Hunger is good discipline

2013-10-01 17:06

Hunger is good discipline

Kwon Bong-woon 
Ernest Miller Hemingway (1899-1961) started his memoir “A Moveable Feast” in Cuba in the autumn of 1957. He finished the book there in the spring of 1960. He recalls his time in Paris in the 1920s, beginning his writer’s life as a poor man. He described himself as a man who wanted to know how to live in the world. It seems part of the process was learning how to live in the special circumstances of his world. In those days he was too poor to go to restaurants. He would take countless walks in the Luxembourg Garden to avoid having to look at tempting eateries. Everyone could always go into the Luxembourg Museum, and there saw all the paintings sharpened and clearer and more beautiful if he were belly-empty, hollow-hungry. Hunger is healthy and the pictures do look better when you are hungry. Your hunger is contained but all of your perceptions are heightened again. Therefore hunger is a good discipline. It is necessary to handle yourself better when you have to cut down on food so you will not think too much about hunger. In a very simple story called “Soldier’s Home,” Hemingway had omitted five places of battles being fought in the story. This was omitted under his new theory that you could delete anything if you knew that in doing so the omitted part would strengthen the story and make people feel something more than they understood. If the writer is writing truthfully enough, readers will get a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighths of it being above water. There is yet another kind of hunger an artist needs. That is the theory of omission stemming from his profound knowledge and wide experience. Omission, then, is a kind of hunger too, a corner of emptiness that staves off the dullness of surfeit. You can’t afford to eat regularly. Hemingway’s theory of omission is one of the cores of his literary assets. Hemingway celebrated the memory of hunger as an appetite for fullness both of sense and of spirit. Eating and drinking with friends who understood the multiple implications of hunger made for an almost ritualistic love feast. What Hemingway learned with pride and recorded throughout “A Moveable Feast,” was that an aesthetic hunger also was healthy, and he craved to control his art. However, as a young writer, he was keenly aware of what he had to learn. With a strong hunger for foreign languages, he mastered an effective knowledge of French, Spanish and Italian. For him work could cure almost anything. What he had to do was work. Work was the best therapy. He once said the hardest thing to do is to write straight honest prose about human beings. First you have to know the subject, then you have to know how to write and both took him a lifetime to learn. If one writes them truthfully enough, he will have the economic implication a book can hold. A true work of art endures forever, no matter the politics. Art, the art of writing, is virtually Hemingway’s religion. 
The writer works for a company in Seoul. His email address is

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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