This is a really nutty scenario – the CEO of the Federal Reserve, Bernie Bernanke recently proclaims to the whole wide world – we will do everything in our power to make sure the S & P 500 stays in the pink of health – even if it means rewriting the books…..and guess what happens?

Stocks all over the world take a mega swan dive. Less than a day after the Federal Reserve announced plans to keep the monetary blood transfusion going no matter what the cost!

What the fuck is happening? shouldn’t the markets be peachy?

Well let’s start with the basic assumptions – since 2008, the Fed has loaded up its balance sheet with mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in an attempt to shore up the housing market and artificially inject cash into the economy. It stopped buying these securities in early April. Yesterday, the Fed announced that it will start using the cash from these repayments to purchase Treasury bonds. The message is crystal clear: the FED is 100% committed to keeping the US economy in the pink.

This begs the question. Why did markets all around the world turn their backs on Bernie Bernanke & Co?

Well, if you ask me, one reason why the markets gave Bernanke the thumbs down may have to do with how this latest move by the FED merely confirms the widespread suspicion – Those clowns have absolutely no idea how to jump start the spluttering US economy – besides resorting to good olde fashion – monetary transfusion and flooding the market with cheap cash – there doesn’t seem to be anything else in the fix it bag of the FED – and to be quite honest with you, that  spooks the market!

Another reason why the markets may have cold shouldered the FED – may have something to do with how this incident illustrates graphicall: how little the FED actually knows about the economic recovery process – for one Bernanke has shown to the whole wide world, his team has absolutely no tolerance for anything less than stellar rocket growth, and is willing to pull every lever to ensure that growth occurs at every cost and opportunity. Some might find this encouraging and reassuring. Many in the know do not – as they realize only too well, this means the policy of continuing to support dead beat firms and zombie banks is likely to continue in perpetuity – and that simply means the same useless people who happen to be the same one’s who got us all into this mess will never ever be ejected from the system. Infact, judging from Bernanke’s latest proclamation that the FED is willing to go the whole course – it’s fair to say, these dead beats are here to stay only to riven the system to hell again. Only this time it will be with the full blessings of the Obama administration. 

IMHO, Bernanke or for that matter any other politician can certainly try to pitch their song and dance – only just remember this, the market can always be counted to test you!

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood

 http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xef3zb_wheat-fire-getting-hassled

 

 

I tried to make a video (as promised of the wheat crisis in the Ukraine) as you can see it was a failed mission – had a call from an irrate client from HK, which probably means I will have to be on the plane next Monday to see them – on top of that, the traffic wardens are out to do me in – when I have more time, I promise to broach this subject!

Darkness 2010

Wheat prices have been skyrocketing as news that wildfires are spreading over key growing regions in Russia, one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, prompted investors to pour new money into the markets.

But guess what?

The brotherhood has gaming allies and channel partners throughout the entire stretch of the entire Ukraine, roughly close to over 2,000 nodes- and recently, we asked Singaporedaddy to find out what was really behind this 60% rise in price. And guess what did Singaporedaddy find out?

Firstly, fires are a norm in Russia this time of the year – he went on to say, it would be surprising if there were no fires. Secondly, the Ukraine is not even in the top 5 producers of wheat, the term “the bread basket of Russia,” expired sometime around 80’s – the highest producer based on metric tonnage / per bushel just happens to be the US followed closely by Canada and the EU / so what is really behind the price spike in wheat? And will it affect you?

Find out from the brotherhood press – in the next episode of our new video blog, when we will unravel the real culprits behind this price hike in global wheat pricing -stay tuned!

Akan Datang

Brotherhood Press

Well this is a question that I get asked at least 3 or 4 times a day in PBK and Ekunaba – so I’ve decided to answer it in this video blog.

Thanks Kokopops.

Darkness 2010

One Evening at Dotty’s

August 9, 2010

“Yes, it’s delightful Darkness.”

“But is this what you really want Dotty?”

“Yes Darkness.”

“If you like Dotty.”

“Yes, I like so very much Darkness.”

“Then you must listen to me. Forget dotseng. It is a shell. Now that you have seen the world that I have created for you Dotty….a world that I have fashioned from my own hand in a place called Primus Aldentes Prime. From today onwards Dotty, this is where I want you to consider your world and never ever here again. I have built a castle for you – many of the things you see here have been fashioned by the best artisans in the whole universe – I have gathered them here to work on this palace for nearly two years. This is my gift to you dearest Dotty. I hope you will be happy here. And I promise to visit you once a week. Will you listen to me and stay here Dotty?”

“If that is what makes you happy Darkness.”

“Yes, that will make me happiest Dotty, here you will have friends to talk too. Singaporedaddy will see to it – you will be with your own kind here.”

“Why don’t you join me Darkness?”

“No I must remain here and fight.”

“For how long Darkness?”

“For as long as it takes to win Dotty. For as long as it takes to win.”

Some of my thoughts during National Day 2010. Have a nice one!

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood 2010

A Bad Connection?

August 8, 2010

Spent the whole afternoon trying to establish a high speed teleconferencing connection. Got really frustrated. As you can see, it was captured by my buddy Harphoon, who happens to have a live feed directly to me (coming to think of it, its impossible to talk to me without it being filmed, impossible!) – he caught it all. Looking at me getting all hot under the collar – it was a pretty good laugh. Finally got it to work. When I put on the cans and he told me to try turning on the switch!

We all live and learn.

(To increase the font of this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) Recently Zorro Lim mentioned because of stiff global competition, gunning for gold these days isn’t nearly good enough. He went on to crack his whip to add:

“If you’re the best today, strive to be better. If you’re better today, strive to be betterer and if you’re betterer today, strive to be betterest.”

To paraphrase, Zorro Lim wants more from us. He probably wants the same quality and quantity of work within half the time and half the resources. There’s just one problem – what’s the cost of jumping on the bandwagon of ceaseless competition?

Yes, there’s a price. You can only buy into the fantasy there is no cost to ceaseless competition – if you can believe for all your bones are made from aircraft grade titanium and your brain is as resilient as Kevlar. Life if you didn’t know rhymes with Newtonian physics – every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.

For example, if you’re going to push let’s say a car beyond what it’s designed to do, then I don’t care what anyone says. In my book something has to give and will give, a gasket, piston ring, timing belt or maybe the entire engine block along with you as fly like a bird through the air. The same applies with the mind, body and spirit – when it’s willed to work betterer and betterest – something has to give – and something will give – health problems, lack of quality time with family, broken relationships or maybe even taking a toll on your sanity – dying at work may seem alien to us; but it’s is so common in Japan these days there is even a word for it, karoshi. So don’t come and sell me and idea that betterer and betterest is good to go – I want to know the downside!

Where I think the betterer and betterest  idea may have taken a wrong turn is when it conveniently side steps many of the undesirable aspects of ceaseless competition. Such as whether buying into this idea would cement the relationship between employee and company. Or would it polarize them further by sowing the seeds of mistrust and emnity; since workers will have to put in more effort for the same pay. To exacerbate matters for workers, while corporate profits have soared -wages have remained stagnant, feeding a growing perception that companies are simply exploiting workers. There is also a feeling that as companies have cut costs to remain competitive against cheapy cheap China and India, they are passing too much of the burden onto employees. Neither does betterer and betterest way of life discuss how one’s quality of life might improve (or maybe it goes down the chute?) under this new work regimen? Is it possible to strike a healthy balance between work and family under this new order? How does it allow us to reconnect to those things that are really important in our life?

I am not so sure betterer and betterest road necessarily leads to salvation. In fact, it may very well lead to perdition – fact is this, speed kills! That’s to say if your mind, body and spirit is already in perpetual motion, the chances are you are already chasing your own tail. And it may be time to press the pause button and rethink your priorities in life.

What we may need to do is revisit many of time honored assumptions about what really makes up organizational and personal success. For starters not everything that is served up fast and furious like hot pizza is necessarily good – take for example the internet, as a nifty tool, but because it’s so efficient at retrieving data, that only creates another layer of problems – as too often information overload shows up in the practice it inspires. That means instead of sitting back, contemplating and marinating over the facts to calmly reach an informed decision – we are instead forced to make decision under pressure. And usually that sort decision making just doesn’t cut the grade.

The way I see it, if you don’t set aside some time to really get to know your work – or even step back to try to understand how the context of that work might add or subtract value to your life? Then everything just becomes what I call monkey business. That’s fine, if work happens to be the alpha and omega for you. Or you happen to be someone who regularly gets paid $3 million doing basically fuck all except stepping on and off planes and giving interviews all day long because you think, you are a legend in your own mind. But for the vast majority of level headed folk who still consider work – as just a means to an end (and very little else); that sort of bochap (bovine) attitude may well be the kiss of death. Because if you’re not thinking about your work – then the chances are, someone who you just met on TV is probably telling you what your work should mean to you, along with setting you up for all the way points for the rest of life! You’re set on auto pilot mode. And the chances are you are going to end up fat, penniless and lonely, worst of all, no one wants to fuck you – why should they?

You never bothered to work the really important things through your noodle. You just took and ran with it.  Wonder no more – why there’s never enough time to think through stuff, no opportunity to take upon the mystery of things, no scope to look beyond the field of possibilities –  just the endless and mindless litany of work where every day is exactly like the last. Each day an exact repetition of the last. The only thing marking time is perhaps the diminishing tube of toothpaste and that you have suddenly run out of instant coffee. In which case you’re no better than a monkey trained to pick coconuts all day long.

My point is simply this – the better and betterest culture doesn’t come without any penalties – go and find out what they are and if possible read through the fine print carefully – and try to figure out whether it’s worthwhile to even get on board the train of ceaseless competition.

As for me, I am sticking to the slow boat to China. I dowan lah! May mean that I’ve be targeted next by the bullet train rah rah brigade but from what little I’ve been able to make out of the growing slow movement – in food, to travel to even reading.  I am definitely in good company. Besides I can’t think of a more enjoyable way of going the other way when the world is going that way. Never the twain shall meet.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood.

“Kim, these days, the world doesn’t even have the patience to bear out the beauty of the written word.  They’re too caught up with the rush. Your parents are right, I am a failure. Let me tell you what a big failure I am, no one wants to publish what I write. Not a single soul. I might as well be some madman marooned in some island writing and stuffing all this into beer bottles just to throw it all into the eternity of the ocean – but I don’t think, I am wasting my time or my life – you see I know something that the world doesn’t know – the world wants me to be another bean counter to make a better toaster or another mobile phone…but that’s not what I want from life…if I had 10 life’s, I’ve probably say, yes…but I only have one life…..Kim, have you ever wondered why you get so many people who have eyes but they don’t see, ears but they can’t hear and brains that can’t seem to make out head from tail. If only these people who are always in a rush slowed down and really read instead of speeding through it as if they’re reading the instruction manual for a new washing machine, then perhaps they can see that someone took the time and trouble to arrange the words and sentences. Maybe if they look deeper into that idea. They could even see into another province of time and space – you know what I talking about don’t you? That country Kim. You know that woolly place where we will always have enough time to smell the flowers, look at clouds and feel the warmth of summer’s rain against our cheeks and still manage to catch the last bus home – you told me once….do you remember…. the furthest place that separates two people is not the distance where two stars stand, but it’s when someone who you really love stands right before you….and you don’t even see or hear her. Well, I see and hear you now. But you have no idea Kim, how long and far I’ve walked just to reach this point in time. Or even how much I had to give up. But I think it’s worth it….I’ve found myself somewhere in this country, called lost and found…..and I’ve found you as well Kim…..that’s the only thing that matters…the rest just belongs to other people…I guess what I am trying to say is who can say what’s best Kim? That’s why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness wherever you find it, and I’ve found it in this country called lost and found – we should not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than one or two such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives…now get on my motorbike. I have a full tank of gas. Don’t bother about clothes, tooth brushes and socks…that we can buy along the way. But this is something you cannot make up as you go along, it’s now or never. Come with me Princess.”

Page 107 – “My love for you in the Valley of the Sayings”, Shorojhi / Extract from the novel, the tree that binds – The Brotherhood Press Love Story division 2010. Author: Darkness.

 (To increase the font of this essay – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) Recently Wong Can Sink! mentioned – We must robustly defend the integrity of our institutions of justice and law enforcement when anyone maliciously attacks and undermines the public confidence and trust – you know what? I happen to be in complete agreement with Wong can Sink!

It’s very simple: it would be pretty hard to go about ones business if no one had any confidence in the courts and the law enforcement agencies. At best it would be lousy for businesses (except people dealing in bullet proof vest and coffins), at worst folk may even decide to take matters in their own hands because they can’t even put their trust in the system – and the next thing we know the whole country may very well spiral into a post apocalyptic no man’s land like down town Baghdad on a bad hair day.

Now that we have sorted out that part lets dive into the juicy bits of this discussion:  how does one go about the business of restating the integrity of our institutions? Can this be accomplished without jeopardizing one’s elemental right to free speech? More importantly, what is the gold standard of “defending” these institutions?

Here I have to put on my call a spade a spade hard hat and tell you all plainly that nothing would give me the keenest enthusiasm to rely exclusively on our beloved rag. There is only one problem, we are told time and again – it’s not the fourth estate. So that idea is kaput!

So we are back to square one again.

And this has led me to consider the deeper question of how should we intelligently go about the business of defending the integrity of our institutions against lies and disinformation? The short answer is no matter what the custodians of power may say; this task cannot be accomplished exclusively by the hand of officialdom. And the reasons are very simple – since these institutions are public entities; and government officials are part of the apparatus of the state – relying on public officials to defend the integrity of state institutions makes as much sense as asking Count Dracula whether he thinks he is doing a great job as the CEO of the National Blood Bank – and you all know why he is called the Count don’t you – because if you are dumb enough to rely exclusively on his accounting, he will count it any way except the way that it is supposed to be counted. So there you go.

To reframe the argument in the perspective of conflict of interest – how credible would the process of appraisal be, if lets say ONLY BP was asked to conduct a study on how well it managed the Gulf of Mexico oil spill? Or put it another way, how credible would it be if ONLY Toyota is tasked exclusively to look into its dodgy brakes problem?

Now from what I see there is a system flaw here that no sane person can deny – that could be one reason why some countries rely on an impartial body known as the Ombusdman or on Congressional Hearings to ensure the gold standard of keeping scrupolously to ONLY the evidence to derive at the truth.

As you can see these questions about how should we go about the business of defending our institutions is not ONLY about the mechanical process of winnowing truth from lies, disinformation and malicious statements – neither are they exclusively about the law either. As the mere fact that certain practices are sanctioned by the law may make them legally right, but whether they are just remains moot. More importantly, in the act of defending the integrity of these institutions; it’s also necessary for government to reaffirm the principle of limited government in the constitution viz-a-viz while we may argue where the line begins and end, no one should ever be in doubt there exist limits on government power. Along with possibly ensuring whatever conclusions reached concerning the state of our institutions is ultimately a fair and transparent process – in other words, at every stage of the process, every care and attention has been made to ensure there are enough fail safes to guard against the latin aphorism: nemo judex in causa sua.

Nonetheless, it’s worth noting –  one reason why the preferred method of defending govt institutions is still remains the courts and not the public square may have something to do with the question that ensues there after – i.e is it even possible for govts to throw the whole discussion about whether their institutions have the requisite integrity before the public square and still manage to contain, under conditions of peace if not civility, a manageable range of moral, ideological and jurisprudential conflicts? And yet still ensure these conflicts are not so severe as to threaten the stability and legitimacy of these institutions?

On the surface these fears are understandable and even valid.

But in my personal opinion they can only acquire a sense of scale and perspective to assume the best approach of defending institutions, if we consider them concurrently against the cost of not allowing these issues to be ventilated in the public square, even if it may threaten to imperil the system!

And this begs the question: why?

Well if you ask me the cost of not allowing a free and open debate pays out less than having one –  to me it’s a straight line cost and trade off analysis.

As what invariably occurs when a discussion or for that matter any discussion concerning the integrity of a state’s institution is posed; be it in Singapore, Timbuktu or even the regime of the planet of the Apes –  if the preferred strategy is to summarily bracket (i.e exclude from discussion). And when I use the term bracket – it’s really horses for courses – you can plumb for the arcane such Leste Majeste suits that the Thai’s seem quite fond; to anything ranging from contempt and defamation suits.

My point is this any attempt to bracket can only create missing blanks in the narrative and soon those conditions generates its own set of disenchantments – it stands the test of reason: where discourse lacks resonance in so far as some of the facts are simply elided, missing and marginalized for whatever reason, no matter how valid it may be – it can never be coherent – instead of whole disquisitions, all one is left with is vignettes which will only heighten the indelible feeling that something may be amiss.

So that means, bracketing can never acquire the power to recruit the mind, let alone solicit consensus. Granted it may compel one into a state of acquiescence. But comparatively that has to be a very low quality of agreement. And as I mentioned earlier, we are not interested in cheap and nasty goods, we want nothing but the gold standard of getting at the truth and that means we want everyone to be happy – and worse of all, where a discourse excludes the public completely and is instead only elevated to some quorum somewhere in the sky other than the public square – the yearning for meaning can only find undesirable expression.

This if you didn’t know is how fundamentalism in all its multi hydra headed form takes root – As paradoxically, where moderates feel uncomfortable with the idea of leading the discussion in the public square – true to the adage; where angels fear to tread. Fundamentalist, psycho’s (such as myself, I might like to add), charlatans in the form of the Osama’s, Jim Jones et al are more than willing to fill up the missing blanks in the narrative with their contorted world view.

Worst of all, when governments shy away as they often do from throwing contentious subjects before the public square for free discussion– for the morbid fear (real or imagined) that it may threaten the stability and legitimacy of the status quo ante. None of us will ever really know whether the cohesion of Singaporean society is stronger than its divisions when faced with the challenge of having to deal with contentious issues which require deep introspection on a national scale. And that simply means we can never really be confident of breaking away from the vicious cycle to discover new ground on the account of the fear of the unknown; preferring instead to tread everywhere except where angels fear to go and that as we all know is no good – while that approach may have worked once upon a time – the only thing that scady cat attitude buys these days is a Pyrrhic victory.

Welcome to a brave new world – where it is possible to win every battle and still manage to do the impossible – that is to lose the war.  

Darkness 2010

“In the Age of the Sundial, 2,000 space years ago, it was possible for just one regional Pro-Consul to control the affairs of an entire galaxy, this we did by leveraging on the skill of arms of technology and by commoditizing special knowledge – which many called the weirding ways. But in reality it was all Mumbo Jumbo. Not so different from how those Mayan high priest once hypnotized the crowd since they knew exactly when the lunar eclipse would occur. Although our numbers were few, we had a monopoly on the keys of power; hence our ability to transverse the infinity of space was second to none. During those early stages in the game, I enjoyed watching TV immensely. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to return from work, sit before this box of sights and sounds and while away my time.

But by the age of the typewriter, we realized that thinkers had begun to seize the reins of power, you see, once people know it’s all mumbo jumbo – smoke and mirrors – it’s game over. And those thinkers fixed us right and proper there; to add to the grief they fermented insurrection in the provinces and many of our mineral colonies, then they asserted themselves in the Confederation to even straggle our mineral supplies by questioning the legitimacy of our rule in many of these protectorates and colonies  – by this stage in the game, we were in a precarious position.  As they were winning, and how do you fight against the written word? Might as well declare war on the all nations of the winds!

The game had become so complicated, that many of us were forced to acquire new skill of arms to get these thinkers on our side – we had no choice but to fight the mind with the power of the mind. But how you do that when most of us are just frogs in the well – please understand, we are not talking about which university you graduated from as much as it remains the simple matter of being able to hold an intelligent conversation. We wanted wanted them to respect us; so instead of killing them like we did in the Age of Steel – our elders conferred special status on thinkers – for 300,000 parsecs South of Liberation Square where the Cenopath stands – no intellectual can be arrested, harrassed and so on and so forth – today it is a sin to strike a thinker in Primus Aldentes Prime, if you do this, your assets will be confiscated, all your credits will revert to the exchequer and you will be denied food, water and fire! Now you understand why many of us were forced to read Plutarch, Aristotle, Montaigne, Metternich, Clausewitz, Montesquie etc. Why we had to learn from the French and Germans. And some of us even had learn new languages like German, French and Russian to forge strategic alliances with many who made up the Guilds in the Strangelands  – it was adapt or perish – now you understand why since that day I have not watched even so much as one hour of TV – tell me is James Lye, Andrea De Cruz and Zoe Tay still around? Do these names ring a bell with you?”

Darkness 2009 – captured in the secured thread in the SLF 8 – The Age of the Sundial to the Typewriter – The Brotherhood Press 2010.

New Love Novel Released

August 4, 2010

This e-novel published first in Hong Kong and Sweden, has to date crossed the 70,000 copies mark.

Shorohji as it’s commonly called is inspired by a Korean love series Darkness saw while he was in a business trip in Japan – it runs 48 chapters and retails for 103 Imperial Shekelians. Please contact your book club for further details. Brief Extract: Main Protagonist / Musings / Chapter 31 – The Revelation 

“Pain can never be taken philosophically; otherwise it isn’t pain. Today Dr Kim told me she will certainly die within the month. Yet as I walked aimlessly through this streets, I feel nothing – can it be I am still yet to live and experience life? My eyes have hardly opened, have they? I am simply a child standing before the portal of life – all this is so clear when someone you love only once in your life has to suddenly leave you.

 The old say, the more humane we become, the more likely we are to suffer the pain of others. To love simply means to embrace vulnerability, to be even woundable in the way a man grips and searches out the sweetness of her lover in a moment’s ache. Never made easier by the solace of simply observing from afar, but here where she is before me, I can no more deny her existence any more than I can say, I never once existed. 

If it is not given me to know the course of time, then the best I can do is to be attentive, to watch the moments go by, to feel her occasional caress and to revel in her closeness. You could say this is how a man who has never loved ambles his away across this strange terrain.

It’s like trying to work my way along a wall in the dark, It doesn’t serve me to turn and rail against the wall; it may have been placed there so that I don’t slip and fall over the edge – that evening, after finishing my fifth cigarette – I decided to walk beside her again….slowly, one step at time, I retraced my steps to the hospital – lets see where it goes. If this is the script the story teller of life has penned for me, then I shall simply have to utter my lines! Do I even have a choice? What I will have to do can never be considered an accomplishment or failure worth mentioning – it’s simply what it takes to be a human being who loves another more than himself – to live for the moment, that is and not to expect anything in return except pain. You could say, I have finally discovered my purpose, my reason to live and a reason to enthomb my selfishness……and with it, this has to be the first day of my awakening….breathe…this is my first day and as day’s goes. A day when a man simply loves a woman.”  Darkness.

This has been released by the Brotherhood Press Love Story Division based in Korea – Aurora – The Brotherhood Press 2010.

 

 

Coming to think of it, people aren’t so different from cars – or maybe its the other way round – cars aren’t so different from people.  

Some are built like hardy Land Rovers: others are like capricious Italian roadsters that bite when you stroke them the wrong way; then there those who just want to kill you –  others just flame up for no rhyme or reason like my first girlfriend – I called the fire brigade and they gave her a good hosing down and the insurance firm packed her off to national steel – where she probably got reincarnated into my poltergeist washing machine that goes on spin mode in the middle of the night.

Then there those who are full of sound and fury, only to come out short on the draw when you floor them – along with those who need the illusion of rising by putting others down. Till of course, you get behind them and realized they’re just full of hot air.

Then just when you fall into a lull and think, all cars are only cars. One day, you come across a machine that surprisingly crosses out all your disbeliefs in one straight line – you know from this moment onwards, this is the one that you will always go with in life; others may come and go, but this one will always be in your drive way; they don’t need much effort to convince you, you’ve made the right decision. You could say, its almost intuitive – you even know it deep down in your bones, you can go the long haul with this one; they don’t ever need to shout to get their message across; they never need to fight for attention to tell you how great and important they are like the others or even feel the need to show off – if they had to do all that, they probably never had in the first place – they are so centered; they’ve got it together.

As for the rest, they are still fighting to reach that place called wholeness – they’re still fighting to be believed; while the one that you’ve decided to go with has already arrived; everything is the way it was meant to be.

I (probably a soviet built Lada with roof rack) have been very fortunate all my life – I have always been able to meet the Mercedes Benz of the human species who make up my circle of friends – some of them are flashy; others stately, then there are the run of the mills who could do with a two coats of polish, but all of them have one thing in common – they’re true to their spirit – when you boil life right down to four wheels and an engine block it’s all about only one thing: relationships – the rest are bicycle, trains and planes.

If only people can just learn from cars, all our problems will come to end very quickly and life will just be one long happy ride.

Darkness 2010

“I get invited many times to speak in my read clubs. I really don’t know why anyone in their right mind would even want to invite me. I am serious. I guess one reason why they invite me is just out of politeness….usually I don’t go. I say usually because there was this time some years back ago when I did attend one of these read clubs that I heard so much about. Well I was just curious. So I went there incognito. I didn’t expect much. And in truth, I suppose it’s like going to your own funeral. I realized for one. No one ever goes to those read clubs to discuss what I write. I am the last thing in their mind and they seem to me more preoccupied with the food and wine. No you could say everyone refers to me as that person who tries to write in a sympathetic tone. Not to mention how they always seem to talk about me in the third person removed, like, “what he meant to express in his novels…but found it challenging to do so…” So you understand Agnes –  why I said, its a bit like going to your own funeral.

And that was the main reason why I cold shouldered read clubs as long as I can remember – matters little where they spring up, Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok…the whole lot of them.

Don’t get wrong Agnes, it’s not that I don’t see the value of fellowshipping with other people. Only I have never ever felt wholly comfortable about the idea of people gathering together and the idea of me featuring in this. I am a very private person by nature.

But lately, I’ve changed my mind. You see I no longer see the world as I used to see it – as some kind of solitary arcanum…there was a time when I was really proud of being able to scale mountains all alone or sail till all my ropes frayed to the place where the bluest give way to an incredible paraffin blue Agnes. Yes,  a shift has definitely occured. Not a big one. Probably so small. You would hardly notice it.

But maybe it’s just that I don’t think everything should revolve around me any more….you have to understand Agnes. I wrote alot. And most of what I wrote doesn’t even get to see the light of day like this.. And somewhere in all this writing. It hardly occured to me that what I was actually doing was putting one stone on top of another. And I guess others decided to do the same, till we all created this tiny country called “this is who we are.” A place where you go too for the very first time only to say to yourself, “Oh my God, there are actually people like me…I am not so weird after all!”

If you don’t mind Agnes. It would give me great pleasure if you can have me for your next read club. I prefer to sit quietly alone in one corner. I don’t even wish to speak. Infact, if its impossible, I prefer it…if no one even knows who I am…..it’s a place to start Agnes.”

Darkness 2010

Captured by an auto-bot crawler in a high security thread in Phi Beta Kappa – The Brotherhood Press 2010

Get ready to sell. On my mark. Please no more fuck up’s like the last time! She is taking up slack. I expect me alot of fight from her tonight.

I know some people are telling you this rally is the real McCoy. But you really have to plumb to follow me or them. I have no time to negotiate. We are selling tonite itself. On my mark. http://www.google.com/finance?q=NYSE%3Ac

You know most of people have been beaten up to a pulp by the market – they are all punch drunk. All their models have turned to crud. So they are so scaddy cat right now, everyone is watching what the next guy is going to do. In a market when it is so incredibly hard to turn a decent profit. I don’t see the point of playing it safe. I see no logic to put our chips on cigarettes stocks and firms that build aeroplanes only to run the risk for a the sake of parking voucher profits – if we are going to play Russian Roulette, then it must be for either a house, that yacht or that private island – any less is just doesn’t make any sense to me. Be that as it may.

Citigroup is going nowhere, so we will cut her loose – then switch over to YRCW. She is an unknown. No one has heard of her before. But she is good to go by my estimates. I have been tracking her for the last 6 months.

Target: YRCW . http://www.google.com/finance?q=AMEX%3Ayrcw

YRCW will break every bone in your body if you are not careful! This is high risk. So keep it tight. A flatliner has been arranged by our Bavarian friends – so be ready for insertion.

I could be wrong. But this feels just right for the moment, so I am going with the flow on this one.

KOHO send an EAM to the Guilds! Do it now! On my mark.

Our boats have to sail in the same direction Gentlemen….I believe…..I believe.

Happy Hunting

Darkness 2010

PS: I am so tired, haven’t slept for over 4 days. Nacramanga – will take over com/ he will be the pointman / Harphoon will be his XO – Scholarboy and Astroboy will be sweepers – pumpman and Atomic Monkey you deal with the Germans / Singaporedaddy will take care of the Arabs ?JDAM will deal with the Chinese and Koreans.

I am going to lie down for a while.

“You’ve got to understand. I never planned to make this my life. On a flight some years back ago. The plane was full. So they upgraded me from economy to first class. Now this was a strange flight, because  retrospectively, I wasn’t so sure that it was a coincindence.

There were only three really old men in the whole cabin…. I mean, they were really old, like 100 years old…and they began asking me about some of my equations that I had posted online. You’ve got to understand. I don’t watch TV. And most of the time, even when I work. I have at least 3 screens on. So I am always online. And in those days, I spent most of my free time in this really small corner of the Internet known as Waldolf ‘s – it was a place where if math geeks suffered from the something like writer’s block – they could go there and get their minds shocked or whacked back in shape. And when I was in Waldolf’s. I was a very controversial figure. Firstly, I didn’t belong there. So I always had a big inferiority complex. I had no business being there. Secondly, I had developed a set of math equations that took issue with the firm LTCM. And thirdly, and this was the most serious indictment, I had used a formula that I got out from a factory producing seats / I think it was Johnson Controls. To cut a long story short, someone from LTCM issued a writ to block my equations from seeing the light of day – I called those equations, the temple of doom. But I didn’t back down. So I was challenged to prove my hypothesis – but on the day, I chickened out as I didn;t want to get sued.

So now you know the background story, let’s go back to where we left off in the first class cabin – there I was explaining to some of these old men why I believe LTCM had to fail. Then somewhere along the line… something snapped in my head…I realized that if only one person believed that an engine can run on tap water…then he was a lunatic. If a group believed it could be done, but they only had $2 between them…they will be known as the lunatic fringe. But what if a group of really powerful people believed in that idea? Now think about it….work it through your brain….then what happens is the illusion becomes real.”

Darkness 2008

(To increase the font – hold down the Ctrl key and keep pressing +) Work till you die standing? No fear! If you really want a sneak preview of this dystopian life; then pop down to your nearest golden arches to catch the latest horror story of Ah Kong and Ah Mah impersonating the glorious life of the Duracell bunny.

Trust me, it wouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes to figure out retirees and jobs usually designed by time and motion specialist mix as well as oil and water. I am reminded that’s what happens when seniors citizens are wrongly matched with toxic jobs – they struggle; they flay; the system beats them to a pulp and it’s just plain dehumanizing – it’s depressing – work becomes a veritable dungeon – a house of horrors.

Yes, I know, I am probably going to get a slew of charming post in my inbox chiding me for pointing the finger at the golden arches; they’re after all so kind and caring to open up placements for retirees aren’t they? Well, that’s precisely my point, they’re not. In fact what they’re doing is inadvertently condoning the glorious life of the battery chicken. Nothing is more depressing than being served by a Ah Mah dressed up in a baseball cap and sporting pig tails as she rattles off greetings that probably came out from some laminated card; like I said, the fit is all wrong. I am not suggesting oldies should only be hired to play Santa Claus or quaint Samsui prototypal Bangla’s in some historical setting. Only I believe, if retirees are to turn the wheel of life meaningfully in their twilight years, there should be more effort to carve out a fit between their vintage and their job role.

The Mcdonald’s horror house model offers a snapshots of what can really go wrong when absolutely no ground rules are set before we even decide to do away with the idea of retirement.

My feel is if government is really serious about the whole idea of ending retirement as we know it; then rhetoric alone is cheap – government may need to step in and draw up the rough sketches of the ground rules before this can sensibly be mooted as a workable plan – and I wouldn’t leave it to Mr Free Market to set the drum call.

One reason why I believe the plan to get seniors back into the employment bandwagon may backfire is because I know only too well how demanding businesses can be on the human mind, body and spirit (that could explain why I regularly fake so many MC’s along with sleeping underneath the table at work). Work life is hard enough even for a young man like me. If I recall back to my miserable student days in London, I was booted out of KFC, McDonalds and Burger King, all within a span of a month! Why? What was my crime? Well my overseers and his border guard Alsatians couldn’t stand the sight of me standing still and doing absolutely nothing – Clean that Darkness! Move! Pick that up! Reverse. Forward! Turn left and right! Jump thru the hoop! I snapped one day when they told me, I had to put my hand up to go for urination breaks. Another time when I got a job in A&W working the sidewalks as a mascot bear that did the tuba-driven “Ba-Dum, Ba-Dum” jingle – I got booted out one day when a kid complained that he saw the bear in a pub gulping down Stela Artois instead of root beer while pool sharking ( what was I expected to do? Get out from my 40 kilogram polyester fur suit for a 30 min break? I took me that long to get into it!). After that I promptly switched to a sedentary job as a morgue attendant and that put an end to those pesky customer complaints.

Get my drift now? My point is simply this. The constant pressure to push productivity beyond what’s humanly possible, multi-tasking, the insatiable expectation of pesky customers and the pressure to deliver value and to do more, more, can all too easily turn into a living hell. Yes I am sure, if those free market jihadist had their way, they’ve tell us all, the push for greater productivity hardly seems unreasonable given the realities of our times. Only my point is just look at how these productivity goodies are regularly delivered? And ask yourself how does that match up with the vintage capabilities of most retirees?

At the heart of issue, I think the main question boils down to whether we can trust the free market to find that happy work / life balance. I think not. Bear in mind, we’re not only talking about fair wages that’s only the tip of the iceberg. As much as we’re still on the page where we are trying to find the ideal fit in placement, capability and setting a realistic expectation for an elderly workforce. I am reminded there are thousands of small, simple hardships that can push the elderly over the edge in today’s working environment; for one everything from work manuals right up to the length and height of the customer service counter is designed more for nubile teenagers and Olympic athletes rather than oldies; no where do we even see the basic provisions to cater for failing body parts; short sightedness; the shakes; imperfect memories; machines that can be operated even if one is drowsy or even the sedentary pace which seniors usually go about their business. All these would have to be augmented and possibly even redefined. The working environment needs to be first redesigned to take stock of the physical limitations of retirees. Perhaps even re-negotiating the whole idea of the survival of the fittest.

I am not suggesting for one moment we should have someone like Eunice Olsen holding out wheel of fortune font sized alphabets to help train seniors during their induction sessions. Only if we’re not sensitive to the physical limitations of the elderly. And work to prepare the ground, then what may very well happen is this whole idea of getting the seniors back into the workforce may just turn out to be institutionalizing the glorious life of the battery chicken on an industrial scale.

At the end of the day instead of deriving personal fulfillment, seniors may very well find themselves locked in horror chamber with no prospects of escape; instead of emancipation, we may very well end up with sinew snapping back-breaking work regimes.

No my feel tells me we can’t put the cart before the horse on this one – yes, I know big daddy Lee said we should work till our sinews give out; only talk is cheap. Besides most oldies are not as fortunate as Big Daddy – they have to make do with public transport, line up for medical care, put up with youngsters who don’t give two shits about them and have even less imagination to figure out – what growing old is really like –  truth is more work needs to be done by government to prepare the ground before this whole idea can really take off cleanly without crashing and burning.

As it is, working till you die standing is just a luxury very few of us can afford – an admirable sentiment reserved for only a privilege few.

Darkness 2010 & Missy Dotty [The site owner of Dotseng]

 

“Tell me something what are you going to do when you grow old?”

“Bum around. Watch the world go by.”

[Laugh] “That’s what you’re doing right now.”

“Well, you have to plan ahead Dotty.”