Developing a checklist may sound like something best suited for people who suffer from the seven habits of highly ineffective people. I don’t see it that way at all  – I have a checklist for everything. Some I hold in my memory and some I carry along with me with the form of laminated cards. 

If I had to recall back to my averagely miserable childhood – this habit must have developed just after watching a great movie. The name escapes me. But its about a mid air collision between a jumbo jet and a really small plane – I remember this scene in the very beginning when the pilots were checking off items. You know, “check AF, Check circuit breaker…etc” And I said to myself that’s so cool. And since then, I’ve developed a habit of check listing for everything.

(You know I luv you all to bits right? First one to name me the movie…come on Piranhna Pride and at least fifty others who participated in the last challenge, go for it! Gets his or her comments up here! I sumpah! Tick Tock! Go!)

Developing a daily habit for checklisting pays out dividends on the very first day. You’re really good to go from making sure you NEVER ever forget your EDC (everyday carry) to ensuring you have the right attitude to deal with the day to day challenges – have you ever left home only to discover later on that you left behind something really important? (like your brain, as in my case lah). Do you find yourself straggling to find the best way to accomplish a task no matter how many times, you have done it only to realize later on, you’ve missed an important step? Do you feel drained and frustrated whenever you have to deal with a really difficult person because you can seem to de-personalize yourself from an emotinally charged situation? What about having to rework what you just did because you either didn’t anticipate what your internal customer wanted or simply came across as vague and fuzzy?

Well developing a daily habit of checklisting helps you solve these daily problems with remarkable ease – let me just read out to you a list of checklist that I’ve been regularly using for the last ten years. When I am at the office or the factory floor, its get it right the first time! Naturally, beneath this heading there is a to do list, stuff like write a list of tools that you need to accomplish the job. Is there any special skill sets that requires a specialist to work with you? etc. This is the only way I know to ensure consistency in high performance, customer satisfaction, quality control and delivery reliability. When it comes to tools and knick knacks – the rules applies, everything in it’s right place. That guarantees I only buy something once, and I buy the very best. Never ever need to buy it again or hunt for it. I have only purchased one screwdriver in my whole life – know where it is. In this new house I am building my tool room is the size of a living room! But there is everything there to even build a rocket. The same rule applies to extreme sports – I never ever leave for an expedition without referring to my checklist of things to take – I am never the type who finds himself lugging 40 kg of kit of tin food without every forgetting the can opener. When it comes to dealing with psychos, I alway place a laminated card before me (out of eyeshot, of course) and it writes, shut up, Listen and seek to understand, ask only relevant questions and be mindful to respect the privacy of the person before you. When it comes to climbing, sailing and biking along with operating heavy machinery – it’s safety, safety, safety! But the details of the checklist is really too long to recount.  

You could even use checkisting when you’re in the mood for love – you could put a smile on the face of your better half ALL the time and EVERY time. But this is where I draw the line. My lips are sealed.

Try it and I guarantee you will be so effective that you will see the results almost immediately.

Go for gold. Trust me on this one, you are good to go!

Darkness 2012.

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“When people speak to me. They always think, that’s a really smart guy whose got it all together. But nothing can be further from the truth – I am slow. And that really says it all. If it takes you a hour to resolve an equation, it will probably take me a entire day – believe or not that’s the cards life has dealt with me. That’s well and fine, if all had to do was study. But in the moment of my youth, all I had when I arrived at Heathrow was $50 and a tube of Mentos. So I had to hold down two jobs to put myself through university. In day time, I worked as a cook in a Chinese restaurant in Leicester Square. In the evenings, I ran a martial arts class teaching Kendo. Somewhere in between, I had to attend lectures and just get a lot of stuff to fit into my head. If I allocate 2 hours to do a task. I had to get it right the first time. If I fuck it up, that’s it, there is no way to recoup  my losses and I will simply fall behind – so a man learns, he develops his own bag of tricks to get by. So through the years I developed a checklist for virtually everything and that really pulled me out of the poverty cycle. The moral of the story here is there is no such thing as a genius; that concept to me doesn’t exist – as what we usually consider a genius is really someone who has disciplined his mind to process information in a very methodical and orthodox way – and since, this skill set doesn’t come naturally to be, I realized very early on in life you just as well hoodwink the system and no one will ever know that you’re really just an ordinary Joe. Nothing more or less, just an ordinary Joe with his bag of tricks.” 

(Except of a conversation extracted from a thread recently from PBK and SLF 1 to 16)

The more time I spend on the land – the more I am convinced, there are certainly stark parellels between what the good earth imparts to me in the way of wisdom and the teachings of the Dalai Lama.

I am by nature a skeptical man. The type who never just accepts the “truth,” for what it is without probing further.

So this new awareness of my evolving consciousness certainly comes as a great surprise to me. As I’ve never really felt the need for religion at any point before in my life which I’ve always consider to be just a convenient form of happy self delusionment. I used to be a Christian once upon a time, but it didn’t take me long to realize once you discount the K-pop hairstyled pastor, the glitz and glamor of mega churches plus the hypocrisy of the congregation it all added up to a delightful scam and very little else i.e a complete waste of time cum cancer of the wallet – but lately, I feel as if, I’ve tripped on something that I can’t fully understand with my intellect – perhaps like a lone traveller, I’ve crossed some invisible line somewhere in my head, where destiny and fate intersects – I see it, but I don’t recognize what it is; the texture of its touch is alien to me and corresponds to nothing in my database – so I continue to observe it, always mindful and wary not really knowing what it is or whence it came from.

Lately, I feel myself drawing deeper and deeper into it’s gravitational pull, one where I am aware of the tug, yet at the same time distanced, attached yet detached, there yet elsewhere, but no matter how hard I try to break free from the hold of this mysterious force. I fail – yesterday I fought this force with my intellect all day long, all it did was drain me dry leaving me exhausted – today I’ve adopted a different strategy, one where I am just going to go with the flow and see where I eventually end up – like a flotsam floating in the infinity of the ocean.

Let’s see how it goes. I want to believe. I honestly do.

Darkness 2012

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“Super dog. I am the only person manning the Singapore blogosphere. Over.”

“Oh my God! What happened to the others? Sector 982, over.”

“They have all left. Super Dog. Over.”

“What is your call sign Sector 982 controller . Are you marooned? Over.”

“Negative. I repeat negative. I am on a one man mission. My name is Darkness….Darkness of the Brotherhood.”

(Transmission intercepted by the re-supply vessel KDD Minerva somewhere in the Carphatian System – The Brotherhood Press 2012)

The wisdom of slowing down

February 17, 2012

It is not easy for most of us to “unlearn” the poison of going fast all the time, that’s because being the fastest often pays out real dividends in the short term – being the fastest to get your work done in office, means you have more time to spend with your family doing the things, you really want to do. Being fast as a student means, you can upload more stuff into your head to help you ace that end of the year paper.

But what really happens when we become so fixated with the idea of speed that we can no longer perceive the wisdom of slowing down.

For me, before I approach ANY task – it’s not unusual for me to spend an excruciatingly long time thinking whether it pays to get it done fast or slowly. To paraphrase, I recognize some task should be done speedily, such as administering CPR to someone who has just keeled over. Then again, I don’t believe EVERY task should only be approached with speed being the only consideration in mind – that’s because some task simply require thinking and that can often slow progress – being able to differentiate which task we should go slow or fast is definitely a valuable life skill – as nothing is worse than barreling ahead like a bullet train just because everyone seems to be doing it. I really don’t see any compelling reason to be fast just for the sake of fast, fasterer and fasterest, not when the final destination leads to the end of a cliff. Slow allows us to get into the grove at our time, it gives us time to be comfortable with each step required in the task and ensures quality.

Darkness 2012

“Gentlemen,I do not see why we should jump to any conclusions concerning Wayang Party just because they came out and had a face off with TOC. This is not how intelligent make an informed decision. If you people want to collaborate with them. Or warm up to them. Be my guest. Only understand this! What are we getting ourselves into? First of all have you all asked a fundamental question: what do they stand for? Now, from what I am able to make out so far – a big fat nothing! In fact, I have a lot of questions. Just because you tell me that 9 out of 10 essays featured in Wayang Party comes from the SDP and the Reform Party doesn’t mean I believe you! Life is not so simple –  for all I know, your masters are out to fix them! You jump, I jump! You’re fucking kidding me right? I will take my sweet time to examine your trek record with a fine toothcomb and draw the conclusion. Am I calling Richard Wan a liar? No, I am calling him a very confused mother fuck who has as much credibility as one follicle of my cock hair. I wouldn’t trust this sister fucker to guard my compost heap – he is a congenital liar! So can anyone here please tell me, why are we even considering collaborating with a bunch of confused fucks who have absolutely no idea what they want to accomplish within three or four or for that matter ten years? Can anyone please tell me where is the wisdom of rushing into this? Do you all want to end being secretly filmed while making love and sharing it to the world in Youtube? Do you all want to be bankrupted and sued till your pants look like a flag of defeat? Do you want to find the earth beneath you give way, one day? Because this Gentlemen is what will happen, if we all say, “aye” to doing business with highly confused people who have absolutely no idea where they want to go or for that matter why. Is this what you all really want? I thought not. Gentlemen, I do not see any compelling reasons to change our position with regards to Wayang Party, it is really like the sad case of Kashmir, we fire one salvo early in the morning like the Indians at them – at teatime, just like the Pakistanis, they fire one salvo and this cold war continues indefinitely with no prospects of peace and détente – this my friends may not seem like a very good way to make progress; but at least, we can guarantee nothing will ever come back and bite us all either. Many people may have once forgotten about Wayang Party’s so called fictitious DDos attacks. But the serious men amongst us will never forget, as we have suffered a huge dent as a result of that reckless act – make no mistake, the serious men may have forgiven, but they will never forget. Never gentlemen, it’s best, if we proceed slowly…..very slowly. Even ten years is too fast. Send a message to all our channel partners, tell them nothing changes. We will take all the time we need to make the best decision.”

(An excerpt of a conversation captured in the Imperium in Primus Aldentes Prime – The Brotherhood Press 2012)

Most people I notice, prefer to take on big things and side step the small stuff in life. I guess, if you had to reflect on your own life, you could probably mine out a few stories of your own in your own family or at work – you will probably notice, how most people intuitively search out to do the big stuff and deliberately avoid the small and insignificant –  that’s only to be expected from life – After all taking on big challenges usually gets you recognized and rewarded by management, while no one really pays any attention to the guy working on the small stuff. And even if they do, it’s hardly something that everyone is going to go “whoopee” about.

But through the years, I’ve learnt never measure a task by its size or the importance others may attach to it – I remember many years ago, when I volunteered to follow a production shift in a factory instead of opting to for a nice cushy position that would have provided me with much more opportunity to stand out and be recognized by management. I have to admit, I had a very clear agenda even then. As I genuinely wanted to know, how stuff was made from the inside out, not just in some faraway air conditioned office in some high rise issuing instructions to a bunch of people sweating on a production floor that management doesn’t even know exist.

You could even say, this opening this door led me eventually to be a farmer

The first thing I noticed in shift work is no one in management really cares what goes on in the production floor. They care even less about the welfare of the workers or for that matter, the small things that can either make work heaven or hell. Following the shift allowed me not only to rub shoulders with “boys,” but it also gave me an incredibly strong foundation to manage myself and others better.

I learnt many lessons from just being at the bottom of the corporate food chain doing really small stuff day in and day out – if I had to choose only one lesson – it would probably be: commit yourself to doing the small stuff perfectly.  A person who is unwilling to commit himself to doing the small stuff well will never have the mental discipline to tackle the big. The person who is not challenged by the little will not be presented the challenge to do the big.

Never shy away from the doing the small stuff, even if you or others find it demeaning. If it is before you, do it and build quality into it. Even if it seems like you are going around in big and small circles – as what you’re really doing is disciplining your mind, body and spirit so that you can prepare yourself to tackle the big stuff somewhere down the future in life.

It is ONLY when a man knows the small stuff inside out can he really command the respect of his subordinates and move on to greater task in life, short cutting your way by skipping the small stuff may put you in pole position in the short term, but in the long run all you’re really doing is buying into grief.

Trust me, there is a God somewhere in the small.

Darkness 2012

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“If you visit my plantation. I can’t be with you all the time. Most of the time, I’ve get a group of people to drive and show you around. But rest assured, there will be moments in the course of a day, when I will pop up and maybe we can have a chat. You may find that when you have breakfast, I am there on the table. Or when you are returning from a river boat trip, I will be waiting for you at the pier to take you out for dinner. That’s the way it goes Aiboh. I hope you and your friends enjoy your stay here in my plantation.”

(Aiboh won the open competition in Dotseng for being the first to post a correct answer to a question in an essay written by Darkness – The Brotherhood Press 2012)

What can I say. This fiasco has obviously run it’s course – the matter is really cut and dried – there are really so many bloggers weighing in on the subject that I don’t feel the need to write anything to add further to what’s already floating around in blogosphere. In summary, WP has booted out YSL. This should really be enough to boost their popularity in the eyes of the electorate, as their indecisiveness since the YSL saga erupted has really caused their popularity to take a nose dive. The ball now is in the court of the mini Lee, who now seems to be thoroughly confused as to what to do about Hougang. Naturally, the PAP will try to milk this scandal for all it’s worth, but I doubt, they will get much mileage from it – as WP seems ridding a tsunami of popularity after saying bye bye to YSL. As for YSL, he is such a handsome fellow. I am sure he will be in great demand in the private sector to help our government kick start a program to solve the intractable problems of our baby blues.

Something tells me, he will be happier, as it’s really no fun trying to fuck around as a MP in pineapple eyed Singapore – that idea will never fly, I am afraid.

Darkness 2012

P.S: To those of you who write in, please do not feel offended that your post aren’t made public. This is not my blog. I just tumpang only. But rest assured, I will try to respond personally to every post when I get some free time. Do keep posting and have a productive week ahead.

The Empire Strikes Back!

February 15, 2012

As many of you may already know, Alex Au that self appointed gay yoda who represents the play backside segment of our society is in a tight fix with eight ball sham going after his little bitty ass.

Now you all know why I am happiest in my little corner of blogosphere. What do I think of all this? Haven’t really had the time to break it all down yet. Give me some time and I will respond.

All I can say at this moment is it’s unrealistic to imagine one can continue to throw stones at others without having to deal with the consequences. I mean if someone accused me of banging a two metric ton internal beauty, I would probably admit it and say that she was one of the best fucks just to improve her chances of getting hitched. It’s not a big deal to me or others. Besides most of the people who deal with me know me sufficiently well to draw a reasonably good assessment of my character. But I can certainly understand how in certain professions, managing perception is key and in this respect if those allegations are serious enough to undermine my credibility and ability to continue working effectively, then I really do not see any choice but to go for the throat – this is life.

Sometimes, I think one of the worse transgressions ever commited by civilized man was to banish duelling to Coventry – I really cannot imagine a more civilized way for two disagreeable gentlemen to settle their disputes without having to hang out the dirty linen before a public that is really indifferent about their sex life’s. As I happen to believe, duelling may actually improve civility and manners in the general public. 

Meanwhile chill and hang loose.

Darkness 2012

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“Look here my friend, if you want all your problems to disappear like, poof! That can be easily arranged. But you got to first understand how this process works. You’ve got to first help us to help you. Now one more time please, are you sure that this information that you are offering us about Wayang Party is kosher?”

“I am uncomfortable here Darkness, I want to sleep now. I want to go now, if you don’t mind. I don’t think it’s such a good idea to have come here for help.”

“All you have to do is press alt, ctrl and delete and this conversation will be over, this world will shut down and your world will pop up again – but tell me do you really want to go there?”

Conversation captured very recently onboard the deep space signal ship – KDD Canaan – just off the Arullian System – The Brotherhood Press 2012.

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There are only three women who I pray to every morning after cleansing my mind, body and spirit. The first is the Samurai woman who I once sought the permission to seek my fortune abroad as all I saw were dead ends for me in Singapore. The other is the woman who gave birth to me, my mother who always made excuses for me as I was a very peculiar child even in the moment of my youth. And the last is the woman who is the palm, she is the capricious and mischievous type, she can’t help herself as the seasons affect her. Nonetheless she loves me with a pure heart and that is the only thing that matters to me – I love all these three magnificent women with all my heart and soul. I shall always cherish them and remember their loving ways even if time continues to ravage them. I am not an ordinary man. I belong to the ranks of the serious men. The type of man who has honed his mind like a Kamakura blade to only covet that which is real, valuable and everlasting and to set aside frivolous, base and childish things – whenever I think about my relationship with these three magnificent women in my life, I am suddenly transformed into the mythical lover.

Darkness 2012

“When you are young. Do not waste your life by diffusing your energy like camphor giving itself to the atmosphere. Do not do something just because you see everyone doing it – matters very little what it is, mass masturbation or attending Sunday Mass just to met people. This are trivail pursuits for hollow men. Dedicate yourself the first discipline of the University of life, this is something that they should teach in Harvard Business School, but regrettably, they do not – learn early on, how to winnow what is valuable from the worthless. Be suspicious of what stands before you always – question and probe it, till it either you go satisfied or it decides to go. Develop early on in life, the eyes, ears and mind, we call the third eye of wisdom to seek out what is truly of value and build upon it, step by step, layer by layer, page by page, day by day – learn to love it with all your heart, never take it for granted, tell yourself this is something that is a rare gem, it should always be cherished and protected till you leave this planet – it matters little what others may think and say. Remember they come and go and they do not know the things that you choose to covet, only you know their mysteries. And if any man tries to take these things away from you, reason with him calmly, if that fails, seek redress from the law of the land and if that fails then then seek the God of war to do the unspeakable – no man here will ever judge you for trying your level best to keep what you cherish and belongs to you. This is written in stone. I say to you, no man. Only the hollow men will tell you this is not right or it is wrong. You are in the company of serious men. And all the serious men are imminently well versed in the seventh discipline: what you are not prepared to protect with your life, you never once owned….it might as well have been a dream….a mirage.”

(Conversation captured in the Temple of Reason in Primus Aldentes Prime – The Brotherhood Press 2012)

Most of us (I am perhaps the worst) avoid taking a deeper look into our present conditions because of our inability to endure unpleasant feelings. Coming to think of it, we have less incentives to ask ourselves and others difficult questions so as to allow us to make better decisions in our lifes. Instead, we reactively go into action to fix the situation, often throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Result: we end up in fix, the problem doesn’t go away, it just festers there like a big dog somewhere in the living rooms of our mind, refusing to budge – we are so fucked!

When we see problems in only binary terms of good or bad, right or wrong, black or white, we can never discern reality from fantasy. The full truth of the situation can never be found, because we have already pre-judged the situation.

When we still our minds enough to allow us to wander through the various set pieces of an argument in the way a man in a museum pauses and examines an artifact, we begin to sense that life is not after all binary – one is not turned off or switched on, scholar or peasant, team player or just self destructive, dysfunctional or high performance, capable or incapable, trustworthy or dubious, stupid or gifted, capable or just plain irresponsible.

It is only when we allow ourselves to immerse long enough in the grey areas of every argument can we really become aware that whenever we are quick to judge, categorize and summarize the situation – what we are inadvertently doing is stopping ourselves from finding clarity and clarifying what is real and what is false, what should be instead of what others say must be.

It takes courage and bravery to adopt this outlook in life. As the task of finding diamonds in the no man’s land somewhere between black and white frequently requires us to ask tough questions not only of ourselves, but others as well i.e is it worthwhile for me to commit to this endeavor? Do I have the self discipline and resolve to see this from A to Z or will my enthuism give way to skepticism?

At times when we decide to stand apart from others, we are bound to suffer the slings and arrows of having to go our own way while the world proceeds in the opposite direction – we may even be denied fire, water and shelter because of the choices we have made. But that in my opinion is a very small price to pay for making peace with the lingering pain that constantly haunts us along with the many disappointments that we may have once suffered – without a strong conviction to ask ourselves and others difficult questions – all we are really doing is surrendering our consciousness to others; this is cannot be life, if anything it is probably the hottest place in hell.

Darkness 2012

Hoodlum: “We don’t want you here. Do you hear us? If you are not gone by tomorrow, you will end up in the hospital.”

Darkness: “Yes, this I can understand. You are after all foot soldiers sent her to do the bidding our master who is a man that lacks wisdom. You need to prove to your masters that you are all capable and can be entrusted to do big things. Yes, this I can fully understand, it is a big problem. Now let us really talk like real men. What do you think will happen to your wife’s and sisters and children when this man who you have put in hospital walks out and begins telling him problems to the serious men of this world? Tell me have you considered what lies between that space in between heaven and earth? Do you mean to tell me there is only black and white in this world, life and death and that is really all there is to the story of life? Come, put down your knick knacks and let us sit down over the fire and talk over this matter like sensible men. I am sure by the end of it, if you are still not satisfied with the outcome, you can more or less do whatever you like to me. Come, the wild boar meat is like honeyed dragon meat and it will go down well with some Guiness stout. Come closer!”

The Suriman Tales – The Brotherhood Press / one year ago on a moonless night.

 

 

I went to the city yesterday to run a few errands. These days, I don’t care very much for the city. I don’t hate it either. You could say I much prefer to be detached from it, like an alien visitor who walks in a strange environment – he is here, yet over there. I much prefer the countryside. Stopped by the Planters Club for a club sandwich and a glass of milk. Surprised to discover, it’s closed for renovations – no one seems to be around – I prefer it this way, quiet and unobtrusive. An oasis right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of town. A sliver of stillness in the eye of the storm. For once it feels just right and free from the heady affectations of tai-tais and their fat husbands as they try their best to out do the Joneses – for once there are no weekend idiots showing off their latest yatch by unfurling their sails as they cruise broadside across the marina, as if they really know how to sail beyond these tepid waters. I bet none of them have circumnavigated the cape on a bad hair day. This is the way I like it, light and easy like a gentle mist lingering at the foot of a cold mountain – there and yet not there. Here and somewhere else.

I stroll into the cavernous kitchen; two French chefs give me, “hey, you’re not supposed to be back here” look. I ignore them and look at a duck in creme sauce sauteed with what seems to be truffles. I turn the plate around and lean against the stainless steel table, both of them look on as well, wondering what this stranger thinks of their new creation. I tell them in French, this will never fly in the tropics – I can tell, the taller of the two is interested to have a conversation, he offers me a glass of wine and proceeds to ask, why? I don’t answer him. The shorty thinks he can read minds, “he’s right, its too rich.” I snap him a “go fuck your mummy look.” He receeds back realizing that he’s out of his depth. This is how politics is conducted in the kitchen: everyone listens to the man who knows how to cook – I whip up something, both of them look on, the other humming a tune that I says, “this is interesting.” We look at the dish for an awfully long time; the tall man knows his craft, he turns off the lights and viola it happens – the lingering sun lights it up just right, it looks Tuscan, a rib eye in white sauce with lashings of Roschild 1972 Mounton – we eat, none of speak, we eat again – the shorty tries to whip up another – he gets it about 80%, but he’s heavy on the cheese and light on the vinegar. They finally get it – I thank them, they say, “come again” and I walk right out with the rest of the bottle.

Earlier in the day – I stopped at the Deli to pick up a few baggles and a latte. Noticed the geraniums were a tad yellowish and proceeded to right them with a Swiss knife. The proprietor, a lanky lady with a face like a horse began marching towards me and asked brusquely, “what may I ask are you doing?” I replied not looking at her, “doing you and your flowers a favor.” She went back to the counter flabbergasted and began talking in a high pitched voice to her MILF friends – “he is so rude.” I glared back at her and she fell silent as if suddenly realizing, it wasn’t really worth the bother, he’s after perculiar an unknown quantity – I continued pruning the trees absorbed in the task. I miss my trees. Can’t bear the thought of being separated from them for even a moment – every morning when I walk on my land, I talk to my trees and though it may seem odd to all of you – they talk to me as well in the language of rustling leaves and their gentle sway, this is the only way I know how to continue loving them when I away from my beloved trees.

When I called to pay the bill, the waiter nodded towards the horse lady, a weak smile creased her uncertain face. Perhaps she realized there’s a story here – an interesting one that may even draw her like a tractor beam. I’ve seen that look many times before. But today I am not interested, all I really want to do is get back to my trees. That’s the only thing I care for. The only thing, I really want –  I nodded and slipped into the faceless crowd.

Time standing still as a brook goes babbling by

Beneath the wooded canopy sun rays come poking through

Creating a hazy kind of atmospheric hue

As I walk along the path way bluebells dance about my feet

Whilst birds up in the trees sing a song that’s very sweet

A rabbit in the undergrowth scarpers out of sight

It seems to me I must have given the poor old chap a fright

Around me it’s serene and calm, everything’s at peace

And it gives me a certain kind of spiritual release

For in this timeless wonder, no cars or noise abounds

No busy people rushing as you’d find within the towns

I breathe in deep the heady air and savour its affect

And just before I turn to leave I take time to reflect

Upon the beauty that’s surrounds me and the history that it hides

Wherein a million tiny animals do happily reside

I make my way back slowly with reluctance in my heart

And I feel a dawning sadness as I loathe so to depart

But home I must return, unto my fire side

Until the next time I return to this lovely countryside

 Catherine Turner-Joll. 2001.

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Third Stage Navigator: What do you think about this TOC and TRE face off?

Darkness: What about it Navee? We all know what is the mission of Wayang Party. We even know how they are funded and who is actually pulling the strings behind the scenes. We even know what their strategy is along with their timeline and how they wish to create their so called perfect internet by imposing their symmetry on all of us – the world is small Navee, everyone wants to be understood, everyone talks and we listen, so tell me which part do you not seem to understand Navee?

Third Stage Navigator: You’re holding back Dark boy. Tell us do you still have those files?

Darkness: Yes, you could say they are in a very safe place. You should run along and tell the guilds not to be so nervous.

Third Stage Navigator: Darkness, need I remind you, we have all agreed to keep a neutral stance. Darkness all our ships must sail in the same direction.

Darkness: All our ships must sail in the same direction did you say? We shall see Navee.

Third Stage Navigator: And have you thought about the consequences if you choose to wing it alone again?

Darkness: Tell me Navee, what do you think I’ve been doing for the whole day before we had this conversation?

Third Stage Navigator: I don’t know Darkness what a man is thinking when he sits for hours looking out into the vastness of the sea – it disturbs me when I see you deep in thought Darkness, as something bad usually happens thereafter.

Darkness: Precisely. You will never know Navee, my thoughts are mine, mine alone. I am sorry, I can offer the guilds no guarantee that the status quo ante will be preserved. Even less assurances that our pact of neutrality will stand. Navee whatever happens will have to happen – it’s never personal, it’s business. You could even say, its karma. Do what you must Navee. Don’t hold back. Don’t ever hold back – it matters very little to me what will happen tomorrow or the day after.

Third stage Navigator: This is what we feared Darkness. This is why I am here.

(A conversation captured in the smoking room of the Planters Club / intercepted in the strangelands by the mercy ship KDD Temperance just off the Bilbao Azumith Seprohono Galaxy – the Brotherhood Press 2012.

This just goes to show you, how silly it is for some people to take the rigid dogmatic approach, “if it’s a rumor, I will not comment on it.” Is Kim Jong Un lying in a pool of blood and looking like Swiss cheese – your guess is as good as mine – but if we are going to draw a definitive conclusion about this rumor. I don’t really see how the North Korean leadership can keep silent about this latest viral bomb without looking like a bunch of PR bungling idiots – this incident really serves to highlight a few myths in the age of social media. 

Firstly, it pays out naught in the digital age for leaders and organizations to adopt a rigid and cagey approach to rumors – rumors are after all based on ‘partial’ and ‘sketchy’ facts – granted those facts may not be the gold standard that journalist would consider newsworthy; but nonetheless they are facts that are based on a sort of collective understanding.

When leaders and organizations simply fold their arms and do absolutely nothing to defuse a rumor; what they’re inadvertently doing is lending credence to that version of the “truth” and it just doesn’t stay that way; the story will be whipped up into a maelstorm that even threatens to confuse an already disorientated public – in a nutshell what will eventually happen, if rumors aren’t managed intelligently and promptly is, at some point, it will simply morph into the truth – to paraphrase, if enough people believe in angels, then it makes perfect sense to debate, how many angels can fit on a pin head.

Whose fault is it, when the “truth” snowballs into something other than what it should be – is the leader and organization who first had the power to stamp out the rumor? Or are we all expected to rely on ESP to beacon out the murk?

I give you the plain facts, you decide. Some people it seems never ever learn – but as dumb as the North Koreans are; I don’t believe they come anywhere close to the higher echelons of the WP when it comes to managing information to their advantage.

 

Darkness 2012

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“A crisis is a crisis, there is really no mystery there, its cut and dried and the most that you can get out of it is a mileage around 20%. But how a person or organization responds to a crisis is really the 80% – that can make the fall out manageable or impossible to do so, this is the reason why the serious men of this world will look at this aspect of crisis management very carefully. First, they will evaluate, how was the quality of information processed? What was priorities and demoted? What trade off and benefit calculations were performed? Is there an exit strategy? From this you can more or less determine the quality of the decision making process – along with perhaps the people who have made the decision. From this you can more or less mine out the level of their intellect, experiential knowledge and ability to handle stress along with whether these people can be entrusted to do bigger things – but if all you do is treat people like mushrooms – keep them in the dark and feed them shit! And expect them all to have reserves of sagacity like Mother Teresa and the Buddha along with perhaps expecting them to be blood descendants of Nostradamus to beacon out the murk, then I think you will end up with a huge PR mushroom cloud. And when that happens, it is no longer how well you play the game; rather it’s how well the game plays you. From that point onwards, all attempts to regain control over the crisis diminishes to zero. In other words it is kaput, finito, game over. That’s why whenever a crisis occurs, the serious men of this world are all very attentive. This is something that I learnt from crash investigations in Rolls Royce – nothing is ever taken for what it is – not even a stip of charred wire, everything is vitally important and together when they are assembled, you can more or less pin point the causal link between event and disaster. Stupid people who do not know this have absolutely no business whatsoever dabbling in politics, they should continue to be lawyers, lecturers or playboys, as their general lack under those circumstances will never have far reaching implications. Life is not so simple, where you just stand up on a podium and give a feel good speech like Obama and believe that the serious men of this world will just use this as the basis to evaluate your metier – this is very childish, as those who believe that life is so simple simply don’t realize how jugular politics is to the well being of a nation. This is the reason why I like Burma and Africa, there are many stupid politicians here who have no idea how to manage themselves and others – given the right incentives, they will even sell their nations crown jewels for a bottle of imported Cognac and a few dancing girls from Beijing – do you now see how dangerous it is when the wrong sort of people get into Parliament?”

(Extracted recently from a thread in Phi Beta Kappa)

There’s a scene in a movie. An American kid happens to be a reincarnation of a Lama (neither he or his parents know abt this at all, if you watch the movie, you would know why). One day a bunch of Tibetan coneheads show up on their door step. Anyways, fast forward….and in this scene, a monk empties a cup filled with water and refills it again – the parable there is, when one’s mind is filled to the brim, then it’s impossible to fill it further.

(Now you know I luv you all right? So I am going to break house rules just once. The first person to post the name of the movie, cause I can’t remember it and its sticking like chewing gum in my head…so help me…gets his comments posted here for the first time! First commentator OK, second, third and thereafter doesn’t count)

Now lets get back to the sharing. The way I see it, what that monk in the movie was trying to say was while most of us consider ‘learning’ a vital lifeskill, if we want to get ahead of the pack. It seems we don’t usually regard ‘unlearning,’ as something that should even feature in our list of priorities.

I reached this realization ONLY after hunting with Orpuk and his tribesmen for a very long time – while I relied on technique, Orpuk and his friends placed their trust in instincts. It wasn’t for example unusual for the entire hunting troupe to stop only for them to stand on the ball of their feet and breathe deeply against the wind – and just from that they could predict with uncanny precision – we were half a day’s trek away from a river or that a thunderstorm would hit smack into us sometime around mid-day, if we continued North, only to switchblade South. 

Another thing I gathered from Orpuk and his friends was during a hunt, they don’t think as much as intuit – that’s to say, they don’t rationalize, like modern city man does. How this works is something I am still trying to figure out. So I haven’t really had time to go through my log and distill those ideas into words – give me sometime, and I am sure, I post it here when I get to it.

But the greatest lesson that I’ve learnt from Orpuk & Co is they pity us, we don’t have the ability to “dien” – to unlearn before we can really learn again or upload stuff into our heads to improve ourselves – they don’t see us as enlightened beings in the way we even see ourselves as civilized people – sure we have cars and things that run on batteries that they may wish for; but they will never ever take up that offer because know the curse outweighs the blessings – they seen how it leads to greed, selfishness and our inability as so called civilized human beings to look beyond ourselves – in short, they don’t even consider us worthy to emulate- to them, we are the tribe who is everybody to everyone and no one to himself and his loved ones. We are the tribe who doesn’t share, the ones who erect fences to separate brother from brother – and so we shall wander for the rest of eternity deaf, dumb and blind. The tribe who is here, yet faraway, as we seem to people who have invested ourselves in either the distant past or the future that’s beyond us – but to the present, we remain woefully absent – worse of all, we are the tribe who believe its actually possible to move ahead in life without ever pausing a while and bothering ourselves to discard what’s old and useless in our brains; before putting in new things that we believe can make a difference – in summary, to Orpuk my tribal friends, we are the savages and he the enlightened. 

And this is really the first lesson a man learns from the Tao of the jungle. BEFORE anything can really take shape and change in your life, it is important to FIRST learn the art of how to unlearn, before we can even begin to learn how to winnow the good from bad, real from surreal, truth from lies or even whether it makes sense to say No! to sharkfins soup to perhaps even creating the person who would react or not to this or that along with the how’s- how to unlearn simply means, we never ever take the world as it is, or what others say it is – but rather one where we ourselves peer deeply into darkened interiors to discover our own version of the truth – as to what works for our us and loved ones – As we practice this path the Tao of the jungle daily whenever we take the train, bus or taxi to work – we are constantly auditing our thoughts, memories and assumptions of how to unlearn many of our ways that have become so set and fossilized that we can no longer think fluidly any longer. At first it will be difficult, as I discovered myself – I found myself fighting the idea, but with much perserverence I reach the realization – it is only when we begin to learn to unlearn many of the deadwood, mumbo jumbo and timeless set pieces that we have been scripted with, that we can begin to live with opened eyes, opened ears and the opened minds like Orpuk and his friends, who despite their “backyardness” had the wisdom to see our modern man’s way of life as closer to perdition than salvation.

Now I realized why when I first encountered the gentle people deep in the jungle  – they gave me almost a mournful look that I mistook as fear – that simply expressed, “there is so much you need to unlearn.” 

Darkness 2012

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Orpuk: Tell me about your world Darkness.
          (Jai den tu sen pue sien-teih kurta)

Darkness: I come from a world where the moon is a smile on a man sleeping. And in the heavens there are three stars. When the sunrises it is red as the blood of these proud and noble people and beneath this red sun, there is a whiteness like you goats milk with wild honey.

(Thiam ne duo pith khor ne sien tun duo. Eih maih in sjoi ilo-uoh jji – du ten sienptieh un ne sen pue. werjpoh tu sen duo ijhhiurno)

Orpuk: No wonder you are so fucked up!

(Jiah ijhhiurno, sei nei du kaih!)

Extracted from the Chapter, The Suriman Trail – The Brotherhood Press 2012  

When we close our eyes and connect with our inner being; it doesn’t take us very long to understand that we are essentially a product of our bad habits or remnants of our scripting drilled into us through out life, that we have not bothered to update by regularly spring cleaning. Unless we begin to be mindful of the clutter in our heads and all around us whatever we think, say or act comes from the well of what’s already in our filled cup that makes up our entire person – we would never feel the need to empty it at all – we would be lost.

No man can run away from the law of Karma. Doesn’t matter how high or low he is. Could even be Steve Jobs who everyone worships or even a beggar ekking off a living from the rubbish tip. Not over there in the real world or even here in the underworld of the internet. If you are young, do not believe for one moment, you can run amok in the internet and say and do whatever you want and childishly expect that your actions will never come back again to haunt you latter on in life. Be mindful how you choose to behave and come across in the internet and relate to others, as it is not so different from being part of a real world community. While palpably true that the vast majority of humans may not know or even care to know how the world works or should work. I assure you all, the serious men of this world are very clear about this matter, either way, they will hold you to account for your past actions. It matters very little whether you believe it is your right to step into the light after doing what you once did – as I have no doubt, the accounts will be squared somewhere between light and darkness. 

Please do not take this personally, it is strictly business – we live in interesting times, it seems. 

Darkness 2012

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In the weeks following the incident in the pool hall – the older cockroach was seen again in the streets of china town – hardly a flicker of his proud past, he hobbled from shop to shop carrying his red pail offering to clean windows for a few pence – from time to time, some of the younger cockroaches gave him cigarettes or bought him a bottle of cheap liquor, others who were not so forgiving of his cowardice gave him a kick in the groin whenever they saw him– on one occasion, when I saw the old cockroach rolled up in an alley with a blanket made up of old newspapers and cardboard – I invited him for a meal of double char siew fan* in Wong Kei, a restaurant where I first worked – though all the waiters wondered why a man of such prestige would be seen with this smelly beggar of a good for nothing alcoholic – eventually, it became clear to all, whenever he said to anyone who cared to listen, (*Roasted Pork Rice)

“The benefactor who collects and carries money for the four houses is indeed a truly merciful man and thought I cannot understand why he is still my friend after what I have said and done to him – he is my friend – so if you do not give me face – at least give the merciful benefactor face – for if the benefactor of the four houses hears, his friend has not been treated well – he will not be happy man. Do you understand me?”

From that day onwards, whenever some of cockroaches gestured – to either “give them face” or “to show respect”, I would still oblige, but when I declined politely as I often did – none of them would dare hold it against me or even feel slighted – all they needed to do to remind themselves whenever they needed reminding was to look outside the window – the sad image of the old cockroach decaying in his soiled leather jacket with his long oily hair reeking of alcohol could always be counted to smile at them – this never failed to send shivers down their spines.

Older cockroaches would often point to the man who hobbled with his red pail and say to the younger cockroaches.

“Never end up like this man, he doesn’t know the meaning respect, that is why he was taught a lesson by the young benefactor who carries the money for the four houses.”

Some six months later – one evening, after the man with the red pail finished cleaning the last of the shop windows and was about to pack his things – he must have said to himself, it was time to give himself a treat – and stepped into a one of the best Chinese restaurants famous for serving Peking duck in Old Crompton Street – he had after all in the last few months given up alcohol and tobacco – even shaving regularly and keeping his hair short – often showering and changing his clothes – on his off days which usually fell on Tuesday, he would often be seen in Charing Cross church fixing either the gutter or having a chat with the Nigerian pastor, who looked upon this lost soul kindly by giving him a little room in the attic, just above the boiler room, where he had started to grow a few pots of tomatoes – Some even said he had accepted Christ and his new name was “David” as he would often be seen in lunch hours listening to his daughter who read him passages from a Chinese Bible, who often sat beside her father in the park – there was even talk of him returning to his wife again, since she was often seen helping him turn the wheel of life as a window cleaner, carrying his ladder, or some odds and ends – even some of the store keepers gradually came around when they saw him getting his act together – often greeting him by his new name and offering him tea and steamed buns on a cold winters day – some even went as far as to pay one month in advance for his window cleaning services – so that night after finishing the first meal he had paid entirely for himself with his own hard earned wages – the man with the red pail was a contented man.

On his way back – witnesses recounted the sad story of how a black sedan had suddenly pulled up alongside this man, where four well dressed Chinese men brought out a crying teenage girl who was later identified as his daughter and though words were exchanged between these men no one really heard much of it – when one these men handed a revolver to the victim – he merely looked as if his fate had been decided and raised the revolver pressed the barrel into his temple and pulled the trigger – some of the witnesses mentioned hearing the last words, one of these well dressed men said to the man with the red pail – it went something like this:

“The game is not finished yet – there is still one last round.”

When the cockney investigating officer heard this account from one of the witnesses he simply dismissed it, saying it didn’t make any bloody sense.

“He must be bloody talking about last night’s game at the old Trafford.”

As it turned out, the witness was wearing a faded Manchester united jersey.

That entire week – shopkeepers, restaurant owners and even the cockroaches came to look upon me sympathetically – the man with the red pail was after all my pet – I had after all being the man who spared his life, when I could very well have taken it and no one would have even faulted me for doing so – given him the red pail and towel that eventually became his trade mark and said

“From this day onwards, this will be your life.”

Even used my influence so no window in China town or that matter little Italy would be turned away from him and even when no man would sit with the man with the red pail – I would often be seen sitting with him as he ate his double Char Siew fan listening to his ramblings – I was after all, the man who even the man with red pail saw as:

“The merciful benefactor of who served the four houses.”

Surely such a man could not have ordered his execution.

Darkness 2002

Excerpt extracted from the e-book “The Singaporean Gangster in London) – abridged version first published in icered.com / SLF 1 & 16 / The Intelligent Singaporean – The Brotherhood Press 2012

As many of you may already know the WP has FINALLY responded to the YSL saga. What is this all supposed to mean? To be perfectly honest with all of you, I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA. All I really know is the WP and that other ultra secretive air force base where aliens were supposed to have once landed have a lot in common.

So without further delay –what is does the WP and Area 51 have in common?

(1)    Both operate on a strictly need to know basis.Hence they never comment on “rumors” even if closer to statements of fact.

(2)    Both cannot confirm or deny the obvious and palpable.

(3)    Both are equally adept at explaining the unexplainable phenomenon that regularly confound the X files division of the FBI and have been responsible for the retrenchment of agent Scully and Mulder who are now working side by side in Taco Bell.

(4)    Both can say YES and still come across as saying NO and vice versa.

(5)    Both regularly apologize for their cloak and dagger way of business and still continue to be highly secretive and non-transparent.

(6)    Both can claim someone has been demoted and still be levitated at the same time with the assistance of anti-gravity alien technology.

(7)    Both exist to make used car salesmen respectable and trustworthy.

(8)    Both regularly use long sentences and paragraphs to say everything and yet nothing along with assassinating the English language.

(9)    Both can deny fact as rumor and even claim the right to issue a “no comment” statement and still insist that they are responding intelligently to public queries.

(10)Both insist that unexplained phenomenon such as alien abduction and strange impregnation events do not in any way affect the performance of their employees.

(11)Both can make things appear and disappear at a flick of a switch.

(12)Both regularly disappear into underground bunkers when the spot light is turned on them.

(13)Both are hazardous to goats and possibly confused females.

(14)Both institutions exist to make really useless and overpaid people such as the PAP look really great and efficient and value for money.

(15)Both expect you to be either the reincarnation of Nostradamus or be able to use ESP to read their designs.

(16)Both can take the word contradiction to renewed heights and still be able to come across as so level headed (maybe I should use a WP member as a side table to put my tiger beer and peanuts on when I next watch a football game on telly)

(17)Both can commit infractions without having to account to taxpayers as they believe what they are doing is good for people and planet.

(18)Both Area 51 and WP MP’s regularly patronize Hotel 81. The former because it rhymes with Area 51 and the latter for reasons that have been responsible for the sacking of agent Mulder and Scully. No comment! Please use your ouija board to seek clarification on the issue.

(19)Both regularly claim they are targeted and attacked by imaginary and mavelovent forces that only exist in the figment of their imagination.

(20)Both make Ris Low look like Mother Teresa, Marie Currie and Eleanor Rossevelt all rolled up into one.

(21)Both are a Byzantine waste of taxpayers monies.

And last but not least, both can NEVER be trusted!

Finally what do I think about the latest move by WP in regards to YSL? Like I said, I have absolutely no idea and to be frank with you no longer care – but one thing is clear, PAP is now starting to look like a very attractive proposition – to paraphrase succinctly, WP you fucked it up!

Darkness 2012

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Darkness before he was called Darkness: “Master, should I say something or keep quiet?”

Vollariane: “My young apprentice silence is only of value, if people expect you to say something. But you have foolishly dragged the matter for so long and it appears they no longer care what you have to say – your fate is sealed apprenticed. I cannot help you now. No one can help you. From this day onwards, you will be known as Darkness! The Brotherhood has branded you. You will wear this badge of shame for the rest of time.”

Extracted from the Book of Ages under the Chapter “The Chastening,” Page:602 – The Brotherhood Press 2012

Gentlemen behold the highest acme of warcraft in the lady Cobra – all warfare is based on deception – look at her form, her symmetry, the perfection of her resolve, it is all marvelous completion unto itself, do not misjudge her, we are not dealing with Sengkang Sally here as much as a Bene Gesserit – a honorary member of the assassin creed. Someone who can even step outside her own skin and transform her body, mind and spirit into a wonder weapon – alchemy! Poetry in motion call it what you may, but what you and I cannot deny is this represents the highest level of warcraft – von Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Musashi, Machevelli all rolled up into one benign package – the ultimate weapon of stealth – the perfect killing machine. If I had only one man like her, all our problems in Africa and Burma will disappear – poof! – but instead with the human raw material that I have at my disposal – what can I say except: if Michangelo only had clay to work with instead of fine Italian marble, he would just be another great potter – send our emissaries out to blogland, tell our friends to be kind to this lady, make things disappear, cover her face digitally, do this without delay – cool, calculating, precise and utterly ruthless –  what we are witnessing here is the highest acme of warcraft: know yourself and know your enemy and you will be victorious. There are two components here. The first is to know yourself. The second part is to know others. But let us set aside the latter as the first segment is really a geography that is so big that it’s hard to even fit between your ears – everyday I discover new things about myself, some endearing others not so good and so I work to discard that which is useless and keep that which I consider worthy -even then I have to be mindful of not throwing the baby along with the dishwater. This process continuous improvement takes years. But you are in good company as when you look around you there are many people who do not even know themselves, they are everybody to everyone and no one to themselves and their loved ones – that is why they regularly knock their heads against the wall by saying and thinking stupid things and even diffusing their energy like a very loud inefficient engine. If you are a salaried man and you do not know yourself that is well and fine; as there are plenty of traffic cones to guide you – but if you are a business man and do not know yourself, then it is only a matter of time before you end being a charitable organization. So let us be crystal clear, this is not a joking matter, it is jugular.
Work on this!

The second segment: know your enemy is not so straight forward. The “enemy” is a chameleon, it can take many shapes and forms – appearances can be deceptive. In some cases the “enemy,” can refer to the business environment that you have to work in. It may even take the shape and form of a troubled teen or a spouse who you find is slowly losing interest in you or even a very difficult boss that expects you to part the red sea. At a deep level, it may also refer to the inherent complications of doing business is an alien environment – again, if you scale it wrong, you will end up taking a wrong turn. 

So when we distill the axiom: know yourself and know your enemy – what it really means is the art of managing yourself & others – and trust me nothing can be harder to accomplish than this. Harder still is the art of unifying these two concepts seamlessly so that they come across as one of the same reality. It is really like being able to use your right hand to hold a writing instrument and your left to play tennis – this is not something that comes naturally to human beings as we are by nature creatures of habit – being habitual means even when we do something as simple as listening, we rarely gather facts to form a judgement, instead we prejudge and use facts to reaffirm our opinions – neither do we take the world for what it is; instead we world must fit into our assumptions of what has to be or worse still must be! These are just two illustrations of how we can frequently short circuit the whole idea – know yourself and your enemy….I cannot begin to emphasize to all of you how important it is to master these precepts that seem so simple, yet they are really so cheem – and this can only lead us to logical question: can anyone expect to succeed in life, if he doesn’t even bother with to know himself and his enemy?

I give you the facts, you all decide gentlemen.

Darkness 2012

(Secret conversation held very recently in the Temple of Reason in Primus Aldentes Prime – The Brotherhood Press 2012)

It all boils down to this.

故曰:知彼知己,百戰不殆;不知彼而知己,一勝一負;不知彼,不知己,每戰必殆。

What did you all really expect? Are we a bunch of choirboys? I thought not – business is after all war. It bears repeating as this is a truism applies to most things in life – BUSINESS IS WAR. And in war anything is possible including the implausible so this should also include a woman opening her legs for two men based on a quid pro quo arrangement. I see nothing immoral in this. This is the politics of war.Those who do not understand this simply do not know the art of war. If you say this is wrong, then we should all go back to the caves and study shadows casted against the wall and spend our time picking fleas off each others backsides – as the very moment you walk outside your house and immerse yourself into the modern world. You are already engaged in a war. All around you, the other side is trying to convince you to part with your money, time and opportunity cost to get this or that and so on that it is really quiet impossible to recount. Everywhere you turn someone is trying to grab a share of the real estate in your mind and plant a flag there – this could be benign things like trying to sell you anti ageing face cream where the only active ingredient is water – or trying to get you to buy a certain car so that you come across as a successful person etc. Even when we are minding our own business sitting on a park bench and watching the grass grow – war is being waged in our heads. We worry, fret and get excited over one hundred and one things from health to whether we have provisioned enough to retire comfortably along with perhaps whether it is a good idea to top up our insurance coverage. Why? We are ALL IN A PERPETUAL STATE OF WAR.

But even in war there must be honor and virtue and the conduct to preserve the harmony between heaven and earth. The indentity of this woman should ever be publicized in the internet. If the MSM wants to go down that road, let them wallow in shit and piss, they are really in their element there. But we in the internet should never go down the road to perdition and soil ourselves. I say to all of you: let this woman go and live her life. I understand if many of you think her methods are questionable, but as far as I see it, she has fought a good war – her resolve cannot be faulted, her execution is perfect. This I can understand. This I can also respect and even admire. Trust me, she will have to deal with the demons in the private sector for the rest of her life and that is really a kind of perpetual hell (she should migrate to Israel and join Mossad, even the CIA is not good enough for her).

As for those two clowns, they are civil servants who have betrayed not only their country but also those who pay taxes and they should really be disciplined to send a clear message to those who may feel itchy or do not see the wisdom to tahan (restraint), both should be posted to the Singapore weather bureau in the North Pole, to police the net – and the net hopefully will be full of holes where the only thing that will preoccupy them is how the hell do we catch dinner with this lousy hand-me-down Cash Converter fishing net.

Remember it all starts and ends with this, the choice is yours brothers:

故曰:知彼知己,百戰不殆;不知彼而知己,一勝一負;不知彼,不知己,每戰必殆。

Darkness 2012

“For as long as I can remember, the Aryanians have regarded us as nothing better than animals – they shoot us with hardly a care and there is really no such thing as the Geneva Conventions. But just because other people treat us like animals, doesn’t mean we should behave like animals. We are first and foremost human beings. This we should never forget. So now that the last remnants of the Aryanians forces have been encircled in the Sardonyx sector and all their supply lines have dried up and the last of their reserves have been used up – it is really the end of this war for them, but it is just the beginning of the war for us my brothers. For two thousand years, I have served the Emperor and the four houses of the Brotherhood as a loyal servant. I have waged war on command from the plains of Andullasian to the Carpathian steppes. My men gentlemen have known only war, strife and suffering and very little else while all of you politicians sit here in his house far removed from the daily horrors of battle, but now we must lay down our arms and let every Aryanian soldier march home. This may just be a game, but what keeps me up in the dead of night is: what should I do, if this is real? And in this simple way, the illusion becomes too real for not only me, but every single one of us in this house – I have never asked the Council for anything for my loyal service. But this I have to ask again as the Emperor of the known universe has foolishly rejected my petition for an armistice. I say to this house that we must seize the opportunity for lasting peace if we are to begin the age of reason in the name of tabula rasa. Gentlemen, this war has gone on for so long, we no longer know ourselves or for that matter even our enemies – we are none the wiser for it, if we do not press the pause button and reflect deeply on who we want to be and how we can turn our enemies into our allies. This gentlemen is our greatest failure in the midst of our success.”

(Many of you who once fought the Ascension Wars will remember this speech by Darkness 1999 – recorded by the Chronicler of the Brotherhood under the Chapter: The Armistice / Page: 2,973 / The Book of Ages – The Brotherhood Press 2012)

 

So long Eva & Orpuk

February 7, 2012

I’ve never really fully understood how loneliness can cripple a man completely – you could say, this process of unraveling is very peculiar to my nature. As in the past, I’ve always been perfectly comfortable with solitude – even in the depths of many of my solo climbs, bicycle rides and voyages, the feeling of estrangement had never once assaulted me. I was always firmly in control, as I believed (real or imagined), I was impermeable to such human failings – perhaps, all these muscle wrenching endeavors, I once pursued filled me with a false sense of self confidence bordering on delusions of grandeur (that could account well account for my terminal inferiority complex). Looking back one reason why loneliness could never gain a foothold over my being might have something to do with how these exploits ALL had a definable start and end: one cannot climb beyond the summit, ride beyond the point where the road runs out or sail far enough without reaching the point where one started from.

But trying to be a farmer all by myself in an alien and hostile land is really another cup of tea. If anything it is fraught with all sorts of hidden terrors, mysteries and blackholes. For starters there is no prospect of a definable end that comes with the promise of redemption like one of those homily sugary movies that Hollywood regularly churns out. It seems as if the road stretches into the infinity of desolation, reminding me of the Russian steppes I once transverse by motorbike in the moment of my youth – but here the sense of loneliness is heightened and sharpened considerably, where the passing of each hour cuts like a knife – where every day is reduced into a series of repetitions like a series of beads strung together to make up a prayer necklace. Every day is a mirror of yesterday – the only thing that really changes is the diminishing size of my toothpaste and the chastening passage of time that ravages the face of the man in the mirror – it’s unrelenting, the litany that is and that’s really why the terror is amplified.

This is where I have to reveal a truth about myself my dear perceptive reader as I don’t want you to come away with the impression I am some sort of hero: I would never have made it through last year had it not been for two constant companions who had shadowed me through my many trials and tribulations. The first is Eva, a scientist from Germany who is bedridden and paralyzed and writes to me via a finicky satellite connection. The other is Orpuk, a tribal chieftain who literally appeared from nowhere during one of my numerous solo hikes in the depths of the jungle.

If I yearned for something in those early days, it was simply a balm to soothe my loneliness. I listened to the BBC world service every morning, if providence was kind and my batteries were fully charged – in the evenings, I devoured books and in between both Orpuk and Eva would color the rest of my days. You could say the God of war, Kwan Kong must have sensed the depths of my desolation and sent these angels to me in my hour of need and with and their help I managed to turn the wheel of life successfully – last year was a good harvest, it flowed sweet and clear and even those who had farmed longer than I would never have suspected that I was new to the ways of the land.

Recently Eva passed away suddenly in the night – I still cannot bring myself to face this chapter of my life – you could say like a man who has resigned himself to the crushing cruelty of life, I am simply not strong enough to face up to this reality,just yet – so I have consigned all my memories of Eva into a shoe box somewhere in my mind and slipped it underneath my imaginary bed. One day I say to myself, I will reopen this box again and perhaps I will begin to mourn her passing in a way that would honor our friendship.

As for Orpuk and his tribe, the approaching dry season has meant; they will have go deeper into the interior of the jungle –the streams are drying out fast, foliage is sparse, greedy loggers are moving in and even the animals have begun their great migration inland.

Two days ago, I trekked into the interior following the same stream where I first encountered the gentle tribesmen. I was searching for Orpuk and the others – I wanted to wish him and rest God speed and give him a Swiss army knife that he once so admired, but try as hard as I might all I seem to be able to discover is the remnants of a hasty retreat. It seems I am too late. I am low on supplies and I’ve decided to abandon my search.

Perhaps when the rainy season comes again – my friends will return. In this I must believe.

Darkness 2012

The Suriman Tales – Brotherhood Press 2012

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“I come in the name of peace. My name is Darkness…Darkness of the Brotherhood.”

The Suriman Tales 2011 – recorded by the chronicler in the Book of Ages under the Chapter: The Suriman Tales / 2011

Most of us find it difficult, if not impossible to say NO! For me it’s not easy and I guess the same goes for you. One reason why we have all developed a learnt aversion against saying NO! has to do with the way we were all brought up – No is only for difficult people – No is the first syntax that belongs to those who are politically incorrect – No means you are a philistine and probably a ruffian. There are I guess nicer ways to turn down a request. You can of course pretend not to hear it. Fake bad memory. Drag it out till yes gives way to a sort of NO. Or just commit to a YES only to promptly disappear.

When I reflect on my own life and those who I have known, the cost of not being able to say NO has to be terribly high –  a friend of mine became an engineer instead of a musician because he couldn’t say NO to his parents. These days, he’s trying his best to play catch up. Another fell and died during a climb in the Cartenz Pyramids and again it was because he couldn’t say NO to the team leader who insisted to push on despite the crummy weather. As for myself my torturous list of having to endure the unbearable as a result of being unable to say NO is really too long and embarrassing to recount.

Yes. Life makes suckers of us all, especially when we can’t say NO.

The good news is when I started to live my life under my own terms – it didn’t take me very long to develop the confidence to say NO. It was a slow and gradual process and if I had to point to incident why I felt the need to develop such life skills – it’s probably thanks (or no thanks)to the church. One day a deacon asked me whether I was donating 10% of my salary to Jesus –

I replied, “you mean the church.”

He exclaimed curtly, “No! Jesus.”

I said, “OK, give me Mr JC’s POSB account and I will make a direct deposit.”

He then said, “write it to the church.”

And I said, “NO! I am not going to give the church one single cent.”

The deacon asked why, I replied “why should I give ten percent of my salary so that my pastor so that he can impersonate Bob the builder and build another shopping mall?”

Every since then you could say, I’ve had absolutely no hang up’s about saying NO! I said NO when my boss expected me to work after five. I even said NO one year back ago when a couple of brained damaged hoodlums came to my land in the night armed with machetes demanding that I leave. And very recently when I caught a bunch of hunters in my land sneaking around to murder poor defenceless hogs on my land, I said NO to them in a way that is best not described – let us just say that everything returns to the land, dust to dust style.

You could even say these days, I am perfectly comfortable with saying NO –  saying NO means you say YES to the things that you consider important, jugular and valuable to you.Most people I’ve observed suffer unnecessarily at work, life and play because they haven’t really invested either the time or effort to learn the wisdom of saying NO confidently. As a result, they end up being used and abused –  YES means staying back at the office when everyone has gone back home to unwind while you slave away. YES and more YES means you will eventually have to get through the day with the help of medication, you didn’t need in the first place had you bothered to learn to say NO in the first place. This is true of course for relationships as well – developing the confidence to say NO means you never have to put up with a partner who takes you for granted or just regularly use you as a fuck puppet. Trust me, the more often you say NO, the less grief you will experience, the better your health will be and most importantly the more you will advance in your spiritual growth as a human being .

The day you can say NO is the day when everything that is wrong in your life will simply come together and most of your problems will simply melt away like lemon drops – you don’t need Jesus to do this (he is always optional); you don’t even need to break out in tongues – you just need to learn to say NO – the power to say NO is the first step to taking control over your life.

As life is always filled with enticing propositions where everyone is just waiting for you to say YES – the moment you commit to a yes, you are entrapped and sucked into a world where you end up downloading nonsense into your head that just drags you down as you diffuse your energy on meaningless pursuits that takes you away rather than bringing you closer to personal freedom.

This is something that even the Tao of the land seems to affirm time and again – the dry season has arrived, it is really non-negotiable, mother nature has said NO! The wind now blows from the East instead of the West despite my constant whining. As for my beloved trees, they too don’t seem to have any hang up’s about saying NO! to me –  they’ve stopped fruiting, that’s the way it is and has always been in the month of February. Even my dog doesn’t seem to have any problems with expressing in his canine terms an emphatic NO! Yesterday, my Dobermann decided to go on strike because he’s indifferent to the discounted crap that I’ve been feeding him – what more for humans? What more for you?

So what’s really stopping you from saying NO and saying YES to life?

The wise farmer says NO when he has too. The fool will have no choice but to say YES.

Darkness 2012

“Please do not misunderstand me. I am by nature a very direct person. Trust me, I have absolutely no intentions to fuck you. I know you think that that you’re hot and you probably have this idea every man is trying to jump into your panties. But believe me, I do not want to fuck you. NO! NO! I rather be at home and read a book all by myself. Please try to take this constructively. I am not trying to be rude or offensive, I just feel that if we are going to have a meaningful conversation online then you simply have to know that you are not my type and there is no way that I will ever want to fuck you even if you happen to be the last woman on this planet. This is a physical impossibility as sex is something that requires copious quantities of motivation and I really do not see my blood vessels expanding to create the right bodily opportunities where things can go in that general direction – not ever, doesn’t even matter if you happen to be decked out in Victoria Secrets. You are just not my type. So please drop the “everyman wants to fuck me here” attitude as all you’re doing is embarrasing yourself in front of thousands of forummers. Now I realize this is something that you don’t normally come across. But to be perfectly frank with you what I have just shared with you is in the mind of every man here – we are all really quite sick and tired of your attitude and the only reason why they aren’t telling you this full frontal is because they are really so very polite. But I do not have any hang up’s about clearing the air. I hope we are now perfectly clear. I hope we can now have an intelligent conversation without further distractions. I am really so happy we now understand each other perfectly. Now where was I before you interupted all of us with your frivolous comments? Oh yes, like I said, we need to establish a way whereby we are able to make sense of this OWC business. The way I see it is like this…….”

(Conversation extracted from a thread in Ekunaba under the title Obedient Wife’s Club – Is this perdition or salvation? – The Brotherhood Press 2012)

 

Singapore’s baby blues

February 6, 2012

The ways of our Government often confounds me no end. When income inequality sharpens, they simply look away or offer stupid reasons for doing nothing and instead try explain it away by whipping out stellar GDP results.When basic commodities go up, all they seem to do is pass the buck like a glorified postman to the end user. When the aperture for job opportunities diminishes and many find themselves marginalized, the Government goes into denial mode and insist that all is well and fine along while spewing claptrap such as fast, fasterer and fasterest.

And now it seems, when it comes to our abysmal baby birth rates, all they seem to be able to do is resolve the imbalance by opening the flood gates to foreigners. Wonder no more why so many Singaporeans and residents don’t seem to understand why ministers are paid so much – perhaps it has something to do with the whole idea of value or the lack of it.

Question: why isn’t the government doing more to encourage Singaporeans to have more babies?

IMHO, the government has not even begun to scratch the surface of this problem, instead it has opted for the path of least intellectual resistance: increasing the influx of migrants – and why not? Because whenever the issue of lousy baby birthrates crop up in Singapore, it is explained away by comparing Singapore with other developed countries which may also be facing the same demographic problem – this narrative misleads, as what is sorely missing is how many developed countries in the EU have been able to reverse the trend of declining birthrates. For example declining birthrates in Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta and Portugal have all been successfully reversed and there are even signs of recovering fertility – neither is it true to suggest this reversal is unsustainable and merely represents a flash in the pan – as fertility rates in these countries have been steadily increasing for the last ten years!

So the question is not: can declining birthrates be effectively reversed? As I have mentioned they can and if you desire to know more there is plenty of data and research material in the internet that confirms this as a fact. The question is also not: if we don’t accept more foreigners, will we end up like the last of the Mohicans? It’s not even the cynical question: is it even worthwhile to roll out baby friendly policies to encourage couples to have more babies? The question today is: have we exhausted all our options by pursuing EVERY possible means to resolve this problem of declining birthrates  BEFORE concluding that we have no other choice but to accept the mass influx of foreigners to replenish our dwindling population?

Shall we let this opportunity go or should we seize it? That’s the real question. Let me put it another way: the war against declining birthrates may or may not be winnable. But we SHOULD at least try, even that it seems is too hard or impossible to do for the most well paid government in the world.

Coming to think of it, I now agree that we need foreign talents to solve many of our baby woes – maybe we should import those moderately paid politicians from the Cyprus, Portugal, Malta and Luxembourg to help us resolve this crisis?

Stupid people will always do stupid things.

Darkness 2012

“If you say there is a problem – then I say, you should do everything in your power to try to solve it. If you cannot find the imagination to craft a solution; then be humble and try to learn from those who have managed to solve this problem successfully. But if you do not even bother to try and fall back on the most unimaginative solution – then I say in the short term, you may be able to solve your problem. But in the long term, you are really creating more problems for yourself and others. Falling birth rates is not trying to find a miracle cure for cancer, it can be reversed by imaginative social policies as the European experience has demonstrated. So one more time, if you please…why isn’t more being done? There is no wisdom here; only stupidity. We should never ever cultivate the habit of calling a spade anything other than a spade, stupidity is stupidity, it is as simple as that. Maybe the government should engage YSL as a baby consultant – maybe, we should even try to get the Obedient Wife’s Club to set up a branch in Singapore – maybe HDB should incorporate a pole in every home, so that couples can get themselves in the mood for love by learning how to pole dance. Maybe we should even encourage men to stay at home and be house husbands, I do not know – but I think, we should at least try. If after trying and failing and failing and failing again – then and only then is it reasonable to resort to the path of least resistance. But if you don’t even bother, then what does that really say about you? In my book, you are just another overpaid lazy bum! My name is Darkness 2012. You know where to reach me, if you disagree with what I say. But I say, be very careful, I have the ASDF, and by the time they come up with the data, figures, statistics and research material to confirm what I have just said, do not be surprised if you look like a bloody fool that you are!”

(Extracted from a thread in Ekunaba)

 

Managing yourself & others

February 5, 2012

 

故曰:知彼知己,百戰不殆;不知彼而知己,一勝一負;不知彼,不知己,每戰必殆。

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“Any bloody fool can extract a quote. Even a two year old can do this. But to know a word, a sentence beyond words is to reflect deeply into its meaning – it is to ask, “who am I?” – “Why has destiny placed me here in this time line in human history?” – this is very cheem. You can even drop a stone into this hole and wait the whole day and there will be no bottom – I once asked a subordinate of mine, why do you come to work everyday? This young man was flustered by my line of questioning, it seemed irrelevant and slightly personal to him. But as soon as he disgested this question, his mind became confused – it was as though he was a stone cutter all his life, happily etching away one alphabet at a time – all which he did with remarkable ease.

But as soon as this one question was asked of him. I could see that it infected his being, this stone cutter now felt unsure, it seemed as if he couldn’t even cut any more – suddenly his work had been transformed into a thinking thing.

Many of my peers said, I disabled this man, but that is not the case – till then he was only a monkey trained to pick coconuts, he was nothing more than a tool, not so different from a hammer or chisel – but once he began thinking about the nature of his being, the reason why he even got up every morning to work, it didn’t take him very long to realize, he was wasting his life.

One day this man came to my office and said that he wanted to be his own boss, he metioned, it was time for him to seek his fortune in blue waters – he looked at me expecting a reaction, I simply smile wrly and said,

故曰:知彼知己,百戰不殆;不知彼而知己,一勝一負;不知彼,不知己,每戰必殆

I was happy for this man. Two years later, when we met again – I intimated to this brilliant young man, he was meant for greater things. He was already a second dan Kendoka, we sparred and during that session many things were said, but nothing was ever mentioned. Words are unnecessary, when there is perfect harmony between oneself and others. Only complete understanding. When you observe old couples – this is the way – a grunt can carry with it a full sentence, a shrug an entire school of thought and a heave a state of mind.

If we can all learn to communicate in this way – there will be no wars in this world. Only complete and total understanding. But it all begins with:

 

故曰:知彼知己,百戰不殆;不知彼而知己,一勝一負;不知彼,不知己,每戰必殆。

 

Darkness 2012

The Suriman Tales – The Brotherhood Press 2012

We all pay a very personal price for our failure. Some heavier than others, but let us get on the same page – I am not talking about the mega failures like selling your house and going into business only to end up a bankrupt – I am referring to what Emerson once referred to as the “little slices of death.” The type of failure that seems small at first, like not doing well at school, not cutting the grade to get into university and even feeling that we aren’t good enough for that job

One reason why small failures are powerful obstacles to personal growth is because they rarely stay small. Man being a thinking animal has a way of amplifying the small in the ridiculous proportions – and given enough time and bad luck, it all too easy to believe these failures we once suffered have sealed our fates.

When I used to be salaried man, it never ceased to amaze me by how many job applicants felt that they didn’t deserve a chance because they didn’t do well in school or failed to get into a good university – in my mind, I frequently said to myself, “this fellow is in his 40’s pushing to 50 and he is still fixated by his A level results when he was 18!” To put it another way, this man is his own enemy – as what he has done is nothing short of beating himself to a pulp that assures the progressive narrowing of his personality along with sabotaging all his future efforts at self exploration and experimentation.

In my book, there is no such thing as true learning without some difficulty, fumbling, setbacks and better still monumental failures – you could even say, in my whole career as a salaried man I consciously seek out gaps in CV’s as I subscribe to the belief everyone should experience defeat at least once or twice during their career. Unfortunately, not everyone gets up, shakes off the dust and pushes on after that ONE failure – usually, it haunts them, coloring their lives even robbing them of future opportunities.

This should prompt us to ask why?

If I had to point to ONE reason, it is because very few of us realize that personal growth isn’t a science, as it remains an art that’s closer to an abstraction than anything that a school or university can define. Of course this is something most tertiary institutions will never tell you, why should they?  If the truth be known each and every single one of us develop our full potential according to our OWN speed and pace that should never be confused with the metrics that the world seems to constantly impose on us – the world is the world, just because ten people say that you are better off being a technician than a physician, if you didn’t manage to ace your “O” levels doesn’t mean they are right – it just means, like people who believe in angels, it makes perfect sense for them to indulge in meaningless debates like how many angels can fit on a pin head.

As a newbie farmer you could even say this is a truism the land seems to affirm time and again – not every palm shows great promise in the beginning and even those who do may wax and wane later on – you could say this is the Tao of the land, everything is imbued with its own reason and season. The wise farmer never gives up on the tree that everyone has given up on – he knows that his craft is an abstraction, science can of course counsel and even guide, but it is hardly a definitive rule – farming is not about the business of winnowing winners from losers, if anything it is about gaining a deeper understanding about how some trees are early bloomers while others can only be late –this you could say is the Tao of farming – and the same rule applies to human beings, not everyone of us show signs of promise during our youth. The problem as I see it, this idea of erratic personal growth doesn’t sit very well with the established way in which education is usually works, worst still when we find ourselves thrown into the workforce, the same corrosive rule seems to apply right across the board – and if we are not mindful of this, then what will invariably happen is the world will eventually grind us down to a pulp – the world will simply say, “you were given the same chances as everyone else, but you just fucked it up, so now this is your lot!”

The irony of life is when we are presented with such stark “realities,” then a time will come when we will have no choice, but to accept our lot – the man who believes he is unworthy to be anything other than a technician will simply accept this as a fact of life, he will not aspire beyond the boundaries imposed upon him by the world – but the man who sees himself as a late bloomer will NEVER accept this, he will say to himself, there is a reason and season for everything. That is the reason why, the worse thing that you can ever do is to be so disproportionally fixated with the ONE or even TWO failures in your life that it even colors the rest of your life. Conversely, it is also a common mistake for many to subscribe to the misplaced belief just because others shows signs of being “winners” early on in life, then they are destined for bigger endeavors.

If the above is true, then Albert Enstein along with a few hundred luminaries who I can mentioned are doomed – because not only were they considered unexceptional in every sense during their youths, but their litany of failures during the moment of their youth may have suggested they can offer nothing to the rest of humanity – but we all know that is not true. Instead what these great men did was to dedicate themselves to the act of nurturing themselves even when all others had concluded they were good for nothing and as the Americans would say, “the rest is history.”

The skeleton key that allows one to open the door of consciousness is to ALWAYS believe in the idea: you can be much more than what you are – granted this is not easy to discern and even harder to internalize in a world that is trying it’s best to measure your worth and label you all the time – but if you can set aside the ways of the world and simply measure yourself according to your own definition of success, it is really only a matter of time before you realize, there are really so many things you can do that others simply cannot – and that’s really the point when you will start to race ahead. To paraphrase in the language of a farmer,

Yesterday’s failures are today’s seeds, plant them and diligently tend to them and even you will be able to reap a glorious harvest.

Darkness 2012

 “The worst thing a man can do to himself and those who love him is to allow the world to measure, categorize and pigeon hole him as a loser – ! Understand this! This process of reductionism can only happen with your permission. If you believe you are a failure, you will fail and fail and fail. If you stand up and shout out, “No! I will not be measured by your rule of life! Now please fuck off!” Then the world will go away. But what you do from that moment onwards will set the course for your future – if you wallow in the idea just because you didn’t get into a good university or get a good job when all your friends seem to be doing well, then your fate is sealed – you are as good as fucked! But if you say to yourself, OK I fucked up, but you know what, I am going to work to right it and dedicate myself to the study in the University of life. I am after all young and I still have my wits about me – then do not be surprised one day, when the season comes and come it will, you can only bloom, you can only succeed beyond your wildest imagination – and though you may never believe this before and simply say this is just feel good rhetoric, you are so very wrong. As even now when I have spoken to you for barely thirty minutes, I can already see the beginnings of the green shoots poking their way up – it is so sad my friend that you do not have eyes to see this yourself – so very sad. It is regrettable that we just met, if I know you better, I will just give you a few tight slaps and a hard Kung Fu Panda kick and say to you, “what are you waiting for? Can you not see your season has arrived, go now and seize it! It is yours! All yours for the taking! How sad…this is life.”

Darkness 2012

(Excerpt of a conversation extracted from a thread in Ekunaba)