The winds are beginning to slowly shift from west to east. It’s very gradual. Imperceptible even….like fingernails growing…..but it’s shifting.

I can tell by the way the swiftlets fly higher than usual aided by the arrival of the thermals – even the once fast moving clouds look laboured across the azure skyline. There is a languor about this wind that brings the dry season in its wake – I like to take afternoon naps during the afternoon this time of the year….one hour is good…two is even better.

Soon it will get unbearably scorching hot. But for now. It’s just right for an afternoon siesta.

A surprise attack is in the cards. I plan strike my enemies during the height of the rainy season when they least expect it, by denying them fruit. To do this, I would need to transport my fruit thru the treacherous plantation roads during the height of the rainy season to the South.

For four years My drivers have trained relentlessly for such an impossible feat….it has never been done before. But I am hopeful of one this occasion.

The millers have all ganged up to bribe the small holders to deny me road access to the south. They sense my plan. I have responded by conducting a lighting hearts and minds campaign by spreading rumours….disinformation…and outright lies about them. The goal is to destroy their command and control structure.

This moment is jugular. As in the fog of sheer confusion. I will break thru to the South.

I need to engineer an impasse. I need to create conditions where the millers have no fruit. Only then can I negotiate terms in my favor. Without this. I have no leveraging power to demand favorable terms.

To accomplish this I need the Tamils throughout the Southern route to support me. Fortunately, I have the bearing of MGR, that much loved Bollywood movie star of the 60’s. Since I speak fluent Tamil and have learnt his ways by watching grainy black and white films – I can walk with remarkable ease into the hearts and minds of these simple minded kampung folk. Many of them have already been hypnotised by me.

The war has begun.

I cannot be faulted for what I am going to do. As since people disturb me. And I never disturb anyone! I cannot be blamed for being evil.

Well if this can happen in the courtyard of the palace of justice. Then this more or less puts everything into the correct perspective.

If this happened in the kampung some fine soul would probably throw an axe at the assailant and split his head in two.

Who after all hits a kid?

Why don’t you pick on real men?

I dare you lah!

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‘In my considered opinion from this point onwards public opinion will certainly turn. Because most reasonable men will never condone violence on kids. Let’s not talk about PAP automatons. Their point of view counts for nothing in the ranks of reasonable and well adjusted folk.

When I watched this I felt very sad for master Amos and his parents. This kid is not a frontier man – he is a metrosexual lah. A defenceless creature, a product of soft living. So he doesn’t know krag maga. I felt very sad that he had to go thru that. What I cannot understand for the life of me, is there were so many reporters there, but not a single one of them felt the moral duty of care to even give chase or to train their lenses on the crazy man to facilitate identification
– instead they just proceeded robotically as if nothing happened. This in my opinion speaks volumes about the lamentable state of our society.

Shame on you all! I hope one day the same happens to your sons and daughters. If I happen to be there trust me, all I will do is take pictures with my mobile phone and enjoy the show lah. You are all a bloody disgrace to the human species!’

Then get on your bike and go elsewhere. Never do stupid things like try to change the system. That’s only possible if you don’t have power crazy psychopaths holding on to the reins of power. If you do that. You will certainly end up a bitter, frustrated and broken man.

Just go and never look back. Work hard to make something meaningful out of your life in that host country.

Living well is the best revenge.

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‘When a man goes to another country to seek his fortune, to better his lot or create a better tomorrow for himself and his loved one’s. It’s not so different from an acrimonious parting with his first wife. No matter how you choose to look at it, it will always be a gut wrenching bitter sweet affair.

In the beginning when this man turns the wheel of life in another country. He will often think about his first wife who once rebuked him – you are not good enough for me! You are a lousy man! You can’t even hack it as a bread winner!

These are cruel words that can make any man feel very sad and small. They are very poisonous words that can cut and leave a gaping wound. And if a man is not strong enough, these are words can even break him in half like twig.

But since this man still loves his first wife even though she’s indifferent to him. He cannot help himself even when he is in a foreign land. Such is the pull of the familiar. So from time to time he will seek out the company of only those from his own country and met them regularly for dinner and drinks to remiscent about his happier days.

But given time. This man who once loved his first wife with all his heart will at some point experience a one in a life time moment of epiphany. A change of heart and progressively grow fonder of his second wife – his host country.

From time to time, he would look at this strange foreign woman and shake his head and lament. You are certainly not as polished as my first wife….you lack finesse and your ways may not even be as endearing when compared to her, as you are so backward and ignorant…then sensing words are too sharp. The man will smile and say, nonetheless there is certainly a charm about you that takes my heart away like a cloud on a windy day.

This is why from time to time – it’s not uncommon to come across very high quality men going out with fat and ugly women. When do not understand. Because what binds them together is their share history – hence, it will always be a mystery and contradiction.

As this man spends more time with this foreign woman. He will begin to reflect on the many milestones of his life. He may recount to himself in the depths of silence, when I first came here. I was not so different from a shipwrecked soul. I was so broken. Yet you nourished me with sustenance, clothed me, loved me despite my apparent lack and when I stood against incredible odds. You were always there encouraging me and staving off fear. You stood by me thick and thin….so even if you are a bit round, look like a bear, bad tempered and throw plates and kick up a fuss from time to time……I will still love you in my own way.

This is especially true of farmers. No farmer will ever curse Mother Nature. As she is the venerated mother – the madonna. The provider, nourisher and purveyor of all goodness on this earth. Not even if from time to time, she behaves like a bad tempered siaow charbor and destroy crops and unleashes floods. The farmer will always find 1,001 reasons to look beyond her misdeeds……perhaps he will say to himself, she can’t help herself, the moon affects her….but she is still a fine woman.

So when one day someone threatens to shame this foreign woman. Do not be surprised if this man who once looked at down on her, comes out wielding a parang and is prepared to defend her good name with his life.

This is how a man….any man….can experience a change of heart.

People who like to use broad sweeping statements like, ‘no one owes you a living,’ ‘life is not fair.’ ‘Don’t have an entitlement mentality’ ‘if others can do it, why can’t you!’ Would do well to soften their tone, least they end suffering the fate of the forgotten first wife.

Above all they should be mindful not to use their mouths like sharp knives.’

Today I met a very obnoxious man during a planters luncheon. This chap went on and on about how utterly pathetic PMET’s are in Singapore these days. His words were something to the effect, ‘if they don’t bother to carry an umbrella… when it rains…then who is to blame when they get soaked to the bone?’

As I was leaving the owner of Telugu estate suggested I stay back to discuss a land deal. So I ended up being the last to leave.

During the long drive thru the plantation to the main road. I came across a distressed Range Rover. It was the fat obnoxious man waving frantically. Hardly had I stopped, he asked me excitedly whether I had jumper cables. I told him not only do I have jumper cables, but I also happen to have a spare freshly charged battery that would fit his car. He looked relieved.

I then drove right off.

As I looked at my rear mirror. All I could make out was a pathetic figure with an expression of utter shock standing there all alone. I couldn’t help but feel pity for him – as it would be dark soon. I know the tribes in that area. I even speak their language fluently. Above all I know only too well how it would all turn out.

Yes….the man was right. After all what self respecting banker who regularly transacts with planters would even venture into the depths of a plantarion without basic field training, seven days of rations and emergency equipment….really, it must be like one of those sad sods who don’t ever bother with umbrellas.

Whose to blame then, when they get soaked right to the bone? Surely not me!

Besides I still have a good 25 miles before I reach the main road. What if I give him my spare battery and something happens to me? Will he stop? Will he extend me the same courtesy? What if I end up begging him on bended knees for help while he gives me a lecture on why no one owes you a living or a spare battery? Or still what if he begins to rebuke me for harbouring an entitlement mentality?

Opinionated folk should be very careful what comes out from their mouth in the company of planters….trust me, we are the hardy variety of men, not like your run of the mill kwai kwai sweet smelling city metrosexuals, not at all!

They should really be more careful.

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‘We leave no man behind! We choose this way of regarding our fellow brothers, not because it is easy, but precisely because we know it to be very hard and risky.

Understand this! Ants cannot do this, but humans can and must to remain human otherwise we will all degenerate into clever talking animals who wear tailor made suits.

We need to keep this discipline true and tight…that you could say is the only thing we ever really do. To keep the idea shinning bright in our thoughts, words and deeds – as when we allow indifference, selfishness and personal gain to fog our intellect.

Then we will certainly find all the ‘right’ reasons to leave men who find it difficult to keep up behind not only once, but probably twice, thrice and soon it would become our only way of regarding our fellow men and soon there will be no one left in the tribe. It would disappear like dust leaving the empire of the bones.

That you could say is the cardinal rule of brotherhood.’

Social intercourse in the kampung can often be a stressful and complicated affair. For example, if a Malay girl has a crush on a man and she works as a waitress in a warung.

She will laddle so much rice on his plate that everyone in the village will begin to ask of her – what are you doing?

Since kampung girls are generally assumed to be naive, good natured and innocent creatures – they are likely to keep quiet or reply dunno. Dunno in Singapore simply means dunno lah. No mystery there. No Da Vinci code. However in a kampung – the parlance dunno is a perpetual labyrinth of mystery and intrigue.

Usually the bomoh or Pawang (shaman) is summoned to shed more light into this mystery. Nine out of ten, the shaman will conclude – a love hex has been put on the poor and defenceless girl by a evil and manipulative man who dabbles with malevolent spirits.

When the villagers ask for proof – the shaman will advise that girls family, when this man comes before the girl again, serve him one metric ton of rice this time.

If the man is able to polish off a mountain of rice and still walk out of the warung without shitting in his pants or dying (which ever comes first), then it’s divine proof, he is innocent and destiny meant for them to be united as man and wife.

So the poor man ends up marrying the two metric ton kampung internal beauty escorted by two stout men armed with shotguns.

However if the man dies whilst eating the mountain of rice. Or worst still is unable to eat all of it. Then he is the evil one who has placed the love hex on the girl and all the villagers will do him in a la kampung red neck style.

Either way the man loses lah. Cannot win one lah!

The moral of the story is seemingly benign and innocent things can very easily do a man in, in a kampung.

Four days ago. Or was it fifth or maybe sixth. I can’t remember clearly. My log seems to be missing their daily entries. While mixing herbicides and poison. Mid way I discovered a one inch tear in my mask.

There are all types of the things that I could have inadvertently inhaled, glyphosates to arsenic powder.

I am sure I have been poisoned.

Side effects:

On the second day. Or was it the third. I can’t be sure. I began to notice everything started to smell like rubbish. Followed by mild coughing with yellow phlegm. However my hands were not shaking. I remembered feeling glad. As I can now rule out arsenic poisoning.

loss of appetite. Had to force myself to eat.

Hallucinations. Or maybe it real? I started wearing two watches. As on one occasion. I noticed my submariner had stopped ticking. Impossible! In all the years I had this watch, by every practical definition of reliability, it has never ever stopped ticking.

On the fifth night I woke up to find myself as the sole astronaut in a desolate space ship. I know this allegory that takes the shape and form of a dream well enough to surmise that I was within a dream even when I am dreaming. Past experience informs me. This dream is my minds way of coping with the duality between fact and fiction, illusion and reality…..it’s the mind way of rebooting. My way of regaining some semblance over reality when it begins to dissolve away.

Everything is rendered cut glass real in this dream of a lone astronaut in a space ship. There is nothing fictional about the set pieces that make up this diorama of life in the outer fringes of space.

Usually when I find myself in this dreamscape. I take some time to marvel at the precision and attention to detail that my mind has fleshed out every aspect of this spacecraft – there is nothing kitsch or make belief about the detailing. Everything right down to the texture of the brushed space grade titanium hand rails, the reassuring tactile feel of the buttons on the console to the 15 decibel hum of the air scrubbers in the background is realer than real.

It never fails to amaze me how my mind is able to cobble together such a wide array of accoutrements that one would usually expect to find in a spacecraft – yes….like I said, it must be my mind rebooting. Rearranging itself sequentially like how a computer suddenly hangs only to switch off and start again. There must be something comforting…nourishing…and healing about this place…..maybe it’s the structural discipline of assembling a spacecraft that allows the mind to centre itself again.

Since I’ve be here before. I know the drill. I change out of my cumbersome spacesuit for flight overalls. I remembered the last time, they were indigo with short sleeves…on this mission. They’re all khaki and long sleeved only.

As I make my way to the main control deck. Suddenly a realisation hits me – I am merely a passive spectator. There is really no need to do anything. Not at all. It’s not as if, this is new to me. Like I said, I’ve been here before. I know what I am going to do once I get into the control – read the flight manuals, work the satellite dish to establish contact with earth…but no one is ever there…not even when I keep sending out messages. Or maybe I will triangulate three known stars to get a fix on where I am….but that never works either, as I know from past voyages. I am in uncharted space. No! I am not going to go down there again and spend all my time trying to figure out whether I should splice red or blue wire any longer.

No. I am merely here for the ride. I am not going to scurry around like a monkey. Not any more. Not this time. I decide to press the cafeteria level instead.

Soon the door swishes open. The walls are creme colored concave panels with concealed lighting and there is even a painting of wild oat fields framed against wispy blue mountains. If not the conspicuous emergency airlock with bright red lettering that reads, STAND CLEAR, EXPLOSIVE BOLTS. I could just as well be in a new age designer restaurant on earth. Somewhere between deciding whether to opt for Balti curry with Basmati rice or cheese macaroni, I wondered to myself how far the poison had canaled it’s way into my mind. It wasn’t anxiety that compelled me towards such a train of thought. Rather I was seized by an explicable urge to question only because the sicker I am…the longer I usually have to stay in the spacecraft.

Time passes excruciatingly slowly in space – a minute has the texture of a full hour and so on. The last time I found myself here was when I was struck down with dengue fever. In earth time. I must have spent two years and bit more here. Somewhere between wondering how long I would have to spend on the spaceship and trying to figure out how best to keep my mind and body occupied. I was overwhelmed by a stronger awareness which suddenly swept all these indolent thoughts away from my mind like a tsunami.

On the desk where I usually strap myself down for a meal. Because that’s really the only way one consumes food in space. There was a ledger and beside it a fountain pen with a bottle of ink.

It’s a large book with ornate fittings. A old sort of ledger. The sort of size that maps are usually printed on. I open it ever slowly. I know it sounds slightly perverse, but the texture of the paper was too creamy to resist. Soon I am burying my whole face in it with thoughts of ‘so nice’ flitting thru my me.

I’ve always written by hand. Mostly with a fountain pen, so naturally I found the sight of a physical book, even if it was empty conforting. I began to run my hands across the pages feeling the crispness in between my thumb and index finger.

I guess it’s possoble to document my thoughts by using one of many keyboards on the spaceships. But keyboards aren’t the same as writing stationary. For one they lack the tactile sensation that can comes when a writing instrument glides over paper. A keyboard is too detached…metallic. A pen is a much more primal means of expressing oneself. One can even feel the honesty of alphabets, muscles and sinews as they come out of one’s body. It’s an intensely satisfying feeling.

Then it came to me again…..how long will I have to spend in this space ship this time?

How long?

How long this time?

Then very slowly I look down at the infinity of the empty page that stretches out before me like a milky ocean….I run one finger across the page. It makes a desperate rasping sound like a drowning man. It’s apt as I am the lone astronaut…lost in space.

Legume cover crop

April 23, 2015

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Pueraria phaseoloides is a vigorous, deep-rooted, perennial twining and climbing legume, slightly woody, hairy. Its main stems are slender, rooting at the nodes upon contact with moist soil. Secondary branches arise from the nodes to create a dense mass of vegetation 60-75 cm deep if left ungrazed or uncut. Young shoots are densely covered with brown hairs. Leaves large, and trifoliate, tolerant to soil acidity and shade and adapted to humid lowlands and frequent flooding areas. The seed rate is about 3-4.5 kg/ha.

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Looks can often be deceptive. I know he looks like a Doberman. The problem is big foot either doesn’t know nor believes that he is a guard dog. He’s got his own mind. Every night he crawls under the gate and goes off exploring the vast and mysterious wilderness.

Big foot doesn’t know all sorts of dangers lurk outside the parameter fence after sun down. He thinks it’s just one big amusement park. But I know otherwise.

Whenever he returns from his travels – big foot behaves like a four legged Mandeville and begins mesmerising the other dogs in the pack with his tall tales – I can’t understand dog lingo, but judging from the way the rest of the pack sit around him sullenly. They certainly revere his independent spirit I know they’re taken in by his stories.

Something needs to be done…otherwise the centre will cave right in.

Today I tied a oversized XXL Jerry platic container around big foot….his nocturnal wandering soirees are well and truly over.

But you never know. Big foot is a resourceful dog. A hippie dog. Anything is possible when a dog regards life as just one big game….anything.

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The problem with the famous amos saga is not what he posted in Youtube. Tell me please. Do you think the elders of the Mafiaso will bother over two drunks slugging it out in a back alley somewhere in nowhereville about whether Mario Puzo’s novel, the Godfather is an accurate depiction of Mafia life? What about the Yakuza? Do you see the elders of the clan based in Shinjuku putting out contracts on funny people who speculate on whether it is true or false that heavily tattooed men with no necks and who are missing a couple of fingers are all Yakuza members. What about the Pope in the Vatican? Do you see the Holy see with its infinite largesse buying up movie rights in Hollywood to set the record straight on Dan Brown’s Da Vinci code? What about the French tourism board? Are they by any chance erecting billboards with neon letters next to the Louvre to inform dumb American tourist – ‘btw Mrs Jesus is not buried here! Shovels and tunnelling equipment are strictly prohibited!’

Do you see my point. If organized criminals and even very powerful and influential oligarchies don’t even bother about voices emerging from the digital wilderness. And they have the wisdom to see all these transgressions in the correct scale and perspective – Then why is it so hard for politicians who regularly claim to be the best decision makers money can buy fail to see that all they’re accomplishing here is making a mountain out of molehill?

To put it another way. The problem is not what famous Amos posted online. The problem as I see it is far more serious in my opinion – it’s HOW people responded to what they perceive to be problem…that is a far bigger problem.

——————————————————————————-

‘When the collective problem solving skills of a society is reduced to just filling up a police report. Then this is not so different from a carpenter who only knows how to use a hammer to solve problems – and when one only knows how to use the hammer to manage conflict, then don’t be surprised if every problem in this world looks like a nail!

This should prompt us all to ask: how intelligent is it to manage conflict in the digital age in this manner?

Let me put it another way. If you have marital problems do you call the police? What if your neighbor decides to hang out the mop above you and it drips on your clothes below? Do you call the police? Coming to think of it, if you can’t get it up and suffer from erectile dysfunction – why not call the police? Better still, if your plumbing doesn’t work and every time you flush the toilet shit spews out like an angry volcano, why not call the police instead of the plumber. I have a better idea why not just declare your living room into a mini police station.

What am I getting at? My point is when divisive issues jump out like a demented Jack in the box in the public square as it’s reasonable to expect them to do from time to time and they are only solved robotically by calling the police – then as a community what we are actually saying is ‘this is no longer our problem….it’s other people’s problem!’

I want to be clear! This is not only an abrogation of duty on the part of members of society to absolve themselves from all responsibility. As since its conceivable society may be better equipped to handle this matter when compared to officialdom. Such an attitude not only condones the shift of power from the community to the state. But it also means, the problem is now in the hands of the state which is least equipped with the apparatus to beacon out the murk.

No one denies most the time, the law is a nifty thing. It’s great if someone knocks you over the head when all you’re doing is walking along Orchard and minding your business and you want justice and restitution. Ditto, when two parties have a contractual disagreement.

But in some cases where people step out of line, especially involving those at the fringe of society – the application of black letter law is at best a blunt instrument that’s just fixated on legal technicalities very much in the way one would fill up a list of question boxes to derive at a summary – it cannot offer rehabilitation when it’s in deterrent mode, even less clarity to answers such as – whether the offending statements were true or rather statements of fact. Neither can the law fashion resolution in the form of closure that meets all quarters of society. It can do very little except shut everyone up – to give them all the obligatory mushroom treatment: keep you all in the dark and feed you legal gobble d guck that only deepens the mystery…heightens intrigue thereby leaving a whole lot of blank spaces in the narrative. That is to say when we use the police to solve such problems, then what invariably happens is it creates more lacunaes and hubris. All these can only amplify the problem. Not solve.

Today I was ambushed by a group of people who pleaded with me with bated breathe in a online forum – ‘farmer please tell us what is a banana?’ I had to spend nearly forty five minutes convincing them – a banana is nothing more than a banana. A banana is not a metaphysical, supernatural or magical symbol. It is not the seat of power like the Kundalini (resemblance is purely coincidental). Though I did concede reluctantly I might add, in some societies it is certainly a isomeric symbol of fertility and continuity…I went on to explain to these curious people. They would do well not to read into things too much.

Do you see how the mundane can suddenly transcend into the realm of the fantastical, mysterious and magical…to even acquire the quality of the illicit thrill.

After that I found myself mulling over the question: what is the catalyst that makes this all possible? What is it that even gives it the texture of a competitive game?

The answer is simply. This is what invariably when the policeman is used as a prescriptive cure. This is what happens when there are blank spaces in the narrative. When the information flow is bracketed. People don’t just go on with their averagely miserable lives – they continue to speculate…postulate…theorise. And worst of all it creates ideal conditions for troublemakers, charlatans and crooks to step in and fill these missing spaces with their cracko theories.

Another undesirable aspect of calling on the police to solve all the offending divergent views that may crop up in the digital public square is that it creates ideal conditions for a bovine sort of societal malaise to creep into the collective consciousness – that comes from outsourcing everything to one stop solution supermarket police shop. We don’t even bother to use our mental faculties and dexterity of our point of views to work thru social entanglements, disagreements and conflicting state of minds any longer. There is no need for that. As in the supermarket police shop every social problem has a legal prescriptive cure. Eventually we can only lose the mental muscle memory needed to solve such problems – this deficit creates a vicious cycle. Since no one knows how to solve the problem beyond filling up a police report – everyone believes the only solution is to call the police, who incidentally just happens to be the least qualified agency to deal with such problems. Think about it. If every social problem in this world can be resolved by the police. Then there will be no need for social workers. Psychologist or people to ask simple questions like….tell me your problem…what’s your beef man?…start from the very beginning….I want to understand.

Next thing, some brain of singapore politician is going to suggest – to keep the collective consciousness humming and purring away happily we should all consider having a policeman running in everyone heads.

A rather funny way don’t you think so to build a confident, progressive and forward looking society. Or maybe someone should just call the police and ask them – how do we get out from this hole?’

Flumioxazin

April 21, 2015

* Flumioxazin: Developed by Sumitomo Chemical, flumioxazin is a herbicide used in the cultivation mainly of soybeans, cotton, and sugar cane. It demonstrates long-lasting efficacy in suppressing the growth of weeds after spraying, thereby promoting early-stage growth of crops effectively. Flumioxazin is also effective against weeds resistant to glyphosate, a herbicide widely used around the world, which feature has promoted increasing demand for flumioxazin in recent years.

There is a chinese saying, ‘govern a family in the way you fry a small fish.’ I guess what this sage is trying to say is – be gentle, careful and always have the end in mind when dealing with fragile hearts and minds.

This is truest when it comes to children. Even if the world is seldom fair and never ever filled with enough good intentioned people – one should always be just, reasonable and patient with kids to keep their impression of the world intact. As this is how a child cultivates values – by being the beneficiary of justice, reasonableness and tolerance. He Lear s hoe to be just, reasonable and tolerant.

This way, cynicism, mistrust and askance will never have an opportunity to take root in their tiny hearts and delicate minds.

As once a child cultivates a cynical bent, it’s almost impossible to prevent him from seeing the world as a crooked, rigged and bent place – filled to the brim with evil and malevolent souls who are hell bent on taking a bite out of him at every turn and opportunity. He will seek these things out even if they do not exist! This is the ultimate tragedy.

Once a child is a victim of injustice, violence and high handedness – this can only open the door to fear. Fear is the evil tree that bears the bitter fruit of anger and resentment. This in turn snuffs out all goodness and reasonableness in the child. As all this child can ever see in this world is a hurtful and fearful place.

This can all only lead to lifelong suffering himself and others.

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‘When I deploy the word – karma. I don’t refer to it in the metaphysical or religious context. Rather to me, it’s just the law of cause and effect. It’s like that populist American parlance – what goes around, comes around.

Most of us will struggle with the robustness of this idea only because we all like to assume – we have perfect pitch and control over our acts, deeds and thoughts and be do this by invoking ‘free will’ that governs every individual.

While that may be true at one level of intelligence. But experience informs me, there could well be a karmic alternative explanation – why some men turn out the way they do.

For example, I have noticed, men who have a violent streak all have one thing in common – they have all without a single exception been victims of violence in their childhood.

The same holds true of men who only know how to take, take and take without ever once bothering with the idea of giving back. Yes I don’t disagree it may well be seen merely as a deficit in values or a failure on the part of the serial taker to educate himself on how to manage himself and others sustainably.

But I also happen to believe very strongly based on my observations in business – such a selfish trait is often seeded somewhere in their averagely miserable childhood when someone abused their trust, disappointed them time and again and took so much from them till it left them feeling empty like a husk. They too are victims.

Even many successful men who are seemingly well adjusted, respectable and functional are afflicted with victimhood, when they say of the less fortunate with an air of savoir faire – no one owes them a living! Ask yourself where did this man develop his bent?

The answer lies somewhere in the childhood of this man. He probably had to struggle so very hard for his sliver of heaven. They tried to saw off his legs when all he wanted to do was to gainfully turn the wheel of life. They never gave him the benefit of the level playing and instead rigged the roulette wheel of life. That is why despite his apparent wealth and sheen of sobriety. He’s just damaged goods. A psychopath who is completely incapable of empathising with the plight of his fellow men. The only difference between this victim and the others – is that he’s adept at hiding his scars.

Do you see the karmic law in action and how it can ravage the human mind and spirit.

No one gave him a break. So this man cuts no one any slack either.

That’s why for me. If one is truly serious and committed about building a caring society – where everyone is a genuine stakeholder in La Dolce Vita and not just a select few who managed to cut the grade. Then it doesn’t start with any paper mâché kindness campaigns or you jump and I jump charity gala that just seems to embody the form without the content.

It all begins and ends with how we regard kids, especially when they take a wrong turn in life. Because that is when they are likely to test us most!

I don’t believe it pays to take a zero tolerance attitude towards kids. Not even if they deserve it. Not without the risk of incurring the terrible karmic cost. Not even if it’s sanctioned by black letter law – as I can argue the long term mental and spiritual well being of a minor should and must always take precedence over affairs of statecraft. No matter how urgent and pressing the latter may be.

Neither do I support the wanton use of fear by so many irresponsible netizens against minors as an expedient instrument to solicit social compliance without ever once considering how this would affect other young minds who watching all.

Everyone knows without too much difficulty – an effective way to stop a curious cat from jumping on a stove is to switch it on. But what’s seldom ever discussed is what would be the cumulative cost to the intellectual capital of a tribe when this sort of psychological warfare is deployed wantonly under the slightest provocation on young and impressionable minds – while certainly true and good, cats no longer jump on a hot stove, but how good is it, if they also develop a morbid and irrational fear of jumping on cold stoves as well?

That is a question that I will leave to you the perceptive to answer.

To put it another way, fear is a poison to the risk taking culture. What happens to a tribe when all the risk takers are neutered into scaddy cats? I wonder is this the way one goes about to intelligently carve competitive advantage?

Or maybe it’s best and even safer for all to remain cool and reasonable when dealing with kids, even should they prove unbelievably unreasonable…only don’t be surprised if a reasonable man emerges somewhere out of the mess of that troubled teen.’

Many years ago in a dusty airfield in Northern Uganda

The Chinaman Cocoa Planter of Gabundi Estate looked on impassively from a distance – as the last of the lumbering twin propeller driven Dakota’s prepared to take off from the make shift airfield – he wondered to himself whether it might be too heavy to make it cleanly off the ragged field. Then again the distant rents of approaching artillery shells reminded him – this is as good as it gets.

Somewhere nestled in the crammed to the brim fuselage of the Dakota was his one and only love – Eva Meyer. They didn’t even have time to say good bye. It was a hurried affair. The renegade pilot demanded his Rolex. He thrust it into his oily palms. Endless jostling. A sea of scrambling humans all with only one thing in their mind – to get the hell out of this shit hole. Somewhere in the melee, their hands separated. The door slammed closed.

As the plane picked up speed against the wind, it roared and whipped up a dust storm….goodbye my love…he muttered to himself…He remembered that final look when the door closed…he reckoned, the German nun must have thought he would be taking a seat beside her. But he knew better. This was Africa…and life is cruel, with these stray thoughts swirling in his mind. The unforgiving realization slowly dawned on him that no matter how much he wanted to be beside his one and only love to take off into the sunset like the final moment of redemption that featured in all Hollywood movies – he would have to content with watching her slip right out of his fingers just then…life his cruel…he muttered again to himself, this time turning towards a knot of refugees as they covered their faces with their kheliffa as the engines kicked up a dust storm – he clucked his tongued as he wondered to himself whether he might be like one of them…another desperate tragic soul left beside in this miserable war that was starting to sweep Uganda like a fire storm.

For a while, he wondered to himself whether he too would wail like them, close his eyes tight…like them…scratch his head…like them. Look up to the last departing plane hungrily…like them. And wished that he had a seat…like them. 

All the while the dust swirled around mixed with the sweat, spittle and wails of thousands of simmering…desperate souls…he wondered to himself whether we would end up like one of those faceless pulsating whimpering souls. He flashed them a hard look of wounded despondency that just managed to betray how much he objected to their neediness. At that moment when the dust storm blotted out everything, the Chinaman experienced a rare moment of epiphany – he realized he was not like everyone else…

In the distinctly wonderful way only he could have arranged his thoughts to think the things that swirled in his mind just then – the Chinaman had answered a question that resonated deep inside him. If he was indeed different from all other men that day who watched on hungrily as the last plane in Uganda barreled towards the minty blue safety of the skies. Then maybe he did not really love that German girl with the blond hair.

When the lumbering plane finally lifted off, ten feet short of the end of the runway – the Chinaman lit his last cigarello, inhaled and looked  for the first time that day at his tall Matabilli tribesmen bodyguard. Together they smiled.

And when the metallic bird banked hard to regain airspeed to break out from the death grip of gravity – the familiar clang, clang, clang of automatic gunfire began to rent out. But the Chinaman continued to smile wryly – he knew nothing could ever bring her down.

His eyes remained trained on the diminishing form of the plane as it cut through the flak covered skies. He noted the slight whine and felt a wave of reassurance that came with the knowledge the pilot had began to open up the throttle.

In a while the burgundy rage of flak subsided as fast as it had begun and soon the plane disappeared from sight completely. What was to follow was an alien sensation that swept through the desolate soul of the Chinaman. A gut wrenching tug that tore right into his heart ripping it’s way like a molten bullet. 

The Chinaman breathed hard and wondered to himself again as the plane slowly disappeared from sight – ‘If I do not love her, then why do I feel this aching pain?’ He scanned the steely skies this time with his field glasses, in an attempt to snuff out that smothering yearning that could only come from regret from not being able to escape to freedom with his one and only love. The Chinaman grit his teeth hard and wondered – what is this strange force that is laying siege to the watchtower of my heart? 

He wondered where Eva Meyer would go after this. Would they ever see each other again? He was even felt the acute grief that came from wanting to inhale her breath in darkened hours of infinity and to feel the pain of regret when in the morning, the sun would ruefully ripped them from their death grip embrace and throw them out into the cruel world of light. He wondered to himself how his days would u furl without her by his side – would he mourn her passing? Did he even have it in him to fumble through those waking hours without her. He even wondered whether the days would from now onwards feel so long that it might even threaten to scrunched-up his heart and leave him a wreck like one of those whimpering souls who were left behind.

Above all, as the Chinaman stood there like a solitary tongue of light long after everyone had moved on – he wondered to himself how he had allowed a pathetic German girl he hardly knew to lay siege to his being….an insurmountable fortress – in most cases one which has been built around him brick by brick from his many travails – he chuckled to himself like a deranged man when he toyed around with the notion. The perverse reality could well be while he secretly craved the forbidden fruit of reassurance which could really only come from being in love, which he could really only experience from a kindred soul such as Eva Meyer – he was also frightened of what opening that draw bridge might deliver. The Chinaman loathed the very idea charging through the gates of his heart may well be the apparitions of something he could never ever exert control.

On the sixth night when a meteor streaked through the night sky and illuminated an ambushed French armored column – the Chinaman and what was left of his ragged Adomako tribe donned the dead uniforms of fallen legionaires and resumed theor long march along the serpentine roads of Kufu and Khilahsa leading to Sudan – when they finally reached the Sudanese border, even the normally trigger frisky Ma’alia border guards hardly gave them a second look as they strolled right through – the whole entire country had after all gone to the dogs.

————————————————————

Seven years ago, during dinner in Wheelock place Singapore.

Dotty: “What is it? If you don’t like the watch. I can always take it back to the shop and change it. What is it dearest? Really I can get another one…..I just want you to be happy.”

Man: “It’s just…”

Dotty: “Just what?”

Man: “It’s nothing. I am happy Dotty…merry Christmas.”

The cogent question is NOT how to remember him. He was after all pervasive, omnipresent and ‘full frontal’ in your face 24/7. To put it another way, he made himself the veritable big brother house brand.

The question is how to forget him and move on to chart a new confident and self assured course without the ‘great man.’

That is the question of all questions…to those who use their brain at least.

As for those who do not think and choose only to follow blindly and unthinkingly….this wisdom will always be a mystery to them.

———————————————————————————

‘It would appear to some, the only reliable way to gainfully make progress into the future is to cling steadfastly to the past. Conceptually, I don’t disagree this may be a good way to move forward….providing past performance is a good indicator of future performance. But I for one am not so sure, the dead grip on the rudder is the best way to move forward.

As the world is changing even as we speak. We talk these days about the balkanisation of skills, labor and intellectual capital. Shifts in power from the Western Hemisphere to the Asia Pacific. We can go on and on for at least ten or twenty pages why today is so different from yesterday that it’s doubtful what’s good in the past can even endure.

When I think about the power and politics of my own vocation – farming. It’s so different from the past that often I can’t rely on past knowledge or old ways of doing things. If I did that, I would end up being a charitable organisation instead of a profitable enterprise. As many of the assumptions that were once set pieces in the past have changed irrevocably – for instance, the weather is not what it used to be. Consumers these days are increasingly conscious of the health and moral cost of the producing food – I am not saying they don’t gravitate towards the best deals in the supermarket. But if the price of that buy one get another free deal comes from displacing cute orang utans or baby sharks – then, they rather eat something else. And this changing landscape of attitudes, out looks and values are only the tip of the iceberg.

My point is the world is not what it used to be. This may seem new, but it’s not. It’s just old dressed up as new. As every age and generation since recorded history has its own challenges – and this underscores the urgency to move on. To set a new agenda. Craft a new vantage. To even have the courage not to be lulled into the delectable delusional confidence of the sentimental and nostalgic and to proceed to jettison the old courageously.

This is the way of the world….and to me it’s hardly a matter of choice.’

Words of wisdom can often come from the unlikeliest sources.

Some people will only respect, love and approve of you, providing you are willing to fit into their conception of what is right, appropriate and normal.

To put it another way, they are only willing to treat you well providing you fit into into their box.

That’s fine. But if I have bend head over heels. Dislocate every bone in my body and turn my whole world upside down just to fit into their box just for the sake of getting along.

Then I much prefer to go my own way. Dowan lah! I just get backache wot!

The way I see it is very simple. If the cost of getting along means I have to cannibalize a valuable part of who I am that I have spent years crafting, experimenting to a point where I am confident – it works! – just to appease others and palliate their fears, insecurities and irrational phobia by pretending to be someone who I am not.

Then to me that’s not only terribly laborious, it’s also stressful, possibly even mentally unhealthy and most definitely unsustainable along with condoning nothing short of a form of theft, specifically a hostile act to appropriate my character.

Dowan lah!

I much rather go my own way. Do my own thing. Be my own man.

————————————————————————————–

‘Do you notice some people are just rude. They want you to conform. By this I mean they want you to think, act and react exactly like them and if you don’t – then they’ll think, there is something wrong with you.

I mean if I am taking out my anaconda and masturbating in the village square and giving the auntie brigade mass fainting spells and heart attacks – then I can well understand the collective insistence for conformity.

But if all I am doing is living my life as peacefully as I can and having views that may differ from others and keeping them all to myself.

Then it’s very inconsiderate, rude and presumptuous for others to insist that I should change.

After all how logical is to change someone’s character, if one doesnt even bother to take the time and effort to understand that person?

How would you like It, if I just went over to your house and started shifting your furniture around in your living room, telling you where this or that should ‘rightfully’ be along with why I think that’s the best and only way to live your life.

Most people when they are confronted with peer or higher authority pressure. Conform without ever once questioning. Not realising when they do so – they are actually buying into an inferior pariah dog logic by trying to be someone who they were never meant to be. Hence many end up living miserable and unfulfilled lives simply because they don’t have either the courage or fortitude to go their own way.

But for the man who knows that his character is a studied thing like a how beams, pillars and columns come together to create a cathedral – such a man will never simply just conform for the sake of conformity – that’s to say, he will never just take out things that make up who he is and add in stuff that he knows will add zero value to his character. You can do anything you want to this man, ostracize him, teach him a lesson on why the nail that sticks out will be hammered down….it will all come to nought…as this man will have absolutely no qualms in going his way.

Many brilliant minds are lost in this callous way – that is why if one takes the trouble to look at moribund political hegemonies, firms that have trouble to finding the imagination to prosper and families which are usually riven by parvenu’s, yes men and self serving people who can only perpetuate the status quo ante and no more – they all think, see and say the same thing – everyone is a facsimile of everyone – as they are all manned by indifferent people who think they have a right to script the lives of people right down to how they live, work and play.

By callous narrow minded people who will always regard diversity as a threat to their way of life rather than a opportunity to carve competitive advantage. By those who are so parochial and obsessed by the idea there is only one truth – and if you’re not with us, you’re against us.

When one begins to tabulate the human cost in terms lost opportunities that comes from having to conform robotically without ever thinking and interrogating – it’s staggering enough to suggest one should seriously consider developing the necessary life skills to learn how to walk away and stand alone.

Don’t leave home without it! You never when you will need it!

Maturity and sex appeal

April 11, 2015

Maturity in a man will always be very appealing to women. Women are instinctively drawn to stable and mature figures. They cannot help themselves. This is how Mother Nature has programmed them – to always seek out men who consistently demonstrate a high level of social and mental maturity.

Knowing this is important for all man who are genuinely serious about understanding the mysteries of life. As when a man ages contrary to common belief, it is not true that he loses his sex appeal.

Men would do well to know this to avoid women related problems. Not knowing this – will complicate your already complicated life.

———————————————————————————-

‘I don’t for one moment pretend it’s an easy question to answer. As when we say someone is mature in his thinking – it’s conceivable all we are really saying is, ‘he’s got it together.’

That’s all it means. He’s got it figured out…the beginning…middle and end.

But somewhere within the length of that sentence, there is a whole geography of school of thoughts and states of mind that distinguishes a mature from a childish person. That’s why even that mini skirt answer concerning maturity can’t be exhaustive. It’s no way near a disquisition. Maybe just a vignette. A peek a booh account of maturoty.

If I had to pin it down to specifics, it becomes yet harder to define maturity – since there exist so many facets of humanity that we can point too as mature thoughts and deeds. But again we run smack into the problem we faced earlier on – this hardly supplies a satisfactory answer to the question – what is maturity?

So this proves to me. Probably because I am still childish and nowhere near as mature as I should be. What is maturity? Has to be a highly subjective question – it’s ultimately self selecting.

So with that understanding…it’s a subjective question that can never produce an answer that satisfies all quarters. Let us ask the question again.

What is maturity? OK. At one level of intelligence. We can say a mature person is just a man who is very effective in managing himself and others. There is of course, a presumption within that statement – throughout the life of this person, he has a knack for discarding what doesn’t work and only keeping those things which are able to take him further in life. Now if you think about this – this is the only thing we regularly do as humans, pick things up and put them down – matters little whether it’s hobbies, life partners or people who we prefer to spend the weekend by the pool having a BBQ with – we pick up things and we discard things.

But even this answer does not seem exhaustive – as people who are mature also seem to have one trait which childish people don’t have.

They are all without exception far sighted – that’s to say they able to appreciate the wider rammifications of their thoughts and deeds. They seem to be able to connect the dots without too much difficulty to consistently make good decisions.

So one more time if you will – what is maturity?

As you can see it is a very difficult question to answer. You notice it’s like one of those roads that leads right back to the very place where you started….I guess that’s because it’s a deep and profound question and that I suspect could well account for the fascination.

Yes it’s very deep…deep.’

A Big Big harvest

April 10, 2015

My harvest by every practical definition is stupendously huge this time. It’s the talk of the Region. If there is such a thing as a oil palm Olympics – I would bag the gold lah….with plenty of room to spare.

I need to be level headed. I can’t allow this go to my head like 50% proof alcohol.

I need to forget this and dedicate myself to doing what needs doing next.

For so many years I had to endure cruel jibes from my enemies who called me a confidence trickter, charlatan etc etc.

Today, I am vindicated.

I know now deep in my bones, as unconventional as it seems….my methods work!

Finally, I know. I don’t have to ever doubt my research any longer. All those long endless nights of mulling over my calculations are finally paying dividends. I needed this so badly. You all have no idea how badly I needed this!

Patience

April 10, 2015

Patience is not a state of mind. One cannot will oneself into a patient frame of mind any more than its realistic to expect a baby to stop crying. If anything patience is a form of wisdom – the uncommon intelligence that comes from knowing a thing for what it really is. Instead of what others say it is. Deep knowledge. Where one knows how things may work out and having the faith to see it birth. More importantly even if things don’t turn out the way it’s supposed too – the man of patience will always be able to find the courage to try again.

He is a very hopeful fellow.

———————————————————————————

‘I can’t get into a room because the padlock is jammed. I’ve spent the whole morning trying to pry both the door and lock open. At one point, out of sheer frustration I even took a hammer to see whether I could loosen the stubborn lock. All I managed to do was curl the steel door, which requires fixing later.

By noon. About fifteen minutes ago when the sun was highest. I decided to rest and make myself a cool drink.

Then it came to me. I should spray some lubricant into the lock. Give it some time for the oil to loosen what needs loosening. That should allow the bolt to slide effortless when I next try in the afternoon…there is no urgency to get into the room. I have all the time in the world.

Why I wonder did I feel so anxious for not being able to open the lock earlier. Maybe I am just accustomed to having things go my way and when it didn’t. I became frustrated. Since I pride myself as a handyman par excellence. When things don’t go my way – I tend to take it personally…it becomes an effrontery….something that I just need to get on top of.

When I think back, this is the opposite state of mind of the wisdom I am talking about in the context of patience – it’s immaturity laced with an over inflated ego that makes me blow things out of proportion that causes me to feel anxious and frustrated.

I need to see my actions and what I am dealing with in the right scale. To even get it all in the right perspective – to see this padlock which refuses to open as just another padlock that refuses to open. It’s not personal. The padlock has no beef with me. Neither does it have anything to do with whether I am a five chili or zero handyman. Even less to do with my understanding of what it takes to be a real man….it’s just a padlock that refuses to open for whatever reason.

When the weather is cooler in the afternoon. I will try again. The longer I leave it – the more time the oil can work on loosening the stuff that keeps that padlock stuck.

I am sure it will go my way. If it doesn’t. I am not going to sweat it. There is always tomorrow.’

Farmers are always mindful of the season – they all know when one season bows out and another steps in. Most people remain oblivious to these micro changes in weather, landscape and fauna. But not farmers. We need to be mindful of the God of the small to gainfully turn the wheel of life from the good earth.

When a man knows the Tao of the seasons – life becomes easy. The way opens up smoothly. For instance, no farmer worth his salt ever sows his seeds during the height of the rainy season. As a deluge is likely to wash away all his hard work. Neither does one try to plough the earth during the dry season. As since the earth is rock hard, it’s unlikely he will ever keep a straight line.

There is always a season and reason for doing the things that needs doing. Some things cannot and should never be rushed or insisted on.

Only a fool will fight Mother Nature. As for the wise man….he will always go with the flow.

——————————————————————————-

‘No one has a right to say you cannot criticise. Besides the imposition of such a stricture is hardly practical nor realistic these days considering you have a brain, mouth and key board.

All I am saying is. If you want your criticisms to go down well. To find their mark. To get it right the first time. And to get the best results.

Then choose the best time to criticize.

Life is not really so different from farming – there is I imagine a right time for right actions, deeds and thoughts – a time to set aside differences and stand in one line. No matter what our differences. As we must always remember. The things that continue to unite us must always stronger than the issues that threaten to divide us – as there is probably a time to mourn, a time to keep a dignified silence, a time to reflect deeply on your objects of interest, a time to gather your thoughts in the way a man unravels a knot….there is a time for everything.

This is the way of the world.

It’s like hunting. Most city folk think you just go out there and bring down a sixty five kilogram hog like in the movies. It’s never like that. It’s studied…meticolous…precise…above all timing is key. If you do not know this Tao. You are likely to go hungry and die in jungle. I don’t care how space age high tech is your kit….you will mati and a giant anaconda will eat you!

The huntsman knows this! The best time of the day to maximize his chances for a decisive kill – is at the narrow nape of dawn when the awakening birds would mask the sound of his movements. This necessary noisy period that only last 30 minutes allows him to get into the kill zone undetected. The lingering fog of dawn scatters the light and shadows making it impossible for prey to judge distance and make out forms. This gives him invisibility – the air is usually dead still during this time of the day hiding his human scent. This is confers the vital element of surprise…without surprise…there can be no decisive kill! But what makes all these steps possible is a deep understanding of how timing plays a preponderant role to produce opportunities – the art of moving with and not against….aerodynamics….to cut through a thing with minimal resistance.

The same applies to human dealings – raise contentious issues only at the right time to avoid resistance. Similarly in business I never come straight to the point – not if the goal is to get best results. Usually I skirt around the issue till I am certain the other side is relaxed and comfortable….then when the timing is just right somewhere between congeniality and when all the defences are at their lowest ebb. I strike decisively!

Same also goes when it comes to managing yourself and others in a family setting – no one likes a nagger. So don’t go on and on like a broken record. Not even when you happen to be righter than right. As all you will end up doing is driving your loved ones away from you. They will avoid you like the plague. As all you seem to do is jump on them all the time like a demented ninja turtle. After all what makes you so sure – your issues are more important than theirs? Maybe they have more pressing issues to contend with. Maybe their worries are even bigger than your petty understanding of right and wrong!

Be thoughtful. Mindful. And above all choose the right time to say what needs to be said. This way you can always be assured of best results.

All the serious men of this world know of this – that is why they can always be counted to behave and say the right thing at the right time. They are all without exception masters of timing, professionals who will only pick and choose their battles and will only fight when the conditions are met to produce a decisive victory.

As for the fool. He has no idea what I am talking about. There is no strategy. Even less timing. Nothing. Any how just hantam lah!’

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