The people who are directly responsible for destroying agriculture and artificially inflating the price of Agro produce in Singapore, are those who keep harping on…Singapore has no land, no water, no this and that….providing these useless people and their corrosive mindset continue to circulate within the system, it is absolutely pointless to talk about agriculture in Singapore in any meaningful sense.

These defeatist first have to be purged..the system needs to be first purified of bad thinking.

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‘The State of Israel today is an agricultural superpower. Now the reason why Israel can grow better than any other country on this planet is based on the paradoxical fact that nothing can possibly grow in Israel. That is to say without copious quantities of human intervention in some shape or form, it is virtually impossible to cultivate crops on a commercial scale in Israel. So if you ask me – why is Israel such an Agro superpower today?…I will say to you again. Because nothing can possibly grow in Israel.

Think! Does it make sense? At one level of intelligence no! But think again.

Now this is the same reason why building technology innovation in HDB is in perpetual permafrost since 1965. Because although there is very little gravel, sand along with all the materials to build using brick and mortal in Singapore. Since all these can be sourced nearby and imported and most importantly the government makes it possible for HDB to pass the cost to the consumer…the end result is there’s absolutely no impetus to pursue building innovation in Singapore. Infact buildings in Singapore are designed and built like all other buildings in Asia. Of course you don’t consider that weird or in any sense curious, but that is only because it happens to be an acquired taste….but what if HDB did not have access to sand, brick, mortar or for that matter even gravel. Some people will of course say, we will all be reduced to making do with Atap roofs. But I don’t think that will be the case – I actually believe if those constraints were operative, Singaporeans would probably be a world leaders in building technology and materials science. I even believe if such constraints existed long enough Singaporean architects would probably have very little trouble in differentiating themselves from their Asian counterparts in such a way where they are renowned regionally for their use of home grown building materials specialising in the field of tropical architecture. I also believe the manufacturing technology to convert raw materials into finished products in the field of material science would give SME’s a strategic advantage. In summary, if you want to understand why there are so many Phua Chu Kang houses and buildings that cannot possibly function with air con in Singapore or why the time it takes to build a house has not changed radically since the 50’s, it all comes down to only one reason…..there is actually no shortage of traditional building materials in Singapore.

Food in Singapore suffers from the same disease of what refer to as surplus efficiency complacency.

The problem is like the availability of traditional building materials, it can be easily sourced with very little price penalties and this is the reason why agriculture is given the lowest priority and continues to languish. But if you notice water doesn’t suffer from the same bovine bochap attitude, it’s curiously accorded a strategic or preconditional weighing and the reason is very simple…every time the Malaysians want a negotiating crowbar, they will run to the water wheel and threaten to dial the supply down. So what we have is not only a case of a potential for resource scarcity, but also a clear and present threat to survival as well and as you can see the response is suddenly we seem to be able to produce water. Now whether it is cost effective is another issue, but my point is what was previously regarded as a constraint is now a non issue.

Now this phenomenon is not unique or particular to Singapore or for that matter any country. If anything it is simply a function of what do you consider to be important? My point is if a key performance indicator is highlighted then it becomes the goal just as the Soviet Union discovered with central planning in mass production – when they began to measure industrial production of glass in tonnage, drinking glasses became so heavy, they ended being used as door stoppers. When it was subsequently changed to square footage of glass, thin and slender drinking glasses were produced instead….the lesson is instructive as what it illustrates is what you prioritise you get….what you deprioritise conversely you do not get.

And this is the exactly the same reason that accounts for the perennial low birth rate in Singapore. It is not that this trend cannot be effectively reversed. But because it so expedient to augment the human deficit by immigration that by itself kills the impetus to develop new incentives to encourage couples to have more children.

So back to my point…now if you ask me when exactly did Israel become an Agro Superpower. I would probably trace it right back to the Arab league boycott of Israel specifically when Egypt under Nasser blockaded the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba. Subsequently the Suez Canal was also policed as well. All this created the impetus for food independence in Israel, but what is important to understand is being an Agro superpower does not necessarily mean you need arable land. Because agriculture itself i.e the capacity to create optimal conditions for crop yield has nothing whatsoever to do with land per se. The nexus between land and yield has always been very a very dubious and misleading relationship. Saudi Arabia for instance has plenty of land. If you go there, you will see acres and acres of lush wheat fields. But all this is chimeric as to sustain agriculture in that way, water use in the desert kingdom is already almost double the per capita global average and increasing at an ever faster rate. As agriculture is the single biggest user, absorbing 85-90 percent of the kingdom’s aquifers which are considered more valuable than oil as it is a source that cannot be replenished. Today Saudi Arabia no longer grows wheat in the kingdom, its considered a travesty of waste. Instead it grows wheat in Etiophia where it can get an abundance source of water for the Baro river.

So when we talk about how to become an Agro superpower as you can see it has very little to do with agriculture per se, in this case it is about water core competencies along with the accoutrements of other skills such as genetic and chemical engineering, food processing and storage. This is what the Israelites have…that is to say they have the technology to grow which is very different from the opportunity to grow. What I am forwarding here is a perceptive shift. A Paradigm shift in the way one traditionally makes sense of the world and this is one area where I often get in trouble with people.

But play with the idea…as it’s food for thought.’

When a dwarf or for that matter any creature that you are comfortable with appears in your dreams…do not be alarmed. This is not the first sign of madness….it just means you’re doing a great job of dismantling your ego and these new characters in your head are actually the YOU minus the ego.

So keep calm….you are making progress.

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‘The ego is not only a control freak, it is also power crazy and the world’s greatest narcissis whose in love with only itself. He actually believes that he’s the centre of the universe…that is how the ego sees itself in relation to everything in and out of this world. That means when you begin the long arduous process of trying to dismantle The ego – your real self will awaken and it will take the form of imagnary characters who will force their way thru the iron curtain that has been erected by the ego to establish contact with the self….remember the ego is an entity that cannot tolerate other forms in your head, not even the real you! So it will try its best to kill these characters….but rest assured some will get thru…..and this is where they will assume different characters to fool the ego.

Your role is encourage these characters by facilitating them to come out – the stronger their presence…the weaker your ego has a hold on you.

For me the first dream character to reach me was a talking dog. This dog is actually my real self in disguise. Do not be surprised as the mind always chooses the character that you least consider as a threat to first establish contact with the self….when these characters appear in your dreams, they embody not only symbolism, but metaphor as well to convey something that is significant in your life…..so be attentive….do not fall into the trap of judgement…above all do not be quick to beat yourself up by buying into th automatic belief joy are crazy….instead simply observe these characters impassively….as they are your friends in the form of your true self…your true inner voice.’

The dwarf in my head

January 18, 2018

Whenever I need to tell myself something. A dwarf will always appear in my dreams. I always know he bears a message. It is either the way he is dressed or the awkward way he looks on at me in the crowd that suggest I am the only reason why he is there…the dwarf is always dressed immaculately in a tuxedo. He is always holding the hand of an adult…but I can never make out this others persons face.

When I go before the dwarf. I will usually kneel. He will hold my face in his little hands and whisper the message…..He had this to say.

‘You have to control your mind….I know many things are happening that scare you. But you have to control your mind.’

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‘My mind is like a fortress. There are layers and layers of security. Everything and everyone is stopped, searched and interrogated…nothing is ever taken at face value.

In such a place only the fool has the power to slip thru the iron curtain. First you need to understand something very important. The fool is not a fool…not in the dreamscape at least. The fool is the embodiment of the novice…beginner…the uninitiated. He can be a supplier of insight as he sees things that other people cannot see and he is in a position to tell ugh things that most people cannot.

This is what makes him so well adept at entering the unenterable. As the fool does not begin with any preconceptions…neither are there any preconceived ideas how to start..proceed and end the game…only the wondrous possibilities stand before the fool.

The art of the tarot the fool is depicted as the searcher for meaning and experience. He is always carrying a bindle tied to a stick with all his worldly possessions as if to say…I have everything that I need for this journey! The number of the Fool is zero.

The Fool understands the ego better than the ego himself…as since it does not know..it is the only character in the entire pantheon of the arcana that cannot be frightened by the ego…as deep down the mind of the fool is that of a child who does not know how to lie….it is simply content to tell the truth as it is…that is why when the fool appears in your dreams.

You must listen to what he has to say….as it is a voice from deep within the real you that has slipped thru so many sentinels that is in your mind to finally deliver the message…the unalloyed voice of the fool is not corrupted by world’s considerations of cares and fancies….this is what makes the message of the fool so powerful….as it is true.

….is because the people in AVA are lazy! This has been happening every single year ever since Singapore broke away from Malaysia in 1965. You would have thought by now someone in government would have come up with a comprehensive policy, strategy or even a plan to smooth out these price spikes….but no, it seems work is not something that lazy people like to ever do….so every year they come up with excuses. This year it is the cold, that lasted barely one full day…next year it will something else and the year after that it will be something else.

But the real reason is because AVA has been played like a fiddle by price manipulators who are driven solely by greed…and since they are powerless to do anything….they pass the problem right down to the consumer by parroting their excuses.

But they cannot fool me…as I am an insider. I not only know the business…I own it!

I mean at least a delivery boy has more pride and self esteem than AVA…at least they don’t tell you fairytales that they are doing something more than just delivering stuff.

Pls sue me. Since I stopped smoking and drinking. I have been spending just $2 a day and since I rarely ever go to city these days due to work commitments. I don’t even get an opportunity to spend my hard earned money….so I don’t mind going to court lah. At least that would give me an excuse to wear my expensive bespoke Savile row suit and visit Singapore to spend my money.

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‘People who tell you and me, there is no agriculture in Singapore because there is an acute shortage of arable land have to be the most dangerous people on this planet. They are so dangerous that if I was sitting in The Hague, I would speak to Mini Lee and ask him to transform Pulau Ubin into a labor camp.

Of course I will give it a politically correct name like Happy Gardens and even get ex ISD spinners like Sumiko Tan and Bertha Henson to write glowing reviews about how the residents of Happy Gardens are so enlightened, they have finally seen the light….yes they all eventually see the light…they have to. Because if there is one thing that absolutely continues to hold back Singapore it is the idea that size or for that matter availability of resources has anything to do with either agricultural potential or yield….this idea has to be eradicated from the singaporean psyche….we have to declare war on it!

Let me tell you why…take the case of America, for every bushel of wheat it produces in the combined states of Ohio, illinois, Nebraska and all the states south of the Mississippi…the US produces ten times that figure outside the US! So what does that calculus tell you? At one level of understanding you can say that land area has nothing whatsoever to do with productivity and yield.

Of course this is not a reality that readily avails itself to anything resembling easy understanding. That is because most Singaporeans are bovine when it comes to subjects such as how is food grown? The government does little to encourage that sort of enquiry and even does less to solicit the right minds and attitudes to drive many of the agricultural based innitiatives in the country. What the government does very well is to encourage small minded people who can only parrot the mantra there is no agriculture lah!…no land!…no water some more….every thing also don’t have lah!

So these people who have the wrong attitude are in power. The oligarchy or shall I say the hegemony that is responsible for decision making of all things related to food in Singapore is in the hands of apologist – these are not people who can accomplish anything…for Singapore to work towards food independence these people would all have to be packed off to Happy Gardens.’

It’s a bit like climate change. We talk as if the social divide in Singapore is far ahead of us in the distant future. If you care to observe very few leaders and even journalist speak about this subject with a presentist mindset that even suggest it is a clear and present problem and that has to be a form of denial. But I am not so sure about that…as it could already be well on top of Singapore.

You know in Japan there’s this social phenomenon known as ‘grass eating’ or herbivore man – it’s the idea where men no longer show any interest in girls. Now you ask what has this got to do with tipping point in Singapore!

I say a lot. Because this herbivore man phenomenon is actually what can happen when traditional roles are broken down by economic seismic shifts – when we speak about social divide, what we are actually talking about is the same thing…economic seismic shifts…like the whole idea how the rich get richer and poor can only get poorer. Or the idea where socieity is divided between have’s and have not’s…which in turn can only exacerbate the divide into sub divisions of schools of thoughts and states of minds.

Now you need to understand, it’s not as if there is some kind of Will Smith, I am legend virus that is transforming red blooded Japanese men into grass eating men…it might appear so on the surface at least. Because herbivore men tend to be genderless…they don’t like to go out into the sun…they take immaculate care of their skin…they take exceptional pride in the way they dress and carry themselves. But and it’s a very big but….but they don’t want to get involved with girls. I mean they don’t mind being their friends…but it seems fucking is not on their menu.

This is where Singapore will ultimately go when the divide sharpens…and I referring to not only the social, but economic, cultural along with intellectual divide. Because at the crux of the whole herbivore man phenomenon is idea that men cannot be men any longer without a social economic structure or symmetry. This counter culture is not specific to Japan. In fact research has been done on rats that show the same thing…I can’t remember what study it is, but I know it’s called the elegant and beautiful ones…as all the rats that survived at the end were really an embodiment of the herbivore man culture…that is to say. As a man I cannot earn enough to buy a house, get married or even buy insurance or set up an endowment plan for my kids to go to university….and this is the perceptive shift or tipping point….BUT…again it’s a very big but…but I can control my hair with very affordable cream or whatever young people style their hair with these days…I can well afford to dress like a hipster and make a fashion statement…etc etc. These things I can do well!

So when we speak about what is at the end of the road when it comes to a social economic divide…it’s essentially about people who dare and do not dare to dream. People who don’t dare to dream, don’t make long term plans…you can’t speak to them about the whole idea of intercepting the future today, because that indirectly involves the idea of financial emancipation that can only come from having hope for a better tomorrow…the problem with the beautiful ones…the herbivore man…like that experimental community rats that eventually died out is not that they don’t want to dream…the tragedy is it’s too painful to dream i.e Why bother dreaming when it will never come true.

So when we see the social divide in Singapore thru this vantage that I,ve constructed…it’s much more than what the Politicians say it is…and it’s a much serious problem than just whether you go to ACS or a neighborhood school or whether your parents can afford to pay for your monthly SingTel broadband bill or you have make do with surfing the net in the library….my point is it’s not a divide as it is the idea of living in parallel universes, where it is conceivable we may all live in one country, but because the opportunities and more inmportantly the means to make sense of reality is not homogenous nor is it common…we might actually be living in one of many Singapore’s within Singapore.

I know that many of you will find what i have to say ridiculous. But do bear with me. As what I have to share will be reality not now, but one day in the distant future in Singapore.

In the age of self piloting flying cars and when they finally manage to get the trains running. The biggest divide that will afflict Singaporeans will not be race, gender, wealth, education or even whose parents one might be…it would simply be this – Singaporeans who dream and those who do not how to.

Singaporeans who dream will be classed as the new elites. They will be allowed by the state to live in the dream zone where real grass and trees grow. In the future only the dreamers will be allowed to get married and have children.

As for those who do not dare to dream….they will be considered undesirables by the state.

My name is Darkness. I wrote this on the beginning of the year 2018.*

*Please copy all this out on a plastic NTUC bag and bury it somewhere.

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‘If you’re a woman. You should be careful of men who dream. It’s easy to make out a dreamer. They all have that distant look like rocks that don’t quite belong where they have ended up….and although dreamers may have precious little in this world except maybe their grandmama’s dentures and the number of alphabets that make up their name….it is the terrible hunger in their eyes that betrays the depth of the nakedness of their tormented soul.

If you are a woman and you come across a man with such eyes….you must get up from your chair and run away from him and never look back.

You see it can really go like this with a man who dreams. In the beginning everything will appear fine. But that’s only because he doesn’t have a clue what’s coming his way. He will settle into a job. Put a down payment on a house and even shop for a sofa that he insist has to last at least ten years….but one day this man will sense a pull….it’s hard to tell…he might look lost in his own thoughts at birds heading south in the dying light longingly as if he could sprout wings and fly with them. Or maybe he would just feel as if something is forcing it’s way out of his back like wings. When you ask, is everything alright Darling…he will smile weakly and say yes.

But I want you to understand he’s not being honest, something is growing inside this man….something very powerful and ferocious is just about to gnaw it’s way out by tearing thru flesh and bone into the world…his dream!

One day this man who you love will just pick up and leave.

You see it is like an incurable disease that consumes the soul. People who are afflicted with this malady can’t help themselves…it has something to do with the hunger in their eyes. They will leave when their skins are tight and only return in the late evening to die when they are old and dried up like a prune. Men with hungry eyes are fearless. They will conquer new lands…they will clear the forest, set straight the capricious rivers and even tame the canterkerous jungle….they will do all these things and much more as they are always searching for something that is before them in some faraway distant land that only they can see with their hungry eyes.

Beware of men with hungry eyes…as their dreams always come true.’

Let reality, be reality

January 13, 2018

Early this morning I had breakfast with a few planters.

This is what I told them….I know you all don’t like me. But you must all understand….you are not waging war with ME….Rather when you resist me…you are resisting legion…that is to say you resisting an indestructible idea…as all you’re doing is fighting reality!

You all merely think by killing me…you can keep your way of life intact.

You don’t actually hate me…what you actually hate without you all even realising it is when things happen in our life that are beyond our control.

That is the reason why you all see me as a threat that must be resisted, you fight and you all stand your ground because deep down you all fear not me, but reality itself.

My feel is you will all be better off, if you stopped fighting me and simply allowed reality to be reality.

To even accept what will have to be and to even deal with that reality no matter how uncomfortable that idea maybe.

Because I want you all to understand..I did not fashion that reality that will come one day tearing into your world like a runaway bus with faulty brakes….I am not involved in the cruel mathematics of feeding the world with only X,Y or Z arable land…I have nothing to do with climate change….I have even less to do with the power and politics of food and how mankind might even be able to feed everyone on this planet when nothing seems to work any longer…..that is the big fat reality that will come your way even if you all manage to bury me and my five cent dream…..do you understand the type of reality I am referring too…men such as I will always come knocking on your door because they are part of that reality! Because there is a bigger agenda within that reality that drives them to do so.

At the end you all have a choice.

You can either spend all your time and energy raging against the current that has brought men like me here today, or you can simply seek to understand why we will continue to come even if we met stiff resistance…even if you crush every bone in our body….above all let reality, be reality…as only a fool will fight against what will and must happen.

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Keystone trench

January 12, 2018

A few days ago. I finalised the keystone trench. This is the most important trench as it connects all the four major trenches to drain water from the land.

What makes the keystone trench difficult to construct is that it cannot be incorporated during the initial stages when the other trenches are constructed.

This is because when the land is landscaped, it will have to go thru a period of settling and compaction that can only happen naturally with time, opportunity and exposure to the elements….usually the keystone trench is constructed only after three to four months.

It is usually a nerve wrecking exercise that requires balls of steel, as since one cannot actually predict how the land will eventually settle into its final shape and form…and not even computers can perform this sort of calculation.

It’s not unusual for the location of the keystone trench to shift..in some cases radical rescaping of the land is required. This is usually costly and very time consuming – in my case the location of the planned keystone trench was spot on. I had no problems with either the incline, water table and drain out rate….it seems I am very lucky….No! I am not being humble…I am actually genuinely calling it for what it is.

I am just incredibly lucky!

This is the final stage of the replanting. From now on, it’s really up to the trees.

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‘There is a saying….the best way to clear muddy water is to leave it alone. This aphorism challenges many of our assumptions only because our natural response whenever we are confronted with a problem is to spend as much time as we can thinking about it.

In a sense society endorses that sort of response to problem solving…thinking as much as humanly possible is considered responsible….prudent and engaging the problem effectively….but this is not always the case.

As this was what actually happened on the land….when it first flooded after the landscaping. There was great pressure from all the neighbouring landowners for me to do something…anything…but the problem is the land needs time to settle. I know the process cannot be rushed…but they don’t, because none of them have ever cleared land before.

After all consider this, tons and tons of earth have been moved and soil isn’t just soil…it has a character and no two locations not even if they happen to be on the same plot of land share the same soil properties…so they will all settle and take their final shape and form.

That simply means I have to wait….and the best way to do so was not to think about it.

In a sense this attitude is counter intuitive to everything that we have been trained to believe in i.e the best way to solve a problem is to do absolutely nothing….but in some cases that is exactly what is most needful i.e the best way to clear muddy water is to leave it absolutely alone.’

This should hopefully keep me nice and warm….as lately the nights in the field has been getting so cold that I have taken to wearing my high collar Mao jacket just to get shut eye….freezing cold! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

When I was a salaried man many moons ago. I can recall one incident that is still clear as day today. It was lunch time and I was in the factory cafeteria munching on sandwiches all by myself.

On the next table were a group of people arguing about freedom….they wanted freedom to do whatever they wanted to do…and the only way they saw this happening was if someone in power gave them freedom.

There and then I could see there was a gigantic flaw in their thinking. Firstly in the two thousand and a bit history of humanity….no one in power has ever woken up one day and given anyone freedom…it has never even happened so much as once.

As I looked on at these people. It became very clear to me these people who believed so passionately their lives would be immeasurably enhanced if only they were given more freedom were not united by any resembling a great idea.

No! Rather what united them was their collective myopia in not being able to make out the patently obvious – which is simply this. Even if someone somewhere gave them all the freedom, it would be meaningless….as providing they had to still work for someone just get by in life that arrangement would by itself be a sort of slavery that would deny them freedom….so it became very clear to me from that point onwards – real freedom had to first beginning by working ONLY for yourself and not for others.

The singularity of this idea – to work for oneself is the first step towards real emancipation would be so powerful that it would eventually dominate all my thinking in the context of freedom and liberty.

Power & freedom

January 11, 2018

Some time back ago. A very elderly planter told me in private during a formal dinner that I would do well not to expand my business too fast….or else.

It seems some insecure people are not very happy with me. They want me to rot like them!

I leaned over and whispered to this old version of Darth Vader, you speak the language of power…influence and politics very well, but don’t you think it is a contradiction when you speak of all these things yet have to wake up at least twice and maybe three times just to piss in the night.

You speak about power and control and shaping destinies….but it’s seems the bladder has a mind of its own.

I could tell from the speed at which the old man’s pupils dilated he was red hot furious…but I did not let up. I pushed it right to hilt into his ribs and even twisted it a couple of times.

I went on to spell it out clearly to this old man….look here! I just want enough to wet my beak which isn’t very much. Nothing more or less. But if these idiots push me too far and should I end up in one miserable corner…tell me who will benefit if I decide to break out like that battleship called Bismarck….the old man looked up at the ceiling and murmured…yes the Bismarck…she was the cause of much sleepless nights along with high blood pressure.

I went to add…yes I know I will not be able to win and will ultimately have to go down like an anchor. But before I do you all that courtesy….I will definitely take my fair share of tonnage with me. Now is that all worth it just because you want to control….have power and exercise command?

Think!

So please don’t threaten me. Remember what I told you whenever you think you are holding a big stick in your hand….you cannot hope to exercise power over a person without him having some power over you.

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Full day

January 10, 2018

Always be the person who your enemy thinks you are. If for example. He thinks you’re a fool….behave like a fool. If he thinks you are a talkative person….talk all the time.

Never be your true self before your enemy….as you are in a state of war.

This way your enemy will know everything and yet nothing about you.

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‘If you ask me. How I become dangerous. Then I will say it all begins with me sitting all alone. Whenever I do this. I am not striving for anything…I am not trying to calm myself or even filtering any of my thoughts. Instead when I sit all by myself. I am just allowing thoughts and more importantly, uncomfortable feelings to appear before me. Like I said, I never winnow my thoughts by saying to myself – I have to just think happy and not negative or evil thoughts…I think it’s important not to have any hidden agenda with one’s thoughts. Because when you do that all you’re really doing is creating a self conspiracy. As what you’re actually doing is creating ten other new thoughts that didnt previous exist and that is a summary of how most people get into a bind.

That is what I notice most people do – they only think they can will themselves to think only happy…positive and edifying thoughts….in a sense they don’t seem to understand how powerful their mind actually is and how little control they have over it….but as soon as you shutter these or that thoughts. All you’re doing is repressing them in darkness and they will eventually surface and come back stronger than ever…so I don’t interfere with what’s been screened in my mind…. I am just watching it all…impassively. Just allowing the full swell of thoughts and feelings to bubble right up from the depths.

Eventually these thoughts have to dissipate their energy. They can’t stream with the same intensity forever…and when they begin to slowly die down that’s when they reveal subtler layers of thoughts and feeling where gradually I begin to grow aware of how my being begins to peel off from my ego….I am very sensitive to this process of separation or detachment which ever you may like to describe it…only because this is the moment when I can look directly into the very source of my pain without feeling any emotions….that’s important as it’s very different from being emotionally dead. My point is I am very much part of life when I am communing with myself at this level. Rather because I am no longer slaved to the ego…I no longer feel shackled to anger, resentment or even hurt….I am very soft, open and accepting. There is no urgency for me to do anything or to even force my mind to think along a particular line of necessity.

I am just very uncannily calm like the moment just before I loose an arrow….there are no actual thoughts. I don’t even think about how the arrow is going to proceed to target or whether it will even find it’s mark. All I can sense is the grand order of things that seems to be bigger than whatever reality I can conjure in my petty mind…the cadence of my breath….the tension of the bow string and the release…thereafter there is just nothingness….emptiness….a void.

Yes I think I am most dangerous when I am in this sort of mental neighborhood.’

Emergency Car Fix

January 8, 2018

This morning as I was driving out of the plantation house. The rear canopy of my car snapped off from it’s mountings with an almighty bang. Fortunately there was still one screw that was just holding the glass up and that really was the only thing that stopped it from smashing on the ground.

Had that happened it would have been a very costly repair….very lucky.

These things happen in the wild, no one is to blame as all kinds of equipment are pushed to the limits….if they can fail..they will fail here first, after that only then will it fail in the city….the problem with these specialised replacement components is it takes a very long time to order and reach me.

My rear canopy is manufactured in Australia and a pair of mountings in the internet cost about USD$200! That is a lot of spaghetti!

Besides I have never been happy with the original rear canopy mountings. They have always looked too flimsy and I am not surprised that they failed on me royally in the way they did. I am just a bit embarrassed that I didn’t do something earlier to goalkeeper what was obviously a foreseeable failure – There and then I decided to pop down to a marine engineering workshop. Measured and cut out two thick slabs of marine grade stainless steel blanks, holed and polished them to a mirror sheen.

Remounted the rear glass canopy. It works better than the original albeit with a few modifications to mountings and placement. Cost. I just paid for materials, owner of the shop didn’t charge me for the workmanship as I worked on it myself…SGD$13.50.

It’s quite an improvement from the old design. Much more robust and hopefully it wouldn’t break off any longer.

Should be a renaissance man. That is because for nation and people to succeed these days is not as straightforward as yester year. Everything is very complex these days, it is like a big machine with so many moving parts that is hard to point to one thing and to say, this or that will be the future.

The man here is key.

He should ideally be able to speak at least two European languages. French…only because it is the language of elegance and a deep appreciation of the arts and culture will always guarantee a certain élan and style that will give him confidence. German as a close second. As it is a precise language that is both spartan and utilitarian to always remind him of the value of holding his tongue. As less is always more in the company of the wise.

He should have a fine balance of the arts and science in equal measures to steady him. This way he will know how things come together and also fall apart.

He should be well travelled. Ideally a person who has spent at least ten or more years studying or working outside Singapore. Preferably with a prolonged stint in a hardship country. This contrast will serve him well. As a man who has endured hardship can only acquire a sort of wisdom that only patience and pain can teach.

He should experience the horrors of war and human inequities to remind him that peace is indeed to be valued above all things as it’s fragile and must be continually nourished….better still if he has the credentials of having done jail time or bears a deep scar to show for it. As that would certainly remind him of the importance of loneliness along with impart the arcanum – who am I really? Without this…a leader can never stand alone or hold his water when push comes to shove….strength can only come from being comfortable alone.

He should be well versed in both the eastern and western philosophies and classics, so that he understands that life is not just black and white but there are plenty of nuances that would always benefit from plenty of reflection and different points of views…..without an enquiring and curious mind he will not be able to inspire or lead those to the edge of the cliff to test their wings in flight.

I wish for a wise man….a man who I may look at and from time to time say to myself. He would be great company for dinner and brandy.

Not a very easy bill to fulfill….good leaders are hard to come by even in Singapore.

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‘The advent of the age of Trump to my understanding is not just a passing abberation or hiccup in the party political process. I wish that were so. But it’s conceivable we are witnessing the end of reason as a reliable means to perpetuate the whole of idea of democracy as we know it. After all the idea of democracy can only continue to command currency if it serves the imperative of producing more good than bad. The problem as I see it, a tipping point has been reached between those who have and have not, those who are empowered by reason and those ruled by ignorance…..as it stands now…the world is divided right in the middle between those who believe that the system no longer works for their benefit and those who still believe in the idea that this is the best machinery we have.

To my understanding Brexit and the growing xenophobia and sentiment of protectionism is merely a function of how so many people no longer believe in not only the party political process, but also the whole idea of globalization and free trade as the reliable purveyor of the good life…..of course you can fool yourself into believing, we are Singaporeans…we are not Americans who voted for Trump or Britons who plumbed for Brexit etc etc.

But it cannot be denied the same sentiment will find it’s way into the Singaporean stream of consciousness….and when it does many of the divisions that we see in the US and EU can only grow sharper even in Singapore.

What does this all mean? Well for me it simply means that the political process cannot possibly be what it used to be. As these social pressures will mount and they will have the effect of altering the relationship between citizens and leaders. To put it very bluntly we are increasingly living in an age when most people are beginning to awaken to the awful realization, the custodians of power don’t actually control anything at all….that’s to say all the levers of power are connected to nothing. To heighten the tension, Politicians and leaders are increasingly conscious that the public already knows this, that they are not in control….so the proverbial cat is truly out of the bag.

In the good olde days of LKY when he could appear on TV puffing on 555 cigarettes and drinking Tiger Beer. Government was everything…it had absolute power to shape the idea of destiny. But these days that idea no longer holds true…instead it’s giving way to a new reality, but what the final outcome of that reality between citizen and state might be is still in a state of flux…you see we don’t know and that brings into sharp focus the whole idea of leadership….not just any run of the mill leadership, but a thoughtful sort of leadership that can wordsmith a new compact between citizen and state.

The way I see it, we don’t a choice but to write it ourselves. The days of leaving all of the US or the Europeans to write it all down like some instruction manual on how to walk the yellow brick road no longer holds true any more….so as you can see I have no illusions as whoever will be the new PM will probably have the most difficult job of all PM that came and would come after him…..so I hope he’s a thoughtful, steady and above all someone whose very comfortable in his own skin sort of chap.’

What is reality?

January 7, 2018

Woman told me that she loves her man very much, but what causes her to feel sad and unhappy is that he cannot be with her under HER terms. Her terms seems to be very important….as woman has somehow convinced herself that if her terms are not fulfilled then she can never be happy.

I told her. You have everything NOW that can make you complete and happy. But you can never believe it as so much of your happiness is based on the future of what will or will not eventually turn out and that is the tragedy…..as nothing that you have now can ever compete with that idea of perfection that you have fashioned somewhere in the future.

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‘There is no such thing as ‘Akan Datang’ happy days. This longing for happiness can never be fulfilled because that very search itself denies the happiness that already within our grasp NOW!

Granted it may not be the perfectly polished version of happiness that we have come to expect. Neither is it the version of happiness that we dream about…but nonetheless it is happiness in its own right.

But since most people search for happiness in front of them…somewhere presumably in their future that means, they are always condemned to an endless search and that very condition perpetuates unhappiness.

It is for this reason that most people suffer a painful gap between yearning and desire…as since what is real they treat as unreal and what is unreal they regard as realer than real…they can only be unhappy.

The funny thing about all this is simply this…ninety nine out of a hundred, it is not the conditions that makes you unhappy, it is your thoughts that betrays you!’

Three months ago when I asked to lend my opinion concerning diverting the river. I recommended that the bunds should be increased by at least three feet. When the chief Surveyors heard this…he growled sarcastically…you talk as if you’re some planter who is accustomed to cutting mountains like a cake and clearing forest as if it’s child play….please don’t indulge in delusions.

I took off my sunglasses, narrowed my eyes and flared my nostrils at this man and told him…I am as you have just described. I do not have time to negotiate around your inferiority complex and ego. Do I make myself crystal clear to you. Now please do as I say….if not the river will certainly burst it’s banks and should that happen it would be most unfortunate.

Two days ago the river broke its banks.

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‘Just because you don’t know how to blow bubbles with spit doesn’t mean that no else knows how to do just that….it just means you believe no one can ever do that…it doesn’t make it real or factual…it just means you have consciously made a decision to put your brain into four walls of that reality…that is all it means.’

Some questions that you choose to ask…can only be very dangerous. Take for example the question – do you choose your thoughts? No! Don’t be hurried to supply an answer…as I have not quite finished yet…..Or do you thoughts choose what you think about?

Duck on a string

January 6, 2018

Cooks who have worked in commercial kitchens tend to suffer from tunnel vision after a while…they all invariably fall into this pattern of behaviour where they all without exception expect certain things to be done in ONLY a certain way…if for any reason that criteria is not met…then automatically the mind dismisses it as incredulous…implausible and even down right sacrilegious.

But when we ask ourselves the elemental question. What is cooking all about? It essentially boils down to only a few basic things…fire…marinade…and very little else it seems.

Russian Supermarket

January 6, 2018

There are many ways to see the world…but I happen to believe one of the most interesting viewpoints is to make sense of it all with one’s tastebuds.