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a long post to blow off some steam January 13, 2009

Posted by youppe in general, personal.
31st December 2008
i met an interesting character during the weekend, who claimed that he is an ‘anarchist’, with the big well-known anarchism ‘A’ stitched on his backpack. i was surprised by the bold claim, but nevertheless excited at the same time. in this age of full-blooded capitalism, where can you find a thoroughbred communist, socialist and even more so an anarchist??? especially in the current bleak economic condition, already dubbed “the twilight of capitalism” whose casualty list reads like the who’s who of capitalist icons, any curious bugger like me would be dying to interview a through-and-through socialist/communist and asked them how they felt, and hear the i-told-you-so’s and the gloating to follow. even Alan Greenspan – the former Federal Reserve chairman of 20 years, who presided over sustained economic boom at the height of capitalism – has been openly bashed & criticized; no one dares to say anything bad about Greenspan in those glory years, you’ll immediately get burned at the stakes! indeed, Marx and Lenin must be smiling in their graves while the likes of Friedman and Keynes must be turning in theirs.
however, i was to be disappointed, my excitement would be found to be shortlived. though still young, with his specs and tie and well-buttoned shirt he looks intelligent and knows his stuff. but he never even heard of Mikhail Bakunin or Peter Kropotkin. he didn’t even know that anarchism is a branch of the socialist/communist idealogies, nor did he understand the difference between them. hell, he couldn’t even tell me convincingly, what anarchism is all about. he champions anarchism just to look cool, he screams the anthemic anti-capitalist slogan ‘All Capitalist Are Bastards’ (made popular by usually left-leaning punk bands), with only the vaguest idea of what it’s all about. and never even heard of Bakunin?… anarchist my ass!!
ahhh… the youth. the brash insolence of it, the ignorance and the carelessness. as if the world is there for the taking, nothing can take you down. those were the glory days, but for some part, i’m glad it was over for me.
here’s for growing up. for getting older, stronger and wiser.
ps… don’t mind me, i feel old every New Year’s Eve. maybe because my birthday is also in January. ;p
pss… if you really have no idea, why don’t you just stick with the Quran and Sunnah? why bother with all these other philosophies that’s gonna give you just headaches?
11th January 2009
have you ever felt like….
you haven’t met this person for a very long time, and you know you missed her. deep down you know you missed her. and then finally, one day, you saw her for the first time after so many years….. and only then you realized, actually just how much you’ve been missing her. like something swept through you, and made you realize just how heavy is the burden in your heart, that has been missing her in all this time.
it also made you realized, for a fact, that you can’t live without her.
have you ever felt like that?
13th January 2009
i have a new hobby.
i have always enjoyed reading. (no, it is not the new hobby). i always refer to it as my ‘secret’ passion, because not many people knew this about me. i used to read a whole lot of novels & fictions during my school years and then later in university, the whole nine yards from Puzo to Grisham to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and even Picoult and Cabot. the non-fictions? ahh, they must be dry and boring, bereft of those nifty storylines and beautifully-constructed sentences of beautiful words that i liked so much.
nowadays, however, it was the non-fictions that gave me the thrills and a whole new dimension to the term ‘engaged reading’. (if you think Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code is engaging and a page-turner, try reading Michael Gordon’s Cobra II, an intimate insider account of the Iraq Invasion from pre-planning stage to the day-to-day operation). yes, i have indeed, switch sides. i’m not quite sure why, some people say it’s because i got older. haha, maybe that’s true. but don’t get me wrong, i have nothing against novels & fictions; any read is a good read, even more so when you consider the fact that most people (especially Malaysians) are too lazy to read anything, even the newspaper. and no, i don’t read all the time; nowadays where got time maaaaa????
anyway, my new hobby is … writing book reviews! ahaha. i was sifting through Facebook’s gazillion mess of widgets & applications and found Visual Bookshelf through one of the requests, and it has been fun since, it’s addictive! ahaha. well, here i pasted several reviews that i’ve done through Visual Bookshelf, of some books that i thought were ‘best-in-class’ written by award-winning authors, in the hope to spread the knowledge and perhaps encouraged more reading especially to the younger generations. (wow, speaking like a 65-years-old).
The Return of Depression Economics & The Crisis of 2008 by Paul Krugman
krugman “2 things amazed me about this book…. first, though Krugman is a Nobel Laureate in Economics, this book is fairly understandable – like brantley said, it is not an economics book full of numbers, charts & graphs… which is always the case even with Krugman’s previous bestsellers. secondly, there’s a chapter dedicated solely to question/criticize/bash Alan Greenspan, the revered former Fed Reserve chairman, which i think is unprecedented, at least in the mainstream masses. the elevation of Greenspan as the Godfather/the Chosen One/the Messiah of capitalism, up to the point that we fully surrender upon him to take care of our economic well-being, is exactly the kind of thing that we do not need right now, to halt the crisis of confidence that is currently bleeding the market, Krugman argued. with capitalism under attack on a world-scale and its favourite sons bashed and now even doubts themselves, is this really the twilight of the capitalist Gods? highly recommended.”
Malaysia’s Political Economy: Politics, Patronage, Profits by Edmund Terence Gomez & Jomo K.S.
51kq1w6cyel_sx160_“no one writes about Malaysia’s (or Mahathir-Daim-Anwar’s) “crony capitalism” during the 90s as well as Edmund Terence Gomez, and i think this is his best book on the subject, together with prominent economist Jomo KS. from Daim’s “Peremba Boys” to Anwar’s “MRCB Boys” to Renong’s Halim Saad, Berjaya’s Vincent Tan, MAS’ Tajudin Ramli, the YTL’s partriarchs, Ananda Krishnan as well as a host of other tycoons; from the privatization frenzy that changed corporate Malaysia & put important cash-cows into private hands to the the heady days of Danaharta-led Government ‘Bailouts’ during the 97/98 Economic Crisis, this is a must-read economic history of the country. highly recommended.”
The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, Power by Daniel Yergin
prize1“Oil politics 101, from the days John D Rockefeller founded Standard Oil (precursor to ExxonMobil) and became the first American billionaire, to the rise of worldwide oil ‘nationalization’ characterized by the 70s Arab oil embargo & the Iranian Revolution, that gave birth to powerful state-owned oil corporations challenging Western hegemony, until the complications of the Gulf War, on why the West could not afford to let Kuwait fall to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. now a major referential in studies relating to the history of the oil industry, it has even made into 4-part documentary by PBS (which is good, but not quite as engaging as the book).one need not wonder what the fuss is all about the ‘War on Terror’ in Iraq after reading this book.”
ps… for the list of non-fictions that i’ve read & recommend visit me at my Visual Bookshelf profile @ Facebook. i own most of them, so drop me a message if you want to borrow.
pss… other highly-recommended; Supercapitalism by Robert Reich, The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright, The Last Oil Shock by David Strahan, Superclass by David Rothkopf, House of Bush, House of Saud by Craig Unger.
psss… currently reading The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein and All The Money In The World by Peter Bernstein & Annalyn Swan.
pssss… yeah, i could finish up to RM400 a round at MPH, Borders or Times.
psssss… wow, i sounded like a geek. well, who am i kidding….. i am one!!! muahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!