SMRT FEEDBACK FOUNDING MEMBER: WHAT I DO IN THE SHADOWS

I remember it was in the evening of December 15, 2011 when I logged into IRC to see a flood of comments about the MRT disruption. It was to be one of the worst train disruption in SMRT's history. And then we had a plan.

I was part of an online community in IRC. It wasn't very big. We had a channel called #brainy where like-minded people with an interest in everything that's to do with human intelligence come together to have a banter. By intelligence, I do not refer to the collection of information that is of military or political value, but rather, the understanding of the power of reasoning, logic, and acuity. 

The rules of the community was simple. None of us were to communicate in their own names or exchange personal information about ourselves. Everyone was anonymous. The idea was that without a face and the knowledge of a person's character, no one will be able to have a cognitive bias about the individual. Without such bias, any discourse about a myriad of topics are seen with neutrality, without any irrationality in judgement due to inferences about the person's background. 

"Let there be light, and there was light."

On December 16, 2011, right after the major breakdown, someone in the community lamented about how there wasn't any proper feedback channel for SMRT that was real-time. It was then the page SMRT Ltd (Feedback) was formed. The intent was to compile all complaints into one easily digestible page to get SMRT to look into. 

Of course, some of us felt it was a very boh liao thing to do at the time but coincidentally, the topic of discussion during the day in that channel was on the concept of Totalism, more specifically, Psychological Totalism

Psychological Totalism is the idealogical concept of total control over human behaviour and thought. This may sound complex but it's basically the idea that we can change human perception through a controlled conversation flow that seeks to exploit specific behavioural patterns and emotions of an individual with the objective of changing a negative perception into that of positivity.

I'm a big fan of dry humour, although I'm not exactly very humorous in nature. We had two accounts for the page: the Administrator, and the Editor. The guy/lady that started the page was the administrator, and anyone from the #brainy community who wants in can log in through an Editor account. 

The Editor account is shared amongst other people including myself. I'm not entirely sure how many are there but the structure was simple enough to have a fallback contingency. The rule of our wolf pack was that anonymity has to be maintained; there should be no political discussions whatsoever, and that any disclosure as to who's behind the page has to be from a personal angle instead of a group. (Eg. I am the page admin as opposed to several people are the page admins.) This was to ensure personal responsibility in the event the page have run-ins with the law. Let's face it. Nobody is going to go to jail for you. If one gets caught, he faces the penalties whilst the Facebook page remains in it's entirety.

Failing to conform to these rules will have access to the Editor role removed and access to the #brainy channel banned. This was a tough penalty because the IRC channel was a place where we shared alot of research topics; from brain hacking to philosophy, determinism and free will. Anything and everything. It was a goldmine of information and access to this community was by referral. One has to go through a simple series of test in network penetration and social engineering. It was our collective belief that if one is able to traverse a network without much digital footprint, he or she is competent enough to protect him or herself, and to keep the consequential effects of anonymity at bay, a belief that forms the building blocks of the #brainy community.

"Shots fired! Shots fired!"

We all had our day-jobs. To keep the engagement running, anyone who was free at any particular point of time will post on the page. I started posting on December 17, 2011. It was the day of the 2nd largest breakdown, and boy did I had fun.

I was known as the "Customer Service Guy" in the group. If you had message SMRT Feedback between December 2011 and June 2012, and you've received some smartass remark, that was probably me. 

I am also that guy who is still finding that kueh

I mastered the art of Tai-chi too.

I didn't really ace my Math but I guess I got the concept right.

And of course, Philosophy.

The administrator does not seem to be an active participant of the page since early 2012. Every year, between January to March, SMRT Feedback will be unpublished for at least 48 hours. Posts deemed very controversial will be removed by the administrator, and once it's been cleaned up, the page gets publish again. 

The page has since grown into Singapore's social media badass (or dumbass as some would call it), known for its dark humour and snarky wit. It was the effort of a collective, with a a belief that if you want to confront something head-on, you put everything out in the open instead of suppressing opinions and painting a fantastical picture over it. By suppressing thoughts, you amplify curiosity and if there is no proper channel for feedback, these curiosities will manifest itself into perception, creating an illusion of truth and with time, will be perceived as being the truth itself.

But of course, the reality of life took a toll. Many left and many joined. I left before the turn of the first quarter of 2012 to focus on a start-up. Priorities changed and the page was left to run on it's own by anyone who is boh liao enough to do so. Many of SMRT Feedback's followers who have been religiously keeping up with the page updates have noticed a change in tonality and overall 'feel'. I don't fault them. The old guards are now gone, and the freshlings took over. It's been close to 4 years, surely many would have move forward in life. I did.

By 2013, the #brainy IRC group no longer exist. It has been running since 2004. And now here I am prepping myself up for the General Elections. I've stood for public office before, more specifically, stood infront of it – at the Police Cantonment Complex. 

I'm not a fan of politics. It's annoying all these back and forth talk about what's good for the people and what's not. I think all political parties have their fair share of good idealogy and at the same time, both camps have idiots saying idiotic things. I wanted to be rational; that common man on the street who wants his voice heard. 

I didn't come from a privileged background, neither is my father a 'sombody'. I didn't go through the traditional route of education. I went for night classes at the Singapore Accountancy Academy whilst at the same time studying for my 'O' level. I went into NS earlier than my cohort, and along the way dropped out of ACCA. I was heavily involved in start-ups and the creation of things although I didn't actually create anything particularly useful.

And now it comes to this. The Teh Tarik Party

I developed the concept of Teh Tarik Economics to represent the philosophical idea of determinism where every human decisions and actions are based from preceding circumstances, both cognitive and metaphysical, to cause a future chain of events shaped out of our individual motives and desires. Such events are then influenced through Psychological Totalism, as explained earlier – the idealogical concept of total control over human behaviour and thought.

Truth to be told, I'm not exactly sure what I've just said or how Teh Tarik has any relation to determinism.

But one thing I know for sure is that to make a good mug of teh tarik, the contributing ingredients that forms the drink has to be in harmony. With the right mix and the right temperature, we are able to create a nice consistency.

This can be applied to politics. Any policies proposed has to be in harmony with each other to collectively form the system. With the right diversity and the right environment, only then can the system be consistent. 

I created the Manifesto to represent this consistency. It's idealistic and radical, but perhaps it's something that we need for Singapore. If you haven't already read the Manifesto, here are the policies that I've covered:

3. Tax
Let's face it. It's not the future of our children we are worried about. We are more worried that we have to pay for their asses in the future. Nobody wants to make a living. They simply want to retire early. There's a difference. 

I end this note with the hope that Singaporeans will now think rationally when deciding the future of Singapore. Don't oppose for the sake of opposing, and don't be blinded by populist ideology. I am not pro-Singaporean neither do I accept the definition of a 'true-blue Singaporean'. When we divide people into different categories and class, we are in for a downward spiral, and it's something that I cannot accept. 

 
The current team at SMRT Feedback will continue to do what they do best and I thank them for helping me to amplify the manifesto. This is also part of their public disclosure policy, to ensure the Government, the Authorities and the people, that SMRT Feedback is here to stay and will be the neutral voice for Singapore, without fear nor favour. I'm no longer part of them but I guess once you've put on the mask, you carry their legacy. And yes, they are still anonymous. I have no idea who they are and it's not anytime soon that their identities will be revealed because the structure and design is pretty much failsafe – has been for the past 4 years, and will remain so for the next few years.

I may or may not run for elections, but the manifesto is there for everyone to figure out where their vote goes to. 

In the near future, I'll probably be walking to court with a target behind my back, but I guess that's the beauty of karma.
 

To one and all, my name is Azly J Nor. In case I don't see you, good morning, good evening, and goodnight.

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