March 29, 2015
One would do well to be absolutely clear about the difference between heritage and history. The only reason why I feel the compelling need to underscore this difference is its all too easy to be seduced by heritage. Heritage is after all like a phantom mirror – most of us can’t but help find tradition and the past consoling. They link us to the familiar, binds us to those with whom we share a common history, and thereby supplies us with a sense of belonging….a vantage where we are able to relate not only to ourselves, but also makes sense of where we might fit in the community.
These are powerful trappings. As since man is intractably a social animal – one could say he always needs a sense of scale along with placing to help him make sense of where he stands in this world. People who do not understanding the gravity of this emotional pull – can very easily be manipulated by others. This is the very reason that accounts for the constant success of bent politicians, self serving pastors and confidence trickster.
It is only when we begin to understand the delectable nature of heritage and how it is able to warp the mind trapping us in a web of sugar coated lies. That we are able to distinguish between heritage and history.
While history is open, comprehensive, collaborative, aimed at winnowing truth from lies, at keeping scrupulously close to supporting evidence. Heritage is none of these things. It is instead a declaration of faith….a fait accompli which relies of the raw material of historicism to paint a picture that serves specious goals. Heritage unlike history has nothing whatsoever to do with the quest for the truth – instead it leverages explicitly on the power to omit, bend, exaggerate, elide, invent and embellish the truth to wordsmith a narrative that satisfies certain needs: to pal locate our fears, to lull us all into a false sense of confidence, to connect us all to our identity and roots and founding myths….unlike history which is always testable and open to intellectual inquiry. Heritage is a hermetically sealed chamber…it is neither open or challengable and has even a supernatural quality that elevates it to the realm of the sacred.
A wise man knows the difference between history and heritage. Above all he knows why one needs to be absolute clear to enable one to winnow truth from lies. As for the fool….he will just follows blindly….to the fool, it’s all one homogeneous mass like peanut butter.
That is the nature of the world.
‘Should you drive on the old colonial road between Beruas and taiping in Malaysia and stop at the many side road Tamil shrines. It’s not unusual to make out a strange somber figure standing alongside the pantheons of Indian dieties. Take your time about it….look closely…standing alongside the Pandavas, he always there.
It’s a figurine of the great planter…with his large oversized briar pipe, stern bush jacket and square framed glasses.
Kampung folklore remains divided concerning how this strange figurine came to occupy this revered space…the Tamils believed such a man to be immortal like the perpetuity of the wheel of life. To rubber tappers the very sight of the stern landowner represents an allegory of the continuum of their way of life. As for the Malays, they remember him as the man who brought law order along with electricity and piped water to the provinces. The Chinese both revere and loath him – as they remember him as the marauder who gave them no quarter during the tumultuous period of the Malayan emergency when the communist roamed the countryside with impunity.
But all agree the image of the man is as old and sacred as the hills….he will never perish….he will always live on……he is always there like the all seeing sun. Oldmen often recount stories to wide eyed kampung kids – how the man once waged war against the forces of darkness…how he vanquished them all…crushed the head of the serpent and restored light….how good won over evil by the narrowest of margins. As for the womenfolk whenever they walk beneath the shade of the saffron bearing ficus tree – they would draw blood by bitting their lower lip during the full moon as they believe, this is where the man’s spirit reside…..he is always there….always watching over the villagers…protecting the young, old and stupid….he is the great planter.
But it’s all an elaborate lie. A tragic deception conceived solely to perpetuate the aristocracy of the landowning classes. Or maybe it isn’t….perhaps it’s a necessary lie that supplies hope to the masses like one of those sobriquet phrases that the powerless and damned so often mutter to themselves…we are the salt of the earth…tomorrow will be better than today….the best is yet to come.
Such is the nature of power and politics. It is always harder to fight faith than knowledge…..and so the man who never was will live on forever in the hearts of all kampung folk.’
March 28, 2015
When a ‘great’ man goes over to the other side. It’s easy to wax lyrical about his accomplishments. I say it’s easy because instinctively as humans, we tend to get swept away by the emotional tsunami. Most people are lazy. They never feel the compulsion to ask themselves – why am I behaving in this manner?
That’s why it’s important to also reflect deeply on the human cost of those who had to be sacrificed to enable this one man to be ‘great.’
History after all only truly belongs to the truth….and there can be only one truth.
‘I am a respectable businessman. That at least is how everyone regards me. It’s easy to form such a favourable opinion about me. Easier still for one to take the course of least mental resistance and believe it completely….absolutely…without once bothering to question it.
After all, I am well educated. I carry myself confidently and can always be counted to be the paragon of reasonableness, congeniality and decorum…most people don’t ever see the need to question my impeccable credentials. Nor my background – they just assume…there goes another model landowner who made it with grit, hard work. A pillar of his community blah blah blah even if they did, there are enough dead ends to put an end to the many rumours and speculations concerning my humble beginnings which I have meticulously wordsmmithed…mythologised….embellished….censored…..and whitewashed of all undesirable aspects of my narrative.
Tabula rasa…..like a clean slate….
But let me share this with only you…no one can never run away from the truth….I don’t care how well crafted the lies are….no one can ever run away from the truth.
This at least is what you say to yourself from time to time when it suddenly stands before you like some apparition…the naked truth that is.
You look down….kick the dust beneath your feet…..but you know it’s still there….right before you.
Suddenly you’re seized by this thought. You have go to someone and you think, ‘I’ll tell him the truth about my life…the unabridged version that no one is supposed to read.’ But why? You believe confessing is going to make it all better. That at least is what you believe or maybe you just need to believe in that ridicolous idea…maybe that’s just another to avoid looking at the naked truth.
True enough. You feel awful after your confession, and if it truly is tragic and awful, it’s not better now, it’s worse. As if the exhibitionism inherent to a confession has only magnified your miserableness.
No! The truth about you is not such a handsome thing….not at all. Neither are the things once said and done. It shouldn’t have happened that way. This is what you say to yourself….it’s a way of distancing yourself from yourself. A form of escapism like how children retreat into their make belief world of the third person Pokemon.
‘It shouldn’t have happened that way….’
But it did and deep down you know – as awful as it is…you wanted it. You didn’t just want it like an abstraction. The very idea took hold over you, till it consumed all of your being. You wanted it….in the way you to tore at it with gnashing fangs. You wanted it….like some mythical beast that rips a man’s heart out and wolfs it all down. You wanted it!
Don’t you dare presume to judge me! Who the fuck are you to preside over the facts of what I should or should not have done? You were not there…..You don’t know how it is to curl up in one corner in the dark and shake so hard with fear…to feel each passing moment cutting like a knife….because there were so many of them. Each wanting to take a slice out of me.
So I had to show them all. To make examples out of those who disrespected me. They needed to be taught a lesson. To never ever forgive. To always hold a grudge to the very end and to see that unpleasant business to its logical end.
No it’s a not such handsome thing….not at all. Did you really think I never once considered going the other way? To live and let live? To forgive and forget. To start all over again…..nothing would have given me the keenest pleasure, but I was afraid that if I did that they would all see me as what I truly am…a weak man whose really afraid of his own shadows.
No one must ever see that side of me. No one can. I am the man of steel…the hard, ruthless, implacable man. I did what I had to do! It’s not as if I had anything resembling a choice….what did you expect me to do throw in the towel and run back to Singapore with my tail between my legs….call the police…cry to mummy!
Is it true what they whisper about me behind my back…yes! yes! Yes! Only understand this before you sanctimonious fucks decide to judge me…..it could just as well have been you doing all those things they said I did! Everyone has a limit…you have one…and those who insist on telling you they have all the sagacity to do the right thing, simply have no inkling what a man or for that matter any man can be pushed to do when he has his back against the wall fighting one against ten or maybe twenty…it’s hard to say….I am no exception..I had no choice..they gave me none…otherwise there would be nothing to talk of in the present tense…absolutely nothing!
I did what I needed to do. Nothing more or less. I did not relish it – never even once said it was the right thing to do. Never! Only that it needed doing.
I don’t expect you to agree with me. Not at all. I can even understand should you decide to give me the cold shoulder….treat me like a pariah….or even decide to call me hurtful names behind my back. All these things….I can accept and I understand completely. Believe me I do.
Only, you don’t have a right to judge me. That you don’t have the right to do. Because you didn’t have to go thru what I had to…the horror…the horror.’
March 26, 2015
I have never been truly comfortable with the concept of ‘work.’ Don’t get me wrong. I am not lazy. I work as hard as the next cookie cutter. But I do question: the philosophy of what work is and should be along with how that idea might fit into the greater scheme of what it means to live a purpose driven life. That’s to say I don’t regard it as ‘given’ that work should comprise of a,b,c,d etc etc. Neither do I consider work as something that everyone says it is…to me the idea of work is deeply personal in so far as how I am able to relate to it.
For example, if work means that you have spent two thirds of your life in a cubicle replying meaningless e-mails and conference calling when everyone is sound asleep just to buy stuff to impress other people how ‘successful’ you are. Then to me, work has to be a ridiculously stupid idea.
If work means whole droves of humans don’t even bother to raise families any longer because they’re so fixated on the whole idea of getting ahead in life – then to me even if one is successful….it could be said the goal is serious misplaced.
Like I’ve said….I have always questioned the whole idea of work and how it might nourish or disable the mind, body and spirit. If there is one reason why I have always questioned that idea, it’s because I have noticed humans are the only animals who have to work along with deriving their self worth and ten other things that makes it possible to live. Animals make their livings by just living, but humans work as if its a prosthetic that makes living possible, thinking that they have to in order to get by. The bigger the job, the greater the sense of importance, prestige and challenge, the more wonderful they think they are….its a sort of scripting that has been wordsmithed since we were all young…..drummed into our heads….reinforce by the very litany of work for the sake of work culture. If you don’t have an important job….then you’re a failure…..you’re not important…and if one day you die, no one is ever going to show up for your funeral except maybe a dog that will piss on your tombstone. That at least is how I perceive the pithy summary of what work is to the common man.
Fortunately, when a man thinks deeply about the whole idea of work. Sooner or later he would tinker with the idea: how wonderful would it be to give up that corrosive idea of work and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. In probably the way animals do, stepping out only when it’s cool and comfortable in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon.
You know even that simple idea isn’t really that simple. When I first started farming. I was a stickler for getting things done in a twelve hour day. I would work like a crazy man shovelling coal into a furnace….it didn’t matter how hot it was….I would work….pit myself against rain. But you know what….I didn’t get very far. That was because that method of working was just so stupidly inconsistent with nature’s way of getting things done.
Since then I’ve changed the way I work….I go with the flow…if it’s too hot…I don’t mind bowing out while taking a afternoon nap. If it’s raining cats and dogs I just hang up my boots and chill…for me that is really how work should be if its going to nourish the mind, body and soul, it’s got to place the human first and all other considerations like productivity come thereafter.
The problem as I see it these days is the people who are responsible for planning don’t mind placing human beings last and that’s why you end up with really stupid things like stellar economic growth and empty playgrounds because no one wants to have kids any longer…to me that will always be very stupid.
For work to be truly meaningful it means to be constantly questioned…its not good enough when people just tell you as if they’re reading off a laminated card…that’s the way it is! Welcome to life! Or this is our karma!
For me when a man questions constantly the whole idea of work. Then at some point he will craft his own ideal of work: work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.
March 25, 2015
There are no short cuts in striving to be your own man. I realise there are many funny people out there who insist on telling you, someone who you hardly know died for you or paid the price and from now onwards it’s easy street. But to me that’s just a crock of shit!
Truth is this. To be your own man requires dedication, preserverance and above all education. I am not talking about the skill sets to accumulate stuff like money. Sure financial Liberty is certainly important. But I happen to believe that attitude and outlook is far more important.
Where does one even begin to reclaim back the self? That’s the question I get asked a lot.
I happen to believe striving to be comfortable alone may well be a very good place to start. Being alone can teach a man many things about himself that he previously did not know about himself. Or maybe just took for granted. I am not going to be a spoiler by listing out the things that may jump out like skeletons in the cupboard when a man consciously decides to dedicate his mind, body and spirit to this endeavour. I will however say this, very early on into the journey, one is almost assaulted by the idea how inadequately prepared we are to handle the whole idea of loneliness.
I will give this much in the way of advise….it has to be sparing….so here goes.
The way I see it, the trouble is not really in being alone….not at all….that to me is just a medium…..it’s being assaulted by feelings of loneliness and not being able to cope with the sense of abandonment that actually accounts for suffering. That to me is the real problem.
And I am not even talking about feeling lonely just because you happen to be marooned in an island like Robinson Cruseo. One can be lonely in the midst of a crowd, don’t you think so?
That’s why to me – it’s so important for a man who truly desires to own all of himself to strive to comfortable all alone.
The paradox of our age is we talk so often about emancipation…freedom…and independence. But most people aren’t even comfortable with the idea of dinning out alone or going to watch an afternoon matinee all by themselves.
To me…there is something terribly wrong with this picture.
March 24, 2015
Devising a vocabulary to describe the relationship between the landowner and the landless is like devising a vocabulary for sex. There are of course the correct compendium of Latin names, but most people I imagine would rather invent euphemisms….only because they to be able to describe the pathos of the relationship better.
I must admit when I first ventured into commercial farming. My knowledge of the timeless relationship between the landowning aristocracy and the landless can at best be described as ranging from scanty to piecemeal. In truth, there was no reason for me to draw the distinction between the landowning class and the landless – there existed no compelling reason for me to contrast, distinguish nor draw any manner of comparisons to delineate these two classes in the perhaps the same mood of ambivalence that accounts for why causal wine drinkers never see to correlate vintage with years like cognoscenti’s ….not that I was even remotely conscious that such a social strata existed. My attitude then could now be best described as happily ambivalent….naive….ignorant…bordering on possibly the intellectually negligent. The only reason that accounts for describing my omission in such grave terms of indictment may have something to do with the idea…I never once had any reason to doubt the world was suitably fair. I had no reason to draw the contrary assumption when it came to agriculture…call it what you may a throw back of my city life…a ghost from my previous life before my reincarnation as a farmer.
As I turned the wheel of life. Eventually I became acutely aware of this dichotomy between the landowning class and the landless to such a refined point of understanding that one could even say….I was able to supply any explanation under the sun by simply citing it as the one and only causal chain that accounted for virtually every social aberration that transpired in the kampung.
It’s the very reason why when the landowner speaks to the landless – the latter can only lower his eyes in supplication and shift around uneasily. The mood can at best be described as climatic. Everything it seemed converged on the hub of this one dichotomy…the indolence of the landless…to the finality of their acceptance that nothing could possibly change even should they avail themselves to industry and iron willed work ethic…nothing would or could ever change…the landowner would always come out tops!
For many years I refused to accept the notion that I belonged to the landowning class – my rebellion or should I say ideological diaspora consisted of a militant refusal to associate myself with the landowning classes. Neither did I take to their ways…instead I nurtured the belief….I was an exile who had nothing in common with this class who I regarded with utter contempt…I resented their life of mindless dissipation which to the best of knowledge comprised of devising ever more inventive ways to accelerate their decay…ours was a relationship based on irreconcilable ideological differences that marked us out as not only diseparate….but different.
But life is indeed cruel. I say this as a man who seeks the sanctuary of intellectualism to hold himself out as different only to realise he’s not so different after all from the very class that he wishes to distance himself from. I can’t explain whether it was one solitary event or even a series of decisions that managed to convince me that I was never at all so different from that other class to qualify as different.
From the moment when that terrible realisation dawned on me – life could nor was it ever fair, it took root imperceptibly like some evil weed squeezing out everything that I had once believed in.
I am convinced it’s was a gradual process of decline like a bridge rusting infinitesimally away…a debilitating disease of the conscience that probably belongs to the periphery of life that no one ever notices…that perceptive no man’s land of elevator music, fire exit signs and humming vacuum cleaners early in the morning. Hardly the stuff one ever notices….but somewhere in it all that which I once resented with all my power had permeated my very soul…canaled the way I made sense of the known world even….transformed the very way I saw the world…till I could only see the world like all other landowners.
I don’t know what ever happened to that other man who once believed in the idea of fairness – from time to time I still see him in the twilight of the shadows….a bumbling figure with his wide eyed grin….but it last just a feeling moment and all that remains is the hard granite faced man.
How I wonder did it come to this?
March 23, 2015
What is the one thing that awakens the human consciousness. To me the answer to this mystery lies in reclaiming our sense of self that we mortgaged to the world. Until we understand what the land is? How it relates to our mind, body and spirit? Man will always be at odds with himself….there will always be something amiss about his existence….he can’t quiet put his finger on it….but something doesn’t sit well. That is because without the land, he is like a sailor marooned in the seas without a compass.
For those who feel this heavy sensation of emptiness in their lives and who truly desire to understanding it for what it is and not what others say it is. It is necessary for them to reconnect with the land – to even turn their backs from the concrete jungle, the highways, the places that’s always suffused in perpetual light and sound – and re-enter the silence of the lands. For only there can a man encounter the silence and the darkness of his own absence. Only in this silence and darkness can he recover the sense of the world’s longevity, of its ability to thrive without him, of his inferiority to it and his dependence on it. Perhaps then, having heard that silence and seen that darkness, he will grow humble before the place and begin to take it in – to learn from it what it is. As its sounds come into his hearing, and its lights and colors come into his vision, and its odors come into his nostrils, then he may come into its presence as he never has before, and he will arrive in his place and will want to remain. His life will grow out of the ground like the other lives of the place, and take its place among them. He will be with them – neither ignorant of them, nor indifferent to them, nor against them – and so at last he will grow to be native-born. That is, he must reenter the silence and the darkness, and be born again.
March 22, 2015
March 19, 2015
My recent land purchase is small….modest….possibly even insignicant. Yet it’s effect on my business rivals can only be described as ‘disproportionate.’
Why is that so?
Firstly I’ve managed to strike deep within the crèche of their hinterland….that which comprises the elements to disturb in this recent land transaction is hardly the size….it’s the diabolically evil manner in which I have planned this surprise attack. The execution was perfect….they didn’t even know what hit them…no time to even react….to organize a counter strike.
But there is one fatal flaw in this strategy….it’s unsustainable….I don’t have the means to swallow them up whole…..it’s a paper mâché tiger….a bluff.
I need to sue for peace….otherwise, I am in for pummeling of my life.
They will hunt me down!
There is however one option – the unthinkable where a man would put all that he owns in this world on one number to spin the roulette wheel. A bold move! A Pearl Harbor attack to the South! One where I could gain the world, but just as well end up in square one with nothing.
It has finally come to this….but now it seems as if I lost my resolve….my métier.
I hate them all for forcing my hand. Nothing would have given me the keenest pleasure than to live and let live….but even this morsel of happiness was denied to me. I hate you all….I will destroy you all. I swear, I will! Your lands will be mine!
Why does business have to be like Russian roulette? Why?
March 18, 2015
This hardly requires lengthy elaboration. Without technology humanity has no future. None at least worth discussing. Having said that, we have to be mindgul that we don’t become so slaved to technology for the sake of technology that we end up losing our human feelings.
This is what I shared with a colleague recently, who has a habit of SMSing all the time. Don’t get me wrong. I SMS too. I even happen to believe its a niffty app that allows people to keep in touch. But when people start to use this medium of communication ONLY because they much prefer not to have a real conversation.
Then it’s just plain dumb. I do not think it’s unreasonable when I told this person that in future he should just use the bloody phone.
‘Technology does not always add value to our lives. At times it can render our existence mechanical, metallic and unthinking. Recently I visited the city and all I could make out were entire rivers of people who looked as if they were all suffering from mass hearing impairment – as they had barricaded themselves in their hermetically sound proofed Ipod world.
In a cafe everyone was tapping busy tapping away at their smart phones. They were talking, but yet everyone looked as if something sinister had been added to the water supply. All I could make out were zombies. I remembered wondering to myself – perhaps the city has changed. Perhaps I don’t fit in any longer like one of those old cassettes one finds from time in a place where things go to die…silently….quietly….in darkness.
Somewhere between two lamppost. I felt a deep urge to return to where I came from. I paused momentarily at the reflected image of myself in a shop window – a man attired in a strange bush jacket was staring back. For a moment he looked like a stranger I hardly recognized, like one of those characters one comes across in sepia prints from some bygone age. Perhaps it was the way this stranger carried himself – or maybe it was simply the curious interplay of light and shadows that painted him as some peculiar caricature that stood apart from the times.
Following my chance encounter with the stranger in the shop window. Thereafter I drew an invisible boundary between myself and other people. I can’t recall whether it was a conscious decision. Maybe….perhaps….only it’s not something I would usually do. I maintained a set distance, carefully monitoring the attitude and demeanor of others so that they wouldn’t get any closer. I didn’t easily swallow what other people told me. Unbeknown to me then I begun slowly to remounce to the world and give all of myself like a desolate island set against the infinity of the endless seas.’
March 16, 2015
If you truly want to command the unreserved respect of your peers, colleagues and people who you regularly come into contact with. You must establish from the onset of the relationship. You can survive without them. They are truly optional to your mission. To put it crudely, they’re dispensable.
The problem as I see it usually comes in when delusional people believe (real or imagined) they have the power to either alter or affect your mental, physical and spiritual well being through their acts and omission.
Once you make the fatal mistake of being beholden to others – you can only lose your bargaining power…thereafter you will very quickly lose you respect and be despised.
Train your mind to be as strong as diamond…..it’s unbreakable!
Train, train, train and train!
‘For one and a half years a conceited clique of village elders have put pressure on me to conform to their ways – it is a very subtle form of psychological warfare designed to force me to kow tow to their ways. This they do through a variety of ways, by allocating me a table next to the toilet during functions. By sending me to Coventry, where I am forced to eat all by myself. The list goes on and on lah – it’s all designed to make me feel unwelcomed, a collective show of disapproval, to ostracize and treat me like a pariah.
Recently when they found out that I had purchased a very important piece of land. Some of them asked me to join them on their table.
I declined their offer politely and told them all – I much prefer to eat alone all by myself.
I could tell many people were not happy. Then again that is usually how it is when others want you to bow to them.
I bow to no one! If I really wanted to do that I would have remained a salaried man!
A man who is dead serious about succeeding in business would do well to cultivate the discipline to derive his sense of worth, self respect and manhood entirely by being able to stand independently.
Only a bloody fool will draw his self esteem, respect and dignity from ‘friends.’
Not many people know of this – that is why, they often feel slighted, insulted and saddened whenever others don’t treat them respectfully. These people have no one to blame but themselves as they never once bothered with the serious business of character building.
No one has the power to pass judgement and least of all look down on you….if you never once gave them the authority of power to do so! What surprises me is how simple it all is – yet this is truism is hidden away from so many.’
March 14, 2015
I was once acquainted with a glib tongued businessman who cultivated the company of bent politicians. By some remarkable stroke of fortune. This man managed to get something extraordinary for the cost of absolutely nothing – a large concession of prime land. But since he never once saw the wisdom of spending so much as one sliver of a honest minute in the field. This fool had absolutely no idea how to manage himself and others effectively to bring out the best in that land. Eventually thru a series of mismanagement, incompetence and plain stupidity. This fool blew it all on a Byzantine life of dissipation involving gambling, womanizing and what I can only describe as a great diffusion of nothingness….he ended up despised and penniless.
The moral of the story. Easy come, easy go……nothing valuable is free in this world. I once met a crazy man on a Sunday morning who proudly told me and others in a booming voice, ‘he died for you!’ I distinctly remembered saying to myself, ‘if it’s for for free then, what he has to say can’t be very important.’ Thereafter I put two tic tacs into the hat and promptly left never to return again.
Never take anything for free…not a scholarship…grant or anything for that matter…not even so much as a kind word – it is poison…..I tell you this….it is poison. Never!
This is the defining difference between the wishy washy man and the man of consequence. Since latter has intimate first hand knowledge on how a thing comes about. Only this ilk of man can ascribe an intrinsic value to transform a thing into something valuable. He knows. As this man paid the full price plus interest.
As for the former since it all came to him FOC (free of charge) that thing can never acquire the true agency of worth nor value. Never! Even should these wishy washy people speak of these things, since they never once paid the full price plus interest. They are speak like modern art cognoscenti’s – it’s all an open ended abstraction.
‘When I reflect deeply and honestly on the various people who once came my way and gifted me with knowledge, life craft and wisdom. It was never those who had the best intentions who brought out the best in me. I realize this may sound a trifle ungrateful and even callous. But since I strive for fidelity and accuracy with the measure of the truth….it is, what it is….for despite their genuine love, forebearance and giving spirit. These well intentioned folk merely weakened and robbed me of my resolve. Worst of all they filled my brain will all sorts of happy fairy tales that bore no reality with the actual machination of the real unplugged world. As a result they led me astray.
Ironically, it was my enemies who were my most dedicated mentors, astute luminaries and ardent teachers. Not only did they peel back the superficial veneer of the world to reveal it’s corrupt internal complications of endless intrigues. But since I was frequently victimized, ostracized and discriminated as I was different from all other men. I had the unusual privilege of a front row seat very early on in life to form a very accurate depiction of how the world actually worked.
I am not proud of this confession. But as I sat there and took it all in the front row – it was as if, I fashioned my character entirely from the very raw material of the world’s malevolence, viciousness and relentless attempts to break me in half. Since I was always acute conscious of my estrangement from society which came from never been able to fit in. I got used to the idea of being exile…marooned in my own mind. As I grew older the world forced me to conform….but I could only rebel…and in so doing. I fed on the righteousness, contempt and sanctimony of all my enemies. I even derived superhuman strength from their bile which enabled me to work without sleep for days on end along with building a very high pain tolerance. Not to mention my perpetual paranoia which makes me suspicious of everyone. Paradoxically with each successive attempt to fix me, all they managed to accomplish was to fashion their own nemesis.
Nothing has ever come easy for me…it’s all hard won with plenty of blood, sweat and tears. During the moment of my youth. I believed I was placed on this earth with no other purpose other than to nourish human suffering. I accepted my faith as best I could with an air of stoic finality. That could well be why I always had a furrowed expression and was considered autistic even as a child. But as I grow older I am beginning to understand how it all fits together….that my hard life was not a curse after all….rather it was a blessing.
Yesterday, I had a horrible nightmare….I dreamt of peace. Not just any peace. But the delectable sort of peace that creeps up on a man like a thief….where he might even loosen his heavy working belt. That deadly variety peace that is like an opiate when one may even decide to take an afternoon nap…grow a bit fat..watch TV…the peace of sweet repose and curelean skies where the clouds always look like candy floss….yes, the narcotic peace that useless peace that lulls a man like how Odysseus was seduced of his intent to return home to his beloved Penelope. The poisonous peace that eats into the fiber of manhood like the way acid rain weakens a steel bridge.
When I woke up. I was happy that it was only a nighmare….so very happy that life is still bloody hard like nails!’
March 13, 2015
“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
March 10, 2015
Outsource it lock, stock and barrel to the Japanese. Do not delay. Either that or put up with more grief and lame excuses why we have a first world train service that seems to run more like the Pan African Railway services.
At some point somewhere along the line of reasonableness…..the buck has to stop. Either that or one will just run out of tracks.
March 9, 2015
Fish farming in Singapore is positively medieval. We aren’t talking about Micropore filters, carbon fiber, computers controlled water treatment enclosures or guys who go around in white coats. As much as bamboos held together by twine and driftwood and a couple of Banglas taking orders from a Kepala.
If only they had my space age high tech special forces fish farmers….singapore would never need to import fish again. Never. As for fishes dying en mass it would be like those turn of the century horror stories like Spanish flu.
March 9, 2015
Life is inherently risky. That’s given I reckon. But if there exist this notion of one big risk somewhere in life – that has to be the risk of never trying something new that you absolutely know can either make or break you.
It’s immature to say, we shouldn’t judge others. You do it, at least 100 times a day. You just don’t realize it. And those who tell you they’re enlightened from this trait, don’t know, they do it all the time.
Truth is. This is the one question that goes thru my mind when I am first introduced to someone – has this person crossed a mythical line somewhere in his head?
You just know deep in your bones some people haven’t while others have – it’s a vampire thing. You just know….and to me that makes all the difference in the world.
‘Speak to a man who has put all his life saving on one number and spun the roulette to win and I can almost guarantee you, by the end of the conversation – you will see the world slightly differently.
If I harbor disdain. It is only for particular category of man. He is the lifer. You know the chap whose never ever stepped out into the razor’s edge of the discomfort zone. The man who can stay in the same job in the same company for twenty or thirty over years. The one who keeps harping on that he stayed back because he’s serving some great cause that no one can ever be convinced of. We all know about lifer’s and what they stand for.
To me that’s just a form of dying…a great nothing that everyone makes out to be something – may well be what most people call La Dolce Vita. But strip it right down to the chassis and it’s a delectable way to die…..a glorified way of dissipating ever so slowly into nothingness like a drop of red dye in a glass of water. No! That to me will always be very faraway from the ideal of how to live a purpose driven life.
If there is such a thing as a gold standard of how to live for a man – it has to be the idea of taking full responsibility for one’s life. To live in such a way where a man earns a honest wage under his own terms by offering the world something that people are prepared to vote for with their wallets. To ascribe no quarter of blame to anyone for his success or failure. For he knows only too well, it’s all comes down to only him.
As for that ridiculous idea governments are somehow the purveyors of the good life….well they’re really like that man who parted the Red Sea and rabbit’s foot – they’re all highly optional. Stuff that the rugged individual sneers at and prefers to leave home without….as where he goes, he needs things that he depend on….not dead weight that will just slow him down.
I don’t doubt some people these days may well find the idea of the quiessential rugged frontier man slightly out of place. I can understand why this attitude should gain currency, especially when one considers how so much of what it means to be a real man these days has been gutted out and replaced by the never ending soufflé of trivia that’s so often churned out by both the marketing manifesto and mind dumbing officialdom – brainwashing whole generations of men that they should wear sweet smelling perfume, highlight their hair and spend their hard earned money on stuff that they don’t ever need and just lands them in perpetual debt and slavery….if anything I can’t think of a more compelling reason why the rugged individual must exist.
As only such a man can throw all that the world considers valuable and important into the dustbin and walk right out of the door! The lifer can never do this – as the very raison that accounts for his continued existence as a species requires the status quo.
So for me the most important key performance indicator that determines the wealth of a nation can never be GDP. That’s chimeric. As I can argue there already exist so many first world societies with third world mentalities. It’s certainly a paradox – neither do I consider the idea of glass, steel and experimental architecture as a sure sign that a country has arrived. To me a far more reliable indicator of actual and expected growth will always revolve around the question of whether people are willing to take risk to better their lot. That’s why I’ve always considered the total fertility rate as a sort of canary in the mine – as when people are hopeful then they will raise families.
As you can see for yourself….I see the world differently. I can’t help it.’
March 8, 2015
It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does….it’s always a bloody hassle. Since cars these days are all managed by computers – when the alternator konks out for whatever reason and the battery goes flat. They’re all as good as dead.
Fortunately, I happen to know a lot about cars and spotted the problem just in the nick of time and limped slowly to safety. Spending the night in a inn.
March 7, 2015
During breakfast in the village Bak Kut Teh shop. Two men were arguing about whether CPF was either theirs or the gahmen’s money. They made so much noise, I just wanted to chow and get out of there as soon as possible.
Just when I was about to get up to go, one of them turned to me and asked,
‘What do you think?’
I told them,
‘I really dunno! I am just a simple farmer. Please pity me as my brain hurts! Besides does it really matter whether it belongs to either the government or you? We are so far from home…..it might as well be on the surface of the moon for all I care.’
March 7, 2015
High walls that stop you dead in your tracks are there for a good reason. At one level of understanding – they exist to keep you out. Yes….it is very easy for one to derive at this understanding, especially when one comes to terms with the idea – to scale these walls require special equipment and can be difficult.
But something very strange occurs. When a man sits before these walls day in and day out that runs so high and far. As time works on this man in the way oil seasons leather – soon he awakens to the very kernel of the idea….high walls are simply imaginary….they don’t really exist. Well not for those who want to get in badly at least.
March 6, 2015
There is only one thing every man must learn to do in his lifetime. It doesn’t matter whether that man is educated, low, high, rich or poor. But do it…he must: this man would have to walk, and create the way by his walk; he would realize soon enough, there is no garden path…no yellow brick (unless of course you happen to be a scholar) no ready-made path. No it will not be so cheap. That is the actual price of self discovery. Anyone who says it’s cheap simply has no idea what I am talking about – as since one has bothered to think it out for you….only you can connect the dots….to reach the ultimate realization of truth.
You will have to create the path by walking yourself. It is just like the sky: the birds fly, but they don’t leave any footprints. You cannot follow them; there are no footprints left behind.
But once you reach this point….you know…you have arrived.
Many people do not know this that is why they think and speak like children.
March 5, 2015
I am old. Not just old, but so very old that my hands resemble a prune. It’s late in the afternoon. I know it as the hour of hesitation, when the birds return to roost and the light seems to vacillate between darkness and light. I am sitting in my favourite rattan chair. I am surrounded by trees….I must be in a plantation. There are a few men armed with shotguns in the far distance…they work for me. I can tell by the way they carry themselves…I must have a lot of enemies. To my side is a trusted Doberman.
But I am all alone like some desolate shark infested island smack in the middle of the infinity of the Pacific.
I feel a profound emptiness sweeping over me. It makes me cry. It’s as if I’ve just finished a journey of ten thousand miles by foot only to discover that I arrived where I have started.
Then very slowly the world goes darker and darker…till all light is extinguished.
I’ve had this reoccurring dream since the moment of childhood….I don’t quite know what it means.
It’s always the same fream