Monday, February 05, 2007

Mambo Jambo & A'Tuin the Turtle

This post set me thinking. This issue of anonymity or the use of pseudonyms in cyber-space is a recurring motif. Whenever I encounter this motif, the movie Dead Man instantly springs into my mind. I have mentioned this Jarmusch flick before, its an anti-genre Western movie. The protagonist is about a gunslinger (Johnny Depp) who goes by the name William Blake and his encounter with an Indian, named Nobody or No Name (Gary Farmer), who believes that the gunslinger is the White Man slayer, the poet William Blake. Its a movie about identity, the power of identity and the power of words. Associative power. In my mind, was the formative beginning of a perhaps, eloquent entry on anonymity.

But I read the post again and realized that its structure, its placement of argument, ideas would render anything I write inconsequential.

I read the post again the third time and realized that in the end, the larger point the author is making needs no response. It is a good and well-intentioned post.

And so, in line with the mood of Wednesday mambo jambo nights at Zouk, in line with the imagery of honour in feudal Japan, I re-publish this little koan from an earlier entry. Its by Yukio Mishima, a writer with a checkered life history, titled "Nansen Kills the Cat":

There was a cute kitten that became an object of contention between the Eastern and Western wings of the great temple. The chief priest, Nansen, catches hold of the kitten and asks the contenders, "Why should I not kill the kitten?" No one speaks. Nansen decapitates the kitten. When the chief disciple, Joshu returns from his errand and realises what has transpired. He removes his muddied shoes and places them on his head. Nansen laments that if Joshu had been present, the kitten's life would have been spared. Nansen's action is the Murdering Sword. Insensibility begets a practice where the violent cutting away removes all contradiction and discord between Self and Other. Joshu's action represents the Life-Giving Sword. He cuts himself with such a humiliating gesture that he demonstrates the way of Buddha.

In the Discworld of Terry Pratchett, people and cities exist on the huge shell of a Turtle, A’Tuin, while it slowly swims through space. In DiscWorld, logic and physics do not hold much sway. It is belief that matters. If something is believed strongly in DiscWorld, it is true.

Quote of the Day --

“A’Tuin is the only turtle ever to feature on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram …” – Terry Pratchett


Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe with real protections of free speech i'll be willing not to be anonymous.

but for now anonymity is a good way to carve out the space i require.

carrying the frame of war a little too far, see

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

remarkable writing and ideas ... not sure what the phd guy from LSE is about, but he's an economist after all. good luck and keep it up, have followed your thought provoking blog since GE

11:38 AM  
Blogger pea said...


We are a group of final-year students from Nanyang Technological University, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information. For our final year project, we are conducting an academic study of online practices and perceptions of Singaporeans and would like to invite you to take part in this project.

Your participation in this study is voluntary and you may withdraw from the survey at any point. However, your participation is very important and we hope you will complete the survey. We also hope you can help us publicise this and get your friends to participate as well.

You will automatically be entitled to our lucky draw upon completion of the questionnaire. There will be 3 draws of S$100 each.

The online questionnaire will take no more than 20 minutes of your time. Please click on the link below to start the online questionnaire:

Please be assured that your personal information will be strictly confidential and will not be used for any purpose other than this study. For any further enquiries, kindly contact Derek at or 9007 9489 (HP) or me at 9339 9704 (HP).

Thank you very much for your support and participation!

3:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home