Friday, November 30, 2012

Really Cool Songs

Really cool songs are usually not big commercial successes or chart toppers. There has to be something with the melody and/or lyrics that makes it special.

First on my list has to be Lou Reed, his drug laced, brash lyrics and mind numbing bass line and melody make this in a class of its own.

Just to prove that punk bands also can come up with gems, The Stranglers shine here.

How to be sexy, breathy and lyrics that are suggestive but goes nowhere with soaring vocals. Chris Isaak at his best. 

Listen first and see how compact and loud this band is, and there are only 3 of them The highly under rated Rush from Canada with their biggest hit.

The brilliant, enigmatic, in your face performer Annie Lennox ... in all her glory and talent, powerful lyrics to boot.

For all of Pink Floyd's brilliance, this song somehow stays with us for the longest time. Its the title I guess. So cool.

If The Beatles never existed, we'd be talking about The Beach Boys. Not many of us appreciate the musical genius of the band, in particular with Brian Wilson. This song can be broken up into 3 songs, thats how good their composition can be and what about their harmonies.

Roy Orbison, under rated, this song revived in a duet with kd lang only accentuated his musical brilliance and unique voice.

Santana at his best, this song makes love to you at the start, caresses you then brings you to musical orgasm with his riveting solo.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Singapore Water Industry, Thanks To You Know Who

Saturday, 10 November 2012 06:34

S'pore - thanks to Malaysia's Dr M, our water industry is now worth $ 9 BILLION!

Written by  mevotex
Fresh water has always been a precious resource to Singapore. Being a tiny island with high urban population constrained by its land size, modern Singapore never have enough water of its own to support its population, but this is about to change....
In 1927, Singapore signed a water agreement with Johor to construct a pipeline transporting raw water from Johor to Singapore. During the Battle of Singapore in 1942, the pipeline was destroyed, which left Singapore with water reserves that could last at most two weeks. According to Lee Kuan Yew, this was one of his motives to envision water self-sufficiency for Singapore later when he became the city-state's Prime Minister.
Immediately after the British awarded self-governance in 1959, the Singaporean government under Lee signed 2 water agreements with Malaya in 1961 and 1962. Under these agreements, Singapore will build two water treatment plants in Singapore and a new, expanded pipeline from Johor at its expenses. Singapore will also supply treated water to Johor at far below the cost of treating the water, and in return, Malaya would also supply raw water to Singapore below market prices. The agreements would last till 2011 and 2061 respectively.
In 1965, when Singapore was expelled from the Malaysian Federation, it received the first water threat from then Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, who said that "if Singapore’s foreign policy is prejudicial to Malaysia’s interests, we could always bring pressure to bear on them by threatening to turn off the water in Johor".
Mahathir tried to take advantage
In response, Singapore began to construct more water schemes on the island throughout the 1970s. This include the damming of river estuaries to allow for greater storage volumes, which resulted in larger artificial reservoirs that collect water from carefully managed catchment areas. These reservoirs would later be responsible for 20% of Singapore's water needs in 2012.
But as Singapore began to rapidly industrialize, the amount became insufficient. Thus in 1982 the city-state was interested to build a dam on the Johor River in Malaysia and an associated new water treatment plant there, with the construction costs all paid by Singapore, in exchange, Malaysia was to allow Singapore to purchase more than the 250 million gallons of water per day as negotiated in the 1962 agreement.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad however, decided to make it difficult for Singapore. After six years of difficult negotiations, the 2 countries finally signed the agreement that allowed the construction of the dam. It was a heavy price for Singapore, who agreed to pay RM320 million as compensation for the permanent loss of use of the land and its associated revenue, a premium of RM18,000 per hectare of land, and an annual rent of RM30 for every 1,000 square foot of the land. The cost of building and maintaining the dam would be borne by Singapore, and upon the expiration of water deals, both the dam and the treatment plant are to be returned to Malaysia.
Mahathir believed that Singapore couldn't survive without Malaysia's water
Emboldened by this victory, Mahathir mistakenly believed that he had caught Singapore's main weakness. In 2000, attempts to re-negotiate with Malaysia to secure water supply beyond 2061 failed, and in 2003, Malaysia again warned Singapore that once the first treaty expired in 2011, the water prices would be raised by 200 times from 3 sen per 1,000 gallons to RM6.25. The government of Singapore decided that, instead of paying a higher price and continue its water dependence on Johor, it will go all-out to achieve water-sufficiency.
But Kuan Yew said NO!
The first thing Singapore did was to invest heavily in water technologies and gathered the world's most renowned water management scientists into the island. Academics, researchers, scientists and experts from across the globe were invited to Singapore to help it devise a water solution. Desalination and recycled water were identified. Utilizing advanced technologies, Singapore proceed to construct one of the world's largest desalination plant in 2005, now accounted for 10% of the country's water needs. Singapore's second plant, even bigger, is scheduled to complete in 2013, providing another 10%.
Desalination removes salt and other minerals from sea, turning sea water into fresh water. There is almost no controversy on this. The issues come when dealing with recycled water. By that it means waste water, including those from toilets and drains, is to be purified back for use. The concerns lay on whether all harmful materials, pathogens or micro-organisms could be effectively removed.
Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize was established to award $300,000 for scientists of any nationalities who made breakthrough in water treatment technologies and brought them to Singapore. In 2003, Singapore started its first wastewater recycling plant. Under constant advices and supervision from scientists and researchers, by 2012, the country's 5 wastewater plants successfully marketed themselves and provide enough clean water to meet 30% of the island's needs.
‘Public acceptance is not guaranteed at the start. Recycled water has been rejected in Australia, where people term it ‘yuck’ water,’ said Dr Eduardo Araral, assistant dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. ‘Singaporeans accepted it both because they are pragmatic and because they trust the Government’s promise that it is safe to drink,’ he added.
In 2006, Singapore identified the commercial value of water and environmental technologies, especially to water-scarce Middle East, North Africa and various First World nations, and also countries who currently lack proper and effective water treatment system. The government invested an initial $330 million to promote the new industry and to make Singapore a potential global hub for water research and development. Since 2008, the city-state hosts the Singapore International Water Week, a key event for the global water industry, every year.
Water sufficiency to exceed 70%
Over the years, Singapore has turned what used to be a scarcity into its strength and now the water industry is seen as a new growth sector for the country. The government's commitment to industrial promotion, easy access to research funds, and readily available talents, help built up a new robust water industries in Singapore amid the European financial crisis.
Kow Juan Tiang, group director for Environment & Infrastructure Solutions at IE Singapore, said: “If you look at the water industries in Singapore, it encompasses companies from many countries. Our financial sector worked closely with those companies venturing overseas here for projects to secure technology, solution, and most importantly, money financing, at a competitive advantage compared to otherwise in (crisis-laden) Europe.”
Goh Chee Kiong, director of Cleantech Building & Infrastructure Solutions at Economic Development Board, said: “What is helping this sector is the fact that Singapore has a vibrant manufacturing industry comprising chemicals, pharmaceuticals, semiconductor, oil and gas, and they are becoming prove points and demonstration sites for water companies to utilize their technology in Singapore before scaling up to the rest of the world.”
The push to develop the industry has drawn attention from some of the world's largest companies like General Electric and Siemens, who invested and created local water companies such as Hyflux that have expanded overseas. "What they are looking to do is create a virtual market for the water business which is much larger than Singapore," said Mr Glen Daigger, chief technology officer of CH2M Hill, an US-based industry consulting firm. "Singapore's ambition to become a water technologies hub in Asia is now a step closer."
With technology as the key driver, the water industries in Singapore experienced strong growth. In just five years, Singapore was propelled from a water-challenged nation to an internationally-recognised name in the global water community - with its water industry blossomed to over 100 companies. The city-state successfully built up a vibrant water industry cluster, with operations which span the value chain, including R&D centres, equipment suppliers, system integrators and EPC firms, project developers and financing organizations.
In 2011, Singapore's water sufficiency rose to 60%. At the same time the 1961 water agreement with Malaysia expired. Singapore informed Johor it would not be renewing the agreement. The next focus would be on total self-sufficiency before 2061, the date when the second agreement lapsed.
Singapore's water sufficiency to top 70% next year, on track for self-sufficient in 2061

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Greece Issue Headed For A Solution In 6 Days

Greece's international lenders failed for the second week running to agree how to get the country's debt down to a sustainable level and will have a third go at resolving their most intractable problem in six days' time. After nearly 12 hours of talks through the night during which myriad options were discussed, eurozone finance ministers, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank failed to reach a consensus, without which emergency aid cannot be disbursed to Athens.

However the markets should be taking the following comments more closely:

"We are close to an agreement but technical verifications have to be undertaken, financial calculations have to be made and it's really for technical reasons that at this hour of the day it was not possible to do it in a proper way and so we are interrupting the meeting and reconvening next Monday," Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters.

"There are no major political disagreements," he said.

There appears to be no other way except for the lenders to somehow come up with a solution for the Greece debacle.

Nonetheless, sharemarkets around the world reacted negatively, while the euro extended its fall against the US dollar in response. A document prepared for the meeting  declared that Greece's debt cannot be cut to 120 percent of GDP by 2020, the level deemed sustainable by the IMF, unless euro zone member states write off a portion of their loans to Greece. The 15-page document, circulated among ministers, set out in black-and-white how far off-track Greece is in reducing its debt to the IMF-imposed target, from a level of around 170 per cent of GDP now.

The document set out various ways Greece's debt could be reduced between now and 2020, but concluded they would not be enough without eurozone creditors taking a hit on their own holdings - something Germany and others have said would be illegal.

The document did say Greek debt could fall to 120 per cent of GDP two years later - in 2022 - without having to impose any losses on euro zone member states or forcing through a buy-back of Greek debt from private-sector bondholders. But International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde rejected such an extension at similar talks last week. Without any corrective measures the document said Greek debt would be 144 per cent in 2020 and 133 per cent in 2022, figures first reported exclusively by Reuters last week.

The view of the IMF, which has played a role in both Greek bailouts so far, is critical since it provides international legitimacy and credibility for the efforts the euro zone is making. If the IMF were to withdraw its support for the bailout programmes, it could have a deeply damaging market impact.
The document appeared designed in part to convince the IMF that Greek debt could be made sustainable just two years behind schedule if only it would soften its stance.

It remains possible that Lagarde could provide further wiggle room, but she is believed to favour the idea of eurozone member states taking a writedown on some of the loans extended to Greece in order to stick to the 120 per cent in 2020 goal.

Among the main measures under consideration to bring Greece's debt burden down as rapidly as possible is a debt buy-back under which Greece would offer to purchase bonds from private investors at a discount to their nominal value.

Several options are under consideration, officials have said and the document makes clear, including using about 10 billion euros to buy back bonds at between 30 and 35 cents in the euro.
There are also proposals to reduce the interest rate on loans already extended by euro zone countries to Greece, to impose a moratorium on interest payments and lengthen the maturities on loans, all of which would cut the debt burden.

Pressure for the eurozone to come up with a solution is high not just because Greece is running out of money and financial markets want a dependable solution, but because Athens has initiated virtually all the steps demanded of it to cut spending, raise taxes and overhaul its economy.

"Greece has delivered. Now it's up to us to deliver," Juncker said.

Because of the latest delay, the ministers were unable to give a go-ahead for the next tranche of up to 44 billion euros of emergency funds to be paid to Athens. The payment would provide short-term relief to Athens, but it is long-term debt that is the core issue.

Hence it looks its going to hurt the EU more if they fail to come up with something for Greece, having seen Greece doing its part already. All in, despite the negativity surrounding the developments, its actually a positive because it all points to a MUST solution in 6 days.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Songs That I Keep Going Back To

There are certain songs that you keep going back to, maybe they are not so popular now, heck, some were not even that popular then ... but these songs meant a lot to me. I never tire of hearing them, trouble is finding them, locating or even trying to download them properly in the first place.

There are songs that define a generation, I guess these songs defines me. These may be just pop songs with simple melodies and lyrics but they stayed with me.

The first one was an obscure hit back in the late 80s by one funnily named group called 1927. Every time I hear it, goosebumps, the soaring chorus and even cheesy lyrics but somehow it works ...

You Belong To Me was a major hit in the early 60s or late 50s I believe, the melody was very good but the way they sung it was too "big band Buble style". I always knew it needed to be toned down to a folk song for the lyrics and melody to shine through more. Kate Busby's rendition was spot on. Always mesmerising and reflective.

There was a movie that captured my imagination when I was pretty young. Its called Voices, a guy falling for a deaf girl, sounds formulaic but its not. The haunting theme song always brings me back to simpler times when good means good and bad means bad. The song is called I Will Always Wait For You by Burton Cummings.

My all time favourite song by The Beatles is a little known song by them, I Will. Ever since I heard it I was swooned by the purity of the melody, so simple, uncomplicated and the right lyrics. Funny thing was I even thought to myself that this would be the song to be played if ever I was to get married. The Beatles version was sublime, but Alison Kraus' version is even better with a long instrumental intro before letting the lyrics revel in the wondrous melody. Guess people will start using this song for their upcoming weddings after hearing about this from me ... sigh.

This is a quirky pick I know, many would not even consider John Travolta to be a singer but he was, and way before Saturday Night Fever and Grease, he did this wonderful movie based on a true story The Boy In The Plastic Bubble. The kid's body does not have an immune system and he has to live in a germ free platic bubble ... till he fell in love and risked it all breaking out of his bubble. Song written by Paul Williams, What Would They Say.

Taxis In Malaysia, Emblematic Of our Woes

The moment I got back, was greeted by a vicious queue for taxis, bought the stupid ticket for RM80 and had to throw away because the queue was nearly an hour's wait ... they said it was due to renovation being done to some parts of the road/building. B.S. The whole system is controlled. If you have a system, make sure it works, you do not want the first impression to be bad for tourists arriving in KL.

Had to dash for the KLIA Express instead, but its the first time it was full, can you believe it. Some had to stand. Something is not right. Even if you have a controlled airport taxi system, you should be flexible in that when there are not sufficient airport taxis, there should be a marshal or two to guide other normal taxis to take passengers away from the airport. I am sure you can take a higher percentage of the fare from these taxis, and they'd still be willing to ferry passengers instead of going off empty.

It is so stupid.

How much money we spend on advertising for tourism a year? Malaysia Truly Asia, B.S. ... till a visitor tries to get a cab and get charged RM50 for a 5km trip.

Why can't we rectify this mess? We can spend billions building Putrajaya and Cyberjaya but we cannot solve the taxis system. We can spend billions on Nusajaya and we cannot solve the taxis problem. The taxis issue is emblematic of what is wrong with corporate Malaysia, or anything to do with money.

The government cannot do anything because there are warlords controlling various taxi groupings. Are they so important and threatening that we cannot better the system for all? Why do we farm out taxis into "influential groups" and then shrug our shoulders when we know it needed to be fixed? We are always at the mercy of these VIPs who somehow "knows the right people" that makes it OK to leave the country in a mess.

Where is the political will? I guess there is none as we dice and slice portions of the industry to you know who and who you know. Then we cannot do anything when we want to better the system. You can replicate the taxi issue with almost every other sub sector of any industry in the country. There are always vested interests everywhere.

We have to grow up, if you do not do it, the people will do it for you one way or another. My prediction, the ruling party will be lucky to win more than one state in the peninsula in the upcoming election. Mark my words.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Diabetes Awareness Day

Sydney Day 4

Going further down, you get a wonderful bakery, a snazzy Northern Indian restaurant etc... its all fun stuff walking and and down the street on the beach.

Staying near the beach is very cool, you get to enjoy the life as beach bums. Wake up late or early, stumble down to the beach area for breakfast and read the papers, watch the pretty people go past. Whether its Coogee, Bronte, Bondi or Manly beaches, its the same drift. The shops are all a lot of fun and presents great variety.

Its only about 100 meters but its exciting kind of shops. Here you have a bottler (liquor retail store), a surf shop and SushiGOI, a popular sushi place much like Sakae Sushi.

Next to it you have a cafe, and another cafe and then the very fresh Coogee Fish shop, great fish and chips. I kinda counted that there were no less than 16 cafes in that 100 meters.

My morning comfort food in Sydney, bacon and crispy bacon roll.

Well, its not ever going to be a touristy type of travel blog since I have been here for a long time and lived and studied here for over 10 years. Hence you are not getting the Opera House, Taronga Zoo stuff. But the Harbour Bridge is very cool, this is a video of me driving over it. Visitors without any fear of heights should do the Harbour Bridge climb.

I do a lot of country side driving when I am in Sydney. You can fit the entire Europe map into Australia, its a huge place. The country side is a lot more soothing. Drove to Gosford, another hour's drive from Sydney. Relaxing and wonderful weather to boot. Yes, they happened to be having races there yesterday, up close and personal with the horsies as well.

The very relaxing drive down to Gosford ...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sydney Day 3

Its the third day, taking things slow now. Woke up late, decided to drive to Hawkesbury Turf Club which was having its race day today. Its about 65km away and a nice leisurely drive through the suburbs. 

In Malaysia there are just 3 turf clubs. Two in HK. In the state of NSW alone, there are 4 city tracks (bigger races, Canterbury, Rosehill, Randwick and Warwick Farm) and 4 provincial tracks (Illawara, Hawkesbury, Newcastle, Gosford). They really love their racing in Australia. Now multiply that with the other states, thats why you have horse racing everyday, plus greyhounds and harness (trotting).

Its very nice to drive to a provincial track, the people are very laid back, everyone comes dressed casual, drink lots of beer and wine and families wander around the track having picnics. Plus you get to see real horses racing and you can have a bet as well. You get to see more country folks at provincial tracks and its kinda nice.

Prior to that, headed to Marrickville (about 25 minutes from the city, an enclave of Aussies from Vietnam) to get my fill of pho. They do this very nicely thanks to great tasting OZ beef. Side note, OZ chicken dishes are tasteless, take anything with chicken its tasteless due to the "healthy feed" for the chicken.

If you visit Sydney, you will inevitably visit Star City, the casino. There are plenty of good places to eat there. The hard to book a seat, Momofuku is here. Failing that, you should at least try the Messina gelato, unbelievably good.

The famed patisserie Adriano Zumbo is here as well. His shop is quirky, he has revolving small desserts much like the sushi revolving thing that you can pick and eat.

Possibly catching Legally Blonde the musical sometime later in the week.

Sydney Day 2

Gee, this travel blogging is not exactly a lot of fun. Had to send photos from my I-phone (which does not take sufficiently good photos like the new Samsung phone) to my email before I could post about it. The first photo is the beautiful QVB, wonderfully restored by Ipoh Gardens, a fact not known by many people.

The 3 levels huge Apple store on George Street, eternally packed. No, I did not buy the new mini I-pad. Tempted though.

Anyway, tried to do all my shopping needs in one afternoon. 

Another mega store, Louis Vuitton, thankfully, no need to buy anything there for anybody (gulp).

The ravishingly beautiful and large Zara store.

So what did I buy? Stuff I couldn't get back home. Bought tons of stuff from Dymocks Bookstore.

 This one even our wonderful piracy industry did not put it in their list. Its probably the funniest series made in recent times. So glad to snare these two DVDs.

Yes, I have a strong penchant for horse racing and horse racing personalities and stories. More wonderful books to add to my reading list.

Went to my usual pizza parlour, as long as they made a decent pizza, I always have my own alacarte order: tomato paste, cheese, pineapples, garlic, chilli oil and anchovies ... mamma mia!!!

Took my pizza to Watson's Bay or better known as The Gap. There had been too many suicide attempts in the past that they had to put up fences and signs like this around the place.

Anyone who was an overseas  student in Sydney for the past 30 years would have eaten at this place in Chinatown. Its called Minh Hai and they serve this huge crispy grilled maryland chicken with rice, sauce and soup. Nostalgia food.

Towards the evening, ended at the only casino game I willingly play, Texas Holdem. At least we do not lost to the casino (they just take a cut of the pool) but to one another. Thats my table. Did OK, left after 3 hours, tired already. Yes, the table had 7 Asians and one gwailo.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sydney Day 1 (Morning/Noon)

Great smooth flight, nary a hitch, the winds were behind us all the way we made the trip in 6 hr 50 min instead of 8 hr, amazing. Taxi cab flag fall was at A$3.80 (RM12.50) and the 12km trip to Kings Cross cost A$52 (RM165). Nice...

Now time to pick up my car rental. If you plan to drive, you should anyway, its brilliant and you cannot get a better deal than Bayswater Car Rental, the one with the "No Birds" tagline. Don't ask why they have that tagline. All in it only cost A$33 odd per day inclusive of insurance.

The guy at the front desk was from Thailand, we chatted about Thai politics, and then gave me a really good deal. The car I have had JUST 12km on it, ...  it came in yesterday. Now I know what its like to be a high ranking UMNO-putra seeking out corporate deals from Ministry of Finance and EPU.

Landed a bit too early to check in the hotel, so grabbed a hot ham and cheese croissant from Infinity Bakery @ Darlinghurst, plus a flat white and headed for Centennial Park, should be sparse this early in the morning. What better way to enjoy breakie than with the animals and fauna.

Some friends commented why go to Sydney during summer ... well cause the weather's perfect, December/Jan are the worst months. Nov is still good, landed in the morning with 18C, sun shining bright, no sweating 24C in afternoon .... dipping to 18C by 6pm and probably 14C come midnight.

Finally checked in, many wondered why I did not stay in the city. Its silly to stay in the city, parking is horrendous, probably cost you A$80 a day. I am staying at Coogee, Crowne Plaza, have a look at the view from my room, the  you'd understand why. Anyway, its just 20 minutes from the city.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sydney Confidential

I will be making a quick trip to Sydney, flying off tonight. It was kinda last minute as I had not planned to do so. However, my closest auntie just had a minor operation so I thought it was best to make the trip with the stretch of holidays this coming week. 

I used to go to Sydney every year but haven't been doing so as my last trip was some 3 years ago. The majority of my relatives are in Sydney and most do come back to visit anyway. 

Another reason to get away was that I can sense too many things happening around me all at once, most of them good stuff. Its good to get away and stand back and refresh, to look at things anew. Things couldn't be better at Murasaki ts, while its hectic, and while waiting for the office to be fully renovated, its my last chance to get away for sometime as I will be pouring myself back into the mix later on.

I thought I will try to do a travel blog for the next 7 days for this trip, see whether I can cut it as a travel blogger for a change. I kinda know Sydney very well as I was driving a taxi during my university days, all in I studied and worked there for almost 10 years. 

Yes, the first question everyone ask when I say that is why did I come back. I was too young and while I love Sydney, its not my backyard. I like the transparent and incisive newspapers, but most of the news articles were not about the people I really cared about. Maybe in my naive ways, I wanted to see what I can do for my country. 

Realistically, the bulk of the businesses in developed countries like Australia belonged to the big corporations. It is not entrepreneurial enough. In Malaysia, you can come up with a good idea and find funding relatively easily. Heck, you may even get to have an appointment with the CEO of most top 100 companies in Malaysia after just one or two layers of contact and networking, something you cannot possibly dream of doing in Australia.

So, in my rush, I packed packs of heong paeng (from Ipoh) and two packs of freshly ground almond powder. Its my second time bringing over the powder, I always like the look on the faces of the Customs and Immigration officers when I show them the packets of powder, so blatant, looking so much like

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Why Obama Matters

Spent nearly the whole day following the US elections, why you might ask. If we were to have a global elections between Obama and Romney, I bet you it would be a landslide favouring Obama. The USA represents democracy for the rest of the world. Most citizens of other countries would watch and hope that the election and political processes in their own country may one day somehow live up to the US standard.

Obama is more than just the leader of the free world. He represents more than that. He made the world less racial. He represents the blurring of how people are treated badly because of the colour of their skin or where they are from. Although far from supporting GLT rights outright, the Democrats is the better of the two. It is a more enveloping and compassionate platform.It embraces.

On the fiscal and economic issues, Obama has done decently after taking over the legacy of issues from the Bush administration. Many things have been done but the real recovery will be slow. You cannot possibly do that overnight, no one can. Hence the re-election is all the more significant in that the economy isn't that well yet.

How will the markets take the Obama win? Markets would have preferred a Romney victory but an Obama victory is also not that bad. The first issue they have to address will be the fiscal cliff coming due in January 2013. It is likely something will be worked out, which will propel markets higher then. There is still tons of liquidity on the sidelines.

To Mitt Romney, who put up a good fight but his platform wasn't that different enough, plus he wasn't clear enough in supporting immigration, illegal aliens, GLT issues and the financial proposals lacked thoroughness and details. Still Mitt, look on the bright side, you could have also been an Astro employee with tons of IPO shares on margin.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Street Vendors / Local Farmers

This may be a small thing but we should really make it a concious effort on our part. Always try to buy from street vendors and local farmers plying their trade in a stand alone kerb stall. Their margins are low, they are trying to cut out the middleman, they are trying to cut out the wholesalers and distributors. They are trying to mitigate the effects of big bulk discount supermarkets. Of course I am not talking about those Petaling Street stalls that sell fake goods with 500% mark ups and they expect to be bargained down more than 50% anyways.

When you see genuine street vendors "making their own stuff", cooking their own food for sale, or local farmers plying their produce, .... try and buy from them, and try not to bargain. The same ringgit usually means more to someone than to us. Be thankful that we may have a job, a network or an education and work experience that allow us to make money much easier than a lot of other people. Being thankful is one thing, trying to be a good custodian of our good fortune and good things that come to us is another.

Have a good day....