Snippet Of My Life Episode 36 – The Songs Of The Bees

How time flies!  The last Dooku story was told two years ago.  To satisfy your curious mind, Dooku no longer works in an office.  The only thing human about human resource is that: Do you have the arms and legs to do the job?  Oh yes.  And a brain that performs basic functions which may or not not include the ability to perceive or articulate senses that are deemed common.  It was an eyeopening experience for Dooku.  Because alas!  In reality, there is nothing human about human resource.  Very soon, Dooku finds himself being re-purposed, and then re-purposed again.  Aspiration is an illusion one creates in order to mask the lack of a direction one partakes.  Organization is an entity that keeps on reorganizing itself from within.  In the end, only the bees sing the songs inspired by the backward wind of change that swirls in a downward spiral.  At infinity, it is a beeline to nothingness.

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One day, Dooku has decided to leave the city.  In his usual state of hungriness, he has stumbled upon a village called Bumble Bees and the Magic Flute.  How odd the name is.  How odd the village appears.  But that did not matter.  With no money in his pocket, all Dooku could think of was: What’s for dinner tonight?

By now, Dooku has worked in this village for quite some time.  Not long enough to feel like home.  But not short enough to cling onto the joy of discovering new things the first time either.  One fine morning, one of the elders approaches him and says, “We have a crisis.  It is time to re-purpose your role in this village again, Dooku”.  Dooku is surprised, though not that surprised.  He replies, “It was only recently when I was re-purposed to become a blacksmith plan designer.  So soon?”

“It is never too soon, son.  You see.  Our village exports magic flutes and right now, magic appears to have stopped working.  Our customers from outside our village are not happy.”

Dooku should have said, “But I know nothing about magic!  Or flute for that matter!  Surely you can find someone better to re-purpose?”  Instead, he nods, unintentionally encouraged the elder to carry on.

The elder shakes his head in distress and continues, “There is a massive shift of magnet core interfering with the vines that give forth magic.  Without its sustenance, the vines are interlocked with its surrounding energy.  Quite simply put, some of our magic flutes sold to our customers have stopped working.  Do you see the gravity of the situation, Dooku?  The pulsation is killing the system!  You can feel it, can’t you?”

Dooku looks out to the horizon thinking about today’s dinner.  The elder takes it as a sign of contemplation and secretly admire Dooku’s dedication to the village.  This one gets it.  After a long moment, Dooku speaks, like he does every time he is re-purposed, “So tell me what I have to do.”

Throughout the day and night, jars of honey are being brought in by the flying owls.  Inside each jar, all sorts of messages and communications between the customers and villagers – past and present – are preserved within the honey.  These are the messages to be listened to, not read.  Messages of how broken magic flutes are affecting the customers’ lives.  Messages of the villagers asking the customers to be patience.  Messages of the customers demanding the magic flutes to be working, now.  Messages of the villagers trying all that they can to resume magic.  Messages of desperation, of suggestion, of threat, and of imploration.  Messages of missing messages.

In the village of Bumble Bees and the Magic Flute, language is a collection of the songs of the bees.  Writing is not necessary.  Ideas are painted by a honey brush, spoken through the bees.  New ideas are added onto the old ones.  Mixed together.  Blended into one single jar of honey.  Preserved by honey.  Ideas are made timeless.

Each morning as Dooku arrives at work, the first thing he has to deal with are 200 jars of honey delivered overnight.  He opens up the honey jar one by one and listen to its content.  With very little knowledge of what magic flute does, Dooku would pick up his honey brush, add on a polite acknowledge that is neither helpful nor meaningful, and return the honey jars to the senders using the owls.  A little bit of honey is now added into the honey jar as Dooku solidifies his thought, his thought of acknowledgement.

Dooku ponders: Someone needs to keep an eye on the overall big picture.  Songs intertwined are weaved into a tapestry made of new pieces of human knowledge accumulated daily that form a whole new honey world.  An ocean of honey understood only by the keen observers.  The song weavers.  One such as Dooku.

Honey jars come in batches.  The more Dooku handles, the more they arrive.  As the day goes by, every time when the number reduces to manageable size, the owls fly in and deliver a new batch of honey jars.

Dooku has developed a habit.  Towards the end of day, whenever the number of honey jars reaches zero or the closing hour is at hand, he would close his eye and slowly tune out the surrounding.  There are no owls.  No honey jars.  There are no anxious customers.  No magic related problems.  He has handled 500 honey jars today and that is enough.  In his head, there is nothing but the songs of the bees.  Of honey baked chicken and honey cake with caramelized pears, lemon honey water, maybe honey ginger tea.  There is no way to keep a public toilet clean so long as people keep on peeing.  Dooku feels the growling of his stomach.  He is ready to go home.

That night, Dooku has a dream.  In his dream, on the next day, more honey jars are delivered.  Many more indeed.  Customers are demanding answers to why their magic flutes are still not working.  This time, directly to Dooku.  By the hours, the situation is snowballing to a whole new level of epic failure.  Honey jars upon honey jars, they are strapped onto Dooku’s body.  Are you reading mine now?  Aren’t you answering me now?  In this ocean of honey, the songs of the bees can be deafening.  The only thing Dooku can do is to drown himself into the honey, weighed down by the jars.  There is an eerie sense of clamminess underneath.  Dooku is falling asleep, but he wants to wake up.  What if he doesn’t wake up the next day?  1,000 jars of honey will be waiting.  Next week?  3,500 jars of honey will be waiting.  By the end of next year?  Maybe magic will resume working.  All the problems will disappear.

That may not be a bad idea at all.

The owls keep coming.  And the honey jars pile up.  Darkness falls but the problems don’t go away.  The wind of change is howling.  From this point onward, it is all going down.

Snippet Of My Life Episode 29 – Pigs And Sheep Estate, With A Marketplace

This is a story of Dooku, of which the prequel you may have already read.  Dooku was a farmer, a chef, but not any more.  At least for now.   While the story may be inspired by the people at work, all the characters are works of fiction.  If you feel that I am writing a story about you, you should buy me a drink.  Because you are about to get famous.

Kidding.

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One day, Dooku has entered a city.  Not the biggest city on earth.   But one that is sophisticated enough to have people working on a desk that comes with a chair.  An office, as the city dwellers may call it.   Dooku chuckles whenever he hears the word “office”.   An office or a farm – in Dooku’s simplistic mind – mean the same.   In a farm, you wake up early, plow the soil, add some cow dung if need to, do more plowing, and when the time comes, you harvest your produce; the cycle continues.   In an office – as Dooku observes – people wake up early, push some paperwork around, create more work for others if need to, push more work to each other, and when the time comes, collect their paychecks; the cycle continues.

In this new office, Dooku loves to ask people what their roles are.  That seems to piss people off.   Because most people prefer to keep their roles as fuzzy and vague as possible.  But in Dooku’s defense, he asks because he wants to know what he needs to do.   Back in his farming days, if Dooku knows that no one is going to clean up the excess cow dung left in the farm after the fertilization process, Dooku would clean up the cow dung himself.   All farmers do that.  Why?  Because too much cow dung piled up under the sun attracts flies.  And it especially intrudes Dooku’s olfactory senses.   Dooku is a simple man.  A helpful simple man, who is often misunderstood at work.

One day, an unfinished piece of work is handed over to Dooku.  No matter.  Work is work, unfinished or not.   There is an architectural model large enough to fill up a boardroom that needs some touchups.   Dooku takes a closer look.  First at the signage.  It says: An estate for rapid evolution with the goal of galactic domination! He then stares at the proposed housing units for the pigs, and at the proposed housing units for the sheep.  The marketplace for the pigs, and the marketplace for the sheep to trade their produces with the outside world.  Where are the weapons of mass destruction?   How do the pigs and the sheep envisage the means to dominate the galaxy?   Dooku then takes the liberty to rename the signage to: An estate for the pigs and the sheep with an efficient and hygienic marketplace for trading purposes. Satisfied with what he does, Dooku goes on touching up the aesthetic aspect of the model.  The look-and-feel.  Correcting some obvious design flaws like sheep do not need handrails, unlike the pigs that at times, walk on two feet.   Just like how it is documented in the “Animal Farm”.

Next, Dooku takes another look at the model.   As it is, the estate looks like a DMZ between the pigs and the sheep.  Such obvious demarcation between the two races.  What gives?  The pigs and the sheep suppose to co-exist in one allocated area.  Are they not talking to each other?   (Dooku, a simple man as he is, may not aware that pigs and sheep do not normally talk to each other.)   Again, Dooku takes the liberty to slightly rearrange the housing estate, making it more like pigs and sheep living in harmony.   He then combines the two marketplaces into one by knocking down some walls, clearly labels the “Vegetarian” section for the sheep to sell their vegetables.   And the “Meat Lover” section for the pigs to sell pork chops.   As an icing on the cake, Dooku even illustrates how the outsiders should be led into the marketplace, how money can be exchanged, details that were not available in the previous model.

The peace loving sheep look at the polished model, love it, with no further question.   The war raging pigs look at the same model, hate it, and spit on it.  Because it looks superficially different from what they have seen before.  But surely this is a more polished design, Dooku asks.  Besides, what lie inside the houses and the marketplace remain unchanged.   Unfortunately, the pigs cannot be reasoned with and insist that something major, other that cosmetic, has been modified.   Flabbergasted, Dooku is asked to organize a town hall meeting that involves a large team of people and pigs and sheep to iron out the differences.   In the meeting, Chief Porky goes on and on about not able to verify the interior design of the houses and of the marketplace for the mere fact that the model looks different.  And he has no time or found it too tedious to reconcile the two, unlike his sheep counterpart.  More and more time is poured into this pointless discussion whereby in the good old day, Dooku would have seen his maize grow beautifully, day by day, taking in the sunlight from the sky and the water mixed with the cow dung from the ground, turning into something so yummy in salad and in soup.   As this pointless discussion carries on, in this farm now called office, Dooku wonders what does time and effort turn into.  The pigs talk louder, more and more.   Chief Porky bangs onto table going into all four (instead of the usual civilized standing posture).  Dooku cannot help but daydream.  In his dream, he sees a parallel universe.  In this dream, he is a bird.  An angry bird.  Together with his fellow birdies, they have launched an angry attack against the pigs.  Because enough is enough.   One flying angry bird threatens to pulverize the home of the pigs.  Two flying angry birds threaten to penetrate the pigs’ last defense.  As more and more angry birds rain down from the heaven, the pigs are squashed into oblivion.   Mashed together with the cow dung, this enhanced pig-cow dung serves as a rich fertilizer to the maize nearby.  What was so irritatingly useless in pig form becomes so useful mixed with dung.   Maize grows and grows, getting taller and taller almost touching the heaven and bum!

Dooku wakes up.  It is dinner time.  And he orders a pork chop served with corns feeling a whole lot better already.

Snippet Of My Life Episode 26 – Maize Farmer And A Chef

The company I work for has recently published a guideline on what not to share in a social networking environment, which includes personal websites I suppose.  It is now officially out of the question to post the photo of that huge condom machine commonly found inside our office toilets a while ago.  Because that is a photo taken inside the building and we are not allowed to share it to the public.  Too bad.  It is one of the cutest condom machines I have seen.

In any case, I am a small fry inside this gigantic organization.  You don’t expect me to write in a coded message from now on, do you?

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One day, as Dooku hikes along yet another random country road looking for something to earn a living, he spots a sign saying: Maize Farmer Wanted.  What does Dooku know about farming maize?  No matter.  His stomach is growling and anything is better than taking another hike the next day, and the day after.

It is a simple business.  At the end of the farming season, Dooku delivers the maize to the factories that turn the maize into different products used by the restaurants nearby.  Dooku works closely with the restaurant owners and knows precisely their requirements, what is needed for each of their dishes.  Juicy, fresh, and pest free maize grown to the highest quality, Dooku takes pride in farming maize even though it is quite a brainless job compares to what he did in the past.  Dooku has become one with his maize.

For reasons beyond Dooku’s comprehension, the factory owners have taken over the farms.  One day, a representative from one of the factories knocks on Dooku’s door.  Dooku being a good host invites this stranger inside and offers him a piece of sweet corn tart.

“We should not be farming maize.  In fact, if it is up to us, the restaurant owners should send in their waiters and waitresses to farm maize,” says the stranger with a smile.  “If I don’t farm maize, what else can I do?” asks Dooku.  The stranger continues with his smile and offers no further explanation.

Perplexed and confused, Dooku works even harder trying to focus not on the uncertainty.  The next day, the factory owners have sent in a few of their workers who doubled as maize farmers.  Dooku feels even more perplexed.  At the end of yet another farming season, Dooku compares his maize to those grown by the factory workers.  Clearly they are different.  In no way the restaurant owners would not notice!  His is juicy, fresh and pest free while others are not as juicy and not as big.

One evening, Dooku has decided to disguise himself as a dining customer and investigate.  He has talked to other customers and he has talked to the kitchen staffs in an attempt to find out if the sweet corn supplied by him is indeed better than others.  One chef shakes his head and says, “You see, these are canned food.  All canned food tastes the same.  Unlike wine that is characterized by the year and region, a can of sweet corn is just a can of sweet corn.  It is merely a mean to an end.  In this case, it is not the sweet corn that makes this dish famous.  It is the freshness of crab meat, the right amount of flour and water, my secret seasoning, together with a can of sweet corn that makes people wanting to pay for this bowl of soup.  Understand?  These are canned food.  Not wine.”

Deflated, Dooku is feeling smaller and smaller.  As though going through a merciless machinery that processes food of one form to another, Dooku finds himself breaking into pieces.  Soon he finds elements of him trapped inside a huge cylinder mixed with elements of others.  The last thing he sees is a lid that seals the container.  And then, all Dooku can see is darkness, homogeneously coexists with others.

The next morning, Dooku is nowhere to be found.  In the afternoon, a new sign is erected.  And it says: Maize Farmer Wanted.

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Working as a chef you would imagine taking order only from the restaurant owner and the customers.  Not for Chef Dooku.

A waiter, a demanding waiter whom in Dooku’s eyes looks more like a stranger in this restaurant than someone who serves food to the customers walks into the kitchen.  “We need the Royal Seafood Platter,” says the waiter with a smile.  “Today,” adds he.  Seafood is not in season.  Neither does the restaurant has the right ingredients for this grand dish!  Dooku tries to reason with the waiter but the waiter stands his ground and says, “We need the Royal Seafood Platter, today.”

“But who will be ordering it?” asks Dooku.  “No one is ordering Royal Seafood Platter in this time of the year!” adds Dooku.  The waiter consults with another waitress and in unison, they say, “Royal Seafood Platter, today!”

Dooku has seen this before.  And he is seeing it now.  Who is going to eat the dish, even if he manages to cook it?  Dooku is a hard worker.  He seldom complains.  First, he drops by the nearest aquarium store and buys some goldfish.  Next, he visits the garden by the restaurant and pulls out some weeds.  With his magical hands, in-depth knowledge, and a few good drops of sweat from his forehead, Dooku works throughout the day to create this signature dish called Royal Seafood Platter.

Feeling satisfied, Dooku rings the bell notifying the pair of waiter and waitress that the dish is ready.  Minutes have passed and the dish still sits on the same place waiting to be served.  Minutes become hours and in closing hour, Royal Seafood Platter is served into the trash bin.  Like before.

Days later, Dooku has to dash to the nearest aquarium store and buy some goldfish, for yet another Royal Seafood Platter that he bets nobody will eat.  Not because the dish is bad, but it is not something people eat in this time of year.  After the purchase, instead of heading straight to the restaurant, Dooku stops and asks the store owner, “Do you care what happens to your goldfish once they leave your store?”

The store owner looks Dooku into his eyes and replies,”Look, my job is to supply you with goldfish when you need some.  In return, I get paid for selling them to you.  Whether you display them in your living room, or replace them as you are supposed to keep the original ones alive while their owners are on holiday, or feed them to bigger fish, it is none of my business.”

That evening, Dooku has a dream.  In his dream, the goldfish are different.  They have faces that resemble the faces of the pair of waiter and waitress!  To a skilled chef, this poses as no challenge in making his legendary Royal Seafood Platter.  Dooku reckons that this time round, the dish may taste somewhat different.  May even be better.  But who would know?  No one is eating it anyway.