Eight years ago. I paid about S$1,000 to attend a day course on how to reset a off set gear on a 4×4. I knew something was odd as all the participants in the course were attired in hard core survivalist cum prepper camouflage. At the end of the course the trainer even admitted the chances of a modern 4X4 encountering this technical problem was 1/2,000,000 as modern innovation and improvements had rendered this problem obselete…..I remember feeling cheated followed by a sharp desire to strangle the trainer.

Three hours ago. I encountered such a problem. Deep in the wild. I did not panic. As I knew exactly what to do and managed to limp back to the safe house.

Life & Stress

February 19, 2018

It is true. I certainly cannot control the people and events that will generate stressful conditions……that I have absolutely no power or control over.

But. I have full mastery over myself. That means I can control my responses and how I may or may not react to a stressful situation….I think that is all I can do.

It is very foolish and unrealistic to expect more than simply this.

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‘Journeying deep into your being will always seem as if you are closing your doors to the world and retreating from it….but that is not true. What is actually an act of closing your doors to the world is when you choose to be part of a lie, that is to say….you choose with full knowledge aforesaid to collaborate to make that lie a reality in your life.

Many people do this. Some even do it on a regular basis every week where they get together with other liars and begin manufacturing their version of reality.

Sure it makes them all feel good…but it is a lie and there are all no closer to knowing who they truly are.’

Stress & Life

February 19, 2018

Many people have asked of me – why is it some souls retreat into the forest and wilderness far removed from the crowd and noise? Are they trying to avoid all forms of stress so as not to suffer?

The answer to that question is very simple. Retreating from the world is not the same as rejecting the world….if a man does all these things, it is only motivated to discover who he truly is so that he can be best prepared to deal with everything life throws at him….as I mentioned…retreating from the world is not the same as rejecting everything that is of this world.

If it is anything at all – it is merely a means for one find oneself in the world so as to get along with it as best one humanly can.

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‘If you want to avoid stress in Singapore, it is very simple. All you have to do is go for Sunday service in either new creation or city harvest or any other prosperity church that is run by a bent pastor. What he will do is perform magic tricks such as make your POSB account lose a few zeros and after that you feel so very light….you will also feel very airy as well. As by the time these con artist have finished with you…all you will have is your underwear and pagoda undershirt.

Alternatively you can go to one of those relaxation holidays where they give you ten massages a day and where everyone is so nice and polite and every room is lit with incense sticks and bath in soft candle lights….but again that is not reality as no where in life will you ever find that sort of life holding itself as gainfully real.

Truth is there is no way to avoid stress in life. Because life is by its very nature stressful. We all go thru our fair human measure of stress…some have it better than others, but by and large we can all agree without too much difficulty to be gainfully part of the human condition, one has to first accept that life is intrinsically and elementally stressful.

But just because we know life is stressful…just because we know that on the scale of probabilities we are all likely to experienced the passing of a loved one, health issues, financial setbacks, upheavals in both our professional and personal life etc etc that doesn’t mean that we have been put here on this planet to nourish human suffering. Rather it simply means when we know who we genuinely are deep down…it makes it much easier for us to deal calmly and wisely with a stressful situation.

If you observe very effective people carefully….you will find that they are very calm and collected when everyone else is running around like headless chickens…..and this is where you must press the pause button and ask of yourself.

Is this the sort of person who believes that to life a purpose driven life one must avoid stress?

You will find that when you ask of yourself this question…it is suddenly such a stupid question and that is really the answer you have been searching for.’

Very nice…

February 17, 2018

I didn’t expect to get a call last night…but I did. It was a very nice one. As I really didnt expect it.

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Three years ago…

I’ve seen you before…in Africa. Yes in Uganda. Kampala. You’re a planter.

No. I am so sorry…you must have mistaken me for someone else. You really must*.

* I happen to be one of those who believe that you can’t run from your past. That’s not possible. You know…there times when a car blows it’s exhaust and it sounds like a rent of gun shot. You duck…you get so low that you’re a part of the pavement…then slowly…very slowly. You realise everyone is looking at you and wondering why you did that.. you feel embarraswd. You brush yourself off the best you can, smile sheepishly and walk away. But deep down you know. You can never run away from the man who you used to be…you see the past will always be part of you.

I listened to this audio documentary during an actual blackout by candlelight…it was very enjoyable. Although I don’t understand what the fuss is all about. As I experience blackout’s and power disruptions on a regular basis.

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‘New York had a blackout in 1965. At that time there was no panic, fear or for that matter pandemonium in the streets unlike what transpired in 1977. So what we have here essentially is a story about how things deteriorate and change not for the better, but for the worse…above all it is a story of how governments can fail and how imagined fears can sharpen in unexpected darkness bringing out the very worst and best in mankind.

I listened to this video in candlelight during a blackout in the evening…I listen a lot to radio dramas and documentaries.

How to lead a large breed dog

February 16, 2018

The first rule of thumb is SAFETY FIRST!

(1) In my considered personal opinion ALL large breed dogs should be muzzled in public. The reason is very simple, these are not casual pets. They are weapon systems just like a battering ram or semi automatic. They will ALWAYS be dangerous if you do not know what they are capable of and disrespect them by taking them lightly.

(2) fail safe. Always make sure you are doubled tied. This way your dog can never run loose. In this case I have a special Anchor Point on my belt that allows a carabiner to be looped and secured ensuring that my dog is always tied to me even should I need my two hands to do other things.

(3) always use a brake, that means the lead should always run across your buttocks. This way should your dog bolt suddenly without warning you will still be able to control your dog without losing either your balance or footing. As this ensures the dog is always belayed and counter weighted. This is a very common mistake that most dog owners do not seem to practice, from what I have observed they simply hold on to the lead without bothering to secure it to a second Anchor Point. This can easily slip off or cause them to loose control.

In Singapore lagi champion…it is not unusual to see children taking large breeds such as rotweillers and German shepherds out for walks without any adult supervision. Sometimes Filipino maids do the same. As their owners are irresponsible, lazy and stupid.

I WANT TO ISSUE A WARNING. IF I SEE THIS IN SINGAPORE. I WILL HYPNOTISE THE DOG AND YOU WILL NEVER SEE IT AGAIN!

(4) always carry a stick. This is a last resort measure should you need to forcefully restraint your pet.

Note of warning: do not allow strangers to either approach or touch your dog. Inform them politely but assertively….I would appreciate it if you keep your distance to ensure your body parts are not damaged.’ Do not be afraid to be rude. As it is better to be rude than to end up in an expensive law suit or to spend half a day in the cop shop.

Where or when

February 13, 2018

The only thing that seems to certain in this world is that there is going to be more uncertainty. Against this ever changing backdrop, it may not be a good idea to put all the chips on one man….not even a very good man…that idea would only make sense if the political, economic, social and cultural environment is predictable and can be relied on to make sense. The problem is these days events seem to be cascading in dramatic shifts which are frequently unpredictable and even so wild that it defies all attempts at prediction.

The idea of leadership in Singapore cannot possibly remain the same when so many things are up in the air.

When one has every reason to advance and seize ground. But suddenly one stops does a u turn and suddenly shows no further interest in either advancing or seizing more lands…..this can only cause your enemy to speculate no end on the why’s…..given more time this prevailing mood of speculation will be transformed into a thick fog of uncertainty. Uncertainly leads to confusion that can only dissolve the resolve and surefootedness of your enemy …..when the level of confusion is at the highest…turn around rapidly without warning and attack decisively.

You will win!

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‘In the art of war never ever be predictable. Always make it difficult for your enemy to fathom your next move. Instead zig-zag and should you decide to go from point A to B. Take the long and windy road even if it takes longer and is riskier. By doing just this. You will not only disrupt the rhythm of your enemy, but you will also force him to devote valuable resources to track you.

Once rythmm is thrown out of sync, it is very difficult for the other side to proceed confidently. Suddenly his movements will be laboured and jerky. Given more time, he will harried endless by anxiety and imaginary fears that will suddenly appear realer than real.

In the vermillion book of the martial discipline of Ho Kuen – in chapter seven. There is the art of the motionless warrior.

This chapter is often misunderstood and elided…as it only has two stanza’s. The first is very unassuming, it describes how one would go about adopting a defensive posture…the second stanza seems out of place. And for over three centuries it was even considered a printing error where many publishers even corrected much to the consternation of many who are familiar with this Chinese martial arts…as the second stanza describes how chilies should be sunned and for how long.

I will leave all that you…the perceptive reader to read into further.

Let me press on.

In this exercise the master will accept a challenge from an eager exponent. However just before the bout begins. The master will take a sip of tea. Then the tension is slowly fanned again like white hot coals and just when it is about to explode…again the master will raise his finger and this time, he will pretend to sneeze and this will happen again and again…till at some point the exponent would be so exhausted by this emotional rollercoaster ride that all he can do is feel very lost and demoralised….and that is the point when the master will unleash his fist of fury.

Research and study this well. As this applies to diplomacy when dealing with adversaries that have a habit of breaking covenants and whipping up trouble. The strategy of the motionless warrior can also be used against argumentative people in office or difficult customers…..keep breaking off the conversation just at the point of highest tension. Then return to it again with enthuism…do the same again and again. Soon their resilience and resolve will begin to dissolve…..that is when you must attack decisively.’

Note of caution: This strategy should only be used sparingly. As over or indiscrimate use will likely wear out the result to the point of uselessness.

Case study and how and when to use this strategy:

Recently woody Goh made public his concern that he was ‘watching’ that nothing seems to be happening with Singapore’s PM succession plan. Mini Lee overacted and issued a barbed repartee to the effect….’it would take longer and woody was talking only as a watcher and not a doer.’

To my understanding this was a squandered opportunity to test out the strengths and weaknesses of future Singapore PM…as what it would have introduced into the testing arena is the element of uncertainty.

Had mini Lee shut his mouth and just responded by ignoring woody…he would have set into motion the strategy of the motionless warrior and this itself would heighten the pressure on the PM candidates…they would feel the stress and they would have to react..from their reaction we would be able to read their character under three criterias, their ability to scale threats and opportunities, craft strategy and quality of execution.’

Being inwardly steady

February 12, 2018

I usually meet my business rivals for breakfast in the beginning of every month. But for the last two months I have stopped going to these ‘friendly’ meet ups.

Is there a reason why?

Not really. I just feel that these meets no longer fulfill my Mission. That is to say I use it primarily as a means to gauge the danger level in order to manage risk intelligently….but the other side will also do this as well.

A total communication blackout is definitely very dangerous….as it can lead to an escalation of conflict based on misunderstandings….but my feel is this mood of cautiousness is not such a bad thing. As it will compel the other side to stop everything and simply observe…..observe what you may ask…nothing.

As I said, it’s all very quiet and that may well be why there’s a tight tension in the air like just before an electrical storm.

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‘When you think long and hard about it….it’s not really life’s problems that has the capacity to push us over the edge. Rather it is us the emotional storm that is whipped up inside us while trying to get on top of these problems.

I think if you really want to judge a métier of a man – then put pressure on him and watch how he responds to it. Does he run around blaming everyone like a headless chicken? Or does he just proceed quietly and calmly…if he does the latter. Then you would do well to ask further….who taught him these things…where did he learn them….I think many people fail to do that. That is why very often they scale threats and opportunities incorrectly. They think it is like this or that, but it ends up like that and this and instead of their problems getting smaller and much more manageable, all they seem to do is make it even bigger and much more of a problem.’

During the age of the sword, lard lamps, ivory dentures etc etc. Men such as I would wage war in the name of kings, Gods, prophets and the occasional idiot. Thereafter I will be given lands faraway from the capital…maybe they will put me in an island.

Men such as I would never be allowed to visit the cradle of civilization…it would be too dangerous.

I used to resent this…but as I journey deeper and deeper into my being.

I understand….maybe it is best that I stay away from the centre.

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‘The idea of the conquering man is very appealing. As he is the man who is not afraid to go where other men fear to thread….that is how it seems at least. But because such a man is an emotional cripple who suffers from a delusional belief in his own imagined capabilities….he is not truly strong. That is why wherever this sort of man goes…he can only leave a wake of destruction and mayhem…the true man of strength however is quiet…he embodies the quiet confidence of someone who is emotionally and intellectually grounded. Although such a man may not be as theatrical and dramatic and exciting as the gung ho frontier man….he is nonetheless a much more sustainable person.’

An outsider

February 9, 2018

Being an outsider. A person who does not “fit in” with others or is rejected by them for whatever reason certainly makes life problematic, but it can also be a back door blessing as well… as it takes one out of the ego ride so completely that one has no choice but to look within oneself to discover strength….that is why in business, relationships and social interactions, be especially careful of people who are not afraid to stand as outsiders….as frequently, they don’t ever need to belong.

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‘Whenever we are confronted with a difficult people and situations. We see it as something that we rather side step and avoid…that is another way of saying, we much prefer to stay within our comfort zone. And this is where the illusion begins…because if you train yourself ONLY to be calm and composed and conscious when you are cocooned in the comfort zone…then I say everything that I have tried so hard to share with you is utterly wasted!

Understand this! You can only be truly calm and composed and conscious when you can perform like wise in the discomfort zone.

And that is where the paradox of suffering comes in…we think suffering…facing up to hard times and seeing thru difficult task in life right to the very end is something that subtracts….but nothing can be further from the truth. As it adds to character…that is why when you come across men who can remain stoically strong and resolute and focussed under pressure…do not be fooled that this are qualities that he uploaded in his mind by watching a video on YouTube or reading a self improvement book or attending new creation church and listening to con man talk about free rides….this is all nonsense.

Strong men all have one thing in common – they have all been broken once. I don’t mean just broken in half…but broken in such a way that they are strewn all over the place like dust and eggshells…as it is only when the ego dies can a new man be reborn.’

Spirit and intendment

February 9, 2018

I don’t believe, the crux of the issue in the CHC case hinges entirely on a literal interpretation of black letter law. If that were really true. Then we could all just relegate judges into the garbage heap and instal computers to preside as judges over court cases. But the reason why no judicial system will ever do that is simply because there exist real limits to words along with intentions as to what they actually mean in different context, situations and times.

As such for any coherent legal system to work….judges are often given discreationary powers to either extend or limit the ambit of the law. That is to say they exist simply for one purpose and that is to be the most flexible component in an otherwise rigid and uncomprising legal process.

That is why as much as I endeavour to understand why the sentences were reduced in the way they were. There exist no coherent means for me to understand the ratio decidendi….I do not understand how it is possible given the commitment to time (one of the most protracted criminal cases of CBT in Singapore history), largesse of state resources and considerable expense to taxpayer how justice was not seen to be done in this case.

I don’t understand. I have made numerous requests for people to beacon out the murk…my brain hurts.

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‘I told him the ladder was missing a full rung. He assured me that it would not present a risk to life and limb as all he needs to do is climb over the missing rung…which he insisted was no sweat. So he went ahead. And although he had previously climbed the same ladder with the missing rung and descended on countless occasions without any fuss….on this one occasion he fell right thru the space where the rung should have been.

Now whose fault is that?’

This is my lay understanding of what may have transpired in the final verdict of the city harvest case. Do feel free to offer any corrections if you believe that I am under a misapprehension of fact, simply wrong or perhaps dumber than dumb in my analysis….so this is how I understand it.

There has always existed a loophole in the law concerning criminal breach of trust.

Despite this unplugged gap in the enabling act, the judiciary has in the past responded by relying implicitly on the doctrine of precedent to deal with this deficit.

For many years subsequent judgements consistently upheld preceding judigements based on the case law of past precedents thereby eliminating the need for a new enabling act to specifically address the limits of the current act…..but for some reason out of the blue when it came to the city harvest case, the judiciary not only disregarded the case law based on doctrine of precedent. They even saw fit in this case to apply a literal interpretation on the current enabling act which specifically makes it possible for the Kong Hee & gang to get a reduced sentenced based on a technicality…did I get it right?

So this begs the question. Why did panel of judges in the CHC case depart from their normal convention of adhering to the doctrine of precedent?

Is there some legal extraneous ratio that accounts for this sudden and unexpected U turn? Did the panel of judges in this case discover something extraordinary in this case that differed from preceding cases involving CBT that warranted this ‘shift’. Or is there a supernatural explanation to all this…like how bushes might be able to talk to people

I do not understand. Can someone kindly explain to me what is actually happening.

Please take a moment and think about it. If there’s any reason in the world for you to press the pause button now – it is maybe the idea that you have finally reached the realization in your life that there is much more to the whole idea of who you are.

Before your world was simple and clear cut. You are you and the idea of you or for that matter I, him, her or them was really just like a convenient blob.

Now with the power of insight. We suddenly realise that there is much more to the whole idea of who you really are….what I find remarkable about this, is that this whole idea of awakening to consciousness is merely just an insight.

It is not about beliefs in the same sense in which we speak about religion or for that matter philosophy. It could I imagined be discussed in such a way. But that’s optional and even if that is proven to be true….I really don’t believe religion has anything to do with your insight.

If anything it is a pure thought.

Pure thoughts have to be approached carefully. You can’t jump in with two feet. It’s best to sit by the edge and watch it for a while.

The movement of how to awaken one’s inner consciousness is perhaps the most significant human revolution of our time. It is a quiet revolution in part due to so many people who are still sleep walking and living very dangerously unthinkingly….but since the logic that drives it is so powerful. It is perhaps the most transformational force that exist in the 21st century.

I don’t say this casually….only because the world continues to be mired by so many intractable conflicts ranging from chronic terrorism to the increasing polarisation of views…for the last two thousand years of mankinds history, he has looked outside himself to a leader to lead him out of this hubris….and that idea as I see it has failed.

Both Brexit and the nomination of Trump hit me very hard. Sure parallels might perhaps have existed between those events along side the Weimar Republic and the winter revolution of 1919 in Tsarist Russia. But on this occasion the divide is not premised on the differences of ideology or for that matter philosophy….of anything all this destructive irrationalism can only be attributable to the negligent failure by not governemts but individuals who continue to remain fast asleep.

AWAKENED!

February 7, 2018

For me the idea of freedom has always been somewhat of a contradiction. I say this because, when we regularly speak about freedom it is always invariably couched in terms of how much freedom the custodians of power are prepared to grant us…freedom to express ourselves…freedom to think and do things etc etc.

But what is real freedom. Is a person for example who is proceeding unthinkingly thru life…really free?

My point is when we drill deeper into the word freedom what we will eventually discover is true freedom isn’t an idea or concept that is given to us…you or me. In other words it is not a tradable commodity.

Because real freedom starts from the space between your two ears. It is exclusively yours in the private sense you can possibly define.

Forget the freedom of whether you can prance around naked and pick flowers in botanical gardens….that genre of freedom I can argue is never as important as the search for liberty in the clutter of your own mind. I am not saying that variety of freedom is not important. It is! But if we are to prioritise things in life. Then I think the little ‘i’ freedom would be the first place to start.

It is only when we can see this contradiction in our thinking that we are able to appreciate the paradigm…that freedom is very personal and individualistic.

As true freedom can only begin when we are at peace with our inner being. And as we nurture true freedom within with the intellect of working towards the awaken state…only then can real goodness work it’s way deep within us into the broader and wider world.

When I was younger. I used to think that a better world could only emerge from shouting till my lungs hurt….nowadays, I understand that the only necessary revolution must first begin within me.

I had no teachers to tell me these things when I was younger. No one to even counsel me on the error of my ways or for that matter how flawed my thinking was then to the whole notion of freedom.

I cant but help feel today. If I had known the things I know today…then I would probably have awakened earlier.

But I don’t see it in terms of regret. Not at all. Because ultimately I may have been the man who kept bumping into furniture in a dark room…but at least I eventually found the switch to the light and banished darkness.’

Waking up

February 4, 2018

If I had to describe one constant struggle thru out my life. It is the idea of knowing deep down there was something beyond what the world said I am…I knew of this other reality not as a niggling feeling or a strange sensation – to my understanding it was a state of mind that was different from how everyone else saw themselves in relation to the world….a sort dissonance…a disconnect. A feeling that something was not quite synchronised even if everything seemed to be right like everyone said or insisted it was…to me it was just wrong…but since I didn’t quite know what it was that was either there but shouldn’t have been there to make it right.

I searched very hard to find that missing thing in myself.

I had no teachers or for that matter anyone to guide me. So thru out my excruciatingly long journey of self discovery that eventually led me to an awakened consciousness, it was largely a series of misses and dead ends….but I never stopped searching for the true self that was really me.

I knew it was there. I could feel its presence….I knew there was something much more to the limitations of the social programming that the world had imposed on me….I was even acutely conscious that idea of the world and everything to do with it, had nothing whatsoever to do with reality….there were times when I could catch a glimpse of that other world, but it never lasted long enough for me to call it my own, let alone regard it as me.

Now that I am finally conscious.

I see myself and the world around me very differently from the way I used to see it.

I think if there’s anything like a feeling of would I live my life differently knowing the things I know. It would be simply this. I would probably listened more and talked less.

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Understand this. I am not saying this in a way that suggest I am better than you…or I happen to know something that you don’t know yet. If it reads that way to you…it’s probably got everything to do with your ego and it has nothing to do with me.

I am awaken. That is to say, I function mentally without the undue influence of either my ego or illusions. Being awaken is the direct opposite of being asleep. Where one’s thoughts, actions and deeds are very much influenced by the ego and other worldly illusions. Well in theory that is how an awakened state is supposed to work. But I do admit, at times the connection drops. At times my ego gets the better of me….but my point is even when I fail to make a five bar awakened connection. At least if the signal wanes…I am aware and I do make an effort to establish a connection.

When you go thru life awakened – you will notice there are really only two types of people in this world…those who are still asleep and those who are awakened. The difference between one and other has nothing whatsoever to do with education, intelligence or prestige – it is really just an insight. A perspective on life that allows the awaken to seek the path of consciousness…that is all it is…an insight.

Isn’t that remarkable…just imagine everything remains very the same….it has not changed at all. But what can have a transformational power to even modulate reality itself is simply an insight….where you see the world slightly differently from the way you have always seen it.

But to gain this insight into the self cannot possibly be an easy thing. As one first has to go against everything that suggest that it is the self. Most people I imagine are adverse to that sort of pain, they much prefer the easy street of not thinking about it or leaving it to others to think for them. So I don’t think to be awakened is easy. Not at all. For one you have to look at yourself very honestly….and that is not an easy thing to do. Because what you see may not be very pretty. That I feel may be the real reason why so many people are still asleep. That is to say they go thru life battling constantly with their ego, identity, affectations, imagined bugbears and social programming…they’re a right mess and somewhere in all the tangle of wires there is supposed to be a self.’

This is their Soviet era tourism ad lah! Now compare that with this…

Suddenly. Words are no longer necessary to convey the salient. We can all use telepathy to communicate and understand the cogent.

The problem is when one highlights the shortcomings of STB…they take it personally instead of upping their game….for some strange and inexplicable reason they don’t seem to get it…it is not that Singapore is boring…it cannot possibly be boring given the diverse social cultural melting pot that is Singapore…..Rather it is the staid and old hat way in which Singapore is promoted to the world by STB that can only give the impression Singapore is boring.

Any sane and sensible government would have packed off the entire managment team of the STB to a labour camp for a long hiatus….but ONLY in Singapore these museum waxworks get to parody their critics like petulant children….no wonder they don’t improve.

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‘You know I write sappy love stories. So I know a bit about the art of how to tell a good story. Take the Korean tourism ad….is it really trying to sell you Korea. Or maybe it is just trying to provide you with an opportunity to wordsmith your own exciting story….look at how it begins….the scene opens with images of a sunrise, an awakening forest and frothing seas framed against the metaphor of a new beginning..a lonely road..a birch cast against the curellain skies….in the middle of all this…is a man. His face is silhouetted. There is some mystery here. Who is he and what does he have to do with the story.

Then it slowly draws you in. But be mindful…it is not the idea of Korea that you are drawn too…it is the mystery of the story that is set in Korea. The first stanza unfurls with a girl cycling. She is expecting something. Looking forward to it even with a sense of great anticipation…and this is how the story begins…but in story telling what is important to realise is this is not his, her, their or any one’s story that you actually experiencing. Rather when a good story sucks you righ in….it is none other than YOUR story!

And essentially in very rudimentary steps what I have just described is the magic of how one goes about transmuting the mundane into something very exciting.

But enough said if that…back to the point.

If you want to get things done right the first time! Get in no nonsense professionals. Dead serious people who are genuinely serious about giving the competition a bloody nose. Want to win big from agriculture, tourism, Defence etc etc…get professionals in. Serious farmers people who compete with the world’s best…not kampung bullshitters or people who are just trying to get by, by putting in the bare minimum and trading on their imaginary greatness. Want to make Singapore a tourism success story, then work with a Korean advertising agency. Better still if they can take equity in promoting Singapore as a die die must see location….this is how people improve, not by sticking their heads in the sand and denying the world.’