Friday, February 20, 2009

X-Rated naked economics

That was the title-caption of Malay Mail's Friday edition piece on economics bloggers. I actually found the title-caption quite amusing since it's central thrust (pun intended) was to sex-up the typically flaccid (yes, intended again) subject of economics.

The piece appropriately begins with the blogger Sakmongkol AK-47. It also dealt with Tengku Razaleigh's blog that focused on economics. And, it also mentions this blog *blush*

It also deals with other econs bloggers. Read the piece here and, an accompanying piece about etheorist here.

All thanks must go to Sakmongkol for having drawn attention to this blog and, etheorist's. Thank you, brother Sak.

X-Rated naked economics
By By NJ AHMAD February 20, 2009 Categories: Cyberspot

X-Rated naked economics IT’s been politics at full throttle for Malaysia since early last year, which is set to continue until the end of 2009.

And that’s not a good thing, for there is something looming on the horizon (some say it’s already here) – the global financial crisis.

And this will directly affect every one of us a lot more than who becomes the prime minister, the Umno deputy president or what other material there is about nowon- leave Selangor exco Elizabeth Wong.

This is the warning given by prominent socio-political blogger Datuk Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz, who is better known by his nom de plume of Sakmongkol AK47 ( ).

In an interview with Cyberspot last Wednesday, Ariff said the national obsession with politics has had the effect of diverting resources away from the need to be fully focused on dealing with the global financial crisis that started in the United States.

And Ariff, who is a former Pahang state assemblyman and has a masters degree in economics, blames the government and also opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for this lack of concentration.

“The government has been too secretive and has been slow in acknowledging the economic fallout from the US. And this threat of taking over the federal government through crossover of MPs – how can the national leaders fully concentrate when this is repeated again and again?” he said.

Ariff said it is fortunate that those with experience and expertise in matters concerning the economy – and who are aware of the unique strengths and weaknesses of Malaysia – have taken to writing their opinions and recommendations to be perused and discussed on the Internet.

Foremost among them is former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah – a close member of the Kelantan royal family and, as described by Ariff, “the best Prime Minister we never had”.

Tengku Razaleigh has had a presence in Cyberspace for a number of years through his website. However, it was only quite recently – in September last year – that he started a blog ( ), probably inspired to an extent by the overwhelming success in the blogosphere of his former political rival Tun Mahathir Mohamad ( ).

He may be a late starter when it comes to blogs but Tengku Razaleigh is Internet savvy enough to be aware of the multimedia functions available to enhance his site. In his latest post titled “1993”, there are also You-Tube videos accompanying his writing about the constitutional amendments of 1993 and the current situation in Perak.

Tengku Razaleigh’s writings on economic matters are of no less importance due to his vast experience.

Credentials are something this blogger doesn’t lack: besides having been Finance Minister, he was also a former Chairman of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank.

X-Rated naked economics A lesser known economics blogger is lawyer CT Choo. There may be other local bloggers who also write on similar matters but there is a distinct competitive advantage in Choo’s De Minimis site ( ) – his clarity and level-headedness.

(De Minimis is Latin for ‘minimal things’. It is also an abbreviated form of the maxim and legal doctrine de minimis non curat lex – “the law cares not for small things”. In a lawsuit, a court applies the de minimis doctrine to avoid the resolution of trivial matters that are not worthy of judicial scrutiny.)

The writer may be a specialist in both law and economics but he appears to understand that most bloghoppers aren’t. Far from burdening readers with impressive-but-unfathomable graphs and charts, and peppering them with technical jargon, Choo’s writings move in the opposite direction. And this is a welcomed relief for those seeking to understand issues concerning the economy but who lack the basics of this field.

After the change of government in Perak, national attention will start to focus on the Umno general assembly next month. And then it will be the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections, with the possibility of one in Bukit Lanjan too. Then there is Anwar Ibrahim, with the possibility of another “September 16” always lingering in the subconscious.

What now for Malaysia's economy? Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will announce a second economic stimulus package on March 10. Hopefully, his economic advisors are savvy enough to take into consideration the suggestions and recommendations made by prominent economics bloggers – for everyone's sake.

● Former journalist and now free-lance writer NJ Ahmad wonders how the Theory of Marginal Utility features in Malaysian politics.

Thoughts on the dismal science
February 20, 2009 Categories: Cyberspot

Thoughts on the dismal science STILL operating below the radar of most blog-surfing Malaysians, is the economist behind Economic Policy: The Side View ( He certainly has what the majority of blogs do not: insightful posts with substance.

As written in his profile: "No uncertainty now; we're in recession. The world economy is shifting from west to east, right to left."

As an introduction, what follows is his latest post:

Maintaining Confidence

How does one maintain confidence in the face of disaster?

If there is a tsunami, or a massive outback bush fire, or a financial meltdown or an incapacitation of the economy or a massive heart attack, the correct posture should not be one that suggests it is not a serious matter.

The correct posture should be to find out exactly what is wrong - to get as much data and information as possible, analyse them and then try to come up with a logical conclusion and a course of action.

Not only should more data and information be analysed for the authorities, but such data and information should be made public so that the public has an idea of the situation and respond accordingly in their own way.

I wonder whether what happened to Pompeii was because of the policy on managing confidence, so that the public did not panic and lived as if today would be like yesterday.


Mat Cendana said...

I think this is just right, having you mentioned with Sakmongkol and Tengku Razaleigh. I have to say that your posts on things economics are the easiest to understand.

The same with posts that are related to politics - they are SANE; quite unlike the rabid, foaming in the mouth posts that you can read all over blogosphere. And the type like yours are actually the most influential.

But some people think the louder you are, the more effective. Well, just go ahead and shout until you become hoarse. Or lose your voice. But you won't get much; and it's "results" that's the most important.

de minimis said...

Bro Mat C

As always, you are most generous and encouraging in your remarks. Thank you.

Lawyer Kampung said...

Congrats bro! Your blog deserved that. Cheers :-)

Anonymous said...

Bravo to you, Bro Sak and etheorist for being recognised in MSM. It'll go some way to make the MSM more readable than the usual sugar coated articles.

All of you are doing GREAT national service unlike the 3 month stint by Form 5 leavers !

de minimis said...

ben & bro LK

Thanks for the encouragement.

satD said...

wah wah..bro de minimis

famous ma!!!...can get autograph or not

de minimis said...

bro satD