I went hunting at dawn today all by myself and my new apprentice doberman, Cairo. My movements were scraggy. Sloppy even. I blamed the dog.

Twice I tried to close in on the prey. I was down wind. The rising sun was behind. Perfect light. As I closed in for a clear shot. It just bolted suddenly for no reason. I blamed the dog again.

On the return trip. As chance would have it. I came across a hog by the river bank. It was 125 meters. No wind. Yet I missed by a whole yard. I checked the arrow afterwards. It was perfect. Even the sights were aligned. But I still missed. This time I can’t blame the dog any longer. It has to be me.

My frequent business trips to the city has robbed me of the power of invisibility and the assurance of one shot, one kill. The city has left a mark on me. Like a bright flashing neon sign that tells every animal out there in the jungle – “I am here!” Only the regularly hunted can see and read this sign. You probably don’t even see it. As you probably have a larger one on your head should you step into a jungle to hunt. Yes, the city is to blame.

The city has infused me with a peculiar smell. Like pungent burning plastic I imagine to the hogs – that explains why they bolted even before I could close in. They can’t pick that smell one mile away on even a windless day. Yes, the city is to blame.

The city has made me soft. I felt the stings of the mosquito and ant bites that usually never ever bother me. Never. When I tried to find that happy mythical line during the hunt. The line where a man goes into like a stylus finding a groove to move smoothly and effortlessly – a movement where mind, body and soul becomes a seamless oneness that one usually sees in perfect killing machine. Stealth and the ability to blot out everything till one merges with the jungle itself. It eluded me through out the hunt. Even my power of invisibility seems to have diminished – the ability to control my breathe to move like a shadow unseen, unheard without hardly a whiff in the thicket to suddenly appear so very close to the prey. To even see it so close that one can touch it. And finish off by wrestling it to the ground and finishing it off with a hunting knife to the jugular. Yes, the city is to be blamed.

Or maybe it is me. So I thought as I looked at my body in the full length mirror. 5% fat seems to be more like 10%.

I need to go deep into the jungle tonight. I need to sharpen myself again like a dull knife. I need to find Orpuk and his son Moon again.

Darkness 2013

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“Hunting is not just about marksmanship. That’s maybe about 5%. Its about getting into the mind of the thing you’re hunting. Understanding its nature, ebb and flow and rythmn – every species of animal has a nature. Even humans have a nature. So do dogs. And if you really want to understand this Tao deeper spend time with dogs, watch the birds and even insects. Really watch them. Notice how the swiftlets always seem to fly lower before it rains with short burst of tak, tak, tak. That’s their nature before it rains. The better you know the nature of a thing, the higher your chances of getting into a favorable position to deliver the clean and surgical kill. That’s the missing 95%. Getting into position. Ask a fighter pilot what he trains the best years of his life just doing and he will tell you to get behind the enemy plane. As a 7th Dan Kendoka what do you train your whole life for and he will tell you to position myself to face happiness and sadness, life and death, the sweet life and the bitter existence with equanimity – with perfect balance – with the perfect mind of the monk and the warrior. All he’s doing is positioning himself.

Getting into position is everything. Take a shot from outside a row of trees outside the castle gates and hope that your arrow somehow manages to fly through the open window and make it through the endless maze of furniture to find the heart of your prey is the stuff of Hollywood. It doesn’t exist. Makes far more sense to send a courtesan, friend or ally right up and deliver the strike when he’s muff diving her or when you’re whispering to him. Better still if you can send him to his grave by selling him a lousy strategy. Where he checkmates himself. But to accomplish all this. You need to position yourself.

Positioning is just the power of invisibility. In business this is the uncanny ability to be the perfect hypocrite without appearing to come across as hypocritical. To be even the assassin of who your truly are and to be a Janus faced fuck. To say one thing and to do the opposite just to turn a profit. If possible to even be able to position yourself closely to the decision makers. To even be so close to the man during a game of golf and knocking that this was the man who gave the orders for the monks to be shot when all they did was march peacefully in the streets of Rangoon. To be so close that you can even see his tobacco stained teeth. To laugh at his jokes. To even approve and add on to his general view of humanity and how violence, threats and intimidation are simply tools to get the job done. To smile when you want to vomit because you know when you look in the mirror. You got this plantation at the price of bloodying your hands. To wash your hands ten times a day. You even carry a cute miniature silver soap box in your pocket to wash the blood that only you can see but no one else – but it never goes away.

That man needs to die if you really want to get into perfect position for the good kill in the business world. The good man needs to die. And from that carcass of goodness the man who can get into perfect position will emerge.

The constant hypocrite. The parvenu. The opportunist. The one who can negotiate anything under the sun and even make shit smell like a bouquet of roses. To be a purveyor of hopes and dreams. To even share this ideal with everyone make everyone want to be exactly like you!

To grow at any cost. Including the human, spiritual and moral. All these are negotiable like tools to get the job done. To cultivate the idea that if you come across a hard luck case – they just didn’t bother to study when they were young that’s why they can’t even afford cabled TV.

To even see yourself as somewhat exceptional in how you were able to turn your first million. To throw in a few legends, a girl, a penguin just for comic relief and of course fish bone porridge – that’s the zinger here like Parmesan cheese on Bolognaise. To forget even the people who have once helped you. Who opened a door when you were trying to figure out why no one seems to open it no matter how hard and long you knock. To even despise them for their sentimentality, temperance and benevolence.

To look upon the whole of humanity and to reduce it into a game in your head. A game where the goal is to always get into position.

Do understand now gentlemen the hidden meaning of the art of war – keep your enemies close to you – a better way to see this visually is to imagine having to get into position for a clear shot. Don’t be fixated on the shot. That’s only 5%. If you want to make significant improvements then work on the rest of the 95%.

Put your ego down because you’re just prostituting all your beliefs like a gigolo here. You fuck anything. You fuck it the same whether they’re old or young, sweet or ugly, thin or two metric tons just the same way like Toyota motors churns out cars. Gentlemen it is one hundred percent customer satisfaction. Everything is for sale, the slow burn all the way right down to the quick and nasty hello, bang-bang and bye bye.

Not that if you must know is what I know it takes to make it to the very top of the business world.

Hey! Shut up! I am still talking. Because that’s only Part 1, like the arrow just missing the ventricle you have been aiming for. You need to rapidly get to a new position for a second shot. That’s when you reclaim that part of you that you prostituted to get where you are today – and for the whole of your life thereafter. You are really searching for that man who once took that step into the business world.

That man who had always been nothing but a salaried man till then. That man who saw the world in bold colors of black and white. Clear colors like McDonalds furnishing before they confused buggers with latte and started impersonating Starbucks. A simple man. A trusting man. A man who simply wanted to live his life and should it end in tragedy to only let it be him and no one else. And if he succeeded to share it all because he always believed there would be plenty to go around. After all the only way this man knows how to spend money is by buying one power tool after another. He’s got an incurable fetish for tools. Phillis screwdrivers. Cross, star, diamond, bevel, frinsch class II etc etc etc etc.

This man. This first man that you sacrifice on the altar of mammoth when you pass through the fiery gates of the business world is all that you will end up searching all your life, if you can get through to that first stage. You may be very old by then. But you will still search for him. As that was who you never wanted to be then. But now that you been through it all and seen and done it all. All you want to do is return home.

I wish you all luck gentlemen in the world’s most exciting game called business.”

Some of you will be

Some women, you can never forget. You know it makes no sense. She should just be a faint memory to you by now. For fuck sake, its hardly just water under the bridge in your case. As it is the whole of the Pacific and Atlantic that’s come and gone under this bridge that arches somewhere in the vanilla skies of your memories.

Yet you can’t seem to forget her. You ask yourself how is that even possible. It’s not as if you once rolled around in bed with her and fucked her brains out. It would probably make more sense to you and your dick, if that’s the reason why you cant seem to forget her. But you didn’t so much as even kiss her.

Yet she never seems to leave you. She’s always there. Like a watermark. Lingering. In the darkened interiors where no light dares to shine. In darkness. Always whispering in the hush murmurs of the sway of the leaves – always there giggling in the patter of the rain.

Some women you can never ever forget.

Darkness 2013

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“You want to forget. But you can never forget. You tell yourself, you’re be healthier if you forget. You even tell yourself you wouldn’t forget your keys or wallet so often, if you forget. You convince yourself that the reason why you choose not to forget is because you take pride in the old fashioned idea that you’re a man who knows his roots – your grounded. Not like the others. You choose not to forget. It’s a conscious decision. That’s what you tell others.

That’s what you tell that man who looks at you every morning when you shave.

But you know it’s not true. You know deep down it’s a lie. A prosthetic that you rely on to get by each day as best you can. You don’t have a choice. As you know the day she left you. You will always be waiting for her. You will wait like some forgotten soldier at the outer edges of the known world. You will wait till even time has permeated your soul. You will wait even if you feel your existence vaporizing slowly.

From time to time. You catch her smell in the elevator. You’re a hunter. You’re not like other men who go through this world in blotches of hazy colors. Yours is a world of cut glass, precise and sharp. You know she must be around the building. You see her just disappearing into the crowd. You’re a professional. You know never to trail someone directly behind, but to keep to the blind side – you follow her.

Your heart quickens. You tell yourself it can’t be. What’s she doing here? But it’s her. You move closer. So close that you can even smell her – and suddenly you realize it’s someone else.

You feel stupid. You tell yourself it’s all your fault. As you should have put in the same effort to forget her as you put into your bench presses at the gym.

You’re defeated by a ghost. You tell yourself, ‘I’ve see you in my dreams my love.’

But you never dream about her do you? Never.”

A woman’s instinct

January 20, 2013

There was this time when I thought I would always stay in Singapore. Forever and ever. I know looking back now, it sounds rather silly. But that was how I saw it back then.

I even told Dotty about it. But she never believed me. One day during one of our cycling trips, when we were just lying on the grass and looking up at the birds in Changi Village. She turned to me sadly and told me that one day I too would just take off like a bird.

I laughed. But when I looked at her I could sense the depth of her despair – it wasn’t just any ordinary despair, it was a like an invisible vine that could reach out from one soul to touch another – the sort of despair that could even curl its way up from my shoes, winding and squeezing around my legs, coiling around me so tightly like a python. It was so disturbing that I found myself holding her head with both hands as she refused to look at me and asking her – how could she be so sure?

Dotty told me it was the way I looked at the birds whenever they flew overhead – she said it was the yearning that she saw in my eyes. She said it was as thought – I could feel the same tug the birds felt – the very same stirring that only birds could sense just before they took off. She went on to say, that I may believe I am a man, but in reality I have falcon blood running in my veins – I am really half man, half bird and I can’t help myself – a day will come, when I too would sprout wings and take to the heavens like a bird.

I told her that she was just in one of her crazy melancholic moods. She was dead wrong. I would always stay in Singapore. I even promised her.

Years later when I shared with Dotty my plans to seek my fortune abroad as a planter. She reminded me of the promise I once made to her – and whenever she did so, there were always long lapses of silence that I always felt the need to fill with words. Anything. It really didn’t matter what came out of my mouth. Could even yaba daba do. I just wanted to kill that awful hole of silence by filling it with as much sound as possible. To even banish it away with a hail of words.

As whenever our conversation lapsed into those awful moments of silence I always felt something vicious burrowing into the pit of my stomach. It was as if this feeling that swelled inside me was some creature with razor-sharp tendrils gnawing deep inside me. It was so crippling, so devastating, and so unrelenting that all I wanted to do was to sprout wings and fly away.

Eventually that was what I did – I flew off without saying good bye. I did it as she said I would, like a bird that just wakes up one morning, joins a flock of birds and just take off into the blue yonder.

Darkness 2013

RSCN1544A while back ago as some of you may probably remember, if the internet brigade hasn’t already managed to drill holes into your brain – the nation destroying rag ran a propaganda article entitled, “The one that got away”http://ifonlysingaporeans.blogspot.com/2012/06/one-who-got-away.html. It’s not really clear what the goal was (unless of course they all think that the ST is the only thing we all bloody read and nothing else). But from what I was able to make out from the caper, the gist of the article was to mythologize in alchemic terms the crumbly notion that the lost of Ong Ye Kung in the last GE in Aljunied represented some great, profound and irreplacable loss to Singaporeans and residents. As presumably Mr Ong had so much to offer…..

When the bus driver crisis erupted in November last year – it was subsequently revealed that one name kept cropping up like a demented Jack in the box (if only he could be found like the mythical Yeti) – Surprise, surprise!….the strike by the PRC drivers of SMRT may have had something to do with the “shambolic” way Mr The one that got away aka Ong Ye Kung “mismanaged” the expectations of those irrate PRC bus drivers.

The drivers then were reportedly ‘particularly angry with Ong for “short selling” them and spoke irately about his conflict of interests’. As for the one who got away – well you all have to seriously consider whether he should disappear into the depths like a lead weight. Don’t believe me. Check this out then,

You can all draw your own conclusions as to whether  Ong Ye Kung could have done a better job of averting the PRC bus driver strike. While you’re at it, it may also be a good opportunity to appraise ST’s attempt at trying to transmute lead to gold. As for me, all I can say is I wouldn’t even trust him to manage my compost heap!

Now…once again, we are being told in the run up to Punggol by Mini Lee that Dr Koh, “can be more than a MP.” Sure I believe you, like I believe that elephants can fly, the lost city of Atlantis and the legend of Big foot.

Do take the time to check this excellent post out and if possible try to help the author to crack the mind boggling connundrum as to why, if Dr Koh was so promising – why wasn’t he earmarked sooner for a higher position in the PAP. Well spotted Barrie! Go on, it’s a weekend, try to do the impossible…while you at it, do give alchemy a shot as wellhttp://wherebearsroamfree.blogspot.com/2013/01/pm-lee-if-dr-koh-can-be-more-than-mp.html

Now you know why I can never take the PAP too seriously. I want too…I sincrely do…as I want to believe….but they make it so incredibly difficult a times as all they seem to do is hurt my brain time and again. You would have thought that an outfit that claims to be the best that money can buy would be able to a better job of promoting one of their candidates to thinking folk – but from what I have read so far, it seems the lag between theory and reality seems to be growing further and further. I wonder why? I really do. Maybe it’s best if I just suspend disbelief.

Darkness 2013

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“I don’t have time for super duper idiots who regularly try to insult my intelligence by trying to pass off a donkey as a Arabian stallion…no time means no time. Now tell me Gentlemen can anyone in this thread please share with me – why are you all wasting your time? It’s not as if, we are all paid by the hour to waste time here promoting gibberish. if you people what to fashion a god out of mud – then I say go ahead! Only understand. You are not going to get very far by trying to sell me the idea that there is such a thing as a superman. The last idiot who did that on an industrial scale shot himself in a bunker in Berlin in 1945.

Not even the Kennedy’s for that matter are special or have a special helix unless you can convince me that dying young along with attracting deadly bullets and flying into the sea is some form of extraordinary blessing from the Gods.

As only clinically unbalanced people who live in make belief castles in the air and suffer from an acute inferiority complex regularly need to make themselves larger than life. These people should seriously take their medication before they open their mouths.

Perfectly sound people who are well adjusted never live in a fantasy world to make themselves larger, smarter and more capable than what they actually are – they are just as you see them – that’s to say, be yourself. You know if you walk into my office – there is a wooden plaque – it’s quite big and that is all it says – BE YOURSELF.

Do you know why I feel the need to put this sign up? It’s because through the years I have noticed so many people seem to have great difficulty in doing just that – when you ask them a simple question like what is their goal – they can’t even give me a simple answer. As they are so afraid that I will look down on them or judge which neighborhood they live in, what was their last drawn salary or even what car they are driving – when infact, I care nothing about those things – all I really want to do is to make a meaningful connection – I am not even trying to intimidate them – but they are already so petrified of being themselves that all they want to do is be someone else – trying to be everyone else except who they really should be. Hey I got news for you! No one gives two shits about which university you graduated from or whether you make enough money to buy a Ferrari in a good year – all they care about is whether you will treat them with respect, dignity and brotherly love! That’s the truth!

Just be yourself! Be comfortable with that idea as I have noticed the richest and most capable people in this planet are really just themselves. They aren’t trying to be someone else. As they know everyone else has already been taken! As it is only when you learn to invest in who you are can you really be a truly confident person instead of the laminated card sounding bullshitter that you currently are.

Know yourself! Don’t try to fashion yourself into a phoney – as the last thing you ever want to do is to lie to yourself – to tell yourself so many happy lies that you’re probably going to lose yourself in a labyrinth of deception. You will probably end up in a mental institution.

If you really cannot tahan and want to show people how smart and capable you are, then I say, go and start a enterprise. If all you have is a degree from an ivy league and all you seem to do is milk it even when you have past 30 years of age – then I say you are living in the past.

Go and start a business. Don’t just run a GLC. Any bloody fool can make himself a hero in a kampung. Even I know how to do that. Don’t just sit like a fucking dummy on one stat board after another and free load on directors fee. Even I know how to do that. 

Where is your pride as a man. As a hunter. Go and work for a blue water fortune 500 firm – go cut your teeth in the big bad world with the best of the best instead of getting rotated around like some kampung hero from one GLC to another. Go chalk up the kill flags on your fuselage instead of just spouting happy sounding rubbish that you want to make a difference or you want to serve your country! 

Come on! Who the fuck are you trying to con here! What do you take us all for? Bunch of old ladies in the wet market. Do you have any idea who you are even talking too! Or for that matter the composition of the people who make up this forum? Yes my friend…it seems you have wandered into a very strange and scary place in the internet. 

Understand this! Get it in your head, no one here is buying into your fantasy story! No one. As everyone knows that the sum of your contribution to the country will probably be a big fat zero – as you have never ever once invested in the idea of who you really are. Tell me what the fuck do you really have to offer? You can’t tell me can you….

Take my advice and be a real man with tungsten steel guli’s. Go and start a fucking business. Sell your house and car and plough it all into your business and build it up to such a large foot print that you are like Li Kah Shin or Robert Kuok. Go hire thousands of people. Be so big that should you even die the whole stock market will even come crashing down. Be so influential that when governments talk to you, they even behave like shy white laced virgins. Then even I will have to say to you – you are truly immortal. You are truly great beyond belief – but if all you can do is free load your way on some abstraction that you are here to make a difference and serve the nation. Then I think you are just fooling yourself. As I don’t believe you have anything significant to offer.

You never once invested in yourself. All I see is a lackey moving from one chair to another – just like musical chairs. Not fooling anyone here.

You suddenly don’t feel so big now do you? Yes, and they told you only indolent people populate the internet. You suddenly feel like an insignificant insect…don’t you? You even feel like the lowest of the low here. Good. There is hope for you. As you are learning to accept yourself – the good, bad and ugly. Warts and all! Learn even to tell others self depreciating jokes about yourself. Learn to laugh at yourself and if possible give others the permission to laugh at you from time to time. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Let it slide sometimes. Be thick skinned. Roll with the punches. Accept even the idea some people will always hate your guts no matter how much you try to gain their trust. Maybe that’s their way of getting through a tough day. And everything else should take care of it’self beautifully – above all to just be yourself brother.”

RSCN1544Before we dive into the deep end and ruminate on whether it is reasonable to even expect the Singaporean man to remain faithful to his wife. What we need to do is perhaps ask ourselves why can’t some men just be happy with what they have? Why do they even feel the need for another woman?

In my personal opinion, this whole idea of corruption or deriving some benefit obliquely through sexual favors is really a giant red herring. The only reason I suspect why most people seem inclined not to question it further is because whenever sex features in any illicit relationship involving a married man and a younger woman – then all other considerations just get automatically obliterated. That if you didn’t know is what usually happens whenever tangled sheet tales makes their way to the dailies – the chattering classes will simply categorize it as just another salacious story of yet another fallen married man who simply couldn’t keep his dick in his trousers. The end.

Only my feel is this simplistic sypnosis has to mislead terribly. As what it consistently fails to flesh out is why would any man risk so much for the idea of pursuing an extra marital affair? To me, no matter how you wish to cut and splice it. What cannot be denied is the motivation on the part of the man has to be so compelling and yet so powerful as to even fly in the face of reason.

That is why I have always been slightly uncomfortable with this reductionism of trying to explain infidelity as simply a case of tak boleh tahan. Or worse a character flaw. As it presupposes everything can always be boiled down to just SEX and very little else.

Truth of the matter is it can get awfully lonely at the top for a man, especially a married man. Because all he really has is his better half as a source of comfort. But given the demands of a modern woman having to juggle work and homemaking – what invariably happens is the wife will at some point settle into the role of the motherhood so earnestly that her attention can only gradually shift away from the man to her children. This is normal in virtually every relationship between married couples. And when that happens, the feeling of estrangement that the man feels daily can only heighten.

Where then does that leave the married man who is now marooned in his own skull? How does he deal with the crushing loneliness along with lingering thoughts that maybe he has been placed on this planet only to nourish human suffering? How does he even begin to find his place in this whole notion of “Happiness?”

I think when one sees the whole idea of infidelity from the shoes of a very lonely man – then everything becomes quite clear. And that is just another way of saying under those conditions which I have just described. When the right woman comes along, wham and bang! And the rest like the Americans say is history.

As what you really have is just a man who is searching the missing blanks to make his life whole.

When one sees it from that perspective, then it easy to understand why any married man take a fall. Even the very best of men. And those who choose to see it simply in cold and calculating terms are simply people who haven’t lived at all.

Darkness 2013

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“I never ever judge a man for looking for another woman outside his marriage. Never. I only question his judgement. As to whether he has scaled the risk against the pay outs i.e the mechanics of the whole decision making process.

But if you were to ask me whether it is right for a married man to search for another woman besides his wife – then I would have to say a resolute ‘no.’ Only bear in mind that’s really a leading question – that can only produce a resolute ‘no’ in virtually every single case. As it comes encrusted with so much social scripting as to what most of us expect from a married man along with morality and the whole stricture of what the institution of marriage stands for. So how is it even possible to get any other answer except a “no.”

But if you were to ask me whether this is something that I can understand and empathize with. Then I would have to say, ‘yes.’ Because when a man takes up with another woman what he is really doing is just trying to fill up the missing blanks in his own life. That is all there is to it.

Neither do I buy into the idea that everything can just be successfully explained away by underscoring the illicit thrill of sex alone. Sex may constitute a feature of that relationship between the married man and that other woman – it may even be fun that men may even choose to do it every time. But in the general scheme of things even sex has to stand second or third place to the much deeper and stronger motivation of the married man who is really just trying to find a means of escape from the cacophony of modern life.

That at least is the way I see it – life at the top is lonely. You may have all the money in the world. But trust me when I tell you it’s still a terribly lonely. Where it’s no uncommon for any man in that sort of position to even feel marooned in his own skull. Neither is this man free to do anything he wants either. As when a man reaches a certain stage in life – then what invariably happens is his freedom can only give way to a form of 24/7 panopticon existence – where it’s even impossible for him to enjoy the simple things of life such as scratching his guli’s without creating a fire storm.

As what is seldom ever discussed by the chattering classes and even the Metropoles such as those erudite ladies in the Siglap read club is how power, responsibility and leadership itself imposes an almost suffocating corseted way of life on any leader.

Once you become a leader people expect you behave in a certain way. They will even expect you to wear a bush jacket when all you really want to do is hang loose in your jeans and T-shirt. My point is at some point in the life of every man – he will feel that life is so contrived and artificial and restrictive that at times even the simple act of waking up every morning and facing the world can be a chore that requires a tremendous amount of courage. This man can only begin to question the whole idea of life – why am I put on this planet? Is this the only thing life offers? Is there another way to live? Why can’t money seem to buy me happiness?

My point is these are very deep philosophical questions – and the worse thing is the more intelligent the man, the more he will vex over these issues.

Meanwhile the pressure slowly builds up day by day. And I think it’s important to emphasize here that it’s an unrelenting sort of pressure – not the sort that one can even switch off – I’ll give you an example. When I used to be a salaried man, my weekends are truly weekends inn every sense of the word. As I can easily suspend responsibility or even out source it through a process of delegation. But as a businessman, even on my off days – my mind is continually tossing and turning non stop. Its perpetually conducting war games going through all the possible permutations of what’s the best course of action to take tomorrow, the week there after or even what should be done to stay ahead one year from now. So don’t think that life is easy at the very top – it isn’t. If you want to know how it is, it’s not so different from a man wandering in a very big house as he stumbles over furniture in the night – that is how I see it in metaphoric terms. There is even a certain ennui and charioscuro that colors the mood and makes it an unbearable living hell.

You can’t share your problems with others. As people expect you to be confident and knowing. You can’t even be human without running the risk of being labelled a laggard. As everyone expects you to have unlimited reserves of patience, sagacity and wisdom to always be the man of the moment. When in reality all you really are is someone who is wondering – how the fuck did I manage to paint myself into this shitty corner? How am I going to get out of this hole?

Only understand this! When those conditions that I have just described persist, then that man is experiencing a form of purgatory – then what you really have there is the gun powder, ball and flint waiting for the terrible explosion. And all it really takes is the right woman to walk right in – thereafter all bets are off. Anything is possible. Including the very idea that the married man has taken up with another woman.

There is no right or wrong here. Not even morality or for matter what we would normally consider amoral. I have never been totally comfortable with the whole idea of reducing the whole argument of infidelity into a lexicon.

If anything the only thing I see is a sad and desperate man who trying very hard to search for the missing parts in his life. That is really all I see and very little else.

As for sex, that is really always been a red herring.

And when you see it from that perspective. Then every married man can take up with another woman. It could be very well me, you or someone that you even believe would never do such a thing. In my mind, if you haven’t really felt the urge to do such a thing – it doesn’t mean you are somehow a man who has managed to figure out the mysteries of life. Neither does it mean that you have the requisite sagacity, will power and probity of character – it just means you have never ever found your soul wandering in the cold desolation of loneliness….that is all there is to it. Nothing more or less.”

Captured very recently in a secured thread in Phi Beta Kappa.

The Law of the Jungle

January 19, 2013

My philosophy in life can be summed up very simply as: to live and let live. That is to say whenever possible, I will do my level best never to disturb others. And all I hope from others is the same consideration that I am prepared to extend to them.

But there are times when this philosophy doesn’t quite hold.

As some of you may already know. I have recently ventured into the swiftlet harvesting business in a very modest way – I am not even a big time operator (not yet, at least) just a landowner with ONE humble bird house. Even that it seems has attracted the attention of a local Tai Kor who claims to have a vested interest in this industry.

Recently, this Tai Kor even paid me an uninvited visit by trespassing my lands and driving all the way up to the very top of the hill. As if it was his grandfather’s plantation where my house is located. When my servants asked him what was the nature of his business – he even threatened them by growling at them, “don’t you know who I am….open this gate or else.” Something to that effect.

When this Tai Kor stepped out from his Mercedes, he was flanked by four burly men with no necks. He wore a big jade ring and a gold Rolex watch. And when he saw me, he behaved as if he had known me all my life.

The Tai Kor suggested that we take a walk and talk shop. I suggested the Northern road. As it would be more scenic and much safer. He insisted on the Southern. I simply said, “as you wish.” It soon became clear to me that the Tai Kor was here for one purpose. Since he was the self appointed Emperor of his imaginary bird nest empire somewhere in his delusional head – he demanded that I pay him 10% for all the proceeds of my sale.

When I told him that I did not have any problems with such an arrangement providing I knew exactly what I was paying for – he turned knowingly to me and said, “the 10% is to protect your interest. It is for your own good.”

As we walked past the second gate of the Southern side of my lands. I asked me whether I could take some time to think over his offer. I snuffed out my cigarette then. And we resumed our walk towards the third gate some distance away.

The Tai Kor sensed that I was stalling for time. He began to raise his voice intimidatingly. His nostrils began to flare. He turned red and gestured to one of his neckless goons – but as soon as he realized there was no one behind him. No one even following us. Not a soul, except the two of us. His face suddenly dropped and turned ash white. As he looked at me with a mix of bewilderment and fear.

“What happened to my boys?” The Tai Kor stammered. I smiled reassuringly and intimated to him that since the Southern part of my lands are hilly – during the wet season – the tribesmen stay there. He pressed urgently, “where are the tribesmen, I don’t see anyone?” I simply gestured all around us and told him that they were everywhere and suggested that maybe he should be the one paying me 20% of what he is getting for protection. This time my eyes narrowed as they fixed on him like a vice, my features began to harden and my voice began to grow sterner.

That was when the Tai Kor looked at me as if he had seen the sum of all his fears when he exclaimed, “The villagers told me the Devil lives on top of the hill. But I did not listen to them….I did not listen.” And with these words, I nodded sympathetically and put my arms around his shoulders and said, “I understand…I understand completely.”

Darkness 2013

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“If you are a business man who is home grown in Singapore and venturing abroad for the very first time to turn the wheel of life – what you need to be mindful of is not every part of the world is like Singapore.

I think what is important here is to understand that you may not need to learn anything new. As much as to figure out a reliable way to forget many of the things that has managed to encrust themselves in your thinking.

As in Singapore, when there is trouble, all you have to do is pick up the phone and call the police and everything will be sorted out thereafter. Life unfortunately is rarely that straight forward in some countries. It could be the people who are making your life miserable have deep pockets and they even have the local constabulary in their back pocket. It could even be they are so well organized that they are the law. The only law there is that really works, at least. So as a businessman when you are confronted with those sort of brutal realities – you simply need to improvise your own version of crisis management.

But if you want to succeed then, I don’t think it pays to be on the receiving end all the time. You really need to develop the network to give as good as you take – and that is the only way I know how to reliably secure your rights.

As if you do not learn how to protect your business from marauders – then it could be said, you never once truly owned your enterprise. All you really have is the illusion of ownership. That is the brutal facts of life that they don’t teach you in Harvard Business School.

Fortunately, I gathered this invaluable lesson early on in my business life. When I first started life as a planter – not everyone respected me. This is only natural as I was an outsider in the community. An unknown quantity. And that is bound to attract the attention of bad hats who may believe that I am easy pickings – so one day they poisoned all my trees – for one year I did not have any income. I didn’t even send one cent back home to Singapore to my family – these cheap pirates are so cruel that they are even prepared to break my rice bowl so that I would be forced to sell my lands to them. At a cheap price. And from the looks of it, they have done this to many people. And when I was wronged. I did everything by the book just like a honest Joe. I filled up all the forms, made a report etc etc etc. But nothing happened. A big fat nothing!

That was when I realized that I was completely and irrevocably alone – so began to network with the local community. I began to lay down strong foundations to foster trust and the belief that I was a man who they could rely on – and when I had created that solid power base I moved against my enemies – I moved like lightning. They didn’t stand a chance. Today I own their lands. Today no one dares to do one millionth of what I had to once put up with.

But I will never forget. Never. As it was a very very bitter lesson. So fucking bitter. Understand this! What you cannot defend – you never once possessed. Never forget this when the enemy comes knocking on your door! Never.”

 

RSCN1544If it is indeed true that the head of CPIB believes that it is not possible for a girl to buy a guy gifts. Then I would have to seriously question whether CPIB can continue doing a good job.

As I do not believe that medieval view of women these days is accurate nor representative of the true state of affairs between men and women generally. Neither do I believe it that pays for any publicly funded investigative outfit to nurse such sweet illusions concerning the mind of the modern girl these days.

This world view of the modern girl is not only antiquated. It also misleads terribly. And if not corrected can only lead to many people working only to end up in a dead end.

To put it another way, it’s no bloody good as you will end up screwing the wrong hole stupid!

Darkness 2013

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“There is a very big difference between a man and woman. And if you really want to understand why that is so, it is because a woman is hardwired very differently from a man.

A man can give. But he will never give so much that it imperils him. Never. That is because modern man is basically a hunter and so he’s always mindful of managing resources. So to a man giving is not something that comes naturally. Not at all. As there are so many considerations that comes into play.

daughteroftheonemillionhectarelandowner552But a woman is a natural giver. Giving comes to her naturally, it need not be forced. Not at all. Girls are even worse once they are enamored by a man – they will give to the point of cannibalizing their self respect and well being. That is why you will seldom find a serious man these days accepting anything from a girl especially if she is in love with him. As that sort relationship can only lead to some sort of abuse of roles and power – it should never be encouraged as girls are by nature stupid, naive and gullible at that tender and impressionable age.

I really don’t wish to reveal too much about my business. As I am always mindful that whatever I share online can always be used against me one day. But I will say this for the sake of setting the record straight. There have been many instances when I first started in the plantation business where I have encountered great financial difficulties. Most of it was due to a mix of sheer ignorance, lack of experience and my general trusting nature when I first ventured to turn the wheel of life in the business world.

And in almost every single occasion. A woman has stepped in and bailed me out. That is the truth and nothing but the truth. This is why this whole myth that I am a self made man today is really quite a profound source of embarrassment to me. I have never been totally comfortable with that mythology. I can of course choose to conveniently elide it. But I don’t think that would be entirely fair to the people who have helped me. As I would probably have to say myself, girls don’t give a man gifts.

97875In truth nothing can be further from the truth. I will however say this, if it’s a man’s world I don’t believe it would have been possible for me to succeed in the plantation business. I would even go so far as to say that I would have probably wound up my business at least three years back ago. I would even go so far as to say if I was deciding on whether I should give millions of dollars in loans and instruments to myself as a man, I would probably never do it – as all I really see is a bad risk and a even lousier business model.

But these hard nosed calculations will never feature in the mind of a woman. Not if she loves the man. As in her mind, love can always be counted to find a way to magically square the accounts. How might this miraculous accounting feat be actually accomplished is never quite shared by the woman to the man. Never. Till, today it remains a great mystery to me.

Suffice to say, it all ended well for me – I managed to pay off every cent of my debts successfully and today I am 100% debt free. But it’s still a mystery to me.

That if you must know is the defining difference between a man and woman. The latter can give and give and give. While the former can really only take and take and take.

mercedes-benz-s-class-2009That is why Gentlemen if you really want to succeed in business effortlessly – it always pays to mind your manners with a woman. To even spend some time cultivating the gentler, sensitive and humane side of your character. And if possible to develop a natural poise to manage women effectively to bring out the best in them. To even develop a sophisticated, confident and highly polished persona like a well engineered stately Mercedes S class that can just sweep a woman off her feet. 

564As Gentlemen, this is hardly idle chatter that usually occurs in the wet market as it remains the very serious enterprise of carving a strategic imperative on how to best to succeed these days in the business world – as a woman can either make or break you! Don’t believe me. Just take a studied sweep of the business world and see for yourself how many women are in leadership positions. Even in the hermetically sealed macho planters world, you will find increasingly, it’s not a man’s world any longer as it’s slowly and inexorably becoming a woman’s playground. Power is slowly devolving to a small elite of very rich, powerful and influential women.

Increasingly I am finding that if I want to get things done. Or to even go places – it doesn’t pay for me to run around in the jungle any longer. That kind of enterprise may have worked when I first started. But it is now a very sophisticated game where I find myself having to attend charity events and even gracing fashion shows in Beijing, Munich and Paris. As these women movers and shakers of the oil palm world are all hanging out en masse there – so what am I supposed to do? Gentlemen do you see the delimma that we all find ourselves in?

My point is if we don’t learn how to get up to speed on the Tao of George Clooney fast and instead choose to bury our heads like ostrichs by just sitting in our estates polishing our guns everyday and playing with our Rotweillers. We will all perish Gentlemen. We will all lose this game! I can more or less guarantee it 100%! We have to change with the times!

Understand this! Very few men know this. They are still living under the old illusion, its still a man’s world. Nothing can be further from the truth.

As women today have already aspired to the highest level of the business world and they are really an emerging force to be reckoned with. Today Gentlemen, you know something strategic and valuable and life changing that you didn’t know yesterday.

That is why many people don’t realize why it is so important these days to treat a woman well and to always give her the impression that you are a true gentlemen.

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RSCN1544The question in everyone’s mind really boils down to one issue. That is, what is the motivation of the parties involved.

Having said that, trying to fathom the intentions of the parties has to be at best an enterprise that is fraught with hits and misses – we can certainly speculate. But that is all we can really do.

What we do know however is the Prof of law occupies a position of power where he is able to influence the decision of these young ladies at so many levels. So to even sleep with them in my view has to be wrong at so many levels that I really don’t believe the intention of the parties here are even material any longer.

My point is it’s even conceivable that the law Prof owes a duty of care to his employer, peers and his charges to keep his dick in his trousers under every conceivable circumstances known to mankind – love in my view cannot be a defense or even a mitigating reason. As what we are dealing with here is a bunch of very young ladies who really have zero life experience and even less worldly knowledge to make an informed decision. To me these ladies are really just one rung above kids.

Besides every man knows or should know, all girls (that is what they should rightly be called girls and not women) are naturally stupid and cannot be taken seriously at that young and impressionable age. They will always feel and even do things that don’t make an ounce of sense to themselves or even others. Decisions that they may even come to regret later on in their lives. Hence buying the man they love things that they can hardly afford. Or throwing themselves at him. To me this is a very natural condition of a young woman who is in love these days with an older man.

However Gentlemen at the risk of coming across as fuzzy, I need to stress one thing clearly that I have observed in the last five years. Young women these days are entirely different from their predecessors.

While in the past, it was relatively easy to neutralize the misplaced affections of a young girl. All you have to do when she declares her love to you, is to look her squarely in the eyes and tell her in a calm and clear voice, “I am so sorry to mislead you, but I have no intentions to fuck you.” Before this woman will probably runaway and cry a couple buckets and after she has cried enough, her senses will return back again. Just like pressing the reset button lah!

But these days, it is not so easy to rebuff the advances of a young determined woman. Apparently the rules of engagement has altered so dramatically that women these days no longer just run away when a man turns them down – some may even decide to stay and even ask non chalantly, “please don’t be emotional. Now, why don’t you want to fuck me?” Then there are those who may even feel the need to press their point intellectually to ask of their men, “I am sorry, but I really don’t believe you have really thought through the matter thoroughly yet – can you please kindly provide me ten good reasons why you don’t want to fuck me?”

Gentlemen, my point is the world has changed irrevocably! And so it seems has the simple mind of the young modern woman as well. In truth with the advent of the digital age, young women these days are so bold as to be completely different from their predecessors – these days exchanging bodily fluids doesn’t seem to be such a big deal it seems.

Even so what remains incomprehensible to me in this case is how this Law Prof thought he could do what he was doing with these young women under his charge without ever running aground. When one considers his actions carefully, that has to childish, irresponsible and unrealistic.

He should not waste everyone’s time and try to defend the indefensible. Already one foolish young girl’s life has been ruined. If this circus goes on longer – more revelations will have to come out and more lives will just be destroyed.

All because this man who is supposed to be so imminently qualified and intelligent can’t even seem to differentiate reality from fiction.

That has to be very sad.

Darkness 2013

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“The Cantonese have a saying, lor tak hei, fond tak lok – what this means is, what I can pick up, I will also put down. And if you look at the life of a man – that is really all he does. Between the ages of 20 to 30. The man will begin to experiment with everything under the sun. By 30 to 40. You will probably find that he has begun to put down many things and also pick up other new things. But what you will certainly notice is that he will not be doing what he once did when he was 20 or 25 years any longer. As those pursuits have really lost their allure. As this man is now living another stage of life, where he is perhaps now a family man. So from 40 to 50 this man will begin to carve a name for himself in business. This is really the zenith of his career. As around that age, he’s already well known in his industry. People know enough about him. He doesn’t need to prove himself. He can even ride on his charisma and confidence to get whatever he wants.

But even at this level to play this game well. A man should at least play the role of the family man. As by then his kids would have already begun to start their journey into manhood and womanhood. So if this man is still obsessed with chasing skirts or doing really childish things like jumping off ledges on his mountain bike to prove how macho he is – then in my opinion, this man has simply lost the whole plot of how to live a purpose driven life.

My point Gentlemen is when you are in your thirties. You should not be doing what you did when you were in your twenties. And when you are in your forties who should never be doing what you did in your twenties and thirties. And when you are in your fifties, you should never be obsessed with what used to intrigue you in your forties or thirties any more.

This from what I understand is what it really means when the Cantonese say, “lor tak hei, font tak lok.” It is just another way of saying that a man throughout his whole life must learn how to put down the many things he was fond of gracefully discard and to focus on what is really important at every stage of life that he comes too. That is all this means gentlemen.

Only remember this is not an easy thing to do. Some people for instance cannot even set down power. They will cling to it with such determination that even if they past on – they will still hold it with a death grip. Neither can some people step outside the discomfort of their own skin either to put down many of their delusions and ego. So don’t for one moment think this is easy to pull off. It isn’t. As many people cannot do it. Not even Kuan Yew!

That at least is how I have always seen the whole idea of the journey of life. Not as one long stretched out continuance, but a series of putting down and taking up new things at different stages in a man’s life. The alternative to this philosophy is this foolish man leads a life where he keeps chasing the same thing from twenty to the day he expires – in which case all he can really manage to do is reduce the whole of his life into a caricature. I really cannot think of anything sadder than this.

As no serious man can ever take such a man seriously no matter how intelligent or well educated he is – as when a man has got his life philosophy so twisted up in knots, he’s his worst enemy.”

The Piano

January 16, 2013

There used to be an old German piano that I once bought for $100 in the school bazaar. One of my hobbies is bringing back to life old and broken things. You could even say, I have always been good with my hands. 

Though, it has taken me nearly two years and a bit to restore it back to it’s original glory – this afternoon since all the kids and teachers were all out on a school trip – the headmaster suggested that it would be “the perfect opportunity” to bring back the piano – which I did with the much needed help of ten strapping farmhands.

This was after all the grand plan. To fix it and return it to where it rightly belongs.

Before leaving. I felt a strange compulsion to play it just once to hear how it sounds in this airy setting of an empty school hall – I choose Debussy. As I knew it to be acoustically neutral, if not sympathetic to my lack as a hum bug pianist. It sounded just about right I reckoned – as my fingers began to fleet through the keys lightly and soon I was swept away into that all too familiar mood of introspection – the world in the mind’s eye.

Music has always been my one refuge – sanctuary – temple of life. It’s really my one unalloyed means of escaping the crushing loneliness that seems to linger just enough to make me feel marooned in my own skull.

Music for the beautiful stillness that soothes the battered soul. Music that always carries me back like a magic carpet to my family in Singapore in a single swoop and soon the smiling faces of my children and wife begin to fill up the empty spaces in my heart. I see them gathering around the piano – my kids are making funny faces. My wife is still and beside me. She is always so very still like a lone orchid after the rains, whenever I play this miniature piece – she smiles at me knowingly. I know all this is conjured by the mind as it drowns in this sea of sound – but who is to say what real and what isn’t.

For as long as the music goes on and a man is lucky enough to be able to lose himself somewhere in this geography of the floating world of music – then surely he must have by some miracle wordsmithed his own version of reality that he can certainly call his own. And even live in.

As I played on, the perpetual windmills in my head along with all my business problems melted away like lemon drops. The only thing that existed then was music and being in the moment. Being within each moment so deeply that one second can even feel like an eternity. Everything else simply doesn’t exist any longer.

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After finishing. I noticed from the corner of my eye, the school teacher standing by the wall in the far corner. I smiled at her and suddenly a wave of embarrassment swept over me. I did not know whether it might have been the idea that she had spied on me just then on what I can only describe as an “intensely private” moment. Or maybe it just the sense of guilt that comes from having been caught red handed smoking again in school. It was not clear.

A meditative lunch

January 15, 2013

RSCN1544Today I popped in for a quick lunch in a local restaraunt. As usual I dined alone in a discreetly screened corner that is always reserved for only me.

Not very long thereafter the world’s most beautiful school teacher and her friends waltzed in – not that I needed to look up to know all this. They’re after a noisy lot.

Since I had resigned myself that day to never look up for whatever reasons that still remains unknown to me even as I write this – I just wanted to eat my food a
nd mind my own business – not to look up, not even if a flying saucer suddenly and unexpectedly landed in the car park – not even if a crazed man walked in with a sawn off shot gun – reading and eating was the only thing that really mattered to me – reading material could well have been an instructional manual on how to overhaul a tractor or even some old forgotten copy of the reader’s digest – didn’t even matter if I had turned a dozen pages without even taking in a single word of what I had just read. The only thing that mattered was not to look up.

I reminded myself I have an important mission to perform and nothing is ever going to get in the way and muck it up. I have already decided. I will not allow her to distract me again. Besides, who the hell does she think she is?

From where I sat. I could just about make out the school teacher’s voice. She was two tables away I reckon. Through out lunch, I seemed to be able to hear with uncanny keenest all the voices and footsteps around me. 

At one point, from the rise and fall her voice I sensed her drawing nearer and nearer to my table. I did not look up. And just when I thought her voice had grown fainter only to be drowned in the sea of other voices – suddenly a calm and clear voice asked whether I could take her home. It was my tormentor, the school teacher.</span

That was when I looked up and said to her, “if you like.”

Darkness 2013

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Last night I dreamt of running in tall green grass fields again. There was sound this time. I was dressed as a soldier this time. I remember this place. This time. Many years ago I fought a war. A secret war that no one ever speaks about. A war that they told us never to speak of. A war that was crushed and forgotten by time. I remembered the Cambodian sun and how they criss crossed like searching fingers of light through the poppy fields. I remembered the faint sound of jets and mortar fire screaming over head and the smell of cordite.

I remembered taking off my helmet, dropping my sub machine gun and running as fast as my legs could carry me towards the helicopter.

I said to myself, “please don’t leave me behind! Wait for me! Please wait.” I felt the wind against my cheeks. The biting cold drops of rain against my eyelids. I just ran and ran as fast as my legs could carry me. 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 all I could really see was the school teacher’s face – there she was kneeling before me cradling her head as I slowly tried to tell her that I am on an important mission – I can’t fail. I can’t fail. I can’t fail. I can’t fail. I can’t fail…there are so many people who depend me….I need to come through for them. I wanted her to know that I was sorry to leave my men behind. I wanted to tell her that we were out numbered. Maybe 50 to 1. There was nothing I could do as my men were cut down one by one. I wanted her to forgive me. But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to get the words to form up right and all the while she just looked at me with a baffled and sad expression as I slowly slipped away.

What does this all mean?

RSCN1544The general elections seems to be heating up in the countryside in earnest. The roads are perpetually lined with flags and streamers from so many political parties that I can hardly even keep track who is running for which constituency. It’s harder to keep track on who stands for what. A continuous swirl of color, voices and claps followed by round after round of cholesterol ridden food – served up fast and furious.

I have been invited to attend one kenduri (makan) after another. The only reason why I feel the need to be part of this caper is simply because I don’t want to cause offense or marginalize any quarter – I tell myself. I must be seen to supporting everyone and no one.

But in all honesty even I am slightly jaded by this endless procession of eating, listening to speeches and back door horse trading with politicians who seem to be able to promise everything short of transmuting lead to gold. Maybe if I stay for another drum stick, they may just decide to give that a go – I tell myself as I prepare to go off for yet another dinner, luncheon and another round of smiling and kissing babies that always seem to be ready to puke over my bush jacket.

To be perfectly frank. My attitude towards politicians can at best be described in polite terms as respectfully bochap (ambivalent). In truth, I really don’t care which party they are from. I care even less who actually wins! I care immeasurably less about what philosophy or goals they may all even subscribe too. And I care so very little as to how they may even wish to past from the realm of theory to reality to fashion their crooked version of utopia.

All I really want to do is to live and let live, the best I can.

As I am not so naive to believe there is such a big difference between the politicians in power and those who are trying to get into power. It doesn’t even matter whether its in Malaysia, North Korea, Timbuktu or even in Punggol. Politicians are all the same no matter where they are.

They all only seem to gravitate towards one thing – power and means to monopolize the source of that power by whatever means possible, including contorting exaggerating and embellishing the whole sale truth.

You can even debate for ten straight hours with a panel of experts who all have an IQ of 200 and above. But at the end of the day – that one reality of power and politics will always ring true time and again. It really just boils down to that one goal. And very little else. Any politicians who tells you otherwise is just trying to sell you and I bottle Himalayan air – false hope.

In my mind. Politics has to be just one big giant con job.

As I dress up to attend another luncheon. I take my knife. Its always razor sharp. I cut my hand. Blood comes out. I look at it as it drips into the sink momentarily. I tell the man in the mirror this is the only line of reality there really is in all this. I tell him in this one single act that it will remind him that there are politicians and there will always be politicians.

And he should always be mindful of which is which least he finds himself standing in a very cold and desolate place.

I tell this man to be clear, precise and accurate in the way he handles these snakes. I tell this man to smile when he feels like narrowing his eyes. I tell this man to pretend to be engaged and interested when all he really wants to do is take off his hot bush jacket and jump into a lake for a cool dip. I tell this proud man in the mirror he cannot be himself and should instead settle to be a hypocrite. Besides it will all be over in a flash.

Suddenly I see the world’s most beautiful school teacher appearing right before me again and all I see now in the mirror is a man who knows only too well why he can never allow the world to see what is in his mind.

Darkness 2013

Invitation to North Korea

January 14, 2013

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My dream has come true apparently. I’ve been officially invited to join a trade entourage to North Korea to “explore business” opportunities. Which is very odd. As I never once expressed such an interest. I really don’t know whether these people who have made me this offer represent any official institution that is part of the North Korean hegemony.

They seem quite evasive whenever I press for further details. But from what I am able to make out from my end – these people who have extended me this kind once in a life time invitation also happen to be play our online games for years.

It is generally an open secret that the current elite (especially their children) are addicted to our online games. So this doesn’t surprise me in the least. As through the years, I have made so many friends, contacts and associates from the gaming scene that it’s one of my most reliable means of networking and enlarging my sphere of influence.

There is only one thing strange about this offer….they were all quite insistent that I should wear my bush jacket when I am in North Korea. The other odd detail was they were quite insistent that I stick to my gaming moniker….. Darkness. Even for official introductions. Now, I don’t know about you. But I really find this the mother of all strangeness.

Nonetheless, I am going with the flow.

Darkness 2013

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“No matter how you choose to see it. The Qi Pao has to be a very intimidating and disturbing way to dress up the Chinese female form. And that’s because it has the power to disturb and intimidate at so many levels – to me, when a Chinese woman wears a Qi Pao, it’s the ultimate form of power dressing in the Chinese context.

As not only does it attract the attention of men who are naturally drawn to its elegant curves and suggestive lines.

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But if you take the trouble to observe very closely when a woman wears a Qi Pao – other women will also instinctively look her up and down as well. They will even talk behind her back as she sashays by – they may gossip about whether she has the carriage to do justice to such a dress. So as you can see for yourself – the Qi Pao also seems to have plenty of power to provoke women as well to act and behave strangely whenever they see another woman wearing it.

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And why should that be? I really don’t know.

That is why I believe it is so rare to see a woman wearing a cheong sam these days. If the Qi Pao did not have to the power to provoke and disturb – then I think it will probably be as common as T- shirts and tank tops. Everyone would probably be wearing it.

That is also why in all my love stories – the heroine always wears a cheong sam. I really can’t visualize her wearing anything else really.”

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Darkness 2013

Excerpt from a recent interview of the latest book launch entitle the Pavillion by the Lake – The Brotherhood Press 2013

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2013 New Bird Nest Venture

January 13, 2013

RSCN1544I ventured into the (Swiftlet) birdnest harvesting last year. The goal then was to diversify into alternative streams of businesses besides palm oil to hedge against the risk of single crop dependence.

During the oil palm boom many plantation owners asked me why would I even want to dabble with other streams of business – as the price of palm oil was trading at an all time historical high. As a rule, I have always subscribed to the belief,

“When at peace, plan for war. When at war. Plan for peace.”

That’s really just a very complicated way of saying – I have never really trusted the idea that the good times can last forever. I trust even less the vagaries of the market or for that matter the capricious wimps and fancies of governments – when the going is good – that’s just an opportunity to set aside a sum to diversify into other streams of business besides palm oil which is my core business.

Now that the price of palm oil is depressed. My hope is this new business will be able to generate alternative streams of revenue and opportunities. I really still need to sit down and go through the spreadsheet with my accountant to get a proper handle on the potential of the international bird nest market

As for those plantation owners who didn’t see the wisdom of venturing into this line of business – they are trying to play catch up now. But it’s already too late – I have already snapped up all the land here last year that is ideal for bird nest harvesting. Now that oil palm land is soft, these lands have shot up by 300%! Last year during the dry season – I covered close to 500 square kilometers just on my mountain bike and camping out in the field to survey the flight path of the swiflets – from start to finish it took me nearly six months.

From the looks of it – the new bird house in my plantation seems to be doing a roaring business with the birds. Now I just need to make the right connections with a couple of PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwanese traders to create a supply chain network of how to distribute my produce at the best price.  

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I am 100% new to this business – have absolutely zero experience in birdnest harvesting. But I don’t see this as a drawback. As I bring a new perspective and absolutely no baggages or assumptions into this industry. This will be a new opportunity that will certainly stretch – as while I am very confident with dealing with the Middle East and European markets. I really have limited experience in the Asia Pacific region. I am sure that if I set aside two weeks and circulate long enough in Hong Kong and Shanghai, I will be able to pick up the ropes of how to trade in this lucrative delicacy in a jiffy – I see great potential in this new line of business as there is really so much scope for improvisation and experimentation.It’s also a great opportunity for Singaporean based businesses to piggy bag on what I have already established here.

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My long term plan is use my current bird house to build core competencies in scientific methods to farm sustainably. Once a database has been created to joint venture with specialist to create both software and hardware e.g acoustic sound cards to manufacture and market a comprehensive bird house management software. I must make a note to drop by and see Mr Sim of Creative) – already believe or not, I working with a group of gamers in Hong Kong who have managed to retrofit an old gaming program to run my temp control plus chilled and hot water network. The grand master plan would be to go for a mix of 40% consultancy services and 60% harvesting, packaging and distribution – the end point would be a series of interlinked birdhouses with a processing plant to package finished products for the export market.

I will have to take some time off (I will make the time) next week (I have been delaying this for months) to really sit down and talk to some leaders in this industry – along with taking the time to scale how far I can really go with this enterprise. For the time being I am happy like cock that my first foray into this business seems to have kicked off smoothly. I was a bit worried. But now that I can see my feathered friends taking to this new building as their home. I feel very hopeful.

I thank the trees and the birds. They have been too kind to me.

Darkness 2013 

Today I stood on the hill facing the Eastern side of my lands and looked out as they winds began to slowly change direction – I had sensed it the whole week. The way my teeth seems to stand on edge all the time as if I am sucking on a battery. Even my little feathered friends the yellow beak finches stirred restlessly. As for the swiflets, they circled higher than usual throughout that week. This is what happens just before the winds change direction – you’re not aware of it as you do not make your living from the land – I am aware of every detail of this change. The slight hollowing in the air that seems to still everything. Not a wind. Not even so much as a breeze. The during. When the winds will curl into tight spirals and make the palm dance like a belly dancer. The after when it grows still again followed by longer, hotter and dryer days- as it is the end of the Monsoon.

Only those who turn the wheel of life through the good land can tell you all these things and much more. The day, the winds changed direction.

Missy Dotty Happy Birthday

January 12, 2013

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“My memories of Missy Dotty will always be somewhat surreal. Vanilla sky even. As we always seem to met only at very strange hours in the unlikeliest of places- during my solo mountainbiking rides in Bukit Timah early in the morning. Midnight rides from East Coast to Changi Village. During the end of book sales when only the last linger restlessly…in search.

I think the strangest time we ever met was at four in the morning at Bedok Jetty during the time when they still had those retro green steel hollow pipe railings – many people don’t know about this. So this is really a bit of urban legend that I am sharing with you now about Singapore.

There are only two periods in a year when the winds will suddenly shift. These times coincide with the migratory pattern of birds as they prepare to cross the Straits into the Indian ocean as they prepare their marathon flight to Africa – before the winds change, they will pick up for days – as the warm front from Australasia continues to collide with colder front that streams down the Himalayas this produces a mistral wind that blows for days. When that happens in between the hour of three and four in the morning – Bedok jetty will just explode into an ear shattering tubular ochestra – every steel pipe railing comes alive – it’s a sonic experience that is completely out of this world- just imagine no one knows about this except me and Dotty in this whole planet – that’s to say there are really only two people who know about this phenomenon and who have actually experience it – the before, during and after – a thousand faraway winds suddenly finding a voice in those humble and unlikely steel pipe railings by a jetty – what’s the chances of anyone these days finding a moment like that again – where you can even posses that moment and feel its weight in your hand like a ripe succulent fruit.

When the National Parks Board ripped out those steel railings and replaced them with non rustable grade alluminium railings – Dotty cried for days – when I asked, she only said, “It was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever heard.” She was holding back….something. That much I know. There was more to it. I remember consoling her telling her that we could still see the birds. So every year we would met at this unearthly hour in Bedok jetty – after that, we would talk for hours. But most of the time we just looked out to sea, each lost in our own thoughts.

When I left without saying good bye to everyone. Dotty married Dan the dentist – that year I came back to Singapore. I wanted to tell Dotty she was right all along – it didn’t have to take me ten years to make my fortune. I wanted to see her. I wanted to tell her the good news – that I had turned the tightest corner and it was easy street from here onwards. I wanted to tell her she was right all along – things would finally turn out well. They did, they flowed sweet and clear. I waited at Bedok jetty just around the time when the winds changed to tell her all these things. I waited in the rain. I waited against the relentless wind. I even waited with the moon. I waited for hours. I waited. But she did not come.

After that I never went back to Bedok Jetty again. I have not returned to Singapore since then, it’s been nearly three years now.”

Darkness 2013

It is a restless moment.
She has kept her head lowered,
to give him a chance to come closer.
But he could not, for lack of courage.
She turns and walks away.

That era has passed.
Nothing that belonged to it exists any more.

He remembers those vanished years.
As though looking through a dusty window pane,
the past is something he could see, but not touch.
And everything he sees is blurred and indistinct.

RSCN1544These people only know one way how to grow the economy. What is the cost to our way of life is something they don’t seem to even give two hoots about. I happen to believe in the future more professional jobs will be systematically hollowed out in the name of global competitiveness. If you are a professional, middle class and a family man. My advice to you is to stop what you are doing and simply look at what is happening all around you. Do not rely on the propagandist ST to beacon out of the murk – look very carefully at what is happening to you, you loved ones and your friends. Really look around you. Take the trouble to stop even time and just lean back into your chair and just really look….listen deeply…..and think….. at what is happening around you as each day goes by – yes, you are beginning to sense it too…it’s always been there like a lingering thought – something is not right is it?

I will be brief start planning to get out now before it becomes a pressure cooker. Start working on your plan B. Do it now! Don’t procrastinate. Let me share with you my friend how I did it 5 years ago. Buy a really expensive top of the line moleskin diary – make sure its a big one with plenty of blank pages – first page just write, plan B – feel those words as it passes through you and through the writing instrument to finally ooze out as words – feel and remember the honesty in which you derive so much pleasure from that one act.

You will need to do this. To undertake a shift in your mind in the way a man somersaults through the air. As things are already very serious – we may have already reached the end point when governments simply cannot be either believed or trusted any longer. All that a man can really do these days is to rely on himself to make a better tomorrow for his family. It all boils down to this one man who is probably marooned in his own skull – with probably a few imaginary friends. This man who knows that he needs to fashion a small craft in so short a time and with so little knowledge and materials – but this man must do it nonetheless as when you strip this man naked. He’s really a family man. The man who can always be counted to deliver a better tomorrow for his loved ones. So he has to find a way out. It’s hardly a matter of choice now. It’s now his new destiny. As for governments what they have to say about the future matters so very little to me these days.

That is my opinion…at least. My truthful opinion of how bad things have become…I hope this helps.

Darkness 2013

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“Five years ago when I first told people that things will increasingly get harder and harder for the middle class in Singapore. No one believed me. They all said that guy is crazy.

Today no one calls me crazy any longer. They simply refer to me is that guy who called a spade a spade. That’s why I think, if you happen to be a family man, middle class and professional- you really need to cultivate the attitude of seeing the unfurling world as a captain of your own ship. You really need to take the trouble and look over the horizon with your own eyes and see for yourself whether there are any dark clouds looming ahead and make the necessary corrections – if you don’t then what these cheap pirates are simply going to tell you one day-

“Sorry, it’s not our fault that you have lost out in the game of life. You are simply not competitive.”

I will never allow any man to say that of me – Never! I think as a man you simply have to take responsibility for the welfare of your family and not trust blindly or to believe that others claim to know best – that simply means you can’t simply automatically trust any Tom, Dick or Harry that just appears on TV and tells you that everything is going to be hunky dory – don’t worry, just be happy.

I really don’t care what political party they are from – my point is, no one can just be trusted. Only the facts should really count. Not even me. All you can really do is trust your own judgement, research and planning for your great escape – that if you must know is all you can really do as a family man. It’s all in your hands. That if you must know is the only real power you have to carve a better tomorrow for yourself and those who you love.

I hope you make it to the other side – I hope the wind is with you always. As this is something that only you can do yourself. No one can help you. All we can really do is chain smoke and wait for you on the other side with hot Milo and some warm blankets.

I am so sorry I cannot do more. If I was richer I could. But I cannot. I must tell you – one man to another – I am sorry.”

Captured somewhere in a thread entitled, “foreign lawyers: salvation or perdition?” in Ekunaba secured thread 395700

Cars and the jungle get along as well as cats and dogs in a tin box – usually the jungle wins. During the rainy season cars have it especially tough as moisture seems to get into every nook and cranny fouling out performance – in the dry season, the dust clogs up even the best filters, requiring us often to fabricate our own heavy duty filter for not only the air intake, but also for the fuel transmission lines. Recently two of our cars were swept away by flash floods and ended up impersonating submarines. This is what we had to do.

What you are looking at is the dashboard where the steering wheel used to be – all this had to be stripped down and dried out. Some of the electronics had to be rewired and even re-routed. Fortunately nothing was damaged. So we were able to put it all back without too much fuss.

In no time, we are up and running again. Thanks to the Guildsmen.

Darkness 2013

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“When you are forced to operate in very harsh conditions in the field. The first thing you learn is the importance of superglue, duct tape and rubber bands – as it is never how good your kit is – but rather how dedicated you are in keeping it in tip top running condition.

I think a woman is not so different from a car that needs to transverse across hostile terrain. You can have a very fine woman, but if you do not know how to service her, she will definitely go wonky and out of synch and probably malfunction and go crazy on you.

Even if you have a woman who is not so fine, but providing you know how to service her – then she can only get better with the years. As you know how to service her and bring out the very best aspects of her character.

I happen to believe cars and women have alot in common – and usually if you look at a successful businessman – he is really only doing one thing. Going where no mimd dares to go! If people say u cannot make money there. This man will make a profitable business out of nothing.

So to me there is a high level of similarity between cars and women. As when you are deep in the jungle you can’t just call the AA when something goes wrong – if your engine dies on you – you probably have to radio for a USD$5,000 per hour heavy lift helicopter to fish you out of trouble – but sometimes, there is no support, there is just your team, your car and the long uncertain road before you.

That incidentally is also how it is in the long journey in life with a man and woman – there are times, when they can only rely on each other to see them through a challenge – it could be dealing with a financial crisis, battling illness in a family, facing the challenge of juggling work and parenthood or raising a troubled child. Under those difficult conditions, a man must know his woman like his car – he must know when to push her hard and when to hold back and even when to shut off the engine and sayang (love) her. Above all he must know how to service his woman along with his car to keep both of them humming happily so that his mind is always at peace and he can dedicate himself to turning the wheel of life perfectly.

A finicky car just like a siaow charbor (mad woman) who can only rob a man of peace of mind and harmony and distract him from his life mission – if this man does not bother to learn the wisdom of regularly servicing the things that needs a quick turn of the wrench from time to time, then the car or woman will probably explode like a neglected gear box one day and he may end up dead in the bottom of a ravine – worst still strangers will come along and start servicing the things that belong to you – I think, the analogy of a woman resembling a car. Or a car bearing similarities with a woman is a very apt microcosm of what it means to have a symbiotic relationship. As when you look at the mind of a woman, it is not so different from peering into the mess of wires and co-axial cables and you really don’t know where to get a handle on this chaos – but nonetheless, you have to be patient and work through the mess to find some sort of resolution – with this new attitude complete UNDERSTANDING of a thing can only come to you. To me there is nothing as satisfying as watching a man who knows exactly what he is doing – it may be planting, hunting, car maintenance or just tending his family – but if it is done well; then it is really a not so different from La Dolce Vita – life will mirror art Gentlemen – like the tea ceremony; every action is purposeful, there is no fidgeting or hit or misses – it’s done right the first time, no corrections, no reworking needed. It’s right the first time. Every action is purposeful – the right tools are brought in for the job, the right pressure is applied along with the right number of strokes to complete the job like a highly trained professional – everything is meticolously taken apart, stripped down and cleaned and put back the way the manufacturer or mother nature intended it and it is done without too much fuss – this is what I call a no nonsense attitude towards preventive maintenance – women should be regularly serviced in the same manner.

I realize this is a sensitive subject amongst married men, but let us be honest, one doesn’t really have a choice but to speak about it – so it’s best to be professional when it comes to servicing cars and women.

As if a man fails to service the things that need servicing, then there is always be disharmony with either his car or in his household and since he cannot trust either his car or wife; there is no way for man to be united with either machine or woman – and the worst part is since the man does not know how to service things – he can never aspire to bring out the best in either his car or his woman – he will always have to live with the capricious nature of an unknown quantity in the form of a finecky car or woman who will always hold him to ransom – when that happens then this poor man has to choice but to abandon his car or wife and settle for walking. And walking is no good, as you cannot go very far – research and study this well. As it applies to most things in life. Especially the harmony of a household.”

Extracted from the Way of the Farmer – proudly brought to you by the Brotherhood Press 2013

RSCN1544Every married man believes it will never happen to him. Wayward men who succumb to the temptation of the flesh – they’re always someone else’s problem, it cannot possibly happen to you – as you know vaguely that you can always be counted to keep your dick in your trousers, that you are the only person in the world to whom none of these things will ever happen too, and then, one by one, they all begin to happen to you, in the same way they happen to most married who think it will never happen to them.

I find myself standing before a black board in the village Chinese school on a sweltering afternoon – the headmaster gave me a call urgently requesting me to drop by and tutor the teachers on the new math syllabus that has just been rolled out by the ministry of education – apparently, no one seems to be able to make head or tail out of it, not even the math teacher. They called as they know the farmer who lives on top of the hill is an mathematician – my chalk keeps snapping off whenever I try to write on the blackboard – the class break out into a chorus of giggles whenever that happens.

I ignore them and try my best to keep a business like bearing. But it’s so difficult as she keeps looking at me with those searching eyes – I avoid looking at her and instead fix my eye on an two metric ton eager beaver who is seated in the first row – she likes to ask questions and I oblige her. Till of course, they ask her to ask me: who irons my clothes as there is a iron burn on my back. The whole class laughs again. I do the same embarrassingly – this time looking at her as she leans back into the chair languidly sucking on her pen.

It just occurred to me then that there has rarely been a moment during the long journey in life, when I have been separated from a woman for so long – how many infatuations and crushes has there been, how many liaisons and pursuits, how many deliriums and maddening surges of desire? From the very start of my conscious life, I’ve never really bothered to keep count – except perhaps now. I have been without a woman for exactly 5 years, 2 months, 16 days and 18 hours and 21 minutes.

I rush to toilet to splash some water on my face. God it’s hot. I look at my watch. I still have a full hour before this torture ends. I dread to return back to the class. How dare they behave in this manner – don’t they know who I am!

I should I have just made some simple excuse that I wasn’t free instead of coming over – it was a mistake – I kick myself and look at the mirror again – suddenly I find a stranger with a blank expression staring back. He’s wearing a khaki open neck field shirt. The sort I usually wear when I am out in the field – I can just about make out this man is a farmer – his skin is tanned and features are hard like stone. I tell myself, “maybe he needs a woman in his life…that should sort him out.” then I see his scars, particularly the ones that no one ever sees. I seldom think about them, but whenever I do, I understand that these assorted lines faintly etched into the skin of this man’s face are sentences that tells the story of who I really am, for each scar is an unexpected collision with the world — to put it another way, a clash, or something that just went terribly wrong, since by definition an accident is something that should never have happened at all. I wondered to myself how long and deep does this scar run?

Suddenly I see the school teacher in the mirror – she is standing by door way of the men’s – she’s wearing a cheong sam. She knows I like it when she wears a cheong sam, it’s written all over her slutty face – and she is just looking at me. I ignore her and struggled deep within me to keep my balance and suddenly that afternoon becomes a hot blur of white, swirling fire. I feel hot and all I want to do is splash water on my face again.

One more hour and it will be finished…

Darkness 2013

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pizap_com10_474855979904532431357370091558When I saw the face of the daughter of the one million hectare landowner that afternoon as she stepped out of the helicopter, that had just landed in my plantation. I realized that there was no such thing as a beautiful or ugly or even a fat, short, dumpty etc etc woman. It’s just one mass of womanhood. As in truth all women carry in their heads several women inside them, and most of the time they switch from one self to another without ever knowing who they really are – there are times, woman’s epiphany strikes and wham and bang! A really stunning beauty walks right out of her head and just stays long enough to catch a man’s attention.

That day as the 47 year old daughter of the one million hectare landowner strolled towards me languidly like a graceful panther. She was that woman. I knew it the moment, she placed her pristine gloved finger on my chest and gasped looking at me searchingly with her clear liquid eyes – she wanted me to know then, she was a woman who knew who she was. The clarity of her self-assurance was spell blinding –  the way she had flashed her eyes at me just then reminded me how little I know of women like her. How far I have suddenly found myself in the deep end – so deep that when I look down all I see is darkness. Women who seem to run so deep that they even have the capacity to disturb, hurt and tear a man into a thousand pieces, pulverize their bones into ashes and throw them all against the winds of hopes by just the mere act of living. Breathing. Walking. Goodness gracious me!

Women who can reduce a man to nothingness where he finds himself suddenly all alone on a cold ledge nursing his humble courage. Asking himself again and again – will I make it back? That was how she looked. That was the effect she had on me – as she spun around gaily and walked ahead of me towards the plantation house – the roundness of her hips that only comes with age was like sweet and succulent fruit to my eyes. I wanted run my fingers. My dirty soiled fingers across that creamy sea of silk – she sashayed ahead of me. I followed. I even liked the way she smells – amber, lavender and heather finished off with a mysterious hint of moss wood.

No….she was not here for revenge. She was not even here to gloat. Not even to recapture some lost moment from the past in the way the old often shed tears for no reason whenever they hear a tune. No, there was something much more purposeful and noble in her mission –  and it was this heady mix of nobility and purpose that suffused her throughout that day and into the creamy plantation night in a beautiful bluish white light. As I walked her to the plantation house – even as we spoke, the bluish white light that touched me just then – seem almost to pulse around me like a dance of fireflies that shined into a darkened cavern in my heart.

Throughout our candle lit dinner in the verandah – I began to grow aware of the faint taste of mortality in my mouth – I began to wonder whether it might have anything to do with this reincarnated woman who now sat before me radiating her extraordinary beauty with such a terrible force that even pierced me like a hail of arrows whenever I looked at her – her eyes, the way, they glistened in sweet repose that only older seem to always have – the way, the corner of her lips loosens just enough that makes her so incredibly attractive – a type of look that young girls never seem to be able to carry no matter how much lip gloss they use –  at that moment I began to regret that I was not going to live for very long – and the looming duel with Max began to slowly reappear in my mind’s eye.

The daughter of the one million hectare landowner may have taken a long time to come to her senses – but there was no doubt the woman suffused in the bluish white light who sat before me as she sipped Pinot, without the slightest flicker of a doubt, was a woman who understood that her life was truly her own that evening, that it belonged to her and no one else.

Such a woman had to be beautiful. As the essence of her true beauty is born from strife – suddenly, her features become so beautiful to me. Her faint crows feet, the slight drop of her chin – all these suddenly transcended the banality of the world of lust into some transcendental realm – a supernatural realm where I began to slowly realize that transformational change in her could only have been born from some great despair that becomes so great, so crushing, so catastrophic, that she had no choice but to find a way to be liberated from it – by recreating her present self – The Woman of Purpose.

Whose purpose that night was to be the woman she always meant to be. That night after dinner as I played my violin as she curled up on the sofa nursing a brandy – I could see so very clearly the completeness of her beauty – it showed in the expression she wore as I played through the night. Her eyes reflecting clearly the measure of her resolve in the way she she suddenly looked at me and began to undo the button of her high collar Cheong Sam….as I looked at her…I realized she didn’t even feel betrayed – she was not even out to hurt me – if anything perfect understanding was reflected in her eyes – it was all a matter of missed connections, bad timing, blundering and knocking over furniture in the dark – we were just in the right place at the wrong time, the wrong place at the right time, always just missing chances and opportunity, always just missing by a hair’s breadth. Always wondering what could have been. Always having to live in regret all the time. That’s what came through when she looked at me. A sorrowful story of lost memories, where all the pieces were there from the beginning, but for some reason it simply didn’t come together.

After I had finished my recital – we danced – and when I felt the warmth of her flesh against the desolation of what I can only describe as my perpetual estrangement from HAPPINESS. I felt an aching sense of realization. And I knew then – why the daughter of the one million hectare landowner had come – she had not come to alter the inevitable somewhere in the future where I may be lying blood soaked in a jungle clearing after Max has had his fill of me – neither had she come to balance what could be right or even wrong – as the 47 year old daughter of the one million hectare was slowly swept bit by bit away like some flotsam into my arms by the pathos of the music – that flowed like heavy clear honey – she began to tear up and that was when I realized, all she ever wanted tonight was to be a woman – not just any woman – but a woman who would not even give a moment of herself to tomorrow or the day after or even the day before or two weeks ago – but to simply be the woman of the  moment – and to be in the full presence of the man who she knew could never resist such a woman of purpose.

And how right she was….and how wrong, I am. Again it seems….again.

Darkness 2013

“One of the things that never fail to amaze me is how many women there are in a woman – train your eyes to look on the world as a hunter and you will know what I mean.”