Friday, December 31, 2010


It is tempting to gaze into the crystal to see what one hopes 2011 will be like. Well, less racial nonsense will be a very good thing. 

No prayer in the world will prevent excessive politicking from occurring in Malaysia. But, unlike straightjacketed places like Singapore or China, Malaysia has a vibrant democratic ethos. So, politics or, even the excess of it, is something we will all have to accept.

That is not a bad thing if there is sufficient civility and a large dollop of good sense.
pix from here.

I, for one, am very proud of our great nation.

No, it's not just because I cheered myself hoarse in both legs of the Suzuki AFF finals where our young Harimaus broke valiant Indonesian hearts.

And, it's not just because my firm's order book for 2011 looks damn promising.

It's because Malaysia has weathered the results of the 2008 General Elections very well in spite of the sea-change from BN's loss of it's two-thirds majority.

Yes, there has been a lot of unsatisfactory tactics and blatant cheating. Yes, corruption still needs to be tackled even more firmly. Yes, street crime is still a source of great concern for all Malaysians.

These are challenges that we shall have to face.

It is the job of the Loyal Opposition to throw brickbats. Equally, it is the job of the Party in Government to counter the brickbats and swing some of its own. That's democracy. 

As citizens, it will be for each of us to dutifully support any leader who argues for stronger audits of the governance of the Federal Centre and each of the States.

Above all else, to my mind, we must be the most vigilant about the Local Governments whose incompetence, bad planning and sheer abuse and neglect, has caused each and every one of us to suffer from traffic jams, poor road maintenance, non-functioning traffic lights, unlit street lights and the list goes on. We, the ratepayers, must hold those buggers running the Local Governments to account.

For, in the final analysis, the average citizen's most frequent contact with the GOVERNMENT is at the Local Government level.

Have a good New Year celebration, Malaysia.

Saturday, December 25, 2010



pix from here

My seasons greetings to all Malaysians who are celebrating Christmas. To the rest of Malaysia and elsewhere, I wish you happy holidays.

I thought a tropical Christmas picture will balance out the news of winter chills and airport closures in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ronald Coase turns 100

Many blogger buddies may be piqued to learn that part of Ronald Coase's work, if properly applied by Rais Yatim's Ministry, would have prevented much of the criticism levelled at the Minister, the Ministry and the Commission that regulates telecommunications in Malaysia.

Read Coase's description of his work in this area (emphasis added by me):

"I made a study of the Federal Communications Commission which regulated the broadcasting industry in the United States, including the allocation of the radio frequency spectrum. I wrote an article, published in 1959, which discussed the procedures followed by the Commission and suggested that it would be better if use of the spectrum was determined by the pricing system and was awarded to the highest bidder. This raised the question of what rights would be acquired by the successful bidder and I went on to discuss the rationale of a property rights system." 

I stumbled onto Ronald Coase's considerable corpus of work on economics and law when I was pursuing postgraduate academic studies. 

Coase is best known for the following work which I have embedded links to Wiki:

The problem of social cost; and, most especially (to me)

Economic analysis of law aka Law and Economics.

More to the point, Coase's work is extremely helpful when we try to evaluate the costs and benefits of government regulation. Malaysia can certainly use Coase's methodology when deciding on economic policy and regulations within the context of fair economic competition. But, this is not the time and place to discuss the matter. This post is about honouring Coase and his contribution to our understanding of the economics of commercial transactions and government regulations for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Economics.

Coase, born on 29th December 1910, will turn 100 next week. An amazing longevity achieved by an amazing mind.
Ronald H. Coase
The Schumpeter column of The Economist has rightly honoured the man who was born in the United Kingdom and, since 1951, resided in the United States.

Coase was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1991. I offer you his autobiography written by Coase himself in 1991 on the occasion of the Nobel Prize award:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Zhuge Liang as a Tragic Hero

Don't mind me. It's just me squirrelling away some acorns during my period of hibernation...

Sourced from here. An essay by AshleyTerra. 

A star falls to announce the death of Zhuge Liang, one of the most beloved characters of Three Kingdoms. At first glance, the attraction seems obvious: he is popular because he is a hero with a whole slew of victories. In fact, he is so successful and skilled that many, including C.T. Hsia, consider him the main hero of Three Kingdoms (31). As a scholar hero, he kills opponents "with the tip of his tongue, or, better, of his brush" instead of a sword and is both "daring and courageous… in court and council" (Ruhlmann 161). However, this interpretation fails to provide a satisfactory explanation because the novel is filled with successful heroes, like Zhao Zilong, who never gains the same adoration. When one takes a look at the historical Zhuge Liang, one would find that he was "simply a prominent figure to whom one might feel varying proportions of admiration or disgust… as toward any other influential person in public life" (Henry 604) despite all his successes in his lifetime. It was only after his death that popular sentiment turns to adulation, beginning in the area where he died (Henry 608). This gives the necessary clue to suggest that it was not Zhuge Liang's successes as a scholar hero that endeared him to the public, but rather the tragic nature of his heroism as a Confucian hero.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Borowitz slays me

Here's the headline from the satirical, political lampooning, take-the-Mickey-out-of-politicos, Borowitz Report....

U.S. Orders Diplomats to Stop Telling Truth Until Further Notice

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – In the first major policy fallout from the WikiLeaks disclosures, the State Department has ordered all U.S. diplomats to “cease and desist telling the truth until further notice.”
“We are working overtime to try to make sure that leaks like these don’t happen again,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters.  “But until we’ve got the leaks plugged, it’s incumbent on all our diplomats to put on their lying caps.”

Secretary Clinton noted that since many US diplomats are major political donors with long careers in the business world, “this shouldn’t be a reach for them.”

But for those career diplomats who came up through the Foreign Service, the State Department will be holding a series of “truth avoidance seminars,” led by executives of Goldman Sachs.

Additionally, Secretary Clinton said, the State Department would install on all diplomats’ computers new software called CandorShield™, which automatically translates truthful language into a less embarrassing truth-free version.

For example, she explained, the software would translate the phrase “two-faced weasels” into “trusted Pakistani allies” and would delete all references to French President Nicolas Sarkozy as “Monsieur Shorty Pants.”

Elsewhere, Interpol issued this statement about its pursuit of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: “We will find Julian Assange, and then we will hire him.”