Positive thinking

April 17, 2019

Many people these days brush off the subject on positive thinking almost automatically. That’s because it has become a cliche and its talked about so often that it has lost so much of its intrinsic meaning. So mucn so that it can mean so many different things to all add up to a big zero!…..but what I want to say is simply this…..a good thing will always be good. Providing you respect and learn how to use it right.

Positive thinking is a powerful life tool – it is like that other magic power word Ohmmmm.

If you are genuinely searching for real happiness, lasting success, sustainable relationships and inner peace at some point in the journey, you will have to take a very serious look at positive thinking…..as it works!

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Very slight weathering and antiquing to create a wabi-sabi mood. The trick is not to overdo it like the Italians and end up with a kitsch effort. Or to come across as so grotesquely opulent like the French only for one to be accused of trying too hard.

The tension when it comes to painting a shoe has to be just right…string it too tight and it would snap like a twig. String it too loose and it will not play.

The Japanese sartorial taste when it comes to shoes veers towards an effortless and natural zen look….just the right balance of fake scuffs and watermarks…nothing contrived…and above all nothing to suggest that it has been painted by a shoe artist.

Instead the effect should be to compliment the rest of the assemble, like pants, socks etc etc….nothing in my opinion can match the casual yet formal feel of a deep corn yellow pair of brogues and beige chino’s…the effect is really quite striking and classy. Yet preppie sophisticated and very balanced from a sartorial POV.

I happen to have such an assemble. Not Wingtip brogues, but a corn yellow* moc toe pair of red wings.

* The red wing corn yellow moc toe is produced only for the Japanese market.

The customer is one of my long time clients from Japan. He wants his raw colorless Johnston & Murphy’s nubuck Oxfords to be transformed into a Timberland boot color.

I told this customer I dont do this type of work and recommended him to someone quite famous in the shoe patina business in Paris. But this customer is very insistent that only I paint his shoes…..I reluctantly agreed. When I received the shoe, it was worn! So I told the customer. He said, its only been worn indoors in his office and he never got around to sending it off to me, but he still wants it done to spec.

It took me a better part of a whole day and half the night of experimenting with a range of dyes to nail the color. That’s because painting on nubuck is never straightforward. For example you could paint brown on brown and it could end up as indigo or light green! That’s due to the latent dyes and chemicals in the nubuck itself interfering with the colors of the painter. So I had to really mix at least eight different colors to come up with the end product.

The client is a very wealthy and stylish businessman who owns a leading advertising firm in Tokyo and New York. To be very honest I quite like his range of shoes. At other times I do a combo like watch strap plus belt and sometimes even a leather folio or man bag…they’re all classy yet so understated that it’s usually in the super exclusive ‘either you know it or you dont know it’ class. Something like a Panerai Turbillion…

It looks like a run of a mill production watch, but its actually a to die for auction class timepiece.

His shoes are a bit like that….even if they’re just nubuck sneakers the bespoke attention to detail is spectacularly luxuriant and breathetaking….everything from the soft baby sheepskin lining to the stiching.

I am quite proud of myself as I’ve matched the color perfectly….it looks classy and hip….I am very sure he will be delighted by the end result…one is always glad to be of service.

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‘Because of my autism. I can at times come across as slow, stupid and very exploitable. So for me to land a conventional job, its tough. That if you must know is how I got into the trade of shoe patinage during the moment of my youth.

I did not start painting. As that’s a highly skilled and covetted job that only people who are worth investing in can be chosen for…remember everyone thinks I am dumb as a door stopper.

Instead I was hired because they needed someone stupid to do the world’s smelliest and probably the most dangerous job in the world…tanning leather!

One day when I was really bored at work. I counted. There are at least 1,000,0001 ways to die in a tannery and ten times that number of ways to lose limbs and probably fifty times the probability to lose fingers…..that’s how dangerous working in a tannery is in the moment of my youth.

Despite my autism. I was a very dilligent worker. I would always be the first to line up at the tannery gates and whenever I asked to do overtime. I always obliged with the highest level of fake enthuism I could muster. Even today. I remember. I always went to lectures smelling animalistic and no one wanted to sit beside me, not even with a gas mask, as if I smelt like a sewer. There was always dye underneath my nails no matter how hard I brushed.

But that’s how it is when one is autistic. You learn from an early age, life is never fair…so you keep your mouth shut and do as you are told…you learn to accept that people will always talk down to you as if you’re not even there! So you learn how to wear a stupid face.

But i never once complained about my lot and I was never afraid nor ashamed of working with my hands.

I always took exceptional pride in my labor. And whenever I went to the student office to pay the tuition fees. i did so wearing my steel boots and tradesman overalls.

One day the master shoe artist figured since I was such an idiot of idiots, who didnt speak so much as a word and always seemed to work even when everyone was taking off days and holidays. He probably figured. I could be exploited with the secrets of mixing dyes. He was a lazy sort who liked to bang the secretary with a big ass on the second floor and to juggle all that with work just didnt make much sense to him then…so he needed someone who he thought was stupid and could do the donkey work.

Someone who would spend the whole day happily grinding, adding, mixing and mixing and mixing like a dumb cow turning a millstone….he thought he could use me. As I was stupid.

So I worked in this secret room with thousands of tiny bottles and ancient formulas some of them were so old they were written in latin….but what he didnt realize was I have a photographic memory. So after a year of working there. I knew everything there was to know about leather, tanning and color matching…..I was at the very top of my game and armed with this arcanum I went to the tannery next door to work as a supervisor for three times the pay in the last factory.

I was so good at mixing dyes that all you had to do was provide me with a sample of how you wanted your leather to look and I would match it to a fidelity of one to one.

My skills have been described as ‘supernatural’ to ‘uncanny’ – this was how I broke into the cloistered trade of shoe patinage.

One day I told my French boss in a long indolent drawn out tone like Marlo Brando in the movie Godfather – that the time had come for me to learn this trade….I spoke at lenght about providence, destiny and seredipity. He listened like a frightened rabbit to a cobra. As by that time, I was the only reason why his customers came knocking on his door for business. To put it bluntly, I owned his miserable goat cheese French ass….and he and everyone from the shop steward to the sweeper knew it! So there he was listening to me…. He realized that if he didnt say yes, I would go next door and work for his competitor. So I apprenticed under him and that was how I learnt my trade.

You see. I may well be autistic, but let me share with you a little secret…I’ve always believed that I am special.’

Judging by how the government is going to enact the anti fake news kaw. Fake news seems to be public enemy No. 1 in Singapore right now.

Many people finger technology and the advent of the digital age as one of the main reasons why fake news has managed to gain so much traction in this age. But i am not convinced this is a technologically led problem.

The problem as I see it is a social one. Specifically how people these days no longer trust the custodians of power, institutions and the so called reliable purveyors of the truth like the MSM.

After all if the mainstream media genuinely dedicated all of it efforts to without fear and favor reportage and didnt inflict so much pain on readers by regularly insulting their intelligence….why would their catchet of readers look to new sources elsewhere?

The decision and policy makers who managed these failed institutions such as the press seriously need to reflect deeply on how they have created ideal conditions for fake news to fester in our age…..as for this anti fake law, it is very unlikely to succeed as this will not bring the readers back to what the government wants them to read…as there’s no truth in the news…maybe its all fake news…maybe.

The problem with leaders who are accustomed to leading is that at some point they will start to get high on their own shit! That’s to say at some point in their long and uninterrupted career of leading. They will begin to mythologise their legitimacy for power and even craft all sorts of delusional reasons why it is not possible to gainfully make progress without them.

The only cure for that sort of madness is to take power from them so that both their feet can be firmly planted on the ground again.

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‘The Mahathir today is a much nicer guy than the Mahathir of past years. But Mahahtir was not always a nice nor reasonable man. Infact. When Mahathir was in power, he did alot of nasty things like muzzle journalist, trample over the independence of the judiciary, harrass the opposition with no end of trump up charges along with throwing political dissenters behind bars. But today he’s a nicer chap. Some people say that’s because Mahathir has mellowed down and its a function of age, but I am not so sure about that. As when Mahathir was cut off from power. He got alot of his own bitter medicine back whenever he went against the government of the day – he got harrassed no end by the organs of the state, they slowed down his computer so that he had trouble updating his blog. They snooped on him so he, his family and associates felt naked. They even went to the extent of making life difficult for his friends and family inorder to break his will and soften his resolve. He had to settle for giving impromptu speeches under the shade of the tree like a snake oil peddler. As the authorities were hell bent on denying him a platform to speak publicly and he hardly had any air time on National TV or any of the press. The registrar of societies even refused to recognize his political party Bersatu. Like I said, they gave him back his own medicine and he had no choice but to gulp it all down while smiling all the time.

So today if people say Mahathir is a very different sort of leader. Alot of it I think has to come from his bitter and hurtful experience when he was taking a back seat from the reins of power. So much so, if you ask him today to shut down the internet. He would probably look at you as if you’re crazy. I am not saying Mahathir the ex dictator is 100% transformed for the better. No! Because its hard to really change so drastically. But he’s certainly a nicer chap today.’

This is elementally a Japanese thing….Kissa actually means a hybrid of bar and cafe or even a shop that sells stuff.

A kissa is a place where no one actually goes there to talk or socialise…if they’re there, they just want to drink a little and listen..there’s a certain purity to the experience…as its a sort of place that jazz addicts go to just listen to jazz.

https://player.fm/series/the-radio-3-documentary-1301174/jazz-japan

If you’re the leader and it happens in your shift –

(1) Call it out. If its the first time do it privately to save the taker embarrasment.

(2) Explain why its unacceptable. Depersonalise by leveraging on team i.e taking all the time is bad for trust in the team

(3) Set boundaries.

If you’re a nobody…..

(1) Avoid the taker.

Someone asked me what I thought about Tan Cheng Bok’s new party political outfit. I told this person….its like hawker food…he made a big question mark with his face. That was when I asked him – tell me how is it like to eat Nasi Lemak for breakfast every morning for the last sixty or seventy or maybe the next hundred years?

Why not consider giving Mee Pok or Roti Prata or maybe something else a run for the buck?

Hey! You might even like it better than Nasi Lemak!

Come on…lets set aside the politics of fear along with propaganda and use our mentality here…if you stop eating Nasi Lemak for one day will planet earth suddenly stop spinning on its axis? Will migrating birds fly North instead of South? Might it even rain blood in Singapore?

So what’s the big deal!

Besides if for some reason it doesnt turn out well…you can always go back to Nasi Lemak…..C’mon take a chance for once in your life!

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‘In the village where I turn the wheel of life. There was once only ONE chicken rice shop. That incidentally was just around the time when I was popping charcoal tablets like candy. As the service and quality of food was probably from the hottest place in hell franchise of Hotel California – i.e even if this vendor serves me a Daiso yellow duck and should I bring what he terms a ‘minor discrepancy’ to his attention. He can very well insist in a loud and threateninng and appetite destroying tone – this yellow rubber duck is a free range corn fed chicken! And I should consider myself humbly privileged to eat it! Infact if there’s only ONE chicken rice shop. I will have no choice but to eat whatever they serve including a tractor tire painted cream white….and this regrettably was how life was with only ONE chicken rice shop in my village.

Till of course when providence, destiny and epiphany came to the rescue and another chicken rice shop suddenly opened down the same stretch of road….that was the day IF for any reason I felt either short changed or dissatisfied with the level of service or quality of food or anything.

I could always give that vendor the cold shoulder and eat in the other shop…..sometimes I would play off one chicken rice vendor against the other to get the sweetest deal…everything from the shop down the road gives me a bowl of soup…or the drumsticks there are tastier than your chicken necks and backsides…But one thing is certain. i dont ever need to suffer rubber duck pretending to be chicken any longer.’

To share your life with. Then do not look for a mate who makes all kinds of unreasonabls request on you…like you MUST be of this faith…or that you must bear children etc etc.

Instead look for someone who is comfortable to be alone in his or her own skin.

As although this may come across as little or nothing to you, it’s actually confirmation that this person has journeyed into the very core of his being and knows himself and therefore he has the capacity to truly love in a non destructive way.

I understand this may come across as strange, curious and even incomprehensible to you…..but it’s quite logical actually. As its an existential truism : only those people who are capable of being alone are actually capable of true love, of truly sharing, of communioning at the deepest and most intimate level of consciousness…..because ONLY people who can be alone do not need to decorate their ego or shore up their insecurities by possessing or putting down the other…or reducing you into an addict where your mental and spiritual well being hinges entirely on them…understand this – all these are childish games that only very immature people indulge in…because of their innate insecurities which even they are not conscious of…. they know no better. Understand this! People who have the wisdom to be alone are NOT pimps….they will never imprison you in the cage of emotional guilt or blackmail you into submission…as they know a secret that will always be mysterious to those who do not choose to study loneliness…because deep down they are afraid….and the secret is simply this – true happiness can never be dependant on another, because it is not given by the other…it is from the well of being deep within YOUR core.

It comes from ONLY you!

Someone asked me whether the new fake news law is a good or bad thing. I told this person, it can be good, bad and also good and bad as well. This was when this fellow got angry and raised his voice, why cant you just answer a simple question?

I told this fellow, its not so simple. As the REAL issue is not the law itself. Rather it is a constitutional question – can the judiciary act independently according to the doctrine of separation of powers? Can it act without undue influence from the executive and legislature or any other person or persons?

If the judiciary is 100% independent. Then the fake news law can never be an issue and as improbable as it may sound…it might even be a good thing.

But if the judiciary cannot operate independently for whatever reason or reasons known and unknown. Then it is better not to have a fake news law. As this would be like appointing Count Dracula as the CEO of the national blood bank – this can only lead to oppression….mass attacks of high blood pressure and fear….as it is a big big conflict of interest.

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‘France, Germany and Australia. Yes! I think the anti fake news law in those countries mentioned will serve the truth. That’s why there’s so little opposition to the idea with the citizens of those countries. That’s because the citizens in those countries have tremendous faith in the integrity of the doctrine of separation of powers. They have every reason to believe the doctrine of separation of powers will be rigorously enforced as thats how those countries maintain the gold standard of checks and balances to keep the legislative, executive and judiciary in top form.

As for other countries. I really dont know. You best check and do your own research…I have no comment, besides, I dont want to be responsible for wordsmithing fake news!’

Some time back ago. A young girl from the village sought me out and when she saw me. This girl screamed out – my heart is broken lah! (This is very normal in the kampung, but I digress)

Naturally I asked why and the girl began to recount how the boyfriend she loved with all her heart had run off with another girl. The girl ended her lamentation with the words….I love him so much. I cannot live without him.

I told this woman. What you feel for this person is certainly very powerful….only please do not overact negatively for what I am about to say is like strong medicine…it may well be bitter..but I want to tell you – it is necessary for you to hear the truth – what you feel for this man is not true love, it is infact, the opposite of what love should be.

As true love makes you whole and complete and above all your own free and independent person. This unfortunately you are not….it is clear to be you are still clinging to an illusion you believe will make you whole and complete…it is fake love.

I am so sorry to tell you the truth….please dont kill me!

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‘Never be clingy. Because once you are clingy. Then you have fallen into the trap of life. This is actually how most people get hoodwinked. It all starts from their clinginess. They cling to the prospects of wealth, fame and adulation. So they will do all sorts of stupid things to try to cling on to power, influence and prestige. Some of them even go so far as to contort the truth by insisting only they see the world clearly enough to winnow truth from lies.

When you have this insight into human beings and how they so often cling to things, people and ideas…it is very easy to see how this attitude imprisons them – a woman who believes she is incomplete without the love of her lover has allowed this man to trample over her and reduce her to a mere lower lifeform which is slightly higher than an asparagus. Have you asked – what kind of pariah dog love is this? Tell me. If you truly love someone would you want them to be reduced to something feeble, fragile and dependent? Where love is ALWAYS conditional – when that person is no longer there, you cannot live your life!

This is the lowest quality love that is why it is commonly referred to as puppy pariah dog love!

The only reason why this contorted version of love comes across as sane, reasonable and even good is because it is regularly promoted as the ‘real thing’ by movies and books and by people who know nothing about love being the true empower of freedom and independence and everything that stands against bondage and slavery…as true love is not about possessing or trying to reduce a human being into a flower pot or object of desire like an expensive and rare car…..true love is all about appreciation…it is about empowering the person to such an extent where he or she can draw nourishment from within and not outwardly like the clingy.’

Never be preachy. Because the moment you take the position where you start a conversation by saying ‘you SHOULD do this and not do that! Blah blah blah. Then it is unlikely to go down well with the otherside. As even if they live, think, talk and act wrongly…no one wants to be told by another they are on the wrong path.

Instead consider adopting the Dao of the banana tree. The Banana tree is a very unusual tree, because it is one of the few crops that seem to grow at its own pace and it seems to be completely unaffected by its sorroundings. Even if its growing on swampy soil, it will dedicate all of itself to the singularity of just growing. So much so one can even see banana trees actually growing.

In the same way if we just live our lives where we are respectful of ourselves and others and we do just that and that alone…that is really enough to make the world a happier place to live in.

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When a man is a giver. You best make sure you and the elders encourage him to give by nourishing his good nature. Because if you go thru his past with a fine tooth comb….you will certainly discover that he was once a ferocious taker.

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‘Understand this! Because what I am about to share with you is not something mummy and daddy or any of your teachers or pastor is going to ever talk to you about.

Its like the underside of a carpet….no one ever cares for it. But that doesnt mean its not there….it just means no one ever cares for it. And that’s how its like in life – most people rather see what they want to see….you see its like this.

Never ever confuse a giver with santa claus! Never. Because the moment you get your wires crossed. I can almost guarantee, you will lose either your spleen or everything that you have ever owned in your life! That is because givers are the smartest people on the face of this planet! They are the most educated, they have the highest IQ and their experiential knowledge is most probably incomparable. They even know what is likely to happen the day, week, month and year after…..you see it may be counter intuitive to be a giver, yet taker at the same time.

But what if I said to you most givers were once ferocious takers.

They probably cut so deep down to the bone that they all eventually realized how dangerous it all was…being a taker that is. So somewhere along that life that all takers rather not talk about. They gave it all up and so what you see today is the brand new leaf of the inimitable consunmate giver.

Only understand this! All prolific givers were once feral takers.

They give as only they know too well the horror of what its like to live in a world of only takers.

So now that you know this little secret. Next time when you see a man who everyone says is rich and who gives generously….look closer. Peer deep into his eyes..then perhaps you can trace the outlines of some distant lingering sadness from that other life where he once took like a pirate.

Perhaps then you can be a part of that horror of witnessing a man who is already dead. As deep down he’s a spent man – a sort of fool that labored all his life for riches and when he found it, he realized there was a big nothing there….yes, look carefully and you will see the shadow of the taker in the giver.

So now that you know this. Next time you come across a giver, make sure that you do everything to ensure he always stays a giver….make sure…double…triple sure.’

Angry Skies

April 8, 2019

As I was driving….suddenly I looked up and there it was. A huge dragon scooping up the sun like a fish ball to chow down. After that it became very dark….I gulped….do you see?

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Due to the drastic fall in oil palm prices. Many landowners have begun to form up into consortiums. By doing so, this will allow them to leverage on economies of scale to soften the blow of the low commodity prices. One effect of these consortiums since they comprise of many landowners is that they can be used to threaten me.

Yesterday one of them said to me that I am alone.

I told this person…tell me what has really changed…ever since I came here you all made life difficult for me from day number one….I was alone then as I am alone now and probably the rest of my days.

We will fight!

With these words….I will become the pocketship Bismark!

I will sink a few ships to send a warning to others….

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‘A calm state of mind does not deny the existence of turmoil, chaos and the opposite of what it means to remain calm any more than a calm ocean denies the violence of thunderstorms and ten storey tsunamis.

When one is calm it simply means that one has come to terms with what is and what will be…this is a very powerful concept that many do not yet understand. That is why they’re very shaky and it is almost impossible for them to remain calm….like when I was younger. I lived in constant fear of failure and not meeting the expectations of others.

These days I have come to accept failure and defeat as imposters. One of the same reality even. Are they not the different faces on the same coin?

This is a hard concept to understand. Especially in Singapore where the city and concrete can permeate the soul and rob one of the ability to see.

But here in the cut glass of the wild, where death is everywhere. Its as though I have come to see the world only from this inside out vantage where I have come to terms with what may come and go.

Not long ago. I came across brigands in the plantation. They were stealing bananas. And when they saw me. They all stiffened, but when they saw that I was calm as I was unarmed. One of them shouted out, he will drink our blood! They all ran away.

And all I wanted was a lighter to light my stove to make a fucking mug of coffee in the field.

Maybe I’ve been here so long. I have become death…might that even be possible?

Loss…love…These things used to be a source of pain for me….loss….missed opportunities. But i have had alot of time to think about them.

If they come again…let them come. If they dont….I will wait. This is not machoism, it is simply coming to terms with things as they really are….life that is.’

Givers & Takers

April 7, 2019

Where there are plenty of givers and less takers. That institution will grow from strenght to strenght. As it has a sustainable social ecology to perpetuate itself by attracting the brightest and most capable into its ranks. This rule is so reliably robust that it can be seen in successful nations, firms, places of worship and even a loving relationship. In every single case there’s a strong commitment to give and most importantly to nourish the culture of giving.

Where there are more takers than givers….if this lamentable situation is allow to persist. It can only deteriorate. Eventually that institution can only regress and slowly decay till it ends up in the garbage heap of history. As the system has broken down and since such an institution can only attract opportunitist, parvenus and the most inferior quality of men. It can only drive out the good. When this happens, be it a country, political party, place of worship or even a relationship between man and woman it will be riven with mistrust, selfishness and non cooperation. Such an institution can only cool and eventually diminish like a dying star.

You will find that what I have said is true.

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He is mad!

April 7, 2019

When we label someone as mad. I want to be clear. What we doing is putting them down. So that we can legitimise and justify our words and actions against them….it is simply a method to dehumanise another.

That is why when someone says to you so and so is mad!

It is best not to take and run with that idea. As at best it is inaccurate and at its worst it can even end up as a great travesty of justice….instead sit down calmly ask of this person.

‘Tell me, why do you think he is mad in your own words and thoughts.’

Do this and you will be part of the truth.

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‘When you are an indelible part of the truth. Only then can you be a big part of the solution to the problem. When there’s no truth in your position. Then you cannot be the solution….as you are truly the problem itself.’

The question is WHO determines what is real and fake? Maybe I should put it another way…..lets say Count Dracula has been appointed the CEO of the national blood bank. If lets say you as a stakeholder write in with the goal of trying to determine how many liters of blood is in the bank…….then what are the chances of you getting a reliable and accurate answer?

By the way. You know why they call him the COUNT dont you? He has a funny way of accounting. So the long and short is this – the question of WHO will always be problematic.

Phone scammers

April 5, 2019

They called me for my personal details. I gave them a decoy. Then they called me for my bank details. I gave them another decoy. After that they called me for my credit card details…again….I gave them a decoy.

Whose scamming who?