Before a conversation can even take place. There has to be TRUST. Without this one vital element present in the atmosphere like oxygen. It is impossible to hold a meaningful conversation. Only a bloody fool will try to do the impossible. A bloody fool at that.

Darkness 2012


“As a farmer I see the world in terms of compromises and never absolutes. Do I believe in magic potions, spirit serpents, trees that can grant wishes, mythical white tigers etc? I really don’t think what I believe is really pertinent to the discussion here. As to me the goal has always been crystal clear. That is to build deep spirited TRUST with the local community at every opportunity.

That simply means if these beliefs are important to the community. Then, they are important to me as well.

Important enough for me to even be there when everyone in the community expects me to be there.

This is why I believe, the PM has a lousy internet brigade advising him. This is not his fault. As at that level, he must delegate. After all the internet is terra incognito. So if you’re under the illusion such a brigade does not exist to collate information, scale opportunities and threats, provide advise on how best to pitch a idea online without getting flamed to a cinder – then you’re the childish one and not me! You’re the one who is not worldly. And I am no where near the frog in the well.

No matter what we say here. Such a brigade has its uses and in no way is it sinister or malevolent. If I am landowner who wants to enlarge his estate. I need to recruit the local community as my eyes and ears. I need people to feed me information so that I can plan to acquire the lands over the horizon. Those people over the horizon are planning to do the same thing to me.

But my belief is simply this: Someone should at least have a talk with the PM before things spiral out of control. As not only has the internet brigade scaled the threats and opportunities wrongly. But they have also failed to provide an accurate assessment of the digital sentiment. Had all this been done properly from day one – then I think it will not be so painful to have a conversation. But as it is. Even thinking about it is painful. These people have really pissed off so many netizens by failing to respect what they consider to be important and jugular. There are huge gaps missing from the narrative here. And this simply means there is no basis for trust. And without this vital element of trust in even it’s most primal form. How is it possible to even have a meaningful conversation?

This I consider very sad. Very sad indeed. Perhaps it is time to sack the entire internet brigade. After all they are good for nothing. This is what happens when you get a sheep to do a foxes’ job. It all goes pear shaped very quickly.”

We teach our children to try and try and never, ever give up. We teach them to be courteous, to be full of wonder, to expect hard work to pay off, and to search for literal and figurative greatness in everything they choose to do.

But some day, when our kids grow up, we might also consider doing them an invaluable favor by teaching them how to manage their bosses. Why? After working with the most inventive people in the world for what I can only describe as too long, I discovered the value of managing bosses is probably one of the most important life skills to cultivate.

Most of us have a natural aversion to managing our bosses – we don’t mind managing ourselves, others and even teams. But when it comes to managing our bosses, most people consider it beneath them and for some reason synonomous with apple polishing or simply playing the role of the ‘yes’ man to get ahead. I don’t deny those skills may be part of the genre of managing your bosses. But I am referring to a very specific skill where you manage your bosses to make sure you are always one step ahead.

Why is there a need to stay one step ahead? Simple, all bosses are users. If they don’t know how to use and manipulate people, then they are probably not very successful bosses. Don’t believe me? Show of hands time: How many of you out there have been on the receiving end of “what took you so long?” – “I need this by tomorrow!” I can go on and on, but if you really take the trouble to think about it, there could really be far more serious issues.

For example. I used to know a friend who worked everyday till nine. And sometimes on weekends, he even had the bad habit of taking his work back home. One day I asked this man why did he subject himself to this sort of grief? Was it worth it? He replied, it will just be for a short while. Well as it turned out, he has been working till nine every work day for the last ten years! Another friend seems to perpetually shuttling from one place to another. He is never in Singapore. And even when he is with his family, he never ever seems to be get off the work train. Again I asked, “why do you seem to be travelling so much?” Again the familiar reply, “it will just be for a short while.” Well, the last time I checked, he was either catching some shut eye on a plane or hacking away on his computer in some terminal somewhere in anywhereland.

This is where we should press the “pause” button and ask ourselves, how did it go so wrong for these people? The short answer is they never saw the wisdom of managing their bosses.

Managing your bosses can mean many things to many people. Some like to come up with ten bullet points. My method is far more simpler – what I do is work very hard to make sure my bosses weaknesses are my strenghts. If for example, he or she doesn’t have an eye for detail – then I will read the reports and red flag those areas that I know he or she hasn’t really picked up on – if he or she is weak in number, then I will probably spend a lot of time going through the excel spreadsheet with a fine toothcomb. The goal is NEVER to replicate the strenghts of your bosses and ONLY work to shore up his or her weak points – if you become a facsimile of your boss, then it’s only a matter of time before you will find a pink slip in your inbox. By positioning yourself strategically where you are able to add value to your bosses by augmenting his or her weaknesses – it’s really only a matter of time before your position will shift gradually from co- worker to counsellari (valued advisor and unofficial mentor).

One word of warning, don’t make it too obvious, let him or her do all the work – make it hard for him or her to even get close and personal – be sparing with your time – less is more – once you find yourself in the inner circle quickly create a daily routine of spending at least half an hour everyday going through the main to do list with your bosses – this is also the moment to create a rapport with your bosses to update him on the latest office politics and how best to neutralize his enemies (you will find latter on. This is really the only thing both of you are talking about during this 30 min period. Let it come naturally. Don’t force it) – but remember never give free consultancy. NEVER! – make him work for it – as time passes your bosses will find you indispensable and that is really the moment when you can ask for anything and it will never be refused. Never.

Need I say…just make sure your bosses NEVER read the Brotherhood Press! You’re good to go!

Darkness 2012

“Let me be crystal clear. In two years time, I want to leave this place. But before I do so, I think you should be the new VP and not fuck face. So my mission for this two years is to make you look good and that simply means, I have to make him look bad. Now in exchange for this. All I want to do is go back after putting in 8 hours of work. I don’t want to spend one extra minute here. You see I have a lot of studying to do as I want to be a businessman one day.”

“That’s new, what are you planning to do?”

“First, I want to make my money by buying firms that go bust and then break them up and sell them for a profit. That should get me the dosh. Then I want to buy land and be a farmer.”

“What if I say you can’t go back after five?”

“Then you leave me no choice…I simply have to take over your job.”

“Tell me you’re kidding?”

“Of course. After all where will I be without you?”

(8 years ago in a factory somewhere in Boon Lay – The Brotherhood Press 2012)


Balance – The Way of Farmer

September 15, 2012

As a farmer I have observed. Nature ONLY thrives when it’s in perfect balance. Plants and animals need just the right amount of water, nourishment and sunlight to flourish. Too much or too little and the balance goes out of synch.

The same holds true for individuals. Along with how we usually process information and respond to situations on a daily basis. Frequently when we make a conscious effort to keep our balance. Our thinking processes becomes less driven by emotions and we are able to make better decisions. When we listen to others. We are less inclined to stereotype others and keep only to the facts to reach an informed decision. In short we live a life that nature intended us to live – as balanced beings who are in perfect harmony with the laws of heaven and earth.

Just as we need to seek a happy balance on how much and what type of food we eat to manage our body weight abd health. Striking a balanced in the way we process information and respond to situations can often help us to manage the many challenges that come our way.

The need for balance these days has never been more urgent before. As we already live in an age of perpetual desires where it seems everyone just wants to plant a flag in your head and call it a conquered land – to tell you what kinda of apartment you should be living in, who you should vote for to what type of car you should be driving.

It is only when we focus on keeping the word BALANCE in mind that we are able to see the error of our ways.

By nurturing a deep awareness of balance, we are slowly tuning into the most powerful force in this universe – mother nature. We are perfectly balanced. Nothing can move or shake us. We are in perfect harmony with the laws of nature.

Darkness 2012

This has been extracted from the highly popular e-book series – The Way of the Farmer – The Brotherhood Press 2012


“At 40 a man’s life will begin to smooth out very nicely. At this stage in this man’s life. It is very natural for him to look back with a quiet confidence at his past achievements – he has after all gone through it all. And it seems as if there is very little mystery left in this world.

This man sees the world with knowing eyes. The hard things like cultivating the ruthlessness to pick and choose his battles carefully like chess pieces. Instead of fighting every battle that comes looking for him. By this stage in his life. He knows that rashness is a luxury he can ill afford. At 40. He only takes calculated risk. BALANCE. At 40. He knows there are no enemies or friends in the business world. Only merchants of convenience. As for ethics and morality, that can always be negotiated around. BALANCE. At 40. This man sees the world prosaically. He knows good things come to those who are patient. And a fool and his money will always part. BALANCE. At 40. This man will begin to cultivate the softer side of life – like to how to carry himself like a well heeled gentlemen in a black tie function. Along with the art of creating a spell binding impression on those that he comes across. BALANCE. At 40 when this man steps on board a private yacht and is greeted by a parade of lovely ladies. He never blushes. Instead he exudes simpatico. At 40. This man will also learn about the playful things in life. Kissing a stranger in the balcony of the Hotel du Paradis in Monte Carlo when the sun sets. A half opened Chardonnay in the fields in summer. Opera and the company of ladies in the floating world. At 40. This man will mull over whether a Maserati can shuffle tighter than a Lancia to negotiate around windy country roads in the Pyrennes at break neck speed. BALANCE.

Above all. At this stage in life – this man learns the art of choosing the moment. He will know when to pull back, race ahead or remain so very still like a calm lake. When all around him there is turmoil and chaos. He is completely BALANCED. Because at 40. This man will know only too well. To be hard, soft, playful, sophisticated and irrelevant all at the same time requires the highest mastery of BALANCE.”

A meaningful conversation does not just happen by sheer chance. It needs to be worked at in the way a farmer prepares the land before sowing seeds. Only after mistrust, bad faith and enmity has been successfully pulled out by the roots and cast away – is it possible to create the perfect conditions for a meaningful conversation to take root and yield sweet fruit – where you can perhaps end up seeing the world slightly differently from the way you used to see the field of possibilities. This is why a conversation is a very powerful experience that holds out the promise for life changing encounters.

Prepare the ground diligently FIRST. Never short cut this step. Do everything that needs to be done in a forthright, sincere and above board manner without any hidden agendas. Once the ground is prepared, sow the seeds. And everything else should come about naturally and effortlessly.

If the other side is bent and crooked that is something beyond your control. Do not beat yourself up. The probelm does not reside in you. Remember you can only control your own thoughts and responses and only a fool will try to impose his values on others.

As long as you have done your part and given it your very best. That is all the serious men of this world expect from you – nothing more or less is expected of you. You have done your part. No one can ever say – you never gave it your best short. And this is all that really matters. As this is the way nature meant it to be.

When a man positions himself in perfect harmony with the meridians of heaven and earth, it is easier for him to succeed than to fail.

Stupid people who do not know this Tao will always end up talking to themselves wondering why no one is interested to talk to them. They have not prepared either themselves or others for a meaningful conversation. Wonder no more why it is so difficult for them to past from the realm of theory to reality with relief – wonder no more why they are still striving to get the conversation started.

Darkness 2012

This has been extracted from the highly popular e-book series – The Way of the Farmer – The Brotherhood Press 2012


As a farmer I have noticed mother nature is incredibly fair. If nature gives there is always a reason. Even if she withholds, there is also a reason as well. Nothing ever happens in a haphazard way in nature – there is always a reason and season for things to unfold in the way they do in life. We just have to train our eyes to seek this out.

At times, it is very difficult to make out the wisdom of mother nature – for example, when we see a tree producing more than another tree – it is very easy to conclude that the tree that doesn’t seem to produce as much is an inferior tree. But experience informs me, if we fail to see the goodness in even that sort of tree, it doesn’t mean that it’s a tree that has nothing to offer. It just means we have not spent enough time discovering deeper what that tree can offer to make good on the promise that it’s as good, if not better than any other tree in your orchard. Maybe the fruits from these trees are sweeter? Perhaps they can even command a higher price?

The same applies to women and men – experience informs me, there is no such thing as an unattractive man or woman. If a woman is unattractive for instance and is as interesting as a door knob – that simply means you have not cultivated the best aspects of her character – you don’t know how to bring out her best. As you have probably dismissed her like that tree that doesn’t seem to produce so many fruits. And have instead been seduced by the obvious and unimaginative. My point Gentlemen is it’s all too easy to make out the most beautiful girl in the bar – even a bloody fool can do that. But if you spend enough time cultivating even the ugliest zero personality two metric ton internal beauty in Singapore. Even you will be able to enjoy the sweetest fruits without paying an arm and leg. As you went it cheapy cheap. And that is really the name of the game – buy cheap and as time goes by, it’s value can only increase. As every woman. Even the most uassuming and mundane has something exceptional and life changing to offer. You just need to be able to bring out her very best by being the mythical lover.

Even when it seems as if fate is conspiring against you – and you cannot seem to find your soulmate. As you always seem to be going out with all the wrong people. Even that has to be an incredible blessing. Remember always mother nature is incredibly fair and democratic – as, if you meet all the wrong people before meeting the right one. Then and only then will you know deep in your heart how lucky you are to be bestowed that gift.

Darkness 2012

This has extracted from the highly popular e-book series, The Way of the Farmer – The Brotherhood Press 2012


“One of the keys of power in business is projecting soft power. That’s why in business once you hit a certain number of tonnage. The serious men of this world will begin to take an interest in your other better half – your wife gentlemen. You will find that their wife’s will want to met them for tea.

This is where it is very important to sit down with your wife’s at the end of the evening when the kids are asleep – tell her that life is never what it seems – share with her the art of war. Train her in the ways of the Bene Gesserit. Make her your trusted hunting partner. Divide the task. Respect her strengths. Take up the slack on her weaknesses. Make sure she does the same for you. You go there, she goes over there. You’re like hunters.

Do this again and again. Till its second nature – like putting on spandex. You’re part of it. As its part of you. One reality.

Business is war! The sooner you get this tattooed in your head the better it is for you and everyone else.

Listen up! At this level of the game. No one just invites you on a yacht just because they think you are a jolly good fellow – they’re fishing for information. Sizing you up. Trying to make out whether it’s cheaper to let you into their inner circle racketeering operations. Or just saying to themselves, “Phew…he’s another lightweight after all!”

You only get invited once on the yacht. You cant swing it alone. You need your Samurai wife to close the loop – if its all going to come around. You see, at this level of the game – the men in the living room of this yacht just really want to know how big of a threat you are. So you’re not going to be so dumb as to tell them that you’re the biggest threat to them since Karatoka exploded. Besides you know that they will never believe you – why should they, talk is cheap.

But just imagine – just thirty feet to the stern – the women are sun bathing and talking about silver hair brushes and cosmetics. Your Samurai tells them that you’re planning to build a refining plant that can make anti aging grade oil palm.

You see women can go where men can never go – they can pierce through the seriousness into the vapid and from there remerge into the significant sphere again. This women can do very well. But always remember, they are all feeding back information to their husbands.

I think when you begin to see the business world as a theater of war – then you may begin to work out why they just didn’t invite you for no compelling reasons. It should also be time for you to have a heart to heart talk with your wife – to tell her perhaps it is time to set childish things to one side and to take on the role that she was destined to play.

You see, she is your secret and wonder weapon. I am so glad we had this conversation. I am so glad that you came to me for advice.”

What is the function of the newly created internet brigade? Presumably it is to collate information on opportunities and threats online and to advise policymakers on how best to engage netizens.

How have they fared? Well just look at how much skepticism there is now on and off line whenever the national conversation is brought up. 

Moral of this story: Never get a sheep to do a foxes job. Never!

Darkness 2012


“I don’t blame the politicians. I dont even blame Mr Heng. As it is not realistic to assume that one can be everywhere. That is why intelligent people subscribe to this idea of division of labor. If anyone is to be blamed for this unnecessary sorry state of affairs – it is the man who is running this new internet intelligence outfit. Take it from me, as this is good advice: this man has absolutely no idea what he is doing – absolutely no idea whatsoever –  today when we talk about the national conversation – it is like a very dead man lying slump in a long kang – this should be a lesson to all of us. As this is what happens when you put someone who has absolutely no idea what he is supposed to do under a given set of challenges – all they really have is reams and reams of data coming out of every orifice – but without the ability to interpreted this data intelligently to scale the opportunities and threats – one might as well be walking in a minefield. In short you are well and truly fucked. You have my sympathies. You do. Only understand this under the clearest possible terms: it need not have turned out this way at all.”


“We no longer have the luxury of choice. So please get off your high and mighty high horse. 10 years ago, everyone wants to come to Singapore to work. Today, we have to go to the world to turn the wheel of life. The tables have changed. I am not bitter. I accept this as part and parcel of what it means to be part of the human condition. But I am realistic gentlemen. For the first generation who decide to do this. It will be a one way ticket. Those of us who have started this have already made our peace with the idea that the return trip will no longer be possible. None of us talk about this. Maybe we should. But we all know deep inside that is really how it is – the mathematics of necessity are crystal clear to all of us. To do business. We have invested heavily in the long term. It will take us all at least 20 years to pay off the banks and build our enterprises. Meanwhile there is so much to do, we need organize ourselves into a community away from home so that when more of us decide to come over – at least they will not have to go through the hardships we all once experienced. There will be a network. At least when they come over, there will be a brother who will show them the ropes, make the right introductions, vouch for them etc. As for those of you in the home front, you all need to think long and hard about what role you want to play in the formation of this new Singapore that is faraway from the old Singapore.

Only bear in mind. Things cannot be the way it used to be – the sleeper must awake. The child needs to set aside childish things. You see it is really very simple, we are now playing the game for real. This is no longer just a game involving imaginary planets and castles in the clouds.

This is a real conversation. Not that other bullshit hype and spin conversation that seems to be contradicting itself with each successive day. In this conversation you have the power to make a better world. A better life even for yourself and your children.

But it begins with you – you need to think long and hard about this. To connect the dots, figure out how the pieces are supposed to fit together. Once you do this. Then everything will be as clear as day – and it’s easy to do the right thing.”

Conversation extracted recently from Primus Aldentes Prime.


Somewhere high above the skies over the jungle

High above the steely white skies – the toy plane began to bank ever so slightly to a preprogrammed flight plan. In a while the loading bay began to whirl open and a tiny camera popped out like a cuckoo bird. Somewhere in the thick jungle canopy beneath – the man began to snap open his portable satellite dish. A faint audible beep began to sound from his computer and in a while images began streaming in. To the untrained eye, these meaningless splotches of red, yellow and blue might as well be random collages of color. To the man, they all added up to a very disturbing picture.

That evening the man mulled over the reams of data that he had collected. He had arranged them carefully in a curious sequence that started from one end of the twenty foot oak dinning table to converge on the other end in a V shape where he sat. From time to time the man would turn to one of four computer screens with satellite images. Only to highlight a row of numerals with a apple green highlighter. At other times, he seemed lost in his own world as he stared blankly at the unfurling image of the real time weather feed. This would continue through the night. By three in the morning – the man fell asleep on his chair.

Even his bodyguards made up entirely of tribesmen peered through the window at the man who was now slumped sound asleep in his chair. Only the faint rythmic sound of breathing filled the night that seemed to stretch on forever and ever.

Deep in the jungle along a river bank

The braves had travelled to the edge of their known world. It had taken them three days – the confluence where the river meets the sea. At dawn they arrived at the edge of the river, the leader amongst them was greeted by a strange sight. The fish were all dead. The river was bone dry. Three days ago. A-Mak the albino monitor lizard had spoken to the Shaman in a dream. The mythical beast had foretold of a white sheering drought that would turn everything brown and yellow as far as the eye could see.

The following day the tribeswomen were told by the Shaman to salt their carp and warp them in banana leaf and hang them in their tree house to dry.  

In an oil palm plantation somewhere.

The farmer stood at the edge of his lands on the only hill that overlooked the vast expanse of his plantation. He had stood at this very spot for hours training his eyes at the colums of passing clouds – from time to time, when the farmer caught sight of a large armada of clouds. His eyes would suddenly narrow like a submarine commander peering through the cross hairs of a periscope. He judged their altitude and size by the way the sun reflected and past through them. Timed their progress by lighting a cigarette. At other times, he sniffed the electrically charged air like a monitor lizard sticking out his tongue. He knew these clouds were pregnant with rain – clouds that for mellinia had always brought the waters of life to soothe the parched earth just around this time of the year.

The man could just about make out the trails of faster wispier clouds along the edges of these leviathans. He knew that was no good. The winds were too strong. They would blow the clouds seawards afar he cursed.

Through the years, the farmer had learnt how to read the weather by just watching the indolent flight of birds.

In Africa, he had stood for hours in the Savannah. During the dry season. He had noticed how Magpies flew low dipping their wings – whenever the winds from the North changed direction and brought the dreaded red ochre dust wind – sailors in the Côte d’Ivoire called the Harmattan. A wind that transformed the sun into a blood red pagan disc that paid tribute to a godless sky. A wind that was considered so evil that a mad emperor once declared war on it and marched out to met it with an army and fluttering flags.

In South America. The man had once stood on the confluence of the Madeira and Rio Negro and trained his eyes on green speckled canaries for hours on end. He knew whenever they started building their nest out of stiff twigs instead of soft pampas grass – this presaged the Pampero – a bitterly cold front that crept like a glacier from the West.

Now that he was here. The man knew whenever the swifts circled high above – the warm streams of air funneling upwards which usually punctured the thick layer of stratocumulus clouds and brought rain was simply too weak to lance through the clouds that day – the man realized the clouds would never break. They looked unbreakable. Perhaps even armor plated – there would be no rains today, tomorrow or the weeks thereafter.

The bastard child of Christ – el Nino had arrived early. This was all the farmer needed to know to launch his grand design.

That evening the farmer went to the elders of the village sporting his trademark Khaki bush jacket. After dinner. They sat on straw mats underneath a tree and he told them in the grave voice of a serious man that evil was coming their way; and every man, woman and child would have to be mobilised to dig canals inland from the rivers edge. He. They and everyone would have to declare war on the Child of chirst – El Nino.

That same evening. As the man prepared for war. He told himself that he would make his stand right here. He told himself, he hoped the experts were right. Above all, the farmer was reincarnated – in this sliver of land that he called his lands and for all those who he called his adopted family, the storekeepers, harvesters, honey hunters, fishermen. This is where he really belonged. As for the whole idea of home. That idea might as well have been on the surface of the moon.

That night before the farmer turned in. He placed SINGAPORE into an old cigar box along with his beloved violin. Somewhere in this singularity of time and space. Momentarily flashes of the past traced through the man like meteorites. Kissing his one and only love in Bedok Jetty. Morning rides in Bukit Timah. Beer in Zhi Car with false eyelashes Chinese super killing to save planet and people. And where will we all be without Sandra?  Roti Prata at Supermaniam’s. Fish head curry at Muttho’s. Mee Pok in Tanah Merah, not too hiam. National Library. Coffee in Hans. A woman who threatens to commit suicide unless I take her out for a really expensive diner every month! Borders (is it still there?). Light trails in East Coast Park. Lonely and desolate walks early in the morn. Morning dew. Playing hide and seek with car coupon aunties. Friendly dengue inspector Mr Abdullah. Who always seems to manage a smile whenever he disturbs the man. OK lah! Hit me. California Fitness Center. Munjo Munch of the Bukit Batok gang. My dragon dance Wong Fei Hong troupe. Kendo at 4.45 am. Laksa with Otah in Joo Chiat. Deep spirited life changing one to one conversations over Bak Kut Teh and cognac. Or just to be there, when great men speak. To be a humble student.

In one solitary second in the way a Wizard holds eternity in a grain of sand. The farmer experienced all these thoughts and much more. He looked at the cigar box again for a very long time. Stroked it. Hesitated. And gently slid it underneath his bed.

This the man, brother, farmer, father and the man of all seasons considered, his first casualty of war.


Munchen, Germany three and a half years ago.

At age 36 Eva Meyer the newly appointed fine arts curator of the prestigious Neuve Pinakothek was in love. Eva was slim, tall and sported short blond hair. She knew the man was first attracted to her because she had short hair. She had an instinct about these things. A woman should always look her best, she often told her hair stylist in Strausseberg – She had first met the stranger in Odeanplatz during Summer. That was something about him that she was drawn to like a moth to a tongue of light. He had followed her through the cobbled stone streets of old Munich. She made it easy for him. She remembered feeling preyed. And she was glad for it. She considered it her prerogative. And cared very little what others said.

In the week days, Eva lived with Fritz, a Cheshire cat in a three bedroom apartment in the trendy section Moosach along Dallmayrplatz. On weekends she spent it in the country in a Bavarian hunting log house in Bei Freising in suburban Munchen. 

She looked at the expensive watch the man gave her. It was quarter past three. She smiled. The man would have just touched down from the Lufthansa flight from Singapore just about now. It would take him exactly 20 minutes to clear immigration and customs and another 10 to make his way to the annex of the Flughafen – in this windowless squat like building that resembled an aircraft hangar. This was where the rich and famous kept their Masseratis, Lambohginis and Ferraris. The man kept a humble paid locker. Eva knew it would take another 10 minutes for him to change into his riding leathers. Another 5 minutes perhaps to make his way to the basement where his black BMW motorcycle was fueled and readied by mechanics. By the time the man was barreling down the autobahn at 170 kmh towards bei Freising, it would probably be close to four. Eva smile again. Then she became pensive. Or maybe not. Then she walked to one of the full length windows and a mischievous smile broke out again. Maybe it would take longer. This time she muttered the words against the glass – it left a vapor mark. And she drew a heart. It was after all her birthday. She knew the man would stop at the Grossaucheun to buy her flowers. That might just slow him down abit.

Before dawn, somewhere in a plantation in Malaysia.

The man never slept beyond five. The man servant had laid out his pressed Khaki bush jacket with matching slacks along with mirror polished shoes in his walk in wardrobe at exact four forty five. On other days, a Khaki open neck short sleeve shirt along with trousers made from rough wearing cotton would be laid out. At five minutes to five, the boy would return from the river bearing a razor sharp parang. The man servant inspected the edge, nodded to the boy and slipped it into the sheath.

At precisely five. The dining table was laid out for breakfast. At one minute past five, the radio turned on automatically to the BBC world service. The man servant knew the ritual well. It was a strange voice from another world that he found strangely comforting though he had no idea what language it was or what it conveyed. Only that from time to time, his master would strain himself to listen to this strange and foreign voice. As if it had the power to hold time in one breathe. In one word even – all the man servant knew was he found the rounded tones and ebb and flow pitch strangely melodious. Like a strange musical instrument that he had long grown accustomed too. At half past five, the driver brought the car to the front. At quarter to six, the tribesmen who guarded the man when he slept began to retreat into the preamble of the jungle. Though, the man servant had never seen them so much as once. He could always sense their presence. They were always nearby and never far away.

By six even the largish dog that had stood absolutely motionless to attention in front of the master bedroom door began to stir restlessly.

The man, boy, driver and dog all waited – in the mansion located in the middle of jungle, the clock chimed six times. Yet there was no sign of the man. Only the sound of cogs and wheels from the grandfather clock turning rhythmically filled the terrible silence just before the dawn.