Look! This is a game changer…but if Singaporeans are going to get the sweet end of the deal. They have to start preparing now….as when the Japanese say it can all be built, operated and handed over in seven years…seven years it will be. The Japanese are ultra serious when it comes to trains, they are not like those amateurs in SMRT..so you better believe it!

Seven years is not very long from now…

(1) Learn how to speak and write Bahasa Melayu.

The standard of spoken and written English is deteriorating fast and furious in Malaysia…even in the cities the youths cannot speak it well and when they do, it is not only hazardous, but also nonsensical as well. Who is to blame for this rot? Is not the objective of this entry, only understand the important….it is what it is….so if you want to maximize your opportunities in Malaysia, you have to learn to speak and write BM proficiently…it is strategic..this is not difficult in Singapore. More importantly cultivate Malay friends as the demographics along the high speed rail would have changed in seven years into the future. Learn their ways, be adept like a secret agent.

The govt will never tell you this with such candor…as this people do not have either foresight or wisdom to see the wider social ramifications of how the HSR will transform the social and cultural DNA of SG.

(2) Cultivate Malaysian friends.

Now that we are all wearing our secret agent balaclava…this is a MUST. As only Malaysians who have lived and grown up along the route of the HSR can supply you first class intelligence.

This is vital to increase your chances of success – without this there can be no decisive victory….you must have near perfect intelligence otherwise it is virtually to plan to effectively….otherwise theory can never be translated into reality with the highest degree of planning fidelity.

Again this can be easily done….if you are a male, all you have to do is broadcast I prefer Malaysian to SG gals…next thing ten lorries will appear with two metric tons internal beauties….so I will leave the HOW to most of you to flesh out yourself.

(3) Learn to be comfortable with Malaysians and Malaysia.

Singapore is very well administered country when compared to messy Malaysia…this often provokes a lot of fear, anxiety and nervousness amongst Singaporeans….as a consequence at a sub consciousness level at least most Singaporeans are fearful of doing anything long term in Malaysia.

I can understand their concerns and even anxieties…as to be quite frank Malaysia is a very corrupt and messy country and it is likely to get more corrupt and messy in the next seven years!

This mental programming FIRST needs to be smashed…if it is still enable…even so much as slightly, it is not possible for one to move to the discomfort zone confidently to accomplish the mission….you will fail.

Study and research my advise well…I mean well.

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‘In my mind there are only two types of people who are in business. The first will go from strenght to strenght and win eight out of ten times. The other can only fail…they will start of well, but soon as the number of problems multiply, they will be either be so overwhelm or run out of reserves to continue. Eventually they will throw in the towel and put the blame on everything from a lousy business model to blaming the market for not appreciating what they have to offer.

The defining difference between the former and latter is simply this, the man who succeeds is very serious…as to him, business is war!

I fully appreciate this would probably come across as a very brutalized version of business and even politically incorrect way to describe running an enterprise – but to me, it is what it is…after all, you are probably going to sell everything along with put all your life savings into this endeavor…and even if you don’t plan to do this, you may have too!….you are probably going to put in twelve to sixteen hours a day…seven days a week in the early stages of growing your enterprise. This is normal as well. So to me failure is not an option at all.

The gold standard is to get it right the first time!

I realize most politicians and leaders will talk about the importance of cultivating a spirit of going where no mind dares to go and maybe why it is important to migrate out of your comfort zone….but to me, these are not as important as setting the right attitude to succeed….in my opinion, it requires seriousness first and foremost….everything else follows thereafter!

The serious attitude is key!

As a serious outlook to business requires one to adopt a warlike attitude….this I fully appreciate is a repugnant idea to most Singaporeans as the very word ‘war’ implies conflict and the opposite of everything that one desires…peace, harmony and continuity.

But I don’t see it in that sense at all…to me when I use the aphorism: business is war! It simply means that one is fully conscious and under no influence of any delusions that it can be anything else other than a very serious life and death endeavor.

Understand this! I cannot emphasize the importance of this strongly enough!’

Who are you….really?

July 22, 2016

This afternoon while attending a bankers garden luncheon….a very curious lady who had been observing my fingers asked, ‘your fingers are all plastered…did you have an accident?

I replied sonorously, ‘no…it’s an occupational liability..I have been moving rocks to prepare for the rainy season.’

‘May I ask….what do you do for a living?’

I replied quite naturally, ‘I am a simple farmer.’

I could tell from this lady’s body language, she was slightly taken aback and not very impressed by my credentials….but I do not blame her, as I can also tell, the woman who had been so surprised by my reply was searching for something else.

She then went to ask further..or maybe I should say, it was yet another woman in this woman who asked this other question…are you really just a farmer?

I replied, ‘yes…amongst all other men in the man who likes to call himself the individual…you have my word…you are most certainly having a conversation NOW with the man who is JUST a farmer.’

She was very confused by my answer….but it did not matter…it’s was a social function and soon like a cloud that flits off somewhere else another woman in the same woman I was talking too, asked another question thereby changing the subject and the conversation moved on to other things.

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‘Man has no such thing as a single individual identity commonly referred to as ‘I.’ This concept of singularity of one’s character is a complete fabrication of society….it’s an assumption…it’s imputed…a fait accompli.

If you want prove that what I am sharing with you is not bullshit, but rather the truth and nothing but the truth….all that needs to be done is to have a conversation with someone…anyone will do…ONLY this time…listen and observe very carefully and hold on to what I have just shared with you – listen to the sound of their voice….the topic and how they describe their objects of interest….observe how they verbalize their thoughts with their selection of words along with their expressions…sense their many yearnings, desires, curiosities, fears and doubts in the way they express themselves.

As one cultivates the art of listening and observing with a still mind. Soon you will discover the person who you’re talking too isn’t a single person…rather it’s like one of those Russian dances where someone jumps into the circle dances only for another to jump in and this goes on and on…soon you will even discover you are not having a conversation with only one person…although there is only both of you.

By listening and observing with a very still mind one will be able to seek out the many separate small “i”s in a single person without too much difficulty – very often these separate identities that reside in someone is entirely unknown to even the person you are talking too.

That is quite normal…the person who you are conversing with is not a psycho…there is nothing fundamentally wrong with him or her upstairs.

As you practice this more and more…the art of listening and observing with a very still mind – you will find this is the nature of man.

As I mentioned earlier…most of us have been brainwashed to believe in the idea, there is only ‘I.’ There is no one else except this single individual who accounts for all our thoughts, acts and omissions.

But that is NOT true…not at all – it is ONLY when we are mentally sensitive enough to sense the different personalities running around in our OWN heads FIRST….that we can begin to see the same in others as well….only then can we begin to clarify the idea of who really is the real ‘I.’

Only AFTER we have sought out in our own consciousness the true ‘I’ and make every effort to ignore the other false men who are constantly running around in our heads and distracting us all the time….only AFTER fellowshipping with this true ‘I’ for days, weeks, months and years and steadfastly ignoring the rest…only then can one begin to make real progress in understanding our nature better…..who is the real ‘I’

Who were truly are….which is a very different conception from who you think or others think you are.

Without this foreknowledge, one will simply have to go through life like a man living in a mad house….and this is actually how most people live their life without truly knowing who they are.

I do not for one moment pretend this insight is a simple subject to understand…it is not – that is why this entry is longer than usual and should you find your patience straining to complete this article…just be mindful another man in you has jumped into the circle and told you to speed read thru this….but hold on to what I said.

Every statement a person makes….every gesture…every act and reaction is an entirely different man within the many men who reside in only one man….a moment ago it was a fleeting thought, now it is a desire, or a sensation, another thought again maybe…a yearning perhaps and so this goes on endlessly thru out the course of a single conversation with any person….and on and on.

It is only when one knows oneself completely that one is able to recognize that man is really only the sum of all his plurality of personalities.’

Yesterday I came across a very angry man….he was so flustered that someone did not lock the common gate…steam was literally shooting out at full blast from both his ears. He was like a hand grenade with the pin slowly wriggling itself out….he was going to explode at any moment.

I knew instinctively…I cannot follow the rhythm of this angry man…but how does one go about the business of restoring calmness to a mind that is in turmoil?

This man kept asking me in a fuming tone, ‘do you know who is the bastard that keeps going in and out without ever bothering to lock the gate?’

I told him….I know who it is…..but I will only tell you….if you help me fill the wheel barrow with rocks instead of just standing there and fuming like a spoilt child – he agreed grudgingly. Soon we were taking turns pushing the rocks up a very steep incline….all the while, this man kept asking me the same question in an angry tone.

Eventually as the cadence and rhythm of work seeped into his being and with each wheel barrow of rocks, it seeped deeper and deeper into the marrow of his bones…I could tell, his features were no longer strained. Gone was his anger….he was now in my world….following my rhythm.

After completing three loads that was when we sat together underneath a tree for a water break….I asked the once angry man…do you want to know now, who it is that keeps using the gate without ever locking it?

The man who was once angry was now very calm. He simply replied, that’s not important to me any longer
….I understand now what you are trying to tell me.

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‘Everything in this world and beyond our tiny planet….absolutely everything in this whole universe that incidentally includes you, I, and the greater ‘them’….ALL have a rhythm – it is only when we still our minds that it’s possible for one to discern the rhythm deep within the core of things, people and events….the rhythm of how one season bows out to another…the rhythm of getting something done….the rhythm of old, middle aged and youths….the rhythm of trees germinating, fruiting and eventually dying…the rhythm of waves breaking at the shoreline…..the rhythm of rains before during and after….the rhythm of how humans interact with each other when they work, play and live together – it is only thru patient observation that one is able to discern the core of things, people and events – everything in this world abides by it’s own unique rhythm – it is only when we cultivate an observant eye and gather knowledge on the rhythm of things, people and events can we truly understand HOW to harmonize …harmony in relationships…harmony in bringing about change…harmony even in managing oneself and others……without this foreknowledge it is impossible to bring out the best in people and things around you….you will always be stepping on the toes of others…always out of sync and no one will ever want to be part of your world.

Still your mind…be observant and you will sense it…the rhythm in all things.

These days I spend most of my days in my plantation. I rarely ever go down to the village any longer. I find the company of my dogs quite sufficient. I work mostly with my hands under the hot sun…..the only thought I seem to ever hold on too for any period of time is to remind myself constantly to drink as much water as I can – I used to go back to the plantation house when the sun is highest at two, but these days, I prefer to chow in the field – I find that whenever I return back for any reason…I rarely ever come out again…I know it doesn’t sound like much of a life, then again…I am never truly alone even when I am…never.

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‘If you set out in life to be liked by everyone. You must be prepared to compromise on everything under the sun, and since you are have spread yourself so thinly across the social landscape like trying to make the last scoop of peanut butter cover all four corners…you will probably end up living a compromised life as well.

That’s what most people do….it’s not an indictment on the human species…it’s just what most people HAVE to do….to get by. It’s not as if they have anything else resembling such a thing as a choice…they don’t.

But as I grow older – I find it’s no longer important to invest one’s time on meaningless pursuits such as hanging out with strangers just to come across as a likeable person or worst still to seek the approval and validation of people who you hardly even know…that’s a game for kids – suddenly those things don’t matter very much to me any longer….that’s all I am saying.

So I have a choice….I can shut the world out in the four corners of my plantation…that I can do and never see a single soul thru out the whole entire day.

You see…the only thing I really care about these days is to get to know myself better – I realize this may come across as weird to you…but I’ve never really gone down deep inside who I really am.

I am not just talking about the superficiality of who I or others think I am….I am referring to the real me…..to make a strong connection and to have a deep spirited conversation with this stranger….if I can do just that regularly, then maybe I will discover other things that I didn’t know about myself…like this afternoon when I was pushing a pile of rocks in a wheel barrow up a slope. Somewhere in my head….a voice whispered, slow down…what are you trying to prove? Hey, what’s the point of reaching all the way up there only to flatten out for the next fifteen minutes? There’s no one here to impress…it’s just you and me…slow down…take your time…I laughed to myself…how right!

Do you see what I am getting at?

It’s only when one makes a conscious effort to fellowship with the self….that we become aware that our being is continuously giving us hints…..truth is we are not truly who we are even to ourselves…we just like to think we are – truth is most of us is one part: what others think we are, the rest, we just make it all up somewhere in our heads to believe whatever we choose to believe – but the real you or me that we have never ever had a conversation is always whispering to us – whispering stuff like what to do…how and when to do it along with maybe even whether we should or should not to do it at all….it’s just a whisper…..nothing loud or full frontal like Boo!

One’s being doesn’t ever shout….not at you or even others, that at least seems very true from my first hand account. But you can really only hear it when you’re made a genuine commitment to start seeking out this other person who resides deep down inside you.

This inner being who is the person that is really you….not how others or even you see yourself.

That’s not real!

This inner being is…he will never lie to you…he will never lead you astray. As he’s not someone whose trying to be someone else except maybe you….and that’s the first step to maturity – when one feels the inner tug to have a meaningful conversation with the self.’

Betraying the self

July 21, 2016

Today I sat around a group of village elders who were all planning to ostracize someone by refusing to see, talk or listen to this person…one of them said, he deserves it for being so stubborn and set in his ways…another injected, this will teach him a lesson.

When I was asked for my opinion – I simply said, he might be stubborn…he might probably break under intense social pressure….but at least he has the truth on his side….and that is a very powerful force as it that means, this man has self respect and beliefs that he is prepared to stand by….no matter what the cost may be – I then turned to these people and told them all ‘the only reason why we have come to this end point is because none of you have the courage to take responsibility for your actions and apologize and to give this man the assurance the transgression will never occur again….I then when on to ask further of them all – ‘are you sure you all want to do this without the truth on your side?’

I wanted nothing to do with this.

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‘In order to make up for our emotional immaturity, and because of our fear of getting hurt, disappointed and let down – we all develop a denial system.

That’s a very natural response. I do it all the time, so do you do you…so let’s just call a spade a spade….otherwise this will just be a bull shit sharing.

In that process of transforming a lie into the truth, not only do we become perfect liars to ourselves and others….but we also betray the self….that to me is the real tragedy…we betray everything that is good, noble and worthy.

At times our lies are so well crafted that we even believe our own lies.

As time goes by, we don’t even notice we are lying any longer and sometimes even when we know we are lying, we continue to justify the lie by wordsmithing a counter narrative to the truth by convincing ourselves and others that we are righteous…justified and closest to the truth.

In truth, we lie only to protect our stunted emotional state so that we can continue to believe and project the illusion to others – we are emotionally mature and whole.

The denial system is like a magician that always finds a way to fool us us from seeing things, people and events for what they really are – for example, we spend a lot of time and effort to craft a near perfect social mask…why?

Because usually it’s too painful to see ourselves truthfully or to let others see who we really are…so we lie!

And by constantly betraying ourselves day in and day out, we choose willingly to live in that world of lies thereby becoming the assassins of the truth.’

The character of every human being is never at one point – it’s constantly shifting….sometimes it veers to the destructive or self destructive. At other times, the character will be enriched and nourished and it will grow mentally and spiritually….but which ever way it goes, it is never the same thru out the life time of every human being.

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Man is never the same. He is constantly changing and in a state of flux. The moment a child is born, the father is also born. This new man never existed before. The man existed, but the father…he is an absolutely new creation.

The very moment a salaried man starts an enterprise. Again a new man is reincarnated within the man. This time it is the businessman. Again this new man never existed before. The salaried man…yes, but the businessman is entirely a new creation.

The moment a man falls in love with a woman. He becomes a soulmate. Again this new man never existed before. The empty and incomplete man…yes, but the soulmate to the woman who this man loves is completely new.

From this we can see very clearly….man is constantly experiencing rebirth of different kinds thru out his entire lifetime.

Within a life time there are many deaths and rebirths…life is not linear, it’s not simply the case of from cradle to coffin.

Just as the businessman thinks very differently from a salaried man…he has been transformed.

This is why it is so important to keep the things that good and to only throw the bad at each level of reincarnation…this way when a man dies and is reborn again in his lifetime…he does not lose the important aspects of his beliefs and principles.

If a man is not mindful of this…he will flounder and change for the worse.

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‘Wealth, power and influence….these are merely illusions of one kind or another. They are not real. They just appear to be so.

What is really super real is the level of maturity and character of a man.

Wealth, power and influence without maturity or character can only lead to extravagance, abuse and the constant need for adulation.

A mature person is always investing in his character by throwing out the useless and taking what he has considers to be worthy to a higher level….he is doing this all the time…not only for himself…but to others around him as well.

So always try to seek out mature souls to hang out with….don’t waste your social opportunities and time on people who are merely fun to be with – cultivate the company of serious men of impeccable character. Learn from them….observe how they make decisions…observe how they proceed…if you cannot find such men, then it is better to be alone reading a book. Rather than mixing with shallow people who will lead you astray.

Be mindful of this and research it well.’

Am I prepared for La Niña? Well, there are many things I should have done but did not do. There are some things that I did which were just plain wrong. Then again, there were many others things that I did which I believe was done just right….they are perfect!

Did I do my best?

No! Yes! Maybe….but that is really not a question for me to supply an answer – all that matters is when the super rains hit…come what may, I must always remember to be kind and loving to myself.

I mustn’t beat myself….No!

I started in life with nothing…zero…absolutely nothing…I am a self made man….so what’s the big deal! – whose very accustomed to hardships and toil and even should I have to go down for the count all bloodied….I will just roll up my sleeves, pick up myself up from the dirt and gather the broken pieces up again….this is not the first time I have done this.

Not at all!

The most important thing for me now is there is a chilled bottle of wine in my fridge. I will look forward to that this evening with some home cooked spaghetti.

Like I said, I’ve seen it all before…..and the only lesson here is when the tough knocks at your door…always be kind and loving to yourself. As no one will ever do that for you….it all starts and ends with only you….and only you.

Especially for men like myself. As I never ever want to burden others with my problems.

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In another life….in another time…

The Chinaman Cocoa planter who stood ramrod for hours on the hill scanning the Northern horizon with his field glasses knew that trouble was brewing up north in Uganda – three days ago a strange metallic pod was found on the Western part of his lands – he had picked up a fragment of this cigar shaped container and surmised, it was a recently jettisoned fuel tank from a jet fighter – the Cyrillic and Arabic markings with the hyphenated “Jin,” suggested it was a Sudanese jet, probably a MIG-21 – through the whole of last week, the Chinaman had stood on the same spot and traced out jet vapor trails high across the far Northern steely skies – he could make out from the neat trident shape of the vapor trails high above, they were military jets probably on a bombing sortie – even in darkness, the Chinaman Cocoa farmer had stood on the same spot and watched the eerie glow of arklight throughout the whole week, as they waxed and waned in the distant horizons to the far North – he knew it to be heavy artillery.

Even in the early morning, the Chinaman had still stood on the same spot – he had noticed how even the red footed falcons that usually only began their long epic flight home to the Russian steppes in July had began their journey earlier that year – he noticed, that his fine feathered friends who flew in from the North were all tired, so tired that some even rested in the rectangular apertures that the Chinaman had constructed to allow many of his fine feathered friends to rest, hunt and fatten themselves before they began their aerial marathon across the Ugandan Great Rift Valley and swung off sharply Southwards towards the Indian Ocean through to the Himalayas to make the 10,000 mile flight all the way back to the Ukraine. The Chinaman had even looked closely at his fine feathered friends – he noticed the tips of their feathers were stained with a fine powdery white substance – when he plucked the feathers out and brought it close to his nostrils, he recognized instantly the deadly yet sweet smell of cherries that he knew to be phosphorous mixed with paraffin – napalm.

Even the yellow fitches that usually flew through Kenya and rested in Lake George of Uganda to the far South did not come his way that season – the man surmised his fine feathered friends had taken the treacherous route northwards through the falcon invested Sahara instead of the northern arid plains through Chad and Egypt that led to the Mediterranean – the Chinaman realized even his fine feathered friends, the yellow fitches knew that there was trouble brewing somewhere northwards.

In the evenings, when the Chinaman strained his ears to listen to the wireless – even that only seemed to confirm his suspicion that something was amiss – he had been in Africa long enough to realize that the white man was the first to leave a sinking ship like crafty rats – for the last three consecutive days, the VOA, the Voice of America had began to play, Bing Cosby’s, “White Christmas.” Even though it was only June – as for Radio Moscow, it had been more subtle yet equally revealing – He had noticed how the news announcer who usually spoke with a fake Bostonian accent had used two consonants on three consecutive sentences during the beginning of each news broadcast of the African service for the last three days – this the Chinaman realized were secret codes that something terrible had broken out to the North. Neither could he count on the UN which the man considered to be the UNITED NOTHING. As for the legion he surmised even those cowards had secretly pulled out in the cover of darkness and had now begun the long retreat back to Djibouti.

That evening the Chinaman drove to the German school teacher’s house at the edge of his plantations – this time, he had insisted that she pack up her bags and he was here to drive her all the way to Kampala proper where he knew she would be safest in the German embassy in Kololo – the nun had refused vehemently and even protested at considerable length, but the Chinaman was in no mood for a prolonged conversation – and when it seemed a war of words was just about to flare up between the school teacher and the Chinaman; the latter had slapped her so hard that even her habit had come clean off. He had regretted instantly what he done and when he had reached out for her, the woman cringed away. And though she was none the wiser as to why he had behaved in such a brusque manner – the nun began to pack up her belongings.

That night as the Chinaman sat behind the half sobbing nun in the car; the car stopped on the fork road – the road to the South, he reckoned would probably be filled with LRA militia and the entire Acholi tribe all the way to Kampala by now – so he instructed the driver to take the longer Southern Westerly less used village road which would have doubled the journey time to Kampala. Hardly had the car proceeded more than 20 kilometers – the car was stopped at a makeshift checkpoint. In the half glow of the crescent moonlight – the Chinaman could just make out a man in his thirties armed with a semi auto along with a couple of other kids perched like birds on the metal railing blocking the car – he saw the way the man looked at the European woman with the long flowing blond hair – he knew what would happen next – without even so much as a word, the Chinaman stepped out of the car drew out his revolver leveled it at the man and shot him squarely in between his eyes – the boys immediately cocked their AK-47’s but the man could make out these weren’t battled hardened child soldiers, their weapons lacked the patina that came with regular use. So he stood his ground fired another shot into the man and after lighting a cigarette he shouted in a booming voice,

“Aki Shahidi, name tombu mama kaba di mabuto jia-kimba!” (I am the Shahidi, now run or I will kill you all like this pig. Obey me!)

They dropped their weapons promptly and ran like hell. The Chinaman looked relieved. His gamble had paid off.

That long night as the German nun and the Chinaman sat at the back of the car as it barreled towards Kampala –– it was as if both of them were hermetically sealed in their own world – the Chinaman features looked distant and implacable as the few passing cars from the opposite direction illuminated his granite face and blood stained bush jacket from time to time – it seemed as if he might not even have been aware that the nun had gripped his hand so tightly throughout the entire journey. Harder if not impossible to really know whether he was even thinking why she needed to do such a strange thing – perhaps she realized then that she had meant much more to the Chinaman – perhaps she realized how naïve, stupid and irresponsible she had been to have kept on insisting to stay on even when he had previously pleaded with her to leave and now that she had pushed him to this point….this point when all hell had been unleashed….the point when the man even knew deep down. It was really impossible for him to ever run away from whatever he was running away from – when he decided to settle in Africa to turn the well of life as the Shahidi – she knew only too well at that very moment the Chinaman may have once lost someone dear to him and he was not going to ever let it happen again – he had crossed an invisible line in his head to that other world that had brought him all the way to Africa – but when the Chinaman had made a decision to protect her no matter what the cost. He not only cared. He went back into that other world in his past – a world that he once turned away from. In that world, he did not have the luxury to care. He had after all made a decision to protect her.

Even if it meant that she had to see a part of him that he had never ever wanted her to know about him…..never….never ever. A part of him that had probably brought this Chinaman to Africa in the first place. And with these thoughts she griped the hand of the man who she knew probably cared more about her than even the God she served and worshipped with all her heart – the man who she knew may very well have been the devil everyone said he was….but that night Eva Meyer, the woman and not the nun had crossed an invisible line….like the man who now sat beside her in the speeding Mercedez……he too had crossed a line….. with these thoughts her grip on the man’s hand tigthened further as the car barreled through the velvety night towards Kampala.

My workers are all complaining…as the work to move the stones to the right location to build the road in the plantation is hard and back breaking work….usually when they complain, I roll up my sleeves and work along side them….thru out the working day…some of them will ask from time to time, what are we going to do with the rocks down there….what if we don’t arrange the rocks properly will we have to redo this all over again?

On every occasion, when they look at me expectantly after asking a question.

My reply would always be the same, let us finish with this pile of rocks that is in front of all of us here first…don’t bother about that, we will crack our heads when we reach there.

The lesson today is there no simple secret to happiness and even if that notion really existed…..it’s not sustainable. As happiness without nuances of sadness, disappointments and regrets would just be no different from a shot of heroin.

If you want that variety of happiness – then go and search out for crystal meth or something that has the capacity to alter the chemical composition in your brain….to see the world only thru rose tinted glasses.

The only sustainable state of mind that you can ever hope to reasonably attain without having to sell everything you own and live in a cave is to strive for contentment in the moment.

I can feel my muscles straining, my back is tight and each load of stones takes everything out of me…the strain is just bearable….but I am happy I can still do this.

Many men cannot. As they don’t nearly trust their stamina or muscles….but I don’t have to bother about that and that makes me happy.

Am I doing it right? I don’t know….but if it is not right…then I will do it all over again, till I get it right and that is all there is to it….this I reckon is as close to contentment as I will ever get.

Contentment is the direct opposite of happiness – your mind is not bubbling with joy, rather you are in a state of peace and stillness – as one is focussed ONLY on the present and very little else.

To have both feet firmly planted in NOWness is not easy…but if one strives to be in this state of presence continuously…one can find peace.

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‘The vast majority of humans don’t live in the present. They don’t. Usually they have one feet planted in the past and the other is in the future – whatever remains is what you can reasonably refer to as their default mental disposition. To live always in the corridors memories – is to relive pain and hurt….what did he or she say…why didn’t he or she do this or that….why did he, she or they treat me that way….don’t they know I have a right to be angry?

This is what usually goes thru a person’s mind during the course of an ordinary day. No! They are not psychotic people or even crazy….that’s just how people live their life’s without them ever realizing it, to live always in the imagination.

When one does this, it is so natural to feel miserable and sad all the time, because so much of life is passing you by without you even realizing it….’

Super rain?

July 18, 2016

July rains are usually very light and drizzly….but just after lunch today we had six inches of rain in just two hours!

On one hand I am gladden the rains have come early this year…the ground was beginning to crack due to the prolonged drought and unusually hot weather….now the earth is moisturized and temperature has gone down dramatically.

But too much rain is not a good thing – I fear….I may have started my road works too late…if this is the case then the arrival of the super rains will bring in it’s wake a new set of problems.

The blessing comes with a curse….I must remain calm and not allow my mind to run around like a restless monkey.

‘I do miss Africa….it’s so very serious, yet at the same time a very funny place…..boring, yet dramatic….colorful, yet band. A contradiction. I especially miss the idea of dressing up on a Saturday evening in a creme suit complete with spectator shoes and a finely woven panama Montecristi sipping Campari in the verandah of the Blue Fin overlooking the river that separates Zaire and Brazzaville – one doesn’t need to do anything….one just needs to talk a little, drink a little and talk again…then when it’s time…one just walks back home and tomorrow it’s a beautiful day.’

I can smell ’em….

July 17, 2016

Carriers…..

If the price for peace is so structured that it requires me to trust people who once conspired to ‘keep me in my place,’…..then it is simply another means to impose command and control over how I choose to run my business….then it is as good as offering another poison…a dead end…..there is no way out of this.

The only option is war!

I am so overstretched….I don’t nearly have the sort of network to make things happen without constant interference…there are systematic weaknesses within my enterprise that cannot suffer even so much as one minor hit….only tiny hit and I am well and truly out in the cold…fortunately no one knows this…fact is, the other landowners are much bigger…to deal with the ‘apparent threat’ they have combined together to create a super force now.

Should I be foolish to face off against such a formidable force head on….in the first six months, I will certainly be able to make it costly for them….in beginning I will win, win and win, but thereafter it will certainly be a conflict that will sap my resources to it’s very limits – and once that pivot point is breached….it will be a war of attrition…..defeat is a mathematical certainty.

I must not fall into this trap and only fight under my own terms…I must run deep and silent…..I must pretend that I am a wash out….put my tail between my legs and show everyone that I am shit scared or better still that I am a just an inconsequential fool….hardly a threat to anyone…except maybe myself.

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‘No one desires conflict. Least of all me….but at times conflict is inevitable.

As by simply choosing to run an enterprise…..one has already by default taken an aggressive posture against the status quo ante….it could well be something as benign as starting a chicken rice shop opposite an existing one across the street or even a complex conflagration like what we are all witnessing in the Spratly islands.

At times conflict is inevitable…even if all you’re doing is going about your business as a taxi driver, office cookie cutter and normal human being with average expectations such as myself….trouble will come looking for you….how does one go about the business of negotiating a ‘live and let live’ pact with an office bully…an unreasonable boss or a leader who keeps resorting to nefarious means to stay in power?

How does one even begin the process of reasoning with people who believe they have a right to lord over me…and that I should only grow to this level and no more…How?

The recent attempted coup in Turkey is just one of many illustrations of how conflict can emerge right out of the blue….out of nowhere.

So this whole idea of denying the existence of conflict by putting one’s head in the sand by failing to acknowledge it’s existence or even bothering to craft a sensible way to manage oneself and others effectively in the face of conflict is unrealistic…..it’s new age bull shit to believe that everything is in the palm of one’s hand and that external factors do not have the power to inflict pain on one!

It’s bullshit!

At the nucleaus of every conflict lies the belief – everyone is the SAME….everyone aspires towards the SAME things in life and everyone can be managed the SAME way….this to me…at least is a summary of how the seeds of conflict are sowed industrially.

However if one can accept – people have different preferences how to live their life and actualize their dreams and aspirations along HOW they wish to live, work and play under ONLY their own terms…which may be different from our conception of what is good.

In perhaps the same way, I much prefer spicy beef spaghetti to a bowl of soupy wanton noodles…you much prefer to read self improvement books to fiction – my point is people will always be intrinsically different – what you think is right for you may not to be right for me….see my point?

When one forces…coerce…or manipulate others to follow ONLY one ideology, principle, belief and believe the ONLY there is only ONE way to live….one sows the seeds to conflicts because others will naturally resist!

However by accepting and internalizing the philosophy live and let live…we provision space for others by accommodating their differences along with allowing them to make their life choices by provisioning the widget space.

Always treat others the way you want to be treated.

Maturity & Wisdom

July 16, 2016

Last week during a meeting with a cartel of landowners who had previously blocked me from buying more land. One of them who owns an oil mill asked me whether I would consider signing an agreement to sell him all my fruit exclusively…..I told him politely, I will have to consider.

One of them insinuated this is the price for peace….I turned to this fellow and told him….if this is your offer for peace…what then is the definition of war?

Thru out the entire meeting I kept replying….I will need time to consider.

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‘Both maturity and wisdom have nothing whatsoever to do with age….having lived X number of years more than others doesn’t automatically confer one a higher quotient of maturity and wisdom.

I happen to know of many men and women who are older and claim to have a wider breadth of worldly experience….yet many of them seem to have the maturity and wisdom of twelve year olds.

Neither has maturity and wisdom got anything to do with good grades either…that’s intelligence….it has even less to do with how much money you have managed to accumulate in your life time or the whole idea of prestige or how well and good others regard you.

Again…this bears repeating only because it is a fact of life that is often misunderstood by so many – if that were really true, then how can one account for the contradiction where there are so many young men and women who seem to be more mature and wiser than those older than them?

I guess what I am trying to share here is my philosophy of how I see the whole idea of maturity and wisdom being inextricably linked to the concept of sustainability – but before I can explain the link…one must first understand the word sustainability has morphed into a prostitute word – one of those sobriquet terms of endearment that people just feel the need to add on as a prefix to come across as credible…sensible…wise etc etc – it’s one of those words that has been used and abused so often by crooked leaders, it’s evacuated of all intrinsic meaning – wonder no more why these days, it’s bandied around from everything ranging from farming, how to run your business to how to grow muscles and stay younger by opting to be a vegetarian.

So if you really want to understand the trilogy of maturity, wisdom and sustainability.

One first needs to reclaim the real meaning of the word sustainability – because when we talk about maturity and wisdom in the context of sustainability.

All we are really doing is creating the idea of a sustainable person – and that can never be a simple idea, it’s a variety of man who takes the trouble to go deeper into himself with the goal of coming full circle. That is essentially how I see a sustainable anything – it’s the imagery of a perfect circle – be it a sustainable enterprise that doesn’t burn out workers, sustainable relationships where both partners grow mentally and spiritually or even something as simple as preferring to carry your groceries with a hemp bag instead of a disposable plastic carrier.

It’s a circle…..not a dead end or a road that leads to the edge of cliff!

So when we speak about the sustainable man – it’s the idea of a man who goes deep into himself. So deep that he has discovered his core. When a man has reached the very center of his being, he can only mature and that leads to wisdom.

As that is the moment when the man whose always distracted by what others say, think or even believe about him disappears completely. Suddenly that whole great diffusion of worthless energy of wondering what he, she or they said about him becomes meaningless….nothingness.

This attitude is often mislabeled as arrogant and being opinionated….but it is NOT!

As when a man discovers his core….he takes full responsibility for his words, actions and thoughts – hence he lives his life under his own terms and doesn’t do stupid things like seek the self respect….approval….and validation of others….such a man is only accountable to the important things in this world and NEVER the worthless.

So to me maturity can never be an acquired state of mind or school of thought that you can upload into your brain – rather it’s a verb…a conscious act that one has to work towards like seeking out where X marks the spot on a treasure map….it’s not automatic.

Journeying into your inner core like an explorer requires diligence and quiet moments of introspection – it requires one to have a deep spirited conversation with the self – till one attains self discovery.

When this stage is attained, a person can only become very beautiful. As he or she is like a flower in full bloom. At the very zenith of it’s fragrance and completeness of form and that is the unabridged definition of beautiful.

This should be goal of every man in his life time.’

Chaos

July 15, 2016

Chaos is a word that is associated with fear and anxiety and everything that is negative about life – that I imagine is what the word chaos means to most people…..as a state of mind, it simply means that one is unable to comprehend a person, subject or situation…. that is all chaos really means as a state of mind…nothing more….one is merely standing before a row of alphabets that one does not understand….it can mean this or that or even anything under the sun….there is nothing to hold on too.

This is why chaos usually provokes fear and anxiety with egomaniacs and people who are accustomed to having their own way all the time…..

For the man who aspires to control nothing but only his thoughts – he will not run around like a headless chicken – he will simply sit down and look at the incomprehensible…..and usually in life when one does ONLY this….soon a pattern will emerge…a key will reveal itself and the door will open to knowingness.

This is the ultimate discipline of the mind.

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‘It is impossible to be grounded and sane and calm when one does not make a conscious effort to control the ego – as the ego is a control freak. He is like one of those people who prefers to have things, people and events behave in their ‘rightful’ way all the time – the definition of ‘rightful’ means things, people and events MUST function in ONLY the way this ego archetypal sees the world…and since the ego centric archetypal believes he is always in control and command of everything under the sun….as soon as he comes face to face with the merest prospects of uncertainty in the form of chaos….a situation that cannot be controlled….he will suffer a nervous break down….malfunction and self destruct!

This is is what usually happens to egoistic people whenever they face a crisis……they cannot be cool under pressure. As to do that first requires the mental discipline to accept uncertainty and chaos as an indelible aspect of the human condition!

But a man who is always mindful of his destructive counterpart who is also an indelible man within the man…the man who is in all men, Mr Ego.

The egoless man knows only to well, he can control nothing whatsoever in this world….have I done everything to preempt La Niña….well I have done some right and wrong things….even then I can really be sure I can ride out this storm and come out of the other side unscathed….maybe if I am lucky, it will spit me out to the side like a seed….maybe I will have to roll with the punches…. the egoless man knows…all he can really hope to do successfully is control what is going on in between his two ears….he cannot control chaos…no one can, but it’s possible to control one’s response along with how best to make the best out of a shitty situation etc etc….do that ONLY…. and though one may stand right in the center of a chaotic storm….here, there is nothingness…push stillness while everything is in violent swirl.’

One of the reasons why I went into business and did not remain a salaried man – is because I derive a lot of satisfaction from giving those who work for and with me a very good deal!

I find that idea incredibly edifying as it sits perfectly inline with my personal philosophy – a man’s labor deserves the highest level of respect and dignity….and the best way for one to express this is by giving others their due for a job well done – hence the idea of dignity of labor is the corner stone of how I conduct my business.

But when I adopt this business outlook….it also means I like to get good a deal back in return as well.

And when I don’t.

I make it very clear to the other side where he’s fallen short or even ask for my money back.

The quality of stones the local quarry has been sending me is shit! I inspected them personally and rejected all ten lorries this morning, instructed all the gates to remain close. Eventually they made a u turn back to where they came from…later on, the boss called me up and told me in a condescending tone, that he was the only quarry around in a radius covering 84 kilometers…to put it another way…he was trying to play hard ball. So I told him in an impeccably calm and polite tone…please do not give me ideas about starting a quarry business…please I beg of you, because I genuinely want to be good and a source of joy and happiness to humanity….I really don’t want to be evil…I would appreciate it if you can consider what I just shared with you very seriously….the voice on the other side went dead silent thereafter.

Two hours later the lorries showed up at the at gate again – this time…they’re perfect.

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‘If someone is not treating you fairly and respectfully…then they are taking advantage of you – when that happens, you must learn to say, this is not acceptable and even be prepared to walk away.

Because if you allow others to take advantage so much as even once – it doesn’t just stop there…as all you’re doing is painting a big bulls eye on your back for everyone else to do the same!

This is how people get bullied, victimized, used and abused…..without them even realizing it, they create the very conditions for grief…by looking the other way…keeping quiet, when they should stomp their feet and bang tables…..by being politically correct….they literally set themselves up for the fall etc etc

In business and even personal relationships if you don’t possess the discipline to walk right out of the door – then you will surely have to get used to worrying, suffering and getting shortchanged all the time…..you must be prepared to walk away.

Walking away may hurt…be very inconvenient and costly (as it doesn’t make economic sense to do so sometimes)…at times you may even go down for the count all bloodied… but at least you stuck to your motto of giving others a great deal and expecting the same from others….at least they and most importantly everyone else knows you’re a dead serious no nonsense fellow when it comes to translating your theory of how you manage yourself and others…..it’s not theoretical!

It is this or we go to war lah!

That is HOW discipline is maintained….granted you may not be popular….people may even decide to black ball you or make your life miserable….but at least you are able to broadcast to everyone that it pays out zero to give you a lousy deal!

As you learn to be comfortable with this idea…you will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to give a great deal and receive one in return.’

It may rain soon….maybe we will get a small shower in the next few days. Then again, it might be a big rain….it’s very hard to say with the weather being so crazy these days…..things may turn from bad to worse. Then again, it may get better or stay exactly the same….who really knows…but one thing is certain….life will go on….and I am glad to be part of this world.

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‘If we genuinely strive to live as happy, healthy and well adjusted people – who possess inner wisdom to see living as a serious matter…..and NOT just something left to chance or the mumbo jumbo of fate and destiny.

Then there is no choice!

One must develop the discipline to ALWAYS be mindful of how the mind has a tendency of going round and round like a cat chasing it’s own tail….this is the nature of the mind…it’s like a river.

You want proof?

Simple. When one observes oneself and others carefully this becomes so very clear…..the first thing that one will discover is how so much of our expectant happiness, health and mental well being is premised on the many assumptions we choose to form about people and events and our objects of interest….it’s all based on ONLY that and very little else – from my years of study, this is the tap root of why so many people work themselves up to a frenzied state of anxiety and fear unnecessarily…..in some cases it paralyses them to a point where they can’t even step out of their comfort zone – to put it another way – they have developed the habit of chasing their own tails….without even realizing it.

And when one is going round and round, it’s impossible to be restful, peaceful and calm.

This state of mind is the reason why so many people take things personally…..feel insecure….become fearful….get angry and even plan to get even with those who…soon, they have fleshed out assumptions concerning that event, person or whatever piques their interest…usually that assumption is written in stone….in other words, they feel the pressure and need to justify everything, to explain and understand everything ranging from what was once mentioned, thought and written – they do all this in order to feel safe….secure and presumably to perpetuate what they see as their way of life.

But the world is not a laboratory – thoughts, events and even sequences of what may or may not happen cannot be reduced into a science……if one day a man slights me or decides to disrespect me….it may have nothing whatsoever to do with whether I have done something to incur his wrath….maybe he woke up from the wrong side of the bed that day…could be, something is eating him up from within….maybe even be he’s having a tough time at work. Do you see how one act, thought and even can even generate millions of possibilities along with questions that cannot possibly be answered…..because there are really so many things that are working to produce the final outcome….it’s exactly like the crazy weather we are experiencing right now….it’s impossible to say will happen for certain….even the experts don’t know….they can only speculate and even then it’s 50/50.

My point is don’t ever feel pressured or stressed out by what will or will not happen…..will things get better or will they take a turn for the worst…..will the new leap of faith in your new job you just signed up for be better than the rut that you’re in right now. Or will you just be jumping from one hot pot to another….will a meteorite the size of mall strike Singapore and wipe out everything?

It’s not important if the answer is correct….or wrong – what is jugular is only this: don’t make any assumptions….cross the river when you reach it….meanwhile just enjoy the view in the journey of life.

If you can just hold on to this thought long enough…today will be a beautiful day…..one day at a time…small steps.’

Big Rain….

July 14, 2016

With the relentless drought….the kampung economy is slowly shriveling up and dying….nothing can grow without rain.

My worst fears have been realized…the ground has cracked on my hill top lands – this means the roots have been severed…it will be a very difficult year for me and even if the rains come – as after this….it will take time for the trees to heal.

As for the small plot owners – a melancholic mood of despair has set in….today will surveying my lands a group of men asked me respectfully whether I could use my powers to make rain…..I simply looked up at the steely white skies imploringly.

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‘Should one decide to stop and simply sit along the five foot way somewhere along the old British road that runs the length of Beruas to Taiping in the district of Matang and larut in Malaysia.

It’s not unusual to see Tamil boys touching the earth and bringing their hands to their lips as they turn the corner that opens up to a hill. Neither is it strange to see Malay rubber tappers muttering protection verses as they emerge from the thicket near the hill. Even less unusual is to hear mothers or wife’s berating their wayward children and husbands with the peculiar stricture that is unique to the region and exist no where else along the length of breadth of the Malaysian peninsula – ‘if you don’t finish your homework….or stop spending all your money on gambling and drink…he will come for you.’

During the ghost month, it’s not unusual at all for farmers to toss sweets or light a joss stick at the foot of the hill where he’s said to live…..The Devil that is. Yes, in Kampung it is a ridiculous notion to suggest the Devil wears Prada. As everyone here knows only too well, he drives a Toyota land cruiser.

Since simple kampung folk believe he brings them both the twin heads of benevolence and malevolence – social protocol dictates the Devil should never be reminded he his a malevolent creature from that other world. Instead everyone is content to pretend he is just like one of them…..another farmer like all other farmers.

In the full moon, menstruating virgins are forewarned never to take the short cut that cuts thru the Western reaches of the Devils land. And should they be callous enough to do so – they should always draw blood by bitting their lips, if they don’t want him to appear in their dreams.

Kampung legend has it. The devil was once a simple farmer who came to these parts to turn the wheel of life from a city far down south. The wawa boy as he was known to all. Wore a baseball cap, carried a hello kitty backpack and lived in a little hut on the hill. For most of the time, he kept mostly to himself. And on those rare occasions when he did come down to the village to stock up on sundries. The children would gather around him as he distributed reed flutes he had fashioned from his own hand that mimicked the call of wild birds. He loved the birds and trees. Village girls would steal looks at the boy. As he had a boyish charm. For most the days, he could be seen planting row after row of palms in his small veggie patch.

One day a greedy landowner approached the boy to buy his lands. The boy declined and this enraged the landowner. On one moonless night gangsters were sent to frighten the boy. Some said, they went too far. Others would insist since they were all drunk. The boy was accidentally killed. Rumor has it, his body was quartered and thrown into the marsh lands.

But since the boy so loved the trees and birds with all his heart and soul. The earth spirit mourned a river. When the bus from that other world came to collect the boys spirit to take him to the other side. It couldn’t get up the hill….as it was inundated by rivers of tears that made it too slippery to ascend. Eventually the bus driver from that other unmentionable world felt so exasperated he decided to cross the boys name out from the passenger list and even told the trees and birds who so loved him.

‘Alamak! All your crying has made it impossible for my bus to get up this hill. Do as you wish with the boy lah…..I surrender! Give up! Only don’t tell the gate keeper of the otherworld that I have not tried my best or been diligent about my work in the world of the living….I will come for him another day.’

That night when the frustrated bus driver from the other world had said these words and promptly driven off in his jalopy – the devil was hiding behind a palm on the hill and had overheard him. He knew then the trees and birds had conspired to cheat the great book keeper of heaven and earth and that very same night he claimed the dead boy as his worldly form.

It is not implausible for simple folk to believe this fairy tale account of how the boy had died only to be reborn as the Devil. As since superstition, mythology and folklore plays a preponderant role in shaping everyday beliefs and even reality in the kampung – what else could supply a believable explanation of what would come to past.

On the tenth day following the death of the boy when the ‘Lam Hong’ was expected to blow westwards, it blew from the opposite direction. A bad omen. That was the fateful day. The day the evil wind blew from that other direction….from that other world….when another man who all the villagers had seen, yet never ever seen before appeared suddenly in their midst.

Though the man’s features resembled in some faint manner the countenance of the boy, gone were his boyish innocent smile. This other man was older, perhaps fifteen…twenty or more years….it’s hard to say with the devil, as since time has no dominion over him it is always very hard to tell….his features were stern, hard and implacable like granite. He wore a bush jacket like the great landowners of lore who the elders of the village remembered as the man in their youth who once fought the communist during the heady plantation wars in Malaya. This other man had neither the boy’s clumsy mannerism nor his prediliction to smile readily. This other man’s demeanor suggested in every sense, he was not a man to be trifled with or taken lightly. When his resolve was tested one night by a band of reckless brigands, their lorries were found mysteriously burnt to a charred cinder with a sign, ‘this is what happens to thieves!’ A few days after that incident. The leader of the gang who had once murdered the boy was found dead with his head ripped from his body in a nearby estate. The death was so grisly, the coroner classified it as ‘unnatural death’ and concluded he must have been attacked by a very large unknown wild animal.

In the following months a series of strange misfortunes befell the village. The greedy landowner one and only love – his pride and joy. The apple of his eye. His only daughter had eloped with Devil. Some said he had looked deeply into her eyes one evening in the way only the Devil can and in that one moment time had stood so very still and when he had said to her ‘come!’ She followed obediently like a string puppet turning her back on her family. For months the Devil taunted the greedy landowner, till he was reduced to a nervous wreck. In the ensuing months, the health of the greedy owner deteriorated till eventually he was taken to the other side by the bus from that unmentionable other world. And his lands passed on to his daughter who eventually ceded it to the Devil.

Other landowners and businessmen allied with the greedy landowner all came to a similar ignominious end. For years the Devil’s reign of terror pervaded the valley. Till one day he became the largest landowner in the district. Even today when the moon is full. The sound of a bus struggling in vain to climb the hill along with the flowery abuse of an exasperated driver can be heard filtering down to the nearby village from time to time.’

Yesterday I went down to town to run a few errands – you know pay the bills, stock up on frozen food, dog food etc etc…while lunching all by myself. A very beautiful woman came over and took a seat on my table….now that would be mucho strange, but since the restaurant was filled to the brim that day. I considered it quite normal…soon she started to introduce herself…I did the same and a conversation of sorts ensued….a pleasant conversation….one that proceeded with long pauses, where from time to time she would look at me and just smile.

At some point during lunch I excused myself to go to the gent’s….when I returned. The lady was gone, so was a folder that I had carried into the restaurant placed on the chair…the content of the folder contains everything, scaled maps clearly marked with highlighters of the lands I plan to buy, landscaping plans which were planned for the rain season, road maps that I had surveyed, excel spreadsheets detailing every aspect of my entire expenditure for the entire calendar year, bank account details along with private transactions that if they fell into the wrong hands would render me completely transparent….naked….out in the cold.

I smiled supremely as I looked on at the scene…rather strange don’t you think so…..you see it’s very simple really – I have known for quite a long time my business rivals are very desperate to know what my plans are…..they need to know what I am planning to plan to interdict….intercept….counterattack….that is how the game is played – the folder that was taken are all dead ends….they all convoluted routes that lead to doors that open to another door and another and to no where – as for the bank accounts they all belong to the most accomplished Nigerian con men in the whole wide world.

Mission accomplished….now all I have to do is sit back and wait for all those dead ends to go right back to the war room of my business rivals like time bombs.

It’s very satisfying….as I spend days, weeks and even months preparing this folder…and every detail is so realistic and meticulously out that it’s perfect…..but business rivals don’t seem to get it….No!….they’ve missed it the whole point….you see it’s very simple really – it’s not HOW one plays the game the matters most…it’s really a case of how the game plays you!

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‘In business when your rivals can’t seem to break thru no matter what they seem to do – ultimately, they will resort to sex.

Sex is very powerful that is why it’s not unusual to see buxom girls selling fertilizers – all they have to do is jiggle their papayas and say, ‘this will make your fruits big and juicy and heavy!’ – of course they’re referring to the products they’re marketing…what else could they be talking about. But you get my point…sex sells.

As it operates at a primal level of desire….yearning and fulfillment – there is no denying sex is a very powerful and effective crowbar – after all let us be honest about this and speak like men about it – it is what it is…so to say be mindful…be alert….if you cannot tahan (no power to resist) do this or that….really counts for nothing very much.

It is what it is – after all imagine to yourself, I am a man who is very far from home…..it’s only natural for me to have desires…to be touch and be touched. That is all I am prepared to share for the time being.

I don’t have any solution to this hubris….this shard of glass that is implanted in my head….I don’t….

My only solution is to follow the vampire rule, just before the sun goes down – go back home and switch off your mobile phone. Lock down – it’s automatic in my plantation safe house….once the timer reaches seven twenty…all the dead bolts are enabled…the doors cannot be open…unless, a complex override feature is activated. I never go out at night. I never break this discipline….never mix business with pleasure either….just lie down quietly in your vampire coffin and read a book….soon the sun will rise again and it will be another beautiful and safe day…..I am a soldier with a mission…failure is not an option…I must keep to the discipline.’

Wherever you go….whoever you choose to associate with…in whatever setting, be it work, life, play or even in a community of faith believers – you will find that people will lie to you….but do not take it personally…as most of the time these lies have no malicious intent whatsoever – and as you observe more….so does your awareness sharpen…..then you will notice that you also lie to yourself.

That is why I say don’t take it personally – as in most cases when people lie to others….they are doing it simply because they don’t have either the courage or strength of character to face the truth – so do not expect people to tell you the truth all the time, because they also lie to themselves….just like you!

All you can really do in this world is control your own thoughts and tongue……to try to do so with others it a very foolish act.

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‘We all lie to ourselves…..it is really a matter of degree that is all and a question of whether those lies are benign and harmless or deliberately meant to mislead to fulfill a hidden agenda – if it is the latter….then I think it is a problem…as since those lies are so destructive….recently, I attended a conference where the speaker used the word, ‘right sizing’ – I interrupted him mid way and asked, ‘what does this word mean?’ This was in a conference filled with people….after his lengthy explanation as to what this word meant….whatever this speaker had to say came across as disingenuous and contrived….my point is avoid such words…as what they do is subtract your credibility – it does nothing positive for you.

You will find when you create the habit of calling a spade a spade – noted! You may not always come across as politically correct. But at least those who you are speaking too will never have any rhyme or reason to ever question your integrity or intent – is integrity important? Yes, I think so if one desires to engage with others meaningfully on a long term basis.

BUT most importantly, integrity to oneself – that I find requires tremendous effort, humility and honesty….the paradox of the human condition is the vast majority of people don’t have a problem when it comes to seeing the wisdom of being honest to others….but when it comes to themselves, it’s really something else. For one, they rather not think about it…..those I reckon are the most destructive lies….as we become the very victims of the lies we choose to tell ourselves.’

Last week while driving along the kampung roads. I saw a sign, ‘LAND FOR SALE,’ – I happen to know of this couple…I don’t know them personally…..they moved here about two years or so ago – the husband is a Singaporean PR…but he was retrenched or something and so they decided to cultivate orchids for the home market…they hail from Buangkok…I think.

I was wearing my No.1 assassin creed no nonsense planter’s bushjacket complete with briar pipe….as soon as I stepped out from my landcruiser – I did not even introduce myself…instead I asked in an authoritative voice of a landowner – ‘what is the price?’ The man mumbled something….I raised my voice brusquely, ‘speak up man!’ He blurted out a figure….soon his better half came out to join him.

After that I proceeded to survey the land as if thinking aloud….’yes…yes…she is a beauty…..close to the river even….this one can certainly spread her legs wide! Thereafter I boomed out, ‘The matter is settled then…I agree to the price.’ I then proceeded to rattle off a list of things that he should bring along to the lawyers office at 9 sharp the next morning…the title deeds, bank account, ID etc….somewhere in the rush…the man murmured again, ‘you mean to say you see potential in this land?’

I removed my sun glasses and glared at him menacingly….as if he was wasting my time. Thereafter I told the man and his wife, ‘that is a question for me to answer….now are you serious about selling this land!….I hope you are not wasting my time!’

From the corner of my eye. I could tell the woman was pensive and guarded…I can tell, the slight curl at the corner of her lips gave her hesitant nature away – this led me to only one conclusion…the idea to throw in the towel must have come from the husband.

At this point the man began to recount how his business had floundered as in his own words – the weather has been conspiring against us….it’s impossible to grow anything under this heat…I took another step towards him. This time I was so close that he could make out the scar above my right eye, flared my nostrils and made grinding sounds with my teeth…and told him, I am not interested in your sob stories….I just want to know whether you is serious about selling your land….are we clear?

The couple shifted uncomfortably….then the man blurted out something….we have heard about you…you are the man who lives on the hill…the one who once waged war against ten landowners and won…what do you want with this piece of cursed land for?

Before I could answer the woman stepped forward and said, ‘please give us time to think about it….She suggested dinner.

During dinner, I adopted a much more congenial and affable demeanor – it proceeded guardedly at first…then when it warmth up…the couple told me – life has been very difficult for them as the weather is not cooperating.

I told them….that is life….you have good times and the bad…the blessing comes with the curse. But one thing is for sure the bad times cannot last forever…I went on share with this couple they are newbies….I on the other hand am a lau chaui (battle hardened)….so this is very normal. I even suggested to this couple that since the wife’s side comes from a family who trades in the pasar in Bedok….I can even make arrangements for her to gather durians.

I joked, ‘back in the home front, they’re paying ten bucks extra for a kilo of durian…here in the trenches we get it for nothing.’

That was when the woman smiled and soon the man did the same…I had a feeling then they would not sell the land.

That’s a pity….as she is a beauty…you see this is what happens when one is foolish enough to mix emotion with business.

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‘Newbies who come from Singapore to turn the wheel of life are like glass….they’re very fragile…..very crumbly…..when things don’t go their way – it’s as if the world has come to an end….to some degree I can understand.

But really what is a problem? If one breaks it down…it is just simply something that needs a bit of patience, time and sorting out…so one must ALWAYS cultivate the discipline to see a problem in the right scale and perspective – if the Kidon, the state execution arm of Israel, CIA and MI 5 is looking high and low for you with FLIR satellites and the pineapple eye of NSA spyware….that is a problem.

If you are like Kong Hee and looking squarely at ten straight years behind bars….that is a problem.

If you have third stage brain cancer…that is a problem.

If you have to go to bed every night wondering whether men with no necks will rappel down helicopters and double tap with full metal jacketed rounds armed with semi auto’s….that is a problem!

Anything else is not a problem…it is just a set back…a hiccup…a kink…not something to be feared. Rather it is something that simply requires time, patience and understanding….begin by looking at it.

Look at it!

The deeper and longer you look at your so called problems, the smaller they will become….it is not that the problem has magically disappeared….it is simply because you are beginning to understand it’s nature…it’s intricacies….it’s complications like when you open the back of a watch and see how so many different things work together…you have begun to put a sense of scale to it in relation to what is happening in your life….you are even considering making adjustments how to make this ‘problem’ grow smaller. Go on looking at it and soon they will start disappearing completely by assuming a REAL scale and perspective. Suddenly within the kernel of that which you once perceived to be a problem…you will discover opportunity.

The only problem that you have when you are face to face with a problem – is NEVER the problem – rather it is HOW you see the problem….it is as simple as that!’

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Many years ago when I didn’t have a house…

Last week one of the village elders who is part of a cartel to stop me from buying more land….came up to me and said, ‘you told us, you were planning to sell your land and move out!….now it seems you have bought more land.’

I looked at him squarely and told this man whose expression hung with an air of expectancy…..’I said no such thing….that was what you all assumed.’

Thereafter I excused myself cordially and walked right out into the world…..it was another beautiful day.

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“Whatever happens around you, NEVER take it personally…as nine out of ten….it probably has something to do with other people’s life narrative of how they NEED to see themselves in relation to others and the world – Yes! We all a live a life based on a narrative – wordsmithed by the many alphabets of the many assumptions we often make of ourselves and others….you do it…even now when you are reading this….somewhere at the back of your head, you’re asking – what is this man who owns this blog writing about….why does he put so much effort into what he is doing…what is his goal….what does he want from me?

People do this all the time and so do I….they are evil…there is no malevolence….that’s just part and parcel of the human condition – but since I am conscious of how the vast majority of humanity intrinsically NEEDS a narrative like oxygen, water and food to survived….since I am fully and completely aware of WHY he needs so many of his assumptions (real or imagined) to enable him to strive to live a life that he considers meaningful….useful….productive…purpose driven – I am acutely conscious of this human flaw more than most people – that is how I see it…each of us have our own life narrative…it’s like a well trodden path that we walk by every day without us even consciously realizing it….there are even features in this path or narrative, a tree between two lamppost, a bench that we may even take a rest before resuming our journey to where we want to go in life – that is why if there is little or no information, it’s very unnatural for man to suspend disbelief – it’s like suddenly walking down that sane path one day and noticing the tree or park bench is gone or either in the wrong place – so what we usually do instead is fill up that blank space with something – when we do this, we make assumptions about events, people and what may or may not happen – that assumption has nothing whatsoever to do with reality or even the truth, it’s main purpose is to fulfill our need to know and to replace the incomprehensible with something that doesn’t have the power to disturb….this is the intrinsic nature of man. Even should he hear something that he can’t possibly make head or tail about…the need to understand is so powerful that ultimately he will make a assumptions….like I said, it’s got nothing to do with reality or the truth…it’s a deep yearning to understand even if we don’t have all the information too – and given more time that assumption is transformed into their version of the truth – hence man becomes the manufacturer of his own truth and lies….this is why I say everyone has a narrative….a path that they have to walk ONLY because man doesn’t have either the courage, patience or wisdom wait for the truth to emerge.”

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