The rich and pampered plantation ladies have always been enamored by the quiessential frontier man – their fathers have warned them of such men….do not fall in love with them. They can only bring you grief….. men who have so very little and turn the wheel of life in the kampung.

For eons the privilege landowning classes have been the chess masters of the plantation industry. To consolidate their power in the kampungs they have relied on the ilk of men who they fear and admire most – the frontier man….the man who can always be trusted to do their bidding without ever once turning against their masters.

So in the city I am a bit of a oddity to high society. A mix of fear and fascination flits over their eyes, wavers in the tone of voice whenever I appear….like a tiger that suddenly appears in a village…shattering the calm…it is just a hint…a suggestion….but it is all there. I can tell from the way these ladies look at me. They crowd together whispering. Their hungry eyes. They are intrigued. As the frontier man is never supposed…never allowed to enter into their cloistered and hermetically sealed vacuous existence.

But I cannot be excluded….no…I cannot…I went to all the right schools…was born into the right family….a card carrying member of the landowning aristocracy. His pomade my be a bit sloppy. His attire even not the latest fashion and his shoes slightly soiled, but nonetheless….he is indelibly one of us. It’s really a vampire thing – one has to be born into it.

As for their trivial ways which I have always secretly regarded as grotesquely abhorrent – seems as if their only goal in life is to rush head long into decadence by dissipating all their time on frivolous pursuits….endless shopping laced with gossip…parties and gala dinners, where a sort of Byzantine nothingness lingers and pervades everything. Like an evil vapor…getting into everywhere…corroding me from within even like how rust weakens steel.

Yes…Here in the city…they are all damaged goods. The men are all flabby and weak minded preferring not to work. As for the women folk they’re perpetually bored behaving like a restless fly buzzing to one pile of shit to another.

But what they do not know is that I have created a superman…..a man who is not only highly educated, but one who is as comfortable in their rarefied world as that of the field….a hybrid…a ninja.

This new man will destroy their class from within the seeming inner sanctum…I mist move quietly like a assassin…I must mask my intent….meanwhile they all look on with that mix of fascination and intrigue.

They and their wasteful, vulgar and stupid ways…they will go the way of the dinosaurs. Men like me will gladly waltz them all to their sunset.

We will win!

There is something very wrong with this picture. It’s just not right. Not at all. I know what some people may say: life is not fair! Get use to it!

But I don’t imagine people who regularly say this even if they seem to say it with such conviction have ever farmed before. No! They have never had to clear land pit their sinews and muscles against a stubborn root – to hold on to that line of litany till the sun goes down and wake up the following morning to do it all over again. Coming to think of it….these people who regularly say life is not fair….have probably never even grown a cactus before in their whole life.

That’s the only reason why they can say with such conviction – life is not fair!

But men who are accustomed to live off the land. All know deep in the marrow of their bones – it’s precisely because life is intrinsically unfair that it needs to be worked on. Just like maybe how a farmer works on his land day in and day out to rid it of marauding pest and weeds to create just the right conditions to grow heavy and sweet fruit.

Life left to its own…and it doesn’t really matter what it is. Could just as well be your lawn, better half or even something really juggernaut big like the world economy will always threaten to drive out the good….if left to its own. That’s a truism.

That’s one reason why it’s so important for us all to always strive to make the world a fairer place…precisely because if left to it own – life can never fair.

No…there is something very wrong with this picture….very wrong indeed.

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‘I am not particularly impressed by people who like to say life is not fair! That’s like saying if I don’t even bother to open the hood of my car from time to time to make sure all is well – then one day that car is just going to die somewhere in the ECP or PIE.

Its a no brainer.

But one reason why I take exception to people saying, life is not fair as if they’re so wise and sharing some secret arcanum is because, they just stop right there and don’t bother to go on further.

That has always bothered me terribly.

If I had to really ask myself why, it’s probably because I am a farmer…a person whose estranged from the world…an exile of sorts – and folk who live off the land know only too well that life is never bloody fair from the word go!

We are the only industry in the world that buys everything a retail prices and sell at wholesale! So you tell me where’s does fairness even feature in farming. That I imagine could be why whenever there is a war between evil and good. The first to enlist have always been farm boys – it’s no coincidence the battlefields of Ardennes and Normandy are littered with the bones of farmers….precisely because they all know life is intrinsically unfair….that’s why it’s so important to roll out the sleeves and make the wrong…right – like maybe how a farmer clears the land of tree trunks, ploughs it straight, sows without missing a single row to yield a bountiful harvest…to me it’s a very agricultural way of seeing the world an attitude that’s even climatic to the whole vocation of farming.

City folk I don’t think fully appreciate this dimension of thought as they have probably never ever grown anything in their lives before or had to put food on the table with the sweat of their brow by tilling the land. They’ve never had to stand there helpless before pestilence, disease and drought and see their crops die, suck it all in and muster the courage to try again….but farmers are accustomed to making the best they can with these vagaries of what life regularly throws out. You could even say, that’s the only thing they ever do, day in and day out….to constantly make things which were wrong, right…so that it yields a bountiful harvest – that why I think the vantage of the world is all wrong – all they see is a bunch of rednecks from Nebraska who probably have slightly more brain cells than Forest Gump rushing off to war without ever once thinking deeply – but it’s not like that, not at all. It’s much more philosophical…measured…studied…and even intellectual….it’s the idea, if we want tomorrow to better, then we all have to work at it…it’s never easy…never supposed to be…it may even bloody kill you! But that’s an allegory of what it means to be a farmer and to see the world in those terms. I guess.

You see there are never any shortcuts in farming, it’s not like city folk where they can explain it all away with clever words like rightsizing…better calibrate or some other bs word that their spin doctors hatched as the flavor of the month….no it’s never that handsome in a farm…..like they say, life is not fair!

Now coming back to the picture….there is something very wrong with it.’

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I must have ridden perhaps 60 miles….or maybe it’s 80. It’s hard to say. I’ve been on the saddle the whole day.

Trapped a small fowl for lunch hardly a full stomach meal. But it will have to do. That’s how life is in the field – have been touching base with the older farmers to find out more about the history of the land. Need to go back at least a good fifty years. This is a very important stage in assessing the potential of a land that for some incomprehensible reason even professional farmers omit. One must know the history of the land as a problem associated with growing any crop is that once the land has been devoted to agriculture for a single species, soil fertility diminishes greatly. Knowing the history of the land allows the professional to undertake cost calculations on the expected yield along with the projected expenditure required to revivify the nutrients in the soil.

Not all types of land are suitable for the strain of oil palm that I have designated to grow – the variety that I will be cultivating this time will be the experimental African E-26, it’s a hardy strain characterized by short fronds and especially resilient to drought and tropical disease. I need to be accurate in my assessment. A soil test is good – but nothing beats historical and primary data.

It’s never easy to approach the villagers. Most of them are wary of strangers and often they are mistrustful. But now and then…not very often, one does come across kindred souls who go all the way to beacon out the murk. Nonetheless one should still be mindful and keep a distance – as accidents involving matrimony and unrequited love can occur with remarkable ease in these parts. Danger lurks everywhere in the endless labyrinth of the plantation trail – especially when a farmer innocently offers free board and dinner for the night to the unassuming traveller. That’s really kampung code for – might you be interested in considering a marriage with my two metric ton internal beauty worlds famous village Bo Lang Ai daughter. I will even throw in a few acres of flat land, a second hand tractor and a cow to sweeten the deal. I’ve kena this a few times before – and since these kampung dinners usually involves the whole village with lashing of kampung moonshine called ‘tuak’ or ‘samsu’ where the alcohol content (due to zero quality control since it’s homemade) can range anywhere between the manageable 15% to the heady 50% proof – anything can happen by the sixth course lah……anything lah!

So these days whenever I get an invitation to stay the night I usually make teeth sucking sounds, excuse myself to take a leak and ride off as fast as I can into the sunset. These days to complicate matters with Photoshop nothing can be trusted. Not even photographs. So it’s best that I don’t complicate my already complicated life.

As I said, I had many narrow escapes…even have the birdshot scars to prove it…so Dowan lah!

I am just so tired. Dead beat tired. Low bat tired. Limbs feel like jello tired. Butt feels sore. I need to rest for a while before I make the long trip back. I still have a bar of snickers that I’ve been saving up for the return trip. That should keep me perky on the saddle.

It’s been a good day. A very productive day. I am spent, but happy.

Mission accomplished!

Secret agent farmer

February 10, 2015

I don’t nearly have a fraction of the resources and network that my enemies have. These crooks are so big – they can make one investment mistake after another and like Temasek or GIC, they can just shake it off and get back into the game again. In my case, there are no second chances….no safety nets. If I take a wrong turn. I am toast….it’s game over.

I am always mindful of this unforgiving calculus. The discipline is one shot, one kill! It’s got to be righter than right the first time with no margin for error. Failure is not an option.

Hence attention to the details. Before I decide to buy land. I will secretly survey the neighboring plots to create a moving picture in my head of how the land will look like in the wet and dry season. I never rely on the feasibility report. Much prefer to piece it all together in my head – what kind of lorries ply these routes? Where is the bottleneck? How many tons can be produced and transported? What is the moral of the workers? Etc etc…..thru the years. I have managed to reduce it all to a science.

I am so good at my craft – can even tell you with a margin of error +\- 500 kg, how many tons you can transport under X or Y assumptions and nine out ten – I am right on the number! That’s how good I am.

Added to that, I will also gather information on the social hierarchy of the place – find out who are the movers, shakers, troublemakers etc etc. Take loads of pictures. Find out their strengths and weaknesses. Infiltrate their social networks.

Often this requires a mixture of stealth and deception where I am able to proceed unseen and unheard in the labyrinth of the plantation with my trusted mechanical horse: the humble bicycle – neither is it unusual for me to deploy a range of disguises.

I once impersonated a traveling fortune teller to gain more knowledge into the power structure of a village where no one talks to strangers. I found out the headman was keeping a china mistress and used that information to blackmail him for gain.

On another occasion I assumed the form of a dirty beggar outside an oil mill and was able to sow the seeds of discord amongst the workers which led to a strike.

In one particular case I even took on a disguise of mentally deranged person (which isn’t very difficult) who had a habit of drumming on a Milo tin. It worked so well that I was even able to eavesdrop on the designs of my enemies in the village kopitiam during one of their many mahjong session without anyone even realizing who I really am.

Business is war!

Finally I now have access to the east….finally after five long years of relentless fighting. I am now confident. I can win!

You need to stop beating up yourself with Jalan mati (dead end) beliefs that you’re not good enough or you haven’t done what’s expected of you to deserve a good life. To put it simply, you need to make a conscious effort to stop feeling sorry for yourself. To stop blaming yourself for the situation that you’re in.

I don’t say this as an indictment of those who are hopeless, defeated or seem to be going nowhere. I say this as it’s a indelible aspect of the human condition that requires us all to remind ourselves to stop feeling sorry for myself too.

I’m going to speak plainly. Nobody’s is going to better your lot for you. Not that pastor who tells you to give till it hurts and all will be well. Not even that man who you saw on TV who speaks to you thru a teleprompter and assured you – tomorrow will be better. Truth is simply this. If things are going to get better it will never ever come from your church, government or MP. If they don’t give you false hope and suck you dry like a vampire…you should consider yourself lucky.

If you want to better your lot. ONLY you can do it and no one else. Once you come to terms wth the idea – you have been abandoned….marooned….forsaken and no one really cares two shits about whether you live or die…not your wife, kids, parents, pastor, church elders, MP…….to be honest with you. If you only have fifteen minutes to live and you made a call to them. They would all probably put you on hold.

Now once you accept all that….no matter how painful and gut wrenching it may be….then you know why you have to go….

Like I said, it’s all comes down to ONLY you. Don’t believe me look back….go on….I dare you! Go on!…..there…there is no one there…. is there?

See I told you…..it’s only you!

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‘A man who once left to seek his fortune in Africa once told me….I am 45. No one wants me. I mean absolutely no one. I am damaged goods! No one wants to hire me as they think I have an entitlement mentality for insisting on asking the salary range I do. They much prefer to hire someone younger who doesn’t mind settling for less. No even my wife doesn’t want me. I don’t even know whether she is sucking another man’s cock right now. It’s not that I don’t care. But I don’t believe anything good is going to come out of it, if I decide to care….you see I can’t even care…nothing good except maybe violence and the electric chair….so I much prefer to push it to the very back of my mind and hope that it doesn’t come to the front. As for the whole idea of government being able to improve lives. I no longer believe in that idea. I used too. But now I don’t any longer. I just believe in them any longer. As you can see I have absolutely nothing to lose. Even should I go to Africa and the plane crashes. No one and absolutely no one will give a fuck. They would probably say, good riddance to the greatest mistake of my life. Now excuse me…I have to board the plane….my destiny awaits me in Africa.

When I heard what this man had to say. I knew he would succeed in Africa. I just knew deep down in the marrow of my bones. Nothing could ever stop him – that is how it is when a man swims out to sea in a race and doesn’t even bother to leave a bit back for the return trip – he will cross the finishing line!

Three laters this man became one the biggest Independent mining firms in Central Africa and is currently expanding his business to the caucasus.’

I want you to take what I am about to say constructively….remember I am putting money in your pocket here. Here goes: people who are always running out of time and money. All have one thing in common – they don’t know how to cook!

Want a simple and nutritious breakfast – this is how it’s done.

Whip 3 eggs with a dash of salt / add 1/2 cup fresh milk/ 1 tablespoon butter.

Melt butter in pan. Add whipped eggs and milk. Now remember this. This is a cordon blue professional kitchen secret. YOU NEVER LEAVE SCRAMBLE EGGS TO COOK BY ITSELF. IT NEEDS TO BE CONSTANTLY STIRRED VIGOROUSLY UNDER MEDIUM TO HIGH HEAT WITH A WOODEN SPATULA.

Take it out before it gets too rubbery. It should be slightly runny. Dash of pepper. Serve with WASA crispbread and dollop of yogurt. If you don’t know what it is – you better learn to nom nom on it – this is the eight habit of highly effective people, they all chomp on WASA.

I eat this at least three times a week. Once you learn to cook for yourself – you will find not only will you have more time, you will be richer and most importantly you look and feel like a million bucks!

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Xiaxue vs SMRT

February 8, 2015

The pertinent question here is not who is right or wrong….rather cui bono? To me this is just a precursor – now ask yourself what is the goal of the internet brigade and all their proxy sites? What are they working towards? Who stands to be the beneficiary of their designs.

No da Vinci code there – the goal is to work towards online registration. To paraphrase to stamp out online anonymity by requiring posters to submit their full identification and particulars should they decide to post a comment online. Since by and large the singapore blogoland is quite self regulating THERE IS REALLY NO JUSTIFICATION to enact a slew of draconian laws to enable online registration.

This is where the internet brigade and their proxy sites come right in – they need to stir up shit….to create the illusion of demand to make possible the means of supply – in this crooked way when these North Korean laws come into effect – everyone who would have said ‘No!’ would already be mentally conditioned to regard it favorably. 101 of engineering consent.

I wrote about this about eight years….at that time no one believed me….now it’s all happening. So as you can see it’s no mystery to me…..we have always been at least 10 years ahead of the curve. Why do you think we shut down the IS?

People who are desperate will always resort to desperate measures to accomplish their goal and believe me most people who have been around in the internet can see right thru their nefarious designs like pane of glass…..like I said….no mystery there!

It is… what it is….

Something powerful happens when a person who’s not related to you — and therefore it’s someone who doesn’t have a blood bias and who is able to perceive you objectively — tells you, that he believes in you: when that happens, it’s like the release of a billion atomic suns….vaporizing all your fears, reservations and anxieties…..the only thing that remains thereafter is the indestructible conviction – you are not crazy to believe in yourself.

The rest you can just throw right out of the window and it would hardly make a molecule of difference to the end result…..as once you believe in yourself. Then nothing is impossible.

There is no need to complicate life – it’s really doesn’t get as simple as this.

Dress IQ

February 7, 2015

I have a lot of powerful enemies. They don’t want me to come up in this world. No they don’t. So they make life difficult for me in a multitude of ways. Think of me as a man whose constantly running thru a obstacle course…..that’s me. You name it, they have done it. Money is no object. Everything ranging from character assassination to trying to saw the floor boards underneath my feet.

There is so much negative propaganda tagged to me – some people in the cloistered plantation high society actually expect me to turn up driving a tractor wearing a gunny sack suit complete with a straw hat to a gala event.

That is where the wonder weapon of putting the best foot forward becomes the awesome power of shock and awe.

Instead I make a dazzling entrance in a metallic ash Maserati. Hair slicked back. Sporting a dark Zegna suit. Turtle neck. Sunglasses. All packaged in a lean 5% body fat Matador frame.

It takes me exactly 50 seconds to get into the cloistered power circle where I charm rich and powerful plantation ladies with my breadth of international experience.

By the time I make an exit….it’s all in the bag.

As for all my enemies….they have absolutely no idea what hit them….it’s like a sad rumble between a bunch of cavemen against a highly disciplined Roman legion. No chance in hell….they don’t even come close. That’s good because one aspect of this protracted war involves psychological warfare – and nothing is as effective as demoralizing your enemies.

People who are defeated should really cultivate the wisdom to bow out gracefully.

All in a days work lah.

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‘I am sure you’ve all heard this before,

“Appearances are irrelevant, only results matter.”

The problem with that statement is it ignores the palpable fact, we can’t help but be human – fact: the vast majority of humans will ALWAYS judge you by your appearance. They can’t help it – that’s how humans are hardwired….it’s a primal instinct.

Fact: we form opinions about people within the first 15 seconds of meeting them; we then spend the next five minutes trying to confirm our first impressions. This means even BEFORE you open your mouth you’ve been sized up, profiled, measured and pigeon holed.

So the goal is to sell yourself as a very interesting once in a life time experience from the word go. That is the goal standard. Don’t settle for anything less because if you do, your stocks are likely to plummet…next thing you know, you will be mixing with drunkards slugging it out in a back alley about whether Xiaxue is a real or peroxide blonde leprechaun….you will end up using cheap meaningless words like ‘rightsizing’ ‘better calibrate’ and cheapening yourself no end and people will despise and want to have nothing to do with you.

As you never ever once dedicated yourself to making yourself a once in a lifetime experience to others….so instead of the being the Savoy hotel…you end being the YMCA….instead of selling yourself as beluga caviar, you come across as a NTUC tin of Yeo hiap Seng curry. All because you bought willingly into the wrong software clothes don’t maketh a man. Now whose fault is that?

Treating the idea of being able to put your best foot forward as a science – is a very effective tool of empowerment – you can’t change the distance between your nose and your eyes….you can’t make yourself taller….but you can certainly change your wardrobe to be the best that you can. Mastering this skill set allows you cut thru the thicket of power and politics in high society like a samurai sword – you don’t want any resistance at that level of the game, it’s got to be aerodynamic, otherwise you’re just going to be overwhelmed by a whole lot of distractions leaving your execution messy and unfocused. That’s no good.

You’re no different from a cat burglar trying to break into a high security facility….time is against you…..you’re outgunned….outmanned….the only advantage that you have is the element of surprise. So you better make the best out of it…everything that can be optimized, must be at the very best that it can possibly be. It all needs to be well thought out as as coherent like a super duper reliable Rolex submariner – a tool….conceived with function in mind….in and out (and make sure you don’t forget to zip up your pants) like a secret agent.

Carry yourself like a no nonsense businessman and people will regard you like a no nonsense businessman.’

Top ten most expensive cities 2014

The rank move indicates how the city’s position has changed from 2013’s Worldwide Cost of Living study.

Country City Rank Rank movement
Singapore Singapore 1 5
France Paris 2 6
Norway Oslo 3 1
Switzerland Zurich 4 3
Australia Sydney 5 -2
Venezuela Caracas 6 3
Switzerland Geneva 6 4
Australia Melbourne 6 -2
Japan Tokyo 6 -5
Denmark Copenhagen 10 5

SOURCE: ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT

Well the A team has brought us all to the very top again! Well done for making life that much harder for all of us who work abroad and have to regularly send back money.

Either way we lose. Either way the chips are just dead stacked against us!

There is a saying common to the inner circle of Salahah Arabic Oudh traders, ‘la mahal ma lok-dhar ma al kamhaol’ – that which is precious is always kept veiled. To paraphrase the real stuff is rarely displayed on the shelf and so often it’s secreted away from prying eyes.

The Salahah tribe are well known to all who live in the Sahara right down to the tip of Zanzibar in Africa. There they are known over there as the jangling people as their camel caravans are laden with so many perfume bottles….one can hear them coming 10 miles away. By and large they are a peaceful tribe. One of the few who ever need to carry the ubiquitous Lee Enfield 303 rifle. As they also double as the medicin sans frontier of the desert – Oudh is believed to be able to cure everything under the sun ranging from third stage cancer to chasing away melancholia and bad dreams. But now in the internet age, they have all morphed into high street merchants. Since I am a man who is well known to all the Oudh traders in the city as a man who has knowledge about the mysteries of trees – it’s is virtually impossible to cheat me. I can tell the real from the fake by just holding it to the light. So from time to time, I will appraise perfume. This is a closed community – not anyone can just walk in. They will never talk to strangers. One must be able to speak the language of the desert and know of things of things that can only come with familiarity associated with perfumery – elephant musk, peacock bones ground to dust, civet droppings at dusk…..

The Arabic term for the fragrant ebony-colored resin secreted in reaction to an invasive fungus by the heartwood of Aquilaria malaccensis, an Asian evergreen tree. In a process analogous to creating cultured pearls, Aquilaria trees on plantations from Thailand to Indonesia are artificially infected to produce the resin, also called aloeswood and agarwood. Yes….these are good, but they are hardly the best.

The gold standard is wild or virgin oudh it is not only exceedingly rare, but since prospecting for it requires one to brave tigers and brigands. The real stuff can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars for just teaspoon – but to be with one with this quality of Oudh is to be part of paradise – it will stay with one for hours, releasing a sweet, earthy aroma that evokes something sublime: the mysteries of the eternal green forest.

And so the man crouches and opens a hidden cabinet to reveal the real thing.

Yes this is usually how it is when a man knows a thing for what it truly is and not what others say it is – he can only be part of the truth.

Prospecting for land

February 6, 2015

Deciding whether to buy land is like deciding which girl to marry….one would do well to think about the matter very carefully.

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I am sure by now most of you who regularly read my blog have notice Potemkin village sites such as the Singaporedaily and five stars and the moon are hell bent on branding Tan Kian lian as a racist……that to me is hardly surprising especially when one considers how desperate will only resort to desperate means to achieve their goals…but what really surprises is how these super duper brainy ESP people who claim he is a racist go about drawing this conclusion.

Let’s take it step by step. Now If I tweeted ‘I am now in the planet of the apes’ just because I stepped into a bus filled with Africans. You would probably consider that a racist statement. Coming to think of it – so would I.

As in this case, I am equating Africans with primates. A lower life form.

But if I step into the same bus and say that I feel as if I am in Nigeria – how can that possibly be racist? As what is stated is observably accurate to paraphrase it’s a personal statement based on how I draw associations between my surroundings and my understanding of the known world – and to prove this point beyond a shadow of a doubt – if a Singaporean tourist stepped into a public bus during rush hour in either Lagos or Kampala in Africa – it would certainly be filled to the brim with Africans.

So if what TKL said is a racist statement.

Then how is it possible sobriquet terms of description such as little India and Chinatown are considered perfectly acceptable descriptions? Should these terms be banned? Do you mean to tell me, the URA is racist?

Perhaps the puppetmasters who are in charge of the internet brigade would do well to consider this little point that I have raised.

After all surely the last thing they want any of us netizens to feel when we all log into the glorious Singapore blogoland is to feel as if we are all suddenly in North Korea.

Now I wonder….was that a racist statement by any chance?

Aha…..That I shall leave to you my dear perceptive reader.

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‘Life is never so simple where a group of delusional people who are all out to engineer consent just lays railway tracks and I chug along happily to the next station like a chu chu train…..I am an individual….and I have every right to use my brain.’

The man was fond of public parks. He would usually visit the park all by himself early in the morning. Each time he went there, he felt as though he were crossing an invisible ocean of time – into another realm like a solitary spaceship slicing across a vast vacuum of time and space. It was as though he had mastered the art of impersonating a loaf of bread and leaving bits of himself behind like crumbs.

All this he did while sitting on a park bench. During those salutory moments of giving as much as himself to the atmosphere like a ball of camphor. He was able to obliterate his past life. Nothing remained. Nothing could. It had all been vaporized in a white furnace. He could no longer remember the rust colored hippos along the languorous Gambezi during summer which often came in his dreams. Neither could he remember the smell of napalm, screaming jets, burning flesh, and cries of fleeing villagers that so often filled his nightmares. As for the image of the Chinaman cocoa planter who once turned the wheel of life in Africa. Even that image of a man who wore flared ridding breeches and mirror polished boots resembled a faint sepia image from another age. Above all for as long as he could continue to shovel as much coal as he could muster into that white hot furnace somewhere in his mind. He could forget her…. and this, more than anything else was the only reason why the man came to the park every morning before dawn….to forget her…to throw that one memory into the cauldron of nothingness. For as long as the moment lasted. He could forget her. This always brought the man a measure of peace, a cavernous humming emptiness like some mysterious cave hermit’s go to, to renounce the world.

During those moments his mind ceased to exist, all things including color, touch and smell was reduced to perfect equanimity and it all no longer mattered. For since he did not even exist. He was able to forget her. And this was all he ever asked for in this new reincarnated life in Singapore….to simply forget her and to start all over again.

With these lingering thoughts flitting restlessly in his head. The zero man was suddenly filled by the awakening world – the first morning trains had begun to rumble in. It was time for him to make his way to the train station and join the rest of humanity to go to work as a production supervisor in chocolate factory in Boon Lay.

The Thirsty Wind

February 2, 2015

Observe carefully…the thirsty wind. I don’t mean just watch in the way you would with that usual air of casual indifference. Rather consider pressing the pause button somewhere in your head…allow every cell of your body to marinate in this wind like a sail….feel it curl around your body as it caresses you ever so gently….can you sense how thirsty it is. Now breathe…slowly…ever so slow …there…do you notice how the air is so dry this time of the year, it’s like inhaling pins and needles.

I bet you were not aware of all this…till now. Yes, that is the way with the thirsty wind…..it sneaks up on one like a thief.

Now watch…..watch the things around you….timber furniture splits unexpectedly these days be very careful….branches snap effortlessly this time of the year, be careful when you walk beneath my friends…cracks in pavements widen imperceptibly….as for the trees. They are beginning to shed their leaves….they’re turning brown. Becoming botak. No it’s not the heat….it’s not even the lack of rain….it’s the thirsty wind that blows this time of the year.

I bet you didn’t know all these things….till now of course.

You should really learn how to wear a keffiyeh…that’s the only defense against the thirsty wind.

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‘Someday I will teach you all how to wear a keffiyeh…either that or you could just as well spend a lot of your hard earned money on French moisturizing cream this time of the year. Only understand this! The only active ingredient in that jar of gunk happens to be water.

Nothing beats a keffiyeh against the thirsty wind….nothing.

No one really knows where the thirsty wind comes from. Caravaners who ply the treacherous Silk Road swear it originates from the Taklamakan Desert, also known as No-chur-Sakor by the uighurs. I much prefer how they describe the empire of the bones – bone drying desert. No it’s not the heat or lack of water that kills you. It’s the thirsty wind that blows from the Kunlun Mountains to the south and the Pamir Mountains and beyond possibly stretching all the way back to the Gobi Desert to the deepest reaches of the east.

A light gamcha or keffiyeh comes in handy this time of the year in the field. In North Africa camel caravans laden with salt cones that regularly transverse the navel of the Sahara only the Olmeki tribe refer to as the ‘Nagah’ wear tight pristine white keffiyeh’s as protection against the thirsty wind. During their languorous journey from the Tuareg Salt plains across the bone drying windswept Sahara to the salt bazaar in Samarra, they never take it off during the day – it’s taboo. I once learnt how to sip tea thru a keffiyeh…one wraps it just above the lip and by parting it slightly a slit of lips appear.

The bone drying wind…..

As for the ever wandering wadi Bedouin. They consider it an evil wind. So evil that there is no vocabulary in their language to describe the thirsty wind – it’s merely referenced by drawing the right helm of keffiyeh over one’s face and making a scolding expression followed by downward jabs with four fingers of the left hand. It’s desert parlance that predates Islam by at least two centuries going back all the way to the Sumerians of antiquity. Hence it’s not unusual to hear gunshots from their antique 303 renting out from time to time followed by singing across the infinity of the desert. They say it wards off evil spirits that the thirsty wind brings in it’s wake. No one knows where they come from as well – these malevolent spirits can take all forms and shapes. Sometimes it appears like a shimmering city of gold in the horizon….at other times it resembles the laughter of young girls. When coming across strangers in the desert one can never be too sure – it’s customary to open the breach of rifles and shift them to the left hand while approaching a Bedouin camp and to only unveil the shamagh with the right hand so that the tassels rest only on the right shoulder – doing so guarantees a warm welcome….as only living can do this.

The thirsty wind…..

When worn properly the keffiyeh or the gamcha can make a woman look mysterious…sophisticated and very beautiful – it’s all in the detailing. There is a lot of room for improvisation – one can wear it desert style or even as just a scarf to accentuate the neck line and for flat chested women it can give the illusion of full bodiness. However If just draped on like curtains one is likely to look like a frumpy ninja turtle.

The thirsty wind……it can be so many things to so many people.

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Cumin chili bean curry

February 1, 2015

I came out with this dish specifically for field conditions – it doesn’t use much fire wood or water and can keep for at least 2 days without any refrigeration. Hence it doesn’t use any coconut milk or any products that can go rancid.

It’s my own creation which is loosely based on Mongol field cooking originating from the warring period when the armies of Genghis Khan once traversed the Great Plains on their long ride back from India, hence the use of raisins, wild berries can also be added as well – a fusion of North Indian and Szechuan cuisine.

It’s very important to get the right chili bean paste for this dish – make sure it’s in chili oil. Just go for anything that looks spicy dark instead of just boiled. You shouldn’t be able to make out the beans at all.

This dish is five chili good to strengthen the lungs, drive out general lethargy and if you suffer from cold feet and hands it will improve blood circulation. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome it is a proven cure – as the mix of spices are a form of Aruyedic medicine designed specifically to cure poor digestion. It is a complete meal. No side dishes are necessary.

2 big white onions
4 garlic pods thinly sliced not 4 cloves!
1 chicken cut into pieces
4 tablsp olive oil

After browning onions and garlic add chicken. Cook for 15 min under medium flame. Sprinkle the following using a small imageteaspoon.

1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp meat curry powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp ground black pepper

4 cardamom pods
2 stick cinnamon
3 star anise

2 tsp cumin seeds

Continue to fry over turning the chicken in medium heat for another 10 min. You will find the spices will forces the water to drain out from the chicken. That’s the sign to add the following.

3 sliced tomatoes
Section of Parmesan or any sharp flavored cheese about 1 1/2 inch very thinly sliced and evenly distributed into dish.
3 tablespoon of raisins.
4 tsp of chili bean sauce (if u want more can add more. But I much prefer it understated. Just a hint.
2 sliced potatoes.
Half a packet of Maggi curry instant noodle flavoring dissolve in 1/2 cup of water. (This is the only amount of water added)

Stir all this thoroughly into the dish. Add salt to taste.

Lower flame to small. Do not cover chicken. Allow to cook slowly for 60 min. Make sure to stir and turn chicken pieces from time to time to avoid pan burning.

Serve with rice. Serves about 6.

Big foot

January 31, 2015

Two weeks ago I noticed one of my Doberman guard dogs, Big Foot was curled up in a corner. When I examined her closer there was a gaping wound on her neck. It’s hard to say how it happened, it could have been a collar rash…a bite from a scorpion, snake or monitor lizard. But whatever caused it, it looked bad. She was in a bad state. Perhaps 8/10 serious.
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I felt an acute wave of shame and regret following this discovery. As a rule I play with the dogs while checking on their vitals every morning. It’s a SOP that I wrote and carry out religiously everyday. However lately due to the pressing need to hit the field one hour before dawn I’ve been skipping these daily checks and now the wound appears infected and there’s a distinct possibly Big Foot is going to die because I let him down! This just sucks.

I happen to be especially fond of big foot. As his temperament is so undoberman! Hardly a no neck soldier dog. Much closer to a golden retriever. Big Foot is a hippie dog, if was a man, he would probably be sporting circular John Lennon rose tinted glasses and wearing one of those ‘same shit, different day’ tees – the quientessential odd one out who always has this look of bewilderment why the rest of the pack are always so serious. Dogs don’t nearly have to be functional to be endearing – in the case of Big Foot, he fulfills the essential function of connecting me to a rare currency that comes from prolonged spells in the field. Humanity. That why I love him.

Anyway to cut a long story short. I quarantined Big Foot in my room and took great care to clean and dress the wound daily along with putting him on a recovery diet. Fortunately the wound healed marvelously and now he’s running around like the happy energetic dog that he used to be.

Close call.

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‘Of course I still believe in the idea of paradise. Only now at this point in my life. I am not so sure it’s a pristine stretch of beach in some shark infested island somewhere in the middle of the Pacific where cartographers may have missed. Or one of those picture postcard scenes with snow capped mountain and rolling hills where the skies are so paraffin blue it hurts your eyes. I don’t deny that’s how I once saw the idea of paradise in the moment of my youth. But I now know something that I had never known before – paradise is not some place because it’s not physical, it’s cerebral…emotional…it’s all up there in your head – it’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something that makes you whole and complete. And if you’re lucky enough to be in that moment…then you have all the power to stop time and that moment can last forever….that to me is how I see the idea paradise.’

First Impressions

January 28, 2015

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She is built to be slightly unstable and finicky. That is the nature of all hand built high performance mountain bikes – they are all like bad tempered primadonnas. One mistake and she will have no hesitation in throwing me cleanly off the saddle….very little margin for sloppiness…fortunately, the curse also comes with the blessing – she is diabolically fast on the straights, climbs tight as a drum and so very sure on the hairpins – yes….she is slowly beginning to grow on me.

I will have to be very gentle and cautious in my moves…slowly….so very slowly. We will come together marvelously like my previous bike….you will all see.

Meanwhile there is a tinge of sadness putting my old bike out to pasture. There are some things that i will always miss about her (if you look closely there is a red and yellow ribbon on my retired frame. These are race ribbons, very much like kill flags on a fighter plane….yes, we have been thru a lot…so many trails) – it is so strange how ordinary everyday things we use regularly have this uncanny ability acquire a soulfulness about them. It makes me wonder sometimes whether our spirit has some how managed to permeate deep into these things and suddenly infused them with a life.

She does not look very pleasing to the eye…not at all. In fact as far as first impressions go even by the most forgiving standards, her lines look very unsettling when compared to my other bicycle that has smooth and clean classical lines.

But when I look at her longer…and study the geometry very closely, then very slowly her hidden beauty oozes out like amber from ancient wood. Yes very slowly I can tease out the various nuances along with the strands of logic only to be filled with understanding – why she has to look the way she does to perform…so true to the adage form must follow function……to insist on the other way would be to put the cart before the horse. One can only derive the lowest form of beauty…a vapid and decaying beauty for beauty sake and in this manner that which was once ugly is suddenly rendered an aching beautiful.

A good bicycle is not so different from a woman I reckon.

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This is a true story

‘Two years back ago I came across a Singaporean friend of mine who hails from Bukit Batok in the emporium of one thousand pleasures. This is a seafood restaurant in the kampung (you can always tell as in cowboy towns, they all have license to exaggerate). The pleasures that this gentlemen was partaking that evening comprised a dish of drunken prawns, chili crab and a buxom chinese prostitute.

Usually when I come across such carnal encounters even with people who I may be acquainted with – it is not unusual for me to feign profound indifference. I am after a worldly chap who understands the imposition of discretion when it comes to such delicate matters – my lips are as tight as a Doberman in the dentist shop. But since I happen to know the history of this fellow – you see he started a mushroom farm with his wife not very far from where I turn the wheel of life. I even know recently he came to money as his business is flourishing. A large part of the credit goes to his wife. Not him. As since she has a pleasant disposition unlike this fellow, she has been able to open so many doors for this ungrateful fuck of a half man.

I felt a wave of mischief shimmering across me that evening for some inexplicable reason so I proceeded to take pictures of this couple like a Mossad secret agent. I even followed them to their love nest. Bribed the concierge to allow me to climb up the drain pipe and spy on them from the balcony. If only hotel 81 is like all the kampung hotels – where life is so interesting as it also probably so open minded – provided one can keep ones brains from spilling out. Life would be so transparently. These were my thoughts.

The following day I presented the evidence to this man. His first reaction, this is blackmail! I replied, you are most perceptive. He began to recount to me in ear shattering terms – what I do with my life is my bloody business and demanded to know my motivation.

I told him quite plainly my motivation was purely altruistic and all I desired was to restore the balance of heaven and earth along with preventing him from taking a wrong turn in life. He exclaimed wtf! At some point, the man broke down and told me in a wavering tone that deep down he was a very sad man and had never known any excitement in his whole twenty odd years of marriage. This man even when on to intimate to me that he now found his wife staid and boring. I went on to tell this man I have it under the surest authority, his wife to the best of my knowledge based on the village CIA and Mossad intelligence services that operates from a benign village barbershop was a woman of impeccable standing – that if not for her 24/7 dedication in growing his business, it’s unlikely that he would ever have come to money. As since his wife often speaks highly of him and makes it a point to win the hearts and minds of the villagers to his side – this is the only reason why he has been successful thus far. I went on to add, left to his own, he would have floundered a long time ago. As he had the EQ of a doorknob and the table manners of a pig. At one point when anger got the better of me. I suddenly jumped out of my chair like a ninja and proceeded on to knock this fellow on the head with my bare knuckles twice to give him two decent sized balaku’s to which after cringing with pain. He threatened to call the police. I dared him. He called me a gangster (can you all imagine that! Me…a gangster) – I went on to tell this fellow, if his wife was really fucked up as he claimed. I wouldn’t have seen the wisdom to interfere. Not at all. I went on to add, it’s conceivable that I would have even encourage him with other women….two would be better…three betterest.

After that from time to time whenever I came across this fellow, I would wink and nudge him and exclaim in a sardonic tone, ‘are you looking closer!….remember I can always post this all in Youtube if you are not!’

After a period. The man called on me one day and recounted in a very humble tone, that he now knows the error of his ways. He went on thank me for my timely intervention. As since the last time we talked, he has been counting his blessings and since then not a day goes by when he doesn’t give thanks to heaven for uniting him with such a wonderful wife who could always be entrusted to help him in his business.

I told him that I always knew he would be able to see the beauty in her….if only he looked closer.’

People who are insecure NEED to control. Once they believe they can no longer control a thing, person or course of events. They will feel anxious and fearful. This is why these people often have an over whelming desire to control the relationships around them. To know what is happening. Often these people are not even aware, they are intruding into the privacy of others and dabbling into affairs that should not involve them.

This is very natural of insecure people….as I said, they need to be in control. Once they lose the perception they are in control. Insecure people can be suddenly overwhelmed by confusion and anxiety. This leads to irrational fear. And this in turn opens the door to suffering.

Because of this, when dealing with insecure people, it’s best for one to give them the illusion that they know you….that you are even an open book…that you are benign and never a threat to them.

Acknowledging the reasons why insecure people think and do the things they do allows us to see them as victims of their own circumstances. When one knows the Tao of insecure people. Then one will never be angry or frustrated with them and it becomes much easier to empathise with their mental conditions.

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