Banishing the old and embracing the new order of a purpose driven life

May 15, 2012

We’ve all been told there’s a certain way to live … that, this is or that is the way we should all live…that this or that is what we should all do, if we want to a better tomorrow…that, this or that is satisfying, nourishing and edifying in life … yet, we never really questioned it. We just sort of went along with it in a way a man sees others lining up only to pick a number and stand in line – not really asking ourselves: what’s at the end of the line? But what if that thing, we all decided to pick up is not the best? What if it even works against instead of for us? What if that pastor, politician or leader was simply dead wrong? What if there’s another way that’s better? What if there’s something more to the whole idea of living instead of just existing and getting by? Most of us don’t consciously bother with the whole idea of auditing what’s already in our minds; if we did, we would probably discover to our horror that there are many things that has managed to encrust themselves in our thinking – these things often work against us. They add no value to bring us closer to fulfilling our deepest aspirations. As what they do is root us down in a particular way of seeing the world along with cutting off the field of possibilities that may even exist right before us.

Many years ago before the financial crisis – whenever anyone asked me what I really wanted to do with my life. I would usually tell them that I wanted to be a farmer. The reaction was often aghast followed by – “I am sure, you can do better than that!” – “What a waste!” – “You should think again.” – “you mean, you want to be a peasant.” Recently Vivian Balakhrisnan mentioned that the government is trying to encourage the masses to take on to hawkering – what’s my take? I happen to think that’s a great idea, probably one of the best that ever came out from the PAP steam engine – but let’s be realistic, how many people in Singapore do you think will look at hawkering as a vocation that can possibly actualize their dreams and aspirations? – not many I think. As to be a hawker is to be typecast very much like wanting to be a farmer – farmers and hawkers are usually looked down on in Singapore. Only understand this, it’s not that these professions don’t pay well or that they don’t ever come with the promise of job satisfaction – if we really examine our deep seated prejudices towards these vocations much of it is has to do with our own scripting as individuals. I am reminded people just don’t decide to wake up one morning and develop an aversion to a thing – usually the process is insidious and gradual. Where we are psychologically programmed to look down on certain type of professions – to a point where it’s virtually impossible for us to even consider taking them up seriously as a way of branching out.

That to me is wrong and brings nothing good our way – as when we cut off a way, just because we have alot of old stuff floating in our heads and we don’t even know how or who put them there – then it could be said, we are selling ourselves short. And being short simply means our opportunities for branching out goes right down to zero.

Darkness 2012

“The lives of people are not so different from young trees in an orchard. They are being choked by climbing vines Gentlemen. The vines are old thoughts and beliefs planted by men who have only known one way to succeed. Not two or three or even four, just one way – which they call, the Way. This if you must all know, is not so different from a man who only knows how to turn the wheel of life by only chiseling one alphabet – hence success to these people can ONLY come by keeping to the tried and tested yellow brick road. This myth needs to be smashed Gentlemen, it needs to be blown up, as it is poison and can only continue to hold us all back – we must go where no mind dares to go. Yes, I do not doubt there are some over there, who would probably tell me and others that we still have such a thing as a choice – a choice to live our life’s under our own terms. But how is this possible, when we all ONLY know the tried and test way of the yellow brick road? Let me be frank here, I do not think that we can take our way of life for granted any longer. Coming to think of it, it’s even conceivable the whole idea of work will go through a transformational change that is even beyond our capacity to imagine. You see Gentlemen, let me share with you my point of view of the future, in 10 or maybe 20 years from now – out of 10 Singaporeans, 8 will have to turn the wheel of life abroad. I want you all in this house to just consider this theoretical possibility, as it is presently inconceivable and that is a problem Gentlemen – Look around you Brothers, this disturbing trend is unfolding before us now! Even as we speak; we see signs of it everywhere and yet what remains incomprehensible to me is why do we continue to remain bovine about the whole idea of branching out? Maybe it has something to do with how we cling to our assumptions or have too in the way a deluded man needs lies just to render his unbearable life more bearable – if that is the case, then there is only one cure for this. We must go out, as we once did to the furthest reaches of the universe. We must do things that are difficult. Now it is still possible to do all these things. We must see opportunity where there is only a blank wall. Let me cut to the chase, why is farming strategic? It’s simple, the dumbest people have always gone into farming. Most of them never had a choice in the first place, the city just chewed them out and spat them back to where they came from, so they farmed. As a consequence, farm equipment has not improved since the 1800’s, it remains a parochial and insular industry – that is why we should go into it, it is ripe for the raid Gentlemen. As when we put a rugged individual into that kind of setting, then he can only thrive in it. We must be imperialistic in our attitude, it doesn’t pay for us to think small any longer – my hope is the Confederation of guilds will support this resolution. If not, be in no doubt that I will have no other choice but to go ahead with the Order of Purple and seek alternative funding from the Legation – Gentlemen, am I threatening all of you? Maybe, but that is because I perceive the urgency of this matter, while many of you remain steadfastly convinced that I am a mad man, a man who dreams of being a farmer. But I say to you, I hold in my hand the key that unlocks the door to another road other than the tried and tested yellow brick road. This resolution will have to go through this house in this sitting today, either that or we will be busted and good for nothing thereafter. We have to act now!”

Captured from a speech in the Imperium in Primus Aldentes Prime – The Brotherhood Press 2012



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