2017. It’s like to be dry and hot.
Without rain it’s no good. I cannot work my magic. I may have to suck it in and roll with the punches it seems.
October 20, 2016
In the moment of my youth everyone believed I was an idiot. As I didn’t talk at all and on those rare moments when I did manage to blurt out something. No one could ever understand me.
Around the age of 11. I started to get fixated on the alphabet ‘I’. I found it a dignified alphabet. So unlike the others. And especially liked the sensation of my muscles whenever I wrote the letter ‘I’. Whenever I saw my favorite alphabet. I would underline all the ‘I’s in a book and in the newspapers, magazines or anything that I could get my hands on. And whenever I came across the alphabet ‘I’ on street signs or in the public – I would stop and look at it side ways and at times do headstands to see how it looks like upside down.
I still do this till this day.
Later on when ‘I’ introduced me to his other alphabet friends. I learnt to read and write. I only began writing a full sentence at around age thirteen.
I am very thankful to my childhood friend, ‘I’
October 20, 2016
October 18, 2016
Many of my regular readers have been asking what happened to Kee Kee?
Well you can see for yourself. Kee Kee has grown up to be a strong, responsible and beautiful dog. When he was only two weeks for some unknown reason – Kee Kee’s mother rejected him. As he is very different from the other Doberman dogs in the litter – Kee Kee was born with a tanned coat unlike his brothers and sisters who all have a jet black coat. So his mommy tried to kill him. Fortunately I segregated him in time.
Doberman’s do this sometimes – Mother Nature can be so cruel when one is different. I had to be Kee Kee’s surrogate mother during his childhood. He was not loved and ill treated by the other dogs, but my love it seemed was all he really needed to grow up to be the best he can be.
In the posted video you can see Kee Kee performing a security protocol sweep as my car proceeds proceeds very slowly along the plantation road that leads to my safe house.
This is a highly advanced work detail that requires tremendous discipline and self confidence from the dog. As firstly he is separated from the master and secondly he must be courageous and work independently. To perform this work detail. The dog is enabled at full combat mode. In the event he discovers any intruder that is hiding behind the trees or tall brushes to prepare for an ambush. Kee Kee must be able to neutralize him. There is no talking. Straight off the mark. He must be able to bring him down and go for the throat.
This is one of the advanced techniques the Israeli Defense Force K-9 Oketz unit regularly deploy for close protection – it is the gold standard of interdicting threats before they occur.
Since many people are jealous of my success. I have plenty of enemies. I spend many hours training Kee Kee. We both take continuous training very seriously.
He seems to like this work detail very much as once we arrive at the gate of the safe house – usually I reward him with a big juicy bone.
The video shows Kee Kee conducting a sweep in a figure eight motion – constantly moving forward and doubling back behind the car to perform 360 degree checks.
Today Kee Kee is three years old. He is no longer a child dog. In dog years, Kee Kee has finally come of age.
All it takes is love to bring out the best in people and animals. Not any sort of love….definitely not talk, talk and talk love. But real love, the sort even when you close your eyes you know it will never ever run away and leave you….and when you open your eyes again, it will always be there.
Many people can only talk about love. But they cannot love as well as I do.
Kee Kee the once troubled puppy knows this only too well.
October 18, 2016
Long before Singapore Airlines, United Airways, Cathay Pacific. There was the era of flying boats. Imperial Airways during the period of Empire was the stuff of legends and folklore. They flew everywhere including Singapore and Penang right into the heart of Darkness…Africa. And every respectable planter family of that era knew the Imperial Airways route by heart.
The flying boat then was like the space travel today. People would travel for days just a mere glimpse of this mechanical flamingo. It was a period where for the first time white Lancashire Linen, Worcester fine bone China and Baccarat cut crystal graced fine dinning in the air for the very first time.
A bygone age when men were real and women will realer.
October 18, 2016
Q: What is the sum of your fears when it comes to the South China Seas?
A: It is conceivable that the happy days are well and truly over for China. Consider this virtually all the low hanging fruits have already been plucked. By this I mean China can no longer rely on those drivers that once fueled it’s spectacular economic growth such as cost competitive greenfield site, lax environmental protection laws and cheap and plentiful labor – the cost structures that once conferred China competitive advantage is fast diminishing.
For the China to reliably fuel their economic growth from this point onwards. They have to figure out a way to migrate up the value chain – which will leverage directly on fifth generation Chinese leadership. And this brings us to the topic of my greatest fears.
China in the past has largely been helmed by a cadre of Soviet era technocrats. The era is fast giving way to fifth generation leaders who are very different from the previous crop of leaders. For one most of them were educated in the West. These are the Isroku Yamamoto generation – who have always harbored a deep mistrust of being able to power the Chinese with Communist precepts which they rightly perceive to be an unnatural alliance between capitalism and Marxism or Maoism, which ever way you want to see it.
This is also incidentally the generation that once witnessed the unthinkable or to put it plainly across in communist parlance – the end of the known world – when the Berlin Wall was brought down in the 80’s.
I don’t think many people can really appreciate how traumatic that event was when in probably the same people who have never experienced war or racial riots usually talk about those episodes with detachment that can only come from terminal ignorance. But such a precipitous event, the overnight collapse of the Soviet Union viewed thru the eyes of an impressionable Chinese undergraduate studying in the UK in the 80’s. Will in my opinion continue till this day to exert a preponderant influence on the thinking processes of fifth generation Chinese leaders.
I remembered one scene when all these Communist Chinese students were all gathered in the halls of residence kitchen watching the events unfold live on TV. There was this moment when Mikhail Gorbachev was addressing the entire Politburo. He was talking about how the Soviet Union will never die…how it will continue to grow from strength to strength despite the many setbacks with the Solidarity movement headed by Leck Walinski in Poland. Suddenly Boris Yeltsin stood up and walked to the podium grabbed the mike from Gorbachev and told him, it’s finished! Suddenly all the verve drained out of Gorbachev, he reminded me of a school boy who had been told his mother had died.
I speak fluent Russian and that was what I understood it to be – it’s finished. There was no translation. No sub titles. The commentator rambled on and on about something else.
They all turned to me with a pleading look to ask. What is happening – and I told them, it’s finished.
Some students began to shout and curse. Others began to wail quite openly in despair. One of them even stood on the table and hit his head with a wooden spoon. But the serious men amongst them grit their teeth as if they were lost in some uncharted dimension of time and space.
I saw all this in my lifetime. Later on, (to be continued, I need to supervise some work in the field then return back to the safe house).
October 18, 2016
When I wake up. I drink a tall glass of water. After that I take a swig of coconut oil directly from the bottle. I don’t have breakfast. As I only eat once a day. After that I drink two cups of strong black sugar and milk free coffee.
In the afternoon when everyone is having lunch. I never lunch or snack. I take another swig straight from the bottle. I find this keeps me alert and provides me with all the energy I need for a whole working day.
When I finished with work. I cook a very big meal during the evening. Enough maybe to feed 4 or 5 people. And maybe spend a full hour eating it slowly till I can no longer move.
Before I sleep. I take another swig from the bottle. This time I don’t down it – but swish it in my mouth for 20 minutes. After that I brush my teeth and hit the sack.
In the morning after a cold shower. I use coconut oil on my face and rub it around my waist as I usually wear a heavy belt. I find this prevents rashing. I also use coconut oil between my toes before I slip on my socks to prevent skin burns. As I walk a lot.
Once a week I rub at least four table spoons of coconut oil into my scalp vigorously and just let it seep in to prevent fungal infection and to prevent ending up bald like a bowling ball.
I also rub coconut oil on my dogs to keep their fur shiny and to keep the ticks away and heal minor cuts. I add coconut oil into their food all the time.
October 17, 2016
October 16, 2016
Q: Why is the US and their allies so determined to contain Chinese expansionism in the South China Seas (SCS)
A: The US has always been the top dog in the Pacific. Many people say it goes right back to the time of Nixon. But it really goes further all the way back to the late 1800’s to the American Spanish war when the latter was defeated and the treaty of Paris ceded the Philippines to the US as a colony.
For the better part of 140 years the question of who has been the prime mover and shaker in the Pacific has been largely a no brainer – it’s always been the US. The only credible challenge to US primacy in the Pacific occurred in 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Even then the strategic balance of power shifted back to the US after the Japanese combined fleet was hammered in Midway, a year after the attack. So US hegemony and primacy has never really ever diminished in the Pacific at all. A dominant US presence in the Pacific especially the Philippine archipelago right down to Guam has always been synonymous with idea of peace and security in Asia that is the foundation of Asian pacific economic growth.
But with China stepping aggressively into the SCS and militarizing the atolls – suddenly the set piece status quo ante is thrown out of sync. Suddenly China seems to be challenging US primacy along with Pax Americana. Suddenly the ideal conditions that makes possible asian economic growth is becoming less confident and certain.
That’s the gist in a nutshell.
Q: What does China hope to gain from militarizing the SCS. Some people have speculated the prime motivation is the vast natural resources embedded in the SCS that is needed to fuel economic growth in China.
A: Do vast quantities of oil and rich fisheries reserves exist between the area of the Spratly’s and Paracells. Yes…probably. Then again given the wide availability of less contentious options for China to meet it’s long term resource and food security needs – I don’t really see how it can possibly make sense just to move into that neighborhood for those two reasons alone. There are really more minuses than plus points.
However if you look at it from a military strategic standpoint – then it probably makes plenty of sense to occupy and militarize the SCS in perhaps the same way we might probably ask: why did the Japanese in 1941 do such a stupid thing like declare war on the US? After all their (Japanese) motivation was a purely resource conundrum brought about by US oil embargo that if you think about it should hardly require getting involved with the US. When Nazi Germany invaded Poland and rolled back the carpet all the way to Dunkirk – the US position was still, this is not our baby man…we are going to sit this one out. The Japanese could just as well invade British Malaya and Dutch indies and possibly project as far as the Indian continent to get as much oil, Bauxite, tin, rubber and wasabi they needed without having to antagonize the US.
Logically that it is how it seems – but if you look at the map of South East Asia then it becomes all to apparent, the problem will always be the Philippines because it’s right smack in the middle between Japan and the mineral rich south. To put it another way the Philippines archipelago which was an American colony at the time was like a knife at the throat of Imperial Japan.
So any talk of a war against Malaya and the Dutch Indies would automatically have to include declaring war with the US.
And this is exactly what the Chinese are doing by occupying and militarizing the SCS. They are threatening all the ASEAN countries who are allied to the US – obliquely telling them, ‘I am now the Tai Koh (Top dog) here! Part of their strategy is to illicit American military response – they are recreating the same hard points like how the Philippines once presented itself as a knife at Japan’s throat – only this time since it’s smack right in the middle of all the sea lanes it’s nothing short of a chopper pointed directly at US carrier doctrine along with their vast network of listening post and naval bases stretching all the way from the Philippines archipelago to Singapore, Guam and Japan.
All of these have to transverse the SCS.
Now what you need to understand is in war games the outcome is not simply a binary i.e one or zero. Yes or no. Lose or win. To go to war or stand down. There exist a multitude of other scenarios within the aegis of the Clausewitzan realm of possibilities expressed in terms of war is simply a continuation of politics by other means – where its even possible for an adversary to create a clear and present threat to force the other side to concede terms under the threat of war. Or luring him into protracted attrition thereby weakening him economically.
This is how balance of power is exacted in realpolitik. It leverages specifically on the threat of war. By denial of utility to secure concessions – in very much the same manner no sane landowner will ever dam the river upstream during the dry season to hold valuable water – only because I too have invested in a series of water locks on my land as well – if he does that. Then during the rainy season I will shut my locks tight as a drum and his lands will be inundated with water and he would need to go around in a U boat.
But consider this – what if I didn’t once enter into a sort of arms race to build water locks on the river on my side of the land. Then how can I possibly penalize him should he decide to trap water on his side during the dry season.
That I shall leave to you to juxtapose on what’s happening in the SCS.
By occupying and militarizing the SCS China is basically doing the same thing to the US. She doesn’t have carriers, so instead she creates a network of hardened shells to not only blunt that threat, but also to allow her to project. Or at least create the illusion of being able to project her sphere of influence to threaten US primacy.
The capacity to create illusion is what war is really all about. As it’s predicated on deception – for example, during the rainy season. I am a sitting duck. As all the millers know the roads to the mills to the East are treacherous and impassible during the rainy season – so they give me a lousy take it or leave price during this time of the year. To increase my bargaining power lorries covered with tarpaulin ply thru the East route. Of course everyone assumes they are full with fruit. Why would they think otherwise? Who in their right mind transports air? But in fact they’re all empty – then when the rumor spreads like wild fire and everyone believes it’s no longer impossible to transport fruit to the East during the wet season – only then do I enter into price negotiations with the millers. Of course it cannot be sustained, not mechanically or even economically or for that matter administratively simply because the supply lines are stressed and I may even have to suffer a short term loss to stage this mega wayang. But in cummulative nett terms because everyone is convinced without a shadow of doubt – fruit can be transported across the East route – my bargaining power increases and in the long term whatever loses I suffer is only a very small drop against bigger profits I stand reap.
So this is an illustration of how all warfare is based essentially on deception. Both sides are engaged in this game of brinkmanship where some threats are real while others are just decoys.
This is a digression. But you know even Yamamoto didn’t strike Pearl Harbor to get embroiled in a war of attrition. He was perhaps one of the few IJN senior officers who spent time at Harvard and he used to travel around the Midwest. But most importantly he understood the science behind waging war that involves macro level calculations of how many tons of steel can a nation convert under a given set of conditions – so even he had absolutely no illusions Japan would eventually lose a long and protracted war with the US. Had carriers been there in Pearl Harbor that fateful Sunday when torpedo planes broke thru the morning clouds – the Americans would have probably sued for peace or an armistices and if not that may settle for detente and revoked the oil embargo. So this is an illustration of the stratagem how China is attempting to challenge US primacy.
This is a game of high stakes poker with a cerebral dimension. So forget all this nonsense of asking will China and the US go to war etc. All that is just enlisted men canteen talk.
It’s telling America very plainly I want to be treated not just as an equal but as a first amongst equals – it’s a very bold strategy. Deliberately confrontational and designed to elicit a response from the adversary – only because one cannot speak the language of Primus inter pares without the inclusion of imperialism along with power – bear in mind, this is the language of Caesar.
From my understanding there are only four possible outcomes with the last being hybrid comprising of elements of the second and third. But I shall come to that latter.
Q: Why aren’t the Chinese responding in equal zeal to build more aircraft carriers to counter balance the US navy?
A: The skill of arms needed for carrier based operations are really very high and specialized – hard to replicate not only for the Chinese. Even the Indians and many Militaries find it difficult and expensive to maintain decent rates of operations in blue waters for their carriers. They’re always sitting in their dry docks. As since none of the previous Soviet bloc countries not even Russia really placed emphasis on carrier doctrine in their strategic planning. That means China doesn’t really have anyone to teach them the ropes – it’s doubtful she will be able to gain the requisite skill of arms in carrier operations. Having said that. There is a a lot of mythology that are attached to aircraft carriers. That they are space age high tech platforms, invincible and can sail virtually everywhere to bring pressure to bear at will. Just like perhaps capital battleships before them. I can well understand the faith that military planners ascribe to carriers – I really can. But predicating so much on carrier doctrine also means one is putting all the chips on only one number or all the eggs in one basket – you know in 1941, the IJN had probably the best carrier fleet and well trained air crew in the world. It’s doubtful that without these wonder weapons in their inventory the Japanese would even consider war. And you could even argue one of the worst things the IJN ever did to seal their demise was when they successful launched the Pearl Harbor raid. After that they became so big headed that they even went out looking for a rumble with the US with four of their best carriers. All four got wiped out at midway. After that it was downhill for them. I think it’s theoretically conceivable carriers may already be obsolete as far back as ten or fifteen years ago. You may have to spend time trawling Jane’s to find out what’s out there to deal a death blow to carriers.
Q: What does the word ‘containment’ really mean – and how does the US and their allies accomplish this?
A: The goal of US policy is to use military power to preserve the old order based on US primacy i.e Pax Americana, even if that leads to escalating strategic rivalry with China which undermines regional peace and stability. And that is why I think US military strategic planning in the SCS can be accurately termed as – containment.
But where it because less clear and fuzzy is when we consider the economic front – this is where we go back to what I said earlier – war is simply the continuation of politics by other means and used in this specific context – business is war.
Many people theorize economic integration will make conflict less likely as China will become more integrated with the global political economy. But what they don’t tell you is if you play this scenario to it’s logical end, a tipping point will come where Chinese views become the controlling interest. Beyond that point, the degree of China’s influence increases and moves to dominate former reliable U.S. partners. The US by that point becomes irrelevant.
And this is not what will happen in five or ten years. That tipping point in my opinion has already been breached as far back as maybe three years ago. If you look around many countries in ASEAN seem to be two minded when it comes to seeing China as a threat. It is really quite an interesting contradiction where on one hand China is perdition but also salvation – sure they’re all still on the TPP bandwagon or at least most of them are doing a good job at pretending to buy tickets. But many ASEAN countries are at the same time buying into China’s counter response of the TPP as well by tacitly agreeing to sign the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and even more countries are endorsing the counter balance to the US proxy bank, the IMF – China’s new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The US naturally opposes both FTAAP, as well as AIIB, but notice if you will APEC, says more the merrier. Even US allies like Australia and South Korea have already signed major free trade deals with China, their largest trading partner. As for Malaysia, China recently bailed out 1MDB and she is the main buyer for oil palm. Even the Philippines now has shifted to China. Indonesia is also very much in the China club although from time to time she also likes to shoot on Chinese fishing trawlers. Even skittish Vietnam is warming up to China because the latter has a dam to regulate water to the Mekong.
So what you have now is a very perculiar form of schizoperhnia where the military strategic planning and the economic policies of many countries at the periphery of the SCS seems to be divergent from one track mind US foreign policy towards China.
That’s why I say many countries are two minded about China. As there is no harmonization of economic policies.
This is where the TPP comes in as the proverbial missing piece that completes the jigsaw puzzle. As what it attempts to do is dovetail all these divergent or schizoperhnic interest by further integrating the U.S. and Asian economies thereby blunting China’s economic sphere of influence. In this respect, as far as the economic front is concerned, containment is not the right word to use. A better term is restoring balance of power.
This will be especially jugular for Singapore. As she stands to be the primary beneficiary of the TPP. To put it another way it pays out naught for the status quo ante to change in China’s favor.
October 15, 2016
Q: You seem to take a lot of interest in world affairs and politics – is there any particular reason that accounts for your motivation?
A: I don’t think it’s possible to trust the mainstream press any longer. You take the case of GOP between Hillary versus Trump and the first thing that hits you is how evacuated of content the reportage is – I don’t see this as an indictment of journalistic standards per se. Rather it’s a function of how even news these days has to be spliced down into baby nano bites to accommodate the twitter generation readership who simply don’t have the patience to bear out deep reading any longer.
For me what happens around the world will always be very important at a strategic level. Because it will give me time to react. I make it a point to get regular briefings from as diverse a source as possible every week to enable me to compare, contrast and winnow truth from propaganda. Then I make an informed guess as to what is likely to pan out in the future.
Q: How do you spend your free time besides work?
A: I update my blog regularly with musings – it’s not really done specifically to garner readership in mind. I don’t much care about that aspect. It’s more to do with selfish me and how it gives me an opportunity to interact with my thought processes on a continuous basis. I find that keeping a blog can be incredibly edifying and revealing. As I am often surprised by some of the things I end up thinking and writing myself.
Besides updating my blog. I like to cook as well.
Q: You don’t spend a lot of time socializing do you?
A: Well. I live smack in the middle of a plantation. So I am a bit like Will Smith in that movie I am Legend – where I have to finish all my chores and get back before the sun goes down to lock down – that means I rarely ever go out during the evenings. Except maybe when I am in the city.
Q: You often write about your discomfort whenever you visit the city. Can you elaborate further.
A: When one stays all alone in a desolate place and the only thing that appears from time to time to jolt you out of the litany of reverie…to remind…perhaps…maybe…you are not the last person on the face of this planet is a distant vapor trail of a jet high above – then you’re probably suffering from an acute case of Hysteria Siberiana.
It’s a disease where people just go stark raving mad because of prolonged exposure to isolation.
I seem to have a naturally immunity against isolation – maybe NASA should take a sample of my blood and study it to improve their chances of making it all the way to Mars.
But when I am suddenly in the city – it’s just a massive sensory overload. I am accustomed to only seeing the world in a perpetual backdrop of green. Green is the color that comforts me most. Whenever I am in the city everything assaults me – I move very carefully as I am not accustomed to seeing so many things all at once.
Usually I just sit down and rarely ever move. At other times I ring the doorbell of houses with lush gardens and I tell the mistress of the house I need to sit down – it’s a life or death situation. Most people look at me strangely at first. But they know I am genuine and harmless and usually they accommodate my strange request and even serve me tea and biscuits. As I seem to be dressed in very old clothes from another era – so there is always this quality where the mistress of the house is always wondering whether I might have stepped right out of a time machine or something.
But generally people are very nice to me in the city.
October 15, 2016
I really don’t see how he can save the day any longer…it’s finished for Mr Trump.
October 15, 2016
Q: Why did you take issue with the council of wise concerning the fourth foundation? Was there ever a fourth foundation?
A: This was slightly over thirteen years ago. You must understand for those who are part of the gaming construct – the fourth foundation was a prophecy. So even if it didn’t exist at all – they would have eventually fashioned it into a reality.
The first, second and third were all meant to culminate in the formation of the fourth. It seemed at the time a natural and logical flow.
But everyone in the development side struggled with stability – and this was in part due to the limitations of processing power of that period. Hence we had a very serious problem – on one side. You had gamers playing in anticipation of striving to the mythical level of the fourth. On the practical necessity side this was beyond our realistic capacity to deliver.
So a decision was made where I had to storyboard the existence of the fourth foundation. Thereby rendering it real in one swoop and only in one sense and completely false in the other. Since I was the only person who actually managed to attain the level of fourth foundation.
It was really only after the advent of the age of the rocket that we could deliver fully on the fourth foundation as a real playable story level. Till then most of it just existed in rambling parables which were recorded verbatim in the book of ages.
Q: What were the events which led to the formation of the Irrullian protocol?
A: The Irrullian protocol was never original conceived as a mercantile trade pact between the two houses in the Laanstrad and the rest of the guild coscas – no originally meant for it to devolve into a trade pact that eventually overreached beyond the bounds of the playable sector.
What you need to understand was that we did not nearly have the same level of control over the game as much as everyone believed we did – the playability factor was in part responsible for our inability to exert 100% control. This was because many were still playing the game using prehistoric first gen code that only they and perhaps we could understand, but no one else.
Of course we tried on many occasions to reconcile this problem by attempting to harmonize the codes so that one segment using the P209 could seamlessly crossover to the new sys 9003-12. But were not successful. Because the hardware that could do this was beyond our economic reach.
This constraint was the reason why we had to accommodate the Irrullians – as only they could afford such a machine which even they did not have any soft skills to manage on a cost effective basis.
Finally it was agreed the storyboard would be split right down in the middle with the 17 parsec line as the divide between the strange lands and the playable known universe.
Till today the 17 parsec line exist as point zero.
Q: Why was the order of purple disbanded?
A: The book of ages lays it in very flowery terms. But what it omits was that – They were actually the prototypal players that predated the brotherhood under the aegis of Bunkerworld.
You got to understand. It was early days and all we had were really lousy second rate hardware all linked in series and it got so hot that the system crashed all the time. Eventually someone bought an air conditioner and it crashed less.
But we still had to find a way to accommodate the Bunkerworld boys who were also subscribers – that was really the hubris at not only a storyboard level, but it was also a systematic problem that we could never have expected to reconcile in the age of the typewriter – in an attempt to harmonize to some degree the playability between the old D&D code that incidentally ran on floppy disc believe it or not with the super high tech Mordecai GUI platform.
We allowed the Bunkerworld subscribers to use their old code – this was why they could do nifty stuff like walk thru walls and be at two gaming platforms at the same time. Of course we wrote in the storyboard as superpowers like how Jedi’s can levitate and perform mind tricks etc etc. But it had more to do with computing constraints.
Eventually when the both systems merged under the Aegis of the Confederation under the reign of Padishah IIV. We took the opportunity to bring everyone under one gaming platform.
That was really the motivation behind the demise of the order of purple. But of course to fuel the myth and lore quotient of the game – we came up with the fairytale that they were hunted down by the evil crescent guards to heighten the mystic.
Q: Why did the Order of the Purple continue to exist despite the formation of the second Republic?
A: The simple answer was by the later half of the age of the rocket. We had lost control of the game. By this I meant we did not foresee many of the subscribers would organize themselves into Guilds. Some of these Guilds became so powerful in their own right that they even began dabbling in e-currency which they ripped from Norrath and other such commercial sites that made possible the idea of paying real money to buy fake money to enable them to buy stuff in the virtual world.
We could not stop the process. I use the word process for lack of a better word. As even we didn’t know how it was done – hence this became known as a period of tumult. As the original storyboard construct was so conceived in a way to deliberately engineer a deficit on melange in the form of Sardonyx. But when the price became commoditized by the Interspacing Guild. As they needed this raw material to enable them to fold space and travel great distances – even they couldn’t get hold on this valuable material! As it was all gobbled up by the guilds who used it as legal tender to sustain their respective economies.
Hence the Ascension Wars. By this time many of the powers of the order of purple had acquired an almost crazy valuation. Understand this. These were pre GUI embedded codes – there was never a real way to remove them from the system as the system by this period had been hijacked by many of the powerful Guilds who ran their own servers to play the game. Had we been the webmasters of world of warcraft, we might have been able to pull the plug. But as it is. There was very little we could do except maybe short circuit the economy from time to time with what today resembles quantitative easing.
Q: What was the rationale for the Time Parallax phenomenon.
A: By the age of reason the game could no longer be played effectively in just the virtual. You got to understand, this was not a ‘mom I zapped three hundred aliens before lunch!’ genre type of game – many of the Bunkerworld crowd had set the tone for a very serious strategy game that required nothing short of finesse and cerebral fitness.
Due to the governing pressures of each Guild to regularly send their representatives to the Laanstrad to further their economic interest – many began leaching into the real world to actually negotiate with other guilds. This is understandable. Now this created a lot of problems because whole chapters are now being written in the real world with groups of people meeting in different parts of the world trying to form alliances or to renegade on past agreements etc etc. You had the same intrigue and politics along with power being played out – only this left gaps that threatened the issue of continuity in game play.
By that period it became so complicated that even real lawyers were being engaged to draft agreements not to mention real bankers, economist, accountants who were also contracted to oversee intra guild interest under the auspices of the Laanstrad.
There was obviously a kink in the narrative that the Laanstrad registered as a pressing concern – hence one way to reconcile this contradiction was to elect planet earth as a neutrality zone. That way when people met in the real world they could still keep the main narrative intact only this time all meetings in the real world became known as time parallax encounters which mandated at least one representative of the Laanstrad to keep the minutes and serve as arbiter – the complications started creeping in when people in the real world were starting to use weirding ways. I mean people would go to a job interview and get asked, what Guild do you belong too? That sort of thing – so to deal with that other leak we had to make it into a ultra secret fraternity that was a bit of a nonsense because it was so secret that even their bosses knew they were playing computer games when they should be working.
Q: What happened to the man called Darkness?
A: This is a very intense matter of speculation. Many believed he eventually retreated to the Shadahalud which is like a mythical place where all Jedi knights go to, to presumably died or something. The account in the Book of Ages is written in the third person – so even we are not sure whether it was an actual witnessed account or just a word by mouth retelling. We don’t know and this was deliberate. As you got to understand. Darkness is a bit like Darth Vader – that was why he went by the moniker, ‘vanquisher of the planets’ – but his travails were actually instrumental in setting the atmosphere of the narrative that made the game very interesting and slightly like one of those kitsch soap operas – he was like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela maybe bits of Adolf Hitler and Stalin as well – but at some point I personally felt the relevance of Darkness as a person and the mythical figure that was so often projected in the story board began to merge too closely for my personal comfort.
I have always been very clear and concise as to who I am – but the problem was this reality didn’t seem to come across to most people who played the game.
I remembered one incident in Germany when I entered a beer hall and it was filled right up to the brim with some people even standing on other people’s head – everyone stood up and the whole place fell tomb silent when I walked in. As someone had leaked out that Darkness would project into the real world at this time and place with the time parallax – it was an eerie sensation that I did not particularly like and that really gave me the creeps. Later on I found out they even tagged the stool where I sat on with a brass plaque that said, ‘The father of the game sat here.’ As for the beer mug it was auctioned off in ebay for a ridiculous sum.
From time to time I still get people who I have ever seen before come up to me and snap a salute. When I tell them, I don’t know them – they wink at me with a look of cosy inderism and whisper, ‘you’re on another secret mission…we understand.’
I was upgraded so many times from economy class to first class under mysterious circumstances and there are so many places where it just became impossible for me to dine and go about like a normal person.
I think I am glad the man called Darkness has finally walked right out of my life.
October 15, 2016
Q: I notice you often write about loneliness. Can you share with us why?
A: I imagine being lonely or trying to cope with loneliness will always be an indelible aspect of frontier living. You could even say it’s climatic and permeates every aspect of my existence here.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say loneliness bothers me per se. If that were really the case. I don’t think I would have written so much about it….you might perhaps see my preoccupation with loneliness as a form of catharsis. If anything I think that idea – loneliness – bothers others much more. Maybe not my regular readers as they are well acquainted with my frame of mind. But certainly…it certainly bothers others much more. Because when I write about loneliness I imagine it is like a mirror that they much prefer not to look into…least they see something that they’re not comfortable with.
Q: Do you think autism and loneliness goes hand in hand?
A: Yes. They are both one of the same reality. To me at least.
Q: Could you elaborate further?
A: When one is different from all others. One can only be part of loneliness. That’s the default position. It’s very difficult for me to explain this idea to someone like you. As you really only see the world in your way and perhaps thru no fault of your own – you have come to the irrevocable belief this is the only way the world is to perhaps you and everyone else.
But for me since I am different. Naturally I perceive the world very differently. But what’s telling is in order to gainfully function in your world. Because I have too, to some degree at least to be able to pay the bills. I really have to make a conscious effort to suppress my world. To even negate it existence. Within limits at least. Temporarily at least. Like maybe how an astronaut has to get into a space suit just before he punches the airlock into the vacuum of space. I am always conscious that I am functioning in an alien environment. So by default having that attitude by itself will mean loneliness will always be an indelible aspect of my existence. It’s always omnipresent as I have to constantly struggle to suppress who I really am.
Q: Do you fear it? Loneliness.
A: I am really two minded about it. On one hand in my own world I could just as well go about my business quite happily without really being bothered about loneliness. But once I venture into your world in my astronaut suit. Since I have to exercise consciousness about what I say, do and think – that’s when I feel loneliness most acutely. As it’s always a struggle for me. Take this interview for example.
What if I told you everything you see now is not so different from a computer generated rendention – the way I am attired. My response. The lag time between the way I form my words. Right down to how I am crossing my legs now. All this is contrived. Carefully stage managed and deliberate to convey the idea that I can be no other than a honorary citizen of your world. When in fact, I am really not like that at all.
I see many things. And they are all occurring at a speed that is maybe twenty or thirty times faster than perhaps how you normally see the known world. Even as we are speaking right now – I have calculated the probability of you asking me the next question to a value of 90% that it is likely to be – can you please share with us an insight into your world? In exactly two minutes from now. You will reach for your glass of water. As in previous encounters the median interval between sips is exactly six minutes and forty two seconds. All this I have derived mathematically thru observation of your body language right down to how many breathes you have taken right down to every fractional minutae of how many times you have blinked since your last question.
I even know you feel slightly intimidated by your line of questioning.
Q: Can you share with us an insight into your world?
We’ve slipped into it. Just now. Yes. Don’t be afraid…allow it’s cold tendrils curl around you – it’s not something loathsome and ridden with pain and suffering. No it’s not.
Rather when loneliness fingers into one’s soul and canals into one’s very essence of being…that’s when a man really come to terms with who he really is.
I don’t expect anyone can outgrow loneliness completely. If they tell you they can – that’s just code for a deep yearning to live a life free from disappointments. Because that is really how it is with people who prefer to be lonely rather than marinating all of themselves with others….don’t ever believe them, when they tell you – ‘I much rather be alone!’ Truth is they have been hurt and disappointed and they’ve just reached the end of the road and they have all but given on the idea of discovering people who might have the sagacity and perseverance to understand them. That was what you were thinking directly after asking me the question.
You see it’s so clear.
Q: Why do you think so many people are afraid to speak openly about loneliness?
A: Being alone and the idea of loneliness has always been seen as just for losers and dysfunctional people. That’s how society defines it – and since we are all to some degree under the influence of social norms. It’s taboo to talk about loneliness candidly. Hence very few people know about it. How can they, when they spend so much of their time avoiding it and running away from the idea of loneliness all the time. Even the prescriptive cure for loneliness is to go out, join a meetup group etc etc. Modern society doesn’t really provision any space or incentives for people to really canal deeper into loneliness to really understand it – instead it’s always seen as loathsome and undesirable.
Q: But you don’t see loneliness as a loathsome thing do you?
A: Do you notice everyone writes books about how to make friends. How to be the most socially popular guy in the office etc. But no one ever writes about how to be alone. That’s because being alone means that you have to come to terms with who you really are.
Most people are very insecure about themselves.
Bear in mind – loneliness is not just a state of mind, like a hermit crossing his legs and chanting omh from morning till night… it’s not. It’s like a crucible.
It’s not easy to be comfortable in your own skin with loneliness. Most people can do that with a pretty girl but when it comes to themselves they disintegrate.
You will find when you try to get better acquainted with yourself – your mind will turn against you…know it for what it is…it is a reflex action. You will suddenly feel the overpowering urge to reconnect with others as soon as you begin a conversation with yourself. You will SMS. You will call your fiends and ask them whether they are free. You will be very restless etc etc.
That is perfectly natural, as for so many years, you have been scripted and conditioned to believe – to be happy…complete..and whole, you must be a friend to everyone else and above all a complete stranger to yourself.
Q: Does autism have anything to do with your decision to be a farmer?
A: Farming is intrinsically a very lonely vocation – you’ve probably watch cowboy movies of farmers working in their fields where the nearest provision shop is half a day’s ride away. That’s really how it is – I don’t imagine for one moment that’s a life that suits most people. They may desire to live like that for a period of time. But to sink in money and make an unconditional commitment to eek out a living from the land for better or worse is really altogether a different mindset.
For me this is the way I much prefer to live. Only because in the social world. I always get into trouble because people misunderstand me all the time – it’s like living in a dark room where one is constantly banging into furniture….and it hurts. I once cooked a meal for a girl and invited her for dinner. She expected something more maybe…but I just thought maybe she would enjoy a fresh halibut with some homemade lemon sauce like me. I stopped and changed a tire for a girl in the ECP once and when she gave me her card and told me, call me and I eventually got to it – she was disappointed that all I wanted was to buy industrial lubrication oil at whole sale prices. So I am always getting myself into fixes in your world no matter how much effort I put in. It’s not as if I don’t try.
But over here, I don’t nearly feel either the need or pressure to seek the approval, validation and respect of others to feel happy about myself or even to make a living.
I think if one is autistic. Then you absolutely have to be the boss of an enterprise or someone at the very top of the food chain where you are the one whose telling people what’s normal and acceptable.
Trust me people can be very malleable when you’re the boss – you could turn up for a meeting wearing pajamas only to find everyone doing the same the next week.
Because if it’s going to be the other way round maybe I will end up cleaning toilets or clearing up dishes while fat people scream at me all the time.
The problem that I see myself in is even if I had a really good job – it would never work out. And I would eventually be ostracized and have to leave. You know I once worked in a Cocoa factory where my bosses were so bloody insecure that they regularly picked on me. As I could memorize every single valve, pipeline and even rattle off reams and reams of technical details off the top of my head that frightened the living shit out of everyone. Eventually I got around to figuring out I should pretend to be really dumb. Maybe I did too good a job at that.
I don’t know. All I know is it’s no good when I have to work in an organization where everyone is expected to be a member of the rah rah brigade. The only time when I really felt comfortable at work was when I was alone and given just a date line where everything had to be done to spec. And in between no one could ever contact me because those countries I was sent too were places that no one ever warned to work in.
Besides farmers are allowed to say stuff like ‘get off my land!’ And absolutely no one in their right mind would ever take offense – people generally make plenty of allowances for farmers – they genuinely like farmers, as farmers are known to be very straightforward, honest and responsible people who may not always have the benefit of highly sharpened social IQ. But deep down they are kindred spirits.
So I am at home here.
For the moment at least.
Q: I am just speculating and throwing out things here. Could this be the reason why you envision a perfect life as one where everyone works in an agricultural commune.
A: Autism is really spectrum. In the moment of my youth. I was like really zonked out. I didn’t have the slightest inkling what was happening in and around me. Eventually I managed to climb out of what I can only describe as a tunnel.
I imagine some autistic people are still in that mythical tunnel and reflecting back on my own experience – it must be incredibly difficult for their parents simply because they’re pulling out rabbits out the hat all the time to figure out the best way to respond.
But I know this tunnel well – I know every feature of it so well.
People think autistic people are psychopaths who cannot love and are incapable of empathy. So they just write them off. And this includes many parents who have given up on their autistic children. But that is not true. I love trees. My dogs are happy and I am capable of love just like any other human if not more.
But the question is do I envision utopia – maybe. Like I said, when one used to be a tunnel and you’ve made it out to the other side successfully. It’s only natural to look on at those who are still stuck inside with brotherly love.
I think working the land is not only good for autistic people – as autistic people can do repetitive task better and with more enthusiasm and diligence than normal people. Commercial farming is no walk in the park – don’t for one moment think it’s any different from any other enterprise where there are best practices along with gold standards. But every year I get the gold cup. I am the best there is out there. You’re dealing firstly with a hard nosed professional whose earned his knight cross with oak leaves diamonds and swords.
You give me one hectare and put me against the so called best and in one full rotation season I will lick him flat like one of those ace fighter pilots.
May seem remarkable. But it’s not. So naturally I like to see others follow in my footsteps and if they want to learn how to farm. I’ll teach them and set it all up.
This way I will never be alone. This way there will always be brotherhood.
A: There are many causes. You could just as well pick your favorite bug bear ranging from the high cost of living to the idea babies these days are perceived as a liability rather than a boon.
Q: Do you think this trend can be reversed in Singapore? There is a lot of evidence that suggest both France and the Scandinavian countries have managed to successfully reverse the tide.
A: I think the difference between those countries and Singapore is notable in so far as the political leadership in both France and Scandinavia have placed the highest priority and strategic interest on improving their once lamentable baby birth rates. In the case of Singapore. I want to be polite. So I will just say there is a lot of room for improvement in those two areas.
Q: So you think the decline in baby births is inexorable in Singapore?
A: Well let’s put it this way. With the passing of every year, the benefits of having children decreases while the risk associated with child rearing seems to increase exponentially to a point where I believe there are really more penalties now than plus points.
Q: I take it you don’t believe anything constructive will come out of even a frank discussion on this subject?
A: It depends on what and how you define as ‘frank?’ Like I said, I want to remain polite. So let me just zoom into the cogent. It’s all water under the bridge. It’s not as if this isn’t a well trodden path where anyone who has followed the narrative knows all the set piece discussion by heart. I imagine many of them will likely go into this ‘frank’ discussion with a sinking déjà vu feeling. So let us speak frankly about the expected outcome of having a frank discussion on our baby blues – nothing new will emerge.
Q: You don’t see improving incentives as a solution?
A: I do. But I also recognize the diminishing aperture of being able to effectively influence couples to jump into bed and produce babies. I think there was a time when that idea could have been further sharpened to yield statistical plus points – but as it is, the math is dead stacked against young couples opting to have children.
Before it was just Holland V Veronica hanging up her eggs because she wanted to impersonate Sumiko Tan to prove she could go as far as men in whatever chosen parallel universe they lived in. But these days even Sengkang Sally has decided to give the idea of baby making the thumbs down. To paraphrase, we are dealing with a very serious problem at not only a systematic financial level that threatens the continuation of the nuclear family. But I suspect, at some point even the best social planners will have to recognize the law of diminishing returns or worse still the doctrine of reinforcing failure.
Q: What do you see as the prescriptive cure for this systematic problem?
A: I much prefer to remain silent.
Q: Many years ago, you mentioned lebensraum as a possible solution to our lamentable baby blues. As I remember it, you received a lot of criticism for your proposed solution. Do you still believe in the idea of lebensraum?
A: Yes, absolutely. I see this idea as the only sustainable solution to improve two main constraints that militate against couples deciding to have babies – space and opportunity.
Q: I think many people fifteen years ago did not really understand your concept of lebensraum – it was labelled as an ultra right wing militant concept that turned off many. Would you like to clarify your position?
A: I never ever used that word to specifically describe my suggested solution. If memory serves it was labelled as such in forum discussions and the tag just stuck. But since you have given me the platform to clarify my position. I will reiterate my main point. Basically I have always perceived very real limits to natives having any credible incentives to jump on the baby train if they remain in Singapore – one reason is because wages are stagnating and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future and the cost of living is ratcheting up year by year. So what you have is an acute imbalance between aspirations and what’s possible. The tragedy is most natives genuinely want to have kids. Most simply can’t afford too in super expensive Singapore thru no fault of their own as I mentioned space and opportunities is the primary root causes.
The idea of space or what many of my detractors label as lebensraum goes beyond the idea of physical space. Space if you think about it encapsulates really a broader paradigm. It’s really an attitude. Play around with this idea, if I gave you just three hundred square foot to play around. Maybe you would start a nick nack shop selling cigarettes, snacks and newspaper or dabble with the idea of a mee pok stall. If I increase it to maybe eight hundred square feet, we are talking about a cafe, bistro or maybe a shop retailing stuff. If on the other hand I kick the door down and give you two hundred hectares. That’s really another ball game. You would be talking about mining, commercial farming and maybe a whole community complete with schools, provision shops and even a town hall. So to me the idea of space and opportunity is really one of the same reality. You could just as well use either term to denote the same thing and that might also supply an explanation why most Singaporean enterprises seem to be pretty much run of the mill. Everyone wants to open up a cup cake shop or a boutique cafe where they sell basically the same stuff as the next entrepreneur next door. That brings me back to my original supposition concerning how space or the perception of it can actually transform one’s attitude towards the scope of possibilities. And with the idea of space naturally opportunity enters the discussion – where I envision Singaporeans relocating to countries with a lower index of cost of living and most importantly a higher opportunity for increased earning capacity to offset this perennial constraint in space and opportunities in Singapore.
Q: Even you cannot deny there is an imperialistic tone to your strategy that harks back to Nazism?
A: I categorically object to this line of questioning. I will be lodging a protest to the Guilds and the Confederation concerning this matter.
I apologize but this conversation is over.
Q: Allow me to quote word for word what you once wrote in Ekunaba concerning this subject of space and opportunity as the keystone of your suggested solution to improve the birthrates.
‘During it’s zenith, the British Empire covered an area of 4 million square miles. To my understanding this miraculous feat of empire building cannot be mere coincidence – circa 1850 – 1900.
This was also the period when the British were most productive in chid rearing. Historians have often suggested the motivation behind Britons having more children becomes more apparent when one considers this period coincided with the advent of the industrial revolution. A period of relative economic stability and prosperity – others have forwarded the notion, the age of the machine spurred ship construction and modern armaments to expedite conquest.
But what has often been elided from all discussion behind the motivation for Victorians to have larger families was the strategic need of the frontier gentry class to perpetuate their mercantile colonial interest in far flung corners of the world — by this period, the markets for British goods had opened up to such a degree areas, coupled with the vast resources of cheap monopolized raw materials that only large families could possibly perpetuate the idea of empire.
Britain’s empire was merely aided by the Industrial Revolution, which provided the tools of conquest, such as the repeating rifle, the railway, and the steamship. Such technological advantages would have amounted to nought had it not been for the frontier classes perceiving the strategic wisdom for large families to perpetuates their wealth in the colonies.
This should prompt us to ask – which came first. Big families or empire? Both in my opinion were necessary to sustain the idea of large families along with empire building. One cannot speak the language of empire without the automatic inclusion of large families anymore than you can talk about flight without wings.
Understand this! Empire is synonymous with the idea of space. We must not be coy or skittish about drawing these linkages. Only because space has the effect of altering our perception of goal setting – consider this. If you are just a salaried man. Your planning horizon is limited to only the moment you start work and end. The day you reach your run out date. The only thing that occupies your planning horizon is whether you can fit all the junk in your cubicle into the cardboard box. That’s it! But consider this. If by some improbability you manage to get your hands on a 99 year concession or lease of land. Then your planning horizon goes beyond just you and even has the capacity to overreach into the next generation. Hence the topic shifts to the child bearing.’
Do you deny writing all this?
Q: Do you still believe in what you wrote?
A: Yes. Although I must say. I was much younger then and didn’t really understand the importance of being politically correct. If I wrote it today. I would probably phrase it differently. It’s always been very difficult for me to communicate with others – as I am autistic. People always take my words out of context by phrasing the meanings different from what I meant it to be. That is why I prefer to keep quiet these days.
Q: Let me understand this correctly. You draw the linkages between empire or space with the idea of opportunity that makes possible the idea of large families. So what you are in effect saying is for Singaporeans to be internally and deeply convinced of the benefits of child bearing. They too would have to emulate the colonialist?
A: I think this goes back to what I mentioned earlier. There is really only so much that can be expected from government inspired incentives to improve the motivation for natives to have more babies.
What I supposition attempts to suggest is the idea of creating the appropriate context to transform this motivation into a strategic priority at the level of the family. That is to say unless the head of the house is able to be convinced that it makes sense to start a family. Then I believe all attempts at trying to motivate him by other means will fail.
Q: I don’t wish to come across as presumptuous. But you have very cleverly avoided all mention of empire and colonial expansionism in your response. Can you please elaborate further in response specifically to these two ideas?
A: Empire and the genre of words that are associated with it is understandly these days considered repugnant and morally reprehensible. But I have always believed this simple explanation misleads terribly.
It seems we are content to harbor double standards when it comes to all discussion concerning empire and colonialism – for example, we remain inexplicably ambivalent about Google’s insidious marketing strategy to snoop on our browsing history to enable marketers to prompt us to buy stuff that we don’t need – in the same vein, when multinationals are conferred vast tracts of land concessions or mining rights in third world. Again we hardly seem capable of registering the similarities between the globalist and colonialist. Not even when some of these concessions are so large that it could even be said, it’s not unreasonable to say these multinationals are in fact indulging in not only the power and politics of the colonialist – but since their influence is so pervasive that these multinationals can even modulate our everyday behavior, responses and frame of thinking. Aren’t they actually establishing a form of fiefdom. Since they regularly plant flags in the head of people telling them how they should best live, work and play?
But what I consider highly hypocritical and even double standards is when I advocate that Singaporeans should go out into the world to improve their lot economically so that they don’t have to bear the ravages of globalization in the form of wage stagnation and the high associated cost of doing business – then everyone accuses me of promulgating an ultra right wing fascist ideology.
Q: One of the most disturbing aspects of your strategy to encourage Singaporeans to have more babies involves the idea of creating settler communities in far flung corners of world. Where these communities would be headed by Ostfrontiers. My understanding is these are agrarian based communities – is it right to say yours is a strategy that paints a fairytale image of Singaporeans working in farms in distant corners of the world. That idea as quaint as it may seem doesn’t sit very well with that other idea, Singapore is a land scarce country. As Philip Yeo put it succinctly, there is no agriculture in Singapore. How do you reconcile this hubris? Surely this is the reason why so many people believe you are mad.
A: When people choose to label me as a mad person. To me. It is an exercise in power. My hope is that we can at least agree on that. Whether one is attaching labels to an act, logic or just people who may think and see the world differently from them – all they are doing is attempting to assert power of a sort where they want everyone else to believe in their reality.
But let us look at the trek record of these so called sane people – all they seem to be doing is reinforcing failure by their lack imagination. Our lamentable birth rate speaks for itself and with Zika now in the equation as a mainstay it is likely to get worse.
So I would appreciate it if you don’t assign meaningless labels to me. By all means label what my suggested solutions as mad if you will. But to call me mad is in my opinion really uncalled for.
By the way I have asked you to do this before. Can you please structure your questions one at a time instead of giving out rhetorical statements with so many questions. Otherwise maybe I should be the one interviewing myself.
Q: I am sorry. I meant to ask how is possible for a country such as Singapore with no agriculture to assert itself in the world stage as a colonist and why specifically agriculture as the main thrust of your pioneering effort – why not banking or the service industry where we already have critical core competence and mass?
A: Let me just say this first. As I genuinely want to keep the atmosphere nice and polite. I happen to have a lot of admiration for Mr Philip Yeo. I think he is a top drawer bureaucrat with a proven record in cracking hard nuts. But when it comes to his assessment that Singapore has no agriculture – that should not have been the primary reason for policy planners to shift their focus away from building core competencies on that area.
On the contrary, it is precisely why we have no agriculture – that is why we should have pursued building up linchpin knowledge to dominate this field instead of relegating to zero priority.
As even agrarian based societies such as American with it’s endless hectarage of wheat and barley belts to the South don’t nearly produce enough to feed Americans. Every two thirds of seed oil that is marketed in the US is grown elsewhere. Every metric ton of wheat and barley sold in the US has at least a two thirds component from elsewhere. Even the Cocoa content of Orea biscuits that you regularly munch on, not a single gram is grown and harvested in America.
Now if you want to verify all these figures then please write in to the websites of Cargill to Archer Daniel Midlands.
The point I am trying to get across is you don’t really need a lot of space to control an industry. Look the seventeen century sea fairing Portuguese navigators were not a naval super power – but they perceived the disproportionate strategic importance of having good cartographers to navigate the high seas. Hence they were able to carve a niche in the global trade that lasted nearly three hundred years. They were really so good at what they did that even the Dutch mercantile guilds in Amsterdam were only prepared to underwrite the risk of trade and commerce providing the ships that regularly plied the treacherous spice route had a Portuguese navigator on board.
My point is you don’t need to control the length and breadth of the commercial food supply chain to be able to thrive as a small nation in agriculture. As most of the food that we regularly grow and consume these days is conceived by people who run around in lab coats tweaking stuff in test tubes and Petri dishes.
To your other question. Concerning why agriculture and not the service industry. The answer is simply because that’s really the inception point. It really starts from there. Every single modern city that we know of today came about directly as a consequence of agriculture. Amsterdam, Cairo even Los Angeles. In Africa the fertile plains that run from the Cote De Noire right across it’s vast breath to the Mozambique Indian Ocean are all held together by agricultural nodes and hubs. The eighteen century Prairie settlers who opened up the red indian infested West were not coffee cognoscenti’s. That came much later. They were all farmers.
And most importantly they all had large families as that was the only way to perpetuate their landowning centric economy.
So robust is the nexus between agriculture and wealth creation that even when Hitler invaded Russia and occupied the fertile steepes of the Ukraine. The idea of the übermensch was not a hotelier, real estate developer. In the nazi interpretation of lebensraum – the super man was a farmer.
Q: I am sorry to interrupt. But once again please why specifically farming and how does that feed into the idea of large families.
A: I was building up to that point. Till you rudely interrupted me. The rationale is space or land is at it’s lowest historical entry point when it’s agriculture gazetted land – now if you look at Aljunied, it’s a metropolis today like Simei, but that was not always the case. It was once a kampung and what sustained that economy was essentially farming – so the whole idea of people running around with pitch forks and bailing hay may seem fairytale quaint to you today. But my point is that is really the social and cultural context that is required to attract the rugged individual in the form of the frontier man.
Now throw out the idea of agriculture and you also by default emasculate the frontier man thereby diminishing the aperture of opportunity and inadvertently creating a society of salaried men.
The problem with salaried men is they don’t have any incentive to have large families.
Q: What would your imagery of a Singaporean diaspora resemble. The picture remains fuzzy to me.
A: This idea is not new – not at all. It is redolent in certain cultures more perhaps than in others. Take the case of the Germans. Words are very powerful linkages to the chronology of history and how a community once responded to the challenges of their times. In the case of the Germans, they even have a word to describe this diaspora or exodus – Auslandsdeutsche.
Many people mistakenly only think Germans featured in South America especially in Brazil and Argentina at the end of the WW2 due to Peron’s patronage and amnesty of war crimes – but it’s a trend that started maybe a hundred years before WW2 during the early 1800 when droves of Germans migrated to South America because life in Germany didn’t hold out much in terms of opportunities and promise.
My point is it’s conceivable when we speak about how to improve our baby birthrates – at some point in the discussion, there has to be at least a sensible understanding very little can be done to improve the situation within Singapore.
You know I have a Chingay tree that grows on my land. It’s not an ordinary tree. The histroy of this tree is the retelling of a very sad story – one day when I saw it being cut to pieces by some housing developer in Singapore who probably didn’t know enough to care. He must have woke up one day and said, this tree is the way and took a chainsaw to it.
I remembered gathering the seeds of this tree crying while the policeman tried to chase me away. But I just ignore them all. I remember it as a very painful experience and I went about extracting the seeds from the hard pods with what I can only describe as great sadness. As I have always loved trees. And it’s not unusual for me on my rare off days to travel great distances just to visit them. Besides a mature Chingay is so very rare in Singapore.
For many years I kept the seeds in a tin box.
I spent many years trying to figure out where in Singapore I could plant these seeds. But the places were always always not right.
Today a baby Chingay tree grows on my land from one of those seeds.
I think my answer is metaphorical only because this is really how I see the problem and solution and if you don’t mind. I much prefer not to elaborate further.
October 12, 2016
For years the man in the skull mask has terrorized all the kampung folk – no one knows who he is….despite countless police investigations…it has yielded virtually nothing….and really only added petrol to the fire of who is the man in the skull mask.
There are many rumors concerning the mask marauder – many believe he is not of this world. For one he leaves no tracks and some swear within the blink of an eye he can transform into either a deer or eagle to foil an ambush. Many have claimed to have witness this – the man in the skull mask it seems is at one with the multitude of spirits in the jungle….he commands the winds and rivers listen to his counsel – it is as if he is fashioned from the very earth itself. Then there are others who believe he is a tortured soul cursed to roam darkness. As they have seen him in the shadows and have trembled to his terrible cries. Rubber tappers leave Nasi lemak to placate him, they murmur…do not harm us.
For years the man in the mask has kept the peace – he is the law – brigands fear him. Even the Ang Mui offer him three grilled pigs every November as tribute. They tremble. As they know only too well the sting of his lash. The man in the mask gives no quarter. He has the cunning of a mongoose and strength of ten men and an ox to boot when it comes to a fist fight. Many know his bite.
Some say the man in the mask is a highly educated man. An aristocrat from a noble landowning family….but it is hard to fathom his real identity. As no one really knows who he is.
From time to time, kampung folk will offer alms to placate him….though he has not been seen in these parts for so many years.
Whenever we experience set backs. It is perfectly natural to succumb to resentment and anger. And to try to get even. This is a natural reaction of most people. After all no one likes to be put down, given a dressing down and even reduced into a laughing stock.
But I believe very strongly, even amid these moments of defeat – there is great wisdom to be mined from the carnage. Life changing lessons that will hopefully teach the high and mighty along with all of us little people – the value of humility, the wisdom of letting go and making peace with the the things that we should NEVER try to exert control in the first place – for no matter what is said and done, it will always be a foolish enterprise to believe one can never control everything in this world….especially such a free spirit as the internet.
As the sages say, ‘this too, shall pass.”
Wisdom can be mined and gleaned anywhere. If only we still our minds and see it for what it is. This story, recorded in the Talmud, speaks, of an impossible ring, a king who desired to control everything and finally understanding of a thing along with acceptance why it is impossible to control everything in this world……
At the height of King Solomon rule. The king believed he was all powerful and beyond compare, and yet, he was not content. As there were certain aspects of statecraft that he could not exert absolute control over….and this distressed him no end.
One day when his depression was most acute, he told his advisors, “I am too often depressed by life. (since he could not control so many things in his life) If things go my way, I do not trust that they will last. If they do not, I fear my woes will never end. I have dreamed that there is a ring that contains the knowledge that will bring me peace of mind. Please go and find this ring. I wish to have it by Succoth, six months from now.”
The king’s advisors each went their own way, asking in each place for this marvelous, powerful ring that would bring their king peace of mind. They went to the finest jewelers and goldsmiths in Jerusalem and described the magic qualities of the ring, but no one had heard of it. They traveled to Damascus, Babylon, and Tyre and spoke to traders and merchants who had traveled the seas, but no one had heard of such a ring. They traveled to Egypt and many other places – but nowhere did they find it and no one knew of such a ring.
Many times the king asked them if they found the ring, and they replied, “Not yet your highness.” Solomon’s hope was fading.
Six months passed. On the eve of Succoth, the advisors still had not found the ring. They had given up. All save one, the youngest. Unable to sleep, he walked through the city streets all night. In the morning he found himself on a street with the poorest houses. He saw an old man setting out his simple jewelry and trinkets for sale. In one last attempt he described the ring to this man.
The old man was quiet for a while, and then he smiled. He went inside his simple dwelling and returned with a plain gold ring. With a sharp tool he engraved something on it and laid it in the advisors’ hand. As the wise man read what was written on the ring, his heart filled with joy. “This is the ring,” he exclaimed. He gave the old man all the money he had and hurried back to the palace.
That evening at the Succoth feast, King Solomon silenced the crowd. He asked, “Advisors, have you found me the ring of my dreams?” All were silent except the youngest advisor. He stepped forward as he spoke, “We have your highness.” The king looked at the ring and read the Hebrew words engraved there, “Gam Zeh Ya’avor” – “This too shall pass.” He handed him the simple gold ring. As he read the inscription, the king’s sorrows turned to joy and his joys to sorrow, and then both gave way to peace. And the king was reminded in that moment that all his riches and glory were impermanent, and all his sorrows would pass away as do the seasons and years, all his blessings and all his curses would pass away.
From that time on, King Solomon wore the ring and was reminded – in blessings and in curses, in good times and in bad, that “This too, shall pass.”
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October 11, 2016
Whenever I sense others are trying to find fault with me….I disappear.
Poof! I’ve gone.
‘One of the most enduring yet useless sentiments ever conceived by man – is the ridiculous idea that one should always stand one’s ground and fight for what one believes in. Noble indeed it may well be. That I’ll give you. But hardly practical or even wise when one considers ANY conflict in whatever shape or form is bound to consume copious amounts of time, energy and opportunity cost.
Truth remains it makes far more sense to pick and choose one’s battles and to only fight under one’s terms.
Break this rule! And you are likely to be sucked into a quagmire that will end in a war of attrition.
Whenever evil people pick on you, usually it’s because they perceive a real or imagined incentive or reward to do what they have set out to do. Why do they do the things they do? Is not a question you should ever dwell in. It is what it is.
What’s jugular is. By just learning to disappear one effectively removes ALL incentive or reward thereby neutralizing the threat completely.
This is what they don’t teach you in the art of war….but they should.’
October 10, 2016
Many of my regular readers frequently ask me – how it’s like to survive on only one meal a day and how did I end up with such an unusual lifestyle choice.
Q: Can you list out the benefits of eating only once a day compared to a normal three meal diet?
A: I can only speak about my own experience. Better weight management. Stopping and reversing premature aging. Significantly increased focus, alertness and energy level. Less likely to feel sleepy or tired during the afternoon. Less down time searching for food all the time. Saves money.
Q: What are the negatives?
A: None. Maybe just one pitfall – it would certainly be really awkward if you’re trying to date a girl first for lunch to hopefully make it to a full candle light dinner when you don’t even eat lunch.
Q: How did you discover this lifestyle? I say ‘discover’ as it is widely known you have pioneered this way of eating for a very long time.
A: I wouldn’t exactly call myself a pioneer in the true sense of the word. Maybe you can term me deliberate and even cerebral in my approach. As I have always seen fit to regularly interrogate modern habits of consumption – only because restricting one’s diet either by fasting or limiting the opportunities to consume food is a common practice that had been around for thousands of years. I don’t think it’s necessary for me to list the benefits of a restrictive diet – anyone could just as well google it up.
But to add on – on my original motivation to only eat once a day, much of it had to do with living in a tribal culture where it’s quite normal to only eat once a day.
It seems very curious to me modern man is the only animal in this planet who seems to eat at set times at least three or more times a day. No other large carnivorous mammal can ever do that even if they want too in nature – and it’s even doubtful pre Industrial man could have even lived such a lifestyle given the scarcity of food and opportunities to cook food – so my point is this whole idea of consuming three or four meals at specific time intervals during the course of a day is quite a recent cultural phenomenon.
Q: Why do you think modern man has developed this habit of eating three square meals a day?
A: I don’t want to come across as a conspiracy theorist. But what’s noteworthy for your learning outcome perhaps is when I first started to change my lifestyle many years ago to only eat one meal a day – I really wanted to know whether there were other people who did the same. There were of course many who were doing what I did – eating only once a day – only they were all tribal people…folk that modern man prefer to label as uncivilized, backward and savages – as most tribal cultures never eat three meals a day. At times when food is short, they even fast. Food consumption is always relatable to seasons and constraints in a tribal setting, what impressed me most about the tribal lifestyle was man is the most flexible link in the chain who always seems to be making adjustments to keep the balance.
This however seems to be the reverse in modern city culture where not only is man rigid and perhaps even dogmatic in his consumption pattern, but you could even say he even doesn’t feel any motivation or inclination to question whether there is any compelling reason to support the case that it’s even necessary, worthwhile and beneficial to eat three times a day.
To me this is a very serious omission that I seem to experience great difficulty in understanding – perhaps one reason that can explain my sense of estrangement has a lot to do with my own life that is closer to the frontier sort of life. So whenever I encounter ‘civilization’ the contrast can be starker and even sharpen the experience…I feel when one is marinating 24/7 in the city, it’s very difficult to even realize one has inadvertently fallen into a mind trap.
It could well be our modern lifestyle is shortening our lives, triggering premature aging and even dangerous to our mental and physical well being.
Q: You really believe our modern eating habits is dangerous?
A: Well like I said, till today. No one. Not even nutritionist or even physicians can actually support the idea man is designed for three square meals – so to me this whole idea of three meals is a manufactured reality – it’s a concept that seems to benefit everyone from cereal producers to the snack industry. Everyone except maybe the consumer – since he has to keep eating and eating stuff that he wouldn’t be eating in the first place if he has a habit of only eating one meal a day.
Q: But this whole idea of breakfast, lunch and dinner is really quite ubiquitous and even common. So common that it even goes back to antiquity.
A: That’s not true. It can’t be true. Because there are a lot of stuff that we are eating for breakfast that did not exist at all in the ancient world. There are also a lot of stuff that we are eating for lunch and breakfast that could not possibly have been served up in the ancient world due to lack of preservation technology or scarcity.
It’s conceivable the only reason why many of us are programmed to eat three square meals has more to do with our bovine attitude not to interrogate this idea of how much and what time we should eat – the default position is we have outsourced that thinking aspect to corporations, marketers and people who are always trying to sell us stuff – so naturally they will tell you to eat three million times a day!
Q: And how do you deal intelligently with this question of how much and when to eat?
A: I only eat when I am hungry. I only feel very hungry at the end of the day around eight to ten in the evening.
Q: What explains your keen interest on this subject?
A: I am a planter. It’s only natural for me to be very serious about the whole idea of food and sustainability. Besides I genuinely care about the well being of kids and animals and I just want to encourage others to think deeper about food – after all you’re really what you choose to eat or not.
October 9, 2016
It was a recording that was made over ten years ago. Nonetheless since it has surfaced….it will inflict maximum damage that in my opinion will be hard, if not impossible to mitigate.
The long and short is Mr Trump is well and truly finished!…kaput…finito.