Life is not like water. Not at all. As not everything in life necessarily takes the path of least resistance – take the case of women. You present them with a wholesome, honest and responsible man who they can probably have a 100% chance of growing old with – what do they do?

They chuck it right back at you and instead choose to throw caution to the wind and run with the wolves in the pale moonlight – tell me, if you will, which part of that even makes the slightest sense? No I haven’t figured it out. Don’t even want to go down there..not yet. Just want to rip one cord after another – like a man who is trying to start a big fire to burn the house down.

Yes, there are times when water can even run uphill along with turning the world on its head, I reckon – all you need to do to accomplish this miraculous feat is to play music really hard and loud and put all your heart and soul into it. And to just settle into the grove and blot out everything else that shouldn’t even be on stage. Just you, the beat and what needs to be made up when it comes to your turn will just do very nicely. Dedicate yourself to that long enough in a smoke filled bar with free flow of alcohol. And the next thing you know – you’re standing on the top of the mountain – who says, water can’t flow uphill?  

Yes, she has never seen this side of me before. How could she possibly know – all she knows is that man who goes around in his ridicolous bush jacket – a mature, sensible and stable sort of chap whose as reliable as a metronome – she hasn’t seen this other dark side of me – the side that much prefers fast music, fast cars and fast women. All rolled up like a sublime joint that I light and inhale deeply – as I watch the smoke curl upwards to fashion a pheonix that reaches upwards towards the velvety darkness – while the world spins round and round – except her, only she is still – transfixed at the reincarnated man who suddenly staring into her eyes as the room shakes and vibrates to the sound of heady music, as if it’s going to explode into a thousand pieces.

Living is the most dangerous thing in the world. I am not even talking about the sort of living where a man finds himself swinging by the end of a rope somewhere around the upper reaches of 16,000 ft as he tries to summit Everest. Just plain ordinary living, the type that doesn’t even involve having to drive or operate heavy machinery – the sort of day to day living, where you get up like any other day, brush your teeth, put your clothes on and join the rest of humanity as they rush off to turn the wheel of life every morning. 

Living is the most dangerous thing in the world.

Especially, the boring type of living where the only thing, you seem to ever remember separating one day from another is the diminishing size of your toothpaste or it’s time to get a haircut – that sort of living has to be particularly dangerous. Much more dangerous than trying to eat cut glass or jumping out of plane to catch a parachute I reckon.

As somewhere in this benign litany where every other day is supposed to unfold exactly like one polished prayer bead that slips past another bead that resembles the last in every form, shape and texture – one rarely expects anything extraordinary to ever happen. There lies the real cinder of terror of everydayness – it has no beginning or end. It just goes on and on. Each passing day a perfect reflection of yesterday. A litany – like a job that you don’t relish – a job that you know has no beginning or end. A job that is really just a job where you don’t even see a future or a way to break out from – that has to be the most terrifying and dangerous thing in the world. 

Just living is so dangerous. With these thoughts I light another cigarette and lean into the rattan chair. As I watch the helicopter touch down on the emerald grounds of the Planter’s Club. I’ve sent for the school teacher as my meeting with Max is scheduled to run to the beyond this week to the next – besides a spot of the racy city life may just be what the doctor would have ordered for the school teacher. 

When she saw me, her eyes tore away demurely. A crimson flush of shyness began to spread all over her – I simply looked on and sipped my tea….even after I had greeted her and taken her by the arm to a pavilion where tea had been arranged with an assortment of sweets and cakes – I simply looked on as I lit another cigarette – as she sat with her body turned against me with her head slightly tilted like a swan – I simply looked on and murmured to myself,

“Living can be so dangerous.”

Life is full of unexpected twist and turns. Miss a bus. Get on the next one and that could well be the difference that changes everything or nothing at all – eavesdrop on a conversation across the table and that could take you down a path that you never thought you would ever find yourself walking. Scratch your balls on a street corner and the whole wide world will change. Here in the ordinariness of living – lies real danger. A heady mix of dynamite – two parts serepidinty. The rest epiphany. Shaken and served up with a bitter lemony taste of irony. The type where a man may very well know how it all begins – but whether it will end well or even if he has the power to stop it, if he doesn’t like it, is never really certain. Nothing is certain in this frightful world of everydayness. where the supernatural can secret itself so skillfully like a serpent that takes the shape of a harmless vien – waiting, just waiting to unleash it’s surprise. Each wheel turning and turninge. As I continued looking at the school teacher I thought to myself = the phone will ring soon and I would have to excuse myself and go back to the meeting. I’ve arranged for her to go to a Spa. Yes, that will be good for her. After that to shop for an evening dress in Bukit Bintang Pavillion. Do up her hair and met me for dinner in a revolving skylight restaraunt that overlooks the city. Capped off with a concerto in the theater. And a night cap in a Jazz bar that opens only after midnight. Simple things that any man would do for a woman just to put a smile on her face. Just the stuff of plain ordinary day to day living.

Living as you can very well see…ordinary living… can be so very dangerous.

Darkness 2013

Dream

December 17, 2012

Last night I dreamt of running in tall green grass fields again. There was no sound this time. I was just running as fast as my legs could take me. I felt the wind against my cheeks. The biting cold drops of rain against my eyelids. I just ran and ran without hardly a care in the world. There was no end or beginning. Just the act of putting one foot in front of the other as fast as possible – the sensation of my feet against the ground and the momentary flight which always seem to last longer in the dream – cutting across the air like some bird- then suddenly a loud bang – followed by a sheering pain that ripped through me and next thing, the world was blue with white curly clouds overhead. I was not scared even when realized I was shot. Yet strangely as the blue universe before began to unfold, it seemed as if I was swallowed by this immense white light that I simply had no power to resist. No I was not afraid. I was strangely at peace as this white light carried me off like a puff of cloud into the eternity of the blue white pulsing light.

What does this mean?

Darkness 2012

RSCN1544It’s Saturday. And I am still in KL waiting  to discuss the finalized version of Max’s proposal to form a break away consortium in the Planter’s Club. He’s late. It’s raining. Maybe he’s caught in the jam. The phone rings. It’s the school teacher. I reach for it and suddenly hesitate. Instead I let the phone ring and vibrate as it makes its way like a nervous animal from one corner of the table to the other. In truth, I can’t pick up – how can I. How am I supposed to respond? What do I even say? Where do I even begin? Or for that matter end?

Perhaps I should tell her that I am disappointed by her behavior during the second moon Autumn festival harvest dinner – I should tell her that she shouldn’t have embarrassed Jason by going on stage and singing  Bu Liao Qing as she looked pleadingly at me, as that’s unbecoming. I should tell her that she shouldn’t have drank like a fish thereafter even after Jason had told her she had enough – I should tell her that she was seriously out of line when I asked her, “why are you are behaving like this?” and she responded crudely by telling me off, “I rather be a whore than marry your lackey.” – I want to tell her that she shouldn’t have put me in a tight spot when I took her drink away and she just stormed out to another table to those troublemakers who plied her more drinks – I should tell her when I asked her to follow me home, she should not have rebuffed me and continued to flirt with those low life’s. I should tell her that she should have seen trouble coming when she allowed one of those losers to put his arm around her and even had the gall to insult me, “you should respect the wishes of the school teacher.” I should have told her that she should have known things were getting out of hand and just follow me to the car and not struggle with me as I dragged her all the way to the car after teaching that fuck a lesson that he will never forget. I should tell her that she shouldn’t have open the car door and try jump out after she called me a “cruel and heartless man who only really cared about himself.”

These are some the things I should tell the school teacher. Maybe not. After all,  SHOULD is a world that has to stand  apart from that other word called WANT. What do I really want to tell the school teacher?

I want to tell her –  though I never once looked up even so much as once when she was on stage belting out Bu Liao Qing. I couldn’t look up even if I wanted too. As I was afraid of defiling her love which had began to radiate mysteriously across my barren soul. Had I looked up even just for a while, it would have burnt me like a man who is forced to look into blinding glory of the sun – all I could really do in my weakened state was lower my eyes and settle for feeling the warmth of the sun against my flesh.

I want to tell her when I took her glass away – please forgive me, I think what you say must be true after all. As since there are as so many kinds of love as there are hearts who am I to tell you who – you should and shouldn’t love.

I want to tell her that it is not that I want to fight. But I can’t bear the idea of another man putting his grubby arms around her waist – what followed was hardly a matter of choice. May even have been incomprehensible, but it’s certainly not a matter of choice, that much I know for certain – like a moth that is slaved to the source of all it’s fears and fascination as each circular flight brings it closer and tighter to the tongue of the flame, till it finally dives into a fiery death to seek liberty from an inexplicable hold. A hold that it cannot quite understand – a choiceless hold that may well even be salvation and perdition as one of the same seamless reality. In this choreography of death – where does choice even feature for the moth? How can I have such a thing as choice when she started flirting with strangers? What could I really do, but do what I did, what could I really think, but think what I thought then – as I don’t even have any inkling what stirred me that night when I narrowed my eyes and flared my nostrils at those men? I only know it was impossible for me to walk away from it all – despite summoning all by strenght to say to myself again and again…do not get involved, this is trouble you don’t ever need…just walk away…but that night my heart was like a moth…I had no choice.

I want to tell her, she was right when she once said to me in the pavillion by the lake – I am like the forgotten soldier posted to the outer reaches of the Great Wall who has somehow managed to confuse the litany of duty with happiness – and now this ramshackled man who is so permeated with greyness, hardness and the crushing weight of duty has suddenly tasted the forbidden fruit of happiness – he even wishes he has a neck as long as a giraffe to enjoy every drop of this sublime nectar that differs from his daily grub. Surely, life cannot be the same any longer. Not ever. This forgotten soldier says to himself as he crosses a line somewhere in my head. Only to suddenly find himself in another place. A colorful place filled with wonder that he doesn’t quite recognize.

I want to tell her, this confused man needs time to sit down quietly in one corner and get slowly accustomed to this new place before he has the confidence to do anything – things are moving too fast.

I want to tell her this forgotten soldier is like a hungry man who has just been given food. Maybe he’s confused, and even slightly disorientated, but he’s not unhappy. No he is not, as he is filled with something magical he cannot quite understand.

At that moment, the phone rings again. I hope it’s Max and not the terrifying school teacher.

I want to tell her, I had no idea to turn the wheel of life in a small farming could ever ever get to be so dangerous. As I want to do the right thing – I want to be hard and tell the school teacher she is so wrong to behave the way she did. I want to use hard words like ‘unacceptable,’ but my mind gives way to my heart and settle instead for a lover’s word like ‘disappointed.’ Above all, I find it hard to be hard on her –  as I find myself making excuses for her in the way old sailors will always find excuses to forgive the capricious sea even when she kicks up a storm from time to time only to murmur in a sympathetic tone – she can’t help herself, the moon affects her. But the right words don’t come. I walk up to the string quartet in the conservatory that has just left for a tea break – picked up the violin and answered the phone, it’s the school teacher, I say to her softly shhhhh, please just listen, I want to tell you something and played 不了情 – it rang so sweet and clear and at the end my heart suddenly came to a rest and it was so very still. As I had told her everything in my heart that I could never express in words.

Darkness 2012

pc9384

THIS IS A FLASH MESSAGE! -LET’S PUT AN END TO SENSELESS HATRED AGAINST FOREIGNERS / CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2012 – This innitiative has been wholly sponsored by the Interspacing Mercantile Guilds Confederation of Undergrounders Gamers to create a anti foreigner free in blogoland and beyond / 9938-00238- 82663 PRIMUS CODE

I like the dashing planter who goes by the name of Max – I mean, I like his plan that is. Its brave bordering on the diabolical genius – there is only one problem. Too many people are involved in his coup. And I have reservations about some of the names that seem to be coming out – too many snakes and a couple of blur sotongs thrown in – besides it’s wholly reliant on the element of surprise – a one strike, we win or we are all out plan. I am not so sure he can keep a lid on the designs – Max has forgotten one adage of planter’s creed – no man can ever be trusted, no man should be completely trusted, only the color of money is king, the rest is just of a la kong hee cult churches- if there is one thing that I learnt through the years in business – misplaced trust is fatal – and this happens to be a do or die plan – besides, I have certain reservations concerning the viability of his financial projections – they are simply too optimistic. And I am getting irritated by his financial controller who keeps giving me the runaround treatment.

Best case scenarios with no assumptions for a hiccup – I am not comfortable with plans without reserves. If the otherside has 10 guns, I want to be in the position where I have 20 and if possible 40 more should anything go wrong. But this is like the charge of the light brigade with 10 guns facing off against 10. With plenty of if and buts thrown in. But I can’t verbalize my reservations to Max just yet, as I suspect, he has a plan B. He must. He just doesn’t trust me enough to share it with me just yet.

I have to stay on to find out whether this break away group poses a threat to me.

But Max wants a commitment first before he’s willing to divulge more – I like Max. I even like the way he wears his bush jacket Afrikaneer style with the last button undone – as that is the way planters wear in Africa, to allow a man to draw out his revolver in a flash. I suspect he has holdings in Cameroon. He has too – perhaps Cocoa or maybe sugarcane along the Niger. And a couple of flour mills along the Zambezi. So I am not going to say no to him just yet. I need to find out how big this break away group that he leads really is. How are they organized? What is their chain of command? Who is the financing all this? Can’t be Max, he’s rich, but this to pull this caper off, we are talking about serious dosh here – what if the Chinese or Saudi’s are bankrolling this deal. Then I am fucked if I am not on their boat. My fear is, if I say no to these people, then I may find myself caught in the cross fire or worse still edged out – I have to stall them and pretend that I am interested while I connect the rest of dots to find out whether its possible to say no without creating an untenable position for myself. Or positioning myself in such a way where I appear to say yes to them, but if things start going South – then at least, I don’t find myself holding a bag with a dumb look on my face. I need more time with Max. As I reckon the reason why they want me is because they dont have a strategist – and without a strategist that’s like going around in just big and small circles lah – so I am going to draw him out with time. Yes, time is a weapon. Time is the great equilizer.

At 8.15. I received a call from Cory – She tells me, “Ma’am has woken up and she is famished.” I ask her to instruct the rest of the kitchen hands to start preparing the school teacher’s dinner that I had arranged earlier in the morning before I left. I will have to spend the night in KL. I don’t like cities, not at all. I am allergic to traffic jams. They give me a headache.

I find myself turning to thoughts about the school teacher and a smile breaks out subconsciously. Max is asking me what’s on my mind – I tell him, “it sounds great.” His plan that is.

Plain Chicken Breast with Clear Consomme.

Chicken breast should only be used. As when a person is recovering from alcohol poisoning – they cannot take any oil as it will interfere with their digestion and since the leg is rich in natural oils, it’s no good. Breast are the plainest and best for the school teacher.

Since the dish is plain and relatively bland – before I left the house, I worked out a formula to stimulate the school teachers appetite – to pull this off, I resorted to flavoring the chicken from the inside out using a professional kitchen process called brining.

This is a method of creating a very succulent meat texture that is able to encapsulate the flavors without having to use any oil. Prepare brine by combining ingredients in a traditional Chinese earthen ware (do not use aluminum or steel, as it will impart a metallic taste. No good). Bring the following to a boil.

(1)    One big bowl of water.

(2)    2 level Chinese tea cups of sea salt (do not use Epsom salt, as it too astringent)

(3)    One glass of fresh sugar cane juice.

(4)    I dollop of natural honey

(5)    2 Star anise

Stir until all of the condiments and salt are dissolved. Allow brine too cool naturally. Pour into food grade plastic zipper bag. Refrigerate for 6 hours. At both of fridge – after 6 hours remove contents, dry with paper towel. Make sure it is dry.

Brush sunflower oil on Chicken breast. Dice two garlic. One teaspoon of sesame oil. Salt and pepper. Warp in tin foil and place in oven for 25 min – medium. (Make sure you do not take off the skin, as you want the juices) – I like to put in a couple of baby potatoes for effect. Once chicken breast cooked. Remove skin and add to clear Chicken Consomme. I am not going to go into the recipe of making Clear chicken consomme, as it is very easy – the link is here.

http://britishfood.about.com/od/adrecipes/r/Easy-Chicken-Consomm-E-Recipe-Clear-Chicken-Soup.htm

Honey Durian Crepe dessert.

Before I flew off to KL this morning, I instructed the local honey gatherer Pak Lah to get some fresh honey from a hive in the Eastern part of my lands – I also told the tribesmen to go deep into the interior and get a fresh wild durian – Wild durians taste nothing like commercial durians, they have a herbaceous flavor bordering on a medium to strong liquorice flavor, but they are not sweet, more of an acquired taste – but when wild honey is added bang kaboom! All the flavors come together and it balances out wonderfully and what one gets it a sort of runny custard like texture that taste sublime.

Once the durian honey paste is made. Make French crepe – here is the link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1DgmbMMOgA it is easy peasy so I shan’t waste time on the simple. Spread the durian paste thickly on crepe – roll and refrigerate for an hour – before serving cut into medallions and serve with one scoop of Hagen Daz vanilla ice cream with generous lashings on my own estate brand honey (crushed Macadamian  nuts is how I like it)

 The reason why wild durian is so very important for the recovery of the school teacher is it contains roughly 10 times the quantity of tryptophan found in commercial durians. When a person is intoxicated with alcohol – serotonin levels are severely depleted. Tryptophan is essential for making and maintaining serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is the hormone in the body that regulates our happiness. People with low serotonin levels tend to have short tempers, are often moody and suffer from depression and suicidal tendencies. This means eating the wild durian will help keep her chi in harmony along with increasing general happiness and wellbeing – Tryptophan is also used as a natural sleep inducer – tribesmen use wild durian to trap hogs, as when they feast on them, they fall asleep – so this is one reliable way to get the school teacher to rest more by knocking her out one more time.

Tomorrow she will feel like a million dollars.

Darkness 2012

intel93004

intel93004It’s about quarter to two in the afternoon now. I flew down to KL by chopper this morning for an important oil palm meeting with the mill barons that turned out to be not so important after all. As both sides seem to be doing very little except trading insults in the boardroom that I just came out from. Some want to go to China to talk shop. Others prefer to wait and see. Then there are those like me, who are just bidding for time – as I stand by on the five foot way and watch where the chips finally fall. The handsome gentlemen planter who I met earlier in the week has invited me for a closed door meeting in the Connaught room in the Planter’s Club tonite. He tells me like von Stauffenberg, “some of us are planning a break away faction. We need to know whether you are with us or against us?” I might have to stay the night in the city just to hear what this fifth brigade has to say – I suspect he might be a Guildman. As we all know they entered the plantation game at roughly the same time as when I started – besides there seems to be alot water cooler bargaining going on behind the scenes. As everyone tries to jockey to best ensure their survival just before the great shake up. Before taking off from my plantation this morning for the city – I spent a whole hour preparing Pig Maw’s soup for the school teacher. It’s a good soup with restorative powers that I am sure she will find easy to digest after her silly binge.

Half way through the meeting. I phoned up Cory to ask how the school teacher is getting on – Cory told me, the school teacher gobbled down the soup, looked at her watch and went straight back to sleep again. Good.

Before I left the house I turned back the school teacher’s watch back 5 hours and told the servants to make sure that they all did the same. She needs to rest.

Darkness 2012

INGREDIENTS OF DARKNESS SUPER DUPER 100% HANGOVER CURE PIG MAW’S SOUP:

1 pig stomach.

2 pieces of pork rumps.

8 chicken liver (ladies this just happens to be a professional tip!)

A level teacup of white pepper, cracked (do not grind or it will taste like chowder)

Sliced Mushrooms and Gingko (don’t over do it, or it will taste funny)

salt to taste.  

METHOD OF CLEANING PIG STOMACH (VERY IMPORTANT):

Turn the pig’s stomach inside out and clean it with a mixture of assam, lime juice (best tamarind paste in Singapore use Orchid brand as it’s a strong scouring agent that is able to get rid of the slime and smell of the pig’s stomach. Do not use recommended method of salt and flour to try to clean pig stomach, it is no good and doesn’t do a proper job of driving out the smell). Cut off excess fat with a razor blade, the type that Bangla’s use to shave, you can buy these blades in any Mamak corner shop. Do not try to use a knife to remove fats, it’s no good and worse of all the texture is ruined. This is a professional tip. Repeat at least three times till the smell is 100% gone – if the smell persist, dip in a mixture of lime (limau kasturi) juice for a full hour. Guarantee no smell. Cut into slices or triangles (I prefer triangles for la effect)

1. Blanch the whole pork rumps. This will remove scum. Add in pig stomach. Cracked peppers. One big bowl of water. Cook in crockpot for at least 2 hours medium heat.

2. Add in mushroom, gingko at the last 30 minutes. Can also add one small cup of Dom (professional tip).

3. Serve to person with a bad hangover – after that tell them to go and sleep again. Do not allow them to walk around or they will puke all over your cat.

——————————————————————————————————-

“Gentlemen, What really maketh a man? If you ask me, then I will say, he is really just the sum of all his trials and tribulations. Intelligence, pedigree, lineage and the rest you can more or less throw right out of the window – it wouldn’t make the slightest difference.

That’s why I believe first impressions can indeed be often deceptive. That is also the same reason why, I strongly believe there are really only two categories of men in business –  the first acquired their wealth and influence through inheritance, patronage or through a system of annoiting  – they are not really so different from the remnants of old money and you can see it in the savoir faire way they carry themselves and talk to others as they try their best to call a spade anything but a spade. I will speak frankly gentlemen, as it is not often that we can all be together in one room. To me these are inconsequentials as all they seem to do is to lead a life of dissipation encrusted with delusions of granduer.

Then there is that other category of planter that we sometimes come across in the Planter’s Club who you will always find standing alone from the crowd in his awkward bush jacket as he looks on at the world with a lingering sadness – he is quite the mystery man, unknown quantity; as no one is really quite sure where his money came from. A planters life is after all a money’s game. This man probably started turning the wheel of life with a tube of Mentos in his pocket and a few dollars – though he may roll into the drive way in a big car; he may even sport a very expensive watch and to all intents and purposes he may even come across as a very well educated, impeccably well mannered and polished man – but I say look again. Observe this man very carefully. As when you still your mind and look at a thing long enough – then you will begin to see things about this man that previously escaped you. You will notice that this man will have plenty of battle scars – he will look at you like a hunter. You will feel his eyes burning holes in your brains – and this is only to be expected  as when you peruse the history of this man. You will probably find that he probably cut his teeth in the field and since field life is quite a macho affair where the likes of Yawning bread et al will not even last a single day – that spirit of oneness with the land has really permeated him. And when begin to sit down with this man over a whisky – you will find something that is very unusual about him that seems almost to set him apart from the old money, parvenu or hanger on crowd – this man loves the land passionately –to him the land is always referred to in the feminine and never the masculine – it is always “she” – “her” – “my love” etc and whenever things don’t go well, as after all plantation life is filled to the brim with vagaries – this man is will never curse the land unlike the old money crowd – to him, the mother, lover and woman that is the land can do no wrong. He will always make excuses for her capricious nature in the way sailors will always look sympathetically on the sea even when she kicks up a fuss – as they will say, she can’t help herself, the moon affects her.

And here you have the key to understanding the nature of the true being of the planter, the salt of the earth – as the difference between this planter and the old money or corporate agriculturist who is holed up in his office in some skyscraper is simply this. 

One ilk of man made a commitment once upon a time in his life, probably many years ago to stand and fight for his one and only love – the land. That is to say this man put all his chips on one number and he said to himself, for better or for worse – I will see this business to the very end. While the other has absolutely no idea of what I am even talking about.

And the lesson here is simply this, what you not prepared to defend with your life – you never once owned. Never!

That’s why to many people when they go through many of the videos I upload in Youtube. They often wonder what is this fellow trying to convey – that I think is not a pertinent question. As it is not the case of what one is trying to convey – as it remains what was once deeply experienced deep in the marrow of a man’s bones when he was a nobody struggling against extraordinary odds. It could well be what you see uploaded today transpired many years ago – in another age – in another life time – so what this man is really trying to do is capture an experience in the way one might take a photograph or develop a semaphore to articulate that stream of consciouness  – it is really his alone and no else’s, as that’s his way of reminding himself of whence he came from – his roots – his beliefs – I have made a covenant to love you with all my heart and I am prepared to fight to the very end no matter what the price. And I will never break my word. That if you must all know is why the age of old money, patronage and nepotism is numbered. As none of those hollow men have ever had to ever put everything on the line. Never. One day Gentlemen, we will win! As only we will stand tall before the empire of their bones – as they never ever crossed that defining line in the head while we and Guilds have gone beyond that line. They have no idea what it even means to love something beyond the self – love it seems is so very important in business. Jugular even. And it should never be confused for a character flaw, weakness or human frailty. NEVER Gentlemen – as let me share with all of you what the serious men have always known all along and hidden from the hollow men of this world – only the strong can love perfectly, never the weak – how can they? As they are not prepared to pay the ultimate price.”

 

It’s half past eleven. I am in my plantation house on the hill. The school teacher is sleeping soundly in my bedroom – she’s out cold. I had to carry her here, as this is the safest place. She must have polished off a quart of Brandy all by herself at the Second Moon Mid Autumn Harvest dinner just then. I don’t blame her, it’s all my fault. I should have seen this coming. The signs were there, but I just missed it. Missed it by a mile. Cory my maid is beside her sitting on a chair in the room. A comfort light is on. 

I am in the other side of my house in the dinning area seated at the head of a 20 foot table all by myself. The BBC world service is on. I like to hear Big Ben banging away – it calms me down. I’ve just poured myself a large Whisky to take the edge off what’s just happened – I notice my bush jacket is stained with blood. Yes, there was a fight. There was no way I could turn the other cheek, not without running the risk of losing her. That bastard deserved what he got.

To cut a long story short. It didn’t turn out the way I expected. No one expected this. There were unexpected twist and turns throughout the whole evening. I bet Jason is confused as hell, but I can’t think about him now. She is the only one who really matters to me now. I’ve crossed a line tonight – felt just then somewhere between closing the door and pouring myself a drink. I don’t care what happens when the sun comes out tomorrow – I’ll cross that bridge then and not now – I’ve made up my mind. And once I’ve decided to do something it’s as good as done – so fuck it! Fuck it all like ducks in a row! It seems to be far more complicated than I ever expected. But I am glad she is with me tonight. Here I can protect her.

I have a very important meeting tomorrow with the palm oil consortium in KL tomorrow. It’s best, if I just continue where I stopped last night to try my best to finish off the remainder of my calculations. Besides I’ve always found numbers and formulae to reassuringly calming.

It’s complicated. The situation that is, very complicated it seems. I’ll try to write it all down in this journal once I am calm enough to see things in the right perspective. Now I just want to work like a man shoveling coal into a furnace – I don’t even want to think about what just happened.

Darkness 2012

“Any man can find himself seeking the company of another woman outside his marriage. I mean any man, it could be me, you or someone that you may even know. Any man who tells you different just hasn’t lived at all. As what can NEVER be denied is every man has certain emotional needs that needs to be fulfilled – and just because everything looks well and fine from the outside doesn’t necessarily mean that all is necessarily well and fine to sustain fidelity in a marriage. It just means you don’t know what those compelling needs really are – and it’s really as simple as that.

Neither do I believe the sexual component alone plays a preponderant role in the decision to be with another woman – that has to be simplicity unto itself – to suggest that everything can be boiled down to the simple case of chasing the illicit thrill of tangled sheets alone is not so different from trying to make hay from the idea, boys will be boys – truth of the matter is every married man has certain needs that has to be fulfilled and if he represses them – he will probably explode like a hand grenade, in which case denying those compelling needs may actually do more harm than good to his mental, physical and spiritual well being. Where I believe the problem comes in from a moral and ethical standpoint is when a man who has an unfufilled need tries to cut the cake and eat it at the same time – to cut to the chase, if you want to fuck around, then be man enough to tell your wife, boss and the whole wide world about it FIRST, get a divorce, resign and reset the expectations with the stakeholders. Then go ahead and try to find what’s really missing in your life. Who the hell is stopping you? But if a man dives into a relationship with another woman and still expects to some how keep his family ties pristinely intact along with fooling everyone else that he stands for good wholesome family values – then in my book, he’s just a phony that deserves a firing squad from the rotten tomatoes brigade. As now we aren’t just talking about the politics of why this man feels the need to have a relationship with another woman, rather the attention has shifted from his infidelity to the moral and ethical question of whether he has the right to continue to deceive those who have placed their trust in him as a public servant. And if we stretch this logic further – this should prompt us to question his judgement along with ability to scale threats and opportunities – after all, if airline companies don’t regularly hire people who hear voices like me to pilot commercial planes. Then why should tax payers fork out top dollar to hire a man child who can’t even seem to realize that it’s only a matter of time before he would be caught red handed dipping into the cooking jar? I want to be clear, if Mr Palmer is not happy with what I have just shared with all of you ladies in Ekunaba, he can always sent me a writ of summons. But since all of you fine ladies have asked me a simple question – I feel obligated to call a spade a spade. After all, I am bloody farmer, so I have needs as well like him – If I can’t call a spade a spade, then life will cease to be meaningful. But I digress. The real question at hand is not whether there was infidelity, but rather how long did this willful deception continue for? Having said that let me speak plainly – i understand. I understand completely as even perfectly decent men who are to all intents and purposes good in every practical definition of what that word implies can look for another woman if those needs are not fulfilled by his wife, as I mentioned earlier, its immature to try to discount these needs as merely carnal. They have to be quite compelling when one considers the cost of what is gained and listed.

As when we talk about needs in a context of a man who has strayed – no correction, I much prefer not to use the word “stray” as it implies a certain degree of recklessness along with sexual peccadilloes. The correct phrase is when he looks for another woman – it simply means that man is trying to find something that is missing in his life. And when one sees it from this vantage – then it’s very easy to understand why a man would look for another woman outside a seemingly happy marriage.”

Darkness 2012

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“Tonight will be second moon mid autumn festival dinner held in the village where my plantation is located. During this event the marriage between Jason and the school teacher will be publicly announced. I am truly happy for them both. I wish them, the very best. The very best and this comes from deep from the bottom of my heart. Sure why not Aiboh – I think, we can make an exception this time and try to post a few photos of this event. Thanks for the suggestion Aiboh.”

Captured in a thread in Ekunaba

It’s well past midnight and I have barely managed to get through a quarter of the figures that I was supposed to have finished off yesterday – as I mull through reams of numbers. I am convinced the price of oil palm may have more to do with the Chinese stockpiling crude palm oil rather than what the experts seem to keep on insisting that this is simply an aberration of market forces at work – the numbers simply don’t add up. Not at all. I’ve crunched the numbers at least six times over in at least twenty ways and on each occasion the outcome is the same – these deprecitions have been engineered.

This gives me a rough idea of how to hedge my position tomorrow when a faction of the consortium that I have allied myself too will be flying in to discuss the details of forming a break away group – it seems they want me to join them – why remains a mystery – the only firm lead I have is this break away group is led by the mischevious gentlemen planter in the elegant dark charcoal bush jacket that kept on flashing looks of complicity during my last meeting with the consortium in KL. But I still harbor reservations as to do so would mean that I would have to literally burn my bridges with quite a large number of plantation owners and mill barons that I currently have a working relationship with. If it comes to that it would be a game of sudden death – all or nothing – I need more time to consider my options – when they fly in tomorrow, I will have to simply stall them.

As for the most beautiful school teacher and my apprentice – they seemed to have hit it off from the word go. This afternoon as I dropped by the school teacher’s quarters and introduced her to Jason. She seem most animated and even excited. The school teacher could hardly take her eyes off him. As I watched on some distance away as both of them got on like a house on fire – I felt a tinge of regret that I may have been slightly presumptuous to believe that she could be amorously interested in moir – if anything this only goes to demonstrate the conceit that a man such as myself is prepared to believe in – may have more to do with the overestimation of my worth to a woman than reality. Yes, you could even say as I watched these two love birds laughing and exchanging looks of anticipation concerning their bright futures – I am convinced that all she really felt for me was at best girlish infatuation bordering on perhaps puppy love. Nothing more. I even noticed, she didn’t bother to wear the Rolex, I had given her – instead she seemed quite happy sporting a fluorescent digital watch. And when I saw this scene of felicity unfurling before me, I said to myself, how foolish you are…you must be getting on to unclehood tugging along a mid life crisis to even take yourself so seriously. Through it all, she hardly even flashed me a look. And even when I slipped quietly away and drove off. I could just about make out – both of them were too absorbed in each others company to even notice my departure.

I want to be accurate in this journal entry – as I want to document precisely the series of events that occurred as it happened rather than to embellish it with any affectations that I may have regarding myself or the school teacher. In truth, I feel a tinge of lost – I cannot quite put my finger on this feeling just yet. But as I walk around my cavernous house all alone in the night now and look on across the ocean of papers neatly arranged on the twenty foot table – I can’t but help feel slightly cheated by how easily she could have shifted gears and just taken to Jason in the way a fish takes to water. And with these thoughts, I am suddenly filled with an acute sense of loneliness – one that reminded me of what the school teacher said to me that evening when we met on the pavilion by the lake: I am like a forgotten soldier sent to the outer reaches of the great wall who has somehow managed to confuse duty with happiness…..

Be that as it may – tomorrow will the second moon Mid autumn festival dinner – I have arranged for Jason and the school teacher to sit on the main table with the village elders – where they would probably announce their plans for marriage to the entire village, not that it will be necessary at all judging from how well they seem to get along with each other today. As for me, I will probably sit with these break away plantation owners on a table nearby – this will allow us to conduct business while seemingly appear to take part in the festive celebrations.

Now I have push on – I have two more reams of numbers to go through and a couple more phone calls to make before I really feel that I deserve to turn in. My only lingering concern is – the school teacher is not really as simple as she appears to be – she may be around Jason’s age, 28. But her abilities to read and scale a situation can only be described as uncannily, accurate and precise – but I am sure, these are merely kinks in the greater scheme of things – love after all can always be trusted to find a way.

Darkness 2012

RSCN1544“When silence is prolonged when a man takes all the time in the world to finish a bowl of soup –then silence takes on an altogether new meaning. As it is only in perfect silence that words can take wing and transcend beyond their dictionary meaning to that other realm, where they will be able to convey a profound belief, thought or emotion – when you think deeply about our own interactions with others at home, office or in the gym – there are really so many times, when words can so often ruin what we wish to convey or express – as what we regularly fail to realize is there are real limits to words. These days we all tend to lose sight of this truism – as most of us are marinating in a plastic world, where we have somehow managed to confuse the whole idea of communication with talking well or being able to use words cleverly to describe what we feel, believe or stand for. Only there are limits to words and that can never be denied. And even if words can some how have the full testament of power to convey what we really feel – how can we all possibly be sensitive enough to register the nuanced undertones of what the other side is trying to say to us, if all we seem to do is talk all the time? Never stilling our minds for even one moment. As often words can even desecrate the moment – while silence can only venerate the moment.

As when a man drinks a woman’s soup in silence – he is honoring the Chinese woman who has sacrificed so much for him. In this geography that is absolute silence the man cries like a child before the woman, who has now been magically transformed into the figure of the mother – as this classical Chinese man can never forget how the Chinese condition is SUFFERING ontu itself –a pathos that permeates everything around him and even stretches all the way back to the mellinia of Chinese history like the source of a river – as when one ask, what does it mean to be Chinese? Then only one word comes to mind – SUFFERING.

SUFFERING to the Chinese is what the Shoah is to the Jews – but it’s much much deeper; as it permeates the ground water of our consciousness to such an extent that it even colors our daily interaction with others along with tempering the way we carry ourselves to how we make sense of the world.

It is really only in this silent meditative action when a man drinks her soup and the woman watches on; that the man is able to register deep in his heart, the woman is bidding him farewell in her own way – this is after all is her final act of supplication, to cheat destiny by trying to stop time – she is saying to this man as she hums him a tune and strokes his hair gently like a small boy – before you walk out of that door, I want you to know, you will always be more than just a memory to me…as it is so impossible for me to forget.

To convey the depth of these emotions, it is not necessary to use any words at all to color the moment, that will really just complicate and spoil it all. Westerners will do this – they will kiss, slobber and eat each other and say so many things to their lovers in train platforms, departure lounges and tarmacs. But that is not the way the politics of good bye is conducted in the classical Chinese sense. Not at all.

All that a man needs to do is to drink his soup obediently like a small boy before the figure of the mighty woman who has sacrificed so much for him in the name of love to honor her. And this is the hardest thing for a man to do – as he knows deep down, after this there is nothing else – this diaroma of life has been played out time and again, in each successive generation through the mellinia of what it means to be Chinese.

This is the reason why when a woman serves her man a bowl of soup – it is much more than just the simple case of a woman serving a man a bowl of soup. Much, much more….and here, it might be best to just remain silent. As you meditate on this.”

Darkness 2012

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“If you do not know this or have not seen the wisdom of cultivating this aspect of your character – then it is very likely that the serious men of this world will say, you do not know how to honor others who are worthier than you – and that is really another way of saying, you do not know your place; and if you do not know your place. It simply means you have no roots; then it is impossible to have a meaningful conversation – all you are really doing is making alot of noise and even should your talk or write very well, it will just be wonderful noise and never anything resembling a meaningful and deep conversation or anything worth considering by the serious men of this world – and when you are stuck there in that no man’s land; you will not be able to do big things at all. It is just an impossible situation. As what you really doing is going around in small and big circles. That is why a bowl of soup served to me by a woman is never a simple affair – – never, it is custom, tradition and the tome of who I am and whence I have came from – it is the entire gravitas of Chinese history compressed like a pill, in this one simple bowl of soup – and the man, farmer, father, benefactor, magistrate and keeper of the Great wheel to others knows precisely where he stands along the line between heaven and earth is confronted with this sight, it is no different from a mandarin who is stands before a vermillion plaque – he has no choice but to bow solemnly before it and give it all the decorum and respect it deserves – this is the first cardinal rule of the ranks of fraternity of the serious men. Break this rule in a Kendo hall, you will end up in the hospital. Break it in a boardroom and you will face bankruptcy. Break it in the internet and you will get a knock on your virtual door. I can more or less guarantee you all this 100%! As you can all see for yourself Gentlemen….a bowl of soup is hardly just a bowl of soup. It is much more and everything it seems – never underestimate the man who knows when to speak and keep silent…as he is the man who knows his place along with probably where you should rightly stand along the line that divides heaven and earth. You have all be forewarned!”

me987907As I looked on at the world’s most beautiful school teacher from the back of the class – I realized, true beauty is merely the capacity to transform the ordinary and mundane into an exquisite thing of extraordinary awe – though she was only dressed in a simple grey linen Cheong Sam with hair tied in a bun which was quite everydayish for a Chinese school teacher in these parts – contained within this benign form; she radiate all the powers and much more to unsettle my calmness.

From time to time, I found myself staring at the crème colored wrapped present on the tiny table. Wondering to myself, what the words – happiness – really meant – only to feel and sharp sense of estrangement that followed. Perhaps the school teacher was right after all, when she said to me by the lake – I was like a forgotten soldier posted to the outer reaches of the Great Wall who only knows the desolation of litany and has somehow managed to confuse duty with happiness. Is it such wonder when happiness stands before this man, he doesn’t even recognize it  – has it really been five long years since, I came here? And what do I really have to show for it? Yes, I may well have all the money I ever wanted and perhaps even more than I ever bargained for – but she is right, it has brought neither happiness or joy, not at all, only perhaps sadness and long lonely nights planning my next move – and in that continuance of eternity, I have not known so much as one moment of caress, touch or kiss. Maybe she is right after all, there is really nothing that stands out in my life at all – as all I seem to have is the miserable heap of a lame justification for an existence called duty – this sad human culmination who is now trying his very best to see this ridicolous business to its very end. For what purpose – I have not even asked. For whose glory, I wonder? I know not either. At that very moment, I realized, I was an exile from that distant country called happiness. I closed my eyes then and felt her words cut a thousand deads.

Anything can be reduced to an excuse when seen from the standpoint of duty – I wish, I could say that there is some nobility or even the promise of redemption somewhere in this long road that stretches out forever – but there isn’t, not from where I am seated at least. But just as actor can only utter the lines he has been given by the stage of manager of life – this is undeniably my life. Farmer – magistrate, benefactor, custodian of the great wheel of life.

The wheel must turn – each revolution must be smooth – each turn pleasing to the eye – each rotation nourishing the way of life as heaven and earth has written. This is who I am in these parts – the mechanic of the great wheel of life. The school teacher too young to realize the broader implications of her actions of declaring her love for me publicly. Young people after all get foolish ideas that what’s new for them must be new for everybody else. How silly she is to believe, I can just run away with her – besides no matter how unconventional the young think they are, all they are really just doing is repeating what others before them have always done – I am older than her, wiser and I am a man, farmer, father, brother, benefactor and mechanic of the wheel of life in these parts and she’s just a woman – as simple school teacher. What does she really know? So this is the way it must be. There is no other way.

From time to time – the school teacher would look at me – her features kind and gentle like a cool perfumed breeze with hardly a whiff of what transpired between us that dark moonless night by the lake – yes, she is an exquisite traditional Chinese woman who today stands today mightier than even I, as she has seen fit to forgive me completely and absolutely with her uncanny ability to see deep into my heart – to even understand me better than I can possibly hope to understand myself – and now she is content to play the role of a woman by my definition of what a woman should be in the classical Chinese sense – and since she seems to know her place so very well. I remind myself that I should at least try my best to shake out from my inexplicable morose and put up a convincing front.

When the last of the students streamed out – the school teacher asked me whether I’ve had lunch – I did not need to reply – I didn’t have too, she asked only as a matter of courtesy as she began to empty out the thermos ever so gently into a bowl while looking at me. Shi Yan Chye tang with Phi Ku with loads of water crest  – when she placed it before me. My eyes began to tear up. She will never know why…or maybe she does. As here in this simple act is my conception of perfect happiness – before this bowl of steaming soup, I found myself suddenly transported in my mind’s eye to another place – a place where the object before me can only be described in terms of a sort of unattainable beauty – one that even manages to encapsulate the ephemeral quality of the miraculous. Everything, that I really ever wished for, everything that I ever wanted, everything that I have worked so hard for was right before me, compressed into a microcosm of meanings, metaphors, images, history, identity, hopes and aspirations – all in this simple bowl of soup – when I realized this, I my heart ached and I remembered saying to myself, “I am so very happy.” I had absolutely no inkling, no idea how empty my life had been till just then, when it was suddenly filled and rendered whole – when I brought a spoon to my mouth, it released a storm of emotions that seemed to unfurl like a perfect line of poetry – it flowed sweet and clear – if the world changed just then, I would grab by the hand and both of us will run as fast as I could to her world. I wouldn’t even care for tomorrow or the day after, all that would matter really matter was to feel the wind against the flesh, to put one foot in front of another; to flash her a look of carefreeness as we rush off to happyville – but that has to be at best fantasy bordering on pure abstraction – this school teacher has absolutely no idea how ridicolously simple minded..or what an utter peasant I am at heart or for that matter how this bowl of home brewed soup is my Kryptonite…Or how she has even done me in….How cruel she is…how terribly cruel this woman can be to me….and how much a part of me really yearns to be with her…to possess her…to take care of her…to make her mine…Or maybe she does….she is after all smarter than me in so many other ways, as I have already found out.

When I looked up at the school teacher, I realized this was her way of saying farewell to me – I needn’t have asked the question that I came here for: whether she would agree to marry the man that I had arranged for her to wed – I realized, she would do anything I asked of her. Anything….Absolutely anything. We were both after all people who didn’t own enough of ourselves to live life under our own terms. It was clear in her demeanor and her tone that she had resigned herself to the inevitability of her fate.

And with these thoughts, I gestured her to sit beside me as I unwrapped the gift and slipped the watch through her porcelain white wrist. No words were necessary – she knew it to be a wedding gift – all that transpired between us was a line of poetry written by a series of nods, gestures and looks in the way old couples instinctively know what their partners want or even desire without even the need to speak – that night by the lake, it seemed as if we passed into another plane of existence – one that even allows her to read my thoughts instinctively – she would marry the man I’ve choosen for her as I had undertaken to stand as guarantor to ensure her everlasting happiness – and since I am not the sort of man who breaks his word – that was all that really mattered – this is after all how politics is conducted in a small farming village – as I told her when she had argued with me that night by the lake, love will come latter after the marriage – the important thing is getting hitched to a responsible and good hearted man – and not run with the wolves by choosing a self destructive character like myself – and I for my part can really only take solace in the idea, possessing by letting go of things one loves most is the only way I know as a man of secretly owning something that I can never own, as I am not worthy – and that is the truth and nothing but the truth – I don’t expect most people to understand this at all, only perhaps a very traditional Chinese man and woman who once shared a ‘moment’ beneath the stars by the lake can really only make heads or tails out of all this. With these thoughts, I drank my bowl of soup obediently like a small boy before the mighty school teacher who looked on as she hummed me a tune.

Darkness 2012

A gift for the School Teacher

December 10, 2012

I spent the whole day having round after round of meetings in the city today. The price of palm oil is plummeting and from the looks of it, there’s an air of nervousness that seems to infect the tone of the plantation barons whenever each of them take turns to speak – if language can summarized into intonations of pain and desperation, it would probably take the form of, “we have to do something…” – “if this continues any further…” –“surely, there must be a way.” – “we have to reason with Mr Kuok…” blah blah blah…

Through it all, I am content to sit quietly in one corner as these merchants of convenience try to hack their way out of the thicket – not that it will change anything at all. As the price of palm oil will continue its inexorable swan dive. And I for one with possibly one more other person in the room will perhaps be happiest to see that it’s hurting these prehistoric dinosaurs. But I have to mask my motives – to even secret my designs by forwarding the perfect illusion that I share their pain along with mirroring their anxieties. I revel in it even. Yes, I don’t doubt for one moment will be painful for all, including myself.

But it will cut into the marrow of their the bone first before grief comes my way – truth of the matter is. I don’t see this as nearly an epic disaster. More like a once in a life time opportunity to snap up more lands when these motley crew of old money and accidental parvenus fold up. So I bide my time – and allow each minute, hour and day to cut like a knife – tiny slices of death. I sip my coffee. Sigh. And look out of the window vacantly like the others as if recalling distant memories of remembrance of happy days past. From time to time, the man who I suspect shares the same precise sentiments as me sitting across the table flashes me a look of complicity – it merely confirms what I’ve always suspected of myself and others: there is absolutely no conditions to which a person cannot grow accustomed too, especially when he sees that at least one person in the room agrees with him or is prepared to live life in the same way as him – we are truly brothers in arms. Only me and him will survive this shake down. As for the rest, all I see are dead men.

But I don’t think the smartly dressed landowner in the dark charcoal bush jacket who is about the same age as me shares the company of the most beautiful school teacher in the world. How could he?  After all, women in this world are really divided into two known classes: the first includes all the girls in the world except her, and they are all imbued with all the usual feelings and were after all very ordinary girls in the ordinary sense of the word; while the other class –the school teacher – was to herself alone – a desolate shark infested island – unknown quantity – a woman who had left such a strong imprint on my being when I saw her the last time in the pavillion by the lake that I even felt her presence in the helicopter this morning – even when I barrelled through the clear azure skies towards the city I was aware of the residual that was her – when I stepped into the elevator, I even caught her scent – and now when the voices in the room drone on and on into the endless fields of litany – I find myself turning to what transpired in the pavilion by the lake.

I comfort myself…no…no…that is not the right phrase. I seek sanctuary in the belief – she asked for it. Yes, it’s all her fault. Everyman has a line. I am no exception to that grand rule of thumb. That timeless and universal Newtonian law that all men live by. Somewhere in this train of thoughts, someone asked me a question (can’t this fuckers just leave me be!)…I pause…collect my thoughts…and realize that everyone is looking at me…then very slowly I raise myself from my reverie and utter something to the effect, “what can we do gentlemen? What can we really do?” Someone interjects, another speaks at lenght (another fucking epilogue of a speech on our fucking way of life) and the discussion takes off again in earnest to yet another circular direction – an ever decreasing circle of evaporating hopes and dreams – the man seated across me raises an eyebrow of approval, he seems to saying to me, “I admire your efficiency in hypocrisy.” I do the same by nodding in agreement and leaning back into the chair as the lingering thoughts of the school teacher sharpens again in my mind’s eye.

During lunch a sumptuous buffet was served in the adjoining room (these mother fucking decadent bastards are probably renacting the last moments of the Titanic when Champagne and a string quartet played on the deck before she bellied up)- I slipped away and whiled the rest of the hour and a bit walking around the mall – I passed Pravda, Louis Vuitton, Loewe etc etc etc etc – somewhere between two shops, one with fat Indian man dressed up with a white beard as Santa sitting on a fiberglass sledge and a troupe of polystyrene reindeers – I strolled into a boutique selling watches.

There were no thoughts in my head, none with mentioning – it was as if I had just woken up from a weary dream – the sort where I am chased by some animal that I can only hear it jaws gashing but whenever I look back there’s just pitch darkness – I stop at the ladies section – the sales girl smiles. She says something, but its half lost, the other vaguely registering as I point to a silver watch with gold accents – she tells me as if reading out from a laminated card, it’s the latest ladies Rolex from Basel – I ask her to slip it on her wrist. She does so coquettishly. I nod and inform her that I want it engraved in cursive the word “happiness.”

When the sales girl wrapped up the gift – I waited in a private room and in my mind’s eye – I played out a scene where  I would visit the school teacher and present her this gift. She would feign surprise; serve me a cup of tea; sit by my side and open it, admire it’s beauty, smile and thank me – above all, she would never mention what transpired between us in the pavilion by the lake. Never. Never ever. She is after all a Chinese woman in the old ways. And I am a man cut in the same cloth. We would never go to that dark place again. Never. It will be as if it never happened. All will be well again as it was before we met on the pavilion by the lake. This is after all how politics is conducted in a traditional Chinese village setting between the sexes.

On my return trip on the helicopter that same afternoon as I looked out at the unfurling ocean of green beneath me – I suddenly caught sight of my own reflection. I did not like the man who stared vacantly back at me. I remembered saying to myself, “who is he really?” – he seemed like a man who was lost. So lost it seems between that no man’s land that divides fear and fascination.

Darkness 2012

If you have living in a cave in the Himalayans and surviving on sun flower seeds – let me just give you a heads up. Recently Ah Tuck told everyone that if we want to pay bus drivers a higher salary then prices hikes have to be rolled out next year. OK, that part makes sense – but after watching the video above.

After watching this video. Any reasonable man can only draw the following conclusions.

(A) You need to be a reincarnation of Nostradamus to understand what Ah Tuck meant when he said, we need to raise fares to pay driver more money next year.

(B) You need to have highly developed ESP skills.

(C) You need to have at least five years working experience writing instruction manuals that no one understands, not even yourself. Like so.S1080010fire extinguisher (Do click to enlarge ONLY it may hurt your blain)

I am not trying to be malicious. Or for that matter subversive. I sumpah on my grandma’s dentures, after watching the video, I am none the wiser as to whether fares will be raised or whether the salaries of drivers will be increased next year.

I have absolutely no idea what is going on – none whatsoever!

I have to take two Panadols and go to the field now.

Do you have a pain free day folks.

Darkness 2012

As the setting sun slipped over the mountains and dusk descended over the countryside. I made my way to the Pavillion on the lake. Like a hunter, I knew that she would come. So I waited and when she finally appeared. I watched the school teacher for what I can only describe as an eternity. She seemed listless yet contemplative. Her mood mirroring moonlight against ebony waters, the strange cool of the breeze against my cheeks, the murmurs of cicadas, the faint rustling of leaves. We were alone. I wanted to clear up the misunderstanding. To suitably prepare the ground for my apprentice. All I reckoned I need was one clear shot to shatter all her fantasies about me – one clear shot.

When she noticed me in a darknened corner of the pavillion – she stiffened visibly. Then as if summoning some power deep within her her being of womanhood. She was suddenly was reincarnated into another sort of woman. A purposeful woman who was all together so unlike her demure and shy previous self when I had visited her the other day in school. When I saw this new woman bathed in the after glow of the faint moonlight – I looked on at this woman I had never seen before till then. Yes, when I saw her essence and I said to myself, “do you really believe that I am like those half men that you can toy around with and fashion into a lackey? How wrong you are! How dare you! And to even think that I was prepared to suffer a considerable damage just to protect your good name. To guarantee your well being. So now you want me to treat you like that other sort of women. You only think that I am a gentlemen. I have a very dark side. A side me that no one ever sees. A side that no one ever sees except me. Maybe it is time that you see it.”

I realized then, this was more complicated than I ever expected. Much more complicated, it seems.

I don’t want to recount what transpired between between me and the school teacher. There are certain things I much prefer to keep to myself. There are certain things I don’t ever want to share with anyone, not a soul. There are certain dark thoughts that I never want to put into words. There are ceetain encounters I never want to enter into this journal. And there are certain things that much I prefer to leave be. This it seems is one of them.

I will however say this, the opportunity for a clear shot never ever presented it’self – it seems I may have misread the school teacher completely. She is not as innocent or dreamy as she appears to be. I have misjudged the situation. Misjudge it terribly.

Darkness 2012

intel93004“In Singapore as in the West, if a girl declares her love for you and you cannot reciprocate in kind. All you have to do is to tell her the TRUTH – it is really quite a straight forward case of calling a spade a spade. And usually the misunderstanding is cleared up there and then – it is a very mechanical process, of simply forwarding the truth – and that is understandable as Singapore is a very factual centric society. The truth is everything and much more, it seems – and this is where it misleads. As always bear in mind this is a very Western concept of conflict resolution. That is why I believe, Western trained businessmen who do not have a firm grasp of the Chinese mind frequently find it so frustrating and exasperating to do business in China.

But in the countryside, things are never as straightforward. Never apprentice! This is also something that you would do well to learn early on in life – if you aspire to turn the wheel of life as a businessmen outside Singapore. As what you ALWAYS need to bear in mind is the idea of the truth is a very malleable concept in these parts. Sometimes, the impression or perception of the truth commands a higher currency than even the naked truth – at times, the question is not whether you are justified as it remains a case of whether you have forwarded your case is such a manner where you have considerate to all parties. As you can see, unlike the Western concept of conflict resolution that seems only to revolve around, the truth or “I” or “my” elemental rights as a human being – the Chinese attitude towards conflict resolution usually embraces a larger geography of considerations to even suggest the truth may well be secondary to the idea of ensuring the “we” and the broader idea of keeping the harmony within the community is always kept on an even keel – and along with all this, you have the added complexity of having to factor in “face” –  and possibly even the idea of the trying to make sure it all sits well with the idea of heaven and earth – in everyday, parlance this is just another way of saying: try to win without causing harm or damage to the greater whole. As what does it profit a man to forward the truth or to even foreclose on his position even IF he happens to be right and justified – if all it does is fuel divisions that threatens the unity that holds everything in his community together.

This is not easy to appreciate or to accomplish apprentice, especially for someone who is Western educated such as myself – as to navigate this shifting sands of conflict successfully, first you have to understand the motivation of the other side from the inside out. If you use the Western conception of discover, then all you have to do is look at the terms and conditions of the contract, compact or tacit agreement to perhaps tease out the intention of the parties – but this to the Chinese mind is like trying to fathom the secrets of the universe by reading the back of a chewing wrapper – it fails the rigor of due dilligence miserably when it comes to trying to resolve conflict in a Chinese setting. As in a Chinese setting, things are considerably more complicated – as it is permissible for the motivation along with intentions of the parties to change from time to time to meet emerging challenges – it is a very fluid and dynamic thing rather than something written on stone – take the case of this school teacher – she has publicly declared her love and affection for me. If I rebuff her by stating the case truthfully like a Western educated man – then tell me, what will the serious men in these parts have to say of me? Well to be perfectly honest with you, they will way say, this fellow lacks refinement – he is not a Gentlemen in the classical scholarly sense, as his methods are not sound, there is no finesse to his Dao when it comes to settling misunderstandings – as he behaves a banana – he might appear yellow, but he is white in the inside – so the serious men of this world will never ever allow such a man into the inner sanctum of their brotherhood – they will always say of him: look how he is so quick to protect his crumbly reputation that he is even prepared to be so reckless as to disregard the well being of this dreamy innocent girl and perhaps even jeopardizing her prospects of marriage to another. There is also the added complication she is beautiful, while I am just a humpback who plays a broken violin – so as you can see perception is everything here. So I need to move delicately. Otherwise, the serious men may even go so far as to rebuke me as someone who has completely lost the plot – a bloody fool – like one those idiots back home who keep on harping on who is right or in the wrong when it comes to this bus driver business – not realizing for one moment – when both sides find themselves in this terrain where one side has gone on strike, then there are really no winners -as it is not so different from a family that is quarelling and displaying all their linen for the world to see – both are already in a lose/lose situation – the only question is how can the losses be mitigated to ensure that they remain small and manageable – that is really how the Chinese mind sees this whole business – and it is I have no doubt it will leave a bitter taste in the memories of most mainland Chinese – as the decision makers are not mindful of the need to pay homage to the laws of keeping the harmony or for that matter balance – they just want to win and come across as justified and righteous – the irony is they have won and have even come across as justified and righteous, but despite of winning the battle, they have also managed to do the impossible of losing the war. Here apprentice, even you can see for yourself how the truth alone doesn’t really count for much. Not when one considers how little value it adds to the whole idea of sustaining a harmonious working relationship. There is no ying and yang. All I see is a picture of a pear.

Do you now see the contradiction apprentice why this school teacher business has to be approached delicately? It is really diplomacy. But if my point is if diplomacy is to be relevant, then it must be tailored fitted to the locale that one is operating in – rather than taking the path of least mental resistance and assuming that the world is whole one giant homogeneous mass where a one size fits all approach is the best way to manage conflict intelligently. If we get it wrong, then it will be very difficult to built lasting friendship to further our designs in these parts – the war of the hearts and minds will be truly lost.

As you can see apprentice nothing is ever written in stone when it comes to resolving conflict in the Chinese setting – everything is open to negotiations – it is really like an impromptu Chinese village Opera, there’s always plenty of latitude to change the trajectory and cadence of the narrative to shape the final ending of this story.

Now apprentice, you must practice your violin. May I suggest you familiarize yourself with this score  – since this matter involves your future happiness and marital felicity – I have taken the liberty of instructing the others to take over your workload while you dedicate yourself only to this enterprise along with saving us from certain doom and gloom. We do not have much time apprentice, in three days, the village will be staging the harvest festival – everybody will be there and they will all be expecting a show of shows.”

Darkness 2012  

“The defining difference between the Western and Chinese conception of conflict resolution – is in the West, if the truth is on my side – I win and the otherside goes down for the count. In the Chinese ideology of conflict management – and I can really call it an ideology or philosophy since the concept of conflict resolution is intertwined with the whole idea of community in so far as nourishing harmony, balance and equity – it is never really clear who is the winner or loser – some times the winner can be the loser. At times the loser becomes the winner. And in certain cases both parties seem to come out as either the winners or losers. So there is always a sense of ambiguity – but one thing is assured, those who are directly involved and those who are watching all this can be assured that their differing positions can never ever threaten the sum of what continues to unite them.

This for lack of a better word is the goal to resolving misunderstandings and conflict in the Chinese sense. And it is a very robust and reliable process. As I said, there are no real winners or losers in the absolute sense of the word, but that is only to be expected, as whatever result emerges is really an acretion of compromise, negotiations, haggling and perhaps even an inversion of the truth – but that is not such a bad thing in my opinion – as if the goal is to perserve the harmony along with creating perfect conditions for trust to foster – then even I don’t mind not foreclosing on the truth. I don’t even mind, if my reputation gets slightly dented or my story is somehow elided – because, at least I am assured that people will always see me as someone who they can work along side with without the danger of losing face or coming out losing an arm or leg. Most importantly, since I know the goal and so do they, we can work towards finding a resolution. I think, if you want to be successful in resolving conflict in a Chinese setting – then it pays to first start off under the working assumption, it takes both sides to clap and if a problem arises – it is not really the others side fault entirely – even in the school teachers case, there is some culpability on my part. It’s not entirely her fault. And when you discount her age and lack of experiential knowledge, it could be said, I should have been more mindful – and that I think, is the Chinese way of resolving problems. Everyone tries to audit their words, actions and deeds to find out where they went wrong. Both sides bear the blame along with the shame.

That is why in the bus driver case, when they were sentenced and deported that to had to happen – it was a matter of “practical necessity”. But the second part when no one was sacked, demoted or even held to be singularly responsible. Goodness gracious me, not even so much as a single warning letter was issued! Can you imagine that! – that has to be an epic failure in managing conflict. As while justice in the form of black letter law is served – but justice is NOT seen to be done at all. There is no balance .So now you understand why this is bound to leave a very bitter taste in the mouth of people. And it will come back to bite us.

Now it is really too late, too many days have passed – even if they try to right the second part, it’s effects will never have the same impact. Life is cruel, you must strike when the iron is hot. Once it cools, the situation is no longer malleable.

This idea is impossibly hard for Westerners to understand from my personal experience. Because in their conception of how misunderstandings are resolved, both parties are really adversaries standing in different boats trading cannon balls. But in the Chinese conception, both sides are really in the same boat, so where is the logic of shooting holes in the boat? Do you want to sink the boat? Do you see my point apprentice.

I think…sorry…I know, if I adopt another attitude, then it is doubtful for people in the community to take me seriously. And if they don’t take me seriously, I cannot do big things. It will all be just talk, talk and talk.”

kendo3245This morning as I walked into the Kendo hall – I heard one of the younger apprentice planters declaring in a loud and authoritative tone to the others. 

“They should not have crossed the line!….”

I reckoned, I must have chanced on a heated exchange between two groups who might have been discussing the latest bus driver’s strike back home. 

When they saw me, all of them looked at me with an air of expectancy –  as if I was expected to settle the matter. But I remained silent and took my position in the hall.

Mid way during the session I singled out the apprentice who had said, “they should not have crossed the line.” During the bout, I tripped him up by deliberately undoing the slip knot on his Hakama – he rolled over and fell down half naked. The rest laughed. Before he even got up, I struck him again – someone shouted, “foul!” I simply ignored it. By this time the entire class had stopped as they watch on dumbfounded– as I continued to toy again and again with the apprentice while he tumbled and rolled time and again. Through it all, I remembered saying to myself, string it too hard and it will snap, too loose and it will not play, the tension must just be right.

Then suddenly and unexpectedly the bough broke loose – the youth threw down his wooden sword, tore loose his helmet and breast armor and drew out his katana and shouted at the top of his voice, “I’ve had it with you!” It was a storm of anger and frustration.

When I saw this, I lowered my sword calmly and walked towards him like a father and embraced him and whispered in his ears,

“Can you now see apprentice, how any man can so easily cross a line?”

The moral of the story is EVERYONE – and I really don’t care who he is – could well range from the Dalai Lama to Mother Teressa, if pushed to the limit can easily cross a line – if you have not crossed that line, that doesn’t mean that you are a better man or have more self control and sagacity than the next man – it simply means, you should be thankful to providence that no one has really pushed you to that hell where all reason gives way to madness – the point of no return. – when you suddenly find yourself standing on the wrong side of the line. That is really all there is to it. Nothing more or less. Anyone who tries to suggest otherwise is simply a child who hasn’t lived at all – and how can anyone take a child seriously. This is the reason why, when the line is crossed, it is not WHO or HOW that really matters – rather it is WHY?

After the session during breakfast I turned to the apprentice playfully who had now fully regained his calmness along with sense of humor – the subject had somehow turned to the school teacher – this was really an opportunity me to ask the apprentice whether he would like me to introduce him to the most beautiful school teacher in the world – as I heard from the Cantonese barber, he had been going there everyday and loitering outside the school gates – the apprentice blushed. And the rest laughed. I left it there, any further I reckon would risk crossing the line again.

Darkness 2012

 

intel93004Yesterday I dropped by at the village barber for a haircut, shave and a neck break. Not that I needed a haircut, shave or for that matter even a neck break. I had after all just had a haircut less than a week ago – my real intentions of paying an unscheduled visit to the 70 year old Cantonese barber whose establishment was the only air-conditioned business in the village was to find out more about the background of the school teacher – that unknown quantity that has been the cause of what I can only describe in clinician terms as my inexplicable paralytic disquietude – a condition that I now even see fit to describe in terms of “disease” and “convalesce.”

To the uninitiated in the arts of the clandestine services who may only take a fleeting interest in intelligence, surveillance, collating information and memorizing everything about them and securely communicating vital intelligence without raising suspicion – the barber shop is just a place to for a haircut, shave and neck break. But I know it otherwise as a confluence where all manner of information is gathered, filed and marketed – the 70 year old barber is imminently qualified as the spymaster par excellence – since his eldest son doubles as the village postman (and has been known to open letters) and the assistant to the village medium – all sorts of information can be gathered – everything from how to improve one’s chances at winning the National lottery to shooing away malevolent spirits to the latest village gossip.

Another aspect of the clandestine services offered by the barber is the assurance of disinterest (orthe illusion of it at least)as to what purpose that information supplied may be used for – through the years, I have found his services to be indispensable for furthering my designs as an aspiring landowner in these parts.

Anyway let’s not get too bogged down about the quaint details of village life, this is hardly a novella, but rather a factual recount – after speaking at length to the barber – this is what I have managed to find out about the school teacher – she is generally considered by many to be a prized catch and is even referred to by her pet name 林青霞- Yes, even I would have to agree that she looks very much like her. Apparently she has rebuffed many aspiring suitors and there is even rumors that she once turned down a lucrative offer to be a mistress to a tin mining tycoon – who just happens to be a well known good for nothing rich man’s son – she has fallen out publicly with the headmaster who doesn’t seem to approve of me, as he says, ‘that fellow is too Western in his ways.” Apart from this tit bits, nothing else stands out – no one knows how she spends her time or for that matter what really interest her – her life it seems revolves around children, school and the peculiar daily habit of visiting the lake at the edge of my lands during the evenings – when I pressed the barber as to whether he knew the reason why she would indulge in such an incomprehensibly hapless habit. As there is really nothing there – the 70 year old Cantonese barber simply sighed and shook his head and said,

“Young master, if I may be so rude to point out the obvious – It is true, there is nothing there should you yourself go there in the evenings – but how can you possibly hear the music from the lake when you are the one playing it from your house on the top of the hill?”

When I heard this, I understood. I understood completely how my hand and mine alone had inadvertently fashioned this sublime illusion that the school teacher had come to regard this story as the end, and all of the telling is wrapped up together in the beginning of the end.Yes, I understand. I understand completely and absolutely now how this misunderstanding came about.

I must be more careful next time. I must be more considerate. Above all I must be mindful.

Darkness 2012

RSCN1544The feeling of abstraction that I first experienced momentarily when I visited the school teacher persisted the following day – I was aware of it during my regular morning Kendo session – it had began to work its way like slow acting poison corrupting my form – not that I really cared. I remembered saying to myself how gratuitous and unstable it is, waxing and waning only to quicken again, simmering and flaring without direction or purpose – what could it be? Where did it come from? Is it from somewhere deep within me? Or might I have caught it from her?

Yes, I am willing to acknowledge the possibility of catastrophe – I know it only too well. Yet what continues to vex me most severely is my inaction – my total resignation even to what has to come and must probably become. It is incomprehensible isn’t it? The very idea that a man such as myself could continue doing absolutely nothing except play his violin during the evenings well into the night and even consider such diversions much more beneficial than confronting an impending catastrophy – perhaps it is the after effects of this new found awareness that I can’t seem to put my finger on just yet that accounts for my incomprehensible indecision, inaction and inability to do anything except….maybe accept what must come – I wish, I could tell myself with some measure of confidence that I am perturbed by the prospects of facing a precipitous future. But I am not. On the contrary this new found awareness doesn’t fill me with either a sense of impending doom or anything resembling consternation whatsoever.

Grief and rage perhaps, as last evening, I discovered something terrible about the background of the school teacher – she was the daughter of a landowner who I had driven to foreclosure – I tell myself repeatedly I am not to blame. That old fool should not have stood in my way! Besides, I gave him a choice to join my consortium or perish! What else can a man or for that matter any man do? It was either me or them. And I don’t pretend that it was a handsome business…no it wasn’t…not at all. It never is. This after all is what business is all about – one man’s profit is another loss. I wonder whether she truly knows who I am and what I once did to her father?

No it is not guilt that pervades me now as I write this before the sun fingers through the palms that seem almost to sway indolently – if anything it is the acute sense of grief that whenever I see her now in my mind’s eye; there is always a residue of the my past that I thought…I am sorry..I believed that I had successfully obliterated like some faint memory of a distant war a man once fought in and has somehow been crushed by the chastening passage of time. And now it has appeared before me again in the shape and form of this school teacher and I have no choice but to look at it…to confront it even…to allow it to pass right through me in the hope that I can make it to the other side or better still to be spitted out like a seed.   

Yes, it’s best to go with flow. I much prefer this languor of inaction than to stoop to some nervous condition where I vex over what to do next. I am sure however grave this misunderstanding between me and the school teacher at hand might be, if neglected long enough, surely…the act of neglect itself would begin to affect the situation, and perhaps a door or window would present itself. Such you could even say is the political theory of going with the flow.

I am naked, I must dress now, the world will awaken soon…

Darkness 2012

—————————————————————————————————–

“Who are you? What are you? What kind of evil spell is this? What can possibly account for my inaction? Have you been sent here to destroy me? I will seek you out. I will go deep into your being and study you in the way a hunter seeks out the methods of his prey…I will. Do you hear me?”

RSCN1544Yesterday, I paid the school teacher a visit – it was a something that I decided on the spur of the moment when I passed the school on the way to an inspection tour to the Western side of the Estate.  When I slipped into the back of the class discreetly and sat on what I can only describe as a miniature chair – she smiled at me demurely and continued with the class – and for the first time, I began to study her closely in the way a hunter looks on.

I had originally gone there with the intention of telling her quite bluntly that she was mistaken and I really have no feelings for her – it was all a misunderstanding and I am sorry. And I hope that we can remain the best of friends.

But as I looked on my resolve gave way to a new found awareness, one that I can only describe as a feeling of resignation that can only arise from a man who suddenly finds himself rummaging his soul only to dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed – and though I could not put a finger on this new found awareness that coursed through me just then when I sat there looking at her – I thought it best to defer my plans to break the news to her in such a forward manner – when the class ended and she asked curiously what happy accident is it that she owed for an unexpected visit from the gentlemen planter who lives on the hill – I simply smiled and told her that I was just passing by.

At that very moment, I could just about make out she did not know what she even desired, it seemed as if she was drawn into a heavy syrupy world of fear and fascination: whether she feared or desired what had been or what would be, and precisely what she desired, she did not really know, neither did she care – the only thing that stood out was maybe the strength of her faith, her belief that  – she had no need to ask why I had come. She knew as certainly as if I had told her that I was here to be where she was. Even if this was not the truth, she had fashioned it as such in her mind – when I realized the completeness of her fantasy world. I knew that I was right after all to have deferred my decision to break the hard and brutal news to her.

Perhaps what the sages say of love is indeed true after all… if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.

And with this, I realized, that I had indeed made the best of decisions to defer my plans to break the news to her – this is after all a much more delicate business than I had first anticipated. I have to be gentle, so very gentle it seems.

Darkness 2012

“Gentleness is something that needs to be constantly nourished. If left simply to the vagaries of the world, it will simply fritter away. And the best way to nourish this idea is to first try to understand others – to see the world through their eyes, to hear words and the singing birds by borrowing their ears and if possible to even imagine what goes through their heads – and when we do this, we learn so much about ourselves. Above all we learn how hard and implacable the world has made us and if we are lucky enough, we may even discover something innocent and beautiful that may even have the capacity make us better human beings. If we don’t do this regularly and just allow the chastening passage of the world to scour us – then we will all just end up like so many of the automatons that we so often see. The leader says go left, everybody goes left. The leader says right, everyone goes right. Life becomes generic and somewhere in all this – the individual is exiled. And when we allow this to happen, then a form of chelating occurs till we can really only see the world, in terms of us against them. It will always be “they are all like that” or “they are not like us.” And if we are not mindful, the next thing we know all is life has been reduced to binary terms where you are either switched off or engaged, functional or dysfunctional, winner or loser, anointed scholar or grist to the mill. And if we neglect it even more, then it will certainly reach an end point where we can all really only see the affairs of the world in polarized terms of, you are with me or against me! But when we consciously make the effort to keep our hearts soft – then, it is so easy to understand so many things and above all it is so remarkably easy for us to gentle to others and to do what is right. Yes my reputation is important to me, but when I reflect deeply about it – it’s really so encrusted with my inflated ego and probably remnants of my inferiority complex that it can’t be such a pretty or noble thing that’s worth defending – do I have a right to protect my reputation. Yes. But what if the cost comes at my callousness that destroys the prospects of another who is perhaps innocent, stupid and even dreamy? You see, then the answer to that question becomes less certain.”

RSCN1544“Yes, Apprentice. It would seem justice has been served. After all those bus drivers have been packed off. And six of them are to be booked.  But tell me apprentice what’s wrong with this happy picture? It doesn’t seem to be nearly enough to satisfy does it – like a half measure of something sublimely nice that fails to quite hit the spot. Look carefully apprentice. Take a few steps back if you must and look at the picture again.  Something is missing isn’t there? Do you see it? Do you even feel it? It’s incomplete…..

Mmmmh….no one is really quite sure what’s missing, but even you can’t deny most people who have been following this feel this sense of dissonance acutely – and let me share with you why apprentice – as it is not nearly enough for justice to be only served, it MUST be seen to done by all as well – Come, come apprentice, what after all is a strike? Let me be more specific with my line of questioning – what conditions must be obtained BEFORE a strike to occur? There has to be frustration, resentment, futility and perhaps even a sense of abject powerlessness – it is after all a weapon of last resort – one that can only appeal to the hopeless and powerless – when a strike is seen from this psychological vantage then it’s really only just a crie de couer  – do you understand now – why heads must roll – after all how could it just be business as usual? Surely those people who are responsible for creating this unbearable situation for those bus drivers need to be taken to task – otherwise how anyone be assured that this would not happen again? How can justice be seen to be done, if they go Scott free?

Yes, this is all very new to you isn’t it apprentice – I understand. I understand completely, how you might even see me as some monster – a heartless sort of man who is prepared to do anything – but how wrong you are – as when we talk about the aphorism, “justice needs to be seen to be done.” It is hardly a matter of law is it? But what this means apprentice is quite simply, the public needs to see justice being done. They even demand it. Surely, you don’t want them to believe justice only serves to protect the powerful and well paid? What about the working man – pray tell how he supposed to walk away happily from this story when the ending doesn’t even bother to end with the trite Hollywood promise that good has finally triumphed over evil – let me put it another way apprentice, do you really believe those who were directly responsible for creating the conditions for this strike could just hide behind the flimsy idea that ONLY those bus drivers were to be blamed. Remember always, it was you who came to me and asked, “is there a way Darkness? Tell me!” Understand this apprentice! the legitimacy of the justice system is hardly based on the simple application of black letter law – do you really believe for one moment, all that is required to sanctify the law is a reading in Parliament and poof! It is magically rendered whole and complete? How naive you are. Do not be stupid apprentice –as what really gives the law it’s legitimacy is and has always been the public’s consent that justice serves the imperative of the collective good. Do you understand what this means? The need an ending that gives them hope that justice will always protect the weak from the strong, the poor from the rich, the privilege from the marginalized – do you now understand why heads must roll otherwise the story remains incomplete – always remember I want you to succeed, but this will not do apprentice.

Yes, now you see it so clearly don’t you apprentice – that which is truly missing from the picture – now you understand why someone in SMRT, NTUC and probably a prominent figure needs to take the blame for all this. Right or wrong doesn’t feature here – the only thing that is important is to supply the cinematic ending to end the story in such a way where the public can go back home feeling that all is well with the world – you must not fret apprentice, sending those lazy and negligent sods off to the Russian front would do the job quite nicely – don’t you think so? For one the Chinese would be happiest –as this would be an admission of sorts that they weren’t completely to be blamed for this fuck up. There were after all mitigating circumstances – they could even walk away assured that at least both sides emerged somewhat damaged by from this whole affair. Since no one really emerged from it smelling like roses, it’s best to move on – as for those who are looking on, even they would have to admit that justice was not only served, but since those fellows in SMRT have been packed off to the Russian front, justice is finally seen to be done – this ugly business gets tied up quite nicely with a big ribbon, don’t you agree with me. Everyone would be happy as the story now has a beginning, middle and end that even manages to supply the cinematic ending – all will be well from now onwards, evil has been defeated – life will be sweet again apprentice….it will be as if this never once occurred….it was just a bad nightmare. Remember always you came to me and I once told you to promise me, never ever judge me for what I am about to share with you – heads must roll apprentice or the story will have no ending…..and that is no good….no bloody good at all….now you know what you must do. Need I say, this conversation did not take place. I was not here.”  

An excerpt of conversation somewhere in the Temple of Reason in Primus Aldentes Prime – brought to you by the Interspacing Mercantile Guild.