Sunday, December 24, 2006


My mom is very efficient. Maybe too efficient, she wrote pxkit in one of her recent short messages to me. It took me awhile before I understood that what she meant was ‘penyakit’ (illness). Yes, she has been using x as a short-hand for 'nya', the suffix; and I figured that out. But x in the middle of a word? That was kind of new to me.

This morning, Simon Gower complains in The Jakarta Post about too many short-hands used in text language. He listed, among all, 2b for ‘to be’, gr8 for ‘great’, 4c for ‘foresee’, and even the already very obvious ones like cu for ‘see you’, ur for ‘your’, or (again, even!) wanna for ‘want to’. He calls all this ‘oddities’. And he asks, “Can we stop this SMS mess?”

My answer would be “No, we shouldn’t even try”. I think short-hands in hand phone textings are fun and clever. Gower indeed admits that "these oddities have their place", but he quickly adds, "that place is surely on the small screen of mobile phone where space (and texting fees) is of concern". O’coz, datz d whol idea, mr!

Gower goes even further as saying that the ‘oddities’ can create an "unnecessary intrusion for people who are learning the English language". Why on earth should we bother with those who are studying English? It ain’t me mom’s buz.

Gower is right that ideas (delivered in the way of his accused oddities) "run the risk of getting lost if the reader is not familiar with the short-hand or just cannot be bothered to spend time to figure it out". Two things here. If I were to text you, I would have to make sure (or at least assume on my own risk) that you would understand what I would be saying, with or without short-hands. On the other hand, if I accept a weird sms with oddities, I would simply trash it right away, unless I am interested, for which case I would simply reply with ‘?’ – This has been working well so far.

So, Mr. Gower, relax. I hope d govt ppl r all out 4 holidays, so no time 2 read ur complaint coz odrws, theyll start thinkin’ o some way 2 regulate sms texting... LOL & :-)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Manager's Top Movies

I remember, when we started up the Café somebody (don't remember who exactly) suggested not to have any posting on lists -- you know, that thing people like to have in their blogs: list of favorite movies, books, etc. But I'm gonna break it, cause it seems fun. Here's my "top" movies list, in alphabetical order (I have set up my own stupid rule: at most one movie per letter allowed).

Annie Hall (1977), Being John Malkovich (1999), Clockwork Orange - A (1971), Dreamers - The (2003), Erin Brockovich (2000), Farewell My Concubine (1993), Groundhog Day (1993), Happy Together (1997), Jaws (1975), Kikujiro (2000), Life is Beautiful (1997), Maléna (2000), North by Northwest (1959), Philadelphia (1993), Rosencrantzs & Guildenstern are Dead (1990), Strictly Ballroom (1992), To Catch A Thief (1955), Usual Suspects - The (1995), Vertigo (1958), What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Econ 101: Demand Part 2

Last time we talked about measuring preference using utility concept and then maximizing the utility subject to choice- and budget constraints. Let’s continue. (For those who just joined, The Manager has kindly put the series in order of appearances on the sidebar).

The utility that is a function of the things we consume (apple, orange and all that) is called direct utility function (DUF). That is, you infer my utility function by looking at how many apples I decide to eat. Many times, you can just infer one’s utility function by knowing how he usually responds to a given income level and the existing prices of goods considered. This is called indirect utility function (IUF). These two concepts are very closely linked. Your satisfaction from apple depends on how many apples you consume. But how many apples you consume depends on how much money you have and how much one apple costs. So, representing utility using information on prices and income level is identical to representing utility using consumption level. This is the first magic.

Both DUF and IUF are maximizing functions: you maximize your utility given your income. That is, you are answering the question of “what is the maximal level of utility you can get with your given income”. What if the question instead is “what is the minimal level of income needed to reach a given utility level”? Then you do it the other way around: you minimize your expenditure given the utility level you want to achieve. The first approach is called utility maximization problem (UMP), and the second is expenditure minimization problem (EMP). Now here is the second magic: if you want to know the optimal level of one’s consumption, you can go either way: UMP or EMP. We say, one is the dual to the other.

Note again that in UMP we try to find the optimal level of consumption by varying utility to match a given income level. The resulting demand function is called Walrasian demand function.1 In the EMP approach, we try to find the optimal level of consumption by varying income level to match a given utility level. The resulting demand function is called Hicksian demand function.2 This latter function is also called compensated demand function because in fact we imagine the individual as if we keep adjusting (‘compensating’) his income so as to let him be in the same level of satisfaction. (So you know why the former is also called uncompensated demand function).

Now we are ready for the most celebrated Law of Demand: “If the price of a good goes up, the demand for it goes down...” – many textbooks stop here; nevertheless, it should really continue with “... if the price changes are accompanied by income compensation”. This is the property of Hicksian demand. On the other hand, it is possible that when a good’s price falls, the demand for it ... decrases. This can happen with Walrasian demand, an example of which is a Giffen good.

Stay tuned for the welfare analysis of consumer demand.


1 After Leon Walras, 1874. Many textbooks inaccurately call this Marshallian demand function (after Alfred Marshall, 1920).

2 After John R. Hicks, 1939.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Polygamy, again

I agree with Aco. That is, I don't disagree with the practice of polygamy.

What concerns me more is the fact that the President (and that means, representing the State) needs to have a say on this. It is amazing that SBY can't say a word on a lot of things he is supposed to be decisive, yet he quickly reacts to private matters like this. In today's paper (linked later) it is reported, SBY wants people not to make a big deal out of this polygamy thingy. Well, you, a president, should not make a big deal out of it.

Polygamy is not and never supposed to be the State's business. Managing taxpayers money well is.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I'm sorry for that kid who died after an injury from a smackdown match with his friends. Also for other injured kids everywhere, regardless of what they just saw on tv: wrestling, cartoon, or crappy 'sinetron'.

But banning SmackDown? Give me a break.

When your kid gets injured trying to practice what he saw on tv, it's not your tv's fault (or the producer's, or the station's, for that matter). It's yours. When your kid gets kicked by another kid who happens to get the idea from tv, it's not the tv's fault, it's that kid's parents'. So, go sue them irresponsible parents.

If you want compensation from a tv station for a damage you think caused by it, the tv station should also demand compensation from you if your kid learns good stuff from its other programs or shows. If you say, no, you have paid your due every month, I'd say OK, the damage has also been deduced from that payment. Fair, no?

Well, now you're calling me a Lativi protector? Get this: I don't give a damn to that company. I don't even like SmackDown. It's totally stupid. A display of a bunch of airheads bumping into each other with silly chicks walking around. Here's what I would do: turn off the tv. Watch House MD, CSI, Lost, or Grey's Anatomy -- while my kid (if I had one) is sleeping...

Wait, I got an idea. While people are banning SmackDown (and Lativi), I'm gonna play it here in the Café. Big screen. Who says I don't have business sense?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

From the Manager

Boy, I hate that Econ-101 series. Never known economics is even more boring than inflation, growth, and interest rates. Damn it.

Well, I'm glad the world is not just that. At least these bitches are back. And oh, this guy is entertaining (he's totally right: Ahmad Dhani is a genius!).

JakJazz wasn't so bad. (But what was Shakatak doing there?).

I'm playing Ray Charles. Hit the road, Jack!