Today the village barber who doubles as the director of the CIA informed me a couple was showing my photograph to villagers and asking about me. So naturally, I arranged for the village roti man who I personally trained as a Mossad secret agent to follow them around and find out more about their intentions. It seems the couple wants to thank me. I was very surprised as when the image of man and wife was shown to me, I don’t seem to have any recollection of ever meeting them.

Nonetheless they were escorted to my house. When the man saw me, he turned to his wife and muttered in a trembling voice, ‘Finally, I am face to face with the man himself.’

Then he proceeded to introduce himself and mentioned that he had travelled a great distance just to thank me. I was a bit startled by all this sudden show of emotion, so I suggested a walk around the plantation while the man began to recount the story of how after been retrenched many years ago in Singapore, he had come across my blog and after reading it, he had sold off his HDB and ventured out to seek his fortune in Cambodia. The man went on to recount his rags to riches tale from a nobody to being the undisputed king of plastic wares in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos etc etc etc.

On one occasion he even shared with to me his deep felt conviction that had it not been for my writings which he considered as a solitary tongue of light in his many moments of darkness, it is very unlikely that he would have discovered the confidence to build his El Derado. That was when I turned to him and asked him to show me his hands. When they were spread out before me. I took off my sunglasses and looked him in the eye and after a very long pause, I told him,

‘These are the hands that made you the great man that you are today.’

————————————————————————————

‘Understand this!. If possible write it down, laminate it and carry it in your wallet. Never leave home without it….as it is very important.

Whatever I write, I write for myself. So you should never regard it to be something ‘on my authority’ in such a way where you say, ‘Darkness says this or that…so it must be,’ – if you do that, I guarantee you, you will suffer, for you will not grow.

The priest will never tell you this. For him it is all or nothing. This one cannot. That one can. This good. That bad. etc etc etc. That is because all religion first requires complete and total surrender of your thinking faculties, without this precondition it is impossible to construct a faith accompli. The brain must be dead in that sort of engagement.

But in this case, the power of your brain is what makes it all possible. As what I experience and write about can never be the same as what you have gone thru or will ever experience in the future. I am not you and you are not me. The end.

It is only when you interrogate what you read here (and I might add elsewhere as well) as vigorously as possible …compare and contrast with whatever….test out continuously…..adjust, so that it takes stock of your individuality….and recruit your thinking mind when you practice it daily…. that you are able to experience real and meaningful mind and spiritual growth.

Above all when you do all this, that which was once mine is magically transformed into yours to call your very own…..that is the goal.

All other things are not important and are merely distractions.’

The question

July 28, 2015

Sometime back ago a very old landowner who has a habit of telling everyone in the village – his time is running out, asked of me – can you please tell me…as I am dying soon….is there life after death?

I told the old landowner who likes to tell everyone he is going to die. The question is not whether there is life after death…..but are you alive now?

——————————————————————————–

‘Do you all notice, we live in a very funny age. These days everyone talks about sustainability. And it’s good that they do, because the opposite of sustainability is you would end up running out of batteries and grinding to a stop! That’s why Politicians like to talk about sustainable growth. Environmentalists go on and on about sustainable development and even farmers talk endlessly about sustainable farming…..but do you ever notice, no one ever talks about how to be a sustainable human!

That is why we end up living so much of our life in either the past or the future. Look around you. Isn’t life a paradox. Two couples who sitting together and what are they doing? Checking whatsap on their smartphones instead of talking to each other. People SMSing instead of talking. Whole generations living their lives in the virtual world. People who work, work and only work and even when they are supposed not to work, they are working. People who rush here and there, do this and that and yet neglect the most valuable and important things right before them etc etc etc.

To me that is simply unsustainable living! A dead end….Jalan Mati lah!

The solution is to strive to live in the NOW! Committing yourself to now, does not imply that you are an irresponsible hippie who doesn’t believe in forward planning. Neither does it mean, you don’t value the wisdom of what the past can teach you to shape you into a better person.

It’s simply an attitude to live life sustainably…intelligently and in the correct way a life should be lived.

Worry? Yes by all means, you wouldn’t be human if you don’t have the capacity to worry, but do it intelligently by recognizing the scale and perspective of problems. Do not be consumed by fear and anxiety all the time, that it even threatens to overwhelm you till you don’t have the capacity to live in NOW.

Forward plan? Yes of course, but do not be so obsessed again about trying to intercept the future that you end up living so much of your life in the imaginary future instead of the present.

It is a matter of degree and scale. Do not go overboard. Always keep things in the right scale and perspective. Do not make a mountain out of a molehill. Take it all in sensibly…intelligently…sustainability. How do you eat an elephant? Not in one sitting, unless you want to explode. Cut it up into little bite sizes and take your time about it….that’s sustainable dinning. In the same way for life, to live well, be part of NOW! Marinate yourself in it. Feel it’s texture. Savor it.

Above all understand the Tao of things – without the dichotomy of black and white, darkness and light, freedom and bondage….life will have absolutely no meaning. Just as without sadness there can be no such thing as happiness, they are truly complimentary concepts, one of the same reality even. Just as without death, there can be no appreciation of life and without the agony of defeat, there can be no such thing as the thrill of victory.

Strive to be at peace with the Tao of things. Do not spend your time and energy fighting the forces of the universe…

Soft power

July 27, 2015

My life can be considered a very sad allegory. As since I ventured into the plantation business under less than ideal circumstances. I’ve had to literally fight for every square millimeter just to establish my business. Nothing ever came easy for me. Not even so much as once! It was all hard fought! Tooth and nail.

In the early days that I often refer to as the days of lighting and thunder. There were many times when I’ve had to face off against bigger rivals who had more money and were better networked that me. There are many things that I have done that I much prefer never to mention and take to my grave. After so many years of relentless warring, it would not be an exaggeration to say most people who are well acquianted with my histoy can really only perceive me as a very hard, implacable and ruthless businessman.

Someone who you don’t mess around with…

That is why whenever there is an opportunity to project the softer and caring side of me. Usually I put in considerable time and effort. I feel the need at this stage of my life to somehow balance the scales of life.

My only regret is why did they have to make my life so difficult and miserable. Had my life been easier from the word go, had those who once waged war on me showed me even a morsel of humanity, dignity and given me the benefit of the level playing field….things would be so very different today.

———————————————————————————–

‘If you have an opportunity to be compassionate, fair and reasonable to someone who you don’t even know. Do it! Do it even if it hurts you. Do it even if you believe you will never see him again. Do it unconditionally.

That’s my advice to you.

Because if you are nasty, then you better pray that person is going get so badly beaten up from that terrible experience. That he just decides to run right out of your life with his tail between his legs and you never ever see him again.

That is the best case scenario.

But let us assume all things being equal. That person who you once took a bite out of manages to somehow survive against the odds and subsequently decides to come right back. Then my advice to you is consider putting a bullet in his head. Finish him off! Because at that point, you are already well and truly in very dangerous territory.

If for some reason you don’t have balls of steel to see that unhappy enterprise to its logic unpleasant end. Then your second best option is to pray one million times a day, this person ends up being a Mr Nobody. Pray very hard that fortune doesn’t smile on him. Not even so much as once! Pray harder that he dies of lung cancer or gets knocked down by a car. Because if this person who you once wronged for whatever reason makes something significant out of his life. Then one day should that man who you once wronged come across a poor innocent soul who needs a helping hand or just a kind deed. The chances are he would just take a huge bite out of him in the very same way you once did.

It’s a reflex action….automatic……he can’t help it. By God he cannot. That’s the tragedy.

Do you see how it all comes back? The reason is because when you were nasty to this man many years ago – you didn’t merely wrong him. You actually robbed him of his humanity and worse of all you weakened his faith in the goodness of mankind. To put it in another way, you fashioned a cold hearted and ruthless monster.

The horror…the horror…the horror.’

The ‘Bumba’

July 26, 2015

That Tuesday morning when Kumo Adomako woke up and saw a large white heron perching on the window sill of his apartment window in Telok Kurau. He realized deep in the marrow of his bones this Tuesday would be very different from all other Tuesdays that had once come and past in his twenty three years of life – the ‘Bumba’ the divine messenger from that other world the elders in his village in Africa only made gestures by pointing across their shoulder while rolling their eyes and never once speaking it’s name…not even so much as a whimper for fear that it would alter the happy ebb and flow of providence, had visited him and left an ominous omen. Kumo picked up the solitary feather and held it up against the light like some sacred amulet – he set it carefully to his right ear when he went out into the world that day.

As he walked all the way to Aljunied MRT station as he did everyday, that day Kumo walked ever so slowly and carefully always mindful never to break the spell.

He made sure his feet never once stepped across a broken line on the pavement. And when he reached the train platform he felt a sudden wave of relief as if he had just crossed a croc infested river. Soon the feeling settled and once again Komu was invaded by the vague sense of something missing in his life like a man standing before a strange arrangements of alphabets that he could not read. But this was feeling of acute estrangement was soon swept away by a stronger under current that intensified with every passing moment. The conviction that soon all would be revealed in good time by the ‘Bumba’.

Kumo did not need any further confirmation that this was the Tuesday of all his Tuesdays. He just knew. Everything about today was infused with a supernatural intensity bordering on the surreal. Nothing was the way it had been the day before. Not even the blob of green spit that had marked the first few pavements when he started his meditative walk that morning – or how he had stopped and peered at it like some bejeweled emerald. Even the mundane morning bright sky, empty and clear apart from one distant bluish puff of cumulus, which cast a drifting shadow over the neat blocks of housing estate seemed so virginal. As if he was looking at the world for the very first time and this filled him with giddiness.

Kumo did not have to wait long for the cryptic message of the ‘Bumba’ to reveal to him why this Tuesday would be different from all the rest of his other Tuesdays. When the station stopped at Tanah Merah and the door hissed open. A man like any other man in all the rolling vastness of the sea of humanity stepped in – he was wearing a loose fitting T shirt, bermuda’s and slippers carrying what appeared to be groceries. The man sat opposite Kumo. He was none other than the Shahidi, the Chinaman cocoa planter of Gabundi Estate.

Kumo shifted his eyes down and bit his lips in deference as he had always done before the Shahidi. Before he did so, he read the words of the man’s T shirt –

‘Different day, Same shit.’

——————————————————————————-

Compass Rose, city hall, Singapore July 2004

Dotty: Stay. There is no need to go anywhere. Everything you need is right here in Singapore. Please don’t make it sound as if it’s a grand design! You should really record yourself and watch how ridiculous you sound. If you ask me. It’s really just something that you made up in your head…are you listening to me? Stay….stay in Singapore….you don’t need to go anywhere. There is no quest. No great age of exploration. Nothing to prove. We don’t live in the age of candles and sail boats! I am not wearing a bonnet and you aren’t Phileas Fog. The problem with you is you’ve managed to convince yourself there’s this grand narrative that no one can possibly understand except you….that you simply have to live out. That’s not how life really is. May well be like that in the movies….but it’s not really like that in real life. Are you listening to me? Or do you want me to thump you again! People can change their life narrative. They do it all the time. They read a self improvement book, they change. The met other people and it changes. They settle down and it all changes. Go to work and it changes as well. Things change all the time. But with you, it’s as if nothing can ever change that life narrative and now you want to pick and just go. Well go then. I don’t really care any more. Just go. It’s not as if we both didn’t know you are cursed with irresponsible genes or that this day wasn’t meant to happen….are you going to keep quiet? Because if you are I am going to bite you really hard and make a scene here! Say something.

Man: Dotty there are many things you don’t know about me….

The Past

July 25, 2015

Singapore 1999

‘Why did you leave Uganda?’

‘There was a war.’

‘It’s like that over there isn’t it? It’s all messed up.’

‘I guess.’

‘Did you see any action?’

(A long pause)’No.’

‘Cool! You got to tell me more about what you did there one day.’

‘Sure.’

———————————————————————————–

‘The man who returned did not want to remember his past. He did not. He worked the shift and the rest of the time he walked the streets of the city like someone who only wanted to put as much distance between himself and his haunting past.

He liked walking. Or maybe it was the sensation of movement that comforted him. He wandered around the malls, into art galleries, he saw movies alone usually when everyone else was at work, but mostly he sat on park benches all by himself.

He wasn’t tied to time and necessity in the way other people were – there was a detached quality about the man who wanted to forget, like a flotsam surrendering itself to the ebb and flow of the river, it wasn’t the spirit of listlessness that betrayed him as someone who belonged nowhere….he was simply an aberration in cityscape where everything proceeded at a frenetic pace while he sat there impassively on the park bench like a man who was not beholden to time or the need to be any where like most people.

That didn’t mean the man who wanted to forget his past wasn’t firmly in the grove of life. He was….he was productive….dependable….a model worker, only there was a quality about him that suggested, the division between the present and past had crumbled to such a degree that one could scarcely tell whether he might perhaps be somewhere else even when he was there.

For the man who wanted to forget. At times the past would stream forth like a torrent and engulf him in a storm of memories. During those moments, a lingering sadness glazed his eyes as if he could see nothing before him except maybe Africa.

But for most of the time, everything fell into a happy litany that required so very little of the man who wanted to forget. He enjoyed being in the gyre of litany where each day would unfurl exactly like the last. The only variation being the diminishing tube of his toothpaste or that it his nails required clipping.

To the man who simply wanted to forget – the everyday ritual of litany was his balm against the pain of remembering….walking to the train station before dawn, watching Mr. Bean with the sound turned off in the cafeteria during break time in the factory, waiting all alone for the bus under the flickering wan of the flourescent light after the second shift, standing in line to pay for groceries. All these resembled a series of slippery prayer beads, each exactly the same being slipped over and over again – there was no beginning or end, only the assurance of the never ending continuum – this was all he ever wanted. All that he desired to since his return….to forget by being in perpetual motion.

From time to time, the past would creep up on him and shout out ‘booh!’ A fleeting reflection in a shop window. A familiar scent in a crowded elevator. The texture of rough unpolished stone on the quay which fascinated the man who only wanted to forget, but was unable to resist it’s raspy feel. The taste of electricity in the air just before a thunderstorm. The first stanza of birds at daybreak. The unusual way the dying light renders moss a bright emerald opalescence after the rain.

During these moments, the man would stop. As if a cord had been struck somewhere deep in his being like a solitary bell cutting across the aching silence of the desolate plains of his heart. Somewhere in this imagined waste land. The man remembered again and as if struck by some indescribable pain…he would look up at the godless sky and close his eyes.

A couple of weeks ago. A man who delights in boasting to everyone in the village that he prays one million times a day…that he is the goodest man in the whole wide world complained to me about the lifestyle of a man who he claims believes in nothing.

The man who prays one million times a day lamented aloud……it hurts my eyes every single time I see this man who believes in nothing. He is an abomination!

Then I asked of the man who prays one million times a day, why do you say he believes in nothing?

The man who prays one million times a day, smacked his head in disbelief as if to demonstrate that my question had no validity whatsoever. Thereafter he exclaimed in a loud sanctimonious voice…how can he possibly believe in anything at all, when he doesn’t even believe in God?

That was when I took off my sunglasses and peered deeply into the eyes of the man who prays one million times a day. He shuddered slightly as my features turned hard momentarily and asked of him, maybe the man who you claim believes in nothing…believes in something more significant than the idea of God.

Thereafter the man who prays one million times a day stroked his goatee and asked of me in tone of quiet desperation, I wonder what could this significant thing be? Do you happen to know about it farmer?

I simply wished the man who prays one million times a day…a very good morning and walked away.

——————————————————————————–

‘If you believe in a religion and it works for you. Then I say, all the power to you! And I will be sensitive and respectful of your beliefs. It matters very little to me what you believe in! Could well be mainstream or even a concept like the planet of the apes where they all worship the intercontinental ballistic missile that carries an atomic warhead! All that you need to understand is I will remain sensitive and respectful of your beliefs.

But if you hold to the belief just because you believe completely and resolutely in your religion and even if you are convince it is the one and only true way and that somehow makes your belief superior to others.

Then it is with great regret that I have to inform you. Despite all your best efforts. It is conceivable all you have manage to accomplish is to successful fashion yourself to be a problem that mires the world. You can never be part of the solution…and that is always problematic.’

Whenever someone tries to bring out the worst in you, never react, just respond with the power of mindfulness. To do this just imagine yourself stepping out of your own skin and observing yourself like a third party. When you adopt such a mental attitude, suddenly you will feel a wise energy that you have never felt before move thru you….do not be afraid…..because this is your internal voice….learn to listen and be guided by it.

Listen….listen….listen.

Remember never react, mindfulness just means being a witness of what is happening, in and outside you – do not even judge whether it is right or wrong, appropriate or out of line. Once you do this, you are hooked, you have jumped in with two feet, the magic spell of witnessing is broken. Just observe….quietly….impassively.

Observe how the words seem to affect you, observe how your heart rate seems to spike, how you are making a club out of your clenched fist. Observe how disturbed you have become as the poison of anger and resentment begins to spread to every part of your mind and body….observe even how you are starting to plot your revenge. Above all observe how your mind has conspired against you so that you have begun to move round and round like a cat chasing it’s own tail.

Observe all these things….do not be part of it….just observe.

People who do not know this discipline of the mind. Are condemned to suffer for days, months, years and in some case their entire life. They will not be able to sleep soundly, from time to time when they recount their bad experiences it will ruin their day. Many even suffer from all kinds of stress related ailments, just because they do not know how to deal effectively with anger and resentment whenever someone rubs them the wrong way.

Want prove? Then reflect on your own past and you will have absolutely no problem recalling the many painful incidences when you were hurt which resulted in you feeling resentful and angry.

The most effective way to deal with resentment and anger is NEVER to deny it! By this I mean, it is not a mind over matter thing. Because whatever container you try to fashion with the power of your mind to put your resentment and anger in….it will just corrode right thru like acid….and once it’s out. You are it’s prisoner again.

That is how powerful resentment and anger is….it is like fire.

Understand it for what it is….the priest will always tell you, don’t go near it, leave it at the foot of the fellow who can walk on water. You have no power, but he has. But I am telling you the opposite…do not run away from it…you have the power to understand it by being a witness.

The most reliable way to deal with anger and resentment is to just bear witness to how it can mess up your minutes, hours, days, months and years of your life….the more you begin to bear witness to how ridiculous anger and resentment can rob you of a happy and purpose driven life. The more conscious you will become of the growing realization – this is not the way you want to live your life……you don’t need this negative energy in your life…..it is no good.

Once you reach this awareness and it will come very naturally and effortlessly thru bearing witness to yourself.

You have already successfully starved resentment and anger….you are free.

———————————————————————————-

‘Life is too short. So I never want to spend my time thinking about how to murder people, where to bury the body so the dog doesn’t dig it up, what alibi should I cook up when the policeman with a big moustache knocks on my door at 5.00 am to ask me questions etc etc etc. I dowan.

Because as I grow older. I am thoroughly convinced by a very strong internal voice that keeps whispering to me.

The best revenge is to live well

The best revenge is to live well

The best revenge is to live well

This is why nowadays…you will find, I rarely get myself worked up over small things.

That is not say, I don’t get angry or even feel resentful any longer. I do. And it’s perfectly natural for one to react in that manner. Only I no longer see the compelling need to be part of anger and resentment any longer. I have a choice now.

As in my moments of solitude. I have been able to reflect deeply on my life and this discipline of bearing witness to how anger and resentment can affect me has given me the confidence to walk away from it.

I hope this knowledge which I have developed thru years of study and research will be able to do the same for you as well.’

Early this morning a very angry man asked me whether I know how to dispose of a dead body. After a long pause. I asked this man to sit down and explain calmly to me why would this be necessary.

The man began to recount in a very anxious tone, while having breakfast with his wife who was visiting him. He had overheard a few villagers sniggering about her. They had said, ‘he bought his wife from Vietnam.’

So now the man is very angry.

I asked this man….do you love your wife? He said yes with all my heart. Then I asked him, does your wife love you? He replied to the best of his knowledge, he believes she does.

Then I said to him, you have every reason therefore to be the happiest person in this world. As your life is complete and heaven smiles on you.

So why do you allow anyone to just walk into your mind with dirty feet and soil your beautiful piece of heaven? Why do you allow a couple of rascals to upset your mood along with mess up your entire day which would otherwise have been one of the most beautiful and memorable days in your life with your one and only love?

I went on to tell this man who had calmed down and even started smiling at his good fortune….the best revenge is to live well. Always keep this goal in mind whenever people try to bring out the worst in you. Tell yourself three times…

The best revenge is to live well.

The best revenge is to live well.

The best revenge is to live well.

This way, you will always guard your mind and not allow people with dirty feet to just walk right in!

——————————————————————————

‘If an inconsiderate asshole barges into your house wearing dirty slippers. You will have absolutely no problem telling him in a no nonsense tone to ‘get out and stay out!’

But what is curious and even peculiar about the vast majority of humans is, if the same happens in their mind, then instead of chasing this dirty rascal out. What most people will do is invite him into their house and even spend so much time with him that this fellow ends up rolling around the end sheets and creating a mess in every single room in their minds.

Now if that is not strange, then I really don’t know what is – my point is guard what goes into your mind like a special forces soldier…do not allow anyone to just walk right into your world of calmness and mess it up.

That is why evil people usually find it very exasperating to deal with me. They will get so frustrated their high blood pressure will spike and they will die! If they want to cheat me, often they will find. I cannot be baited. If they want to mind game me, again they also find that it doesn’t have the desired effect and if they want to put the cinder of fear in me….again it will not work. Doesn’t matter how many gangsters they bring to my land to chase me out. Doesn’t even matter if they have the police and politicians in their back pocket, cannot means cannot…..and I will strike back like the state of Israel even if I am just the power of one fighting against many…I have no fear. So don’t think I am just a pencil pusher living in a fairytale dream world. No…there are real threats in my world…real and present threats that often require timely interdiction…I just don’t share this aspect of my life with all of you!

Above all, I guard what goes in and out of my mind like a soldier.

There are many times when I believe my autism is great blessing. As I can see patterns and forms that most people cannot see.’

It’s raining!

July 23, 2015

How is that possible? I want to see a doctor. My brain hurts. I am confused. I don’t understand what’s happening.

When I was a salary man in Singapore. I used to go and see the company doctor whenever my brain hurt. One day this lady who was very fond of me, told me, there is no such known disorder and she got very angry and even cried as she told me to stop fibbing. On one occasion she even demanded to know where exactly does it hurt and when I told her all over, she got so frustrated, she started to hit me all over the head with a stress ball.

Finally when I managed to convince her my pain was genuine, she calmed down and shared with me in a tone of grave concern….if you keep coming here to ask for MC on the grounds that your brain hurts, men with white coats are going to take you to block 7 of IMH and I will never see you again.

So she gave me a MC for a fever instead. But since I was quite insistent my brain really hurts and that I cannot admit that I have a fever when I didn’t have one. This kind lady suggested that we visit parks and go Kai Kai and sometimes we would even catch a movie and dinner together.

She was so kind to me….that is why I have such lovely memories of singapore.

I miss those days awfully.

As these days since I run my own enterprise. When my brain hurts. I am very conscious of cost so I just take two Panadols….it’s not the same as before.

But it really hurts!

The fully matured man

July 23, 2015

I am often asked.

What is the one defining characteristic of a fully matured man or woman?

And on practically every single occasion my answer has remained resolutely the same.

Someone who is able to trust him or herself completely and simply be comfortable in his or her own skin.

———————————————————————————-

‘To be comfortable in your own skin does not mean you are so detached from the affairs of the world that you don’t even feel the need to improve your lot. Or that you are so tuned or zoned out that you are not even aware that volcanoes as smoldering in Indonesia or that the price of coffee beans are going to spike because of El Niño.

That is not what being comfortable in your own skin means. Neither does it mean you are so removed from the world. You don’t even give two hoots about how your words and actions may affect others either! One reason why many people feel guilt ridden about striving to be comfortable in their own skin is because the priest has done his job of labeling this as a sort of arrogance…pride and self centerness. For the priest, his position if you care to notice is, you can do nothing by yourself…all the power comes outside you!

For the priest, he looks OUTSIDE for empowerment all the time….never does it ever come from deep within, no even so much as once. Because if it did, he would be redundant!

No! Being comfortable in your skin is not a selfish self centered state of mind…it is the complete opposite. It is to be fully engaged, proactive and super conscious about what should take priority and command your attention instead of being embroiled in mumbo jumbo!

As it is simply a state of mind where you able to prioritize what is truly important and to discard that which is false and trivial.

That is all it means and if you can do this continuously, then what remains is the final you. May sound easy but it is not! Because if you look around you, everyone is out to plant a flag in your head! Switch on the TV and someone somewhere is telling you, you need this! This will make your pimples disappear and Prince Charming will turn up shortly. That will make you a happier, healthier and more desirable person. Doesn’t matter if sane people never go around in the streets wearing Calvin Klein briefs. Or that apparel have nothing whatsoever to do with the size of your dick or six pack. In the world of those who are trying to sell you the life of milk and honey….everything and anything is possible.

That is why if you look around. That is precisely what the vast majority of humanity seems to be doing. Often you find them chasing after things mindlessly and often for no other reason except some fuzzy idea that if they can somehow get hold of that thing, be it love…job promotion…car…scholarship…membership into a prestigious golf club…then, they will be accepted…respected…loved and life will get better.

However very often even after they manage to successfully get these things, acceptance….respect and love remains all too distant and elusive.

So they flit around like a restless bumble bee going from one flower to another. They are always in motion. Always running out of time. Always doing this or that…. Always trying to be someone else…all because they want their life to come together. They queue for hours in line to listen to a con man pastor from a cult church, tell them to turn left, right, stand up, sit down along with what is it right or wrong…all because they deeply yearn to be accepted….respected and loved.

They think that imported hello kitty bible cover is going to change their life. It’s a thing that makes them feel hip and in the moment. But as time passes and they realize, they are no where near the comfort zone of being accepted….respected and loved. Then they will go to something else and marinate all themselves into it all over again. But again it doesn’t come around.

It is only when a man or woman begins to still the mind and begin to seek acceptance…respect and love from deep within and not from external sources…that he or she will begin to realize this is the beginning of being a truly matured person.

That is to say this reincarnated person will suddenly be filled with the wisdom in every cell in his or her body….nobody can reject me, if I accept myself….nobody can disrespect me, if I respect myself first and foremost…and nobody can ever make me an exile of love….if I love myself unconditionally.

That is what it means when a person is comfortable in his or her own skin.

It is a very confident and self assured state of mind that can only come from accepting, respecting and loving oneself completely and totally.’

Learning to stand alone

July 22, 2015

Today I met a man who told me that from today onwards. He will no longer come to the village again. I asked him why….the man told me, he had a falling out with a powerful landowner who he believes wronged him. And since he was neither as rich or well connected as this landowner. He felt it was best if he went his own way.

I asked of this man. Do you have the truth on your side? He replied resolutely yes.

Then I told him – if that is the case. Then it’s hardly a matter of choice. You have to do what you have to do and see the matter to the very end even if you stand alone.

Because should you seek to compromise…close one eye…or take the easy path. Then no one will ever take you seriously again. I went on stress to this chap – in business when people don’t take you seriously….then it is very difficult for one to do big things….as to be taken lightly is a form of death in business. This way at least they will have to take you very seriously even if they do not agree with you, as they can see very clearly you are a man who doesn’t mind standing alone in the name of the truth.

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We all crave to belong. To be part of. This is an indelible aspect of the human condition. And sometimes to fulfill this deep human yearning, we are even prepared to compromise…..close one eye….cannibalize a part of who we are…suspend disbelief etc etc etc.

I am not saying we should not compromise….close one eye….even cannibalize an elemental part of who we are and what we stand for to keep the peace or in the name of the common good. At times, we should and must.

Only if we keep doing this again and again to ourselves. Then at some point we will disappear completely and become hollow and inconsequential men.

As since we stand for nothing, believe in nothing and prefer to do nothing most of the time and only seem to lean with the prevailing….we have inadvertently fashioned our entire being to be none other than the very definition of nothing.

Something can never come from nothing. Nothing is just nothing.

I don’t understand. We are supposed to be in the thick end of El Niño, but…….it’s still raining. Humidity is still hovering somewhere around the upper reaches of a balmy 80%….which means, it will rain again.

I don’t understand. Even the birds seem to think it’s going to rain again. Otherwise they wouldn’t come out to play. But how could that be? The weather boffins are all in agreement the trade winds have failed this year….yet we seem to getting moderately strong winds that blow from the East. Even the CPO futures have been snapped up by commodity traders. They expect a shortfall in yield thru out the peninsula. But it’s still raining.

I don’t understand. I will appreciate it if someone could fill in on what’s really happening.

I don’t understand.

Earth Works

In plantation life there is no such thing as a Sunday. There are really only days when things can be done and lousy days when nothing can be accomplished. When the conditions are ideal – the iron red hot, it’s usually struck decisively..there is seldom any delay.

This is especially true for earth works. Plan the work when the soil is too dry and all you are likely to accomplish is destroy a super expensive excavator as it tries to work against nature. Do the same if the ground is too mushy and it will just get stuck in the mud.

Today it’s just right. Can’t get better than this. Earthworks is usually scheduled in the first month of the rainy season. But I’ve had to bring the schedule forward by two months this year.

We have been very lucky to have a round of moderate rains for the whole of last week. This is very unusual as it’s supposed to be an El Niño year. So the ground is sweet, not to wet or dry, just the right consistency. It’s an opportunity for a spot of landscaping to smooth out my roads along with contouring the land so that it can retain water when the dry season bites.

I have an excellent relationship with people who work for me. They probably don’t know that I am autistic. But they all seem to know without to much difficulty – this landowner wants things to be done exactly his way….just follow his instructions, just say ‘yes’ and never argue with him or life will be miserable. Everyone who works for or with me is issued with a 50 cent 555 book. Where I give them very specific work instructions. I learnt this management technique from the fat North Korean leader. He seems to have a very effective way of managing things….in my simple understanding of the world, if things don’t go to plan and stuff which are supposed to work 24/7 like trains konk out for no apparent reason. Then it makes perfect sense to pack the CEO off to the nearest gulag or to use him as target practice.

I don’t see anything unreasonable about that holding that sort of zero tolerance attitude towards incompetence and gross dereliction of duty. But I am sure others do. As those who care for me dearly so often tell me to keep my opinions discreet for fear that I may end up in block 7 of IMH. So I seldom ever verbalize these opinions.

However this has never stopped me from holding to the steadfast belief Harvard Business School would certainly benefit immeasurably from studying some aspects of North Korean management techniques to deliver high corporate performance.

For me the most important thing is the work gets done exactly the way I want it to be done. I like my roads to run in a certain way…it just needs to be exactly right…otherwise it’s no good. I will get a headache. But when it is done right…I can spend hours marveling at how the palms are all neatly lined up for as far as the eye can see.

I like things to only run in straight and neat lines….it makes me happy.

Turbo returning to work….

Turbo seems to be making a speedy recovery from her emergency operation three days ago. This morning I was woken up by her at six. Plantation dogs are a very different category of breed from their playful and listless city counterparts – they seem to be able to intuit, they are working dogs and not casual pets who mope around all day doing nothing. Nothing gives a working dog more joy than to be purposeful to the farmer. They have a very strong work ethic.

This morning Turbo joined the rest of the pack to patrol the eastern flank of my lands. The rest of the dogs seem to be able to sense she is still very weak, so they take up her portion of the work and even slow down to a crawl and it takes double the time.

Sometimes when I observe the subtle arrangement of power and politics amongst dogs – I can’t help but wonder maybe the world would be a happier place if it was ruled by canines. The UN Security Council would be redundant. We humans don’t nearly have one tenth of their ability to cooperate and help each other out. We only think we do. But we don’t. They seem to have a firm grasp of the bigger picture and above all they value the power of being united, unlike us humans who can’t even step out from our respective bunker mentality.

Turbo has lost a lot of weight. Nearly half! Her ribs are showing starkly and she is weak as she has lost about half of pint of blood from the operation.

She needs to be fattened up. But the important thing is she’s no longer in the danger zone – as she’s well on the way to full recovery.

I am very happy. This is all I can ever ask for to make today one of those epic days. I am a simple man. Small blessings in life can make me happy. As only a few days ago. She was just like a lifeless mattress.

That was definitely touch and go. Yes….I am very happy.

Quite sometime back ago. The village elders approached me concerning a man who they described as a troublemaker. They so wanted me to speak to this person as some of them felt I had considerable influence and leverage to make this fellow see the error of his ways.

Mid way thru the conversation. I asked of them, ‘how did the world’s greatest troublemaker end up in our village?’ I went on to add, ‘if memory serves….he was not always such a difficult man….so can any of you please fill me in on why and how did this man change to be the way he is today?’

All the elders kept quiet, looked down and shuffled uncomfortably.

I simply expressed in a sanguine tone thereafter…I understand….it seems this is a problem that you all created, so you must all really put your heads together and try to deal as best you can with man eating tiger that is prowling in your backyard…this is after all YOUR karma, it has nothing to do with me…and I really don’t see how this personal dispute could possibly benefit from my involvement.

诚实是格言的第一章

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‘Mention karma and Christians are bound to cringe and change the subject almost immediately. That is because the priest has brainwashed them to censor their thought processes. Replace that word with the law of cause and effect or the American parlance, what goes around will come around or sow bad seeds and reap the maelstrom…and you will find not only will they engage you in a serious conversation concerning the wisdom of treating others the way you want to be treated. But they may also come to agree with you without too much difficulty.

That is because the gist of Karma is none other than the law of cause and effect. It is in essence of one of the same reality.

If a man lives by the sword. He will also most likely leave this world by the same instrument of terror that he used to wield.

That is why when you come across people who seem to be difficult, suspicious and slow to trust….be very patient with them. As nine out of ten, they were not always this way. They might have once been easy, only for others to take advantage of them. They could perhaps even have been slightly naive and trusting only for others to betray their trust. So they are really just victims who have once been let down terribly.

It is only when we cultivate this deep inquiring habit of peering into the history of people by asking further – why is he or she like that? What happened in the past? Instead of just reacting to what people may say and do – that we can begin to feel compassion and do what is wise and right.’

This morning while having breakfast in the village Bak Kut Teh shop. Hardly had I sat down. A man began to lament….The specter of famine hangs before us…El Nino is coming…soon the earth will crack and there will be no crops. We matilah! Shortly thereafter another man turned to me. This time lamenting about the free falling ringgit against the Sing $….if this goes on, then no matter how hard I work, it will be like ploughing the sea…my wife back home in Chua Chu Kang will be reduced to picking up cardboard…..we matilah! And after he finished, another lamented about how the sign of the times are turning darker. As this man went on to say, ‘I heard there are people fighting in Bukit Bintang…where will we all be in ten or twenty years from now?….matilah some more.

That was when I lowered my chopstick and leaned back slowly into the chair as if deliberating the weight of all these Lamentations. Till a grave silence hung over the table as everyone sat at the tip of their chairs.

Then I told them all…the sum of all my lamentations in a slow gravel voice.

‘Do you know what will be the death of us all? Do you know will kill us all faster than a speeding bullet?’

Everyone leaned forward. The tension was tight as a drum. Even the zinc roof of the shop began to vibrate and all the patrons who had been secretly eaves dropping on the conversation lowered their voices, till the drop of the pin sounded like a sledge hammer.

Then it came in a whispering rush.

‘This Bak Kut teh is way too salty. We will all die of high blood pressure, if we keep this up!…this one sure 100% mati one!’

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‘Disciplining your mind to live in the present does not mean you are so carefree like a hippie, you don’t even bother to plan for the future. Neither does it mean you are so reckless that you do not regularly deliberate on your past words and actions so as to use it as a means to gainfully improve yourself in the present and future.

No! Living in the present does not mean any of these things. Not at all.

It just means you are fully conscious of what is happening all around you 360 degrees NOW! This very moment when you are speed reading this blog post…slow down, let the words fill your mind like water filling a glass. You are conscious of everything that goes in and out of the revolving door of your mind. You are even conscious of what is above and below and beyond. So alert and mindful are you of NOW, that you are even conscious of how the past or future thoughts and images can creep up on you like a ghost to influence the way you make sense of the present.

This insight is the key to awakening ones consciousness which is the opposite of sleep walking….automatic living…cruise control living…autopilot living.

If you take the trouble to step aside and just observe all around you. You will see the vast majority of humanity are sleep walking….they may be proceeding hastily to work, dedicating themselves even to the rigor of an eight hour work day etc etc etc….but since, they are neither mindful of the past, present and future and how it all tugs and pulls in different directions to unbalance, distract and disorientated the mind.

They are all sleepers. They are sound asleep.

Not very long ago I was asked by one of these sleepers. A plantation lady to render my expertise as a marksman to help improve her archery. For over ten years this woman who is an avid archer has not been able to even hit a barn door despite her dedication and after spending a scandalous sum procuring the most expensive equipment and hiring the world class coaches.

When she visited me. I asked of this sleeper to shoot a dozen or so arrows while I watched. Thru it all she was asking, is my form right…how is my posture….is my arm sticking out….how is my neck…. etc, etc.

As I watched on….it was so very clear to me why she can’t shot for nuts! the problem is directly before her like a school bus. But since she is asleep. She cannot see it!

After watching in agony for quite a considerable period. I asked of this lady. Madam how badly do you want to improve your archery? The lady replied half puzzled, ‘what do you mean? I am here right?’ I went on to press the point further, ‘yes, I know you are very committed, but I am asking of you a very different question – how badly do you want to improve your archery?’ She thought me strange. So I asked her to assume position to take a shot.

As the bow was strung. I moved closer to her. So close that I was only a mere hair’s breathe from touching her. While her focus began to disintegrate. Almost immediately, this lady began to lose her composure like the super structure of a steel bridge that was creaking and protesting under high winds just before it breaks away – her countenance began to take on strain. Her muscles tightened imperceptibly. She was transformed into stone. When the stress got too much, she even murmured as if thinking aloud ‘what is the meaning of this?’

When she loosed the arrow – it went wild.

I merely quipped, that is what happens when you are distracted and not in the moment!

I could tell from the lady’s strained and quizzical look she was about to ask why had I come so close. But before she could even verbalized her thoughts, I went on to request of her to prepare to take another shot.

To which she obliged somewhat reluctantly as she flashed me a look of suspicion – this time just before she loosed the arrow…I touched the square of her back with my palm. The shot was so wildly off the mark. I suspect the arrow may well be somewhere on the moon.

Thereafter the lady retracted most visibly and this time she asked of me in a tone of upmost distress and consternation, ‘Sir, I was under the impression you are a gentlemen…’ Before she could complete the sentence again, I removed my sunglasses and asked her to draw another arrow and prepare for another shot. This time my voice was firm.

To which she obliged again. As the bowstring was pulled back this time. I leaned towards her and whispered, now regard my touch like the caress of the gentle wind….I am not asking you to ignore my hand. I am only asking of you to regard it as the natural thing in this world that does not have the power to affect you. As you are in another place called NOW…..this very moment you are in stillness like the silence in the eye of the raging storm. Here in the absolute silence of nothingness. Thought you are aware of my touch along with all other thoughts. They are all powerless. And can never affect you. As you are so much in NOW. You simply are….

This time when the lady loosed the arrow. Her form was sweet and clear, everything was so natural and the arrow could do nothing else except find it’s mythical mark squarely on target.

Thereafter, the lady smiled supremely and for a brief moment I felt a shudder go thru my spine like electricity requiring me to take the same advice I had just given her. As from the very essence of her expression of complete and unbridled satisfaction. I found myself wondering whether it might have been something else beside striking the bullseye that accounted for the smile she wore that day that reminded me so much like a Cheshire Cat who had just caught a mouse.’

The entire litter is lost. Complications associated with birth. I need to go in and drain out the infected teet, before she slips into shock. It all happened in a blink of an eye…I am not prepared….I don’t even have the right tools to perform the surgery. But this is as good as it gets…we are too far from civilisation…she wouldn’t be able to survive the long journey to the vet…there is no other way.

I got to go in now! I cannot delay.

I’ve fashioned a primitive pump out of a toy squirt gun to drain the infected blood and puss. That’s as good as it gets….her chances are slim. But I have to try to save her.

Words can never explain how close I am to my dogs. I often tell myself, hold back….or you will be terribly hurt. But I cannot help but love them with all my heart. As they are the only real friends I have in this harsh and lonely moonscape….there are times when it is so painful to be part of love….so very painful that it is indescribable how it tears me up into a million pieces.

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‘Real love is nothing like what those bent pastors in cult churches like to preach about…where it’s beautiful 24/7 and your heart is in cloud nine while you flit around blissfully like some narcotic saturated butterfly. Neither is it like old leather where it gets easier with the chastening passage of time.

When you make a commitment to love. You automatically run the risk of getting hurt. The blessing comes with the curse….and that if you must know is the very reason why most people prefer to live without love. Or should they decide to do so…usually they hold back so much of themselves that they up settling for some watered down version of what they prefer to believe as ‘love.’

That is why I believed only the strong and courageous can love well. The weak willed cannot love…..it’s impossible.

As it is only when one loves and is loved in return that nothing becomes impossible.

You will go the distance…you will…you don’t need that fellow who can walk on water. He’s optional lah. All you need is love. It doesn’t even matter how slim the odds. Or whether you’re down to your last clip in a fire fight…or even if you end up in the ICU or a coffin on an account of few cheap pirates who are out to scare you off your land…with love on your side – you will prevail….as love is the miracle life force.

With love on your side. You are good to go right on and on like one of those mythical perpetual motion machines..because true love is the power of a thousand suns right in the palm of your hands and much more….you can search it out in the eyes of mothers who love their children….they don’t care about what the world thinks. You cannot touch them.

Love can even search out a way even where none exist….it can reach out into the depths of darkness and catch you before you fall! And even should you be so unlucky and fall, then it takes uncommon courage to pick yourself up again and shake off cynicism and fear only to say to youtself, ‘maybe I’ve get lucky next time….maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much the next time.’

It is a truly wondrous life force and to be in its embrace is to be incredibly blessed.

No…love is definitely not a game for the weak, faint hearted and sentimental. It is not for the plastic man. Only the very strong can play this game well. As to win they must be prepared to bear the unbearable!’

It is very difficult for things to return back to the way it was. Very very difficult.

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‘I was in the city when all hell was unleashed. I was there. I saw it all. I don’t care very much for what the politicians or anybody has to say…to me – it is what it is.

I was not afraid. Could be the lag brought forth by my autism or maybe I knew instinctively no one would ever dare touch me. As since I was attired in my kampung superman suit, the bushjacket. I could be assured every Malay kampung boy had the benefit of been once programmed since youth to respect the keeper of the wheel of life….so powerful is this conditioning, in the psyche of the Malay, it is impossible to turn against the keeper of the wheel of life.

So I walked in sea of fire untouched…..I saw it all.

I saw it all. I was there right in the eye of the storm. Thru it all, my heart bleed a river, why are you so stupid…do you have any idea what you have unleashed? You very stupid people. I saw it all. I don’t care very much for what the politicians or anybody have to say – it is what it is….and I saw it all.’

Trees are not like humans. We can only postulate, theorize and approximate about what lies around the corner. Even then, nine out of ten. We muck it up.

Not trees. They’re never far off the mark. Always spot on.

This year, the flowers seem to be producing three times more seeds than usual. To most people it’s a language written in an alphabet they can never decipher. But to me, it simply says, be very careful farmer, make preparations now, do not delay, as it’s going to be a tough year.

That’s how trees talk. They’re not like rambling humans who hardly make any sense at all even when they seem to use so many words and tabula data to make a point.

Trees can intuit precisely. They’ve the power of prescience that makes Nostradamus look like a 50 cent fortune teller with a color parrot to pick out cards.

They always seem to know precisely how things are going to pan out, they don’t ever panic, they just go about their business of making preparations quietly – to ensure the survival of their species, they will produce more seeds than usual to compensate for the looming epic drought.

El Nino is definitely going come down hard like a sledgehammer starting from today, very slowly and imperceptibly, mothernature will begin to curl her fingers like talons as the world begins to boil.

My friends the trees are never ever wrong. You better believe it.

I must make preparations. This will be a big one!

TPP blues

July 12, 2015

The vast majority of humans don’t see the need to think deeply about the TPP. They should. But they don’t unfortunately. That’s because the human condition doesn’t lend itself favorably to prioritising the cogent and important.

We only think, we have the reasoned ability to arrange our thoughts and process them competently. We fuss over finicky trains, mull over food labels on tin cans, quibble over whether supermarket plastic bags will end up smothering baby seals in distant lands that we only ever see on TV.

Yes…the irony is that we believe, we are beyond reproach, that we can always be counted to make the right informed decisions to even apply our intellect suitably…unfailingly. But all we really have is the illusion that we can think and this we often do by fashioning an alternate reality where we have somehow convince ourselves that we know what lays instal for us in the future.

While we go about our daily business. Preoccupying ourselves with the insignificant, trivial and vapid. We remain blissfully oblivious to the malevolent influence of the invisible hand – we much prefer to live in that hermetically sealed bubble of what we have come to regard as the infallible stream of consciousness. That blob, where we are inclined to fashion ourselves like everyone else…..only because we go thru so much of life with roughly the same processing power it takes to tie shoelaces. To take faith in the idea when trains pull up on the platform on time or when we turn our taps clear and clean water spouts out, someone is seeing to our welfare, our well being, that the good life – la dolce vita, is always somewhere installed in the future like an sublimely delicious Easter egg just waiting for us to pop up and carry it away in a bright colored crisp paper bag. The future we tell ourselves is bright, the good life is assured. Always within our grasp. Not this year perhaps. Or even the next year. Because there will always be hiccups with either the economy or whatever happens to punch out from the grinding cacophony of our averagely miserable lifes. But like the faint watermark impression on a dollar bill that we never ever need to check out, because everyone knows and believes….it’s just there! Because someone said so and the last time we checked, we could more or less make it out. The future must be assured and it’s all there for the taking. It’s good to go! So we continue to believe that the future is bright or maybe it takes cue from religion – I don’t really know.

Life is beautiful. Or should I say made to appear beautiful.

No. There is no need to bother oneself with the TPP….ignorance is truly bliss. It is the opiate of the masses…..there are times when I wish, I do see what I see. As it is so often a source of profound sadness.

‘I have somewhere in my mind. The image of a stone frog that sits at the edge of a pond. I don’t really know how this image manage to latch itself into the collage of my childhood memories. I simply know it to be one of the many montages of my consciousness ever since I could string a memory – a figurine that’s composed of some unusual material I reckon that resembles the texture of sand stone. The earthly sort of tone that doesn’t frighten wild elephants. As they seem to know it to be of and from the crèche of nature.

Maybe it’s the way the light falls on this frog that infuses it with such a supernatural quality – there’s a diffused quality about how the light baths this stone frog. How it even manages to seem so surreal in the way light seems almost to linger around it like wispy strands of wild cotton on a sunny day, that suggest this frog is from another world. That it’s not from this world at all….it’s there, but not really there, if you know what I mean.

In the moment of my youth. I yearned to be this metaphoric frog. By this I mean, all I ever desired in life is to sit quietly beside a still pond all by myself. To be unconcerned by the ebb and flow of worldly matters, to treat it all as a matter of profound indifference to even suggest that the most important thing in my knowledge of the known universe was only to be part of this very moment when everything is so quiet and still, when I am simply a frog sitting beside a still pond.’

Please understand

July 11, 2015

I was never here. By this, I mean to say, this conversation never transpired at all. As for this subject, place and time line, it only exist in the figment of your imagination. It too cannot exist. As it’s existence is conditional on the conversation having once taken place.

But let us assume by some miracle that it could and did once transpire. Let us just do it to humor fate and providence because we are naughty and choose this time to be frivolous?

Then I have to regretfully inform you, to the best of my knowledge! I do not seem to have any recollection concerning what I either said or heard at all.

You see, either way, it doesn’t exist at all. That’s what I mean when I say…I was never here.

‘There are some things I never ever want to share with a single soul and much prefer to take to the grave.’

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