Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Rock Band TTTO, the First Show and the Ostrich - a talk on economics at Islamic International Universty of Malaysia...

The organizers got the title of the talk a little bit wrong, but that
is fine, because we think that they also took some poetic license to
describe Amirul, Moses and myself as THREE Established Speakers on Economics.

I have a couple friends I have made since my college days, Amirul and Moses. Last week our trio (thanks to Amirul) was formed ‘to play a gig’ for the matriculation students of the International Islamic University. “The gig” is a basic talk on the fundamentals of economics, the global monetary and banking system (I can hear you snoring already), the economic rise of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the current fiscal death spiral of the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain). So of course we titled our show (talk), “THROW THE BRICS AT THE PIIGS.'

Sun Flower Cracker, unofficial roadie
and groupie of TTOT.
As this is our first ever collaboration, our unholy trinity decided upon a working title for our ‘band’, and Moses came up with a canny name, ‘This, That and The Other’ or TTTO for short. We had very little time to prep and rehearse for the show, which we did last night. This posting is about the highs and lows of the gig. We learnt quite a lot about our weaknesses as presenters and a little about our strengths. But good or bad, I wouldn't have wanted to perform with any other band member but Amirul and Moses, aka Mr. That and Mr. The Other.

It is boring to write without pictures. So below are some pictures that were snapped by our unofficial roadie (if she was official we would have to pay her) and groupie girlfriend to the lead vocalist of TTTO.  She is known in this chronicles as Heche, but just for today she should have a proper and respectable rock band groupie name… Sun Flower Cracker. .. 

The crowd was coming in slowly. They must be wondering, “Who the heck are those 3 middle-aged speakers? Why am I here? Will my standard of living improve after listening to them talk for 2 hours??”
The band TTTO. Left; Amirul is our bassist, setting the pace and rhythm of the talk. Centre; Moses (also known as Shamsul Yunos), our cracking guitarist who would go into extended solos about usury and banking later. Right; Taufiq ‘the sinner’ Khalid, lead vocalist and leader of the band. I get to claim this because I am writing this after all…
9.03pm. Just seconds before the opening number… the band is quiet and strangely introspective. As if searching for some deep inner inspiration. Or perhaps because we were so damn hungry. Didn’t have dinner yet, you see. The audience started to come in with more than 60 undergrads cramming the aisles (sort of).
And the show begins with Moses welcoming the crowd and how good and brilliant they looked (always good to get the audience on your side right from the start) The sinner continues with a brief introduction on the supply and demand curve of economics, the free market, the command economy  and something which he strangely referred to as ‘The Demand Modifier’. He also asked the students, “Does there exist in this world a perfect free economy?” Answer - No.
Amirul convincingly dissects the meaning of money, its history and later in the show I thought he tore apart (!) a RM50 note. Which of course, cannot be true because it is a criminal offence to tear up the national currency. It was just an amazing magic trick and one of many up the sleeves of a man on a mission. And what is Amirul’s mission, you ask? Well, obviously it is to go around the country tearing up paper money, of course. He he he. Just kidding. He is one of those damn ‘dinaris’ who would like to see a return to gold and silver as a medium of currency. 
Moses in full flow, breathing righteous knowledge he picked up from on top of the mountain. He is going hell over leather on usury and the vicious circle of debt, poverty and inflation. He later confided in me that he had an out-of-body experience. He was actually thinking in English, but the words issuing forth from his mustachio-ed lips is clearly Bahasa Melayu, and this rather caught him by surprise. As he developed deeper into his topic even his Bahasa Melayu began to form into a rather thick local slang of the northern state of Kedah. Me and Heche noticed the linguistic changes and exchanged knowing smiles.
Is that an ostrich behind Taufiq?? Amirul and Moses were able to develop their talks with slide presentation, which kinda helped with their delivery. The sinner, alas, had no time to prepare any proper slides, but instead showed pictures of famous celebrities, funny looking animals and cute kittens.  This is the famous “Demand Modifier”. The entire trick (and it was not much of a trick, to be fair) is to show how images in advertising help to modify (and hopefully increase) a target audience’s demand for a product or service, which in this case is the present talk. Moses, typically went on to pound from the pulpit on the origin of advertising (psy-war unit in World War II), the evil of advertising and how it persuaded womenfolk that it was cool to smoke.
Amirul: I can’t believe you only prepared a slide show of a bunch of famous people and funny cute animals… You have GOT to be kidding me!
The sinner: Shut up.
Amirul: And I can’t believe you swore and said ‘gila babi’ (crazy pig) in your talk!
The sinner: Shut up.
But all’s well that end’s well. At the end of TTOT’s first gig the audience had increased to almost a 100 strong. Later we were informed that it was not compulsory that the students came, which was a pleasant surprise for the band. But at the end of the talk nobody asked for our autographs. Oh well. Perhaps next time.
Have a lovely day, sunshine. The talk was an interesting experience which we hope to have again soon. The students were lovely, polite and amazingly, actually interested! So not like us in our university days almost 20 years ago… It was a privilege to talk to these bright young stars about to rise in the firmament of academia. Ameen.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way


Amirul HM said...

It was a privilege talking to the future leaders....and great to be associated with TK and Moses Shamsul Atoque.

Jo said...

Oh dear?!
I have not visited this blog for a while and this talk pig and all happened,,, for real.
I have to check this blog daily to keep you guys in check.
Anyway, tahniah saudara2 nampak mcm bakal YB. Baju kot tu penting bro. Pen monk blank jgn lupa :)

Milky Tea said...

Welcome back Jo. We missed you of late. This morning's post is kinda for you, being about the Prince and all... hope you like it!

Bakal YB? Forget it. Ain't gonna happen. He he he


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