Monday, January 26, 2015

Li Ka Shing as tea leaf

Looks like KS Li is doing what the legendary Fan Li would have done except that the greater legend would have acted sooner and use more smoke and mirrors. But what is the matter as long as he succeeds. I see him as an example of putting an idea I had harbored to the test. Many people who got very rich will lose what they had gained eventually because they never admitted and even confused their luck with their skill. Only the really good ones will keep their wealth. Sounds like a large number of HK tycoons will eventually be caught in the net.

From the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the Washington Consensus to now, it feels like the world is going through another turning point. I hope Singapore leaders have a good grasp of what is happening. Among a growing number of  people they are no longer known for their foresight and have even less of what KS Li possess.

What does KS Li care as long as the Chinese government let him be. I am more piqued by his implied long term optimism in Europe which everyday looks like a sick man to me. Of course Europe is too big to fail (China is also too big to fail) because it will take the world along with it. So he must believe in another time and context the mood and determination of the Europeans will change to be very much better. Now if he buys cheap he will finagle a way to sell it expensive. He always has and perhaps to us too eh?

At the micro or deal level I had from the beginning doubted Temasek's wisdom in purchasing his Watsons chain of stores. I feel as queasy when they also paid for Blackstone assets. I would be careful to avoid buying from those who are smarter than me. I guess Temasek has a higher opinion of themselves. Time will tell and fortunately Temasek is sufficiently diversified, but today I heard on radio they and Aberdeen asking for the removal of StanChart CEO.

Now for the most important bit. When tycoons elsewhere gets frightened it will also be easier for our leaders to fairly redistribute wealth on this island and close the wealth gap. Nearly everything I have read about how to narrow the gap are good on paper only. None of those solutions are practical. Instead people should think in terms of how things will change in the days ahead to bring about the correction we need. More importantly when those moments arrive would we be ready or just simply bungle it.

The greatest and most difficult skill is strategic waiting and the only leader I notice practices it and got completely misunderstood is President Obama. Give the man time. History will be kinder to him than his critics and even some friends.


  1. The other leader who knows about strategic waiting is Low Thia Kiang. If he were to follow what bloggers tell him to do, he'd have been punching like a drunken man on thin air. Instead he's strategic patience, exercises party control, picks his fight. And he lets PAP, especially LHL, be the one who punches thin air like a drunk, and time and again, self-destruct. Thats why its so easy to nail JBJ, Roy and CSJ, but so hard to pin LTK down.

    1. I agree with completely about LTK patience.

  2. Yo comrade, will ya make small hole in ya pocket let small change leak to appease those beggars, and

    call it even?