January 31, 2014
January 30, 2014
If the freaky weather we have been experiencing lately is anything to go by. It seems 2014 is likely to be one of those epic fuck years that everyone is going to struggle through – I have all but given up on trying to predict the weather. As for the weather bureau they’re none the wiser either as mother nature seems to be throwing out harbingers and curve balls galore of late.
The freakish weather presents many unforeseen problems to commercial farmers – since time immemorial those who have turned the wheel of life from the grace of the good earth have relied on an almanac to guide them when to sow, harvest, winnow etc. Now it seems, everything is right up in the air, even the birds are confused – saw a flock of cranes flying the wrong direction last evening. Even the rambutan and durian trees have begun to flower, 6 months off season – as for the palm, yield has dropped by nearly 50% lately and most farmers are starting to wonder whether perhaps the specter of hard times has reared it’s evil head – as it hasn’t rained in the last 14 days and the spell of dry and cool weather that has been brought by the Northesterlies is causing crops to take longer to ripen.
I am very worried for the welfare of my community. Last night I went down to the kopitiam and played a round of mahjong with the elders – I told the towkay’s we all need to prioritize the welfare of kampung folk and consider giving work to only the locals and not to Bangladeshi’s who seem to be flooding in from the city in lieu of the crackdown on illegal workers – I told them that hard times are coming and if we don’t wean ourselves from the narcotic of cheap foreign labor, we are likely to sow the seeds of discontent and reap a whirlwind of grief. But if we make sure there is enough money to circulate in the pasar malam, warungs and local community, the pain can be cut considerably – I did not get very far with them…none of the plantation owners seem to share my sentiments…or maybe they just bochap…I am starting to realise I can no longer work with these people. We are so far apart on the basics, there is no basis to even forge common ground. All we can really do is agree to disagree. I will do my own thing from now onwards. Meanwhile I need to work secretly to undermine their influence.
For the short term, I have to work on a new methodology to bump up yield amid freakish weather patterns. I am currently experimenting with a few ideas, but I have been experiencing a lot of problems with regard to resolving some of my scientific farming equations – as since the weather has been so siaow (erratic) it’s hard to impossible for me to come out with any reliable working assumptions – can’t rely on historical rain fall and temp tabula data, cannot even assume past events is a reliable indicator of what is to come… in truth, I don’t nearly have what it takes to crunch the numbers to come out with a confident strategy – I would need to improvise by taking small steps and just monitoring the results…small…careful….ginger steps as I try to go thru as best I can what seems to be like a very difficult year…..I must work harder. Above all this year will really test my mettle in the craft making a living out of the land.
I remain hopeful….
“Due to lack of rain which is extremely unusual this time of the year. Fertilisation strategy would be tweaked as follows: batch per palm limited to 1.3 kg (NPK) with 150 grammes of Fertibor Boron – Magnesium will hold till it rains / crinkled young pinea and White spot has appeared – pruning of older fronts will be effected to trick palm to fruit.”
January 30, 2014
I much prefer this…
I discovered this by sheer chance today during a twelve hour negotiation with the millers either that or my brain had gone soggy as it was six against one – and they were taking turns drilling holes into my head – but let’s leave that to one side and just focus on my moment of epiphany….since a large part of the negotiations today was predicated on dates. It dawned on me linear visualization of time suits me much better, it may seem weird to some of you…but that I suspect may only be because our understanding of time may well be an acquired or scripted taste – as we’ve gotten so accustomed to circular, digital representations of time along with visualizing the month in pigeon holes with lashings of muscle cars, pets, and naked women.
Back to the negotiations with the millers – since I was outnumbered. I realized from the onset that I had to break their teamwork by throwing them into disarray and confusion. This could only be accomplished, if I came across as a unstable and possibly even psychotic character. The talks were characterized by moments of what I can only describe as monkey business and lashings of childishness – at one stage when one of them accused me of behaving like a guerilla. I deliberately slammed the table and accused him of calling me a monkey again – gorilla. To which he protested with guerilla and I in return gorilla….you called me a gorilla. This is a negotiation ploy that I regularly use when I am outnumbered and have very little in the way of bargaining power to leverage on during high stakes negotiations – I developed this technique by studying the methods of North Korean geo political negotiators along with my extensive experiments in supermarkets, where I would frequently stir up controversy to get an advantage. As it is, my distraction techniques were most effective in ruining the rhythm of the teamwork on the other side. At one stage I even took out a hanky and pretended to sob, telling them all that I did not want to be evil, but since I had been discriminated, marginalized and single out for bullying, I was really a victim and I told them since they were older than me, they should at least try to rehabilitate me from my evil ways….to which one of them murmured….ginah…and that was really my cue to slam the table again and demand either satisfaction or that he do me the courtesy of retracting his insult…to which he lost his temper and ranted..ginah..ginah…ginah. The reason why I am sharing this excerpt is merely to illustrate how psychologically complex the negotiations was, at one level it may appear like sandbox politics. But at a deeper level, it mask a very clear purposeful strategic intent where I was constantly deploying an array of negotiating techniques…deflection…misdirection…embellishment….and just out right fibbing.
To cut a long story short, when the other side finally offered me the concessions I asked for on the condition I stopped all transportation of fruit to other millers in the West…I feigned reluctance and nodded my head sullenly…what they all didn’t realize was this was all I wanted….as those lorries were all not carrying any fruit…they were empty….each and every lorry was just dressed up with a covered tarpaulin…in reality, a fully laden lorry could never had made it across those terrible plantation roads…it was just impossible.
But none of them realize it….all warfare is based on deception.
January 29, 2014
Early this morning, the millers paid me a courtesy call. They came directly to the point and the leader asked me, ‘why are you transporting your fruit to be milled elsewhere…..are you trying to destroy our rice bowl?’ I told them all, I cannot be held responsible for my actions and it is they who are responsible for this impasse.
After all they are the ones who keep trying to box me up so that I can’t enlarge my estate by buying up more land in the district. They are also the ones who keep on trying to damage me financially by trying to cheat me so that I end up in terminal debt. They are also the ones who keep giving me a lousy price every year so who is really to blame for this?
One of them told me he would use all his influence to stop me. The rest nodded in agreement – I told him, he could certainly try. He went to recount to the others in a sarcastic tone, my actions reminded him of a monkey he and his wife had once come across during a holiday in Bali – the monkey would hold on the skirt of his wife and only let go when she gives him a banana. This man went on to tell me – they would never bow to my request for a higher price since I had been so unnecessarily confrontational.
To which I replied, ‘if the monkey’s stomach is full…why would he even feel the need to hold on to your wife’s or for that matter any other woman’s skirt? After all you have so many banana’s….maybe you should consider giving the monkey what he wants so that he goes away….it is after all only one banana…surely, you will not allow one banana to stand in the way of peace…’
‘It is never a good policy to feed monkeys.’ one of them said to the others.
I went on to say, ‘If you do not give the monkey one banana…then it may just decide to hold on or to put his hand into something more substantial beside the helm of your young pretty wife’s skirt…..’ I chooses my words deliberately. As I planned to unsettle the leader and throw him off balance – it was well known in the village, the seventy three year old miller had recently married a PRC gold digger MILF with big boobs….I knew this would unsettle him and send him off the ledge. As his recent marriage has been the butt of jokes in the village.
Sure enough, he lodged it. As he turned beetroot red with anger and stood up suddenly from his chair and began berating me, “How dare you threaten to seduce my wife, if I don’t agree to your extortionist demands!” That’s when he turned to his colleagues and said to them, “didn’t I tell you all…we are dealing with someone who has imperialistic designs….he means to control all of us by taking over the business we have spent so many years building.”
I told the man before me in a calm voice, “I thought we were talking about the monkey you and your lovely wife came across in Bali….I don’t understand…are you implying by any chance…I am a monkey…really, I don’t understand…do you mean to say, all of you have come here to my house one day before the new year to insult me by calling me a monkey!”
This must have taken the others by surprise, as I had trapped their leader to retract his words – one of them added, “I am sure he did not mean to insult you….besides we all know monkeys don’t go around chasing women…they are a different species.”
I leaned back into my chair and could sense they were backtracking, but decided to push forward, “Oh really! Then how do you explain King Kong falling in love with a woman? I really must insist gentlemen…are you all calling me a monkey?”
In a further attempt to lower the temperature another added, “King Kong is a gorilla not a monkey…I am sure he did not mean it as an insult.”
This was when I turned to them all while ignoring their leader who was still standing and fuming with rage, “Perhaps we can set aside this monkey business and talk about how we may like to work and prosper together…I would appreciate it, if someone could please tell him to sit down!”
“The Harvard Business Review will always advice you and me to pursue quiet diplomacy instead of taking a confrontational stance towards conflict resolution – that is because these people who frequently dish out that sort of be good and do no evil claptrap live in a fairy tale world that bears absolutely no resemblance to how life really unfolds – in the real world, especially in business not everyone is just going to give you the benefit of a level playing field. Or even want to see you succeed in your enterprise or will go out of their way to help you – experience informs me, there will always be no shortage of assholes out there who will always try their level best to set you back a few squares by either tripping you up, making you run around in circles, engineering your downfall or just hope that you will take such a big fall that you will throw in the towel and sell everything for just a song and just return back to the city – to this people you must broadcast the message, do not double cross me, or else! You don’t need to be a hard and ruthless man every time, you just need to do it once or twice and see that terrible business right to the very end and make sure everyone knows your resolve and how committed you are to squaring the accounts with those who trespassed you – once people understand that you are someone who expects others to respect your property, rights and what you stand for and you have absolutely no qualms about prosecuting on those claims – then everything will fall into place very nicely….only don’t expect everyone to understand and look up to you…don’t even expect them to invite you to a BBQ…or expect them to say, ‘he’s a jolly good fellow…’…as when you make a commitment to be that hard and ruthless man – you will always be alone thereafter and that is really how it is…there is no promise of a happy ending or even the Hollywood curtain call of lost and found, it’s just one man sitting on a rattan chair all by himself like a solitary island set amid shark infested waters…all alone…a man lost in his own thoughts…all alone.”
January 28, 2014
The greatest acme of war is not to vanquish your enemy – any bloody fool can do that – the most advanced level of warcraft is to conquer the mind of your enemy so that he sees the world according to your terms….when this is done…the enemy is obliterated completely.
Come, come, tell me what is really to be gained by getting hot under the collar and booting out the likes of Mr Casey?
Going by what the Internet has to say, some would have us all believe this will serve as a warning to other FT’s to behave themselves – will it work…..Well of course it will…a big stick always works….only one should at least see a thing for what it is and understand it is at best a very primitive method to solicit compliance….and though appearance wise…on the surface it may well work. But let us all not be naive even in this forum for one moment this by itself has the agency to affect real change….Aha! It seems some of you don’t seem so confident now…..as I believe you can see where I am coming from….as let us face the facts squarely… in the privacy of their cosy insiderism club, the racist will always continue to be the racist….they will all be still cracking racist jokes along with disparaging us flat nosed and slit eyed natives, so what you fucks really end up with is a whole lot of foreigners who just embody the form without the content.
Result: a big fat zero.
Consider this: what if conditions came about that would make it possible for the likes of Mr Casey to make amends to the community – to even integrate him osmotically into the native way of life so that he will be internally persuaded…so that one day he experiences an intensely life changing moment of epiphany where he suddenly realises his Mars bar fried in batter served up with Chips on a crumpled copy of the Daily Sun British culture is an inferior….and despicable way of life.
With skilfull intergration Mr Casey can even be the Singaporean version of Albert Speer where he can rolled out from time to time to further the idea – it doesn’t pay for foreigners to keep to their gated communities as life will be better, sweeter and infinitely more interesting if he marinates with the natives. This in my view is what the strategic thinker would do, he would milk the opportunity for all it’s worth – besides you all forgetting one thing….the world is watching….the show must go on…don’t you all think so.
“People who tell you culture is the stuff of primroses and parks and serve no useful purpose all have to be awfully stupid. As what they demonstrate is a very shallow understanding of power and politics and how it can be directed strategically – do you really imagine the British Empire or for that matter any empire could have come about with just the force of arms alone?
Ask yourself how could only a handful of white men rule over so many in British India? How is that logistically or for that matter logically deduced to be possible if we were to try to understand this great human feat by just number crunching men and materiale…understand this!
What made this possible was the superiority of their culture. As in the age of empire, British culture was at it’s zenith – My God I do not think people understand how powerful a concept culture is or for that matter how intimidating and terrifying it can be, just imagine if one were thirteen and educated in Harrow or Eton – to have oil paintings of stern men glaring from high above when one sits in long benches for breakfast – to walk day after day in acres of oak panelled corridors surrounded by the musty smell of leather-bound books, stained glass windows set against the placid backdrop of rolling hills of Merchant Taylor’s or some prepartory school in Surrey – it is very easy for such a boy to grow up believing in the politically incorrect idea, there is certainly an aristocracy in men and all men are not born equal…as these are hardly your crass money money money Rolex Porsche , beauty queen marrying ilk….they are highly polished…cultured..they, the polite classes much prefer the understated luxury of Aquascutum, the suggestion of luxury is all that is needed to convey class – there is no need for vulgar labels, to the really rich, they can discern quality by just the texture and the cutting of a suit….they even prefer the finicky Morgan and Bristol to the Ferrari which they have the temerity to consider ‘ lacking in refinement’ and of course the tweed jacket of Austin Reed. Their men are so very simple….yet sublimely well read….they are not materialistic at all…fine gentlemen who are all sportsmen who believe in this stupid idea of fair play….can you imagine this people are so ridiculously above board and fair that in a duel, they would actually say to you and me, “would you like to shoot me first?” – they are perfect gentlemen….the type that can even make me cry and say to them, “I am so sorry, but maybe this duel is a mistake, can’t we just shake hands and be friends.” Unlike the loutish underclass who only have the feral Coronation Street culture, who cannot even speak proper English, who think the Queensbury rules is a football manual and only seem to want to get drunk and cap it off with a vindalo curry every weekend, shag and seem to be perpetually obsessed with football…. If we could attract the upper classes to Singapore, we would have no problem from them…as they are all top drawer gentlemen.
I have never had any problems with the well heeled English – it is the culture less underclass who are cause of 99.9% of the problems we see today!
As for their well heeled women folk, they wear Laura Ashley, not Prada or Versace….they the privileged classes are so polished and civilised….the ladies of the upper classes are not like the underclasses who are fat and crude as they don’t munch on pork pies and fried twix with chips – they are all like French women, they sip their Darjelling tea from the finest bone china, nimble their crumpets with their legs crossed….they even say please love me….very easy women to love.
I once had a daughter of Viscount as a girlfriend, she was educated in Malvern Girls School, read law in Oxford and worked for the United Nations – when I broke my leg in a motorcycle accident, we stayed in the countryside together, she took care of me – I remembered being very happy there…she liked gardening and looked so sweet in her Wellies, had it not been for the awful British weather that made me regularly suffer from melancholia and suicide tendencies – I would have certainly married her…. The awesome power of culture, good breeding is to be found in them…they are all very elegant, even those who are one metric ton are beautiful in their own way….this is portable power…cultural imperialism at it’s best – the sort that is the equivalent to the atomic power of the sun…….In Africa I have witnessed first hand how the sight of a British woman in a hat and white gloves can even bring a locomotive to a halt….I really do not believe people understand how highly evolved, polished and civilised the British ruling classes are…..I really don’t believe they know how superior their way of life is and how delectably persuasive it is that they can even harbour the believe everyone on this planet should live life only like them…this attitude has always been mistaken for arrogance…or British colonial imperialism….because if they did, then you would have absolutely no problem in understanding the political theory of empire…none whatsoever…this is the same reason why I don’t agree with stupid politicians who say, culture is a meaningless thing….as I know this first hand…I wished I didn’t, but I know….a superior culture will always overcome an inferior culture.”
January 26, 2014
Understand this! The privileged classes did not just aspire to wealth, power and influence by sheer luck. They accomplished this incredible feat by excelling and in certain cases monopolizing a highly sought after skill of arms that allowed them to perpetuate their way of life by exactation – to put it another way. They (the rich) are in all probability sublimely clever, highly disciplined, deeply commited and very adept at risk taking – in many cases they are so good at what they do. They are at the top of their game. Remember this always! As this is the skeleton key that opens the door to wisdom and a world of possibilities. People who tell you the rich have nothing whatsover to teach us are stupid..smart people dont hate a man just because they see him driving a bigger car…they think like hunters…they process infromation strategically…meaningfully….methodically….they ask themselves like the conquistadores of lore…….what does he know that i need to learn and master as a skill of arms….they have no time to be jealous..even less patience for sugary and homily delusikns that somewhere in the endless litany of poverty there is the promise of redemption…imagine a jackboot pressed against the face…that’s poverty……the definition….to take even a morsel of hope from an abje t state ..as that is a very poisonous attitude that can add very little value to your life. As not only will it disable you by keeping you poor, but it will also provide you with the raw material to hate the rich mindlessly amd to even fashion your own deluded world that there is honor in poverty.
January 26, 2014
For the whole of last week and I have every reason to believe the whole of next month – we will experience sunny skies and historically cooler weather. It is exactly like spring in Europe.
This is due to a combination of the Northeasterlies and the early arrival of El Nino that has caused an unusually low pressure rift in Oceania – funnelling very dry winter winds from Siberia and China to Malaysia and Singapore.
While the cooler climate is certainly a boon for outdoor lovers – to farmers it can be problematic. As when it suddenly gets too cold, trees and plants have a tendency to go into semi-herbination mode and this means, fruit ripening will take considerable longer than usual.
This is the reason why veggies in Malaysia has increased in price. They take longer to get to the market.
Meanwhile enjoy the weather. This does not happen very often, maybe once in ten years.
January 25, 2014
The trap is set. No one expects me to work thru out CNY. Absolutely no one. As traditionally plantation life comes to a permafrost two week halt during CNY. Two long weeks of hibernation, when everything just freezes over and comes to standstill.
But I don’t have a choice. For years the oil mill barons have used this lull to their advantage by dictating unreasonable terms to me and others – for years, I could do nothing except bow in supplication to their lousy terms. After all they are so powerful and I am so weak.
But I have studying them. I am convinced there is a weakness in a system. A chink in their seemingly invincible amour that I can exploit to full effect ONLY during CNY – since the oil mill barons believe nothing can move during CNY, they have traditionally used this lull to shut down their mills to upgrade their manufacturing processes – thereafter they will squeeze the primary producers such as myself to pay for these manufacturing improvements. But this year will be very different, if everything goes to plan.
I plan to starve the oil mill barons of precious fruit by buying up everything and transporting the fruit bunches through the serpentine plantation roads during CNY secretly to be refined elsewhere.
After the end of the two week lull, when these fat cat oil mill barons begin their annual price negotiations again – I will simply pull the rug beneath them, put a metaphoric revolver on the table and tell them all…these are my terms…take it or leave it….as they dispensable….optional – of course, its a bluff. An elaborate show of strenght that relies entirely on smoke and mirrors….that I don’t need them any longer to buy my fruit bunches…hopefully they will take the bait…and be cowered…as without a steady supply of fruit bunches…how can they keep their chimney stacks smoking after CNY….how can they possibly pay off the banks for their loans they have taken during the CNY hold to improve their manufacturing systems. Hopefully they will be caught off balance and this should really be enough for me to drive it hard into their gut…thereafter I sue for peace…or maybe detente – one strike to bring their mills to their knees, a Pearl Harbor surprise raid. One opportunity to win or to lose it all. If it goes well, I will buy two good years…if not, I will be ruined.
Just a couple of days ago I was cocksure that I could pull it off this time – it’s not easy to transport fruit bunches through uneven laterite plantation roads, but this year I reckoned the weather was with me unlike previous years when I was beaten back…it hasn’t rained for the last seven days….the roads are baked rock hard. But now there is a fly in the ointment….she is here…El Nino and now I am not so confident any longer.
All I need is for the clear and sunny weather to hold out just a bit longer. As for her…El Nino…I will take my chances with her. When she is in foul mood throwing pots and pans…I will lie low. Once she’s settled down and looks the other…I will rush up her skirt.
It’s come to this now. All or nothing. All to be decided in one roll of the dice.
Last night I had a strange dream. As usual, I always dream of running in tall grass. This time there was sound, but it wasn’t in technicolor like film noir – as usual, when I run in my dreams my feet always stays in the air longer than usual…as if I am gliding, only this time I heard men arguing. They were in a distance….a boy in a red shirt and a stern looking man who wore khaki flared ridding breeches, jackboots and a shoulder holstered revolver – they were fighting – it was quite far off and I remembered asking myself in the dream, what were they doing here….they’re not supposed to be here…..this my dream….the boy was shouting at the stern man…he said something to the effect, ‘you’re going to put everything on the line again and it’s all to do with your stupid pride and this time you will ruin us!” The stern man told the boy to shut up and pushed him to the ground and berated him, ‘you’re always scared…that’s all you can do, hold us back and whine, whine and whine like a wet blanket.” That was when he and the boy suddenly stopped and they both turned to look at me….they were both wearing that strange expression…’what are you doing here.’
I wanted to say something…I realized then…this is not my dream…what does it all mean.
January 24, 2014
I sensed her arrival last night when the men were sound asleep. I could even feel her deep in the marrow of my bones as she slipped in the cover of darkness from the East – felt the cold whispering hush as she brushed against my cheeks…ever so slightly…like a long lost lover’s first touch. She is early. I didn’t expect her this early….and now that she stands before me I suddenly feel like a helpless child. Damn my weather forecast are all fucked now! There are all useless – she’s capricious and has a foul temper to go with it. I would need all my wits about me this year to read her right. I know many farmers and sailors curse her, but not I. She can’t help herself as the moon and the Northern winds
affect her – if I fail to read her well, she could wipe out all my profit this year. I need to thread carefully this time and observe her quietly like the mythical lover to see beyond flesh, bone and into her deepest secrets.
It is not easy to be farmer. No at all….
Today I went down the ultra secretive Planter’s and Miners club in my No 1 bush jacket – I told the serious men over a public school style breakfast complete with skippers… If the law is toothless…then community pressure must be brought to bear on irresponsible wusses who like to shoot their mouths off like a blunderbuss… this I went on to tell them all can very easily be done with one phone call to Hong Kong. I went on to tell these men, if those old school bankers in Hong Kong cannot be relied to do the right thing – then maybe the Planters should find someone else to manage their wealth. I went on to tell these serious men that with the power of internet these days, even incendiary news can spread very easily across the causeway and what if simple minded villagers come to know banks who manage the wealth of the planting community are harboring brained damaged people who look down and despise the poor.
We will have a revolution!
The invisible hand is now furiously at work.
Rich people who like to insult the have not’s should be sent to re-education camps in the kampung for re-education
January 21, 2014
Those who are fortunate to have everything may not even consciously realize by just the mere act of breathing and going about their daily business of living, they can inflict pain along bring out the worst in the have not’s.
When one is poor I cannot imagine anything that is more disabling and demoralising than to the have’s rubbing salt into the wounds of the have not’s – this if you must all know is why revolutions come about – this is also the same reason why a part of me will always rue the passing of the age of re-education camps and gulags. As I can’t help but feel, despite their totalitarian pedigree. These institutions do perform a very valuable service to keep the peace and harmony in society.
“When heaven smiles on a man and he comes to wealth. He must put himself like a seed into his community – when he commits himself to his community, only then will this man know how to conduct himself and his affairs in a way that keeps the peace and harmony in his village.
As it is only when this man is planted into the fertile soil of his community will the mysteries of life be revealed to him – in the community, he will assume the shape and form of a big tree – and all those beneath the cover of his expansive shade will be like the many lifeforms that rely on him for sustenance – shrubs, wild flowers, creepers etc etc. His massive roots will mingle with the roots of smaller plants. As time goes by, this man will begin to realise his fate, destiny and well being is inextricably linked to others in his community – and when this awareness slowly dawns on him only then will he know why he born along with what his mission in life is – till then, he was merely a monkey trained to pick coconuts, now he is a man who stands before this timeless machine that is as old as the hills – the great wheel of life.
This is the moment of truth for the sleeper who has awaken – the time when the serious men of this world will appear before him when he is still reeling from his new found awareness that he is suddenly part of design even larger than himself – the serious men will tell him to renounce his childish ways. He must set aside his baseball cap, T shirt and tennis shoes – he must now wear the superman suit of the kampung – the bush jacket.
As villagers find the sight of a man dressed in a sombre bush jacket comforting – the very sight of this man palliates their fears, soothes frayed nerves, chases away a nervous disposition and nourishes the idea, the world is still spinning and the center has not given out – it lowers high blood pressure, staves off miscarriages, scares away charlatans, thieves and brigands, relieves menstrual pains, exorcises evil and malevolent spirits, restores sobriety after a night of heavy drinking, cures hyperactivity in village kids and is even good to go to quell riots – as this man slowly learns the arcanum of the serious men, he slowly comes to the knowledge he is the custodian of the great wheel of life. His features will be transformed, gone is that child like blank perfidious faced look, replaced by the stern granite look of a man filled with purpose, responsibility and tradition. His dwellings a temple to utility, so Spartan that even his own farmhands often wonder to themselves, why does he live like a beggar…maybe he is not so rich after all…maybe our lives are not so different after all. And since this man is often seen eating the same food as the fishermen and harvesters, they too wonder no end, why is his life so similar to theirs…perhaps he just like them…slightly better, but not by much.
In the hour of the cow, when the man stands on the hill overlooking his lands a lingering sadness scars his worried features…he worries about his children….he frets about the escalating price of fish and poultry…he vexes about whether the politicians who are so far away are even aware of the impending problems that may befall his community.
Meanwhile the villagers look on pitifully at this lone tragic figure. While the womenfolk whisper in hushed tones, the poor farmer, he has no woman to take care of him…no one to wash his clothes…that is why he only wears khaki, it hides the dirt…no one to even keep him warm on lonely nights… he only has those two black dogs…what a miserable life it must be to be wealthy. No, we the peasants are better off than those miserable landowners. How lucky we all are!
As the evening closes…the wheel of life completes another revolution…tomorrow will be another day.
Now you know why in the span of two thousand years of recorded history…no revolution has ever begun in the countryside….it always begins and ends in the city…as over there rich people are all addicted to the living the vapid life of dissipation to such an extent it has corrupted all their sense and sensibilities along with hollowed out their spiritual wellness, these are very poor people….no, thinking folk should never get mad at them…they should pity them instead…as they so awfully vulgar, crass and so banally poor.”
January 21, 2014
Early this morning. My gardener, informed me a naked man was seen wandering my lands. When I drove to the spot true enough a naked man stood in the middle of the road waving his hands frantically. It seems he has been robbed last evening while visiting his lands – the man asked me whether I could provide him with some clothes and drive him to the nearest police station. I told him that could be easily arranged if only he could make it worth my while. When I said this, the man peered at me with a strained expression and after a while in a half sobbing exasperated tone, he exclaimed, “please can we do this another time….” I told him in a firm voice, “No!” And once again, I asked, “What can you give me, if I help you?”
The naked man began to ask for water this time – I reached for my water bottle and took a swig while I looked on impassively at him….when he came closer…he must have recognized me and that was when his expression turned to pure horror….and soon a dejected look of understanding swept over him as he must realised then and there, I could offer him ver little in the way of help. As I drove off, the pathetic figure of the naked man got smaller and smaller till he finally disappeared from my rear mirror….soon my thoughts turned to what I would have for breakfast.
Life is cruel….
“In life, when you are helpful to those in need, most will remember your kindness and should you need help one day, they will go out of their way to help you as best they can…..but if you are a calculating sort of fellow who likes to only render help in exchange for some gain or benefit – then you should not be surprised, if one day, when you need help the person who you once rendered service too demands the same from you as well. And if you are the sort who delights in kicking a man when he down and even relishes seeing others beg and grovel before only to turn them down with glee. Then do not be surprised if one day should the tables be turned, you too will find yourself grovelling before the person who you once treated like a dog….the world is round…and life is really a marathon…when one sees relationship in this light, then I believe, it may not only improve manners but it will also serve as a sobering reminder that we are after all living in a world of consequences and we should all take responsibility for our actions, words and thoughts….life after all can be very cruel.”
January 20, 2014
Not very long ago a regular commentator in my blog (btw, I never publish what is posted in the comment section, much prefer to talk to them, one to one) shared with me – he was seriously considering migrating to Australia. When I asked him why, he said, he believed, both he and his wife would be happier living there. When he asked me for my opinion – I simply told him – it is best to find the happy and simple life in yourself rather than to put your faith in a country. As no matter where you decide to settle ultimately, one cannot deny there are certainly many good things in Singapore which you will only find in Singapore and no where else – so when one decides to migrate, one should be very clear about the goals and set realistic expectations as to what that country can offer…ultimately, I went on to share with this person, the idea of the simple and happy life can only come about through his own hands and not via a country.
“A large component of happiness revolves around the question of how much control can you exert over your life. The higher the level of control – the higher your quotient of happiness and vice versa – to me, the only means to create a very efficient means of leveraging on happiness is to start your own business and not to work for others.
Personally, if I have work in a firm, it will always be very stressful. As if I want a high degree of control over my life – I would have to blackmail my boss, induce a heart attack or raid his job by engineering his downfall. I would also have to spend a lot of time empire building and playing politics by kicking out the people who pose a threat to how much control I want over my life. Added to this I will be embroiled in all sorts of Machevillian designs and I soon realized this is really not something I want to do. Above all, I don’t want to be an evil person any longer.
When I started my own business, of course there is the initial stress that comes from growing an enterprise from zero – along with pressure that comes from taking on a huge financial risk. As I may end up buying into a whole lot of grief, if the enterprise fails.
Fortunately running a business is not so different from flying a plane. In the beginning, a lot of energy is spent getting the string bag to climb to the cruising altitude….but once it reaches the gulf stream, then it’s possible for the pilot to throttle down, turn on the auto pilot and sit back and just monitor the flight systems, that’s the normal life cycle of every business – to put it another way, it’s very hard and stressful in the very beginning, but once you’re established and people in the industry know who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are along with what you can offer, then you’re really cruising along happily.
Once you’re established in your business – then you will find the degree of your control over your life will increase correspondingly – you will no longer need to blackmail your boss, take over his job, engineer his downfall, terrorize HR to give you a company car, play perpetual office politics or even empire build any longer. So a whole lot of extraneous nonsense is cut away from your life, leaving you to pursue only what you want to really do – this means you will be more effective and efficient in how you want to use your time to manage yourself and others….only then, do I believe can one reasonably be in a position to actualize a simple and happy life.
Having said that this does not mean – your life will be 100%. of course you will still need to strategize and find ever more inventive ways to destroy your competitors….only the stress at this level of the game is dramatically different. As now suffering is optional – since you now don’t have to regularly put up with the nonsense of dealing with people who bring out only the worse in you – providing you keep your ego in check, regularly audit your paranoia, remind yourself not talk to your imaginary friends in public, do not succumb to temptations of the flesh, keep a lid on your greed, do not end up seduced by delusions of grandeur, change your underwear when it takes to smell fruity, remind yourself to take your vitamins regularly, don’t go overboard with power tools and torchlights and brush your teeth after every meal – my feel is everything else will fall into place very nicely – as you have the fundamentals right – and that simply means, you will always be in a better position to carve out your own slice of heaven under your own terms and in your own sweet time.
The moral of the story is, if you genuinely desire to be happy and live a simple life – then go and start your own business. Doesn’t have to even be a big enterprise, could be just a hawker store, but it’s yours to call your own….humble as it is, it’s still an opportunity to be your own man….to live life under your own terms…take ownership of your financial well being….it’s really as simple as that.”
January 20, 2014
After a break in the weekend. I’ve decided to hit the field in earnest again. The weather recently has been very erratic and unpredictable requiring me to spend much time in the field to make critical decisions that will have far reaching impact on my business for this year.
During my field trip. I had to touch base with Dr Pang. He is a Singaporean who runs a medium sized plantation in Malaysia. When I met him, he was flanked by three young men – one of them is his son who has just completed his studies in America. The other two I was not so sure.
During breakfast in the field. One of the young men turned to me and asked me whether it would be a good idea to return home to Singapore and find a job. I only expressed, “it depends on what you really want out of life…” Another exclaimed, a life where I have enough time to pursue my interest….I don’t want to spend all my life working….I just wish for a simple and quiet life.
Whereupon, I lowered my cutlery, turned to this youth and told him in a very serious no-nonsense tone – that I do not believe he knows what he’s saying. As a simple and quiet life is a very privileged way of life that only the wealthy can afford in Singapore. They were all very surprised by this statement and I went on to elaborate – if they wanted such a life, they should seriously consider venturing to the uncharted regions of Africa to seek their fortune.
One of them asked, ‘why can’t I do what you did.’ I told him in my time it is still possible for a man to venture into plantations in Malaysia as land was cheap and plentiful. But these days, the aperture of opportunity has diminished to virtually zero. I also went on to stress to these youths – in my time, the planters life was akin to venturing into the wild wild west with a six shooter and there was a lot of room for improvisation – but these days even sort of life is coming to an end and it’s doubtful any of them could replicate my career path without incurring huge debts…again I told them all, they should seriously consider seeking their fortune in Africa.
This time another exclaimed, it is a dangerous continent with no rule of law. I retorted, it is dangerous everywhere…one could just as well die in Little India on a bad hair or end up like Anna Karenina in the MRT on a busy day….danger I went on to stress was largely imaginary. Besides I went on to reassure them the firearms laws were so lax in some banana republics in Africa, one could just as well make up the law as one went along without too much difficulty – to which one of them replied, is that your idea of a simple and quiet life?
To which I replied, no Africa will not be a simple and quiet life, but when you all find your fortune there….then the simple and quiet life will follow. I went on to tell him – you need to pay the price!
Through it all – I noticed from the corner of my eye Dr Pang was smiling – yes, if I had to hazard a guess, he probably shares many of my beliefs that the young these days could do with a spot of dangerous living…..
“The paradox of modern life is simply this, if you desire a simple and quiet life. Then the last thing you should ever do is try to find it in a seemingly simple and quiet place like Singapore.
Because if you try to do this, you will just work, work and work to pay off your super expensive hamster hole in the sky and your Korean car that probably cost ten times what it took to build in the first place – to put it another way, all you are doing is enriching the coffers of the exchequer and that to me is a very complicated way to live la – where at a relative young age one is laden with huge debts that take a life time of grind just to pay off – I went to tell them, If anyone tries to sell them the idea that’s La Dolce Vita, there just plain lying through their teeth!
I don’t want to mince my words. So I wish to be clear, concise and precise – It is not possible to live a simple and quiet life in Singapore without being financially well off.
However if the goal is still to live a quiet and simple life, then one should seek out the MEANS TO DO SO and not merely consider this an end by itself.
One very reliable means of accomplishing this, is by seriously consider going to the worlds most complicated and noisy place…the more complicated and the noisier it is the better….better still if there is even a travel advisory that says you should never go there if you want to live up to 30 or that there is war, strife and no rule of law even to speak of – as in those basket case countries where no one wants to go too, there are no expatriates and their shop till you drop addicted wife’s, no multinationals, no policeman, nothing…all there really is, is the lone man who wears mirror polished jackboots, flared riding breaches, an open neck khaki shirt sporting a shouldered holstered revolver……so there is tremendous scope for improvisation – with that sort of freedom and unprecendetned margin for error – I reckon one can very easily find the MEANS and opportunity to work towards the simple and quiet life without too much difficulty in the darkest depths of Africa….after all, who is going to stop this man or for that matter care, if he decides to barter a lorry of ivory tusk for blood diamonds….declare a make shift plank bridge somewhere along the Ganbezi as a sovereign state and charge users toll for it….Pray tell…who even cares?
And there you have it…in the palm of your hands….the very raw material to fashion the quiet and simple life….I went on to tell these youths Africa will not be the land of opportunity for a very long…time was not on their side…as even as we speak, Domino pizza already has a trial and readability branch in Kampala, DHL even boast of parcel services to the inner reaches of the Congo, John Deere T shirts have been seen worn by the Matabili’s who roam the Serengenti and even in Mogadishu there is a seven eleven outlet….things are changing rapidly in the dark continent…and the entire region is fast modernizing. But if they just go there and seek out opportunities NOW! I am very sure they would still be able to seek their fortune and hopefully live the quiet and simple life one day. Besides if it doesn’t work out – they are young enough to return back and try to eel out a nine to five existence in Singapore…only don’t expect to live a simple and quiet life…..as that will only be a forlorn dream without money.”
January 19, 2014
Not very long ago. I overheard a land broker from the East recounting to others in the kopitiam – how a Singaporean couple who had just started an orchid business only last year had decided to throw in the towel and move back to Singapore.
I knew something was amiss. As even from my rudimentary understanding of people do not start enterprises only to wind up in less than a year. Something is very wrong…..
After making a round of discreet enquiries. A disturbing picture began to emerge. I gathered this couple were having trouble establishing their business – as since they were city folk, many villagers seem only to be interested in taking advantage of them – coupled to this sad state of affairs the local pocket gangster had been making all sorts of unreasonable request on this poor couple and I can only imagine this must have all added up for the couple to conclude, it may be a better idea to sell their land and for the man to return back to Singapore and drive a taxi.
One day I decided to drive to the East and take a look at the parcel of land that was put up for sale by this Singaporean and his Malaysian wife – hardly had I arrived, a curious village elder asked politely what had brought me here – I simply told him, I heard recently in the grapevine a Singaporean couple has decided to put up their lands for sale and I might be interested – he went on to ask in a concerned tone, but this is so far from where you…. I simply turned to him and said, yes it is always like this in the very beginning when one considers settling in a new place for the very first time….But I am sure with time, everything will come together very nicely.
That same afternoon, I paid a visit to a seafood restaurant where the local gangster and his clique hung out in. Again someone asked curiously – what has brought me here…is it business or pleasure? Again, I told them all…I heard recently in the grapevine, a singaporean couple has decided to put up their lands for sale and I might be I interested – he went on to ask, but this piece of land is so far from where you are based…surely, you have no plans to expand your business here…again I replied… yes it is always like this in the very beginning when one considers settling in a new place for the very first time…but I am very sure with time, everything will come together very nicely….
In the evening, I went down to the Kuan Yin temple and played a few hands of mahjong with the elders of the village – again someone asked curiously – what has brought me here….Again, I told them all…I heard recently in the grapevine, a singaporean couple has decided to put up their lands for sale and I might be I interested – he went on to ask, but this piece of land is so far from where you are based….again I replied… yes it is always like this in the very beginning when one considers settling in a new place for the very first time…but I am very sure with time, everything will come together very nicely….
One week later I received news from the land broker -the Singaporean couple had changed their mind – apparently the husband had decided to stay – it seems the entire village after experiencing a rare moment of epiphany was now under the belief a malevolent spirit was about to descend upon them like a screaming falcon – even local amulet seller has been experiencing a spike in sales – so in their attempt to ward off evil, they have all united and collectively undertaken to see to it the business of this Singaporean couple becomes a thriving success – even the local kingpin who once exacted tribute from this couple seems to be helping them out by offering free and unlimited lorry services on the condition they retract their standing offer to put their lands up for sale…. when I asked the land broker why have things taken such a bizarre turn of events and what could possibly account for sudden change of heart of the villagers….he whispered in hush tones, it might have something to do with the devil who had recently paid them all a courtesy visit and even expressed an interest to relocate to their village…though the story remains patchy it seems the villagers were under no illusions the devil was out to wreck havoc and the last thing they wanted was to allow him to put so much as one foot into their door way.
When I heard the land broker recount this bizarre story. I simply expressed in a resigned tone – it seems superstition is still rife in the kampungs and it was indeed most unfortunate the Singaporean couple had decided not to sell their lands…
“To me there is no such thing as a good or bad, amoral or moral, faithful or unfaithful, responsible or irresponsible man – as how a man ultimately comes across to you and me is really a function of what he has to regularly put up with in life – people I reckon, cannot be so different for angular stones that tumble and roll down a mountainous stream – their character is not static, rather it is constantly shaped by people, events and circumstances. So when I see a man who is ruthless and unforgiving – I cannot help but feel a tinge of sadness and even camaraderie with such a man who everyone seems to fear and secretly loath.
As I know only too well, that is because life must have exacted such a heavy toll on this man’s humanity, reasonableness and goodness that he is really only a victim of circumstances.
Unfortunately,when I speak along such lines many people roll their eyes and say that I am confecting lies to explain away the likes of serial killers, mass murderers, dictators etc etc.
I assure you all. Nothing could be further from the truth. As where I turn the wheel of life as a farmer – the idea of the devil is a very real construct. Unlike in the city, where the idea of devil is really only a distant abstraction. Neither does this notion have anything to do with the Western conception of some malevolent being who goes around peddling bent contractual agreements in exchange for the souls of the unassuming either – as in the kampung, when a man is called a devil. It simply means, he is supposed to go to that other unmentionable side that no one dares to speak of. But due to a fluke of fate and destiny, he has somehow missed the bus and is stuck with the living. So the devil is really quite an odd character in the pantheon of spirits that occupy the psyche of those who live in the kampungs.
To many, he is the intercessor of heaven and earth. While to others, he is a facilitator who is able to commune with that other world.
And this leads us to ask the practical question: how does one become such a mythical being?
It seems there are numerous accounts depending on the number of tiger beer bottles emptied. But I for one know of one reliable way. It involved the sad story of the man who all consider the devil. But this boy was not always the devil. As in the very beginning when he first appeared in these parts, he was just a simple boy who wanted to do nothing except plant row after row of palms – one day evil and greedy landowner reckoned he was easy meat. They descended on him on one moonless night and some say he was hacked to death – but the following day, this boy was seen walking down the hill…whole and complete…only now, he was a very different sort of man – he was very hard, ruthless and cruel unlike his previous self and so many of the villagers surmised, this man must have died and was probably reincarnated into this malevolent being – how else can one supply an explanation as to why he was so different from that other person. And since then, everyone in this village has had to live as best they can with this fellow who seems so diabolically cunning that he can even raid other people’s land with impunity. I do not believe it is very fun for the villagers to live with this restless spirit as since he appeared in their midst, they all seem to be like a bunch of shivering rabbits before a poisonous cobra…but never forget, he was not always like this….he was a man before….but this man was killed by gangsters and now only this other being exist who everyone considers the devil.
In this respect the kampung interpretation of the devil is very karmic when compared to it’s western counterpart who closely resembles an errand insurance salesman who is just interested in gaining a pecuniary interest by hoodwinking mankind with his cunningness – while in the context of the kampung – the devil is a being that is fashioned from the hand of evil people.
This is the reason why whenever I see people trying to take advantage of the unassuming – I always tell them in the kampung, treat others the way, you like to be treated and I cap this stricture with “as what goes around comes around….” As this is just another way of saying, do not call upon the devil to pay you a visit.
In the kampung parlance this simply means, don’t stir up shit, if you don’t want to be covered in shit!
That is why, I believe it is so important to be straight forward, above board and thoughtful of others, especially those who harbour a very naive world view – as when one adopts this sort of attitude, then if this person who you were once kind and gentle too succeeds in life – the chances are, he or she will probably believe wholeheartedly in the idea of goodness and this person will also help others – as since he himself is a direct beneficiary of goodness. This person can only be good.
But if all one can do is take advantage, double cross, disappoint and hurt others – then I hope this man who has been transgressed meets either an unnatural death or ends up a bankrupt. As, if this man manages to succeeds despite all the roadblocks put up against him. Then I do not believe this man will ever attribute his success to the idea of goodness…instead he will be a monster….and he will inflict the same misery that he himself had to go through on others. Neither will he have any qualms taking, taking and just taking either…to use and even abuse…as in this man’s sad history…no one ever showed him one shred of kindness or for that matter thoughtfulness…so how is it possible for this man who has never ever received charity before possibly give? It is not possible – as for a man to learn how to give, he must first be given too – otherwise, this man will just take, take, take and take. But that is not the worse part…the real tragedy is when this man who has never once known kindness before stands before those who were once innocent like himself…..even then he can do nothing except take from them as well…this is the psychology of the abuser…he was once a victim of abuse himself…that is why I always tell people, if you cannot do anything genuinely good for others, then it is best not to do anything at all and just shut up and behave like a door knob. If you have nothing good to say of others, again it’s best to bite your tongue and keep quiet. And if you yourself cannot bring relief, comfort and happiness to others, then don’t cause them grief and sadness…. Because when people are not mindful of the karmic law or choose to believe this is Buddhist mumbo jumbo when it is really only the law of cause and effect – then they should not be too surprised one day, if all one can do is sow the seeds of discord, create enmity and fan hatred…don’t be surprised is these same people create monsters who will come back and take, take and take away from them as well.
January 15, 2014
How does one go about the business of eating a elephant? Cut it up into little pieces and take your time about it – that’s why I don’t believe one can possibly just read Tolstoy’s paramour Anna Karenina.
Some books require the reader to live to experience the breadth and depth of the narrative – perhaps one way of gaining a degree of intimacy with the characters is by superimposing one own’s life to the many of the twist and turns of the heady plot.
Anna Karenina is set during an explosive period in Russian history. A fin de siècle period where Tsarist Russia was experiencing not only an unprecedented cocktail of political, economic, social and technological change – but it was also a period when the divisions between the have’s and the have’s were starkest – wonder no more why two decades after Anna Karenina was published, the red star was raised in the Kremlin – as the story unfolds one is led into a world of class divides characterised not only have huge disparities between the rich and the poor, but there are even constant reminders how the rich have absolutely nothing whatsoever in common with the have not’s – the corseted class politics of how the upper crust worked, lived and played and preferred to converse only in French along with morbid disdain for all things Slavic bears startling similarities with modern day Singapore. Their grotesque fixation with class politics along with the many social rituals that pockmarked the period which even the most forgiving would find it difficult to label as the height of hypocrisy – these are reoccurring leitmotivs in the equivalent of what I consider to the prototypal reality TV of it’s day.
I realise the main montage of the plot is supposed to feature the tragic love story of Anna Karenina and the dashing Voronsky – but I for some inexplicable reason, I have always found them shambolic, kitsch and cliche.
I much prefer Constatin Levin. For one, I can identify very much with what I can only describe as his and my own personal philosophical struggle: City Life versus Country Life. Tolstoy I imagine had to be a sort of closet farmer as so much of the book is devoted to farming.
I am not just talking about farming in a poetic sense. But as any frequent reader of Anna Karenina would testify, there are actually great disquisitions and not just vignettes about farming that not only dwell into the nitty gritty specifics of farm management 101, but they might probably even be instructive and directional as a Farmer’s almanac – and this prompted me (I think it must have been my seventh reading) Why devote so much space to such an obviously parochial, insular and mundane subject? What for instance does collectivism or tabula data relating to pine trees have to do with a bloody love story?
I think that the answer to this question can be found in one of the book’s key themes: How can one make life better? For example, when Levin is in the city, he feels out of place and is constantly provoked by its inauthenticity, pretentiousness and vapidness. The city brings out the worst in Levin – this is where he’s constantly struggling with awkwardsness – bickers no end with Kitty. The city even hurts his brain, this is where Levin wonders no end why upper crust Russians tutor their kids to speak French instead of Russian, which he considers a travesty of reason.
For Tolstoy and probably the likes of me, country living represents authenticity – there are numerous references to not only a reverence of authenticity of relationships – but many of the themes even veer to the metaphysical and spiritual – what we today would term ‘new age’ philosophy even – such as the intensely edifying feeling of cutting grass with a scythe with the peasants (something which I can identify with). There’s also the reoccurring theme of the aristocratic compact between the landowner and ‘his’ peasants – which may not be politically correct for one to speak at length these days about. But is still very much a dominant feature of plantation life.
Country living in Tolstoy’s definition is best summed up in the following: “what we need is not what intellectuals usually have to say,” Instead, we need practical wisdom that can be applied to the everyday and turned into good habits. The character of Levin exemplifies this – though he’s an aristocrat, he lives a Spartan life, one that his mother-in-law constantly harps about – he doesn’t harbour socialist views about how society should be ordered, but he subscribes to the idea of dignity of labour – ‘Everyman should be paid a fair wage…no more…no
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Levin’s characterisation in the novel is how he’s constantly justifying what many in Tsarist high society consider his eccentric life, where he is content to dress like a farmer, nat on haystacks and tuck into good wholesome peasant food – the idea, if it can be congealed may take the shape and form, “most people’s ideas do not come from actually reflecting on their particular experiences but from learning a set of views held by people with whom they identify or wish to associate.” This is true in the book and probably a timeless observation of all stratified socieites -many of the Petersburg’s high society live by widely accepted rules of propriety, and rarely question their way of life. Levin is total opposite, constantly evaluating his life choices and how they will makes his life fulfilling.
One redeeming feature of the book that probably no one except me considers a high point is when Kitty (after considerable persuasion from a Levin who undertakes to be a better man and husband) manages to persuade her to move the country – at first she loathes the idea, but eventually she too comes to see the world through Levin’s eyes and in this uneventful way that constrast markly from the torrid affair of the main protagonist – the couple achieve every lasting happiness in the simplicity of country life.
This is the best part of the book for me. I know it may not resonate with others who may prefer the passionate twist and turns of Anna and her man child lover, but for me the tale of Levin and Kitty hold out much more – one which choose not to elaborate. As in life, I wish to take certain thoughts, dreams and aspirations to my grave and never to tell a soul.
“City living is an inversion of logic. Because what you have is a whole lot of people who just work, work and work to buy meaningless stuff that they either don’t need, can do with less or could find better value elsewhere – but that is not the worse aspect of city living. The real solvent of city living in my considered opinion is the rich are not truly comfortable with the idea of money yet – they walk around believing that what they can afford to own maketh a man. They even want to be seen in places where the rich regularly hang out. They think they are cultured, when they are down right insensitive, inconsiderate and lacking in finesse, as what they don’t realise is by just breathing and the mere act of living they are hurting so many others who may not be as privileged as them.
The problem is they try too hard.
But a truly rich man is one who understands money is merely an instrument. This man has absolutely nothing to prove – he doesn’t need anyone to validate his existence, that is confidence – such a man is truly dangerous, as his nett worth could be worth millions and yet he will eat with the poor and amble along confidently in his slippers – as money to this man is simply a means to an end, never a God. But a servant – as money in isolation is nihilism, it is a truly meaningless thing by itself.
How can his fortune maketh him? Money can only acquire an agency when it’s linked to the idea of community and purpose – it is this philosophy which is the corner stone of the planters life – so the man who is fortunate to come to wealth must always think deeply about life, that is my definition of a rich and cultured man – he is first and foremost a thinking being – someone who is just so comfortable with the idea of money – who from time to time may even allow a fisherman or a harvester to buy him a meal in the warung – not the empty headed parvenu’s that one frequently comes across in the city, these people are nothing…they as are hollow stuffed with straw…
I think if city people can just try harder to get this simple idea into their heads, then there would be less class divide and we can all get along better – this has always been my hope.”
January 14, 2014
This morning, a very beautiful woman in a short dress sashayed over and sat on my table in the kopitiam. As I was happily gulping down and munching on my kopi O kauh and kaya bread, she slipped me her business card and smiled at me invitingly.
She sells insurance, it seems. I told her politely, I was already covered. She went on to suggest, she would make it worth my while. I asked her in what way? She was very coy about the matter and was only prepared to mention – it’s not convenient to elaborate in such a public setting. I suggested we continue the conversation in the privacy of my house on the hill.
When I sat down on my table expectantly – she eased herself on the table playfully and leaned across revealing her D cup fun bags (about the size of a $3 jumbo Nasi Lemak) – I went on to remind her…she had promised me and unforgettable deal which would more be worth my while. She told me, this was it….I leaned back into my rattan chair and exclaimed…Oh I see, you want me lift up your skirt, bend you down and fuck you? I went on to tell her, it was a tad early, but I am sure, I could accommodate her…providing.
She asked quizzically….’providing?’ I went on to ask her for her Rolex watch and her Samsung smartphone and a sum of $500. She got flustered and ask me why???? I told her in a business like fashion – I was definitely not getting a worthwhile deal out of this and I can only assume she expected me to role play to fulfill her sexual fantasy, consequently after punching my calculator a couple of times – I flashed her the figure and insisted this fee was hardly unreasonable for the pleasure of my company. I went osatisfaction higher charge would have to be levied on account of the unusual hour and given that I am called to perform on such short notice…..I went on further to ask, would she prefer it straight up standing up next to the table or the more expensive twenty point kamasutra nirvana chakra deluxe service in a supine position in my room which came with the obligatory flower bath and free Lux soap.
She called me a weirdo…I went on to insist that has not in my list of sexual repertoire, but I went on to suggest, if she could either paint my gate or cook for my dogs after satisfaction was rendered, I could consider accommodating such a strange request.
She went on to ask me whether I considered her attractive. I told her, not to be silly as I am a professional, after all does a ninja assassin bother whether the person he is going to snuff out is kind to people or planet. Geddit? She asked, why are you behaving so weird. I gave her a look of surprise and went on to insist again – she had lied to me about getting s worthwhile deal. She smiled weakly and said mischievously, you like it this way don’t you? I continued looking at her as if I didn’t quite understand while her expression turned slowly into a worried look as the idea slowly solidified somewhere in her empty head that I am dead serious – then she asked in a surprised tone – you mean I need to pay you?
I said of course lah…after all, it can’t possibly be the other way round. After all, I am the one who can run 20 km in thirty minutes flat, five percent body fat with Hong Kong actor good looks…..so since I would be doing 99.9% of the work, I went on to insist that would really have to be my fee for services rendered. Besides, it was early in the morning…
She wanted to leave. I told her if she opened that door, the two doberman dogs would rip her to shreds, as these are not casual pets…they are highly disciplined and well trained assassins. I pointed to the ramrod chair in the middle of the hall and told her that I would disappear for a while to make her a strong cup of coffee….when I returned….I would like to know, who sent her and what exactly is her mission for trying to infiltrate me….before I slipped into the kitchen….I told her satisfaction is guaranteed.
“The most beautiful organ in the human body has to be the brain – as only the brain can transform the mundane into a thing of extraordinary beauty with it’s largess of imagination, panache and wisdom.
That is why I will always hold to the controversial belief some people deserve to be poor, exploited and miserable. They deserve it as in many cases they have simply remained so terminally bovine, complacent and unimaginative about the whole business of life that they have squandered the greatest gift that nature has bestowed on them – their brain – neither do I have any sympathy for people who seem to do very little else everyday except fritter their mind on trivial pursuits. This is the same reason why I can never empathize with people who work for twenty over years doing the same job day after day like driving a train and when they suddenly lose their job – they are suddenly surprised that I don’t seem to share their loss. As to be quite honest with all of you, I simply cannot but feel they have brought this predicament ontu themselves. After all who was so terminally bovine for twenty over years that they were even prepared to do the same mindless job day after day that takes the same cerebral processing power to tie shoelaces? Why I wonder didn’t these people bother to improve their lot by reading broadly or for that matter taking an interest in something other than driving a train – if you say they are constrained by lack of education, then how does one supply an explanation for the thousands of millionaires who can’t even speak or write well.
The same holds true for women who think that they can just manipulate a man on the cheap to gain a shortcut in life – is it true to say that all men are susceptible to the temptations of the flesh? Yes, perhaps…but the difference lies only in the subtlety of degrees and it’s really a spectrum isn’t it – there lurks the danger – as at one end, no one disagrees, we have the man who can be taken in so completely by a ravishing beauty that he can even forget all of himself to slake his tryst that he would be easy meat – however, at the other end of the spectrum, you may have the man who will look on at all this with a practiced eye and may even feel an acute sense of being trespassed by women who would choose to be so brazen about seducing them – ‘how dare you insult me? How dare you possess the temerity to believe that you could even twirl a man like me around your finger without first bothering to prepare yourself with the study of Warcraft – I think it is this category of men who can be very cruel and heartless to such women…..very very cruel and heartless indeed.
As this is also precisely the sort of man who may harbour the politically incorrect belief some people deserve to be poor, miserable and lonely. And although polite society with it’s self effacing hypocrisy may still consider these men repulsive…it does not discount the reality…these men do exist and they are very real in every sense of the word and they should never be trifled with….”
January 14, 2014
Modern city living does not encourage a calm state of mind. Not at all.
You just need to press the pause button somewhere in your head, when you’re going or returning to work in the car, train or bus to realize this to be true. It hardly requires any elaboration.
If you ask most people about their POV about cultivating daily calmness – they will probably tell you, this is something, they would probably commit themselves too during their retirement.
I have always considered this reply odd, as they really need calmness NOW and not later on in life.
When a calm state of mind is practiced again and again, it will permeate the groundwater of one’s character and can only show through our acts, deeds and thoughts to eventually become a way of life. As we nourish this idea of calmness daily – we will see the world much clearer and can respond much more effectively to the many challenges that come our way.
“The most beautiful characteristic in a human being is his or her ability to remain calm, composed and alert.
For a man this is the most attractive quality as it inspires trust and confidence and creates perfect conditions where he can bring out the best in those who he leads.
For a woman this is also a very desirable quality that all serious men will always covet and gravitate too. As when a woman has all the world in the palm of her hands and is calm and not spinning around like a top and diffusing all her nervous energy needlessly – she is really like a lotus on a mirrored lake and such a woman even if she is a one metric ton internal beauty will be magically transformed into a very desirable woman to the serious man.
However, for women and men who are nervous, agitated and scattered brained all the time. They can never be beautiful or desirable even if they appear to embody the form – as since they lack the essential quality of the content that makes them truly beautiful and desirable….calmness.
Men and women who do not see the wisdom of cultivating deep spirited calmness as part of their daily life can only continue to attract the lowest quality men and women along with those who devote their entire life to inconsequential pursuits, such as talking at length about mobile phones, football and ToTo.
These people can never attract the serious men of this world. It is impossible. These category of men will simply not make time for them. They do not even exist.
So for this very sad people who only rely on the superficiality of good looks and the terminal vapidness of their character – their existence will always resemble one big diffusion of energy like a firecracker that burst and lights up the night sky momentarily only to disappear into darkness.
They are cursed forever to always wonder to themselves – why doesn’t a good man ever come into my life.”
January 13, 2014
Maybe, I am just the first man to make it to the train platform. Maybe no one has really forgotten me and I am not abandoned…forsaken..the rest will be making their way to this same platform.
Maybe, instead of sulking like a child. I should make myself useful and see whether I can do anything to guide the rest back home safely.
No! I absolutely refuse to believe the rest have left without me. Even if they had all come together at one point in time and blasted off, they would have left a sign….a clue for me to catch up and rendezvous with the mothership.
Yes, I must be the first man on the train platform.
I had better make myself useful. Get busy even instead of behaving like a spoilt restless child who has too much time on his hands. I should start tidying up the place. Updating all the old codes so that the rest don’t have to go to shops where computers go to die to just send a bloody message. Fix the things that are broken. That should keep me occupied I reckon.
Yes, I must be the first man on the train platform…this idea of being abandoned by the others….it’s all a figment of my imagination.
I need to put myself together again.
January 13, 2014
“Imagine a game….not an ordinary game….but one that can even jump right out of your computer screen and turn your whole life upside down.
Let’s see. Where is a good place to start…Oh yes, the beginning?…allow me to first explain the rough outline of the game.
The goal is world domination. It begins with 30 of the world’s best gamers, chosen for their proven record in exploration, adventurism and mental resilience to withstand incredible pressure.
Three would go into banking. Another three plantations. And yet another three into mining and so on and so forth covering every sector of trade and commerce on the face of this planet.
Each player is set an objective to grow his business to critical mass. None of the players know each other. They all need to play the game independently without collaborating. When they have accomplished their respective missions – they are all supposed to met again in one location. Since now they are all powerful, wealthy and influential men in their respective fields. They can now proceed to figure out how to save people and planet.
But what happens when after sending off the mission accomplished message…when absolutely nothing happens. I mean zero….absolutely nothing….not so much as a whimper. What happens when that message seems to just go into a black hole and disappear forever…..the servers, they don’t even exist any longer…even the language is so old. I need to use a keyboard from a shop where computers go and die….as for the people who are supposed to write the next level of the game….silence….maybe they don’t play the game any longer….maybe, they all just grew up, got married, put on weight and have all forgotten about this game…could it be all that exist is the remnants of this game….old codes that don’t work any longer….doors that don’t even open.
What happened to the rest of the 29?….Did they even exist? Was I too early? Maybe, I was late and they just left me behind like one of the those poor aliens that didn’t make it back to the mothership…..Will they ever return for me?
I keep sending messages everyday….but nothing… I wonder did this game even exist at all. Coming to think of it, what happens to the man who once conceived and believed in this game only for all others to forget it so completely that it’s crushed by the chastening passage of time.
Tell me please….is anybody out there?”