Regret

February 7, 2009

Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future. A wise person once wrote:

 

“Never regret anything, because at that point in time, that was what you desired – right or wrong.”

 

How true that is, for most things at least. Of course there’s always irrational regret for the things we can’t or couldn’t posses even if we had ten lifetimes.

 

That’s what I struggle constantly with most of the time – the feeling something dear to me has taken wing and gone for good and the idea it was once firmly in the grasp of my hands.

 

Live for the moment my friend. And try not to see yourself in our distant past or future. As it is really only in the “now,” that we all have the power to undo all our regrets and set them right again.

 

Live in the present. And take one day, as it comes – tomorrow is a brand new day – a new opportunity – it’s Sunday. It will be nice if you can pick me and my frens up at 7.00 please. For church that is Darkness.

Do wear that corn yellow tie,  that I like so much, that will do very nicely.

 

Dotty.

 

The Word

February 6, 2009

Darkness Baby,

Matthew 9:29Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “Since you believe that I can do this, I must do what you want.

You should go back to church gypsy man!

🙂 Love

Dotty

 

I was just reading this article on our government’s reaction to negative comment online about the MP who got flambé recently. 

As you probably know already Lui Tuck Yew was quoted as having said something to the effect: we all squandered our opportunity by not showing any compassion for Ah Seng yada yada yada yada.

You know what? I actually agree with him; somewhat lah.

Only. let’s be frank; what does Lui actually bring to the table? Well not much actually. Pointing out that the internet is like the wild wild West; is really like saying badly designed roads cause piles up’s and badly laid tiles regularly cause slipped disc – it doesn’t really pin down why and what accounts for the primal, feral and brutish psychology which makes the net, the way it is.

I mean if you say; the net has no heart: why then why did so many netizens empathize with Mr Brown when he was booted out from his job by MICA? Why did that one incident provoke a wave of sympathy; and why is when some politician gets himself fried finger licking good; we don’t seem to be able to muster one molecule of sympathy? What really accounts for this lag?

One clue may lie in the whole idea of what I term; the search for authenticity; that elusive terrain that most of us gravitate towards unconsciously as we immerse ourselves deeper into the world of endless hype and spin. This may come as great surprise to Liu and his coterie but one reason why no one online may feel inclined to empathize with Ah Seng may well be the tragic reality: many of us may not even consider him a real person. Not according to our online definition of reality, at least. I know that sounds screwy; I am not for one moment suggesting the MP who got fried happens to be a cyborg or that he doesn’t need to shit, eat and sleep like the rest of us; only I believe the perception of real world reality and our online reality has coalesced like two great lakes to make a larger all encompassing reality; one that may even have squeezed out the tiniest sliver of land for all the Ah Seng’s of this world; in the way dodo birds once gave way to lizards in some forgettable island in Mauritius.

Many set pieces aggravate this duality of reality. For one their lives of the Ah Seng’s of this world seem closer to the life of the rich and famous, rather than the ordinary lives of most ordinary folk; their values distant, moribund and out of synch with their times. Their claims surreal bordering on the delusional;  especially when one considers the lack of exceptionality that usually provokes the online reaction: “You have to be kidding me?” – if I had to pin down this dissonance; I would probably describe it as a sort of schizophrenia, embedded in the mixed messages that leaders and the apparatus of assimilation regularly broadcast – we are told to consume and live life to full; get a house; buy a car; marry, start a family etc. Yet at the same time we are also told the exact opposite; that we must also knuckle down, forget real freedom, work till the day we die and do what we’re told.

A huge chunk accounting for our bochapness; is partly in reaction to this the impossible task of juggling all these competing mixed messages that many of us find so perplexingly unreal.

I admit, this feeling of profound alienation doesn’t always hit everyone; some people just go right into the groove and it doesn’t even bother them a bit – they’re not even aware of the sell out.

But for the vast majority of us, who make up the online community; it’s a scripted narrative that we all know only too well – the idea one can stand as part and yet be so apart from the sum that makes up the idea of the system. Our terminal indifference to Ah Seng’s plight may yet be the clearest testament of how the blogging community isn’t seeking change; as it’s desperately trying to preserve against the chastening passage of change; in this case; the right to authenticity; we are increasingly demanding for real things, real policies; real politics; real newspapers and real people; against this desperate search for the realer than real; its conceivable, we may even have grown so despondent about everything officialdom has to offer; and how it may no longer reflect our notions of reality any longer; its this cognitive dissonance that riles us no end; the idea that how we will always stand apart from the established truth no matter how hard we wish to fit in. And it matter little whether the great lie may take the innocuous form of not enuff talent, division one along with all the claptrap as having something with the idea of the cult of superman – my point is real people don’t need to say and do all those things – that simply means at some point we will begin to despise the whole idea of fake.

I realized this 4 or 5 years back ago; when I went through a very painful chapter with my own church. It came right out from the blue; but when it happened I was aware of the every hemisphere of my emotion as it tugged and pulled me through the rigmarole; to cut a long story short. One day, I just picked up and left; I didn’t want any part of church life any more; its as if I crossed some imaginary line in my head – one day, I just wound down the window during a night drive in east coast park and chucked out my bible along with some Mcdonalds rubbish and I didn’t even feel a thing – it was as if I was impermeable, insulated and so distanced from it all, I might as well never have once belonged; and if I don’t belong; how can I even betray; and if I can’t even do that; what am I really feeling then?

Nothing maybe.

I guess that’s the most accurate way to describe the state of cognitive dissonance – for one that goes a long way to explain why very few of us can even feel the need to empathize Ah Seng; or even feel the need to step in to take equity to right a wrong; when we see someone who goes overboard online – that may sound harsh; only if you didn’t know; that’s the state of mind net life typically breeds; a terminal state of ambivalence. It may very well be symptomatic of life in the digital age in the way; motorist in New Delhi don’t seem to be bothered about corpses lying in the middle of the street or why storekeepers in Baghdad don’t see the need to duck when machine gun fire rents out somewhere down the block – I am reminded our minds are elastic, malleable; thoughts get layered; a shift occurs and soon our whole outlook and perception changes imperceptibly without us even realizing it – we have suddenly become very hard and indifferent people.

People who may not even have the patience to bear the beauty of the written word; as the net only seems to reward brevity and dylexia. People who might not even be able to seek oneness with the plight of the Ah Seng’s of this world; only because as a ideal and concept, what he stands for is really the anti-thesis of what we all consider our reality; an oppositional reality to everything fake and unreal

This  awareness accompanies me every time I called upon to design a new computer role playing game – in the last few years; it dawned on me, its not that games are getting more like real life. The perverse effect may well be the reverse: life may be getting more to be like computer games, constrained by complex rules, conventions and customs brought forth by an endless mix of other people who make up our known community – a great mashing and swirling is happening ; where schools of thoughts and states of minds are colliding all the time; some shape or form is bound to emerge from all this; one that may even come to dominate our idea of reality – and sometimes the reality that sort of mashing produces may even detach and separate us from what it means to be human; very much in the way; how most of us remain terminally bovine to this guy now recovering from his wounds in hospital. It’s somehow always in that out-of-sight-out-of-view netherville – just the other day; I saw a photo of a kid crying his eyes out in a bombed out street somewhere in Gaza in a magazine; and the next moment; I was competing with the sight of cleavage standing directly in front of me in sardine canned carriage; I know, it’s surreal, but like I said, modern life is fast resembling being locked inside a computer game where a whole lot of things are happening all at the same time, some of them we understand; most we don’t, but one thing bears out only too clearly in this heady cacophony of mixed messages, it’s bound to have a scouring effect; one that may even come at the cost of leaching away part of our humanity and a few odd cases of friendly fire.

And against this dystopian backdrop somewhere amid the confused everyday lives of indebted slavery, interspersed with the illicit thrill of a decent afternoon fuck capped off by alcoholic oblivion – the faint image of Mr Brown in his foldie appears somewhere in my minds eye; I smile take a drag and polish off the last of the vodka; yes, I say to myself somewhere in this delirium; that’s real; it can’t get realer than that; his helmet looks dorky and those wheels are way too small to take that bend; but I am not too far gone am I? I still have it all together those bastards haven’t ground me down to dust yet – I can still seek out the real in the fake – Mr Brown.

Darkness 2009

Check this related articles out: (Do your part and support small blogs, post it in your site as well – together we can break the information monopoly)

We don’t need no regulation..
Self-regulation fail?
Lui Tuck Yew Obviously Do Not Read My Blog
Cyberspace Self Regulation?
Slander: your definition or mine?
Lui Tuck Yew should recall what his PAP colleague Wee Siew Kim said in 2006
Lui Tuck Yew and the Internet

Check out what your friendly Internet Liaison officer (Singaporedaddy) said here at Wayang Party: ,

[This essay does not have a EP code due to server upgrade / comments box has been temporarily disable due to connection upgrade – The Brotherhood Press 2009]

Take 5 minutes and find out who is Tan Kin Lian and what he can do for us as an MP! http://tkl100kpetition.blogspot.com/2008/12/why-sign-petition.html

 

 

 

 

You know what? I just love this guy; haven’t really figure out where he’s coming from or what he even stands for, but love him to bits just the same.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg1ckCkm8YI

 

 

Yes, where were we? Will ECL blend?

 

Dunno actually (I know her brain with fit in nicely with room to spare; but I am not so sure about her XXL big mouth – might need a bigger spout or something)

 

But let’s move away from kitchen appliances and consider for just a moment: what if ABS cut all the right moves from the word, go? Imagine even in this quicksilver par excellence of cool runs; they even said and did everything right down to the tee; never missing a single page, paragraph and comma in the marketing manifesto.

 

Where would they be today? Would we have bung Aunty ECL into the blender with a twist of lemon?

 

No. They will be anywhere but in the doldrums I hear you say.

 

Now don’t get me wrong. No one denies there was certainly room for improvement (That could even be the understatement of the year). ONLY, I don’t believe that anyone can say ABS started its engine and drove off a cliff, ONLY because it broke every single tenet in the marketing manifesto.

 

Now one reason why I am not a big fan to textbook what-went-wrong explanations is because I know only too well, while cutting all the right moves may be key; its certainly not the ONLY decider and no where near the alpha and omega.

 

Otherwise how could you explain the meteoric rise of William Hung? huh huh huh And what about a dumbo supremo like Bush making it to the white house? What about that sweet thing, I once gave a supplementary American Express platinum card to with the loving words; forevermore; only to end playing forevermore hide and seek with the repoman after she ran up a bill and made Madoff look like someone you gave loose change too? How do you explain all that if cutting all the right moves gets you there? 

 

No I think, there may be something more at work here besides not keeping to the yellow brick road of the good olde marketing and public relations rule book – something dark, mysterious and even creepier at work here. I am reminded although the internet may be space age high tech; much of what that accounts for it is still very primal & base – you can’t gut out the human condition, not even in blogging at least.

 

This dawned on me when I watched recently how the blogo-train ran over Aunty Eastcoastlife. Mind you, I am not so different from you; like I said, I love to see things blend; only this time. I found myself cringing, my toes curling even and I reached my limit.

 

As somewhere in this medley, I distinctively recalled hearing a collie yelp out in distress in probably some part of my mind that hasn’t been killed off by my supposedly well developed selfish gene.

 

You know what I actually feel sorry for Aunty Eastcoastlife – I am serious!

 

I know what some of you are going to say here; she deserved it? After all didn’t she stand up on a soap box and give us all a rendition of the return of McCarthyism circa 1950’s – when she started fingering foreigners? Didn’t she tell you and me that we could all do with a stiff spoonful of castor oil as most of us are so shambolic; we cant even agree on who to eat next, if we all stranded in some tub floating around in the Pacific? What about her hair standing way in which she goes gaga whenever she talks about politicians? Look here; I know that ministers are very important people and all that; just like maybe the friendly uncle who keeps bothering me about whether I am breeding aedes mosquitoes somewhere underneath my mess in my room; only to be very honest with you; I don’t really think, its such a good idea these days to promote a cult of veneration for politicians. Unless of course you’re well keeled for another re-run of seven habits of highly ineffective people (Bush, Fuld, Madoff, Satyam etc) In my book; if there are any lessons to be learnt from this entire economic meltdown; its simply this: we should never put anyone or anything on a pedestal. Never again. Yes, no doubt about it, ECL definitely fucked up big time.

 

And this really brings me to my main topic this afternoon; that primal thing that I was harping on earlier about; the very idea: how so much of our expectations about the internet is shaped by our collective belief that we may not even really understand, although most of the time, we speak authoritively about it. For one let’s just audit some of our time honored assumptions; do we really see the world clearer than those who might only be content to get their news from the apparatus of mass assimilation?

 

I hear a resounding yes. But hold on a second…why then did we get so riled up just because ABS botched up their PR campaign then? Errrr….aren’t they just a bunch of bloggers like us? Why did we even expect them to have the same public relations machinery as lets say General Motors or Boeing Aeroplane Group? Coming to think of it; when did we ever expect ANY blogger to mimic the polished sheen and efficiency of the corporate marketing manifesto?

 

Isn’t blogging supposed to be a strictly amateur affair; where people who usually type out their blogs do so in rooms where clothes and pizza regularly go to die on a Sunday evening?

 

Aren’t bloggers supposed to represent the raison why superglue, ductape and rubberbands still features so prominently in supermarket shelves? Aren’t we all supposed to be the quintessential make do & can do community where not only can we be counted on too regularly mangle up our spelling, sentencing and grammar – but we are even supposed to be the direct opposite of everything we have come to hate about our age of mass assimilation? – where it could be said, there is no truth in the truth these days.

 

Isn’t that why most of us regularly deride our beloved rag, the ST? Because its very polished form and wafer thin veneer of infallibility stands as a anti-thesis to everything which we consider repulsive about the dizzying age of endless hype and spin? As all they seem to do these days is attempt to pass off meaningless nanobites which are completely devoid of genuine experiences with a few eye candy shots as fillers?

 

So one more time please. This time from the very top> Why did we bag Aunty ECL and put her in a blender?

 

Did she really rub us the wrong way? Did she just run against the grain by saying and doing all the wrong things?

 

Not so sure now are you? Maybe…just maybe. The real problem doesn’t lie with her. Maybe it has everything to do with us as a community. Maybe we have even lost our way somewhat in the way a man thinks he’s walking in a straight line in a desolate desert, but because his right leg is slightly stronger, it just means, he’s walking in a big arch that leads him back to where he started from!

 

Yes, I understand. It sounds weird, unbelievable even. The very idea what really accounts for our piranha primal instincts towards ABS and Aunty Eastcoastlife may yet be found in the whole idea of our flawed judgment – who are we really? And where are we going?

 

That should prompt us all to consider: has our idea of reality (in the internet sense) gone slightly pear shape somewhere along the way? Is it even conceivable our reality of what blogging and blogosphere stands for today has absolutely nothing to do with everything good that we once found in blogging; the homily sugary ideal; that it may even be able to offer a manifesto for the disillusioned that once promised vindication and comfort to those who have to struggle ceaselessly to accept the endless hype and spin of our age. An age that’s so impatient and intolerant that it all it seems to do is – promote form at the expense of reason – doesn’t even seem to matter these days, if all newspapers can do is supply us all a steady stream of doggybites – providing it comes with some nice pictures and its written to accomodate our dylexia – its good to go. How else would one go about accounting for the cognitive dissonance brought forth by the sudden appearance of ABS in blogosphere? Why did we even feel justified to measure ABS against the same yardstick of contrived reality that we usually associate with big corporations and newspapers (who incidentally are the biggest subscribers of the hype and spin)? Why is everyman and his dog now blogging on what ABS should or shouldn’t have done according to Public Relations 101, as if they’re mini-me Michael Porter and Peter Drucker sieving through the charred carnage of the anatomy of failure?

 

Coming to think of it: where the fuck did the whole idea of the cult of the amateur disappear too? Where were the whole armies of faceless bloggers who once wore their threadbare keyboards and less than perfect vision of hope like badges of honor? – what happened to the chorus cries that once emanated from the rooms of bloggers where clothes go to die? Where was the make do and can do crowd who once migrated online like some great exodus; only because they were sick and tired of the surreal saccharine laced newspapers, television and radio programs along with the contrived reality which was once spawned the growing movement to return to the natural, real and authentic which they all found in blogging – the land where we could fail and die a thousands deaths and yet still manage to pick ourselves up and play again. ONLY because this place had always been the land of second, third, fourth and umpteen fail and try and try again – where did that land even go too?

 

Where?

 

I don’t know (that could be why, I purposely mangled up my spelling more this time, just to blend the point home, this time). But I my gut feel tells me we all went too far on this one….crossed that line even…and I want no part in it.

 

I just feel like Will Smith in I am Legend now, I don’t think, I cant trust some of you anymore, as you may have lost our way and the sun is setting – it will get bloody soon, it’s time to shut the steel shutters and put something into the blender.

 

 

Darkness 2009

 

[The Brotherhood Press 2009 – Due to upkeep of the Ekunaba servers – all comments will be disabled till further notice / Pls note: due to temp re-routing of SLF 1 to 7 in this site / you may experience font irregularities and speed variances – due to traffic constrains – we dunno what to do about it. But I am sure a few monkeys are working to figure that out – BP 2007]

 

Association of Bloggers Singapore (II)

Independence of a Blogger is a myth

Rupture in the One-Woman Association

New paper link

Association of Bloggers (Singapore)

Overlooking and Underestimating PR

Cowboy Caleb – Mass Resignation of AB(S)

Cowboy Caleb – More Resigns + Timeline

Deadpris – Party Ends So Fast Ar?

Zit Seng – You Don’t Always Have to Form Associations

Nocturne – Morning After the Morning After

Nowhere.per.sg – Guess what led to the Resignations?

Farinelli – Overlooking and Underestimating PR