Imperial Command of the Raccoon General

Thoughts and Memoirs of a Ring-tailed and Masked Dominator of the World

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General of the mighty Raccoon Army

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mind Your Manners

I have always placed a high value in being straight forward. I must admit I suck at the art of "hinting" and giving out clues. Maybe that's why I'm still single. I do not read clues well nor do I know how to approach certain matters with subtlety.

But I know that being straightforwardly blunt is not the way to go through life. The truth hurts, and whilst I don't promote the idea of sugar coating facts, I also believe it is entirely possible to deliver a fact clean and clear but with respect and politeness.

A friend of mine said that chivalry is dead. Be that true or otherwise, I can never be certain. What I do know is no matter what the excuse or line of reasoning, I firmly believe that there's never an excuse to not be polite. It doesn't hurt you to be mindful of other people's emotion. If it comes to you as annoying or exhausting or tedious or time consuming to have manners, then that is certainly due to your own warped perspective on the matter. If we can devote time and effort, as well as deep passion for our jobs, for our possessions or for hobbies, then spending a little consideration and time to be polite isn't really a big thing.

Why is it that for a lot of people, when we say being direct and truthful, it sometimes comes to them as a necessity to either hurt people by that truth, or to be absolutely disregarding the fact of the other person's feelings? I think that as a people, we are far too concerned with a great many things that there are aspects in culture and life that slip past us as we try to hold a tighter grip on our existence in this modern society. The need for precision, quick thinking, making right choices, or the urgency of larger issues like the economy, politics, the environment have all but made us put the matter of ethics on the back seat.

In this day and age, the Malays in Malaysia have largely been like underdeveloped people and some popular opinion would have the blame placed on the fact that the malays stress to much on being polite. That is not entirely true. The fact is probably that we worry about pleasing others too much or not offending others so much, that we let ourselves be stepped on. That, however, is not the same as being polite. We can be firm but polite, still. We can be direct but still maintain ethics. We can be truthful but mindful of what others feel.

I know I would be to blame of being rude at times. We all would be guilty of such one time or other. That however should not deter us from encouraging others to be respectful.

Yet, what further disheartens me regarding the matter is that some groups of people that should be iconized as the symbol of politeness, have themselves conducted in manners rather rude in nature. Day by day, as I take the bus and train to work, I find it baffling that it's not the youngsters that strike me as rude, but rather those elder middle aged LADIES. Yes, that's quite true. These ladies are hassling for position to get on the bus or train first, pushing other people aside while talking obnoxiously loud amongst themselves.

I want to be respectful and give way for such elders, but really, with attitudes like that, I feel more inclined to shove them aside instead.

If the elderly, and especially by nature of them being ladies, are already giving such dismal example in a society, how can we expect the new generation to be respectful. Respect is earned, after all, but these so called elders are showing nothing worth respecting that some might wonder of what worth is respect anymore, if these supposed examples cared not of it?

We live in a very structured, pressured and stressful existence these days, and I guess this contributes to us loosing our grip on our manners; I would know because everyday there are always people around that irks me so. But I still figure it an element that we sorely need in these times. Think about it, if people are less rude, then wouldn't there be at least a tad bit less amount of stress as well?

But I do know that changing one's stance, one's attitude and way of thinking doesn't happen overnight. What matters though is that we try nevertheless.

Will you make the effort?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Road of Dreams

The great kings of old, Emperors of a bygone age, people who have etched their names in the pages of history; they have long steered the course of man. Most of what is today, is a consequence of their actions. Such was their influence.

I entertained the notion that I could at least be a small bit like such great people. I wanted to be the one that, gently at least, coax people towards a direction of my choosing, but not simply to exploit people of course. I wanted to go into the future with such people, grasping to dreams I striven for, and achieving it... together.

I joke a lot on being immortal; in truth I feel I have less time than others. I make myself out as the greatest, but everyone should know I'm just another person, albeit one with a destiny to achieve. I know not what it maybe, but I have ambitions and dreams.

"I have spread my dreams under your feet, tread softly because you tread on my dreams", my favourite line ever.

Because that simply reflects the reality of it all. I have dreams to aim for but I know it is not one for me to climb to alone. I will need help, I will need companions. And ultimately the dream is about sharing. It is not a singular achievement that once done can be neatly packed off into the history books and that being the end of it. It is a dream with continuity; a torch of my making of which to pass to others. Ultimately, the essence of the dream involves others, and upon others will that vision live...or die.

And I have a habit of not leaving much to chance, luck or any other fickle sentiments. My history, down to every dice roll I threw since I was small, revealed that anything that was left largely to luck, my turn out would be the unlucky one. I never won snake and ladders, because my dice roll was always crappy. In dozens upon dozens of lucky draws I was part of, I won but once, and even then it was second best and I'm thinking largely because everyone else had gotten their share. I gambled and I lost. I planned, meticulously even, and the chances are improved almost implicitly. Thus it is only expected that in pursuing dreams, I plan and prefer a familiar environment around me as I work towards it.

But people change, it is in effect one of the most constant inconsistence of life; that we never stay the same. I feel the same, much like I probably did 10 years ago, but upon closer inspection even I can see differences in my current self over my past self. God only knows how everyone else I knew have changed over the years. There were many in the past that nurtured the dream along with me, but how many have changed and have left the path, pursuing other things in life? I find myself looking at an ever diminishing number of familiar faces on the road of the dream, and I stop to wonder, will I be the only one in the end to bear the torch?

And I wondered, is it supreme arrogance to expect others to bear the torch of the dream all through the way, since it is my dream after all isn't it?

There is a God and He is Just. Sometimes I do overlook things that has been blessed upon me. In the midst of seeing the faces familiar to me dissappear, I forgotten to count the new faces that now walk the road with me. Some of these faces now even carry the torch steadier and higher than those of the old, and for that the light that is the dream has brightened, though with so many others leaving it dimishes as well, making it at a point of equilibrium I suppose.

When you think about that, you have to wonder that though one set of faces had first thought up the dream, will a whole completely different set of faces be walking with me down towards the dream instead? I don't know, but I still nurture the hope that amidst the newer faces, there will still be some old familiar ones to accompany me. I tend to cheerish more of those who has been with me the longest. It would be sad to see them all go.

So I question again, is it supreme arrogance to expect others to bear the torch of the dream all through the way, since it is my dream after all?

Perhaps, but then it was our dream... once.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


EVE Online is the biggest MMO game ever. Yes, it is bigger than World of Warcraft, though the latter has several times more players, to be fair. It is also in my opinion to be one of the best MMO games ever, not just because it's spaceships and sci-fi instead of the overdone medieval fantasy genre, but also because unlike a lot of games, EVE encourages you to plot your own path in the game rather than hold your hand and guide you the way. You set your own objectives, your own time frame to achieve it and whatever means you prefer in getting there.

I suppose because it requires more thought and work on the player's behalf that some become very proud of what they can achieve. And with little game/dev restrictions on the level of freedom a player gets, there's so many varied ways to do things, but as always, a certain group would soon find a most efficient method among the myriad possibilities, and soon would start proclaiming its ascendency.

All that is fine enough, but probably because a lack of an imposing authority, the elite players soon become the authorities themselves. And they're first order of business is to make sure everyone steps in line to their ways or squash those budding newbies (noobs) who wants to go on different paths.

EVE to me was to represent a freedom of choice, but while we still can do that, it must be done with our ears red hot from listening to untold reprimands and criticism as to WHY WE SHOULD NOT DO IT. Does it kill you to just provide support or kind words of advice and encouragement when somebody wants to do something different? Or the very least just voice a light note of disagreement rather than outright squashing that person, publicly at that?

Do you lose anything if the player does a grievious error and has to pay for it? It's all part of his learning experience. I can tell right now that if I hadn't make mistakes before, I would be still ignorant in many facets to the realities and mechanics of the game. Sometimes a lesson has to be learnt the hard way. We complain how our parents restrict us from doing things we like and all that, and we know because of those restrictions we do not get the exposure and experience others would, yet when we are placed in similiar positions, we do the same thing, which is try to make others conform to your mindset.

To be honest, I hate elitist like these. I know some people think I'm elite in some things (not necessarily EVE) but my point of view is that the higher you get, the more obliged you are to be humble, helpful, polite and supportive. There is a basis to such thoughts in creating a civil, enlightened, progressive society instead of one dominated by bullies.

Differing views should be encouraged, and explored, and discussed. I want to tell you now that many great military geniuses in history achieved their fame by exploiting conformed mindsets and doing things differently. They don't stick to a set plan doggedly, but adapt and improvise almost constantly.

Going beyond simple gaming and EVE, we look at figures like Hannibal who defeated one of the largest Roman field army of the day using a small handful of his veteran soldiers backed in larger numbers of low quality local 'barbarian' troops. And this was against an enemy superior in numbers, weapons and technology. He won because he knew and exploited the standard Roman method of fighting of the day.

Romans later would win against Macedon, a county that is partly descendent of Alexander the great's empire. They had discipline, and is mostly equal to the Romans themselves, not to mention the sarissa, or long pikes their infantry use as the primary arm of the army has reach far beyond that of the Roman gladius. Yet, they are inflexible and that inherent inflexibility is what Rome exploited. They could have won against Rome if only they had adapted and continually evaluate the viability of their doctrines.

On another reading, more closer to our time, examines the reason why Arab armies always lose to a western or western based army. They key here again, is flexibility, adaptibility. Arab soldiers are just as hardy, disciplined and dogged in fighting as any. But in terms of command structure, they fear deviating from any preset plans thus even as the fluid motions of battle renders those doctrines and plans obsolete, they still cling on to it fervently. Ultimately this led them easily exploited by their enemies. All because of narrow foresight.

Coming to back to the Elitists; they are the group of people who are at the top, and because they are there, they think that theyre method of getting there is the best, and should be the only way to do so. They intend, whether they see it or not, to set what to conform to for others. In fact they discourage attempts to deviate from their plans in many, many ways possible.

In many ways, I think the Elitists look down on people. I don't think it's so often the case that the ideas others want to try out is ALL THE TIME, ALWAYS idiotic. It's likely that just because others have aspects the Elites look down on, whether one lacks the duration of experience, a certain character trait, or an unpreferred likings to some things, the Elites will look down on these people and would harshly, and quickly try to dismiss any intent voiced by such groups. And that's really it, isnt it? You look down on people. You think you are better.

You would think your ways are perfect and that voicing for any other way is simply a validation on why you would look down on people. The real fact of the matter is that by doing so, you have set yourself up for a fall. Yes, you did.


Because you the Elite have made yourself inflexible, predictable, unimaginative and overconfident

And the day I or any other underdogs finally pull you down from your lofty seat way up there and back to the gritty dirty earth below and trample over you and your inflexible ways, that will be the day of days for me, as I see the smug expression wiped off your face in shame and in turn the underdogs will now laugh back at you.


okay, I think I didn't get enough sleep and I'm feeling very bitter, moody and definitely spiteful at the moment... but the main point stands.

Elitists. Bah. I spit on you.