Politicians often suffer from the affliction of being thin skinned…so understandly. When others refer to be as ‘barking dogs,’they feel slighted.

Only let us all understand clearly – this stems from their own delusional appraisal of their own contorted understanding of their self importance.

But to a planter. A dog that barks is truly in his element – after all what use is a dog that doesn’t know how to bark? Let me put it another way, what use is a V8 Masserati, if it doesn’t even have the courtesy to roar to express the very essence of what it was orginally conceived for.

So yes, politicians who are belong to the ilk who are unaccustomed or uninitiated to how things must and should be – should at least have the consideration or at least pretend to, or to take take comfort that others hold them in high esteem to still refer to them as a dog that is capable of barking.

Barking dog you are…after all, what can you possibly do about it, except perhaps to accept the elemental nature of how you have lived your life….by the way, you can tell your boss…the TPP is dead…I just funded a lobby group comprising of farmers from every known quartet of the world to see it to where it really deserves to end up……the empire of the bones!

Wooooooooooooooh!

‘I have considerable influence in the planters world and for the last two years I have conducted my private clandestine operation to undermine the TPPA from within – mostly by scaring the shit out of farmers by mesmerizing and hypnotizing them all with my gloom and doom outlook – one reason why I have been successful is because so much of the TPP is ultra secret, which is good for me because no one can refute my hyperbolic assessment how it’s closer to perdition than salvation for people and planet….now my work is completed.

I am happy…as for those who are pushing this…I bet you all didn’t see this coming…well, well…there is always a joker in the pack isn’t it?

Better luck next time. Only bear this in mind always – it’s nothing personal, it’s strictly business. Let’s be realistic, there is no possible way in this day and age to believe for one moment anything that can affect 40 million people can ever be conducted in secret behind closed doors…to put in another way, you all fucked it up royally and you have no one to blame for your failure but your miserable and sad self.

I have lived for so long in the provinces, it is conceivable I can no longer understand the way of city life any longer.

My first strange encounter in the city transpired quite innocuously during mid afternoon. When I decided to take a short cut thru a back alley in Bukit Bintang. Since the haze was thick as soup. I was wearing a handkerchief as a mask. Hardly had I turned into the corner I saw three Tamil youths grouped around three girls. One of them was sporting a familiar gangster tatoo that I know well – so as a gesture of friendship I exclaimed….fate it seems has united us in the city. When these youths saw me, one of them intoned, ‘OMG it’s MGR! from the Kampung!’ That was when the rest began to implore me not kill their fathers and mothers, not rape their sisters, along with spare their lives…thereafter they promptly scooted off. Before doing so one of them thrust a samsung smartphone into my hands with the words…mercy!

And to think….all I wanted was directions to the nearest KFC! This is a great disappointment to me. As for the last two years I have been trying so hard to cultivate the softer side of my character. Now this only serves to confirm that I have failed miserably. If there is any fashion or lifestyle consultants in my readership, I would greatly appreciate advice on how to leverage further on soft power.

Thereafter the three ladies hailed me as their hero who had saved them from being robbed and accosted by brigands. They were very kind to me and one of them even offered to be my contract girlfriend for free. Naturally I declined the offer as I told them all in the authoritative and commanding tone of a landowner – since I have renounced my evil ways. I am now seriously considering a life of celibacy…hence such an offer (as tempting as it is) is simply out of the question, as my goal now is to conserve my precious bodily fluids for providence….they all looked dumbfounded…but that is only to be expected from city girls.

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That same evening I was a guest speaker in a high society formal function organized by the chamber of commerce. The dress code was ‘formal.’ However the politics of city high society makes exceptions for planters who are perhaps the only category of men who are allowed to appear in such events wearing an unconventional khaki suit.

Since I was the only notable planter amongst a sea of bankers and corporate hanger on’s – and the organizers have been well briefed concerning my aversion to crowds. My dinning arrangement was cordoned off from the rest, where the menu consisted of Beluga caviar, Poulette creme lashed with truffles in a Pinot Noire reduction with lashings of the finest of Chardonnay. Since I was separated from the crowd, I couldn’t help but feel like a desolate shark infested island in the middle of nowhere amid the crowd that was separated from me. But this was the very peculiar manner in which my dinning experience was so conceived by the event organizers and my dear friends the plantation ladies….who all looked on imperially as if feasting their eyes of on some wild animal in a gilded cage…all the while stealing glances and murmuring to each other in hushed tones…I will have you know, they still duel over there..while added, yes, they are very attached to their dogs..only for another to inject, they do look so quaint and old world in their ridiculous bush jackets…while they laughed…only for all of them to look on at me as if I am from another world.

I felt sad. A profound and indescrible sadness like a tear on the cheek of time. It was then that a terrible thought surfaced like some mysterious creature from the depths of my consciousness – it’s conceivable I will never be able to fit back home again….Singapore….Singapore…..Singapore…how I miss you. You see…I have changed irrevocably…terminally…that was when I realized…I am an exile. Suddenly the very thought of Singapore seems so very faraway from me that it might perhaps be a forlorn place in some distant world.

I must say the city is definitely a very very strange place indeed.

Jokowi says it will take three years to resolve the haze problem. Well if you believe him, then please stop reading and move on to the next excellent article, preferably somewhere faraway from this blog.

The way I see it – in three years, nothing would and can ever change. We can really only speak sensibly about putting an end to something, if it’s within the context of ‘control’ and ‘management.’ Since the haze is really an accretion of a far larger intractable problem, specifically the power and politics relating to deforestation….I cannot see how it’s possible to put an end to it in three, ten or even a hundred years.

As when Jokowi says – it will take three years to end the haze. One would do well to ask further, what does he really need to do to accomplish that Byzantine feat.

Yes, the devil is certainly in the details. Fact: stamping out deforestation in Indonesia IMHO is a mathematically impossibility. First of all, it will require taking on entrenched interests who are all driven by power, politics and greed; dismantling the highly stylized and ritualized patronage system that is embedded in the Indonesian business psyche; not to mention tackling endemic corruption; redirecting misplaced incentives that drive deforestation, including subsidies for wood-pulp production and a concession system that penalizes concession-holders who seek to protect forests; establishing systems for monitoring, reporting, and verifying emissions reductions; filling up the missing information black hole about deforestation; revamping the national land code act; putting in place monetary incentive scheme to mitigate the transmigration of small holders who are responsible for slash and burn; retooling the bureaucracy that governs the forest management philosophy underlying the use of the nation’s forests.

Now perhaps you can all understand why all I can see is an unbridgeable gap between the theory and reality that makes it virtually impossible to take Jokowi seriously…..he might as well tell the world that given three years, he can transmute lead to gold.’

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‘If I share the story. My next neighbor is a right inconsiderate asshole because he burns his rubbish in this bad yard and this is a nuisance along with presenting a health hazard to everyone in my household. That’s why one day I threw a bucket of water to snuff out his flaming rubbish – you would probably consider me a very sensible and level headed person.

But if I told you there is a compelling strategic need to embed a group of farmers in Indonesia with an agenda to gather intelligence, interdict and change the rules of the game because I consider the haze to be a clear and present threat to people and planet. Then some idiot will probably accuse me of dabbling in realpolitik like Adolf Hitler. Or worse still accuse me obliquely of condoning interfering with the internal affairs of another country by using covert means. That is why it is so very difficult to talk about this subject meaningfully in such a way where one is able to make progress, not without coming across as a deranged Walter Kurtz personality.

Now that’s regrettable because I have always prefer making small talk about the neutral subject of the weather. But even that evergreen mundane subject has to be so very controversial these days, you might as well not bring it up in a social event, if you don’t want to end up committing reputational hara-kiri….that’s why these days I much prefer to keep quiet.’

Solving the haze 2015

October 1, 2015

If governments are really serious about the business of putting an end to the haze. Then miles and miles of canals need to be built. Rivers need to diverted. Land needs to be contoured. Firebreaks have to feature. To me these are non negotiable baseline actions plans and unless all this is at the very top of the ‘to do’ list, then I say, there is no basis whatsoever for a serious discussion…it’s just masturbation. Otherwise I can assure you 100%, there can no intelligent basis to even enter into a discussion about how to put and end to this perennial problem.

One is just going thru the motions.

This if you notice is what politicians like to do, they like to waste time by passing the buck, issuing out meaningless statements that all amount to very little except making noise….that is why I rarely take them seriously, not even if they insist, they are serious.

All this stupid talk about using spy satellites to snoop on errand plantations. Water bombing hot spots with chinook helicopters. Sending out the fire brigade to the jungle…cloud seeding…that’s all child talk….sand box politics.

These people have no idea what the scale and magnitude of the problem….they are just pandering to the crowd when they say, we offer to help…like children, they cannot be taken seriously.

When these people begin a conversation with that sort of condescending attitude with me. I just stiffen my newspaper with a snapping action of the wrist and they know – this conversation is over.

To solve this problem, governments need to put very serious people at ground zero, specifically that variety of man, I term the frontier man… the problem with singapore is that sort of man no longer exist there. They are all now deep in the bowels of the Amazon in South America or in the forgotten parts of Africa seeking their El Derado.

Matilah Singapura!

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‘Make a serious offer to a guild man for one thousand hectares concession for a 99 years lease, one one condition – he needs to help you build canals and I say you might have a real opportunity to to reverse the odds on the solving the haze problem.

As by doing that – you will have a man on the ground who can get things done.

For the last 20 years all efforts to formulate a prescriptive cure for the perennial haze at best amounts to reinforcing failure. I do not use the term, ‘reinforcing failure’ as a descriptive term. Rather I refer to it as a professional term that describes a total and complete failure of the imagination to gainfully approach this problem.

To solve the problem of the haze. There needs to paradigm shift by moving away from the blame game cum talk shop approach, where all you have is a whole lot of people who spend most of their time in an air conditioned room and who can’t even spend thirty minutes in the wild without scratching themselves to death and to reduce everything to the practical necessity of just asking a few questions. Such as,

‘Has the hotspots been surveyed? How many meters of canals will be dug at the end of X month? How many water locks will be built? How many cubic meters of earth will be moved from A to B? What is the quantity of men and material needed to accomplish such a feat?

As you can all see…this is a big undertaking, that is why there is a need to sweeten the deal with a profit motive…hence 1,000 hectares.

Even within our tiny community, only guild man can accomplish this – they have a 100% success rate in S.America and Africa, often requiring them to adapt and overcome very harsh conditions.

Like I said, things are already so bad that every year when the haze returns – all the politicians and decision makers seem to be doing is embodying the form of trying to solve the problem without the content – it’s long on talk and very short on the action list. Worst part is many of these people feel this is may well be a short term problem or that it’s not that bad and it’s conceivable that we could get used to it -but that’s what they all said, twenty years ago, ‘oh the Indonesians are just clearing their forest so that they can grow oil palm….once they start replanting, the haze will just go away.’ They said that of Sumatra. Now they say the same thing about Riau….but every year it’s burn baby burn.

So to me what needs to be done is to project into Indonesia. To establish beachheads where it’s possible to interdict the problem at source point, rather than to try to resolve this matter in some air condition ivory tower of courts or thru the talk shop of arbitration…that goes nowhere except in big and small circles.

The goal should be to create conditions where the rugged individual is motivated to go out, run an enterprise in the wild, in exchange for building canals to interdict forest fires instead of leaving it to mega dinosaur firms, who are so big – they don’t even know that people have set their tail on fire. That is why it must be so exasperating for policymakers and bureaucrats to get a handle on this problem. On one hand it seems most of the arable lands are in the hands of corporations, yet smallholders and even Mother Nature is usually flashed as the get out of jail card and this gets played out year after year.

And that will happen next year and the next and next as well. All because we don’t have enough frontier men on ground zero asking simple questions like,

‘How many miles of canals did we dig last week?’

How does one go about improving the mind? Many say set aside some quiet time everyday, take deep breaths, focus only on the in and out to calm and still the mind and in this way one would be able to be one with peace and tranquility.

But if the mind is small, petty and conceited. Then even should one set aside some quiet time everyday and spend half and hour or so breathing to still the mind. The sum total of what one is likely to accomplish is still a small, petty and conceited mind.

This small, petty and conceited mind breathing away deeply, day after day, can I don’t doubt seek some semblance of oneness with stillness and tranquility, but let us be realistically, it is at best only a small, petty and conceited mind breathing away in it’s own make belief world.

What else can it be except this?

So to me, there has to be something substantially more than just dedicating all of oneself to a process.

There has to be. Otherwise the whole idea of improving the mind is not so different from giving a damp and crumbly wall a fresh coat of paint – I don’t deny it may look good for a while, but soon it’s rottenness will surely find it’s way to the surface and one will end up where one once started.

What then is point?

A better place to start if one is really serious about improving the mind is not so different from tearing down a damp wall. Knock it down. Throw out the rottenness. Build it back brick by brick from the bottom up. Waterproof it from the elements. Make sure there are no cracks where water can get in. Only when all this is done should one paint this wall.

This way the wall will last for centuries and still look fresh.

Yes, something to think about…..like I said, there has to be much more to the whole idea if one is really serious about the whole business of improving the mind.

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