Have any of you read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War?”
If you haven’t, the book is basically a “philosophical treatise” on strategy that emphasises how one can subdue the enemy without risking one’s defences. In a nutshell, Sun Tzu imagined war to be a “poker-and-chess” game between two contending factions, each having a great deal to lose should the game be won carelessly. It’s kindda like how the Battle of Thermopylae was fought between the Greek alliance led by King Leonidas of Sparta and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I (go check it out online).
From learning to “appear weak when you’re strong and strong when you’re weak,” the battle was more a testament of how forces of patriotism tend to prevail but no less a lesson in the war of perception. There are those who seem to think that Dr Mahathir Mohamad outwitted Barisan Nasional by employing methods from the Battle of Thermopylae. But not only is that far from the truth, if you’re one of those who think of him as Malaysia’s Sun Tzu, you’re as big a dreamer as Charles Darwin was.
“The Art of War” is as obsolete as Mahathir’s legacy is soon going to be. Until and unless he meets a certain ‘someone’, he will never be able to anticipate the kind of trouble his leadership is in. He’s so coxk sure he has his base covered that he thinks the war was won on the 9th of May 2018. What he fails to understand, is not only will the mother of all elections be the 15th general election (GE15), that ‘someone’ has already led him down the garden path and is just waiting to ‘pounce’ on him.
And Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” didn’t help him anticipate this?
You see, the book is missing two important chapters:
Chapter 14: Villains who twirl moustaches are easy to spot
Chapter 15: Villains who clothe themselves in good deed are well camouflaged
How do these chapters apply?
Sometime in 2013, the DAP began burrowing ‘canals’ through the world wide web with the help of a group of cybertroopers known as the Red Bean Army (RBA). It’s kind of like how earthworms burrow canals through soils leading to the soils’ aeration and fertilization. But when you have too many canals in a given plot, the soil structure gradually weakens and leads to the caving in of those canals. Once that happens, you end up with a huge problem on your hands given that the soil would be poorly aerated and lack proper nutrients for plant growth.
The moral of the story?
You simply can’t have too many earthworms burrowing canals at a given time. And as most of you are probably aware, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. The DAP hired too many cybertroopers to pump the world wide web with fake news. The pumping of that news became uncontrollable the minute ordinary web users began following suit. While the DAP had absolute control over its own troopers, it had no control whatsoever over the stuff ordinary internet users were pumping into the net.
And that’s when problems began?
The more internet users flooded the web with “RBA styled drivel,” the quicker the web’s defence protocols churned out “RBA filters.” Protocols are basically a set of rules intelligent systems possess to ensure the meaningful transmission of data. When you’re dealing with fake news, you have to understand that the flow of data is never really meaningful. Basically, when someone puts something fake out there, it can contain anything under the sun and is limited only by the imagination of that someone.
Thus, the more RBA filters you have, the higher the likelihood that these filters will develop into a huge “security net” that gradually works towards latching meaningful information to fake data. It’s quite like the collapse of the earthworm canals, really. Once the canals collapse, air tends to diffuse at ridiculously low rates through the soil given the smaller passageways it has to travel. Likewise, it would get increasingly difficult for fake news to get imprinted onto your conscience as some of its space online is taken up by “truth news.”
It’s all too complicated. Any simpler explanation?
Well, let’s suppose that a news portal publishes fake news regarding our national debt. Now, let’s further suppose that this news portal gets listed right up in Google and registers some 500,000 or so readers. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Not until you realise, that thanks to the RBA, the web has already generated enough filters to detect something amiss and would immediately juxtapose the news item with more accurate ones.
What this means, is that a reader who combs down the Google page would also come across other news items, editorials or information pieces telling him (or her) the truth. In a nutshell, it would become increasingly difficult as the months go by for news portals to con people. As it is, we’re already seeing truth pieces by brand new blogspots appearing alongside fake editorials by established portals. By the time the 15th general election draws near, you can forget about “appearing weak when you’re strong and strong when you’re weak” because the internet will never let you do so.
I bet you Sun Tzu didn’t know this, did he?
He didn’t, because the internet didn’t exist in his day.
Besides, he was not around to pen chapters 14 and 15. Chapter 14 states, that should you fly straight in the face of a Machiavellian, he will take you for a fool should you be a ‘nobody’. It adds, that if it is a war you’re seeking, the war has to be fought through the internet and not by rallying on the streets. Accordingly, the more the Machiavellian ignores you, the more you should recite truths about those closest to him and challenge HIM to prove you wrong.
The chapter also states, that the more you pose these challenges, the more his ‘troops’ would ‘defend’ him by flooding the internet with fake news. Once that happens, the internet will have enough protocols to contend with every untruth coming from him. Over time, he will find himself having to fend off more criticisms than praise as more and more readers become disillusioned with him. Before long, the villain who twirled his moustache would be the easiest to spot and would pave the way Towards GE15.
Brilliant, isn’t it?
Yes, sometimes, the question is not if one should go to war, but what one considers to be a war and who to go to war with…
To be continued…