Quiet time

September 11, 2016

When one takes the care and attention to begin a day with a gentle and calm attitude…that will set the mood for the whole of that day and it’s also likely to end gently and calmly as well.

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Three hundred and twenty two days….beyond that everything begins to degrade.

No! Please understand, it’s not a matter of sagacity one has in reserve or even will power and least of all mental strength.

The human mind is simply not designed to go beyond three hundred and twenty two days alone, not without running the risk of decaying mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Three hundred and twenty two days!
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‘After 200 days you will not only be inclined to talk regularly to your dogs. But under the right conditions. You may also find yourself engaged in a deep spirited debate with it – on where do canines go when they die….but don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s just your mind’s way of coping with desolation and being alone….that’s perfectly natural.

After 200 days just the mere act of living will demand every molecule of your will power deserving nothing short of the pour le merite. By this time paranoia, insomnia and hallucinations will be quite normal. Understand this! It is not a question of character nor will power – as under those extreme circumstances the mind will begin to turn against itself and begin the process of devouring all sense and sensibilities.

Beyond two hundred days without the benefit of training and experience….in my studied opinion the expedition is lost.’

Reason & Intuition

September 10, 2016

Last week I was hastily informed the millers had convened an emergency meeting which required my presence. Naturally the organizers were informed I would attend. The agenda of the meet seemed benign enough….price negotiations.

On the date when I was supposed to attend….I cooked up some excuse on the eleventh hour stating that I had to attend to some other urgent business and it’s regrettable that I am unable to be present.

I sensed a trap. I need to stretch out the negotiations to beyond September possibly even November. I need to buy for more time. Above all I need to transform time into a wonder weapon.

I was proven right two days thereafter.

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‘Every man is born with three brains. The first is the one that is located between his ears. The second is his dick and finally his gut. I don’t want to talk about the second brain as it’s capacity to think independently and even overpower the primary brain is already a well documented subject…. suffice to say, it certainly has a mind of it’s own.

The gut is a sort of primitive brain as well. That is to say while it has sufficient brain cells to sense danger and perhaps even opportunity. It lacks enough of it to supply an explanation as to how or why it derive at a conclusion….so it is a bit like the magic sitar….it can only tell the truth, but it cannot tell you why – so next time when you have a gut feel about something or someone…you better believe it!

As that’s your inner voice speaking to you.

Reason however is like a bulldozer – reasoning is an act of will to fathom the unknown by attempting to arrange facts in an understandable manner thru the act of constructing a coherent picture.

It all looks very studied and intelligent and methodical.

With intuition it is always messy. As one does not start at the outer edges in the way one begins to put together a jig saw puzzle. Rather there is no discernable pattern, symmetry or even method to speak of – only a rough feel of how things may pan out. This is why so many people remain so uncomfortable and suspicious about relying on their gut feel. As one large part of it FIRST requires one to surrender the thinking mind….it is the act of giving in to unknown that we usually experience difficult coming to terms with. Men have a very very big hang up. Women in my experience are quite neutral and in some cases they are perfectly comfortable with switching off their brain completely…that is why when it comes to people…women usually make better decisions than men!

For me the case is very clear…for man to gainfully survive and thrive in the wild, he must learn to tune inwards and trust his inner voice – it’s very normal to rely on intuition rather than reasoning to get by in the wild.

As when one intuits, it is possible to penetrate the unknowable, only one must also learn to accept that to explain it is usually impossible….this is the part that most people have trouble coping….they must know. If they don’t know. They don’t believe!

With reason however, it is not only possible to beacon out the murk but to also supply an explanation….and there lies the danger.’

On Maturity

September 9, 2016

The strangest thing about money is when one has none or very little of it – one is always looking at everything in the world with hungry eyes of yearning and desire. But once one comes to money and eventually learns to be comfortable with it. Suddenly all the sense of yearning and desires that one was afflicted with in the past disappears completely….it’s as if one has magically been transported to another realm where one is always asking, ‘what’s the big deal…it’s after all such a bloody anti climax!’

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‘It’s much easier I imagine to go through life by relying on someone else than to complete yourself.

That is why most people prefer to work for others rather than start their own enterprise. It’s really much easier to show up at the office and not bother about who bought the furniture and provisioned the paper clips etc etc. That attitude also accounts for why so many people seem to suffer unnecessarily from a morbid fear of doing things all by themselves. They’re always investing all of themselves in others and trying to seek safety in numbers…of course, they couch it in terms of friendship and company etc etc. But in reality, this clingy attitude is just a way of masking their real fear of loneliness…that I imagine is very natural.

Man after all has been conditioned to be a social animal….and in all honesty, it takes considerable effort to break away from that mindless gyre.

Neither can most people bear the idea of being independent either. Once again they may all insist they’re independent but a deeper examination prompts the question – how can they be! When so much of their existence is premised on interdependence along with seeking the child like validation, approval and respect of others – the idea of independence must really be a distant and unknown country to modern man.

As there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind. For one to strive to be alone and even comfortable with that idea requires a certain degree of mental discipline and rigor to first accept oneself….I wouldn’t go so far as to call it confidence. No! That is not the right word to describe this attitude. Rather it’s closer to the idea of maturity where one is prepared to assume total responsibility for one’s destiny.

It’s a completely different way of seeing oneself in relation to the world – where one might perhaps carve from the raw material of loneliness itself, the idea of freedom to lead and plan one’s life.

Yes, from time to time. It is still certainly frightening (to me at least) when the person who decides to live independently realizes when he shouts out the question in the dark, whose there? And when no answer of any kind emerges from darkness ….this man might well be the most desolate human in this planet. But soon this forlorn feeling of estrangement passes, as a voice inside answers, ‘it is only I’

To be able to hear this inner voice is the moment – when the man child dies and the mature man is born ….As he has begun the journey to self discovery.’

My business rivals are all clueless as to what’s my next move. Since I have been throwing out so many false leads and disinformation galore it’s virtually impossible for anyone to fathom my next move…..this has not only created tension, anxiety and nervousness. But it has also created very fertile conditions for all sorts of wild rumors to take hold.

Recently my business rivals sent a group of businessmen to find out more about my designs. During the meeting, many statements were deliberately made to gauge my reaction. On every single occasion, there was hardly or no discernible reaction on my part.

On the rare occasions when I was either pressed to comment or respond…all I could ever manage was….how interesting.

During the meeting I could tell when they all realized they were making very little head way to beacon out the murk…they were all very frustrated.

That is good…very good. Of course….I will have to wait a while longer for the confusion and anxiety to heighten further. When the time is right. I will strike like a cobra…again that is.

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‘When you’re outnumbered and surrounded from all sides. It pays dividends to assume the demeanor of a man of very words and even inactions. As when one just remain still…one is like a mountain.

The mountain does not move. But that does not necessarily translate into weakness. As that which does not move is a constraint that ALL others have to work their way around – like going around a mountain – and when one assumes this strategy it is the highest acme of the art of war. When one takes to the Dao of the mountain – you are not putting yourself into situations where things might get complicated and confrontational simply because you do not move, and when you are known for being quiet it’s quite impossible for your business rivals to read your designs accurately….so you can only leverage on steatlhiness and this will give you the ace card of surprise.

Masking one’s motivation and goal is jugular in business. If one is not able to do this….one will be an open book and can only be vulnerable and powerless.

Never let anyone know what is in your mind…..never. Always be a man of very few words.’

A puppy called ‘Highway’

September 8, 2016

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I found her standing listlessly beside her mother who was run over and very dead on the highway. I decided to adopt her and brought her back to my plantation.

She was guarded at first. But soon she was running around the vast grounds with the rest of the dogs.

I may not be able to save all the dogs of this world….but this one I can step into her life and make it better and happier.

Her name is ‘Highway.’

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‘A man…any man for the matter. Doesn’t matter what the degree of is iron clad character or moral rectitude can very easily descend to the depths of hell in the wild.

Yes…the jungle has a very unusual way of whirling itself into a maroon skull of a man…I imagine – I’ve seen decent and reasonable men tear at each other’s throats over half bar of chocolate…stared into the very darkness of man….it is truly a frightening sight.

Before the mighty jungle man always believes he can hold his own….in the beginning at least.

As the expedition trudges along…the jungle nibbles away at him and just around the time when man begins to grow weary of niffty tricks like how to wear his underwear four days in a row with just one wash by using all sides including turning it inside out. When machines give way to walking, shoelaces rot, clothes disintegrate and bad food and dysentery ravages his once healthy flesh turning him into someone who he rather not look at the mirror. That is just around the time when his mind will cave right in – finally the whimpering soul realizes how so very small he is in the greater scheme of things….how utterly insignificant he is and above all how crumbly his hold is on the very idea of humanity and remaining gainfully human.

During one moment in the failed Suriman expedition – one poignant scene stood out from all others. It was just around the time when no one asked any longer when was the next airdrop. Our batteries had long given out – when the violin played in the wild. The score was so haunting and stood out starkly from the barrenness of the litany of green that seemed to go on and on forever like a solitary tongue of light…suddenly we all remembered who we all were. Even more forceful was the idea of how it had the power to deliver us all back from the depths of unimaginable hell to the finality of the realization…we were all still men despite the hardships of our travails and not animals.

That if you must know is how delicate and crumbly our idea of humanity and remaining gainfully human can and will always be….if humanity is not nourished…it will die…if only more people know of this simple truism. I believe they will be kinder to themselves and others. The world I am sure will be a better and kinder place.’

Who is the stronger man?

September 6, 2016

Today I was asked my a group of villagers to act as a magistrate. Since I was in the field a makeshift court was hastily convened underneath a tree. The proceedings were conducted ex parte – only the man who punched the another man was there to present his case. The man who threw the punch exclaimed, he deserves it.

I asked of this man…did the other man draw his side arm (I assumed he was carrying a parang as it’s very common to do so when one is in the field) after the punch was thrown. The man replied ‘no.’ Someone in the crowd asked, ‘what has that got to do with it…he deserved what he got.’ I told that man in the crowd to stand out and explained to him, the fact the man who was punched did not draw his weapon could only mean two things. Firstly, he is afraid and does not want to make his lot worse. Alternatively, he is a man of restraint and harbors no malice.

I then asked was a police report made thereafter. Again the man answered ‘no.’ To which I concluded the same again…only this time, I went on to add – the man who was punched must have accepted some measure of culpability for this dispute…that is why he did not go to the police. But even if he is out of line, it is very wrong to resort to violence. There can be no excuse for this. This cannot be condoned.

With those words, I threw a stave on the ground and told the man before me to go and apologize to this other man that very day before the sun goes down.

Go now! I told him, make up in the spirit of brotherhood when his heart is still soft. As if you leave it to tomorrow, his heart would have hardened by then like stone and soon you will be like two strangers staring a each other with daggers from two distant mountains.

Do not delay go now!

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“Maturity, one eventually discovers, has everything to do with the open hearted acceptance of one’s acts and omissions. At one level of maturity this can be interpreted as taking responsibility for one’s actions. At an even higher level, it is simply the wisdom to know what is right from wrong and having the manliness to do what needs doing.

When a man is attuned to what is right and wrong – only then can he be truly considered mature. As that is when he is perfectly aligned with correctness of conduct and speech.

Men who live in self made lies are the opposite of mature – as since they confect all sorts of ‘clever’ lies to avoid taking responsibility for their actions are no better than children who start fires only to pretend to sleep while the house burns down.”

On Ignorance

September 6, 2016

A great deal of effort and intelligence can be invested in ignorance when there is a need (real or imagined) to preserve the status quo.

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‘What people do not really know and only think they know. Usually they hold on more stubbornly than the truth itself – in reality they are not interested in the truth. Or maybe the truth is a liability to them hence they are least interested in collaborating information to derive at an accurate conclusion. As since so much of their identity, self worth and ego has already been invested in their manufactured lies – they have to support it even if it means going down with the ship.

When a man understands this….he will know when to bow out gracefully. If he doesn’t know of this…he will dedicate all of himself in an act of futility to attempt to bring light to the ignorance.

Truth is very cruel and brutal. As no man can actually cure another of ignorance. All they can really hope to accomplish is to demonstrate their version of the truth….only the ignorant mind itself can cure itself….but if it is unwilling, there is nothing one can and should do.’

The very dark side

September 5, 2016

‘I never talk about it. Never. I should, I reckon, get it off my chest that is. But for some inexplicable reason…I keep it secreted from the world.

I always know how it’s going to start. Usually, with the belief it will be different this year. But as the days creep imperceptibly towards June and the air begins to be hollowed out – he steps right out of my skin.

It’s easy when one goes out to look for trouble. You see I am always in control. Or shall I say he is. But I can’t stop him. Not even when I have the power to walk right out of the door. Not even when I am slowly wrapping thin strips of rubber to turn my fist into a club just before one of those fights where men are all laying bets on whose going to be left standing when it’s all done.

He’s not afraid what happens to him in the ring. He doesn’t even care. It’s as he’s steered me here thru out the whole evening and I am only there for the ride, this is all he ever wanted out of the night. To fight. As for the rest, or what comes thereafter – he just don’t care.

I take a look at the mirror just before I step out – I say to myself, stop this! But there’s always a louder voice that tells me – this how it will go down to tonite and you are powerless to stop it.

He steps right into the ring. There is a swagger about him. Someone offers him whisky. He takes a swig and kisses a girl with big tits for la effect. It works. The crowd is in a frenzy.

It’s a human ring formed by men who would either make the circle bigger or smaller depending on how the fight goes – when the boxers get hit and fall back, they get pushed back into the fight. No rules here. No count downs even. No referee. Just the brutality of whose left standing when it all over. That’s the way it is in kampung rumbles. That’s the way he prefers it.

The sound is deafening by now – the crowd is laying down bets fast and furious. He does a Mohammad Ali jig, two jabs, left…left…right followed with a lightning upper cut and caps it off with a pirouette with both hands held up high. It drives the kampung crowd wild. Someone smears Vaseline mixed with Tiger Balm over his forehead, it cuts the pain. Another oils me him down with coconut oil and the bell rings.

Then it begins…..

Somewhere in this choreography of screaming men and women, spit, blood and sweat suddenly the world slows right down to a crawl – I can see myself in the ring shadow boxing. I shout out, ‘stop! Please stop! I am afraid. I want to go back home now!’ But it’s only a whimper somewhere in my head. As I watch in horror as this monster tears right in with teeth gnashing when it begins. He takes a couple of hits, but he’s to deep in the gyre to feel a thing – ‘stop! I beg you please stop! But it just goes right on like some terrible nightmare. The crowd is going wild…the lights of the lorries…a girl flashes her tits…a smiling man with a row of gold teeth…he’s covered in blood. His eyes are all swollen. But I can just make out that he’s relishing every moment of it, as he flashes me a crazed look of a tortured soul.

Please stop!….please. I am afraid. Please I beg of you. Please stop now and let’s go home together. Please. I am afraid. Stop. Please stop….I just want this nightmare to stop.’

If you tell most Singaporeans we may all have to learn to live with Zika – they will shout out – you siaow alredi ah!

I guess that sort of response is quite understandable and even natural. As since Zika is new to most Singaporeans….that is really how they can only be expected to respond.

But what the general public do not seem to understand is like ebola or even the bubonic plague, Zika is not an Andromeda strain. That’s to say it’s not a new mosquito borne plague, it has a long entrenched history in Africa especially along the mid band latitudinal interior stretching across Mozambique to Uganda and right along the West African coast line of Sierra Leone to Guinea Baso. Over there Zika is as common as malaria.

I am not try to scare anyone. I am just thinking aloud. But for me while this infestation is still at it’s infancy every attempt to should be made to eradicate it before it establishes a beachhead in Singapore. As once Zika is embedded it’s like copper sulphate, it is very difficult if not impossible to eradicate.

Currently the authorities in Singapore are doing whatever they can…but at some point in their calculations. They have to consider aerial spraying of Naled….if the situation gets worse.

To me all this attempts to eradicate mosquitoes by using hand held equipment is not effective. It’s very labor intensive and it’s coverage is very limited.

What is required is specialized aircraft that is able to spray a grid footprint in a systematic manner to knock out this virus. To me the decision is cold and rational.

Many decisions makers will dilly dally on this. As they are likely to weigh public concern etc etc – as it certainly comes across as overkill….but for me, there is no other way.

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‘People who say Zika will not change the way Singaporeans work, live and play are not realistic. As it is a very scary disease to not only for pregnant women, but to all – to exacerbate matters Singapore already has one of the lowest total fertility rates in the world….so this will only bump up the cost and risk associated with child rearing….so it doesn’t pay for one to whistle in the dark and take this matter lightly.

But even if you are a man and you come down with Zika, it may not be life threatening. As in some cases it’s effects are mild and one may not even be aware that one is infected, but nonetheless, one becomes a carrier and it can certainly be a health inconvenience that you would rather live without.

In the short term. I don’t a see magic bullet to eradicate mosquitoes. There are many niffty solutions in the pipeline ranging from GM mosquitoes that can interfere with the life cycle of the Aedes to lasers that can zap mosquitoes like Star Wars….but all these are still a very long way away from fruition.

What is immediately real and present is the threat of Zika and how it might even be a perennial seasonal threat. If it escalates to that level – then our way of life will go thru a radical change. Already it is going thru a change….parks which were once filled are now empty….some food courts have been transformed into ghost towns and many people are preferring to stay in hermetically sealed malls.

So how can these people say there will be no effect or impact? That is not realistic.

It is conceivable if Zika becomes a perennial seasonal threat. Many things will change….architecture will go thru a radical change. Inaccessible gutters will be done away with. Building regulators will scrutinize new building designs to mitigate mosquito breeding spots. Parks will have to redesigned to prioritize drainage etc etc.

The problem is even if all that can be accomplished with the highest degree of quality in Singapore…..by that time, it will be too late as it will find it’s way up north and when it’s there…it will be a way of life.’

Many people consider me quite a stupid person in the palm oil world. As I have a tendency to do things without the expectation of being paid.

I can understand. I really can…as to why so many of my peers think I am stupid. As I do go to extraordinary lengths. On one occasion I journeyed by river boat thru croc infested rivers for three days to survey a mangrove stretch just to compile a pre consultation report. On another I trekked and stayed in the jungle for twelve straight days during the height of the monsoon and it really goes on and on.

On every single occasion, I never brought up the issue of my fee preferring to keep that subject at the back burner. All I really wanted to do was to understand the challenges of what that potential customer was encountering better than anyone else.

As to me it makes perfect sense to put the upmost effort and dedicating to scale, assess and diagnose the problems of the customer before one can even begin to talk competently about the subject.

As EVERYTIME when I do go the extra mile for the customer even if it has to come out directly from my own pocket. Although I do incur a loss in the short term in terms of capital, time and opportunity cost.

But in the long term when I am in a conference room back at HQ in my killer Zegna suit, J M Weston’s with my hair slicked right back….they (the customer) know…they all know… I know the seriousness of their problem better than anyone else can possibly know….and that includes them and there’s absolutely no shadow of doubt that the person standing before them is someone dead serious whose best qualified to nail their problem in one shot!

As for my competitors they have absolutely no idea what’s happened….they never do….as I lead them to believe…I am stupid.

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‘Knowledge may well be power. But having the knowledge to transform it into power is not something many people know. All they seem to really know is must how to roll out that cliche like a robot. Some especially the stupid think all they have to do is go around and behave like a cheap opportunist and viola money will come their way all the time!

I have no idea where these riff raff’s cobbled together their life hacks of business and to be frank with you – I don’t want to know. As in my opinion, these category of businessmen will go no where in life. I am not saying they will not be able to make something out of their lives. I am sure they will but because their formulae sorely lacks the essential element of sustainability – it’s simply not going to last.

If you want to succeed in business….sustainably…reliably and consistently.

They are no shortcuts and there is really ONLY one way. You have internalize the concept – it all boils down to trust and very little else. Specifically competence trust which basically means everyone in that conference room must be 100% convinced – you’re the man for the job.

But if you never ever invested one moment of your time to scale nor understand the nature of the problem your potential customer is facing – then how can speak with conviction…what do you mean, you’re going to throw out a business card and trade on the marque of what you MAY be able to offer? Or rather what you think they think you can offer?

No it doesn’t work that way and even if it did….you can possibly compete against the man whose being there and seen it.

To do this very well and money will come naturally.

Above all cultivate a long term view of how things would pan out. Try to see it in an agricultural sense, if you want to enjoy sweet fruits at retail. Then you’ve got to learn how to plant a sappling, tend to it and make sure you go on doing the right things day in and day out to ensure it’s growing well…aren’t you incurring cost and down time along with losing out on opportunity cost?

Of course you are. In the short term at least. But in the long term once that fruit tree blooms, you’re good to go for as long as it continues to yield.

That’s really how I see business…it’s all about the long term and never the hit and run.’

Alone but never truly alone

September 4, 2016

I wouldn’t categorically go as far as to say I don’t believe in the existence of ghost and spirits. Neither do I disbelief in the existence of ghost and spirit either…not with anything resembling conviction at least.

Truth is there have been many moments in my life when a door has just suddenly opened when there was none to even get a handle on. And even should all the doors be shut tightly…a open window always presents itself just in the nick of time…when I reflect back. It can’t all be just summed up in terms of luck, coincidence or good fortune.

There has to be something more to do this….I don’t know what it is, but I know it’s out there.

There is definitely someone or something looking after me…I may appear as if I am alone most of the time….but I am not.

I may not be certain about whether ghost or spirits exist. But I am very certain about not being alone even when I seem to be.

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The Shepherd relates the story of a De Havilland Vampire pilot, going home on Christmas Eve 1957, whose aircraft suffers a complete electrical failure en route from northern Germany to RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk. Lost in fog and low on fuel, he is met and led (or shepherded) to a disused RAF dispersal field by the pilot of a De Havilland Mosquito fighter-bomber of World War II vintage, who has apparently been sent up to shepherd him in from the cold.

His attempts to find a rational explanation for his eventual rescue prove as troublesome as his experience. However, some time after he lands at RAF Minton – he learns the awful truth about the shepherd…

Shit hits the fan

September 2, 2016

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It was raining very heavily when my car suddenly skidded off the dirt road and nearly went over a cliff edge….I didn’t move for a whole five minutes thereafter. Except maybe light a cigarette and puff away. Eventually I got to shifting everything in the car very very slowly to one side, took me nearly two hours to counter weight it from tipping over and climbed out thru the window.

That was close….

Tomorrow I will get someone to yank me out.

Another boring day at the office.

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In the 60’s and early 70’s when Nixon regularly dressed like a used car salesman. LKY looked like a ice cream promoter…buy one can get one free some more. Kissinger definitely came across like a cheap undertaker peddling budget caskets. Khrushchev was the man who suffered from a seriously confused wardrobe. One moment he looked like a circus ringmaster. The next a mambo band leader. As for Mao. He was content to amble around the world stage in pajamas.

During this period when so many world leaders were going around wearing lamp shades and curtains over their heads along with inflicting pain on so many people. The Shah of Iran was the undisputed sartorial king or kings. He could always be counted to provide deep and spirited relief and hope to so many that the world was still a sane place ruled by leaders who were always respectful to people and institutions by always putting his best foot forward.

The late Shah of Iran was perhaps the first world leader who first weaponized on the power of elegance as a strategic pivot to propel his country into the world stage….the world had never seen anything like him since then.

Today a grave omission we regularly commit is to take power dressing for granted…but it’s only when we familiarize ourselves with the various decisive turning points in world history that we are able to understand – why successful leaders go thru the trouble of dressing well to enable them to put their best foot forward.

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‘Whether you want to land that dream job, get that girl or weasel your way out of a cancer of the wallet lawsuit, or start a worldwide cult, the way you dress and present yourself to your audience will ALWAYS play a disproportionately major role.

I don’t want to mention names. As I genuinely want to make an effort to be polite this morning…but we all know who are the people who regularly let us all down…we all know! Don’t we?

It’s not as if it happens occasionally…it’s every single time. These saboteurs constantly make a fool of themselves and US!, by wearing suits from places where clothes go to die. They wear shirts that looked as if they’r baked and ties that cause people migraine attacks…time and time they do this to all of us.

It’s not as if they lack money…not at all, they don’t mind spending ten thousand bucks on a Lord of the Rings plastic helmet or limited edition elf sword. But when it comes to their wardrobe…they can’t even wear a matching pair of socks for a high powered meeting.

If their dressing habits are benign…I don’t mind at all. But time and again, we have to send a rescue team to fix their mess!

I give up lah! From today onwards. Do what makes you happy lah!

As many of you know. I have taken a vow to renounce my evil ways…so I don’t want to ever go down that road again…please from now onwards please do whatever you all like to do!

You all see that door! I am walking right thru it.

Only understand this! You may not like this reality. You may even harbor the believe you can negotiate around it like how you tell others – you much prefer broccoli to cauliflower…Only remember this: those who succeed are not those who complain about “the way it is” or “the way it should be.” They’re the ones who accept the world for what it is and use their understanding of that reality to their advantage.’

This morning a Tamil boy told everyone in the village, he saw elephants by the riverbank. His mother told him to shut up. So did his father. I bent down and asked the boy calmly to take me where he had seen the elephants. It was by the riverbank at the edge of my lands.

There were elephant tracks and droppings….the boy was not fibbing.

Elephants have not been seen in these parts for nearly twenty over years. They must have journeyed across the mountains ridges to the East….but why have they undertaken the treacherous journey to come all the way here….they must sense something amiss.

Today we had eight inches of rain in less than a hour. At one point the winds picked up to at least 50 knots. She blew dead straight from the east…not even a single degree deviation North or South. As if she was telling me, ‘there’s plenty more where that came from.’ Like a cleaver. Right down the middle…bang!

I know this rain. I’ve seen her before.

There’s no winning with that crazy woman. Either way it’s lose lose when she starts throwing plates. Even if you have everything superglued and tied down it’s no bloody use. The question is whether you have the stomach to lose big or small that’s as good as it gets and the best one can ever hope for is once she had her fill, she will spit you out to the side like pea, that’s if you’re very lucky…the super rains have finally arrived.

I have been preparing two years for this…it’s finally show time!

Days before the skies of the desert turn ochre red. Window frames warp, doors creak, floorboards begin to curl at their edges, nails begin to loosen and catch against flesh, wooden spoons split, lips crack and when it seems as if one is content to only breathing in flaming needles. That’s just around the time, when the indigo people of the desert would stand in one long line and look northwards – they don’t say anything. They don’t move very much. Like birds gathered on a line in a frosty September morn. They just look on knowingly into the yonder….then slowly the winds begin to pick up and the skies begins to darken a tobacco brown…..the harmattan.

For days thereafter the winds howl incessantly like a widow mourning her secret loss. City folk scurry beneath the eaves of protesting flapping wind swept corrugated awnings covering their faces. From time to time they pause, look up searchingly to make up whether the sun is still there or might it too be swallowed whole by it’s violent approach from the North. A wind once considered so evil that a mad Sultan declared Jihad against it and marched out into the swirling desert to meet it with war elephants and a column of pike men in full armor only to perish. The red wind the sailors in Coite de Noire know as the sea of blood. The ever wandering Beduins call the kinsam, 50. As it last 50 days which they all greet with two rents from their antique Lee Enfield rifles with the salutations, ‘Allah wakbar’ – as it billows it’s last dying whispering hush across the sea of Guinea. Soon a few gusts of air and a thin rain presages the final approach of the…..the harmattan. Now mystery is furiously at work in the preamble of the twilight, the sands swirling and fingering into every nook and cranny, appearing as if by magic to cling to the secreted, spoiling well oiled machinery, mucking clothes and rendering everything a bitter after taste. Everywhere and everything is touched by the ochre red of infinitesimal of omnipresence. All the while, the constant rattle of window panes, the sobbing of rooms, the tears of rawed eyes having borne witness to prophecies…the harmattan…yes…I remember her….the red wind….the wind of winds.