The importance of not provoking jealousy in others

May 22, 2014

My bird house is very successful. In just a short span of time. Less than a year and a half. I have been able to attract a respectable number of birds which busy themselves building nest which I harvest and sell.

Normally this will not be a problem.

But when one considers my bird house is the only one in the whole precinct that has been able to attract birds in such a short period of time, while the rest in my neighborhood continue to languish. As they all seem to be able to be only able to attract owls and bats…and no birds. Then it is a problem.

As unlike palm oil where I can very easily downplay my stellar harvest by being modest to manage perception and emotions. In the case of my bird house it’s all too clear for all to see and draw their conclusions – all they have to do is squat along the main road and watch the number of swiftlets flying in and out my bird house and being kampung folk they will eventually ask – how is it possible that a man who once hailed from a city can do better than us! We have been doing this all our lives! This is our home ground. He is an outsider! How is this possible!

Given enough time. Some may even speculate….given enough open bottles of tiger beer in the village kopitiam some may even choose to speculate: what sort of magic might the Devil be using…yes, magic will always be a very big part of kampung life. As over here, no one can possibly believe life simply turns on the caprice of fate and fortune. This has nothing to do with the pursuit of the truth. As if there is any truth here it is simply this – most people are simply too uncomfortable with the reality that success or failure may turn on the vagaries of fortune. To the vast majority of kampung folk whenever misfortune befalls them….it is always attributable to the work of malevolent spirits…mystery is furiously at work undermining their wealth and opportunities.

Soon I expect many who cannot tahan their jealousy will begin to sabotage me. They may poison my water supply. Call me paranoid. But I have long made plans to counter such moves by building my own water reservoir – once these holding tanks are filled. I will have enough water to last me a full year!

But that is not the end of it – as when these ignorant fucks poison my water and they see that my birds do not seem to be affected. Again they will chant, ‘see the Devil has can even turn poison into sweet waters…this is proof that the Devil is in our midst.’ Thereafter the kampung legend of the Devil will just right on like a B grade Bollywood movie.

The story of my life lah!

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‘When one is doing well. One must always be mindful that others may not be as lucky as you to share this good fortune. So it is always important for one not to flaunt one’s wealth and if possible even downplay one’s success with lashings of modesty.

This is especially important in the kampung. As no where else in the whole wide world is the divide between the have’s and have’s not at it’s starkest. Some people may say since these divisions of class are such an entrenched feature of plantation life – it would hardly matter at all.

But when one considers in a digitally connected world where even simple kampung folk have access to that great window of the world – the internet. Then the dangers associated with divisions of the class can only be heightened and sharpened considerably – as one of the cruelest aspects of living in a globalized world is while much can be said about the ease at which information is imported and exported – it is also closer to perdition than salvation – as while everyone these days has access to the information highway and can see how the rich and well off live, work and play…the paradox of a globalized world does not offer any gainful means for the poor to practically actualize their dreams. As when we ask ourselves – why are the poor…poor? It is simply because they simply have nothing to offer which people are willing to vote with their wallets – this is the cruelest aspects of the globalization calculus that it is akin to creating a fish bowl society where in one world – you have people who seem to have everything that money can buy and on the other spectrum. All you have is a whole lot of people who are simply looking in from the outside while they make do the best they can.

This is why in my opinion never before in the history of mankind has it been a matter of such great urgency for the rich and influential to craft a code of conduct as to how they should live their lifes and go about their daily business – either that or just by the mere act of living and breathing the rich and influential run the risk of inflicting misery on the underclass – whatever the final shape and form of this new code of conduct might be – I have no doubt that it would have to include a sort of veneration for the simple way of life, the sort of no nonsense existence that is scrubbed clean of all glints of opulence, affectation and ostentatious display of wealth. One that definitely requires one to eschew from the allure of the material world.

I do not imagine this to be easy at all. Let me share with you all why. Not very long ago I had to travel out station. I spent a night sleeping in an air conditioned room in a soft spring mattress – I must say it was indeed a delightful experience – intact, the most satisfying sleep I had ever experienced for so long a time. As when one compares this to the harsh realities of field living, it’s really heavenly…the problem is when I returned back to the field, I found my camp bed impossibly narrow and unyielding…as for sleep…it didn’t come so easily to me…and that perhaps sums up how it is so easy for a man to be seduced by the good life – it is a solvent of the soul…a narcotic like opium….and it is poison!’

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