A colorful photograph could well be just another pretty picture to some. But to those who know the art of light and shadows intimately, it could very well be poetry, the history of the human spirit, philosophy and a very different way of seeing the world.

Mountains command the respect of professional climbers for only one reason. As even seemingly benign mountains all secret within their belly, the terrible power to unleash hell within one blink of the eye.

After climbing for so many years. I have never ever come across such a thing as a ‘safe’ mountain. Never so much as even once. So this notion of a mountain being some how ‘safe’ will always stand as a sort of a oxymoron to me. It is an idea that I have never been comfortable with.

That is just the way I see it and will probably always see all mountains.

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‘Climbing a mountain doesn’t make you an exceptional leader anymore than living in a cave necessarily makes you a geologist.

If you want inconvertible proof then I can share with you the averagely miserable life profiles of many Sherpas who regularly lug up washing machines, fluffy toilet paper and high thread count towels up mountain rest houses so that fat Europeans can keep their sugary illusion intact and continue to take faith in the ridiculous idea by climbing a mountain, it will somehow impart some mythical power to transform their mundane lives, thereby making them a wholer, better and a much more confident person.

To me that’s just hype and spin…. commercial marketing manifesto talk that’s designed to sell stuff.

Truth is outdoor tourism along with the experiential training industry simply has found a new way of commoditizing the mountain climbing experience to even sell it as edutainment in the form of character building, leadership honing, confidence boosting etc.

Does it work? Is it really true? Well I shall leave that to you…the perceptive leader.

Like I said. I have a right to remain skeptical. Having said that I don’t for one moment disagree a mountain is a powerful metaphor. Then again anything can assume that transformational effect and allure providing you market it professionally. At the end of the day, if you believe it can change you from the inside out…then it probably will have the power to transform your life.

Having said that one has to be mindful of the profit motive in the experiential learning industry. As businesses are raking in millions by hard selling danger as seemingly safe – one dimension of that product mix is by marketing the idea, there’s actually such a thing as a ‘safe’ mountain.

I imagine the contradiction in the form of a ‘safe mountain’ will always command an illicit thrill. As what it actually offers is adventure and risk taking on the cheap. To paraphrase without ever having to deal with inconvenience of death and injury.

The way I see it, you don’t need to ever splurge out $1,000 on an adventure holiday to make you a leader. You could just as well achieve the same by carrying two sack of rice up the HDB when the lift is broken to help out some old folks who have been stranded. Or retile the roof of your church, temple or masjid and get the same measure of utility. With the right person leading, it will be both an exciting and magical experience.

Will any lessons be learnt from this tragedy?

I don’t know. To be quite frank. I don’t really care. I am just glad to be able to climb again without having to share it with people who in my opinion have absolutely no business being there in the first place.’

Anger management

June 6, 2015

In my opinion, there is no compelling need to understand. You might as well go and plough the sea…if you seek to understand the places, people and situations that bring out the worst in you.

Even less need to ask why some people are the way they are. Or why they say, do and think the things, they do. All that is required is to come to terms with the notion – some people will always be unfathomable….even to themselves….they are just the way they are.

The ONLY thing to do is to avoid the places, people and situations that bring out the worst in you.

That is the ONLY discipline one needs to abide by, to manage one’s anger effectively.

You could just as well throw out the rest of the anger management doctrine and it wouldn’t make one molecule of difference to the final outcome.

According to the weather experts. The rains should have stopped two weeks ago. But the birds are telling me a different story. Do you see how they dart around jaggedly in a figure S – that’s the way the males show off to attract females. It’s aerial gymnastics the equivalent of ‘look what I can do!’ – that means they’re courting and preparing to set up a nest and breed. That also means, the rains are good to go for at least another full month.

My friends…the birds. They’re always spot on!

Everything is the way it should be….for now at least. But appearances can often be deceptive. As mother nature is planning to lob a hand grenade into this apparent sea of calmness in the form of El Niño.

The signs are all there. The air is hollowed out, exactly the way it is just before an epic storm. Rains fall straighter. As for the cumulus clouds. They hardly ever moved at all. It’s as if a giant hand pinned them against a blue montage. Even the birds are restless. Yesterday I caught sight of a flock of flamingo flying east. They were heading towards the wrong direction. Africa is on the otherside. As for the sea, pickings have been sparse. Fishermen say the sea is smooth and calm like a mirror.

It’s slowly unfurling. Somewhere in the pacific, it’s all coming together. This year, it’s all line up nice and proper like dominoes…..the conditions that makes possible an El Niño event that is. There’s is no dilly dallying…wan…Dowan….no room even for the slightest margin for doubt.

Last night I heard from the BBC world service the Indians have declared that their June monsoon will likely fail. No show this year.

As for the politicians, they don’t seem to comcerned which to me is the surest sign for one to be duly concerned. As they probably know the shit is going to hit the fan and food prices are likely to spike in the next six months.

Meanwhile everything is the way it should be….for now at least.

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‘While El Niño usually last nine to 12 months. In some cases they may last for years. El Niño usually begins to form between June and August, peak between December and April, and then decay between May and July of the following year. That’s mucho bad for oil palm as this means two monsoons will be severely affected. The first that occurs somewhere between August and September 2015 / April and May 2016.’