Sunday, September 20, 2015

Making Sense Of The Syrian Refugee Crisis

The refugee crisis in Europe basically emanated from the Syrian failed revolution against Assad. Forget about that dispirit, Syria now is torn and kalam-kabut with various parties trying to gain the upper hand.

This cartoon is very FAIR and HONEST in trying to explain the issues surrounding the current crisis. There are a lot of concerns on the issue of Islamisation of European countries, crime, integration issues, etc... Watch this and don't get all riled up over nonsense pervading our multimedia.

Japan Stunned the Springboks ... Deservedly

How big was this result ... let me put in proper perspective ... if it was the football World Cup, is it like Malaysia beating Brazil ... ono because Malaysia cannot even make the World Cup finals proper. 


So, this is also NOT like Japan beating Brazil in the World Cup because Japan is a proper force in football and its not that shocking even if Japan beats Brazil. This is like New Zealand beating Germany in the World Cup.... cause South Africa or the Springboks had been multiple champions in their past lives, and NZ like Japan has never ever come close to football glory and rugby glory respectively.

Even that comparison is not sufficient because its harder for underdogs to usurp their higher ranked foes in rugby than say football. In football, you can get a lucky goal, a deflected free kick, a mistake ... and then defend like hell and still beat a higher ranked opponent. In rugby, its muscles and grind and pressure constantly, you get very few freebies, you need muscle and deft passes and great tackling to get yardage. Which is why Japan is over the moon with the victory, they literally played out of their skins, and when the opportunity to tie presented itself a couple of times in the dying minutes, they did not take it but went for victory instead.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Real Property/Construction Awards We'd Like To See

More than usual, we'd be inundated with pages and pages of self-congratulatory, own-association, "sharing of the pig among members" by property and construction industries. This project good la, that gets gold award, that bronze award ... so many awards that its amazing to find any project without an award.

However, these peripheral, syok-sendiri awards are necessary for the industry ... much like how the Academy Awards started, we are so good, why no one give us awards... never mind, we give ourselves awards hah!

The public is not interested at all because you fellas do not give out the Real Awards ... such as:

BEST PROPERTY PROJECT for maximum percentage gain from official selling price one year after launch date (ta-dah!!!)

BEST PROPERTY PROJECT for the best discount from official selling price plus freebies thrown in

BEST PROPERTY PROJECT with the most innovative financing using the minimum down payment and extended period for further payment till handover

BEST PROPERTY PROJECT that delivers within the stipulated timeframe as advertised

BEST CONSTRUCTION PROJECT with the fewest "touch ups" or "defects-construction issues" after handover

Monday, September 14, 2015

Melt In Your Mouth New York Brisket In KL

I have walked past this little kiosk a number of times but never patronised it till I read the excellent review by Vivian Chong in The Malay Mail a few days back. So I went yesterday and after the first bite into my beef brisket pocket, I kicked myself for not having this earlier.

Its just like the ones I had in New York and there the beef brisket is like a religion. Normally when you have a beef sandwich you are likely to encounter some shards of muscle here and there, a proper slow cooked beef brisket melts in your mouth.

I must say, the seasoning is just right. Not too many condiments. Its a 9/10.

He operates alone, so be prepared to wait.

Brooklyn Deli is at LG-7 (next to Boost Juice), 1 Mont Kiara Mall, 1 Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, KL.  Opens daily: 11.30am-10pm;

For bookings of roast beef, beef brisket or the metre-long sandwich, contact David Hoh at +6012-627 6193 

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Slow Things Down

What is it about us humans that we always see the grass being greener elsewhere .. we always yearn to travel and see the world, catch the sights and sounds ... it usually takes an outsider to appreciate beauty as those inhabitants are usually too jaded to notice whats in their backyard ... watching this magnificent video would make us think Malaysia is sooo gorgeous ... maybe we all should be less jaded and 'slow things down' to smell the bloody roses.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Bowie Deserves More Accolades

For somebody who has been more than an iconic rock pop start for over 40 years ... David Bowie sure can be termed as being under-rated. He is multi talented and can play many instruments, a strong confidence in his art indicated by his production and song writing abilities.

Bowie has stayed a few steps ahead of the pack in the early days. His iconic Space Oddity and Life On Mars came at a time when the race to space was paramount in the media. He humanise the aspirations. Not only that, the songs were gems as well.

He was deemed as freakish with his outlandish make up doing Ziggy Stardust in the mid 70s, something which was a precursor for the New Romantics and post-punk revolution a few years down the road.

He kept reinventing himself in the late 70s when he tried to break into the American market. He became a big hit in the US then. The main reason why his fame has not reached higher levels was his leaving the UK for the USA, causing many of his UK fans to be a pissed at him. Somehow he did not manage to win both sides all the same time.

In 1980 he got back into the good books of the British folk by coming out with Ashes to Ashes followed by a quintessential duet with Queen in Under Pressure.

His best move was to monetise his music by getting an upfront payment in 1997. Bowie got $55m in exchange for the current and future revenues of his 25 albums before 1990. The great thing was that Bowie only had to forego 10 years of his royalties to get the $55m. Judging by how the CDs and albums markets had been decimated in the 2000s ... David came out way ahead.

Bowie Bonds are asset-backed securities of current and future revenues of the 25 albums (287 songs) that David Bowie recorded before 1990. Bowie Bonds were pioneered in 1997 by rock and roll investment banker David Pullman.[1] Issued in 1997, the bonds were bought for US$55 million by the Prudential Insurance Company of America.[2][3] The bonds paid an interest rate of 7.9% and had an average life of ten years,[4] a higher rate of return than a 10-year Treasury note (at the time, 6.37%).[3] Royalties from the 25 albums generated the cash flow that secured the bonds' interest payments.[5] Prudential also received guarantees from Bowie's label, EMI Records, which had recently signed a $30m deal with Bowie.[3] By forfeiting ten years worth of royalties, David Bowie was able to receive a payment of US$55 million up front. Bowie used this income to buy songs owned by his former manager.[4] Bowie's combined catalog of albums covered by this agreement sold more than 1 million copies annually at the time of the agreement.[3]However, by March 2004, Moody's Investors Service lowered the bonds from an A3 rating (the seventh highest rating) to Baa3, one notch above junk status.[6][7] The downgrade was prompted by lower-than-expected revenue "due to weakness in sales for recorded music" and that an unnamed company guaranteed the issue.[8]

His adult contemporary pop rock never gets old. He kept churning hits after hits and no two ever sounded alike.

Here are my picks of his most important songs, and considering the number of hits he had, its tough to narrow them down (Life On Mars, Starman, Heroes, Sorrow, Rebel Rebel, Fame, Golden Years, Boys Keep Swinging, DJ, Under Pressure, Cat People, Let's Dance, Blue Jean, Jump They Say, Never Let Me Down, etc.)

#5 SOUND & VISION - This is probably my favourite Bowie song. Its half instrumental with delicious harmonies and vocals coming in in the second half of the song. The instrumentation again sublime - the over the top drums, simple lead guitar holding the melody again, and the clever use of synthesisers to bring it to the modern age.

#4 CHINA GIRL - Its enigmatic, suggestive and so danceable. Of course you can try to be a New Musical express writer and talk about post colonialism, domination and Westernization of Asian culture, oppression from the West about the song ... or just enjoy.

#3 MODERN LOVE - Its pop, its dance, its rock ... still relevant into the 80s.

#2 ASHES TO ASHES - The song came out in 1980 and heralded another reinvention from glam punk pop rock to adult contemporary dance. Exceptional instrumentations and still modern sounding even today.

#1  SPACE ODDITY - This song came out in 1969 and many did not know what to make of it. Its about an astronaut in space and the thoughts he had. Its about courage and fear and realising the epicentre of life, its vastness and the smallness of man. Bowie was inspired to write the song after watch Kubricks' 2001 A Space Odyssey. Those who are older than 65 would beware that the song came out 9 days before Apollo 11 landed on the moon - what a momentous coincidence. Its melodious and the song has been used in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and most spectacularly in the sic-fi HK movie The Midnight After (brilliant).

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Something's Up Down Under

Things are looking very interesting down under ... you won't see these pictures in the mainstream media... I wonder why!!??

These are rally crowds at SDP (Commonwealth) and Workers Party (Simei). Last week's crowds at Hougang was scary as well.

So whats the main grouse of these Singachildren? Yes there are many things good and wonderful in Singapore ... civil service works like a clock, all applications are processed quickly and efficiently, there are almost no banking queues ... most things can be paid online, most people have housing thanks to CPF, the streets are safe and crime rate is very low ...etc...

The one main grouse is that the country do not seem to belong to them anymore. Its all good and such to have all highly qualified ministers, but there is elitism in that. You do whats good for the country as if it were a corporation.

They are correct to want to bring in highly skilled population if Singapore is to continue to move up the value curve, if Singapore wants to continue to be the strongest currency in the world ... but they missed out on the true aspirations of many of the middle and lower middle class population - they do not feel the country belongs to them anymore.

Soon, property prices will continue to head up, causing many of its citizens to take the money and nowhere to go, maybe Johor I guess. The gap between the expats (the haves) and the have nots will widen.

Influx of foreigners (foreign talent) ie crowding out employment opportunities of locals, driving up housing prices, changing the social make-up/culture.

According to the ruling PAP, if they were to continue with the plan to bring in more skilled expats - the population might hit 6.9m by 2030 as shown in the summary of the White paper below - where the citizen will no longer be the majority of the population by 2030... thats why one of the biggest draw is the proposal by one of the opposition party is to slow the intake of skilled workers so as to allow Singaporeans to be the majority of the population of Singapore. Not to sacrifice development but to do it slower and always maintaining the majority to be Singapore born citizens.

There are other things Singaporeans are concerned about:

Most Singaporeans can never take money out from CPF in their lifetime. The minimum age for withdrawal is 65. On top of that you can only take out the balance after keeping a minimum sum of 161k in the normal account (and will increase in line with inflation). Most lower income people will never be able to use this money in their lifetime! That's why so many old uncles and aunties are seen working at McDonald's and food courts across Singapore, the paltry CPF monthly sustenance pay is too paltry to cover expenses in this ultra expensive city.

Ruling party perceived to be out of touch with masses with seemingly elitist retorts which are seen as almost arrogant and condescending. 

Blame king mentality- blaming the government supported casinos which caused a rise in social problems since their introduction.

Some things are more important than economics and growth.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Good Neighbours

I don't think I need to tell the readers here that we have a massive refugee crisis in Europe and in Asia in particular, but the situation is more dire in Europe. Depending on how rich a country is, it is only fair to contribute where you can. 

UK has done very well, what we call batting well above its average. I also have to single out the rich oil nations such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar ... kudos on the contributions ... BUT all four countries have TAKEN IN ZERO REFUGEE. Is it a country's prerogative not to take in refugees ??? I guess a country has the sovereignty to decide if they want their population to remain homogenous (largely) so as to stave off future social problems, maybe. I will try to not associate the innocent drowned boy in Turkey to this, although I can ...

Take my money but don't force me to take in any refugees. If every single country does that .... we are all so fucked. I think I can put Japan into that category as well.

Let's get one things straight ... no one chooses to be a refugee. They are running from something that is so bad that they would rather risk their lives in jammed up boats or trek hazardous areas to be "free-er". Yes, there are also economic refugees, but there are very very few of them (not like the Southern population migration from China in the early 1900).

The other country that needs to be singled out is China. Ye, it has some economic problems now, but its really nothing compared to the size of the country, the size of its economy, the role it plays in global trade and the surpluses it has accumulated. Certainly you need to play a bigger role in global issues. You have to do your part. 9.7m pounds from China ... god, thats even lesser than Switzerland, Luxembourg or South Korea!!!

European Commission£1,041,852,208
Individuals & organisations£638,993,458
Saudi Arabia£387,077,881
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)£132,481,587
UN agencies£130,667,593
Various (details not yet provided)£125,234,632
Russian Federation£23,601,492
Korea, Republic of£15,108,390
Allocation of funds from Red Cross / Red Crescent£12,307,248
New Zealand£7,326,343
Czech Republic£4,491,722
Allocation of unearmarked funds by IGOs£866,611
Brunei Darussalam£660,000
South Africa£61,687
Holy See£6,518
Source:  Financial Tracking Service

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Things To Do During Lockdown

All local councils, utility companies, construction firms (those with permission) and city planners in Malaysia should take the opportunity...