I went through my 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms' phase a few years ago.
The tales of Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhuge Liang, Lu Bu, Zhou Yu, Sima Yi, Cao Cao seemed so fantastical and heroic.
Another friend of mine has been playing games based on the saga, and he has started reading up on the actual text, which I skimmed through and threw away in frustration.
Have also been interviewing old, retired Special Branch officers recently, for a documentary. The sense that I get from these people is that it is possible to live a life of honour and be straight as a rod, and still come out alive at the other end.
And that this country - perhaps others as well - was built on the actions and deeds of a few good men (and women) who fought for what they believe in, not with hate but with an honest intensity that brings tears to my eyes.
If I were in China during the Three Kingdoms period, I think I would have died in two days. I am not born to lie and cheat and be as crafty as the generals there. But I may have had better luck with the old Malaysia. Simpler times, with values I respect.
The old SB guys, they put a lot of stock in dedication to work, and doing all you can. Not showboating or one upmanship or living in spite and hatred. In fact, the SBs all had good things to say about the enemies they faced. Even those who tried to kill them on a regular basis.
One guy said to me, "When you see bodies of dead people, you realise how things work and it instills in you a sense of gratitude and appreciation of life."
Lots of bad things have been said about the SB guys and the police, but my experience of them is very similar to the generals and warlords of the Three Kingdoms period.
They have given me a lift in my spirits, to continue on my path as a vagabond. Samurai Spirit!