The horse has long bolted. Coronavirus is all over the world, Short of an alien flying saucer landing on the lawn of the Istana to donate a cure all vaccine to human kind. We just have to learn to live with coronavirus. As there’s no getting rid of it…not at an exorbitant price. As even should the custodians of power lock down tight like Wuhan, It will return as soon as travel restrictions ease. Besides a complete lock on decimates businesses and jobs. It might be easier to implement a lock down in developed countries that have a social economic welfare system. But in countries that dont. A full lock down just makes life unbearable for the poor and whatever gains can never commensurate with the Byzantine effort and loss of opportunity cost.

What we know anecdotally so far is this – the virus can only be suppressed to manageable levels so that it doesn’t over stress the health services. To eliminate it to zero is not possible. This leads me to my second observation – short of going the full monty of Wuhan, We will have to learn to live with it….but this means. We must be willing to accept this comes at the cost of casualties. In very much the same way we accept that accidents happen in the ECP and PIE from time to time…and regrettably this causes casualties. But who will ever suggest turning highways into 2 mile per hour horse drawn carriage lanes? when was the last time u saw someone commuting to work on a camel? Thirdly an all out lock downs does little to empower citizens with the cooperative and civic mindedness to limit transmission on the part. As even if they seemingly comply it is because they are driven by the lowest motivation i.e fear of fines and punishment. This should not come as a surprise! As folk who have been mentally conditioned to go left. Turn right. Jump thru fire hoops. Sit. Stand. Somersault…. will also demonstrate the lowest initiatives just like those who are accustomed to raising their hands for urination breaks. To empower people with optimal mindset to win the Corona war you can’t treat people like cattle. As this involves forstering trust, shared mission and eradicating the fear of officialdom. Finally don’t be crazy lah. People arent battery chickens. They cant be cooped up for extended periods without suffering far more serious health and mental problems than what covid 19 can ever ravage on them. Besides after 2 months in lock down in a HDB. Most people will be crushed to death by mountains of KFC carcasses and spent tiger beer cans.

My point is pursuing a strategy of locking down is like ridding a tiger. One can never step off without the risk of the beast mauling or having you for dinner. And even should one make gains it’s likely to be chimaeric. As it will all be had at an exorbitant and unsustainable cost. As once the lock down is eased. The rates of transmission will flare up again once again. Erasing all gains and creating a vicious cycle of never ending stops and starts.

For me the case is we are already well and truly in lose lose territory…it’s really just a case of whether we lose big or small that’s all. There’s no win here!

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Corona Thoughtware

May 2, 2020

To understand power. One must first cultivate humility and this is the skeleton key that opens the door to understanding. As if you care to observe very shallow people (if you know anyone like that which I have just described my advise to you is avoid them like Coronavirus) often label those who they have difficulty understanding as either ‘strange’ or ‘mad’. Understand this! Bc I am putting money in your pocket. These r not only stupid folk but they’re also arrogant as since they’re too lazy to seek to understand they can only resort labelling. As this conveniently frees them from the mental rigor to first understand a thing, person or situation…this is why the stoics say knowledge is power. Bc to effectively make use of knowledge, one must be humble and first seek FIRST to understand! This may be easy to state, but it is incredibly difficult to execute. As it requires a discipline mind.

Not long ago. An elderly gentlemen (a family friend who my dad is especially fond of) asked me to help him on a land deal. It seems the seller wants to transact the deal fast and had given him a take it or leave it offer. After meeting the seller. I was asked by my father’s friend whether he should proceed. I advised him not to. When he asked why…I explained to him respectfully that I believe the problem is not with the seller. Rather the reason why the deal is causing him so much distress and sleepless nights is bc he wants the land too much and this desire is not only clouding his judgement. But the seller can also sense his desperation..and he’s using it to his advantage by sticking to a high selling price. When the elderly gentleman asked what he should rightfully do…I said. Negotiate as if you are prepared to lose the deal! Let the date expire and keep on doing it again and again. The old man gulped. But when I reminded him that he had asked my family for assistance and he saw that I was dead serious and did not lower my gaze even so much as once. He complied and went back to the negotiating table to face the seller. To cut a long story short. He managed to purchase the land at a heavily discounted price.

Some years later when the elderly gentleman chanced on me again. He asked – how did you know that the seller was bluffing? A long pause punctuated our conversation thereafter, I said, ‘I had absolutely no idea he was actually bluffing.’

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There’s a poignant scene in Act 3. Where the hero is confronted by Brangaine the trusted handmaiden and confidante of Isolde after she has given the couple the mythical love potion. Brangaine says to Tristan – You have drank your death! To which he takes one step towards her and says – if you mean I will suffer the pain of love in my heart for your mistress and not know a single day of happiness…then I accept it. Tristan then takes a second step forward and continues – if it means that I have committed treason and sinned against my King (King Mark of Cornwall) and will be put to the sword…then again I accept this. Thereafter in the operatic version of Wagner’s story. The skies turn a menacing fiery red (just like 7 month Getai show red…very drama mama moment) as Tristan takes his final step and a pause ensues. Then Tristan declares – if you mean by I have drank my death…I will suffer the eternal flames of death in the after life….I will gladly accept that too in the name of love.

Today we hardly bat an eyelid over this dramatic sence. But in the days of Wagner’s candle powered stage set, horse and carriage and ivory dentures era where 50% of Germans were Lutheran Catholics who prayed 5 million times a day. This was the stuff that provoked revolutions, civil war and mass fainting spells….as what Wagner was trying to convey was Tristan expressing the inexpressible i.e my love for Isodel is much more significant than the idea of the creator. To paraphrase…it is not that believing there’s no such thing as God means I believe in nothing. Rather it means I believe in something far more significant than the idea of a creator… Hence this is perhaps the greatest emotional expression in music that has ever been written… because the underlying message is so terribly powerful.



When the world is suddenly shuttered. The things that mark time —commuting to work, sending our kids to tution, meeting up with friends – suddenly gets rubbed out and vanish and time resembles a long unending road that seems to stretch right on into the far distance of the horizon. Theres a texture to this mood. It has a seamless quality some what like dropping out of the sky…. where one even feels untethered.

If you think about virtually everything about being gainfully human it really only involves ascribing a name and face and shape to time….for me. This is how I see For instance when I recall the birth of my son’s. It’s almost impossible not to play that same reel of my wife smiling somewhere in the movie screen in my head. Or when I recount Africa. Suddenly a knot of familiar faces appear before like ghost….And that’s really how we all mark the chastening passage of time by referencing it to people and occasions…and this is the reason why being suddenly confined and restricted is so profoundly disturbing as it renders our life shapeless. As not being able to mark time can only mean the passing of every minute, hour and day cuts like a knife. No one really knows when this lock down will be lifted. Or whether the virus will continue to ravage like some feral creature. For many who have the go thru the purgatory of financial turmoil…they don’t even know when they can feel safe again. And so many of us who suddenly find that we cannot mark time are suddenly compartmentalized in our own bubble of fears, anxieties and denial. Above all we remain largely captive to the faint memory of how life used to be….where we were once able to mark time with our loved ones and friends.

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