Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Being Human & Humane

I have said this time and again... money cannot buy EMPATHY or BASIC HUMAN DECENCY. I think there should be a test before a family can hire a maid. So many people have revealed what assholes they are by the way they treat their maids. 

I have seen maids standing next to the restaurant table because there was no more space to seat them. The family and friends continued to eat. What do you think the kids will be thinking? They'd be thinking that "there are certain human beings that can be treated differently for they are lesser of a person" - and they will carry that mindset throughout their lives in every facet.  I'd rather eat somewhere else where the food is less tasty. The examples of pathetic behaviour by employers are too many to mention in one posting.

I voiced my opinion as above and many people will say to me that you cannot trust your maids, that they might steal or run away. Oh, you mean, they are human and can act badly like you and me? How would you like if you were "sentenced" for crimes you might commit? Limiting freedom for fear of what bad influence you might pick up? Its heinous and despicable.

Your inconvenience, incurred cost, difficulty in getting a maid, bad experiences DO NOT stand up in the court of human decency if you use that defence for behaviour/rules that are less than human and humane.

If you happen to be religious - thats one fucked up FINE EXAMPLE of you being changed for better, cause your heart is still screwed up no matter how much you pray, how many times you pray, how often you to these institutions for fellowship or how fervently you protests wrongdoings. If this is happening in your household, get that right, ask yourself why and why not.

p/s YES I have had maids before... yes, one has ran away before, and one even got pregnant by her boyfriend ... and I would still NOT change one IOTA... its basic human decency to give them one day off at the very minimum. You can tally up 100 excuses why they should not... but think again if your mum or sister was the maid in question.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Oh My Valentine, Please Sign The Prenup!!!

Let's take religion out of this first. There are obviously going to be two sides to this issue. In favour: they are being realistic as at least 40%-50% of all marriages end in divorce depending on which country data you are taking, and you want things to be easier for both sides if it should end, the amount of time spent wrangling in divorce courts is such a waste of time. Not in favour: destroys the very essence of marriage (lifelong concept); dilutes the importance of marriage, partnership, trust and romance.


Straits Times: 'Prenuptial deals: Court clears the air', as the validity of prenuptial contracts (prenups) are on the minds of many young couples thinking of tying the knot. The divorce of the Dutchman and his Swedish wife generated much interest here as, before this landmark case, the courts had not indicated specifically whether such prenups should be upheld. Since the couple had entered the prenup before a notary, such an agreement should be given much weight.

Prenups are authorised by law in some countries like Thailand. A man who is thinking of marrying his Thai girlfriend should seek advice from a lawyer familiar with Thai law, more so if the couple live in Thailand. Prenups are valid in 50 states in the United States. Case law is sufficiently developed and a well-drafted prenup can withstand the closest scrutiny. On the other hand, prenups are not recognised in Britain. However, some weight may be given by the court, which will take the content of the agreement into account when reaching its decision.
It used to be that only those with vast fortunes to protect considered a prenup as part of their wedding plans. Now, however, it is not just the rich and famous who iron out their financial obligations in the event of a divorce before they even take their marriage vows. Such steps may not be necessary for every couple, but in the light of the rising divorce rate and more common second marriages, many couples welcome the suggestion of a prenup.

Couples entering their second marriage often execute an agreement to protect the interests of their children from a prior marriage. Young professionals turn to prenups as a way to protect the rewards of their personal success. Even couples without much assets look to prenups as a way to avoid an acrimonious battle over what they accumulate during the course of the marriage.

To ensure the agreement is binding, the parties must make a full and fair disclosure of their financial worth. It is also desirable to have each party seek advice from their own lawyer. Since an agreement signed today may not be fair in the future, the parties can agree to make adjustments based on factors such as length of marriage or a change in relative earning capacities.

As celebrated English judge Lord Denning once said, divorce and financial matters are probably last on the list of things a couple want to contemplate on their wedding day. In the proper context, however, such a discussion can lead to a prenup that both parties view as a precaution designed to prevent a prolonged and expensive divorce settlement.

More often than not, one partner has greater assets and stands to lose a larger sum in the event of a divorce. Other considerations to think about include one spouse who will support the other through university (and wants an equitable share in future financial gain), or if one partner already has children from a previous marriage.

Be that as it may, the prenup should be entered into voluntarily; it should not be unconscionable. It should not be so one-sided and oppressive that no one in his right mind would sign it without duress. Enforceability is more certain when the prenup does not harshly and unfairly eliminate a party's rights to property acquired during the marriage.

In short, prenups will eliminate a long and costly court battle if there is proper disclosure by both parties, and the terms of the agreement are not harsh and unconscionable.

My views:

1) Prenups should be encouraged if one party's assets/ net worth is 90% or more of the combined couple's net worth. If its not, I would rather say forget it and just carry on.

2) Prenups does not give the richer party the right to take back all he/she brought to the marriage - the party still has to bear the cost of raising the children, alimony/palimony, sharing of assets acquired during the marriage, etc... But it does give some clarity: for example when Mr. Hui married Lee Kar Yan, I would be very shocked if she did not signed a prenup. As rich as Miss Lee is (maybe to the tune of US$20m), that is nothing compared to Mr. Hui's net worth which is more than US$500m. Hence a prenup might read something like this:
- if divorced within 5 years, she will get US$25m
- if divorced within 10 years, she will get US$50m
Some prenups can be very detailed, especially when it comes to kids, but that's another thing.

3) The more you can agree in a prenup, the more you will understand each other. Trying to be romantic in not having a prenup is naive and silly as you have a very good chance (backed by solid empirical data testing) of ending up in divorce courts later. Then you will spend hundreds of hours arguing over who gets what, how much to pay, which house you want, whose momentos are those, which school to send the kids, is having two maids too extravagant, etc... thus enriching the lawyers - ever seen a rich lawyer not having a prenup??? If a rich lawyer lives in a country where prenups are not allowed, well that's why those rich lawyers don't go around philandering so much... now you know why. I have never heard of a rich lawyer with a mistress, and being caught... wonder why??!!

4) Those sticking to the romance of not talking about money and assets are deluding themselves. It may not sound romantic but its very liberating. One of the biggest problems with marriages is the fact that many are entering with differing assumptions and belief systems, and both sides don't know that of each other.

5) If you think that prenups are a bad omen for marriages and are doomed to failure, then why do we even buy insurance policies, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, medical insurance, or for any other matters that touch our lives? The reasons are the same, it makes good sense.

6) Those who are the poorer partner in a marriage do not need to fear prenups. Most will still be much much better off financially in a divorce even with a prenup. If your net worth is zilch and your partner is worth US$30m, rest assured that he/she will put in the prenup that you will get a lump sum (which will not be close to 50%) of maybe 5%-15% of his/her net worth.

7) Prenups do not cause marriages to fail, marriages have been failing very nicely without prenups, OK!

8) Those religions which says that marriage is forever tend to frown on prenups. Well, without the prenups, these religious marriages almost have the same divorce rate as the rest of the population. No need to hide behind the sanctity of marriage and excuse yourself from helping one another face these important issues better.

9) Some will say that if they go down a road expecting it to fail, they'd rather not take that road. That is so naive, nobody wants marriages to fail, but they do fail. The divorce rates is at least 20% or higher - that is a given, whether you have prenups or not. Having said that, have you ever noticed how people at weddings are probably the most optimistic people on earth. The well wishers, the smiles, the laughter, the excitement of starting a new journey with glee and anticipation.... all optimists... if they know that their marriage has about 2 in 10 chances of failing, that would take some of the steam from the souffle ... but then again, any excuse to be drunk is still a good idea.

10) Those who say they enter a marriage based on trust... well and good, but what are you trusting in??? That your partner will act and behave in the manner that you know. Well, all who say that should go to divorce courts and sit in a few cases - see where the trust, patience, understanding have gone to... We have been deluded by notions of undying love, everlasting loyalty, unshakable romanticism, profoundly deep love from story books, TV and the movies .... I am not saying they do not exist, they do, but still you must be realistic.

11) Marry for the right reasons - Many will cite love, many more will justify their love of the person's character, even looks, disposition, genuineness, gentleness, their level of intelligence, their humouristic ways, even the way they speak, the way they carry themselves, how they treat us, etc... but to cite that you love them partly because of their net worth is close to being vulgar and despicable. But you and I know that that is a significant reason for marriage in many cases. By not talking about it is naive and even maliciously fraudulent. People will speak of the need for security (money), comfort (money), ... but will not mention the real M word. MY advice is, be clear and be outright with it, it will bring your relationship to a much higher level.

I have no issues with prenups, I think they are great provided the prenups are crafted with care, love, respect and good wishes. It is so much easier to agree on these things when things are going well... how to agree on those things when the relationship is down in the dumps?? Anyway, I'd probably don't have to ask my future wife to sign a prenup, in all likelihood, I will be the one being asked to sign one.

Love in all its grandeur and glory is wonderful and perfect. To strive for perfection and ultimate bliss is to be human. To fail is also because we are human. We are fallen beings, do not think that we are angels on earth. Its not heaven yet though we may like to think that sometimes.

p/s photos: Gigi Lai Chi

Ngui Chap Wong @ Plaza Damas

It's location prob made it hard to be discovered. It's at Plaza Damas but not inside the mall. It's among the rows of shops outside the mall. It's on the higher floor as well, same row as Blue Cow butcher. If u like beef stew ... it's vg. The broth is more like thick soup with deep beefy flavours. The beef parts are well stewed n melts in your mouth. 8.5/10 @Ngui Chap Wong Cafe .. n they do cold pressed juices too.

You see the little plate of chilli,... wanted to call for more but I thought I try first. Damn... it was strong, shocking right for beef stew, and that small amount was sufficient for the whole bowl.

Their last day will be CNY eve lunch only. They will be back open TUESDAY 31 January (4th day CNY) ...when most other shops will be closed. Hint, hint.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

CLSA FengShui Predictions 2017

After a fowl year in 2016, how will you and the Hang Seng Index fare 
with the plucky Rooster in 2017? Our 23rd Feng Shui guide offers an 
alternative look at what’s in store this year to help the luck flow in your 

Feng Shui masters are valued in the Orient by those looking to foretell 
the future. If you're running a hedge fund, no doubt you'll take our 
sorcerer’s view on the year ahead with a pinch of salt, but curiosity if 
not superstition may get the better of you. 

So scroll on down and chick out all manner of forecasts for the year 
ahead. Our longstanding health warning holds: don’t get your feathers 
ruffled and take it too seriously! - CLSA


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bank Negara May Have Switched On A Bull Run

Post Published: 5 Dec 2016
Update: When I wrote the post, the majority canned my piece. But this is not a "I told you so" thing. It is so easy to be a critic, let's see how many would be willing to call me and say they were wrong. I bet you very few. When you post an opinion, the internet is a ghastly thing - it allows for unfettered brickbats that has little or no justification or arguments except "I don't think that's true". Is this all ego and pride? Do we all want "acknowledgement" and "praise"? Having a blog for 10 years, I have seen enough. I am also OK when people disagree but at least show some decency and point out why when you disagree. I don't need to be right all the time but at least I dare to say it and put it out there. The world is not all bar room talk... talk cock and thats it, nobody remembers. Make it count, people.

p/s the bull run has started on the local bourse a few days back...

The brave new rules in a brave new world by Bank Negara have set many tongues a-wagging. The media has been having field day slamming the "likely causes" of a weakening ringgit. Let's not get into that for now - we all know whats bringing it down. Let's address the consequences, the aftermath ... for now.

A weak ringgit is not all bad, unless you are travelling or importing stuff. Just travel domestic, and I don't have much sympathy for traders, I mean, they do not really add value, they just import and distribute at a higher price. If they cannot pass the price increase onwards, then biz will be affected, so let it be.

The fact that from now on companies have to convert 75% into ringgit of their proceeds IS A VERY MAJOR THING. I suspect the majority of listed companies with foreign proceeds have been largely keeping them in foreign currency for the last 12-18 months.

Let's be honest here, the ringgit is suffering largely due to the "confidence" issue, if our own major exporters keep keeping their foreign currency proceeds and not convert to ringgit, it can only exacerbate the situation. Its like your family has a crisis and all your members are deserting the clan. 

Then there are the exporters who are appealing for that figure to be 50% instead of 75% in order to keep buying "raw materials and goods". That very appeal shows that they have been keeping much more than 75% for I don't know how long - what about the "supernormal gains" these exporters have been reaping from "translation gains" for the past 12-18 months ... somehow just vanished in thin air!!??

Now, they cannot do it. I think for at least 1/3 of the listed firms that have been profitable, being forced to convert to ringgit will actually realise a lot of gains. Yes, these gains are one-off but still gains. Fr profitable exporters, they'd be profitable already at 3.5 to the dollar ... give them 4.0 or 4.4 ... they are laughing silently.

So, yes, Bank Negara has fast forwarded the next bull run, which I anticipate will NEED a few ingredients:

1) better oil prices (done, with the recent OPEC deal)

2) China led investments - construction, infra

3) strengthening ringgit from lows - done with BN's latest move

4) the speculation over upcoming elections

You will be getting very good results from most affected listed companies for their next 2 quarters - which will be further catalyst to the run.

So, you heard it here first!

Countries Stock market's Capitalisation As A % Of GDP

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