Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Bike I Want!

Finally, the bike I want is on the road ... the Tron bike and almost all electric. Looks to be a bit hard to ride, but hey, gaya mesti ada ...


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Old Movies, Great Songs

Its not often you get great songs written for the movie, and its magical when the two become intertwined. Was browsing through the internet and came across an old movie that brought back such wonderful memories. It used to be that to be able to go on a movie date with the opposite sex is a "major thing". Plus, we have to wait for the right movie some more.


The first one is Ice Castles, ask any auntie over 35, they will remember who Robby Benson is, a bit like Leonardo de Caprio and Justin Timberlake put together.  The final sequence where Lynn Holly Johnson dances to the Love Theme From Ice Castles (she accidentally got blinded prior to her competition).





... and we also had Melissa Manchester singing the theme song beautifully for that movie, composed lovingly by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager.




The second movie that always stayed with me was The Boy In The Plastic Bubble, starring a very young John Travolta. Based on the true story of Tod Lubich who must stay in a bubble as he has a deficient immune system. Its a wonderful love story of strength, character, determination ... in the end he walked out of the bubble not knowing whether his immune system is sufficient to face the living world, but he chose to live and love rather than be in the bubble. The final scene where he walked out to meet his girl. The song then was sung by Paul Williams in the final sequence ... but John Travolta's version was done at the credits.





The theme song, wonderfully sung by John Travolta, way before SNF and Grease ... What Would They Say, beautifully composed by Paul Williams.



The final one, which is secretly everybody's favourite movie of all time if they really cared to admit it, Somewhere In Time. Way before Back To The Future came on board, we had time travel romance. Jane Seymour, everlasting beauty and Chris Reeve,  what a story, there's a sense of completeness.



The film score was famous because  it ties in brilliantly with the period movie and languid scenery. I don't think lyrics was composed for the theme song at the time of the release of the movie. Naturally you will find a few versions with lyrics to them. Funny.  There was one sung by Nonoy Zuniga, a famous Filipino singer, his version is better than Michael Crawford.



Thursday, September 15, 2011

Robert Kuok 对话华商领袖郭鹤年



Unfortunately this very recent very long interview, almost biographical documentary of his life and views, is in Mandarin only. What a great man. I don't say this lightly, I do not worship rich people, it is ten times more important how they obtained, nurture and spend their wealth ... and how they lead their lives.







































Monday, September 12, 2011

Best Place For Coffee, Best Place To Get Macaroons (Cross My Heart)

I have been hesitating to blog about this place for months because its a tiny place and I am very afraid that if more people find out, their macaroons will run out quickly. But, they are too good not to share. The best place for coffee for me in KL also happens to be the best place to get macaroons. I have had so many macaroons that are supposedly "good" but rate only a passable 5 to a tepid 6 out of 10. This place gets a 9.5/10 on their macaroons.


I cannot reveal my favourite flavour as then they would be the first to vanish next time I am there. But they all range from good to very good anyway, although my favourite flavour is another class above the rest. So you have to go and try every flavour, and tell me your favourite.



The place is cleverly called WHISK @ Empire in Subang Jaya. Their coffee is easily leaps and bounds above the fray. I usually drink very good coffee Americano style, and as I also have a very credible Nespresso at home, it takes something special to top that coffee range. The coffee at WHISK is so good because they make it painstakingly correct. Plus they use the "right milk" (go find out why), and they care enough to whisk the milk to a certain "correct consistency". Its so good I always get Flat White or Cap, no need for any sugar, believe me, its got that slight milky sweetness to balance out the excellent coffee.

They have other delectable pastries and cakes as well ....


The place is cleverly named, cleverly designed, and you will have to tip ... cause they are so smart ... look at the photo below for the tips jars. Either you are a die hard Red Devil fan, or you are a die hard "anything but Red Devil" fan ... either way, you have to tip!!! Sooo ... smart and clever.



When you wanna relax, grab a book or a magazine, get a nice cuppa and a few macaroons for a lovely time ... and let your gf or wife go shopping or do their hair.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Very Good Proposal By Bank Negara

There is apparently a proposal by Bank Negara to change the way mortgages are calculated, which will greatly reduce the amount the public can borrow. The computation is supposed to be based on net income and not gross. That could reduce the amount that can be borrowed by 37%.





I think its an excellent idea. The only people who think this is bollocks are those with 2 properties or more. The affordability ratio has gone through the roof. Some may argue that a hike in real property gains tax would be a better move - I think not as it takes more than lesser profits to calm the property markets.


Property rides on expectations. If everyone expects prices to rise in the foreseeable future, its get in now or forever they will be out of your reach. That is the dangerous potion brewing in Malaysia and many Asian property markets. That kind of expectation has be neutered.


When you take things too high, the fall be greater, remember 1993-1997, the swath of liquidity just kept getting bigger and bigger. Just remember that when liquidity is sucked out of the system, you get a corresponding deflating effect, in multiplier effect.


Why property prices needed to be eased down? A survey done by The Edge on housing affordability saw property prices increasing from 5.9x income in 1989 to 10.9x in 2010. Left unchecked, it will soon climb to 15x your annual income.


 


The Global Property Scam


 A massive transfer of income to the very rich has occurred while middle class real incomes stagnated. The middle classes only tolerated this because Central Bankers created housing booms to keep the impoverished middle classes borrowing and spending to give them the illusion of prosperity and stop them from revolting.

How do you do that? You do that by keeping interest rates very low, keep printing money, keep the system very liquid - some have gone to equities but by and large the biggest beneficiaries have been property markets throughout most of the world. Yes, you see obvious bubbles in Singapore, HK, parts of China, Canada, Australia and even certain places in Malaysia. We thank our lucky stars that our property markets did not go through the same correction as the major developed nations - but is that because we did not have a massive contraction in liquidity brought on by a financial scare?

How is this scam hurtful? Well, you propel property prices higher and higher with low interest rates and excess liquidity. It serves to fan the flames of property prices higher, causing a bull run for the prices, causing people to chase and get some action before its too late.
Its never a zero sum game. Much of the froth in pushing prices higher has to be in much much bigger mortgages that people are taking to participate in the run. As long as the public can pay down their mortgages, you won't see foreclosures or a major correction. You and I know that prices have basically gone out of reach of the young and working.



We must applaud Zeti to have the foresight and strategic thinking to tackle this before it gets out of hand. Property owners may sigh and bitch but seriously, there is a price for everything - imagine the price of sugar and flour rising 10x, putting them out of reach of at least half the population. Nothing good can come from that.


Its not that property prices cannot be rising, they are actually a critical wealth builder and saving device for many families. Ask most people, all they are looking for is a few percentage gain a year over the longer term - when its nearly double digits every year for a few years, you know something is out of whack.


While we cannot stop people punting and chasing for homes to buy, we can at least address the amount of leverage they get. If Malaysia's average credit card debt per household gets to the RM80,000 or RM100,000 level, you cannot tell me that is not a problem. Why is it when its property loans, its your business only and not the government?

Monday, September 05, 2011

There is no war that is justifiable, no matter how noble the cause .....



The great things about these talent shows is that sometimes we discover something that is greater than life. Emmanuel Kelly, a victim of chemical warfare survivor from Iraq, doesn't know how old he is but has managed to become a wonderful singer. Emmanuel Kelly's mom worked alongside Mother Teresa. She dedicates her life helping disabled children. She was nominated Australian of the Year twice!


Emmanuel, the adopted son of Children First Foundation boss Moira Kelly, wowed Ronan Keating, Spice Girl Mel Brown, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Guy Sebastian with his heartfelt performance of the John Lennon classic Imagine.

Emmanuel and his brother Ahmed were adopted from Iraq, both suffering limb deficiencies as a result of chemical warfare. They were abandoned at an orphanage and rescued by Ms Kelly, who is also the guardian of the once-conjoined Bangladeshi twins, Krishna and Trishna.



Is there anyone more worthy to sing Imagine? ... Yes, this just makes everything you worry about almost pathetic.


There is no war that is justifiable, no matter how noble the cause .....

14 M'sian Firms on Forbes Asia's 'Best Under a Billion' List


SINGAPORE (Sept 1, 2011): Fourteen Malaysian companies have made it to Forbes Asia's "Best Under a Billion" list this year, topping other Southeast Asian countries with the most number of companies on the list.
Among the Bursa-listed countries in the list are glove makers Top Glove Corp Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd and Latexx Partners Bhd, and education groups HELP International Corp Bhd and Masterskill Education Group Bhd, and engineering and infrastructure-based KKB Engineering Bhd, Mudajaya Group Bhd and Coastal Contracts Bhd.
Among Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam makes the biggest jump with 10 companies, nine more than last year, that include PetroVietnam Low Pressure Gas Distribution and DHG Pharmaceutical while Singapore has six companies on the list, Thailand (five), Indonesia (three) and The Philippines (two).
In the Asia Pacific, Malaysia was ranked fifth with the most number of companies on the list of 200 companies. The list ranks public companies with annual revenue of between US$5 million (RM14.95 million) and US$1 billion. They are also screened for return on equity.
Chinese and Hong Kong companies steal the limelight with 65 companies having exceptional sales and earnings growth.
Forbes Asia editor Tim Ferguson said: "Essentially these are our picks of the companies that have best managed through the economic volatility that began in 2008. Most navigated the global credit crunch with little to no debt on their balance sheets. On average, the companies on the list have a 13% debt-to-equity ratio, and 67 of these companies carry no debt at all."
It said 21 of the 65 Chinese and Hong Kong companies on the list are returnees from last year. On average, their sales grew 43% over the last three-year period while earnings per share grew 50%.
The winning companies include sports goods manufacturers 361 Degrees International, e-commerce technology firm Alibaba.com, Changchun Faway Automobile Components, and sports apparel maker China Donxiang Group.
India has 35 companies on the list or the second highest number, followed by Taiwan (25) and South Korea (16).
Three Chinese companies outgrew the list from last year: branded sportswear maker Anta Sports Products, Web-service provider Baidu, and knitwear manufacturer, Shenzhou International Holdings. India's largest storage-battery producer, Exide Industries, also graduated from the list as it grew too big. Each of these companies broke the US$1 billion sales mark in the past 12 months.
The list had its share of victims of the vicissitudes that buffet SMEs. Chinese property developer, Wuhan Double, fell off the list as its sales shrank 65% in 2010. On a good note, China's Sohu.com returns after a hiatus last year, having suffered an earnings hit in 2009.
The "Best Under A Billion" list appears in the September issue of Forbes Asia.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Hope

When I watched this MV, I am filled with high hopes again that things will be changing. I am so pleased to see  the fervour heartfelt messages. I sense the youth of today are no longer sitting ducks, just waiting to take whatever that is dished out to them. Make a change, its only your life.


Remember to register to vote. If you are one already, get your friends and family to do likewise.






Have you registered as a voter? If you have, promise yourself and for your children's sake, to at least convince ONE more person you know to register and vote. Between 2008 and 2009, there were 10 million registered voters in the country and another 4.3 million eligible voters who were not registered. This  year, the total number of registered voters increased to 12 million and eligible unregistered voters dropped to 3.7 million.
"Blaming the loss of the elections on gerrymandering, fraud, phantom voters, postal votes, and so on, is one issue. No doubt all this exists and Pakatan Rakyat needs to win maybe one million votes just to become par with Barisan Nasional. Therefore, to win by just one vote Pakatan Rakyat needs to garner 1,000,001 votes.

Take note that Pakatan Rakyat needed only
 300,000 more votes to form the federal government in the last general election in March 2008. That’s right, only 300,000 more votes, if you total up the votes from the bottom 30 seats that Barisan Nasional won. If Pakayat Rakyat had garnered those extra 300,000 votes it would have won 112 parliament seats versus Barisan Nasional’s 110 instead of only 82 versus Barisan Nasional’s 130, like what happened last year." - Malaysia Today/RPK

Even after you register, make sure you check via their website that you are on the roll, a number of people who have registered found that they were still not on the roll. To check if you are on the roll. Not only that, this is also to certify the correct seat/aduan you are registered under:

http://daftarj.spr.gov.my/NEWDAFTARJ/DaftarjBI.aspx

a) Go to any of the offices below and fill in Form A together with your IC:

PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI KUALA LUMPUR
TINGKAT 3, BANGUNAN YAYASAN SELANGOR,
JALAN RAJA MUDA ABDUL AZIZ,
KAMPUNG BARU, KUALA LUMPUR
PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI SELANGOR
LOT 03-11, TINGKAT 3,
KOMPLEKS PKNS,
40690 SHAH ALAM,
PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI SABAH
ARAS 2 BLOK A,
KOMPLEKS PENTADBIRAN KERAJAAN PERSEKUTUAN
SABAH, PETI SURAT 10931, 88400 KOTA KINABALU


PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI SARAWAK
TINGKAT 11, BANGUNAN SULTAN ISKANDAR,
JALAN SIMPANG TIGA, PETI SURAT 1366,
93728 KUCHING


PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI PERAK
BLOK A, TINGKAT 1, BANGUNAN PERSEKUTUAN,
JALAN PANGLIMA BUKIT GANTANG WAHAB,
30000 IPOH


PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI JOHOR
TINGKAT 6, BLOK 'B', WISMA PERSEKUTUAN,
JALAN AYER MOLEK, 86900 JOHOR BAHRU
PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI KELANTAN
TINGKAT 9, WISMA PERSEKUTUAN,
JALAN BAYAM, 15690 KOTA BAHRU
PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI PAHANG
TINGKAT 8, WISMA PERSEKUTUAN,
JALAN GAMBUT, 25000 KUANTAN
PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI PULAU PINANG
TINGKAT 36, KOMPLEKS TUN ABDUL RAZAK (KOMTAR),
10000 PULAU PINANG


PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI KEDAH
ARAS 4, ZON A, WISMA PERSEKUTUAN,
PUSAT PENTADBIRAN KERAJAAN PERSEKUTUAN,
06550 BANDAR MUADZAM SHAH,
KEDAH DARUL AMAN
PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI TERENGGANU
TINGKAT 6, WISMA PERSEKUTUAN,
JALAN SULTAN ISMAIL, 20200 KUALA TERENGGANU
PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI MELAKA
TINGKAT 20, MENARA PERSEKUTUAN, JALAN PERSEKUTUAN MITC,
HANG TUAH JAYA,
75450 AYER KEROH,MELAKA
PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI NEGERI SEMBILAN
TINGKAT 6, WISMA PERSEKUTUAN,
70000 SEREMBAN
PEJABAT PILIHAN RAYA NEGERI PERLIS
TINGKAT 1, BANGUNAN KWSP,
JALAN BUKIT LAGI,
01000 KANGAR



b) Go to any computerised post office to register. Remember to check your registration a week or so later on the link above to ascertain that you have been properly registered.




Thursday, September 01, 2011

If You Have Not Heard Of Los Indios Tabajaras ...



If you have not heard of Los Indios Tabjaras, you have not lived. They were extremely popular in the 30s-60s. You will still find them in their head dress and tribal costumes on many covers. That was a marketing gimmick more than anything as the Brazilian brothers were accomplished classical guitarists in their own right.


20 Grandes Exitos by Los Índios Tabajaras cover


Their biggest hit was Maria Elena, a Mexican folk tune. What makes the brothers unique is that their sound is pure, uncomplicated and resonating. 


Have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, sit back, relax and drift away...


Best of Los Indios Tabajaras by Los Índios Tabajaras cover

Croatia - (Zagreb-Split-Hvar-Dubrovnik-Prague) #1

Why Croatia? The decision to go to Croatia was taken way before they fared so well in the World Cup, for a population of just 4.5m. If you ...