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Showing posts from August, 2018

Dangerous Liaisons With Alibaba and Tencent

Thanks to Alibaba and Tencent, the Chinese markets are headed for "something big". I cannot determine just what it will be but it will be big and probably disastrous. This all stem from the might and size of both companies. 

Just how powerful are they? They are like the genie who can determine who will get rich. Both companies have invested liberally and sporadically into almost everything internet in China.

Tencent is a bit faster in investing in viable startups, probably as an extension of monetising its 1 billion over WeChat users.

There are about 77 private Chinese internet companies valued at $1bn or more that are owned by Tencent and Alibaba. Together they have a cash hoard of over $60bn.

Here are just some of these billion dollar startups, which should be listing in the near future (within the next 2 years) that have been partially or substantially funded by the two giants:
China Literature $6.2bn (Tencent)
Didi $56bn (T & A) $9.5bn (Alibaba)
Meituan $30bn (T &…

Story of Yanxi Palace vs Ruyi's Royal Love In The Palace

What is probably trending over half the globe. I think about 30%-40% of the world's population is currently totally enamored by two Chinese palace intrigue dramas as Ruyi's Royal Love In The Palace (airing on online platform Tencent Video) and The Story of Yanxi Palace (which has a cumulative 11.5 billion views since its release last month).  Not only in China were these megahits but across the overseas Chinese diaspora as well. Be it Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, USA, etc... If you are not watching, ask yourself why. No right or wrong reasons here. Ruyi boasts a star-studded cast including Zhou Xun, Wallace Huo and Joan Chen. It is based on a novel by Liu Lianzi and is a sequel to 2011's hit drama Empresses In The Palace, also based on the novel by Liu. It has drawn all the attention, and surprisingly both are based on the era of Emperor Qianlong Wang during the Qing dynasty. However, these are not pure historical pieces. The writers have taken a l…

Funniest Visual Depiction Ever

Believe it or not, this visual was probably shared in a church setting as a learning tool for preachers and motivated church seniors. How their jobs intersect were both inspired and insidious. But it also revealing in that it forces all of us to question the underlying motives and relevance of our "jobs/mission".

Without Water, You Can't Cook Shit

Yes, its that time of the year again where we learn more about our history. Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah ... Many Malaysians have been misinformed and had the wrong perception that hawker food originated from the Peninsula and East Malaysia. 

SINGAPORE: Hawker culture will be nominated by Singapore for a possible listing on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Sunday (Aug 19) in his National Day Rally speech.  The list, which was developed in 2008, is made up of intangible cultural heritage elements from different countries that showcase the diversity of such things from around the world. This is with the aim of increasing their visibility and raising awareness about their importance so they can be safeguarded. 

The truth is, according to a Singapore investigative TV program 58 Minut…

The Future For Equity Funds

No Annual Fee Fund By Fidelity

The biggest news to come out for a long time for equity funds has to be the announcement By Fidelity Investments that they were introducing two index funds without annual expense charges on August 1st. The ramifications were quite apparent as stock prices for Franklin Resources and Legg Mason eased significantly.

The last 15 years have seen the rise and rise of indexed funds, pioneered by Bogle's Vanguard. The future for active fund management seems to be reminiscent of Jebediah and his horseshoes cobbling business.

The no annual fee index fund by Fidelity reeks of someone scheming to pull them all in and upselling other products to them. The premise was further justified by its policy to only offer the no-fee fund to retail investors and not funds or institutions.

The trend of indexing does not look to be stopping anytime soon. In 2010, Vanguard surpassed Fidelity as the largest manager of mutual fund assets. It had in 2010 $5 trillion compared to Fidel…

R.I.P. Aretha ..

Aretha Franklin, what a singer, what a live performer, what a trail blazer ... just to mention songs such as Respect, Natural Woman, Think ... these were great songs that empowers. Instead of listening to her hits, I think listening to Rumer's fantastic tribute to her would be better.

I got Aretha in the morning
High on my headphones and walking to school
I got the blues in springtime 'cause I know that I'll never have the right shoes Momma she'd notice but she's always crying
I got no one to confide in, Aretha nobody but you
Momma she'd notice but she's always fighting
Something in her mind and it sounds like breaking glass I tell Aretha in the morning
High on my headphones and walking to school
I got the blues in springtime 'causee I know that I'll never have the right shoes You got the words, baby you got the words
You got the words, baby you got the words Aretha
Aretha, I don't want to go to school
'Cause they just don't understand me and I think t…

Watch Big Brother

This was a Donnie Yen movie, produced by him and apparently a labor of love. He wanted to do this movie for the longest time. Much in the line of Little Big Master (Miriam Yeung), a movie dealing with the shortcomings of education.

This kind of premise can easily dissolve into cliched plots and easy solutions. However, the movie did manage to rise above that a little. Besides the tackling of real issues, Donnie did not disappoint his fight fans. There were some remarkable fight scenes, in particular, the one where he took on some MMA guys. It was ballistic and balletic at the same time.

Good movie. Go watch.

Malaysia's Gastronomy

OK, curry laksa made the #2 spot. While all Malaysians are happy to get the silver medal out of all the food experiences in the world... sort of like the Olympics of gastronomy, I think I can speak for everyone that "hey, there are other dishes from Malaysia that would have beaten the shit out of curry laksa".

The book is bound to be a bestseller with a number of notable and well-traveled chefs coupled with votes by the many Lonely Planet staffers around the globe, thus lending more credence to the compilation.

You cannot do such a compilation without it being argued and debated vigorously. Taste is so subjective but I do believe there is a distinctive tastiness curve globally. As more and more people travel, the world gets a lot smaller, in a good way.

I have often shied away from proclaiming Malaysian food is de best when I young. However the more I travel, the more I find that many local dishes are pretty excellent. Maybe its the amalgamation of a few distinctive, yet meshab…

The Ultimate Guide To Ipoh Ngah Choi Kai

I cringe every time someone said that they had the best ngahchoikai in Ipoh at Lou Wong. Ask anyone from Ipoh and nine out of ten would never eat at Lou Wong. I guess if you are out station folks, you may need more guidance in locating the real deal.

We Ipoh folks take the dish seriously. After all, you buy any tofu or bean sprouts from Ipoh markets, they are already very good. How not to have good hor fun when you live in Ipoh?

Oh, please do not ever, ever mistake kaiseehorfun with ngachoykai. The former is made with prawn head stock, has chicken slices and gauchoy. 

The Best Of The Lot ....
So, what makes the dish stand out from being average to being brilliant. Well, at least they must have the best hor fun and bean sprouts to start with, not difficult. Then its the soup base, here is where quality comes in, how much "stuff you put in and how long you boil it for". We always can taste some "MSG" at Lou Wong although they will always deny it.

Then its the chicken, i…

Can We Have Updates On Turkish Investments Please

Turkey is resembling Thailand back in 1998, only much worse. Have a look at the Turkey lira against USD. I took a 5-year chart because Malaysia has invested in a few big assets there.

 Khazanah has some exposure there, and wanted to sell their holdings back in February 2018. What's the update? Did Khazanah hedge their investments? How did the demise of the Turkish lira affect the investments over the past 5 years?

Avicennia, the insurance holding unit of Kuala Lumpur-based Khazanah, bought 90 percent of Acibadem Sigorta for $252 million in 2013 from founder Mehmet Ali Aydinlar and Abraaj Capital Ltd. It bought the remainder after the company stopped trading its shares on Borsa Istanbul. In 2012, the sovereign wealth fund’s IHH Healthcare Bhd. arm bought 75 percent of Acibadem Saglik Yatirimlari Holding AS, which was also founded by Aydinlar. The deal for Acibadem Saglik, t…

Best Cheesecake Ever - Jaslyn Cakes

Not a sweets person really but I think I just tasted (or devoured more like it) the best cheesecake ever in my life... baked or otherwise ... ever!

You know how something is so good that you had to share it to everybody you know immediately. This is it. 

Plus I have had lots of cheesecakes... very good ones in Sydney, Melbourne, NYC, HK ... 

After posting it on FB, friends commented about other stuff that Jaslyn has that are to die for:

Butter cake

The funny thing is I have yet to visit the shop even though its in Telawi. Friends tell me it has opened for over 4 years now, ... I told you I am not a sweets person! Lol.

7A, Jalan Telawi 2,
Bangsar Baru,
59100 Kuala Lumpur
03-2202 2868
Jaslyn Cakes
Opening hours:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Friday: 1100 - 1900
Saturday -Sunday: 1100 - 2000

EPF - Stay The Course

Do not break the mould or change the wheel if it is not broken. EPF must stay the course and not try to fix what is not broken.

As expected but pleasant news nonetheless, was EPF's 6.9% declared dividend for 2016. All the more so in the present correction phase for global equities. 

The Comparison With UK & European Pension Funds

In the UK, the average fund ended 2016 up 15.7 per cent. The last time pension funds returned more than 15 per cent was in 2009, when recovery from the 2008 crash saw average growth of 22 per cent.  It represented a 13 percentage point increase on pension fund returns of 2.6 per cent in 2015 and the fifth consecutive year of pension growth, after the 4.6 per cent loss in 2011.
Comparison with UK pension funds is not really fair or comparable as their fund allocation usually are more aggressive, and they may also lack access to local government bonds inherent "structure and returns, and maybe safety". But I brought this up to show how volatile th…