February 20, 2021


February 12, 2021

This goes to Ronin… May u find a master man.

Most of life’s problems generated by those who are in our social circle can be resolved very simply if we talk sincerely to those who we have either disagreements or broken fellowship with, instead of gossiping ABOUT them to others behind their back.

Recently I was asked to give my opinion about a fellow who everyone on the table seems to gossiping about. It was clear to me, none of them were fond of this chap and all they really wanted from me was NOT my real opinion. Rather all of them simply wanted me to echo what was already in their minds and reaffirm their long held convictions concerning this fellow.

So I told them all, what I may think about him can really only be a matter of profound indifference. That was when one of them stood up and exclaimed, How can you be so certain of that! Another went on to add, if your opinion is not important, then why would we seek it?

That was when I got up and excused myself from this group. Before I left, I told them that what they wanted from me was to seek agreement as to what they had ALL already concluded about this fellow and if that is the case no matter what this man does or doesn’t, they will always find a reason, real or manufactured or even imagined to bring him down….as the truth is they are not interested to know the truth about this person. All they really want to do is to indulge in a good laugh and take a holiday from their averagely miserable lives.

Real men don’t need to indulge in childish bullying to feel better. Only phoney men need to put down others to take a break from their averagely miserable lives. So remember HOW you respond is a reflection of what is actually happening in your heart and mind…and someone is ALWAYS watching knowingly.

Moral of the story stay away from petty minds and deeds such as gossiping and backbitting as it reflects badly on you because leadership first demands mastery over the self.

There are really only two types of people when it comes to the subject of money. The first consider spending as little as possible to get by as a form of forced discipline. These people will usually run out of money because their attitude towards money is no different from an overweight person who HAS to diet….so to this person not being able to buy,buy and buy is a form of punishment like being chain up.

Then there is the frontier man attitude to money. And this attitude or outlook is very hard to distill and put into words, especially for Singaporeans. That is because everything in Singapore is a temple to consumerism and relentless consumption. But one way to wrap one’s head around this philosophy is to do just this for a week. Get together a fork, knife and spoon, bowl and cup. Then have every meal with ONLY these five items. Even if the need arises restrict yourself to only these items to get by. After a whole week, you will discover that many things in your kitchen are not only unnecessary, but you could just as well declutter and make your life must simpler and better by simplifying it to the bare necessities…so the difference between the first mind and the frontier mind is that in the latter there’s no restriction like dieting that is equatable to punishment. Rather what we have in the frontier mind is perfect understanding on how things should be. And in a sense it is the same with one’s attitude towards money. The man who expects money to buy him prestige, respectability, adulation and even happiness will be ruled by money and he will lose it all. Whereas the frontier man who sees money for what it really is, as just a term of exchange for products and services and nothing more or less and doesn’t expect it to decorate his ego or even make him two inches taller…to this man money is hardly a God that grants wishes and desires. Rather it is just a menial servant….nothing or more or less.

So in this sense one has to be slightly contemptuous of money, that is why to people who know this secret or key to power, they don’t respect a person just because he is rich. As what should rightly command respect is a man who is wealthy beyond every worldly means and yet he is lives like a beggar….that if you must know is the very definition of power.

Friend keeps asking me like a demented Jack in the box – what’s good to go into when the world has been turned upside down by Corona….is it bitcoin, since Elon Musk has recently given it the thumbs. Maybe its evergreen gold that everyone scrambles to in times of uncertainty. Or might it be tech stocks since they’re in the forefront of changing everything from how we work, live and play….after being hassled for weeks. I finally relented and shared with my friend the best investment that pays out the highest return is simply to live an unpretentious life free from affectations and the need to constantly feed the ego.

If one can just do this and this alone….then one will have more than enough to retire three or four times over. But it is NOT by any means easy to pull this off….I went on to share with my friend I am different from most. As I have lived for ten years all by myself with just my army of dogs in a plantation and so the spirit of the frugal and simple and bullshit free way of frontier living has permeated the very marrow of my bones. But for most people who have been marinating in the plastic world of relentless consumerism and keeping up with the Jones’s, it cannot be easy for these folk to buy into my recommendation that is because the greatest capitalist tool is not General Motors or for that matter even any of those juggernaut oil companies. Rather it is the common man, as for over a hundred years he has been programmed to consume more than he actually needs. As in our kooky society those who can consume the most, be it buying the biggest gas guzzlers to having Olympic sized swimming pools is considered the most successful, beautiful and worthy of respect. This is why mother earth is dying because man has been so thoroughly brainwashed to consume more than he actually needs….but if one can reverse or put a bullet into this destructive programming ONLY then can man be truly free and himself.

If man lives his life where he can only take one or a few things in the great journey of life that attitude is the greatest investment he has ever made.

Beware of the multi millionaire who goes around in an unassuming bicycle or just ambles along in flip flops….though this man looks simple, he is not. As he knows what I have written and shared here. So this is a man who is even more dangerous than Elon Musk or Warren Buffet.

This was what I advised a friend to do. He seems beset by a thousand problems and he has no idea how to entangle himself from what he sees to be a rapidly deteriorating business. Two years ago. He started a Bistro. It did so well that within a year he had opened up three similar outlets…but suddenly last March Corona hit the fan and since then its all been going down the tubes.

In fact his mental condition degraded so much that I only got to know about it thru his wife, who suggested – talk to him…he listens to you. So that was what I did, but before that I listened to him deeply and attentively and it didn’t take me very long to figure out based on how his mind was jumping here and there that he was suffering from overthinking….so I suggested to my friend that we should continue our conversation over a hike in the nearby forest reserve. He was hesitant at first insisting that he had mountains of paper work to clear. But when I assured that I might be able to help. He joined me for the hike.

At the beginning of the hike, my friend kept peppering about what would I do, if I was in his position. But as we proceeded to hike up a steep five chili strenous trail. we settled into a happy but hard ryhtmm of climbing without the need to talk.

At the end of the three hour hike when I turned to my friend during a long rest to ask him about what he really wanted to ask me in the beginning of the hike…he said, there was no need, the hike had cleared his mind and he knew what to do.

The moral – at times when you’re so invested into the problem. You have your nose pressed against it. You cant see the solution. That’s when you need to step way back and then without trying the solution comes out quite naturally. We can ALL fall into the trap of overthinking and it can only lead us into the darkness of confusion and bewilderment. When that happens the best way to declutter the over thinking mind is to throw all of oneself into a strenous physical activity like walking briskly, jogging, hiking or just cleaning up a room or toilet or kitchen….once the mind gets into the rhythm of physical work, it can only settle down and with it all our problems will fall into the right scale and perspective.

Some of my friends expressed horror that I sold off a large chunk of my plantation recently. Many lamented – but how could you George! This was the plot of land where you made a name for yourself etc etc etc. Others were even more dramatic, this was where you made your fortune! Have you no sense of gratitude George!

I shared with them a story. One day a wise man saw an army of men huffing and puffing pulling a heavy wooden ship across the desert. When the wise man asked the commander why he was doing this. The commander bowed to the huge wooden ship that his entire army was groaning to move inch by inch and exclaimed – I will have you know old man. This was the very ship that saved our entire tribe from certain destruction…it carried us from our cursed lands across the trecherous waters to the safety of this shore. So we cannot just forget it and that is why we have all decide to take it with us wherever we go.

The wiseman remained quiet for a while and then prophetic words came out – just as this ship once saved your tribe from certain destruction, if you do not let go and move on without it, it will be your tribes certain destruction as well.

The moral of the story is we must not be so clingy and sentimental that we end up holding on to a fantasy or illusion. Yes the land that I once bought served me well like the ship that once carried the army away from destruction and you could even say I spent my best years turning the wheel of life there, but it is over and done with and it is time for me to move on and if I do not let go with a cheerful heart and continue to foolishly cling with a death grip to wispy memories in some distant past, I will never be able to grab the next best thing that comes my way.

Thank you land for all the sweet and uplifting memories….but it is time for me to move on. You will always have a place in my heart.

Everyone believes he’s unhinged. Some are even convinced that he’s certifiable. Who am I talking about? A friend who just hasn’t been himself lately. To heighten the tension. I loaned him a considerable sum a year back ago, He was supposed to pay me back last month. I didnt press him….I should have, but I didn’t for reasons that even I couldn’t figure out.

At times I felt the money I had loaned him was a lost cause. As he didn’t even bother to call me to supply an explanation why he couldn’t make good his promise to pay me back on the agreed date….I admit. I even resented him for his indifference and callousness and even complained about it to a friend over drinks.

Yesterday. He made the payment in full with a cheeky message..busy like a bee sorry for being late.

I felt a bit silly after that…. He just needed a bit of time to come thru. I’ve been there. So I know. Maybe there’s a lesson there somewhere if you care to dig deeper.

The moral of the story is that many are going thru unprecedented personal challenges in Corona times…the problems they face range from everything from health complications brought about by being cooped up 24/7 to losing their livelihoods. We are after all living in very difficult times that demand the highest level of patience and wisdom and sagacity just to get by…so cut your family and friends and even the odd stranger a wider berth, give them that necessary space of consideration and caring to make a hellish life more bearable….above all give them the benefit of the doubt even if you have every reason to resent what they once did and said to you.

Come on! As no one can reasonably be expected to truly be themselves in Corona times.

Full disclosure. I am baise in favor of reading during a lockdown Kompf. And that may have something to do with spending most of my life between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships I form bonds with the characters in the novel. I live love and loss and endless intrigues in the pages; I experience vicariously via my characters and plots that I almost become them. Or maybe they become me. It’s hard to say. As we are terribly close. Besides time has its only unique quality, texture and speed during a lockdown….its time all right in seconds, minutes, hours and days all right. Only for me when I don’t devour book, time seems to always stretch out like one of those never ending desolate roads that just melt into the distant horizon. I guess somewhere beyond that mythical horizon. There might well be my temple of reading all by myself. A never ending story strung together in a heady melange of plots and subplots and images….so Kompf, there’s never a boring moment during a lockdown.

For others maybe… But not for me. Not ever.

Above all. Reading teaches one how to get by gracefully alone. Not many can do that. They may put on a brave front. But ultimately without the reading habit to lean back on. Even the best will feel untethered, they will struggle and others may even flail helplessly…but so long as I have a book. I am good to go for as long as it last.

Well that’s an easy peasy question Kompf. First lesson…don’t be too bothered about what others think about you and your ideas. May sound simple, but it’s not easy to pull off because man is intrinsically a social animal and when one cultivates the art of not bothering too much about what others think. Frequently this comes across as confrontational (especially to those who are either immature or insecure).

To me Kompf there’s no way to get around this easily. As you and probably most of our regular readers realised. I am not a very conventional businessman, thinker or for that matter writer. So my very nature attracts controversy in the form of gossip, rumor mongering or just a bunch of folk getting together in the club over beers and peanuts to discuss – why is George behaving like that? Did you hear what he said and did?

So thru the years. Many have walked away from me in business and my social circle and I for my part had to do a fair amount of walking away as well because they simply didn’t welcome me any longer……but the beauty about cultivating this discipline of not being too bothered about what others think about me is there have been tons of what I can only describe as marvellous people who have also walked into my life and even more have welcomed me warmly into their lives.

Kompf. You’ve got to take a chance in life by winning some and losing some to really gain trust in yourself, otherwise you will never trust yourself. .