In life, if one genuinely desires to be come across as a credible, competent and trustworthy influencer, it’s very important to invest in a good foundation.

That foundation can be knowledge gained from apprenticeship. It could even be an investment in time, effort and opportunity cost to get to know a thing.

But one thing is clear as day – it’s impossible for one to come across as credible, competent and trustworthy without a foundation.

Life is not so simple.


‘Amos Yee skipped a very important step that will sabotage all his chances to be regarded as a credible activist by most sane and level headed natives. He did not complete his national service. What he should have done was to go thru that aspect of pain and then and only then seek asylum in the US.

As it is, he will always be an outlier…outsider. Because his CV is incomplete. There is a fundamental break, one that is so serious. He best devote all his activist potential to writing about what is wrong about his new home the disunited states of America.

It is like those air con addicted politicians. The Shinawatra’s. What’s my take about Thaksin and his MILF sis. The mini skirt answer. These folk have no business whatsoever in Thai politics. Because it is first and foremost a gangster oligarchy. So if for any reason one isn’t prepared to cut their teeth in jail or don’t have the stomach to crack heads from time to time and much prefer cosmopolitan Dubai – then I say these people don’t have the right foundation or for that matter the ideal aptitude to win in Thai politics. They should run cafes or salad bars or something.

For me, if you want to fashion yourself as an activist. But you don’t even want to put in the time to wear boots. Then it’s a bit like a farmer who only likes to plant and tend to his trees, but he is not prepared to say to malevolent forces, ‘Get off my land!’

For me it is crystal clear. If ten cheap pirates come for me in the dead of night to rob or disrespect me. I will just appear before them in samurai armor and tell them, ‘Here’s two cases of ABC stout. Let’s polish it as fast as we can. After that we rumble and if we do it right. Most of us will all go to the other side and akan datang the whole fight there again….besides I was bore, coming to think of it, its a very good night to die lah! After that those who still have arms and legs can go to the UN.

The moral of the story is this – what you are not prepared to fight and defend. You never once owned. It was never yours to call your own and if you don’t have an elemental right to ownership, then you can certainly talk….but like I said, not everyone will listen to you. As something is not right about this picture.

It’s missing a vital element that makes all the difference in this world.

Trust me. Life is not that simple nor cheapy cheap.

Lining the trees

September 28, 2017

For some perennial crops (such as oil palm) a diverse crop rotation over time is simply impossible. It takes years for these crops to become productive, and clearing the land, land contouring, drainage and know how to replant seedlings is very expensive to establish.

This is why most commercial scale Farmers grow only one type of crop again and again. The problem with that idea is nature always has a way to bring down a crop that is grown again and again. As time goes by and with the coming and passing of each successive season, the strains of diseases will get more resistant till eventually they kill all the crops that are grown time and again.

To successfully plant the same crop again and again without risking the very real possibility of crop failure due to perennial diseases such as basal stem rot that is a common second rotation problem for oil palm.

The farmer has to be able to trick nature. He must plant his new oil palm seedlings in secret and give the impression to the land that he means to plant something besides the crops that he always plants.

This can only be accomplished with technology and scientific farming methods.

One way to fool nature is to inter-plant other species between the palm rows to confuse nature. If done right the land will leave the young palms alone and instead devote all its energies to killing off the dominant genetic plant material in the field. I plan to grow banana’s will the seedlings are young. Adding diversity to the genotypes grown will be helpful.

If I play my cards right nature may leave me alone.


‘Commercial farming is war. In the enterprise of war everything can be reduced into mathematical theorems…the speed of army is inversely proportional to its logistical supply chain. Stay well within the limits and you are safe, exceed it and you might find yourself in the deep end. Nothing is ever what it seems….it is like a game of cat and mouse.

I just happen to be the mouse in this game of sudden death. I scurry here and there mostly in the dark. Stick my head out like a periscope to see whether the cat is around. When the coast is clear. I make a mad dash for the line and live another day to repeat it all again. That’s how I see my lot when it comes to playing Russian roulette with Mother Nature.

I know what she can do when she decides to curl her nails their talons and take a swipe at me. I’ve been on the receiving end so many times that I know she’s a type of woman you don’t just disrespect. Not if you don’t want to roll with the punches.

When it comes to commercial farming I am not just a casual farmer. Being there seen it. Done it. Nearly lost it all even. But no self respecting farmer would ever curse her. Maybe he will say, ‘I may get lucky next time.’ While he picks up the broken pieces and cobbles together whatever that is still left of the remnant that used to be his courage to give it another go….but the farmer will never curse her. Perhaps he might even make excuses for her like ‘she can’t help it whenever she throws pots and pans….the moon affects her.’ But he will never curse her.

That’s a characteristic of hardy men who turn the wheel of life from the good graces of the land. They can always be relied on to love their woman – it doesn’t matter if she gets a bit round around the hips or that she might even lose a tooth. He will always love her.

Today I plucked some wild flowers and offered it to her as a tribute of supplication.

Let me pass safely from the realm of theory to reality….let me. Do not fight me all the way. Make my passage sweet and clear and bright like the finest cellared wine. In return I will be your most loyal and greatest defender.

That was all that I asked from her.

Let me pass.’

The oil palm seedlings that I plan to plant is from West Africa and Kalimantan. I do not know how the African genus will perform. On paper it is a very good match. I have taken good care to ensure at every stage of the replanting project the soil conditions (pH) are as close as possible to growing conditions in Africa. This genus is proven to be very resistant to stem rot that seems to be a problem that usually afflicts second rotation monoculture crops.

Crop diseases are the biggest problem for second rotation crops. Todate only the big plantations seem to have the know how and resources to arrest this problem. But even then their best efforts at mitigating crop diseases such as basal stem rot and ganoderma are at best patchy.

The problem appears to limited gene pool in the genus of oil palm.

That is why I have selected the African genus, it’s not commonly grown here and all attempts to do so have yielded mediocre results – I suspect a big reason for this maybe be due to a failure to get to know its unique growing cycle and habits to optimise yield.

In terms of yield this variety of palm does not appear to out perform other genus. Neither does it require less spacing either to suggest one can plant more of it to get out more from a given hectarage. It’s only advantage is that it is very disease resistant that has a very forgiving tolerance to wide fluctuations to growing conditions. It can for example withstand severe drought conditions since its roots run deeper to search out water than normal palms. The fronts are characterised by a generously canopy which require the classical 30 ft equilateral triangle planting layout to give 143 palms per hectare. Nothing special there. But the leaves are naturally bitter and repel insects and parasites.

I do not know whether this palm will perform well. That is why I have hedged my bet on the Kalimantan strain should anything go wrong. Besides I am very familiar with that genus. But what I am comfortable and familiar with is not without its faults. There are simply too many to mention….hence maybe it is time to reengineer change.

Let me put it this way. No risk. No gain. Let us just say I remain cautiously hopeful that it will all turn out well.


‘The reason why Orchard Road is facing a slow and inexorable death boils down to two things: greed and the morbid fear of trying something new. Greedy Property Developers who are contented to live in their self centered fantasy world – where they believe the boom times would go on forever never once saw the possibility of the rug being pulled right under their feet. These dodo birds grew so grostesquely fat they even took faith in the infallibility of always doing what others did before them as their only means to perpetuate their business model.

But things change. People change. Times change. So do purchasing habits.

Cut to the chase. The old approach to retail in Orchard Road is just old hat these days. No one wants to vote for it with their wallets.

They had plenty of time to set a new course. They could have adapted. They could even have been creative or bankrolled people who had that sort of imagination to prosper. But they didn’t.

So how can they blame anyone but themselves now that they were caught flatfooted by the advent of the eCommerce, growth of suburban malls, the mobility of the digital generation, and the endless choices of the digital age.

The story of the slow and painful death of Orchard road is hardly new. It’s a story as old as mankind itself and it’s fault lines can be traced right back to the rise and fall of kings, empires and Civilisations – if there is a lesson here, it is simply this – take something that rubs you absolutely the wrong way and look at it very carefully. I mean it has to be something that just makes the hair at the back of your hair stand up like maybe the sound of nails against the black board or maybe makes you break out in an itchy rash and makes you scratch like a monkey.

Take a look at this thing….better still keep it beside you….put it so close to your nose that you can even sense how it radiates all its rays of discomfort. Feel how it makes everything that you are familiar with brittle only to break off into sharp edges like razors….and that as I just described is how it is when one has to deal with change.

My point is change in any shape or form will always be painful. Change in the form of breaking off an abusive relationship, change in getting out from a rut by switching to another vocation or job or maybe just changing from another brand of detergent that you have always used….it’s never easy and it doesn’t I imagine get easier either no matter how accustomed you are to changing in and out things. And that is paradoxically one reason why you must absolutely do the things that you don’t want to do or even want to think about.

Because at the end of the day. It is those things that have the latent capacity to help you break out from that slow and certain cycle of doom and gloom…yes it’s certainly painful. Maybe like carrying a bucket of water and having to change hands from time to time to lessen the burden. But like looking and being near to those things that have the power to disturb. You mustn’t stop and put that bucket down. Never. Go slow if you need to. But never come to a stop. That’s the way I deal with things that I rub me the wrong way that I know I have to do. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I seek to bond with it. No! But maybe it’s akin to sort of solidarity. You know the variety where two soliders whose nations are at war suddenly find themselves marooned in a deserted island. At first they do their best to kill each other. Then a settling of sorts kicks in where they figure out their chances of survival would be immeasurably improved if only they could set aside their differences to work together. Soon both these characters may even exchange stories about home over a fire. And given more time maybe they may even come to see the futility of how the once saw the world and become buddies….that’s really how I see the process for lack of a better word.

Like I said it can only be painful. But like my African palm suffering is definitely optional I reckon.’

My Greatest Hope

September 27, 2017

There is a looming dooms day event in agriculture that no one ever talks about and it goes something like this – in the next 40 years, 60% of all arable land on this planet will be so depleted of nutrients and bio diversity nothing can ever grow on it!

Todate new agro research has calculated that nearly 33% of the world’s adequate or high-quality food-producing land has been lost at a rate that far outstrips the pace of natural processes to replace diminished soil.

It is a very bleak prognosis of the future that weights very heavily on me.

The only reason why this dystopian landscape will unfurl is because there are many powerful vested interest in the Agro world that do not want to face up to this impending problem. It is to their interest to pretend that it does not exist. Some of these crooks are so powerful and influential they can even make this entire story disappear.

I do not want to talk further as I don’t want to disappear! But rest assured, I know what is happening. They can fool everyone….but not me! I am am insider. I know what is happening.

I have absolutely no illusions about how dire the future will be for mankind. A day will come when only the very wealthy and privilege can eat healthily. As for the rest of humanity – they would have to make do with processed seaweed pretending to be everything from mutton to fish. With modern flavour technology I don’t think the masses will even register a marked difference. You will be surprised how gullible human taste buds can be and how forgiving the human gut is. That is the nature of humanity, if they see everyone tucking into tree bark cookies and rubber ducks and even asking for second helpings…the rest can only do like wise. Many insist this process of mind bending and chelating food has already begun in earnest – with the rampant use of GMO’s, antibiotics, herbicides and chemical fertilisers to grow food and breed animals. I have no doubt that the outlook for mankind can only get bleaker with every passing day.

To my understanding there is only one solution to this problem, that is smart people have to take up farming. And the stupid people such as myself have to bow out. The huge land oligarchs have be purged and dismantled to make the entry level for farming more affordable to the masses. Farming technology must be demystified so that masses can come to regard as an occupation where they can gainfully earn a living.

As it is, farming is not only highly inefficient and riven with superstition, clique politics and restrictions set up deliberately by the landowning gentry to stop the masses from farming, worse of all it suffers from an image problem – as it is usually associated with the dim witted, parochial and backward folk such as myself. This would all need to be remarketed to transform minds.

For the final stage of my replanting. I have used GPS technology to mitigate crop diseases, to make possible the digging of big trenches to facilitate the nutrification of the land by allowing organic material to be reclaimed in a natural way. This will also allow for the efficient and judicious use of water resources as I consider climate change to be a perennial problem that is here to stay. This method of farming does not deploy traditional slash and burn methods. It is very clean, cost effective and scientific.

But it is a game of cerebral fitness where the technology and modern methods must feature. As farmer must be smart to try out ever more inventive methods to work with nature instead of being just being dumb all the time by mortgaging his future just to turn a quick buck.

I am convinced right down to the marrow of my bones – this is the only way to farm sustainably….there is no other way. One day I am certain I will be proven right.

My hope is one day the really smart people will take to farming like fish to the river. Only then can a revolution take place and change attitudes, methods and philosophies. Without this farming will not be sustainable. As it is just a polite form of strip mining that masquerades as farming. Neither can the world feed everyone economically in the future.

One day I hope people will consider it cooler to be seen driving a tractor rather than a Ferrari.

That is my greatest hope. Only a new sort of farmer can save people and planet.

He must be created. Otherwise mankind will be doomed.


‘At times I feel like that solitary character Will Smith plays in that dystopian movie I am Legend. Like the main protagonist, I know that somewhere on this planet, there are people like me who share the same beliefs….there has to be, but despite the passing of so many years working all by myself from what I am able to make out there seems to be just zombies hiding in the shadows trying to kill me 24/7.

Nevertheless. I know they are there. The people who are like me. Today when I was replanting I spotted a helicopter. It swooped down so very low just above the tree line. I thought it was them. But it was not to be, as it flew right off never changing direction only to disappear over the distant mountains.

I felt quite silly after that and continued my work. Had it been the epic arrival of the one thousand spaceships from Primus Aldentes Prime, I would have greeted the third stage navigator and reported to him with relief that I have accomplished my mission. I would have handed over my log comprising of so many tabula data I was collated thru the years ranging from rainfall patterns, temperature to humidity. I would have told his excellency that I am now ready to train the next cohort of farmers to terraform. That is what we call farming…terraforming.

Bringing life where once there was just the barrenness of nothing.

Everyday I wait for their arrival. I know they will come one day. Just like the arrival of the thousand spaceships. As it is written. And when they do. Then and only then can I hand over all my work and return back home.

It has been so many years. Many of the old access codes don’t work any longer in this new computer age. They no longer open the portals they used too. Most are broken. Others are simply crushed by time. Those that still exist are abandoned. They are suspended in time. Sometimes it is like walking thru an internet museum or a place that everyone just left in a hurry. I still visit these sites from time to time….there is one where I can even sit on a park bench, but because no one is stationed there or ever visits…the grass never seems to grow. As for the trees they are still green. As I water them whenever I go there. It’s a program. There are times when I sit in such places that even time itself has forgotten and I wonder to myself. Maybe I am just stuffing messages in a bottle and chucking it out from a marooned island into the infinity of the digital seas.

My last attempt to transmit and establish contact with Primus was two years ago. I went to a retirement home where old computers go to die to search out a digital relic. A 486 computer. The owner told me that was considered too prehistoric to resell these days. He recommended me to some computer boffin who still has a working unit. I went to see this man who was at first quite reluctant to wire it up. But eventually I persuaded him to do by offering to recommend him to a seller of an older computer.

I was trying to send a transmission using the roach line. This is a line that even predates the internet itself. One of the old networks. The internet was originally designed as the last surviving means of communication after an atomic war. The roach line is called that as cockroaches are supposed to be the only creatures known to man that can survive a full atomic fallout. It was considered to be indestructible as it uses a network of copper wires. I typed it the old codes. It took a very long time. But it was satisfying to listen to the hum and clicks of the computer as it processed my request. Eventually the portal started to come alive requesting for verification and even authentication codes. But after stabbing the return button…. nothing. It was as if the message just fell into a bottomless pit.

I remembered saying to myself back then. Maybe I am all alone. Maybe they will never come. Could it be it was a joke that only I took too seriously.

I wonder why hasn’t anyone come? Why are all the SLF’s stone dead? Why not even so much as a word or a morsel of a sign all these years.

My name is Darkness 2017, third stage guild navigator….is there anyone out there?’

Will North Korea start WW3

September 25, 2017

This afternoon my neighbor popped over and asked in a frantic tone, ‘rocket man is going to fire another missile and this time he plans to explode an atomic bomb…..he will kill us all!’ This man looked so worried that when he looked at me it seems this had be preoccupying him the whole night. I told him don’t worry about atomic bombs. They are very expensive and even if it explodes somewhere in the Sea of Japan it is unlikely to kill you. Worry about things that how much salt you are taking and whether you are drinking enough water whenever you work in the fields. Because these are the things that if you are mindful of will kill you faster than a speeding bullet.


‘I am not saying that you or I should just be happy and not worry. Only if you want to worry. Worry about things that first have the highest impact on your life and those who you truly love. When I was younger I used to worry about whether there was enough democracy for me to live my life. I spent a lot of time reading so many books on the subject that I could talk for hours about why it is so important to live in a true democracy. But one day when I was in Long John Silver digging my pocket for shillings to see whether I had enough money to buy a combo meal with a ice cream dessert. I was suddenly hit by a rare of epiphany. Where I found myself saying to myself, what is going on here? Where is my democratic freedom of right to tuck into my strawberry ice cream dessert?

To cut a long story short. I came to the finality of the conclusion that one had to first attain financial liberty BEFORE it is possible to talk coherently about democracy in a larger and broader sense. That is because if I only have a tube of mentos and I am standing on a soap box shouting at the top of my voice about democracy, that would not be so different from a bald man who is trying to sell shampoo. Something is very wrong with the picture.

So that prompted me to examine my life and where I was heading. I wish I could say it was nice picture that I saw when I reviewed my life back then. But it wasn’t. Infact it took many years to summon the courage to really look at it honestly and to even come to terms with the error of my ways.

At the end of it. I said I need to seriously sort that area of financial independence BEFORE I can even think and talk about democracy credibly in such a way where I can believe in what I had to say let alone convince others.

That was many years ago.

Today I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I am financially whole and sound. I am still working towards that mythical point. But at least I don’t have to count my shillings whenever I eat out. I can eat anything I want and not even think too much about it thereafter. Coming to think of it, I can do many things today like fund my own research on how to farm sustainably without having to destroy people and planet. I can do all these things and much more without even batting an eyelid or for that matter going thru the hassle of sitting before a committee of pencil pushers who don’t even know a wheel barrow from a spade to beg for funding and grants…fuck them. I don’t even need them to comprehend what I am doing – I just know my method is the best way to farm and one day it will just be the way that everyone farms. That is how perfect it is. I did a very good job that’s hard if not impossible to better. That’s how bloody good it is.

As for whether it will add up to make people and planet better. Who knows. But at least the effort one puts in endures. At least I can say to myself I didn’t just join a weekend environmental NGO, paid the subscription fee…bought the T shirt and sat down for a full hour to hear someone who I hardly care about saving seals in the artic just to feel that I am dedicating myself to something meaningful.

No! I went the full nine yards….I whacked it real hard…gave it my best shot. And even if it all doesn’t add up to a hill of beans. That’s really all that a man or for that matter any man can ask out of life….the freedom to see a thing that he believes in thru from beginning to end.

These days I just think and I do….as for democracy, it is still there I guess…somewhere…but somehow that doesn’t seem so important any longer. I don’t know whether it’s me or that things have improved or maybe my priorities have changed so much where I might even believe that’s not such a big deal any longer in my life. I suspect it could all of these reasons along with others that I may not even have registered just yet.

I guess what I am trying to say is if we are genuinely interested in saving people and planet. Then we have to first sort out the mess that is in our own lives. Then we have to go right into ourselves to bury the hatchets, make peace with many of the things that keep us awake in the dark, strive to live and let live with many of the demons, hubris, lacunaes and contradictions that hold us back….it is only when we do this that the goodness within us can work itself out from deep within our consciousness into the broader sphere of the world to make a better tomorrow for people and planet.

Real revolutions start from deep within…it’s a silent battle…it doesn’t come from standing straight on a soap box so that you stand two inches taller and shouting at the top of your voice….that’s just noise.’

The looping mind

September 24, 2017

Some time back ago. A distaught woman sought me out and pleaded – what should I do? I cannot trust the man who I love. I asked this woman only one question – what has this man done to rob you of the power to trust him completely and totally?

The woman replied nothing.

That was when I told her, it is not this man who is the source of your suffering and difficulty to trust. It is ALL the men who came BEFORE this man. You must forget them and above forget the hurtful things they have all done to you. Otherwise you will only see the faces of these other men in this man’s face.

Smash the looping mind! Smash it into a thousand pieces! It is good for nothing.


‘Man is a creature of habit. Once he settles into a pattern of thinking and behaving it is quite natural for him to repeat it again and again mindlessly. He will even reach a point in his existence when these repeatetive behaviours and looping thoughts will be such a predominant feature in his life that he will not be able to live without them.

But one of the most self destructive behaviours and thought patterns is the looping mind. This is how the looping mind works. The moment a man or woman awakes, he or she will go thru a set of program of thinking. In this thought cycle, this person will replay like a broken record all the past hurts, disappointments and embrassement he or she once encountered. Most people are so invested in this gyre. They are not even conscious their minds are looping and constantly influencing the outcome of their thoughts….worse of all when one is not awakened to the idea the mind is looping. Then it is virtually impossible to see the world as it is….everything one sees and come across can only fit into a set pattern of one’s past.

There are many times when I have had to step in very forcefully into the lives of others as since their looping mind is out of control it can only be a source of constant distraction and inconvenience to me. Not to mention the rest of mankind. Recently I had to bend over the counter and whisper to a Super duper bo Lang ai (five Chili spinster) that I have no intentions to fuck her. All I want to do is buy some anti fungus cream and be on my way. I had no choice. As this woman is very uncooperative and rude to me without provocation. There are many times when she has even refused to serve me and since I didn’t want to get her sacked as she was obviously in breach of her contract of employment. I decided to do her and the rest of mankind a favour by smashing her looping machine. This shocked the pharmacist to such a point where she began to start hyper ventilating and lost all capacity to talk for one whole hour. She claims it was shock. later on when this woman calmed down – she recounted to me her bad experiences with handsome men. This woman even showed me a photo of her former Boyfriend who see mentioned looked like me. I simply told his woman, please go and burn the photo. Why are you still carrying this heavy stone in your handbag, please do not allow the ghost of the past to intrude into the present and future. As if you do that, all you’re doing is reliving hell again and again and since you will never be able to see the world as it is….it can only be a very scary place that can only make you suffer. Some more can ask latter was that my final answer…would I like to have more time to reconsider. Confirmed psycho case lah!

See my point. Hope so because I certainly can’t make it out from where I am standing.

On another occasion a man who was convinced that I was looking at his two metric ton internal beauty Wife came up to me and asked in an aggressive tone what are you staring at? Again I had to tell this man, please do not confuse me with disrespectful people who once caused you so much hurt and humiliation. And again this man was shaken out from his looping mind and soon he came to his senses and apologised profusely.

Recently during my replanting project I encountered a tractor driver who had a habit of borrowing money in advance. One day after finishing his shift, he asked whether I could advance him some money. Again I told this man – I know many people have taken advantage of you and you must suffered in the past. But you are dealing with a man who has the highest respect for the dignity of labor. So don’t borrow money from me, it is very insulting and besides it is not necessary. At the end of your work, you will be paid. Again this man was set straight as an arrow.

These are just a few illustrations of the looping mind and how it can stop people from living in the present and future.

I do not recommend that you go out into the world and tell strangers, ‘I don’t want to fuck you!’ That is a very direct approach that requires a lot of confidence and if not pulled off well it may lead to complications in the police station and perhaps even the IMH.

Nonetheless this something that must be thoroughly researched and studied.’

A very elaborate trap has been set by my business rivals just for me. The story goes something like this – it is a very beautiful piece of land that has great potential for all varieties of crops. There is only one problem and it is problem that is enough to cancel everything that is good about this land. The land cannot be defended.

That makes it completely useless as a business proposition. Neither is the land cheap either. It is very expensive it seems.

I have agreed to view this piece of land tomorrow with the broker and the landowner. I will just go thru the process. I will be very polite, but I plan to say absolutely nothing concerning my intentions…..not just yet.

However to lure them in…I will give them a hint that I may be interested…just a suggestion…nothing more or less.

The effect of this is likely to throw my enemies into a state of confusion. It would be like throwing a smoke grenade into their bunker. They will not be able to ascertain whether I have an intention to buy or not. It is this ambiguity that will drill holes into their heads and keep them wide awake into the night. This mood of uncertainty will be my weapon. At some point the curiosity will peak to such a point where they will require further clarification and the broker will call on me to try to find out more information.

The second stage of the strategy is to give the broker the run around. The strategy of delaying requires time to be transformed into a weapon. It is yet another level of psychological warfare. This can only have the effect of heightening the level of uncertainty further in the enemy camp. Many will be thrown not only into confusion. But they may even begin to doubt their plans. Some may not even be able to bear out the uncertainty patiently and it is likely they will argue amongst themselves or do something like eat themselves up like rats in a barrel.

I will keep them guessing till their brains smoke for months. Meanwhile absolutely nothing will come out from my side….not just yet. From time to time I will just stir the pot to give them enough hope that their plans may succeed after all.

It is this tension that will unsettle them and create a lot of restless energy.

At some point they will be forced to seek either a definitive yes or a no.

Again I will prolong the intrigue and stretch it out further by paying just the right amount of rope….if done right it can stretch well into the months possibly even to a full year. I will have to give them hope in the way one blows into embers just when it seems it’s about to die off…..but still nothing will ever come out….not just yet.

This strategy if executed skillfully will effectively tie down my business rivals to invest all their time, energy, brain juice and resources in protracted campaign. I will engineer a state of attrition that will require them to invest so much in this strategy that many in the enemy camp would feel that they have put too much to pull out.

This is when their judgement will be clouded. They will not be able to pull out. Meanwhile I will go the opposite direction like a submarine. I will run deep and silent and hunt elsewhere for land. Providing I can prolong the deal. They are unlikely to plan anything else.

I will be safe for at least another year.

I must be in top form tomorrow.

I must sleep well tonight, tomorrow will be show time.


‘If you find yourself walking into a trap. Never give the impression that you know you’ve just walked into a trap. Never. Instead behave like a deer that is walking around a trap and for some reason it doesn’t seem to go near the trip wire. When you do just this, the hunter will say to himself – it was so close yet so far. I must improve the trap. He will spent countless hours thinking how to improve his trap. He will not even sleep and even when he does he will wake up in the middle of the night just to improve his trap.

When the trap is presented again. This time go so very near to the trip wire that you even touch it and at the last minute pull back as if you have been distracted by something else. When you do just this. Again the bunter will smack his forehead and this time he will exclaim, ‘that was so bloody close! Can’t believe my eyes!’

Again he will work furiously to perfect his trap. This time he will not even sleep and soon he will be obsessing about his trap. He will sell even bow and arrow just to buy materials to improve his trap. He might even think of nothing else except this. And when you done this, you have stolen all his waking hours, but you have distracted him so thoroughly that he will not be able to put his mind to anything else….a his trap has now become your trap to trap him in an endless gyre of hopelessness.

In the ancient martial arts of Hon Kuen this strategy is written in Chapter 13 of the vermillion book entitled – Loh fu tieuh sang ‘tiger jumps over mountain’ – the chapter begins with the cryptic words, you have just walked into a bear trap….but do not be distressed. As if you follow my instructions carefully, you can turn this trap that is for you to your advantage and trap the trapper.

In statecraft if you are not familiar with this strategy – you will not be able to move deftly whenever you encounter roadblocks. Worse of all, you will not be invited to the party. You will have your terrex impounded. And you will be humiliated. It will be so devastating that everyone will think your country is absurdistan.

In business if you are not familiar with this strategy – you will not know how to lure your enemy into a war of attrition and sap his strength, resources and moral to your advantage. You will not know how to tie him down to the useless and hopeless and fruitless….so he can only be resourceful and vigorous to undermine you always. You will always be fighting without rest.

Study and research this strategy well…as in this world there are so many traps.’

Once you cultivate stillness in your thoughts. Your words and actions will still very naturally as well. The end result is a person of very few words. Preferring to remain quiet and only talking whenever it is necessary to do so should not be confused with lack of confidence. Rather it is a form of discipline.

Once you do this. You will find that people will naturally respect you and genuinely want to hear what you have to say whenever you speak.

Less is always more.


‘Stillness is not inaction. It is a dynamic state of mind where one is fully conscious of everything that is happening in and around you. Stillness is not nothingness either, it is something that is very powerful as it first requires one to set aside the ego that is so often the cause of restlessness and excitability.

When a man is completely still. It means he no longer feels the need to prove himself to others any longer. Neither is he particularly bothered about what you think about him either. This does not mean he is indifferent or a slouch. It just means he has successfully discarded childish pursuits that only nourish his ego. When a man is still, it demonstrates that he no longer feels the need to jostle for pole position or to even try to make an impression.

One simply is. One simply becomes. There is a finality to this that can only come from a still mind.

Practice stillness of thought, speech and action.

Do this moment by moment.

You will see great changes beginning to happen in your life….in a very short time.’

Restoring manly good looks

September 22, 2017

A month back ago. I looked like a very well done satay stick. As since I had to be out in the open for twelve hours straight a day. I was completely sun burnt beyond all recognition.

Since then I have managed to successfully reverse back the effects of premature ageing by using cosmetic cream.

I was recommended this cream by an eighty year old lady who taps rubber in the plantation. This woman claims to have been a great beauty in her day on account of this brand of face cream. I guess looking at her now, she probably was providing one uses a lot of imagination and if possible have access to time travel.

Anyways I tried it and by all accounts it seems to have been a positive experience.

This face cream is very reasonably priced. Maybe about S$4. But try not to use it in enclosed areas like a car that has a problems with the air conditioner, as the driver and everyone else may experience unexpected fainting spells. Try to wind down the window of the car and talk really loud to ensure everyone is wide awake and alert, especially the driver to avoid complications.

It can also be used as a very effective derusting agent. I applied a dollop on my commando knife and it is shiny and bright like head lamps. Can also be used for mild scratches in the field and ward off pesky insects.



Neve be afraid to say I dunno

September 22, 2017

Someone wrote to me and accused me of dispensing bad life advice. This person even went on to add he has absolutely no idea why so many head of states and CEO’s would ever bother to read what I write regularly. Apparently this person claims to have spy ware that allows him to scan the whereabouts and identity of my readers (I will consider lodging a report with the FBI). This person went on to insist that I suffer from serious gaps in my knowledge. This charming person even went on to point out that the post just before this adviced people to run or avoid difficult situation….when the real solution would be to advise them to confront a problem head on.

I told this person. On record I have never once claimed to have all the answers. You want someone who knows all the answers, please go to Joseph Singh of new creation con job church, he even has all the answers what to do with your HDB and savings. Alternatively you can try kong Hee China wine distillery Pte ltd at Changi prison. Both these con men can answer all your questions and prayers admirably. They even have a private line to the big boss upstairs. As for straw hat farmer me. There are so many things I still do not know of. Neither do I know the enduring mysteries of life either. I have never on record ever claimed to know of everything. Never. In other words I only know what I know and that which I don’t – I have never been afraid to admit that I dunno.

There are many occasions when some of my very wealthy and influential readers have asked me to share my life philosophies in a public forum. They have even offered to pay me many many times. On every single occasion I have declined these offers citing only one reason…..there are still many many things I do not know of and I feel too incomplete to share my life philosophies in such a public manner. I just want to be left alone.

One should never be emotionally insecure or feel inadequate not knowing. As that is really how the world is.

Not knowing is not weakness or ignorance it is a supreme strength that takes years to cultivate.


‘I don’t have any hang up’s about admitting to others that I dunno. None whatsoever. Infact if you happen to be a regular reader of my blog. You will realise this is the case with me. Take for instance my recent advice about taking steps to avoid things, people and situations that bring out the worse in you.

Why didn’t I recommend that you should bear out patiently people who like nothing better than to bring out the worse in you. Well the simple answer is why should you or I do that?

Why? After do you have 1 million hours in your day? Do you happen to have 200 billion extra brain cells that you want to put to good use?


You want? Go ahead. Who is stoping you?

As for you me. Please understand I am an autistic person who is trying very hard to live a normal life. But the awful truth is some evil people will always use my weaknesses to their advantage. If we live in a perfect world where everyone is well read, considerate and kind that would never happen and perhaps I would engage rather than run away. But such a world does not exist unfortunately.

As in real life encounters there are bound to be no shortage of assholes who don’t need a reason, not even a good one just to hate, disrespect or rub you the wrong way. That just happens to be a fact of life. If it’s not you. They will target someone else next in line. Because deep down they are very unhappy with how their lives have turned out. They are suffering and they want every e else to be part of their emotional landscape. So whenever they see others who are happy and doing better than them. They feel vengeful and short changed by fate and providence. So they have to nit pick and victimise and put down others just feel that much better about their average miserable poor excuse for an existence that they pass off as their life.

What I have just mentioned is the dynamic of many dysfunction people who I have come across. And my response is avoid toxic people like a shit bomb! This advice will ever NEVER CHANGE! Even if I have all the patience and wisdom in the world…I still will run as fast as my legs can carry me!

This should prompt you to ask – why should you go around trying to resolve the deep seated psychosis of others? Who gave you that right to interfere with the lives of others? Is there even enough of you to do all that? Could you by any chance be a reincarnation of Mother Teresa? Even Mother Teresa was conscious of her limits.

That is why in life. Try to control only what you can….YOURSELF…don’t be a busy body and stick your nose into things that are none of your business…just tend to what is yours and take good care of that and that is all you can ever hope to do in your life. Anyone who tells you different is con man.

Infact it is the height of arrogance and the clearest demonstration of ignorance to believe that you can control every situation including what others may think and how they might even act….to do all that is to assume you know everything under the sun…and that always the recipe for disaster and suffering.’

Today a man told me he had a bad temper and he doesn’t know how to get on top of the problem.

I told this man, why do you want to get on top of the problem, if you can avoid it completely.

I went on to tell this man – trying to control your temper is a very advance skill.

Why don’t you start by first being mindful of situations that are likely to bring out the worst in you.

Do that first and the rest will fall into place.


‘There are many times when I am in the company of other businessmen and a person who I can’t seem to get along with suddenly joins in. In that sort of situation since it is well known to all that I have renounced all forms of evil. I will usually politely make some excuse that I need to attend to some urgent business and promptly take my leave.

To my understanding there is no shame whatsoever in avoiding a potentially explosive situation. Some may say I am not man enough to confront the problem head on that is why I have to slink away like a rat. They are probably right. But they are probably talking while wearing their ten feet tall ego hats as well. After all why should I confront a problem if I can side step it. Isn’t that a more efficient and effective way to use my brain, time and energy. After all it takes a lot of resources to confront problematic people. You could just as well direct that sort of concerntrated energy elsewhere to either build another Great Wall of China or invent an engine that runs on tap water. Why not just avoid them?

Being just conscious of your trigger points by being mindful of things, situations and people that may bring out the worst in you is like switching on the light in a very dark room. When we speak about anger management without FIRST practicing mindfulness to the things, people and situations that may bring out the worst in you, it is not so different from the man who ask just after turning on the light – what should we do with darkness now that there is light? Where should we put this darkness now that this room is lighted?

Do you now see the error in thinking? There is nothing to get on top of…nothing whatsoever to control….the room is lighted and darkness does not exist any longer. So what problem is there.

In the same way when one talks about anger management, the first question is not how to control your anger. Because that is a highly advanced skill that takes years of dedicated practice. Rather it is this and only this – do you know what are the things, people and situations that usually bring out the worst in you? Have you identified these triggers? For example I can’t take sugar – it gives me the shakes and drives me crazy. Have you done everything in your power to avoid these dark things, people and situations?

If you have not then it is pointless to talk about anger management. Because even if you want to get on top of your anger…you would have to FIRST do all these basics so very well.

After all once the room is lighted. What is the point of asking what shall we do with darkness? Where should we put it now? In the same way once you have successfully side stepped all the people, things and situations that usually bring out the worse in you….what is the need to talk about anger management? Isn’t that one of many intelligent ways to manage your anger?’

This morning just after another epic all nighter rain….4 inches of rain! I took both Jaswan and Shadow out for a walk around my plantation.

This is the maiden outing for the puppies. As expected they were very nervous. Dogs perceive only a fraction of the known world with their eyes. A big slice of their perception comes from their keen sense of smell.

This outing overwhelmed them slightly. They seemed scared and kept very close to me. This is how one trains plantation dogs to keep close to their masters.

Steam sea bass

September 20, 2017

I think steam fish is the most difficult dish to cook well. Only because one has to keep to a few rules religiously.

First one has to make sure the fish stands till it’s at room temperature before it is steamed. If it comes right out of the fridge without adequate standing time, it’s no good.

Secondly, one must resist all temptations to add anything to the fish except garnish with scallions and corriander leafs. Fresh fish by itself is flavourful. Keeping it as true and original is key to taste.

I like to make incisions along the topside of the lenght of the fish and stuff it all in. Maybe two of red red chilies just to give it some heat.

Less is more.

Preheat the wok, lid and plate by empty boiling for a few minutes. Don’t fill the wok with too much water – you want the steam to convect to circulate freely and if there is too much water it can’t do that.

Make sure the lid is tight, but not so tight that it’s like a pressure cooker that nothing escapes. I like to use a damp cloth around the rim of the steamer.

Fish should be steamed for just eight minutes and no more. The way to do this is to use toothpicks to hold gills, underbelly and dorsal cuts wide open to allow steam to circulate. I prefer to steam my fish as if it’s swimming. Don’t like it to be sleeping to oneside. As it cooks unevenly that way.

Prepare a bowl with four tablespoons of water and equal parts of superior soya sauce, one tablespoon of sesame oil, sprinkle of white pepper and a rounded teaspoon of sugar. This should be heated in the wok and brought to a boil.

Transfer the fish to a fresh plate and throw out the steamed liquid as it has a fishy taste. You want your fish be taste clean and fresh. Pour boiled liquid over fish.

Reheat the wok again and add oil when it’s hot fry chopped garlic till its golden brown, then pour this over the lenght of the fish just before it is served. I like my fish with a bit of brandy.


September 20, 2017

Early this morning while walking my lands. I came across two thin monkeys sitting on the wire between an obsese monkey, they made the number 101. Shortly after that one of my harvesters handed me the tonnage for yesterday’s yield, 10.1 tons. At mid day it rained, checked the level of precipitation…10.1 millimetres of rain. On the long walk back to the plantation house I came across two men haggling over the number of banana trees delivered. The tall one insisted it was 127. The other mentioned some other number I can’t seem to recall. But I remember just before I passed beyond earshot…the number 101 was mentioned. During lunch read an article on the internet about George Orwell. Again 101 came out again this time it was mentioned as a scary number of a room. Took an afternoon nap that lasted about 101 minutes. Phoned up the vendor that is supposed to deliver the new seedlings and was told there would be a shortfall of 80 trees. Later on the figure changed and if one adds it to the figure earlier in the day it all comes up to 101. Passed a land for sale, asked owner how much. He mentioned 120. But his better half gave me a look of hesitation and mentioned for you….101 only. Left a coffee mug on the only table in my room. When I lifted it up, it formed the number 0 with a stain between the fork and spoon and all read 101.

Now this number is stuck like superglue in my head. I see it everywhere. What the hell does it mean?


‘If you ask the question – why do bad things happen to good people? Then you will probably see your life unfolding in terms of good and bad, happy and sad, light and darkness. But we all know life isn’t any where as dogmatic and clear cut as that, that’s to say nothing is truly ever bad even if it seems that way. Neither is good always good either. A man forgets his passport just when he’s about to check it. Maybe he losted it somewhere between house and airport. Whatever. He misses his flight. He kicks himself as it’s an important conference that can either make or break his fledging career. Later on he finds out that plane he was supposed to board crashed and burnt with no survivors.

Do you see how chimeric the distinction between good and bad really is? I guess what I am trying to say is life shouldn’t be experienced in terms of what has the capacity to make us happy or sad only. Instead it should be regarded philosophically as an unfolding series of events which all have to come together to produce the final outcome. Take the case of my first plot of land when I first dived into commercial farming – it’s hardly ideal land for oil palm. Too hilly. Water too high. Bone dry during the dry season and a veritable hazard during the rainy season with plenty of landslides to boot.

But one eventually learns to see and even appreciate things that no one ever does when trying to make the best out of a lousy situation. I am for example a subject matter expert on drainage. I can open vast tracks of land and even plan the drainage right down to exactly calculate how many feet the water will rise or fall under a given set of conditions. Can even roll dirt between my index finger and thumb and bring it to my nose and tell you precisely give or take a couple of millimetres whether your land would be inundated with water or dry under this or that conditions. Have even experimented with drains that are so big. You can even fit a double bus without too much trouble into them. That’s because I cut my teeth farming on hilly land that everyone once said was impossible to grow anything on.

I am very sensitive to light and shadows. I am acutely sensitive to the imperceptible arch of the sun during the course of a day. I can walk into a room and tell you that at this time. The sun will flood or recede in. The temperature will rise and fall etc. A thousand fractional minutiae on everything there is to know about how the sun archs indolently during its rise and fall. Again such knowledge can only be acquired by farmers who are accustomed to growing in high peaks and deep valleys.

It’s all about making the bad less bad and shaping the good to be better than good I guess. That at least is how I’ve always seen the unfolding process of life.

Recently. I brought down trees and cleared vast tracts of land to replant more trees. Many people didn’t understand. How could they. It was done expertly. Professionally like one of those mafia hit man who always seems to find the mark. Truth is it was a stroll in the park. Never once broke out in cold sweat. Not even when I had only the sliver of a narrow passage of only 23 dry days. Closed it up so nice with even a handsome bow.

Many people can’t seem to understand. All they see is a very experienced planter who knows his stuff so well. You best not talk nonsense in his presence. He’s cool as ice.

Yes I don’t imagine they will ever see a man who once struggled with so very little to make ends meet. No. I don’t suppose they can ever make out the man who once shivered like a rabbit, as he nurtures whatever courage he can muster to make the best of whatever little has been dished out to him by fate and providence – all they really see is the great planter.

Take my advice. Never take a set back so hard that you even look up pleadingly to the heavens and ask why? Suck it all in. Make the best of it. Even if you have to walk all alone and everyone laughs at you. Even if it’s heavy, carry it and smile. Because one day, it will come full circle. One day it will all add right up and the magic numbers will just line nicely. You see it is very simple – you can’t have the good times without the bad. It’s really one of the same reality. As without it, you wouldn’t really be where you are today.

Nothing can break you. You are so bullet proof. Breathe……

Planting the new trees

September 18, 2017

We will start very soon….today the final plough commenced. Conditions are adjudged to be so-so only. As the soil is very damp due to the arrival of the rainy season and this makes it very difficult for the plough disc to slice into the earth cleanly. Work will be slow. But it will have to do. As this is as good as it will ever get from this point onwards. Weather conditions will get considerably wetter as the weeks go by.

There has to a period of fallow between the first and second plough. After this the positions for the new seedlings will have to be marked out. Thereafter planting will begin.


‘I have a lot of hope that it will go well. There are many times when I say to myself – maybe you should keep your hopes small. After all it may not turn out well. Then I remind myself that I should trust my hopes rather than my fears.

After all to the very best of my knowledge. I have done everything to the very best of what I can humanly do. Even now when I reflect back on what was done. There is nothing that I would have done differently. Not long ago we had a round of very big rains – from what I could tell the trenches I dug performed very well. There was nothing that I didn’t foresee.

So why am I filled with fear and trepidation in the last leg of this project. I don’t understand. The hardest part is over and done with. I’ve even managed to do the impossible by clearing the land well before the onset of the rainy season with two whole weeks to spare. I’ve taken on something that is so big that most men would easily suffer a nervous breakdown just trying to wrap their heads round it. I’ve even looked directly into the sum of all my fears and seen it right to the very end without so much as flinching once. While others are caught in quicksand as they have miss timed their replanting. Those sods are in trouble….but I am in the clear….so what accounts for my lingering sense of foreboding.

Maybe it’s just my nature to worry even when there is no real reason to worry. Perhaps worrying has become a way of life for me that even should things go my way….there is still a part of me that cannot seem to quite accept things as they are, especially if goes well and even allow myself to be happy.

I do wonder have I reached a point in my life when I can no longer even bask in sweet repose and happiness should things go my way?

I should at least try to remain hopeful that everything will work out fine….as our problem is not so much that conditions doesn’t give us what we hope for, as it is that we don’t know the right thing for which to hope.

Maybe that is the problem.

To hope that things will go well and fine is the only thing one should ever hope for.’

Impending trade war

September 18, 2017

I do not want to get involved in politics. But it seems I cannot sit on the fence either. Lately many of the landowners have begun to form up into cartels. This is understandable as there is definitely safety in numbers. The problem with that arrangement is one has very little say and usually membership is predicated on agreeing to tow the line in the name of the common good – that would be OK with me, if the good is common enough to benefit everyone. The problem as I see it is, it benefits only a select few.

So I have decided to stand alone. This would naturally make me a target. As I am a pocket battleship. But I try my very best to keep a very low and stay beneath the sweep of the radar.

Hopefully they will leave me alone.

Never marinate a fish with salt or anything remotely salty like soya sauce or sour plum…if you plan to steam it. If you do this, the flesh of the fish will never be tender and sweet…not even if it is the freshest fish in the whole seven seas….it will taste only so-so.

So don’t ruin it!

Instead only add salt just before it is served.


‘If you want the masses to take to a president with love and respect. Then you would do well to provision them such a thing as a choice. It would appear this is political strategy. But it’s origins are much more humble. As this is a kitchen trick that I once gathered from a Hong Kong Sifu Chef.

It is like the art of serving a very rare and expensive steamed fish.

The secret to a satisfying steamed fish that never fails to delight, is not in the preparation. Rather it is at the final moment when the fish is served.

In a five star Chinese restaurant where 1,000 gastronomical pleasures and delights are usually served.

At that very moment, the Chef will appear with a tray bearing what he claims to be the finest vintaged aged soya sauce brewed. This will be presented to the person who usually sits at the head of the table. The Chef will feign distress and insist that he doesn’t know how much salt he should add. Instead he seeks the wisdom of the person who sits at the head of the table to help him with this predicament of completing this masterpiece. The latter looks at the Chef sympathetically, then he turns to the other diners on the table and obliges with confidence.

Thereafter the first serving of freshest cut is tasted by the man who everyone presumes to have poured just the right amount of soya sauce and since this person nods his head with satisfaction.

Everyone can only tuck earnestly into the freshest and sweetest steamed fish in the world. Everyone is very happy. They must be.

What is seldom ever revealed in this diorama of kitchen Chinese opera is the soya sauce is really just darkened Chinese tea.

So you see, nothing resembling a choice was ever given. The correct measurement of salt had already been added. Rather it is the illusion of choice that was presented and that by itself has all the power to transform something quite mundane into something quite delectable and heavenly and memorable.

The moral of story: Every politician should work in a Chinese restaurant. Relax. I am just kidding. Rather it is this – never take the right of choice away arbitrarily from others. Never even if you have the power. If you do so – they will hold it again you. I tell you…it will not go down well.

Always give the masses the illusion that they have such a thing as a choice.

Now that I shared with you this story. You decide for yourself whether this is the wisest of all approaches…you see I have given you the final say. A choice that is. Or maybe it’s just a trick.

N.B: if you are a girl and you are serving your boyfriend’s parents a get to know me for the first time meal. Do consider steam fish in your menu. Use this strategy, it is known as the strategy of the fish that doesn’t know how salty it should be. If you follow my advice felicity, happiness and harmony between you and your in laws will follow thru out all your life. They will love you to bits.

If you are a taxi driver also pls consider using this strategy. If a customer steps into your cab and says he wants to go here and there. Don’t just step on the pedal and zoom off as if you have the whole Singapore road map in your head like a human GPS. Instead ask them which route would they prefer to take. You will find that at the end of the ride. They will be very satisfied and happy with you.

Q: How do you see the current Sino Singapore relationship? Do you see any way where the relationship can be taken to a whole new level from what it is today?

A: I think the current Sino Singapore relationship hardly requires much elaboration. As for your supplementary question. Yes, I think the relationship can and should be taken to a whole new level. It is surprising that it isn’t.

Q: What specifics do you see in Sino singapore collaborative efforts that may enhance trust?

A: China needs Singapore. She may not realise it presently. But my feel is when the various components of OBOR begin to take shape. China would need to scale accurately the risk and opportunities. To my understanding the political, economic, social and cultural attributes in South east Asia is likely to be dynamic and complex in the next ten to twenty years. Given that to be the case China should collaborate with Singapore to beacon out the murk so that she is able to position herself to win against this ever changing backdrop.

Q: Can’t the Chinese replicate these skill sets that you see Singapore playing a key role in?

A: It is very a very well publicised fact that is widely available in the public domain that one of the key weaknesses of the Chinese bureaucratic decision making process when it comes to foreign investments is that it seems to suffer from a chronic lack of not only accurate and timely economic intelligence inputs, but also complimentary information that may help China make better decisions.

This is very clearly seen in China’s foray in the African continent. Especially in many of their investments in East Africa. The Chinese there are often perceived by the natives to be arrogant, insensitive and in some cases downright callous.

Now if you ask me why that sort of negative perception continues to persist despite China being the No.1 foreign investor in the African continent. Then I say a lot of it has to do with an acute failure of imagination on the part of the Chinese to gather information at grass root level and most importantly translate that data base into something that they can use to plan better.

Q: But what is so complex about South East Asia?

A: Well that was exactly what George Bush junior and the CIA once quipped about Iraq – they invaded a country under the broad assumption that Arabs are essentially one monolithic homogeneous mass of humanity who essentially gravitate roughly towards the same hopes and aspirations. The problem with that sort of broad base generalised approach where one may conveniently lump whole groups of people into neat umbrella labels is while it may certainly facilitate decision making – it is usually a recipe for disaster as well, simply because all too often the devil resides in the details.

As I mentioned it is very very complex and the cost of getting it wrong can often be disastrous.

Q: It is interesting that you brought up the case study of the US invasion of Iraq as a case study to highlight what can and may go wrong if the Chinese planners get it wrong. But how does this correlate with the role that you see Singapore playing to enhance China’s decision making process?

A: I didn’t bring up Iraq because it is interesting. Let us be clear! It’s application is instructive. Because in the US Iraqi experience so many basic assumptions were wrong. We are not just talking about one or two isolated cases, but it was a series of botched up jobs that really snow balled into an epic catastrophic failure.

The causal factors for this series of errors was not only bad intelligence gathering that bordered on criminal negligence. But the inability to make sense of data that was in part due to lack of preparation and complacency which did not allow the US to carve a strategic advantage in Iraq.

Some of them are so glaring as to beggar the imagination.

For example Bush proclaimed, all Arabs yearn for democracy, but what he and his security Advisors did not reckon on was the vast majority of Arabs in Iraq don’t want the American variant of democracy. Their version of democracy just happens to be an Iranian Sunni inspired theocracy which incidentally just happens to be the root cause why peace is so elusive in the Middle East.

As I said, it’s very complex. And the same level of complexity features in South East Asia as well.

People who believe otherwise. Simply don’t know how jugular and pivotal good and timely intelligence is and most importantly the means to crunch it all up to make sense of it.

As I said, it’s very complex.

Q: So you feel China should collaborate with Singapore in the field of intelligence gathering and analysis. But isn’t this suggested position that you have recommended diametrically against Singapore’s long standing alliance with the US?

A: Look I will be very honest with you and speak plainly. There is no such thing as friends forever in realpolitik, only eternal self interest. So to my understanding there can’t be a Singapore US alliance just for the sake of alliance. Fundamentally that sort of arrangement has to be cemented with the real or expected prospects of mutual benefit. The way I see it – the US under Trump is going to remain schizophrenic for a very long time to come. As I don’t seem to be able to make out the thoughtful folk in Capitol Hill nor Washington winning the day.

But what I do know for a fact is many components of OBOR both the land and maritime chapters require smart people who are not farmers to scale the threats and opportunities accurately, navigate thru the social and political and cultural attributes to bring into fruition – these things are very real they are not theoretical and they exist presently in this time line even as this blog entry is published. So I believe there is a lot of scope for Chinese and Singapore collaborative efforts.

Q: Why do you feel the Chinese lack intelligence and data analysis skill sets. Can’t these skills be replicated. Why rely on Singapore? Why not the Thais, Malaysians or for that matter then consulate services?

A: The historicism of many south East Asian countries and cultures are not transparent and they are seldom discussed openly, that’s simply a function of a tacit understanding of detente in my considered opinion. Having said that the challenges are very real from the risk management standpoint. Sectarianism. Arabification. The rise of Islamic radicalism, race politics these are just a few areas where one cannot just go to a book shop and buy material and read about it.

There exist significant gaps in the knowledge chain that Singapore is not only familiar with, but it also allows her to act as a valued advisor or cousenlleri. As the subject matter is not only divisive, but it is also incendiary as well, but that doesn’t mean those forces are not operative. They are.

For example whole blocks of history have been gutted out of the compendium of what we regard today as South East Asian history. If you go around Orchard road and ask even Singaporeans whether they know that Indonesian commandoes were once sent by Sukarno to destabilise Singapore and Bornoe. Few will know. Less will know about May 13 in 1965 as well.

So it is complicated.

But let’s be real here, these subject are discussed in considerable detailed behind closed doors. They have to be. Because if you’re going to sink a couple of billion into a port or to lay tracks. That’s hardly loose change. Serious calculations have to be made. Risk assessment is part and parcel of the process that cannot be elided. That much I am certain. So don’t for one moment think just because you are born in Singapore and Singapore is a member of ASEAN and you have lived all your life in South East Asia – you know it all!

That’s like saying just because you live in a cave. You’re automatically a geologist.

I have absolutely no illusions as to the trajectory of where South East Asia is heading in the next ten to twenty years – it will be very shifty and to win. You need not only good intelligence, but also subject matter experts who are able to crunch the data to make sense of it all. Without this component China cannot succeed in OBOR.

Truth is it makes far more sense for China to work closely with Singapore to harvest many of the opportunities that OBOR hopes to generate.

Q: Recently a senior academic from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), Professor Huang Jing, was identified as “an agent of influence of a foreign country.” According to the MHA.

“He knowingly interacted with intelligence organisations and agents of the foreign country, and cooperated with them to influence the Singapore Government’s foreign policy and public opinion in Singapore,”

What are your view concerning this development. Do you see this as a positive or negative development and how will it affect collaborative efforts between China and Singapore?

A: I do not know what is an agent of influence. This is the first time in my life I have come across this term. I know what an Insurance agent is. I even happen to know what a Tupperware agent does. So this is a very strange term. Besides the academics in the LKY school are not farmers. So how suspectible are they to being influenced. If they are a bunch of farmers all I have to do is time what I have to say with the appearance of the solar eclipse and I am sure that will be enough to hypnotize them on what I have to say. But these are very thoughtful folk who read broadly and they also happen to have the incomparable breadth of experiential knowledge and intellectual capital to synthesize new knowledge concerning their world view. So to me this is a very bizarre allegation. I will leave it at that as I will not comment further.

On how this will affect relations between China and Singapore. I don’t think it’s helpful at all. Because all this would do is discourage all future meaningful collaborative efforts between China and Singapore at an intellectual level. Worst of all this move will likely create a mindless McCarthy like biase against anyone who even remotely suggest it is a good idea that China and Singapore should work together.

So I think it is definitely a very unfortunate set back. At a time when relations seem to be so bad between China and Singapore. I would have thought this is one area where we could at least sow the seeds of common ground and build trust. But that does not seem to be case.

In the very beginning when you stay all by yourself deep in the wild. You will blame everyone and everything that seems to go wrong with your life. That is only natural as the world inculcates the idea – one MUST always look out side the self to be happy and contented. By the same vein of logic – if we are sad and the opposite of happy, we will also be convinced it can only be due to events conspiring against us in the external world.

Hence modern man is programmed to always respond to external stimuli and to always search outside his self to answer many of life’ s questions.

This I believe to be the root of modern man’s source of suffering.

But I digress. Coming back to the point of staying alone…eventually somewhere around the third or maybe fourth year when solitude itself permeates one’s soul in the way a jerkin sits for years in a jar of vinegar – one can only come to realise the futility of blaming others for one’s own unhappiness along with coming to terms with the finality of how it all boils down to only you and no one else.

It has really been that way all along.

One can only begin to turn inwards into the mysterious self and search for answers there.

You see one is really so cut off from everything in the world…that there is really just you and no one else.


How do you control your ego?

September 15, 2017

The short answer is you cannot. How do you stop a baby from blabbering? You cannot. How do you stop a siaow charbor from insisting you have untoward carnal designs on her. Again in my experience it is impossible to stop her.

The ego is a self contained thinking entity – it cannot be controlled. As it has a mind of its own. That is why all books that attempt to rein it in is in my humble opinion nonsensical.

The only thing that one can really do to exercise some form of control over the ego is just to be conscious of it.

Consciousness is presence. Presence is mindfulness. When one is conscious of the ego….then and only then can the ego be silenced.

Without knowledge. There can be no power over the self.


‘Some time back ago. A taxi driver who regularly reads my blog stopped me on the street and told me, ‘I keep crashing my rental! Please help me! I don’t know what to do? Please help me!’ This man exclaimed. I merely asked of him – ‘who is driving your taxi?’ The man looked confused and replied, ‘me!’ that was when I asked him, ‘which one of you was driving when you crashed?’ Again he looked confused. When we parted company this man even cursed me. I merely told him in a calm voice – please replay this conversation at least one thousand times. I went to add, there is a moral here.

Many months later this same taxi driver came to me told me in a very happy tone, he had not had a single car accident since our last conversation. As he is truly the one driving the taxi now.

On another occasion. A man who is always rude and sarcastic to me in the bank – asked me why don’t I seem to ever get angry at him….don’t you have any pride as a man…he added. I simply told him – it is not the real you who is saying all these things….it is someone else…so how can I get angry with you?

The man looked confused and thought I was trying to insult me. He even tried to pick a fight with me. That was when I asked him to follow me to a corner faraway from the CCTV. This man was so frustrated. He got angry and I even had to subdue him with a judo throw. After that I apologised and asked him whether he was hurt. When he recovered, he commented – you are a very strange man.

Before we parted. I told this man please reflect on what I have shared with you today. As I don’t want to give people who I hardly know judo throws all the time. It is bad for my back. Please reflect at least a thousand times on our strange conversation.

Some weeks after the incident the man came to me and apologised and told me, I know who I am now. I so sorry. Will you forgive me?

And most recently a businessman who wanted to cheat me asked why I did not seem interested in his deal. Again I told this man, it is not you who is making all these ridicolous proposals to me. Once the real you comes out, please let me know – I will certainly study your proposal seriously, but if it from that other person then I am so sorry I have no time…..I went on to add. Besides murder is a capital offence and I have no intentions of spending time in jail ….please reflect on what I have shared with you at least a thousand times…..again some weeks passed eventually this fellow apologised to me and told me in a tone of utter humility and shame. I am sorry to have insulted you. I have not been myself lately. I do not even know what came over me….rest assured I am the person who I am sure you want to do business with now.

I simply told this man. It’s ok. The important thing is you have returned.’