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Showing posts from June, 2010

Most / Least Expensive Cities n Most / Least Livable Cities

FinanceAsia: In a Cost of Living survey involving 214 cities, Tokyo, Osaka and Hong Kong are among the top 10 most expensive cities in the world for corporations to fund their expatriates. Singapore is not far behind in 11th place.
By Mei Tuicolo | 30 June 2010

One only needs to do a Sunday drive around Hong Kong's Peak to see that big firms are paying top dollar to keep their expatriate employees happy and productive. Ranked as the eighth most expensive city out of a pool of 214 cities, Hong Kong maintains its affluent reputation in Mercer's most recent Cost of Living index, alongside Tokyo, Osaka and Singapore.

The index was created by consulting firm Mercer, and is an annual survey designed to be used as a tool to help develop compensation packages for expatriate employees among Mercer's corporate and government clients.

"In the past couple of years, corporate assignments have become truly global, with expatriates and 'global assignees' being transferred all ov…

Original World Cup Funnies and Otherwise

First, lets scan for the current crop of World Cup jokes:

Carlos Tevez walks into a night club in Johannesburg after his team's victory over Mexico and sees a stunning leggy blonde beauty on the dance floor. He approaches her and says, "Get your coat, you are coming back to my hotel with me tonight."She looks at him and replies, "Goodness, You're a little forward!"Capello phones Gus Hiddink to find out how to improve his training methods.
"Dustbins" says Gus, "Position dustbins around the training pitch and get your players to pass the ball between them, dribble round them, chip the ball over them, it'll improve all round ball control".The next day Gus' phone rings, it's the England manager, "Hi, The dustbin's are winning 4-1. What do I do now?"----------------
Messi, Kaka and the pope are at a lake to find out who can walk on water. Messi runs on the water across the lake to the other side and runs right back. …

Opinion - Sports Betting

I have been quiet on the Ascot betting license fiasco. Trying to get more info and facts first. While Vincent Tan may have erred in announcing the news a tad earlier, he did have a letter. However, he should have been more careful, knowing this is a time bomb and won't be easy to railroad the thing over. Should B Group be penalised by Bursa/SC on this. Well, yes and no, though I would sway towards "yes". Listed companies should be more careful when making announcements, in particular when it comes to market moving announcements. It has to be a yes owing to the amount of shares traded and the share price volatility after the announcement and its subsequent retraction.

No, because the company did have a letter, but it would have been wiser to highlight and underline (again and again) that it was a conditional thing.

Back to the issue on hand, should we have legalise sports betting. Yes on all accounts. Its like prostitution and casino gaming. For prostitution its not legal…

En Bloc Sale, Almost A Love Story

I was browsing through my older postings and I thought this was pretty good. Good enough to repost here after a year and a half. Something completely different... Readers, do indulge me a bit as I write a short story. I don't even read much fiction, and I don't aspire to be a fiction writer. Its fiction, I tell you, completely fictitious.....

The year was 2006, it was the end of October in Singapore. Sitting idly in her barely rocking, rocking chair - the chair must have seen better times, the ones you know may have existed when Kennedy was president, the rattan barely clinging on to the wooden frame. In many ways, the frail 82 year old lady was barely sitting in her chair. Siu Lan was her name, most of her family has already passed on. She knows she was closer to her time to exit, the way most older folks somehow know.

As the evening soft sun rays bathes her face, her eyes looked as if she was crying but there were no tears. Maybe she has cried all the tears she needed to in he…

Ball Talk Cock or Talk Cock Ball or Talk Ball Cock

Who has time to talk about business and stocks currently? Of course its the World Cup talk and how you are running out of excuses to get medical cert or sick leave.

The vuvuzelas will be big in EPL next season, because the England team plays like the vuvuzelas, makes a lot of noise but is pathetically and increasingly boring and annoying the more they play in the tournament.

This Brazil is not like the Brazil of old. This Brazil seems to have drunk a lot of Weizenbock, Klosch and Bock as their defence is BMW-solid.

Argentina is playing like the eventual winners, in spite of having Maradona as the coach - goes to show you how insignificant a role a coach plays to a team, just ask Capello.

South Korea, Japan and even North Korea did Asia proud, and was David Beckham masquerading as a Japanese player when they scored the two brilliant free kicks?

The French should be barred from the next World Cup so that they can have 8 years to think about what it means to be in a World Cup and what it mean…

Which Meat You Can Take Off Your List

I was salivating over the posting by Camemberu over the 7 celebrity chefs operating at Marina Bay Sands. They include: Daniel Boulud, Guy Savoy, Santi Santamaria, Tetsuya Wakuda, Justin Quek, Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck.

Since it will be sometime before I get to go down to Singapore to try their dishes, something came up which I would like to share with all my readers. This is actually a great conversation topic. If you have to give up one meat, which is the first and which is the last. Let's just focus on lamb, beef, pork, fish, poultry and duck.

If you are Chinese the majority would put lamb as their first meat to cut, duck would be a close second. If you are Muslim of course take pork out of the equation. I have tried this topic among colleagues from differing countries. If you are Middle Eastern, lamb is number one. They would cut fish out as they do not have much of that and duck as well.

If you are from South America, beef is your favourite meat, s…

Movie Review: Dream Home

When I was in HK a couple of weeks back, I had a free afternoon and wandered in to watch a just released HK movie Dream Home. Had no bloody idea what the movie was going to be all about. OMG, it was a slasher movie in the vein of Takeshi Ishii (Freeze Me) and Takashi Miike (Audition & Ichi The Killer), he would have been proud of this one.

Directed by Hong Kong director Pang Ho-cheung (‘Exodus,’ ‘Isabella’, 'You Shoot I Shoot'), this movie probably would have a hard time to find backers if it wasn't executive produced by Josie Ho (the lead) and also the daughter of Stanley Ho. Owing to her clout, the cast include many big names in the industry, people you wouldn't dream of being in this kind of movie.

The movie is UNLIKELY to get passed to be screened in Malaysia or Singapore, so make sure you get your authentic copy online. If the censors get their hands on it, that thing would become a 4 minute movie.
With a style that’s both lucid and extreme, the film tells the s…

Steve Jobs Chatting With Bill Gates

This is so lame and silly that its somehow still fun to read ... btw, Steve Jobs is worth $5.5bn while Bill Gates is worth $53bn.

Objectifying Men & World Cup Pics

Just in case you were wondering, no... you have not accidentally clicked into Blue Boy Mansion's website. As women have always been objectified by the media, it is only fair game that we do the same on guys. Its topical, and Vanity Fair sure knows how to sell their magazines. They got the renowned Annie Lebowitz to take the sumptuous photos. Under wears may be for sale, 'packaging' may differ when you try them on at home.

AGE: 25. CLUB: Inter Milan. POSITION: Midfielder.
AGE: 28. CLUB: Los Angeles Galaxy. POSITIONS: Attacking midfielder, striker, winger.
AGE: 28. CLUB: Real Madrid. POSITION: Attacking midfielder.
SAMUEL ETO’O, Cameroon
AGE: 29. CLUB: Inter Milan. POSITION: Striker.
AGE: 20. CLUB: A.C. Milan. POSITIONS: Striker, winger.

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Euro To Reach Parity To USD?

When should we plan to go to Europe? Now or later this year? I would say, wait for parity. There are two sides arguing about the direction of the Euro.

On news that China is to increase the flexibility in the yuan's fixed exchange rate, by mid-afternoon trading in New York the EUR had fallen 0.6% against the U.S. dollar to USD/EUR 1.2311 on June 21, 2010. The fall also followed news from ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet that governments in breach of European fiscal rules could face tougher punishment, such as the withdrawal of voter rights.

Despite a recent barrage of bad news regarding the European sovereign-debt crisis, the euro only fell 0.3% against the dollar on June 16, 2010, to US$1.2291. This is higher than both the recent low of US$1.1966 on June 4, 2010 and the euro's 10-year US$1.20 average. Analysts at Brown Brothers Harriman predict that if the euro stays above US$1.2220 then the recovery should hold, while Steve Barrow, a currency analyst at Standard Bank, believ…

The Last Polka - Best Malaysian Ice Cream

You can have your Haagen Dazs ... but once you crave for the local flavours such as yam, corn and red bean ... things start to get to less than premium taste. Now fret no more. There is a dedicated home made ice cream that aims to make a great tasting product with a penchant to satisfy the local taste buds.

I like to support passionate people who dedicate themselves to doing something niche and distinctive. They will deliver to you at certain meeting points provided you are OK to pick up in Klang, Damansara or Subang area. Horlicks flavour is unbelievable, and if you are a true blue Malaysia, just hearing about Horlicks flavoured or White Coffee flavoured ice cream should start your engines.

p/s the writer has not been paid a fee nor does he know the proprietors

feel-good ice cream If you're looking for great tasting homemade ice cream in Kuala Lumpur, you've come to the right place. Made with 100% natural ingredients, we combine our creamy French-style ice…

The Yuan & The Ringgit, Missing Cousins

Before the weekend, the ringgit was at 3.25 to the USD, this morning it went to 3.19. The Chinese renminbi has been effectively pegged to the U.S. dollar since late 2008, as one of the supportive policies put in place during the global recession. This peg, and the fact that it impeded other countries adjustments, has contributed to international pressure, especially from the U.S., to allow more flexibility of the exchange rate as Chinese exports rebounded.

Ahead of the G-20 meeting, on June 19, 2010, the People's Bank of China announced the intention to move towards a more flexible exchange rate regime by allowing the currency to move within a band against a basket of currencies of its major trading partners. The statement, coming less than a week before G-20 leaders meet in Toronto on June 26-27, represents a departure from a two-year period during which the RMB was effectively pegged to the dollar.

An increase in inflationary pressures and stronger export growth led market actors …

BP Gets A Lifeline

As expected, once the amount is ascertained, the removal of uncertainty will certainly boost the share price. This will pave the way for the company to be sold off. There is not much chance BP can survive or realise its potential under the banner of BP. The reserves will not get their proper valuation and institutional shareholders are likely to put pressure for the company to be sold to someone to extract value.

It is likely to be highly attractive to Petrochina, just the reserves alone. Petrochina is also possibly the only one willing to pay a premium. Any takeover is likely to be circa $45.

Dealbook: Shares in BP made up part of their recent losses Thursday as investors welcomed a deal struck with President Obama to set up a compensation fund for the victims of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The shares gained as much as 9.7 percent in early London trading. They had fallen 45 percent since an oil rig exploded in April, Julia Werdigier reports in The New York Times.Some investor…

Will You Be Buying An iPad?

No, I don't have an iPad yet. Like many out there, I was a skeptic even though I own an iPhone. Was that really something you need when you already have a good mobile phone, a twin screen desktop and a notebook? Last week was in HK again and my tech chief had an iPad, after 30 minutes, I think everybody who has a mobile phone, notebook and desktop... will still find the iPad exhilarating and useful. Yes, its a toy but its a lot of fun.

Photos & Video - I have always hated how the distance to the screen when using your notebook or desktop is always a somewhat fixed distance, you have to lean forward or adjust your chair to get a good view sometimes. No issues here, the iPad is in your hands. The video watching is all that more awesome. You can prop it with a cushion, watch it at a park bench, heck, even bring it to the loo when doing a doo-doo. Place it on your bed, etc... As for photos, almost everyone now has a photo image saver and display mechanism. There’s no adequate way …

What People Are Saying About The 10MP

Citi analysts Wei Zheng Kit and Monica Ratnaputri wrote in a June 10, 2010 analysis titled, "Highlights of the 10th Malaysia Plan," that the most important factor of the plan is its actual implementation, given missed targets in the past. The plan calls for a reduction in the budget deficit to 2.8% by 2015. However, the government has missed previous five-year targets. Of the MYR230 billion allocated to development spending, 55% will go to the economic sector, which is an increase over previous five-year plans, 30% to the social sector, 10% to security, and 5% to general administration. On the issues of subsidies, the plan calls for a 3% annual reduction in subsidy spending by 2015, with energy prices based on market conditions by 2015.

Citi analyst Yong Yin Ng wrote in a June 10, 2010 analysis titled, "10MP – Economic Reform: Ready, Set …," that the 10th Malaysia Plan will not move markets at least until the implementation stage. However, the plan lays out a commit…