49. why cant you see / you got me chasing honey bees


australia was a worthwhile experience. while the attraction of phuket was the sense of utter anonymity and effacement of responsibility that comes from being a tourist, wallaby was about taking on the weight of total responsibility. no weekends or bookouts to distract. a platoon of 40 soldiers became my sole preoccupation for nearly 3 weeks. wallaby was good in that it stopped me veering into the side of lightness and is promise of faraway illumination. back to the heaviness of existence, the consequence of decisions, and a commitment to affecting the balance of the world around me.

restored my faith in myself, in some sense: lately have been drifting away from the exigencies of leadership. now ready to step up and fulfill my role with renewed confidence for the last 1 month of my service. conan talks about organizational responsibility and ethics being void in real terms: he is true, it is a ethical commitment to people not organizations that matter at the end of the day, and it is not for the army as an abstract entity (or an imagined concept, much like a ‘nation’) but for the people around and under me. cliches are cliches by natural evolution: a unusual resonance or closeness to common sentiment that renders repeated usage – i will not let the ship sink under my watch. with 1 more month, some final goals to settle: clearing up the mess that is the off and leave records, training the commanders and soldiers to a standard that is satisfactory to me (and hence ready for assessment), improving standard routines in admin (feedback and co-ordination meetings), and motivating the men.

all this is banked on the very real sense that i and the platoon have grown since wallaby: our first overseas exercise, training of a standard unheard of in singapore, and being forced to live in close proximity with no option for respite for nearly 3 weeks. happy hours and getting drunk, having long and unrestrained conversation over cans of victoria bitter and packs of malboros. during the r and r, cramming in a hotel room playing dumb drinking games and losing the military inhibitions that characterize most interactions. becoming better soldiers along the way.


alot of people are ord-ing, me in 1 month due to my decision to extend (a decision regretted when in the company of now-civilian friends). slowly i am picking back up old habits. reading for example, has been intensified. especially econs, and slowly i am finding excitement in the controversies that dominate that subject again. have been exploring intensively the post autistic economics movement with its websites and its newsletters, its indictment of traditional economic methodology and the predominance of a neoclassical model to the detriment of other models. the chief message, as much as i can discern so far, is a clarion call to a pluralistic approach, one that combines both the scientific rationalism of mathematical proofs with sociological, behavioural, and psychological explanations. also, pluralism in viewing economics in a historical context: neoclassical economics, as the current mainstream, is merely a particular movement of economics, rather than the be all and end all. it should be taught, but so should keynesian, marxian, institutionalist and other economic models. especially since neoclassical econs is given the mysticism of truth yet is fraught with logical and mathematical errors. finally: the urge to abandon economic’s perennial obsession with being a science- the sooner we acknowledge the impossibility of this aim, the quicker we can align it toward the context of a social science and make attendant changes in methodology.

at the same time, realized that the phrase ‘conventional wisdom’ was invented by galbraith, who introduces the concept in a brilliantly written chapter in the affluent society.


since last year, some things have changed. i no longer have the urge to maintain contact with people not immediately around me. whereas last year i would actively seek out chains of communication with friends who were either overseas or whom were not in close proximity, this act of communication seems to have lost its urgency this year. almost as though when everyone came back in aug/sept, i got my fix of contact and now it has lost its promise, allure, mysticism.

perhaps the greatest threat is in getting used to isolation. not to mention, people are often unexpected strengths, the sudden inexplicable jabs of meaning and colour.


3 Responses to “49. why cant you see / you got me chasing honey bees”

  1. 1 lucas;

    While I can’t write or verbalise my thoughts as eloquently, I’m not sure getting used to isolation is a threat; it’s a matter of how exactly one adapts. These two years in the wilderness have taught me to welcome others and be open to relationships, but maintain a core of self-reliance. It’s only when that core of sufficiency becomes our raison d’etre that I believe we take the first step on the road from man to machine.

    Damn it, you’re already reading more advanced stuff than I am! Haha, I’m going to brush up on my basic Economics before even attempting your kind of material. Currently am just building up my store of general knowledge and reading as widely as I can. Shoot me but I’ve never actually thumbed through Jhumpa Lahiri, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and all the other renowned authors and novelists our Humanz environment raved all about. =P

  2. 2 nurul

    lucas, our humanz environment was full of pretentious people who read what was ‘literary’. read what you like, just keep an open mind.

    and i think perhaps there is a difference in allowing yourself to be alone, and in being able to do so. take care.

  3. nurul speaks wise words, and i wish i have that wisdom.

    these days aren’t salad days any longer, and like you i dont have the compulsion to reach back to talk to people. maybe it’s the thought that some people get less incandescent with time (like me) and there is some part in me that doesn’t want me to know them the way they are now but that is just flippant, lazy, idealistic.

    i dont think love carries me the way it used to, or maybe it does, but now’s not quite the time. but believe in it sometimes, it works.

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