Somewhere along the endless serpentine laterite road between Davao city and Zamboanga in the Mindanao – during the evenings when men would sit along the long bench under the wan and hiss of cordite lamps to get high on Barangay hooch fermented from coconut and yam. On the last call when everyone is high as a kite and the only satellite TV in the village is switch off – and men have all but run dry of topics to keep the conversation rolling on…someone may ask, ‘do you all remember Padil?’ And all the men would smile knowingly and fall so very silent….the legend of Padil like all legends in the timeless labyrinth of the shanty towns of Barangays comprised of one part truth and usually two parts make belief…he’s real name wasn’t really Padil. They all just called him that, as he looked so much like that much beloved bad boy action hero actor Robin Padilla. Others believed he might have been a third generation mestizo as he often mangled his Tagalog with Spanish sobriquets terms – a habit common to the landowning gentry of the Ayala’s, Osmenas and Arjuno’s. Others believed he had once worked for the CIA as a spy responsible for reporting on the secret construction of the largest covert military airstrip in the Mindanao in General Santos funded by bluefin a USAID front – then of course, all knew of the story when Padil had spotted an abandoned vine riven villa once build by a Spaniard Chopra merchant somewhere along the Cotabato mountain route to the West on Saragani on a hill – they said, he had stood there and looked at that ruined for so long like a man reminded of happier times in his past life in Africa and so Padil decided to stay and grow bananas right there.

The landowning gentry especially the ladies of the Wednesday club in the Marina Bay regarded Padil with a mix of fascination and endearment whenever he visited metro Manila – they were equally enamored by his impeccable manners along with his rumored illicit association with Gringo Honasan and the ease at which he was able to walk freely in and out of Abu Sayaff territory untouched…like an angel dancing on fiery clouds of death..they all whispered as they look on – but to the old men, the European Spanish power brokers who prided themselves with their purity of will in the same manner they kept their lineage entirely Spanish since Magellan landed on the shores of Cebu…the one’s who bank rolled noisy senators and pulled all the strings in Malacanang unseen by all, who were always content to play bridge and sip extremadura in the Rizal room sectioned off from the rest of the erudite crowd below – despite their collective suspicion for Padil. They found him useful and continued to give him land concessions…as Padil despite his youth and cavalier attitude, whenever he didn’t drink to much seemed to posses an uncanny ability to appreciate their reality of how power and politics could only be perpetuated by maintaining the tenuous relationship of mutual coexistence between the Christians and the Muslims thru the lost art of La Convivencia…..if anything good would ever come out from that God forsaken place where there was no semblance of law and order…that black heathen splotch…the old men all referred too as el terra diablo.

In the Barangay’s that dotted the edges of Padil’s banana estate – the kids knew his legs and pricks of his hairline moustache. He wore only mirror polished ankle high boots with flared ridding jodhpurs. As for the men, they looked on curiously with fascination at his habit of sporting a shouldered holstered revolver. As it was general knowledge, Padil the nocturnal marauder in a lawless land where only the law of the gun rule supreme – was renowned for his disdain of firearms and much preferred that other elegant weapon of antiquity, the Moros feared which they referred to as the whispering death – the bow. On one occasion, legend has it Padil single handedly picked off ten brigands on a moonless night who ambushed a bus of nuns. Or was it twenty or maybe thirty depending on how many bottles of San Miguel had been uncapped during the recount of the story. For effect Padil left cards on each man he killed. They all said, he once saw it being done in a movie and so like the movie star that he was…he did the same for la effect ..as for the ladies – they giggled all the time behind closed shutters while their mothers looked on pensively bitting their prayer beads, as it was widely rumored – only a man who is in league with the devil himself was not afraid of the Moros and that Padil could steal a woman’s soul with just one fleeting look. For most of the time, when the sun dipped below the ochre colored barren mountains. Padil installed himself on a rocking chair and nursed a Montecristo till nine and retired before ten. On the first Monday of every month, he wore a pristine creme suit complete with black and white spectator shoes and a creme Montecristi and visited the only bordello in Davao city which also doubled as the Sanfirono club for the rest of the week – Padil sat all by himself usually in the verandah overlooking the square as he played solitaire all by himself sipping neat whisky thru the night….he never ever seemed interested in what was on offer, except maybe to look up from time to time with a curious mix of having being so near yet so far from experiencing the prophetic whenever the madam of the parlor brought in a new girl only to return to his game of cards like a man searching fervently for something once lost….as if the only thing he ever wanted out of the evening laid somewhere in that other far and distant mythical realm that could only be discovered in the infinite randomness of the universe of cards – where chance and serendipity danced and all that Padil could do was to search….search….and search for her, for Padil the man who would usually sit all by himself from evening till the break of dawn, it seemed the only woman he was ever interested in was to find his mythical queen of hearts in a game called solitaire…but it always ended the same….no matter hard he searched…Padil could never find her…..’

The infinite man

June 24, 2017

Within a life of a man….there can be so many lives once lived. As there are so many men in this one man. So many who have come…died only to be reincarnated again into the form of yet another life lived by yet another man.

It is this indelible aspect of man that makes him such a complex being – as nothing really appears to be what it seems.

Whenever we engage someone even fleetingly….we might take comfort in the idea what we see is actually what really is. But when we know this secret of secrets of all men….only then will we begin to see the other men within this one man who stands before us.

—————————————————————————-


‘I told this young lady. You are most welcome to see how I go about my business….I hid nothing from her. I opened all my doors….everything was right before her….to do as she pleases. In the fields she saw the way I worked alongside the farmhands. I told her, I am like Levin. Her eyes sparkled with understanding as she exclaimed, Tolstoy….Anna Karenina. From time to time, we would speak. I noticed she was reading the Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Neruda. She could tell, I knew his work intimately when I told her, the great poet wrote only in green ink, which was his personal symbol for desire and hope. She asked me why he the great poet who believed so much in hope never ever once used that word. I told her the story of Tentativa del hombre infinite and explained to her as in the novel El habitante y su esperanza, hope need not be expressed….not at all, it merely is….One day when the sun was like a disc of fire, she saw the farmhands chewing on sugarcane…I told her to only chew on the narrow sections…it’s sweetest there….she asked, is it true…the rumours… that I once fought in the Ascension wars in Nicaragua…I merely told her I don’t remember that man who once stood on a rock promontory with a rifle slung on his back….I only remember the aching beauty of the Cordillera de Los Morbeilles set against the crimson sunset….I told her, I counted only six…though everyone said there were eight..she undertood…as that was what Neruda’s infinite man had once exclaimed just before a duel in the Ascuncion chapel in Leon. She wondered whether it was true that the Chinaman sugarcane planter once did same for the hand of a third generation Matizto’s landowner’s daughter in Managua….I told her it was hard to tell as even the fairytale presages the period before I met my wife and settled down in Singapore.

On the fifth day when I told her how the swiftlets would fly ever so higher and in tighter circles as they instinctively knew it was time for the wind to shift the other way and they were preparing for their long marathon flight across the straits… she asked about the man who once wore flared ridding breeches, mirror polished knee high boots and always sported a shouldered holstered revolver…the Chinaman Cocoa planter…I told her, he must have been enamoured with Idi Amin, she laughed and mentioned…Uganda..I shouted ‘Uluru!’ She asked what is that, I merely mentioned that’s what the Matabili tribesmen would shout out when they spotted a tiger in the brushes….she said explain…. I looked her in the eye this time and told her… I counted only six…though everyone said there was eight….it was what Neruda’s main protoganist had mentioned just before he was betrayed in Santiago. She undertstood and looked down and shame swept across her face.

On the sixth day when I told her the Mai’a in Southern Sudan believe two cardamoms went put into hot tea could stop time dead in it’s tracks and the mythical door of secrets would swing open – it all spilled out…the beans…the girl told me slowly, she was actually sent by my enemies to find out about my plans…..there was no interest free grant…it was all an elaborate lie designed to entice me…And at the end of it all, she merely expressed in a tone of abject resignation… I counted only six….though everyone said there was eight…after she finished, she looked up me and realized then and there…. I knew it all along…it was the face of Neruda’s infinite man.’

Neruda

June 23, 2017

Actually as a farmer who lives all by himself deep in a desolate plantation and never ever goes out at night. I certainly don’t mind certain organs and body parts coming my way. Since there is very little else to do every evening except sew, paint shoes and make moonshine from potatoes
….I really could do with some organs to spice up my life. I am especially fond of the domed shaped organs with the cherry topping.

I also like other organs as well….but I shan’t elaborate too much as I am sure others do too….and I want to be considerate and not cause mass fainting spells.

I just don’t want the evil organs to come my way…should they do so, it is only fair to inform the puppet masters of these unmentionable organs that many powerful and influential corporate and political leaders thru out the world regularly read my blog religiously….Putin for instance is a regular reader of my blog (it is widely known to many of my regular readers I have been extended a red carpet invitation to farm commercially in the Ukraine) so is the premier of China who happens to be a farmer himself along with ten to fifteen world leaders along with many business personalities of impeccable international standing.

The reason why they continue to read my material is because I write it as I see it….honestly….without any form of embellishment and they all enjoy my unique perspective as an autistic person of seeing things, people and events.

Should the organs of the state make my life hellish – I will complain to all these people. Don’t worry it is well known to everyone in the internet as well that I am the biggest cry baby in the world….so should the organs that I don’t like come my way…I will make so much noise and when I do so a lot of powerful personalities will demand to know ‘why are you harassing the poor farmer?’ And that will be the end of these losers.

You have been forewarned. I write whatever I want!….as I see it….if you don’t like it. No need to threaten me. Just do what makes you happy and we will take it from there.

I have a right as a farmer to call a spade a spade!

——————————————————————————-

‘Why do so many captains of industry and world leaders read my blog? Very simple. I always seem to get it right….not all the time. I admit. But enough I believe to be a reliable, steady and dependable and even engaging fire chat companion.

I told them all the TPP is going to run out of petrol and konk out before it reaches the finishing line. This was when all the corporatist were uncorking champagne and breaking out the caviar….and it happened exactly the way I called it. It died!

I told them all that China is going to get mad if she’s pushed to one corner on the SCS like a wounded animal….and she blew her lid so high that it’s now in orbit somewhere in outer space. Again it was spot on! And this was when everyone still believed in the idea that Pax Americana would rule the Pacific.

Long before that I told them all the global balance power would shift impercibly from West to East and that this trend would inexorable and nothing could ever stop. And this was when America and EU looked so self assured and the future seemed so certain that it would have been foolhardy to assume that tomorrow could ever be so different from today….and again I was proven right.

I even told them all that globalisation as an economic theory is seriously flawed as it has a mechanism of self destruction…and I even predicted that once the tipping point between yearning and the inability to fulfill that desire was reached…..a day of reckoning would certainly come and everything that we have come to regard as the only way to reliably make progress in trade and commerce will experience a historical reversal….and this was at a time when everyone spoke as if globalisation and the free market was some Super duper religion that could do no wrong…and again I was proven right again with Brexit and most recently the nomination of Trump as president of the US.

I did all this so many times that finally the really clever people just tuned in – because to them the truth will always command a very high value in a world that is riven with curve balls and the only thing that is certain is more uncertainty.’

The Super duper committee should be formed and tasked with deciding what to do with LKY’s house only AFTER mini Lee has stepped down from the office of the PM of Singapore.

So long as mini Lee continues to remain in power while the committee is operative….the question that must be asked is whether it is possible for the committee members to discharge their duties without undue influence and without fear or favor?

That I will leave to you….the perceptive reader to answer. I have no comment….what I will say is this…this cannot be business as usual any longer.

After all given that this most ugly family spat has spilled over into the public domain – the onus on the government must be correspondingly higher so as to take stock of the prevailing sentiment to ensure whatever decision is reached on LKY’s house has to be derived independently, free from undue influence and most crucially serves the greater interest of Singaporeans and not just to further the interest of one man who may have an agenda.

—————————————————————————–

‘The allegations levelled against the PM and his wife are so serious as to include perverting the course of law, misusing the state apparatus in such a manner where it is tantamount to criminal intimidation to outright abuse of power etc etc etc….then the government of the day cannot just come across as embodying the form of being independent without buying into the content rigorously – that is to say the government would do well to take stock of prevailing sentiments and make every effort to assure the public, stakeholders and institutions that the decision making process concerning LKY’s house is free from any undue influence by the office of the PM and other person or persons.

It would seem one way to respond intelligently to these allegations would be rebut them robustly…but I don’t see how this can nearly be enough to sufficiently blunt these allegations simply because to do so would simply make the problem bigger instead of reducing it size and impact by both parties escalating the impasse in public.

As a simple minded austistic farmer who is probably sun stroke since I have been out in the field since seven – the crux of the issue is not whether the PM actually influenced the outcome of the decision of the committee that is tasked to decide on the final outcome of what will eventually be the fate of LKY’s house.

Rather the real issue is whether as a stakeholder in the property who concurrently occupies the office of the PM – does such a person have the capacity to exert a sphere of influence over the affairs of the committee formed under his official purview?* Even if that possibility is remote. That would really be untenable….since no man can be a judge of his own case…neither should only one side of the story be heard only while the other languishes in obscurity….there is something very wrong with the picture….it is not straight. Rather to me at least the picture frame sits very crooked on the wall of public opinion and that is really my point.’

* Let us assume for argument sake Count Dracula is appointed as the CEO of the national blood bank in Singapore. Let us even assume that the Count subsequently appoints a committee comprising of subordinates who report to him who he regularly appraises their annual performance to conduct a feasibility study on whether it might be good idea for the Count to hold the dual role of CFO as well to the blood bank…now the Count can of course put up his hands and say, ‘hey I am not involved….can’t you see this is a panel where I don’t have any involvement in.’

Then again since we all know what sort of beverage the Count likes to consume. We also know happen to know – the reason why he’s called the Count is because he has a very strange way of counting…that’s to say he’s accounting method remains suspect and dubious as even when he’s in the red, it all seems to come up rosy blue….so how wise would it be to allow the Count to form such a committee?

Bear in mind. I never said the Count is sinking his fangs into blood at the National blood bank. But the very fact that by assuming the dual role of the CFO he is able to be a judge of his own case by itself disqualifies the merit of case and renders it spurious…that is all I am saying.

Surveying for replanting

June 22, 2017

Surveying is time consuming and tedious….it involves a lot of trekking. There is a wide area to cover. Since the equipment is very pricey to rent. I need to wrap it all up in one working day. I have work to do now….I will be back.

This morning I had a meeting with my surveyors. One of them told me since the weather had taken a turn for the worst….it’s impossible to keep to the schedule. I turned to this fellow and thanked him for his assesment…thereafter I told him politely to leave the conference room.

Thereafter I asked the rest – anyone else want to tell me it cannot be done?

After a lot of teeth sucking sessions, looking down and what I can only describe as a very uncomfortable pause….I proceeded to suggest we deal with the early arrival of the rains by digging trenches instead and burying all the chipped material….additional land surveys will have to be conducted to carry out this sudden and unexpected shift in strategy – as the planting configuration will have to be radically altered to accommodate these new trenches.

We will start work first thing tomorrow at seven….I ended the meeting with the words…gentlemen failure is not an option…thereafter I thanked them all and took my leave.

After that I went for another meeting with the earth works contractors….they told me the same thing and I responded in a similar manner.

Work will continue…..failure is not option…we will win!

——————————————————————————

‘When one is born into autism. The world will stick a badge on one’s lapel that says, ‘I am a weirdo.’ Understand this clearly! The world will do this! Why is not important…neither is whether it is right to do so….only understanding that the world will do this is and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it!

That is why when one is autistic – one has to be more determined than ‘normal’ people to seek out one’s calling in life. Normal people have more options since they are very versatile. They can given time adapt to even grow fond of a job that they once loath…but not autistic folk. We tend to be more rigid and set in our ways…for instance I like to see things being lined up neatly…it comforts me to see neat rows of trees….it’s a source of happiness…so being a planter is very satisfying and deeply edifying to my nature…my point is being able to find one’s niche is really the point of equalization.

There is no point in following the way of the world – they will give me a mop and ask me to clean toilets….or have me work assembling vibration toys that bring happiness to spinsters in cold lonely nights…that is the way of the world.

One has to go the other way….

Above all one must wear this badge that the world has pinned on one with pride….it must serve as a reminder that life will always be unfair and there is no such thing as a level playing. Not for you. For others maybe …but never you!

And the only way you will ever get to kick a ball on a level playing field is if you own the stadium and everyone else on the pitch!

If you do not take my advice – you will always be despised, humiliated and always disrespected in this world…..as it is worthless to rely on the forebearance, goodwill and sagacity of others to treat you well when one is autistic. If one is lucky, one may of course come across such good souls from time to time….but unfortunately there are not enough of these good natured people to make a profound difference to your life to better it…..and it really boils down to you…that is all there is to it…what I have shared is certainly not pleasant to read…this I completely take responsibility for. Only understand this! What I have shared is the solemn truth…..so now you know the score if you’re born into autism….failure is not an option.

Life is cruel!’

Small world

June 20, 2017

‘When you know deep down. You’re different from everyone else….then it’s very easy to see the difference in others as a very engaging and beautiful thing.’

Woke up this morning only to find all the birds going berserk and flying around wildly…..that is usually not a good sign.

I know birds very well….they don’t just decide to wake up one morning and behave like crazies….some people who I rather prefer not to mention do that, but not birds…something has definitely spooked them. My friends, the birds are not stupid. They’ve been around in this planet for a very long time predating even mankind. All birds were once two legged dinosaurs like the fearsome T. Rex…they didn’t go extinct as much become smaller till finally they assumed the final shape and form of what we call in our age birds.

Birds all have a keen sense of primal instincts. They can sense rain days before it comes and nothing ever escapes them…they can even pick up microscopic barometric alterations that modern instruments can never register. I once raised a baby eagle who could fit into my breast pocket and took around wherever I went. Her name is Boonyi. Eventually Boonyi grew up to be so large that she scared all the chickens in the Kampung. One day I blindfolded Boonyi and drove her five hundred miles up to the Thai border to release her in the wild….two days later Boonyi was perching at my gate with a smug look that said – you can’t get rid of me that easily stupid!

That’s how smart birds are. They have prehistoric senses that we humans can never even imagine.

Something is definitely headed this way….maybe the secret committee has issued an executive order to quietly dispose of the house….maybe another secret secret committee in the Singapore airforce has unanimously decided to airdrop LKY’s stripped down house in my plantation….as every time when the birds behave in this perculiar manner where they fly around in tight figure eights and cry out in two stanzas…something bad always happens. They know. They always know days before the shit hits the fan…they know it so well only they can see what will happen and they can even sense it all deep down in the narrow of their bones….something evil is headed this way.

I must make preparations to store water and charge my emergency batteries.

Many people have written to me to ask what brand of boots I wear. Usually I tell them – it’s pointless to get a pair of expensive boots IF you don’t know how to care for them to extend their life. Decent work boots will always be very expensive – there is no way to negotiate around the economics that goes into crafting safe and comfortable work boots. That is why it’s jugular to learn the field craft on how to take care of your investment.

Boot and feet craft is a lost skill. As these days men rarely ever need to go out to the field.

Here are the following rules:

(1) Never buy a pair of boots online. That is a very bad idea. As every boot manufacturer uses their own unique last and sizes will ALWAYS vary from vamp width to length – size 8,9 or 10 from my experience is never spot on. Even slight variations will result in blisters and lousy fit that will do you in when you’re in the field. So get it right the first time! Go for a physical fit. Wear a pair of thick socks that you normally wear in a field. Never switch brand. Stick to ONLY one specific type of sock and use that as the fit standard for the whole life of that boot. A field boot should fit snugly with no lateral or front and rear feet movement without crunching your toes. It will not be comfortable in the beginning. As ALL seriously well constructed boots require breaking in. This whole propaganda of a comfortable boot on the first wear is all metrosexual half man marketing spin. In the lost art of manliness there is no such boot…it doesn’t exist. ALL serious boots require breaking in. Hence pay close attention to the fit. If the fit is no good. No matter how much you admire the brand. It’s no good. As the fit is everything!

(2) Always powder your feet before wearing your socks and putting on your boots. This is the cardinal rule of fieldcraft. No need to be fancy like medicated, peppermint etc etc. Normal talcum powder is good to go. Make sure you get the powder between your toes so that they stay dry and to avoid rubbing that will result in blisters and callouses.

(3) Never wear a wet or damp boot. You should have at least 3 pair of boots in the field. The golden rule goes like this. You can wear the same boot every other day providing they don’t ever get wet. Once they’re wet even a bit – they should be left to air dry for a day or two. Nothing destroys boots faster than wearing them when they’re damp or wet. As wearing them will stress the leather resulting in either splitting or cracking. Fastest and surest way to destroy boots and end up with cancer of the wallet.

(4) Never remove mud from your shoes. Dry mud is actually your best friend. As what it does is help dry out your boots by drawing moisture from the inside out. This is old desert trick. There is no real urgency to brush off the caked mud and moisturise your boots every time it gets muddy. Boots are like land rovers. They’re supposed to get dirty and even unsightly. You should really only brush off the mud in the beginning of the dry or wet season and give them a thorough treatment. IF done right one treatment is good to go for the whole season – no need to bother about leather nourishing treatment every time it gets muddy. That is secondary to function, durability and longevity.

(5) Separate your boots into dry and wet boots. This is absolutely crucial if you’re serious about foot care and comfort. Understand this – not all boots are weatherproof. Some boots take on water. That’s not a bad thing. You just need to learn not to wear them during the rainy season. Boots that take on water are excellent in the dry season. As they breathe and keep your feet dry and cool when it’s hot. Hence weatherproofing is not always a desirable thing. Wet boots on the other hand don’t breathe that well or at all – they may keep water out. But they also trap heat and moisture and can be very uncomfortable during the dry season. So it’s really a trade off. Get to know your boots and use them according to terrain and weather conditions.

(6) Whenever possible buy only boots that can be recrafted – this means if the threads wear out – and it will in no time at all, if you’re in the field all day like me! You can take it to a cobbler to put on a new sole instead of throwing away that boot along with getting cancer of the wallet. Be very specific about what type of sole you want to put on. I use only Vibram soles. Nothing else. They’re mil spec. Be mindful about entrusting your cobbler – I find this can be challenging as there are generally so many useless cobblers who really don’t take much pride in their craft these days. Get to know a no nonsense cobbler who loves his job and that will go a very long way to extend the life of your boot.

Do all this and there is absolutely no reason why your boots should not last a life time. Never get into the bad habit of buying boots all the time – no girls will want to go out with you as you will always be broke! – the only way to do it is as follows: buy a super expensive no nonsense mil spec full steer hide boot, learn to take care of it like an aircraft, be highly disciplined on (1) to (6) and your boot will keep your feet strong and healthy.

A sizeable rain system is headed our way from the west in Indonesia. It may or may not hit today. As the winds are only blowing at 3 knots from a westerly direction. But things can change at a blink. The workers are pensive…they are just standing around.

I need to give orders…..

I may have to form a not so secret committee to decide on whether to undertake a strategic retreat and cancel or to push on. Since some of the committee members have to be monkeys – there is obviously a conflict interest. As since they are particularly fond of palm fruit….naturally they much prefer the trees to be felled. The magpies I am not so sure will agree with the monkeys. They like to build their nest high up on palm trees…they much prefer the trees stay upright….there are really more important things to tackle besides their petty politicking.

While we are on the subject of committees and who should be and not be in them. I may need to form yet another secret committee to look into what I should eat in the field today and the day after for lunch. It seems the sea was way to rough yesterday….so none of the fishermen ventured out. I like to eat fish. But then again I don’t mind mutton either….I can’t decide. So I will leave it to the secret committee to sort it out.

Yesterday when I returned back to the plantation house. Sammy the snake was blocking the gate like a giant log. I nearly crashed into Sammy. I had to park my car outside last night. As Sammy didn’t want to budge and he’s way to heavy to just pick up and throw to one side like when he used to be a baby snake.

I am very happy to see Sammy again. I have not seen him for over two long years. Sammy is a phyton, what species I am not exactly sure….I raised him from a baby in a tub when his mother abandoned him. But since he grew too large and frightened my workers and tried to murder my dogs a few times. I had to let him go and find a home in the lower section of my lands. Sammy has grown into a monster snake….but he still recognises me. He stuck his tongue out when he saw me. That in snake lingo means Hi! Long time no see or something like that….. The heavy rains yesterday must have either scared or disorientated Sammy….pythons always return home when they sense something amiss – the freaky weather has certainly spooked them. Again I may decide to form yet another secret committee to look into the prospects of whether Sammy should stay or return back to the swamp.

The time now is half past one in the afternoon – it’s been raining buckets for the last one and half hours and it’s still going strong with no signs of let up. Today is the 17th June, we should be right in the slot of the beginning of the dry season….but instead the world’s biggest rain is on us.

The world’s biggest rain will likely upset my replanting schedule by a whole week and possibly longer beyond Hari Raya that falls on the 25th of this month. Possibly a whole month, that will certainly put me in the danger zone.

I need to fashion a plan B to deal with this unexpected set back. Otherwise I will miss the narrow window for replanting for the whole of this year.

——————————————————————————-

‘I waited longer than usual this year to commence replanting. I waited. As I didn’t trust her – the weather that is. She’s being coy since the year began, exactly like a siaow charbor…playing fuck me, no I dowan, fuck me, no dowan…but things started to regularise quite nicely in the middle of last month. The temperature went up, humidity started to drop and I took it as a firm yes. So I started on the 15th of this month…convinced that La Niña was a no show this year.

But with these rains today….I am not so sure I read the terrain right this time. I might have been caught with my pants down. More rain is expected tomorrow.

Rain now is double edged sword. On one hand it hydrates the soil making it much easier for the excavator to uproot stubborn palms. But if this continues for longer, it would get too muddy and dangerous to work…..I don’t think it’s La Niña. I don’t believe she has curled her fingers and her nails are all like sharp talons….no. I reckon this is just an abnormality…..it will dry out wonderfully next week.

Yes the rains will help me a bit….or that is what I hope for at least. The alternative is I will be mucho fucked for this whole entire year.

Whatever happens I will find a way out from this fix….I am sure something will present itself. I just need to relax and not read too much into today’s rain.

But then again this is the first time in the last ten years that it has rained so heavily in mid June. Usually the skies are bleached white this time of the year with hardly any rain clouds.’

I dunno who is right or wrong. Actually it is really none of my business. I want to be clear….I much prefer to remain neutral and not get involved especially when elephants are fighting.

After all I am just a simple farmer what do I know of such worldly matters….all I would like to do is make an unsolicited offer to the Lee estate.

In the event the house at Oxley Rd is gazzetted for demolition. Please do not bulldoze it – kindly inform me first.

As a planter. I have a special fondness and sentimentality for old tropical hardwood that is commonly used for the construction of old wooden houses in the prewar period in Singapore – many of the timber lengths once used for prewar houses in Singapore can no longer be commercially purchased today. Modern dry kiln machinery in most saw mills processing tropical hardwood no longer have the time nor capacity to cure such lengths and thickness of timber at affordable prices. These timber lengths have all been cured naturally in the old way, by probably submerging them in the Singapore river for over a full year to acquire density, close their pores, retard splitting and to remove termites and allowed to cure naturally for years under the tropical sun. These days no one can process timber in this manner any longer…the skill of arms no longer exist – it is really a lost art and trade. Hence my fondness and interest.

As such I would like to buy the entire house minus the land along with all the Chen-Gaih beams and pillars. I am also especially fond of the medium hardwoods of that period as well, like meranti and Damak Minyak, which I believe is common for floor boards, roof rafters, doors and window frames of that period. I would also like to buy the Indian roof terracotta tiles, as the kilns that used to make them no longer exist along the fire bricks and all other related architectural accoutrements.

I am willing to pay a fair price for the timber and tiles and I undertake to clear everything within an agreed specified time in accordance with the statutory guidelines of URA.

Thank You

Yours Sincerely

The Farmer

P.S I undertake not to commercially resell these items for profit and will bear the entire cost of surveying and setting up an inventory of these items that I plan to warehouse.

—————————————————————————–

‘If I was the government of Singapore. I would just convene yet another committee to seriously look into my genuine request to buy LKY’s house. Because it is quite clear to me this house is cursed by probably the ancient Egyptians. Don’t ask me how they ended up in Singapore. If you think that is improbable go watch the latest mummy’s flick starring Tom Cruise. Either that or the house is like some architectural Da Vinci code that yields the skeleton key to power. Or maybe it’s stone henge that the ancient Britons use to worship and at a specific time when all the planets line up, the morning sun would shine thru a crack in the jamban and cast a divine map that will allow the whoever in the room to gain access to secret knowledge…arcanum. Perhaps it might even be like a gateway like a stargaze where aliens come and go from their planet to ours – that could be why LKY looked and behaved like an alien.

Whatever it is one thing is very clear to me – four supposedly very intelligent people have designs on this humble dwelling. They are even prepared to go the whole nine yards…..so something has to be there lah. It all can’t be for just a big nothing.

That is why the government should let me buy the house. As I will remove every single brick, rafter, beam, pillar right down to the nail and ship it to a secret location – where it will be transported by Rama IV, a race of elephants who regularly pull my car out from the mud deep in the jungle. I will not even employ any humans to transport this stripped down house to the secret location. I might even speak to Boonyi, a giant eagle who I was raised as a baby to work as a scout. I would trek deep into the jungle across the valley of the empire of the bones into the paraffin blue lakes and store all these in a dry cave that has a constant ambient of 22 degrees and a humidity of no more than 30% due to the hygroscopic nature of the rock that makes up this cave. Then I will get the nations of the bamboo and the orang Utans to move a big round boulder the size of a four storey building to cover up the mouth of this cave.

If people ask me what I did with the remnants of this house. I will say that one day I hit my head really hard on a rock for no apparent reason and I have absolutely no recollection of having once bought this house. Should they use the organs of the state to try to squeeze further information out of me. I will not go out of Singapore. Instead I will take a bus to IMH and get a certificate from them stating that I am a clinically autistic person who is prone to fibbing. That should shut them up forever. I will keep the location of this cave secret right to the moment of my passing.

The government should allow me buy this house.’

I have so many things to worry about….I worry constantly about the erratic weather like a little mouse scurrying here and there to avoid larger than life elephants from stomping me….I worry about replanting, whether it will all go as planned or will I be bogged down by something that I didn’t foresee…I worry about the people who I love and cannot be with in Singapore. I worry they will all forget me. I worry there is not enough hours in a day to do what is needful…now on top of all my worries…I worry about the future of Singapore.

——————————————————————————-

‘People who have little or no understanding of duty, responsibility and the ethics of seeing a thing thru to its very end can never take a full sweep of the bigger picture in life. They are prone to be selfish, self centered and worst of all they believe the entire world revolves around only them.

In the old days when men were really men – they would smile even when deep down inside they were filled with only sadness and self doubt. They smiled not for themselves. Rather for others – as to do so would give others the permission to nurse the embers of their hopes in a better tomorrow.

They would steel themselves and put up a brave front in the face of adversity and hardship even when deep down all they wanted to do was put their tail between their legs and run as fast as their legs could carry them. They did all this so well that all others could only make out this could be none other than a man of steel who was never in any doubt that victory was and will always come to past. Even against overwhelming odds – the mythical man would stare out defiantly into the sum of fears of all other men. As deep down such men realised all other men drew strength from only him. Above all those men of lore knew for the line to hold straight and tight like a drum – they could never allow themselves to be any other sort of men, not even the men who they knew they actually were, except this one man of steel, who would always set his own little interest aside for the needs of the many.

Very little in life I have observed can be accomplished without the study of this discipline.’

To uproot an old oil palm tree the correct way to prepare the terrain for replanting. The soil conditions have to be just right. Too dry and the roots will be impossible to uproot cleanly and this will cause a lot of diseases 5 or 6 years down the life the new trees. Too wet and the excavator will slide and slip too much making conditions impossible to work in. The conditions are just right today.

Once the trees are uprooted the entire trunk needs to be chipped and splayed out in piles and rows for sunning. Sunning the chips breaks down the cellulose fibres and returns the valuable nutrients back into the soil. This will be key to a successful replant.

In Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina he wrote

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

This aphorism has since then been a matter of intense speculation. There are so many interpretations what this actually means. For me what Tolstoy meant was simply this for a family to be happy, several key aspects must be present such as respect, consideration, love, tolerance and most importantly faith that differences can be sorted out amicably within a family….if any of these elements are missing. Then the family would not be happy.

————————————————————

‘The allegations levelled at the prime minister by members of his family are so serious that even an autistic farmer like me who never ever goes out after sun down realise how serious it is. To say this is a bombshell is to try to describe the Grand Canyon as a big sinkhole….it will definitely have a very dramatic impact on most Singaporeans. Most will be dazed as there is really so much information to chew on all at one time that they are likely to suffer from the effects of information overload.

For me the issue is not how true or false these allegations are….as since many of the allegations are borne out from the power and politics of a family squabble…..I am not sure if it has anything to do with me. To be quite honest I feel even slightly embarrassed to write about this issue…as it is really none of my business.

What I think and I know and I believe is my business is the idea of duty of care that is owed by leaders to the masses – by virtue of the fact they are leaders they have an obligation to the public to conduct the affairs of their private lives with dignity and set a good example for others to follow.

In the same way I am a planter and landowner. Even though I am autistic I have to project an image that befits that social rank, status and all that it may stand in the Kampung.

It’s hardly as though I have anything resembling a choice. I have to wear my 70’s bush jacket dutifully and like an actor speak the lines and play the role that is expected of me. As since time in memorial in the mythology of Kampung life – the man in the bush jacket has always featured as a cornerstone in the social cultural fairytale of village life. He is the magistrate…the intercessor between good and evil…the keeper of the great wheel of life…the mechanic who constantly oils and screws the loose nuts in that great machine where the wheel between heaven and earth rotates in perfect harmony…the vanguard of structure, order and a way of life….the indestructible man…the superman…who once fought the Japanese…the communist, tamed the capricious rivers….brought the feral jungle to heel under his boots….the silent sentinel who ensures the smooth coming and passing of each season. To such an extent the mere sight of the man who wears the bush jacket is enough to scare away thieves and villains, remind wayward policemen of their duty, chase away malevolent spirits, frighten off hucksters, charlatans and those who hell bent on creating mayhem, restorer of the level of the datum in the river, curer of menstraul pains, migraine, cancer and mysterious ailments, warder of mass hallucinations, curer of restlessness, dyslexia, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in the abdomen (real and imagined), muscle spasms, nervous tics, shortness of breath, irritability bowel syndrome and all things related to hysteria…..calmer of frayed nerves right down to making barren chickens bear eggs again….such is his powers written from the time of the flying boats.

It is of course all fiction…..not a single one of these claims are true…..all of it is mumbo jumbo…but since so many continue to believe and even swear by it, the illusion becomes real….even if it is all just an elaborate fairytale….the show must go on…and that is my point….leaders don’t have such a thing as a choice…they never did and never will.

the show must really go on….I have no choice.

Perhaps what I am saying is leadership comes with the duty of care not to cause others to suffer from high blood pressure or anxiety attacks.

I understand this attitude is very odd to most people these days who seem to live in a panoptical world where they are able to peer into the lives of others with the periscope of the internet….so many private diaromas can be shared these days thru instagram and its kins these days that it’s quite stupid to talk about privacy or the need to conduct one’s life with some modicum of respectability these days. But perhaps that may well be the reason why leaders should strive precisely to do so….I don’t think that is not too much to ask for the little man….a bit of thoughtfulness will go very far – please go and sort out your family problems behind closed doors…after all I am just a simple autistic farmer….surely even I have a right not to feel embarrassed as well. Tolong lah! Go sit down together in Long John Silver and sort it out. Close the door, draw the curtains and sort it out lah…this is not the right way to gainfully make progress when it comes to family squabbles….all it will do is undermine the morale of the little guy who has no choice but to stay on in Singapore.

Above all please be mature….even if that is not possible, at least have the consideration to pretend for the sake of the masses. This is too painful to watch.’

Replanting

June 13, 2017

The time is right to replant…I will bring down every tree. Press the reset button and plant new ones. Yes…the time is right…I must strike now. Otherwise the wet season will undo me.

—————————————————————————-

‘Timing is everything when it comes to replanting oil palm. Do it wrong and all it would do is encourage fungus growth and this would create root related diseases that will undo the new replants. To do it right weather conditions just needs to be right. The humidity has to range between no more than 70 to 75 percent moisture. This only occurs twice in every year for very brief periods. The soil can’t be too parched, it needs a bit of moisture. So I have to do core samples daily to gauge the right soil conditions. When everything is just right , excavators tooled with sharp knives will dig out the trunk and root stem of the old trees. The stem needs to be chipped to larger than 10 cm and splayed out to sun for at least a full month to remove most the fungus. Only then will the newly replanted trees be healthy.’

In 1818 after the signing of the Treaty of St Mary’s, when the native red indian nation agreed to move from Central Indiana, nearly 8.5 million acres were opened up west of the Mississippi…Virginia..Ohio..Tennessee became the. new settlements for farmers and miners. By 1830 the frontier extended only by ten miles every year mostly by horse drawn wagon. When the Vanderbilt’s laid tracks across the mid west – that was when the frontier moved by one hundred and forty to fifty miles every year. With the invention of the internal combustion engine in the form of the commercial and private automobile, the frontier began to fill up almost overnight and shanty towns were transformed into gleaming cities. Later on with commercial aviation satellite townships began to radiate from these centers to what it is today…..but once upon a time there was nothing in these places except buffolo herds and the red Indian.

History does not lie….she will repeat herself again…only this time the frontier will extend at a speed that will defy even history itself.
—————————————————————————

‘OBOR is so big that it must be a security headache for both China and the host countries….to such an extent that if you walked into the ministry of interior with just a tube of mentos in your pocket and point to a place somewhere where an OBOR road or railway line runs on a nondescript map and say, ‘I would like to make an unsolicited bid proposal for a one hundred concession year lease of one thousand hectares of land here! Where X marks the spot! At that very moment. Everyone in that building will turn to you and hold their breathe. You will even be able to hear a feather fall to earth. Thereafter the tea auntie to the director general and even the minister himself right down to the office parrot will raise their hands to heaven get down on their knees and shout out loud to heaven, ‘hellaluya lah! Our prayers have been finally answered! The prophecy is true…it is true!’ Shortly thereafrer a representative from the ministry of 1,001 pleasures will ask you discreetly whether you are married – if the answer is no, they will even assemble all the local beauties for your selection. Even after you have made a selection. They will ask you to take another one more just for variety sake as it can get awfully lonely where you have decided to turn the wheel of life. Three some more best if you happen to believe in the power of triangles and pyramids. You will be feted as a national hero. The president will invite you for a tea accompanied by a red carpet twenty one gun salute complete with ear shattering church bell clangings. You will be awarded Pour le merit with full honors and even a fly past. Children will sing songs about you and you will be so popular that Yuri Gagarin would look like a dwarf standing next to you….you want to know why….because no one wants to go where you want to go…..they fear to go where angels fear to thread.

I am not kidding it’s all there for the taking. It’s been that way all along in man’s history whenever a new frontier opens up….no one wants to go there…they are all afraid….and there is absolutely no reason for it not to play out exactly the same way that it has always played out.

Absolutely none….history will repeat itself again!

Only remember do your research. Work like a secret agent. Get satellite photos of where you think X marks the spot is. Perform a detailed analysis on what you think is likely to happen when a railway or road cuts into that area – make sure there is water nearby, be it surface or ground water, it matters not, but make sure there is a source. As land without water no good. Nothing is going to happen there…above all make sure you have a strategy that no one can ever see. Share it with no one….keep it entirely to yourself…the place where X marks the spot. Then strike!’