On Intelligence

November 11, 2017

The idea of what we commonly refer to as intelligence is not only very narrow , but it is also binary. That is to say it is either 0 or 1 aka smart or stupid…turned on or off. I guess that might also include all other binary classifications that we normally associate with people along with their thinking and behaviour…functional or dysfunction, effective or just down right useless.

Curiously what is seldom ever discussed is that grey area…the in between zone that lies somewhere between 0 and 1. This is the country right in the middle of these two polarities. It must be a very befuddling place for anyone to live in ,as since it is a land of many contradictions….one can only struggle with the idea of uncertainty all the time.

And this leads me to the conclusion – a sure sign of superior intelligence has to be the ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time and still be calm about it…so calm that one can still function without too much fuss.

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‘Most people get anxious and frustrated because they feel deep down there is some inexplicable need to reduce everything into meaning as if it were well arranged words along with their definition in a dictionary… As if you and everything in your life has some intrinsic meaning, as if your whole existence is some word in this dictionary of life where if you want to really know this or that person all you have to do is look it up in this magic dictionary.

This need to know…grasp…and frame everything under the sun under the broad terminology of understanding may well provide us a perspective, but it is really only an illusion of understanding….what is the meaning of life?….right now? Well it’s to have a cold beer. What is the meaning of life in an hour from now? I don’t know and what might the meaning of life be tomorrow or the week, month or year from now….I really don’t have a clue. So as you can see for yourself this quest to know has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth, but rather our fear and anxiety of not knowing specifically uncertainty.

It is only when we are learn to be comfortable with not knowing that we begin to realise so much of how we see the world and sum of its constituent parts is closer to the imagined than the truth.

And why is this important?

Because such an attitude towards life is as close to being open minded as can possibly be imagined. The deeper a person communes with his inner being, the less inclined he is to assert his mind towards certainly as his default state of mind is very much in uncertainty, and correspondingly, the more he will be astounded at his capacity to feel in unsuspected and unexpected ways.

The very idea of not knowing and simply being OK with that idea.’

You want proof that America is going down the tubes? Here it is. Now you see why I don’t see any compelling reason for Singapore to be allied to the disunited states of America.

At the rate that all sense and sensibilities in the US is decomposing I wouldn’t even be surprised that Amos Yee becomes President one day lah!

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‘What America desperately needs is not political reenginnering. No! That will not do. What it requires is a prescriptive cure that is more severe only because what we are dealing with is a problem that runs so deep that it is beyond all hope of rehabilitation….an old fashion coup d’état where the military would seize the reins of power and declare martial law to put democracy as we know it in permafrost where the classical philosopher king would rule and put things right….only then will be US be great again.’

Dangerous men

November 10, 2017

If there is anything that frightens me at all. It has to be a man who always seems cock sure about himself and the world. No one is more dangerous than this one man: he is like a steel bridge that only looks seemingly strong. But to those who know a bit about civil engineering – it is structure without flexibility, and since it is really held together by a matrix of rigid and brittle supports…it’s really slightly better than a house of cards.

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‘We do not come into the world. Whoever who came out with this statement either doesn’t know how to construct sentences or simply doesn’t know how things and lifeforms come about….we come FROM this world, very much in the way branches emerge from the trunk of a tree and leaves come from it’s branches. Everything comes from the world…..nothing just walks over the knoll complete and whole and why is this observation important.

Because it is only when we see ourselves as a coming from the world can we begin to understand how our real nature is grounded always in sensitivity very much in the way a leaf quivers ever so slightly to the morning chill or curls to catch the last lingering rays of the setting light….everything in nature and even the universe is highly sensitive. It is not afraid to be vulnerable and at times even weak and fragile like the rasp of a fleeting beauty of wild flowers….but the paradox of man is that he is always running away from his elemental nature. He is always putting on armor to tell himself and the world look how strong I am….how invincible I am….how capable I am. And so he is very rigid and brittle and perhaps weak in so many ways.

A man of true strength however is in perfect harmony with the cosmos…he is so sensitive that he can be moved to tears by the aching beauty of a morning sun rise or by just bringing a flower to his nose and he is not afraid to show it. The uncanny ability to sense every hemisphere of existence, to be part of it as oneness itself to see things that escapes all other men and above to feel it all right down in the marrow of his bones.

This is true strength as it permission to be yourself as you were always meant to be…not what someone told you, you should be to be a man or woman or the learned strength that is so often depicted in the vapidness of pulp fiction.’

Man shouted out today when he saw me walking towards him – now they’re going to get these really smart people who make bombs and guns to help the trains run better….what do these people know about trains and if they have no experience in trains how can they make it better?

I told the man, don’t be so negative. Maybe their strength is that they have absolutely no experience in trains.

Man was very confused by my answer. I did not elaborate further despite his numerous request for me to elaborate further.

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‘The October 1973 Yom Kippur War, known in the Arab World as the Ramadan War, demonstrated the risks to Israel of underestimating the military capabilities of its hostile neighbors. It is the classic intelligence failure in Israeli and it happened because the military establishment was mesmerised by their own imaginary invincibility and unbroken record of winning virtually every single battle since 65.

Despite 17 intelligence reports emerging from the clandestine network of spies in Cairo. 2 from MI6. 8 from Iran — the establishment dismissed them all as noise and did not contemplate the possibility of an all-out assault. The results were catastrophic and Israel nearly got wiped off the map.

After Yom Kippur the Israelis came out with the concept of The Tenth Man.

The Tenth Man is a devil’s advocate. If there are 10 people in a room and nine agree, the role of the tenth is to disagree and point out flaws in whatever decision the group has reached.

This may at first come across as a reversal of logic. But it is not. Thirty years before Yom Kippur – following the epic defeat of the IJN at midway – the Japanese coined a word for this…. senshoubyou…victory disease.

There are many reasons why decision makers can be blinded to such an extent where they even the deny the possibilities of the obvious…group think….complacency…..their ego….I have seen this many times.

That is why from time to time it important for a man to recalibrate his brain in the way one goes about zeroing a scope or tarring a weighing scale…and this can only be done if he seeks help from outside his traditional field of expertise.

Many things can be said about people who don’t know how to plant. One can certainly say they frequently throw out plenty of stupid ideas that one simply knows will never work….but since they come with no baggages, no assumptions that they may even consider timeless and universal and since they have the benefit of having applied themselves in other fields…..often when one just shuts up and listens carefully….out of the many stupid ideas that’s thrown out, there is certainly always one that is sublime clever.

Recently I experienced such a moment of epiphany with a young girl who works in a surveyors office….mid way thru a meeting when we were all struggling to resolve an issue. This girl said something that was completely tangenial…it was so off the mark that one of the planters even rebuked her into silence. But I could see something… there so I told the rest that If they didn’t mind, I would like to bear out patiently what this girl who had absolutely no experience even in growing a cactus…..and at the end of it. I found myself saying, ‘why didn’t I think about that.’

I was asked some two months ago – why can’t Singapore produce enough food to feed itself. And my answer is very simple – if the goal of attaining food sufficiency in Singapore is given the lowest priority to such a point where there is not even such a thing as a minister of agriculture and livestock….then it should come as no surprise why there is no such thing as agriculture or livestock in Singapore.

It is like talking about snakes in Norway…only stupid people indulge in such idle talk as the bloody thing doesn’t exist there!

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‘Israel has no arable land to speak of. None whatsoever. It doesn’t even have such a thing as one hectare of top soil land, it’s all just lifeless dust and rocks and scorpions. Neither is the weather conducive to farming either. It’s so hot in summer you could even fry an egg on the bonnet of a car. But today Israel produces not only enough to feed herself but also the world as well.

So this is a miraculous story.

But if you ask me how did the impossible become a reality – it has to do more with necessity rather than ingenuity. As when the state of Israel was a baby, all its food had to be imported and since she was sorrounded by hostile Arab neighbours who were hell bent on driving her to the sea. Food had to come from a great distance at huge cost.

Faced with this conundrum the Israelis embarked on a great agricultural renaissance based on an inversion of logic that the world has never witnessed before – they would do the impossible and grow food in a land that cannot possibly grow food at all. To accomplish this bold vision the founding fathers created a new sort of man that the world had never seen before, the intellectual farmer and put him in a kibbutz. The rest as the Americans like to say is history.

That’s why today israel is the only country in this planet where every boy aspires to be a farmer. If you go to the kindergarten in Tel aviv or Jerusalem there are only farming toys. In all other countries including the US and Japan, farming as we know it is slowly dying a lingering death. No one ones to farm…..Jewish mothers regularly tell their kids if you don’t study hard you wouldn’t be able to drive a tractor when you grow up. Girls dream of marrying only farmers in Israel as it’s seen as a life of endless milk and honey. If they cannot do that only then will they lower their expectation and settle down with a salaried defense scientist.

As for the issue of no land to farm…..that doesn’t appear to be an issue any longer. Not for the Jews at least.

So as you can very well see for yourself what we here is ineffect the tale of two cities when we ask ourselves why there is no agriculture in Singapore to speak of. All there really is, is a very confused agency called AVA where maybe there is a parrot picking yes or no cards to make policy decisions to forward to the PMO and somewhere in all this circus is a bunch of confused people who can’t seem to figure out whether they’re should be growers or weekend get away tour guides…..but sorry, no planters.

I am sure there is a moral to this story, I am sure. But I am not going to tell. As some things in life requires deep introspection and reflection.

I have opened a door….the rest is up to you.’

Same man below told me…soldiers should stick to soldiering as they don’t have the aptitude for business. I asked this man, how many CEO’s do you think Harvard and Stanford has produced who have run their firms to the ground….so what are you saying? We should turn these institutions of higher learning into Food courts? Please don’t bark up the wrong tree!

Just because nine out of ten people believe something to be true doesn’t necessarily make it the truth…..it just means nine out of ten believe it to be so. That is all it is….nothing more or less.

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‘Never get caught up in a bind on an account of half truths that hold themselves out to be the truth and nothing but the truth. To my understanding there is no such thing as a mind to a man that you can ascribe to him with a tone of finality anymore than you could refer to a man as a military man…technical man or even an autistic man.

That idea can only lead you away from the truth. As in reality there is just the man…a man who might be a Christian or Buddhist or Moslem. A man who might even be a Manchester United supporter who stirs his morning cuppa anti clockwise and reads two or three books every year…a man.

And this man can migrate not only physically but mentally as well – his value and beliefs can undergo transformational change and so within the course of his life time it is not unusual for there to be many men within this one man.

And why is this observation important to you! Because when a lie is repeated again and again. Then at some point even you must appreciate it can only morph into a facsimile of the truth and this can only weaken and not nourish goodness and rightness.

You have a right to what you believe….but you don’t nearly have a right to pigeon hole a man by setting limits on what he can and cannot do and least of all you don’t have a right to condemn a vocation. That is like saying all austistic people are only good for cleaning toilets and bagging groceries.

It is my duty to inform you under the strongest possible terms. If you do this you commit a great injury to yourself that would be hard if impossible to intellectually redeem in your lifetime. As the serious men of this world can only regard this as a poor reflection of character along with how callous and out of your depth you are…not only do you not know what soldiering is all about, but you also don’t seem to appreciate every vocation from dog shooting to soldiering to lawyering needs to be nourished with understanding and respect.

Without this as an imperative to perpetuate any craft, trade or vocation what will eventually happen is it can only degrade instead of growing from strength to strength and this how one goes about fashioning the empire of the bones.

A plea for thoughtfulness is not too much to ask. Or maybe it is…’

The art of unlearning

November 9, 2017

Man complained. The reason why the train back home is not humming as it should is because the outfit did not learn A,B,C etc etc. He went on to state if they had bothered with the learning….there would be no cultural issues.

Eventually someone asked me what do you think they should learn. I merely mentioned, running trains is a complicated business and I really can’t pretend to tell what they should and should not learn…..but one thing that they should do whatever they decide to learn is to learn how to unlearn what they already know.

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‘Whenever we speak about personal and organisational improvement. We associate it with learning something new and better – frequently the idea that is so commonly forwarded is all that needs to be done is to pry open our brains like a tin can and pour in the brain juice and voila! It’s done.

But nothing can be further from the truth. As when we consider the anatomy of why things fail ranging from air to economical crashes and everything between and beyond. Often the root cause has a lot to do with failing to give enough attention to unlearning.

When I reflect back on why it was so terribly difficult physically, mentally and spiritually to find my line in the wild in the very beginning. Much of the suffering had to do with what was already in my head – there is a conspiracy upstairs and this why I found it difficult and exhausting in the first few years. As I was always doing things in the jungle in the way I had always done it in Singapore.

It was only when I began to see my new life in the wild as a completely new reality to the reality that I had known that I began to make real improvements to such a point where I much prefer to live in the wild now than in the city.

This philosophy is not new, it is very old. Even in the bible it is written new wine should not be mixed with old…otherwise it will grow rancid. The story of Tarzan is also very instructive as what we have here is a story of man who has been forcibly taken out of the jungle, but since it is not easy to surgically remove the jungle from the head of this man…that is why he is swinging from lamp posts in the streets of Victorian London like a monkey. Even animals seem to suffer from this problem of not being able to unlearn, that was why King Kong climbed the twin towers as the structure reminded the great ape of his happy twin peaks back at mystery island.

What is seldom ever discussed by management guru’s is the power of the past to take hold of the mind so completely that it even has the capacity to fossilize old thinking and often this makes it impossible to truly learn anything new.’

Silence

November 9, 2017

We live in a very noisy world that is why so many people are conditioned to feel uncomfortable with silence. You can sense this discomfort even in every day conversations….all you have to do is quiet down and soon silence sets in and in a while that void will be so uncomfortable that it will just be filled, even if nothing important was said.

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‘Man complains he cannot find a mate despite trying so very hard. I told him to go to NTUC buy the biggest Fuji Apple and put it in his mouth. He gets angry and demands to know what sort of advice is that. I told him, it’s good advice. Besides it’s just an Apple, it’s not as if I am asking you to put a durian in your trap. He gets angrier and complains that if he does that he would not be able to boast to his prospective mate how wonderfully successful and capable and what a good catch he is…..I told him that may well be the reason why you seem to be going around in only big and small circles.

When everyone in the world is making so much noise, striving so very hard and fidgeting all over and you go the opposite direction and remain still and in the quiet embrace of silence, it is not just an act, but it is a form….very much like a lotus floating a calm lake….there is no need to strive. No need for expensive Korean haircut or even too much talking…soon someone significant will come and sit beside you to enjoy the silence.’

The incredible Koreans

November 8, 2017

No one in this planet does it better then the Koreans when it comes to pumping out tear jerkers – they are the indisputable Toyota motors of love stories; and when I first started writing love stories; they were simply inspirational in every way possible – from plot, cadence, speed and texture – I copied these masters unabashly, now you know why the brotherhood press love stories division is so prolific – some may balk at all this; and say most of these yarns are nothing more than superficial rehashed Mills & Boons reads – I disagree; the plot may seem trite only because you’re distanced by your prejudice and ignorance – but once you immerse yourself in them and get beneath the triteness and invest your heart and soul in them; they’re astonishingly beautiful, sensitive and heart warming in every sense – many years ago before the internet age began; I lost someone who was very dear to me to lymphatic cancer – she left suddenly and it left me with this incredible hole in my heart which I can only describe as an eternal abyss – at first, I tried to bring her back to life in the virtual; I scoured the world for the best animators, best mathematicians, best illustrators; money was no object; I even once stormed a replica of Taj Mahal in the virtual with 100 Sardokhan elite troops to create paradise for her – despite their very best efforts no matter how real they fashioned her; they were never able to capture her essence; – her spirit always remained elusive and afar; and that hole in my heart was never ever filled – it was only when I sat down and began to write love stories and started churning them out like a cookie factory; that I began to understand for the very first time in my life – how pain and joy are in fact one of the same reality; and the rest is really grist to the mill; as I had to immerse myself into my characters and experience what they really felt – and with that came a deep spirited understanding of love and courage.

Someday my animators will get it right and she will smile the way I remembered her – till then while the story goes on – somewhere in amid the tears and laughter, there will always be a place called paradise and she will never be far away from me.

Happy Birthday Sarah,

Darkness forever – I’ll see you in my next life.

Man asked, how true is it that respect needs to be earned? I told him that’s only true if someone bothers with the whole idea of earning your respect….but what if they don’t even see the need to do that. What if they’re just really comfortable with getting on with their lives without having the burden to prove themselves right. What if the whole idea of even wanting to earn your respect is not something they even see as necessary.

I then asked the man, do you now see the problem here.

Maybe the expectation here is like asking the wrong question.

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‘I think in life if you go around spouting idiotic idioms – like, if you want respect you have to earn it. Especially if you direct it to very serious men – I can almost assure you 100%. You will not go very far in life. You will just go around in big and small circles and the reason is very simple.

That is not the right expectation to have in life to ever get good results out of people….not even people who deserve to be five Chili trusted.

As if we are genuinely serious about getting at truths, then a good place not to start is by asking wrong questions that can really only produce wrong answers even if they seem to come across as righter than right.

After all what gives you the right to impose that sort of unreasonable burden of proof on another? And if you say that respect needs to be earned. Does that imply that before I have even considered whether it is worthwhile to earn your respect that you don’t respect me. Think very carefully. Because if you utter that sort of gibberish anywhere in Singapore, it’s OK. But if it’s in a mountain or in the frontier. Don’t be surprised if that person just splits his rations with you there and then and decides to go the opposite way.

Wouldn’t it be better to rephrase that expectation with a question – is there any reason why I should not respect you?

That’s to say give everyone an A+ and the benefit of good light, when they first come into your life. Doesn’t matter how low or high, educated or dumb, prestigious or ordinary they are. My point is never start with a negative set of assumptions like if you want respect earn it!

That’s very confrontational.

Instead treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself….give them the benefit of the doubt…doesn’t even matter whether that person has a criminal record….or that he has a chequered past….has failed monumentally in the past….be open minded….your attitude must be like a blank sheet of paper with just a plus on one column and a negative on the other ( please go and read my empty mind blog entry)…hold back on judging to hastily or trying to fit the facts into your neat check boxes somewhere in your head – because if you do it any other way, it’s not so different from throwing out that petulant phrase if you want respect you have to earn it.

That’s not only arrogant. But it is also very disrespectful as well.

Instead always be the first to give respect unconditionally.

After all why do you need others to even earn your respect. When you can just as well beacon out the truth by trusting your wisdom….give it time the truth will always come out it cannot be hidden…..meanwhile observe, evaluate, test and even should that person fall short have the grace and big heartedness to give that person the respect for at least trying to aspire to excellence.

The only time when a person doesn’t deserve your good graces is when he or she is malicious and dishonest. Even then you should not disrespect them. Instead just avoid them where possible.

Dealing with loss of face

November 7, 2017

Man told me today that it was a grave insult that I have not been extended an invitation to a charitable school dinner. I told him. Yes it’s certainly an insult, but it is not one that I can afford to take personally.

I have to see it for what it is….A distraction.

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‘Take my advice! Never get involved in politics. Never! Doesn’t matter whether it is office or sandbox politics. Don’t ever get sucked into that vicious game. Because the moment you play it…it will just mess you up in so many ways that can only take your further away from your Mission.

Besides you don’t want to do stupid things like feed your ego ten million meals a day….so let it slide. After all you Mission is more important!

Yes…I used the word Mission and not goal. The former presupposes that its so important you don’t even have the luxury to be yourself!

Understand this. I am not just a farmer.

I am a man with a Mission first. And in this mission failure is not an option. That is how I see my role here.

Everything else under the sun can be negotiated. But the terms of reference of my mission are immovable realities and they have to be accomplished even if I have to eat shit.

So what if my ego feels slighted. So what if I may even experience an unexpected slice of embarrassment….does it rile me. I guess it does to some extent. But it’s not as if it’s something that I can ever allow to interfere with my mission.

My mission is my only God and religion.

When the goal is bigger than the ego. Then there can be no such thing as face or for that matter loss of face. Such affectations and luxuries can only exist in weak minds of belonging to those who do not have a clear vision and mission.

Failure is not an option. I will fulfill my Mission and return home to Singapore one day.

Someone asked me in the internet whether I would be willing to make a donation to Amos Yee. I told this person I am going to do something much better. I am going to use my sphere of influence on the US Farmers union to get him a job.

I understand he is currently located in Ohio or Illinois. That’s good as it’s right smack in the farming heartland.

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‘Is Youtubing a job. I guess it can be providing enough people are willing to vote for you with their wallets. But one has to be really exceptional at producing quality content and at the risk of coming across as a pessimist that cannot be easy in a hardcore country like America.

It doesn’t take a lot to shock Singaporeans. But I think Americans don’t fall off their chairs that easily. For one they have been so regularly bred on a diet of sensationalism that nothing can ever shock them any longer. So what’s sensational and even eye grabbing in Singapore may very well be as forgettable as bollards and fire extinguishers in a place like America.

Bear in mind I am still not saying Youtubing isn’t a job. But even if it is how might it stand against let’s say a tradesman or someone who earns his keep in the world by working with his hands like a shoemaker or maybe a garbage man. Again it comes right down to the question of how many people out there are willing to vote with their wallets. No I don’t imagine physical labor is easy. Not at all. Not when it’s apprenticed or studied. As there’s dignity in the whole idea of labor. Even if it happens to be just crappy shoes that’s regularly churned out – even if it’s just mediocre labor there’s still the whole idea of effort, dedication and seeing a thing to the very end or the hope of it at least that rightly deserves the appellation of dignity of labor. Even if it so happens the whole idea of labor is tragically no better than pouring water into a leaky pot. At least the purity of will to be useful to mankind endures and even deserves some measure of respect. Even for the shoemaker who seems to be able to churn out only lousy shoes.

Again it bears repeating only because I want to be clear that I am not saying being a YouTuber isn’t a real job. It can be. I just don’t see how that’s possible without first dedicating oneself to a regimen of labor. Might not be a full time job. Maybe part time. But one still needs a job to come across as a rounded person – as the idea of labor involves much more than just the acquisition of skills, but there is also the valedictorian hope that one can certainly grow to discover oneself in a job. It doesn’t matter what that job may be could range anywhere from dog shooting to cleaning out slop and everything in between and beyond…but at least one can say. Well I did it…I marinated myself into the world by sticking to a job….didn’t like it that much that’s why I chucked it all in and decided to go my own way.

I think it’s that idea that needs to be incorporated into Youtubing for it to really be a job. Not just the idea but the mood of sympatico of fellowshipping with one’s audience who might also have those shared values and experience to lend what one has to say authenticity. And that can’t be faked…it’s like those trenches that I dug recently. May come across as the stuff of Everydayville and have as much excitement as watching grass grow. But I don’t ever see it that way because I am a farmer…I’ve seen first hand how capricious rivers can be. How destructive rivers are when they break their banks and deluge fields for as far as the eyes can see. So to me when the vagaries of nature can be tamed by mathematics there is a beauty to it all. I can walk for hours in the field marvelling every fractional detail of those trenches…that ironically only a farmer can really appreciate and bother to write about…but that’s my point I write purely for myself and no one else – otherwise what one has to say just comes out phoney and cardboardish. It can’t be real no matter how seamless the delivery. As there’s something very wrong with the picture. Wrong enough for me to perhaps give the show a miss.

Again I am not saying being a youtuber isn’t a job. Only perhaps probabilities don’t make for possibilities…maybe a job first then Youtubing if there’s time.’

Photos of trenches

November 6, 2017

Three days ago we had a biblical downpour. Something like 250mm of rain within a 12 hour period. That is like having an entire months rain in just half a day.

Despite the intensity of the rains, the trenches were able to manage this deluge without fuss. According to my calculations even with the bio material (cellulose of the old trees) in the trenches – it is designed with a holding capacity of 300mm rains within a 24 hour period @ drainage of 6 inches from datum at every 24 hour cycle.

During the planning stage I agonized over the calculations. Often switching from 200mm to 300mm to 250mm. But during the digging I just played it all out by gut feel and experience….I wasn’t really sure, as water is very hard to fathom, getting a handle on this element is more of an art than science…it is quite mysterious.

These trenches fulfill four main objectives.

Firstly, they are a natural way of eliminating parasitic enemies of young palms such as rhino bettles and aphids. When the trenches are full, the eggs of these parasites burst and they die and this interrupts the reproductive cycle without the need to resort to harmful insecticides and powerful poisons such as P cyanide. Rodents will also run away.

Secondly, they are designed to accelerate the process of composting to allow the land to reclaim back it’s nutrient quotient without resorting to chemical fertilisers. The dark liquid that you see is the first sign of in process bio breakdown where the molecular chains of plant cellulose is broken down into organic based nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Thirdly, the trenches act as flood prevention devices to always keep the roads and land dry. This is important in palm cultivation as it prevents basal stem rot and fungal growth.

Fourthly, they serve as emergency reservoirs to keep the soil moisturised and hydrated during a dry spell.

If there are any concerns, it is simply this. I don’t know why it takes so long for the water in the trenches to drain out. It could be soil structure…water table or even that the top soil is so saturated that it can no longer transmit water by capillary action. Despite the passing of three days the water level is high and only a couple of inches from the overflowing.

But I am not too concerned about that anomaly, as when the cellulose material in the trenches breaks down further. They will naturally create addition holding capacity to contain more rain water. I would have gone deeper and wider, but given that soil quality was clayish below five feet and that would mean running the risk of the side walls collapsing. This was the best that I could do under the circumstances.

All in all, I am very happy with the results. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to know deep down that I did a first class job.

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‘I wished I could begin this by saying it is my hope…blah blah blah by adopting this innovative method of agro management smallholders all over the world will hopefully perceive the economic viability of refraining from open burning as a means of waste disposal that incidentally is a source of perennial grief for both people and planet.

The truth is brutal…one reason why environmentalist consistent fail is simply because they go around telling people in a tone of sanctimony this or that is not right. But usually they don’t offer these same people who they hope to change a credible alternative that makes sense.

Experience informs me one reason why certain destructive practises persist in crop cultivation is because it is frequently seen to be both cost effective and expedient. This is why farmers burn…they don’t have access to technology or hardware or for that matter know how. You could perhaps put the blame on bad genes, but what’s the point….truth of the matter is we work with what we have not and what we want to work it.

Unfortunately this reality is frequently elided by most environmentalist. If they do anything very well it’s their consistency in failing to recognise WHY certain destructive practises continue to persist despite the harm they frequently create for people and planet.

The primary motivation in my professional opinion has to be economic i.e the profit motive. This hubris can at best be summed up in what I once presented to a group of Swedish environmental NGO’s when I asked them the question – why should any farmer in Riau or Middle Africa who earns USD$2.50 a day care about some intellectual abstraction like a hole in the ozone sphere somewhere Antarctica…think about it…why would he even care when he has a hole in his atap roof?

Which one do you think he will be more motivated to fix?

This brings into sharp focus the need to craft NOT only environmentally friendly methods of clearing land without resorting to open burning and the rampant use of harmful chemicals. But more importantly the maturity to recognize the reality – for new ideas and methods to take root and be widely accepted in agriculture, the logic forwarded must also make economic common sense as well.

No doubt this method of clearing land may at first appear to be capital intensive. And it is. That is because it’s new and we are proceeding into uncharted waters.

However if smallholders are able to appreciate the long term cost benefits along with how buying into this methodology might even enhance their property values considerably, parochial attitudes of crop management can only change with time and my hope is this will be able to offer a credible alternative to make our planet a better place to work, play and live for not only us…but our children as well.

My method works…it works very well.’

Never tell people about your problems. Because if you do so – 20% don’t care. As for the rest of the 80%, they will be very happy. Never complain. Because the chances are the people who are hearing your complains have no power to alter the outcome. Resist the temptation to tell people what a legend in your own mind you are. As this merely confirms to them you are an asshole. Never try to defend yourself when you are judged. As that merely reinforces their belief that you are guilty.

Instead try to keep very quiet and remember to always smile and be very polite.

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I have nothing against thinking per se. Infact I encourage it. But what one must be mindful of is there exist – good and bad thinking.

Good thinking is necessary for one to live a purpose driven life otherwise we would do stupid things like check for a gas leak with a lighted match or activate the cruise control on a car only to go and sleep or read a magazine and end up with tubes sticking out of our mouths in the ICU of Singapore General hospital.

Bad thinking is when we keep looping and repeating our past hurts and resentments so much so that it dominates ever aspect of our lives and robs us of the present and this can only lead to us fashioning a ‘reality’ that has nothing whatsoever to do with reality. This can only ultimately lead to suffering and self destruction.

Knowing the difference between good and bad thinking is very important. As this is the first lesson that leads to consciousness.

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‘A man once came to me and said I am a PMET and I cannot make ends meet as the government has in place policies that discriminate against me…what shall I do?

Woman comes up to me and she recounts the sad story of how she once met a man who played with her feelings and now it is impossible for her to be happy or optimistic about the future with any man….what shall I do?

I told this people plainly – what can you do as a victim of circumstances? Because that is precisely what these sad people have fashioned themselves to be in the story of life thru their thinking…..in this narrative somewhere in their head they have wordsmithed with their own hands. The role of the victim…so they can only play out that role very much in the way an actor can only read the lines that is written by the script director.

In this role that they find themselves in….they have a right to ascribe blame to others…they even have a right to believe that others have so much power over them that they are powerless to reverse whatever inequities that may come their way….as that is what victims do…they get victimised! As victimhood is synonymous with being powerless!

So how else can the story be recounted? Except perhaps to say it MUST be a tragedy.

It is only when we take control and change the storyline in our heads is it possible to win!

And this can only be done when we do not see ourselves as victims and instead wordsmith the story of the hero…..discriminated PMET! OK very simple….see that door I am walking right thru it…mucho gracias for all the good and bad times….adios amigos! Poof! I am off to greener pastures. Woman who is abused…again very simple….the past is no more, it is truly over and done with and it has no hold on me….everything is in my hands…I have all the power.

It is only thru correct thinking that one can be victorious in life!

Be very careful what you choose to allow into your head. As the story that is played out can often free or enslave you…..I am serious.

I have not seen this phenomenon once, but many many times….’

Trenches

November 4, 2017

It’s been raining steadily for the last few days and the trenches that I dug along the land that has been replanted is filling up nicely. I did not have my camera with me. But I will take some pictures tomorrow.

During the replanting I was not sure whether these trenches would work. Or maybe they would disrupt the flow of water so much that it would lead to flooding on my and adjoining lands…that would certainly have been a disaster….I was quite worried. So were the people working with me. One of them even resigned – as he believed the plan was too radical. As these trenches are very big and since they feature every five rows of threes they literally run the lenght of the land….if it were to have gone wrong the cost required to correct the mistake would have been very costly. The risk to reputation was high. One could easily end up as a laughing stock forever.

Now that I can see first hand what was once planned has passed from theory to reality as I always saw it in my minds eye. I am very happy.

It has been a very journey…four months, three weeks and two days.

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‘These trenches are so big they have never been tried out before in the plantation world. All I seem to remember is working thru the night. I would make calculations on paper. Then after going thru ten sheets…I would do it all over again. You see I had this idea in my head that if all plantations adopted this method – then the haze as we know it would not exist.

I worked feverishly. And on the first day when we broke ground. A man came up to me and said it cannot be done. I told this man, thank you, your contract has been terminated.. get off my land! I was ruthless to those who resisted me. The mere whiff that it was madness would be met with instant punishment.

I am not proud of what I did. Please understand there was no other way…please forgive me.

Now I will take my findings and present it to the world….there is finally another way to feed the world without destroying people and planet.’

Someone asked me what do you think about when you work in the field. I said my mind is empty. That person exclaimed…you mean there is nothing. I said no. Listen very carefully to me. My mind is empty that is something very significant….it is not the same as nothing.

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‘For over three centuries the concept of the empty mind has been floating around. This teaching has permeated every aspect of life ranging from meditation to martial arts.

The concept of the empty mind is not synonymous with nothingness. This is a mistake common to those who see the world thru a western vantage. As to them emptiness is synonymous with nothingness. This cannot be further from what the empty mind really is. Neither is it an idea that declares war on intellectualism or for that discourages you from deep reflection and introspection – infact it is the direct opposite of everything that we associate with nothingness such as spending your time sharpening your imaginary axes in your head by replaying many of the hurts and resentments you once had to bear…..mulling over what others said about you and how best to respond just to keep your ego shiny…..figuring ever inventive ways of adorning yourself with all sorts of useless symbolism just so others think that you are a success.

The real meaning of the empty mind is a mind that cannot be distracted by all the sensationalism and inconsequential happenings in the world….it is a mind that is so skillful in navigating thru thoughts that it will never be sucked into a self destructive cycle where one just gets angry, frustrated or sad for no reason. A mind that is not mesmerised by all the false allure that the world holds out. As it has the wisdom to see it for what it is….an illusion.

This is what the empty mind really means. Emptiness is not the same as nothingness. Emptiness is a form.

In martial arts you must always be wary of the exponent who engages you in a bout with the empty mind. As he knows what you are going to do.

In business. You must never talk too much when you engage such a man. As he is observing you very carefully and studying every aspect of your character like a hunter.

The empty mind is very powerful. Research and study it well.’

It’s very simple. Just cut them off and make it impossible for them to ever have one minute of your time.

I really don’t see the need to engage. Or for that matter invest the time and energy to learn the skill sets needed to engage these category of crooks…after all what’s the point of learning to walk on water when you can just take a ferry?

Why would you want to ever engage manipulative people?

I mean if you see a fully grown cobra raising its head at you and hissing…do you go up to it to give it a pat on the head?

If you see a big sign pinned to a box in the middle of the road that reads danger radioactive material – do you go up to it to rummage thru it’s contents just in the hope of finding a few trinkets?

If you come across a live electric wire on the road and there are ten stiffs lying there like very well done satay sticks….do you pick it up and lick it with your tongue?

So the discipline or skill shall I say is very very simple….just take right off. No need to even be polite about it.

Keep life simple.

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I really want to be polite. I even want to stay open minded, but not so open that my brain is like a rubbish dump that buys into everything and anything…it started quite well. I was introduced to this lady who holds herself out as some sort of dog psychiatrist to high society dog owners. So she asked me whether I keep dogs. I mentioned I have a couple. Then she asked are they well adjusted? Then I asked what do you mean? Do yo mean whether I give them neck breaks from time to time like a chiropractor ? She said no, how’s their behaviour. I mentioned one of my pups has this habit of bitting my shoes and slippers to bits….the lady mentioned. Perhaps it’s anger management issues…she asked whether I might be intrested to engage her services. I said I really don’t see the need. She asked why. I told her I’ve seen this in plenty of dogs before. She asked enthuistically how to prescribe a cure…do you use dream therapy or water massage…I said no. I just tie a really old shoe around the neck of the dog.

The lady was quite shocked…I wonder why….why?

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