Log 26-8-13 / No one likes a smart Alex….so?

August 26, 2013


All of us have come across smart Alex’s. People who always like to show off how bloody smart they are. Mr Know it all. The guy who likes to put down everyone in the room just to get his point across.

But how do you show others a solution that you simply know they will never be able to resolve even if they lived ten life times? How do you even pull it off without giving others the impression that you are the only one who knows how it’s all going to fit together – the beginning, during and after that is – and most importantly how do you get everyone to buy into the idea that it was they and not you who came out with the solution?

Begin by putting a riddle in the middle of the room and just sit quietly in one corner. Feign disinterest. Soon a crowd will begin to gather. They will start to examine this connundrum – and each man will chip in their two cents – but wait! Do not be impatient – wait….let them swallow the hook, line and sinker……not yet. Wait, watch them all – seek out the leader in the group, there’s always one in every group – now stroll in like a calm elephant and speak only to this leader. You can ignore the others. They are not important – lead this leader to believe this is his plan all along by starting each sentence with the words, “is this what you mean?” – he will nod his head. The others will find themselves agreeing as well, though they may not know why – as what you have done is to use subliminal messaging by leveraging on their leaders power to solicit agreement in a group. 

After all he’s the leader, the last thing you want to do is to piss him off by showing the others, he’s less than a man than you – this way no one needs to lose face. As no one will ever believe you are trying to make them all look stupid. How can they?  It wasn’t your idea any way. Rather all you did was to support what the leader suggested all along….but look closer….look even with the all seeing eye of wisdom…do you see it…yes, it was actually your idea all along.

Research and study this well and your men will follow you to the ends of this earth. As a good leader always leads without giving the impression that he is leading. Do not overuse this Jedi mind trick or people will think you are an illusionist. Timing, calmness and clarity of vision is key to pulling off this mind trick.


“Understand this! When you go into business for yourself. One reality will hit you like a brick wall. You will NEVER have enough time – that is to say, sooner or later you will derive at a point of reckoning when you simply cannot afford to talk to everyone who comes your way. So in order to remain effective, you must cultivate the skill sets to get people around you to do what you want and in the way you want it to be done – and if possible for them to do it happily.

The most efficient way to accomplish this is not to go up against strong points but to always go around them. But the skeleton key that makes this happen is to leverage on the strength of the existing oligarchy i.e the existing power structure.

For example, if I want to change many of the policies in the PAP. It makes far more sense to infiltrate them and to change them from within, rather than to attempt to do this via the opposition. It is the same when you deal with cut throats, do not walk into the lions den like some fairy. You must have a certain flair about you. An air of danger even in the way you carry yourself and put your point across. The same also applies when you are in the company of businessmen – you should behave like a tai pan. You should try to get into the groove and if possible even try to see the world through their eyes.

To me this is just another way of saying – when in Rome do as the Romans do. For example, if I want to be a successful planter. I cannot go around in a slim cut G2000 like a metrosexual. Kampung folk will get high blood pressure. I have to wear a no nonsense bush jacket. I cannot drive a Masserati, as its no good on uneven and serpentine plantation roads. I have to drive a 4×4 Landcruiser. I certainly cannot stay in a condo that would be the equivalent of committing occupational hara-kiri. Planters don’t do that – they are supposed to be very grounded folk who keep dogs. Neither do I have the luxury to shut the world out either – I need to be step into my role very much in the way an actor has no choice but to speak his lines. If I don’t do all these things diligently along with kissing babies, throwing shoes at laggards who try to game the system, being seen with the elders of the community during festivals, opening temples etc etc etc. Then another planter will just come along and fill that position – and I will be out of business.

I am in competition. As land is finite. And since everyone wants a piece of the action – I don’t even have such a thing as a personal life. That idea died many years ago.

I cannot be as savoir faire as Palmer and enjoy illicit mangoes on the side. Its too dangerous. As every year my enemies deploy very beautiful women to try to entrap me at least twice a year without fail. I don’t even have the basic luxury to call the police when trouble comes knocking on my door. I need to be able to defend myself. I need to be paranoid. I need to be suspicious of everything and everyone, to interrogate everything till it rendered clear.

Above all I need to be very effective in managing myself and others – if I don’t have the discipline to do all these things, people will simply not put their trust in me and everything will just come tumbling down like a pack of cards.

Worse of all, I can’t even be who I really am any longer. These days when you show me a picture of the man I used to be when I was back in Singapore – I don’t even recognize who he is any longer. All I know now is the granite face man who wears a bush jacket, shades and mirror polished black laced shoes who everyone fears.

I reckon that man died a long time ago – and ever since then, I have been searching high and low for him – now all there’s left is this other man.”

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