Deep listening

September 4, 2015

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand completely and absolutely. Trust me, they do not. Instead they listen with the intention to cut in mid way during a conversation. Or to keep the conversation going on and on for the sake of responding aimlessly – this is because our scripting and conditioning of what is a good conversation leads us to believe, if we put in an effort to craft intelligent, witty and responsive replies, then we will be more engaging, impressive and interesting. But this assumption misleads terribly – as true communication first requires one to understand completely and absolutely….and this is only possible when one cultivates the habit of listening deeply and talking less.

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‘Listen….listen…..listen very carefully to the sound of the voice…feel the texture of the words as they are formed. So many words can get lost or lose their meaning when the mind is distracted with the desire to reply for the sake of just replying….judging when judgement is not unnecessary….filling up the blanks because one is impatient to bear out the sentence to the very end. Do not feel pressured to reply or to impress others with you point of view…that is not necessary…instead allow the words to coil slowly around you like a vine. Feel the emotions in the words. Be mindful of their weight and where the conversation is going. Do not do anything else besides listening with every cell of your being. Do not be distracted by all other things. Never interrupt, just listen quietly and impassively and above all never ever break the magic spell….and soon everything will be so very clear and calm.’

The city is one giant kryptonite rock to me. It is constantly radiating it’s death rays and wearing me down. Whenever I visit the city, I have to be mindful to take precautions. In the city, I am not so different from an astronaut in a hostile and strange environment.

I have to be mindful all the time of over exposure….crowds…noise etc etc etc.

Fortunately, I have a network of ‘safehouses’ dotted around the city that allows me to be alone far away from the ceaseless noise and maddening crowd of the city.

When I first told a few wealthy plantation ladies concerning my allergy to the city and how I could feel it’s death rays drawing out my life force…many people thought I was making up stories. Some even got angry with me. Till one day when I was found slumped in a mall with my tongue sticking out somewhere in the city.

These days to avoid this from ever happening again – my rich and influential friends have created a network of secret gardens in the city where I can dine alone in privacy, read a book all by myself, sit by a lush garden etc etc. At times, when exposure to the city’s death rays is severe, patrons even have to be evacuated. In one particular restaurant, the walls had to sound proofed. At another windows had to be solar screened.

This is all very inconvenient for me whenever I visit the city.

To the best of my knowledge I seem to be the only sufferer of this rare and incurable disease in the whole wide world, that I have called Citisystis.

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A Litany for Survival

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive.”

Audre Lorde

Only a mature mind can take constructive criticism confidently. That is why it is able to grow from strength to strength and attain a mature state.

An immature mind can never take criticism constructively. As soon as one criticizes, the immature person is likely to take it personally and become defensive and start justifying themselves.

That will always be the defining difference between a mature and immature mind.

The mature mind is naturally self assured, confident and at rest. Assured of his place in the world and very confident of his skills. So for this man, he is like a mountain, very few things can shake and unsettle him.

The immature mind is the complete opposite of the above that is why all immature people suffer from the habit of going round and round in big and small circles all the time while making a lot of noise, it is impossible for immature mind to grow organically. As since it’s nature is so heavily invested in the wrong place – the self… instead of fertile the plains of the mind, like in skills, knowledge and wisdom – when an immature mind is pushed. It can only fall like a bowling pin, it can never stand alone or be self assured.

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‘In the bazaar in pointe noire in the Congo, Africa, many years ago, there once lived chinaman who every coffee trader revered and feared – the man had an extraordinary talent of revealing by just crushing a few beans and bringing it to his nose…where it was grown..what year…by whom and most important what was the price.

For years he raptured the price of coffee…controlled in even, thought he was rumored to be a wanted man with a bounty on hi head. An infamous gun runner along the Gambezi and a illicit trader of blood diamonds and ivory.

The traders in the bazaar all revered him as he was the Shahidi – the man who wore a creme colored panama and suit with a shouldered holstered revolver and moved around in an ivory colored Mercedes with a white woman – they all referred to him as ‘ouya’ , the wise one…the mysterious one.

One day he just disappeared. Never to be seen again.’

It is not easy not be self conscious all the time. That is because so much of our conditioning has been designed to make us fully self conscious to a point where this is the only way we can interact with ourselves and others.

It is only when we are acutely aware of our human conditioning that we can slowly begin to untangle the self from our consciousness.

When we have ceased to be self conscious – the ego will naturally fade away – without the ego, there can be no self and this is the only way we can be fully conscious without any interference from the restless mind.

The images that come to our mind will never be colored by desire, greed, envy etc etc, so these images will always be very clear. As since our senses are no longer slaves to the self aka the ego, we will see the world clearly for what it is and not what others say it is.

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‘To see the world clearly there must be no stray thoughts coming in between the observer and the thing observed.

But if you care to observe humans, that is seldom the case. Only the other day when I decided to pull my car to the side of the road to take a sweep of a magnificent estate, one of my friends remarked, ‘How blessed the landowner of this parcel of land must be….I wish, I too can own such a beautiful estate.’

Can you see how my friend’s scripting and conditioning prevents him from appreciating a view for what it’s worth. Instead the beautiful view becomes a benchmark for him to compare his lot against others and worst, it even causes him regret and much pain since it seems to heighten his awareness that he has accomplished so very little in life. To put it simply, my friend has lost the point of why we stopped by the side of the road.

On another occasion involving yet another friend. This fellow is a constant sufferer of low self esteem. As his scripting and conditioning has managed to convince him – everyone is looking down on him – it doesn’t take a lot for him to be assaulted by such feelings, a little seems to go a long way with my sad friend. All you have to do is be slightly better off than his lot or even have a more expensive car than him and that is enough to set his insecurities on fire. While he beats him up all the day long wallowing in the cesspit of self pity.

This merely illustrates, why if we really desire to see ourselves correctly the world for what it is and not what others say it is – we need to strive to see the world without scripting or conditioning.

This is not easy to do. It may be easy to write about. But doing is another thing entirely. As since our ego is so intricately encrusted with who we believe we truly are – it is very difficult to try to separate the ego from the self. As soon as you try to untangle the two, the mind will begin to resist you forcefully!….it will even fight you tooth and nail. That is why if you care to observe carefully so many people are caught up in the vicious cycle of petty concerns that only seem to sabotage their happiness – they will mull endlessly like a broken record what this person said and did to them…they will read continually into the actions of others, each time trying to find fault…they will even try to be someone who they are not meant to be, believing that if they can somehow succeed in that feat…people will respect and love them…..and soon their entire world is swarmed like a man trying to eat in a cloud of flies. This is what invariably happens when we allow the capricious ego to rule our lives thru the self conscious mind – it will take us to a form of hell!

Observe carefully! Listen attentively! Think properly! And you will see it all around you….some people have been doing this for years, all their lives even…for so very long that they don’t even know they are in the ego inspired self conscious trap.

But when a man strives daily to attain an egoless state of mind, then one day when he lays his eyes on a flower….he will only see the flower and nothing else…..this man is not overcome by stray thoughts of how can I take this beautiful flower home. Do you notice there is no power and politics…only the unalloyed act of appreciating flower along with the grace of it’s stem and texture of its petals. Neither are there any other thoughts that will sabotage this man’s happiness. Like, why can’t I seem to be able to grow such beautiful flowers. What kind of fertilizer is this farmer using to enhance the colors of his flowers.

Instead one instinctive knows, to truly take in such beauty, it is never about possession as much as appreciation.’

The Tao of Sardine curry

August 31, 2015

image

I cook a delicious canned sardine fish curry. It’s so dam tasty, I never fail to eat it at least three times a week.

This is the only brand of canned sardine I ever use, make sure it’s sardine and not mackerel that you’re buying!

Canned Sardine fish curry

Ingredients
1 large can sardine (425g), tomato sauce flavour
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp of chopped ginger, garlic and onion
3 sprigs of curry or one bay leaf
1 onion, sliced
2tbsp cooking oil
100ml water

1/2tsp mixed mustard seeds
1/2tsp coriander seeds
1/2tsp cumin seeds

Seasonings
1tsp salt of taste
1tsp sugar
1tsp light soy sauce
1tbsp fish curry powder
1tsp red chilli powder
1tsp turmeric powder

1. Remove sardines from can, retain the tomato sauce
2. Pan fried sardines (without oil) in a non-stick pan, till both sides turned brown, set aside.
3. Heat oil in a wok, add in ginger, garlic and onion paste and curry leaves, stir fry till fragrant.
4. Add in mustard, coriander and cumin seeds, mix well.
5. Add in the canned sardine’s tomato sauce and water, add in the seasonings.
6. Once sauce boiled, add in the pan fried sardines, cook for 1min.
7. Add in chopped tomato and onion slices, cook for another 1min.
8. Dish out, serve hot with steam rice.

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‘Many people make fun of me in the village, they whisper amongst themselves, he doesn’t have a wife, that’s why that bugger wears khaki all the time…it hides the dirt and another thing… he only seems to eat canned sardines all the time.

But these people don’t ever know that I can transform the humble canned sardine into something wondrous and magical – to me, the entire world and much more can be found in a can of sardines.
That is simply an allegory of how 99.9% of life really is, to put it another way, it’s all up there in your head!

If you can somehow convince yourself a can of sardines is just a cardboardish meal on the go – then it becomes precisely that. But if you have the power to reveal it nuanced subtleties…then it can be a meal comparable to that served to a maharaja.

By the same logic, if you can somehow convince yourself, you are suffering – then suffer you will. The reverse holds true as well.

But if like me you have the uncommon knack and knowledge to transform the mundane into something special…then suffering will always be highly optional…Often in life when we come across others who seem to have it all together….it is quite normal to feel assaulted by the nihilistic idea…you are missing out in life.

In this way we script ourselves inadvertently into victimhood simply because, one side of our mind is able to convince the rest, we are missing out on something good in life that everyone else seems to be enjoying.

Usually that sense of missing out is misplaced and overrated and it can only serve to mislead you into believing you are suffering, when you actually have the option to be happy.

It’s very easy for me to be happy even when I eat sardines. As I love sardines. A can of sardines makes two meals. The first I have with rice usually in the evening after a hard day in the field and the overnight portion I will mush up to spread on sandwiches with lashings of cucumber for the following day. I can go thru about ten sandwiches when I am out in the field. I can even eat canned sardines three times a day, 365 days a year. I am not kidding…I am the God of canned sardines!’

Today a bunch of lowlives in the village asked me why I am rich and they are so poor. I told them quite plainly. I mind my own business, unlike them who seem to do very little all day except mope around the kopitiam wasting their lives gambling and gossiping about people who they hardly know.

I don’t ever waste my time doing stupid things like play games on my phone or masturbate six million times a day – every waking hour is spent on improving my land so that it remains high yielding and productive.

So how not to be rich?

Thereafter one of them challenged me to a fight. I beat the shit out of him.

End of story lah!

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‘What instills real worth in a man is the quality of his labor. It doesn’t matter how high or low, educated or uneducated, rich or poor you are – you can be a minister. You can even work in the circus cleaning up after elephants 20 minutes after their meal…whatever…but you should at least do yourself a favor and strive to be a master in your craft.

Don’t look at your work as work. Because when you do that, it’s impossible to be excited and energetic…regard your work as a living thing like an art or craft – something that only you can infuse with verve and meaning.

Because if you can be excellent in what you do – people will always respect you and entrust you to do big things.

They may still say unflattering things behind your back, but because you are the man who can deliver the goods – you will command automatic respect! Along with a certain degree of fear. Your words will be weighty. People will not consider you a wish washy person.

But to pull this off! You must be mindful of one truism. In this world there are million of illusions along with false Gods that will prevent you from being the man who you always want to be. Do not cling to them! They are illusions. Do not allow them to cling to you like seaweed either. Otherwise they are likely to steal the best years of your life.

Be clear all the time about the type of people and things that come into your life. Do not just let anyone step into your life…be mindful…in the same way, remain mindful about things, especially those that you like doing or bring you happiness…as even those things can often rob you of your life.

Above all do not neglect your primary reality in life – that is to strive continually to be as close as possible to excellent in your chosen field of expertise.

See thru illusions like – you should care and bother what people say and think about you. Or you should chase what they chase and aspire to be who they want you to be…see thru all these illusions for what they are…the God of nonsense.

You don’t! Your life is your own – understand this! Understand it clearly! You will always be the master of your destiny – if you fuck it up! You have no one to blame but yourself.

You better learn this from a very early age and the sooner you upload this into your brain the better it is for you because it is the only reality that is likely to keep you in the long journey in life – no one is ever going to come into your life and make you rich and happy, except you. It all starts and ends with you. You will always be the major stakeholder in your own life. You are the CEO of who you claim to be. So you better learn to see your life in that sort of clear and unambiguous perspective.

Never spend your time being seduced by meaningless illusions.’

Rained just now

August 28, 2015

For one hour. Good moderate rains.

Thoughts about the rain

August 28, 2015

Just fertilized my lands. Fertilizers are pricey this time round. They’re like gold dust, so I need to make every gramme count. So far only three days of rains in the last week and a half. Not nearly enough for the fertilizer to seep into the ground and nourish the trees….I need more rain.

But it’s turned on it’s axis ever so suddenly. I didn’t even register it. Do you notice….it’s getting hotter and drier of late.

A new season has kicked in. I can’t read this one like the others….I cannot….it’s an unknown quantity…something profoundly alien….written in a strange alphabet that I am unable to decipher. All I can do is run my fingers along it’s deep etched groves as I wonder to myself what lays instal for me.

The sensation is like a giant hand pulling on some great lever that sets into motion an entirely new scene with a new script and a new story and obliterates the happy story you have in your head of how things will or are supposed to turn out.

I am not so sure now there is rain after today…I know the skies are dark…humidity is high, but I don’t sense the life giving rains at all…it’s like not there.

If that turns out to be true. Then I’ve miscalculated terribly, bad move. No happy story for boys who make silly mistakes. Sorry, It’s not going to be one of those stories where the hero goes thru buckets of shit in first two thirds of the movie only for him crush the serpents head, save people and planet along with get the girl as well. That’s fine with me as I know – that’s not what life is really all about…it’s not like the movies.

Sometimes things don’t ever come full circle like a one hour, forty five minutes movie. They just stretch right on like of one of those roads that seem to run so far out into the horizon that it disappears into a single point….like a solitary star.

Could be a crippling disease. Feeling useless because you can’t get a job and bring back the bacon like you should. Or maybe it’s the terrifying prospects that you’re not going anywhere at all with your life…that it’s just stuck there in a rut. Whatever it is that you have to sort out keeps going on and on with hardly any certainty at all or even with the slightest promise it will all end well – all you are conscious of is how every moment of this uncertainty cuts you up like a knife, it’s like living in the razor’s edge. The tension is so high…it’s unbearable.

That if you must all know is the sum of all reason WHY so many people much prefer to live with the happy illusion that life is certain…must be certain…knock wood some more certain lah!

My fear is the rain might have stopped completely. I may have miscalculated. I timed the fertilization to coincide with the arrival of the South Westerly monsoon that is supposed to kick in this time of the year…but there is still no sign of the monsoon…that Primadonna is late by a full two weeks and a bit this year. Close to a no show. I can’t read the weather this time round.

I may have miscalculated terribly…but look on the good side. It’s not really hazy yet, that means rain clouds are still breaking far to the south west and it’s dumping all it’s load into the seas…there is still the hope of rain coming my way.

I need all in all twenty one days of rain. Less could do. But twenty one is the best, three down….eighteen to go. I am not too picky. Don’t care anymore could be short, tall, heavy, skinny, or even Amos Yee rain. Thunderstorms and tornado’s auto invite. Need it! Otherwise fertilizer will just be completely wasted….it will all be for zero if the rains don’t show up.

Otherwise I would have read it all wrong this time…I better polish up on my rain dancing gig.

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‘There is no such thing as certainty in this world….is there? That is just a sugary illusion most humans believe in like the tooth fairy…a necessary lie that takes the sting out of how we could just as well end up as victims of randomness.

The power of certainty palliates fears, nourishes the infantile dream – tomorrow will be better than today, if we just keep our shoulder to the wheel, like one of those colorful postcards of distant lands that we stick in our cubicle, it’s there to gives us false hope by nourishing our yearning to know where we are along with where we might be going too.

Truth is ordinary living is at best a capricious affair. The sort that doesn’t even require you to operate heavy machinery or hang at the end of a flimsy rope could just as well do you in and change your life for the worst…or better….it happens thousands of times everyday, miss a bus, catch one just one millisecond later or earlier, scratch your balls in the wrong or right traffic light and the right or wrong person sees you…and somewhere within that calculus where opportunity intercepts destiny and your whole entire life could very will change for the better or worse rolls like a dice… decide to scribble down six at first and instead go with eight because a fly with eight legs, or that at least is the number of legs you think it has, at the national lottery counter, smile or growl at the auntie who finally hands you your ticket and it could just as well end with all the magic numbers lining perfectly or everything remains exactly the same where the only thing that seems certain is the new found belief teeth are not meant to last beyond 40 and you’re no longer a spring chicken….but there is never any certainty about life at all is there….that has to be terrifying to most people and that may very well account for why we need to fashion the God of certainty..that deity of all shattered hopes and dreams being superglued back together and made whole again.

Yes…I see it now, the expectation of certainty in this world is at best a worshipped illusion.

Having said that doesn’t stop politicians and hacks who may still peddle their kow Yok message of only we can be the reliable purveyors of some of ‘let the good times roll!’ or to sell themselves as architects of something that just keeps on going forever. But that doesn’t happen anywhere at all…..may last for a while, but soon it all comes crashing down….doesn’t matter what it is, stock markets, the fortunes of a country even the weather…they’re all filled with terror of uncertainty….in 4,000 years of human history – humanity has always been in a state of perpetual flux, there has always been political, economic, social and sectarian upheavals bubbling to the surface of the great human experiment, but one common denominator features as a recurrent theme in the entire timeline of human history – there is no such thing as certainty.

It’s like talking about snakes in Norway – the bloody thing doesn’t exist at all!

What has always existed is…the awful reality the only thing you can ever be certain about is more uncertainty. Uncertainty. Wars. Famine and human conflict. Economic shifts. People voting with their slippers en mass and just picking up and walking towards a better tomorrow. Or that at least is what they believe. If they can just keep putting one foot in front of another and head North and not bother too much about the pesky details…then everything might just get better. The key word is ‘might’ and it falls short of the golden standard of certainty. Nothing is ever certain.

Right down to things like whether it’s going to rain tomorrow….

It is only when one is mentally prepared and mature enough to come to terms with the idea the world is elementally uncertain…that this is intrinsically it’s essential nature in the way only leopards have spots, then we will not be unduly disturbed, worried or even anxious about what the future may hold for us.

As when we continue to expect certainty from something that cannot ever be certain, this will only cause us untold suffering….this is what happens when one invest in a lie wholeheartedly – as a result we worry constantly about the bad things that will probably never happen at all.

Will the ringgit continue to fall? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. But what I do know is even if it goes right down to the proverbial long kang….life will still go on. What about the great Chinese economy, is it spluttering and bleaching out smoke and just starting it’s great swan dive? Again. I don’t know. But let’s say the equities market in China tanks and everything slows right down to a grind….life will still go on.

Is it really true that this year is the mother of all El Niño? The weather boffins have all been chanting, burn baby burn! Since May. What about Najib, can he last the full term? What happens after him?
Ditto.

Whatever the answers. Whatever the outcome and however it all pans out…good or bad. Only one thing will always hold certainly true – life will go just right on and on and on….may have to make a few adjustments here and there, but for the best part, that how it will be – just like one of those straight roads that I talked earlier about that seems to stretch on into the yonder of infinity forever till everything converges on one point, like a solitary star in the night sky…that star could be billions of miles away, could even have died out a long time ago and all you’re seeing is a remnant of what it used to be, as it’s all cooled but died…but life will just go right on.

I know….I know the world may seem as if it’s pouring out all of itself into the long kang…but I am still very glad to be part of it. As that is really how life is. It’s always been uncertain.

Will it rain sometime in the afternoon or night today? What about tomorrow…I don’t know…but like I said, I know life will just go right on. Maybe that’s all that really matters…to know deep down that whatever comes….life will be able to go right on….well with a few bumps, of course!’

Armistice

August 26, 2015

Today I conveyed a message to a man who once took advantage of me as I was very naive and unworldly in business when I started.

I told this man, I worked for 20 years in Singapore and since he is there for cancer treatment please let me know if I can do anything in my very little and humble power to help.

I meant what I said. As although we might be enemies. Nothing can compare to death…that at least is how I see it.

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‘There is nothing in this world that has the finality of death. It is the greatest expression of The End. That is why it’s so terrifying to so many people.

Truth is many of us live in fear of death, not merely the psychical aspect when the body and mind dies, but also the spiritual as well as the material – that’s why some failed businessmen decide to end it all, they too must have experienced a crippling form of death with the demise of their enterprise.

That is understandable. Especially when one begins to invest so much of the self into the identika of their work. Soon it’s hard to tell whether it’s work is you or you are work. You’re so at one with the whole idea of work being your outer persona…and everything that you can possibly stand for or amount too as a human being in this timeline… Work just becomes you…or you become it…so when it goes down under like a torpedoed sinking ship. You go right down as well like a deadweight anchor. Your world comes to an end…Jalan Matilah! No ‘U’ turns. No collect $200 while you pass go!

Mati means mati.

However there are many forms of death besides just dying with your tongue sticking out. People who live day in and out without ever once asking themselves, ‘hey where’s all this leading too? This waking up really early, rushing to work, putting in nine or ten hours a day, making time for yoga by learning how to eat chicken rice on the go from a styrofoam box. Where’s it all going man?’

When we have all ceased to have either the inclination or interest to ask further of these questions. Or choose to remain so bovine on account that someone else will always supply a better answer than us….about the whole business of who we really are along with where we are heading – that too I imagine has to be a form of death as well.

Did you know the Ma’ai who are a wandering tribe in Sudan have ten gradations of death…at the lowest level, you have something like the living dead, the zombie. At the highest level it takes it’s cue from KFC, original mati lah!

That’s why the whole idea of death is so terrifying to so many people. It just conjures up the dreaded image of a massive power cut just thirty seconds into shampooing your hair with sting my eye till they hurt like shit hair wash brand.

But when one begins to see death along side it’s close cousin, life as two constellations revolving around the sun of the sum of all things and how they’re usually arranged in this universe.

Suddenly we see that life and death is really just one of the same reality like a wheel turning round and round…the only possible reason why we have chosen to delineate one point called life and another death is because that is like an acquired taste of how we see the world and regularly make sense of things.

However when we begin to be deeply and internally presuaded, this cycle of life followed by death and so on and so forth just represents the natural order of things…..like how one season bows out only for another to come in…the jungle razes itself to a cinder only for life to grow furiously back again in the wake of destruction, then at the height of its bloom just when it’s all bronzed by the drought, the same cycle of death begins again and it’s repeated again and again in ad continuum…with no end…like a wheel that just keeps on turning.

Once we begin to understand that both life and death is the most natural order of things – then very slowly we will begin to lose our fear for the whole idea of death….then slowly we begin to understand how without one there cannot possibly be the other. Or how death itself is what gives depth and meaning to the whole idea of life. How one concept is so encrusted with the other that they can really only be seen as one of the same reality….one unit…a single block of monolith. As to divorce one from the other would be like examining only one side of a coin. That’s the point, when death loses it’s power to disturb, that at least is how I’ve always seen it….the subject of death, that is…it will always stand beside it’s other twin…life.’

On the falling ringgit

August 26, 2015

When you are earning ringgit and sending SG$ back home for wifey and kids and the ringgit seems to be falling like a knife and cutting thru everything…it makes you wonder. I work so hard…but get so little back.

I work so hard….but get so little back!

I work so hard….but get so little back!

You look at this strange thing right before you. You see it unfurl like some terrible creature that you have never seen before hatching out of its egg. You ask yourself, what is this? It’s not supposed to be like that?

How it works is written in stone dummy. Or at least that’s what everyone says and probably believes – you take risk, work hard and it all comes together…it always does…it’s a law like gravity, well it’s supposed to be like that…but the truth is very different.

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‘I feel the pressure. I mean I don’t feel it, like you would a breeze gently brushing your cheeks. No….I feel it deep within the marrow of my bones like a sick man who suffers from some debilitating flesh eating disease. Only the sick can feel the weight of clothes…there is like no margin for error this time round.

Everything is strung so fucking tight as a drum…she’s tight like a virgin this time round…all the moves just has to be just precisely right. No margin for error…none whatsoever. Right timing. Right moves. Right this. Right that, so that it all goes off like one of those computer timed fireworks display.

Bang….bang…..bang.

Look at the fair side. So far the moves I’ve cut are all good to go!

They’re all copper clad good! Professional. No corrections, just like a pro bank heist. Everything passed from the realm of theory to reality with a fidelity of 100%. Like I said, no corrections needs.

Now, IF I can keep this pace of cutting all the right moves for the next six months….Then I stand a chance to fight another day, I will be able to hold out against this bone crunching siege machine.

No doubt. She will kick me black and blue…Mother Nature…that bitch when she goes ballistics. The tanked out commodities market. Yes that would splay me with a body blow…the falling ringgit et al. I will have to roll with the punches this time, but let’s look at the bright side….at least I don’t go down for the count!

No I don’t! Not if I can keep gambling my way to the end when this perfect runs right out of steam…there I will be and watch it’s wake cross over the brow of the horizon. To see it all the before…during and after of it all.

Six months more of cutting all right moves…six months of getting it righter than right every time…bang…bang…bang…one shot, one kill!

It’s given, I’ve be in lose lose territory soon. The commodities market is all shot up. Pain there is inevitable. Sure I will try to lose small. Best I can. But if I can hold out for six months by consistently cutting the right moves, my hope is suffering will at least be optional.

Possibly. No! Yes, I can ride her like the way I once went right thru a storm called impossible.

You know one of those epic storms when a curling wall of water that goes both sides as far as the eye can trace out stands so tall that it even sucks in all the light from the skies leaving you with just a cinder of hope. That’s how it feels like to be there when your guli’s go right up your Adam’s apple – the pressure that is…

But look at the fair side. You just sprayed the land and fertilized a week back ago. Two good moves. On every occasion you read the weather like a gypsy dealing tarot cards. Followed by three rounds of gentle drizzly rains, that tops it by every known definition of the vocabulary reserved for the master farmer – you even timed it all so well, that you know deep down it’s one of those epic runs. You know like when you’re late for a ball breaking one in a lifetime meet and on that day, all the traffic lights are just green…green all the way. So green that you can just open her up and slice thru traffic like a red hot butter knife. Well this time round my run so far is like one of those sorts where I know the fertilizer stays and goes where it’s supposed to go, to nourish only the trees.

I need every cent to hit the mark…to just go in, in a neat line ….cling cling cling like one of those slot machines when the right time comes, all the fruits will line up.

I just need the rains to continue for another month longer. I don’t need a lot of rain, just a bit more. But it’s turning hot now and from the looks of it the rains seem to be breaking out at sea – maybe I misjudged it all. Maybe the rains are just going to stop completely….it’s after all an El Niño year. You know the big one….you know the one that’s like a bogeyman to every farmer.

She’s too big to fight head on. Way too big! All you can do is let her past you by the best you can like one of those raging bulls tearing at full speed towards a matador – no…no…it’s not painless. It’s like getting beaten up by ten men. It’s a storm. You feel the blows. You curl up into a ball. There are no thoughts…not even fear. It’s like everything is suddenly obliterated by a white blinding light…then it all grows quiet.

You’re still there rolling around the ground with ten men beating the shit out of you. But in that place where it’s bathed by a suffused wooly white light….you’re just standing there…feeling so peaceful…..so very peaceful and quiet, it’s as if you have managed to transform your whole being into a tear drop that rolls down the cheek of time. That is how it feels when this giant wave that sucks up all the light crashes down on my tiny plastic boat…I feel the pressure. I tell myself, cool moves….cool moves. My hands move fast and purposefully, I know the sail is good, I’ve loosened her just enough to take a pummeling by the crashing waves without ripping…now I wank the ropes hard to tack a wind to get out of this shit hole.

I see an opening, but I can’t tell as my eyes sting…clear blue skies framed against dark angry mountains of waves, it’s only a sliver…just a fleeting glimpse….now it’s all but squeezed out by another tall iron wave heading my way. But I know…I saw it, it’s there just somewhere behind the crest of this big wave that seems to making a claw like when angry women curl their nails. I know she’s there, maybe two or three miles hard starboard. So far hard that I literally have to spin my plastic boat around at right angles. I tack the wind hard. I pull till the ratchets and pulleys begin to squeal, then the sensation of the forward glide kicks in. I know now, the prow is slicing thru the swelling waves like a torpedo. I’ll make it. That’s what I always tell myself. I’ll make it to the other side. I am getting closer to the edge of the storm…soon I am going to punch right thru it. Anytime now. Meanwhile the plastic boat races ahead as the winds billow her sails – then suddenly another giant wave hits and this time round, both the skies and you get sucked into it’s darkened belly….and it just goes right on like this again and again…there’s no end. You’re just there getting tossed around like one of those things that roll so fast there is the faint smell of burning rubber and everything is just a big fat blur. Like I said, it’s just like getting a beating of your life by ten burly men.

But I know everything will be alright soon…all I have to do is wait for that white wooly light to turn everything quiet…so quiet that I am just running in the wide open fields like when I am dreaming…you know the sort of dream where the skies are always blue like postcards and the all the colors just pop out!

Soon the white light will take me to that place.

Meanwhile I just need ride this storm out. I need to hang in there and cut all the right moves….cool moves….cool moves…..cool moves, that’s the only way to make it to the other side.

Just absolutely zero margin for error – the ultimate professionals game of cerebral fitness and bad ass Lady Luck lah! Had I known it would all come down to this – I would have invested in rented tuxedo and stolen Maserati to get a VIP pass to the baccarat table in the casino de monte cristo, instead of being a farmer.

I mean if one is going to end up playing sudden death Russian roulette. I much rather do it sipping dry martinis and feasting on house caviar, why even bother reenacting the life of the man of constant sorrow.

What the hell is really going on man? I don’t understand how things even got so messed up!

Yes….I don’t imagine this would be something like taking up a new hobby. Making oneself disappear! Why after would anyone even consider doing that at all? It’s utterly ridiculous…….isn’t it?

——————————————————————

‘When I ask myself honestly, what is the one aspect of my character that keeps getting me in trouble? It is always the same answer – my ego. That’s my kryptonite. My nemesis.

The ego is a very super sensitive fellow lah. He is like one of those old spinsters, when you accidentally bump into her in the train – she makes a big deal out of it….she even reads into things endlessly. You can tell from the way she growls at you…. . Slight him ever so gently and he would register it like a military spec radar – he’s quick off the mark usually headed towards the edge of a cliff at full throttle. Sometimes he even imagines things that are not there or really only exist in the realm of imagination. The ego is all about me….me…me. That’s the story of his whole life….me…..me…me.

But let me speak plainly and honesty….there is also a certain je ne ces quo quality about Mr Ego as well – he’s like the archetypal heroic, yet tragic main protagonist in every great movie. There’s a swagger about him. He even exudes a charm. He’s the maverick climber who decides to make a rush up the summit one hour before the sun curls over the mountain ranges with only half a rank of oxygen. The debonair explorer who goes where no mind dares to go…deeper…and deeper. So deep sometimes that all time ceases completely and the only thing that truly exist is the aching and terrifying silence and desolation that seems to stretch beyond the infinite ocean of time…reminding you…you are the only human being who has made it this far. Other men watch and read about it. But only you have done it!

It takes a certain arrogance with plenty of lashings to believe one is larger than life itself to do all these things. So to me, the very prospects of saying – Mr Ego is all bad is not entirely true or honest. Not at all….he certainly has many endearing qualities.

There are definitely admirable qualities about him….his daring…appetite for risk….seeming confidence even when the ringgit is free falling against the sing $. He’s cool lah. Not too bothered. That’s Mr Ego. Because he has wordsmithed his own mythology, he believes in himself absolutely and completely…even when all the facts suggest he’s delusional.

At times that’s not a bad thing. As hope is the only thing that keeps you going…hope is what makes possible the idea that providing one turns the wheel of life…everything will just come around…hope to believe in yourself even when everything tells you it is all sacked.

To know in your heart that if you dare to make that epic jump..to soar momentarily like a bird across the time and space….that long impossible jump that seems to go right on forever…even should you fall, you wouldn’t just keel over and die…to even harbor the supernatural belief that if your grip loosens and you fall…something miraculous will catch you in mid air…and that thing is what I define as the ego.

It is what makes a man do great things as well as destroy himself. A life force that powers human will and also consumes a man like slow acting poison.

My point is, it’s not entirely true to believe in the idea one’s ego doesn’t produce anything of value besides grief.

That’s the black and white…zero or nothing story about one’s ego that’s so often marketed by new age guru’s. But they are all wrong….I don’t believe it’s necessarily true or even good for one to set aside one’s ego. Not completely at least. Not without deliberating at lenght about how much of what defines us as human beings is constructed on the bed rock of one’s ego. Not even if it’s inflated…. I am reminded nature isn’t frivolous, if she provisioned for you and I to go thru life with an ego, the chances are, it was meant to serve and not hold you or I back. It’s a tool…a necessary life force that can be harnessed to produce good thoughts and sound actions. The very idea that the ego is perdition and not salvation has always been a subject that has always vexed me no end.

Perhaps one way of living in peace with our ego even if it happens to be delusionally inflated one such as the one I have…lies in cultivating the life skills to know which aspect of our ego takes us closer or further away from our goals?

To be able to winnow the good from bad like how road rage ego is no good for anything except maybe supplying a sad impression of a man with a hole in his head and to just chuck it away. And to keep only the good ego like the sort that competes and strives to go further to improve one’ lot.

I mean if a group of thugs decide to mug me in a back alley. If I walked into that kind of hairy situation. Without my ego, I would probably give them everything without a fight…the problem is in certain cases in the plantation business, you can never ever do that, because all you are doing is broadcasting like a distress fish for every mugger to hit on you. You will be swarmed!

But if I had my ego right there in that back alley. He would be scaling the odds, making mental calculations of who and how to take out. That’s the nature of Mr Ego, he realizes at three against one, the odds are stacked against him, but because he’s so invested in only himself and even harbors the infantile belief bullets can have no dominion over HIS flesh that Lady Luck the great keeper of providence…that female repository of the Hollywood ending laced with the sappy promise of redemption and good triumphing over evil can always be counted to protect him. As since she loves him and since love can always be reliably trusted to find a way…He will always win…On account of all that grand bullshit narrative that renders the post LKY narrative, ‘you wouldn’t be where you are today…had it not been for me!’

Mr Ego will let it all rip! You will never get any money out of him with a switch blade in a dark alley. It’s never going to happen.

And you know what the funny thing is? He walks right out of that alley…whole and intact with that, ‘you should see the other guy if you think I took a licking!’ The only compelling reason why Mr Ego can pull even the impossible off is because He’s the sole author of his own narrative as well as reality. It’s a miss mash, all in a confused melange of movies….books….make belief and what I can only describe as pulp fiction. He’s the quiessential, as long as I can believe it, then it has to be true!

So there is definitely a veni, Vedi, Vinci quality about it all.

And precisely because of that – Mr Ego is the man who usually beats the odds. He’s the expert practitioner in pulling off the long shots. Or so he makes himself to be lah by eventually mythologizing his own rags to riches narrative. Of course lah, he will never tell people on a scale to one to ten, maybe he had it a decent seven. In the self aggrandizing mega ego stroking narrative of starring, me….me…only me….nope there is no one else. The main prologue is always the same, it’s about a man. A simple man. A man maybe like you or him…ozzing ordinariness…simple weekend Kistch japanese sushi in Safra ordinariness lah.

This simple man who suddenly becomes the accident hero only to eventually triumph over evil…crush the serpents had and deliver us all from doom and gloom.

That’s how the hero narrative plays out and to a large extent much of what comprises the raw material that makes up Mr Ego’s persona and mindset is fashioned from this fairytale stuff.

So there are good aspects in Mr Ego. As there are maybe bad aspects as well, one would do well to know which is which.’

The girl who proposed to be my contract girlfriend recently sought me out to ask – why don’t you like me? Am I not beautiful enough for you? Do you not find me desirable? Why do you make fun of me?

I told this girl in a fatherly tone. Do you see the flowers that bloom? She replied, ‘yes it is all over your land. They are very beautiful aren’t they? Why don’t you put some of them in a vase?’

That was when I turned to this sad girl who felt rejected and shared with her, ‘your beauty are like these flowers. They may radiate exceptional beauty, but they are also decaying…that is to say, they will not last…it is not meant to last….so please don’t invest so much of self worth and sense of importance into things that are only fleeting….because one day when your beauty fades away, you will be left with nothing.

Invest only in the things that can endure the test of time such as character, work ethic and thoughtfulness.

With these words, the girl who proposed to be my contract girlfriend fell into deep reflection.

——————————————————————-

‘If you were a beautiful girl or a handsome man in the moment of your youth – do not try to remain young and fresh forever. As all you are doing is fashioning a God of delusion that will lead you to endless suffering and cancer of the wallet.

I know there are many things one can do to seemingly preserve youthfulness, by all means do all these things, if that make you happy and gives you confidence. Only always cultivate a keen sense of reality and balance about the prospects of aging and above all don’t go overboard in trying to stop the chastening passage of time. That is hardly realistic nor achievable. You might as well go and plough the sea.

In other words learn to be comfortable with the idea – as you age into your thirties, forties, fifties and beyond. Every level of life that you will go thru will provision loads of opportunities for you to be beautiful in your own way.

For instance a young girl may be beautiful in her twenties, but in her forties and beyond she can also be very attractive as well, as her maturity, quality of thoughts, rich experienced outlook towards life lends her character, complexity and depth. You know a ice cool coke is great on a hot day! But sometimes you want a certain sophistication and refinement in a woman, like a 2009 Santa Rita Sauvignon.

It is same with a man, when he is young, he is like a wild open top roadster that can go zero to sixty in six seconds flat! But who is to say the man of seasons of his age, even in his forties, fifties and beyond, can come across as attractive as well – by that stage of life, he knows when and how to pick his battles like chess pieces. He’s got just enough scars to remind him not to stretch too far for fear of snapping the string – he takes risk, but only calculated ones. He is like a stately and polished S class Mercedes tearing thru the windy Pyrenees. Here there may certainly not be the rush of raw unplugged power. Then again that is not an aspect that one expects from a well engineered German automobile…..the ride is tamed. You hardly feel the road, but do not let impressions fool you, as it is undeniably powerful under its own terms, since there in this case there is the essential element of supreme control. Power without the ability to control is worthless, now you know why so many rich idiots die in Ferraris.

Both ideals, the beauty early and later on in a man’s life are beautiful in their own way as what they offer is unique.

However, if you are in your forties, but you still have your eye in the wrong place and still furiously chasing youth like a teenager or pursuing diversions which cannot possibly be of your age. Or you like that contract girlfriend who is just milking her beauty and youth for what it’s worth. Then I say you are in very dangerous territory.

As when one invest in the wrong things in life, there can be no such thing as harmony….no symmetry….no adherence to form and function….no such thing as maturity even and very little in the way of lasting wisdom – as at that stage in life you should have already weaned yourself from meaningless and trivial self consciousness pursuits that add very little to your character.

If a man is in his forties, fifties and beyond doesn’t cultivate himself well. He will never develop the essential gravitas, depth and nuance in his character. Instead he becomes a caricature of his age….this to me is the height of ugliness.

Or if a woman in her forties is still making hay out of her good looks dressed as a teen instead of leveraging on her attractiveness…she too will be very ugly…a joke.

Do you see what I mean? There is this idea of the complex man and woman – the multi layered man and woman who experiences things in life, reflects on them and draws valuable life lessons. You can sometimes see this in the expressions of sailors or farmers – it’s like a look of quiet resignation mixed with two parts of knowingness.

I am not really up there with those great farmers – but one day I too would like to see the world thru those knowing eyes. To hold an orchard that yields sweet succulent by just rolling dirt in between my thumb and index finger, to tell me like a stallion how far and long she stretch her legs to beat the capricious wind. To see the world with equanimity to a point where one can regard success and failure as one reality – because one knows how to pick oneself up after an epic fall only to brush off the dust and murmur, ‘maybe I will get luckier next time.’ These eyes of knowingness – that is never self conscious of the illusion of the self.

When a man is STILL self-conscious, all he is really doing is demonstrating that he is not conscious of the self at all. It is a form of lack in one’s character.

The chances are, this man doesn’t know who he….what role he is supposed to assume in the community along with being clueless where he is heading. He has no idea….he’s just a fumbling fool…a caricature of his age.

If this man knew or had knowledge of these things and what age imposes on him, then there would have been no problem – then he would not behave like a teenager and flit around seeking the opinions of others to validate his existence. Then he would not worried what others think or say about him – that is it is irrelevant to the man who has arrived at his season of age!

When one is still self-conscious, one is in trouble. As one’s self-consciousness indicates that the man is still a child and he yet to find his rightful place in the world…..be your age.’

The contract girlfriend

August 24, 2015

Sometime back ago while wandering all by myself in the mall. I came across a very sexy girl who proposed to be my contract girlfriend. Since I have no idea what is a contract girlfriend. I asked of this girl what does this arrangement entail. The girl pouted out her chest and when on to elaborate with great enthusiasm, ‘one thousand and one heavenly pleasures!’

I remarked such an offer would be hard to turn down and promptly accepted the offer. The girl remarked, it would cost you. I simply expressed, good things are never cheap. The girl was ecstatic and she on to confide to me that she has been eyeing me for so long a time and instinctively knew that I was a man who she believed had the highest level of appreciation for the finest pleasures in life.

When I asked for the time and location of the restaurant. The girl seem perplex at first. Then as if seized by a sudden realization, she intoned, ‘Oh I see, you want to have dinner first.’ I added of course, that is after all the whole point of a one thousand and one pleasure experience…is it not?’

That was when she began to get flustered and said, ‘no, no….you don’t understand…I am going to give you a very good time!’

I said, ‘yes, you have told me that already, you are going to cook for me right?’

That was when the girl looked at me in a most perculiar manner for what I can only describe as a very long time. It was really a look of regret bordering on sorrow – only for her to eventually express in a regretful tone, ‘you are the strangest man in the world…may I ask, where do you come from…..that is most unfortunate.’

I don’t understand city folk at all.

—————————————————————

‘That is how it truly is when it comes to the politics of desires, yearnings and wants. As long as the object of desire is missing from your life. You will yearn for it all the time….it will consume all your waking hours.

From time to time, you may say to yourself – if only I can have this one thing….my life will be complete…I will be happy and satisfied.

But once you get it, once that object of your desire is firmly in the palm of your hands to call yours. Suddenly it begins to lose its allure. Soon other wants begin to flit thru your mind again, other desires begin to command your attention again and bit by bit you are right back where you started only for the whole crazy cycle to begin all over again….this is the mad way in which the world has successfully packaged and marketed la dolce vita to the masses. This is also the way in which personal and organizational success is defined at every level of society. I call this institutional madness, only because it is often couched in a patina of sense and sensibility.

The funny thing is since everyone is into this mad chase – this crazy way of living has acquired all the semblance of normality, respectability and even what many consider to be the only way for to gravitate towards success.

This is also what invariably happens when a man is not mindful of the power of how worldly desires can so often lead him astray – he begin to do stupid things like invest his sense of identity, self worth and even raison as a human being to chasing meaningless and vapid things that will only take him further and further away from the truth.

This is the tragedy of modern life – it hardly requires much elaboration as many of the people who are trapped in this vicious cycle are in a needless state of suffering – simply because they didn’t bother to think thru what they want in life and most importantly write it down clearly in their heart and so soul. So is it so surprising, if some charlatan, confidence trickster or man in the TV who you hardly know comes along and writes it down for you and even manages to convince you, this is the life that you should be living….this is what will make you happy….along with the god of nonsense of what you should be grateful for etc etc that’s the crazy thing about life. Some people are so marinated into this nonsensical way of life, they can no longer appreciate the simple things that life offers.

To these people…happiness = money. They must spend money to be happy. There is very strong correlation between spending money and pleasure and the sad thing is, if this equation is missing in their lives…they will feel miserable…shortchanged….left out.

As a salaried man in Singapore. I can recount vividly a girl from accounts who had a habit of looking at me like some circus freak from the window, because unlike most workers I much preferred to sit in the small park outside the factory and eat my sandwich instead of joining the other loud workers who would usually drive out for lunch. One day this girl asked me, why are you so like that one? Only for me to ask of her, why are you so like that one? I went on to suggest to this lady who incidentally suffered from irritable bowel syndrome and had a habit of picking faults with everyone, she should sit beside me during lunch time and soon she too began to see the simple beauty in the birds and trees.

Do you all see for people like me it’s really not so different from a sane man having to live in a madhouse – sometimes I have to constantly remind myself, it is best to pretend to be mad like the rest of the inmates….because if I don’t, they will certainly me!’

Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of coming across as rather ridiculous. However when a man learns to be comfortable even when others make him the butt of jokes and ridicule…that to me has to be the highest acme of warcraft, discipline and maturity.

Study and research this well.

——————————————————————-

I don’t believe it takes any special talent for a person to laugh at himself. We all have it in us – every man and woman. As for children it comes naturally to them…..every human being is capable of that feat.

It begins by learning how to stop being yourself. That’s really where it all starts, and everything else follows from that. You simply step right out of your own skin. Relax. Breathe. Just let your muscles go limp, soon you will feel all of yourself pouring out of the person who you want the world to believe you are. That’s how it’s done.

Little by little, you begin to weigh less than nothing. Soon you’re like a balloon floating up into the sky. And little by little, you get smaller and smaller….till finally that person who you want the world to believe you are disappears completely…..and the only thing that remains is the man who laughs at himself. Anyone can do it.’

There is little point in beating around the bush. So I will dive right in – the outlook for the farming this year is bleak.

Commodity prices are rock bottom. The clever $ is leaving Malaysia. Currency is shot up. The political landscape is precarious and uncertain. To cap it all off, it’s supposed to be an epic El Niño year!

This is the hardest year I ever faced ever since venturing into commercial farming simply because there is absolutely no margin for error – time the harvest wrongly and one is likely to face a 25% loss in profit, gauge the weather wrong and one could well lose precious opportunity cost along with suffering a crippling shortfall.

Recently many farmers in my region lost big time. As they followed the standard annual schedule for manuring. Since it’s an El Niño year, the rainfall this time of the year was exceptionally heavy. For many the expensive fertilizer they broadcasted was all washed away by the exceptionally heavy deluge.

This year. I did something peculiar – I threw out the standard farming manual and decided to go my own way, by holding back on the manuring and waiting instead. It proved to be a wise decision.

Yesterday and the day before I manured. Last night a gentle rain fell and all the fertilizer I broadcasted went where it was supposed to go – to nourish the trees.

The timing was perfect and I am safe for the next quarter – as since my trees have been well nourished, I am likely to reap a good harvest.

At times like this when I past from theory to reality – I can’t help but feel luck may have something to do with my good fortune. I am not discounting the effort that I put in to gauge the weather or the quality of the decisions I’ve have made to maximize whatever little opportunities came my way this year…..only luck did play a very big role in winning this time.

I just hope my luck continues to hold out…. For the time being. I am relieved, as I am happy. Now all I want to do is sleep and wake up and cook myself spaghetti.

—————————————————————-

‘I did not venture into commercial farming under ideal conditions. For starters I had to somehow turn a profit on hilly and swampy land – the sort of land that even the most seasoned oil palm farmer would have plenty of reservations putting his time and effort into….simply because it’s akind to ploughing the sea.

Coupled to that. I have to deal with evil people who have more money and a better networked who are out to kill me all the time!

But to me that’s an allegory of how life really is! One never gets to start off anything with 100%…it’s always 70% or less and the rest you just have to make up as you go along…the best you can.

Think about it. That’s how it really is – you’re born short, your nose is too flat. You fucked up along the way and that set back puts you right back on square one. Or maybe you are like me, not very smart and always awkward around people…a square peg in a world of only round holes. But what do you do? Do you jump into a lake and end it all?

No! You trudge on with your 70%, 50% or less. You’re like a mad man shoveling coal into a furnace. That at least is how everyone sees you. But you don’t care about the impossible odds stacked against you! You just want to burn down the house! May seem to some like a great diffusion of energy amounting to very little, but that’s only because they’ve never had to go thru a storm before.

If there is anything to be said about a man having to go thru a metaphoric storm – it’s the classical idea, that’s really the only reliable way for him to find himself somewhere in between making things work with loads of ductape and superglue or having to get by with less. You learn along the way so many things.

That I guess is what really builds character and deep spirited wisdom.

That’s why if like me – your life happens to be hard and things seem uphill all the time….never despair. Everything happens for a reason and it will all come around to serve you well somewhere down the future. As once you go thru a storm. Or it spits you out….you will never be the same….you have changed.’

19-08-15 field report

August 19, 2015

Revenge and patience

August 18, 2015

君子报仇,十年未晚

——————————————————————–

‘The less said about this unpleasant enterprise…the better it is.’

This morning I whispered into the ears of a very old and wealthy landowner who tried to force me to kow tow to his crooked consortium.

‘You boast so much about how much power and influence you have….but you cannot even control your bladder.’

This is necessary, as sometimes one needs to put the foot down forcefully to make a point – in this case, it is send a clear message, I am not a Mr nobody who I used to be.

When the old wealthy landowner registered my words, he got angry at first. Then as if he struck by some rare moment of epiphany, he fell sullen and soon into deep thought only to eventually say to everyone on the table.

‘Yes….you are right young and wise landowner….all things change and we must simply try our best to make peace with them.’

——————————————————————–

Often I am reminded there are so men in one man. So many lives in a single life.

For example. The moment a child is born. A woman awakens to motherhood. This new being never existed before. The woman yes, but not the mother….this is something new and all together very different from that other life. In this way, the woman experiences a form of reincarnation.

The same applies when a salaried man ventures into business. Once this man turns the wheel of life as a owner of his own enterprise. He too is reincarnated into something absolutely new. A new reality descends on this new man and the world that was his previous life gives way to new awakening.

When we understand that life is nothing more than a series of deaths and rebirths – then we will not feel sad when those around us begin to change.

When we are unaware of how things, people and situations can change, we can easily be confused and stumble upon anger and resentment.

That is only natural. As suddenly, we find ourselves in unknown territory, having to deal with this new reincarnated being – he or she seems to be like someone who we have always known all our lives, but suddenly we don’t know him or her any longer – and not knowing has the power of disturb. Worst still not knowing WHY or WHAT accounts for this change will cause us to feel sad, disappointed and regretful. We blame ourselves. Beat ourselves up. Ask, what did we do wrong? Or could have done better….all because we do not know this person who we have always known has experienced a form of reincarnation into another being.

To suffer in this way is unnecessary.

As when a man understands how things can only change with the chastening passage of time, then he too can learn to live with this change.

Quadruple whammy!

August 12, 2015

There is no sense in watering it down. Or trying to call a spade anything other than a spade….the facts of life that is
…Malaysia is in deep shit….there you go…the truth and nothing but the truth.

The facts are compelling as they are disturbing. The clever money is heading right out of the door. Commodities are shot and are likely to rediscover new and epic lows. As for the currency, it’s going to the dogs and to top it all off…the weather is set to throw out more than it’s fair share of jokers in the coming months.

These are very testing times for planters. Usually we are accustomed to shrugging off the occasional harbinger and still keep on batting for sixes. But this time, it’s different, too many things are piled up, one on top of the other….it looks precarious….dangerous…and a right mess.

Malaysia I am reminded is not nearly as socially, economically or politically resilient as America. No amount of feel good rhetoric is going to alter reality. The latter can take a licking and still bounce back to keep on ticking. Sure the Malaysian system can take knocks, but not at this fast and furious rate, things that hold other things together can and will give way and when they do, it’s likely the whole house of cards will come crashing down.

Many in the business community are nervous….jittery….and walking around in a daze. Too many things are happening all at once and it’s just adding to the nervous energy that seems to be heightening with each passing day.

My fear is things will get much worse before there is any basis to consider things ever getting better.

If the shit ever hits the fan and I can’t gainfully turn the wheel of life in Malaysia….I may have to seriously consider going back to Singapore.

I can’t just cross my fingers and hope the everything is going to turn out rosy. I don’t nearly have the profit margin to allow me to do that. I need to be very cool and set my mind on crafting a plan B.

If there is any consolation. It’s not as if this is the first time, I’ve had to pack my teddy bear into a suitcase and run as fast as I can for the last train. You could even say that’s the story of my life. Things just don’t seem to ever last – something always comes along and mucks it all up.

I hope to see you all soon in Singapore. Btw if you see anyone who looks like me begging for five bucks somewhere in Bedok bus interchange to buy a cuppacino….do spare some loose change….it’s definitely for a good cause. Do that! And I may even throw in a dinky cactus to brighten up your day.

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My dogs

August 10, 2015

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