June 30, 2014
I have very powerful business adversaries. Not only do they outnumber me. But they also have hundreds of times more resources than tiny pocket battleship me. Not that I am bothered. As with each successive attempt to drive me out of business I just seem to grow more accustomed and adept at fighting against extraordinary odds with loads of make do spirit, superglue and potluck – this does not bother me. Not at all. Besides I’ve known no other working conditions since I ventured in the plantation business. After all we are dealing with a bunch of daughter fuckers who don’t seem to subscribe to any of form of fair play business ethics. So bring it on lah!
What really bothers me is why do they all see me as such a threat? This is the part that I cannot seem to understand for the life of me.
After all its not as if I regularly go around kachauing (disturbing) people. I mind my own business, work hard to make the best of what little I have. I am respectful, but stern and fair….but I don’t ever go out of my way to disturb people. So why do they all want to wipe me out? What have I done to them!
They mean to drive me out of business this time! It is no longer theoretical any longer. Recently they have even set up a cartel to prevent any of the landowners from selling land to me – without land I am like a bonsai. Its no good. I cannot grow. Given time, if I stay the same size they will pick me off – so I need to engineer a crisis…..a regime change….a mini black ops clandestine dirty war.
Three weeks ago my enemies engineered a harvester’s strike that was designed to cripple me – this was a Pearl harbor attack. I can take many things in this world, but I draw the line when a man doesn’t even see the moral or ethical requirement to fight fair. So the rule book is out of the window – from this point onwards I can no longer afford to be a gentlemen – it’s not as if I want to be evil. But these people are making it impossible for me to be a moral person. Fortunately I was able to blunt the harvesters strike by bringing in a new crew of harvester’s.
This I cannot forgive nor forget….will not…absolutely cannot! The way I surmise it, these bullies only respect power that comes out of the barrel of the gun. No other language will work with them. That is the Tao of unreasonable people who do not ever see the wisdom of live and let live.
So I am now projecting into their lands. Taking the war directly to their living rooms lah in full technicolor and stereophonic sound. They would not expect this. As till now all I have done is to defend and conducted myself as a perfect gentlemen.
I may be just a small pocket battleship outfitted with a peashooter, but I believe I can still give as good as I take – I am here to sow the seeds of discord amongst their harvester’s, farmhands and their entire business network to create chaos that I hope to capitalize on later to carve a competitive advantage.
I am well equipped to do this. I know the local customs well and can blend right in like a chameleon. Can even speak the language complete with local parlance and can quote chunks of the Quran to come across seamlessly as a brother, friend and trusted advisor to the villagers in these parts. The goal is to undermine their influence and sow the seeds of discord to turn the servants against their masters till all attempts at command and control becomes futile.
By the time I have finished my handiwork here as a saboteur par excellence. My enemies wouldn’t even the slightest idea what hit them. They will just be spinning like a top running here and there fighting fires from all directions.
If a war is what they want, then I am more than happy to give them a professional serving and by the time I finished here. I can more or less guarantee 110%, there will be so much schism, mistrust and enmity……and when everything is smoking nicely all I have to do is stroll right in an offer to buy up all their Panadol inducing troubles at fire sale prices….I bet by then they would even thank me and call me a kindred spirit.
As usual when everyone ask me whether I am involved, all I would do is shrug my shoulders, give them my well rehearsed, dunno look and exclaim, ‘I never kachau people one! Aiyoh. This one you also dunno meh?’
Meanwhile I will need to run deep and silent.
June 29, 2014
The process of successfully bringing down a thing is not so different from hunting. First you need the power of invisibility to move unseen and unheard to engineer consensus. This will gain you the key to surprise. Surprise is vital as without it there can be no such thing as a decisive victory.
Then you just need to pick the right moment to deliver the death blow.
Thereafter there will be nothing except silence….I like to blog about many things. But I don’t think this is something that I ever want to blog about. Less said the better. It is after all a very unpleasant business – a dirty war always is, but what else is there to do the other side isn’t fighting clean and fair either.
That is life.
Run deep and silent.
June 28, 2014
One word lah. Farmers! Farmers all over the world stand in solidarity against the TPP. Not even US farmers want anything to do with the toxic TPP which incidentally is frequently marketed by big conglomerates, Wall Street and people who have never ever put in one honest days work in their life as a free trade agreement. Truth is the TPP has absolutely nothing to do with free trade and everything to do with enriching the already rich by rigging the market in their favor at the expense of the common man….and since farmers by nature are a noisy lot who frequently resort to ear shattering ways and means to get their point across to politicians who they don’t usually respect enough as they don’t consider politicking a real man’s job.
I just don’t see how the TPP can ever fly without the support of all the farmers in the world giving it the mother of all rotten tomatoes treatment. As for Obama…well the short answer is he’s well on the way out….and the last thing he wants to do is take on a fight that he knows, he doesn’t have the stamina or support to see to the very end. Besides he has bigger problems on his plate other than the TPP.
So it’s a dead duck lah.
‘The Internet has allowed me to conduct my own clandestine lobby campaign against the TPP which I do in secret. Since I am by nature someone whose very comfortable with the idea of taking off my shoes and banging it on the table to drum up popular support. I happen to be a very well know figure in probably ever farmers forum through out the internet world.
If there is one thing that scares the living day lights out of any farmer – it’s the idea that his son will not be able to continue turning the wheel of life through the good earth. There is something fundamentally brain stem scary about this idea – the very idea that their way of life as they know it will just be obliterated and the way I do this is by first pitching the idea….
Free Trade Agreements (especially where the US happens to be major stakeholder) have a vile track record of dispossessing farmers, destruction of local food economies, and resulting rise in hunger and poverty.
You want proof! Chew on this! In the 10 years following the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 1.3 million Mexican farmers went bankrupt because they were unable to compete with highly subsidized US corn entering the market.
In the same 10 years, Mexico went from a country producing virtually all of its own corn to one importing nearly half of its staple food (in exchange, it exports cheap clothes and appliances made in maquiladora border sweatshops). Mexican consumers are paying a higher price for their (now GMO) tortillas, and it is no surprise that riots broke out when corn prices tripled in 2008. Mexicans, now dependent on the global market for food, go hungry when the gambling addictions of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital reach into the agricultural commodities market.
In regards to the TPP, similar fates will befall farmers and local food economies, where significant numbers of people are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. Around 37 million people within the TPP zone are involved in the agricultural sector. For these people, and all the people who eat what they produce, the TPP could be devastating.
By the time I have finished my sales pitch on why you need the TPP like you need a big hole in your head….I kid you not…you can literally hear a caterpillar chew a leaf in these forums – fear has been planted in their hearts. That’s how I know the TPP is dead!
The way I see it. There is nothing subversive about what I am doing by going around forum to forum all round the world and selling the idea to farmers worldwide that the TPP makes as much sense as drinking weed killer. There is however something very subversive about the way the TPP negotiations are conducted in secret faraway from public scrutiny – which seems strange when you consider it’s likely to affect the lives of so many people. So you go figure out why something that’s marketed as the next best thing since slice bread needs to be couched in so much secrecy.
I am just very happy that I can throw a big spanner that will make the TPP juggernaut freeze, wobble and My fervent hope remains it will simply do me the courtesy of the next logical thing which is crash and burn.
At the heart of the TPP debate is also the issue of morality and ethics. For example the TTP proposes to extend patent protection for pharmaceutical companies – consider this: why is there even a compelling need to do that for an industry whose profits are already well sheltered from the vicissitudes of the free-market? Seems like a very odd way to promote free trade…if you ask me!
Let me just illustrate starkly the incongruity of the argument with some figures – it has been estimated that, without patent and other similar protections, the U.S. would spend around $30 billion per year on prescription drugs, instead of the $300 billion we spend now. That’s a $270 billion transfer from consumers’ pockets to Big Pharma profits, and the TPP would extend their reach across both time (more years of protection) and space (to countries where generic versions of name-brand drugs improve health and save lives) – what this means is poor nine year old Abdul would probably not be able to get access to affordable medication. It would also mean folk like myself would probably have very little trouble selling off my plantation and going into the illicit generic drug manufacturing business by getting myself a second hand sardine ship and outfitting it into a mobile drug factory like those baddies you see in one of those James Bond movies who always stroking a cat.
My point gentlemen is I am all for the idea of capitalism. Aiyoh. Like that also dunno ah? But the TPP isn’t capitalism as what it attempts to do is to give so much power to corporations that it’s a revival of institutional serfdom. As what it attempts to do is shift the center of power from the consumer to firms to such an extend where the later will have absolutely no balance of power whatsoever. Tell me where is the free trade there? I only have one thing to say to all these lazy good for nothing air con addicted parvenu’s who have never worked one honest day in their lives and who are now trying to build their TPP gravy train in secret faraway from the prying eyes of the public – go and work honestly for your money like the rest of us! Men like me will always be there to roadblock you at every turn and opportunity.
Do you all see how I don’t want to be evil. But unfortunately conditions beyond my control force me into a life of organized crime?
To me those big pharma companies can go hunt me down for patent infringement. Good luck to them lah – that’s what I will do lah if TPP comes into effect.’
In the Hollywood blockbuster, the postman. A nuclear war wipes out all of civilization and society has returned back to the age of barter and the warlord. The main protagonist Kevin Costner discovers a postman uniform in a cave with a few letters, yet to be delivered. So he goes around from one gated community to another claiming the postal service has been restored along with spinning a yarn that a new United States administration is currently the newly restored de facto government. Soon an impromptu postal service comes into being staffed mainly by youths under a fictitious executive order.
Some fifteen or twenty years back ago in Singapore when the internet was still in its prototypal IRC baby puking stage when chatrooms ruled the digital sphere – I ran a private forum called bunkerworld. The forumers in Bunkerworld were mostly undergrad geeks and it was platform that I used to sell blue mountain instant coffee – we all believed that a day would come when a zombie plague would sweep planet earth and all civilization would descend into a feral man eat man dystopian Will Smith, I am Legend cityscape. (This was way before the movie came out. This only goes to show that my script writing talents were definitely wasted in Singapore).
Since I was the man who ran Bunkerworld. I would regularly post survivalist write ups on how to make a meal out of your old army boots, eat your pet dog, make a post apocalyptic hand bag out of the dead iguana…those sort of off the wall articles that no one really bothers to read unless they find themselves suddenly and unexpectedly living in post nuclear war society. For most of the time, the forumers in Bunkerworld would occupy themselves by chatting about how to turn your urine into potable water, how to survive on canned beans for six months without turning green. The forum had just the right cinematic mix of mystery and even a clandestine spy feel to it to hold an eclectic audience and since most of them were pimply geeks who probably just spent most of their time in rooms where clothes and pizza go to die – most of them saw me as a mysterious James Bond archetypal he man who used to jump out of airplanes, rappel thru the air and do all sorts of dangerous stuff that they could only dream of doing (fortunately no one got around to asking why would a secret agent who leads an international life of mystery and intrigue need to subsidize his salary by selling coffee online. In those days netizens actually respected the privacy of others even if they didn’t deserve it.)- the combination of these cinematic overtures in Bunkerworld coupled with the off beat survivalist lifestyle just managed to keep everyone riveted to their chairs and create just the right buzz needed to sustain a small online community.
One day I decided it was time to shut down Bunkerworld. At that time, I just thought to myself this whole idea of prepping wasn’t making much sense in Singapore – as bird flu didn’t turn out to be so bad after all. The nearest we all ever got to a global extinction event was SARS and the tsunami. Even that wasn’t any where near the end of the world dooms day scenario that we commonly discussed in Bunkerworld.
Before I shut down the forum, I told the forumers that as their leader I expect every man to dedicate their lives to earning as much money as possible and rising to the highest position in their respective vocations. As that’s the best way to guarantee survival in an uncertain world – true to the spirit of chupatz in Bunkerworld, I signed off my last message with the cryptic words, we shall met again somewhere….sometime….in the distant future…some where in the underground.
Fast forward to present day and I’ve been coming across smiling strangers who I hardly know giving me the secret Bunkerworld handshake and wink – the way I see it the kids who used to hero worship me then have all grown up, got married and some of them have even managed to rise so high in their respective vocational fields they are now multi millionaires who can even afford to build their own private dream bunkers complete with bowling alley cum James Bond helipad.
What I didn’t count on was Bunkerworld did not actually just die off and disappear into oblivion – many of the forumers continued underground and in secret as they believed my cryptic farewell was some secret coded message (presumably like the Da Vinci code) to press on – apparently my farewell message was riven with so many spelling mistakes and a reoccurring uppercase ‘A’ and ‘J’ that a code breaking cell in Bunkerworld began to see it as confirmation of a hidden message. (if only they all knew the keys on my china made clone Apple keyboard was permanently stuck in uppercase for those two letters). To cut a very long story short…. today what was once just a casual hang out for geeks in one obscure corner of the net has morphed into full scale reality….air scrubbing filtration….automatic hydraulic doors….freeze dried food etc etc etc.
I am just a tad uncomfortable today about settling into the idea of being regarded as the founding father and going to dinners where everyone takes the kooky Bunkerworld culture so seriously that I am even expected to give a speech….the ultimate irony is even if I told those bunkerheads the real story….no one would ever believe me….they would all probably give me that cosy inderism look of complicity and say, ‘this is another test right?’ But for what’s its worth. I am glad to see many of those pimply kids have made something out of their lives – at least they took and ran with one advise that I once gave them all – never work for anyone, be your own boss! Be big! Because bunkers cost millions….on that, they all certainly did not disappoint, so I am happy it all turned out well.
Bunker on lah!
June 27, 2014
To most people their definition of fine cellared wine is probably a beverage that just goes exceptionally well with a serving of steak or halibut. I understand. Nothing wrong with that. After all ignorance is supposed to be bliss…wot!
Only for me there’s always much much more to a fine bottle of wine that usually goes beyond flavor, color, marque, lineage etc – in my book, it doesn’t even have to be expensive or rare….I just need to know under what conditions it was grown in to truly appreciate the full range of experience to give it the respect that it deserves.
I guess it’s a very peculiar way of appreciating wine. A tradesman’s way …a planters way… Just as probably how only another watchmaker can truly appreciate the élan, verve and panache of another watchmaker’s complication, it’s probably such a specialized field of interest that only a very few people would get worked out about it….or even bother to drill deeper to discover the many hidden nuances in a thing.
Whenever I am drinking wine. It’s almost automatic for me to put myself in the shoes of the grape planter and try to imagine what growing conditions he had to work with…..what kind of soil conditions were the grapes grown in? Was it very frosty that year? Or did it just rain cats and dogs the whole time. All these questions float around my mind along with endless other questions as I try my best to peer into the darkened interiors of that wines history with my palate – along with what it has to offer and the whole usual litany of questions like did the mythical wine grower manage to tease out the various nuances of flavor under a given set of growing conditions – at times the suspense is so great that I even find myself hunting down that specific grower… e-mailing him and having a profound conversation for hours over farming.
Unfortunately in the heady world of wine – most wineries these days are run very much like factories mass producing toasters. I have a term to describe these industrial wineries…jam makers…liquid jam laced with alcohol to be specific. These are your ‘always in your face’ genre Paul Mason’s and endless Californians new world wines such as Mondavi, Carlo Rino et all – I have nothing against per se, if your goal is just to get to the station of 13% proof alcohol land – in fact I think they’re rather good at getting you to the station – if I harbor any gripes, they all seem to taste exactly the same every season – they all seem to even be able to produce the same kitsch full bodied bloom of reds, that’s because most of the flavors are really formulated in a lab by men dressed in white coats busying themselves over testubes. There is no mystery there….no art…no beauty…no Da Vinci code…no chutzpah just the run of the mill pop soda Chardonnays, Merlots, Shiraz and many other forgettable new world whites ranging from a sharp Reisling to Preseco…all seem to be able to deliver the full range of notes without too much difficulty, like a Yamaha size 32 violin… only they all seem to suffer from one common failing – they’re all counterfeits.
But the Pinot Noire is very different – the undisputed jewel in the crown…the aqua vitae. As only the aristocrats of growers will attempt to run a season with such a finicky breed of grapa – firstly it’s skin is wafer thin and since it bruises easily, it requires nothing less than the utmost skill in handling and care.
It’s not very productive either as the grape bunches of the Noire are usually very modest, unlike the voluptuous Dolly Parton sized Merlots and Sauvignons that’s much prefered by volume wine growers and since it only grows in tiny nooks and corners around the world where the temperature, sunlight and rainfall is just right, it ranks as the king of grapes. Above all to successful grow a Pinot only a certain ilk of farmer dares to take on such a risky enterprise – a master grower.
One day I would like to try my hand at growing the Pinot. The very idea of a man pitting his skills against mother nature to produce a masterpiece is a very challenging idea to me. Just me and her…no one else. I just want to see whether I can pull it off,
In my minds eye, I can see it right now. A small vineyard maybe in Tuscany or the South of France and next to it maybe an abandoned Chateau that’s seen better days. I will probably work at restoring the Chateau when I am not in the field. I am good with my hands. A sort of place where there’s less than a hundred people in the village. A quiet place where no one ever bothers to stop over. Where the breeze is always scented with hints of Extramadura and Seville oranges in June and during winter the morning frost doesn’t quite bite so hard that grape growing is grief. I don’t need a big hectarage, just a veggie plot will do very nicely with a small cottage winery to produce maybe less than a thousand bottles per season…that’s what I really want to do with in the second half of my life.
But it’s so faraway….nonetheless….I can dream on and from where I standing it’s sweet and clear….the wine that’s called Pinot Noire that is.
June 26, 2014
In the world of clandestine services. It is often said, lighting never strikes in the same place twice. So when a friend I have haven’t seen for over ten years shows up and offers me a job in Iraq for second time in the last two weeks….I had to say no. I told him that things needed time to ‘level’ out in Iraq first. He asked me what I meant by that. I was only prepared say, ‘water needs to find its level…’
I have never totally agreed with the crack brained idea of invading Iraq. I have always believed it was a war that was only pursued to enrich the oil barons and their international parvenu lackeys. I remembered balking at Bush juniors summary of how all Arabs desired democracy…really how true is that? What he and the CIA didn’t factor in was that may well be true, but since the devil is always in the details – the Arabs much prefer a version of democracy that’s much closer to an Iranian theocracy than anything resembling the western model. In my view that’s perfectly natural given the sectarian tribal make up of Iraq. Result: the Middle East is well and truly fucked! And everyone who is allied to George Bush junior stands to lose money big time!
Many people who will be losing money very soon. Huge sums of money. After all their contracts have been summarily nullified ex parte as Iraq goes into a tail spin – my take is this. Let it all burn and once nothing of the old order is left, then the time will be ripe to go into business with however should rightly run the country.
June 26, 2014
Last night I decided to dine out on for a change. I am after all in the city. Ordered a mid sized fish. Enjoyed it very much despite being a bit touristy. When the bill came I couldn’t understand why it cost $2,000. The manager raised his voice at me when I began to ask for a breakdown. I told him it was not necessary to raise his voice. That was when a few burly men surrounded me. I smiled and said to him, ‘I now understand.’ As I was counting off the notes, I gave an extra $200. The man looked very surprised and asked what is the extra for – I said to him given that this meal comes along with a complimentary night with his teen daughter and wife…I just thought it was a bargain….the man tensed visibly….we continue facing off and I after a very long while….as if reflecting he finally insisted on returning back all my money and told me I only had to pay the standard rate of $50 for the fish.
I said to him, but I insist on the complimentary service.
It’s the hot season and working conditions in the field can only be described as debilitating. Even breathing in this heat feels like sucking in glowing embers. Usually this time of year, it’s not uncommon for some of my farmhands to come up with 1,001 cocker meme excuses why this or that cannot be done the way I insist a task should be done – in my book complaining is well and fine….it’s perfectly natural for disgruntled folk to complain – I don’t see that necessarily as a bad thing as it’s probably their way of coping with stress by releasing their frustrations. I understand…
But I draw the line when those who I work with decide to take the lazy man’s way out by cutting corners. Whenever I see that the discipline slacks in the crew. Usually I don’t require words to enforce discipline. Less talk is better. I just do the work the way I want it to be done quietly…consistently and that really my way of shaming those who choose to stray out of line into compliance. I term this process for lack of a better – tightening the line. As without discipline nothing can be achieved.
Usually when I decide to ‘tighten the line’ its never a pleasant business. It starts with me shadowing the crew like Velcro. I do what needs to done consistently. I never make small talk…never and I don’t mix with the farmhands during rest or cigarette breaks as I want to convey to them my displeasure.
From time to time those worker’s who require a quick spin with the wrench to ‘tighten’ their wayward ways will feel so embarrassed and small that some of them would say to me, ‘we know how you want it to be done now. Why don’t you leave it to us.’ I just ignore them and continue doing what needs to be done and very slowly but surely a deadly silence pervades the entire crew till they rendered silent…serious and reflective…and that in a nutshell is how a man learns the error of his ways and rights them…a la kampung style.
‘The section in Sun Tzu’s art of war which is often misquoted is – treat your soldiers like your own children and they will fight courageously…but this misleads terribly as when one reads on – the famous strategist issues a stricture and warns against spoiling your soldiers and even goes as far as to say, if this warning is not headed, then they will be good for nothing.
And this should prompt any leader to ask the next supplementary question – how do you go about the unpleasant business of managing ‘good for nothing’ people. This makes perfect sense to me as in life whether you succeed or crash and burn hinges not on whether you yourself have the seven habits of highly effective people. That’s the easy peasy part.
As it remains the very simple brasstack case of how well prepared are you as a leader in dealing with the seven habits of highly ineffective people!
Don’t believe me then consider this. Why is MH370 still a persistent mystery like where is the lost city of Atlantis? The simple answer is there was a total breakdown in discipline and the person who was responsible for tracking flying objects the size of a shopping mall was probably playing solitaire instead of keeping his eye on the ball. The same thing can be said about the riot in little india. These people did not bother to train realistically so when the shit hit the fan, everyone in the chain of command was mumbling and covering their ass. Result, a bad hair day lah. Same goes for Roy versus Mini Lee. The person who is responsible for scaling threats and opportunities in blogoland gave Mini Lee lousy advise and the result, the man is locked in the basement with his keys on the other side of the door. I don’t even know how he’s going to get out. He’s stuck solid! Can you now see why it’s so important to build the core competencies to manage ineffective people?
CPF also same. Don’t complicate your understanding for a thing by trying to make sense of what Zorro Lim said. He will just confuse you no end as he is a very ineffective communicator. It’s very simple, if the custodians of power stayed true to the goal of CPF at it’s inception – there will be no problem today. Hong Lim park will be empty. Roy Ng will be just another voice in the great digital wilderness. But somewhere along the line, a few ineffective people decided to change the focus of CPF, they used it for housing, healthcare and ten other things which all had the cummulative effect of shifting the goal. I am sure at that time when these planners began tinkering with it, they felt perfectly justified to do so as the trade offs must have mesmerized them. But fast forward today and the thing which was supposed to provision for retirement can no longer fulfill it’s primary goal. It’s so bloody far off the mark today and encrusted with so many sub goals that it’s doubtful that they even have a clear line of sight to the original goal any longer. Now you go ask yourself whose fault is it? Ineffective people lah!
In every case when one peruses thru the anatomy of failure, it was due to an abject failure to intelligently manage ineffective people.
In the olden days when men were still real men and took their jobs seriously – there was hardly a need to manage ineffective people who let down the side down. Since these duds usually felt an acute sense of shame. In those days they could always be counted to do the right thing by putting a revolver in their mouths and doing the honorable thing and this served as a poignant warning to others to keep their eye on the ball and this was how the system perpetuated itself.
But these days it is very different. My feel is if this social convention was still around – then all our problems will disappear like lemon drops.’
June 23, 2014
These days it’s social hara -kiri to speak with admiration about the “rugged individualist” – that old fashion idea of a man who decides to take on a mammoth endeavor and succeeds by his own industry and relies on no one except himself to make something of his lot.
These days even that classical idea of self emancipation of “great men” doing “heroic deeds” leading along the rest of humanity is seen as passé and closer to Hitlerism than something desirable. In an age when everyone lays claim to the elemental right to be the individual…to he heard…respected…even when they spout rubbish…wonder no more why the rugged individual is as rare these days as a Cheshire cat.
Never mind that somewhere in the present day post modernist cult of ‘all men are the same and the only difference lies in the details’ can never fully supply an explanation how it’s possible for the Rennaisance, industrial Revolution or the advent of the digital age to have come about if the idea of the rugged individual never really existed.
In the kooky narrative of the air conditioned addicted new age metrosexual who much prefers to mull over skin enhancing creams where the only active ingredient is water rather than dwell into any deep discussion concerning what drives society forward – this theme of individuals taking on big endeavors merely amounts to an abberation of history. A necessary lie perpetuated by the capitalist manifesto to justify all sorts of social equalities in the name of progress along with supplying the raw material needed to mythologize the new aristocracy brought by new found wealth.
But I and my tribe will always reject the contorted worldview of these new age prophets and their poisonous sermons. Above all I despise their useless vanities and affectations for frivolous pursuits along with their vapid philosophies concerning how society should be ordered. If these hollow men have their way – then the sum of all society has to offer will be the anti thesis of the rugged individual – an air conditioned addicted half man whose allergy to hard work, industry and strife is only matched by his morbid fear of having to put up with mosquitoes and creepy crawlies.
My hope is El Nino will unleash hell. I pray that it bites so hard that it doesn’t even relent so much as once that it’s vigorous and singleminded like a man who just wants to thrust a dagger into the heart. There are times when I feel a tinge of guilt for my yearning. Yesterday while shaving before the mirror I felt a wave of acute embarrassment when these evil thoughts flitted thru my mind – but is it so wrong? Why does nine tenths of the world’s prime agricultural land have to be in the dead grip of old money and their idiot sons? Why have the millers and the rest of the plantation owners ganged up on me to ensure that my ‘imperialistic’ tendencies are checked – never mind that whenever they buy new tracts of land it’s always seen as diversification. But for poor me, whenever I get my hands on a measly veggie patch, it’s always see as a sign of my hidden agenda…. imperialistic tendencies…and failing as a social climber who dares to challenge the landowning classes – fuck them lah! Fuck all them like bowling pins… My only hope now is for the El Nino to shake and rattle their world and in the process winnow the boys and men – and somewhere in all that wasteland following that epic fuck day just after the mother of all the big shits have hit the mythical fan – I will be proven right…the rugged individual will be the only man left standing….they the soft flabby privileged undeserving land owning classes will all perish….only men like myself will stand….as we are true planters of lore.
He will win! We will win!
This remains my fervent hope of hopes.
‘Let me share with you succinctly what is fundamentally wrong with society these days. Now picture this scene. A man comes to see me because he’s fallen on hard times. Out of the goodness of my heart and the general love for humanity and my deep desire to redeem myself of my evil ways since I do surf porn after all. I give this man a sum of money to help him get up on his feet again. One week later the same man comes to me again and tells me another sob story. I give him the benefit of the doubt and again I give him a sum to help him out. On the third week, he shows up at my door again and this time I know almost intuitively he’s gaming me. In other words he thinks I am a bloody fool.
So I take off my shoes and bung it at him and since I am a crack shot. My shoes hit the mark, duh duh! Like the classic double tap from the execution arm of the state of Israel, the Kidon. This man falls down and ends up in Tan Tock Seng with two mega balaku’s. Each the size of a jumbo nasi lemak with otah…the $3.50 one lah that the auntie sells in Bedok bus interchange from eight to only nine.
Do you all know what will happen to me if I did all that in Singapore? I will go to jail. And not only that some fuck in blogoland will highlight this story and they will call me a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler. Do you see the irony…the person who games the system now has more rights than me. That if you must know is why the rugged individual can never thrive in a place like Singapore. He will end up in jail or become such a misfit that he ends up in the IMH.
And there you have it, all that’s wrong with the world today. And don’t get me started on how a man who dedicates himself to hard work, risk taking and industry these days has virtually no rights whatsoever. The poor have a right to dress down the rich for whatever reason known only to themselves. But the man who puts him thru university by holding down two shift jobs. The man who summons the courage to put everything on a number and grows an enterprise and dedicates himself to hard work twelve hours a day, seven days a week with not even so much as an off day to materialize a great enterprise. The man who puts everything on the line and draws out his parang in the pale moonlight and does battle with those who choose to take away his dreams…no he has no rights. None whatsoever it seems.
That is the sign of the times we live in today and that is also everything that is wrong with our age.’
The weather boffins have been predicting since the beginning of this year a monster El Nino is scheduled to hit. But I am not so sure they’re spot on – as the trade winds, which blow from east to west across Indonesia thru to Malaysia have shown hardly any signs of weakening — as they typically do in the run-up to an El Nino event.
The weakening of the trade winds is the one event that presages the El Nino phenomenon – take away that one event and its like a rifle missing the vital firing pin – it’s a dud – result: the chain of event that unleashes the fury of El Nino i.e the upwelling of cold ocean water off the coast of South America to be suppressed, and water temperatures at the surface will warm further, potentially unleashing a litany of effects across the globe all doesn’t happen – it will just be another year like any other year albeit with slightly less rain.
It’s hard if not impossible to predict what the weather will be like from this point onwards. As all the weather experts are really doing is extrapolating data concerning what is likely to pan out based on the last historical precedent of the last major El Nino event that took place in 1997 – that to me is like spinning a coin once and drawing the assumption just because it turned out heads the last time means that it’s going to be heads all the time! Besides weather prediction is riven with vested interest as it plays a preponderant role in price setting in the commodities future’s market and it’s to the interest of some quarters to predict doom and gloom just to bump up the price of coffee, rice, cocoa or any other grown produce.
El Nino is simply too politicized as it is to really draw any definitive conclusions as to the future – it may happen. Then again it may not. It’s very hard to say – neither do I want to play ‘should I cut the red or yellow wire’ any longer by wadding thru weather reports about butterflies flapping their wings in Oslo and causing a thunderstorm somewhere in Pacific shark infested island – I am tired….have been on the saddle the whole day and all I want to do now is put my head on a pillow and dream about Africa as I always do.
June 22, 2014
I consider business as the highest expression of war. To me there is nothing morally questionable or reprehensible about conducting espionage on my business enemies to asses their threat level on my business interest.
It’s a task that I take very seriously given that I don’t have the luxury of any safety nets like the flabby air condition addicted folk back home who run GLC’s – if they fail, they can just press the magic reset button and they have three more life’s to play the game. In my case, it’s like walking on the razor where if I so much as make ONE wrong call…. that’s it…I am washed out and I would probably have to learn to drive a taxi, sell tissue paper in Bedok bus terminal and get by with economy behoon and boiled water.
So failure is NEVER an option to me and since many of my business competitors have a better network, larger land bank and financial latitude that poor house me who often has to make do with loads of superglue, ductape and pot luck to get by. I am usually forced to fight a more formidable enemy with very little else except my wits.
My mission is to find out how bad the drought has hit them and to asses their level of prepareness for El Nino. To accomplish this, I have to examine their plantation to enable me to make an informed decision as there is to much misinformation. This will always be dangerous given that I am the world’s most notorious troubemaker to my enemies and there is even a bounty on my head. But I don’t fear them, through the years I have grown so accustomed to field life that I can even blend right in and become invisible. I can live of the land for days on end with just a commando knife. Don’t even need heavy MRE’s and all that shit that slowly me down. And I have even developed ingenous ways and means to tranverse vast tracts of land without ever leaving the slightest signature that I was ever there.
From the looks of it, my enemies have done absolutely nothing to prepare for El Nino – now I know, they’re all bluffing when they tell me that they have done this and that along with moving mountains to prepare for the coming monster drought – truth is, they have done fuck all lah! This information will be strategic later on in the year when El Nino begins to truly bite. I don’t know how I will use it to my advantage just yet, but I know any strategic information will come in useful.
Meanwhile I have been filling up bottles of whisky with Jia Jia liang teh and pretending to drown my sorrows in the village kopitiam. From time to time, I will even lament to anyone who cares to listen that I am ruined….as I have no fruit. In reality all my trees are well stocked with fruit, unlike my enemies who seem to have only fungus…. after a whole day of surveying nearly 20 square miles of land today – I can finally say with a measure of confidence that I am at least 100% better positioned than my enemies to weather El Nino – this will be jugular as during the dry season I will make my move against them. They will not be prepared this time and for the very first time. I will have surprise on my side.
I remain hopeful that I can negotiate concessions to survive one full year. I am so tired that I can eat a horse right now….it will be a long lonely ride back….but I am happy.
As I have never been more confident before….it is true what the ancients say, in crisis there is opportunity.
June 21, 2014
June 21, 2014
Imagine a time when all compliments are Janus faced, when every truth is tinged with a barbed repartee, when clever insults are the currency of humor. We have more in common with the 18th century than we might imagine…that at least is how I feel when I find myself in the city high society where wit is all and sincerity is an embarrassment.
Though I look out of place in my bush jacket amongst the well heeled city upper crust who seem to look at me with a mix of intrigue and derision – I am still considered a aristocrat nonetheless…a minor one…an insignificant one…where it is not uncommon for city socialites to introduce me to their circle of friends with the necessary social qualification….’Did I mention… he’s from the Kampung….the provinces.’ That’s the cue for everyone to go, ‘Ahhhhh…we understand.’
That is how well heeled city folk have always seen the planter In their midst – as a figure of novelty from some bygone distant age like maybe how the Irish would regard Lepercauns. A sobriquet character of endearment. Something quaint, old world and far removed from their plastic world – life is very different for the super rich in the city, they get excited over every little thing…daily intrigues of gossip fills their empty life
At times when I have no other choice but to mix with them. I feel very much like the dearly unfortunate Baron Ponceludon de Malavoy who suddenly finds himself in Versailles bumping into walls and furniture. The awkward country bumpkin aristocrat seems to have no chance at all with the Parisian sophisticates, but then he is taken under the wing of the wise old Marquis de Bellegarde – eventually the Baron discovers wordmanship is more crucial than swordsmanship.
The people of his district are dying because of the pestilent waters, which breed mosquitoes and disease. The Baron has a scheme for draining the marshes and making the land tillable. But he first needs to petition the king. But since the king values verbal wit above all else including matters of utmost urgency and lives mostly to be entertained by wit. If the baron cannot develop a savage witty tongue, he has no chance at all to further his case….
‘I wonder how would a lowly aristocrat feel when he makes his way back into the heady intrigues of court life after a prolonged absence. There he stands before a line of well manicured hedge groves that leads to paradise. His clothes are hardly fashionable any longer. They show signs of regular use, his cloak is threadbare around the elbows, his cuffs worn, there’s even a hole in his shoe which he stuffs with paper – that I imagine is how it is when a planter goes to a city to petition the unimaginably rich and wealthy.
When he makes his entrance his name isn’t even announced. He’s not important enough. So this man takes a seat in one corner of this cavernous hall hoping that no one will notice him and if they do….perhaps they will have the courtesy to ignore him without making fun of his ill fitting clothes and brusque manner.
Soon he begins to attract attention. He can’t help it. The man stands out. And in a while he even begins to believe they’re talking about him – he can see it in their mocking sneers. They high brow manner in which they all look upon him – the lowly aristocrat from the country with a coat of arms that no one even cares to remember….and somewhere in all this, this man has to petition the king to hear his plea.
When the king appears. This man is so far from the king, he might as well be on the surface of the moon, he says to himself and with that he decides to leave the party. On his way out. He catches a glimpse of a familiar figure peering at him. The stranger is powdered like a cake. He looks ridiculous with his wig like some awful caricature – then he realizes, it’s a mirror. He breaks out into a coughing laugh…soon he’s heaving as he laughs harder, till only the sound of this madman fills the hall… that is how it is, when a man from the country decides to petition the unbelievably rich and wealthy to hear his case.’
June 20, 2014
I have always suspected that I can no longer live in the city. It was just a notion that I first toyed around with sometime back ago in January. The idea that I am no longer suited to live in an urban environment just as probably how humans can’t live in space without a pressurized habitat. At that time when these thoughts flitted through my mind. I just laughed at it. Didn’t even give it a second thought. Ridiculous…was that what I said.
But today when I found myself marinating in a sea of humans in the city. I was suddenly assaulted by the feeling that I am so alone. I am not going to say the city smells of automotive spew all the time or that its just a place where everyone is rude and self centered. No. It’s not entirely true what city folk often say about romanticized kampung life – that people are grounded, friendlier and they value relationships more than city folk. Just as they’re probably bastards in the city, there will always be the samw bastards in the kampung as well. As for the peace and quiet, fresh air and slower pace of life in the kampung – that’s just a load of overrated crap. No that was not the reason why I suddenly found myself feeling a profound sense of loneliness….truth is….I don’t know what it was.
That feeling of estrangement was sharpest when I was flitting in a high street store selling woman’s clothes one usually finds in a city…any city…..I remember looking at the flower prints….. find it comforting to be surrounded by plants and flowers even if they’re just two dimensional prints whenever I am in a city – a shop with brightly colored clothes all neatly racked like heavy sweet fruit hanging from a tree complete with all the ubiquitous trappings of the marketing manifesto’s, pupil dilating spot lights that can make even the most subdued earthy tones pop out like some scene from a picture postcard where the sky is always paraffin blue….. subliminal elevator music that’s there, but not really there and peppermint cool of 23 degree ambient temperature….that was when I started to cry for no reason.
Well judging by the aggressive way Potemkin sites such as the Singaporedaily, Singapore Pundit, Five stars and the moon, Cynical Investor et al have been using the Internet to assassinate Roy Ngenrg, his lawyer along with everyone allied with his lost cause – they all probably think, they’re doing a great job of throwing spammers along with dutifully serving their political masters by furthering their agenda.
But all they’re doing with their relentless 2 cents cheap back stabbing, ten against one pocket gangster character assassination techniques is to turn perfectly reasonable people who would have much preferred to stay neutral to support Roy’s beleaguered cause.
With world class super duper brainless wonders like this working furiously to further PAP’s grand agenda to establish a digital empire in the internet. All they have done is turn perfectly reasonable people against their masters. As no one likes to see a la ten against one bullies ganging up on just someone whose seeking answers to his questions….no one likes that brain to be rail roared either. We have all had it up to our necks with the likes of ST…reasonable people much prefer their minds to be valued and respected…I have a feeling whatever the sum of the damages Mini Lee is awarded, it wouldn’t be a problem for Roy to raise it a flash….not at all. As public sentiment will definitely turn in his favor if these dummies don’t stop to think what they’re really doing.
And now all that’s left to do is to complete the hat trick and find some nutty reason to say that crowd funding to pay damages for a defamation suit is illegal.
‘When I was a kid. I lived in a very rough neighborhood. One evening while walking my giant Alsatian. I saw ten gangsters beating up to pulp this poor guy in a back alley. They just gave it to him again and again. Others walked on, but I stopped and watched. It didn’t take long for one of those low life’s to turn to me and ask, ‘what are you looking at psycho boy (that was my nickname)…move along.’ So I said to them, ‘why can’t it be a fair fight? Why can’t one of you just fight him while the others watch?’ That was when their leader turned to me with a pocket knife and asked menacingly, ‘why don’t you show us how to settle our scores.’ That was when I told my replacement killer Chow Yuen Fatt dog to do his thing. After that I ran to a sundry shop grabbed a tong of kerosene and poured it all over the leader who was by then lying in a pool of blood like a ragged doll – the other boys all froze and I could see fear welling in their eyes….sheer terror.
Two weeks later the leader of the ‘ang mui’ knocked on my door. He was very respectful and asked, ‘what gang do you belong too?’ I told him that I am the leader of the 1,001 Dalmatian gang. He said he had never heard of it. Nonetheless he apologized and handed me a brand new Raleigh Chopper as tribute and proceeded to apologize for the action of his men and promised that from today onwards my stretch of street will be considered a no go area. From that day onwards all the street merchants, petty traders and boarders called me, the benefactor – though I was just a young boy I conducted myself with dignity and was known to be fair and wise and in this way, my stretch of street was free from crime. That was my first lesson in life – all power comes from the barrel of the gun.
Before the gangster head left, he asked whether I would be interested in furthering my career in the criminal world since I was obviously a man with potential. I told him that I would have to first ask my mother. Till today, I don’t even know why I did what I did. I don’t think it was bravery or that I felt slighted in any way. I didn’t even know that poor sod they were creaming. All I know was it just rubbed me the wrong way and I felt very angry…it was just unfair. That I imagine is how kids would think at that age….’
June 19, 2014
It is very rare for planters and millers to sit together in the same dinning table. They are like cats and dogs. But when they do come together in this quiet manner, then it is only because there is a common enemy at the gates – El Nino.
As one the elders quipped, ‘let us set our differences aside this one time and put our heads together to see whether we can kill this bugger….after that we can go back to killing each other.’ Everyone nodded sullenly in silent agreement.
Serious men who wear sombre colored bush jackets like undertakers coming together in the night…..what are we all supposed to do? Don feathers and skins. Beat the drum and wail whoom pah pah like some shaman to make rain?
Fires will rage very soon is Sumatra. The winds will draw a thick impenetrable blanket of fog thru out the whole peninsular. It will be like a giant duvet. Worse than every experienced before I reckon. When that happens. Not only will we have to content with no rains, but no sun as well. What are we supposed to do then….
Maybe we should all hang off season Christmas lights on our trees and turn the every drought stricken plantation into a rainbow theme park. Yes…a night fantasia. Perhaps I should get me one of those ridiculous top hats, dress up in coat tails like some ring master, grow a handle bar moustache and curl the ends up like Salvatore Dali and shout out at the top of my voice, ‘step right in…the circus is in town.’ I am sure, my Doberman guard dogs can be trained to jump thru hoops and entertain the crowd….or maybe I can fashion a giant turban from the many letter of demands from the bank and sell myself as Sorcar the magician from the kampung. I would make all the lawyers who are trying to foreclose on my business disappear….poof!
June 17, 2014
Increasingly as time goes by most of the wealth in Singapore will only be concerntrated in a small privileged class – the 1 per cent – on the other side of the spectrum a large under class of the poor and have not’s will continue to bulge.
Meanwhile, though this hardly requires any elaboration, the middle class will continue to languish – as since they are neither rich enough to break out from the oppressive gravity of perpetual debt or sufficiently poor to qualify for state assistance – they can only expect to be slowly squeezed by runaway inflation, high prices and stagnant wages, many will be forced many into personal debt to try to keep up or die trying to do so.
The politicians will of course say in their defense this is a trend that is happening all over the world – that if you didn’t know in political parlance is just a round about way of saying – ‘don’t blame us. We did not cause this problem!’
But I don’t believe they can run away from the blame game – after, all this was ALL foreseeable and well within their scope of control. In truth, they knew what would come to past, but they were more than willing to accept the exorbitant social fall out. As they were probably mesmerized by the allure of chasing growth.
On the birth of the new man…..
When divisions between class, wealth and apertures of opportunities become so stark between the have’s and have not’s – then the sum of what continues to unite a tribe can only give in to irreconcilable divisions that threatens to tear society from within – I have always believed deep within the calculus of globalization there lies a mechanism of self destruction – class war. Just because proponents of globalization regularly choose to elide the undesirable aspects of leaving it all to the vagaries of supply and demand doesn’t mean these problems don’t exist – to me it just means, they much prefer to spend time talking about duty free shopping and the PLSE.
Already the uber rich live, work and play in ways that the poor can only envy and dream of. The tragedy of globalization as a political theory is while it makes possible the seamless import and export of information it also allows the poor to vicariously experience how the rich live as never before….in technicolor and stereo – but this is chimeric as since globalization provides little or no means for the poor to seek solace in the assurance of social mobility. It can only continue to heighten their anxiety that they’re missing out in life.
I don’t doubt for one moment, politicians and Pravda may continue to broadcast the trite message La Dolce Vita is still within everyone’s grasp the same vein as every school is a good school – as probably how the soviet union used to regularly tout – nothing could be better than living in the land where the red sun never sets. Never mind pesky details like how the national pastime for East Berliners used to be hot air ballooning, trying to contort their bodies to fit into a dashboard, sprinting to avoid trigger happy border guard snipers and tunneling. To the apparachiks these were merely details in the greater scheme of things.
The diorama of futurescape is likely be bleak for the poor and it will not be so different from the tragic scene in Charles Dicken’s novel, Oliver Twist, where droves of hungry kids can only press their noses yearningly against glass while their indifferent masters feast and dine on the best cuts while they make do with grub.
Never before in human history. Not even against the tumultuous period presaging the French revolution or the advent of the Bolsheviks. As these are hardly social and cultural shifts on a global scale….has there been a need for a new philosophy to guide the rich on how to live, work and play. Either that or the divisions between have’s and have not’s will be so heightened and sharpened…. we would all probably find ourselves living in gated communities like that dystopian sic-fi movie Elysium.
What is needed is the creation of a new man – a no nonsense sort of man who eschews from all forms of pointless opulence, ostentatious display of wealth and vain affectations brought forth by wealth and influence. Above all a man who understands that by just the mere act of breathing, eating and shitting, the rich can hurt the poor in so many ways that he doth not know.
It seems the Internet does not want to be ruled after all. This must be a source of endless consternation for those who believe they can make progress by going backwards to the good old days of analog era engineering consent.
It will not surprise me in the least if the Panadol vending machine in the PAP bunker always runs empty before nine in the morning. I wonder what will these people do next? Maybe they should just superglue their hands and lips together and make do with cue cards. As judging from the way they seem to attracting rotten tomatoes galore – they simply can seem to do anything right. Not even if they try like poor Hri Kumar who is now probably eating Panadol flavored ice cream.
As it is, they already stuck solid in the no man’s land of lose lose territory – the question now is do they continue to lose more or less. The answer will hang on whether those who are responsible for advising the custodians of power on how to prosper online have the verve, imagination and insights to win in the digital battlefield.
There is nothing more foolish in this world than to get a sheep to do a foxes job.
People who do not understand the Internet for what it is and not what others say it should be, should in my opinion, sit down, keep quiet and confine all bodily movements to just note taking. But who is to blame when bad advisors are treated as oracles and soothsayers.
After all let us be honest – mini lee already has too much on his plate and if no expects the CEO of a firm to make sure the shit pots in office never run out of rolls of bum paper – then why should the PM of a sovereign state be tasked to scale threats and opportunities on how best to win in the Internet?
The logic of division of labor presupposes that those who are tasked to do a job should know what to do – judging from the shambolic way, the custodian of powers are handling Roygate, they even seem to be able to sell the tragic charge of the light brigade as a sensible strategic move.
As I said, it is so very sad when a sheep is called to do a wolves job.
On the weather…..
All the ingredients that makes possible the El Nino event is already in the pot. The question is no longer whether it will unfurl, but how bad and long will the specter of famine hang cast a dark spell over the Asia Pacific region. Will we even get rains at all for the next six months? No one seems to know. As for the experts they’re still mumbling and trying to find politically correct words to describe what happens when the shit hits the fan.
Whatever comes will have to come. I’ve already done whatever needs doing – I have no doubt this event will hit me financially, but I am sure, if I have it tough, the others will suffer even more.
There is nothing left now but to prepare to suck in all in and roll with the punches as best as one can – sometimes in life one must just call a spade a spade and see a thing for what it is and maybe murmur under ones breathe prosaically, it is what it is – besides I am reminded, life is NEVER a just a simple case of whether bad or good things happen, but rather how well one can muster the courage and determination to pick the broken things up and to have faith to try again.
Pain is inevitable, but my hope when the full blast of El Nino bites is that suffering will be optional.
June 14, 2014
The winds have finally changed direction. They now blow from the East. I can almost sense the hot sweltering dry heat of Africa brushing against my cheeks. It’s just a hint….a suggestion….but it’s all there…Africa.
Yes, these winds have travelled from afar. They are many winds in this one wind that blows hard from the east…I know them all intimately like lovers from some distant past in another life. It’s as if, the endless winds of Africa are calling out through an ocean of time. Yes…I remember and soon sepia images flash through my mind eye…beginning with the hypnotic sway of endless fields of reeds across the savannah…with the gambezi murmuring in the background like the rhythmic beat of a mother’s womb…whomp pah pah…whomp pah pah..the mountain shadows and how it makes my skin turn bluish like only the color of lapis lazura can….reminding me of a foreign language one suddenly comes across while walking on a crowded pavement. I say myself, I know this tongue. I turn back suddenly, but it’s gone…snatched away by another wind. All that remains is a whispering hush to some distant memory buried deep…so deep, yet I know almost instinctively like the way child knows his mothers smell….the fragile scent of water hysins that blow thru the sea of purple of the Okavango Delta..to the winds that blow from the papyrus sea through the fluted salt scented mountain ranges along Angola before breaking into rains into the sands of the Kalahari.
And of course who can forget the Mara…that murmuring wind like a siren’s call that all legionaires know of only too well. As it leads them astray into the empire of the bones of the Sahara…and the laughable way in which they would all break out in The Legion song “La Fanion” to hold the line…the best, they can.
On a mauvaise réputation,
Mais on s’en fout comme d’une musette
On est fiers d’être à la Légion, à la legion.
Then of course there is that other wind the Bedioun only speak of after uttering the opening lines of the Quran to protect them against malevolent spirits…but never before loosing two shots from their 303 rifles into the desert air….one to curse her…the other to offer supplication to appease her…always two shots. I hear them ripple rents across the infinity of this ocean of time.
A wind so evil that a mad sultan even once declared jihad on her and marched out with armored elephants and endless row of pikemen…the Harmattan…the dreaded ochre colored dust wind sailors in the Coite de Noire call the sea of blood as it stains everything red…I remember elephants with red trunks…Rhinos with their gun metal skin shimmering in the mid day sun with splotches of rust…they all once made me laugh reminding me of some battleship of lore I had once seen in a picture book in a shop in Kampala.
The whopping winds of the Amboseli which remind me of an owl’s flight on a moonless night…whop…whop…whop….winds that have the primal power make all the wild animals in the Kalahari restless…a roar of the male lion rents out somewhere in some distant corner of my head. I wonder to myself did the winds make him rouse from his lair. A leopards nervous cough as he glides through the dark in anticipation…Hyenas calling out with their chilled mocking laughter followed by the grunts of the feeding hippo as if some primal force beckons them…from deep within…but it is only her…the wind.
Above all I remember the solitary figure of the man who wears knee high riding boots and sports a shouldered holstered revolver standing like a solitary tongue of light in darkness. No…I see the curious number eleven…yes, another other man is with him. A tall Matabili ebony framed body guard who carries a spear. They both make that number whenever they stand together. They’re on the run. But as the long as the moment last, they both seem transfixed on the aching beauty of the plains – that is not unusual as it is the hour of hesitation just before the light gives in to the velvety night when the whole valley takes on a Currelean patina like the bottle green of Olives….they had just fought a skirmish. The thick smell of cordite lingers in the air. A burnt out column of tanks scar distant horizon. A scene from another age…another time…another life of the many men in a man and soon even that faint image in my minds eye is snatched away like a falcon talons leaving only the present and the portents for the future, like the words of some poem written in some dead and forgotten language that only he can decipher….the infinite man….and no one else…the seasons have changed.
If one is serious about change for the better. Then the last thing one should do is to impersonate a firecracker – as the sum total of what Roy is likely to accomplish despite his fervent efforts is really just a loud bang followed by a momentary flash in the night sky and after that….oblivion…darkness…nothingness.
Tell me what can a reasonable man expect from this great explosion of nervous energy…what does it really accomplish? The short answer is a big fat nothing….understand this! Zero! There is a sobering finality to the architectural form of zero. As try as best as one may to negotiate around zero, it is not so different from a man who finds himself trapped in a hole where the texture of the walls that keeps him in may not differ entirely from that of a slippery shit pot. My point is nothing can ever or for that matter has ever emerged out of nothing….something can never come out of nothing….it’s virtually axiomatic….a truism of life.
For the sake of brevity allow me to come directly to the point. A far more reliable way to bring about meaningful change is to dedicate yourself to making something out of your life first – this may seem counterintuitive at first, but do bear with me.
This one can do by starting an enterprise. I do not pretend for one moment to believe this is to be easy, but it is precisely because it is difficult and riven with the prospects of crippling failure that one whose serious about bringing about change should do it. Look at it as form of mental conditioning. May not necessarily be in Singapore. Could be in the Ukriane or forgettable part of Africa where one man can just blow off the head of another man and no one would even give a damm….yes, I assure you there are still nooks and crannies in this world where even angels fear to tread….And my only reason for directing your attention to those areas is simply because these places still offer the classical promise of a man to discover his fortune with just the entry cost of a tube of Mentos in his pocket.
Bear in mind it will not be easy. Not at all… and you may even find yourself trudging for years on end with hardly any prospects of improving your lot….but trust me…keep at it long enough and a day will come when it will just come together marvellously and you will come into money.
Money will bring with it influence and once you have truly fashioned yourself as a man of consequence….only then can you bring about meaningful change.
It may take you ten, possibly even twenty years of your life to reach this stage. But the ultimate irony is at the end of your long journey as you stand before these politicians who are all lined up like little chess pieces to begin the process of change…..you may not wish to change a thing at all.
And all that is left is understanding for a thing for what it really is and not what others say or claim it is….you will understand it, as when you stand there in commanding heights with all your wealth and influence….you would have seen it all…the before…during and after.
There is an African saying, when the hyenas howl in the pale moonlight, even the tiger has to sheath his claws.
There are many ways to read this idiom – at one level of understanding, it may mean, at times it’s best to move backwards for one to gainfully make progress. A broader interpretation may suggest, it’s wiser to pick one’s battles carefully and to only engage in a conflict when the opportune time and conditions present itself.
It is very hard to say how this will all turn out. But one thing is clear, much is at stake. It may just burn itself out like one of those bush fires in the savannah. Then again it could very snowball and gather speed along with momentum. It’s hard to say. Very hard. As since this whole rumble began, so many other side issues some of which have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the crux of the case have managed to encrust themselves on this on going saga.
My gut feel tells me – this may no longer be just about the CPF any longer. This conflict by the looks seems to have suddenly embraced a broader geography of issues and it’s fuel largely by so many varied pent up emotions that if it were not this, it could just as well be any other flavor of the month….and this if you didn’t know is what makes it so dangerous.
‘leveraging on public sympathy is crucial to secure a decisive victory….I reckon. I feel deeply sorry for leaders who don’t know this and only seem to adopt a dogmatic and logical approach towards conflict resolution.
In the kampung whenever my enemies give me a hard time. It’s not unusual for me to go around downcasted with mascara underneath my eyes and tell whoever wants to listen that I genuinely want to be a good man, but unfortunately since some evil people are hell bent on making this impossible….I have no choice but to give all of myself to the dark side.
Since sulking comes almost naturally to me and on a scale from one to ten. I am probably somewhere around nine or a perfect ten – it’s dead easy to convince the villagers that a great battle between light and darkness is tearing up my soul – all I have to do is ride my mountain bike at breakneck speed wearing my skull faced mask with my trusted Doberman all around the plantations in the dead of night and howl like some distressed animal – when the rubber tapers see all this, they usually say to themselves, ‘Alamak! The farmer is turning evil again!’
I will not shave for days or pomade my hair and fill an empty bottle of whisky with Pu Er tea or Jia Jia liang teh and pretend to drink myself blind in the village kopitiam – all the while lamenting that it’s indeed regrettable that I am unable to be dedicate myself to lead a moral life any longer…as evil has befallen me.
In the evenings I will go down to the estates chettynad’s and drink Guiness stout which I fill up with prune juice, scold the patrons, sing dirty Indian songs and if needed even roll my eye whites, foam in the mouth and spin around the floor like a break dancer – it has to be this way as in the kampung, there is always a cinematic quality to the whole idea of a man who is at the verge of losing his soul…otherwise no one will ever believe it! When the Tamil estate workers see this, the women folk will draw blood by bitting their tongues. As this in kampung mythology invoking the protection of the Goddess of Kali is the best way to stave off malevolent spirits jumping into their bodies – as for the menfolk, they all go, ‘aiyoh yo! Evil is winning! We have to do something….’
Meanwhile all the bomohs, quacks, mediums, amulet peddlers, soothsayers and people who claim to be able to communicate with the dead have all been primed with bribes to finger the person whose responsible for casting me into this unimaginable hell – and it’s really only a matter of time before the whole village will get so worked up that they will all march to the house of my enemies in the night with torches demanding to know why this person is bringing out the worse in me…they will ask of this man, do you not know that if the farmer is seduced by the dark side then our lives will be turned upside down…the chickens will not lay eggs…..the moon will turn red….and the ground will crack….usually it ends in the usual Bollywood kaboom way where they finally threaten to burn down the house of this person.
Then at that very moment. I appear in the scene dressed in pajamas clutching my stuffed dog Floppy – as if awakening from some trance all the while exclaiming, ‘where am I? How did I get here? Why am I dressed in my pajamas?’ and true to the eternal promise of every great tale where the forces of good and evil are locked in battle…..light wins over darkness…the serpents head is crushed….and everyone exclaims in a hushed tones of relief, ‘evil has left the farmer….good has won over evil.’
Everyone except my enemies of course…. who all know too well all this was staged like a well planned Mossad military operation.’
Kampung Tales from the Way of the Farmer – on how to use public sympathy to destroy your enemies.