‘How do you deal with enemies and competitors?’

Sunday 26 May 2013, 3.43am HKT

12.25am local time, 26°C (79°F), rain patches

SOMETIMES I get the impression that people just LUURVE to put surrealistic, self-victimising questions to me because I’m too much of a push-over for getting answers out of.

enemies closer blog by max dunbar

Artwork by Max Dunbar for FutureQuake 21
(via Future Quake Press)


“How do you deal with enemies and competitors?”

HOW the hell do you answer a question like that??!

For me, the question isn’t really about how I deal with them.

The question hides a multitude of sins. Indeed, the motherlode of those hidden sins being, to all intents and purposes, an insinuation why I have enemies and competitors.

I embarrassed to say I don’t have enemies in the outside world — at least not those of any significant worth or ability.

My fault really, I know, because I usually make no impact on life and am no good at running with the high-end enemy crowd.

Whatever I do or not do, at the very least I do this—

forgive your enemies

Your enemies remember your name, so pay them the same compliment, I’d say.

* * *

Emergency Car Breakdown Number

HERE are my pitifully abject (and mildly racist) responses:—

(All ferreted yesterday from my private thread on Facebook)

(Words in brown are ex post facto remarks for your context and MY sanity)

original public enemies by paul ward

“Original Gangsters — Public Enemies” by Paul Ward
(via Fine Art America)

“How do you deal with enemies and competitors?”

Can’t answer such a question because it’s too broad. I don’t know how I deal with ‘enemies’ and competitors because it depends on the person or party. If I had to say, it’s that I don’t lump them into pigeonholes like “enemies” and “competitors.” That’s your problem — you slot people into pigeonholes. That’s exactly how you end up collecting enemies and competitors in your lifetime.

“Unwilling to disclosure. Sure, I tend to look down [on] others.”

That’s not true. You’re just using that as a convenient excuse to hide your attitude behind it.

What you’ve done and how you’ve carried yourself all these couple of years with me HAVEN’T DISPROVED anything I’ve said about you.

Your attitude is also typical and characteristic of the Chinese people as a whole — the “me vs. them” syndrome that causes us [Chinese] to take a siege mentality. Only [REDACTED] have more hangups than us Chinese.

reflections in this mirror

“How to change this attitude? Be more human and sociable?”

Like what I’ve said about you. I asked you what’s the first thing about interacting properly — and you end up struggling like mad.

You were struggling because you hadn’t ‘lived.’ It’s just like the chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer back in the 1970s. Fischer wanted to write music but couldn’t do it. His (very few) friends told him he couldn’t because he hadn’t lived enough yet to do that. Same story apparently with you.

“Your memory is great.”

[Ex post facto: You can tell this person isn’t the type who could win the concentration sweepstakes.]

You keep asking about how to change your attitude. Maybe you should think about if a person resembling you comes to you for advice on that, then you might get some idea how to do it for yourself.

“You remember everything.”

[Ex post facto: It baffles me to hear that “knowing” something is equated with “remembering” something.]

My memory has always been great. Because I pay attention, therefore I have no need to memorise. I understand, therefore no need for memorisation. Memorisation is the longest, the hardest and the least effective way to remember things. Trying to understand something — to get at the root of things — is far, far simpler and easier to do.

Let’s say I don’t remember everything, but I forget nothing.

“Oh … such a scholar[ly] idea.”

[Ex post facto: You can tell the whole convo is in imminent danger of descending into irrelevance.]

All you local types automatically start to memorise things the moment when confronted with something slightly complex. I’ve been asked numerous times how is it that I could remember so many things in a short space of time for so long. Simple — UNDERSTANDING something is easier than memorisation.

You put too many things into pigeonholes, just like you pigeonholed what I said as a “scholarly” idea — which it isn’t.

“Complex thinking. Academic things.”

There are also technical reasons (in cognitive psychology) that favour understanding over memorisation — but those are too complex to explain here to you.

Basically, memorisation causes slowdowns in thinking because you have to recall the stuff that’s memorised. Understanding (over time) speeds up because recall isn’t much used.

That’s the short version of the technical story about understanding vs. memorisation.

Which is also why I could respond to you so quickly and more comprehensively, which you’re still trying to catch up, no?

“For conceptual ideas, there are problems in understanding. Memorisation and then digesting in daily life.”

overthinkingYou don’t know enough about conceptualisation, cognitive abilities and memory. I’ve had training and got my first degree in this crap.

You keep slotting things into pigeonholes — into neat boxes — and that doesn’t help. Most people with pretty bad attitudes tend to pigeonhole things like mad. That clearly doesn’t work in real life, so they get frustrated, so they end up pigeonholing more things, which works increasingly less for real life, and then the whole thing just descends into a sinkhole.

Have you never heard of the phrase, “death by a thousand cuts”? You ought to, as a Chinese person.

“Sure … as management … micro-categorising things.”

[Ex post facto: This person clearly ONLY looks like a Chinese, but is actually probably from another planet altogether.]

You have extreme trouble in interacting with others, mainly because you’re constantly trying to assign this or that into some kind of category, type, classification, etc, etc, etc — doing triage before there’s injury.

The simple truth of the matter is, before categorising things, we first must know and understand the nature of the thing in its entirety. Once that’s covered, then categorise, classify, etc.

Unfortunately, 99% of the people I encountered here in Hong Kong do it the other way round, that is, trying to classify things before they’ve gotten to grips with the thing in front of their faces.

triage world war one[Ex post facto: Looking back, I should’ve said that ‘feeback is the new triage’ — incidentally the headline of an article at BugHerd blog: “Triage prevents emergencies that aren’t emergencies taking up the valuable time…” Seems like ‘Afterism’ is my middle name, sometimes.]

You don’t even know what the word “rigorous” means. Stop thinking in those highfalutin’ words that you don’t understand. Most of the stuff dished out in schools here are platitudes.

You do know what platitudes mean, don’t you?

“Dun know.”

You’ve had twice more schooling and education than I have (really!) —come on…

What age did you first started school?

“Memory loss.”

[Brain loss, more like.]

You don’t notice this yourself, but every time I ask you a question, you clam up. It’s extremely annoying. It’s not the way to interact with others.

People are asking you back with questions for feedback. They’re not trying to test you out on things. You’re not that particularly worth testing out, I’m afraid. Most people generally can tell what you’re made up within the first 20 seconds.

Personally, I have a enormous range of ways to test people out, but most of the time I don’t even have to use them. Just one or two attempts and I generally have most people figured out.

So let’s not pretend that you’ve got anything worthwhile to hide or thinking I’m testing you out on something … because there’s no point otherwise. Okay?

So stop behaving like an asshole all the time…

“Do you think I am socially disconnected?”

[Ex post facto: At this point, I was looking for the nearest exit — or window to jump out of — because the conversation by now was quickly becoming an unreality.]

victim of your own mindDo I think you’re socially disconnected? TOO TRUE!!! Far too true!

You’re not only socially disconnected, but sometimes I think you’re disconnected from reality altogether.

But don’t worry, you’re not the only one! Many Hong Kong people are like you too.

[Ex post facto: It IS true, though obviously Hongkongers will take an alternative opinion about that. Come to Hong Kong, and you decide who’s right.]

A couple of weeks back I was having lunch with [LUNCHEON PARTNER]. We got talking, and our conversation eventually turned to how boring and rigid Hong Kong has become.

The [LUNCHEON PARTNER] is Hong Kong-born and bred, no overseas type.

He was saying how most people now in Hong Kong have ended up like zombies, just taking in things as they come, treating whatever they’d learnt or experienced as the gospel — the be-all, end-all for all things.

Are you still around? Am I talking to a brick wall again?

“Here. Dreaming. Living in an [sic] utopia.”

These stuff that you keep repeating — difficulty talking with others, “hidden self,” living in utopia, etc, etc, etc — they’re not things to be worn like a badge of honour, you know.

love your enemies you made them

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
Galatians 4:16


You just have to wonder about people sometimes…



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2013. (B13171)

Images: Artwork by Max Dunbar for FutureQuake 21 via Future Quake Press ♦ Forgive your enemies but remember their names via Ninja Novelty Signs ♦ Original Gangsters — Public Enemies by Paul Ward via Fine Art America ♦ Warning: Reflections in this mirror… via Who’s that girl? ♦ Overthinking via Who’s that girl? ♦ Triage during World War One via BugHerd ♦ You’re a victim of your own mind via Socially Disconnected, a defunct group on Facebook ♦ Love your enemies; after all, you made them via Things We Forget.

2 Responses to “‘How do you deal with enemies and competitors?’”

  1. Ed Hurst said

    There is some overlap with Americans in there. But I love your counter to memorization. And since I’m not really hoping for an end product in my encounters with humanity, it’s much easier.


Comments are closed.

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