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Showing posts from 2007
Hair Today .. (The Ultimate New Year Present!)
Well, you can finish the saying. As promised to a number of balding readers from Seng's chatbox, here is the so-called "best formula" for stopping hair loss and generating hair regrowth. Its not a guarantee but I have a couple of friends who have seen very significant turnarounds within 3 months. At least the formula will save you RM10,000-15,000 a month, the probable sums from visiting Svensens and the like - they will be prescribing the same stuff but charging you an arm and a few legs for the same shit. Even for those who say they practice herbal remedies, its the same shit. The formula is supposed to work very well for those with normal hair loss - due to male pattern baldness (hormonal). If you have other factors such as severe scalp problems, this may not work well.
The easiest things to sell to men have to be hair growth products. Before venturing further, I have to qualify that I do not own any pharmacy chains, or dati…
Pessimism Over B Land

I am trying to do a Moola here on B Land (lol). B Land is the kind of stock that can cause people who invested earlier to fall in love with it.
False Positives
1) Reputable foreign shareholders in UBS Ag (12%) and Goldman Sachs (8%). These lends some sort of credibility in the eyes of investors but that's because finding Vietnam plays are difficult. B Land is one convenient vehicle, and these foreign banks have allocated "infra/exotic funds" that they have to have exposure. Hence their presence is not as "qualified" as it seems. These two funds are also in B Land because of the sheer size of B Land. trying to obtain decent exposure is difficult. Now B Land has been ramped up to RM7bn in market cap - hence the reasons behind the investments may be more shallow than you think.
Caveats
1) It just signed the 8th MOU in Vietnam to develop property projects. Eight MOUs, still MOUs mind you. Talk about execution risks. Each MOU is an additional risk. …
An Important "Inch"

"A timetable for obtaining universal suffrage has been set," Tsang said. "HK is entering a most important chapter of its constitutional history." Beijing will allow HK to directly elect its leader by 2017 and all its lawmakers by 2020, the territory's chief executive said Saturday, immediately sparking criticism from democracy activists who sought a faster timetable. Many had feared it would stop short of allowing full democracy in the booming financial capital, and the decision caught some political observers by surprise. But the decision did not please opposition democratic leaders, who have called for direct elections in the date of the next leadership race. "We are extremely disappointed, you could say we are furious, about this decision in ruling out 2012," Democrat Party chairman Albert Ho told government-run RTHK radio station. "The wishes of the Hong Kong people have been totally ignored."The news is lik…
Iran Oil Deal & MalaysiaIranian National Oil and Malaysia's SKS Ventures signed a US$6 billion contract to develop the Golshan and Ferdows offshore gas fields in Iran, which contain an estimated 60 trillion cubic feet of gas. A second part of the deal to build plants to produce liquefied natural gas worth US$10 billion would soon be ready for signing. The initial project was expected to be completed by 2014, with Golshan delivering 2.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day,and Ferdos producing more than 880 million. SKS Ventures is a privately held company of Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary. The announcement came just two weeks after China's Sinopec announced a US$2 billion contract to develop the Yadaravan oil field in south-west Iran.
The deal is not so straight forward as it seems. The US government have tried very hard to discourage foreign companies from investing in Iran over concerns that the money could be used to support a nuclear weapons program in the country. Following China,…
Constructing A Portfolio For Lazy Buggers
If you have a few hundred thousands, or a million or two, but don't want the hassle of monitoring the markets day in day out - and you come and ask me to construct a portfolio that would allow you to receive good dividends and one that will allow you to laze on the beach for days on or sail for a few weeks - well, here it is:
Mastercard - You know, you probably have one on you, and the number of users just jumps alongside with the rising middle class especially in Latin America, China and India. The best play for 2-5 years hold. No credit risk almost, the banks hold the bulk of the risk, everytime you go swipe, Mastercard collects, better than tolls. Profit jumped 63% for 3Q2007 to US$314.5m or US$2.31 a share. Share is trading at US$209. Ebitda margin an incredible 29%. Return on capital 25%, return on assets 13.4%. Debt/Equity 0.07x. Free cash flow per share US$5.40. Shares have surged five fold since IPO in May 2006 but will have more ups…
The Paradox Of Our Time & Then Some...
Thanks to puffeye who pointed out the wrong attribution, I only think its fair to mention that the passage was written by someone else. I know if I was the one who wrote it, I'd be pretty pissed off if it was attributed to someone else. So I did some digging, and initially it was circulated as something penned by a student who witnessed the Columbine shootings back in 1999, which was totally untrue.
Next it was attributed to the great comedian George Carlin, which was understandable because Carlin talks the same way some of the time. To be fair, Carlin has emphatically denied that he has written the passage, and true to form, he said the piece was a "sappy load of shit" (lol).
The true author was Dr Bob Moorehead, a former pastor of Seattle's Overlake Christian Church. The essay appeared as The Paradox Of Our Age in Words Aptly Spoken - which was Moorhead's 1995 collection of prayers, homilies and monologues used in his se…
Some Insights From Buffett's New DealWarren E. Buffett agreed on Tuesday to buy a 60% stake in Marmon Holdings, the industrial holding firm owned by the wealthy Pritzker family, for US$4.5 billion with the goal of eventually owning the entire firm. As part of the deal, Buffett, through his Berkshire Hathaway investment vehicle, will gradually increase his stake in Marmon over the next five or six years until he owns the firm. The final price will be determined by Marmon’s revenues.#1 The deal represents one of the largest acquisitions Buffett has made in recent memory, especially for a non-insurance company. Buffett has been targeting only insurance and rail companies over the last 5 years, hence the purchase across a number of industries under Marmon is interesting.#2 Maybe we all should learn from Buffett. The deal was done just the way the Pritzkers and Buffett wanted – no consultants or preliminary studies. I am all for due diligence but not market surveys, cost-benefit analys…
Singapore Slinged

Old said...You slaved for 30 years in a government department with high integrity and avoid corruption at all cost. You hold the department at high moral standard and promote meritocracy as best as you can. You collect standard government salary your entire life.

Then, when you retired, your successor - a bumi - with much lower standard take over. A year later, he lives in a $10m house, which you know for a fact government salary alone cannot pay for it. Projects slipped, fall behind. Your previous colleagues complain.

For 30 years, you upheld integrity and meritocracy with low pay. The next moment, your bumi successor who didn't upheld integrity nor meritocracy, and enjoy the material things that money can buy. 30 Years! Doesn't that make your blood boil?

So, to the people who makes these sort of statement - "After all history has though us that even in the most corrupt environment there will be individuals who hold themselves at a higher standard than the…
Show Me The Money (Again)

Even though most Asian economies are still robust, it would be political suicide anywhere else in Asia, except Singapore - can't remove them there. The government patted themselves on the ir backs and gave themselves another raise, the SECOND major fillip in 2 years.
Singaporean ministers and civil servants, already by far the highest-paid public servants in the world. The increase will push Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s salary to S$3.7 million, or US$2.53 million, more than six times that of US President George W. Bush. This was after another huge bump that gave Lee a 25.5 percent increase, to S$3.1 million. At the very top of the salary pyramid is Singapore President S R Nathan, whose salary will rise to S$3.8 million (US$2.6 million). The Public Service Division’s revised salary package gives starting-grade ministers a salary of S$1.94 million (US$1.32 million).
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown receives the equivalent of US$170,556 and his cabinet min…
A Blessed Christ-mass & My Alma Mater

Its that time of the year again, and my thoughts go back to my school days, where for most of us, were the best days of our lives. You made great friendships that lasts the longest, you did not need to think too much about the future. You learn to grow as a person, the place where you hone your character. Great teachers do influence us greatly, I still think fondly of my two favourite teachers, Mrs. Foong and Mr. Timothy Chee - late 70s period. I am still struck by the tenacity, vision, dedication, devotion and leadership of Brother U Paul and Brother Vincent.

Merry Christmas everyone ... drive safely.
Fad Foods

What are fad foods? Those are the things we go absolutely ga-ga over initially and somehow, we kinda get weaned off them. Certain popular food stuff, when they are first introduced to the market, will get near euphoric reaction, and people don't mind waiting for an hour or so just to be part of the mania.

Its very much like the stock market - I must have them at all cost, you actually wanted 2 but end up buying 10 (kiasu and kiasi).Remember the days of Roti Boy, how we gush over the bun... now when was the last time you bought Roti Boy (the original one la)? It does not mean Roti Boy (original) is no good, its just that we don't need to have it so often now. The over the top euphoric scenes for Roti Boy can be seen in Thailand and is still going strong - I somehow think Roti Boy would do even better in Thailand as the taste/flavour suits our Thai friends more. Hence I think Roti Boy will be more prospserous in Thailand.

Fads can be fanned by limited outlets, just like t…
Morgan Stanley Needs Better Fung ShuiWe have Citigroup being carved up for Asian owners, then it was Bear Stearns, followed by UBS, and now Morgan Stanley. This wave would gain momentum and we should see even more financial giants having a rich Asian sovereign wealth fund or cash rich Asian company as a substantial shareholder - the new affirmative action policy?? Financial giants are sought after because of their global footprint and ease with leverage. Plus it brings the shareholders access to "certain unique technology, up to date financial innovations" thus bringing them access to global best practice in possibly the most influential sector in the business world.
Morgan Stanley shares closed up US$2.01 at US$50.08 on the New York Stock Exchange, even as Morgan Stanley executives offered a sobering outlook and warned that its credit and mortgage business would slow.The bank would suspend buybacks as it reviews its capital levels and investment plans. Mergers and leveraged…
Bonuses On The StreetDespite the subprime mess and exit door shown to many CEOs, Goldman Sachs still did very well. Bear Stearns top management decided not to take any bonus this year, and will try instead to pay some decent bonus to keep performing staff from leaving - at least they are doing something right. Below are the projected year end bonuses payable within the first week of January 2008 as reported in WSJ. How was your bonus? (amounts in USD)
Lehman Brothers2007: $334,245 •2006: $332,246 Goldman Sachs2007: $662,000 •2006: $621,793

WHERE THE MONEY IS
Projected 2007 bonuses for top-tier global investment banks, on average: HOTManaging director, distressed investing -- Base: $200,000; bonus, $1.7 million to $2.2 million (up 10-15%) •Vice president, interest-rates trading -- Base: $100,000; bonus, $500,000 to $600,000 (up to 5-10%) •Managing director, crude-oil trader -- Base: $200,000; bonus, $5 million to $7 million (up 15-20%) •Managing director, equity capital markets, Brazil -- B…
Best Egg Tart Ever?

Try and start another fire by discussing the best egg tart ever? I'm from Ipoh (if you do not know that by now) and the dim sum places make pretty good tarts, be it Ming Kok or Fohsun. I even think the Tong Kee ones are pretty good, right up there with the best. When I was in Singapore, the ones at Tong Heng was an adequate substitute (better than nothing). Had the ones with the flaky pastry or fluff pastry and the other one with the butter flavoured shortcrust pastry. I prefer the flaky ones as it is "soong chooi" (loose bitey) and when you reach the wobbling creamy egg tart center, it gives a very good contrast.

I have also patronised Patten's favourite Tai Cheong Bakery's egg tarts in Central, HK, before and after they moved locations - they are pretty damn good too. A few steps away in Wellington Street is another place for very delicious egg tart as well, the Lok Heung Yuen - they come in tiny bite size. For this exercise, let's not t…
The AftermathI write on Hinduraf also don't get so many comments. But I flame Fung Shui and its like pulling pubic hairs from certain readers. Below are the passionate responses. Please note that I use profanity NOT in the form of a personal attack but rather for emphasis and clarity, and cause that's the way you speak when speaking passionately, or being pissed off. No apologies cause its my blog and should not adhere to any writing standards imposed by others. Anyway, great to hear from the readers below, no hard feelings - hey, we may disagree on one thing, that's very small in the whole scheme of things. Cheers...
xatomic said...Haha I couldnt agree with you more. Education and the wealth of knowledge on the Internet has made me increasingly sceptical and beginning to question customs. We Chinese are one hell of the most superstitious lot

The most BS thing is probably burning things for the dead. There are probably 100 reasons why I think it doesnt make any sense at al…
Buffettology
Warren Buffett was at a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in San Francisco last Tuesday. Here are some excerpts. My comments in blue.
Q: Your views on the US Dollar?

A: The most important question to ask in economics is "X happens, and then what?". We are living prosperously, but every day we are sending 2 billion dollars overseas because we consume more than we purchase. It is similar to if we owned, say, a large farm in Texas. We are extremely wealthy, but every year we mortgage a little bit of that farm in order to enjoy more of the present. And it is gradual, but then at some point you have to spend an hour or maybe two hours a week of your work to go towards servicing this debt. The problem is at some point either foreign investors will stop financing our consumption, or our future generations will be burdened with debt and have to work some X hours towards servicing the debt of the earlier generation. But the present over-consumption is unsustainable.

The persis…