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Showing posts from December, 2008

A Better Way To Raise Kids

Born2Reign has left a new comment on your post "Problem With Today's Young Graduates":

I have 3 children under 7 years. My eldest goes to a US based homeschooling class of 3-5 students per class for 3 hours a day.

1) Responsibility
Before the class starts, the students have to sweep the floor, wipe the table and chairs, arrange them, and wash the toilet.

2) Thought process
Instead of learning mainly ABCs, they start with character building and phonics. They are encouraged to write of their activities and feelings as their school work.

Hone presentation skills-show n tell in class develops their self-confidence and public speaking from young.

3) Buy their own toys
I do not buy any toys that my children want. There is a reward chart at home for good behaviour, duties, obedience. Upon achievement of a set of "stars" they get to go to a park, stay over at friend's house, eat sushi, etc. That is the adult world that they will eventually face. If the toy costs RM20, th…

Why YAHOO! Is My Top Stock Pick

A few months back, just before the markets collapsed, Microsoft had a $32 per share buyout offer for Yahoo!. Jerry Yang did his yin and yang dance, at the same time talking to Google about a possible tie up which would have made the sale to Microsoft unnecessary. Well, the markets collapsed, Google said adios, Jerry was left to pick up the pieces. Yahoo! shares collapsed to below $10 at one stage before recovering to be just above $12 currently.

Jerry had to step down as CEO for his stubbornness. They are still looking for a new CEO. Into the fray, many big investors and hedge funds took huge positions leading up to Microsoft's bid at $32. Carl Icahn even got onto Yahoo!'s board, and is now left holding a lot of Yahoo! shares in the mid-20s. Carl was pretty pissed at Jerry for delaying the deal with Microsoft.

Microsoft did try to talk about a lesser deal to buy Yahoo!'s search business, but Jerry was right to refuse that also as the search business is pretty critical to Ya…

IMF Likes Obama's Plan

WSJ: The International Monetary Fund's top economist generally endorsed the incoming Obama administration's approach to economic stimulus, and urged countries to consider offering a kind of "recession insurance." President-elect Barack Obama's economic team is weighing a stimulus plan that would cost somewhere between $675 billion and $775 billion over two years, and would be used largely for construction and other government spending. The package is likely to include a temporary tax cut of as much as $1,000 for middle-income families.Olivier Blanchard, the IMF's chief economist, said "the size corresponds roughly to what we think is needed." He backed the Obama approach of targeted tax cuts, saying the money should go to consumers who are "truly credit constrained."In an accompanying research paper, Mr. Blanchard and three other IMF economists advised against broad cuts in corporate tax rates, dividends and capital gains -- Republican fav…

Portfolios According To Outlook For 2009

Based on the global market prognosis written over the last few days, I have compiled stocks which will stand to benefit (should they pan out they way I anticipate). Again, these are not stock recommendations, these are my own shopping list - not a call for readers to buy. Consult your own investment advisers before making any investment decisions.


DryShips Inc. (DRYS) Current price $9.69
52 week High-Low: $116.43-$3.04

Petrochina-H (0857.HK) Current Price HKD6.36
52 week High-Low: HKD12.40-HKD4.05

Toyota ( 7203.JT) Current price 2,900 yen
52 week High-Low: 6,400 yen - 2,585 yen

China Mobile (941:HK) Current price HKD74.50
52 week High-Low: HKD138.98 - HKD58.50

ABG Shipyard (ABGS:IN) Current price 99 rupee
52 week High-Low: 1,132 rupee - 90 rupee

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT:CN) Current price C$81.70
52 week High-Low: C$246.50 - C$61.40

Newfield Exploration (NFX) Current price $18.32
52 week High-Low: $69.77 - $15.45

Li & Fung (494:HK) Current price HKD14.10
52 week Hig…

Defending The Prognosis

The prognosis was an unhedged opinion. After criticising economists and analysts for being wishy-washy, ... "on the one hand, however if the other thing happens..." , so i am glad some readers realised it was a straight out opinion. I do not expect many to agree, so thanks for the feedback. Its much easier to continue to be bearish, just regurgitate whats in the media - but of course I could be wrong. I will try to clarify some of the concerns, not to sway you, but to explain further my views.

Toxic assets too huge - It seems too big because its a one way traffic. It seems too big because of the unwinding and de-leveraging trends. It seems too big because everybody wants to be first out best dressed. What we have to be aware is that sometime soon these cash and liquidity will have to be placed out in some form or other. It seems too big because of risk aversion, rather than the inability to deal with the issues.

It will take a much longer time - Let's get the facts. Even d…

Global Market Prognosis For 2009

Prognosis: the prospect of recovery as anticipated from the usual course of disease or peculiarities of the case
Overview – This strategy piece will probably be regarded as the more optimistic one you will ever come across in these turbulent times. I am quietly (or not so quietly) optimistic for 2009 and beyond for global stock markets. I believe we have seen the groundwork laid for possibly the mother of all bull markets over the next 3 years. It should be a gradual stop-start thing. It will be one which is loaded with inflationary pressures as well.
Expectations – The trouble with many investors is that we are always only able to perceive and view things within a certain perimeter. Back in January 2008, there were still many who viewed the global economy with a sense of bullishness, and that the real issue was higher commodity prices. We tend to feel and sense things happening around us at that point in time. Now we are surrounded by layoffs, that the many injections of liquidity are …

Revised Outlook For Malaysian Property

Readers of this blog will know that I have been pretty bearish on Malaysian properties, but even more so for Singapore and HK properties. The latter two have seen a 10%-15% price correction across the board. The funny thing is that Malaysian property is holding up pretty well.

Over the last few days a couple of things struck me about Malaysian properties, which have eluded me, and many property analysts. We always look at the same indicators: affordability ratios, employment trends, rental vacancies, occupancy rates, ratio of income to mortgage, etc.

Somehow there are a couple more reasons which seem to dictate the underlying strength of local property prices.

a) Open economy - The more open your economy is to free trade, the more susceptible you are to global financial turmoil. Hence explaining much of the distress in HK and Singapore economies. Theoretically speaking Malaysia should be affected just as bad, but we are not. I would like to cite this as the Shenzhen effect. Malaysia has …

When Words Get In The Way ... Hug

This post may come off as a bit unusual but its my Christmas gift to all...

The Western world is full of hugs and kisses, so much so that at times they lose their meaning. The Eastern traditional world is usually the opposite, families and good friends find it enormously difficult to say "I love you" or even give a pat on the shoulder, don't even mention a hug.

In Asia, we find it hard to say affectionate words or even give our parents, loved ones or relatives a simple hug. Words are inventive and can just roll off our tongue, repeatedly saying them is good but sometimes they just lose their effect and essence. Even the usual kisses or pecks become a bit perfunctory.

This Christmas, let the people you love know, really know how much you love them, leaving nothing on the table. Here's how to do it:When you see your loved ones, go to them and slowly stretch out your arms. Ignore whatever they may be saying to you: "what are you doing", "whats up"...etc…

Chiu Hok Yee, Finally

One of the very under-rated talent in TVB is Bondy Chiu Hok Yee. She plays good supporting roles but was never promoted as the lead actress. Her singing career was a stop-start thing, never fully promoted or marketed properly. She had a decent album in 2000, Slower Is Better. She has had a long break after really breaking her leg. Prior to that she did some good stuff in dramatic plays. Somehow the timing and confluence of things look right this time around. The new album was released on 10th December called "`ting". Its pretty exceptional. I have included 3 of her older songs on the imeen jukebox for sampling pleasure. Try and get this album before she becomes really successful.

Yesasia Editorial Description Of Album: Having changed her focus to acting with appearances in television shows and stage productions, singer Bondy Chiu has been absent from the Canto-pop scene in recent years. But now she's back with her most important project yet, a self-financed, independently…

Michael Lewis On Wall Street

Michael Lewis wrote possibly the funniest semi-biographical book on Wall Street entitled Liar's Poker. Below was his most recent article:

Dropping out on Wall StreetMichael LewisDecember 19, 2008 Recently I received a letter from a young employee of a well-known financial firm, who asked that I not mention his name, his employer or anything else that might give him away. Though a bit short on self-pity, this letter was otherwise a fine example of a sort I've received often these past few months. "I am writing you for advice," Anthony (let us call him) began. "I graduated in May of 2008 and since July have spent my time entangled in the culture of (his well-known New York bank). I'm thinking about leaving. My dad laboured his whole life so I could have the opportunity to do something like this, so leaving isn't exactly what I want to do. I know if I stay here I could work unbelievably hard and move through the ranks, or maybe move firms [but] I guess I'…

A Jolly (Adult) Christ-mass To All

WHY IS A CHRISTMAS TREE BETTER THAN A MANA Christmas tree is always erect.Even small ones give satisfaction.A Christmas tree stays up for 12 days and nights.A Christmas tree always looks good - even with the lights on.A Christmas tree is always happy with its size.A Christmas tree has cute balls.A Christmas tree doesn't get mad if you break one of its balls.You can throw a Christmas tree out when it's past its 'sell by' date.You don't have to put up with a Christmas tree all year.
Why a Christmas Tree Is Better Than a Woman10. A Christmas tree doesn't care how many other Christmas trees you have had in the past.09. Christmas trees don't get mad if you use exotic electrical devices.08. A Christmas tree doesn't care if you have an artificial one in the closet.07. A Christmas tree doesn't get mad if you break one of its balls.06. You can feel a Christmas tree before you take it home.05. A Christmas tree doesn't get mad if you look up underneath it.0…

Language Skills

Roden has left a new comment on your post "Problem With Today's Young Graduates":

I believe a lot of Chinese face the dilemma to choose what language you want to master, mandarin or English? Especially in Malaysia and Singapore, English is so important in commercial world, it is a tool, a key to access various source of knowledge.

However, language is our soul, it has reflected our culture inherent from thousands years, it shape our mind and thinking. Some people see the Malaysia Chinese fighting to against using English to teach math and science in primary school, I think they would doubt it is necessary. Chinese school boy from Chinese speaking community should be having their "inner-conversation" with their mother tongue, which is easy for them to think and to learn in their mother tongue.

Using other language to learn, it could be a mental process obstacle. One thing for sure, whatever language we learn, we must masters it before we could use that language t…

Export Trend In Asia

The export trend in Asia:
Overview of Individual Countries

China: Chinese exports contracted 2% y/y in November, though imports slumped more. Trade surplus $40.2b, the 4th consecutive record monthly trade surplus as commodity prices falls eroded import growth. Processing trade components have shown the sharpest slowingJapan: Export value was down -7.7% yoy in Oct-08 (biggest drop in 7 years), export volume was down -6.1% yoy. Exports to developed nations are expected to fall further and will likely have a negative impact on Japan's already slowing exports to Asia Singapore: Govt expects exports to contract by 4% in 2008; exportsfell 5.7% in Sep (-13.9% in Aug) led by electronics, pharma, semiconductors. non-electronics fell -1.9%; exports to EU fell -23.6% and to U.S. fell -24.5%Taiwan: Exports contracted sharply in November plunging about 20% y/y, driven by a sharp drop in exports to other Asian countries since September. All tech exports declined drop in exports to China was p…

Personal Success & Effectiveness - A Matter Of Luck???

A reader sent me this opinion page from International Herald ribue dated 16 december, almost on the same topic: parents/young adults under-achieving. The opinion was by David Brooks and was a commentary cum review of Malcolm Gladwell's controversial book "Outliers". My comments in purple.
All day long, you are affected by large forces. Genes influence your intelligence and willingness to take risks. Social dynamics unconsciously shape your choices. (This sentence is exceptionally true - social dynamics shape your choices, they shape what your kids can or cannot have) Instantaneous perceptions set off neural reactions in your head without you even being aware of them.Over the past few years, scientists have made a series of exciting discoveries about how these deep patterns influence daily life. Nobody has done more to bring these discoveries to public attention than Malcolm Gladwell.Gladwell's important new book, "Outliers," seems at first glance to be a des…