South Africa

I come from a nation large and strong
Where we raise our voices in song
Sing praises unto the heavens and earth
With a dozen languages of different words

Our people, we know of tragedy and pain
We know more of loss than of gain
Yet we seek not to dominate
We seek a commitment to cultivate

We have the land, the labour, the love
We have sun and moon, is that not enough?
We have seeds sown all over our nation
So why, may I ask, are we still in recession?

Since 94 we have overthrown Apartheid
We are living legacies of Mandela’s fight
Our existence in itself is what makes us free
So why are people suddenly chasing money?

All of you South Africans are smart enough to
Stand there and tell me Zuma did this to you
And if we as a People claim to fight corruption
Then is not desire for wealth simply giving up our freedom?

I say this to you, my country, we do not need money right now
We will need it in the future, but first take a look around
You see that backyard of yours, that you forgot was even there?
Well that’s a perfect spot for a home garden, use the sunshine and the air

You there, standing by the window with nothing in your hand,
Go to your yard and look around, find a plot of sand
Take your fingers and your palm and lay them on the ground
Now you can draw a picture there by wiggling your hand around

And you, Mr, Mrs, Miss whoever you are
With your fancy trucks and empty unused cars
Why don’t you get up and register those wheels
To collect soap, food, and deliver some meals

We as a nation, we have been through much
And this lockdown has been a little tough
But remember, we’ve also overcome much more
Than just staying home and closing a door

For all the sacrifices our ancestors have made
We must have compassion, we should not complain
We as a nation have only one mission
To consider and respect each other’s fight for freedom

I have only one request today, my beloved South Africa
That we take one minute to remember Nelson Mandela
Think about why he pushed Equality instead of money
The fundamental philosophy of what it costs to be Free

South Africa, my people, my nation, my land
I wish we could help each other understand
That there is only one way to overcome mass corruption
We must be fully committed to tackling our own oppression

We must become open to change and transformation
We must set a good example for the new generations
We must become cooperative, constructive, and creative
We must focus on being productive, only in sports are we competitive

Slowly as we build ourselves, our skills, and our souls
We will see progress within the nation, and then we can make goals
We must, as People, take some responsibility
We within ourselves must have accountability

South Africa, my beloved, I pray for all of us
But mere prayers are not going to be enough
South Africa, my love, let us unite as one
Let us keep living and striving for our free-dom

 

MG

 

 

South African Freedom Day 427

When the Enemy Cries

What do we do when the enemy cries?
Do we mock their pains, or empathise?

What do we do when the racists scream
that they want to conserve their liberties?

What do we do when classists steal
from those who have less material?

What do we do when sexists refuse
to embrace others as human but then make excuses?

What do we do when homophobes whine
about the fear of being ‘hit on’ all the time?

What do we do when ageists enforce ideals
not to address them by name but instead by title?

What do we do when religious indoctrination
is interpreted with arrogance and not with empowerment?

What do we do when any other human
believes it’s acceptable to compete for validation?

What do we do when abusers run towards weapons,
provoke violence, get beaten, then play ‘victim’?

What do we do when the enemy cries?
Do we mock their pains, or empathize?

 

MG

 

 

 

 

Inspired by Hong Kong 

The Change

This story is inspired by Huxley’s Brave New World and Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Brave New World. 

He swung his rucksack over his shoulder and pulled the door shut behind him as he left the house, once again ready to fly solo into the battlefield. It was an average sunny morning with nothing new except his thoughts and theories which consumed him faster than the speed of light. All geared up with his knives and a crossbow, he skipped down the stairs, realising that the agonising discipline he had endured for the past decade was finally coming into play. He’d never understood why he’d been put through combat training, until about a year ago…

It was late July, halfway into the summer, that he was navigating around various city-states in his surrounding area. In this age of technology, though, his exploration was mostly conducted by travelling through cyberspace. He would navigate from state to state, find the most feasible settling point, and experiment by scouting around the boarders. For months, he had established Influence over certain city-states and civilisations, but it wasn’t until November that he had stumbled upon a civilisation that fully encompassed the types of battles for which he was trained.

In months, he had created a weapon that could ultimately destroy a civilisation of Megalopolises; a weapon that would break through the defense of Superficiality and thus expose and attack flaccidity of the archenemy both as an entity and as individuals. The downside, however, was that his weapon also unmasked his own weaknesses, and he needed to reconstruct a certain set of defenses accordingly. However, as he had allied with a small but strong Civilisation, he ended up investing most of his energy into fueling the weapon and hadn’t quite strengthened his defenses, so just over half a year later, when the Megalopolis decided to unite and declare war against this Civilisation, it was hardly a secret that his stronghold came crashing down, leaving fragments of debris on everything he touched.

With each battle, he felt weakened and defeated. But what his enemies didn’t know is that each scar they inflicted only fueled the fire and passion it took to take down this flawed and corrupt system. Two months after the initial battle, he decided to coalesce with the Army General to enhance the pre-existing weapon and defend it with double the aegis. They devised a strategy that was everything he had hoped, months ago, to enforce, but given the fact that the weapon was still in its phase of refurbishment, he decided that it was still too early in the game to bring out the big guns and fire the ultimatum. Instead, the Army decided it best to ultilise the information uncovered by their diplomats to administer alternate methods.

Finally, after three and a half months of provocation and warfare, he felt ready to save the society from falling down a swirling abyss of soon-to-be Betas of the Brave New World. The Civilisation had devised a strategy to conquer the boundaries of a backward society and catapult these Megalopolises into progressing in a universally sanctioned direction. Fueled with a passion that went both ways, he was fully equipped to train certain Melee units to defend their assets and enhance the skills they had already developed, but also to take on the antagonistic opposition from Greater Civilisations.

Each Melee Unit he was handed to train was equipped with their own set of weapons, and it was his job to cultivate these units into armies that could handle the Great Battle which was yet to come. These little battles that were coming his way at a rapidly unexpected pace were merely his next level of training, which is why he understood the importance of training his Melee Units as rigorously as possible.

The Great Battle was one he knew he was definitely not ready to face yet: What happens when his Melee Units reach their Age of Enlightenment and besiege the Megalopolis? How hard will the Megalopolis fight back then? Somehow though, his reassurance lay in the fact that they knew how to strategise around these impediments, which is why he allowed himself to sustain a few broken bones and scratches here and there: he knew they would grow back stronger, and that he would be able to take on the Ultimate Battle when it stares him in the face. For now, he just has to go on training his Units, and defend their Freedom without the Megalopolis trying to eradicate it. Being one of the few Civilisations in the Information Era, he knew he would have to wait a long time until his Melee Units moved out of the Industrial Era. That, or he needed to find a new method of combat training.

With every demonstration during the training sessions, his Melee Units felt threatened and weakened, but they didn’t yet understand that this was his way of strengthening them. They didn’t understand that the only way to grow was to conquer the existing Challenges before they could be upgraded to a stronger Unit. After three months of battling and Melee Training, he had finally come to discover that although his armies were equipped with tons of state-of-the-art weaponry, none of them had been trained to actually use any of it, so in the first few sessions when he asked them to try to use it, they all ended up shooting themselves in the foot or poking an eye out one way or another.

In his mind palace, he realised that these armies would take much more training that he had anticipated, which was surprising considering how modern their military technology and weaponry supplies were. He knew what had to be done, and knew what the ultimate goal was, but as for how to win the battle, well first, he had to decided which ones were worth the fight. But he knew. He knew that the Ultimate Battle, or the Great Battle, would only be fought when he had enough Flight Units to intercept the opposition. And for now, he would continue with his various forms of research that would provide substance and options for stronger weapons and more fine-tuned training tools to cater to the unpredicted needs of units that have been bred but not trained. He was tired of seeing his government funding the nation’s military but not actually training the army to use the tools, and considering the fact that this Megalopolis was considered to be one of the most advanced Civilisations in the whole world, his jaw dropped when he discovered that one of his Units whom he had trained for a sheer 9-month period had more common sense than the entire government. They were living proof that his expectations for the Units were not irrational or impractical, and though he may be somewhat idealistic at times, each losing battle only drove his cynicism, which in turn nourished his Strength.

And although he was very well trained and equipped to attack and dominate, the Civilisation didn’t feel that he was ready to be put on the frontlines yet. Instead, they were training his defenses and setting up the battlefield, so that when they did unleash his Ultimatum, it would act like an abstract Apache AH-64 trained to only shoot down Enemy Thoughts but keep the civilians and their Freedom safe. Tough and heart-wrenching as the process sometimes was, he promised himself that he would live to see the day when the Change took place. When the Change he had spent a decade trying to implement happens, he would be on the frontlines with a PHASR rifle to blind and suspend Enemy Thoughts, and an MAARS to launch grenades of Liberated Knowledge which his Melee Units will use to defend their Liberated Minds. So for now, no matter how much damage he undergoes, as long as he has his moments to fortify and heal, he will live to be there when The Change happens, and he would sacrifice his reputation to achieve the ultimate goal of breaking through the Stereotypes and Traditionalism of a conservative, unenlightened and ignorant Megalopolis.

Until then, he wasn’t fighting alone, and besides his immediate allies, he had, within his mind palace, the defenses of Machiavelli, Huxley, Kafka, Sartre, Hobbes, Rousseau, Thoreau and Kant. For now, he told himself 8 words:

頂天立地
永不放棄

A Decade

Searching to find myself

But all I find is you
I can hardly stand myself
So what am I to you?
~Imagine Dragons~

Midnight struck and he was still roaming the streets, trying to find his way home. He’d taken a different route tonight, one that he hadn’t frequented for almost a decade. Much had changed since he’d last set foot in that area, and he still remembered it as a construction site – a section of the train station that was still amid the process. A decade ago, he’d sat on the concrete underneath the stairs, listening to his MP3 player, waiting for the bus. His friends would be frolicking around on the pavement, doing whatever it was fifteen year olds did to keep themselves busy.

A decade ago was a different era – although this generation had only just set foot in the twenty-first century, the build-up of the two decades prior had led to this moment: him, sitting in the shade with a device small enough to pass as a lighter, containing around thirty songs. This generation which had turned the intangible into something tangible – music at your fingertips, any time, anywhere – and that was his spot, every Saturday afternoon at around half three.

Now, a decade later he set foot down those stairs he once adored, but the unfamiliarity of the new structure threw him off for a moment, and he fumbled down the stairs in utter confusion. The concrete on which he used to sit had been converted into a power generator (or so said the sign), the pavement had been paved and smoothed out, and the road which the bus always took looked much longer and further in hindsight. Perhaps he really was that much smaller, physically, a decade ago…

For once, however, he stopped to ponder more on the change in his surroundings and society rather than changes in himself, for it was at that moment when he saw the parallels between the modernised structure and the structure of his own life. It dawned on him that every construct can be destroyed (or modified). That vision which was usually so self-aware suddenly became peripheral vision – a moment when he realised that he cared more about the great wide world than what was going on in his head. He almost smacked himself in the head when he sussed the triviality of his self-interested ego, one that he would try repeatedly to kick it to the curb or drown it in a cesspool, but each failure only fuelled his rage, until he had enough to plot revenge.

And with that, he took out a pen…
Gordan, June 2014

No construct is indestructible.