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The Confessions of a Singaporean Gangster in London – Chapter 40 “Epilogue/Interview with darkness”

Posted by inspir3d on February 20, 2005

Brought to you by the Brotherhood Press 2006 (An exclusive Interview in the virtual with darkness onboard the French Liberium Class Star Cruiser – “Les Enfants du Paradis.”

Journalist: Agnes Proirer

Agnes: Can you share with us how it was when the brotherhood press first started posting the confessions online four years ago in Hong Kong?

Well how shall I put it, it’s a bit like waking up in the morning and finding a flying saucer parked in your backyard. Most people just looked at it and said, “OK, this must be dream” and went back to sleep.

Posting stories online is a new concept, so both, we, the producers and the readers had to grapple with this new medium. I say new because writing stories in the net is completely different from a book, play or radio show. For one the tempo needs to be faster to heighten the dramatic effect. Neither can it be too long winded, otherwise readers will just tune off. The confessions as I mentioned many times was definitely a learning experience, I guess as with any new medium which aspires to be part of an acceptable genre they (our readers) too needed time to adjust themselves to this new form of entertainment.

It is worth noting, the original confessions series was 84 chapters as opposed to the condensed redux version which only manages half the typescript. This means it ran just over a 4 month period and by the end of it, most of them (readers) more or less bought into the idea whole sale.

The rest like the Americans say is history.

In the confessions the main protagonist Yu Huan Guan is always referred too as the man who carries the bag. Many have speculated whether perhaps the bag is a sort of metaphor, can you elaborate further?

What I was trying very hard to convey is, contrary to popular myth, none of us just walks over the brow of the hill or makes a naked entrance on the stage of life. It just doesn’t happen that way.We bring with us an enormous amount of baggage, in the form of history. The history of our family, friends, country, community, experience and even the broader history those who have once touched our lives.

In this respect, the metaphor of the man with the bag was very effective in conveying this “historical multitudes” and amplifying the ideal all of us are irrevocably handcuffed to our respective histories. You can even say its play on the ancient Heraclitus idea, “a man’s character is his fate.” And he can never run away from his history. By fusing the hero with the bag, it was perhaps a very amateurish way for me to constantly remind myself, the plot always had to look back and juxtapose his distant past on the story board. So yes, you are absolutely right in mentioning the play on metaphors.

Why was it during the final scene, Huan Guan set aside his briefcase. What were you trying to convey in this scene. Many readers have speculated on what you were trying to say. Could you elaborate further?

I had a lot of problems with the closing chapter and much of it was due to my lack of literal skills in being able to successfully reconcile, coax, juxtapose differences and tease out connections. I don’t know how to say this except perhaps to admit, I am not a very versatile writer. Even today, I still struggle with the basics, spelling, grammar and construction. However, having said all that, I knew what I really didn’t want to do during the final scene was to just lay it all out in one straight line.

I wanted the reader very much to experience the narrator’s world to stand before a forked road, where he or she decides what it really means when Huan Guan agrees to set aside his trade mark briefcase after the third wife says, “You wouldn’t need this where you are going…” This naturally compels the reader to ask, where is this place? What does this really mean? Does this mean he has finally reconciled himself with his past, present and future? Is this some sort of rite of passage? In the last chapter if you noticed very carefully, I was throwing out very suggestive images by using words such as “phantom mirror, kinetic architecture, transcontinental wormtrain, mindscape etc. The whole idea is to convey to the reader, Huan Guan is in another era somewhere in the distant future and this world isn’t really fleshed out, it’s here and there. Open ended even, but the reader is never in any doubt, it is a world of infinite possibilities and endless avenues – one where your guess about the ending is really as valid as mine.

Was this a trick you acquired from reading or somewhere else?

Au contraire, technique would be a better word. Actually, it’s something I gleaned quite by accident in the way of photography. I noticed, the really great photos which have the highest dramatic impact were usually in the black and white medium and this intrigue me no end.

It provoked me to consider whether perhaps color photography doesn’t have the same allure because it captures too much of life thereby leaving very little else to the imagination. Whereas the black and white format doesn’t really try at all, in fact it resolutely renounces the real by being color blind, yet despite its obvious limitation, there lies its power to arrest and convey a very compelling narration.

And what strength or power would that be? How would you best describe it?

The power to recruit the imagination of the viewer or perhaps empower him with this right of narration – the viewer needs to supply the missing jigsaw to complete the picture – that’s to say he needs to form the third dimension. In doing so something magical happens: the reader or in this case viewer ceases completely to be the spectator, instead he’s elevated to the role of the narrator or creator. I remembered mulling over these thoughts during the last chapter.

Many have asked why did you set the story in China town London? Was there are reason behind the setting?

Yes, if you look very closely at every chapter, there is a common theme that runs through all of them, except perhaps in the last chapter. The sense of displacement, a sort of carrying across where Huan Guan always finds himself away from a place called home. Even in China town, the community never really accepted him as one of their own, being a Singaporean in a predominantly Hong Kong Chinese community only really gave him a measure of home against the sense of being an exile and even when he eloped with Jeannie to Wales. Again the same thematic mood is played out. As a result, his character is never stable, integrated and consistent.

I guess this controlled instability gave Huan Guan an accidental hero quality which allowed many of the readers to identify with him, where even the reader isn’t really convinced he can really pull it off. It’s the necessary lie in story telling, if the good in the world outweighs the bad, it has to be by the slimmest of margins to heighten the dramatic effect. And thrown amid all this is the notion of duality, violence and compassion, revenge and forgiveness, love and separation, life and death; the state and the individual; the imperatives of history and the waywardness of his life. It’s almost as though he cannot have one idea without immediately considering it’s opposite.

Coming back to the issue of duality, there is one interesting chapter where the main protagonist seeks out the man who once beat him up and just before he is about to kill him, he loses all his resolve because he has a flashback of having once fought in some secret war. Many of the readers felt from that point onwards they were actually reading two stories in one. How did you reconcile these two realities?

One of the techniques I experimented with in the confessions was a device called leitmotiv – that’s to say images evoked by objects and motifs, one of them as I have already mentioned was Huan Guan’s briefcase, which is very effective in conveying the image of a man with a colorful past, the other is the imagery of war, but note, it’s not any war, but rather, we are told it’s a secret war, which was very effective in conveying the duality between reality and fiction, revenge and redemption, live and death. At that point, I couldn’t really find any other stronger imagery to evoke that sudden change of will, except perhaps the gravity of war and all it’s horrors – that’s the beauty of invoking war as a femme fatale, it’s incomprehensible and even unfathomable – it is worth noting there is a line in that chapter where Huan Guan says, he loved life so much even the life of a stranger who once beat him up – that generally sums up the sentiments of how a man who was so determined to kill another suddenly loses his resolve.

Yes, I guess there were in effect reading two stories, if you imagine two dancers and every so often one of these dancers steps into a circle and does a jig only to step back for another to step in. This was really the technique, I was deploying – it’s a kind of dance, where there are lots of different inputs, and not one source of origin.

To me at least those chapters when the secret war is mentioned to the readers is the defining moment, when we see Huan Guan completely in a different light – again I deliberately left the details vague, so the readers would speculate on his past and juxtapose them on the story board, except to repeat the line, “the unspeakable fire” again and again – by keeping the script very loose – it’s a bit like jazz. There is a lot of scope for improvisation within the melodic structure where only the very basic notations are listed and the musician really makes up the rest as he goes along – the direct opposite of traditional music in which the composer writes and the musician plays to a corseted script – here by playing on the idea of his smoky past and leaving out huge chunks – the act of reading becomes very much, the act of writing – and the reader assumes the role of the creator.

The reader assumes the role of the final arbiter? Is that the reason why there is one chapter where Huan Guan dreams of a city disappearing?

Yes, again it’s a play on the duality of the visible and the invisible – a conflict even – it’s trying to suggest that even among us there are infinite invisible realities. You need to comprehend at that point in the story when Huan Guan experiences the dream, he is very much a man torn by the guilt of having being the only survivor in his platoon – against this backdrop, we have a man who is struggling very hard to remember, yet forget his past – at first he tries very hard to forget, but eventually his past catches up with him, again, it’s a play on the duality between the past and the present – and the reason why the city disappears in his dreams, it’s because it’s unbearable to see it – but the triumph in that chapter is he finally decides to confront the past only to run away.

Following that there is a very moving scene where he dines all by himself in Mutho curry house – to me this is the scene that really frames the unimaginable magnitude of his desolation – I deliberately inserted the caricature of the Mutho simply to perforce the comical notion how sometimes we can be beyond invisible to perhaps being ultra invisible and in this case, the metaphor of a lone figure dinning alone in the company of ghost remembered only in his past was a good way to convey to the reader – his status as an exile.

Exile? This word keeps cropping up again and again. Many have wondered whether perhaps in the course of writing this story and posting them in the net, either you or the brotherhood saw yourself very much like Huan Guan, the hunted and may I say, the exiled?

Subconsciously perhaps, these thoughts must have projected themselves into the story board. This I do not deny. Only because when we first started to post these stories in in Hong Kong, we encountered a fair amount of opposition from other forumers. I remember the webmaster, a man called Tim would call me from time to time and say, “hey they’re going to tie me to a stake and burn me.” Fortunately Tim ran the gauntlet with us and eventually by the second month half way into the series, the hate mails trickled off to zero and many of those who once opposed us eventually became our ardent readers.

I am very grateful to webmasters like Tim, Francois, Neverdie and Inspirid because without them, we can never do the things we do. It’s never easy for them because when they allow us to use their platform, they are in effect allying themselves with us in the eyes of their readers.

9 out of 10 readers have asked. What were you trying to change by writing and posting the confessions?

It’s all too easy to jump from the knowledge that a novel can have agency to the conviction it MUST have agency, but I am not so sure it’s supposed to do that. What gradually emerged as I started fleshing out the character of Huan Guan, was not that a novel can CHANGE anything but that it can PRESERVE something, although I started with the original premise, it could provoke a sort of change. I soon realized, it had more to do with preservation.

The thing being preserved, may be something like “the right for ALL kids to be able to read literature in school” or “the right to ride my bike on the road without ending up in hospital.” But what needs to be emphasized is it’s increasingly difficult to even hold on to these simple “rights” as society grows ever more distracted and mesmerized by the mono culture brought about the globalization and the advent of the digital age. I am not saying for one moment digitalization is predition. Neither am I suggesting we go back to the cottage industry and beat our key boards into ploughshares. It’s not going to happen. But simply because the advent of globalization and the digital age is so powerful, there needs to be an equally strong opposite force to counter it by preserving and reclaiming rather than changing what we still have or have already lost.

I don’t expect you to understand this, but let me share with you something Agnes which I still consider very disturbing. In my country literature is no longer taught in schools. And this naturally begs the question, are we Singaporeans “bovine” in acquiescing to this sort of “Sovietization?”

Sovietization? That’s a very strong word. So what you saying is there needs to be a counter force in the form of an underground literature movement precisely because it no longer features in your society?

I really can’t find another word to describe the process. What many fail to grasp is the matter goes beyond the preservation of the right to read literature. It’s the sense that if we continue to remain bovine to these change, erosion, leaching, chelating or whatever you wish to call it, we will eventually end up finding ourselves living in a reductively binary culture: where you’re either somebody or a statistic, wired or logged off, hip or square, in or out, living or existing, functional or dysfunctional, successful or a failure, arts or science, with or against us. And that sort of flattening or dumbing down of the field of possibilities to consider the middle ground is precisely what’s depressing – it’s the classical litany in Oedipus Rex, the one where he sings the tune, I call the “depressive realism of modern life” which is not so different from Huxley’s bleak brave new world :

“Alas ye generations of men, how mere a shadow do I count your life! Where, where is the mortal who wins more of happiness than just the seeming, and, after the semblance, a falling away?”

So what you are saying is writing the confessions was your way to preserve what you once and still consider to be important to yourself and society at large?

Yes or more accurately: the right for everyone to be able to discover the beauty of literature – because there is more to literature than meets the eye, you don’t have to be a sociologist to draw the connection literature has always had a tenuous purchase on the psyche of mankind.

Things just don’t just evolve out of nothing, not even something as simple as tying shoelaces. Europeans use the parallel style because their forefathers fought wars in muddy trenches and every soldier knows it’s easier to remove a boot with a bayonet when the laces are all lined up in neat rows as opposed to the criss cross laces favored by Americans. Everything has a source Agnes – that’s my point and what cannot be denied is literature has always played an important role in shaping the contours of the political, economic, social and technological landscape. One just really needs to summon up literati’s like Orwell, Zola, Krauss, Nietzsche, Mandelstam and Akhmatova to see how they have shaped the course of humanity with the power of literature – by provoking others to simply do one very simple thing: Think!

So to me when you say, literature, is dispensable, it’s as good as saying history is ephemeral and transient – and an extension of that for mankind to me at least is a future that seems as likely to be dystopian as utopian, simply because I really cannot see how a society can coherently evolve and grow without intellectual debate which only the cultural authority of literature is able to inspire.

You keep harping on preservation what specifically are these authors who you mentioned preserving?

I guess…..they are preserving a tradition of precise, expressive language; a habit of critically discerning beyond the chimera of superficiality. Their works serve as a manifesto for the disillusioned masses like you, me and them. Ordinary folk who simply want to lead a productive and happy life. Instead of being rail roaded by some guy on television…….I guess in the age of globalization, this need has never been strongest and literature goes a long way to make sense of to those who are constantly seeking vindication and comfort for those who struggle to accept the PR- soaked, artificially flavored, spin doctored and politically- deifying hegemony of modern society – I am not even talking about political science for dummies here – I am just talking about a bunch of kids reading about how a bunch of animals conduct politics on a farm, like Orwell’s book, “animal farm” only for some of them to say, “The world isn’t so simple after all.”

I believe every kid has a right to that sort of right of passage in their schools – an awakening.

“You actually believe books can actually awaken up the political consciousness of the masses?”

Yes, that at least is what both me and the CIA agree upon, why do you think, they regularly conduct covert flights into Cuba and air drop copies of Arturo Perez- Reverte’s anti- proletariat sappy love stories – the modern battlefield isn’t about beach landings or land grabs any more mademoiselle, les actuers ne sont pas les gens, nes pas? it’s about the battle of the minds and in this sense, the pen is truly mightier than the sword – beware the power of books.

And you think by writing the confessions your book can actually do all that?

Yes, even my sappy trite of a yarn pockmarked with lousy grammar atrocious spelling and a ridiculous plot can have such a dramatic effect as evidenced by the number of subscribers – ordinary folk who sit in their faceless cubicles during their tea breaks are voting en mass with their mouse clickers – they are saying, “literature is important, we have a right to read and enjoy it.” That is what is being preserved, some may say well, that’s not very much and my response is simply this, it’s not entirely nothing either.

Above all when there is a writer and a reader, a community is preserved, a thinking society who simply knows the world is never as simple as it is often made up to be by governments, firms, institutions, cult churches, Moonies,the hare Krishna’s or some guy on TV.

Above all when literature in whatever form not necessarily in the shape and fashion of the confessions gets read or produced, be it satire, cartoons, commentaries or even just rhetorical observations, the underground community grows, develops and matures in the face of what I call, The Great Lie.

And in this community neither as big as a statistical significant nor as small as the naked self. It’s a group of people who have all learnt to be preservers in their own way – because if you really want to know what is being ultimately preserved by the confessions it is simply this: Your right to think!

Literature may no longer be taught as it once was in schools and I may not have the power to change the remembrance of things past, but at least here, where the sun never sets in cyberspace, there is an accidental hero and he is a Singaporean, his name is Yu Huan Guan, the man who carries the briefcase.

Would you like to add anything else?

Thank you for allowing me to share with you all and merry Christmas to all of you.

End / Chronicler / Brotherhood Press Copyrighted 2006.


42 Responses to “The Confessions of a Singaporean Gangster in London – Chapter 40 “Epilogue/Interview with darkness””

  1. Tickling Darkness from The Royal Poppy Shop said

    It is a mistake to assume that Literature is about the study of texts.

    Literature involves the study of texts, yes.

    But Literature is about studying what lies behind the texts.

    And for that reason, every book you pick up is an invitation.

    The invitation is in you, saying to the book: ‘Please, tell me more, ’bout me.’

  2. The Royal Poppy Shop said

    Colour photos are for those who lack, imagination.

  3. Plebian Poppy, Foundation of The Royal Poppy Shop said


  4. Harphoon said

    Hello, Plebian Poppy, Foundation of The Royal Poppy Shop.

    Perhaps you can state what is the nature of the business that you seek with darkness.

    You need to understand we get alot of request so perhaps you can elaborate further on your intent.

    So there is a bottle neck.

    I will do my very best to relay the message across to the otherside.

    Meanwhile feel free to explore and happy reading.



  5. Plebian Poppy, Foundation of The Royal Poppy Shop said

    Hi Harphoon:

    Sigh… Organic tea?

    Plebian Poppy is used to seeking organic tea pals in hippie places around the world whenever Plebian Poppy spots interesting company.

  6. harvardian said

    No point plebian. We have tried abt ten to twenty times with bambi. He stood up all up at the Waldoft for tea! No show. No customer service.

  7. herald tribune said

    just wondering how to we get in touch with darkness?

  8. karen said

    A few points abt the Great debate recently. As usual it was a rush, but I felt it would have benefited from a higher degree of audience participation.

    This I believe is one area, the brotherhood needs to look at very carefully – creating an interactive rapport with their readers. Many of us read, but I also believe we have been conditioned to just reading. This is good but not as good as being able for instance to speak or interact directly with darkness, Harpoon or anyone else.

    Please consider. Nonetheless very well done.

  9. presidential scholar girl said

    Hi 🙂

    For ppl who r supposedly so clever you ppl r quite slow arent you – there is only one group in the whole of singapore who conducts interviews through tea sessions, that is the door that opens to the halls of doors.

    Another thing poppy starts with a “P” and shop may mean an enterprise or whatever you choose to add or subtract.

    They want you on their side.

  10. horselover said

    personally I enjoyed the GHD very much. But I have to agree with some of the comments here. It would have been far more interesting if a few local heroes such as mr wang and yawning bread were featured. I dont think the others cut the standard, but these two I read regularly so I know that they will do very well to hold their own against the likes of darkness.

    They really have too lah otherwise they will simply end up as kueh teow, lets me honest bc darkness is tokong isnt he?

    Anyway a few other comments – I felt there was too many personal comments some of them were pretty unwarranted and even uncalled for. Was it all necessary? Is that part of the GHD culture.

    The other thing is it was too formal. I am sure the bro have many places where they can hold a debate, a kopitiam even the “kaki lima” will do quite ok lah – anything is better than the great hall. I look forward to the next one, just really hope you will all seriously take on board some of my feedback as I am just being very honest.

  11. montburan said

    Dear Brotherhood,

    Why are you ppl not writing a single thing on the minister’s pay rise.

    Another thing the debate was so so only in my opinion bc the locale did very little for fostering inclusiveness.

    I think it is best to hold the next debate in a virtual Parisian cafe instead of some cold marbled taj mahal called the great hall.

    Dont you all think so? I am sure miss tan and rest will agree this will do very nicely boys.

  12. Plebian Poppy, Foundation of The Royal Poppy Shop said

    Presidential Scholar Girl:


    Methinks you’re not very smart.

  13. Plebian Poppy, Foundation of The Royal Poppy Shop said

    Coz, poppies aren’t even grown in Singapore.

    Oh well, non-Singaporeans are still the best then.

    Always having tea,
    Plebian Poppy

  14. covent gal said

    Oh dear Poppyhead you are you sure you have the right address now?

    Non singaporean tea is definitely the best, especially darjelling 🙂

  15. Plebian Poppy said

    Covent Gal:

    Thing is, I prefer chai. 🙂

    Or just plain Euro coffee.

  16. Plebian Poppy said

    But Mrs Eaves is good.

    Just as Baskerville.

  17. brothersisterstealcomputer said


    I think the bro press should write abt this minister pay thingy, but for some reason you ppl have stopped.

    That in my view is not very good – darkness found a fatal flaw in the math didnt he? Why does the bro press cont to behave as if they are in a dream? It is not to say you all dont have the capacity, so what is it?

    Just my view have a nice day

  18. brothersisterstealcomputer said

    the great hall debate how? What will the follow up be? Or is it going to be like the travelogue and the rest, keep quiet and hope no one will really notice?

    Pls come back to us on the follow up. Thx

  19. anongal said

    Dear all,

    Those space boys aren’t dumb u know. I am sure they have already done their calculations sometime back ago. The fact there is a sort of boycott or news black out on ministerial pay rise suggest, the decision must have came from the very top.

    Inaddition, there are a few clues. Firstly, they keep saying, no point “reinforcing failure.” I took the trouble to check out this word. It isnt a series of loose words as much as an adage that says a lot abt the position they have taken.

    Perhaps they already know it is a loss cause and there is no possible way to win. So they dont want to worsen the situation. Personally I agree with them, this Teo.C.H is starting to look quite foolish and the international media seems to be picking up the scent, so it is only a matter of days bfr the whole issue blows up into a gigantic joke.

    Or may be it is a chess game. They are waiting to see what actually happens or what the govt will do bfr commenting.

    Either way I agree – there is definitely a deliberate news black out on this issue – neither do I believe, they need to go off line for 2 weeks to fix their machines.

    I have been following them for a very long time. Those boys dont need to even stop one hour let alone 2 weeks to do anything. They are very disciplined and everyone knows what they are supposed to do. Everything runs like a well ordered kitchen.

    As far as the great hall debate. My feed back: were the personal attacks necessary? Why was the chairman so biased against Bambi? The replies were too long? The setting should be less formal. There should be more scope for audience participation. I tried to post, it didnt get through / received a lame reply instead.

    However, I enjoyed it all very much

  20. anongal said

    Bambi definitely knows something

  21. raintree said

    I usually read only and never ever post – I am usually very kwai kwai one, but lately nothing has been coming out and I just feel the need to ask someone but I really dont know who. Perhaps the owner of this site when is the travelogue coming out? Do reply pls.

  22. pastor prince said

    I am using this secured line to post on behalf of prince:

    He ask why you ppl dont go to church any more.


  23. Harphoon said

    KOHO cancel submariners “geniue” access line – go and tell him we are not going to give him one cent for his BMW, he can get lost – we dont like the way he treats darkness.

    I dont ever want to see this sort of mail creeping into the IS again do you hear me!

  24. Tally-Ho said

    Going to church doesn’t make you a christian anymore than going to the garage makes you a mechanic.

    Then again hor… Pink is the navy blue of India.

  25. Tally-Ho said

    And actually, the Rainbow Family’s better.

    Just ask Byron.

  26. Loving darkness said

    I can’t think of a single thing I’d rather do than be cast away on an island with you
    No, I can’t think of anything more heavenly
    than to have you shipwrecked on a tropical island with me
    Shipwrecked with you
    Shipwrecked with you
    I can’t think of a single thing I’d rather do
    than be cast away on an island with you

    Far from distractions and matters of state,
    we can quit smoking and quickly lose weight,
    sleeping till noon and then staying up late,
    at latitude zero and longitude eight

    —Gothic Archies, “Shipwrecked”

  27. dumbo feather said


    You’re elitist!!

    Dumbo also know wat… 😥

  28. repairman said

    Someone better tell submariner he cannot use this account to post all sort of rubbish.

  29. KOHO said

    31. disregard

  30. KOHO said

    We have a system. A very good system.

  31. [Scholarboy Imposter] said


    xi) Now the letters arrive, from orphans. How could you treat orphanhood so lightly! they will say. You don’t understand what it’s like to be an orphan. You are the sort of person who jeers at those with no legs. You are frivolous and cruel. You are harsh.

    Ah yes, dear orphans, I can see how you would feel that way. But to note is not to disparage. All observations of life are harsh, because life is. I lament that fact, but I cannot change it.

    (And consider: It is loss to which everything flows, absence in which everything flowers. It is you, not we, who have always been the children of the gods.)

    —Margaret Atwood, ‘Orphan Stories’, The Tent, (Bloomsbury: London, 2006), p. 32

  32. harphoon said


    From now onwards allow only the SLF approved post.

    He is just not happy and I can understand why.

    But I dont have time for him or for that matter his lame pod cast.

    controllers pls use this as an opportunity to practice your security measures. We need this sort of training.

  33. KOHO said

    rodger that we will stick to 1905 / check / could be just a drill harphy / no need to take it so seriously.

    lol 🙂

  34. KOHO said

    Meanwhile com using the enigma code.



  35. harphoon said

    rodger that KOHO / its a drill / carry on. no need to disturb inspirid


  36. KOHO said


    Its a good idea if you brief the friendly webmaster how to use the enigma code – this should come in handy for the next great debate as attacks will usually take this form.


  37. astroboy said

    Maybe prince just wants another full tank of gas for his BMW?


  38. wrigley's midgie said

    “The fact remains,” you insist, “that Leaning from the steep slope is an unfinished novel, or, rather, barely begun….I saw the original….”

    Leaning … Now, don’t get me mixed up, it’s a title that sounds similar but isn’t the same, it’s something with Vertigo, yes, it’s the Vertigo of Viljandi.”

    Without fear of wind or vertigo? Tell me: has it been translated? Have you published it?”

    “Wait. The translator, a certain Ermes Marana, seemed a young man with all the proper credentials: he hands in a sample of the translation, we schedule the title, he is punctual in delivering the pages of the translation, a hundred at a time, he pockets the payments, we begin to pass the translation on to the printer, to have it set, in order to save time. … And then, in correcting the proofs, we notice some misconstructions, some oddities…. We send for Marana, we ask him some questions, he becomes confused, contradicts himself…. We press him, we open the original text in front of him and request him to translate a bit orally…. He confesses he doesn’t know a single word of Cimbrian!”

    —Italo Calvino, “Chapter five”, If on a winter’s night a traveller, (Vintage, 1983), p. 99

  39. Harphoon said

    I agree KOHO let me find a time and dialogue with inspirid abt the codex – personally I think the enigma is just over kill – we need to use it bc we have alot of mathematicians and statis who can break codes like the solve cross word puzzles, but who really does all that in the real world?

    NTL agreed. We would definitely need it for the next GHD

  40. Harphoon said

    wrigley’s midgie

    LOL u just need to really believe that your vocation was not a really a matter of last resort – but we all know better dont we.

    Dont feel bad – we all need to shout at the wind from time to time – I embrace your mediocrity.

    Breathe your job is save, it is the new day and you are one of the 147th.

    How do I know?

  41. wrigley's midgie said


    wrigley’s midgie in fact knows nothing.

    calligraphy is just fine for him.

    for midgies have always been mediocre since the beginning of time and thence, yonder.

    we just arrange our cases and take out the letters. they need not mean anything.

    just the negative spaces of the ligatures and the balance of strokes, like Mrs Eaves’ and her long-lost Baskerville’s, suffice.

    midgies smile in the mirror while brushing teeth. good habit for overriding depression.

  42. kwokheng said

    mrs eaves is a favourite font of mine. that’s all. baskerville was her lover. but baskerville, is also a font. but they’re names of real people, though.

    anyway, as i told inspirid: people are so serious these days.

    and in case you are wondering, i dont belong to the pap, nor the 147th, nor whatever the hegemony.

    i prefer to doodle.

    and i do have depression.


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