SG Daily: 23 Jan 2008

Government Denies Hand in State Fund Investments
– The Sun Shines on Singapore: GIC and Temasek have a blank cheque

Transport Reforms Announced
– Singapore Life and Times: The right step

ERPains, Trains & Automobiles
– Decay on Net: Peak hour madness – thanks to a maintenance train

Re education
– Mr Wang Says So: Safety in the Syllabus

Daily Discourse
– BothSidesOfTheJohorStraits: Why fritter away your $$ at the casino when SingaporePools welcomes you with open arms?

Life, the Universe and everything
– the(new)mediaslut: Singtel negotiating bid for Apple iPhone with AIS and Optus

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48 Responses to SG Daily: 23 Jan 2008

  1. lionel says:

    A-STAR 100K challenge is an outdated idea to both Innovation and Business – I bet you anything the brotherhood can do this within 24 hours flat. I know this sounds like a joke, but I am actually very serious. They could farm out the work, their people wouldn’t even need to move physically. They could conference in the virtual and even use concurrent engineering know-how to make sure it is processed like a 24 hour 7 day a week, 30 day a month factory. I am serious!

    I am personally very impressed by A*Star. I know it is fashionable to regard it as a corny project, but at least it’s a start and I am sure someone like Darkness will agree completely with me.

    I am sure he may even agree to give it a shot in the arm. Or are we to believe the Bro are just a bunch of people who talk alot but fall woefully short on the action?

    Singapore Daily could you please make sure this goes directly to Darkness? Thanks. L

  2. lionel says:

    Singapore Daily,

    I have gone to Miss Dotty’s site

    http://ru.wordpress.com/tag/brotherhood-press-articles/

    But I can’t seem to find Darkness & The Gang?????

    Any idea where they are? I think it would be a laugh to battle taste them to do this.

    Do you know where they are?

    Best Regards

    L

  3. Miss Guppy says:

    I tell you what Bernard Leong, it is an open secret with all of us here, you don’t think very highly about Darkness. So why don’t you just issue him a challenge to do with A*Star Project?

    You say it cannot be done, what if he comes along and puts your shoe into your mouth?

    Go on. It will be good for King and Country and I cannot think of a better way to boost the moral of us younger charges.

    Yours Respectfully

    Gup

  4. Scholar Hola says:

    The author Bernard Leong was too polite. A-Star’s 100k challenge is a COMPLETE JOKE. Please add the other 2 links in his article so that everyone can see what complete morons we have in the venerable A*#@$tar. (I still cringe everytime I see that I-am-so-clever-*-star-get-it? name)

  5. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness in response to BL’s article; A-STAR 100K challenge is an outdated idea to both Innovation and Business

    “You know what never ceases to surprise me? How some people are so preoccupied with thinking out of the box, they don’t even know it when they start to behave like a demented Jack in the box. It seems curious to me to dismiss an idea simply because it is outdated. Never mind that we never even had such a thing called a comprehensive history of innovation and creativity that equaled either the West or the great history of central and North Asia.

    We have to start somewhere. IMO A*Star is going about it the right way they are trying to replicate an international competitive platform that will hopefully attract many scholar sportsmen from all over the world – to my knowledge this has already attracted widespread interest amongst many IT researchers.

    Contrary to what has been written by Bernard Leong, this area of research is as cutting edge as it gets. It is a misrepresentation to say that search tech is old hat, that like saying automobiles technology is old simply because the first car was manufactured nearly a hundred years ago, but we all know it’s an on-going process of research and development that leads to incremental improvements in the production of new models – the statement by Bernard Leong assumes search technology has pique and reached end (maturity) of it’s product cycle and this warrants another approach. This gentlemen again is a misrepresentation of fact and I challenge him publicly. As all evidence suggest, there is still considerable scope for innovation and it’s very far away from being exhaustive area of product innovation.

    The other thing I like about this competitive platform is it’s a real attempt to recruit talent from all over the world, irrespective of nationality, once again this is laudable and it’s the first real indication since Yeo (who incidentally happens to be one of the few progressive thinkers in Singapore who has to work with dead wood and academic derelicts) left A*Star that they are committed towards world class and not Kampung hero style innovation – this to me is the first real indication these leaders have a serious appraisal of what it takes to succeed in this highly competitive field, so again it bodes well. I for one am very happy they have not succumbed to the path of least resistance and xenophobia and it kept it local as this will only produce nothing – by opening the competitive platform to the whole world, it’s a real opportunity for all our local researchers to learn in the true spirit of sportsmanship, scholarship and what it means to compete in a gentlemen’s level playing field. There is much to learn and success is really not the issue here. As for the bounty, it’s small, but I believe it can be negotiated along the way. Besides the ancients competed in the Olympics of antiquity for just a wreath of flowers or leaves. So there you go.

    We support this endeavor fully and I hope that many of you in the field of research and development locally and in the internationale gaming network (especially in the area of search algorithm) will give this initiative by A*Star serious consideration and not be demoralized by this campaign of the dumber than dumb – they will always only remains voices in the wilderness, full of sound and fury signifying very little as one of our famous local talents Dick Lee said in Singapore idol, “You only think you can do all these things, but you can do nothing!” We need you! – Darkness 2008”

    Chronicler of the Brotherhood For Darkness / This Message Has Been Broadcasted throughout the Strangelands @ 1230 GMT today.

  6. Capt Booger says:

    Search tech may not be EOL but if Microsoft and Yahoo is having trouble fighting Google I don’t see how a USD$70k ang bao is going to bring anything meaningful to the search table. And yea, teh name sucks too.

  7. kkp says:

    Where are the ‘experts’ from NLB and AIMS when we really need them? What sort of deal did Darkness strike this time?

  8. Litigator says:

    Too busy reading Xia Xue hahahaa

  9. shoestring says:

    Is it any surprise that judgements are made based on the $$$ in Singapore?

    Whether $100,000 is peanuts or not depends on the conditions of copyright and licensing to a certain extent isn’t it? Are these enforceable?

    Haven’t explored the website but is there any mention of this in the brief?

  10. Jan says:

    Hi all!

    “Where are the ‘experts’ from NLB and AIMS when we really need them? What sort of deal did Darkness strike this time?” I think they are all in Xiaxue trying to figure out the mystery of the universe.

    Thank You very much Darkness & Co. I hear and understand you. However, I agree with Shoestring the devil is the details e.g IPR.

    What’s your take on that? Why do you believe the position is “negotiable?” Many thanks. Best Regards. Jan

  11. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness says:

    “Hey, I don’t think it’s negotiable, I know it is! It has to be, this is what I call a pie in the sky challenge. If I had to tack it to another initiatives it’s very similar to the Panasonic Solar Car Challenge, the Space Challenge or just blasting chimpanzees into orbit. Do you see General Motors building solar cars for midgets where the driver needs to be a contortionist just to drive it? Is anyone calling up Burt Rutan to launch a weather satellite? Do you see Monkeys building rocket ships to go to Mars?

    Understand this! The whole idea is really to inspire adventure and stimulate the spirit of friendly competition, by trying to touch base with a whole lot of people out there working in garages, sheds and labs. Profiling research initiatives as challenges has been an ongoing trend since NASA decided to send up robots the size of a bak kuah to Mars instead of a juggernaut tractor build then bill – for lack of a better word, it simply a very efficient way to get a whole lot of diversity within the shortest possible time. So it’s very much a quantity vs quality race – bear in mind quantity here is a form of quality, that’s the whole premise of the exercise, it’s not supposed to go all the day, you just supposed to cross the line, then the program can commit hara-kiri. I don’t think it’s even realistic to put in on the same footing with Yahoo or Google, but it makes a good wake up call, not on shoestring budget of $100K, that’s just not realistic and anyone who makes the case it’s one of the same reality simply doesn’t have a firm appreciation of technology trends in this present age. So let’s get real here, let’s try to see it in the right scale and perspective.

    What it really is, is a challenge, nothing more or less, very much like getting a physical robot to balance an egg on it’s head without making a mess – so it’s a very pointed exercise with a definitive cut off point – so don’t expect the PR bandwagon to roll out, it’s going to be largely driven by the rubber band, duct tape, superglue brigade and kids writing code with probably the same motivation as trying to hunt down someone like me who stole their spaceship in the virtual and sold it in ebay, so I am not going to knock it. It’s a step in the right direction.

    Everything can be negotiated. Trust me. Darkness 2008”

    The Chronicler

  12. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness says:

    “You know I could sit down and write maybe for 20 – 30 min why this needs to be done and probably put everyone here in a terminal comatose state, but I am going to do something better. I am going to share something with all of you, something that is very important, especially those in the Internationale gaming network as it throws out the question: what is it like to live in a world where ideas only remain ideas.

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/4?gclid=CJz-2Iu8jpECFREpewod2hrLjw

    I wish you all luck and I hope you all find that mythical line – Darkness 2008”

    Posted by The Chronicler

  13. A^Moon says:

    all fine and dandy to inspire, to exercise, to throw money into the drain to show that your boss you are spending your r&d budget etc. i see 2 problems
    1. this is a stat board running on state funds
    2. opening to non-singaporeans really screws the “inspiration / exercise” shit
    3. at the end of the show, who audits the returns and which heads will roll? or do they?

    oh, i’m not a lab rat but i disagree that “quantity here is a form of quality”.

    and ditto, the name stinks :)

  14. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness says:

    “I understand exactly where you are coming from. You know something, when I first started working as an engineer, I remember being assigned to an expatriate boss who had just enough brains to tie his shoelaces and nothing else to spare. There wasn’t a day that past when I asked myself what lanchaui talent is dat? So I understand where you are coming from first hand when you mention the possible wastage, cost to moral etc associated prioritizing others at the expense of our own – do not for one moment believe your sentiments are unique to yourself, they are not, I share them as well. You can even say it’s instinctive for every tribe to take care of their own kind and it breaks my heart whenever I see that our own are not being given the due care and attention that’s often lavish on others who are not of our fold. However, I am also reminded there’s a greater danger that accompanies the inconvenient truth; especially, if we buy into the illusion of permanence by playing the ‘home’ card at the expense of courting the world – let me share with you why, because ultimately, we will lose. You can even say it’s a mathematical certainly that if we closed our doors and shutters to the world, I don’t doubt, in the short term we will win hands down, but in the long term, the best you can really look forward too is the empire of the bones – where the only game in town is lose / lose. I would even go as far as to say if we even so much as allowed ourselves to play the “home card,” we would have more or less pressed all the buttons to initiate the program of self destruction very much in the way those delusional Mandarins in the 15th century once pulled the plug on Zheng Hu’s鄭和 naval exploration, just because those dummies believed they had the ability to fashion their own world without regard to the outside world – did they get a better tomorrow? Yes for 3 centuries they had the good life, till European clippers with smooth bore cannons pulled up one day in Canton harbor, then it was game over. Prognosis: They got blind sided by “the inconvenient truth.” They fucked up. That’s why I call this it, the inconvenient truth! It’s very sticky and doesn’t go down very well – not even for me!

    There are times when even I have to fight the temptation to bury my head in the sand like an ostrich – the inconvenient truth is very cruel, even if you don’t disturb it, it will come knocking at your door! It takes no prisoners! There is no Geneva Conventions. If you do not know how the game is played, you do not pass “go,” you do not collect $200, you just go straight to hell.

    Understand this! You will never get this from B. Leong. Every country that has successfully evolved socially and economically did so specifically by leveraging on foreign mercenaries as a resource. For me there is no foreign talent, no permanent residents etc, it’s just a misnomer, only mercenaries with skill of arms – remember I am the man who calls a spade a spade.

    Every society needs to reconcile itself with this human resource philosophy; it must proffer professional skill of arms abroad if it’s to successfully augment its fold so that it stands a reasonable chance of successfully reaching its goals – the Romans did it by inducting the Pretoria Guard into their fold, they were paid double! without it = no empire, no discipline, no fist of God. Ottomans did it as well by collaring the Janissary, who were given special privileges, without them = it doesn’t come around, no harem. The US did the same by accommodating Nazi’s such as Werner Von Braun into their rocket program, without them = no small step for man, giant step for mankind.

    As I said this is very much, the inconvenient truth, so inconvenient that if I were a politician, I would certainly even consider skirting it instead of broaching such a thorny subject – I will play the home card to win votes and it will even work out quiet providing no one manages to film me in an uncompromising position in a motel, but what is the long term cost? This is something you must always ask yourself, that is the question; I will leave to you.

    That’s how the game has to be played, anyone tells you different just mortgaged off your future for a few years of false hope, he shouldn’t even be in a position of power – he is useless, you follow him, you mati, he doesn’t know how to play the game, it just doesn’t come around – he doesn’t know the facts of life, the inconvenient truth! That is. Worst of all he sent you out to fight a professional war with a fork – you cannot win, not even if you have nine lives. OK time to go cycling. Darkness 2008”

    Posted by the Chronicler

  15. kkp says:

    A*Star hang out banana’s what if the monkeys get really interested?

    (1)We only like to believe we can control them, what if they end up controlling us?

    (2) This FT thing has always been an issue. I don’t know why it keeps going ding dong all the time.

  16. Dr Dee says:

    Dear Sir,

    Eloquently argued and as persuasive as ever Darkness Boy – only one problem, let’s say we buy into your whole FT logic, let’s say it has to be done as you mentioned Baby Darkness. How would you propose easing the growing pains of accomodating the need for FT’s yet balancing the swell of local sentiment. From my reading at ground http://aaron-ng.info/blog/attract-foreign-talents-or-retain-local-talents.html

    It cannot be done. I stand corrected of course.

  17. Lancelot says:

    Good Afternoon Dr,

    “That’s how the game has to be played, anyone tells you different just mortgaged off your future for a few years of false hope, he shouldn’t even be in a position of power – he is useless, you follow him, you mati, he doesn’t know how to play the game, it just doesn’t come around – he doesn’t know the facts of life, the inconvenient truth! That is.”

    My feel is this. I don’t believe most ppl here will disagree with you on this point. As you rightly mentioned it is an inconvemient truth and that’s a n apt description.

    Where I believe is the real problem is in trying to harmonize FT with our locals. I personally feel many Singaporeans have been asking what is the point of being a citizen if there is no difference between us and FT’s.

    Inaddition, I also feel some FT’s have not really been fair to us. For instance, I happen to know this China grad who told me quiet brazenly SG was just a transit to her main destination, the US.

    I feel unless policy makers and leaders address this divide, it will only widen further and as a result, I cannot feel this whole A*Star thing is somewhat negatively affected by it.

    Btw thank you for the encouraging words.

  18. Lancelot says:

    I also feel if possible you should flesh out how this divide can be closed. I feel this is the part that most of us at a senior level are having real problems with, Thanks.

  19. Oppenheimer says:

    Good Afternoon Dr,

    I tried to post earlier, but I was unsuccessful. Thank you for your detailed reply. I believe most of us are in general agreement that we cannot undo the internet and it makes a cogent case to compete internationally.

    Doctor, where I believe is the real problem; is in the hubris of trying to balance the need for FT’s yet preserving the value of what it means to be a Singaporean.

    The latter appears to be very much linked to the whole immigration policy. I feel this is a matter that confronts most senior planners.

    Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Do have a nice weekend.

  20. Oppenheimer says:

    I don’t wish to sound like a party popper, but my feel abt this A*Star challenge is it may just be an attempt to get in contact with the established teams out there in SEO. I feel most of these teams are currently quiet secretive and many have been reluctant to publish papers for fear of IPC issues, this is perhaps one way to flush them out?

    Thank You Dr

  21. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness says:

    “OK; we can all agree playing the home card is at best a blind alley that precipitates extinction. We are making some head way – this is good. However, no sooner have we bagged that issue do we now find ourselves facing another hall of mirrors; how do we reconcile the hubris of accommodating foreigners and yet fashion a means to make sense of the whole ideal of what it means to be a citizen? My feel is the whole issue is often approached from a sentimental premise and that’s why it’s incapable of supplying the rationale for justifying a vigorous program of attracting foreigners – let’s just step back and ask ourselves a question that may not even appear to be remotely related to this debate; how does any society continue to retain their competitive edge? To me it seems more profitable to proceed by this method; as it recognizes firstly a few timeless assumptions related to power and politics; firstly no regime can resist change in perpetuity. Secondly ever successful society ultimately runs the risk of becoming sedentary leading to fossilization and stasis – eventually, even those who once possessed the skill of arms which allowed them to seize power run the risk of losing their competitive edge – the reasons are multi-factorial, it could be rooted in tradition that plays a preponderant role resulting in elites such as the Samurai’s to ban gun powder so as to preserve an antique skill-of-arms that has highly stylized and ritualized – here what we are seeing is a delectable form of decay that afflicts virtually every ruling stratum from the Ottomans to the Mandarins. In the case of the latter, the Imperial examinations pursued such a decadent and extravagant policy of opulence by the end of the 18th century, the scholar class were no longer inured with critical knowledge relating to science and technology. You could say this precipitated the decline of Imperial China.

    Gentlemen, why am I giving you these examples? To illustrate the mathematical nexus between success and how it usually precipitates the process of extinction – you could even say so robust is this formulation it even cycles to adequately explain the rise and fall of once great civilizations, firms and even families from the Ancient Greeks to accounting for why the Kennedy’s these days regularly overdose as they do when they are not busy flying into the sea – my point is this, there is a dystopian / anti-utopian formula that afflicts every successful society; success breeds it’s own contempt i.e it’s own demise. It stands to reason, every successful society ultimately runs the gambit of being so complacent and supine that at some point it is compelled to augment it’s rank and file with immigration – history has shown it is possible to buy into a well regulated mercenary market to either augment or redress the rot – where it isn’t so clear in outlining is (presumably because of half baked archival efforts like NLB), if a state comes to depend on mercenaries to maintain the status quo ante, how do they stop the mercenaries from coming to see that they constitute the effective power within it? That was of course what was what happened to the Elite Praetorian Guard, who for two hundred years stabilized the tumult of Roman politics, only to degenerate into power brokers – the same played out with the Venetians who saw the Condottieri asserting their power over the merchant class.

    My take is this, we as a nation and people need to really ask ourselves what is the best way to balance the need for FT’s and yet preserve the whole ideal of what it means to be a citizen and the best way to do this is to ask ourselves whether we believe values, beliefs and what it means to be human can migrate? I believe it can, that is to say, I believe it is possible for émigrés to buy into our way of life and to even take equity in our country, but to accomplish this we must treat them with respect, honor and integrity – that I feel, goes a very long way, if we do this and they leave, it can never be our lost, but if don’t even do it and continue to treat them as second class citizens, then we cannot blame them if they decide to seek greener pastures – I am sorry for being so long winded. Darkness 2008”

    Posted by The Chronicler of the Brotherhood @ 1230 GMT in the Strangelands.

  22. Polly says:

    Darkness,

    I wish to say this. I spent many years teaching in the UK. What I will say is this, “easier said than done.” I will have you know identity in the context of nationalism is not so much a complex or technical argument as you contend; its argument relies a good deal on small, evocative details, mostly abt the histories of people. For example do you deny the whole idea of Western liberalism is diametrically opposed to the whole idea of Asian values? There, there.

    What I am trying to put across is this; sometimes a classification e.g citizen and FT’s is hard if not impossible to justify intellectually this nevertheless may be made terribly important through social arrangement e.g are you, or are you part of our community? Do you share the same values as us?

    During my tenure in the UK, I was especially perceptive about the educational folly that had then seized British educators, whcih reacted to the arrival of a large Muslim population during the 80’s by exaggerating the importance of self-proclaimed religious leaders in immigrant communities and imposed policies that had the effect of retaining much of their culture. In many instances some of these policies even exacerbated the social isolition from which new immigrants often suffer – these “faith schools” had the opposite effect and instead firmly kept immigrant children locked in their own hermetically seal communities.

    The results of course were catastrophic. When we consider out of the recent muslim bombers all of them were British! What I am trying to say is this darkness boy, until we have a deeper understanding of the answers to the question; why do we (citizens and foreigners) succumb so readily to appeals based on the irrational forms of identity – ethnic, racial, religious – rather than appeals based on the rational forms – we may very well be incapable of following your suggestions.

    Do have a nice weekend and I think you were incredibly rude to Missy Dotty.

  23. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness Says:

    “Thank you for the charming post Polly. I suspect your attribution concerning Asian values probably came from the doggy archives of the NLB.

    Let me just say this when medieval Europeans were busy burning heretics, in Asia Emperor Akbar Khan had instituted a comprehensive rule of law guaranteeing freedom to religion along the patronage of the arts and sciences which even birth the branch of mathematics students these days American kids refer too as Algebra which is actually a mangled acronym for Al Jaber – so there you go empirical proof that our understanding of what precisely Asian values really means is more ‘liberal’ than I can possibly elaborate.

    To me this whole talk of Asian values is just a rubber stamp narrative – I haven’t even met so much as met an academic who can tell me what it really is without invoking magic crystals, fengshui and Reiki power.

    As for your lament concerning British education – you have actually in an oblique way lent credence to a few of my assumptions viz-a-viz the long term need to seriously craft a plan to integrate FT’s into our society. Now I admit, I may not have all the salient to tell you how this can be practically accomplished, but I do know that if let’s say the health minister continues to keep cutting the benefits of PR’s no end to placate the home crowd, that’s not going to do very much to solicit any form of loyalty (if I was the head of state, I would pack him off promptly to the Russian front and it will take me 2 seconds to make that decision). If one really thinks about it those sort of shitty policy can only exacerbate the divide by pre-forcing the whole process of polarization. It does zero to solicit integration.

    Let me put it this way, why is it so difficult for people to entertain the proposition people choose to come to our country besides money? I find this whole proposition facile as a man can be a Christian, stirs his coffee anti-clockwise, drives a Japanese, reads on average 3 books a year, a heterosexual, who enjoys the odd romp along with perhaps nurturing 3 million quirks – but which of this actually swallows up the other when he decides to emigrate. If we can entertain the proposition that many here even in blogosphere choose to leave Singapore because they are not happy with the PAP and the our so called sterling way of life – then Madam, may I ask why we are not even prepared to extend the same benefit of the doubt to others who may choose to do very much the same as us?

    This I believe was and remains till now my main contention – I do not buy into the idea all FT’s come here only for ONLY money. I believe many choose to come here for a variety of reasons and most of them all add up to = a better way of life and if we are serious to put an end to this ding dong FT vs citizen debate, we simply need to recognize this simple fact of life. We are in no position to demand loyalty from others if we do not even show loyalty to them in return, we need to understand they are people, not ants, not even the French Foreign Legion does that – Darkness 2008.”

    Posted by the Chronicler

  24. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness says:

    “As you can all see for yourself it is a no show – now you all know I gave BL the right to defend what he wrote (please scroll up, if you want the background) – I have tried to be as fair as I can be – any fairer and I you could even use my head as a level playing field to play football – for reasons known only to him and him alone, he has decided it’s not worthwhile to defend what he wrote concerning the SEO initiative by A*Star i.e he has decided not to engage me in a public debate (that incidentally is no surprise to me). Now you can draw your own conclusions as to what this all means. I have no comment, for legal reasons. However, I want you all to ask yourself one question; would he do the same for me? ; that’s to say would he have extended me the same courtesy that I extended to him? Again this I leave to you. Only remember this, if he didn’t give me the right, he would probably give you fuck all as well – I want you remember this always. Thank you Singapore Daily. Darkness 2008

    What did I just do you said?

    A*Star by the way I just heard some really bad news are channel partners cannot participate, you see there is this small thing with NLB – you know what, I don’t want to say this, but I just knew this would come back to fuck it all up.

    Allow me to take the discussion off line. Darkness 2008”

    Posted by the Chronicler of the brotherhood

  25. siglap reader says:

    Dear Bambi bad Boy Darkness;

    “To me it seems more profitable to proceed by this method; as it recognizes firstly a few timeless assumptions related to power and politics; firstly no regime can resist change in perpetuity. Secondly ever successful society ultimately runs the risk of becoming sedentary leading to fossilization and stasis – eventually, even those who once possessed the skill of arms which allowed them to seize power run the risk of losing their competitive edge – the reasons are multi-factorial, it could be rooted in tradition that plays a preponderant role resulting in elites such as the Samurai’s to ban gun powder so as to preserve an antique skill-of-arms that has highly stylized and ritualized – here what we are seeing is a delectable form of decay that afflicts virtually every ruling stratum from the Ottomans to the Mandarins. In the case of the latter, the Imperial examinations pursued such a decadent and extravagant policy of opulence by the end of the 18th century, the scholar class were no longer inured with critical knowledge relating to science and technology. You could say this precipitated the decline of Imperial China.”

    I must say never before in the history of the Singapore internet have I and my colleagues had to endure such a steady stream of unmitigated homespun diatribe from the Brotherhood. What I find most disconcerting is you, Bambi even have the temerity to past off your half baked models as whole disquisitions. I wish to draw your attention to a few short comings.

    (1) One is that much of one’s culture is not necessarily acquired from other persons (imported or local included) as much as it remains a function the role of politics. What I find especially disturbing about your write up is the brazen way in which you seem to link Social Darwinism to the whole idea of how some civilizations die while others succeed. Bambi am I dismissing the suggestion social Darwinism is irrelevant, no, on the contrary it may explain why all spoken languages must have certain phonemic properties or why the courtiers in 17th century Hampton court suddenly took to English instead of French. However, where I find it most disturbing in it’s usage and depolyment is when Social Darwinism is used to account for whole cultural aspects of a country! Where the limits of this approach shows up is when we consider that no where does it provision to take into account the role of power and politics. For eg; I know the Serangoon road has a significant population of Tamils most of them are foreign workers and work permit holders, now according to your model this would have arisen as a function of perhaps how some butterflies have managed to survive better than others according to some metaphotical Darwinian model. However, what you do not seem to accord due regard too is the whole idea is the demographic attributes of Serangoon road is largely a function of city gazetting and therefore merely an accretion of power and politics. It has nothing to do with social / cultural development as you continue to insist.

    (2) Flowing from (1) What both I and my colleagues cannot seem to understand is why does the brotherhood continually lend credence to the whole idea of social darwinism? I believe Bambi, this is not the first time that you have commented along such lines. I especially take exception to this as it is wholly wrong and inaccurate ; The most important question here is why even use Darwinian models at all to lend reason to the whole issue of society and culture? Bambi do you for one moment doubt, the complexities assoc with population model of variations, inheritence and different rates of how some communities progress while others regress has been specificallt designed to explain a particular set of natural phenomena that have a well-known empirical and mechanistic base. Even Darwin himself cautioned against such a liberal reading of his own synthesis concerning why some species survive while others die off. You on the other hand Bambi seem to be oblivious of this as fact!

    Of course Bambi I do not doubt there is an allure to the what you have written in so far as it’s able to appeal to the sensibilities of those who are unfamiliar with biological research along with all its theories. However, I must insist you are wrong.

    I also wish to say that the matter in which you treated Dotty is most despicable and ungentlemenly it entirely plausible for both I and the colleagues of the Siglap read club to seriously consider “measures.” Do have a lousy day and I hope a lorry knocks you down when you are cycling!

    Reader 9937/05

  26. siglap reader says:

    Allow me to inform you Bambi Bad Boy Darkness, just in case you are contemplating giving one of your witty clever dilettante replies. I wish to inform you generalizations epitimized by the way you usually write will not do. Neither will your stick man simple logical extensions of evolutionary theory within biology to nonphysical characters be spared either. Both I and by esteemed colleagues of scientist will demolish you this time in front of everyone here!

    We all hate you for what you did to Dotty!

  27. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness says:

    “Thank you for another charming post. Fortunately, I have it under the best authority the middle class who usually reside in the leafy suburbs of Siglap are one of the most prolific munchers of lychees and we all know you people can’t really do much damage by pelting me with such fruits.

    Am I guilty of revisionism in so far as recruiting Darwinism to account for why some civilizations prosper will others go the way of the dodo bird?

    Yes, but the extent of my culpability (i.e logical extension by analogy) no more exceeds the realm of the implausible in the way the Wright brothers once studied the flight of finches to gain a better understanding of mechanical flight or Newton sitting in sweet repose beneath an apple tree as he mulled over the issue of gravity – it seems curious why you should single me out for special attack simply because I have resorted to ‘social Darwinism’ to account for why there may be winners and losers – do I deny the erudite ladies who all form the Amazonian Siglap club have the ability to stretch me out on the pelt rack by virtue of their pedigree and exceptional métier in being able to split hairs, no! But madam Darwinism in any form be it metaphoric even, is NOT the preserve of scientist who look for answers in a Petri-dish. I would have you know Anthropology tells us and archaeology implies that our ancestors could have blood stained hands; psychoanalysis seeks to persuade us all that a savage lurks not far from the skin. Even mathematicians have noted through quantitative means how the invention of the femur precipitated the advent of the iron age etc (though in my case many of you believe it is indistinguishable and have even wished me the same fate as a monitor lizard crossing a road). Madam I can really go on and on to recount no end how your limited understanding that Darwinism should remained the sole preserve of scientist in the field of biology is all together so inconsistent that your logic dissolves rational purpose in every application and direction!

    Contrary to your supposition that we ought to treat with extreme reserve all attempts to extend the ambit of Darwinism – I say we should do the opposite, if the imperative is to better understand the world; by what logical premise can the searches for the general in the biological sciences and for legitimacy in explaining social phenomena be excluded even if it finds itself knocking on the door of Mr Darwin? You offer no cogent reason justifying the limit, except to say flatly in Prima donna fashion, “it cannot be done blah, blah, blah.” One need not be an orthodox follower of Karl Popper to see that a theory that allows things to appear in the form of their apparent opposites when convenient is not of much value.

    Madam, do I disagree with you that I may have taken the ambit of Darwinism too far? – Perhaps, but do I believe I have committed irreparable violence to its scholarly undertaking? No, as you contend there is no profit in studying why a baby’s scream has roughly the same ear shattering decibel as a locomotive, that may or may not be a accretion of natural selection, since babies who can be heard are likely to survive. While entirely plausible that this could account for why babies continue to scream their heads off, your contention is that we should not find any analogies between this function of screaming and how it may relate to the whole idea of survivability, as according to your analogy there exist a dearth of evidence to suggest there remains an ilk of parents who would respond to a screaming baby by shoving it into a drawer and going out for a movie followed by a curry – what I find fallacious and counter-productive is how you omitted to mention these sort of parents form only the minority. Similarly, to suggest that my theory of using Darwinism to account for why there may be winners and losers is heretical only because it falls short of your criteria of convenience; that a theoretical formulation is desirable because it makes it easier and more efficient to write refereed articles giving simple explanations for phenomena that are complex and diverse seems a strange justification (if any) for work that claims to be scientific! It is at best mere commentary madam and is it such a wonder you cannot see the value of why I have structure my thoughts in such a fashion. Darkness 2008”

    Posted by the Chronicler of the brotherhood

  28. kkp says:

    Good Morning Bambi Darkness

    I believe the main gripe of the Siglap read club is; why use a Darwinian model at all?

    Allow me to flesh the case out. I believe LHL, Montburan, bear bear, koala bear et al are not singling you out for “special attack.” Rather they are simply highlighting an error in your methodology i.e leveraging on the simplistic model of gene-like memes and subsequently making the “great leap” on accounting for how it’s able to modulate culture along with all the tenets of power and politics.

    I believe they were simply trying to draw your attention Bambi to how using Darwinian themes would be likely to produce erroneous results. As one aspect of culture will change in reaction to and in concert with other aspects of cyulture; that there exist a complex network of causal dependencies even among sub-sets of culture. Changes in technology, occupation and political landscapes are connected as they will amount to causes and effects which would ultimately shape the eventual form of any society.

    Bambi, I am sure you can understand what they are trying so hard to put across? Even Darwin, who had no idea of genes or of the rules of genetic inheritance, recognized the limits of his work by inserting a caveat which in effect stated it was no guarantee that his model of evolution would even be correct!

    How flawed then can cultural and social evolutionist be? For one they don’t even have a set of phenomena of comparable concreteness. They can’t even reach agreement on how to define and describe their objects of interest! For the moment, even the best papers on this area that proposes to link social/cultural changes along evolutionary lines can be described in very forgiving terms as; epistemological; they serve an intellectual interest but cannot be said to accord better with the phenomena that they are meant to explain.

    Given that’s the case, how could you then even use it to confirm your sweeping comments regarding how elites came about along with everything that goes along with it?

  29. J says:

    Hohum,

    Why does it have to be the Siglap club all the time? Look, no matter what evidence is presented, no matter how convincing
    For me it’s just like religion. Darwinism to believe it or not is really a matter of faith rather than cold cut logic. What I believe is missing here is the motivation, we all know the Siglap club comprise predominantly of Christian fundamentalist, who once openly voiced their support of Thio. So it is such a wonder that they should try their best to keep Darwinism away from everything and anything. Of course lah, they all tell us it is for justifiable scientific cause celebre etc and who would doubt them as they also have the highest number of lab rats.

    But let us not forget the ideological doctrine that Darwinism implies to the whole discussion of elitism especially in the context of faith. The Siglap club as with all fanatical right wing Christians will forever deny every avenue for a naturalistic explanation for anything, including victimizing Bambi Darkness no end. I really don’t know why he even puts up with the likes of LHL and Montburan.

    he stumbling block for Darwinists anything doesn’t so much lie in the conceptual ie whether it is mechanistic or why do south american mouse deers have better vision then their African cousions? It’s not that Darwinism has been completely unsuccessful in providing detailed and rational accounts for how species evolve. They problem is they have, but till today the likes of the Siglap club cont to insist no end, it remains falsifiable and it remains unprovable.

    Why I wonder – does faith have anything to do with it? What about Intelligent designs (ID)?

  30. kkp says:

    Bambi Boy,

    I don’t wish to come across as incisive and overtly critical. However, I believe one of the reasons why the Siglap read club may have taken such a negative view of Bambi Darkness write up, is because he has really enmeshed the whole idea of Darwinism / evolutionary theory with elitism / socio / cultural and somewhere in this dust cloud even managed to interlock the issue of FT’s.

    Now this may seem trenchant, but I have managed to trace out two inconsistencies.

    (A) Bambi you say that ultimately ALL (and you have even said without exception, so presumably it applies to all) civilizations will eventually wax and wane. You cite references as to Greece, Rome and China, yet at the sametime you recognize implicit within this equation there is even a capacity to augment the decline by using FT’s as transfusion. I am trying very hard to understand this, on the one hand you say it is necessary for us to have FT’s on the otherhand you say this whole competitive drive will ultimately lead to a inexorable decline? Tell me what are you saying? Elites are elites right? So why should there be a need to even augment them with FT’s? Finally you keep saying no civilization had ever managed to escape decline, but at the same time to subscribe to the whole idea of how evolutionary theory has the capacity to modulate socio/cultural outcomes. Tell me isn’t there an inconsistency somewhere?

    Reg

    KKP

  31. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness says

    “Hello Kokopops,

    How are you? “Elites are elites right?” Au contraire, do read what I have written, my entire thrust can be summarized in one sentence; elitism is a bit like climbing up to a mountain and base jumping – so it’s no basis to perpetuate anything, it’s just a very efficient way to mimic the life cycle of a T-rex. There is a good reason why I say this; it’s simply because elites aren’t really elites as much as they choose to believe they are by preserving their selection process. You could even say by crafting no end their machinery of self fulfilling prophecy they have managed to preserve their oligarchy. Sometimes the act of preserving the selection process leads to grotesque shapes and forms, where competition becomes so stylize and ritualistic that instead of actually winnowing the capable from the useless, all it manages to do is to perpetuate the whole structure – one good way is by rigging the house rules; in the way the Samurai’s banned fire-arms thereby preserving the mystique of sword play – were they elites? I don’t think so unless you can convince me they can run faster than a speeding bullet. Another example is by institutionalizing the whole ideal of elitism, the most blatant form being hereditary anything, be it monarchy or simply any form of advantage that accrues by virtue of blood and lineage – now I know it makes a convenient case for some to convince us that certain families have a special gene pool, the Kennedy’s come to mind, but it still doesn’t explain why so many of them can’t seem to do a decent job of dodging bullets when they are not busy overdosing or flying into the sea. From the looks of it, the Kennedy’s don’t seem to have any special gene or special anything except perhaps ringing the door bell of the grim reaper. What about the Bush family? Yes, I know Bush senior was president once and so many Republicans in Capitol hill wax lyrical no end “like father, like son.” Indeed as far as appearances go, Bush junior must have surely inherited his daddy’s Machiavellian gene that makes him so adept in politics, but then again what I believe most people have discounted is the mathematical reality, that for Bush junior to be president, on merit sake alone, the probability would have to be somewhere in the upper reaches of 1/ 300,000,000! Besides having a surname Bush does little to endear him to faith voters, we all know the last time a community had a conversation with a bush, they ended up wandering the desert for 40 years. So again please, how did Forest Gump get into the white house? As this suggest, there can be no such thing as elitism in the truest sense of the word and this brings into sharp focus the need to dwell deeper into the whole idea; are elites really elites? Juxtapose the logic and you may even ask yourself the question; how effective is the current scholar program? Does it really create the right conditions to support high performance or does it really just produce mediocrity and stamp it out as excellence? As you can see the answers to these questions have far reaching implications.

    Now Kokopops, this is where I will have to stop, only because if I continue further the Siglap club is going a hire a hit man to fashion me into a lamp shade – I will however, continue the second part of your question; “why is there a need to augment an elitist system, if it is elite.” I must beg your patience after my conference call that is – to be continued. Darkness 2008”

    Posted by the Chronicler of the brotherhood

  32. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness says:

    “I am trying very hard to understand this, on the one hand you say it is necessary for us to have FT’s on the otherhand you say this whole competitive drive will ultimately lead to a inexorable decline? Tell me what are you saying?”

    Let me put it this way; usually when we speak about elitism, we take certain things for granted, one of them is the assumption of perpetuity i.e things will keep on improving no end, that’s to say if in 1945 the 100 m record was 10. something, then by logical extension in the next Beijing Olympics, we would see an improvement of presumably 9. something. You know what? Surprise, surprise, it hasn’t happened that way, in fact, if memory serves, the land speed record for man on the 100 m has remained unchanged since 2005 and any speed enhancements are so fractional that they are measured in parts hundred of a second. Why is that? And how does this relate to the issue which you brought up? Namely how does competitive drive lead ultimately to decline?

    This I believe is the fatal flaw of any system that is premised on elitism, the belief that one can improve in perpetuity i.e things will always get better – nothing can be further from the truth. Contrary to the supposition evolutionary theory supports this idea of continuous improvement through competition – THE TRUTH REMAINS IT DOES NOT! Follow me here, because if you lose me, you will miss this; consider this; if someone says to you competition is good what in essence is he saying actually? Now the erudite ladies in the Siglap read club will tell you casually it has nothing to do with Darwinism. Consider another statement; what will not kill you will make you stronger; Question; what axioms am I leveraging on when I speak in such terms? Answer; Darwinian principles circa law of the jungle i.e the survival of the fittest – the ideal that the strongest and smartest ape will ultimately make it to the top of the hill. Now the flaw in orthodox logic reveals itself, if we ask ourselves the question where does all this ceaseless competition lead too – now recall the illustration about the sprinters, where I mentioned it’s not possible to improve in perpetuity. There in the palm of your hands lies the shattered dreams of ceaseless competition. The whole ideal of elitism i.e a group that keeps improving no end, would really only make sense if the end of evolution guarantees the survival of the species. IT DOES NOT! Granted. This may seem odd, preposterous even, since the whole process of natural selection is premised on making organism more resilient. So why is there a mechanism of self- destruction within nature? The reason why there must be a decline lies in understanding the law of attrition i.e the environment or context (and this could even be for nature as it could well apply to the sociol, political, technological and even cultural) in which a particular species live, work and play will degrade by natural or man made causes e.g overpopulation. So most of natural selection contrary to popular myth isn’t so much about improving as it has to do with ‘keeping up.’

    Flowing from this view, if we can buy into the proposition that even evolutionary biology rejects the whole idea of its commitment to progress in perpetuity, then how can we account for the contention that there is even such a super duper class of elites that justify their exceptionality through the belief that they can be and remain the best? (I see nothing that even qualifies as exceptional anything, except perhaps the misplaced belief by the ‘elites’ to belittle no end the achievements of countries whose inhabitants lead longer lives and enjoy a higher quality of life, and whose workers are not only the most productive but have also demonstrated themselves to be the most empowered, innovative and creative. One can only observe that the parochialism, narrowness and insularity to continue defending the whole ideal of elitism must surely be at best a dream). Thank you Kokopops and please send my dearest regards to the Holland V read club – they are always in my thoughts – Darkness 2008”

    Posted by the Chronicler

  33. J says:

    Darkness Baby,

    ;)Mmmmmmmmmh….interesting. So let me just be 100% clear here and try to fill-in-the-blanks, what you are saying bambi darkness is because the whole idea of evolutionary competition is just about “keeping up” and not about maxing the curve, eventually all it takes is a slip and a fall and crying game starts that in turn necessitates foreign talent? So tell me when the foreign talent come in what do they do, they eat up the so called pretender elites, set up their own elite empire, then they decline and the whole cycle repeats it’self again? Where I have trouble getting my head around your theory is why would an elite who is in power even get in a foreign elite, only for that person to eventually usurp his power. Sounds a dodgy.

    :) Now this sounds like a really interesting theory that I can use as a seminar case study for my students, do you happen to have any attribution when you say all species eventually die out? It’s not that I doubt your thoroughness, I am sure no one writes something like this without sitting down and going through the whole rig, only a read list would make me happiest as it would be most helpful. Thank You for your nice words abt the HV read club. The pleasure is always ours Darkness – love :) J

  34. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Jenny of Holland V club,

    Pls refer to the following; this is the following attribution:

    (1)Earnest A. Hooten, Up from the Ape (Macmillian, 1946)

    (2)Refer to University of Chicago biologist Leigh Valen of the Tennyson’s types, where it was noted 99.9% of species die out.

    (3)Otis Dudley Duncan & Cladiaa Geist, “The Creationist.” See page 26-33

    (4)Side finding the darkness recommends highly, “Finding Designs in Nature” The New York Times, 7 July 2005.

    We hope this clears the way –

    The Chronicler of the Brotherhood / Archive 99377324/0904/08

  35. egor says:

    good discussion. hard to read sometimes but good nonetheless.

  36. Lee says:

    Hi,

    This is really awesome! I mean, you will never get this sort of write up’s in ST or even hear it being trashed out any where else, so it’s always welcoming to see so many read clubs under one roof.

    As interesting as it seems, I must however add, I remain uncomfortable with some of the assumptions taken by Dr Darkness.

    Firstly, exercises in double standards plague the good doc’s discussion concerning elitism, namely how he accounts for how elites monopolize power. Darkness cites a litany of cases involving Samurai’s and how they once banned the gun to preserve the cult of the sword, he goes on to say there can be no trully elitist system in the true sense of the word as elites often choose themselves.

    Am I right to say that within your statement, you do not implicitly recognized the whole idea there is even a natural aristocracy amongst men? Tell me, if there is no such thing as real elites then by the same token, there can be such thing as meritocracy, then how can you account for geniuses like Mozart? Are you telling me Mozart was a product of fabrication a convenient conjecture? I think not, here we have an example of a true elite, someone who was obvious born with exceptional skills which marked him out from the average person. Now if you can accept the idea Mozart was an elite, why is it so difficult for you to extend the remit of your understanding to embrace a broader framework? This is the part I find very offensive as it nothing other attempt to dumb down everyone into one level non distinct flat top.

    I don’t require a reply, thank you very much.

  37. Squirrel + Zombie The Minor says:

    who is darkness??

  38. Oppenheimer says:

    Btw wasn’t Mozarts dad a high ranking free mason? tell me are elites born or are they made? It seems to me even darkness cannot answer this question. On one reading, I draw the conclusion, he believes, they (the elites) are born. On another level, I derive at the opposite (elites are breed). Many thanks and Yes, this is indeed a very refreshing and intelligent discussion. We should really have more of this. Thank you Singapore Daily.

  39. Oppenheimer says:

    Oh Dear me.

    Despite my admiration for much of Dr darkness theories. I’m afraid that I’m among those scientist who must part company with him on the point where he claims; there is no such thing as elites!. Indeed as Mr Lee above pointed out, all men are not created equal, there are bound to be certain people who have a natural advantage by virtue of their intellect or physical prowess.

    To deny this whole idea that there may even be such a thing as a human landscape makes a far from convincing case. I am afraid to say, life is not fair, there are really elites. I do admit the idea that certain institutions do promote elitism, thereby producing fake elites, but in the vast majority of the cases, you can fool some people, but how can you fool them all?

    Have a very nice day Darkness.

  40. freelancer says:

    “natural aristocracy?” Isn’t that a polite way of sanctioning elitism? I believe the first person who actually used that quaint phrase was Thomas Jefferson.

    I agree with Darkness, at the end of the day this whole idea of elitism is closer to myth making than fact. I dont have many reasons to support it, except to say from my experience it is one big wayang show that uses loads of smoke, mirrors and somewhere Dick Lee is belting out a few tunes.

    It’s all BS.

  41. Farqhuar says:

    Fab discussion. Learnt alot! Elitism is really just a state of mind. May I ask why Darkness has informed the Internationale to “hold on” on the 100K challenge? Does it have something to do with NBL? I hope not!

  42. Farqhuar says:

    Lee,

    I don’t really like that word, “natural aristocracy,” why can’t you just call a spade a spade and go on and use the word elite? Sounds a trifle contrite to me. My take is this, most elites believe they are elites, it has alot to do with fire walking and believing that magnetic pillows can cure everything from migraine to cancer. In other words, as Darkness correctly once said, its a crock of steaming shit!

    Darkness,

    I hope to get an answer on 39 – I consider this very disappointing.

  43. lancelot says:

    dont expect a clear cut message Farqhuar. I think they are playing tai chi. Great Discussion! Keep it up!

  44. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness replies to Lee:
    30 January 2008 at 2:04 pm:

    “How are you LHL? Was Mozart exceptional? Absolutely, he was brilliant in every way.

    But where I believe this understanding remains grossly incomplete is when historians have consistently failed to register (incidentally this could have been the forerunners of the NLB archivers) how unappreciated he was by the Viennese elite during his averagely miserable lifetime. They didn’t even give him a seat in the royal orchestra because according to the elite of the age, Mozart’s musical scores displayed a lack of orthodoxy, one which musical courtiers deliberately imposed for no reason presumably because they lacked the imagination for improvisation! Naturally, this highly ritualistic and corseted style of music did not accord very well with Mozart the maverick, that I believe was why he was black balled and sent to Coventry after ‘Don Giovanni’ tank out in the box office.

    Ironically Mozart the child superstar was a super star (here we see, he is no threat to the oligrachy of elites), considered the Shirley Temple of his time and tutored Prussian military style by Leopold his father, an accomplished musician himself. Young Amadeus was already touring performing in Vienna to Versailles before he even turned 6.

    Indeed your example is a very poor one – if your original remit was to establish the ideal that all elites will eventually attain high status and eventually break through the pack – THEY DO NOT! As the sad case of Mozart along with Van Gogh and probably every single real elite who has ever extended the envelop of the arts and sciences has shown, it doesn’t pay to cross the oligarchy of the elites of their time. It would seem to the casual reader only the savant qualities of panache, aplomb and élan would be sufficient for one to establish oneself on merit alone. Unfortunately, reality suggest this is the exception rather than the rule.

    Otherwise how can one account for why these real elites languished in obscurity as they did during their lifetime? Why was the Van Gogh’s sunflower peddled off for a mere croissant? Ironically, it’s only when they pass on that the fake elites themselves usurp the works of these real elites by inducting them ceremoniously into their fold (yes, the dead cannot protest), presumably because if they didn’t resort to this under handed form of plagiarism cum cannibalization, these fake elites would cease completely to secure their hold on power. Alas such is the conceit of any system that is premised on elitism. Thank You. Darkness 2008”

    Posted by the Chronicler of the Brotherhood

  45. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness replies to Says: to J (Post No.33)

    29 January 2008 at 7:00 pm

    “So tell me when the foreign talent come in what do they do, they eat up the so called pretender elites, set up their own elite empire, then they decline and the whole cycle repeats it’self again? Where I have trouble getting my head around your theory is why would an elite who is in power even get in a foreign elite, only for that person to eventually usurp his power. Sounds a dodgy.”

    J – is that dentist Jan from Red hill read club? Or Jenny? May I just say this is a truly excellent question; it stumped me enough, forcing me to consult my notes! The short answer is all elitist systems don’t start off as elites. In fact, they all start off as very benign sub-sets within a larger network – this was true for the Praetorian Guard, Janissary Corp, Samurai’s, Knights Templar and even the Eunuchs who once feted on Emperor. All of them WITHOUT EXCEPTION started from very humble beginnings and more or less entered the oligarchy of the elites through the service entrance – there is a good reason for this; there is never been a shortage of elites and history has proven it’s even possible to buy into a well regulated mercenary market without too much fuss. Now the allure of having mercenaries is that they don’t come with any baggage and they are quiet mission focused – so if you look at the Janissary Corp as the term implies in Arabic, it means “brand new people” as they were recruited from the ranks of first born Christian boys – the same came be said of the Samurai class whose rank was defined by the unit of measurement associated with rice i.e koku. In the case of the Praetorian, part of their pay was it table salt, this incidentally is where we get the term salary from these days. So from these examples we can see that when these mercenaries are first inducted into service to further the designs of the ruling elites, there is a system that pays them roughly the same utility as the modern day Bangladeshi construction foreign talent. Now the problem appears to set in much later, usually 200 years is a pretty good marker – by this time of course, our 50 koku Samurai is now somewhere in the upper reaches of 500 koku, along with that his skill-of-arms has also reached new commandable economic heights, where not only is he able to set the terms and conditions of his tenure, but if expedient he will also take sides in domestic quarrels if there is an apparent pay out – I call this the first protocol (this is something I observed in gaming) – you could even say these subtle changes are inevitable and comes with the realization, when these mercenaries begin to see themselves as the effective power within, they start to connect the dots and figure out that they are important set pieces in the schema – this was especially true in the case of the Knights Templar who first started off as pauper soldiers only to eventually morph into power brokers who eventually challenged the holy see – the latter of course true to doctrinal spirit responded by burning them to a cinder – my point is this, at some juncture in the on-going narrative between employer and purveyor of special skill, the balance of power shifts to the latter – it stands to reason somewhere in the 200 year point, warfare becomes so specialized (this I term the second protocol), stylized and ritualized, the skill of arms necessary to monopolize power resides in only these mercenaries – could be a skill like being able shot arrows and ride on horse back that the Manchu’s had which gave them a competitive edge over the Han Chinese – or the Musketeers who perfected sequential volley fire that allowed them to blunt cavalry charges – or even the quintessential Prussian officer class who made possible the whole concept of blitzkrieg which secured Hitler victory over the Ardennes in the early 40’s – what needs to be understood is this WITHOUT THESE MERCENARIES it would NOT be possible for the elites to either perpetuate their way of life – impossible – by that time, it’s fair to assume life for the ruling elites have become so bovine, supine and sedentary, they are literally at the mercy of these possessors of special skill of arms – and that leads to the final protocol, what I call the planet of the apes syndrome, when the servants become the masters themselves – that’s also the point when you have to ask; who really is the real elite, those who once served? Or those who once employed them? Thank You. I am apologize for wind bag reply, I guess, I was thinking aloud. Thank you J for the question, it was very intelligent and the pleasure was mine entirely. I really had to think on this one – Darkness 2008”

    Posted by the chronicler

  46. Darkness posted by The Chronicler says:

    Darkness says:

    “Folks we have to call and end to this, I wish to thank the admin of the SG daily for having me.

    Please feel free to spend some time looking through many of the excellent articles and post in the Singapore Daily and I would seriously recommend that you book mark this site – Thank you, it has been a privilege – Darkness 2008”

    The Chronicler

  47. The Singapore Daily says:

    A good debate. Thanks guys.

  48. teeth people says:

    For some strange reason, I will always remember him this way, so much of what he wrote is in the threads, it’s good, very good that there is the FILB

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