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Sakmongkol ak 47

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Ceteris paribus- Where's the beef?

Sakmongkol welcomes debates based on facts and values good arguments. He has been looking out for the three youth gladiators to come out with some specifics. However rudimentary they are formed, from their articulation, we can at least form an objective opinion as to the substance of the 3 contenders.

Those learning economics will be familiar with the term, ceteris paribus- or all other things being equal. It is usually taken to mean, in order to execute a useful analysis on some economic event, it is necessary to hold other factors constant. Ceteris paribus is a Latin phrase for "all else being equal." The term is most often used when isolating descriptions of events from other potential environmental variables.

In politics, sakmongkol thinks the principle of ceteris paribus takes on a different meaning. In order to discover the true worth of a candidate , we have to isolate artificial factors( read cosmetic factors) so that the real person can emerge.

Let us illustrate our argument. In KT’s case, exclude the romantic notion of a poor fellow of Javanese stock, coming from poor family, pious fellow and so forth. You know, the characteristics of an honest Abe or a character out of pilgrim’s progress. In Mukhriz case the obvious factor to exclude is the fact that he is the son of Tun Mahathir. In KJ’s case, let’s see him just as he is, warts and all. Exclude the fact the he is married to the PM’s daughter. Matters of the heart are not the business of anyone.

So what do we have? Professionally- the dentist, the business graduate trained in Japan and the PPE graduate from Oxford- who can choose what he wants to be. Hey- he doesn’t ask money from Sakmongkol, so who cares what work he does.

Sakmongkol thinks it was in circa 1981, that he watched the TV commercial on the Wendy hamburger. The elderly lady when handed a big bun would inspect the bun and gruffly exclaimed, where’s the beef?

"Where's the beef?" is a catch phrase best known in the United States and Canada. Since it was first used, it has become an all-purpose phrase questioning the substance of an idea, event or product.

And so mimicking the elderly actor whose name Sakmongkol cannot remember, he wants to know, where’s the beef? So far, only KJ has shown some meaty staff for all of us to see.

Sakmongkol knows he is fast losing friends in the blogdom for giving KJ a fair hearing. Or what he thinks is a fair hearing. Probably because sakmongkol thinks he knows muay thai, the spectacle of seeing one fellow being ‘hantam’ by 10 burly fellows, prompts him to be a busybody. His only recourse is to remind that any assessment must be as objective as possible and based on facts, a person’s view on the future of the organisation he wants to lead etc.

Sakmongkol finds its desperately frustrating to hear that the best one can come out is mutter something nebulous about bridging the gap with youths or declining to accept cabinet position.

Hello, where’s the beef? So we come back to ceteris paribus;

To this effect the physicist could say "if I hit the nine ball with the cue ball at a certain angle, with a certain force, ceteris paribus, I can predict the trajectory of the nine ball on the billiard table." In using the ceteris paribus clause, the physicist is saying that his calculation takes for granted that the law of gravity continues into the future, that the building he is standing in won't suddenly collapse just as the cue ball is struck, etc.

The ceteris paribus clause can be used to simplify thought experiments and simulations by relying on induction and the common sense law of inertia which states that things tend to remain the same (e.g. buildings tend not to collapse).


Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 18:23  

Datuk Sak,

'Sakmongkol welcomes debates based on facts and values good arguments'.

he he ... thanks dtk sakmongkol. at least you are more liberal now. you give fair hearing to all contenders. i hope you maintain same until march 2009.

I think KJ knows where the beef is..

Ceteris Paribus KJ

de minimis 6 November 2008 at 18:31  


This is, truly, a remarkable post. While deftly sifting through the facade of the political actors you have also attempted to guide the reader to separate the chaff from the kernel. My hats off to you, sir.

I hope this will promote a higher level of analysis of any political candidates instead of heavy reliance on "envelope journalism".

Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 19:15  


Where got fair. KJ is darling of all mainstream medias especially tv3 and utusan. He can choose any date to appear on them.

MM and KT rely on bloggers to promote them. Kalimullah won't easily give them access to his controlled medias. This is an act of mafias.

So, where's the beef man...


Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 19:32  

Dear Datuk,

Wah applying blue ocean strategy nampak? Hehe.

Anyway, if you could allow me, the ceteris paribus concept is good if we were to evaluate someone that is totally new to us. For instance, 3 unknown candidates coming to us for one job vacancy.

In politics, I would say, we cannot take certain factors exclusively. We need to evaluate politicians as a whole. His track records, vision, temperament, all the pro and cons and most importantly, his reputation.

Reputation is also should be taken into account as he does not operate in silo. He will be part of Umno and BN. Whatever he brings into Umno will have a bearing for Umno's reputation as a whole.

Thus come to my opinion about his reputation. And to me, he is a liability to Umno. How long have we known him? Quite long, since he has been the no 2 in Umno Youth for the past 4 years. And, as an Oxford graduate, what has he achieved to help Umno since 2004?

It was his own undoing nevertheless that caused his reputation to plummet since 2004. Coupled with his inability to answer those allegations and also Pak Lah’s failure to explain comprehensively on contentious issues ('saya tak tahu pasal ECM Libra', 'anak saya tak pernah terima kontrak kerajaan' etc), his reputation as the liability of Umno is solidified with the incessant criticisms hurled by the disillusioned people of Malaysia and the result of the March 8th general election.

If people think he is intelligent enough to lead Umno Youth, he should be smart enough to answer those allegations and think of a strategy to gain back support. His ONLY strategy now is to bank on the support from his diehard Pemuda fans in Umno and to show that he is a good talker. Plus, to demonise DM as a coward and the son of Tun Mahathir. That is all.

If we still insist on using the ceteris paribus concept, then should we take away those 3 factors above, what's left is only a good talker with a bad reputation that has been a liability to Umno from 2005 till now. A good fodder for the opposition to chew upon.

The beef is there nevertheless, but a bad meat is not good to be eaten.

I am only worried that should he lead Umno Youth, Umno will be further destabilise and cannot progress as the opposition will continue harping on his past misdeeds that had haunted him till this day. I am sorry to see that whatever damage he had caused since 2004 was overlooked by just his ability to articulate matters better than the other 2 candidates.

However, I am aware that in democracy, it is the people that choose the best leader among themselves. And hopefully the Umno Youth delegates will not have a short term memory during election day.

And in recent times, I am acutely more aware that the qualities projected in a leader are very much depend on who actually control the flow of information to the masses.

Thank you sir.


Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 19:44  

Hey Datuk,

Ceteris paribus, sure win for Khir-lah. It's the logical choice based on experience, macho-ness required for UMNO politics, achievements, excluding allegations of corruption which I believe every UMNO politician shares incl Muhyiddin and his reign in Johor....

straycat's strut 6 November 2008 at 20:24  

I read your Blog all the time but this time, I am actually disappointed at the way you applied the Ceteris Paribus. Its like putting Ghandhi, Hitler, Mona Fandey or whoever at the same stage and you asked us to forget his past, what he did,how one gets there and choose which one deserves to be a leader.

In this case, Hitler will probably win hands down just because he speaks better, ceteris paribus.

Confuseus 6 November 2008 at 20:45  

Alahai Lato' Sak,
why so komplikated one ... esp. with the greek terminolgy.

In engineering, we use a tool we called "trend monitoring" analysis to identify the substance.

If we apply this tool in politics, we need to analyse their 3 core competencies or substances i.e problem solving, conflict management and decision making.

Sad to say, based on their track records and 'trend', they all failed miserably. What we need now are technocrats to be the leaders who can create values, not some dentist, business or PPE grads
who had problems in searching for ceteris paribus.

Just look at Singapore, 60% of their political leaders are technocrats and it is no wonder that they have created a lot of beef with no cows.


Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 21:02  


I'm totally agree with you. KJ is a liability to umno should he further leads pemuda until pru13. the dismal performance of pru12 is the best he can offer thus far to umno and bn.

His father in law is the weakest link he has for now. Severe attacks on him including his personal life are the sign of retribution towards his father-in-law.

umno members won't easily forgive pak lah for what he did to umno the past 5 years. and people also won't forgive how he and his family amass fortune and control GLCs.

Perhaps KJ has special agenda to remain in the power stream of umno.

Not only him knows where the beef is...


walla 6 November 2008 at 21:31  

The last technocrat, JJ, did nothing except riled some students in London.

KT can only be remembered for 'semuanya ok' when the hill from the copter looked balder than the foreign minister's head of some country.

KJ will be remembered for the other statement - that it's alright if he wasn't in politics as he had other things he could do.

mm is only MM imagined; mm probably follows the mother more.

Where's the beef for any of them?

In fact,

Sometimes not having something is better than having something which so far has been ceteris-paribusy about funny things people do to get elected and popular - inflammation of relations, spending unwisely, talking nonsense, acting strange.

What major, positive, enervating, contribution has there ever been from any?

If the objectives are to check the present seniors and incubate future seniors, that's easy enough functions. Just posit checks-and-balances all over the place. But how to do such a thing when the very path to their holding the posts is being strewn with the same number of coins as that being done in the older posts they are supposed to check?

The game is already finished before it starts.

Outsource the whole function; go hire some really smart professionals with integrity and tell them (a) to pr the party properly, (b) to check on and expose the funny things being done, and (c) to reharmonise this country.

Who remembers that bungalow near the Tugu where if there was a problem, the component heads would gather at night and like brothers amicably solve them in the genial presence of Bapak-M?

That has become medium-rare sirloin, innit?

ps: am i evicted from here?

Zawi 6 November 2008 at 22:17  

Datuk Sak,
I for one would rather do away with the youth wings. They contribute nothing much to UMNO or the nation. Without them there will be less politicking and less money politics.

sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 6 November 2008 at 22:32  

bro zawi,
the youth wing and the wanita are a historical part of the original UMNO. what i myself can understand was the creation of the puteri wing which provided azalina a rear entry into the corridors of power. the next boil is the putera wing whose rear entrance has so far been not big enough to admit the mamak tongkang, azeez mat rempit.

Anonymous,  7 November 2008 at 12:05  

Well everybody have his or her own views here. Well KJ might not be the perfect candidates but like it or not he is the best that what we have now. He is the one that brave enough to challenge and debating within the UMNO itself. This is to create fairness and equal chances for everyone. Hope that you would get the ideas that what he would like to do. Lets focus on the solution but not creating more problems.

Anonymous,  7 November 2008 at 12:21  


Anonymous,  7 November 2008 at 13:08  

Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or decisions possible or impossible to execute.

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