May 31, 2016
Most of the time. I don’t usually get a lot of opportunities to learn anything new from my customer base when it comes to my hobby of antiquing and burnishing high end bespoke shoes….as to be truly honest. Most don’t even have the slightest idea – what they want (they only think they know just bc, they’ve blog surf and seen a lot of pics)..they know even less of what’s possible beyond the standard mass marketing Berluti Italian and French clacage repertoire – all they seem to do is attach a photo of an approximation of what they fancy and that’s that.
However, from time to time I do get commissions from an informed class of very discerning customers….who not only know what they want…but they are even familiar with the process to such a artisanal degree, where they are even able to specify quite uncannily on the desired effect.
The customer in this case is an aristocrat – well that at least is what we all call him by…the aristocrat is a third generation western educated Japanese industrialist, who much prefers to wear fine bespoke shoes without anyone suspecting they’re new or a recent introduction to his extensive shoe collection…the spec is ten to fifteen years wabi-sabi patin – it’s not the first time I’ve taken up his contract. I’ve worked with him on numerous occasions and what I especially admire abt the aristocrat is his insistence on subtlety to such an extent where he even demands the right shoe should always have a slightly different character from the left – shoe is super light (all his shoes seem to be constructed like wise)…quite boring actually with very little hint that it’s even a high quality job. But don’t let mere looks fool you. As this is nothing short of the equivalent of the Grand Seiko of how high end shoes will be constructed in the not too distant future….of that I have no doubt. The Japanese are at least ten years ahead of the Italians and French when it comes to prescribing a solution to the hubris of provisioning style without the need to suffer. The sole is weightless carbon fiber manufactured by the same people who make fairings for bullet trains with a strip of stainless steel insert sandwiched insole via a discreet Norwegian welt to presumably provide springiness and mid support (custom lift, as the clients left feet is slightly bigger and wider at the vamp) to create a pleasing wafer thin Italian soled impression. Leather is single tanned baby calf leather all around with no inner leather lining to speak of for unparalleled comfort and airiness with just lined silk. Obviously a summer shoe. Shoe stable: Kobayashi.
Customer knows exactly what he wants…or shall I say he knows, what he doesn’t want. Doesn’t want the run of mill jet black cap toe and graduated treatment that so many first time shoe appreciators prefer. Doesn’t want the full frontal in your face, ‘look! A shoe artist just massacred my Bruno Magli’s!) Instead the specs are for broken patinage with reverso treatment at toe cap and vamp to achieve an almost natural ancient wood like effect like French furniture polish.
Broken or shattered patinage is an effect where the shoe is given multiple layers of very bold treatments of dyes where even the brush strokes are plainly visible…it’s very aggressive and one has to work very fast as the medium dries faster than usual – the result is random bold strokes and there is seldom any graduation from light to dark or vice versa…it’s the opposite of what I am accustomed too…controlled strokes with slow drying dyes. Instead the emphasis is solely based on how a leather shoe will actually season thru time with usage – it’s quite demanding artisan wise to create the shadow effect of broken patinage, as this requires eight instead of only the standard four treatments and the margin for error is close to zero. As the dye’s can’t be too overpowering otherwise they will blot out the detailing….I spend an awful lot of time trying to get the leather dyes to run consistently….and for the final wash, I even had to heat it to nearly boiling point to achieve the right consistency. However, when done right with loads of patience along with chain smoking (as it can’t be achieved in one go, due to the need to allow the dyes to seep in and dry adequately at each layer) the effect is really quite spell bindingly in a quiet and whisper sort of way. This is the opposite of loud! Silence here speaks volumes! (Spoiler: look carefully and you will be able to make out the horizon of sea line, curellean sunsets and clouds.)
After bluing and a triple wash with burgundy and hint of dark brown dye. This is permanent…no polish or creams have been used at this stage.
Final polish with burgundy cream now ready to be air flown back to Tokyo to one very proud shoe appreciator.
May 31, 2016
To me creativity doesn’t mean you have to crack your head to come out with the next iPod or discover an innovative means to power space ships all the way to Mars. In my understanding of that, when I say one is creative, it simply means one is constantly thinking about life to make it better for oneself and others. One can really only be creative if one is serious about living a thinking life to make it better.
‘We can be creative in relationships…to bring out the best in one another. One can even be creative in cooking, tidying up the house or how to make better use of quality time besides whiling it away aimlessly during the weekend walking around another faceless mall. Creativity can even be used to manage conflict where no one has to lose face….it can even be something as mundane and everyday as diligently putting a $50 note into the wallet of one’s partner, so that he or she doesn’t have to regularly draw out money from the ATM…it’s application is limited only by one’s imagination.
What I mean to say is frequently when we think about that word, creativity….we tend to believe, it doesn’t really belong to us to shape our lives. That I believe is why so many people just follow other people most of the time instead of living the life they were really meant to live.
Daily creative is when one wakes up and says, ‘today can be better than tomorrow.’ It’s all in my hands – I know it sounds trite and cliche, but that’s really the philosophy that has the power to change lives and destinies….it’s certainly not the big creativity that everyone talks about….but nonetheless, it’s one that has possesses the capacity and hope to change everything in this world.’
May 30, 2016
When bad things happen….that’s just life’s way of telling you that you’re very small and insignificant in the general scheme of things and that’s not bad at all. Not at all…As it keeps one grounded and humble and in touch with reality.
‘In the wake of bad things….usually one’s world skips a beat. Suddenly everything that you thought was rock stable is now unhinged….shifting…creeping and giving way to something very uncertain. That’s not such a bad thing, not if you allow fear to work thru you. As when things are going well, one seldom ever feels the need to interrogate the self or to even ask deep spirited questions concerning whether it could have been better done, said or thought out…but in the thick of the bad, when one is marrooned in one’s own skull and nursing one’s courage against incredible odds. Suddenly all these thoughts acquire a poignancy and sharpness. Suddenly it all becomes so very clear…what’s really important and useless…what should have been done. There is much to be learnt in the low….. I reckon. Only remember while pain may well be inevitable…suffering, I reckon is always optional.’
May 29, 2016
Things don’t often go my way without me having to put in a lot of effort and taking loads of risk…..but sometimes when it runs so clear and sweet and pans out marvelously in the way I have always imagined it….that’s when I suddenly break out in cold sweat and start shaking uncontrollably while everyone is celebrating.
As I know only too well….I am going to get soft and flabby and even do stupid things like let my guard down and take a nap.
‘The origin of the term ((戦勝病 senshoubyou) in Japanese is associated with the Japanese advance in the Pacific Theater of World War II – after attacking Pearl Harbor in 1941, Japan won a series of nearly uninterrupted victories against the Allies in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
Although the Japanese had planned to establish a perimeter and go on the defensive, victories encouraged them to continue expanding to where it strained logistics and the navy. This culminated in the Battle of Midway in 1942, a catastrophic defeat of the Japanese navy: all four Japanese aircraft carriers involved were sunk, and the hitherto unstoppable Japanese advance was blunted. Thereafter the tide of war for the Japanese reversed.
In military war games, on virtually every occasion when the IJN combined fleet is pitted against what the Americans cobbled together in Midway – the outcome is always the same, the Japs win and the Americans lose all their carriers and mid way is overrun. This occurs in virtually every play out….but reality is very different it seems.
There are many lessons to be learnt here in the art of war. There are even more lessons to be gleaned by businessman who are serious about the business of succeeding.
The first and foremost lesson is trust your capabilities and assumptions LEAST when things seem to go your way all the time…if possible remove yourself from the euphoria and never be lulled into complacency that things will always continue to go your way.
Be suspicious of everything. Interrogate everything even the most benign. Take nothing for granted and always keep a low profile.
Above all train, train and train for the worst case scenario…this way nothing will ever acquire the element of surprise…without surprise there can be no decisive victory!’
May 28, 2016
Bad things happen to good people for a very good reason…People treat you badly so that you can learn to winnow good from bad friends, plans are ruled by accidents so that you appreciate them when they pan out just the way you imagine them doing so in your head, you once trusted those who lied and betrayed your trust, so you eventually you learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes nothing ever goes right, only to remind you, you’re just human and there is always something or someone bigger that lords over you to keep you humble.
‘Bad things will always happen. They occur to even the best of us – you don’t have to do anything wrong. You may not even deserve what came your way….but what’s important is not what happened to you or what you even have to go thru. To me it’s really simple, KEEP IT ALL IN THE RIGHT SCALE AND PERSPECTIVE…I mean if you’re Kong Hee and you’re looking at straight eight years behind bars and even with good behavior, you have to do at least five….then I say you’re in deep shit and maybe it may be a good idea considering plastic surgery and bolting to a country where there is no extradition treaty with Singapore…but anything short of that is really sweating the small stuff….don’t sweat the small stuff…never sweat the small stuff…as all it does is rob you of the present and future. If you need to worry, worry about stuff that will do you in! Like a murder rap, cancer or something really big and nasty…anything less is manageable.’
I am never in a good mood whenever I have to wear black shoes.
May 28, 2016
True friendship is a rare moment of epiphany when one stumbles on others and the first thing that goes thru one’s mind is,
‘OMG! There are actually people like me….I am not so weird after all!…I m not alone any longer.
‘There are not many people who have lived my kind of life. Not at all…there are many who may claimed too. Then there are those who claim to know those who might have….but for most people, they just go to University, study really hard for three or four years. Maybe pursue a master’s after that as a topping and for most of them, they just return back home and get ordinary jobs, where eventually they put a down payment on a house and dream one day to own a car…that’s really the typical life cycle of a Singaporean salary man.
I am not saying that is necessarily good or bad…that’s just the normal run of the mill sort of life that most people choose to call the sum of their existence.
For me life is very different as you can see….and although, I don’t write as often as I should about how this difference imposes it’s own reality on my consciousness and touches every aspect of my life…this doesn’t mean I am not haunted by the life choices that I’ve made to live such an unusual life….For most the time, I do what I need doing very much like a man marooned in my own mind like probably Robinson Crusoe…at times, like all stranded souls, my eye is naturally drawn to the horizon. But that impulse soon passes as I make every effort to remind myself that’s an acquired taste…a remnant from the past when I was indelibly another man living another life.
I tell myself frequently. Usually when I struggle with shavers that rust faster than usual in the high humidity of the omnipresent jungle…it’s normal for a man in a deserted island to scan endlessly for phantom ships across the horizon. That’s how it is.
But from time to time. Not very often. I do chance across souls such as myself. Sometimes they seek me out. It’s a vampire thing. Two souls drawn magnetically to each other by an invisible force that only they can sense while the others remain oblivious to the existence of such compelling attraction.
Only whenever we find each other – we never ever talk. Never…otherwise the magic spell would be broken.
I wouldn’t exactly call it solidarity or camaraderie. Maybe, we share a common crie de couer, but that is really all there is…a brief feeling of familiarity that’s so fragile like a spider’s web or the morning gloss of dew – like when a man walks by a window. For a brief moment, he doesn’t quite recognize himself, then very slowly between the distance of two lamp post, it dawns on this man, it’s him…and this is his life and he’s glad to be part of it and with these thoughts, the world gushes back into the momentary darkness of the twilight of this man’s life….a man with no name.’
May 27, 2016
May 27, 2016
May 26, 2016
Met up with a couple of my fav Japanese bespoke shoemakers today as they are all in town for a trunk show – they’ve all been complaining about my awfully long lead time of three months along with the price of my shoe antiquing services.
Told them all, I am willing to reduce the turn around time by half, IF only they all learn to cooperate and set aside their differences and work together as a team – as for the price of my services, I am willing to do the same PROVIDING, the above conditions are met as well.
The meeting was heated, but nonetheless very candid and productive.
In summary, we all reached the agreement – in future all orders will ONLY be batched in pairs of ten shoes that all require the SAME treatment. I will also not be responsible for pre-cleaning and pre-treating the leather before antiquing any longer, this will all be done by someone else based in Japan who I need to train.
They were all so happy with the new arrangement, they presented me with a limited edition Hiroshi Kondoh semi brogue….to be perfectly honest with all of you…it’s a meticulously crafted work of art, but without antiquing, it really has as much character as a door stopper.
‘There is a quiet revolution happening in Japan…and it’s not driven by the Panasonics, Toshiba’or even the Toyota’s. I am talking about cottage industry scale enterprises where maybe two or three artisans work in cramp quarters to belt out perhaps ten or twenty hand made cuckoo clocks, prints, watches, suits, shoes per week. It’s very small, but very exciting. As many of the people who are responsible for driving this revolution see themselves in their craft.
By nature, the Japanese are remarkable people. Their attention to detail, quality and product knowledge is astounding and second to none. As an example, see what they did with their denim industry; when denim production got modernized, they reverted to buying up all the old less efficient shuttle style looms that American producers considered obsolete. Why? To produce the best selvedge natural indigo denim there is. They did the same thing with whisky and coffee and chocolates and stationary and now they’re doing the exact same thing with shoes.
That’s why I term it a quiet revolution…it’s not centrally planned…it just came about like how moss gathers around a stone. This incidentally is HOW I see Singapore reinventing itself as a creative hub.
Small is incredibly beautiful…for one I can see the whole industry flourishing like one of those time lapse images of flowers blooming. Everything is so haphazard, yet curiously imbued with an uncanny naturalness.
In many of these shoe stables, shoes are constructed entirely out of bare tools…no noisy machines…no line leaders barking orders….and each pair is perfection. Like I said, it’s a very quiet revolution driven predominantly by individuals who see their craft as a living thing and not merely just a means to pay the bills.
I just happen to be a sucker when I deal with these people. For one they are hardly folk who I would ever consider squeezing right down the marrow of the bone….can’t do it with them as they are really lousy businessmen. I don’t have any qualms being a hard nosed ruthless businessman in the plantation world…but when it comes to these bohemian artisans I don’t ever think profit at all…so I am more than willing to compromise and even bend backwards to accomodate them.
That’s really how it is when people love a thing – they just talk softly and when they look at you, it’s all funny. You may not notice it at first….but if you still your mind, even you can be part of this quiet revolution.’
For the meantime, I am just glad I am an indelible part of this quiet revolution.’
Shoes by Kawaguchi, who works with his lovely wife Yuriko. The lines are contemplative and studied – perfect rendition of the wabi-sabi style like Bauhaus, it has it’s own philosophy of simplicity, clean and uncluttered and natural….waiting time, one year, if he likes you. Be prepared for a stiff three years if you’re rude to his cat.
May 26, 2016
Sure…I can well understand if every single person in the cartel that was set up specifically to stop me from buying more land is red hot mad with me.
After all, for the last year and a bit. I have been telling every one and anyone who cares to listen, I intend to sell my land holdings and I have no further plans for expansion. To complete the deception, I have even cut myself off from all social life in the village. These days I much prefer to socialize in the city.
Wonder no more when a beautiful parcel of land came to the market….no one expected me, the dark horse to race forward and gobble it up.
Fact: I stole it right under their noses.
Now they’re all complaining that I am using underhanded tactics to win in business. Now they are all blaming each other for sleeping on the job. And it’s conceivable after this, they will all make an extra effort to get their act together, redouble their efforts to make sure the fox doesn’t raid the chicken house a second time….now I am singing the tune, I intend to buy more land when all I really want to do is cool my heels.
Now I must run deep and silent.
‘In business keep your rivals second guessing your every move…where possible deploy misinformation and loads of misdirection. If you’re going North, leave enough breadcrumbs for everyone to believe that you’re planning to head South and vice versa. It doesn’t pay to be truthful not when they’re so many snakes on the plane.’
May 26, 2016
Confidence has nothing whatsoever to do with continuously seeking the validation and approval of others. If you confuse confidence with that useless social activity. I can more or less guarantee you 110%. You will go nowhere in life! – it’s not the question of whether they will like me or have I managed to come across as a jolly good fellow. Rather real confidence is – even if THEY don’t like me…..I will be OK! I will still be able to accomplish my mission!
That’s real confidence….please keep it very clear. As I seem to get a lot of unnecessary questions concerning this subject and I cannot write to everyone individually to explain.
Just be yourself and don’t try to pretend to be someone who you are not – if you don’t like something….just say you don’t like it. No one is going to mark you down on account of your candor…if they do. It’s not your fault…and don’t spend time trying to figure out why they don’t like you….as only stupid people indulge in that sort of time consuming activity…just manage YOURSELF and leave others to others.
‘Hey! Don’t get me wrong man! I am all for the idea of making other people feel comfortable with themselves, but if I have to deliberately make a point to come across as stupid or even go thru the trouble of pretending that I don’t know this or that just to make others feel secure and at ease – then I happen to believe that is awfully stupid and since it will always consume a lot of effort on my part to keep on watering down and hiding who I actually am.
Usually I just walk away from that sort of social interaction. I don’t want to be part of it, that’s just the way I am.
I much prefer to me just myself – I find that when I do just that alone…..life becomes effortless any other way of living is just a hassle.’
May 25, 2016
I am not like some people who have ten bullet points on how to be successful that they laminate and carry around in their wallet.
I am just exceptionally good at what I do….probably the best in the world…..it’s very boring, but that’s the beginning and end.
‘I’ve never ever chase money. Never! By this I mean if I am going to tender for a agri consultancy project, usually if the client is skeptical about my claims – I will formally write to their management to give me their least productive plot to optimize. When the job comes to me, it’s not unusual for me to spend days in the field planning – what needs to be done. During the doing stage, it is not uncommon for me to camp out in the field and supervise the works.
After all that, usually I hear nothing from my prospective clients for months…at other times it runs into years…..that’s the nature of agriculture. Meanwhile everyone laughs at me and they all whisper behind my back, look at that fool! He puts in all the effort, but he gets nothing!
But eventually the phone always rings and I ALWAYS get awarded the contract.
It’s always like that.
Be good at what you do….because when you are really really good…that’s really the alpha and omega, the rest you could just as well throw right out of the window. Truth is no one gives two hoots about whether you have good or bad social IQ and all the politicking in the whole wide world is never ever going to change the facts of life, if you are lousy.
But if you just focus on being really exceptionally good at what you do – no one can ever dictate terms to you (they wouldn’t dare, they have no bargaining power) and the best thing is, you can ask any price you want – and they will say yes…..otherwise you can always walk away….but who is the client going to go too then?’
May 25, 2016
When you break into the inner temple of the movers and shakers…never allow your pride and arrogance to get the better of you.
Remember you are swimming with sharks….one wrong move…a misplaced word can be literally spell your doom. Guard your mouth like a Praetorian and proceed carefully.
Be mindful every single person here is exceptional! Yes, the rich are not fumbling fools. They are sublimely clever…otherwise how the fuck did they manage to climb right up the pyramid of the food chain!
Everyone who is here, no matter how benign and harmless he or she looks has something exceptional and special that has allowed to reach this summit…..remember this….you are just a worm….you are nothing….I know that may not rub you well as you so want to believe that you’re special and should be respected. But guess what? That’s an expectation that you’ve imposed on yourself….it has nothing whatsoever to do with reality.
Here you are in no man’s land.
‘If you find yourself in the discomfort zone. That’s not such a bad thing. Not at all. Be kind to yourself, tell yourself this is new to you and should you find yourself making mistakes, don’t dwell on it – above all get a hold on your ego and above all keep your insecurity in check. After all, you’ve made it this far and let’s face it, if you’re going to fuck it all up and belly up or win and hit all the ducks….then the last thing you want to ever do is let yourself down because you can’t control your ego or felt so slighted that it affected your judgement so completely that it disabled you. That is not how mature people deal with problems. No! They never get personal…to them, it’s always business.’
May 24, 2016
Consider limiting your time with people who only seem to make you feel important, comfortable and content to be in your comfort zone cave…like happy people. No doubt! Being in the company of those who you are most comfortable with will certainly boost our mood and probably never ever make you feel out of place.
But serious people may be worth more of our time.
Granted, serious folks are unlikely to make you laugh. Most of them are probably very intimidating as they seem to know a lot of stuff that you probably don’t know…in some cases, they may even make you feel so small and insignificant…as most serious folk are high nett worth individuals. However these are also the same people who are more likely to talk about things more substantive than what happening with Kim Kardashians tits and ass, sports, pop culture or their cucumber facial therapy.
Serious people may be more likely to make a difference in the world. Happy people are more likely to feel things are pretty good as they are whereas sober types may be more in touch with what’s wrong and thus acquire the drive to improve things. Perhaps that’s why many world-changing people are very serious.
‘I only want to circulate with people who I can let my hair down with….but I really can’t afford to do that…I cannot. I have to stretch myself….that means I make a real effort to only mix with folk who only own more than 1,000 hectares…as they all seem to own helicopters and private jets….I know it sounds as if I am into self flagellation….but that’s what it really takes to motivate me to higher ground!
You see it’s really simple….I need to feel like shit…as if I am just a worm…and when I feel like that I get angry and I hold to that and that takes me one step higher.
I know it sounds crazy, but that’s really how the game is played. If you don’t have the IQ to understand that, it doesn’t mean what I just said is a crock of shit..it just means you have never walked the razor before.’
May 24, 2016
The right shoes are not only crucial to completing the desired image a gentleman wants to project to the world. You could for instance decide to put your best foot out into the world decked in your latest bespoke suit – with your hair and moustache meticulously coiffured and your nails manicured – but if you don’t know how or why you should leverage on shoe power or worst of all – you remain oblivious to how much others will subconsciously be automatically drawn to your feet – and that’s especially true of a gentleman because let’s face it, guys tend to dress more similarly to each other and so the eye can really only be drawn to the one and only wardrobe differentiator – your shoes.
To complete a gentleman’s assemble it really has to go beyond clean and neat – let’s face it, in the corporate world, that’s already the baseline – often what really gets a gentleman marked down is not so much the quality or marque of his shoes . Rather it’s how much attention, education and care he is willing to accord to them to create the right impression on others.
‘Fortunately most of my customers who seek me out to antique their shoes don’t ever need convincing why they would much prefer never to be seen sporting a pair of shoes that looked as if it just rolled out of a factory on a conveyor belt – the simple truth is they ALL don’t want to be seen wearing shoes with no character – it’s not a matter of price, it’s all about creating the desired impression.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say my clientele comprises of vain and shallow people who are just obsessed about style and fashion…they are not!
The vast majority of them hold important jobs and are leaders in their field of expertise and this begs the question – why do these successful individuals even see the need to take so much time, care and fuss over what they might wear to a function or board meeting, especially shoes.
The simple reason is because they ALL seem to acknowledge the awful reality – there is so much one can recount the story of the self with just tastefully selected watches, ties and pocket squares…shoes can often carry a compelling narrative. A well antiqued shoe that is not too loud and just subtle enough to convey an accent can speak volumes about the man and what he stands for.
That’s why in my popular series – the art of manliness, I always encourage men who are serious about the business of making a lasting and memorable impression to always pay attention to their shoes.
As it’s a hardly a joke for one to say quite categorically, what you decide to wear on your feet can literally make or break you!’
May 23, 2016
There is a character in my village that everyone knows as mop head. On other occasions, the villagers call him pineapple head. As that is really what he looks like. Sometimes a pineapple, but most of the time a mop.
Mr Mop head goes to the most expensive barber in the city once every three months, but he always returns complains, ‘no matter how much I pay for a haircut….I always end up looking like shit!’
One day Mr Mop head came to me and asked, why has heaven cursed me with a mop head?
I asked him to meet in the local indian barber shop. When he arrived, he wanted to say something, but I told mop head, save it for later….when he sat down, again he wanted to issue out instructions to the barber…again, I said please save it for later, while telling the barber, give him a haircut that you have always wanted to give him…..thereafter when Mr Mop head emerged from the barber shop, he was reincarnated as the most handsome man in the village.
‘If you genuinely desire maximum satisfaction and bang for your buck when dealing with creative people – then be careful not to put them in a straight jacket or destroy their creative rhythm…learn to respect their craft after all they live it everyday of their lives, surely they know more about it than you will ever know….where possible suspend judgement and keep an open mind….make the effort to go along with the flow and above all give them your blessings. Accord them the highest level of trust, confidence and free rein to do what they believe will yield the best results for you
And usually if you just do that from my experience….you will get something memorable and very special and if you make the effort to do it right – you may just see the world slightly differently from the way you have always seen it.’
May 23, 2016
This evening I am supposed to attend a nine course dinner hosted by a cartel of landowners who have been blocking my efforts to buy more land. I told their representative, I will not be free for dinner….can we perhaps reschedule for lunch instead.
He told me. It’s alright….we can eat together any other time thereafter.
‘There is no point in being friends just for the sake of being friends. There are times when it makes perfect sense to say and even hold to the belief, ‘we have so little in common, why don’t you stay there and I here. Why don’t you do your thing and I keep to my business.’ I don’t doubt, that may not be an arrangement resembling friendship of any known kind – but it’s one that certainly clearer and less inclined to cause you and them sleepless nights.’
May 23, 2016
This you must always remember and never ever forget.
‘A man once lamented to me. They don’t respect me…if they really have respect for me. They would not have done what they did to me. I asked of this man, why even expect anything from people who you hardly know….don’t you think, you’re setting yourself up for the fall? Don’t you think that sort of lofty expectation of others who you hardly know speaks of false pride?
In this world, a wise man can really only expect to control what goes on between his ears….it is foolish and unrealistic to try to impose control over others…to hold such an attitude is to be needlessly proud.’
May 22, 2016
Many people have asked me – what guidelines do I regularly use to define aesthetics?…..the answer is naturalness and subtleness. I am not a big fan of full frontal in your face bling or anything glarish and showy….I prefer quiet elegance to spot lighted beauty that even has the courtesy to whisper that is able to secret itself in the mundaneness of everydayness only to slowly ooze out and pleasantly surprise the human spirit…soulful stuff for soulful people.
Less is more definitely more to me in so many ways….as I am by nature a quiet and gentle soul.
I happen to think this is overkill and way too loud.
This on the otherhand is seriously confused and lacks symmetry and structure…as this is not how leather seasons and mellows. Pity…it’s a 5K bespoke job.
This hits the mark like X marks the spot. The balance is just so sublimely perfect.
I am going to try this out on my next shoe antiquing project. I just need to get my head around it and figure out how it’s done and it’s a reverse effect.
Wabi and sabi are two of the key Japanese aesthetic concepts. Their definitions are not exact, but one can get a sense of them from a short discussion of them. Over time, the two have been combined to form a new word, wabi-sabi, meaning an aesthetic sensibility which includes these two related ideas.
Wabi means things that are fresh and simple. It denotes simplicity and quietude, and also incorporates rustic beauty. It includes both that which is made by nature, and that which is made by man. It also can mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole, such as the pattern made by a flowing glaze on a ceramic object.
Sabi means things whose beauty stems from age. It refers to the patina of age, and the concept that changes due to use may make an object more beautiful and valuable. This also incorporates an appreciation of the cycles of life, as well as careful, artful mending of damage.
May 21, 2016
Whether you desire it or not…no matter how mindful and cautious you are….shit WILL happen! It occurs all the time, even to the best of us, that’s part and parcel of the human condition and what means to live.
A man walks into a shop. He’s cutting an apple with a knife and munching away happily. Someone sees him and thinks he’s planning to rob the shop. She calls the cops. Men with no necks descend on this poor fellow. He puts up a decent fight. But none the less, he’s roughed up. At 30 to 1 odds, it’s hard for this man not to take a solid fall…as they too must have believed him to be he’s a very dangerous man…maybe it was the look of defiance and contempt he flashed at them…maybe it was the manner in which he remained cool as a cucumber as all this even if it was multiplied by a thousand fold cannot be that new to such a man. Some men are like that, just like some flowers can only radiate exceptional beauty….they can only radiate uncommon danger…it is not their fault…that is how they really are. The man is thrown in jail. He doesn’t know what’s going on….how long this would go on for.
But what is important is not what has happened or who is even right or wrong….rather it will ALWAYS ONLY be the case of how does this man manage himself and others in this storm.
His ability to manage the crisis with a cool and calm head is key….he is calm as a mirrored lake and it is this calmness that sees him thru the crisis unscathed.
Other men will be emotionally and psychologically scarred for life by such a traumatic experience….but not the calm man.
‘Some years back ago I came across a school teacher who shared with me – her life long difficulty in being able to trust men. This woman went on to recount many painful experiences she had encountered with men who previously came into her life…the first was a philanderer…the second, a con man who fleeced her life savings and it went on and on.
Till all that remained was a suspicious, jaded and mistrustful woman who is so dysfunctional and mentally scarred that it’s virtually impossible for her to sustain a normal relationship.
I told this woman. You must let go of all the hurt and resentment of your past with bad men…otherwise they will always be like ghost who will haunt your life. They will always appear in the corner of your eye and unsettle and spoil everything and hold you back from experiencing happiness.
The past is after all no more. It is truly behind you. It is a distant country….very faraway. What has happened has happened. The present however is a brand new chapter with so many possibilities, limited by only what the mind can imagine….it is NOW….and as for the future, it is like the road that you must walk before you…so tell me how far are you going to go in life, if you are spending so much of your time and energy looking at the rear mirror instead of concentrating on what’s ahead?
By all means reflect, meditate and learn if possible from the many hurtful and painful experiences that once came your way..the hurt, humiliation, sense of powerlessness…these are all worthy lessons about the art of life – but never allow those negative emotions to leach into the present and future to destroy you so completely that it robs you of all hope and the belief tomorrow can actually be better than today.
I went on to share with her…nothing she ever loved and cherished ever died…she has simply not found the real thing and that one day…the truth will certainly stand before her. But if she is so entangled with the many ghost of the past, then it’s unlikely she would have the wisdom to recognize a good thing for what it really is..not when it’s standing before her in marvelous completion – worst of all, she might even shoo a very rare and worthy man away!
Before the she departed, the teacher told me – she would try her best to take my advice.
Recently I heard, she has found a decent man and they are planning to tie the knot.’