Saturday, July 18, 2015

Candy Law Lam's Photoshoot

Candy Law Lam,  a mother of 3, released her photoshoot book ... and first run of 3,000 copies sold out immediately. A model and sometime actress 25 years ago... she has made her comeback in movies in two memorable movies recently. She had her divorce finalised two years ago. Oh, by the way she is 50 years old ... stunning!!!









Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Countries Stock market's Capitalisation As A % Of GDP

Someone twitted to us during our BFM show about the veracity of the figures of a country's stock market as a percentage of GDP. Why is the figure important ... if you can strip out foreign listings and non related listings (inclusive of SPACs) and maybe some REITs that are foreign or regional in nature, you get a good grasp of how much of your economy is listed. 


The higher the figure, the higher the importance of the stockmarket in feeling and shrinking economic activity. IN a super bull, Malaysian domestic economy would flourish as most people will see a lot of funds swishing around, the same when its a bear market when restaurants business dwindles sharply. The higher the figure, the more attention will the central banks and authorities pay to major fluctuations in share markets.

China, though has a lowly figure of GDP that is listed, is important this time owing to the exuberant amount in leverage/margin.






http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/CM.MKT.LCAP.GD.ZS/countries


The latest figures were for 2012. There are still discrepancies because many markets have "outside interests" being listed as well on their markets. It could be REITs, foreign listings, etc...

Bahrain  52%
Belgium 60.2%
Bolivia 27%
Brazil 51%
Canada 110%
Chile 118%
China 43.7%
Colombia 71%
Denmark 69%
France 68%
Germany 42%
Greece 18%
HK 421%
India 69%
Indonesia 43%
Ireland 49%
South Korea 96%
Malaysia 156%
Mexico 44%
Holland 79%
Philippines 105%
Russia 43%
Singapore 143%
South Africa 154%
Spain 73%
Thailand 104%
UK 115%
USA 115%
Vietnam 21%





Saturday, July 11, 2015

Loyalty, Tolerance, Empathy, Leadership


There was a king. He had 10 wild dogs...
He used them to torture and eat all the ministers who made mistakes.

Once, one of the ministers gave an opinion which was wrong, and which the king didn’t like at all… 
So he ordered for the minister to be thrown to the dogs.

So the minister said, 
"I served you 10 years and you do this..?

Please give me 10 days before you throw me in with those dogs!"
So the king agreed… 

In those 10 days the minister went to the guard that was guarding the dogs and told him he wants to serve the dogs for the next 10 days… 

The guard was baffled… 
But he agreed… 
So the minister started feeding the dogs, cleaning them, washing them, providing all sorts of comfort to them.

When the 10 days were up… 

The king ordered that the minister be thrown in to the dogs as his punishment. 

But when he was thrown in, 

Everyone was amazed at what they saw..
They saw the dogs licking the feet of the minister!

So the king, baffled at what he saw, said:” what happened to my dogs. !!!” 

The minister then said;” 
I served the dogs for 10 days and they didn’t forget my service…
Yet I served you for 10 years and you forgot all on the first mistake!”… 

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

China's Baby Steps Into Capitalism

There is market support practiced by most countries financial authorities, usually with things such as circuit breakers, etc... but what the Chinese authorities have been doing is tantamount to meddling, acts of desperation, runs afoul of free market principles or proper capitalism. 


Here are the things China has done for the past 10 days to stop the sell down:

1) drop interest rat


es by 75 basis points
2) ban IPOs
3) ask state own firms not to sell shares
4) ask securities firms to buy shares (this one is so puzzling)
5) allow companies who wish to suspend their own shares, for basically any reason ... now its close to 50% of all listed companies in China having requested and being suspended from trading
6) restricted short bets on index futures

as if thats not enough, today they announce that anyone holding at least 5% shares in any listed company CANNOT sell their shares for 6 months.

BUT ... wait for it ... this one takes the cake ..."Under new rules announced last week by the country’s securities regulator, real estate has become an acceptable form of collateral for Chinese margin traders, who borrow money from securities firms to amplify their wagers on equities. That means if share prices fall enough, individual investors who pledge their homes could be at risk of losing them to a broker." To allow punters to literally bet the house on it ... soon securities firms will be the biggest house owners!!!

The ChinaSecurities Regulatory Commission has done more than what is deem proper in order to prop up the market. But markets are in panic mode and is fuelled mainly by passions and not rational thinking. Two things guide markets trend, FEAR & GREED. There is now too much panic and fear, and every additional step taken by CSRC are being viewed of acts of desperation and add fuel to fear.


The cascading effects of China's correction lies not with just punters betting on the markets but rather companies themselves using their shares as collateral for margin lines to play the market themselves. Much of the funds has gone to manipulate, support or push their own share prices higher, and/or bet on other companies. The cascading effect is due to margin facilities being cut, stop or collateral being sold down.

However when you can willy nilly suspend your counter to evade a sell down, the selling can only build up, not abate.
China isn’t the only market with a history of state intervention. During the Asian financial crisis in 1998, Hong Kong’s government bought shares worth $15 billion to prop up the market. In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission temporarily banned short selling on some shares during the global financial crisis in 2008.
Xi Jinpeng has a bigger vested interest to prop up the markets. Thanks to his anti corruption drive, and a deliberate move to divert hot money from property, he has fast tracked the popular HK Connect which allows China investors to buy HK shares and vice versa. In a way, its also a good way to channel hot or laundered money out of the country. This was seen as an OK signal from the government to the public that its OK to buy shares. The anticipation that the HK Connect train would also apply to Shenzhen shares soon cause massive speculation especially in Shenzhen's already frothy and more speculative market.
The Grexit situation was a good reason for some big players to start taking chips off the table, what was unexepected was the domino effect and the many banks and financial firms holding collateral shares acted first, to start the dump rolling. With foreign investors exiting as they regard more and more intervention sound like a really iffy stock market place - they sold and sold with little intention to come back anytime soon.
Lessons here - recognise bubble when it is bubbling. Central banks must make sure banks are well capitalised and their exposure have limited consequences. Margin limits must be enforced religiously. Then bubbles will still burst, but we want to minimise the downside effects as much as we can. 
Welcome to the world of capitalism. Live and learn.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Brave New World

Brave new world ... or just platforms masking as the middlemen, bringing buyer and seller of services on the one platform.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day - Let The Man Be The Man He Is

I never thought a simple posting like this could have struck so many chords. We all love our mums, and rightly mums get most of the accolade, Mother's Day is always bigger than Father's Day. This posting got xxx FB likes, I still cannot believe so many felt the same way. Its like we are so connected in what's deepest in us. I may not know all my readers personally, but I feel so humbled to know you all feel the same way. Its not easy to be a blogger, if there are 100 readers, there'd be 4 or 5 who will just hate your guts and they will post nasty comments to let you know that - even though out of the 100 ... 70 or more may like you, but most will not bother to write and tell you nice things, thats the reality when you put yourself out there ... hence reading the comments for this posting was very shocking and restored my faith in humanity. I thought I had to say this, made me realise what I thought was something simple was probably my most important posting because so many people really cared.
--------------------------------------------------
I had a good chat with a friend about dads growing old. I assume we are all filial sons and daughters. When our dads grow older and older, maybe some will have retired from their careers by now. I wonder how many of us "love our dads" in the way that allows him to continue to be the man that he is.

Dads who are now retired are dads from a different era. Most of our dads are the strong silent types, not like many of the younger dads nowadays who will try to be good friends with their kids. 

A man of the house usually takes the lead in the household. He takes care of the paycheck. He calls the shots in many areas of the household matters. When they retire, they may not have access to as much "money as before" - gee, do you ever wonder why, thats because he has brought you guys up, send you guys to further your studies, even finance your first car or even your first home, down payment for this and that. Flying you back from overseas, etc... 

Now he may be pushing 60 or 70, he may be living primarily off what you kids give him. We somehow think if we give them a few hundred or a thousand or two ringgit a month, we have done our part. Your dad is still the man he was, faults and all. He used to call the shots, ask you guys where you like to have dinner, ask you guys what you want for your birthdays.

Now, he has to take money from you guys. Funds may not be so "loose". When you guys take him out to dinner, he doesn't have the "right" to pay for you guys anymore. Heck, he may even shy away from ordering whatever he likes from the menu or dictate where he wants to have dinner. He may not even be able to just take your mum wherever they wish to go for holidays. 

In these very many small ways, he is not "allowed to be the man he used to be". We as children should empathise with that. If we can afford it, we should give him more than what he needs to survive. We should allow our father to be the father he still is. 

A person's spirit is the hardest to please and easiest to break. Love comes in many disguises. Love is not just money but our attitude as well. Reconsider how we love our dads. Mine is no longer around. If your dad still is, be thankful, and be the better son and daughter. Love your dad better.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

After Breaking Bad ...

Its a kind of depression after you have devoured Breaking Bad the series cause almost every other series do not match up. But you get over it. Here are my recommendations on top notch series to watch, or worth watching:



Kristen Bell is amazing and sexy and Don Cheadle highly watchable. The series is about a group of management consultants who flit from client to client spinning lies and data points. A lot of conniving, sex and manipulative behaviour. Into their fourth season.



 Into their third season. Extremely good. How to get things done in politics, by any means. The relationship between Kevin Spacey's character with Robin Wright's is convoluted to say the least. Very addictive.


 Also into their fourth season, a series about a lawyer, and one non-lawyer who happens to be the best lawyer amongst them. Solid.
























Saul was a critical character from Breaking Bad. Vince Gilligan is at the helm again for this prequel of sorts which traces the early days of Saul before Breaking Bad. Very Vince Gilligan, all the camera techniques and story building is there. The good thing is that in addition to Saul, you will find at least two more characters from Breaking Bad in the new series. The first few episodes were very slow moving but stay with it. Its very good.



Friday, June 12, 2015

Game of Thrones Truism

The post-it notes indicate when a character is killed off .... in the bloody Game of Thrones. Must be the worst job security when you are an actor in the series.



Thursday, June 11, 2015

Potential Bear Catalyst


The level of US corporate bond market has reached worrying signs. In a search for higher yields than Treasuries, many were willing to dip their fingers there. Two things could shake the calm waters: a rise in US interest rates or a weakening USD. As mentioned by Citigroup below, the unusual factor here is that most of the papers reside with just 3 types of investors. Most worrying are the mutual funds - if confidence is shaken, they could exit in droves, and cause a cascading effect for others scrambling to get out. Watch this space.



NEW YORK: For all the concern that Wall Street’s shrinking bal- ance sheets will fuel a liquidity crisis when investors flee credit markets, Citigroup Inc strategist Stephen Antczak said investors may be overlooking an even big- ger catalyst.

The size of the US corporate bond market has ballooned by US$3.7 trillion (RM13.84 trillion) during the past decade, yet almost all of that growth is concentrated in the hands of three types of buyers — mutual funds, foreign investors and insurance companies, accord- ing to Citigroup. That combination could lead to more selling than the market can absorb when the US Federal Reserve raises interest rates for the first time since 2006, Antczak said.

“All the money is going to the same place, and when something adversely impacts one, chances are the same factor adversely im- pacts everyone else, and there’s nobody there to take the other side,” Antczak said in a telephone interview. 

“We used to have 23 types of investors in the market. Now we have three. In my mind, that’s the key driver.”

The three investor groups hold almost two-thirds of total corpo- rate debt, Citigroup data show. Mutual funds, which are forced to sell when investors redeem cash, grew the fastest, more than doubling their share to 22% in 10 years. Overseas investors now hold almost a quarter of the mar- ket. Wells Fargo & Co analysts warned last month that those buyers may be prompted to exit if the US dollar weakens at the same time bond yields rise. — Bloomberg 

Sunday, June 07, 2015

The Ultimate Guide To Ipoh Ngah Choi Kai

I cringe every time someone said that they had the best ngah choi kai in Ipoh at Lou Wong. Ask anyone from Ipoh and nine out of ten would never eat at Lou Wong. I guess if you are out station folks, you may need more guidance in locating the real deal.

We Ipoh folks take the dish seriously. After all, you buy any tofu or bean sprouts from Ipoh markets, they are already very good. How not to have good hor fun when you live in Ipoh?

The Best Of The Lot ....
So, what makes the dish stand out from being average to being brilliant. Well, at least they must have the best hor fun and bean sprouts to start with, not difficult. Then its the soup base, here is where quality comes in, how much "stuff you put in and how long you boil it for". We always can taste some "MSG" at Lou Wong although they will always deny it.

Then its the chicken, it is not whether they look golden yellow (that is a cheap trick of bringing out a nice colour). The test is how smooth and easy they detach from the bone. Test: can you pop a chicken wing into your mouth and easily spit out the entire bone, seriously.

The final test is the soy sauce/cooked oil mixture, it has to be just right, not too salty and has that special something (which I think is fried chicken fat).

The locations of the 5 outlets are on the linked map, thanks to a reader:

http://www.savershub.com/my/en/business.php?input1=Ipoh+Bean+Sprouts+Chicken&input3=Ipoh&lang=en

There are 5 places you would know (or should know):

LOU WONG
Soup base: 7/10
Chicken: 8/10
Soya/oil Mix: 7/10


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2791/4218090114_e9ab3ba859_o.jpg

ONN KEE
Soup base: 7/10
Chicken: 7/10
Soya/oil Mix: 7/10

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_mKRw925tsME/SHpHEb0XJPI/AAAAAAAAADA/4O_fqEpPdlE/s400/799px-Ipoh_OnnKeeTaugeAyam_Front_1.jpg


MEDAN KIDD (15 Tower) JUST BEEN INFORMED THAT THIS PLACE HAS BEEN DEMOLISHED AND THE OWNER DOES NOT INTEND TO RE-OPEN
Soup base: 8/10
Chicken: 9/10
Soya/oil Mix: 7/10
+ a tip here, they also serve probably the best stewed chicken feet, even better than Cowan Street outlet




KAM HOR (Ipoh Garden)
Soup base: 8/10
Chicken: 8/10
Soya/oil Mix: 8/10




COWAN STREET (#44 Cowan Street, random opening hours, priciest)
Soup base: 9/10
Chicken: 10/10
Soya/oil Mix: 10/10


There you have it, the ultimate guide. If you look at the scoring, you would know why we cringe when you say Lou Wong is sooo good.



Restaurant <span class=

p/s: photos stolen from various food bloggers, who always want to lynch me ...

http://ipohtown.blogspot.com/2008/07/food-glorious-food_14.html
http://www.j2kfm.com/fifteen-tower-tauge-ayam-ipoh/

http://www.j2kfm.com/kam-hor-ipoh-ayam-tauge/

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Moving, Deep Grief & Great Strength

Sheryl lost her husband most suddenly, when he was still pretty young of age, recently. Her heart moving heart wrenching letter holds a lot for us to learn and live by.
by Sheryl Sandberg
Today is the end of sheloshim for my beloved husband—the first thirty days. Judaism calls for a period of intense mourning known as shiva that lasts seven days after a loved one is buried. After shiva, most normal activities can be resumed, but it is the end of sheloshim that marks the completion of religious mourning for a spouse.
A childhood friend of mine who is now a rabbi recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: “Let me not die while I am still alive.” I would have never understood that prayer before losing Dave. Now I do.
I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well. 
But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning. 
And this is why I am writing: to mark the end of sheloshim and to give back some of what others have given to me. While the experience of grief is profoundly personal, the bravery of those who have shared their own experiences has helped pull me through. Some who opened their hearts were my closest friends. Others were total strangers who have shared wisdom and advice publicly. So I am sharing what I have learned in the hope that it helps someone else. In the hope that there can be some meaning from this tragedy. 
I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser.
I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of the agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain. She has tried to fill the empty space in my bed, holding me each night until I cry myself to sleep. She has fought to hold back her own tears to make room for mine. She has explained to me that the anguish I am feeling is both my own and my children’s, and I understood that she was right as I saw the pain in her own eyes. 
I have learned that I never really knew what to say to others in need. I think I got this all wrong before; I tried to assure people that it would be okay, thinking that hope was the most comforting thing I could offer. A friend of mine with late-stage cancer told me that the worst thing people could say to him was “It is going to be okay.” That voice in his head would scream, How do you know it is going to be okay? Do you not understand that I might die? I learned this past month what he was trying to teach me. Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not. When people say to me, “You and your children will find happiness again,” my heart tells me, Yes, I believe that, but I know I will never feel pure joy again. Those who have said, “You will find a new normal, but it will never be as good” comfort me more because they know and speak the truth. Even a simple “How are you?”—almost always asked with the best of intentions—is better replaced with “How are you today?” When I am asked “How are you?” I stop myself from shouting, My husband died a month ago, how do you think I am? When I hear “How are you today?” I realize the person knows that the best I can do right now is to get through each day.
I have learned some practical stuff that matters. Although we now know that Dave died immediately, I didn’t know that in the ambulance. The trip to the hospital was unbearably slow. I still hate every car that did not move to the side, every person who cared more about arriving at their destination a few minutes earlier than making room for us to pass. I have noticed this while driving in many countries and cities. Let’s all move out of the way. Someone’s parent or partner or child might depend on it. 
I have learned how ephemeral everything can feel—and maybe everything is. That whatever rug you are standing on can be pulled right out from under you with absolutely no warning. In the last thirty days, I have heard from too many women who lost a spouse and then had multiple rugs pulled out from under them. Some lack support networks and struggle alone as they face emotional distress and financial insecurity. It seems so wrong to me that we abandon these women and their families when they are in greatest need.
I have learned to ask for help—and I have learned how much help I need. Until now, I have been the older sister, the COO, the doer and the planner. I did not plan this, and when it happened, I was not capable of doing much of anything. Those closest to me took over. They planned. They arranged. They told me where to sit and reminded me to eat. They are still doing so much to support me and my children. 
I have learned that resilience can be learned.  Adam M. Grant taught me that three things are critical to resilience and that I can work on all three. Personalization—realizing it is not my fault. He told me to ban the word “sorry.” To tell myself over and over, This is not my fault. Permanence—remembering that I won’t feel like this forever. This will get better. Pervasiveness—this does not have to affect every area of my life; the ability to compartmentalize is healthy. 
For me, starting the transition back to work has been a savior, a chance to feel useful and connected. But I quickly discovered that even those connections had changed. Many of my co-workers had a look of fear in their eyes as I approached. I knew why—they wanted to help but weren’t sure how. Should I mention it? Should I not mention it? If I mention it, what the hell do I say? I realized that to restore that closeness with my colleagues that has always been so important to me, I needed to let them in. And that meant being more open and vulnerable than I ever wanted to be. I told those I work with most closely that they could ask me their honest questions and I would answer. I also said it was okay for them to talk about how they felt. One colleague admitted she’d been driving by my house frequently, not sure if she should come in. Another said he was paralyzed when I was around, worried he might say the wrong thing. Speaking openly replaced the fear of doing and saying the wrong thing. One of my favorite cartoons of all time has an elephant in a room answering the phone, saying, “It’s the elephant.” Once I addressed the elephant, we were able to kick him out of the room. 
At the same time, there are moments when I can’t let people in. I went to Portfolio Night at school where kids show their parents around the classroom to look at their work hung on the walls. So many of the parents—all of whom have been so kind—tried to make eye contact or say something they thought would be comforting. I looked down the entire time so no one could catch my eye for fear of breaking down. I hope they understood. 
I have learned gratitude. Real gratitude for the things I took for granted before—like life. As heartbroken as I am, I look at my children each day and rejoice that they are alive. I appreciate every smile, every hug. I no longer take each day for granted. When a friend told me that he hates birthdays and so he was not celebrating his, I looked at him and said through tears, “Celebrate your birthday, goddammit. You are lucky to have each one.” My next birthday will be depressing as hell, but I am determined to celebrate it in my heart more than I have ever celebrated a birthday before. 
I am truly grateful to the many who have offered their sympathy. A colleague told me that his wife, whom I have never met, decided to show her support by going back to school to get her degree—something she had been putting off for years. Yes! When the circumstances allow, I believe as much as ever in leaning in. And so many men—from those I know well to those I will likely never know—are honoring Dave’s life by spending more time with their families. 
I can’t even express the gratitude I feel to my family and friends who have done so much and reassured me that they will continue to be there. In the brutal moments when I am overtaken by the void, when the months and years stretch out in front of me endless and empty, only their faces pull me out of the isolation and fear. My appreciation for them knows no bounds.
I was talking to one of these friends about a father-child activity that Dave is not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave. I want option A.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.” 
Dave, to honor your memory and raise your children as they deserve to be raised, I promise to do all I can to kick the shit out of option B. And even though sheloshim has ended, I still mourn for option A. I will always mourn for option A. As Bono sang, “There is no end to grief . . . and there is no end to love.” I love you, Dave.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Surprising Article In Harvard Business Review

The transition to a global digital economy in 2014 was sporadic – brisk in some countries,
choppy in others. By year’s end, the seven biggest emerging markets were larger than the G7, i
n purchasing power parity terms. Plus, consumers in the Asia-Pacific region were expected to
spend more online last year than consumers in North America. The opportunities to serve the
e-consumer were growing – if you knew where to look.

These changing rhythms in digital commerce are more than a China, or even an Asia, story.
Far from Silicon Valley, Shanghai, or Singapore, a German company, Rocket Internet, has
been busy launching e-commerce start-ups across a wide range of emerging and frontier
markets. Their stated mission: To become the world’s largest internet platform outside the
U.S. and China. Many such “Rocket” companies are poised to become the Alibabas and
Amazons for the rest of the world: Jumia, which operates in nine countries across Africa;
Namshi in the Middle East; Lazada and Zalora in ASEAN; Jabong in India; and Kaymu in
33 markets across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Private equity and venture capital money have been concentrating in certain markets in
ways that mimic the electronic gold rush in Silicon Valley. During the summer of 2014 alone
$3 billion poured into India’s e-commerce sector, where, in addition to local innovators like
Flipkart and Snapdeal, there are nearly 200 digital commerce startups flush with private
investment and venture capital funds. This is happening in a country where online vendors l
argely operate on a cash-on-delivery (COD) basis. Credit cards or PayPal are rarely used;
according to the Reserve Bank of India, 90% of all monetary transactions in India are in cash.
Even Amazon localized its approach in India to offer COD as a service. India and other
middle-income countries such as Indonesia and Colombia all have high cash dependence.
But even where cash is still king, digital marketplaces are innovating at a remarkable pace.
Nimble e-commerce players are simply working with and around the persistence of cash.

To understand more about these types of changes around the world, we developed an
“index” to identify how a group of countries stack up against each other in terms of readiness
for a digital economy. Our Digital Evolution Index (DEI), created by the Fletcher School at
Tufts University (with support from Mastercard and DataCash), is derived from four broad
drivers: supply-side factors (including access, fulfillment, and transactions infrastructure);
demand-side factors (including consumer behaviors and trends, financial and Internet
and social media savviness); innovations (including the entrepreneurial, technological and
funding ecosystems, presence and extent of disruptive forces and the presence of a start-up
culture and mindset); and institutions (including government effectiveness and its role in
business, laws and regulations and promoting the digital ecosystem). The resulting index
includes a ranking of 50 countries, which were chosen because they are either home to
most of the current 3 billion internet users or they are where the next billion users are likely
to come from.

As part of our research, we wanted to understand who was changing quickly to prepare for
the digital marketplace and who wasn’t. Perhaps not surprisingly, developing countries in
Asia and Latin America are leading in momentum, reflecting their overall economic gains.

 But our analysis revealed other interesting patterns. Take, for example, Singapore and
The Netherlands. Both are among the top 10 countries in present levels of digital evolution.
But when we consider the momentum – i.e., the five-year rate of change from 2008 to
2013 – the two countries are far apart. Singapore has been steadily advancing in
developing a world-class digital infrastructure, through public-private partnerships, to
further entrench its status as a regional communications hub. Through ongoing
investment, it remains an attractive destination for start-ups and for private equity and
venture capital. The Netherlands, meanwhile, has been rapidly losing steam. The Dutch
government’s austerity measures beginning in late 2010 reduced investment into elements
of the digital ecosystem. Its stagnant, and at times slipping, consumer demand led investors
to seek greener pastures.

Based on the performance of countries on the index during the years 2008 to 2013,
we assigned them to one of four trajectory zones: Stand Out, Stall Out, Break Out, and
Watch Out.
  • Stand Out countries have shown high levels of digital development in the past and continue to remain on an upward trajectory.
  • Stall Out countries have achieved a high level of evolution in the past but are losing momentum and risk falling behind.
  • Break Out countries have the potential to develop strong digital economies. Though their overall score is still low, they are moving upward and are poised to become Stand Out countries in the future.
  • Watch Out countries face significant opportunities and challenges, with low scores on both current level and upward motion of their DEI. Some may be able to overcome limitations with clever innovations and stopgap measures, while others seem to be stuck.































Break Out countries such as India, China, Brazil, Vietnam, and the Philippines are improving
their digital readiness quite rapidly. But the next phase of growth is harder to achieve. Staying
on this trajectory means confronting challenges like improving supply infrastructure and
nurturing sophisticated domestic consumers.

Watch Out countries like Indonesia, Russia, Nigeria, Egypt, and Kenya have important things
in common like institutional uncertainty and a low commitment to reform. They possess one
or two outstanding qualities — predominantly demographics — that make them attractive
to businesses and investors, but they expend a lot of energy innovating around institutional
and infrastructural constraints. Unclogging these bottlenecks would let these countries
direct their innovation resources to more productive uses.

Most Western and Northern European countries, Australia, and Japan have been Stalling
Out. The only way they can jump-start their recovery is to follow what Stand Out countries
do best: redouble on innovation and continue to seek markets beyond domestic borders.
Stall Out countries are also aging. Attracting talented, young immigrants can help revive
innovation quickly.

What does the future hold? The next billion consumers to come online will be making their
digital decisions on a mobile device – very different from the practices of the first billion
that helped build many of the foundations of the current e-commerce industry. There will
continue to be strong cross-border influences as the competitive field evolves: even if
Europe slows, a European company, such as Rocket Internet, can grow by targeting the
fast-growing markets in the emerging world; giants out of the emerging world, such as
Alibaba, with their newfound resources and brand, will look for markets elsewhere; old
stalwarts, such as Amazon and Google will seek growth in new markets and new product
areas. Emerging economies will continue to evolve differently, as will their newly online
consumers. Businesses will have to innovate by customizing their approaches to this
multi-speed planet, and in working around institutional and infrastructural constraints,
particularly in markets that are home to the next billion online consumers.

We may be on a journey toward a digital planet — but we’re all traveling at different speeds.



Bhaskar Chakravorti is the Senior Associate Dean of International Business & Finance at The Fletcher School at Tufts University and founding Executive Director of Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context. He is the author of The Slow Pace of Fast Change.

Superheroes and Their Day Jobs

This is cool ...







Monday, June 01, 2015

Trying To Make Sense Of The Myanmar/Rohingyas Situation

It is easy to side with the Rohingyas  as we see them being displaced and even persecuted by some Myanmarese and often led by right wing extremist Buddhist groups. Anyone who visited their ghettos in Myanmar would be appalled.

Before we blame Myanmar, the government and the people, for the atrocities, it is necessary to try and understand how/why there is so much hatred, which led to the inhumanity we currently are witnessing.




Trying to understand the situation is important to make sense of the probable workable solutions. You cannot just throw the ball here and there. Over simplified solutions include:

- "asking the Myanmar government to sort out the issue before more refugees die trying to get out of Myanmar"

- "sending them back to Myanmar"

Even the democracy champion Aung Sang Suu Kyi has remained cautious with her statements on the issue. When the Dalai Lama asked her to help to sort out the problem, even she said it is not so simple, in fact it is a highly complicated issue. It would be easy if it was pure genocide, pure racism ... but there is bad blood that runs much deeper than the surface. You do not get so much hatred just based on race issue or just on having different religion.

Desmond Tutu and George Soros have basically called for a total restoration of citizenship, nationality and basic human rights to the Rohingya. If only it was that simple. The model answer masks the hard facts and deep seated hatred that would make such solutions untenable over the long run.

Soros said he visited a Rohingya settlement in January and saw parallels to his youth as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Europe.  “You see, in 1944, as a Jew in Budapest, I too was a Rohingya,” he said. That was a heartfelt comparison but unlike the Jewish people, who were basically persecuted based on their faith, the situation is quite different for the R. They are not as blameless as the Jewish people.


Myanmar refuses to recognize the term Rohingya and calls the people Bengali instead, suggesting that they come from neighboring Bangladesh. Officials in Myanmar said they would not attend the government meeting in Thailand if the term Rohingya were used.



WIKIPEDIA:  According to Rohingyas and some scholars, they are indigenous to Rakhine State, while other historians claim that they migrated to Burma from Bengal primarily during the period of British rule in Burma,[15][16][17] and to a lesser extent, after the Burmese independence in 1948 and Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.[18][19][20][2][21]
Muslims have settled in Arakan since the 16th century, although the number of Muslim settlers before the British rule is unclear.[22]After the first Anglo-Burmese War in 1826, British annexed Arakan and encouraged migrations from Bengal to work as farm laborers. The Muslim population may have constituted 5% of Arakan's population by 1869, although estimates for earlier years give higher numbers. Successive British censuses of 1872 and 1911 recorded an increase in Muslim population from 58,255 to 178,647 in Akyab District. During World War II, the Rakhine State massacre in 1942 involved communal violence between the British-armed V Force Rohingya recruits and Buddhist Rakhine people and the region became increasingly ethnically polarized.[23]
In 1982, General Ne Win's government enacted the Burmese nationality law, which denied Rohingya citizenship. Since the 1990s, the term "Rohingya" has increased in usage among Rohingya communities.[16][21]
As of 2013, about 735,000 Rohingyas live in Burma.[2] They reside mainly in the northern Rakhine townships, where they form 80–98% of the population.[21] International media and human rights organizations have described Rohingyas as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.[24][25][26]
Many Rohingyas have fled to ghettos and refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh and to areas along the border with Thailand. More than 100,000 Rohingyas in Burma continue to live in camps for internally displaced persons, not allowed by authorities to leave.[27][28] Rohingyas have received international attention in the wake of 2012 Rakhine State riots, and more recently due to their attempted migration throughout Southeast Asia in the 2015 Rohingya refugee crisis.
By WWII half the population of Yangon (formerly Rangoon), Burma’s capital city at the time, was Indian and Indians represented 16% of the total population. When the Japanese invaded in 1942, half a million Indians fled from Burma overland into India mostly on foot. When Ne Win took over in 1962, the government nationalized Indian businesses and disenfranchised the Indians. This led to another exodus of about 300,000 Indians. Those who stayed cannot be citizens and are barred from owning businesses, working in the civil service or serving in the military.5 

There are a great number of indigenous minorities in Burma, a detail most of us know little about. In fact there are 135 distinct ethnic groups as first defined by General Ne Win’s government in 1962, a list still used today. The major ethnic populations in Burma are: Bamar, 68%; Shan, 9%; Kayin, 7%; Rakhine, 3.5%; Chinese, 2.5%; Mon, 2%; Kachin, 1.5%; and Indians, 1.25%. The percentage of the balance of the 135 minorities is too small to mention here. The unrecognized ethnic groups are Anglo-Burmese, Burmese Chinese, Panthay, Burmese Indians, Gurkhas, Pakistanis and lastly, the Rohingyas.6 There are no census figures for unrecognized groups. They are simply in the country illegally.
During the years leading up to Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, the Rohingyas fought in the Mujahid Insurgency. They wanted the northern part of Rakhine, where Muslims were concentrated, to be annexed to Bangladesh. A Mujahid is one who struggles for Allah or Islam. Literally it is an inner struggle. The Burmese resented this disloyalty.

Then there is the well organised militant group, the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation, which was formed in 1982 by the remaining Mujahideens who were defeated by the Burmese army in 1978's Dragon King Operation. The RSO has incited a lot of fear and hatred because they developed strong ties with extremist groups in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. To make matters worse, in the 90s the RSO act as a conduit to supply fighters to be trained and some even serve under Al Qaeda.
No one wants them, not Bangladesh. Bangladesh is too poor. Not Thailand or Malaysia, India or Australia. Not the Arab countries. These people represent a terrible financial burden and no one is coming forward to help them. The UN calls them one of the most persecuted minorities on earth and with good reason.
It is racism... yes, it is discrimination ... it is religious intolerance... yes. But mainly it is an ethnic cleansing. There is no other word for it. The Rohingyas are invisible to the Burmese. They aren’t citizens. They are foreigners and they want them gone. No one wants to take responsibility. We can take Myanmar to task for it but what about bloody ASEAN ... the very formation of ASEAN must stand for something. ASEAN is a grouping to foster closer cooperation, ok... no meddling with each country's politics ... c'mon, this is bigger than internal politics. 

The humanity and the inhumanity of it. ASEAN must take a stand, they must come up with some viable solutions. The silence is deafening, no one wants to say anything cause if they do, they would have to be the first to absorb some of the refugees. You cannot expect just UNHCR or the US or other developed nations to take the lead... when the issue is at our doorstep.

Unfortunately there are no easy solutions. I do not think you can carve out a land just for them. They should not remain together as the legacy issues are too strong. Possibly the best is for an ASEAN unit to tabulate and ascertain the real Rohingyas and each country in ASEAN to accept a number according to their population and resources. If we are talking of just over 1 million... its going to be less than 100,000-200,000 per country.

For example, Indonesia 200,000 ... Malaysia 100,000 ... Thailand 100,000 ... Brunei 50,000 ... Singapore 50,000 ... and the rest taken by Australia, NZ and the US. Somehow I think Singapore would strongly oppose that solution... sigh.

If we choose to shame and force Myanmar to do the right thing and take them back, and give them proper citizenship... I think that will mask the underlying hatred and discrimination... which will only blow up again and again in the future.