I believe at times, it is possible to pull off the impossible…especially when you are unfortunate enough to have people who simply don’t know when to let go of a bone for the common good….yes, it is very possible to win all the battles and still manage to lose the war.


In the city….

March 31, 2018

People I meet in the city always seem very surprised when they realize, that I live in the wild…at some point in the conversation they all invariably exclaim due to presumably an inability to suppress their nervous energy… that I have to be very courageous to live in the wild. I on the otherhand respond by insisting, they have to be exceptionally courageous to live in the city.

I am serious.


That is really how I see it. As firstly there is no clear and present threat that even remotely justifies rolling out legislation to deal with fake news. There are of course occasional risk and mishaps that the current armoury of laws can adequately deal. Even so these occurences do not differ from occasional cases where planes, trains and cars crash due to either human abuse or malicious acts. But no one will ever suggest for one moment since there is a clear valence between cars and death along with lost of limb…both the PIE and ECP should be turned into a giant canal or bicycle lane.

That is because everything that is new comes with risk and that is part and parcel of what it means to be part of an experiment.


No! The motivation to use fake to sway the masses can only be high to very high from this point onwards. As firstly it is very effective. Secondly it is incredibly cost competititve and finally since the skill cost of crafting fake news has gone down so low that virtually anyone these days with basic tools can more or less be a very competent editor of fake news.

This means from this point onwards irrepsective of what laws are out there. We are likely to get more and not less fake news.


‘To my understanding of warcraft, fake news in the hands of a professional is as deadly as a Austrian crafted snipers rifle, a stealth fighter or maybe a submarine that is as quiet as a table fan……in the hands of a highly trained professional it is what it is a formidable weapon. Fake news that is.

The reason why i feel the need to underscore the seriousness of fake news is that certain quarters have made it their life mission to misrepresent my views. I want to be clear and unambigious, fake news is a formidable weapon. That is why there is a need to inject reality into how to fight it and not simply wish it away by believing fairytales that it may just disappear if there are laws against it.

People who believe that laws are the answer, do not know the enemy. They dont even know they are buying into a war of attrition that they cannot even win.

Fake news is so effective and cost competitive that let me just give you my version of the Jane’s defence analysis….if lets say you wanted to effect regime change in the 90’s. You would probably need a listening post something like GCHQ or today’s PRISM. You need that because no one is just going to hand you the psychological profile of 50 million facebook users. That already puts you in the billion dollar intelligence club. Next you need a spy outfit where you probably require at least 10 very field agents who have actual experience in those theater of operations. You also need to dedicated military satellite. You may also need an aircraft carrier to stand by. As you also need a covert military team to eliminate any possible hard points. You need to have all the generals in your pay roll, especially the armoured divisions. You can get by without the air force or Navy, but to pull off a coup. You absolutely needs tanks on the streets. Otherwise there is no bang, its no bloody good. You also need to buy a TV and radio station and have at least three or four journalist that you can prime at a moments notice. You will need all these…that is the base line entry level, otherwise you are not even standing in the lobby of the regime change club.

Today to pull off the same regime change capper. All you need is multiple facebook accounts that are oeprating in five time zones any where in the world…a team of copy writers who are willing to work unusual hours in locations that keep changing cafe’s where they log in without asking to many inconvenient questions. You probably need photoshop software, but that is really optional only because there are so many frebbies out there. A couple of sim cards that you can just use once and not throw away. And you are good to go.

Only understand this! The people who do this. I am not talking about the kids who are motivated by sandbox politics or how many likes they are going to get in their facebook accounts. I am talking about very serious discipline professionals who understand the mission. These people are not going to be afraid of your stupid laws…the only to defeat them is to shore up the intelligence services.

So long as the pay outs remain high and the entry cost is dead low. There is no way to put an end to it…its like what the CIA tried to do with AK-47’s during the eighties. Someone in the not so intelligent military intelligence unit of the CIA figured out the best way to stop terrorist and insurgents was to stop AK-47s. So they all took a long look at this automatic, they had diagrams, schematics. They even identified all the key components like spring, firing pin, ejector etc etc. But they couldnt plug it despite managing to shut down so many factories. Because like i said, so long as the payouts remain high and the entry cost is dead low. There is no way to put an end to it.’

Straits times started as a top drawer outfit. It had one of the best stables of intellectual firebrands in the whole of South Asia. But as the years went by, due to it’s cosy relationship with the ruling party….soon it started to shift its focus from its readers to being the trusted second fiddle of government and that was when it began haemorhage readership, talent along with credibility.

Till at some point it became a caricature that was one peg better than the Pong Pyang Post instead of a reliable purveyor of the truth.

Had the ruling party adopted a less interfering strategy with the day to day running of ST and nourished the press corps instead of trying to put a police man into every journalist head…I have no doubt today many Singaporeans and stakeholders will cont to seek out the truth via the strait times.

There would be no need to get worked up over fake news. That would be a problem for another country…another newspaper.

As most people would trust the ST since they have a long relationship based on mutual trust, respect and can even be counted to be so considerate as not to give their readership migraine attacks.

But today sadly, we have the opposite and maybe for the committee to gainfully make progress on how best to deal with the advent of fake news – they should at least recognize how the interfering hand of government was responsible for destroying the ST.


‘I want to be clear. This is my understanding. If governments are serious and genuine about putting an end to fake news then they should nourish the idea of a free press – pound for pound a free press that imbued with a culture of publishing without fear or favor is the most efficient platform to combat fake news.

Legislation is a very inferior weapon as it operates contemporaneously – that is to say it only comes in once the damage has been done and its effectiveness as a deterrent is doubtful.

But a free press is both economical and guarantees the mileage. As that sort of strategy can only encourage the noblest and brightest minds to pursue journalism. And since it is a world class rag, everyone can only log in for the real McCoy news.

The problem really only comes in when there is no respect whatsoever for the idea of freedom of the press and when very perculiar people start abusing the press to further their own crooked goals. That is to say these bent people use the press in such a way where they regularly inflict pain on thinking folk and this is how they destroy the notion of news…..by disrespecting the idea of the truth to such an extent where they actually believe they have a right to embellish, confect and obfsucate it…and that sets in place ideal conditions for fake news to fill the void…and when fake news makes its appearance these same charlatans turn around and act as if the have absolutely no idea how they had a hand in creating this problem….in no time everything will end up being a parody.

You see I am a farmer so i see things very prosaically. That’s just another way of saying these cheap pirates cant pull the wool over my eyes. I want to be honest – i dont have many readers as I make it a point to keep a very low profile, but many world leaders read my blog…Putin and Xi are just a few to name. Many CEO’s as well. You know what I am going to do. i am going to write 2,000 word letters to all these people and share with all of them why singapore has a lousy strategy to deal with fake news!

How is that for fake news!

Just like what happened to Pravda during the hey day of the Soviet empire, on one hand the papers are talking about how wonderful it is to live in the land where it is red as far as the eye can see. But in reality most of the population just want to get out of the country where the national hobby is tunnelling, ballooning or trying their best to out run border German Shepherds.

Unless governments themselves understand how so often, they can very well be the root of the problem and even end up creating ten new problems while trying to solve one problem…then it is very hard to improve.’

More legislation to fight fake news simply means the custodians of power can only eventually become more powerful as they will become the final arbiter of the truth.

That is OK if the governments have a stellar trek record fulfilling their duty of care to thr general public by keeping to the truth.

The problem is they ALL have a terrible trek record of being truthful.

As frequently they do all sorts of things to information from embellishing it to giving it a good spin so much so that the last thing that ever comes out from anything the government manages in the form of the apparatus of the ‘truth’ resembles anything to do with the truth….and that is the very sad and inconvenient truth.


‘If we are to listen to officialdom. They will tell you and I that the human race is at the verge of being destroyed by the advent of fake news. Just look at what is happening. There’s alot of people scrambling here and there and recounting with great urgency their version of how they believe post truth age is closer to predition than salvation and that something needs to be done about it.

They all speak as if this is something that is new that requires something radically new as well to counter…and that is the problem. Because more laws simply means the problem gets outsourced to government…more laws also means the problem is given the reductive treatment where everything that doesnt abide to one version of the truth is considered fake news and since everything is reductible to a crime…the real problem doesnt get solved.

What might we ask is the real problem? The problem as i see it is simply this, people need to innoculate themselves with critical thinking skills to enable them to winnow truth from lies! I mean if a girl kissed me and i stick my tongue out and she starts to panic and insist that very act will make her pregnant…then whose fault is it?

Perhaps what i am trying to convey here is at some point in the causal chain…at some point in the blame game. The individual who stands before fake news has to take responsibility for his thought processes.

The problem is not as easy as catching those people who generate fake news…that can never be the solution. Anyone who has two brain cells will tell you that, but it seems these days even common sense doesnt seem to be that common.’

It is fitting that Arthur C Clarkes novel, rendevouz with Rama is widely considered science fiction. That is to say it like the notion of fake news is not an actual concept….rather it is imagined.

In the story. A spacecraft named endeavor makes contact with an alien construct that has suddenly appeared in the planet of jupiter. Again the idea is reminisent of how the idea of fake news has also suddenly appeared and taken hold in the public consciousness.

The alien construct is called Rama….Rama has appeared at a time when the human race is asking so many questions that cannot be answered by traditional beliefs. Hence all of mankind in this imagined federation of planets and moons look to Rama as a form of tabula rasa approaching salvation…..again this is what we are witnessing now as the fake news circus is being played out, various actors are called upon to lend their points of view as to how best to counter the evils of fake news…real and imagined included. These new adherents all speak with great urgency as if this is something new that has suddenly appeared before them like some giant flying saucer that is parked menacingly at their front door…they are frantic…they dont know what they should do. Neither do they seem to understand how is it possible that a craft should go round and round yet none of aliens seems to be affected at all by motion sickness along with other such mysteries.

Only understand this and understand it clearly…the idea of fake news like the concept of Rama in Arthur C Clarkes novel is not real….that is why in the very beginning of this blog entry, I have termed it as a construct – a notion…a suggestion…and as such both ideas can never escape the gravity of reality.

Just because you put a label to something like ‘fake news’ and get worked up about it doesn’t make it realer than what it actually is. Neither does it have the capacity to alter reality either. As in reality, just as the sudden appearance of Rama can never slake the deepest yearnings of man to know the unknowable…the same will apply to the fad of fake news…one fine day when everyone calms down hopefully the sane and reasonable amongst us will all say, this is not a new problem that requires new laws and new ways to combat it…it is simply old dressed as new.

Like the story of mankind’s first encounter with an alien construct that they have called Rama…soon all questions will merely boil down to one and only one – hey! This isnt new…I have been here before!


‘In this committee that is set up to beacon out the murk on the notion of fake news…..one thing is missing that is the representatives that are supposed to reflect the various constituencies of the federation of the internet. If you observe very carefully how the proceedings are unfolding, every aspect of views is solicited by the committee on how to best deal with fake news. But no one in the committee seems to be very interested in what the internet has to say about the idea of fake news….so what you have here is a very curious situation where everyone seems to be convinced there is malevolent force that has suddenly appeared in the scene….it is like the story of how Rama suddenly appeared in the solar system….and how by its very appearance it provoked a storm of reactions that seems not have existed previously before…but the story of mankinds fascination with the sudden appearance of Rama is also the story of how man seems to like to make a mountain out of a molehill.’

In George Orwels 1984 dystopian novel, there is an enduring quote…he who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past. This has been never truer before in the present digital age…the new commodity that allows the masses to be controlled like sheep by the elites is no longer wealth and influence. Rather it comes to one reality, data….and most importantly the means to gainfully make sense of it.

Never before in human history has the individual been so transparent. His deepest desires and yearnings are all there in the great digital yonder…it seems there is absolutely nothing about him that they dont know.

What is shocking about this shit storm is not really that people are shocked this happened, but that its shocking that no one imagined it could have happened in the scale that affected so many millions of unassuming users….neither should it be shocking that the senior management in facebook didnt see the ethical wisdom of coming clean to inform the users despite having full knowledge that at least 50 million users worldwide had their personal data ransacked.

There is nothing shocking either that there is firm out there stealing personal information solely for the profit motive and using it to further nefarious purposes of bent politicians and corporations…..in short there is absolutely nothing shocking about ALL this at all.

What would be really five chili shocking is if it didnt happen exactly in the way it happened.


March 22, 2018

Radio drama’s

March 22, 2018

Radio dramas and plays are very intricately crafted art pieces… if one takes the trouble to dwel on them. One would soon realize, they require as much finesse, imagination and elan as film making and writing…if not much more.

As radio dramas allows an ambition and scope that can’t always be achieved by other mediums of entertainment that is why it is often seen as the creche of theater and the modern film industry.

Regrettably radio dramas are in decline. Few people these days seem to have the patience to bear out their beauty any longer. Who can blame them. As when compared to the eye candy razmatazz of the audio visual and increasingly better sound quality offered by the internet, listening to radio plays seems positively lethargic…..it seems only those who live in the outer fringes and have to make do with rationed batteries and candle power can appreciate radio dramas…but that shouldnt come as a big surprise. After all, what else is there to do when it gets dark.

‘Its a story within a story. A story of cosy insiderism concerning the Nixon and kennedy presidential race.

Someone told me recently the fortunes of SPH has been declining due to shrinking readership and lack of advertisers. I told this person, how can that be? After all we are told almost daily there is fake news all over…there is so much of it, we are all even tumbling and drowning in a deluge of fake news.

So if that is really the case…how is it possible that the paragon of the truth and nothing but the truth is in decline.

Does it even make sense at all?

Maybe this is a form of fake news!

‘The idea of the truth to some extent, not all I admit..will always be to some extent self selecting. The fact there exist some room to say, this is what it is and not what they say it is…is not a bad thing. Not at all. As that is really how one goes about defining one’s version of the truth. That is to say two people can see the same scene unfold, but you end up with two accounts which to all intends and purposes could just be black and white…now which of the two is the truthful version?

I say both…the problem is when someone somewhere who wields a big stick says, no, that one is the truth…the other is fake news!

And there you have it…the problem.’

The biggest fake news in the world is when the dangers of fake news is amplified to a point where it is closer to fiction rather than reality….and all this is done to serve the specious ends of those who merely want to have more control over the masses so that they can retain their monopoly over power.

Beaconing out the fog of rumour and conspiracy is not new as much as old dressed up as new….this is the problem that is as old as mankind itself.

The solution as I see it cannot be more laws. Only because this is neither an intelligent or sustainable response to the advent of fake news.

I want to emphasize that in no way am I diluting the gravity of fake news and how disruptive it can be. Infact thru the yeara i have observed a sharpening of this issue and on many occasions I have written on the pressing need to examine in greater detail how the search alogarithms of corporations only seem to be amplifying this problem to crisis levels.

The way I see it….fake news can only be effectively neutralised by innoculating more people with the power to think well. This would of course mean investing in critical thinking skills along with perhaps reviving the whole idea of investigative journalism, since the process of winnowing truth from lies cannot be left entirely in the hands of governments.

To my understanding that is like giving Count Dracula the keys to the blood bank and the reason is very simple. Governments have consistently without fail shown thru out history that they are incapable of being reliable purveyors of the truth. Frequently the apparatus of mass assimilation that is under the purview of governments is so riven with vested interest, partisanship and biaseness that these news platforms end up becoming the very agents of faking news on an industrial scale.

If governments have a good trek record maybe i will persualded to think otherwise…maybe someone can cite me one single casewhere that might have been the case. I am not asking for one hundred or even ten cases thru out 2,000 years of mankinds wordsmithing history….I am merely asking for one happy case!

The problem as I see it is the custodians of power dont seem to understand there is no such thing as purity or kosher truth….in reality one mans turth has always been another man’s lie and multitude of vantages from which man perceives himself and the known world predates even the internet itself….winnowing truth from lies is not a mechanical process, it cannot be as it involves a cerebral dimension that requires material to be distinguished, contrasted and graded into many levels of the ‘truth’ – as we can see the ‘truth’ can exist at many dimensions, it can take the form of satire and even assume the guise of entertainment. In other cases such as Singapore, it may even involve meteorology where one is required to spot test balloons and even ask a range of questions like…what does this all mean? Where might all this be going? So as we journey deeper and deeper into this kueh lapis of the idea of the ‘truth’ – what we are dealing with is not only only the feral internet where everything is good to go…neither is it true to say, it’s not only the fact-free, rumour mill of social media which can get its facts wrong.

Governments too can get it very wrong as well and my feel is when they rush into believing the magic bullet lies in enacting more laws instead of looking at the real problems of real journalism in Singapore has been systematically emasculated and hollowed out of all its metier at beaconing out the murk – or how govwrnments themselves are guilty of dabbling with the wonder spin machine amid an era of dwindling budgets for real labour-intensive journalism, our how whole disquisitions have been reduced to nano sized doggy bites to even explain important evens along with the razmatazz of PR spin doctors, partisan think tanks, activists, NGOs, and material ripped shamelessly from the devil itself…the internet.

If we’re really to make hay of being honest with ourselves, the real problem is not so much “fake news”. Rather the root cause of our seeming crisis can stem from an acute erosion of trust between the custodians of power and citizenry and this may perhaps explain why no one…not in government least of all seems inclined to either believe or talk about how. The only enlightened and intellectually sustainable way to make progress out of the hubris of ‘fake news’ is to nourish the public consciousness with powers of critical thinking so that they themselves are empowered to winnow truth from lies.

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/opinion/dont-listen-mark-zuckerberg-algorithms-legislation-dangerous-fake-news-try-stop/

Stone Flower

March 16, 2018

It rained today!

March 15, 2018

It rained today! A good and decent rain. At least six or maybe eight inches in two hours….that’s decent. As far as rains go this time of the year, that is most considerate. But its also highly unusual as well when one considers everything. Or maybe not.

I started manuring today…so this is very good for me.

Like i said…its very hard to read her these days.

Its hot these days. Not just simply flat board hot. But hot enough to know that

if this goes on any longer…then i need to do certain things.

I spent a whole hour looking at her. The weather. I peered deeply into her secreted corners…but nothing.

She’s very shy today….she is giving nothing out.

Maybe i try again tomorrow. Maybe i will get lucky.

Something has to give i reckon. It cant possibly go on like this….its just too impossibly hot…you see?

Sergei Skripal used to play both sides. As a Russian military-intelligence officer, he is said to have been recruited by Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, M.I.6, in the 90’s at the height of the cold war.

In 2004, his cover was blown wide. By who no one knows. He was charged with treason, found guilty, sentenced to thirteen years in prison.

In 2010, he was released as part of a spy swap.

Skripal disappeared.

From 2004 to November 2010 he would have been debriefed so many times that he would literally be useless to both sides….there is no longer any strategic asset to colonel Skripal….so why do him and his daughter in…why do it in such James Bond manner…what after all is there to be gained.

La La Land

March 13, 2018

You would have thought that an ex colonel who double crossed his own side would have been more careful…now every former double agent from Odessa to Kiev will be scrambling to their new safe houses.

‘There are some things that one just doesnt talk about. Its like that final scene in La La land when Emma Stone chances on a jazz club and finds Ryan Gosling. Its a surreal moment. Because everyone. I mean everyone both the actors and the folk watching the scene, expect these two to hit off where they last left off. But nothing of the sort happens. Instead a cosy inderism narrative takes over and soon the audience is shuttled into this ‘what should have been’ storyline. That’s to say, that’s how it should have been…that’s the real story. She walking in with her husband and find the pianist…that all did not happen…its not real.

No words transpire between the Emma stone and Ryan Gosling….its like it never ever happened. What they once shared together. Only understand this. What’s really powerful and moving in this scene is not what is said. Rather what should be said, but prefers to be lie so very still like a sleeping dog.

Or maybe it all didn’t happen at all…and I think…sometimes that’s what is necessary. For one to pretend that it never happened for it all to just go right on as if it was all a figment of one’s imagination. Spies need to do that i reckon. They need too, otherwise they would take to the bottle or do themselves in with a revolver on a lonely night…they need to just watch the ghost of the past come right in and not say a word…or for that matter even blink.

That’s why I dont think many people really understand the ending of la la land.

How could they? Its written in an alphabet that they cant possibly read. The language of the shadows.’