The FORM & FUNCTION that is Temasek Review – Chapter 8/13

November 28, 2009

I know they will win because they have the truth on their side and it will cut a path. My dear readers allow me to share with you all something that is very private, something that has bothered me for so long a time. 

Some months back ago, when the brotherhood press started stationing themselves in Temasek Review and writing there (previously known as “wayang party.” )

This came as a surprise to me so I asked Baby Darkness, “why had he decided to ally with them?” At first he smiled and said casually, “it will be fun”, I knew he was holding back, a woman can tell, so I pushed the question and eventually he calmly put down his knife and fork and looked at me in a way that I can only describe as a look that I have never seen in any man before. It was a unwavering look, hard as a diamond as if some dark force was powering that gaze which seemed to come from a single indestructible idea and he went on to say, “you ONLY think wayang is like that, but what if they ONLY want us all to believe they are like that? What if they are NOT like that at all? What if they are really something else? ” I asked him to elaborate further, he answered  this time by picking up his knife and fork again but before doing so, he gave me a very strange reply, “Dotty, all warfare is based on deception,” when I pushed further, he said, that I shouldnt bother myself with such things; at that point he turned inwards muttering to himself absent mindedly as if lost in his own thoughts, “you must keep your friends close to you, but you must keep your enemies even closer….” I left the issue there. I did not understand those things then. I still dont understand many things now, but one thing is very certain to me, I realised now, he wasn’t just playing a game – Missy Dotty / this essay was written by Baby Darkness I realize by now many of you who have been following this thread here and elsewhere may be so disorientated that you don’t even know what to think any longer – how did things become so complicated? Just a week or so ago; your world it seems stretches across the plains of consciousness very much in a way a farmer looks out and beyond the horizon; with the thoughts that all that life offers is a continuum; where each day offers nothing more than a repetition of yesterday; things do change, of course; you find a stray white hair; your nails are starting to gnaw at you; its time to trim them and you need a new tube of toothpaste; apart from that life it seems just goes right on.

So I understand if all this comes as a rude awakening – a shock that you may even feel the need to cushion with the suitability of skepticism.

But what did you really expect? Consider the cold facts; the internet is strategic; the custodians of power know this only too well; they have seen how it can be so easily weaponized in the last general elections in Malaysia into a wonder weapon; they remain wary it’s a weapons system that needs to be acquired – but how do they do it; well lets see – they’ve tried a spot of break dancing along with rapping; but it seems despite their best efforts all it seems to do is reinforce the contrived reality that they may only just be going through the motions – in other words, they cannot find a way to successfully project online; neither can the MSM seem to find the enterprenuerial spirit to prosper online either – something drastic is needed!

What you need to understand is; its against this backdrop that Temasek Review was born; this should not come as any surprise to either you or me; you can even say it’s a natural progression very much in the way; the crossbow HAD to be conceived to blunt mounted cavalry charges; machine guns HAD to be developed to effectively repel wave upon wave of infantry charges to perhaps how insurgency HAD to be neutralized with counter insurgency techniques – it’s a respond, nothing more or less – if you want to really be “atas” about it, you could probably term it a classical case of Richardson arms race.

And the rebellious, oppositional and subversive tenor of Temasek Review should not be a surprising either; if politicians can don camouflage fatigues and even sport wrist bands to break dance in the name of “lend me your ears!” – the new mantra can only be this: authenticity is rebellion; because in the modern world of marketing, with its desperate focus on youth couple with the holy grail of how to counter mass skepticism – the only way to punch a whole through the iron curtain of noise is by projecting an impression of authenticity through rebellion – there is no other choice – my point this afternoon isn’t a message in the strict sense; rather it’s the art of understanding the mystery of things.

A good place to start is to begin with the assumption; a thing NEVER assumes a FORM without regard to FUNCTION; Darwinian logic informs us chameleons regularly change their color to blend in with their surroundings not because they’re into earthy shade of haute couture, but rather it offers them a competitive advantage of stealth which would otherwise be impossible if the imperative is to successfully perpetuate their species. Neither do things assume a FORM in the absence of FUNCTION: the two ideas are intimately linked; women of the Matabili Tribe still carry water on their heads; not because its quaint to do so; but because the swing of their gait that arches ever so slightly coupled with their well endowed hips makes this the most efficient way to carry heavy objects on their heads with hardly any loss in kinetic energy; they are even more efficient than military backpacks and industrial forklifts – so once again; the FORM and FUNCTION that makes up Temasek Review is nothing more than an accretion of circumstances, challenges and resource allocation – to succeed in high pressure marketing to young people these days – one needs to first begin with the attribution of the market; these are the most critical audience – the ones who are the least to accept anything at face value.

This hardly requires any elaboration; when one considers the best selling album of Michael Jackson isn’t packaged as “good” as much as “bad.” Against this new landscape of the war of consciousness; that means figures who depart from the social norms that we associate with traditional forms of cultural authority are actually in demand – they command a premium – they deserve to be heard (in the internet at least). It also means that discomfiture and a hint of brutishness that many of us regularly associated with loutish behavior has also become the most effective way of getting your message across in a cacophony of noise.

As I said this transformation of TR (for lack of a better word) should not be seen as surprising anymore than we should rue the demise of the cotton loom or typewriter; its merely an attempt to adapt to the emerging challenges presented by this new age; where to get the message across; its not nearly enough to be credible alone; what is required here is alchemy – where to create such a thing as a the “truth,” that the younger generation are searching for, that means being a little bit “bad” – only because ‘bad’ means in your face, full frontal and is the stripe that is in vogue.

I want to be clear; I for one do not ascribe any blame to Temasek Review anymore than I would consider taking issue with firms who try to peddle their wares by leveraging on subversive marketing from impersonating real life blogger product reviews to endorsing hair loss products that I simply know only contains water as the only active ingredient.

Temasek Review is simply a child of its age; and like all children it simply yearns to be heard, as Emerson said, “even a brick aspires to be something great.” – thus its FORM is merely a respond to circumstances and the emerging challenges brought forth by the mind boggling landscape of how to get a handle on the internet – if anyone is to blame; it is the online community; as it conceivable the internet may actually be closer to perdition than salvation as what’s rapidly emerging for me, at least is the realization; it doesn’t seem to hold out the promise of redemption as it does a dystopian future even more – when one considers how so much of real reading has given way to soundbites; wordsmithing to twittering and real thinking to one liners and barbed repartees – its conceivable this is bound to have a chelating, scouring and leaching effect on most of us; it could well be true most netizens these days do not even have the patience to bear out the beauty of the text; let alone care to seek out the nuances of the deeper things in life; in an age steeped in surreal and contrived reality; illusion has somehow become reality; and is it such a wonder Temasek Review has to assume the FORM to fulfill that FUNCTION if it stands any chance of success in reclaiming what it has lost in the battlefield of collective consciousness – it a child of the internet age.

I understand, I understand completely, you are just a child of our age…

Darkness 2009

(I wrote this real fast during a water cooler break; do feel free to correct for spelling and grammar – Nasdaq is going nowhere, its range bound – if this goes on for any longer; someone has to go; either me or the market)

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