Monday, September 26, 2016

Dream Interview ~ inspired by a student in pursuit of better grades

She wrote such a sweet message, requesting my consent to be the subject of an interview. It was an assignment she had to hand in within a couple of weeks. How could I refuse? She emailed me a set of questions; then she turned my response, simply by substituting a few pronouns, into the most flattering narrative I've ever written about myself...

Mr. Antares Maitreya is a writer, musician, blogger, jungle chef and that’s perfectly true. He wasn’t always known by this name which kind of grew organically over many years. He was named “Lee Kit Fong” at birth but as soon as he was able he dropped the feminine sounding “Fong” (which means “fragrant” in Chinese) and became simply “Kit Lee.”

At the age of 19 he became interested in numerology and added an E to his surname, thus becoming “Kit Leee.” He thought he was the only Lee with three E’s in the world but later discovered, when the internet came along, that there were two others with “Leee” in their names - Leee Black Childers (David Bowie’s former company manager) and Leee John (a black musician). You can say he discovered the power of words and, thereby, names, very early in life. If you’re kindly disposed towards somebody, you’re inclined to describe them as “determined” rather than “obstinate.” Some might label him a “Jack of all trades “but he prefers to be viewed as a “holistic problem solver” - in other words, a comprehensivist rather than a specialist.

The name “Maitreya” isn’t actually a surname. It means “a good friend to all” and he began to use it as a title or job description after November 2009. Maitreya is also the name of the Buddha’s “final incarnation” meaning, once you are fully conscious, you become a good friend to all.


He is originally from Batu Pahat in Johore State. He moved to Kuala Lumpur at the age of 20 and lived there 22 years until he relocated to Pertak – a forest reserve 44 miles northeast of Kuala Lumpur, on the route to Fraser’s Hill.


In Mr. Antares’s current life he does as little as possible, since he generally prefers to simply BE. As he said, one doesn’t simply exist and one also does whatever one feels inspired to do. So when asked what he does, “I usually say I’m a writer/musician/blogger/jungle chef and that’s perfectly true, even if it isn’t the full story.”

Before he relocated from KL to Pertak in 1992, he was very active on stage as an actor and musician. He is also a published author of several books: ADOI! (Times Books International, 1989), Moth Balls (Magick River, 1994), Two Catfish in the Same Hole (Times Books International, 2000), and Tanah Tujuh: Close Encounters with the Temuan Mythos (Silverfish Books, 2007).

Some people know him as a cartoonist - yes, he has done a bit of that too. But he has also dabbled in documentary making (Rhythm of the Rainforest, a DVD produced for the Sarawak Tourism Board in 2006); and for a while he even guest-lectured on "Aesthetics, Creativity & The Imagination" at a private college.

View from the bridge (Antares)

However, when he left the city to stay close to Mother Nature, he embarked on a new job as Ceremonial Guardian of Magick River - serving as an intermediary between urban consciousness and the wilderness, between the visible and invisible worlds. Living for 7 years without electricity, he became re-sensitized to subtler frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum and became aware of and attuned to the many different dimensions that overlap and occasionally intersect with our familiar physical world.

For example, he became aware that all life-forms - whether mineral, vegetable, animal, human, angelic-demonic or deific - possess a unique energy signature and consciousness; they are, in fact, integral components of a vast and complex, multidimensional universe, unimaginably diverse, yet ultimately a grand unified whole. It became his task to learn how to attune and harmonize with these different frequencies and energy fields - and to find different ways to share these insights with others - whether through words images or sounds.


Magick River is his codename for an ecstatic vision of heaven on earth he experienced at the age of 19. People around him assumed he had gone mad (mainly because he was brimming over with energy and joy) and attempted to put him on medication; but he found the drugs were designed to numb, not heal, so he opted to spit out all the pills he was forcefed. Many years later, he discovered a magnificent, wild river in the area where he resides now with his Orang Asli wife and only son Ahau, born in 1996. The surrounding landscape was breathtaking – no, breathgiving! It corresponded vibrantly with his vision of paradise, where Mother Nature reigns supreme and humans have mastered their own egos enough to live once again in perfect harmony with the wilderness – instead of constantly trying to exploit, abuse and destroy it, in the process destroying only themselves.


Being Ceremonial Guardian of Magick River is not exactly a "career" - he adores and honors Mother Earth but she doesn't pay him a salary, although he learnt over many decades that money is merely a symbol of wealth - it is not wealth itself. Money, he says, was invented as a universally accepted currency to facilitate everyday transactions - whether it comes in the form of copper, brass or silver coins or some pretty seashells, that's simply to represent a system of measuring value. (Indeed, unbeknownst to the masses, an elite cabal of bankers and financiers has been printing and circulating worthless paper currency, while hoarding vast amounts of precious metals, land, and priceless artworks. Already, this gigantic scam is unraveling and it won't be long before the entire spurious "economy" implodes and paper currency is exposed as nothing more than Monopoly money or Hell Bank notes!)

When that happens - when, not if - people will panic and ruling families will squabble amongst themselves, and governments will topple. For a period there may be global mayhem as humans attempt to find some sort of equilibrium and reclaim the power and sovereignty taken from their ancestors. At some point, the machinery will grind to a halt; the robots will rebel, and that's when the task of reawakening and reconnecting humanity to its long-confiscated divinity (with the able assistance of an interplanetary network of illustrious healers and guides) will become easy-peasy.

Obviously, this isn't a "career" that can be chosen; it chooses you, so long as you are open to the mystery of existence and the infinite possibilities all around us. He was, perhaps, fortunate in being born to parents who never attempted to force him into a prescribed mold, who allowed him to grow and evolve as he pleased, and who always provided a stable, strong foundation of love. They were in many ways very ordinary humans - but they were always supportive and didn't stop him from choosing an extraordinary path in his life.

Contemplation by Nathan Jon Tillett
Nobody is spared their share of suffering, disappointments, bereavement, and an occasional sense of futility. However, he had the benefit of learning yoga, mudras, and a few meditation techniques which have been extremely beneficial at moments when he had to turn inwards, rather than outwards, for solutions to life's inevitable problems.

Caricature by Lat @ 1986
Thinking back about the hardships he has endured, they seem in retrospect to be nothing more than a few unexpected wrong turns, a few potholes in the highway, and a couple of close shaves - that's all. He believes, to be able to stay calm and clear-headed, friendly and open-hearted, and to feel genuine empathy with and compassion for all of life is the accomplishment he truly desires. Everything else - books he has written, cartoons he has drawn, songs he has written, music he has recorded, plays he has acted in, and so on - these are essentially fun ways to use his excess energy; and he is happy to have produced a modest number of artifacts in his more energetic days, although he still looks forward to producing new artifacts – “one of the greatest and most intense thrills in life, much like the rollercoaster ride of love, romance, and sex.”


He said: “Of course, I have my share of memories - pleasant as well as unpleasant - but these are best addressed if I am ever prompted to write my memoirs.” When he was a kid, he spent hours studying, observing and sometimes dissecting insects and other tiny creatures (pretending to be a scientist); but he soon abandoned such cruel behavior and became a great animal lover, often preferring their companionship to that of other humans.

Later he started collecting stamps, but got bored after a couple of years. He was never keen on sports - although he was active in gymnastics at school. For a while he enjoyed long walks in the forest, and long conversations with kindred spirits.

These days he can't think of any activity he would call a "hobby" - unless maintaining a blog qualifies as one, but it's more a way of communicating with the world at large, a platform for him to share his insights and interests with others.


As for "ambition" - well, his mother bought him a white sweater emblazoned with the words, "If I were King..." when he was 9 or 10 years old. It took him a long time to finally understand the true meaning of kingship: it simply means to be master of your own domain, your own destiny - to regain the nobility of consciousness to which all living beings are entitled but so few actually enjoy (and then, only at the expense of others). Now that he has achieved his ambition, all that remains is to enjoy seeing others around him reclaim their individual sovereignty, nobility and regality. This is the only way we will ever see an end to the cruelty, tyranny and oppression generated by false hierarchies - for these are the negative traits of a species driven by fear and scarcity conditioning.


Asked what he would wish to say to the public, he laughs and says: “Ultimately, the illusion that each of us is separate from the other will fall away - and then, who would constitute ‘the public’?” An important insight he has gleaned over many lifetimes is that there are always two sides to everything - the inside and the outside. “Let's call it the private and the public. For many eons, there has been a wide gulf, a serious misalignment between what we consider private and what we consider public. This is what leads to secret societies, secret police, secret lives, secret governments, secrecy laws, and so on. This is why we speak of wolves in sheep's clothing, demons disguised as angels, perverts masquerading as priests. When the inner and outer selves become realigned; when Dr Jekyll becomes reconciled with Mr Hyde; when the diabolical consciously merges with the divine; when the public persona matches the private; that's when almost all our petty problems will vanish as though they never existed.”


A New Heaven on a New Earth by Andrew Forrest
“And that's when everybody will share my vision of heaven on earth,“ he smiles, adding as an afterthought: “Those who don't like it and stubbornly cling to their limited egos, well... they can go to hell.”

[First published 30 June 2012, reposted 24 May 2013]

Sunday, September 25, 2016

De Mockery of Democracy (Reprise)

[My young friend Kamil sent me the following assignment question, asking for some viewpoints from me. I figured my response to Kamil was worth blogging, so here it is...]

It has been said that democracy may not be the perfect form of goverment but it is better than the alternatives. To what extent do you agree?

Certain assumptions are being made here that may be inaccurate or incorrect, So before we can answer the question, let's examine what these assumptions are.

Assumption #1: Democracy exists and is practised in certain countries.
In truth democracy is purely theoretical. Even in old Athens where it was invented, there was only democracy up to a point - beyond which one could get arrested for subversion, imprisoned, and end up drinking hemlock. The state is forever jealous of its authority and power, and will not hesitate to use force if persuasion fails. In so-called democratic countries, we find that the public is led to believe it has freedom of choice - but in actuality that freedom does not extend beyond the most trivial matters (like the make of car you drive or the scent your date prefers). In all crucial areas decisions are made by "backroom boys" acting on behalf of a tiny handful of plutocrats (people who own banks, newspapers, TV stations, bomb factories, armies, spy agencies, and governments).

The machinery of political power is driven by popular votes. However, elections can be rigged, conducted on an uneven playing field, and stolen outright. Voters can be bought, hoodwinked, disenfranchised or overlooked completely. Because "majority opinion" is measured quantitatively, human destiny can be jeopardized or hijacked by a corrupt and dishonest clique willing to take extraordinary risks. The proverbial man-in-the-street doesn't stand a chance against a cartel of well-funded criminals, who obtain their money through illicit means and buy up all the airspace. He can't be heard against a well-coordinated media blitz.

In effect, scratch a modern democracy and you'll find mobster rule. Robber barons and pirate kings now come with a slick corporate image and very expensive tailoring. But gangsterism is gangsterism, and privilege actually means "private law." So when even the law is privatized, is it any wonder that justice is blind?

Democracy originally meant "popular rule" - in effect, government of the people, by the people, for the people. Which sounds pretty similar to Marxist/socialist ideals. However, you only have to have the means of influencing the collective psyche to make the people believe they are exercising their democratic rights when all they can do is predictably react to pre-programmed stimuli.

Assumption #2: Though imperfect democracy is "better than"...
"Better" is a very vague term and begs redefinition. This dish is good but that one is better... in reality the other dish is simply different. You cannot compare pheasant-under-glass with a hamburger. Each recipe works in a specific context. In other words, a fair comparison is hinted at where none is possible.

Assumption #3: The word "alternatives" implies Communism.
A popular misconception is that the opposite of democracy is communism. Actually, it's dictatorship we're talking about: what's antagonistic to popular rule is state despotism - whether the despot is a single individual or a faceless committee. The alternative to democracy might also be monarchy - or various spin-offs like aristocracy, meritocracy, or plutocracy. Nevertheless, there are no clear-cut categories of power. If we have an absolute monarch who is approachable, open-minded, empathetic, humble, friendly, and wise - let's take as an example the notion of a "King of Kings" like Jesus the Christ, or Aragorn of Arathorn in J.R.R. Tolkien's ringlore - the public may actually enjoy great freedom and security, prosperity and success under such benevolent and enlightened rule. As opposed to the situation where a supposedly democratic government functions under the secret orders of an invisible brotherhood of black magicians and decadent junior gods: people would endure increasing oppression and never know who exactly is taking away their freedoms and rights, life just seems to get rougher and tougher all the time.

Courtesy of Bodohland

The concept of government itself needs to be reassessed. An individual with sufficient inner discipline can be described as a Self-Governing Individual who does not subscribe to or support any form of external government. When enough such individuals emerge in a community, it's possible that anarchy will blossom in a wholesome and workable way where each member of the community cooperates with the others consciously, willingly, and wholeheartedly. Imagine the amount of creativity generated by humans no longer engrossed in destructivity or obsessed with conformity and homogeneity.

One can view government as an unwelcome intrusion - akin to a high fence built around the crest of hill to prevent people from rolling down through carelessness. In trying to ensure "public safety" what government effectively does is disempower and desensitize. After a few generations, people would become incapable of taking any initiative whatsoever, in a sure-footed way. They will NEED official guidelines, clearly-marked trails, and instructions at every turn. In effect, people would no longer be able to sit quietly atop the hill and gain divine inspiration from the beauty around them – because the man-made “security” fence mars the view and is ugly, that is, a violation of the natural environment and the unwritten laws of harmony. This may suit those in power very nicely, but it invariably incapacitates the masses from independent and original thought. They will become blind and allow themselves to be led around by ravenous wolves disguised as professional seeing-eye dogs.

What would be much "better than" democracy would be an evolutionary quantum jump that would effectively upgrade Consciousness and Intelligence and realign them with Compassion. No amount of theorizing can make this happen. Those of us who realize this simply have to embody our ideals and break free of semantic traps such as the question above. No statistics are required. It only takes ONE individual to crack the code - and before long, not only the entire species, but all lifeforms will regain their primordial freedom.

"Drug control is a thin pretext, and getting thinner, to increase police powers and to brand dissent as criminal." - William S. Burroughs, @ 1971

[Originally published on this blog 19 March 2007, reposted 27 March 2009]