development economics, condensed

Dollar and Kraay (2002): Effect of Growth on the Poor

A typical paper by World Bank economists. Takes a readily available cross-country data set (Summers-Heston, can be found at the Penn World Tables). This uses real per-capita GDP income figures to proxy for household income (and thus welfare). This is not very accurate on a large number of counts. Anyway, their results purport to show that the growth of the share of the income of the poor grows one-for-one with growth in incomes, in general. Thus, policies which help countries get rich help the poor, and there is no need for additional pro-poor policy. They argue that this is not due to a “trickle down” effect, but that effects which encourage growth such as institutions and rule of law simultaneously help everyone. I am, as usual suspicious of cross-country data simply done on a wider range of countries, as the cross-country variation in itself masks so many determinants, so one learns little about specific policies.

Mankiw, Romer and Weil (1992): Empirics of Economic Growth

Countries do not grow at the same rate, but conditional convergence is possible in the long run. This means that increasing savings rates, reducing population growth will increase short-run growth, and thus influence the level of GDP per capita. Population growth, especially is seen as having an especially large drag on growth as available human capital and physical capital must be spread more thinly.

Aghion et al. (2005): Effects of financial development on convergence

Financing is critical to the ability to absorb new technology. In less-developed countries, financing is constrained because of asymmetric information. This is because there is a temptation for voluntary default, where entrepreneurs hide the results of their innovations, or take the money and run. Thus, there is credit rationing at below-market interest rates, to reduce the incentive to default. Thus improving financial infrastructure and enforcement technology through a better banking system, credit-rating system will encourage growth through financing of technology

Hall and Jones (1999): Social infrastructure and Economic Performance

Finds tht differences in productivity matter more than differences in capital or human capital accumulation in determining incomes. Argues that this is determined by social infrastructure, the different policies and institutions which encourage the accumulation of capital instead of predatory behaviour.

Isham and Kaufmann (1999): Productivity of Investment Projects

Examines the economic rate of return of 1276 World Bank funded projects. Finds that countries which do not distort their exchange rate, trade and pricing policies have the highest rate of return on investments.

Galor and Zeira (1993): Income Distribution and Macroeconomics

Shows that in imperfect credit markets, and fixed costs of investing in human capital, the initial distribution of wealth affects aggregate ouput, and explains the persistent differences in performance between countries. This is because the poor, with less assets/bequests are unable to access educational opportunities.

Easterly (2007), Engermann and Sokoloff (1997): Inequality

Show that agricultural endowments predict structural inequality. Abundance of cash crops encourages extractive institutions and plantation labour. Creates structural inequality, which leads to bad institutions and underdevelopment intent on perpetuating the power structure, and the elite. In contrast to family faming systems in North America, which leads to a more equal distribution fo income and development of market inequality, with growth through incentives. Shows that bad institutions affect income.

Bloom and Sachs, Sachs and Warner (1997)

Suggest that tropical location and geography, being landlocked are greater factors influencing development, through delibilating disease, and thus that intervention to ameliorate these factors can lead to growth, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa

Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2001): Colonial Origins of Development

Argues that settler mortality caused by the local disease environments affected whether Europeans created extractive colonies, or decided to settle and create good institutions. Thus uses settler mortality from the 17th-19th century to instrument for institutions and their effect on growth. Their conclusion: bad institutions suck

Murphy et al (1989)

Simultaneous industrialization and be profitable when each sector alone may not be if they did so alone. Encourages a big-push in industrialization through targeting leading sectors with many linkages, or in sectors where the private sector is unlikely to lead due to high fixed costs but which are essential and have many linkages, such as railways.

Jones and Olken (2004): Do Leaders Matter?

Tries to determine if the “great person” theories of history as advanced by historians such as Thomas Carlyle are more appropriate as compared the Marxist view that we are just the product of circumstances. Use the assassination of 57 leaders as events to see if there are significant changes in a country’s growth upon their death. This impact is generally through monetary policy.

Bandiera and Rasul (2006) : Social Networks and Technological Adoption

Study in Northern Mozambique showing an inverse-U-shaped relationship between adoption of a new cash crop (sunflower) and the number of people in his network who had already adopted. The incentive to do so is initially increasing as there are more people to share information with to determine the optimal target input levels. However, there is also an incentive to free-ride and delay adoption to see how the trials turn out. Example of complementarities, show importance of targeting and subsidizing people with many links.

Bandiera (2005): Contract Duration in Northern Sicily

Shows that contract duration and whether or not output is shared between the landlord and tenant depends on the type of crop and the characteristics of the borrower and lender. A poorer tenant is more risk-averse and thus would like to sharecrop. Trees are more risky and require more fixed investment, and thus would attract longer contracts. Richer tenants prefer retaining the marginal output. In addition, poorer tenants have shorter contracts in order for the landlord to maintain a threat of eviction.

Khwaja and Mian (2005): Do lenders favour politically connected firms?

Shows that lenders in Pakistan favour politically connected firms, or those who have a politician on their board, and the strength of this favouritism depends on the their electoral performance. Shows a mechanism that inequality persists in Pakistan, that electoral success depends on wealth, and also generates greater rents through corruption

Eswaran and Kotwal (1985): 2-tier markets in agrarian economies.

Attempts to explain the prevalence of permanent contracts in agrarian markets although casual workers are paid less and also for a shorter duration. There are certain unobservable tasks which require monitoring, such as pruning and irrigation. Landlords need people to carry out these tasks, but face the possibility of their employees shirking. They thus offer greater security and wages to provide an incentive for the workers to carry out their tasks, otherwise they will be fired and return to the casual labour market facing insecurity of employment. Explains unemployment and wages above the market rate. (Similar to Shapiro and Stiglitz’s efficiency wage theory, but theirs is applied to a more general setting).

Jayachandran (2005): Selling Labour Low

Shows that wage volatility is more acute in places where workers are poorer, less able to migrate and more credit-constrained, due to a more inelastic labour supply. Thus, they are at greater risk to productivity shocks such as drought, but is beneficial to landowners which see it as a form of insurance. Argues for alleviating credit constraints to the poor and greater linkages between rural markets, and reducing the amount of landless through land redistribution.

Munshi and Rosenzweig (2006): Caste, Gender and Schooling Choice

Study in Bombay to see how the caste system shapes career choices in the presence of globalization. Working-class males in the lower caste continue to be channelled into local language schools leading to traditional occupations, despite the increasing returns to nontraditional white-collar jobs, as it was much easy to be directed to these occupations through existing referrals. In contrast, lower caste girls who had lower labour participation rates did not benefit from such networks, and thus took advantage of the opportunities that became available from English schools.

Putnam (1993), (2000) Social Capital

Shows that in the US, associational activity (e.g. bowling clubs) have been decling since the 1950’s while the economy has grown at a rapid pace. So, is social capital essential for development? Otherwise, what substitues for it? And why are village economies poor when they have so much of it?

Yet, in Italian regions where associational activity is higher, government is more efficient and growth is faster

Arnott and Stiglitz (1991): Welfare Economics of Moral Hazard

Shows disadvantage of social capital. Insurance firms only offer partial insurance because of moral hazard, as with full insurance the insured will not take proper care to avoid whatever he is insured for. But with a dense network of family and friends, agents can top up the formal policy. Thus the insurer’s incentive mechanisms will fail as they are fully insured, and thus discourages pooling of risk.

Banerjee and Newman (1998): Information and the dual Economy

2 sectors: 1 modern, more productive, but less is known. The other is traditional but secure. It is harder to obtain credit to move to the first sector, and thus not everyone will move to the more productive sector, implying inefficiency. The move only takes place once sufficient people have gone over and passed down information. Similar to immigration studies showing that those with a sibling already emigrated more likely to migrate (Palloni et al 2001).

Lee and Brinton (1996)

Study of graduates of elite colleges in South Korea. Shows that institutional factors (which university you came from, social ties and introduction to firms provied by the university) more important than private social capital (family/friendship ties)

Besley (1995): Property Rights and Investment Incentives: Evidence from Ghana

Property rights theoretically should increase investment, by providing a source of collateral, by allowing one to sell the fruits of one’s labour and reduce the risk of it being taken away. The study shows that certain rights are more important, and that the major channel is the ability to claim land and the reduced risk of expropriation. However, notes the low marginal effect of increasing property rights, a marginal propensity to invest of 2-5%, and it may not even increase welfare.

Duflo (2001): Returns to Education, Evidence from Indonesia

Wants to resolve an age-old question: What are the effects to education? Examines effects of surge of school building during 1970’s oil boom in Indonesia. An additional school built per 1000 children raises education from 0.12 - 0.2 years on average. It has resulted in an increase in wages of 3.8%, and the estimated total returns to education are estimated at 6.4-9.1%. However, this is highly sensitive to the ability of the economy to absorb new workers, returns were especially high in Indonesia due to the high growth rate.

Duflo et al (2007): Peer Effects, Pupil-Teacher ratios and teacher-incentives, evidence from Kenya

Contract teachers are present more often than civil service teachers. Students of contract teachers performed 0.2 standard deviations better than those taught by civil service teachers. Smaller classes taught by civil service teachers showed no significant higher score, suggesting limited impact of student-teacher ratios. Students at both the low and high ends of the achievement spectrum benefited by being sorted into classes by initial achievement, performing 0.12 deviations better than the unsorted sample. Civil servants are more likely to be present in such classes where there is less differential in abilities, and also where school boards were empowered to monitor and punish them.

Morduch (1999): The Microfinance Promise

Criticially surveys the results of social banks and microfinance institutions. Social banks such as BancoSol in Bolivia, BRI and Kredit Desa in Indonesia generally lend to the “richer of the poor”, but are generally sustainable businesses, charging about 45% per annum. Microfinance institutions such as Grameen Bank charge between 12-16.6% per annum, but would need to charge 18-22% to cover costs without direct grants. To cover the subsidies on capital costs, Grameen needs to charge 32-45% per annum. However, every dollar lent seems to raise incomes by 17 cents to the dollar, lower than the 22 cent subsidy. However, the 5 cents on the dollar can be seen as a “cost of targeting, especially as they lend to the poorest of the poor. Members need to save 0.5% of the amount lent into an “emergency fund”, and 5% is a “group tax”, which is refunded upon successful repayment of the loan. Loans are disbursed primarily to groups of women (who have higher repayment rates), and if one member of the group defaults, lending to the rest of the group is ceased, thus encourages peer selection. Default rate is very low, at only 1.8%, and the bank is mostly owned by the poor it lends to, through a cooperative structure. Microfinance also cannot generate jobs on its own or solve the inherent seasonal nature of agriculture.

Burgess and Pande (2004) Can Rural Banks reduce poverty?

Attempts to estimate the impact of rural bank branches on poverty. Banks prefer to set up outlets in richer areas, with more clients, so determining the effect of financial institutions on rural poverty is complicated by the double causation. They isolated the causal effect of banks on poverty by examining trend breaks caused by legislation in India mandating the opening of 4 rural branches in unbanked rural areas for every bank opened in an already-banked location, and establish that they significantly reduced poverty. Opening a bank branch in a rural unbanked location reduces the poverty headcount by 4.74%

Udry (1991) Credit Markets in Northern Nigeria

Anthropological-style study of informal credit markets in Northern Nigeria. Villages in rural Northern Nigeria deal with the problem of incomplete information and enforcement in credit markets by taking advantage of the free-flow of information within villages and social enforcement mechanisms. In addition, the villager’s need for insurance is interlinked to credit, where the terms and frequency of repayment are adjusted to cater for adverse shocks, in accordance with syariah law. However, this is unable to insure against aggregate village risk, such as drought. This requires linkages across villages, to which only a select few Hausa traders have links to. Thus most credit is disbursed through them.

Burgess and Zhuang (2003): Modernisation and Son Preference

Examines intrahousehold allocation decisions to see if income is allocated evenly to all members of the households. Investigates gaps in welfare attainment between boys and girls by drawing on household expenditure from both a poor province (Sichuan), and a richer one (Jiangsu), and comparing with census outcomes. There is evidence of gender bias against girls in health spending in the poorer province, while evidence of bias in education spending against girls exists in both provinces. Split-sample analysis suggests that poorer, less diversified households exhibit stronger biases against girls, and suggests that son preference is not driven solely by cultural factors, pointing to a potential role for public policy. Rothbarth method is used to determine if adults give up adult good expenditure, such as cigarettes and alcohol, for their kids, however, this shows insignificant results, contradiciting census data. There could be forms of undetectable discrimination, such as girls having greater needs than boys when young, or critical interventions being made only for boys, and parents are more willing to go into debt to preserve an asset (a boy) but not for a liability (a girl). Also, evidence from India shows that younger female siblings tend to be the ones most discriminated against. Need to check as well that the lack of gender bias in Jiangsu is driven by better access to ultrasound technology and thus higher pre-birth abortion.

Banerjee, Gertler and Ghatak (2002): Tenancy Reform in West Bengal

Investigates the effect of tenancy reform through Operation Barga, launched in 1977 in West Bengal when the Left Front swept to power. This aimed to legalize a tenant’s rights through formal registration of their contracts, thus increasing the security of tenure over their land, by reducing the risk of random expropriation. Theory suggests that the effect should be ambiguous, as the increased investment the rights give could be counteracted by the lack of incentive that eviction threats used to elicit. However, the evidence shows that the Operation was responsible for an average of 28% of the increase in productivity in the period, or a 20% contribution to agricultural productivity. This suggests that the investment incentives outweigh the eviction incentives.

Lin (1992): Rural Reforms and Agricultural Growth in China

In a different institutional setting, this examines the effect the introduction of the Household Responsibility System (HRS) had on agricultural productivity in China. From 1978-1984, there was a phased abolition of the “danwei” system with large work teams of agriculture and a shift to giving households tenure over land for 15-year periods. This would improve incentives for households. In addition they reduced the quota of grain needed to be ceded to the central authority, increased market prices of output and allowed farmers to trade other products through different channels. HRS contributed up to 48% of the 42% jump in productivity between 1978-1984, when all households had converted to HRS. This was a one-time jump caused by the introduction of incentives.

Besley and Burgess (2000): Land Reform, Poverty and Growth

Another land reform study, again located in India. This examines the effect of different types of land reform. Tenancy reform: to improve a tenant’s rights and legal standing, Abolition of intermediaries: removing the Zamandari (feudal lords) from collecting a share of the surplus by intermediating between the landlord and the tenant, Implementing land ceilings to prevent the amassing of too much land and to ensure some land is for the landless, Land consolidation to stop the over-fragmentation of small plots. It finds that the first 2 reforms are responsible for increasing wages and output, while the other 2 are less significant, due to poor implementation, as well as the circumventing of legislation by holding of plots by family members.

Besley and Burgess (2004): Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance?

Yes it can! Pro-labour regulation, by increasing worker’s bargaining power, increases the likelihood of strikes and hold ups. This reduces efficiency and increases cost of production, decreasing productive activity in the region, and lowering manufacturing wages. Andhra Pradesh, with the most pro-employer legislation, grew at 6% per annum, 1.9% above trend, while West Bengal, the most pro-labour state, grew at -1.5% per annum after the Left Front gained power, compared to 2.2% trend growth.

Djankov et al (2002): The Regulation of Entry

Finds that greater regulation is associated with worse outcomes, even in terms of the measures it tries to regulate. Collects data on how long it takes to start a business in a given country, and the cost of doing so. Finds that more autocratic governments have higher regulatory costs, and worse social outcomes, in terms of pollution, health and safety standards. Consistent with the grabbing hand theory of regulation, where regulators extract rents from entrepreneurs by hindering start-ups, instead of the Pigouvian one where regulation solves market externalities. This effect is ameliorated by democratic constraints on power.

Djankov et al (2003): Who owns the media?

State ownership of media is associated with poorer quality governments and worse social outcomes. Collects data on ownership structures of international media companies (even including SPH, wow, now I know who owns it)

Besley and Burgess (2002): Political Economy of Government Responsiveness

Shows that increased newspaper circulation, especially in regional languages, increases the amount of public aid and food aid disbursed in the aftermath of a disaster. This effect is stronger the higher the turnout for elections is, and the more marginal the seat is. This is due to the media passing along information on politicians, encouraging opportunistic politicians to behave, while the vulnerable population can learn more about candidates other than simple ideology.


tomorrow, fulham, birmingham and reading will be playing for their premiership lives, while manchester united and chelsea battle for the title.

how nerve-wracking the last week of preparation must have been, i bet they just wanted to get on the field and play and get the result done with... everyone gets the extra time to train, so it's almost like it doesn't matter how much more you prepare on the training pitch, it's how you execute on crunch day... i'm presuming all the set-pieces and stuff have been practised.

i'm feeling a bit of a low now because i get a sense it can only go downhill from here... i've been having a mini-crisis with my time because i feel like i could step into my Mathematical Econs paper tomorrow and do okay. Yet, a week is just enough time to forget stuff that I've learnt, so it's annoying to just keep up with and repeat stuff that you already know and done enough variations of.

i just want to go in and do the paper and not fudge up by not spotting some insanely clever trick i'm meant to know or forget to draw a picture. the anxiety. argh.


what do certain advertisments mean?

i was on the soccernet.com home page today when i saw that the live match ticker was sponsored by malaysian airlines. now, exactly what does such a sponsorship achieve? although i now have an idea in my head that such an airline exists and what its logo looks like (brand recognition), what information does this give me regarding the level of service it provides or even which routes it flies to?

i suspect though, that the board's personal preferences aside, such adverts must carry some form of implicit signalling. we are a company that is doing well off and having good profits, such that we can spend on aggressive advertising (such as naming stadiums, e.g. the emirates stadium). we are less likely to fail or be a fly by night company.


i enjoy philosophy, in the sense of always wanting to dream up beautiful explanations of things in the world, even though the real world possibly defies order. of course, these come with the usual critique that it is all very well and good to think up a grand scheme of things, but what matters are the actions which we act upon on this world. well, i have a day job studying, and will have a day job somehow contributing productively to the economy soon, but let us take it that i do this as a hobby, as some people may riff on a guitar when it becomes second nature to them.

so i took a break from the usual tasks of the day to have a drink in the tuns, but also to read some economic theory. i was tired of the usual churn of cranking through economic models (many of which i don't believe in) and read a few more papers regarding the more philosophical aspects of economics. my desire to learn more models and more mathematics can be viewed in this light: you cannot philosophize if you do not understand the language your opponents argue in, or the workings of the model. with this caveat, we shall begin.

1st thought-provoking paper:
Dilemmas of an economic theorist

I enjoy reading Ariel Rubinstein because he is honest (at least in impression), in the sense of revealing a little of his psychology and how he comes to his conclusions. Also, his books are all free and downloadable from his website. This paper came out of a guilt from being a theoretician and a profound admiration for nurses, teachers and writers. He studied logic because he thought it would help him in his debating and in becoming a great solicitor fighting evil in the world. He then became an economist. I see a lot in what he says which applies to philosophers as well, especially in ethics. There is so much hand-wringing going on, because there are all these theories on ethics, but who really behaves ethically? Can we make moral judgements or prescriptions?

It poses 4 dilemmas for a theorist

1. Dilemma of absurd conclusions - should we reject a model if it produces absurd conclusions?
2. Dilemma of responding to evidence - should our models be judged according to experimental results?
3. Dilemma of modelless regularities - Should models provide hypotheses for things we see in real life or should they be exercises in logic which have no use in doing so
4. Dilemma of relevance? Do we have any right to offer advice or to make statements that are intended to influence the real world?

His short, emotive, answer by analogy

It is time to sum up. How do I relate to these four dilemmas? As economic theorists, we organize our thoughts using what we call models. The word “model” sounds more scientific than “fable” or “fairy tale” although I do not see much difference between them. The author of a fable draws a parallel to a situation in real life. He has some moral he wishes to impart to the reader. The fable is an imaginary situation that is somewhere between fantasy and reality. Any fable can be dismissed as being unrealistic or simplistic, but this is also the fable’s advantage. Being something between fantasy and reality, a fable is free of extraneous details and annoying diversions. In this unencumbered state, we can clearly discern what cannot always be seen in the real world. On our return to reality, we are in possession of some sound advice or a relevant argument that can be used in the real world.
We do exactly the same thing in economic theory. A good model in economic theory, like a good fable, identifies a number of themes and elucidates them. We perform thought exercises that are only loosely connected to reality and that have been stripped of most of their real-life characteristics. However, in a good model, as in a good fable, something significant remains.

Like us, the teller of fables confronts the dilemma of absurd conclusions, because the logic of his story may also lead to absurd conclusions.
Like us, the teller of fables confronts the dilemma of response to evidence. He wants to maintain a connection between his fable and what he observes; there is a fine line between an amusing fantasy and a fable with a message.
Like us, the teller of fables is frustrated by the dilemma of fableless regularity when he realizes that sometimes his fables are not needed to obtain insightful observations.
Like us, the teller of fables confronts the dilemma of relevance. He wants to influence the world, but knows that his fable is only a theoretical argument.
As in the case of fables, absurd conclusions reveal contexts in which the model produces unreasonable results, but this may not necessarily make the model uninteresting.
As in the case of fables, models in economic theory are derived from obser- vations of the real world, but are not meant to be testable.
As in the case of fables, models have limited scope.
As in the case of a good fable, a good model can have an enormous influence on the real world, not by providing advice or by predicting the future, but rather by influencing culture.
Yes, I do think we are simply the tellers of fables, but is that not wonderful?

With this philosophy in mind, perhaps, he sees the teaching of economic theory as an analysis of different strategic sets or ways of thinking, which bring up a particular strategic aspect of a situation. Therefore, economics should not be a single prescription: do this. (now, won't that limit its usefulness? we will come back to this) Again, I will use one of this examples. There is a game known as "traveller's paradox." There are 2 contestants. A contestant can choose a number from 150-300. The lower of the 2 numbers is then taken and that amount of dollars is given to both participants. Then, 5 dollars is taken from the participant with the higher bid and given to the one with the lower bid. The textbook answer: the unique Nash equilibrium for this game is then (150, 150). When performed empirically though, there was a mix of people who bid the NE amount (150), the full amount (300), other random amounts, and a set of people who bid what was called "strategic amounts" in the 297-298 range. These people did the best, and those who bid the textbook amount suffered, and were "victims" of the theory. They had taken the lesson too seriously. The key lesson to take from Nash equilibrium, is that the highest bid is not necessarily the most optimal one in these scenario, and so you should bid slightly lower than that. Then theory has its use in telling us that there is a point in picking something other than the directly intuitive answer.
(That's why if you try to play textbook poker on lower limits using game-theoretical methods, it doesn't perform so well)

In fact, I see economic theory performing best as a skeptical tool casting doubt on certain intuitions. For example, given a set of assumptions of what you want to maximise, then it can tell you if you are pursuing these objectives in a consistent way. It is able to cast logical doubts on the wisdom of mercantilism (treating trade between countries as competition between each other, rather than gains for all). There are certain economic relations which hold through common sense, such as no-arbitrage. But in a world where you have to balance so many practical considerations, then each theory then just becomes a strategic tool for you to consider. Then, what is the use? Why not have a super-theory which overarches and tells you how to balance strategic considerations? Why not have a supreme theory of ethics, and shouldn't this be what theorists aim for? But the key point, perhaps, is that it is not possible, and we should not take our theories, on their own as edifices too seriously. Well, everyone knows this as just common sense, but at the same time perhaps it is necessary that theoreticians need to make those assumptions and tell those fables with as much conviction as possible, and the collision of ideas creates the world that we have.

In his other book, he considers the relations between economics and language. It attempts to be a serious linguistic study in its own right, exploring the use of context and pragmatics in language, but I will give an economic example. He did a paper with Piccione about "jungle economics", where, using the same relations between agents as in the standard economic model, but substituting power relations for price vectors, etc. Everything was there, the first and second theorem of welfare economics, that the invisible hand was efficient. However, by replacing the interpretations of the mathematical logic, one comes up with the conclusions that the "iron hand" is efficient in the sense that wealth follows power, and the greed (utility) which the market economy is based on is analogous to the strong taking advantage of the weak in a jungle economy. The market economy encourages everyone to produce more, while the jungle economy furthers everyone's expansionist ambitions. Same mathematical conclusions, but different normative and emotive appeal. Why?

So, is everything we do in theory just an attempt to win the culture war? And so this explains why when I read Ayn Rand, I want to be Howard Roark. When I read Rawls I want to redistribute. And so we can have 2 competing visions for the world. One in which people hold their positions and ideologies with a certain strength of conviction, and push through the change they wish to see in the world. The resulting collision creates the world and its chaos. (I suspect this is rather true). The other is just like us being the father in Cormac McCarthy's novel, The Road, trying to find the balance in teaching your son how to fend for himself, and when to help, which is how so many of us live our lives. The truth is, there's a bit of the extreme and a bit of the moderate in large numbers, and so I have no conclusion for you today. I was just riffing!


overdue photos, dubai and melaka

do NOT invest here. too much capital. go work here. returns to labour high. i get the feeling that if you build a hotel here, someone is going to out-ostentate and undercut you. it's one of those cities though, which, when i visit, reminds me why people like to visit singapore so much (although for a very long time i never thought it would be interesting enough to visit). i'm growing more and more in love with the singapore skyline though, the little things changing throughout the country (more entertainment and f&b spots, or could it be i'm growing up?)... my favourite spot was sitting at the library at esplanade thinking what the IR was going to look like, and part of me was hoping for gigantic faux roman columns.


sungei melaka... they seemed to have done up jonker street and the town area since i've been there, and now mahkota parade is no longer the coolest place to shop, it's a huge place called dahtaran pahlawan. another example of how the places you visit change... so how many of you still have photos on the fort?

food the same, also peranakan food nyums nyums.

i had a long, ranty post on the spirituality of rock and roll after watching we will rock you, but it was written in the glow of the moment (then again, what is faith but getting through the bad time with the faint memory, or the hope of the glow?)

and finally! cormac mccarthy's book, the road... maybe it's come a little too early in my life. but what a wonderful book on how to be a father. there was a debate today in the independent whether or not america had lost its moral authority (typical for a british paper, especially the independent). but the americans sure know how to tell a good, simple story.

will be graduating soon and hope to be going to a cold country for summer (maybe iceland) with the parents. also seized by an urge to master the cyrillic script and hop on the trans-siberian myself, which I've been aching to do since ORD (since nobody likes being on trains for weeks, though i suspect that will get the trains out of my system). i could also guide misguided chelsea and united fans on their way to moscow. BOOO! shit club no history, shit club no history, shit club no history, shit club no history!

exercise regularly, study hard and have a nice day. maturifically and healthily yours!