If you decide to leave….never look back

March 22, 2017

A year back ago. I initiated peace talks with my business rivals. It was a very humiliating experience. As they did not treat me well. Before I sat down with them for dinner – I put a very bitter jambu seed in my mouth. It was there to remind me. Life is cruel. And a man would do well to remember this – as in life there are times when an unpleasant business has to be seen thru right to its logical end no matter how much it rubs him the wrong way.

That’s life….so see it thru stoically with a calm and unruffled disposition ..one must.

During the meeting I conceded to virtually every single one of their terms and conditions.

I did not complain. Neither did I make a scene. I saw it thru from beginning to end like a Classical Chinese gentleman.

After the dinner. I shook hands with everyone on the table and promised to faithfully keep to all the agreed covenants. I even made it a point to assure everyone that I bear no grudges and they all have my solemn word that from this point onwards I will do my upmost sincerest to be a team player.

I did all this in the name of peace in our time. I did all this because all diplomatic efforts had failed and the only option that existed was a protracted intercine trade war where no one could ever hope to win….even if they managed to win. All they would inherit is the empire of the bones…that at least was my calculation.

It is very sad many of those who were on the table that fateful day did not have either the maturity or wisdom to realise we were all barelling full speed and head long into a protracted war of attrition that would have bankrupted and possibly ruined everyone on that table and caused untold misery to countless villagers.

The onus to put an end to this torrid affair, therefore fell squarely on the shoulders of the youngest landowner who sat on the table that evening….me.

During our dinner a child wandered into the private room – I held him up and turned to the elders and said to them all. I want him to grow up to believe in fairness. I so want him to believe in the idea when a man dedicates himself to hard labor, honesty and righteous ways…then the doors of heaven will fling suddenly open and he will reap his rightful due. Even should the world be crooked. This child must believe otherwise. Even if it is a great lie. We would do well to hide this awful truth from him.

Many bowed their heads in shame that evening. As these are very heavy and wise words that have the power to cut thru false appearances to only reveal the terrible truth.

Above all I did all these things and much more. As I had known only war all my life. And I wanted nothing more than to run away from that maddening vicious cycle that smoked my mind no end.

If there is any redemption to all this – I gave as well as I rolled with the punches. As even when my business rivals outnumbered me ten to one and all I had was a meagre biscuit tin of a war chest. I took them on. On virtually every single business run in. Not only did I hit them so hard with the element of surprise to inflict lasting damage with superior strategy and cerebral fitness. But I even made it so costly to compel them to devote so much men and material just to keep me within the confines of a box which could otherwise have been devoted to be more productive ends – regrettably thru the years.

I have extracted such a heavy price on those who once foolishly tried to stop me from expanding my business that today I known to all as a ruthless and heartless businessman.

No amount of money I can ever donate in my life time will ever wash away that hard and implacable image that has taken hold in the minds of those who know of my humble rise.

That was why I wanted peace. I wanted it so bad even if it came with a heavy price to pride and self esteem. Above all I wanted peace as I realised from that day onwards I had decided to stand alone…to always be like a solitary island in shark infested waters.

Where I am here and they are there and in between there is nothing but a broad and deep barren waste land known as no man’s land.

Whose right or wrong? Not important….was I justified to have once done this or that? Or perhaps might they have been justified to do what they once did? Again not important…as that is all water under the bridge….it is no more.

All that exist now is the blank page of a brand new chapter.

Recently some of my business rivals have sent me seasonal gifts along with greetings…..I for my part have done the same.

It is a very small step. But even the journey of one thousand miles must begin with one small step….I am hopeful.

One day I will return back to the table and take my rightful place.

————————————————————————–

‘A few years back ago when someone asked what life advice I should give the likes of Alvin Tan. I replied. Don’t be ridiculous. He has his own mind and he will do whatever he likes. But when this person implored me to give my two cents worth – I only had this to say. Now that he is in America. I hope he never looks back….not even for once. Not even for memory sake. I hope he will have the courage to keep walking forward and never to look back. Let us not talk about complicated things like making something out of his life. Or whether he can put a down payment on a Honda jet before he hits 35….no point lah. Worse still let us not discuss who is right or wrong etc etc….it is after all water under the bridge…spilled milk….just go live your life in peace.

Now I hear that Amos Yee has done a runner as well – so my advice is the same. Don’t look back. Keep your eyes ahead. Keep walking. And my hope is these tortured souls find what they really yearn for in life.

Please understand. There is no malice in my heart. None whatsoever. Only understanding for a thing – I am not like the mindless mob. If they want to hate and nurse the embers of finding differences rather than seeking out common ground…then go right on!

But for me it is very clear. Once you’ve decided to pull the lever and the escape pod unhinges from the mothership and blast off at the speed of light. It’s conceivable when you look out of the porthole that image will get smaller and smaller till at some point it will disappear completely from view….in the life of every person there certainly exist a domain known as the point of no return.

Once that line has been crossed. It’s over. It’s no more and all that exist is the brand new dreamscape along with crushing reality of the present and future.

I went on tell this person. But if these people continue to cling on to the memories of the past or worst still they continue to live in the past fighting shadows instead of dedicating all of themselves to bettering their lot in the present and future. Then what is likely to happen is they will end up living in a delusional world where it can said nothing is truly real.

That would truly be a monumental waste of a life.

This is hardly new ground. Many men have gone to such a place – the point of no return that is. It may not be as spectacular and drama mama like what these people have pulled off. But nonetheless….it is roughly the same thing. A man who falls out of love. He too finds himself grappling with the demons of the past. But after a while. Even he has to pick himself up and move on the best he can. He may well be damaged goods…but move right on he must. Similarly a man who experiences set backs in his business and is forced to close shop. That too is a sort of point of no return as well. And he too has to somehow cobble together whatever remnants of pride and courage and sagacity to either start all over again or stay where he is as he confronts the awful reality of his unfulfilled dreams….but again move right on he must.

In every single case it never ever pays to look back. No good can ever come from mulling about what was said and done…whose right or wrong or even whether they’re closer to the truth or you or they are. All these things are pointless when one has already crossed the point of no return – only the omnipresent reality of today and perhaps tomorrow, next week or the month after this and the continuum of the chastening passage of time really matters.

I do not know who Melissa Chen is, but she would do well to give good advise to master Amos to forget Singapore and just go right on. After all there are so many injustices in America and the rest of world. Go pick one and be passionate about it – everything from cute and defenseless seals getting clubbed just for their pelts to GMO food where melons are larger than basket balls. Choose one and go lah!

But don’t ever look back.

For better of for worst.

Like the analogy of the escape pod it will lance thru the atmosphere of a brand new world. Maybe it’s off the chart. Maybe it’s populated and civilised. Then again maybe it’s deserted and you are the only life form there – but even then. As bleak as that may be….it is a new beginning. So make the best of it.

But never look back…never. I wish them all the best of luck.’

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