The problem with famous amos is not what he posted in Youtube. The problem as I see it is HOW people responded to what they perceive to be problem…that is a far bigger problem.

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‘When society is reduced to just making police reports to resolve social problems. Then this is like a carpenter who only knows how to use a hammer to solve problems – and when one only knows how to use the hammer to manage conflict, then don’t be surprised if every problem in this world looks like a nail!

This should prompt us all to ask: is this a intelligent way to manage conflict? Let me put it another way. If you have marital problems do you call the police? What if your neighbor decides to hang out the mop above you and it drips on your clothes below? Do you call the police? Coming to think of it, if you can’t get it up and suffer from erectile dysfunction – why not call the police? Better still, if your plumbing doesn’t work and every time you flush the toilet shit spews out like an angry volcano, why not call the police instead of the plumber. I have a better idea why not just declare your living room into a mini police station.

What am I getting at? My point is when divisive issues jump out like a demented Jack in the box in the public square as it’s reasonable to expect them to from time to time and they are only solved robotically by calling the police – then as a community what we are actually saying is ‘this is not our problem….it’s other people’s problem!’

I want to be clear! This is not only an abrogation of duty on the part of members of society to absolve themselves from all responsibility this could well be their baby and not officialdom. As it’s conceivable society may well be better equipped to resolve than the state, but it also shifts power from the community to the state. That would be well and fine if the state is equipped with the apparatus to beacon out the murk. But the problem common to the application of black letter law is its a myopic instrument at best that’s just fixated on legal technicalities very much in the way one would fill up a list of question boxes to derive at an assumption – it cannot offer clarity to questions like whether – whether the offending statements were true or rather statements of fact. Neither can the law fashion resolution in the form of closure that meets all quarters of society. So what are we left with it – well if you ask me, there is now a whole lot of blank spaces in the narrative. That is to say when we use the police to solve such problems, then what invariably happens is it creates more lacunaes and hubris. All these can only amplify the problem. Not solve them.

The perverse consequence of calling on the police to solve all the offending divergent views that may crop up in the public square is that it creates a sort of societal amnesia – where it’s conceivable, we may have forgotten this should be our problem! Worst still, as a society we lose the mental muscle memory needed to solve such problems – so whenever such a problem comes out. No one knows how to resolve it…except maybe by calling the police, who everybody assumes is best equipped to deal with the problem. And if this condition persist, then all of us will end up having a policeman running in our heads.

A rather funny way don’t you think so to build a confident, progressive and forward looking society. Or maybe someone should just call the police and ask them?’

Flumioxazin

April 21, 2015

* Flumioxazin: Developed by Sumitomo Chemical, flumioxazin is a herbicide used in the cultivation mainly of soybeans, cotton, and sugar cane. It demonstrates long-lasting efficacy in suppressing the growth of weeds after spraying, thereby promoting early-stage growth of crops effectively. Flumioxazin is also effective against weeds resistant to glyphosate, a herbicide widely used around the world, which feature has promoted increasing demand for flumioxazin in recent years.

There is a chinese saying, ‘govern a family in the way you fry a small fish.’ I guess what this sage is trying to say is – be gentle, careful and always have the end in mind when dealing with fragile hearts and minds.

This is truest when it comes to children. Even if the world is seldom fair and never ever filled with enough good intentioned people – one should always be just, reasonable and patient with kids to keep their impression of the world intact. As this is how a child cultivates values – by being the beneficiary of justice, reasonableness and tolerance. He Lear s hoe to be just, reasonable and tolerant.

This way, cynicism, mistrust and askance will never have an opportunity to take root in their tiny hearts and delicate minds.

As once a child cultivates a cynical bent, it’s almost impossible to prevent him from seeing the world as a crooked, rigged and bent place – filled to the brim with evil and malevolent souls who are hell bent on taking a bite out of him at every turn and opportunity. He will seek these things out even if they do not exist! This is the ultimate tragedy.

Once a child is a victim of injustice, violence and high handedness – this can only open the door to fear. Fear is the evil tree that bears the bitter fruit of anger and resentment. This in turn snuffs out all goodness and reasonableness in the child. As all this child can ever see in this world is a hurtful and fearful place.

This can all only lead to lifelong suffering himself and others.

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‘When I deploy the word – karma. I don’t refer to it in the metaphysical or religious context. Rather to me, it’s just the law of cause and effect. It’s like that populist American parlance – what goes around, comes around.

Most of us will struggle with the robustness of this idea only because we all like to assume – we have perfect pitch and control over our acts, deeds and thoughts and be do this by invoking ‘free will’ that governs every individual.

While that may be true at one level of intelligence. But experience informs me, there could well be a karmic alternative explanation – why some men turn out the way they do.

For example, I have noticed, men who have a violent streak all have one thing in common – they have all without a single exception been victims of violence in their childhood.

The same holds true of men who only know how to take, take and take without ever once bothering with the idea of giving back. Yes I don’t disagree it may well be seen merely as a deficit in values or a failure on the part of the serial taker to educate himself on how to manage himself and others sustainably.

But I also happen to believe very strongly based on my observations in business – such a selfish trait is often seeded somewhere in their averagely miserable childhood when someone abused their trust, disappointed them time and again and took so much from them till it left them feeling empty like a husk. They too are victims.

Even many successful men who are seemingly well adjusted, respectable and functional are afflicted with victimhood, when they say of the less fortunate with an air of savoir faire – no one owes them a living! Ask yourself where did this man develop his bent?

The answer lies somewhere in the childhood of this man. He probably had to struggle so very hard for his sliver of heaven. They tried to saw off his legs when all he wanted to do was to gainfully turn the wheel of life. They never gave him the benefit of the level playing and instead rigged the roulette wheel of life. That is why despite his apparent wealth and sheen of sobriety. He’s just damaged goods. A psychopath who is completely incapable of empathising with the plight of his fellow men. The only difference between this victim and the others – is that he’s adept at hiding his scars.

Do you see the karmic law in action and how it can ravage the human mind and spirit.

No one gave him a break. So this man cuts no one any slack either.

That’s why for me. If one is truly serious and committed about building a caring society – where everyone is a genuine stakeholder in La Dolce Vita and not just a select few who managed to cut the grade. Then it doesn’t start with any paper mâché kindness campaigns or you jump and I jump charity gala that just seems to embody the form without the content.

It all begins and ends with how we regard kids, especially when they take a wrong turn in life. Because that is when they are likely to test us most!

I don’t believe it pays to take a zero tolerance attitude towards kids. Not even if they deserve it. Not without the risk of incurring the terrible karmic cost. Not even if it’s sanctioned by black letter law – as I can argue the long term mental and spiritual well being of a minor should and must always take precedence over affairs of statecraft. No matter how urgent and pressing the latter may be.

Neither do I support the wanton use of fear by so many irresponsible netizens against minors as an expedient instrument to solicit social compliance without ever once considering how this would affect other young minds who watching all.

Everyone knows without too much difficulty – an effective way to stop a curious cat from jumping on a stove is to switch it on. But what’s seldom ever discussed is what would be the cumulative cost to the intellectual capital of a tribe when this sort of psychological warfare is deployed wantonly under the slightest provocation on young and impressionable minds – while certainly true and good, cats no longer jump on a hot stove, but how good is it, if they also develop a morbid and irrational fear of jumping on cold stoves as well?

That is a question that I will leave to you the perceptive to answer.

To put it another way, fear is a poison to the risk taking culture. What happens to a tribe when all the risk takers are neutered into scaddy cats? I wonder is this the way one goes about to intelligently carve competitive advantage?

Or maybe it’s best and even safer for all to remain cool and reasonable when dealing with kids, even should they prove unbelievably unreasonable…only don’t be surprised if a reasonable man emerges somewhere out of the mess of that troubled teen.’

Many years ago in a dusty airfield in Northern Uganda

The Chinaman Cocoa Planter of Gabundi Estate looked on impassively from a distance – as the last of the lumbering twin propeller driven Dakota’s prepared to take off from the make shift airfield – he wondered to himself whether it might be too heavy to make it cleanly off the ragged field. Then again the distant rents of approaching artillery shells reminded him – this is as good as it gets.

Somewhere nestled in the crammed to the brim fuselage of the Dakota was his one and only love – Eva Meyer. They didn’t even have time to say good bye. It was a hurried affair. The renegade pilot demanded his Rolex. He thrust it into his oily palms. Endless jostling. A sea of scrambling humans all with only one thing in their mind – to get the hell out of this shit hole. Somewhere in the melee, their hands separated. The door slammed closed.

As the plane picked up speed against the wind, it roared and whipped up a dust storm….goodbye my love…he muttered to himself…He remembered that final look when the door closed…he reckoned, the German nun must have thought he would be taking a seat beside her. But he knew better. This was Africa…and life is cruel, with these stray thoughts swirling in his mind. The unforgiving realization slowly dawned on him that no matter how much he wanted to be beside his one and only love to take off into the sunset like the final moment of redemption that featured in all Hollywood movies – he would have to content with watching her slip right out of his fingers just then…life his cruel…he muttered again to himself, this time turning towards a knot of refugees as they covered their faces with their kheliffa as the engines kicked up a dust storm – he clucked his tongued as he wondered to himself whether he might be like one of them…another desperate tragic soul left beside in this miserable war that was starting to sweep Uganda like a fire storm.

For a while, he wondered to himself whether he too would wail like them, close his eyes tight…like them…scratch his head…like them. Look up to the last departing plane hungrily…like them. And wished that he had a seat…like them. 

All the while the dust swirled around mixed with the sweat, spittle and wails of thousands of simmering…desperate souls…he wondered to himself whether we would end up like one of those faceless pulsating whimpering souls. He flashed them a hard look of wounded despondency that just managed to betray how much he objected to their neediness. At that moment when the dust storm blotted out everything, the Chinaman experienced a rare moment of epiphany – he realized he was not like everyone else…

In the distinctly wonderful way only he could have arranged his thoughts to think the things that swirled in his mind just then – the Chinaman had answered a question that resonated deep inside him. If he was indeed different from all other men that day who watched on hungrily as the last plane in Uganda barreled towards the minty blue safety of the skies. Then maybe he did not really love that German girl with the blond hair.

When the lumbering plane finally lifted off, ten feet short of the end of the runway – the Chinaman lit his last cigarello, inhaled and looked  for the first time that day at his tall Matabilli tribesmen bodyguard. Together they smiled.

And when the metallic bird banked hard to regain airspeed to break out from the death grip of gravity – the familiar clang, clang, clang of automatic gunfire began to rent out. But the Chinaman continued to smile wryly – he knew nothing could ever bring her down.

His eyes remained trained on the diminishing form of the plane as it cut through the flak covered skies. He noted the slight whine and felt a wave of reassurance that came with the knowledge the pilot had began to open up the throttle.

In a while the burgundy rage of flak subsided as fast as it had begun and soon the plane disappeared from sight completely. What was to follow was an alien sensation that swept through the desolate soul of the Chinaman. A gut wrenching tug that tore right into his heart ripping it’s way like a molten bullet. 

The Chinaman breathed hard and wondered to himself again as the plane slowly disappeared from sight – ‘If I do not love her, then why do I feel this aching pain?’ He scanned the steely skies this time with his field glasses, in an attempt to snuff out that smothering yearning that could only come from regret from not being able to escape to freedom with his one and only love. The Chinaman grit his teeth hard and wondered – what is this strange force that is laying siege to the watchtower of my heart? 

He wondered where Eva Meyer would go after this. Would they ever see each other again? He was even felt the acute grief that came from wanting to inhale her breath in darkened hours of infinity and to feel the pain of regret when in the morning, the sun would ruefully ripped them from their death grip embrace and throw them out into the cruel world of light. He wondered to himself how his days would u furl without her by his side – would he mourn her passing? Did he even have it in him to fumble through those waking hours without her. He even wondered whether the days would from now onwards feel so long that it might even threaten to scrunched-up his heart and leave him a wreck like one of those whimpering souls who were left behind.

Above all, as the Chinaman stood there like a solitary tongue of light long after everyone had moved on – he wondered to himself how he had allowed a pathetic German girl he hardly knew to lay siege to his being….an insurmountable fortress – in most cases one which has been built around him brick by brick from his many travails – he chuckled to himself like a deranged man when he toyed around with the notion. The perverse reality could well be while he secretly craved the forbidden fruit of reassurance which could really only come from being in love, which he could really only experience from a kindred soul such as Eva Meyer – he was also frightened of what opening that draw bridge might deliver. The Chinaman loathed the very idea charging through the gates of his heart may well be the apparitions of something he could never ever exert control.

On the sixth night when a meteor streaked through the night sky and illuminated an ambushed French armored column – the Chinaman and what was left of his ragged Adomako tribe donned the dead uniforms of fallen legionaires and resumed theor long march along the serpentine roads of Kufu and Khilahsa leading to Sudan – when they finally reached the Sudanese border, even the normally trigger frisky Ma’alia border guards hardly gave them a second look as they strolled right through – the whole entire country had after all gone to the dogs.

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Seven years ago, during dinner in Wheelock place Singapore.

Dotty: “What is it? If you don’t like the watch. I can always take it back to the shop and change it. What is it dearest? Really I can get another one…..I just want you to be happy.”

Man: “It’s just…”

Dotty: “Just what?”

Man: “It’s nothing. I am happy Dotty…merry Christmas.”

The cogent question is NOT how to remember him. He was after all pervasive, omnipresent and ‘full frontal’ in your face 24/7. To put it another way, he made himself the veritable big brother house brand.

The question is how to forget him and move on to chart a new confident and self assured course without the ‘great man.’

That is the question of all questions…to those who use their brain at least.

As for those who do not think and choose only to follow blindly and unthinkingly….this wisdom will always be a mystery to them.

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‘It would appear to some, the only reliable way to gainfully make progress into the future is to cling steadfastly to the past. Conceptually, I don’t disagree this may be a good way to move forward….providing past performance is a good indicator of future performance. But I for one am not so sure, the dead grip on the rudder is the best way to move forward.

As the world is changing even as we speak. We talk these days about the balkanisation of skills, labor and intellectual capital. Shifts in power from the Western Hemisphere to the Asia Pacific. We can go on and on for at least ten or twenty pages why today is so different from yesterday that it’s doubtful what’s good in the past can even endure.

When I think about the power and politics of my own vocation – farming. It’s so different from the past that often I can’t rely on past knowledge or old ways of doing things. If I did that, I would end up being a charitable organisation instead of a profitable enterprise. As many of the assumptions that were once set pieces in the past have changed irrevocably – for instance, the weather is not what it used to be. Consumers these days are increasingly conscious of the health and moral cost of the producing food – I am not saying they don’t gravitate towards the best deals in the supermarket. But if the price of that buy one get another free deal comes from displacing cute orang utans or baby sharks – then, they rather eat something else. And this changing landscape of attitudes, out looks and values are only the tip of the iceberg.

My point is the world is not what it used to be. This may seem new, but it’s not. It’s just old dressed up as new. As every age and generation since recorded history has its own challenges – and this underscores the urgency to move on. To set a new agenda. Craft a new vantage. To even have the courage not to be lulled into the delectable delusional confidence of the sentimental and nostalgic and to proceed to jettison the old courageously.

This is the way of the world….and to me it’s hardly a matter of choice.’

Words of wisdom can often come from the unlikeliest sources.

Some people will only respect, love and approve of you, providing you are willing to fit into their conception of what is right, appropriate and normal.

To put it another way, they are only willing to treat you well providing you fit into into their box.

That’s fine. But if I have bend head over heels. Dislocate every bone in my body and turn my whole world upside down just to fit into their box just for the sake of getting along.

Then I much prefer to go my own way. Dowan lah! I just get backache wot!

The way I see it is very simple. If the cost of getting along means I have to cannibalize a valuable part of who I am that I have spent years crafting, experimenting to a point where I am confident – it works! – just to appease others and palliate their fears, insecurities and irrational phobia by pretending to be someone who I am not.

Then to me that’s not only terribly laborious, it’s also stressful, possibly even mentally unhealthy and most definitely unsustainable along with condoning nothing short of a form of theft, specifically a hostile act to appropriate my character.

Dowan lah!

I much rather go my own way. Do my own thing. Be my own man.

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‘Do you notice some people are just rude. They want you to conform. By this I mean they want you to think, act and react exactly like them and if you don’t – then they’ll think, there is something wrong with you.

I mean if I am taking out my anaconda and masturbating in the village square and giving the auntie brigade mass fainting spells and heart attacks – then I can well understand the collective insistence for conformity.

But if all I am doing is living my life as peacefully as I can and having views that may differ from others and keeping them all to myself.

Then it’s very inconsiderate, rude and presumptuous for others to insist that I should change.

After all how logical is to change someone’s character, if one doesnt even bother to take the time and effort to understand that person?

How would you like It, if I just went over to your house and started shifting your furniture around in your living room, telling you where this or that should ‘rightfully’ be along with why I think that’s the best and only way to live your life.

Most people when they are confronted with peer or higher authority pressure. Conform without ever once questioning. Not realising when they do so – they are actually buying into an inferior pariah dog logic by trying to be someone who they were never meant to be. Hence many end up living miserable and unfulfilled lives simply because they don’t have either the courage or fortitude to go their own way.

But for the man who knows that his character is a studied thing like a how beams, pillars and columns come together to create a cathedral – such a man will never simply just conform for the sake of conformity – that’s to say, he will never just take out things that make up who he is and add in stuff that he knows will add zero value to his character. You can do anything you want to this man, ostracize him, teach him a lesson on why the nail that sticks out will be hammered down….it will all come to nought…as this man will have absolutely no qualms in going his way.

Many brilliant minds are lost in this callous way – that is why if one takes the trouble to look at moribund political hegemonies, firms that have trouble to finding the imagination to prosper and families which are usually riven by parvenu’s, yes men and self serving people who can only perpetuate the status quo ante and no more – they all think, see and say the same thing – everyone is a facsimile of everyone – as they are all manned by indifferent people who think they have a right to script the lives of people right down to how they live, work and play.

By callous narrow minded people who will always regard diversity as a threat to their way of life rather than a opportunity to carve competitive advantage. By those who are so parochial and obsessed by the idea there is only one truth – and if you’re not with us, you’re against us.

When one begins to tabulate the human cost in terms lost opportunities that comes from having to conform robotically without ever thinking and interrogating – it’s staggering enough to suggest one should seriously consider developing the necessary life skills to learn how to walk away and stand alone.

Don’t leave home without it! You never when you will need it!

Maturity and sex appeal

April 11, 2015

Maturity in a man will always be very appealing to women. Women are instinctively drawn to stable and mature figures. They cannot help themselves. This is how Mother Nature has programmed them – to always seek out men who consistently demonstrate a high level of social and mental maturity.

Knowing this is important for all man who are genuinely serious about understanding the mysteries of life. As when a man ages contrary to common belief, it is not true that he loses his sex appeal.

Men would do well to know this to avoid women related problems. Not knowing this – will complicate your already complicated life.

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‘I don’t for one moment pretend it’s an easy question to answer. As when we say someone is mature in his thinking – it’s conceivable all we are really saying is, ‘he’s got it together.’

That’s all it means. He’s got it figured out…the beginning…middle and end.

But somewhere within the length of that sentence, there is a whole geography of school of thoughts and states of mind that distinguishes a mature from a childish person. That’s why even that mini skirt answer concerning maturity can’t be exhaustive. It’s no way near a disquisition. Maybe just a vignette. A peek a booh account of maturoty.

If I had to pin it down to specifics, it becomes yet harder to define maturity – since there exist so many facets of humanity that we can point too as mature thoughts and deeds. But again we run smack into the problem we faced earlier on – this hardly supplies a satisfactory answer to the question – what is maturity?

So this proves to me. Probably because I am still childish and nowhere near as mature as I should be. What is maturity? Has to be a highly subjective question – it’s ultimately self selecting.

So with that understanding…it’s a subjective question that can never produce an answer that satisfies all quarters. Let us ask the question again.

What is maturity? OK. At one level of intelligence. We can say a mature person is just a man who is very effective in managing himself and others. There is of course, a presumption within that statement – throughout the life of this person, he has a knack for discarding what doesn’t work and only keeping those things which are able to take him further in life. Now if you think about this – this is the only thing we regularly do as humans, pick things up and put them down – matters little whether it’s hobbies, life partners or people who we prefer to spend the weekend by the pool having a BBQ with – we pick up things and we discard things.

But even this answer does not seem exhaustive – as people who are mature also seem to have one trait which childish people don’t have.

They are all without exception far sighted – that’s to say they able to appreciate the wider rammifications of their thoughts and deeds. They seem to be able to connect the dots without too much difficulty to consistently make good decisions.

So one more time if you will – what is maturity?

As you can see it is a very difficult question to answer. You notice it’s like one of those roads that leads right back to the very place where you started….I guess that’s because it’s a deep and profound question and that I suspect could well account for the fascination.

Yes it’s very deep…deep.’

A Big Big harvest

April 10, 2015

My harvest by every practical definition is stupendously huge this time. It’s the talk of the Region. If there is such a thing as a oil palm Olympics – I would bag the gold lah….with plenty of room to spare.

I need to be level headed. I can’t allow this go to my head like 50% proof alcohol.

I need to forget this and dedicate myself to doing what needs doing next.

For so many years I had to endure cruel jibes from my enemies who called me a confidence trickter, charlatan etc etc.

Today, I am vindicated.

I know now deep in my bones, as unconventional as it seems….my methods work!

Finally, I know. I don’t have to ever doubt my research any longer. All those long endless nights of mulling over my calculations are finally paying dividends. I needed this so badly. You all have no idea how badly I needed this!

Patience

April 10, 2015

Patience is not a state of mind. One cannot will oneself into a patient frame of mind any more than its realistic to expect a baby to stop crying. If anything patience is a form of wisdom – the uncommon intelligence that comes from knowing a thing for what it really is. Instead of what others say it is. Deep knowledge. Where one knows how things may work out and having the faith to see it birth. More importantly even if things don’t turn out the way it’s supposed too – the man of patience will always be able to find the courage to try again.

He is a very hopeful fellow.

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‘I can’t get into a room because the padlock is jammed. I’ve spent the whole morning trying to pry both the door and lock open. At one point, out of sheer frustration I even took a hammer to see whether I could loosen the stubborn lock. All I managed to do was curl the steel door, which requires fixing later.

By noon. About fifteen minutes ago when the sun was highest. I decided to rest and make myself a cool drink.

Then it came to me. I should spray some lubricant into the lock. Give it some time for the oil to loosen what needs loosening. That should allow the bolt to slide effortless when I next try in the afternoon…there is no urgency to get into the room. I have all the time in the world.

Why I wonder did I feel so anxious for not being able to open the lock earlier. Maybe I am just accustomed to having things go my way and when it didn’t. I became frustrated. Since I pride myself as a handyman par excellence. When things don’t go my way – I tend to take it personally…it becomes an effrontery….something that I just need to get on top of.

When I think back, this is the opposite state of mind of the wisdom I am talking about in the context of patience – it’s immaturity laced with an over inflated ego that makes me blow things out of proportion that causes me to feel anxious and frustrated.

I need to see my actions and what I am dealing with in the right scale. To even get it all in the right perspective – to see this padlock which refuses to open as just another padlock that refuses to open. It’s not personal. The padlock has no beef with me. Neither does it have anything to do with whether I am a five chili or zero handyman. Even less to do with my understanding of what it takes to be a real man….it’s just a padlock that refuses to open for whatever reason.

When the weather is cooler in the afternoon. I will try again. The longer I leave it – the more time the oil can work on loosening the stuff that keeps that padlock stuck.

I am sure it will go my way. If it doesn’t. I am not going to sweat it. There is always tomorrow.’

Farmers are always mindful of the season – they all know when one season bows out and another steps in. Most people remain oblivious to these micro changes in weather, landscape and fauna. But not farmers. We need to be mindful of the God of the small to gainfully turn the wheel of life from the good earth.

When a man knows the Tao of the seasons – life becomes easy. The way opens up smoothly. For instance, no farmer worth his salt ever sows his seeds during the height of the rainy season. As a deluge is likely to wash away all his hard work. Neither does one try to plough the earth during the dry season. As since the earth is rock hard, it’s unlikely he will ever keep a straight line.

There is always a season and reason for doing the things that needs doing. Some things cannot and should never be rushed or insisted on.

Only a fool will fight Mother Nature. As for the wise man….he will always go with the flow.

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‘No one has a right to say you cannot criticise. Besides the imposition of such a stricture is hardly practical nor realistic these days considering you have a brain, mouth and key board.

All I am saying is. If you want your criticisms to go down well. To find their mark. To get it right the first time. And to get the best results.

Then choose the best time to criticize.

Life is not really so different from farming – there is I imagine a right time for right actions, deeds and thoughts – a time to set aside differences and stand in one line. No matter what our differences. As we must always remember. The things that continue to unite us must always stronger than the issues that threaten to divide us – as there is probably a time to mourn, a time to keep a dignified silence, a time to reflect deeply on your objects of interest, a time to gather your thoughts in the way a man unravels a knot….there is a time for everything.

This is the way of the world.

It’s like hunting. Most city folk think you just go out there and bring down a sixty five kilogram hog like in the movies. It’s never like that. It’s studied…meticolous…precise…above all timing is key. If you do not know this Tao. You are likely to go hungry and die in jungle. I don’t care how space age high tech is your kit….you will mati and a giant anaconda will eat you!

The huntsman knows this! The best time of the day to maximize his chances for a decisive kill – is at the narrow nape of dawn when the awakening birds would mask the sound of his movements. This necessary noisy period that only last 30 minutes allows him to get into the kill zone undetected. The lingering fog of dawn scatters the light and shadows making it impossible for prey to judge distance and make out forms. This gives him invisibility – the air is usually dead still during this time of the day hiding his human scent. This is confers the vital element of surprise…without surprise…there can be no decisive kill! But what makes all these steps possible is a deep understanding of how timing plays a preponderant role to produce opportunities – the art of moving with and not against….aerodynamics….to cut through a thing with minimal resistance.

The same applies to human dealings – raise contentious issues only at the right time to avoid resistance. Similarly in business I never come straight to the point – not if the goal is to get best results. Usually I skirt around the issue till I am certain the other side is relaxed and comfortable….then when the timing is just right somewhere between congeniality and when all the defences are at their lowest ebb. I strike decisively!

Same also goes when it comes to managing yourself and others in a family setting – no one likes a nagger. So don’t go on and on like a broken record. Not even when you happen to be righter than right. As all you will end up doing is driving your loved ones away from you. They will avoid you like the plague. As all you seem to do is jump on them all the time like a demented ninja turtle. After all what makes you so sure – your issues are more important than theirs? Maybe they have more pressing issues to contend with. Maybe their worries are even bigger than your petty understanding of right and wrong!

Be thoughtful. Mindful. And above all choose the right time to say what needs to be said. This way you can always be assured of best results.

All the serious men of this world know of this – that is why they can always be counted to behave and say the right thing at the right time. They are all without exception masters of timing, professionals who will only pick and choose their battles and will only fight when the conditions are met to produce a decisive victory.

As for the fool. He has no idea what I am talking about. There is no strategy. Even less timing. Nothing. Any how just hantam lah!’

Inner peace

April 7, 2015

When a man cultivates inner peace daily and diligently. Even if the world is in turmoil. This man will be calm and at rest. He is like that magical space of complete
stillness and silence in the eye of a raging storm.

Beware of such men in business. As since they have the secret knowledge to hone their mind like a samurai sword. Their minds have been weaponised. Usually these men are very dangerous, shrewd and strategic. Nothing is likely to shake this variety of men. They must always be handled like a King cobra.

However when a man does not bother with this one daily ritual to train the mind diligently and instead regularly allows his heart and mind to be taken by the wind like seeds. Even if the world is peaceful. This fool will find the slightest reason to work himself up into a frenzy. And if the world is in turmoil….this poor soul is likely to be swept away by the chaos of rashness and impulsiveness into the realm of infinite suffering.

Such men are incapable of committing themselves to great deeds – since they are absent from the cockpit of their brain most of the time and the important organ in the human body is permanently on auto pilot. These men are usually their worst enemies. They can easily be swayed by flattery, luxuries, rumours, greed, women and liquor.

Such men are usually boastful, quick to anger, incapable of all forms of restraint especially holding their tongue. Their minds are like blunt and rusty knives. They are their worst enemies.

It’s best not to regard what they have to say seriously. Treat them like children. Better still avoid doing business with such men. As they are likely to let themselves and you down or make promises they are incapable of honoring.

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‘One of the most important keys of success in this world is to be a good judge of character. If a man is a poor judge of character. He is likely to put his faith and trust in knaves, charlatans and crooks. They will not only sabotage his journey to success, but steal his time, peace and opportunity. Soon this man will find himself trapped in a burning house.

When one is a good judge of character. It is like a farmer who knows the mysteries of the land – his seeds will grow with very little effort. He will reap a bountiful harvest. As this man has sowed his seeds into fertile ground.

Life is short…research and study this diligently.’

When a legacy is only premised on sweet sugary lies, happy myths and feel good fairy tales. That has absolutely nothing to do with the truth and everything to do with forwarding the illusion of the truth. Then it would require an unprecedented quantity and quality of men and materiale for that legacy to remain whole, coherent and believable.

Since this is perhaps the most inefficient process of conversion that utilises an unprecedented quantity of resources to defy the gravity of the truth….a flawed legacy simply takes too much energy to perpetuate…..it’s like one of those giant airships of antiquity. One day it will simply grind to a halt and come crashing down.

However a legacy that is based on the truth and nothing but the truth and can reliably impart wisdom, knowledge and wholesome lifecraft lessons will always grow from strength to strength and will require very little in the way of effort to take root – since this legacy is able to nourish every aspect of the human condition, it can only grow into a mighty tree in the hearts of people. It’s so very efficient, it’s not dissimilar from those mythical perpetual motion machines that keeps going and going…with so very little effort.

Trust me….what is said here…elsewhere….hardly matters today. You want to win! Go ahead. No one is fighting you.

Time will reveal all so very nicely at its own pace and rhythm…it could take ten, twenty even a hundred year. But reveal the truth it certainly will. There is no need to talk so much now…..what will stay will stay. What will end up in the garbage heap of history will make its way there.

Trust me. History is on my side.

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‘Beware of the role models you choose to emulate and define your life on. The only reason why I feel this subject deserves a precautionary note is because – the role models you choose will probably have a disproportionate influence on your life. It’s like MSG. A little goes a long way!

So you owe it to yourself and perhaps others who are allied with you like your life partner, business associates and close friends to be thorough, exhaustive and diligent at seeking out the truth about your respective role models.

It’s hardly a matter of choice. This is not religion. It can’t be just premised on faith. It’s got be factual. Otherwise it’s no bloody good!

Being only 50% sure is no good. Neither should you limit your source of knowledge to only one or two ‘kosher’ sources. Shop around. Look at it from different vantages. Peer into darkened interiors. Question where possible…especially when all others seem to do is to follow like robots.

Like I said…role models are important….they’re like stuff you eat.

Take the curious case study of Alvin Tan, his role model just happens to be Adolf Hitler. That’s a Facebook published fact. Don’t believe me! Go ask him yourself. He’s so enamoured by the warped history of this man – that Alvin even has a tattoo of a Nazi iron cross on his chest that he wears proudly. As morally reprehensible as that image may be to most people – I can well understand Alvin’s motivations. I may not agree with it. But I can understand albeit at one level of intelligence.

The problem as I see it is when Alvin comes before people who really know the unabridged version of Adolf Hitler’s life and what he stands for. That is to say these people know not only the historicism of fascism. But they are also acutely aware of the political, economic, social and cultural implications of how fascism in the context of Hitler can ultimately shape beliefs, values and the contours of society.

So when one sees it all from this studied perspective – a new hemisphere of understanding about role models is suddenly revealed. At this level of underdtanding. We are not only talking about Alvin Tan, the man who believes casually with a carefree air of savoir faire – Adolf Hitler is a jolly good fellow – No! Suddenly a dead serious discussion suddenly opens up – one that may perhaps include, the various ramification of competing schools of thoughts and states of mind associated with whether Hitlerism is perdition or salvation to the human species.

It’s a new paradigm where some people may even ask of Alvin – why do you consider Hitler a good role model?

Understand this! These people are not merely assessing his intellectual firepower, but there may also be forming a picture of whether his thought processes are coherent and sound. Now this is what serious people do all the time! If they are going to skip lunch and take off thirty minutes from their busy schedule to interview you – it’s never going to be for fun sake. It’s going to be a quest for utility. A means to maximise advantage.

So like I said in the very beginning – I can understand if Alvin hero worships Hitler. But God help Alvin Tan should he find himself one day sitting before a panel of learned interviewers who are guardians of that door to opportunity and should one of them ask of Alvin – which chapter of Mein Kampf do you identify with most? And Alvin mumbles something to the effect that he hasn’t had time to read it! So he has no opinion on the subject. Instead Alvin much prefers to talk about the Bohemian aspiration of Hitler and how he once envisioned transforming Litz into a cultural arts centre of Banhaus Germania.

I say ‘Oh my God! Because if you were a fly on the wall in that interview. This is what would happen. I can almost guarantee this 110%.

The serious men of this world will look at their watch. Close their folders. Cap their pens. They will smile of course – thank Alvin for taking the time and making the effort to share his views with them and it will all come to an abrupt end? There and then. Finito!

Why? Because there is a serious omission that points to a serious lack in character. We are not talking about vitamin C deficiency. As it is a fundamental lack such as a car with no engine, plane with no wings or head with no brain here! And this goes back to my percautionsry note in the very beginning of this post comment – where I mentioned,

‘It’s not good enough to be 50% sure. Neither should you limit your source of knowledge to one or two ‘kosher’ sources. Shop around. Look at it from different vantages. Peer into darkened interiors. Question where possible…especially when all others seem to do is to follow like robots.’

That’s especially true in the case of role models in the context of opportunity – as I said, you have every right to worship whoever you believe fits the bill. But what you do not have the right to do is – embellish, bent, confect, elide and above all remain ignorant about the historicism concerning your role models.

This you don’t have a right to do and should you be foolish enough to believe you do – then someone who happens to know more about your role model will come along and state his case and put you into a NTUC plastic bag. Then that door of opportunity will always remain close to you. Look it’s nothing personal. It’s strictly business!

Consider this! Let’s say you came to me one day and told me – I want to make money like you by farming commercially. After the second curry puff – I would probably ask you….where do you see yourself in ten years. Now bear in mind that’s a loaded question – a trick question. As what I am really asking of you obliquely is – who is your role model?

Why is that jugular to me? I need to know. As I too have a vision and mission in life. That comes as a default position when one is a landowner – I need to be assured that if you’re going to turn the wheel of life as a commercial farmer. You are in synch with my vision. Ultimately it’s a question that prioritises values. To put it another way – what defines you as an individual?

As for intelligence, social acuity and diligence that’s secondary.

You know I am not talking about this subject from the cosy insiderism of someone who has a chair in that room called ‘opportunity.’ I want to be clear. I am a outlier. An exile from that place.

But if you ask me today whether I would do anything differently to get into that room called ‘opportunity.’ I would probably say, ‘yes.’ I am not going to give you the standard bs line – I have no regrets. Because I do. If I had the opportunity to do it all again.

I would probably shaddup. Be more humble. Talk less. Listen more. Be less opinionated.

Had I done that maybe I would already have the key to that door.

And that is the truth and nothing but the truth.’

Cool runnings

April 5, 2015

2015 is starting to feel like silk. Everything is going down just the way I planned it. Right down to the smallest detail. Everything is just the way it should be – the weather, workers, dogs, even those who seem to hate me….it’s all there splayed out like a smooth stretch of road. Everything is exactly the way it should be.

Everything is just perfect…it’s like that intensely spiritual moment when a race car driver finds that mythical line that allows him to be at one with his machine – he’s tearing down at full speed. Feeling the surge of the forward glide. There is absolutely no resistance…no vibration…the cylinders are all purring. The faint reassuring whiff of octane. In that moment when the holy trinity of road, machine and man are fused. The man whose at the wheel just knows. He can go faster and further than anyone else. There is no need to look at the rearview mirror….there’s no one tailgating. They’re all too far back – no one even comes close…..it’s just him…..his machine…..and the road that seems to run forever.

It doesn’t happen often as farming is usually stocked with loads of unexpected twist and turns…..but when it does, it’s just incredibly satisfying, edifying and nourishing….to know deep down. You’ve done it right the first time! There is no need to sit down there and mull over the past. It’s right the first time! No need to go back to rework that which didn’t turn out the way you planned it – it’s right the first time.

I know it’s too early to say this is how it will be for the rest of the year. I know….but it’s been so awfully long since things went my way. So I am going to relish every moment for what it’s worth.

Good or bad?

April 4, 2015

Early this morning a school girl who has a habit of wandering my lands and singing Chinese folk songs woke me up….demanding to know whether I am a good or evil man.

The girl complained her brain has been hurting for three days despite consuming Panadol like lemon drops. I asked what might be the cause of this persistent headache. The girl replied, it had started just around the time after she had overheard a couple of villagers in the kopitiam arguing whether the man who lived on the hill all by himself was a good or evil man…she was so distraught and confused thereafter.

So now the girl demanded to know, ‘are you a good or evil man?’ I told her in a calm voice. There is no good or bad man in this world….they are both two sides of the same coin…an illusion….a division created by foolish people who simply insist on seeing the world in terms of black and white. I went on to share with this girl. In truth, there are only words, actions and thinking we can live with or choose to live apart from.

Thereafter the girl’s headache promptly disappeared and she skipped happily away.

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‘The vast majority of humans much prefer to see the affairs of other men in terms of black and white…good or evil, right or wrong, ethical or morally flawed – it’s one way of making sense of the complication of the human condition. A lazy man’s way of connecting the dots at best I reckon. As this simplistic comparative calculus misleads terribly.

Experience informs me time and again, even good men are often capable of evil thoughts, actions and deeds and I imagine the same holds true of men who we all consider evil as well. They too are capable of magnanimous deeds.

I believe the truth is to be found somewhere in the no man’s land of greyness – that overarching domain of fact and myth, reality and make belief that seems to go on and on like the perpetual horizon. That at least is how I have always seen the tussle between good and evil.

In truth. When it comes to the imprecise science of human accounting. There are only actions, deeds and thinking we are able to live with. Or simply cannot and have to walk away from.

When a man makes a decision to walk away from that which he once believed with all his heart and mind. It can never be a happy enterprise. It has to be a very sad affair – a personal trajedy of sorts. He will probably use the lover’s abbreviation of unrequited love…disappointed…to best describe his feelings and in a sense it’s not so different from a man who decides to leave his one and only love. Something dies in this man…something is reborn again..the man is reincarnated into someone else.

That is for me whenever I come across a man who everyone says is the personification of evil. There is always a tinge of lingering sadness about this character. Because I know once upon a time, this was probably a good hearted man who believed in goodness wholeheartedly….only the cost associated with being good might have been too costly. Good was no good. Things just didn’t come around in the way it’s supposed too and that man always found himself having to pick himself up after an epic fall. So eventually, he turned his back on that one thing he ever believed in…..the man said to himself…from today onwards…I am going to be a different man from the man I used to be. To put it another way, that good man assassinated his goodness as surely as he held a thing which he loved with all his heart beneath the waterline and watched the life seep out of it, till it was so dead – he betrayed everything which he once believed in with all his heart.

Many years ago when I first turned the wheel as a planter. I received an invitation from a wealthy landowner for tea. He was a man who was so powerful that even governments feared him. During our meeting when the great man asked me what I wanted most out of life – I replied, to do good! Upon hearing my reply, the great man summoned me to come closer and after peering deep into my eyes like a shaman studying the hidden mysteries of chicken entrails, he began to weep uncontrollably like a baby…he was inconsolable…our meeting was cut short unexpectedly.

I did not understand why for many years. But now I do…he saw it all, the before, during and after of my entire life. Yes in that one brief moment, he saw it all unfurling like some terrible creature gnawing its way out from flesh and bone into tje world.

Hence the human tragedy – there are no good or bad men….only words, actions and deeds we can live in peace and harmony with or choose to live without.

The great planter saw it all….the before, during and after.’

Join me or perish?

April 3, 2015

This morning during breakfast in the kopitiam I proposed to the elders of the village my intention to venture into prawn farming. I know what some of them were thinking as they listened to me….’finally, his true colours are showing, he is muscling into our turf’….’Adolf Hitler is planning to invade Poland!’…..’this only confirms our suspicion all along this man has a pathological imperialistic bent!’

I spoke plainly to the elders. I told them their current way of prawn farming was at best hit and miss – that it’s not only economically unsustainable, but since so much antibiotics and chemicals are used it’s an ecological dead end.

I told them I plan to farm tiger prawns exclusively for the Singapore market – that I will use the latest scientific breeding methods which I myself will pioneer….I will do the same as I did in optimising oil palm yield on hilly land.

My proposal was cold shouldered.

I feel sad as my sincere intentions to better the lot of community has been rebuffed.

Can you all see so clearly how I have been victimised…discriminated….and vilified again. How is it possible for anyone to blame me for what I am about to do!

I will have to conduct my research elsewhere…..to be continued.

———————————————————————————

I much prefer people to like and respect than to fear me. It wasn’t as if I didn’t put in the effort to be liked and respected. In the beginning, I was a nice guy. You know the sort of guy whose easy going and didn’t take himself too seriously.

The problem as I saw it was Mr Nice Guy didn’t seem to get very far in life. That’s how it is in the plantation business. Some people just saw me as easy meat…they started to take bites out of me.

I can’t say precisely when I transformed into a hard, implacable and ruthless man who everyone feared. Even if I did remember. It’s unlikely that I want to recount this to anyone….there are some things which I prefer to keep to myself and take to the grave ….no, I don’t ever want to go back there to that moonless night when they came for me so many years ago. It’s a door that I never want to open again.

All I know now is no one ever dares take a bite out of me any longer. It’s as if they all seem to know – this is where the line is….thereafter anything can happen. So it’s best to just stay within the line. No. No one. Absolutely no dares to take a bite out of me any longer.

These days I eat all by myself. I rarely ever sit in a group and on those rare occasions when I do, everyone just keeps quiet. Most people still greet me like they used too – only I can always sense their fear and I am mindful to keep these social encounters brief and pleasent. On the rare occasions when one tends to overstay, it’s not uncommon for me to sense their trepidation and curiosity whenever their minds turn to the incident on that moonless night – it’s as if they want to know whether it’s true…..what I did to those men….on that moonless night so many years ago.

I always leave before curiosity takes hold of them. Always.

I guess it’s easy to talk about being a good man….it’s so easy.

———————————————————————————–

It is perfectly acceptable to disagree with the opinions expressed by other people. That is the elemental right of every individual who has a functioning brain. But it is all together another thing to believe – only you or the clique you belong to see the world clearer than anyone else or only your point of view matters. Nor does it give you a right to accuse someone of poorly expressing their beliefs just because you don’t like what they are saying.

Learn to respect the opinion of others even if they differ from yours. Above all overcome your pride and pettiness and wherever possible open your mind to the idea – those who see the world differently from you may teach you something new about youtself and how you make sense of the world.

If we don’t want to be trapped in obsolete ideologies, old ways of doing things and run the risk of going around in ever decreasing circles. Then we would all have to learn to discard the old and useless, keep that which is good and develop new ways of going forward.

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‘This hardly requires any elaboration. Things are always changing. What is good before may not be so good today or tomorrow. The conditions that made success possible before may not exist today and even if they do it’s unlikely that past performance can ever be a reliable indicator of future performance.

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