Thought of the day

I thank whatever gods may be / For my unconquerable soul. / I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul. ~William Ernest Henley, Invictus

Government's promises are like the Ringgit, they depreciate with time.



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Zhengzhou Trip

酒庄藏源酒的酒缸

对酒当歌,人生几何? 譬如朝露,去日苦多。
慨当以慷,忧思难忘。 何以解忧?唯有杜康。

青青子衿,悠悠我心。 但为君故,沉吟至今。
呦呦鹿鸣,食野之苹。我有嘉宾,鼓瑟吹笙。

明明如月,何时可掇?忧从中来,不可断绝。

越陌度阡,枉用相存。契阔谈宴,心念旧恩。

月明星稀,乌鹊南飞。绕树三匝,何枝可依?
山不厌高,海不厌深。周公吐哺,天下归心。

~曹操《短歌行》

今年七月,小弟有幸赴河南省郑州及周口两地。此行不如之前与家人一起到中国的七天江南游,没有所谓的地陪小姐为我们说故事、行程没有旅行团般紧凑、所到之处也当然远远不及江南游时来的多姿多彩。 但是,感觉上这次看到的中国更真更实。回到新加坡时有一位上海的朋友问我到了周口,感觉怎样。我觉得还好,虽然当地是落后了一些,百姓比较穷困,但是风土人情还算纯朴。

“对了,就是穷和落后!没有文化!这就是真实的中国!” 朋友斩钉截铁的说。我不以为然,毕竟朋友持有上海户籍,说话时难免会对外省的人存有些许偏见。虽然他说的不尽然对、但多少也是有根据的。只能说见仁见智吧!

回头就说说此趟到郑州的一个趣事。话说到了郑州的第一晚,黄师傅把我送到酒店。因为带的行李太大,黄师傅便差遣酒店里的服务员将我的行李送到房里。到了房里,不知道规矩的我就掏出20元人民币给服务员作小费,“小弟,辛苦你了。”那服务员看了我一下,说了声谢谢也就走了。一整天坐了七个小时的飞机(新-北-郑),想赶紧洗个澡就跳进被窝里睡大头觉。哪知,刚脱下衬衫门铃就响了。

“咦?会是谁呢?”

房门一打开,眼前竟然站着两位亭亭玉立,楚楚可人的妹媚。看起来年纪大概只有十六七岁。虽然没有涂上浓浓的胭脂水粉,她们的穿着性感却也不在话下。

“你们找谁啊?”没头没脑的问了一句。

带头的那个丫头微微一笑,一声不响的就想往我房里钻。我用身体挡着不让她们进来,又问了一句,“你们找谁呀?!”这次语气重了一些,带头的丫头看着我过了半响,肃然收起笑容,带着另一个丫头转身就走了。我马上把房门关上,暗呼好险。

只听走廊上传来那两位丫头的抱怨声,接着就是刚才那位服务员的声音,“诶,怎么给了小费却不要小姐呢?真是奇怪!”

原来这里打小费是招小姐的暗号,这乌龙可摆得大了。第二天和一桌朋友吃午饭时说了出来,朋友们哄然大笑。

周口市红砖屋

第二天乘了两个小时半的车去周口。高速大道两旁都是小麦田。和郑州相比,周口就像是一个郊区。郑州就好比我们的新山市,周口就好比我们的居銮市。随口问了当地人口的数量,才乍然发现单单一个周口市的人数就和整个马来西亚的人口一样多,而且回民也不少。这里的回民不吃大肉(猪肉),但是白酒却是喝的。一位姓穆的老哥带着我往村里钻,黄土小巷的两旁都是一栋栋的红砖屋。家境稍微富裕一些的,会用瓷砖砌上砖墙。我说这些屋子蛮有特色,穆老哥对我说再过不久这些屋子就要被拆迁,以后就看不到了。我赶紧用我的相机照了照。

穆斯林圣训

走着走着,就来到村里的回教堂。第一次看到中国式的回教堂,虽然有些不同,但是大体上和马来西亚所看到的蛮相向的,感觉额外亲切。

此趟到河南虽然来去匆匆,也没机会好好的看看。希望下次有机会可以到千年古刹少林寺和六朝古都之中的开封和洛阳走一回。

Rewind to Oct 3

Got a call from the company for last minute assignment. There goes my sweet weekend and my mood to celebrate. My initial intention was to go home and be with my family. Last minute meetings to finalize the presentation on Friday, met up again on Saturday afternoon. Digesting the MOU and the CBs gave me butterflies in the stomach and I realized age has finally caught up with me.

Called home and told mom I was not going home for the weekend.

Slept soundly, for the first time after many late nights. Needed the rest desperately. CM closed in to wake me up at 9pm and asked if we want to go to West End, the western restaurant which Calvin brought us before he left for KL. Why not? Work is not everything in life. And so, we took a cab to Pasir Panjang Village and had a sumptuous dinner.

Thank you, baby.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saturday Night Fever


It's been a long time since CM and I chilled out.

And after a romantic dinner at a place without signboard beside the Singapore River and a leisure stroll in Marina Square, we ended up in K-Box for 4 hours straight. The sad thing was that we realized that we were really outdated as there are many contemporary songs which we didn't know how to sing.

The interface to search for songs is pretty cacat and so we have to enlist group of songs that we were keen to sing by different singers and it was not surprising the Faye Wong era lasted longer than any other Tom, Dick and Harry. And I basically sang most of the songs from a customized album compiled by my secondary schoolmates in a cassette.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

152 billion is not enough, overspent 1.4 billion!!!

《2008年总审计司报告》揭露 马政府部门贪腐等弊端普遍

在种种弊端下,政府于2008年批准的行政开销总额达到1520亿1000万令吉,不过实际开销却达到1535亿令吉,超支14亿9000万令吉。当中,有9个部门严重超支,总额达到36亿1000万令吉。
  (吉隆坡综合讯)马来西亚《2008年总审计司报告》出炉,再一次揭露政府部门的理财及贪腐弊端,最为惊人的是人力资源部以3万零510令吉(约1万3000万新元)“天价”购买一个立柱平台工具,与市价990令吉(约410新元)相差高达2981%!
  总审计司安比林在报告中说,人资部属下在砂拉越州美里的一所工艺训练中心,以每座3万零510令吉购买6座立柱平台(pole platform)工具,其他还包括人资部在沙巴州山打根一所工艺训练中心,以480令吉购买市价90令吉的1GB记忆笔(thumbdrive),与市价相差达433%,以及教育部以3万7450令吉的价格,为吉兰丹州一所中学购买89棵市值5885令吉的树。
  报告也再度揭露多起政府部门出现“干捞”事件,为没有落实的工程付款、物品素质低劣、没有遵守合约、设备搁在一旁未使用、工程面对巨额亏损,以及政府公司近乎破产等舞弊问题。
  例如,政府耗费898万令吉装置电眼,捉拿违反交通规则的驾车者,但总审计署却发现,上述系统没被善用,一些装置在不适当的地方、一些已损坏却没维修和更换,而交警也没有妥善发出传票;耗资9600万令吉兴建的彭亨州北根中央医院计划,因为工程延宕导致政府蒙受近60万令吉亏损。
  此外,怡保——万挠双轨火车计划一再展延以及管理欠妥等问题,很可能将导致政府被迫承担高达11亿4000万令吉的亏损。
  根据政府当初与主要承包商DRB-HICOM所签定的合约指明,政府最多只能够向承包商索赔2亿5799万令吉,这也意味着政府可能必须为该计划无法如期完工承担剩余的损失。
  在种种弊端下,政府于2008年批准的行政开销总额达到1520亿1000万令吉,不过实际开销却达到1535亿令吉,超支14亿9000万令吉。当中,有9个部门严重超支,超支总额达到36亿1000万令吉。
  国会2009年3月批准这笔36亿1000万令吉的超支拨款。申请超支的9大部门分别是财政部、外交部、企业发展及合作社部、教育部、卫生部、妇女发展、家庭及社会部、国防部、国内事务部及内政部,而教育部超支最多,达12亿3924万令吉。
  人资部长苏巴马念昨天受询时对审计报告所揭露的各项弊端,要求相关部门进行调查并向反贪污委员会举报。
他说,他对人资部被指超支及在采购上报大数一事,感到失望。
  “我已指示部门秘书长深入调查此事,以了解是否真有其事及其原因。若有,我们也会向反贪委举报。”
  卫生部长廖中莱说,该部被指超支,情有可原,因为该部门行政费每年都出现超支,“我们的医药、薪水等费用逐年上涨,而且有时病人入院情况会增加。我们过往都向中央政府要求更高的拨款,但中央政府的资源也是有限。”
  他强调,卫生部出现的超支,不涉及任何弊端。他说,被指出现弊端的政府部门,应该展开内部调查,若真有其事,必须勇于向反贪委举报。
  房屋及地方政府部长江作汉说,审计报告提醒政府今后在采购及展开工程时,必须更谨慎,购买一些真正实惠的东西。“我上任后,一直叮嘱房屋及地方政府部一定要进行实惠的采购计划。”
约半政府公司亏损
  报告显示,约半数政府公司都在亏损!从2005至2007年,27家政府公司中,只有14家赚钱,为国库贡献了722亿1000万令吉。
  当中,国家石油公司(Petronas)贡献最大,3年来的盈利高达720亿令吉,占了总数的绝大部分。

- 摘自联合早报(2009-10-21)

Monday, October 19, 2009

仙家凉茶

最近发热气,喉咙有点不舒服。赶紧到中药店买了一瓶凉茶,咕噜咕噜的一口气就和秋媚喝光了。怎么知道喉咙还是痛了。正在纳闷那瓶凉茶没有效的时候,拿了瓶子重新审视一番。忽然眼前一亮!



原来,此凉茶是“仙家”的。


连续忙碌了几个月,没有好好休息的铁人媚,终于病倒了。今早去看的诊所很KNS,还好老子我有的是时间,不然可能当场就要发飚开演一场“天龙八部”。此帖是趁秋媚正在酐睡时随兴所发。希望妳早日康复,爱人。 老妈老爸这几个月也奔波劳碌了不少,希望他们多买一些补品和保健产品来保养身子,不需要为老姐、老妹和我这个书生客气。

老子两点就要回实验室开工了。

Sunday, October 18, 2009

真善美的旋律-Melody of the True, the Good and the Beautiful

尤记大学时听过《真善美的旋律》,最近某位佛友在“面子书”上发了个“聆聽來自恆河的聲音”的视屏,勾起了许多美好的回忆。而这也是我第一次看到这首歌的主唱-黄杏怡,果然是余音绕梁,三日不绝啊。若干年后再听到这首歌,阿媚也不禁兴奋不已。好吧,现在就来一首阿媚和她姐妹最喜欢的“圓緣圈”。

愿以此公德,普及于一切;众生于我等,皆共成佛道-道隆合十

More melodious buddhist songs can be found here. Please enjoy and share the site:) If you like the songs, kindly order a copy via this email: ybamhq@ybamhq.po.my. Omi to hoot.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One Ire Maybank Customer

meow...purr

Since I am on it, let's strike the iron while it's still hot.


Malaysian Standard of Customer Service

Was trying to take position this morning at 8.30am, half an hour before the market commences. So as usual, I intend to access Maybank2u.com but the page took a long time to connect and couldn't load. I closed the tab, open another one, still can't load the page. I restarted my lappie, opened up Explorer, made another attempt and the problem persist. Well, normally I would shrugged it off and wait for an hour later an retry, but I had a very important deal to execute and I need to do it soonest possible. So I called up the securities branch in JB.

Operator: Good morning, Maybank securities.
Me: Hi, I can't access the Maybank2u website. Is there any problem on your end?

Operator: You can try to logout and re-login.
Me: Sorry, I can't access the Maybank2u website, can't even login.

Operator: Ok, is your password correct?
Me: No, I can't even load the page. The page is blank. It's taking forever to connect, so I was thinking if there is any problem with the server on your end.

Operator: Oh. Like that. I think no problem. (Pause for 5 seconds.)
Me: You sure?

Operator: Yes, because other customers also didn't complain.
Me: Are you accessing the website in the office now? (So I am not customer lar? Never mind, put on my blue hat, trying to debug the situation.)

Operator: Yes. (Lying.)
Me: And you can login? And access to the online stock trading interface?
Operator: Yes. (Lying again.)
Me: (Starting to think it's my connection problem.) Then I have a problem.

Operator: Ya, because no other customer call in to complain about the website this morning.
Me: Ok, can you direct me to the technical support, probably they can help me troubleshoot my problem.

Operator: There's no technical support.
Me: (WTF?) You have no IT engineers to assist when there is a glitch with the system? What if other customers have the same problem?

Operator: Oh, there is no customer calling in on this issue. You can wait and try again later.
Me: Ok, I will try again and see. I will call back if the problem persist.

Minutes later, I tried to access the page and the HTTP 500 Internal Server Error showed up. Ok, not my problem. So I called in again.

Operator: Good morning, Maybank securities.
Me: Hi, I called in earlier. I retry and it's an internal server error.

Operator: Yes, we have a problem with our server.
Me: So how? Cannot trade today?

Operator: You want to check price is it? What counter?
Me: No, I want to execute my trade!

Operator: Oh, now cannot-lah.
Me: ......Salam 1Malaysia.

No wonder in Singapore, when the media report on the daily performance of the Asian bourses, normally they will leave out KLSE. Why? How can your indices be influential to the financial realm when your system is so inefficient and inconvenient to the investors?

Not sure if this is true back in 2007, if you deal with Maybank, you might want to check it out.

The inefficiency and the lacklustre attitude of the authority is one thing, what irks me is that how the public is accepting all these with apathy. It is similar to what the rakyat has been doing for 5 decades, swallowing the bitter pill in silence, granting the government to exploit us all this while and for many more years to come.

On the newspapers every now and then, I read about students from Chinese schools going to the public soliciting donations for their new classrooms, canteens, hostels, school hall, computer laboratories...etc. And I wondered why students from the Sekolah Kebangsaan never need to ask for donations barefacedly?

I read about Tenaga giving out green packets to the bumiputra orphans during Hari Raya and can't help but wonder when will Petronas give out ang pao to the Chinese during Chinese New Year or any other GLCs to dish out free gifts or muruku to the Indians?

The JPA scholarship issue, universities entry quota issue, hike in expressway toll...etc are bound to haunt us continuously, indefinitely. Occasionally, there will be some startling scandals like the Altantuya's murder, Lingam's tainted judiciary case, PKFZ defalcation, Teoh Beng Hock's death. But worry not, because all these cases will remain unsolved. At times, some jokers will pull out the keris, kiss and wield the weapon in some very important meetings, crying out loud for Malay lordship, some would use a cow's decapitated head as a soccer ball in order to disgust the Indians. Worry not, as no one will be held responsible or punished.

Because after all the ruckuses, we are still 1BigFamily. We are 1Malaysia. Because before Najib popularizes 1Malaysia, I thought we have multiple Malaysias. Thanks for the consistent reminder over the media with "Salam 1Malaysia", dude! But under the 1Malaysia exoderm, I don't really think that the flesh and blood will bond well if the dna is genetically handicapped. Change will surely come, but don't forget that evolution takes time and each and every seconds it takes is at the rakyat's expense.

So why not "bend the bamboo while it's still a shoot", albeit the bamboo is now mature and the culm has hardened. Nevertheless, it's better late than never, don't you think?

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Photo of the Week

Was back in Kluang to meet up with my elder and younger sis during the Raya Merdeka holidays. I have passed by the scene umpteen times and each time I had the urge to shoot it.

Obviously, the subject is appealing to me - the rear of a row of old Kluang Town shophouses, age-old concrete wall with the paint long washed away by the ruthless rain, leaving grainy patches of moss and fungi, an evident of the humid tropical weather.

Each time, I didn't have my camera with me and am slothful to make a deliberate trip to Jalan Sultan. This time, I brought my cam and after a pleasant breakfast at Kluang railway station with my family, I requested my sis to stop by while I took the shot.

The greyish sky showed that heavy rain is imminent. The colourful roofs and the pasture of the abandoned land further enrich the subject as the bleak sky brings out the sense of desolation of the pre-WWII structure.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dare to Challenge!

I was among the first few hundreds to receive a copy of "The SIAS Story". Didn't really pay any attention to the slideshow when the emcee introduced the book and by looking at the cover, I reckon that I would not even finish the first chapter before I chuck the book somewhere which will be eventually buried under the newspapers pile and being thrown away when I get rid of the old newspapers. Well, you really can't judge a book by its cover.

As I was on my journey back from City Hall, I started to read the book due to boredom and was immediately hooked up by "The CLOB saga".

Financial ethics damned, Malaysia's outspoken Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched an offensive to freeze the CLOB (Central Limit Order Book) shares of foreign equity investors. (All in all, a hefty US$4.47 billion in value.)

If you remembered back in 1997, how the ringgit was hit badly when Malaysia was facing the brunt of the Asian economic crisis and how wise our premier then was to peg the ringgit against the US dollar. The CLOB saga is something which was initiated by Mahathir then, victimizing Singaporean retail investors, which led to the establishment of the Securities Investors Association (Singapore), a body which unified the retail investors

Tun Daim, then Malaysian Finance Minister, urged CLOB shareholders to either accept Effective Capital's offer(Effective Capital offered to pick up all the shares at an atrocious 50% discount.) or their shares would be transferred to the Malaysian Government. His threat was echoed by Dr Mahathir, who irked the Singapore investors with his impatient demands.

"Obviously, the threat was designed to engineer a hasty settlement on their terms," retorted David Gerald. "I was not impressed."

This is a story of how a group of resolute small investors joined forces and took on the challenge to free the frozen shares from the Malaysian government and subsequently became the largest organized investor lobby group in Asia actively promoting investor education, corporate transparency and corporate governance.

I am moving on to the second chapter. You might want to grab a copy today!

Warren Buffett of Malaysia

30 年股票投资心得 - 冷眼

This is one very good book in equity investment for retail investors written by the ex-chief editor of Nanyang Siang Pau. The Perak born retiree has been researching and analyzing equities for more than 30 years and is thoroughly familiar with more than 900 listed companies on Bursa. He was also once a financial journalist for Nanyang Siang Pau back in the 1960s and had published numerous financial article write ups with the pseudonym - Cold Eyes (冷眼).

This book was published in 2004, and I got a copy in 2005, was very fortunate that my buddy recommended this book. And I am really glad that I bought it as in a way or another, this book has saved my ass on several occasions. I finish reading the book back in 2005, but it is only these recent 2 years that I started to apply the investment strategies as advocated. As not to give you any false expectation, this guy is pro-WB, yeah, so we are talking about fundamental or intrinsic value investing. And to be frank, the tips are really helpful.

It is amazing how Cold Eyes is able to condense more than 3 decades of experience and technical know how of research-analyze-evaluate-invest into a 350-page investment bible, and in a comprehensive and apprehensive way. It is really easy to read and one can easily finish the entire text in one day, though putting the teachings into action is a different story. Personally, I think reading this book is so much better than reading all the books on Warren Buffett on investment, anyway, all those books on the shelfs about WB are overrated as they are not written by WB himself.

So, I would recommend this book to newbies in equity investment as well as more advanced retail investors. Basically, do your homework and crunch the numbers, it really helps. There is really no short cut to reap a profit from the stock market. Good luck.