The short answer is ‘far from it.’ This assessment is not about who is right or wrong…ultimately it boils down to three elements, political infrastructure, chain of command and party discipline. Whether Najib actually stole money is an ikan Merah (red herring) that allegation I have no doubt may very well sway a significant number of voters….but it’s impact is nominal and has probably been factored by the political planners in UMNO. Truth of the matter is votes cast in the cities don’t count for very much in the political score card, it’s doubtful that it can even cause a rift within UMNO.

The reality is BN has been haemorhaging votes in the city as far back as the mid 1990’s…and the rot started during the tail end of Mahathir’s administration just after Anwar’s first imprisonment – since then the BN political machinery has redrawn the electoral lines to enable them to set up a government even should they fail to garner the majority of votes in the cities in Malaysia.

Hence in my opinion, the real decider will be waged in the kampungs, especially the Northern districts of the rice belt starting from Kelantan, Kedah, Terrenganu et all all the way down to Matang, Perak. Same applies to the Southern states of Johor. The cities are toasted….but the same cannot be said about the kampungs.

Firstly, I do not see how Mahathir’s new Bersatu can possibly challenge UMNO. UMNO after all maintains discipline within it’s ranks thru a very ritualized system of ‘habuan’ (kickbacks) – it’s essentially a very complex system involving layer upon layer of beneficiaries that took nearly 60 or more years to evolve.

Bersatu doesn’t have the networking or linkages – they need to start building from scratch, that’s quite hard as they don’t have either a war chest or generous donors who can write them billion dollar cheques….so this idea Bersatu somehow being able to gazump UMNO is quite premature.

The second factor is chain of command – Both BN and UMNO have a highly organized chain of command that allows for fast mobilization, especially in the countrysides. The same cannot be said about Bersatu….all they can really hope for is to trigger a rift within UMNO and hope that many will defect or switch sides. But even if they do that…they still don’t have an effective chain of command. As it is Bersatu is in a very unnatural alliance with DAP, PKR and four other component parties – outwardly they may all appear united, but there is a lot of mistrust and bad blood between them that will make it quite impossible for them to respond as decisively as BN and UMNO.

Finally party discipline – UMNO whips are still able to maintain the monolithic discipline within the ranks. Granted there is certain schism, but this not a political animal that is not riven by plenty of scandals….I have no doubt the majority of UMNO members will hold together as UMNO despite it’s many faults remains the only means for them to benefit from the system – providing the rank and file continue to gain benefit…they will look the other way.

Finally and most worrisome is the malaise of apathy that is so prevalent in Malaysia. While most Malaysians realize the current system is rotten right down to the core…since they don’t believe it’s possible to effect change. Most don’t care.

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As you can all tell, I am not a big fan of that sour old man.

After all during his 22 year shift. He imposed his rule of despotism on Malaysia at the expense of everything sacred under the sun. He literally set up a banana republic dictatorship – to be nothing less than a complete dictator.

Anyone that got in his way…he bulldozed over.

He desecrated the institutions of democratic governance – judiciary, bar council, media, universities along with kicking out capable and honorable men and replaced them with his retinue of lackeys – so as to further his nefarious designs.

He radicalized politics along sectarian, religious and communal lines by dividing the three races so that they would be amenable to his crooked machinery of rule by fear.

He redefined Malay nationalism to a theoretical science to such a ridiculous extent that today most Malaysian youths can’t even string a simple sentence in English without coming across as a joke like him.

Sanctioned state inspired race politics and discrimination at the expense of meritocracy and filled it with parvenus and men who are no better than gangsters.

Raided land and business with unmitigated callousness from hard working folk under the guise of national development and handed it to his useless lackeys for a tuppence, who ran it all to the ground.

He even perverted the course of justice and threw one of his deputy ministers in jail.

Humiliated, silenced and taunted the father of Merdeka who eventually died of a broken heart just because he wanted to control everything and everyone.

Now in the final chapter of whatever that is still left of his tattered legacy….the bitter old man of a 1,000 biles finally realizes all that he has accomplished in his lifetime is to create the very monster that he is utterly powerless to destroy…it has finally come back full circle with a terrible vengeance to cause him sleepless nights in his lifetime.

I hope he finds resolution….I am glad that I am not him.

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‘Be very careful how you treat others. As it will always come back. If you want to win or succeed…that’s perfectly natural. Only fight fairly or compete with the spirit of the sportsman – don’t dabble in trickery and deceit and arm twisting. That way even if you win, the other side will take his hat off and say, ‘I did my best, but he was a better man.’ Be a gentleman. Because once you open that box…then you can’t blame the other side for throwing out the rule book and when that pivot point is breached…anything and everything goes. If you want to be metaphysical and call it poetic justice or Karma, that you can. But for me, I much rather keep it simple and call it the law of cause and effect.’

People who are really confident are usually very quiet….And that is only natural.

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‘Confidence is not something that you will yourself into and wear like make up or a suit – it doesn’t come from reading a self improvement paperback one hour a day on the MRT. Neither does it come from DIY hypnosis, where you stand before a mirror every morning only to repeat ten times in a mono robotic tone – I am a very confident person.

All that is phoney confidence.

Real confidence can only come when one gains deep knowledge about how fragile and delicate one is and how the rest of humanity is the same, that is why they need to play, ‘I am larger than life’ games endlessly…and it is this understanding of the human condition that leads to an inner awakening – that it’s pointless to play these childish games any longer.

I find this be very true in my case. As when I was younger. I had a tendency to talk a lot about my accomplishments…and when I reflect back that may have something to do with the fact that I was very much a nobody with very little to show for….except for maybe a couple of imaginary friends running around my head cheering me on all the time.

I am not saying for one moment I am someone exceptional today…not at all.

My life is very uneventful. There are many things that I want to do.

Only I much prefer keep very quite and listen to others these days. Rather than talk all the time about myself like I used too….that is the most noticeable change in my character – it could well be because I no longer feel the need to prove anything to anyone.

It’s very strange….it’s as though the focus on the interaction itself has nothing whatsoever to do with me.

I’ve somehow disappeared…I don’t even know how I became such a quiet man. I don’t. But it doesn’t bother me…no.

It’s just the way it was always meant to be.

How curious.’

When a man constantly looks outwards for approval…validation…respect from strangers and people who he hardly knows.

Then it probably means there is nothing worth looking inwards….deep inside his being.

This is the ONLY logical deduction there is…all others follow ONLY after this and this alone.

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‘There is a deep urge in ALL men to diffuse his energy on worthless pursuits…that is because society programs man to be a social animal…wonder no more why you rarely ever see people dining alone. As society labels them freaks…that is also the reason why no body ever ask you to go talk to yourself…again that’s freaky – man always looks outwards…as he’s mentally conditioned to look externally and not internally.

He is always a busy body, sticking his nose into affairs that don’t concern him. Always digging up scandals on others so as to make himself feel righteous…always trying to put down others so as to seek liberation from the reality of his apparent shortcomings…to gossip no end about others so as to manufacture his version of the truth to make an otherwise miserable existence that much more bearable.

This is the sad story of man the social animal.

At the crux of his motivation – mans craves to be special….he yearns to be exceptional…to even stand out from the crowd.

But the ultimate paradox is he doesn’t even realize to improve his lot – all he needs to do is to look inwards instead of searching for answers to many of his questions out there.

Recently a group of people asked me why do I seem so aloof, detached and distant these days…why don’t I make more effort to socialize…to be more friendly (which is code for you’re very sombong or proud these days)….of course I told them all a white lie..I am so busy these days. So terribly preoccupied with work and eking out a living. I went on to add just before I disappeared yet again…I wish I could spend more time with all of you.

In truth, I am sick and tired of mixing around people who seem to do very little else except trade gossip along with speculating endlessly about the lives of others all day….truth is, these are all wasteful pursuits that don’t add any value to my life. Neither do they have the power to make one special.

If you happen to feel special or superior just mixing around with people who like nothing better than to indulge in worthless pursuits all day – it just means, you have successfully managed to fool yourself by manufacturing and believing your own version of reality that bears absolutely no resemblance to the truth.

Faced with that horrible proposition…I rather be alone….and that is the truth…the superior mind is never afraid to go his own way…to put it another way, his default position is always to look inwards.’

No! Please don’t misunderstand me…as when I say – I don’t trust myself! It is not a sign of weakness. Not at all…it is, what it is…nothing more or less…just reality….the way I see it at least.

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‘Your mind, my mind, their mind will always interfere and color your thoughts. That’s only natural as the mind is a creation of society.

Yes it will interfere…always…all the time that is what happens when there is a policeman…priest…leader….parent running in your head 24/7 – it is impossible to be yourself.

I don’t for one moment deny it is certainly your mind…only it is not ALWAYS in your service…neither can it be counted to make wise decisions…not all the time.

Don’t believe me. Let’s conduct a simple thought experiment…SEX…Aha you felt something nipping at you just then….did you shift uneasily….SEX…There you felt it pinch at you again!

You see there is a conspiracy against you….and it’s all in your mind – that is because society has implanted so many things in that mind that you believe you have complete control over including the idea that you can trust yourself as you have full control over your thought processes.

That is why people who are brainwashed. Never ever believe they are brainwashed. As a necessary aspect of brainwashing requires the victim to FIRST believe his or her thoughts can only come from having full control over one’s mind.

That is why the very moment a man says – I trust myself completely and absolutely…I know, he doesn’t even know anything about himself let alone understand the breadth of that word – trust.

How can he?

As that means he will never see the need to ALWAYS interrogate his thought processes and even perceive the need to put his conclusions under the rigor of closer scrutiny…..to review….compare and contrast…winnow truth from propaganda….to leverage on the power of his intellect….only a person who doesn’t full trust his mind would ever understand the need for such precautionary measures….as he knows the mind is programmed by society and though this it sits on his shoulders and belongs to him, it is not ALWAYS in his service….not all the time, at least.

Like I said, it is, what it is….nothing more or less.’

When we are not mindful – the mind will go round and round like a cat chasing it’s own tail. That is the nature of the mind. We will relive the bad experiences of the past and feel the pain that comes from missed opportunities and regrets and by doing so…. we sabotage the present and future.

As I mention…this is the very nature of the mind when one is not mindful – it can only go round and round like a vicious cycle…repeating…reliving the past and coloring our days with sadness.

But when one is mindful – one becomes a witness to this merry go round without judgement, consideration or any other thoughts.

As a witness one is simply acutely mindful of how the mind is chasing it’s own tail like a deranged cat AGAIN.

To be mindful…is not nothing….it is a very big deal…nothing short of the skeleton key that will empower one to open the door to freedom….without the power that comes from awareness one can never hope to exert complete control over the mind, one can only be swept of away by the momentum of the gyre and go round and round.

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‘Living in the wild all alone is hardly a simple thing. It’s not like the movies. You only think you can wing it – but once you’re smack in the depths of wild. You will be overwhelmed….as the jungle has a creepy way of whirling itself beneath your skin only to canal into your brain and consume it like some hungry fanged creature.

I’ve seen many level headed men lose their minds in this way….that is what will happen when we are not mindful of how our mind can turn against us. As our past is hardly a benign thing – no it’s not..at times it’s like trampoline that will propel you into the present and future. This is how relationships are destroyed….a man or woman may be with his or her soulmate but some painful memory is played out like a cassette or DVD again and again and this destroys the moment and if this persist…..the relationship is doomed.

To break away from the past is not easy…you are not stupid or weak willed if the past has a habit of creeping up on you only to shout out booh!

That just means you are totally human…learn to accept this aspect of who you are without beating up yourself! Learn to see it for what it is without a defensive nature that comes from urgency to judge….it is you, me and everyone else.

As this happens to even the very best of us. The hurtful past comes often to me and everyone else and those who claim they are not to some degree haunted by the past are simply lying to others and themselves.

Only because of my special circumstances. I have to be acutely mindful of how the mind has a tendency of going round and round….when it’s not checked.

Mindfulness. To be fully conscious that the broken record has started playing somewhere in my head again and by the mere act of just being mindful – suddenly the past assumes the right scale and perspective in relation to the present and future.

This way the past can never overwhelm you…it’s not possible as the gravity of the present and future will keep you centered and alert.

When we are not mindful of how the mind has a tendency to go round and round – that is when we begin to die a little day by day till we end up living only in the past.

But when we are mindful…suddenly we come to a state of awareness and this enables us to bury the past and move on.’

When one becomes successful. It is very natural for some people to find fault with you…what is the motivation for their actions…is not a pertinent question. Not to me at least…you might as well go and plough the sea. As your guess is as good as mine and it’s really horses for courses. But find fault and nitpick at you these jealous people will do!

When you are caught in that kind of corrosive situation…just learn to disappear gracefully…poof!

You are gone!

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‘You really want to know the truth? Are you ready? Here it comes – No one will be happy when you succeed!

I am so sorry to be the bringer of bad news. I know everyone tells you..they SHOULD be. But in truth most people just can’t get a handle on their childish impulses and the success of others usually brings out the very worst in them.

You don’t have to do anything like rub them the wrong way…you could just be sitting in one corner sucking your thumb and minding your own business or impersonating a lamp post. Yet these jealous people will still target you…this is all that you need to understand….jealous people are very driven as they are fueled by none other than high octane hate, hate and hate!

The only people who will be genuinely happy for you when you succeed…. are those who have always loved and cared for you.

Whenever you come across jealous people. NEVER engage them…never. As either way it’s a lose lose proposition and the best you can ever hope to accomplish should you be foolish enough to get entangled with them is to just manage the loses in the such a way where you don’t lose too big….even then set the right expectation. You will come out bruised.

That’s because people who are jealous are very often caught up in the vicious cycle of their own mental dynamics that involves their own painful past that they have great trouble dealing with. So they have to take out their frustrations on others to make life that much more bearable for themselves….it’s nothing personal….if it’s not you at the receiving end of their flame throwers. It could just as well be anyone else…take your pick!

In short experience informs me quite reliably what makes up the composition of their mental dynamics and how it works is very complicated to unravel….you might as well go a develop a space ship to travel to Mars…that how complex it is with jealous people…they’re a right mess….so just learn to disappear.

There are many forms of disappearing. The first is to simply not be there…this may not always be possible, then disappear in such a way where you are still there, but not really there….but actually somewhere else..that’s to say the body is there, but the mind is in another place.

Never go head to head with jealous people as they are capable of doing everything and anything….if you don’t take this advice. In no time you too will be sucked into their hellish world of irrational hate, hate and hate…burn baby burn that you too will end up behaving exactly like that – that is how destructive jealous people can be.

Instead always remain compassionate and strive ONLY to control your response and the thoughts flitting thru your mind – soon you will realize. They are in a form of hell….when one takes this attitude, one will never get angry with jealous people.

Because the self is no longer there…it has evaporated into the atmosphere…atomized even…it’s disappeared completely.’

Love

August 9, 2016

Love to most people (I imagine) usually involves a kind of appropriation….of another or something.

Usually love involves some form of monopolization, possessiveness and expectation the person who you love will always be there for you…exclusivity – but there is an understated flaw to this logic.

As the very moment one tries to possess a living being, you have killed it as certainly as plucking a flower that picks your fancy in the wild.

To me love cannot be about possession and obsession…as it’s simply an act of appreciation.

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‘Its very natural for man to covet and possess and even aspire to own both things and people. After all to some degree unbeknown to all of us – it’s conceivable we have all been socially conditioned by the material world to only see this as the only worthwhile transaction in life.

Anything less than ownership in the strict sense means we don’t have a right to enjoy it.

But there is something very fundamentally wrong with this outlook – just the other day while working in the field. I said to myself what a glorious day…for the very first time in weeks, the temperature was not super hot. There was even a cooling breeze from the east that made work joyous…the birds were all out and the gentle swaying and rustle of the palms was so serene.

It was a joy to work with my hands on such a beautiful day.

But the very second when I murmured to myself, ‘if only all days can be like today’ ‘I wish the day will never end’ or ‘if only I had the power to stop time and freeze this moment in eternity.’

Suddenly sadness crept into my being like a thief. Suddenly that which was just a moment a source of profound joy was transformed into something ugly and painful.

Do you all see how when one is clingy to a thing or I imagine to even a person…the magic spell of the moment is broken.

There is much to be learnt from this in life….never dwell on the past or the distant future. There is only the present and it is new…pristine and pure.

Breathe and enjoy….as it will past.’

Will Trump Win?

August 8, 2016

Of late Mr Trump has made a couple of incomprehensibly stupid moves that has resulted in self inflicted damage to himself and the entire Republican outfit. However I am very sure he will be able to recover. Even if he cannot recover the Republican machinery will make every effort to make it possible for Mr Trump to recover. This is the nature of partisan styled politics. After all it’s still early days and from now till November it’s really the equivalent of from here to eternity in power and politics.

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‘Will America and the rest of the world be destroyed after Trump wins? Normally we needn’t ask such a question, but these are not normal times. These are super duper extraordinary times. Last week, Obama announced “(Trump) is unfit to serve as President” he added Trump was “woefully unprepared”. To cap it off Obama laid it thick and furious “He doesn’t have the judgment, the temperament, the understanding to occupy the most powerful position in the world.”

Never before have I ever heard such a stinging report card from a president to describe another contender.

But to be fair. Obama along many people do have good reasons to come to their conclusion.

Are they accurate?

First of all I don’t think Mr Trump is a fool. He may be a loose canon. But he is definitely not a fool. As a fool cannot possibly be a billionaire! That is not possible.

So he has a history of cutting the right moves or coming down on the right side as the Americans would say – I happen to be one of the few who believe Mr Trump is just inexperienced and possibly overwhelmed by the new found position he suddenly finds himself in. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as he’s basically a businessman not a politician. That may be why I am willing to cut him some slack.

This election is historical. Never before has the electorate being confronted with two starkly different choices – Hillary represents continuity and the perpetuation of the status quo along with everything that is wrong with politics and power in America.

Trump comes in with a new insight as to how the country should be ordered. Though it’s doubtful he will be able to deliver on his promises. As there are really so many realities that need staying the course rather than hatching ideas – I am not saying the old way of doing things is better than whatever Trump math propose if he were ever elected as President. It’s just that I don’t believe Mr Trump appreciates the nuances of power and politics along with how little power he has to effect a slew of radical changes.

If I had to plumb. I would say Trump could very well win albeit by the slimmest of margins – the only reason why I say this is because he comes across as authentic and the opposite of a well rehearsed politician in the form of Hillary.

Authenticity sells. It even commands a premium in a climate of terminal askance, uncertainty and fear.

That I imagine could be one reason why the Democrats seem to be very determined to label Mr Trump as a nut case….the irony is their methods don’t differ a lot from what Mr Trump has been doing all along – give a dog a bad name blah blah blah.

Will it work?

Well I think it will. As character assasination is a very effective crowbar….but then again if Trump just remains focussed on getting his message across instead diffusing his energy on petty issues all the time – he will certainly win.’

It all pivots on the question of what is the price of crude oil per barrel from now to the next GE.

That in my opinion is the key determinant.

If the price of oil is stays below the average median of USD$40 from now till the next GE. I think it will be uphill for BN.

Under those constraints if BN is to win the key constituencies in the mainland. They have to seriously consider an alliance with PAS…otherwise their chances of garnering the votes in the Northern districts especially along the rice belt would be very shaky.

As that is where the opposition will most likely place their heavy guns and contest very fiercely.

As for the cities, it’s a foregone conclusion, BN will lose spectacularly. But this hardly matters as the number of votes is not reflective of the number of seats. This is the way politics is conducted in Malaysia and Singapore. This I am certain has already been factored into the calculations of the BN planners.

However if the price of oil is able to maintain a median average of USD$80 per barrel – it’s very unlikely the new opposition party will ever be able to make significant head way…their attempts to gain ground will be blunted.

BN will win by a landslide.

Everything hinges on the price of oil.

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‘UMNO and BN in the towns and cities is an invisible party….the average towner probably doesn’t even know who their MP is. Neither does he care and this is not unusual. Not at all.

But in the kampung, UMNO is very well organized along sectarian, religious and communal lines. This should not come as a surprise. As since Merdeka (independence) it has had nearly 70 years to perfect it’s super complicated ritualized way of maintaining discipline along with engineering consent…this especially so in the kampung (rural) districts. There is layer after layer of command and control structures and it’s very hierarchical from the YB (Yang Berhormat: MP) to the Penghulu (village headman), Imam (cleric) right down to the grassroots common villager.

Say what you want to say, but from what I have been able to make out the system is first class and virtually unbreakable.

In the kampung people are very simple minded…they can be manipulated very easily – that is why when Najib says his money is a donation….very few people understand this statement is directed at predominantly village folk. That is his target audience. In opinion Najib has gambled right.

To understand this one needs to understand history. Najib is the son of Razak. The second PM of Malaysia. Razak was a great visionary. He is regarded as the benefactor of the planter till this day. It’s not uncommon even today to visit plantations only for one to find a framed picture of Razak (you come to my plantation, you will also see a framed picture of Razak beside the pic of the Agung)…that is how well regarded he is by the planters. The father of modern commercial farming in Malaysia. Added to that Planters are very strange folk. They live by their own social code that starkly differs from orang Kota (city dwellers). In the rural district, when the son is in trouble….they will still support him as the memory of the father runs deep in their psyche. They never forget. Their attitude is, ‘biar lah!’ (It matters not). So the son can do no wrong. As the father was considered a peka gentleman and that by itself exacts loyalty.

People in the cities don’t understand this concept, but in the rural districts – they have deeply etched memories, that is why they slap their foreheads with a sense of incredulity…but in the kampung this is quite normal.

Kampung folk generally don’t care very much about 1MDB to them it’s a very distant concept that cannot be imagined – first they don’t know what it is…or even how many zero’s make up a billion and even if they do, they can’t possibly see what it all has to do with their way of life or even how it might affect them.

It is what it is!

At one level, it’s not inaccurate to say kampung folk are by nature ignorant…and that is at least truth to some degree otherwise what can possibly account for their bovine response to 1 MDB.

Besides most kampung folk have only known UMNO all their life – even PAS along with their appendages such as Al Arqam is quite a new concept….and since kampung folk still venerate the idea of the monarchy. It’s likely that religion, ritualistic tribal practices, kinship along with tradition will still play a preponderant role in moderating the final count of votes.

Personally I do not see how an opposition party can ever unseat UMNO in the kampung (rural district) especially the farming belt in Perak and Northern Johor, Kedah and Terengganu….I believe the status quo will continue despite Dr Mahathir being a fire brand in the new opposition camp…I do not believe the opposition has either the resources or networks to break thru the kampung ritualized way of power and politics.

I rate their chances to be minimal to zero.

That is reality.’

Just

August 7, 2016

A few sights that made me press the pause button and JUST watch during my last visit to the city.

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‘I think it’s very sad when I realize it’s no longer possible for me to live in a place like Singapore….I seem to have developed a chronic allergy to virtually everything in the city.

For one it’s way too noisy and the lights are just too bright…I am not used having so many people around me…soon my senses become overloaded and I begin to malfunction.

Whenever I feel disorientated by the many sights and sounds in the city…I sit down.

Usually women who have never seen before would approach me gingerly and ask in a concern tone whether I am OK…maybe they sense my sadness. Or could it be they are drawn by some residue of the wild that I broadcast inadvertently like X ray? I don’t know…it’s very hard to say…as the city is such an alien place to me these days.

Usually I just sit quietly like a stone. I don’t ever need to do anything except maybe breathe in and out and after a while I get up and resume my walk again.’

Is one then necessarily subversive? Let me put it another way, if you believe it is right to raise the price of medicine beyond the reach of most people in the third world….And should I believe otherwise i.e medicine is an elemental a priori right for all and every effort should be made to keep the price as reasonable and low as possible including reining in the profit motive…….then might I also be subversive just because I don’t share your worldview of how medicine should be priced and who should be able to have access to them.

If that is subversive…then how about should I prefer ice kacang to two scoops of ice cream…might that also be subversive?

What about should I much prefer to walk instead of taking the bus or a taxi like you….might that also be subversive as well?

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‘I once told a man, please don’t use your bag of dirty tricks on me. He asked me why not….I replied because you haven’t seen what’s in a bag yet.

I think he finally got my point.’

We spend the best years of our lives preparing ourselves by studying math, science, history, geography etc etc and thereafter we spend more time striving to get our degree – yet what is very curious (to me at least) is we rarely see ever see need to set aside some quiet time to study how to love and be loved…or even how to manage relationships so that we get the best out of it instead of destroying us…. or even going deeper into our core to get to know ourselves better.

To me this whole idea of preparing oneself for the world is woefully out of balance…as 99.9% of it is merely focussed on the developing and mastering the life tools – yes, life tools like fractions and being able to pay out the right dollar bills as well as being able to audit the returns are certainly important. Only how one goes about prioritizing the list of importance seems very disproportionate to me…that so much time and energy should only be directed towards WHAT we need to develop to satisfy others…so that we can fall into their slots of what is organizational and personal success…acceptable…normal…correct etc etc. We seem to do so much for others and so very little for ourselves.

Please don’t get me wrong…I am not for one moment saying math, science or physics is not important – indeed they are all valuable life tools that we all need to enable us to manage ourselves and others effectively….only there has to be a sense of scale and the right perspective as to how we see the bigger picture.

For example striving to understand for corners of the self is not as straight forward as striving to master a subject like math where there’s an easy and direct connection between cause and effect. When it comes to understanding a subject like ‘who am I?’

There are no tried and tested pathways – there is no such thing as even a syllabus…it’s the opposite of straight forward linear learning. Many insights concerning who we are can only be gleaned by spending more time immersing ourselves in ourselves, till the searcher journeys right down to the core of his being.

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‘When you are a stranger to yourself. It simply means you don’t know who you are or even why you were born into this timeline….not knowing may seem benign and even downright harmless, but if I am asked why so many people, not only in Singapore but the whole wide world continue to suffer unnecessarily…it really comes down to ignorance of the self.

When one is a stranger to oneself – the self is like a building constructed on soft sand…the foundations will always be shaky and unstable…and this is how it is when a man or woman does not know himself or herself.

He or she can only be shaky. It is very easy to unsettle such people…all that needs to be done is to push their buttons and they will jump like a demented Jack in the box….they are always shaky…when a woman sees another woman who is more beautiful than her…she will begin to shake. Same applies to a man…he will begin bristling like a porcupine and he will even turn beet root and given more time, he will be like a hand grenade with it’s pin working loose.

That is because not knowing anything about the most important person in the planet – yourself!

Is the root of all insecurities, fears, anxieties and deep seated feelings of inferiority.

When a man knows himself completely. Suddenly he comes into the bigger picture of life…suddenly that which was once considered important becomes trivial as it assumes the right scale and perspective – the self disappears completely… and the ego assumes the right scale in relation to this man’s higher purpose….it’s very difficult to shake such a man.

You can even throw him in prison. He will not shake.

That is why I have always considered this a form of superpower.

Such a man is so confident about himself that he can hold his own amongst kings and princes dressed like a beggar…even should you slight, insult or try to put him down, it’s like a mosquito bitting an elephant – no effect!

But where does this quiet confidence come from?

Where?

Deep within the self. As mastering self knowledge is not like striving to understand mathematics or geography – it requires the man to go inwards…deep…deeper into his very core. Above all it’s not a process of learning. Rather it requires unlearning the ways of world…always discarding the useless..worthless and vapid along with setting aside illusions till one can only be at one with the truth.

This is what it means when others say, he is very comfortable in his own skin…it’s not that the man doesn’t give a damn…No! It simply means, he knows who he is and he doesn’t need your validation to remain happy and to live a purpose driven life.

Strive always to get to know yourself better – when you do just this alone….you will find many things in this world that used to disturb and irritate you will disappear completely. As you have begun the most important journey in life – the epic journey to close the circle.’

Small steps….

August 5, 2016

Start by doing what’s necessary…..be diligent and do it well….strive to be consistent at doing the things that needs doing.

After that….consider doing what’s posible….again…be diligent and do it well….strive to be consistent and comfortable with the idea of doing what’s possible and suddenly in no time, you will be doing the impossible.

Only be mindful always start with very small steps.

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‘There is a banana grower in my village. His name is Ah Thiam. Seven years ago, Ah Thiam confided to me that he was always poor as no one taught him how to save. So I told him, whenever you come across a five dollar green note, put it in a biscuit tin.

Seven years have passed and now Ah Thiam has twenty five biscuit tins stuffed full with fivers.

One day Ah Thiam showed up with two plastic bags full of five dollar notes and asked me what to do with it. We drove to town and put a down payment for a second hand tractor.

Now Ah Thiam hires out his tractor every alternate day when he is not tending his bananas.

Thereafter Ah Thiam confided to me he plans to go to Bangkok to have plastic surgery on squaring his jaw like mine…he told me in an embarrassed tone, he has designs to propose to a girl. He showed me a carefully folded picture of one the Korean actors in descendants of the sun…I tore it up, took off my sunglasses, glared at him and asked him – who taught you this?

He never brought the matter up again….

I told him first you start with one tractor, then two, four, eight….that is how it works.

Then Ah Thiam asked what about improving his chances of getting married…I told him with money everything is made possible, but without it, one is has certainly less options in life.

The journey has begun…’

This fellow managed accomplish in 24 hours what I could never hope to ever do for the last three years. He definitely deserves a tiger beer!

I hope he makes another speech in support of the TPP soon….I really do!

image

Early on in life, one must quickly learn, the difference between things that can be done and cannot…What cannot be done…in so far as it cannot possibly produce good results…never do! Never!

What can be done in such a way where you are able to exert control over the final outcome to guarantee quality and fidelity to specifications…do it!

Therefore the short answer to HOW to intelligently manage sharp tongue people is avoid them whenever possible….and the rationale is very simple.

You cannot reasonably exert any control over their thoughts. Even if you can do that…they still have their mouth. And should you try to control that…they can still talk thru their asshole.

Since you cannot change them!…You must accept they have a mouth and they can say what you want.

All you can hope to do is control your response towards such people.

But when one avoids them at every turn and opportunity – one can only be transformed into a moving target…..and always remember, the best way to get even is to live well and be happy.

———————————————————–

‘Trees are great teachers. Whoever knows how to fellowship with them. Those who spend as much time with them in the wild can only end up listening to them…that is the way with superior logic…it will always overcome the pariah way of doing things.

Trees do not preach loudly. They are very courteous unlike bent pastors who perform magic and show off how blessed they are all the time.

Trees never need to shout…they never demand that you believe or even make unreasonable impositions like you should trust them…these are all man made nonsense….only understanding is all that is required. Even then it’s all up to you.

When one looks at a tree for just a while…it’s just a tree. But as one begins to look at it longer and deeper….soon it will begin to speak to you and then you will suddenly be aware that – everything about a tree speaks about how to stand tall all by yourself in this world…..you see trees….it is a solitary thing.

Not solitary, but SOLITARY!…don’t believe me, then just sit underneath a tree for a while and even you will eventually agree with me, although this tree stands besides other trees…it’s an intrinsically solitary being.

There it is. All by itself, like a man marooned in his own head…but unlike the man who is cast away and mistakenly regards his solitary state as a form of purgatory approaching suffering.

This is not the case with trees…there they stand with dignity all alone facing all sorts of trials and tribulations ranging from the agony of defeat to the thrill of victory.

It is as though they have come to regard these twin heads of life with perfect equanimity – and as I look on….I often say to myself…that is how it is with man as well.

He must always strive to be comfortable in his own skin and the first place to begin this long education of self improvement, first begins by just being comfortable alone like a tree.’

There seems to be no such thing as a ‘bottom’ when it comes to how low the blows may come from Trump…nothing it seems is sacred any longer. Trump even makes our homegrown Potty mouther Amos Yee look like the Pope.

This should prompt us to ask, why are so many (judging from the polls at least) people prepared to look the other way when it comes to Mr Trumps indiscretions?

Why?

————————————————————–

‘Whether Mr Trump wins or not is no longer relevant….from my assessment, the damage has already been done.

By damage I mean three notable evolutions are very apparent.

Firstly, the electoral mix or segmentation in the US has fragmented and the poor, uneducated and feral white supremacist have managed to chisel themselves as a distinctive voting cachet. This is important to highlight as in previous presidential elections – the rightist in the US have remained middle to moderate thereby ballasting the political system…now that this vital counter weight is swept away by the Trump tsunami…the bough is broken. Result: American politics in the future is likely to be characterized by mass askance and skepticism.

Secondly, the age of scholar politician has reached it’s product life cycle….at least in the US it seems. These days for politicians to win and garner enough votes, it is now strategic for them to court the ‘red neck’ crowd…it is conceivable this will radically transform the substantive, tenor and direction of policy as well.

Thirdly, power and politics in the US is likely to fragment and Balkanized further – it will begin to diffuse away from the center to the rest of the states thereby redefining the relationship between central and regional control. Currently the states that all make up the ‘united’ in the US are very homogeneous despite the wide difference in demographics, industrial and agricultural outlook…by this I mean to say a farmer in Nebraska can agree with very little difficulty with perhaps a shoe shop manager in New York that this or that is good or bad for American and Americans…but when the political process moves so far to the outer edges of the extreme right!

Then what can only occur is a sort of social polarization where all common ground is squeezed out – when this situation is left to rot on it’s own without any attempts to rehabilitate it, positions can only calcify and soon they will become hard points that will be very difficult to negotiate around. Result: expect the US to be a very divided country now and into the foreseeable future.’

The question is not whether Mr Trump is fit or unfit to steward the highest office in the world…Rather it is the question – WHO created the right conditions for such an individual to rise and even contest for the highest office in the world?

WHO?

As now there is really ONLY one Mr Trump…so to me, he is really not such a big headache…but if strenuous effort is not made to supply an answer that I asked in the beginning – then I believe they may well be millions of Mr Trump.

If that happens…then it’s game over. As it is the system is very robust. It has plenty of shock absorbers to deal with ONE Mr Trump with plenty of room to spare….but it is not designed to deal with millions of Trumps.

In the final analysis…no matter how one decides to supply an answer to this question…it all comes down to one reality. If leaders did not break their word regularly….if only they fulfilled their promises instead of just pretending they never made such commitments before getting elected ….then who in their right mind would ever vote for Mr Trump?

After all a need only comes into effect if there is a demand…it cannot arise in a vacuum!

So to me the nascent of Mr Trump can only be a direct result of years of abject failure, ambivalence and terminal arrogance on the part of the political machinery to dutifully fulfill the gap between yearning and fulfillment….as a result the divide is far now that it’s like two continents….that is the ONLY reason why Mr Trump has become a Godzilla….that is the only conceivable reason why he is view disproportionally by all others who seem always to say the same things only to do the opposite….and that is why, he is so big and unstoppable!

———————————————————–

As much as both Presidential contenders appear publicly to be dead against the TPP.

Eventually the mathematics of reality will compel them to reexamine their respective stance…..this does not mean the TPP is good.

No! As I mentioned it’s mucho bad. Neither does this suggest it’s a superior logic to organize trade and commerce….it’s far from desirable.

By classifying it as a ‘mathematical reality’ what I mean to say is the TPP remains one of most cost effective strategy to box up an emerging China, Russia and possibly India….it’s so economical and efficient.

When faced with such an wonder weapon. I think it’s fair to say most people will have plenty of incentives to readjust their beliefs to accomodate this reality. This especially the case when the pay outs are so big and juicy…this doesn’t alter the reality….the TPP is still a very evil plan hatched by fat cat corporations to retain their primacy by unnecessarily ritualizing how business is done….coupled to that, the US can rein in China in the troublesome Spratlies on the cheap without having to wage a financial debilitating cold war involving long term commitment of men and material to the South China Seas theatre….I think it is this strategic aspects of the geo political payouts to the US in the long term, that will convince both Hilary and Trump to eventually support the TPP.

Of course they will both make minor tweaks here and there and even choose to call this newly adjusted agreement something else besides the TPP….but in essence, it’s the TPP.

The public would be hoodwinked and kept in the dark again….and wouldn’t even know what’s really going on.

I think it is premature the believe the TPP is dead…if it’s dead, it’s only dead for now.

The only counter strategy is to keep delaying it’s passage thru congress – using time as a weapon….to keep on forcing the issues of having to renegotiate the terms etc etc….and hope that the RCEP will some how be able to come alongside the TPP.

————————————————————-

‘There are two ways to wage war – the most obvious is to do so with guns and warships. An oblique method is to leverage on economic power. Since the US is a dying hegemon – it cannot compete against the emerging economic and military might of China. The demand on men and materiale to prosecute on the latter agenda would bankrupt the US and their allies. Hence the TPPA is a US economic strategy to maintain its sphere of influence on Asia. To me the pivot is premised on nothing other than the primitive 1960’s US Cold War’s containment strategy specifically aimed at Russia and China and possibly India.

The question is will the TPP be able to do a good job at containment?

I believe so and this is what makes it such a compelling strategy that accounts for it’s allure to both US politicians and military planners – but I also believe whatever advantages gained will be quickly eroded by plunging the whole of Asia into an unnecessary arms race. It would not be an exaggeration to state categorically if the TPP comes into effect it will likely be a repeat of the ill conceived US oil embargo on Japan circa 1938. This we all know was the causal link that eventually compelled the Japanese to seriously consider war as the only sensible recourse to redress the materiale deficit by invading the Philipine archipelago for oil…Manchuria for iron ore…Malaya for rubber and tin…and present day Indo China for Bauxite and zinc….so to me this TPP is a very risky confrontational strategy that is likely to throw the whole of Asia into a precipitous arms race.

It’s high risk! As it assumes China will back down! But I don’t believe she will as the TPP is intrinsically beggar thy neighbor strategy – so what pay out is there for China to back down from a head on confrontation? After all she has got all the military assets in the Paracels and Spratly’s to blockade the one third of the Pacific stretching from Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam to Visaya’s in the Philippines…..China if confronted with economic ruin will go to war!

Even I will go to war…if someone is silly enough to throw sand into my rice bowl! After all what do I have to lose…so as you can see this is not a strategy without very clear and present dangers.

I don’t believe my assessment of the geo political realities are in any way very far off the proverbial mark…No!

If anything judging from the speed and commitment of the Chinese in responding to this inexonorable economic iron curtain coming down by weaponizing the Paracels and Spratly’s…it only goes to demonstrate how dangerous this silly game is.’

The short mini skirt answer is. No! Mr Trump may have many ideas bouncing around in his head right now…but IF he is ever elected as the President, he will eventually come to the awful realization all that he can only do is come to terms with the realities of statecraft and perpetuate the status quo.

It is this aspect of reality that will hit Mr Trump hardest – the notion that it’s not how well he plays the game. As it remains a very sobering matter of how the game will always play him.

————————————————————

‘When a Roman Emperor is garlanded. He realizes that he has to share power with ten Roman legions. One cannot possibly hope to exert command and control over the power and politics of ten Roman legions…not even if one happens to be an Emperor. All that one can really do is live in the illusion that it’s possible to command and control ten Roman legions….it’s exactly the same with the US President. He only appears to be the commander in chief – but power is very fragmented in the US, it is not vested in one man, not even the office of the President. As there are very clear lines delineating the role of the executive, legislative and judiciary.

So I am not afraid that Mr Trump will do something stupid….not at all – as there remains plenty of checks and balances that will prevent that from ever happening in the US.

You could even say the US is one of those funny countries where a monkey can even be elected into the office of President and the country will still be able to function as it’s just another day in paradise.’

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