The darkside

October 28, 2015

I know the symptoms of depression only too well. I seem to have lost my appetite completely. That’s the first sign. Some days I make do with only one meal. Second. Sleep is erratic and impossible to sustain. I am becoming more and more reclusive and paranoid. Withdrawn…. This could all be due to a series of set backs that I have experienced recently.

Everything seems to be conspiring against me….the weather isn’t playing ball – it’s supposed to be a fucking El Niño year, but for some strange reason it rains just exactly around the time when I started a massive earthworks project – 9 out of 10 these days, I can’t read Mother Nature for shit! I’ve given up on her lah! Because everyday when it rains – my heavy equipment can’t do shit all except grind to a stop, that’s depressing. As the cost runs into thousands everyday!

Bearing witness to myself passively these days can be quite depressing and comical – it’s like watching a man trying to plug ten holes with only two plugs and he’s forced to use his body parts like a yoga expert just to stay above the waterline….it’s depressing lah.

As the unexpected rains have completely turned my roads into a river of mud, my harvesters have to work triple hard. As for the lorries that pick my fruit most of the time, they are stuck in mud.

It’s all my fault – I made a wrong call.

Everyday when I return back to the safe house – I am covered in mud and everything is just wet and damp….so fuck you lah Mother Nature. Fuck you so called weather boffins as well, because I believed in you and while we are ducking everything, fuck the weather satellites as well…because all you are good for is five chili disinformation cum inspiring suicide.

Enough of my rants.

I need to kick myself out of this vicious cycle that is eating me from within.

I need too. I need to jump right out of this pit of shit!

For starters I have decided to give up smoking completely. It’s not as if I haven’t fallen into this shit hole before. It’s familiar territory to me. So I know how to climb out of it. Even have my bag of nifty tricks to kick start it back to the way it used to be.


‘Imagine this. Being able to just fly to the moon….just imagine being able to step into a rocket ship and just taking off to the moon like it’s a car. Just imagine that idea….it’s wonderful.’

Outwardly everyone can only see a man of steel. This comes naturally to me as my square jaw, piercing eyes, 5% body fat frame and panther like demeanor conveys the belief such men are not to be trifled with.

I have even been immortalized in Kampung folklore as the man who once single handedly took on ten landowners only to out smart them time and again with wit and cunning – but this is all a paper mâché impression… is….nothing more.


‘There are times when I have to take risk that can…might and possibly break me in half like a twig. The pressure can only be described as fantastic – as very often I compelled to operate in an environment of resource scarcity. It’s strange how I am able to commit so much of myself into the corrosive nature of such an enterprise…stranger still, how I often react to this pressure by often waking up at three in the morning feeling lost and not even knowing where I am. The sensation of being marooned…alone…fearful may only last just moment – but it is indeed very frightening at times – perhaps it’s my way of reacting to many of my doubts and fears and hopes – as to whether what I may have begun will end up controlling me to such an extent that I can no longer hold on to anything any longer only to be swept away by a gigantic wave..this I imagine will always remain a perennial contradiction to even myself as I lie there in the dark all by myself.

Indeed what the world sees and what I am is truly two entirely different beings.

In life…it is possible to experience both blissful happiness and profound sadness at the same time.


‘Had it not been for my one and only love…my life would have long disintegrated into a thousand pieces. The combination of pain and joy is truly an irreconcilable contradiction…..yet I cannot help but feel this is what makes me truly the happiest man in this world…how strange…odd and curious.

There is so much more that I need to learn about myself….even more to be exprienced in a life that I may believed to have known….yet how little I know of it….how so very little.’

If you all take the trouble to peruse thru the contents of my blog going back some ten years ago.

I have always maintained these mega church leaders are all WITHOUT A SINGLE EXCEPTION a bunch of cheap con man – Mr smoke and mirrors lah….pulling out rabbits from his top hat to mesmerize dummies.

No Yahweh…No Da Vinci code there lah…No mystery even….for me I have never ever seen the need to mince my words concerning how money and religion when combined together can only produce poison and lead to one outcome – grief for all!

Because of my firm stance and clarity in the way I have always seen this subject.

Regrettably many of my once close friends and regular readers of my blog who don’t share my views have labelled me as an ‘incorrigible recalcitrant’….’compulsive troublemaker’… group even started a Facebook account to ferret out the identity of the indian barber who regularly cuts my hair to search out whether I bear the 666 mark of the anti Christ!…I am not making up stories…this is all true…I was evenly openly denied a position in a firm because one of the managers was conscious of my views and took great exception concerning my stance on this subject which she considered ‘anti social’… I have even been threatened with numerous law suits on three specific occasions to withdraw what I have written – I refused. Instead I told those cheap pirates in the tone of Idi Amin…one day I will be a very rich man and I will want you to run back to your masters to tell them….I will never forget this! There after I ended the meeting Biblically by requesting them to go forth and multiply lah!

The pressure was so great that on one occasion I even considered keeping my views to myself like a man marooned in his own skull.

Recently the truth was splayed out a la pasar malam style for the world to judge whether I was simply a deranged or wise man to hold such strong views….I will leave you, the perceptive reader to answer that question for yourself (otherwise I may be once again accused for attempting to hypnotize the masses).

However I want to be crystal clear. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with religion per se…all religions…even the fringe one’s such as the Hare Krishna’s movement…all preach love, peace and compassion.

I am not saying it’s a good or bad thing…all I am saying is all religions preach love, peace and compassion.

The main problem as I see is when the con man appears in the scene with his top hat and begins to supplant the idea of God by amassing so much wealth from the unassuming and naive public by twisting the ‘word’ of God to further his own nefarious designs – this is perfectly understandable….because there is so much room for improvisation in ALL religions – and anything and everything once written, once mentioned, move referred too as ‘sacred’ can be interpreted in an infinite variety of manner to further whatever designs in the contorted mind of the con man.

Let this be a lesson to all.

As for the con artist. I don’t give two shits about what happens to him and his clique…as for those who once followed the con man blindly and even gave him their loyalty, faith and love without ever bothering to use their brain (God presumably gave them), they too cannot absolve themselves from some measure of culpability and responsibility for this circus show….as they inadvertently fashioned a false God with their own hands…so I have very little sympathy for you, the Mr die die must give 10% of my salary to the church….as without YOU, the con man would just be selling koyok in Bedok bus interchange and very little else.

After all…consider this…. who might the bigger fool be? The fool who leads…or the fool, who follows the fool…blindly without once ever even questioning whether this might actually be the will of the maker?

If that stings…take two Panadol lah and hit the sack before twelve lah.


To me the haze is not just a minor annual concern that has a nominal affect on people and planet. I don’t disagree that may well be how some politicians speak about the haze. I want to be very clear! So that I want to call a spade nothing other than what it should be called….a spade. The haze is not just an inconvenience – it affects the health of millions, destroy livelihoods, weakens economies and constitutes in my opinion a national security threat.

The only reason why those fucked up politicians continue to speak about the haze as if it’s like having a couple of flies buzzing around when you’re trying to chow is – because they are too lazy, complacent and flabby to sit down in a quiet place….draw a line on a A4 paper…put a plus and minus on two columns…..and calculate the cumulative cost of the haze.

If they just bothered with that simple exercise. I have no doubt by the end of it, they would just exclaim, ‘Oh my God! We certainly have a very big problem here!’


‘You know one of my greatest regrets in life is not joining the illuminati. You see I went to all the right schools. I even have my Harrowian tie that I wear occasionally just for la effect. Stayed in a Hall of residence run by people who you just know – see the world like some giant chess board of possibilities.

But regrettably in the moment of my youth, I didn’t think much about Opus Dei…didn’t really have a firm grasp power and politics either. To me then, all I saw were a bunch of pretentious young men who were in their twenties trying to pretend as if they in their seventies.

Let us assume that I could somehow step into a time machine that takes me back to the period when I could have signed on the dotted line….then things would be very different today. I could issue an order to the grand council to snap up all the corn and soya oil futures from Honduras to Nebraska from March to July…corner the entire market even. Then I will issue out an invitation to all these palm oil barons for a wine tasting event comprising of cellared Napoleonic vintage extramadura – it’s an elegant garden luncheonette in my chateau somewhere in Alsace, it’s a classy affair with even a string quartered playing Vivaldi’s ‘le quartre saissons – and all I need to do to put an end to the haze is merely hint to all these fat cat cigar chomping Chinamen businessmen with a congenial smile of mutual understanding like when you ask the very dignified concierge in the Savoy hotel….could you please arrange for me to have a crumpet…the horizontal variety..only for this man to respond with an unalloyed expression of cosy inderism that hints of an understanding of the way the world IS and not how it’s usually depicted – like one of those boring foreign film noir where we all rely on subtitles to follow the plot – what it reads is this: if you daughter fuckers don’t get your act together by July and it’s going to be amateur hour again as to how you fucks continue to mismanage your million hectare land concessions and cause grief by creating another haze – then I might just decide to make a call to my broking houses in Zurich, Amsterdam and Brussels to dump all my soya and corn oil futures simultaneous during the high yield season, that would just be like dropping a regime change atomic bomb that will send the commodity price of palm oil nose diving to the abyss of oblivion.

To perforce the point…to amplify the hidden implications only because it is indeed very rude to speak obliquely in polite society…I would turn my gaze indolently at the majestic Bayeux tapestry that hangs radiating it’s ancient attention seems to be drawn to a one particular section just beside the words Isti Mirant Stella that depicts a comet…one of the many hidden images of the all seeing eye…and directly beneath this image commoners and even kings and princes with expressions of complete and total fear and trepidation fill their strained faces – it’s as if, the very same mood of fear and trepidation these confounded ancients once experienced has suddenly pervaded the grand dinning hall…the all seeing eye…..that omnipresent image of the ages that is responsible for the thrill of defeat and agony of defeat since the dawn of mankind.

And just in case, these chinamen belong to that vulgar lineage of the nouve riche and you can always tell, as they always bring along their well heeled daughter’s just perhaps to remind their host being cultured does not necessarily have anything to do with bacteria or BO – whose daughters all seem to revel in pursuing useless disciplines like the classics in Clenthenham ladies college….being a host requires a certain conviviality… so naturally, I would turn to one of their giggly daughters and ask of them prosaically in a collegial tone, ‘by the way, are you familiar with Faust?’ Naturally girls being girls will reply with great enthusiasm, ‘yes of course…terribly sad story though.’ To which I would probably cluck my tongue merely as an expression of understanding that one should always be mindful of the fragility of success only to perhaps lean over to the girl and whisper, ‘perhaps you should give your daddy a dummies version of that sorrowful story concerning how everything in this world has a price.’

For the sake of la effect. I would stab my vernisom served in creme de la truffles…the sound ripples like fingernails across a blackboard sending ripples of fear thru out the dinner…..only to the repeat the words…..’yes….how true….everything in this world has price.’

The point would then be conveyed as clearly and surely as a razor sharp tip of an épée thru flesh, bone and into the heart.

Bear in mind, when I am having this tete a tete with their daughters these people are suddenly sitting at the edge of their chairs. Some have even begun to lose their appetite. Others are dabbing their cold sweat as they reality begins to sink deeper….and deeper into their minds as they too begin to resemble the fearful figures on the tapestry in the grand dinning room.

I am of course wearing my dark blue Zegna suit complete with discreet Illuminati cuff links. Surely such a man only means well even though he seems to have a prediclition for barbed repartees.

After all…what else could it be…we are all dinning on the finest antique bone china with the words Novus ordo seclorum emblazoned majestically in gold lettering with Prussian styled oak leaves edgings…the mere suggestion of a hint…we never make threats…we only fashion reality with the hidden hand…..mere servants are we not? Never fuck around with us!

At that stratospheric level of the game of power and politics. Everyone on the table would know we all live in a world of consequences and implications….and just in case there is even a shadow of doubt as to whether this is bluff or a veil threat that can be seen to it’s logical end – I would even causally share with these gentlemen and their fat wife’s that ‘we’ have bought that entire cachet of the mineral futures as well that is used to make fertilizers.

I can guarantee you, if I could do that – there would be no haze…only clear skies.

But since I am not Dan Brown or for that matter a closet member of the Illuminati and just a simple farmer with a small veggie patch.

Maybe the only way to tell these fat cat oil palm barons who own millions of hectares of land in Indonesia – as a consumer, I am not going to buy palm oil to fry my chips. I will instead use corn or soya oil….could be slightly higher in NTUC…but I don’t mind paying the extra just to put my across my point that I don’t agree with the way you fucks run your business and inflict unmitigated grief on people and planet.

My point is even at the bottom skimming level of a humble consumer I have the power to vote for or against you…the corporation with the my wallet.

These days we no live in a world where corporations can do anything they want, those freewheeling Laissez faire days of United Food is consigned to the dustbin of history. Neither do I believe the key to solving the perennial haze problem lies with governments either. All they are good for when it comes to the problem of the haze is to give us all an reenactment of that sartorial movie ground hog day.

Real power these days reside in the ordinary consumer. Only they have the power to force wayward corporations who are responsible for the haze to cohere to a code of ethics along the latest sustainable oil palm management know how – we may all still step on ants, but there are certain unethical practices that if we don’t take a firm stand on…then nothing ever changes.

That is the reality……

For example if I know an exquisite Persian rug is been auctioned off in a private sitting in Sotheby’s…..but it came at the terrible cost of twelve year old Abdul being chain to a loom twelve hours a day somewhere in Kashmir, while his eye sight fritters away and he can’t even watch Sesame Street or go out to play – then Dowan lah! Forget the thread count lah! Or even how luxuriate it may feel under my feet! Dowan lah!

We need to be sensitive to the actual cost of how things come to us – if we remain bovine or choose to be ignorant, then you forfeit your tight to complain….them I say go live the life that you have voted with your wallet! And if you come to men like me to complain, I will give you a hard slap!

Know your power! That’s what these oil palm barons don’t want you to know. The greatest power you have to create a better tomorrow with clear skies – is simply the power to say No! And by doing just that…you have the power to change everything.

As someone who grows palm oil, you all have no idea how much regret and how ashamed I feel to share all this with all of you….but like I said, a spade should always be called nothing but a spade.’

Kutty is a six month Rotweiller and Alsatian mix pup. She is the latest addition to the pack of eight dogs in my plantation. Since I spent most of the daylight hours these days in the field – I’ve taken the opportunity to train Kutty.

The problem with Kutty is she hails from the city – and for dogs to thrive and survive, they need to be slowly broken into the harsh realities of plantation life. Otherwise, they wouldn’t even last a week, simply because danger lurks everywhere in a plantation even if it seems to appear benign….hardly a garden in a house lah!

As a rule. I’ve never been partial to the stupid idea of using a leash on a dog whenever I am in the field. I much prefer my dogs to shadow me naturally, fall into my rhythm and intuit my will.

Creating the idea of an invisible leash may sound easy, but unfortunately dogs like Kutty has certain bad habits she picked up from the city and her previous owner that she needs to unlearn.

To bring out the best in canines, one needs to get into a mind, one needs to know them from the inside out. For starters. They don’t ever see the world like us, so much of how they perceive the known world is largely thru their ultra sensitive noses and radar ears. As for eyes, they are just slightly better than us – all this needs to be reprogrammed and finely tuned for them to function effectively in a plantation setting. So a lot of dedication and patience is required to retrain a city dog to be effective in a plantation setting.

The goal is to first create a solid connection between master and dog – that is what I call the foundation….it needs to be solid.

Kutty has a natural advantage here – she is half Alsatian. I happen to know the breed very well and their temperament is much closer to a sheep dog than a gung-ho special forces Doberman. Both require very different handling techniques. Since Alsatians are by nature calmer and much more suited to my own temperament….it’s easy with Kutty.

By just allowing Kutty to tag along when I work in the field. I am sharpening her skills to intuit my will and fall into my natural rhythm and she seems to be fitting in quite nicely – I don’t believe in bullshit Hollywood dog whisperer techniques like having to shout, mind game my pets, handle them with a plastic make belief alpha male attitude, pull on the leash hard to show them who is boss whenever they go out of line or even the need to bribe them with reward bites just to keep them in line.

That is all TV marketing bullshit to mesmerize city folk who shouldn’t even be keeping dogs in the first place because they have absolutely no idea what they’ve got themselves into.

I don’t doubt Mr dog whisperer techniques may work in the city only because dogs there are just casual pets and expected to do very little else except remain cute and bark occasionally at the postman, but in a plantation setting – dogs are workers just like army or police dogs. They are professionals. They need to have a very strong sense of mission….that idea needs to be conveyed to Kutty in the clearest possible way when her brain is still malleable.

Most of the time I do this by first creating a silent language to establish a very clear mental link with my working dogs – for example, when I stop abruptly, they have to know, there is danger nearby. Or if they sense danger first, they must do the same to be able to warn me. If I assume a warlike posture, they automatically fall into combat mode….100% prepared to kill! Must be automatic…no fumbling…professional.

Totally different ball game from the way of city dogs.

Fortunately, all dogs are born with an uncanny ability to intuit the will of their masters. Even toy dogs can do this – they can sense an entire range of human emotions because they have natural ESP much keener than humans and words are usually unnecessary ranging from nervousness to anger. I once told a distraught lady who had what she described as a dysfunctional terrier who had a habit tearing up her sofa and bitting everyone for no apparent reason – ‘you just need to be manage yourself and be calm and consistent and everything else will fall naturally into place.’ Thereafter her so called pet from hell was transformed into a well behaved bundle of joy – that’s the key with dogs – one just needs to be calm…consistent and 99.9% of the time everything falls into place perfectly. There is no need to force it, let their natural instincts flourish. All you’re supposed to do is facilitate that transformation…it’s a bit like agriculture.

For example, it’s not unusual for my dogs to switch automatically between these mental states…only because I trigger it…they can naturally intuit my mental disposition…but that’s advance training – for the time being, the first lesson for Kutty is just to remain calm and learn to walk close beside me without being too distracted by butterflies, strange noises and unfamiliar scents…to be so in the flow of the way of master and dog that this creates that essential baby building block to build other skill sets on.

Without this essential quality of calmness and most importantly the ability for the master to build a solid building block based on trust to a puppy like Kutty. Nothing further can be developed….love….respect….duty can never be come from building on a weak and chaotic foundation. All you will end up with is a psycho dog.

That is why I believe there are so many hyper and dysfunctional dogs in this world, simply because the vast majority of dog owners don’t realize how much their own state of mind, attitude, preferences, prejudices can actually influence the behavior of their pets.

In many respects, dogs are very highly evolved creatures when compared to us humans – we only think we are intelligent, rational and can always be counted to make the best decisions….but since most of the time, we don’t even bother to develop the basic life skills like how to intuit what’s in our partners mind and heart or even bother with the whole idea of striving to be in the moment and forgetting all else because we have conditioned our minds to be so caught up in pretending to be someone who we just think we are in the stupid hope to seek acceptance, validation and respect from people who are probably just as confused and lost as us – the ultimate irony of all that can be reasonably said about the sum of human relations is most of the time it’s a bloody right mess – as all we ever seem to do is bring out the worse in ourselves and others.

I’ve never ever had that problem with dogs.

To me, there is nothing in this world more pleasurable than for a farmer to walk his lands with his dog during the evening just before the light wanes….to bask in happy litany of calmness…to be in the embrace of harmony between man and beast….to me right in the moment without ever being rippled by the shadow of the past or future…..just to be in the moment – when all this is done right, love…trust…respect comes naturally.

I reckon, dogs can teach us (humans) so very much about not only how to live a harmonious and happy life….but even to provoke us to think deeply about why so much of our lives seem to be so messed up despite trying so hard to make the pieces fit…if only we can see the world more like them….if only…I for one harbor very little doubt all our problems will disappear like lemon drops….if only we can learn from these noble creatures….dogs.

On the earthworks front. I have started a series of bold landscaping projects to totally transform the lower section of my lands – roads will be widened, unproductive trees will be up rooted, drain pools will be constructed along with an attempt to raise the water table by twelve or so inches (if my calculations are spot on) so that it’s not always swampy and to prevent root rot.

Huge quantities of earth have been moved by stripping off earth from a hill – this is usually dangerous work that can usually never be undertaken during the wet season – but with the onset of a longer than expected dry season – this is perhaps best time to undertake such a big project without running the risk of being responsible for anyone dying, mud slide or one section of the terraces caving in due to rain – this is usually how it is in farming. Since I’ve been keeping very close tabs on the weather of late the combination of lower humidity and near zero rainfall makes is ideal for such dangerous work….so when conditions are right, decisiveness is key! There is no dilly dallying!

If things go according to plan. I would be able to raise the level of the ground in my lower section. Widen the roads and make optimal use of whatever spare earth I have to improve the contouring of my lands in the lower section.

Oil palm yield has dropped drastically due to the haze that seems to show no signs of relenting.

The haze affects the palm yield in a two known ways. Firstly, it hinders photosynthesis and secondly, it reduces the number of insects that is vital for pollination thus reducing the number and size of new fruit bunches drastically.

I have every reason to believe the fires in Indonesia are beyond all hope of control this time round. According to my sources even oil palm plantations are being razed to a cinder. The fires are truly out of control. While this apocalyptic scene continues to unfurl…politicians throughout the region continue to indulge in childish sand box politics by reassuring the public – these fires can be snuffed out by the latest water bombing toys along with sending troops with fire hoses to combat the fires.

To me, this is all kiddie talk, as it all fails to take into account the limits of men and material against Godzilla scale of such a juggernaut event.

The fires will continue to burn! That will be reality.

Haze will be a feature of life interspersed with clear days when the winds are favorable. That will be reality.

Only the November rains can snuff them out. That is the reality.

But this year is very different from all other years. The winds have yet to shift. It is still blowing from West to East with a strong south easterly slant – I can only draw the logical assumption, this is may be due to the weakening of the monsoon trade winds that usually begin just around this time due the onset of El Niño.

It is conceivable the haze may not stop even after the end of the year.

The way I see it, far too much emphasis and misplaced faith has been placed on Mother Nature to snuff out the fires…..along with what I can only describe as a gross failure to scale the magnitude of how resilient these fires can continue to scissor thru the fields. The November rains may have worked their magic before…but what if they don’t come like they usually do? What if again Mother Nature decides to throw out a wild card like she did with El Niño? What if…what if…what if. Then the haze will simply be a fact of life that we have to get used too.

That’s OK if you’re just a salary man in Singapore…but as someone who puts bread on the table on the grace of the good earth and benevolence of Mother Nature…this is going to be one of those epic shitty years.

All my arrows must hit their mark…there is no room for error this time round.


This used to be just a slow running creek. Couple of inches deep at most. Last night in the cover of darkness I secretly brought in three heavy lift excavators to transform my creek into a river.

By the end of the week after the work is completed….once the rainy season hits – it will be transformed into a raging river.

Why is this all necessary? Because the evil landowners downstream have conspired to gang up on me by secretly construction water locks so that when the rainy season hits…my lands get flooded.

And how did all this come to my knowledge? About three months ago? A fifty three year old spinster (who I have never met before) who incidentally works as a private secretary for one of the evil consortium landowners told me in a trembling voice with tears in her eyes, which I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever had everything to do with her guilt ridden feelings concerning their evil plans that has been causing her sleepless nights , ‘I know you to be a man who has renounced all forms of evil…and since I do not want you to go back to your evil ways….it is necessary for me to warn you!…’

Thereafter I was able to gain access to the entire blueprints of these water locks along with other vital intelligence with only a bouquet of $1.99 cents made in China plastic roses and a very buxom secretary who had a curious of asking me every two minutes whether I was interested in prospecting for either friendship or marriage. I promised her to answer all her questions only if she showed me to the filling cabinets on the pretense…this was perhaps the most intimate and private place to reveal information of such nature while training my eyes on her fun bags. Out of sheer curiosity or some inexplicable compulsion to be part of the known truth, she even gave me a tour, since her boss was overseas. Naturally I moved like a well trained Mossad secret agent as best as I could with fun bags the size of basketballs and eventually got everything I needed out of that rat hole office with the aid of an old fashion Minox spy camera. Enough at least to plan a counter attack in absolutely secretly.

Heavy machinery was moved in torrential rains. Once thought to be impossible to muffle sound. Radio silence was maintained thru out the night. Only hand signals were used and the best stealthy mountain cyclist kept out a look out….there was no match…it was like a well trained Roman legion facing off against a bunch of cavemen with sticks and stones.

Based on my calculations. These locks are under designed by a factor of 10 to the strength that I plan to unleash. They will not be able to hold the torrent when the rain comes. It is too late to redesign…mitigate…or for them to even plan a counter attack….finito!

When their lands are completely flooded and mine happily dry and above the waterline.

Then and only then will I commence negotiations to buy their estates. Between them, they don’t even hold a single ace….game over.

I have recounted this to many people on countless occasions. Especially here in my blog. I am completely blameless. If anything, I am a poor and helpless victim of evil people who bring out the very worst in me. As in truth…I have truly renounced all my evil worldly ways.

However one reality will always remain true. Business is war!

Never ever fuck around with creatures with teeth! Never!

A revelation. For the woman who sees herself as different from all other women….the prospects of being not entirely so different from all other women can indeed be a very frightening proposition.

For such a woman it was almost a matter of unalloyed derived pride to being different from all other women. Suddenly, this woman is pushed off the edge, only to free fall and, at the very last moment, something reached out and caught her in midair. This unsettled her terribly. As that thing, that force, that had suddenly caught her and arrested her fall could only be the power of love.

Despite every effort to deny, to obliterate and to cast into the depths of the ridiculous that notion – this she knew deep down in the marrow of her bones was the only thing that could stop a woman from falling, powerful enough even to negate the laws of gravity thereby obliterating in a single moment, all the years of her irrevocable belief that she could be estranged from love.

As the woman who now considered herself not so different from all other women looked at the mirror that evening – she was convinced without the slightest shadow of doubt, only the man who has all the power to stop time itself could be responsible for her transformation – She resented him. Hated him even for what she considered to be an act of appropriation of who she had always believed herself to be, yet a stronger undercurrent of emotion left a an indelible mark on her. For she relished it. This the new world that he has suddenly led her into and what surprised her even more than her initial resentment of Mr Koreana who seemed to have all the power to provoke a storm of emotions she had never felt before in her life was she liked it.

Perhaps that was why she laughed at herself before the mirror only to feel a wave a embarrassment shortly thereafter that forced her to lower her eyes – and to believe a man who prefers to refer to himself as someone who trades coffee could possibly turn her entire world on it’s head without even seeming to even try. She kept her eyes lowered for no other reason then maybe what she would see reflected in the mirror that day had she dared to look up…all her fervent hopes and aspirations was had now suddenly broken loose of it’s moorings like some something mysterious from the depths of her heart thrusting itself thru the murky depths to time to finally surface.

She did not dare to look in the mirror.

Mr Koreana the man who trades in coffee was truly the accomplished practitioner who excelled in stopping her line dead in it’s tracks…with these thoughts the woman who now considered herself not so entirely different from all other women reconciled herself to the ridiculous proposition – she was indeed in love with the man who much prefers to refer to himself as a man who trades coffee….how unusual…improbable and above all remarkable, that was all she could conjure in the image before her in the image in the mirror that evening…Mr Korena….the man who had successfully intercepted her line life and stopped time itself.

For the woman who is different from all other all women. It is not unusual. Not at all, for her to regard an act no matter how well conceived to resemble a pinball bounced from one thing to another, to go up, down only to be flipped up again, slide, run against, jostle and bumped only to be repeated all over again.

As only a woman who has acquired the unusual habit of regarding life in this strange manner to even see it prosaically without even the slightest compulsion to question why the sum of all life could be nothing other than a series of random events at play could be drawn inexorably to such an unusual person like Mr Koreana – for the woman who was different from all other women, only such a man like Her dearest Mr Koreana was capable to harboring the seemingly ridiculous idea that a person heading in a planned direction could ever really reach it – as somewhere in that causal chain, chance has ever prerogative to suddenly appear like one of the many invisible lines that only the girl who is different from all other girls can sense and intercept that planned trajectory…only for it to take a sharp turn in mid-course, pause, drift and end up in a place quite different from the one it was supposed to reach.

As the girl walked into the museum, she saw Mr Koreana sitting on a bench before a painting…it looked like an abstraction of sorts. The type that struck her as mangled…jumbled…random – what struck her most intensely then was the acuteness of how she was suddenly aware of how this desolate figure who seemed to be there and yet somewhere else – was so different from all others who walked indolently around each exhibit. For as long as she looked on, she couldn’t but help resist the very idea, these curious wanderers were merely like protagonists who were following a well choreographed script. There was a sense of nihilism about the these people who flitted by Mr Koreana – as if only he was the true protagonist while the rest were merely there as props to lend the scene a patina of reality like in movie set. While this observation may seem anything but particularly new to the girl who is different from all other girls – this was the one indelible feature that drew her to Mr Koreana.

Standing behind him from a distance – he was indeed there…part of the world even, and yet at the same time there was a detached quality of inaccessible about him – it wasn’t his demeanor of mild interest in what hung before him. Neither was it the curious manner in which he had the habit of turning his head to one side from time, as if to make out a shape or pattern. For the woman who was different from all other women, only she could sense a hidden door that nestled deep within Mr Koreana at that moment, that could never be penetrated, a mysterious center of hiddenness that from time to time she merely caught a glimpse of – like the moment when he told her, ‘I trade coffee.’ Or how he had suddenly stopped on one of their unusual silent nocturnal walks that seemed to go nowhere, yet everywhere at the same time only to look at a building as if conjuring some distant thought stirred up by the past.

That was the moment when the woman who is different all women was suddenly filled by an inexplicable compulsion to participate in that mystery that was Mr Koreana – the man who knew her so well. But as he turned to look at her just then, suddenly like the wind that had snatched away a thought and ripped it into a thousand pieces – she was filled with the realization that one could never really know such a man…not really. One could perhaps approximate…postulate…draw lines only to lead to dead ends….there were simply too many lines that ran thru this man and in that moment she felt naked before him. As if he knew what she was thinking.

It was as if he knew what streaked thru her mind like a solitary meteorite crisscrossing the night sky.

During dinner Mr Koreana spoke nothing whatsoever about the future….past only the present. Though he did mentioned just once, ‘I trade coffee.’ It wasn’t a statement, not to the woman who was different from all other women – rather the words rolled deliberately…slowly…like amber from ancient wood to emphasis that he was indeed very much of the world that she knew he had was an exile. She liked the way he spoke – it differed markedly from the same everydayness conversations of her friends, colleagues and acquaintances, whose names she hardly remembered. Only because of her acute realization she could be nothing but different and this compelled her to at least appear to remain congenial…friendly…and the opposite of different..that’s how girls who are different get by…she even made it a point to get accustomed to the litany of conversation for conversation sake. During her office lunch breaks in the luncheonette, they had talked about sometime that always ended as nothing, and now, when the woman who was different from all other women was with her dearest Mr Koreana all that she could be reminded of was the the hopelessness of that misguided passion to be same like everyone else and to even relish her difference – as all other conversations she had ever once experienced could never once compared to the man who never once spoke about the past or future….only the present truly mattered to Mr Koreana and it was this characteristic about him that truly validated and even approved of her condition which she had always seen as an affliction, her difference.

Its hard to say for certain what goes thru a woman’s mind especially a woman who is different from all other women who spends the evening dinning with a man who trade in coffee…harder even to fathom whether perhaps she wore lipstick, mascara and an evening dress that she had bought on a moment of impulse…only to look at herself with a mixture of curiosity and apprehension in the mirror and murmur…I am not doing this for him…I am not! only to wonder thru out that dinner that seemed to stretch on for eternity that perhaps it was really only all for her dearest Mr Koreana….thereby proving without a shadow of doubt he was most certainly the only man who had the power to intercept her life line and stop it dead in it’s tracks by holding time in the way only the woman who was different from all other suddenly realized that she could perhaps be like others as well…..

The man who much prefers to introduce himself as ‘I trade in coffee.’ Hardly inspires much faith as someone who possesses the extraordinary power to stop time. But that is only because one is necessarily led to belief such an act would require some métier extraordinaire.

For Mr Koreana the accomplished practitioner of stopping time – required only the most mundane of what I can only refer too as a life dissipation. He had a habit of wandering into museums with no precise intent and purpose other than to fashion himself as an allegory of one of those exhibits, he frequently leans forward and peers at with an expression of mild interest. Like a man who seems to be oblivious to a point where he’s not even beholden to the time itself. To embody the expression to be nowhere, yet everywhere at the same time, like the aged exhibits in a museum – radiating their life stories as best they can across the the sea of time thru two inches of bullet proof glass – to Mr Koreana, who was accustomed to being the sort of man who never ever felt like so many other men, the weight of being anywhere specific except where he found himself at any one point in time that was the first precondition of being of able to stop time….to regard time itself with utter indifference…to such a degree on his best walks when he found himself lost and in a place that he could neither recognize or conjure out with any sense of familiarity – Mr Koreana relished it.

That if you didn’t know is the precise attitude that one needs to cultivate to stop time itself – indifference.

(I need to cook now. I will write later)

It’s conceivable two people are drawn together to fulfill a compelling need besides simply to be with each other. Or to be part of love and be loved in return.

The only reason why I feel compelled to use the word, it’s conceivable is only because some people don’t have such a thing as a choice and even less in the way of a design as to how things are going to pan out – other than to be drawn inexorably together. I wouldn’t go as far as to describe it as unity or solidarity, or even how two magnets can really only be naturally drawn to each other. If anything it probably has something to do with the endless crisscrossing lines that so intersect serendipity, epiphany and chance to all alter and change fate, destiny and fortunes.

Take the next bus. Only because you missed an earlier one on account of being distracted by a pretty girl in a short skirt. Sit next to the window seat at the rear only because you feel that’s where you least have to rub shoulders with others. After all it’s going to be an awlfully a long journey home. Lose your balance on the edge of a pavement that sticks out more than it should when you’re stepping off the bus that makes you lose your balance even more only to find yourself stooping before a leaflet that says 50% off on coffee and cakes between eight and ten that someone had probably just dropped on the floor. Glance at your new watch, that you’re still yet to know loses five minutes daily because the factory that made it wrongly labelled the pallet as quality passed when it should have been thrown out. Its eight forty five. By the time you stand before the perfidious face counter staff who tells you, it’s five past ten and the offer is over like she is reading off a laminated card. The girl next to you overhears it and she offers to buy one for you at half price since her transaction isn’t technically over yet…she’s still vacillating whether to go for a tiramisu or papaya flavored cake. You share the same table with her only because it’s near closing time and half the area is cordoned off except on free table with two seats….and here contained within this chronological account termed everydayness – your whole life changes. Then again it could remain exactly the same.

Had anything changed from the moment you missed the bus that you were supposed to board to the time when you stood before the counter to place your order. Had anything. Even the most imfinitesemial been different in the causal chain…the outcome would have turned out completely differently.

As the girl whose different from all other girls decided to take the long walk across the park to the MRT that evening to meet Mr Koreana. She realized even her simple act of engaging her muscles that propels her forward by putting one foot in front of another had all the power to change her life or keep it the same – to her understanding of the known world. This accounts for why one regularly sees long lines forming outside a lottery shop during the monthly big sweep – everyone who stands on that line may well hold out the faint hope all the numbers they have scribbled will magically line up to transform their averagely miserable lives.

But what the girl whose different from all other girls knows so well that she can only truly be different from all other girls in only her own way is – millions of invisible lines are crisscrossing with every passing breathe…’s happening everywhere….all the time….even presently in the mundane act of walking while carrying a NTUC plastic bag. Probability may well feature, but if does, it’s merely a punctuation mark like those long lines of hopeful punters never seem to bother about…if it really it, it’s arguable, there would be anything resembling a long queue of people waiting to buy a lottery – for the girl who was different from all other girls, what really accounts for the long queue in the lottery shop was something that had nothing whatsoever to do with actuarial science, probability or even chance…this to her was the highest human testament that mystery was furiously working behind the stage of life all the time…everywhere…even right now when she walking to meet up with Mr Koreana.

To the girl who is different from all other girls. This understanding for a process (for lack of a better word) wasn’t a supernatural or mystical force that may account for why saints are always painted with hallows – in her understanding of that process – one life which had absolutely nothing to do with another resembles a line that intersects another life that takes the shape, form and randomness of her own line. That was precisely why to the girl who was different from all other girls – the whole of idea of meeting Mr Koreana and how either she, him or their combined entities and destinies had weaved a field of possibilities and dead ends before her could not possibly include love as a fait accompli…mutual attraction possibly…but never love…she was not yet convinced – as all they really had to call their very own in this process that the girl who is different from all other girls understands clearly – was this brief moment when two lines intersect like how trains sometimes run opposite so close to each other, where all one do is make out and hold on to a few blurred images only for it all to return to the vacuum of how it was before.

That was the only reason why the girl who was different from all other girls was so intrigued by Mr Koreana. Not the version of Mr Korean who much prefers to refer to himself as a man who trade coffee. Rather the Mr Koreana who when he jumped back into the carriage that fate full evening and fell below her feet reflected the unmistakable expression of a man who not only possessed the temerity, but perhaps even the arrogance to believe that he had the almighty power stop the mythical line from ever moving forever.

To just stop it….dead…at the point of intersection.

If anything it was this one notable feature of Mr Koreana that continued to intrigue the girl who was different from all other girls. It might have been the only reason why she continued to see Mr Koreana was driven by her perverse need to slake her thirst that the world consisted nothing more of random crisscrossing lines and no more.

Yet beneath all that layered jaded pessimism of the girl who is different from all other girls….even she harbored the faintest flicker of hope, if there ever lived a man who had power to stop time…it would certainly be her dear Mr Koreana.

‘I trade coffee’

October 11, 2015

He certainly did – trade coffee, that is. He bought low. Or what at least he thought to be low. For most the time, eight out of ten Mr Koreana managed to sell high or at worst even out his losses. Mr Koreana was adept at playing the game of caprice against the vagaries of the coffee commodities trade.

He preferred to deal directly. At source as he liked to call it. Usually traveling along the neckline of the bay of Guinea shaped like a shoulder of a sleeping woman – he bought only between the months of November and December just before the dreaded Harmattan when humidity drops to less than 15% when weights and scales are truest.

In the curelean evenings when an almost paraffin blue sunset renders the Sierra in Leone Mr Koreana knows that’s a sign the ochre winds will blow relentless from North Africa to the cape of Guinea, sailors in the Coite de noire cursed as the sea of blood. He buys again then only the Parsees gypsies who caravan salt comes deep into the interior of Africa in April when the sun is at it’s highest and moonlit as pirates on moonless nights. Besides they don’t ever take exception to the shoulder holstered pistol he wears beneath his summer creme suit. He thought them reasonable and considerate.

Only to sell them high thru out the rest of the year like how De Beers corners the diamond trade to keep the price of diamonds artificially high thru the successful marketing illusion of creating scarcity when there was more than enough to go around – that’s how Mr Koreana squared off the lousy odds when the market dealt him a curve ball from time to time.

During the hard years when it’s impossible to beacon out the murk of Mother Nature’s design . She can’t help it Mr Koreana would often remark on deck only for the capricious wind to steal his words as if even they feared the sea herself would hear it…usually, he mad allowances for that siaow charbor often remarking – she can’t help it, the bloody moon affects her – when the loses mount while his wins dwindle and Mr Koreana makes do with maggi mee and one egg. He always instructs his secretary to send his khaki linen suit to the dry cleaners along with a Panama, changes out his a wafer thin Constantin for a Rolex submariner – he was a man who always like to go to the very source for produce – like the man from Del Monte – that what they called him Dumon only because in Creole Francaise along the Congo, the common failing amongst the coreoleans was the inability to curl the tongue at the ridge, which made Dumon much easier than Del Monte. In the Congo at the prestigious shamagh , they considered him an honorary Le Sapuer de Extraordinaire Afrique… Mr Koreana the man who only wears a well pressed khaki suit and Panama who likes nothing better than to refer to himself as Mr I trade coffee, wasn’t you regular foreign businessman in Africa prospecting for new markets or in search of the highest quality coffee bean.

He knew Africa as only someone who has lived another life in Africa could. Knew it so well that he should never ever stop even he saw a corpse lying in the middle of the road in Lagos, because the moment, you touch, then you would have to pay for the man’s funeral that typically last for seven days and nights and involves the entire village and probably includes free flowing nooch…he knew Africa with that sardonic bitter sweet condescending grin like how during an internal flight when from Nairobi to Uganda, when the starboard engine burst into the flames all he could do was look at it with curiosity. A trait one only acquires in Africa. He knew Africa well enough to make out the odds of whether to call off his bets…walk away within his winnings on the magnetic rigged roulette table at the Metropole in the french quarter. Or to play thru the night. Knew like knowingness – strange don’t you think so for man who seems to be able to just manage to blurt out whenever the conversation turns to work – I trade coffee.

Knew Africa so well that he knew when coffee supplies ran dry as they sometimes do due to the Amsterdam cartels successfully cornering the market by snapping up all the bean futures – the bazaars of the clove paradise – Zanzibar would always have a surplus stash of contraband beans hijacked by the Kaia pirates. They much prefer to regard it as their version of free trade African style which they refereed too as ‘Shimah!’ When the sun hangs high. Somewhere in the tiny Arab quarter where the streets are still so narrow that only one person can walk at any one time – where everyone lounges like lizards with a hookah laced with hashis and speaks in murmurs and sip cardamom laced tea – In the wide open court yard Mr Koreana trades beans along side the Omani Kiswahili merchants whose Ma’ai negro bodyguards armed with gold plated a-47’s guard over their masters. In the square north east of the Arab quarter where the third minaret of the Masjid stands like the leaning tower of Pisa and perhaps no where else on this planet – bids for illicit beans are conducted by strange shapes one makes with their fingers like how slaves were once sold and bought during the Atlantic wars – Mr Koreana installs himself in a rattan chair to the east facing balcony that was once the preserve of the Medici’s, who once prospered thru slavery and the clove trade in East Africa – a young boy holds out the earthen bowl with beans. He picks only one and rolls it between his thumb and index finger and brings it to his nose. For a moment his eyes glisten with interest. Beneath him the rest of the traders jostle in a human swirl of frantic hands making a field of strange gestures like plants that eat and when it seemed the bid could no go higher, the whizhar (auctioneer) looked up expectantly at the man seated at the balcony….who incidentally just happens to be the man who the world knows to be Mr I trade in coffee. He man responds with a casual jab of the index finger followed by three flips of last three’s sold…in a dead and forgotten language that only those who once traded in slaves could understand…’his teeth were bad, but I bought him nonetheless, this would make up for the three guineas less than what I am supposed to pay you! The elders seated in the West balcony, turn to each other and begin murmuring, while the traders beneath stilled in anticipation…then slowly the elders begin to raise their white canes…it’s sold.

But tell me my dearest perceptive reader – what’s really was sold? Mr Koreana would of course insist – I trade coffee.

Truth usually lies at so many levels of lies – when a man responds with a casual jab of the index finger followed by three flips of last three fingers at the auctions in Zanzibar….it could mean one of many things…it could mean exactly what it meant as I describe it earlier with not the slightest embellishment…but that day in the crowded courtyard of the bazaar – it meant, he would pay in what Africans term white gold – ivory.

Mr Koreana now the man who just doesn’t trade coffee…he also dabbles in illicit ivory as well.

Maybe that could be the reason why Mr Koreana smiled wryly like a fox two weeks later when he returned back in Singapore – perhaps that’s the girl whose different from all other girls was seized by an inexplicable compulsion to pause. Put her knife and fork down during dinner only to turn and ask of him…

‘Do you really just trade in coffee?’

To which he answered, ‘I trade coffee.’

He trades coffee…buys low and sells high. Mostly out of Amsterdam That was what he told her. It wasn’t the way he told her that gave the girl the impression he was holding back. Rather it was just the way he told her…I trade coffee. He didn’t carry a name card, said he didn’t need one as he has only two customers, one whose based in Cairo who calls him at three in the afternoon everyday and the other, a commodities clearing house based in Switzerland.

That’s how it is when a man with a past speaks about the present – it’s as if one part of him is right there, yet another is somewhere else in the darkened interiors of the past and it all comes up usually in the form of….I trade coffee and very little else…no follow up on what’s the difference between Arabica or Robusta…or even why coffee beans seem oval shaped on the months between November and March….just I trade coffee.

That could be why she decided to visit him at work the following day at Chevron house. You see Miss D…D for Different from all other girls knows….Mr Koreana is a man with a past.

It wasn’t slyness that one associates with a used car salesman when he kicks the tires of a car and exclaims, ‘it’s a bargain!’ that you’re considering putting a down payment on that gave Mr Koreana away. Or even the way he shied away from the subject….if anything it was the clarity of his reply, ‘I trade coffee.’ That marked him out singularly as a man who did perhaps really trade coffee for a living but that was really only a punctuation mark…there was something more besides the whole idea of a man who sits there before a computer screen punching buttons the whole day…it was perhaps his ambivalence in that trailed off at the end as if trading coffee was some transit point – like one of those forgettable airports one has to be in only to catch a connecting flight. Or a desolate platform where everyone stands there looking at their watches because they need to be elsewhere besides there…..that’s how it is when a man with past says, ‘I trade coffee.’

It’s not a statement of what he does to pay the bills. Rather it’s a just a point in time…like maybe how a bird decides to perch on the ledge of some building as it looks out furtively into the steely skies before taking off again.

That’s how it is when a man with a dark past says, ‘I trade coffee.’

The lobby looked old and austered. Not old like run down Formica tacky old. But old in the way timber can only acquire a polished sheen with the chastening passage of time…like a lobby of an old hotel. Even the receptionist was old – in her dark blue somber suit when she intoned, ‘he will see you now.’ with that all too familiar look of suspicion that says, ‘what’s your business here…we don’t ever get types like you!’

Mr Koreana did not get up from his seat to greet the girl as she enter his office. He should have. Most men would. Especially someone who really trades in coffee….perhaps he knew why she had come here…seen it all in his minds eye of how it could really only end up this way, like a moth drawn to solitary tongue of a candle light as each circle draws it closer to the very source of all it’s fears and fascination…each circle drawing tighter and closer till the final moment when the moth charges into the all consuming flames…that was at least how a man with a past would see things…events and even the explain why the girl who he met just the night before was now standing before him.

‘Yes he definitely trades coffee,’ that at least was the expression the girl wore when she took a sweep of the room for the first time – she noticed the silver stationary set with it’s crystal ink holders and wondered perhaps whether the man who sat across her much preferred stationary than e-mail. Or could it that’s just the way his clients preferred it. There was no computer, no screen…just a heavy oak table with some papers nearly arranged in one corner, a tabula data sheet file opened slightly curled at one corner, highly ornate eighteen century stationary set and a old brass table lamp with an old world incandescent light bulb where one can even make out the warm wan of the bright filament…and of course Mr Koreana himself who wore the expression of a man who knew exactly why this girl was here…had to be here…couldn’t have turned any other way except this way that he had envisioned thru out the whole morning and now she was before him.

Mr Koreana…a man who may have perhaps so many things to say just to fill the blankness of silence like a splash of paint on canvas – but for all that should have been expressed but wasn’t all he could manage was,

‘As you can see…I trade in coffee.’ To which the girl smiled supremely. Had she not been a girl different from all other girls – she might have blurted out something like, ‘I was just passing thru…so I decided to pay you a visit.’ Or maybe just try to make conversation…but all that seemed unnecessary…which is a very clinical word, but apt nonetheless as a necessity is born from will and there no impulse that really brought her there that day except perhaps maybe how Mr Koreana expressed himself to her the evening before…he trade in coffee.

That’s really the politics of how two people really engage in a conversation when they met each for the very first time in the transit zone – no one really knows enough about the other except maybe they have only one thing in common…to be somewhere else after this moment. Beyond that, it’s all up in the air – but this was no ordinary run mill transit point that these two strangers had stumbled on….if anything it was a temple of sorts where one sought solace from the idea of simply watching two separate lives that suddenly crisscross.

What might happen thereafter hardly matters at all – that at least is how a man with a past sees the world, prosaically in a way a man reads about himself without the slightest curiosity as so much of who he is resides in his past. That’s how someone in transit sees himself in this world – he’s there, but not there at the same time because there are so many others lives that he has once lived that makes it’s presence always felt. Enough to remind him – that this is perhaps all he can have…or deserves to have…and since he’s there…he might as well just let it all happen without every trying to change a thing.

It’s not ambivalence or defeatism or for that matter anything else that compels a man with a past to resign himself so completely in such a way – such a man doesn’t seek redemption by turning a new leaf in life in the way ex convicts make a resolution that they still don’t know they can hardly keep – to go straight this time on a cold September morning when they have served their time – for the man who has no other choice but to live with past there is no such thing as a cheap ‘get out of jail’ card. All he can perhaps do is take comfort from the reassuring sound of the words, ‘I trade coffee.’

It’s not a proud testament of how he earns his keep in this world. Or even how he wants others to regard him. Rather like the parlance that only belongs in the transit world, that ‘in between’ space that only comes into existence when one is there, but not really there….I trade coffee just means…see you again to a stranger who you know, you will never ever see again only because it’s so improbable that it can only be equalled by the same improbabilities that brought both of you together.

That’s what I trade in coffee really means to the man who says it who belongs to a very dark past.

Between the seventeen and eighteen lamppost. Mr Koreana stops. The girl looks back and she wonders why he’s suddenly stopped. He managed a weak smile and they resume their walk like the unity of two strangers bound together so tightly by destiny or was there something lurking in the reeds…it didn’t matter where they went or for how long they would walk that night or even whether there would go around in circles or would there be any portable toilets along the way… They just held hands and walked thru the night. At times, Miss D would catch the man’s features, they seemed hard against the bronze street lights catching deep shadows – a shudder went thru her that he might be someone with a past.

Some men have that air of danger about them – it’s never really there like no ever ask in a crowded elevator ‘who farted..would the person please own up?’ But we all being there. Some men exude danger taking it’s cue from that allegory of the silent fart in a crowded elevator. No one knows whose the farter, no one can they squeezed like sardines….but everyone knows someone farted!

The man who Mr Korena had that quality about him – not like any other man, but someone who may have once lived another life.

Eventually they end up dinning in a place somewhere on the upper floor of a discreet restaraunt…it’s serves a devilish rack with baby carrots and cream sauce. Still they hardly say a word to each other…they just look on, not like furtive cats that suddenly see another cat and freezes up. It’s as if they seem to know what they other is thinking just happens to be what they preoccupies their thoughts as well – it’s an enquiring they both fleet at each other…looks one gives to mirrors only because they promise to reflect the unalloyed self as it is warts and all – but this was a phantom mirror where the man became the woman and vice versa – just imagine the mathematical probability of being able to met someone who mirrors exactly all your fears and aspirations – to know for the very first time, they’re actually people like you in this world that’s filled with the same sameness where everyone is the same….no they did speak….not even after a glass of exceptional Pinot Noir, Santa Rita, 2006 special reserva – and this meditation of silence continued thru to a chocolate bomb with a dollop of gelato and finally into coffee and beyond the velvety night of the flaming forest of buildings that they walked by.

Yet they did not say a word thru it all…a nod perhaps that carries with it the merest suggestion of how this is so ridiculous and yet so right at the same time – to seek only to balance this delicate thought with the power of silence…like a taunt rope where a skywalker walks across suspended in space and time…that’s how it is when you take a chance on life..or maybe it was the moment when they both sat on the quay when everyone seems to have closed up and gone home and Mr Koreana looked out across the simmering river like it was some great ocean of time that he had decided to cross the moment he jumped back into the train carriage earlier in the evening was wry knowing look…Mr Koreana is older than he seems, she says to herself and smiles against the wind that catches her hair fluttering each strand like a capricious tendril of hope as to where the rest of the night and beyond would lead to with this stranger…and to still say nothing…not even when a meteor streaked across the skies. They might have slept abit. Who knows. It’s hard to say with people who have every reason to talk, yet choose instead to seek the solidarity of silence – could he be that night, Mr Koreana dreamed of running on tall reeds of fields in Africa, so tall they even stung his eyes as he ran thru them…it had to be Africa…or maybe it was in the Americas. As for Miss D, she was the first to shake off sleep when the first rays of the sun began their bronzing at the tips of the flaming skycrapers along the Singapore business district.

She saw the before…during…after. Darkness was when she felt the deep scar on the man’s forehead, when the skies turned a deep bluish opalescence just before the virgin rays of the sun finger thru darkness – followed by the clouds suddenly being set alit, then like a crescendo – light….pure cleansing light began to bath her.

For a while Miss D looked at Mr Koreana who was still asleep, he must have layed on her lap the whole night – then as if drawn by the very power of a new day…a new beginning…perhaps…maybe with only the thought….she breathed….it was after all a new day for not only the woman herself who had found her other half. Perhaps even for the man who finally realized the night before, he could one day live the life he has always meant to live.

Let’s just by some remarkable profundity of faith…Mr Koreana jumps right back into the carriage again…and for the effect, he just makes it. Or most of him at least since his ankle got snagged by those MRT.

He falls just short of her feet…there is a momentary pause, like just before a gymnast pauses to gather all herself for that grand finale – that moment…when their eyes catch again.

‘Are you alright?’ That how Miss D, the outer persona of a woman who has just turned thirty with that closet hint of regret that seems to get etched deeper on her features as she faces possibility of never being able to find her soulmate responded.

Mr Koreana slimed gingerly. He doesn’t say anything. Not at least in the vocabulary where would use the vocal cords to make a sound. Yet when he looked at Miss D, it was as he wore the expression of sailor who spots land after too long a spell at sea. For that moment, the curelean skies seem almost to glow and all that Mr Koreana can see is the woman who he thinks might just be the one.

The thought first occurred to Mr Koreana when he had smiled at her curtly and walked into the platform with that lingering thought that clung to him like seaweed..she’s the one. The realization that every step that he took would take him from the possibility of never really knowing was the one thing that made him jump back into the train.

Now Mr Koreana is sitting opposite Miss D like the way it was – they don’t talk, they don’t even make an effort too – it’s a vocabulary of hidden similes – Miss D looks into the glass partition, only because she knows, he jumped back into the train because of her…can’t possibly be those sexy air con ducting that seemed to interest him that much that he looked at them like they were some mural – could it be?

Miss D flashed a look at Mr Koreana who gave her that, or maybe tried too – I don’t do this everyday…trust me. He slumps back into his seat, but the movements are so contrive as an either way reading of what it could or not – maybe he’s just experienced a rare moment of epiphany that’s what he says to himself on average of once a week…maybe she is the one! And usual Mr Koreana is never right. And now he’s regretting jumping back into the train to allow the whole narrative of how he tried and failed to find that someone replay itself in his head. Or maybe Mr Koreana just wants to see how this pans out.

You know the desire concerning the very idea of how it all pans out?

That’s what really cuts deep – not knowing. Never ever knowing how it would all turn out if he continued walking and didn’t jump back into the carriage and take a chance on life.

Not any life…but the life that Mr Koreana has splayed out in his head like some giant train set complete with styrofoam mountains and a cable car that actually moves, churches with cupolas and spires, town halls and even two drunks fighting in the alley – it’s a detailed diorama of how he sees the whole idea of taking a chance on life.

To be able to break free from that day to day feeling of nothingness where everything just goes right on with roughly the same mental energy it takes to tie shoelaces – to met dumb girls, who just talk all day about where to buy false lashes that don’t look false…or whether a pink smartphone skin would be better than indigo – that’s perhaps why they both continue to look at each other deeply without ever having to say a word…Both their fears mixed with fascination is reflected so clearly by how their stories mirror each other, that both narratives read exactly alike right down to the spacing of the sentences, number average number of words followed by the punctuation – it’s like two people how don’t know each other watching an IMAX movie for the very first time and exchanging looks of fear and fascination – being all so filled up suddenly by the colors and images that it’s takes all of you into in like some giant vacuum cleaner of the soul. That’s why they don’t need words…a word if you think about it is a sound, it really conveys very little to what these two strangers in the night are expressing. Theirs required no words that could ever hope to express the incomprehensible that had always been like a endless emerald sea of green that stretched so far that you can even see the world bend ever slightly and now with these eyes a torrent of washed hopes missed chances….they just melt away like spring now in the morn.

They both knew they were meant for each other for all the same and wrong reasons they could never share with the world…..the same pain that once cut tiny slices with the chastening passage of time as they wandered this desolate world searching….searching….and always searching and now they both found a flicker…like the last dying embers just before it cools off a die that once raged and burnt everything it’s path, all that exist this flicker that perhaps in this world that I have never truly understood why I am the way I am…I am at least prepared to try it with you…to bloe into it, to see it hopefully catch and burst out in flames…is it possible I can thru this journey in life with you?

They didn’t need to speak anymore than a bald man needed a comb. Not even when Mr Koreana held Miss D’s hand and they both walked out of city hall station together…there was no need to speak as they turned the corner together. Not need whatsoever when one knows deep in the marrow of ones bones this is what I want now! No need to even make small talk – to just walk together, without rhyme or reason other than to feel the cool night air against one cheeks and to be nowhere…to be beholden to no one, not even time or the prospects of that your cat may have to go hungry as you know the night will be long.

There’s a reason why this narrative is short on Miss D and long on Mr Koreana when all this is played out in the movie theater of our mind.

You see I believe some people can see the same hopes and aspirations in the eyes of others who are exactly like them…in doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s like the moment of finding X marks the spot.

X marks the spot – that’s what draws these two strangers and keep them together in the night like any other couple. It’s not lust…sex or the idea of just a fling. It’s the solidarity they may have perhaps both shared and experienced the same things to still be able to make it to the other side safely.

You know there is a book, man from Venus and women are from Mars. Or is it the other way round….I can’t remember, but by just reading the heading true to the manifesto of the simple minded who if you really care to notice regularly have absolutely no trouble discovering the secrets of the universe by reading what’s printed at the back of a chewing wrapper….that at least is what regularly ripples thru some part of my brain whenever I met someone for the very first time.

‘I know so little about them….which man am I talking too up there in his head where so many men are running around…which man?’

It’s not hard for people like me to come across as strong willed. I happen to have a square jaw, you know the sort that conveys a certain hardness of character, fortitude and that’s reflected in the way I narrow my eyes when I intone….yes, I understand. My point is most people see what they want to see – the respectable landowner….complete with his old world charm….old money…I wonder did he row for Harrow? He’s shoulders they’re broad…bet he gyms…bet he can play Eaton 5 without even bothering with mittens. Most definitely a third or perhaps second generation planter stock! Barkers…they only wear Dunlop welted laced shoes….he leaves the last button of his bushjacket free, a trait of only a field man.

That’s what other men really see – the impression at least, naturally I am making it easier than it sounds – there is much more to the idea conveying the idea of who one really is – it’s hardly just conversation for the sake of using so many words to say absolutely nothing. Not in my circle of interacting with people at least, bent landowners, parvenus and people who generally have only one thing that unites their crumbly world – the idea that everyone knows himself well enough to do, think and act rightly.

You see that’s really how the game of life is played…it’s like that first moment when you opened a new monopoly set for the very first time in your life and when you saw that tin sport car – you wanted it. As the game goes on…you begin to want other things as well and maybe a get out of jail card just in case the die is loaded against you…..that in a nutshell is how I see the whole idea of business. Everyone is just one perpetual merry go round where with a mix of luck, serendipity and perhaps moments of epiphany – hopefully it ends well…and you don’t lose too much.

But emotions are much complicated…if business is eu de cologne. Then stuff that revolve around the great sun of emotions…hopes…aspirations and dreams all have in them the concerntration of only parfum….where with just the merest drop to the skin, a thousand fields of images fills the senses and somewhere in the mind – the skeleton turns to open a new door that leads to a new stream of consciousness…that’s how complicated emotions are.

And that’s how it is with most people – they’re just don’t realize how so much of how they think…behave….react or choose not to is really the sum that comes from not one man or even one woman….it’s from the many men in this one man and the many women in this one woman that all adds up to who we truly are.

I am NOT saying this is a psychosis or there some malevolent organization bent on ruling the world has added something to the water supply to bend minds – it’s natural…it’s the way things really are to me…at least. The very idea that when we actually see someone and weave them into our lives, all we are doing is bringing into other lives…histories….emotional baggages etc etc as well. I mean if you are speed dating and a girl tells you casually she into cats and when you get to know her better you find that her whole house is filled with ceiling high cages of stray cats and she spends 90% of her salary on cat food and everyone in her estate calls her the mother Teresa of the cat world in Singapore – if it’s like that, then it’s a psychosis and you should be troubled. But the mere suggestion there could be more than one man in a man or more than one woman in a woman doesn’t provoked any negative or positive reaction on my part – I can accept that dichotomy…duality and even live with the whole of the self being appropriated by an alternate self from time to time for all intends and purpose everyone else in the world is content to see as one whole complete and singular person.

Still don’t get what I am trying to say do you? Missed the point somewhere between two lines and now you’re trying to figure out whether it’s worthwhile to re-read this whole entry from the top to try to get a handle on that missing jig saw and makes everything fit. Or should I just pretend to open a copy of remembrance of things past by Marcel Proust because there is a really cute intellectual looking guy sitting directly opposite me in the train…not just cute, Korean haircut cute drop dead Matilah cute!

Now imagine yourself as a stage director watching this scene where this girl who probably has her book upside down and doesn’t even realize it…only because there’s another woman in this woman’s head whose already script written how the rest of the narrative should go on like one of those perpetual Korean love serials.

In this story of a girl whose maybe just turned thirty and whose still single mets the Koreana guy. He’s not my type…she says to herself…or maybe it’s another woman she never once gave a name too who lives in her head. Before that thought can congeal…yet another woman steps in, lifts this girls head…now she’s looking squarely at the man across her…she notices he wears horn rimmed glasses, the sort with specks like amber and can even look good when one wears a N95 mask…he’s got taste she says to herself, not that saccharine laced air of pretension that every guy seems to showcase to the world by just wearing a make belief G2000 off the shelve – I am still in the great corporate fight….I’ve got it all together….just don’t count me out yet. No Mr Koreana is not the sort of a man that radiates that sort of Kistch sense of expectancy, he is the man who once got an idea in his head and just did it, it shows in how he shifts his well gymed panther like body around to try to find a comfortable place on those impossible plastic seats on the MRT. There’s a prosaic languor in the way he moves like the way only fishermen can move deftly to free a stubborn knot. Or the way the expression of a potter when her hands run thru wet clay…the end is always in mind. Mr Koreana continues to look enquiring at the features of this train – it’s not an frozen dolphin mildly interested look like the one fat American tourist usually wear after waiting in line for two hours in the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa only to express it all with that sobriquet terms of nihilism – it’s nice!

It’s an enquiring look a voice whispers in the mind of the girl. As she watches the man who tracing his eyes along the stretch of alluminium air con ducts…it’s a studied look. Like the expression old sea captains wear whenever they taste that metallic electricity in the air before a storm…the mood is pensive…yet relaxed. Maybe he runs his own business. Makes things that they bubble wrap, put in the a box and ship out. Maybe he’s a businessman. Certainly looks the part..

This is just a byline – never knew taking the crowded trains can be such a drama!

Like I said it’s deep because I am trying to convey to you the idea of how people build a picture of someone in their head. How they might even add other things that may be closer to their hopes and dreams only to end up with an encrusted mass of him and her….it’s just like the way the girl who has always seen herself as different from all other girls see Mr Koreana – how so much of who we really are…what we yearn for…die die must have comes from so many men within just one man. Or so many women in one woman. The very idea must seem some frightening to some people…many just block it out…or filter it out with what they regularly claim to be their shit filter that’s always on full power when reading my blog.

I told you it was deep. But let’s not break the chain of thought…the very idea of making a mental Felini film noir sort. Now most the passengers by now got out somewhere along city hall and Tanah Merah – the carriage is now empty, except for a middle aged uncle whose dozing off as his heads rattlers from time to time against the glass. The scene is hilarious and for the very first time, their eyes lock and they laugh together.

Mind our thirty something isn’t your regular Sengkang Sally admin stuff that usually cram so much magnetic knock knacks in their cubicle. Nope our thirty something is just different from all other girls. Not just different like how some people pretend to be different just to get attention – No! It’s not that cheap narcissistic version of just trying to be different. She’s just different…different because she believes she would be able find someone who she wants to take a chance with in life….that’s why she stayed in her seat even when she was supposed to get out at Bedok. This woman is one a train to destiny….it’s hard you say to be able to make out so much from just the scene of two strangers laughing in an empty carrier with a man who keeps making a Ping pong rattling sound as his head drums the glass….but they weren’t just laughing.

Freeze that frame in your mind eye…you can do it…like I said…you’re the stage director.

Just before the man smiled which eventually gave way to a laugh and they girl followed suit…and their eyes locked momentarily like a streaking meteor across the velvet darkness of infinity. In that one moment, something stirred in the woman…it wasn’t the air or quiet sophistication of the man seated across her. Or even the slight gruff in the way he looked at her just then – the eyes of a Panther.
At that very moment. A new woman who never existed before was born.

She had taken a chance to stay on when her mind told her, this is your stop! Now get out because tomorrow you have to be in your office for a conference call at seven.’ But she stayed on. She’s suddenly filled with a compulsion to know whether perhaps this might be the man – the one line that will intersect hers in that greater universe of every woman’s hopes and aspirations – to just be loved and to be loved in return.

Somewhere in this woman’s head a movie reel had begun to turn on it’s sockets and light is now projecting in full technicolor how it might all turn out – that this man whose seated so near yet so very far could just he…could he be the one? Maybe she should just get up and stand beside the door. After all if he does the same. I happen to know a nasty bump just between three quarters of Tanah Merah and Simei where I might pretend to lose my balance only to fall into his arms.

That siaow mei me it thought quickly evaporated from the woman’s mind only for her to flashing him a look of mischief, it’s not a flirtatious come on look – it more like being caught by the wind – to be just swept away.

It’s easy with Mr Koreana…there’s an ease about him, like his there but not really there. Some men are permeated with that spirit of detachment – they walk around aimlessly most of the time mulling over things like a man marooned in his own head… Robinson Crusoe.

See what I mean when I say, there are so men in one man. As there also be so many women in one woman…

So far the narrative is only about the girl. She’s different. But Mr Koreana…let’s call him that even though he actually comes from Singapore because he’s lugging a NTUC plastic bag filled with Maggi Mee…maggi mee is just not instant noddles, not in this movie that is staged in the mind, it’s the equivalent of the Merlion or something so iconic that is the very ambrosia of Singapore.

Sure Mr Koreana is sophisticated, but not like the way some men pay great detail to how they dress along with what accessories to wear to make a good impression – No! Mr Koreeana is not that sort of FHM sophisticated – it’s like that very dark impression some men exude ….could be in a cafe where he’s just all by himself surrounded by a sea of humanity…but nonetheless it’s as if you can feel some residue of sadness in his eyes that’s reflected in the woman eyes as well – that’s what really unites them in that one moment just before they breakout into laughter together…the idea of togetherness in being able to share eyes that see the world as a dark and desolate place where all ever seems to do is search in vain.

Sad laughter. Never heard of it? I bet you just said to yourself. That because it’s like a cocktail two parts bitter sweet with the illicit thrill ridden sensation that comes when one comes across people who seem to share something together…even if it is only for a fleeting moment. But that’a only because both remain unaware within this moment of maybe solidarity (though I don’t think that’s the right word) – there’s an eclair of irony…the very idea that we might not be alone after all…OMG, there are actually people like me…..and I have found one of them!

Or maybe not. Maybe Mr Koreana finally gets off at Simei and just manages a curt friendly nod as he walks back home to cook himself two minute maggi mee and with an egg thrown in for good measure. Maybe the girl who just a moment ago played out their entire life story together complete with even a nice picket home fence, 2.7 kids and monthly visits to ikea for meatballs just continues sitting right there in the empty train that has stopped with it’s doors sprung wide open. Maybe somewhere between the familiar hiss of the doors closing for first time, she realizes the book she had been holding on since Mr Koreana stepped into the carriage was upside down – it was written in an alphabet she could not understand.

Loneliness and lines

October 8, 2015

My life will always be filled with loneliness. Even when I am in sea of humanity, this sensation of estrangement and apartness will always be an intrinsically part of my nature.

I must simply learn to see it for what it is and accept it.


‘No one really talks about loneliness. They avoid the subject like some embarrassing affliction. Like Enzma maybe, or perhaps like stuff no one ever talks about like the urge to scratch that itch on your bum, but not being able to do so only because you’re in a crowded elevator. It’s an in between subject…you like things that exist, but you don’t ever talk or notice it? hydrants…bollards…white and black stripes along a stretch of road that you see, but never see as well. And coming back to the topic of scratching your bum in a crowded elevator…God forbid should your moment of weakness be viewed by millions on Youtube.

Mustn’t forget the omnipresent digital world we live in, not if the whole subject of loneliness is to have depth…nuance…textures and above all it’s true presence.

Yes, we run so fast away from loneliness….so fast most of the time ,it’s just a fleeting blur and the best we can ever do is able hold on to a few possibilities of images of what it really was that we experience daily….like a billboard on a road where no where cares to drive at 90…and much prefers to speed along…it just goes right by….the idea of loneliness.

The funny thing to me is these same people who spend so much of their lives running from it…loneliness that is till that very idea…notion…haunting refrain catches up on them and suddenly they brush it off like ants on your collar, and eventually it all disappears from their souls. That’s the unabridged version of how one runs away from loneliness…by first not talking about it like ghost or things in that go bump in the night in a formal luncheon with bankers who all seem to tailor their suits from the same shop and always seem to carry that congenial collie like dog demeanor when they talk about the future – yes, loneliness forces you to be other than yourself – do you see now it first requires that you can be free from loneliness by betraying the self…denying it and just by being like any other person out there in that faceless sea of humanity – all for what? Maybe to convince one that one isn’t really lonely all that.

Not all men are like that…some know this place beyond it’s Webster dictionary meaning… loneliness that infinity where all hopes, aspirations and fear swirl around like how drops of color dye finger their way thru pristine clear whiteness….like a splash of blood on spring snow…no. Not so easy for these men who suffer the same malady as a vampire…the thirst not for blood. Rather the nectar that explains why only they feel the way they feel.

Trust me. It’s a vampire thing – loneliness exudes a vapor. You can even smell on people who claim to have two million facebook friends.

But to for those who might perhaps be damned only because certain realities are so real, they leave no room for the imagination. These savor loneliness in the way a wine cognoscenti by the merest hint of bouquet can make out the endless fields of Carpana in July when the sun is the me able to see it all with such clarity and not knowingness perhaps, but with it’s lesser cousin, ‘acceptance’. Like your acceptance you will never understand why pimples get less when you get older. In the way a farmer stands with one foot along his fence and at that moment he just knows it in the marrow of his bones…one season just bowed out to the arrival of another….to see loneliness in full technicolor with THX sound system…there at that very moment when the winds caressed the season features of the farmer…he knows…it’s changed.

That at least is my version of loneliness when I speak of it…not as a verb….or a feeling that even so resembles estrangement, melancholy and the sense of incompleteness…and certainly not a diaspora of the soul.

If anything it’s how I’ve come to see my life in this world. Like one of those eighteen century aristocratic flanuers whose only preoccupation in life seems to be to perfect the art of how to live a life of dissipation….like a human ball of camphor that gives itself to the atmosphere, while getting smaller and smaller till poof! It’s gone….that is what the fear of loneliness can and might do to a man..even me…it’s like UFO’s once you seen one (real or imagined) – it’s virtually impossible to convince you – we are truly alone in this vast, desolate and infinite universe. Just as probably how so many who live averagely miserable lives manage to convince themselves, if they keep making as much lines as they can on the canvas of the world, then maybe they wouldn’t feel lonely any longer.

That may account for why so many people much prefer to see their lives as a series of intersecting lines with other lines, like a web. Not even a necessary neat one, but something random like an abstraction where it’s hard to nearly impossible to make out either form or structure….just nihilistic lines that mean as much as why two blades of grass curl against each other in June and not September…or suddenly noticing after a big shit, there is just one tiny piece of toilet paper as the roll just ran out.

No Da Vinci code to the whole idea of loneliness…no mystery even…not for me.

People need these lines to make their unbearable lives get good grades, get into a good university, sleep with your professors or give him an iPod to improve your grades, get a good job, you know the sort that’s so good most of your peers much prefer to avoid you because your very existence reminds them how far short they have fallen in the great marathon of life in Singapore. While you at it. You also got that girl! Car to go with it along with that Condo…but you’re still lonely…and when you add up the sum total of why most people seem to be crisscrossing with so many other lines…it’s simply because we all suffer from a morbid fear of loneliness.

Yes…the man who feels every gramme of loneliness. I imagine would not be so different from a man who decides to walk into an empty museum only to avoid the afternoon rain. Nothing else I am afraid…no great Hollywood ending with that sappy fortune cookie promise of how it all ends well….on how profundity….serendipity…epiphany finally came in and saved people and planet…No! You are missing the point. Or at least failing to see how I myself perceive the idea of loneliness.

I need to remind of this…otherwise it will just be a ramble that sticks in your head like chewing gum.

But let’s get back to the story of the Museum. This man who you see now walking around each exhibit giving the same amount of time and attention as it probably takes to empty his bladder peers at each exhibit with that mildly interested expression…but always remember he really only there because he doesn’t want to get caught in the rain – he’s there, but not really there all well…like on transit.

Do you get it? If not let me flesh it out further.

You know loneliness is like of one those ‘in between’ spaces in our lives – desolate train platforms at four in the morning or in some third world airport where there is a huge NO SMOKING! sign just above a big cigarette butt filled giant ashtray.

Or on those internal flights on Africa budget airlines where the pilot lands the plane without ever having the courtesy to remind you to fasten your seat belts, straighten your seats before a landing ….can’t blame them, they’re all ex military in Africa – that gives you a terrific jolt out of your sweet reverie…bang! Suddenly you’re on the ground again…shortly to told by a African prefidious faced air stewardess as if she’s reading off from a laminated card – ‘Don’t worry about that, it happens all the time.’

That how I feel sometimes when the things I love most slip right out of my fingers…don’t worry about that, it happens all the time.’

Loneliness is like that to me…it’s not purgatory, it’s not possession…it’s even less of ownership…of anything it’s acceptance laced with appreciation – merely the realization that sometimes all we really have is now and perhaps to muster the faith to believe it will last and at least have a decent run even if doesn’t.

There are times when I put in so much and get so very little back that I don’t even know whether it was all worth – whether it might be better for me to have stayed back in Singapore….that to me is one aspect of loneliness that nuanced. It’s definitely ‘loneliness’ and not disappointment, as the latter is a really just a love’s word.

– like I said, it’s not one of glitzy revelations in life where you would wake up and all the colors pop out and the world suddenly seems clearer. (I digress but with the haze these days, it’s hard not to use that analogy above without coming across as a man who lives in a cave…but like I said…I digress.

Coming back to the point, that’s really how I have always seen the whole idea of loneliness and why people make so many lines in their life – it is when a man is just ambling along transit airportville waiting for a connecting flight…you’re there, all of you at least because you still pay enough attention to those pretty stewardess who keep strolling in pairs….but not really there, if you know what I mean, because you know, this time tomorrow, you will be where you are supposed to be……loneliness to me, it’s like that…shadowy…in between places and timelines that exist, but yet don’t at the same time…..chiaroscuros of endless mysteries…twilights mostly before a solitary lights up the nigh skies…the sensation of just focussing on putting one foot before another only because that’s all you can manage for the moment to fashion a prosthetic to avoid ever being consumed by loneliness.

The ‘the in between space,’ that you just are without ever having to think or to use only the same processing power it takes to tie your shoelaces to enable you to smile when you’re supposed too…to feign that you’re just someone who belongs to the faceless sea of humanity the 9 to 5 club, who sole means of existences revolves around the idea – tomorrow will be better than today!

And there lines the great divide…the no man’s land riven with barb wire that separates those who know loneliness for what it is and those who are simply and blissfully clinging on the best they can to the idea – I am not lonely….

You don’t see it do you? No I imagine it could be like some sort of vampire thing – or one of those B grade Hong Kong movie where the main protagonist keeps seeing ghost, when everyone seems to be just interested in talking about the latest mobile phones or fake eyelashes that optically enlarge squinty slit eyes.

I feel loneliness..all it’s hemispheres of flickering darkness…along with it’s cool reptilian brush against the rippling flesh as it hisses.

I felt it in Africa in another life – felt it most acutely when I shut the door on a last bootleg Dakota just before it took when the Akholi militia sacked my plantation and killed everyone. I could see her anguish, her look of pleading incomprehensible as she held her hands against mine separated by the tiny perplex port window – Why I I could never fly out of that hell hole with her – to hold her hands so tightly that all my knuckles would turn white as the plane rumbled into the peppermint blue skies like in the movies – I have to stay….to remain…there is no rhyme or reason other than perhaps the finality that it could only be this way – that’s perhaps the closest definition to loneliness that makes sense to me. The very idea that I cannot be with the person who she wanted me to be.

I have too much of the idea of loneliness in my being – there’s always like a pull like how the full moon makes dogs howl or when birds start suddenly to nurse their feathers in November morns a they seem to know, they have to go…they too are practionners of the art of loneliness.

But what she wanted was for me to settle down like some stone that has stayed in one place for so long it’s encrusted with an opalescent emerald green cover…to walk in the streets of Munich on a Sept morn, hold hands in summer with a bright Reisling during summer and just enjoy the smell of freshly cut grass, look into shop windows and wonder whether that would look good above the fireplace in our home. To make tea with only two crushed cloves only because that’s the only thing we ever took with us to our new lives from Africa to Germany and to simply let the ocean of time to swept and wear us down till finally we awe round like pebbles.

That dumb German nun didn’t understand me at all…how could she. I ran ivory along the Gambezi, traded blood diamonds as well…and she thought I was just a cocoa farmer….well that could probably explain why most women are prepared to fork out a small fortune for anti aging creme where the only active ingredient happens to be water!

Truth is there are so many men in a man – half the time it’s like one of those Cossack dances where one man steps into a circle and does his thing and when the beat heightens, another steps in and on and on it goes – there are so men up there, it’s hard to know whose really the one that makes up the whole man.

Loneliness that wasteland like the perpetual Russian steeps that seems to go on and on forever…I once rode a motorbike I bought for £200 and rode for eight hours for forty days and the same scouring howl of the’s almost hypnotic sameness just permeated my soul – that’s loneliness to me – the Cossacks call it, mystika..Bilbao to the ever wandering uyghurs who much prefer a 1911 colt 45 to their government issued Makarovs that has a habit to jam – when the winds blow from the South in November – I travelled, worked odd jobs, got used to drinking vodka while on the job, even had a girlfriend who worked as a scientist with some optical firm that supplies the Militaries…yes, but all the time I was like a man lost in that place called loneliness…..I once stopped by motorcycle at the edge of the Volga, it could have been September only because the daffodils were in full bloom….I wished I could say a rare moment of epiphany descended on me like a blinding light. Or that the heavens opened up and a requiem of Zarrathursa filled my senses….but nothing. By nothing I mean nothing. Perhaps a slight urge to piss another bucket just before I moved on….and on and on…just running away from myself….or was it the fear of loneliness?

General Santos. Somewhere in the Mindanao, where people like to point guns at you at checkpoints. I took the job only because the man who interviewed me know everything I wrote about my job history was a fabrication – my ‘give’ was how I placed the verb at the beginning of every sentence – a give way, that I had been in Croele Africa – a place where even angels fear to thread……the job paid well. Just after I signed the employment contract that required me to lay pipelines for a French company – the French HR, a lady of forty or so, who probably worked for the French secret service only because they all seem embody that Miss Moneypenny look whenever James Bond narrows his eyes at her – yes….loneliness…like the moment in Africa when I shut that door closed just before the plane took off.

I knew I would never see her again…that’s how it is when the invisible lines of destiny intersect each other briefly – all you really have is that one moment – and the rest are just filled with the in between litany where it all aptly be prosaically expressed in that famous Americana parlance, ‘same shit! Different day!’

No not suggesting it’s Descartes or even remotely Proustian – but it’s certainly an allegory of how loneliness is so much a part of life and how life itself is an expression of that term.

Well maybe it’s just a place in the mind. You know like one of those fuzzy imaginary things like masturbation that you really excited. It’s not hard to (sorry for the pun) with happy hour free flowing porn these days….maybe when we just say, we feel lonely it’s that little ripple where everything is supposed to turn to jelly, squares become hexagons, then one feels a pleasurable rippling effect and it’s over – to some and perhaps many people, perhaps that how they see the idea of loneliness or being twirled by it by vines…..they say to themselves…or maybe they don’t. Maybe they’re just scrolling down their digital version of latte on the go, as one side of their mind permeates the other only to finally look up at some neon giant sized add where the mouth is big enough to eat that reads…YOU CONNECT!

And In that one solitary moment like a second hand of clock stopping dead – all time stops and suddenly this man who once entertained the preposterous way that he could possibly be lonely.

Most people go thru their lives that way.

Hey! Nothing wrong with that…if that keeps you ticking even if you get a licking sometimes from the world – I say go for it, like real coke!

Only my point is can’t live like all of you – to see the world as just some collage of emotions, psychosis, manias, fears, aspirations and maybe just the hope to be with that some special for the rest of life and to explain it all a way with as much intellectual firepower as what’s written in the back of a chewing wrapper.

I don’t say condescendingly of you. Rather it’s with a tinge envy that I wished I too could be seek the balm that staves off loneliness.

I know the entire geography of loneliness too well like the lines on the palms of my hands – they run deep. I remember long walks, usually after the end of the second shift at pie factory in the east of London that claimed to use only the healthiest produce – where everyone was fat and would probably improve their complexion by munching on GMO carrots. I wasn’t just talking about any walk at 2 in the morning back home to my bed sitter – they were long walks at times lasting between two or three hours…once saw the sunrise as it pierced thru those steel clad clouds…it was just a shaft of light…like a laser beam…maybe just then I too made a connection with a line…a mythical line…that compelled me to stand before the blinding truth – that perhaps loneliness will always be an elemental part of my being.

It’s hard to describe the certainty of that thought I’ve just written – it’s a cool finality like smooth marble that makes a rasping sound as your fingers run thru it. But that was how it came to me just then in the moment of my youth.

You know. It’s like looking out a window of a plane only because you don’t want to talk to the guy with bad breathe whose trying too hard and all you want to do is be in your bubble world. You’re right up night, the obligatory chimed followed by you can now take of your seat belt sign lights up. You start to relax. Then suddenly…imperceptibly….you’re able to make out that clear line that separates the muddied waters of the river that has finally found the infinity of the sea when it reaches the river mouth – and to be able to make it out so clearly, that line where the river gives out everything that has taken it thru so many ravines, turns and bends…for only one purpose…to be with the sea. So feel it’s cool embrace…and to see it all coalescing in swirl mixed with the cool clarity of the paraffin sea….that’s how a man come to terms with loneliness. Well allegorically at least in an economy class seat on a flight to his future.

Well that is the way I have always seen it…that country called loneliness.’

Is the TPP signed?

October 7, 2015

No! Far from it. What has been signed is merely an agreement of understanding by the member nations who comprise the signatories of the TPP to eventually sign off on the final draft of the TPP.

Since the final draft is still in a state of suspended animation and will probably remain permafrost in perpetuity.

So at the end of the day what these people who claim that the TPP is now finally a reality really have – is a worthless document that roughly has as much significance as a roll of toilet paper….which incidentally in the parlance geo politics simply means – the TPP is as dead as can possibly be….so don’t worry, the status quo ante will rule the day.


‘There are many so called ‘leaders’ who hail the TPP as historic. They refer to it as a nascent for rapid economic growth in an age when business landscape seems lethargic.

But this to me is simply old dressed up as new – the world has seen this before in the guise of the EEC, WTO, Nafta etc etc. They said that as well! All these initiatives that carry the appellation of ‘free trade’ all once claimed that the this will herald more growth….improve lives….empower people….save the planet blah blah blah!

But they have all proven to be at best chimeric and at worst a reversal to the very idea that such ‘free trade’ agreements can actually bring renewed prosperity to the masses.

Truth is they all benefit only the oligarchs of corporations, special interest groups and vested interested who are really only interested in perpetuating their economic primacy at the expense of the ordinary man.

There is of course the trite argument that lower trade barriers increase growth, but again this story is missing the precondition of a convincing plot that gives every narrative a sense of realism. The fact remains if the imperative is really the promotion of free trade, then it would hardly be necessary to do it thru the TPP. It’s highly unnecessary! As I can argue most of the barriers between the countries in the new pact have already been removed. The TPP will not do much to lower barriers to trade further, certainly not between the US and Canada or Mexico since Nafta already did that. Neither will it revivify trade between the US or any other country with ASEAN either because there already exist free trade agreements outside the preamble of the TPP. Besides the US already currently has free trade agreements with six of the 11 TPP countries! The existing tariff barriers with Japan and New Zealand are already so low than any further improvements can only yield fractionally gains.

It’s even conceivable the optimism concerning the TPP is misplaced, precisely because it suffers from failure of imagination in so far as it doesn’t take stock of many aspects of the deal that are likely to slow growth in the long term….dumb down innovation and creativity and worst of all hollow out the intellectual capital that once made the USA a great country.

You know I am going to digress only because I feel it’s necessary to illustrate the deeper meaning of what I trying so very hard to convey here. I happen to be a proud owner of a litespeed mountain bike, that carries a proudly made in American sticker.

Litespeed is a U.S. bicycle manufacturer founded by the Lynskey family in 1986 in Ooltewah – mind you where I am located in the world, it’s cost and arm and leg to own such mountain bike. But as an informed consumer I am willing to pay the premium because I actually believe the tradition of craftsmanship, the community that supports that sort of innovative culture and most importantly the master and apprentice heritage that enables to firms to produce such high quality products needs to be nurtured and even encouraged if people like me are going to continue riding well engineered mountain bikes, instead of just buying stuff that’s welded together by folk who don’t even know what it takes to fabricate a great mountain bike and just sold for $99 in wall mart and provably manufactured in China.

That if you must know is the bane of ‘tree trade’. All it seems to do is hollow out not only the culture of innovation, creativity, dignity of labor and whole idea of the pursuit of excellence – where everything just gets dumbed down to a mediocrity and to me that can never be progress…not even if it comes with the promise of economic growth.

And that’s what free trade is all about – it’s about chasing the buck….price leadership…cost savings…supply chain efficiency. And that to me just doesn’t seem to make much sense at all.

(But I have to stop here, because I tired…I will write again when I can)

The realpolitik of TPP

October 7, 2015

Nothing would give me the keenest cerebral pleasure other than to engage those who are currently promulgating the implementation of the TPP. Mind you! I say this with the highest measure of personal regret – simply because thus far all negotiations concerning the terms and conditions of the TPP are couched in what I can only describe as an incomprehensible iron curtain of secrecy.

Hence there remains is no possible way to intelligently engage the proponents of this so called ‘trade pact’ that will affect over 40 million people.

This should prompt us to ask. Is it ethically and morally right for these stakeholders to be excluded from all proceedings relating TPP?

That is a question that I feel should be best left to the perceptive reader to answer.

As for me since proponents of the TPP have very clearly decided at the point of inception to conduct all negotiations covertly…clandestinely…opaquely….behind closed doors…in such a manner to suggest there is no possible means for stakeholders to engage them either meaningfully or intelligently.

Then I say, why even bother with the whole idea of waging a gentlemen’s war?

Tell me if so much of what is the TPP is couched in secrecy. Then what precludes me from postulating…speculating..hypothesizing as well? What prevents me from embellishing, connecting and grabbing out rabbits from my top hat as well? Above all what is there to present me from stating categorically in the clearest possible terms to anyone who cares to listen – what may eventually come to past would be closer to perdition than salvation for people and planet.

So let us be so very clear and unambiguous that it leaves no possible room for either speculation or conjecture….it is the powers that be, who have set the rules of how this game should be played….as for me, I am just a simple farmer with his veggie patch.

And there you have it in the palm of your hands….realpolitik.


‘I am not against capitalism! I am not against free trade either. In fact I happen to believe these schools of thought remain the most reliable way for people to seek liberty, happiness and creates ideal conditions to lead a purpose driven life.

What I am against is the creation of a supra economic world order where the rich get richer while the poor continue to languish in a vicious cycle with no possible hope of upward mobility. No! I am not talking about Africans in some village where everyone eats mud pies. I am talking about Linda, a single mother who puts in twelve hour shift as a fitter in a factory in Detroit who has to raise a kid with leukemia….I am talking about Jimbo, a farmer in Nebraska who just put a downpayment on a John Deere tractor and whose trying his best to make ends meet. I am talking about twelve year old Abdul somewhere in the kampung who needs regularly doses of medication for his asthma just so he can play with other kids….only understand this clearly!

If ‘free trade’ means Linda has to pay ten times what she now pays just to keep her child healthy – if free trade means Jimbo the farmer needs to sell off his family plot because the so called free market can’t seem to work well enough to pay him a decent price for his yield and he can’t even put food on his table despite putting twelve hours a day in the field 365 days a year. Or poor Abdul has to be confined indoors during the haze because pharmaceutical companies have an iron clad monopoly that makes it impossible to seek alternatives in the form of generic drugs so that he can play like normal kids – then in my book, I say there is no ‘free’ in the trade’ in the TPP.

If anything for lack of a word that best describes this so called trade pact it is that other outcast pariah word – lebensraum!

Yes, it is a big word. However it is one that you should at least wiki up should you wish to understand where I am coming from – for it is not merely a word. Rather it is an evil school of thought that encapsulates within it’s parameter a whole range of nefarious designs which only serves to perpetuate the hegemony of the corporate class without having to add so much as one molecule of value to bettering the people and planet.

Tell me if you will – where is might this creation of new value reside when fat cat pharma corporations are allowed by virtue of the TPP to extend the life of their patents beyond what can only be termed as a reasonable period at the expense of the consumer?

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg….why? Because no is allowed to know the precise details of the what’s in the TPP. The only people who know, are those who belong to the hegemony and oligarch of the corporate class – and that’s like appointing Count Dracula as the CEO of the international blood bank!

The way I see it, these people are trying to construct a gravy train, where without doing anything new, they can continue to cream off at the expense of the consumer. So tell me how can that possibly be capitalism?

Last time I read Adam Smith, the whole idea of capitalism is you invent a better mousetrap and the world votes for it with their wallet!

If anything what the TPP proposes is the solvent of sovietization! Because that was precisely how the economic calculus used to be in the USSR, where the consumer had no such thing as a choice but to accept or do without.

That’s why I spend a lot of my time visiting forums in the internet giving speeches to farmers against the evils of the TPP. I am well known figure in every farming forum thru out the world!

Only understand this! The only reason why I have been able to do this is because the custodians of powers created the very conditions of that made it all possible with their secrecy…lack of transparency,..subterfuge…and what I can only term as the utter bankruptcy of their capacity to generate real value.’