The ultimate goal of politics is
power and its control. There are many ways of achieving that end. War, urban
guerilla tactics, violent mass protest (as observed in Hong Kong recently), military
coups, economic and social disruptions are ways to destabilize nations or
regions; political elections are more peaceful ways, depending whether parties
are interested in sharing or negotiations. To achieve the ends, the means are varied,
such as in money, sex, lies and rumours through media. By comparisons, we are
much more peaceful and less disruptive, until our coffers are stolen and
bankrupted. We have backstabbing, sex videos, and even promises and betrayal of
the weird kind, such as father and son, siblings and sworn brothers. There are
always hidden motives and agendas. Unless one is comfortable with betrayal and
backstabbing, the alternative choice is to keep an interest and learn from such
interaction prior involvement. Sharing the same race or religion are not
protective condoms, against the lure of lust and power.
How do poetry and poets walk out of
its Ivory Tower, if they are no longer relevant to their surrounding? I was
reading Frank Prem’s poetry project and is much inspired by his creativity.
Last night I re read “On the Pulses
of Morning” by Maya Angelou, and wrote my own haiku/senryu, borrowed many words from her famous poem, but
in a different context.
This haiku is inspired by Frank Prem’s poetry, “a kiss (for the worthy)” published on 26th July, 2019. I was very impressed that Frank used a line from a well-known poet and composed a poetry anew. Please visit his interesting blog to appreciate how poets and poems inspired creative work. https://frankprem.wordpress.com/2019/07/26/a-kiss-for-the-worthy/
This haiku is my response to salute that inspiration:
MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 472: PRAYERS FOR BULLS
carry old crusade
hearken wrong sermon
book and not street smart
mind in dream home
The street protests in Hong Kong gain momentum at its own peril. The youngsters have vented their violent frustration and are still reluctant to reflect their anarchy and the destabilization they caused to Hong Kong. They never sit and ponder why Macao residents do not share their sentiments. The British colonialist are much more shrewd than the Portuguese, and these Hong Kongers return to the promised “mother land” have been denied openly. Moreover, the sun has set in the crumbling empire, and may even breakup within itself. If “one country two systems” have failed in Hong Kong, it will return to “one system” only, never two nations. Shenzhen or another city could easily replace Hong Kong; RMB could replace HK dollars; banking, commerce, tourism and port status will be gone. These university students are living in dreams, sipping English tea. Again we have to re-think the roles of our education. To educate is to bring out the best smartness in each individual as a human being (consciousness), not to pump in with lots of wrong and faked information. We can no longer trust the education of our children to formal teachers, who may be as ignorant as the taught. This run of haiku/senryu, not only narrate parental concern, but also touch on religious teaching in a modern age. It is NOT religion itself, but some leaders with their personal agenda and motives. How could a finite mind deliver an infinite message from their holy books, without corruption?
In the politics of Hope, we observe more betrayal and return of old stale policies. Instead of focusing on good governance and strengthening of national economy, we are again obsessed by sex and the drama of video. All the sworn brothers swear to tell the truth, and the truth is never made public. Maybe the sacrificial skins at birth or adolescence inspire the fixation to sex and power. The run of haiku/senryu is to make sense out of all the nonsenses in the corridors of power.
A cul-de-sac is not a dead end, but has an opening only for both entry and exit. The mind can enter into a cul-de-sac; a self-made psycho philosophical conundrum, if unaware or callous of the mental tricks. In our modern world, despite all the publications and books, the young hardly read more than a book a year, outside their academic studies. These youngsters are excellent in their own fields, especially in IT skills, science and technology but their education are not broad based, unbalanced in the arts, history and philosophy (well these domains are almost dead, for lack of market value). Thereby they lack good foundation to form judgement. Moreover, parents over protect them, coddle too much, and deprive them of opportunity to learn and be street smart. They fail to learn when to quit or not to quit in their life journey. They have problem in knowing a conundrum from a dip or a cliff, thus no sense of perspective.
androgens of bull, they travel every terrain using their familiar GPS, without
realizing even that familiarity can change into Geo Political System, with
consideration of history and culture. It was not a grave mistake to crush into
a cul-de-sac. The easiest and smarter way is to have an easy quick turnaround. There
is costing at the personal, familial and community level; any social
instability or chaos is cost added. Unfortunately, with their colonial
education (nothing to do with medium of learning), they idealized human rights,
forgetting cultural rites, and ignorant that nothing is free without a price.
Instead they bulldoze their way through, liked superman and wonder women in
their western comics. We witness the instability and chaos in the recent Hong
Kong street protests, and all the vain colourful revolution that are supposed to bring hope to
their people and communities. There is nothing wrong with their aspiration, but
the bloody path is not without blame and shame. Perhaps the scenario is similar
to the bull fight; the sport is not to be blamed, but the bloody honour and
bravery need to be scrutinized.
Bulls are herd animals and are naturally social, but they are teased and provoked to be aggressive and destructive by isolating them. They also received monetary incentive, and with the “bucks” in their pockets, they turn off their social responsibilities. They are colour blind and are taught to hate .The arts reminded us about the battle between man and the beast within himself, when the brain chemistry and neuro circuits are deranged deliberately. Awareness of the fact will prevail and they will quit smart to win. The greater sins are the bullies, and best not to gang with them against one’s own. When the nation is destabilized, and culture is colonized, there is no pride and no soul to speak of honour.
The sun always appears after rain and storm. The storm could be physical or political weather, or darkness in personal mood swings. The rain refreshes the air, and settles down the dirt and dust of living. The shine brings light to the environment and hope to people. However, there is no panacea, and no expectation of a perfect clean society overnight. The last election brings hope for change; some of the corrupt dust and dirt have been removed; but the fundamentals of real change are untouched. The stains on the curtains and pillars are not washed properly. Gradually we see the eroding of change itself, and the return of corruption by different hands. There is no instability and chaos, like a tsunami or massive earthquake. The streets are washed, somewhat cleaner, and trees regain their old shine and sheen, thus enabling the park safer to stroll.
With regain vigour, we stroll in a nearby new housing garden, located on higher lands near the highway. With new marketing strategy and media, we are impressed with the new landscape. There are verdant hills, with cycling path by the lake. The sunset on yonder hills, with their reflection, turning silvery from purplish as night fall, are romantic reminders of bygone days. The shimmering neon lights daze the eyes, with attractive houses to dream about. We are blind to the high tension wire, or even the traffic and factory emission nearby. Never mind the causes of radiation and cancer causation, for lives are more complicated than that. The country has 50% obesity rate, with diabetes and associated diseases on the rise. Living under stress, mental illness affect a third of the population; we are among the top users or abuses of tranquilizer and psychotropic globally.
It’s amazing that the massive street protest in Hong Kong took so long and had yet to end. Obviously the student leaders (superman and wonder woman) are well trained in urban guerrilla or bull fighting to create a “path of doom”. In contrast, the police appear hapless and too gentle, unlike what they portrayed in their movies.
Mindless drivers, even those using GPS, could end up lost in a cul-de-sac. Seth Godin in “The Dip” would have advised on steps to take, if such people bother to pause and think. In a yellow umbrella revolution, when things are spinning with lots of emotion, it’s hard to control the spinal and limbic circuit. Watching a bull fight, it’s easy for the spectators to turn into mad bulls, perceiving the red as cause of bull’s agitation, and not the movement or motive.
There is poetry everywhere. Even a street scene carries messages on how best to live. There are healing and warning messages. The sun always appears after a bad weather. A beautiful home, with sunset view is good to go for stroll or shopping with your loved ones. Yet the eyes are often attracted by colourful sights.
Stanford Raffles published “The History of
Java” in 1817, and he knew the geography, flora and fauna of the region well.
It would be a safe assumption to state that he knew there was no lion, but
rats, wild cats and boar in Temasek (meaning lakes surrounded by sea; name
for modern Singapore) Island. It was,
therefore, strange that this colonial officer saw a tiger (later explanation)
or lion, and thus the lion city was so named.
Colonial sailors had lots of lustful stories about mermaids. When the
search for an iconic symbol was needed by the Singapore Tourist Board, they
hired a British citizen, not a local, to design, and thus the merlion was
created; the icon was a strange inter breeding of lion and mermaid, with four
teeth representing four different cultures. Gradually that marketing icon
became a national symbol. One could imagine they had other choices, such as the
interlocking of 63 islands into one. I thought Marquis buried his parchment
papers (magic) in the sands of Singapore; mostly likely to be in Changi (had
five out of seven beaches). Perhaps the parchment papers (with cries of
colonial brutalities) played tricks on his vision; the magic had pacified the
ghostly island, and transformed Singapore into a modern city state. Politicians
lacked imagination and were more concerned with selected political correctness.
A critical understanding of history is needed, otherwise we merely regurgitate
factual or faked information; worst still, we fart out the colonial wind, as
observe in recent protest in Hong Kong. The Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and “enlightened”
British were not here to teach us freedom and democracy; they began by plundering
our resources and ended with divide and rule for the local to strive and fight.
The birth of Singapore was a historical freak;
an outcome of racial politics in the north. The prince thought, the island ,with no resources would return to the peninsula
on compromised terms; but it thrived well instead, and provided a safe haven
for the local, as well as home for many Asians.
With a short span of fifty five years, the little red spot has
outperformed against all expectation. However, the small nation felt vulnerable
to a hostile environment due to strategic geographical location and limitation.
Many lands were reclaimed, but would soon come to a halt. There were never any
imaginary territories, for nation states did separate and unite in history. Politicians
cared more on the sensitivities of neighbours, but poets and other creative
writers imagined outside the box.
Stretched backward two hundred years (after Raffles strangely founded Temasek), and another five hundred years of prehistory were merely extending culture and history in strange ways. Instead of looking at history on the vertical axis, it might be best to explore the horizontal, such as, how best to heal the discontent in society. That was enough reason for the protest march in HK, and all the disruptive colour revolution or chaos in the world. This is an innovation age. The engine for change would be group re-think, more accommodation and adjustment. Meritocracy is not a panacea, and not without side effects, such as elitisms and blind spots. With a small active population, the talent pool is restricted, and the need to open up for fresh ideas and people, irrespective of how hard the nation trained its own. Overall there is good governance in Singapore. Some of the searches for self-identity and multi culturalism required new approaches. The HK protests taught us that patriotism among the younger generations were full of worms, unless they learned what need to learn, re learn or unlearned.
The Bicentennial was worthy of visit. The last raining act, holding transparent umbrellas, was evocative. It was the day when Singapore gained Independence and become Singaporeans. Despite the dark stormy weather, transparent umbrellas provided clear transparent views all around. We walked out in good weather, folding our transparent umbrellas, praying that transparency had not fold back into the racks.