Monday, June 09, 2008

Why (Not) I?

Aco could proudly claim that he's ahead of me by (dreaming) to write a novel about economics and politicians. But these guys, Ray Fisman of Columbia and Edward Miguel of Berkeley, seem (way) ahead both of us. They are about to publish a story (or stories) on how economics (with data) can reveal how the gangster's (read: dirty diplomats, politicians, dictators, bureaucrats) minds works. The title is Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence and the Poverty of Nations.

And more embarrassingly, they even devote a whole chapter on Soeharto --the man the two of us should know better.

Another embarassment comes from Elisabeth Pisani, who wrote about Taman Lawang and Lapangan Banteng --a book that now is recommended by Marginal Revolution. The title is The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS

Here's some excerpt:
Lenny, another doyenne of the city’s transgender hookers who was putting on her make-up while Nancy pontificated, laughed. Lenny is not thrilled that the Department of Social Affairs has tossed her, along with all waria, into a box marked “mentally disabled”. But she had to agree with “over the top”. Lenny had organised a group that was lobbying for equal rights for waria. She interrupted her face-paint rituals to tell of a recent meeting with a parliamentary sub-committee. “We’re in the national parliament asking to be taken seriously as a community, and I see that two of the girls are missing. I send someone off to look for them and guess what? They’re screwing the security guards in the bathroom.” She shook her head in disbelief and went back to her mascara.
I've ordered my copy. The book seems terribly fascinating --and more importantly, because it makes me enviously feel: "it should have been I who write books about those interesting things just under my nose with that kind of style". Oh, well.


  1. thanks Rizal, for the interesting links...Here's the Economist's review of Pisani's book :

  2. Eh, Jal.. does 'dirty' novel count as one's achievement..? :-) (No, not me, of course...).

  3. ap, you can always claim the trophy, of course :-)

  4. thought you didnt like conspiracy theories..:)