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Monthly Archives: July 2006

I would recommend to my reader, the book Vanity Fair by William Thackeray, if they wish to come to an understanding of the caustic cynicism that is currently my frame of mind. It charts in no uncertain terms, the progress of two girls, ostensibly friends, but ever different as they journey through the circus, the carnival fair, that humanity in its true nature is. It documents without flinching the vice, follies, deficits and darkness of all its characters, without shirking from what it seeks to present as the truth. It is a Victorian novel, and so to that extent the world it will portray is starkly different from the one that we inhabit now, yet much is the same, for man is present in both eras, and his behaviour shows fain site of improving between the Enlightenment and Judgement day. That said it is a most poetic work of literature, and if I could write, I would choose to write as Thackeray does, his casual breaking of the third world, his multi-faceted and mutli-positional narrator all traits I would enjoy in emulation

The Book has me in the frame of mind to think about duplicity and simulation. It makes me see, in the real world that I must inhabit, and the many faced characters that share it with me, all the signs and aspects of false behaviour and cordiality. People who act one way and believe another, who trick, who dupe, who extend false respect and false cordiality. It hardly surprises me that it is so rampant now that I open my eyes to it, my naïve humanity now no longer exempt from facing the realities that mark existence. At the same time I doubt that without the concept of the Vanity Fair, I would be so willing to document them in my mind nor collect them so avidly to store and recall.

My purpose in such storage is simply to mark down those who do it for my remembrances. There are many who sacrifice their credibility in my eyes, as I have mentioned just recently by such behaviour and I have to keep myself aware of what they do so that others cannot use the same methods against me. I fear to be the victim of the cleverness in others that is turned to false profit and malicious gain. I have no desire to be the subject of these kind of people, yet I recognise now that they abound. I cannot pretend that they don’t exist just because many are not like that.

I have become a cynic once again, perhaps a condition that is forced on me by being in Hong Kong, and the pragmatic practicalities that are inherent in being in a place that I intend to settle down, so that people must be cultivated for the long term and care must be taken to ensure that the gossips whose tongues way viciously and widely are not to turn their tongues in my direction, for they would love to do so, it is in their character, and I know they are present in the world in which I stumble. Such treacherous waters bring out the inherent conservatism and defensive shields of personality that I was exempt from deploying in London. The mix of personality is wider in Hong Kong, the pool of opportunity smaller and the people out to take advantage of the opportunities correspondingly more dangerous. I’m sure such sharks swim in London streams, but they do not trouble my deep resting there.

I apologise for my reader for speaking in such cryptic code if they have valorously laboured to the end of this post, but for that there is little that can be done. I must be so circumspect because practicality demands it. Many would not understand the context or the need, those who understand will understand the need.

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The thin line between credibility and incredibility has become something of a resurgent issue, having been cast into my face by the realities of being back in Hong. A certain individual who wields considerable power and has great status has committed himself to actions that in my eyes have destroyed all his credibility and have made me very dubious and very cynical of him, his actions, his motives and abilities.

What I am interested in looking at is the nature of my reaction, especially since the rest is beyond my ability to control.

My reaction has gone quickly and progressively from disbelief to anger to indignation to a cold smouldering anger, which I fear will calcify. I am required by the canons of good behaviour to act in a cordial and respectful manner; indeed would not really contemplate acting in any other manner. At the same time, I have confined him to be treated very lightly in my eyes. I will have no truck or commerce with him beyond that which I am required. I do not believe anything he tells me, and certainly do not presume its truth or validity without assiduous, independent verification on my part. There is a gap between his self-perceived credibility with me and his actual credibility with me that is as wide as oceans and as equally deep and irreconcilable.

I perceive that it is the sum of his actions, some directed at me, some at my friends, some generally that push me to reach this opinion of him, yet I am not sure that such hostility of heart can be justified by the actions done to a third party, especially the collective third party.

In fact I don’t see how this vast gap can be reconciled at all without a major turnabout from one party. Now since the other party does not seem aware that there is an issue at play, and I have no inclination to tell him, a rather tense problem perpetuates that is unlikely to be solved by anything but the passage of time. Now how much time that must be I’m unaware but I do feel that it will be a long time before I come to my sense and am willing to let it go, it certainly will not be happening swiftly and will require considerable thought and concern on my part.

What worries me more about this is how willing I am to be duplicitous in this respect, to be generous in appearance with him and equally cool and contemptuous when the distance is great. Now I accept there are realities that mitigate this by demanding that they be adhered to, and I am unable to skirt these realities without bringing ill consequences on others that I do not wish to be the cause of. At the same time, I doubt this sense of ‘two-faced ‘ness will be harmoniously reconciled within me, and in all reality I am likely to blame this person for the tension he has caused in me as much as his initial errors which are probably by comparison of minor importance and certainly not worth the amount of calcification of the heart that is being bought about. Such obvious realpolitik is not something I am willing to engage in without considerable reflection, yet I am forced to engage in it, for the sake of position and harmony.

I grown hard hearted and ill inclined to what may be good and what may be beneficial, but I cannot see that I am truly in the wrong and since I am only a pawn in the game, I will suffice to keep my public silence. But there are no pawns in life, and every pawn may one day promote, bringing with it consequences that were not thought of when they were originally so callously treated.

I will watch and wait. I fear that in some way I may have just committed myself to anger and revenge. But at the same time I do not resile from that. Be that as it may.