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.. rethinking everything again .. May 15, 2010

Posted by youppe in personal.
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mana ada benda yang datang bergolek. semua kena usaha lah!! kalau semua nak cepat give up, last2 apa pun tak dapat. lepas tu mula menyalahkan orang bila benda semua tak kena. padahal awal2 orang dah kata, USAHA lah!!!!

nak semua okay, nak semua happy, nak semua benda jadi macam yang kita nak… tapi ubah sikit, usaha sikit pun tak nak!!!

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ps.. learn to appreciate people, and people will appreciate you.

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– quote of the day – May 14, 2010

Posted by youppe in personal, quotes.
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i found this in Nafeesa’s blog, and couldn’t stop laughing!!!

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” ….. having a stimulating conversation and getting highly stimulated during a conversation are TWO different things…………….”

i dont think we can meet half way.

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hahahahahahahaa!!!

gambling a-way May 14, 2010

Posted by youppe in business, finance, investment, politics.
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it’s funny. when you type ‘vincent tan ascot sports’ in Google Images, the search result’s first page is full of Ibrahim Ali pictures! it may be because Ibrahim Ali was accused by Saifuddin Nasution to be holding substantial shares in Vincent Tan’s sports betting company Ascot Sports (or Ibrahim himself misinterpreting Saifuddin’s ‘accusation’.. whatever) which has since been denied by the PERKASA president, but it was so funny nonetheless!! i expect to see Vincent Tan’s face, not him!! hahaha..

vincent tan, not ibrahim ali

anyways..

Vincent Tan and his Berjaya Group have been itching for the government to legalize sports betting for quite some time, as it was estimated that this economic segment is worth as much as RM 20 billion annually. and of course, out of this the government is expected to receive around RM 4 billion per annum in tax revenue. and dreams do come true, at least for him. his privately-held Ascot Sports has been given the sports betting license he craved, at a very perfect timing (just before the World Cup!). a point to note, this license is actually being re-issued to Ascot Sports as it was first given to them in 1987 by the Mahathir-Tun Daim administration for one year, and they were given first right-of-refusal in case the government decided to ‘re-legalize’ sports betting in the future. which asnwers the question, why there was no open-bidding session for this license, in line with the PM’s New Economic Model (NEM) which aims to promote competitiveness and transparency and eradicate rent-seeking (pun intended). which begs another question; when it was awarded in 1987, was it through transparent, open-bidding process?

whatever it is, Vincent Tan wasted no time in moving his flagship Berjaya Corporation Bhd to acquire 70% of his interest in Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd for RM 525 million CASH. isn’t this RPT (related-party transaction)? i wonder if the Securities Commission will look into this matter seriously or even approve this deal, especially when the minority shareholders of BCorp will stand to lose while Vincent Tan gets RM 525 million richer, just like that! the details of the deal between Tan’s Berjaya Corp and Ascot Sports could be found here, but i’ll copy the summary in simple terms. look and wonder..

Before the exercise

      • Vincent Tan owns Ascot 100%
      • BCorp owns 0% of Ascot

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After the exercise

Vincent Tan owns

      • 30% of Ascot and RM 525 million cash.
      • RM 125 million cash is held by BCorp to be released in stages.
      • RM 400 million cash is used to subscribe to his portion of the rights issue (ICULS).
      • Tan will not need to fork out cash as he will reinvest the entire initial consideration to be received from his disposal to subscribe to the rights issue.

BCorp minority shareholders

      • own BCorp which has debt (ICULS) of RM 614.5 million and asset of  70% of Ascot
      • give out of their pocket RM 214.5+ million to subscribe to their portion of the rights issue (ICULS) which is effectively a loan to be repaid at a later date.

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still on the same subject but on another issue, while it is undeniable the economic gains represented by the sports betting industry, i am a little worried about the part where ‘the government will collect the billions of tax revenue and reinvest it to develop the nation’. some sources said it will be channeled specifically to the Kementerian Belia dan Sukan for sports development (whatever that is) while some said it will used not specifically but lumped into the nation’s entire budget. i confess i am not an ustaz or or even a good servant to God, but even i know anything coming from the sources which is prohibited by Islam is haram. sports betting is haram, so the money coming from it is also haram. it’s as simple as that, or am i the only one confused? please enlighten me, i hope there is some explanation to this. the infamous Zul Noordin, hate him or love him, did put some serious stuff in his blog reiterating the use of ‘tainted’ money is against syara’, read about it here. i hope an authority in religious matter will clear this out and allay my fears, that i am just a little confused about which is what.

but why hasn’t anyone said anything about the matter? no one dared?

hmmpphh.

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ps… word on the street is that like G. Palanivel and Ezam Mohd Noor who were made Senators and in line for Cabinet appointments, this move is seen as a reward for Tan who has been loyal to the cause of BN, especially in terms of providing the cash to fund their more ‘underground’ operations. is this true? again, word on the street………….

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for all the wrong reasons May 13, 2010

Posted by youppe in business, finance, investment, politics.
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shares of Sime Darby Bhd, the second largest publicly-traded company in the Malaysian exchange, were suspended today pending a ‘material announcement’ to be held via press conference at 2.30 pm. if you’re a stock market investor, you’ll know what that means… trouble. well, trouble has been brewing for quite some time in Sime and it’s not like we didn’t know about it. most people know this ‘material announcement’ will almost likely be about the cost overruns incurred by the energy & utilities division (Sime Darby Engineering or SDE), but what was to be announced proved to be quite a shocker.

‘Sime Darby Removes Chief Executive Officer After Overruns’ was the headline at BusinessWeek website, and NST Business Times followed with ‘Sime Darby Says CEO To Quit’, click on those links to view the story. for the full statement by the Sime Darby board, click here. according to the official statement, and to confirm the rumours and hearsay, SDE has indeed incurred heavy losses to their Qatar venture (with 2 clients, namely Qatar Petroleum and Maersk Oil Qatar) as well as the more well-known debacle of Bakun Dam. the losses totaled near RM 1 billion which to be accounted for in Sime’s second half of FY10. monumental losses indeed, and the board has decided the ultimate sword has to befallen the head of the head-honcho himself, DS Ahmad Zubir Murshid. no one see that coming by a long mile.

what has happened to Sime? you see, when it was first announced that PNB would marry the plantation companies under their umbrella into one gigantic, super palm oil producer-cum-property developer with substantial auto and oil & gas business, the nation rejoiced. there were some skeptics, as always, but generally, Malaysia is proud to have the biggest palm oil producer in the world and an international conglomerate touted to be blazing a trail of glory for Malaysian companies internationally. with market cap of RM 50 billion and annual revenue of around RM 30 billion, the new Sime Darby looked set to shake Corporate Malaysia in a big way. although there were capable people within Guthrie and Golden Hope, the choice of Zubir Murshid as the head of the new Sime was mutual, and easy. he stands out, it’s just as simple as that, and a new management team looked set to be united and functioning properly with him at the helm. plus, he’s clean, and some people pointed out the fact that he is not just one of TS Nor Mohamad Yaakop’s former Danaharta guys of whom he picked to head most of GLCs. (that’s another story, if you’re interested click here)

but the fact is, post-merger, Sime Darby has been rocked with scandal after scandal. the merger dust has not even settled yet, and there was already accusation of witch-hunting within the new Sime, with Golden Hope’s former top executives being the victims and put to the sword for an accounting/trading loss. former Golden Hope CEO himself was booted out, with couple of his guys, provoking lawsuits-galore from the accused. i still don’t even know what the hell was that about, but for sure it was bad blood, and bad blood is not good. the purported ‘victims’ must have been smiling seeing those headlines today. oh no, no you don’t… don’t think this was an act of vengeance by ex-GHs, no you don’t. you’re getting too creative for your own good there, mister! well, whatever it is, bad blood is not good for any organization, and it will crumble from within if it’s not meted out. and oh, the IJN privatization is also another scandal the new Sime could do a lot without.

Sime Darby should be the role models, the next-gen huge Malaysian conglomerate headed by competent professionals, making it big in the international scene, and should be a toast of Corporate Malaysia. it is now in disarray, and had to deal with 2 major issues;

1.  With the board successfully ousting the CEO, the mutual one, head of the Old Sime, Sime Darby will be in management crisis. we already know about the factional infighting, the spewing bad blood between the merged entities, and with the CEO no longer there to steady the ship, it will be interesting to see who has more aces up their sleeves. the abrupt dismissal of Zubir Murshid will lead to a lot of finger-pointing, screaming to each other, etc. the old guards of Sime might have to watch their back a lot more often that the head-honcho is now gone from the picture.

2.  The losses. a company with the size of Sime should be able to bite the bullet and swallow it, but if their cashflow position is not strong, RM 1 billion deficit could do a lot of damage and shake their foundation. put the management crisis/succession issue on top of that, and you’ll be scratching your head if you have a lot of Sime’s shares with you!

corporate governance and transparency is key in determining the solution. the public must know how and why a decision is made. it will be a sad, sad day for Malaysia if Sime Darby couldn’t recover from this. infighting must be resolved, and most people are skeptical if the Acting CEO, head of Sime Plantations Azhar Abdul Hamid could be the one to do it.

keep watching.

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ps.. BigDog has been writing about the Qatar scandals since early February 2009, more than a year ago. today we found out that it was indeed true! check it out here.

pss.. Jejak Pujangga, apparently a former GH employee, has been keeping tabs with the new Sime Darby since it was formed. check him out for the whole history.

sore losers May 12, 2010

Posted by youppe in football, general.
2 comments

Man Utd fans, get over it already. Chelsea is the rightful winner of Barclays Premier League, hands down. they are DOMINANT in the stats department; record of 100++ goals scored, second best defense, 4 games with 7 or more goals scored, and… (drum roll please) they did the double against the trio of Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool! yeah man, they beat you home and away.

the perennial King of Sore Losers, Sir Alex Ferguson, always blamed the referee for his side’s shortcomings, but never complained when the blind linesman gave them a goal when the ball never crossed the line against Spurs, or when the referee decided it was an endless injury time until MU scored against Man City. and about all those dubious penalties awarded for… touching a United player in the penalty box?

sore losers never win, even when they win.

no boundaries May 7, 2010

Posted by youppe in general, personal.
3 comments

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ok, that’s it. i am going to start writing again. it’s too boring (?) now, without this. as my life gets more hectic and busier by the day, more and more responsibilities coming my way, time has been a luxury. don’t get me wrong, it’s not that i don’t like it; in fact this is what makes me thick, what makes me feel purposeful when i wake up in the morning. i like being busy, and always on-call. but no, i am not a workaholic. hahaha… well, before i confuse you more and this become a full blown ramblings on my part, lets just move on shall we.

i’m in mumbai right now, if the news hasn’t reach you yet. i’m working on a monorail project here… so far it has been an eye-opener for me. an international consortium comprised of people from all over the world working on a huge billion-dollar project with all its complexity and not to forget some high-level politics… what a wonderful experience! my family and friends always asked me how did i arrive at the decision; to leave KL and work in India, of all places? for me, it’s not even a fair fight, the decision is so obvious that i would feel irresponsible to myself if i didn’t take the offer. the reasons to take the plunge (!) are (1) moneeeeeyyyyy (triple what i’m getting at KL, plus it’s tax-free, with accomodation – decent apartment in good neighbourhood – and transport – pool Innova with driver – are fully supported by the company, plus other here-and-there perks) and (2) the experience (strapped in the middle of a multibillion dollar international project) which of course will translate into more money in the future! against those 2 reasons, i wanted to stay in KL because it’s easy, it’s familiar, everyone’s here, friends and families. it’s not a fair fight, my friends… it’s not.

oh, it’s almost time to go home. i am pledging to write anything, at least something, everyday, or once every 2 days, every 3 days…. arrgghhh!!! ok, i’ll find time.

damn, i miss writing.

maiden trial run of the monorail in mumbai

GRATITUDE July 20, 2009

Posted by youppe in personal, quotes.
6 comments

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be thankful that you don’t already have
everything you desire
if you did, what would there be to look
forward to?
be thankful when you don’t know something
for it gives you the opportunity to learn
be thankful for the difficult times
during those times you grow
be thankful for the limitations
because they give you opportunities
for improvement
be thankful for each challenge
because it will build your strength
and character
be thankful for your mistakes
they will teach you valuable lessons
be thankful when you’re tired and weary
because it means you’ve made a difference
it is easy to be thankful for the good things
a life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks
gratitude can turn a negative into a positive
find a way to be thankful for your troubles and
they can become your blessings.

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– taken off a friend’s

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.. your words in my memory, are like music to me ..

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.. she’s always a woman .. July 17, 2009

Posted by youppe in personal, quotes.
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15290344956658l

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she can kill with a smile
she can wound with her eyes
she can ruin your faith with her casual lies
and she only reveals what she wants you to see
she hides like a child
but she’s always a woman to me.

she can lead you to love
she can take you or leave you.
she can ask for the truth
but she’ll never believe you.
and she’ll take what you give her
as long as it’s free
she steals like a thief
but she’s always a woman to me.

she’ll promise you more
than the Garden of Eden
she’ll carelessly cut you
and laugh while you’re bleeding
but she’ll bring out the best
and the worst you can be
blame it all on yourself
she’s always a woman to me.

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

Posted by youppe in general, personal.
8 comments
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.
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HAPPY NEW YEAR. cheers!
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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?
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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.
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have you ever felt like that?
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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).
enjoy!
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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.”
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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.”
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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.”
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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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

nice guys finish last..? November 28, 2008

Posted by youppe in general, personal, quotes.
20 comments

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This is a tribute to the nice guys. The nice guys that finish last, that never become more than friends, that endure hours of whining and bitching about what assholes guys are, while disproving the very point.

This is dedicated to those guys who always provide a shoulder to lean on but restrain themselves to tentative hugs, those guys who hold open doors and give reassuring pats on the back and sit patiently outside the changing room at department stores.

This is in honor of the guys that obligingly reiterate how cute/beautiful/smart/funny/sexy their female friends are at the appropriate moment, because they know most girls need that litany of support.

This is in honor of the guys with open minds, with laid-back attitudes, with honest concern. This is in honor of the guys who respect a girl’s every facet, from her privacy to her theology to her clothing style.

This is for the guys who escort their drunk female friends back from parties and never take advantage once they’re at her door. For the guys who know a girl is fishing for compliments but give them out anyway. For the guys who always play by the rules in a game where the rules favor cheaters.

For the guys who are accredited as boyfriend material but somehow don’t end up being boyfriends. For all the nice guys who are overlooked, underestimated, and unappreciated. For all the nice guys who are manipulated, misled, and unjustly abandoned, this is for you.

This is for that time she interrupted the best killing spree you’d ever orchestrated in GTA3 to rant about a rumor that romantically linked her and the guy she thinks is the most repulsive person in the world. And even though you thought it was immature and you had nothing against the guy, you paused the game for two hours and helped her concoct a counter-rumor to spread around the floor.

This is also for that time she didn’t have a date, so after numerous vows that there was nothing “serious” between the two of you, she dragged you to a party where you knew nobody, the beer was awful, and she flirted shamelessly with you, justifying each fit of reckless teasing by announcing to everyone: “oh, but we’re just friends!” And even though you were invited purely as a symbolic warm body for her ego, you went anyways. Because you’re nice like that.

The nice guys don’t often get credit where credit is due. And perhaps more disturbing, the nice guys don’t seem to get laid as often as they should. And I wish I could logically explain this trend, but I can’t. From what I have observed on campus and what I have learned from talking to friends at other schools and in the workplace, the only conclusion I can form is that many girls are just illogical, manipulative bitches.

Many of them claim they just want to date a nice guy, but when presented with such a specimen, they say irrational, confusing things such as “oh, he’s too nice to date” or “he would be a good boyfriend but he’s not for me” or “he already puts up with so much from me, I couldn’t possibly ask him out!” or the most frustrating of all: “no, it would ruin our friendship.” Yet, they continue to lament the lack of datable men in the world, and they expect their too-nice-to-date male friends to sympathize and apologize for the men that are jerks.

Sorry, guys, girls like that are beyond my ability to fathom. I can’t figure out why the connection breaks down between what they say (I want a nice guy!) and what they do (I’m going to sleep with this complete ass now!). But one thing I can do, is say that the nice-guy-finishes-last phenomenon doesn’t last forever.

There are definitely many girls who grow out of that train of thought and realize they should be dating the nice guys, not taking them for granted. The tricky part is finding those girls, and even trickier, finding the ones that are single.

So, until those girls are found, I propose a toast to all the nice guys. You know who you are, and I know you’re sick of hearing yourself described as ubiquitously nice. But the truth of the matter is, the world needs your patience in the department store, your holding open of doors, your party escorting services, your propensity to be a sucker for a pretty smile.

For all the crazy, inane, absurd things you tolerate, for all the situations where you are the faceless, nameless hero, my accolades, my acknowledgement, and my gratitude go out to you. You do have credibility in this society, and your well deserved vindication is coming.

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* i thought i’d share this with anyone who have not yet read it.

* originally published for Wharton Undergraduate Journal, and reposted by Noktah Hitam. too excellent for me to ignore. haha 😛

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