Anything That Interests Me! :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Quick Note on How To Read Anything that Interests Me!

A Quick Note on How To Read Anything that Interests Me!

I have had some comments sent to me via facebook, some via email, and some have tagged on my board, and for the next few months I encourage people to send me materials or stuff that I should read, and certainly people should feel free to tell me comments or their analyses, and so on.

However, I realise that there are a few problems that I have to highlight. This doesn't apply to all the emails I get; only some. (However, it's good general advice.)

Let's take an example. Recently, I wrote a normative analysis of certain government policies. Now, I got two main comments for that - the first comment was a rather simple comment that I should read more political economy but seemed to mistake my simple analysis for quantitative economics, which it certainly wasn't; the second comment was an economics reply, which dealt with intertemporal allocative problems and commitment issues and evolutionary theories and a general analysis of Singapore's current issues ranging from - I kid you not - low birth rates to evolutionary fitness of Singaporeans.

Now, the thing is that I've read my J S Mill, and yes, people have freedom of speech and thought. However, having said that, here are some rules that should guide you in reading all articles, but including this one as well:

1. What is the context?
The two replies to my analysis have ignored the context - it's a Singaporean context; it's written in response to the fact that there are mostly one sided comments on many yahoo FTP articles; it's written in response to certain events, etc. Context is important.

2. What is written? What does the author say?
Now, the thing is that this is amazing. Despite my repeated exhortations, people can still read wrongly! E.g. "UBS' retirement age is 62!" I never said it wasn't. "We can still be reemployed after retirement, OK!" I never said you can't. "Why should economists decide our future?" I never said they did or should. And so on, and so forth. Please, please, read what is written, not what you think is written.

I shall say this again as it's so important: Read what is written, not what you think is written.

3. Try to think about the new information or ideas, rather than rejecting them out of hand.
This site is meant to increase your views, not to narrow them. This site is meant to share my ideas on what interests me, not what necessarily interests you. So if you can't take new ideas, you shouldn't be here. If you don't like reading, go somewhere else.

On the other hand, if you're here - then think about what I've written and see if it applies to you; if it's logical; if it makes sense; if it doesn't, then does the issue lie with you or with me? [And bear in mind I don't usually write on issues I don't know.]

If I am wrong on the other hand, then make a mental note, or better yet, send me a correction! If it's an opinion you don't agree with, rather than something "positive" (factual), then think about what you don't like, why, and why your underlying assumptions are better than my underlying assumptions. Don't bother sending me an unsubstantiated opinion; opinions should have some basis.

4. Question, challenge and think through what you read.
I have said that before, so I shan't bother explaining. Question! Question! Question! I would like to thank my old teacher Ms M who taught me that when I was a young H S way back in '02/'03.

In any case, for some - odd - people who don't seem to like my writing, they shall be pleased to know that I will be stopping further posts on this blog in July 2011, in a few months' time. I shall be concentrating on other sites, and also spending more time on my postgraduate diploma. There are many things for me to do, rather than just contributing ideas to help university juniors or people asking for advice. Tschuess!

I've had a great run and made a lot of online friends (online enemies tend to make nasty comments then disappear permanently; online friends (who sometimes also happen to be my friends in real life) occasionally send me more tags or emails or write nice things about me, such as Accelerator and Defensedefumer).

As for those who like my writing, well, you've had my company on many occasions and some of you - well, a whole bunch of you - have been receiving nice emails and comments from me. It was a pleasure knowing you. Thank you very much to all my friends, nice readers and good passersby who gave me nice comments and some really funny, in terms of happy, comments too. So don't be surprised when in a few months' time, I send a goodbye notice! :) Thank you to all my loyal readers!

To end on a sad note: It has been great blogging; but as we say, all good things come to an end.

Anything that Interests Me!