If only it was the simple case of a groundless accusation or the truth…..

June 5, 2014

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.

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