Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Black Friday Shopping

And now to chronicle some of the events of our trip to SF.
We happened to be down at Monterey on Black Friday. Visited the Delmonte Shopping Center and discovered there were an abundance of good deals everywhere. Certainly put the GSS here and elsewhere to shame.

We passed the Apple Store and decided to join the queue. Wifey bought a iPod Touch discounted $20 and two iTunes gift cards of $50 for $45.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Last Sunset

A shot of the beautiful sunset at Best Western Lighthouse on our last night of stay in California. Today we check out and fly home from SFO.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Whale Watching near Moss Landing

Whale watching off the coast of California in a boat is something we would not want to repeat. No offence to Sanctuary Cruise, they were excellent whale spotters. In fact, other boats look to their leadership. Here is a video shot by my younger daughter. See how hard it is to keep the frame steady on the Humpbacks. Even now I am feeling the effects. It is like a never ending roller coaster lasting almost over four hours.

Unboxing Kindle Touch

Pleasantly surprised for the hotel to put this in our room awaiting our arrival last night at Monterey.

Unlike the Kindle Fire, the Touch is easy to unbox. Just pull the strap across the cardboard box to reveal the device.

I haven't register the Touch because the hotel charge $9.95/day for every device connected to the web. May be I will take it with me to the Bay Aquarium and register it with the free wifi there. Alternatively I can walk across the junction to the McDonalds. They have free Wifi by AT&T.

I am blogging this from the paid wifi connection :-(

Just as I thought. Free wifi is slow and paid wifi is fast. Only wished the prices could be more competitive.

Meanwhile I have inserted some of my own ebooks into the Touch. So I get to enjoy the reading and navigation experience prior to registration. It is definitely superior to using the click keyboard of the Kindle 3.

How quickly products are updated in this space. I got by Kindle 3 last September. Now in November I have both the Fire and the Touch.,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Running Flash on the Kindle Fire

A lovely card by Jacquie Lawson I got from Lucille!

It is especially wonderful to see it played on my Kindle Fire. You can't do this on the iPad because it uses Flash technology.

Now I wonder how my inspirational flash movies will appear. I am optimistic.

Just read earlier from CNet how well the Kindle Fire is selling. It is even causing people to avoid buying the iPad.

The Dinner that never was

After 25 to 30 years, I finally met my old teacher. She is special to me because she had introduced to me the Way when I was in Secondary One. The date was July 21, a Monday morning. Location was St. Matthews Church along Neil Road.

She was hoping to meet with us again last night for dinner. Wifey and I remembered that it wasn't a confirmed date, and I was surprised she called our room after we returned very tired from Union Square. We were supposed to call her earlier that day if it was on. It was our last chance to ride the famed SF Cable Car and the chance to run some errands for the family back home.

I think she missed visitors from Singapore. God willing, we will try to meet up with her again before we return home. Perhaps when we are at our last stop in Pacifica.

No thanks to my kids, especially the elder one, who had been acting up. I finally called her bluff and gave her a tongue lashing last night. None of us is spared this. Since the time of  Eve, there is treason in our hearts. You only need to look for it in the dark corners.

10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters[a] who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.[b]

That was the Apostle John's behavior as recorded in Revelation 19. After all that he had seen! None of us is able to do better than John. Amazing Grace, we don't know what it is.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Kindle Fire etc.,

My new Kindle Fire being charged using wifey's Blackberry charger. It was delivered two days ago. The Kindle Touch is waiting for me at the next hotel in Monterey.

Can't put the device through the paces as I would like to given the slow internet connection here. Talk about rated versus real speed. The gap is so wide you don't need to measure it.

Bought four iTunes gift cards at Radio Shack south of here, two blocks away. Redeemed one today. Wifey is looking forward to buying games for the iPad with it. As for me, my games playing days are over for a long time.

Freedom from a car in vast America

Early this morning when I woke up and pull aside the curtain of our hotel window, I was happy to see this white Camry we rented yesterday.

The feeling is quite different from having a car back home. Here a set of four wheels spell physical freedom. It also dawn on me that all other freedoms are difficult if not possible without physical freedom.

It rained all of last night. Happy that it wasn't like the downpour back home. The clouds have since cleared but Accuweather suggest that there is more rain at Gilroy.

Really, where we go or do each day is determined by the weather.

Over night I got emails from my brother and sister to help with some purchases. I hope I can find them. Also looking for a pair of Oakley shades for an old friend.

What a land of consumer opportunity.

Holidays are busier than work

Again I discover that holidays are busier than work! Except that this time it is even busier.

Yesterday's weather was cold and gray. This morning was cool and sunny. We collected the rental Camry (good late model) and drove to the Golden Gate Bridge when many people are obviously still asleep or struggling to get up. When we left a few hours later the place was quite crowded.

The early morning sun casts a beautiful glow giving us wonderful photo opportunities.

Just minutes ago, I had a scare when I discover that my Notebook was charging. I think there is a problem with the power supply. I got it fixed but not sure if I can repeat this feat if it fails to work again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Slow Wifi here in the hotel

Free internet is the euphemism for slow connections the hotel provides

Like I am watching the weather here, the temperature isn't the "real temp". There is another measure "Real Feel" which suggest how you would feel. Likewise, the connection speed not anywhere near as fast as what we are used to back home, it is still usable.

Just set the various computer clocks to local time. It is about 3.40am, and it doesn't feel very cold.

Arrived in San Francisco

We arrived at our hotel in Fishermans Wharf at about 8.30pm local time. Very quickly we left our room and headed for Boudin. The objective: sourdough bread.

As I write this, I can feel sleep trying to creep up on me. The plane ride was understandably long and tiring. The effects of jet lag cannot be far away.

Heavy rains expected tomorrow. Not looking forward to that. We are hoping to meet up with my old secondary school teacher and also taking the girls to the Golden Gate Park.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The EU: A Pretend Union

Perhaps it is no longer politically incorrect to call the EU a pretend union. This is certainly correct in substance. If it suits each, and if it is convenient they are Europeans otherwise they are Germans, French, Italians etc., No where is still clearer than with money.

You know a marriage is not that strong if spouses keep their finances separate. This is exactly the same with the member nations of the EU. For many years, lead by politicians and like a dog to a bone the markets and big business wore the flag of the yellow stars and blue flag. Everyone is happy with Europe as a work in progress and nobody really cared about the destination as long as they are all happy. Easy debt had made them happy. But debt must be repaid and that is now.

So why wouldn't they file for divorce eventually? Because going separate ways take courage. Also they are masters at self denial to the point that they have been eating their own propaganda for years. Like I had written before, much of Europe is theatre. Europeans want to be safe, but that is exactly where danger is. Safety comes from the courage to be free, but they fear risk.

In the end they might allow the ECB to print money as this is the least painful option. The Germans would hate this thoroughly but do they have the courage to go alone? France cannot hold hands with them. She may not even be able to keep her AAA rating.

I watch the Americans give up on Europe. Right now Obama is traveling in Asia. The American re-commitment to this region is unequivocally clear.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The severe limits of Behavioural Economics

By the yardstick of business, the government has been very slow at warming to behavioural economics. Against other governments, they are at the vanguard.

Ravi Menon begun his speech with a story of how the Swiss tried to persuade their local communities to accept nuclear waste in their backyard. The Swiss surprised the government with accepting them. Now if the Chinese government would try the same, I am sure the response could not be more different from the Swiss. Quite the opposite of the laws of Physical Science, this new stuff is empirical and not easily transferable. The academic background and intellectual tradition of the civil service does not lend itself to common sense when there are scientific options available even when they are misapplied. I had seen in my previous life how they had abused scenario planning. There are countless examples available from management journals and books.

Keep behavioural economics as a work in progress or it will quickly disappoint.

We are handcuffed by civil servants who constantly worry about the impact to their careers if they fail. There would be more breakthroughs if they are managed and led better than entertaining semi-theoretical frameworks in the social sciences.

Risoto and Toddlers' food

I ordered prawns and mussels risoto for dinner at Pastamania yesterday. This is from their seasonal menu.

When the food came, I stared at it for a while. It just reminded me of the rice gruel or porridge we use to give the kids when they were very small.

Well don't judge a book by its cover. This stuff is actually not bad.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Helping a peddler

Just spent $10 for these three large packets. I bought it from a young Malay fellow. Of course I can't tell with absolute certainty, but my guess is that he needed the income and I was in part trying to encourage him.

I asked him several questions. He answered them well.

Now if I were in China, I certainly wouldn't try this. The stuff might be toxic. Those unscrupulous Chinese are too smart for me.

Just as well the kids like these Keropoks. They usually only have them when they are served with the meal at restaurants.

Fresh for up to one month. Bear this in mind. We are such slow eaters.

Last day of the Os

After 1515hrs today, the O levels are finally over for her. She is now out with some of her classmates to celebrate the occasion. I believe they have gone to GV at Plaza Sing to watch Tin Tin.

From now till Jan 9 or so, I bet she will have many moments to wonder how she fared. It is only natural to wonder, but the less time spent on this the better. Over the longer term, this wouldn't be terribly material but it will always be far more significant than the PSLE.

The A levels are far more important. Also what she has planned to do after the Os is more important than this major exams.

Our Earth by NASA

This is an amazing time lapse video of our home planet by NASA. I got to know about it from Cnet.

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael K├Ânig on Vimeo.

Kindles on the way

These Kindles I ordered on Sep 28 are now on the way. That's great. Will pick one up at the hotel when I arrive, and the other five days later at Embassy Suites.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Remind Me, Dear Lord

My Sunday School teacher taught us this song as teenagers. Very good song because it rung true and spoke to many of our hearts. This Sunday School teacher had abandoned the faith as have many others. At the same time, I have seen some gone beyond this and are much happier for it. Like Jacob who wrestled with the Lord in the desert night, they had reached the tipping point and do not want to live this way anymore. It is a testimony to the Lord's eternal patience and infinite grace.

As for those who had left, can they really leave? There is a secret place and I wonder if I have been there before. It is a place full of doubt but also faith in equal measure.

I look forward to meeting my old teacher who had helped to start it all for me when I see her next week at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Just found another YouTube video. Again courtesy of Annie. This is what "Remind Me, Dear Lord" ought to eventually lead us to, "Be Thou My Vision".

My Sunday School never got anywhere near here. Repeatedly he returned to "Remind Me, Dear Lord" until he doesn't want to be reminded anymore. On the other hand very few have awaken to the treasure in the field and decide to trade everything for this treasure.

We make our choices.

In Life, Take Risks

In the work I had been involved with over the last years, it was natural for me to come across such messages. Usually it is in text or powerpoint, but today someone pointed out a YouTube version and given that I am more experienced now, I observe something really hard.

This video is about daring to fail. I never imagined that sometime we could be caught in situations where we cannot risk it because it was clear that to do so is to invite certain failure. You just have to bide your time for the right moment to jump out. When the opportunity avails itself, remember these stories. Have faith.

Library returning to Orchard

The Library left Ngee Ann City in 2007 is returning to 313 Somerset in 2014. This is wonderful. Give us an additional reason to go to Orchard Road. We hardly go there these days.

Friday, November 11, 2011

ECB will print money big time

At the end of May the ECB bought 75b of bonds. Sometime next year, from Italy alone, she would need help to the tune of 306.9b

Politicians have no guts. When everyone gets afraid, nobody will mind the ECB printing money to solve Europe's problems.

They will surely print money.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Post Office Nostalgia

Used to have to come here every day to send packages overseas to the point I regularly rue about the time spent preparing them! I haven't been here in a long time.

Was here this morning to pick up registered articles I missed yesterday.

Still remember it was five years ago. We spent about a week in San Francisco. When we got back I had to prepare a whole box of packages, which is about a hundred of them to go out. It wouldn't be happening this time when we return from there again. It is good to have moved on. It was good while it lasted but I couldn't see doing that forever.

Bed of Japan Roses

Had wanted for a while to get a photo of this pretty bed of Japan Roses but couldn't because there is always other vehicles in front of me. Got my chance this morning!

The Hurting Earth

Thanks Lorraine for sharing this (Emailed me half an hour ago). I was thinking, I used to work for Shell and SPC. Even if I have left these companies a long time ago, I still use their products....I am still thinking.

This video implicated Shell in the killing of a prominent environmentalist in Nigeria.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Former Wong Clinic getting SERS

Just read on AsiaOne that Blocks 1, 2 and 3 along Upper East Coast Roads will be slated for the SERS programme.

I used to go there when I was an NS boy to see Dr. Wong Kum Hoong. Now this part of my life would in a few short years become history just like my primary, secondary schools and even JC.

That's Singapore. We have to remember differently from people elsewhere. Too many people here doesn't know how to. There is nobody to advise them either. That is the mistake the government regularly make. They don't even know they have been taking half measures. Yes, they have a choice. Give up more control and we shall learn to manage many facets of our lives ourselves, thank you very much.

By the way, I don't care for Bukit Brown Cemetery. May be I would someday, but I just don't see it now.

Safety, Peace and Happiness

There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

Metaxas, Eric; Timothy J. Keller (2010-04-20). Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (p. 241). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

And there is no happiness without peace. Fortunately happiness, peace and safety do come quantized. We would be very miserable.

If we aren't happy, fewer children would be born. Foreigners who become PRs or citizens having successfully adapted themselves to our way of life would naturally be like us producing a dearth of babies.

We are obsessed with finding "safe pair of hands". What does it mean down the road? Unless we change our paradigm, we are sitting on a social and political time bomb in Singapore.

There is more to safety that Bonhoeffer did to elaborate. It is boring and predictable, a real struggle for the next generation to do better living within a box as it is unsafe outside it. We can try to enlarge that box, but it will always be a box. Just another way to explain LKY's 'Hard Truths'. We can slowly die from meaningless boredom. We find it hard to imagine how our children can do better than us. To close our wombs is to a society committing suicide without staring into the face of death which is too dreadful.

The truth must set you free. If it fails to do that, it is a lie dressed up as truth.

If we we cannot find reasons to be hungry and we keep our society hungry by importing hungry people that just doesn't sound right isn't it? We are giving them so much opportunities. What are they offering us in return?

By all means stay safe, but not at the cost of life's infinite possibilities.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Markets as Lords or Servants

It is very hard especially without committing full time to it, to watch and understand what is developing in Europe today. One outcome is clear though. Markets are bad masters. We want them as servants but along the way we became confused (no thanks Milton Friedman) and they seize the opportunity to become lords.

I just came from reading a article in the WSJ of how Germany is benefiting from the crisis. It is enjoying a ridiculously low cost of funds as a safe haven. Meanwhile Italy is tottering to fall into the abyss.

Markets in aggregate sort out winners and losers. This is fine if there are realistic and fairly quick ways for losers to catch up with the winners. When Markets are masters, there aren't any easy avenues to achieve this. All its energies is focused on finding winners with losers are just collateral damage. No hard feelings as they say. It is the meritocratic and/or legal.

Markets as servants suggest that governments must run ahead of the markets with laws to redirect market directions toward social and political ends in a way that inspire confidence. Few if any governments are perceived to be sufficiently astute to pull this off. The problem here is perception and not reality. Trouble is in today's world, perception is reality.

Therefore what is important to return Markets to their servant hood is that societies must forge a new compact. This slow to happen because today's winners do not just have the finance, but also have decisive influence over political power. It doesn't help that 'Occupy Wall Street' isn't united. These are early days. The days of pain are likely to be long.

Stay alive.

iPhone Security Compromise

This is a major security compromise on the iPhone. As the smart phone get more widely used, we can expect more such stories. Users think that is typically a Microsoft software problem, but it isn't true. Microsoft code now is probably more defensively written than most others having gone through their bruising experience. Apple software is not technologically superior. It is superiority is in its design.

I expect more deja vu of Microsoft with Apple as I use more of their products.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bought the Philips RQ1180 shaver

Just bought the Philips RQ1180 after having lunch at Hoshi @ IMM today. Cost me $169 (usual price $199) from Best Denki.

I had earlier received emails from Challenger offering it for $179 but I never bought.

Reason for purchase: My current Philips is almost six years old. I changed the blades once more than three years ago. I wonder if the motor or battery would fail suddenly, so better buy insurance.

Going electric is so much most economical than using the troublesome Gillette blades.

I don't know how well this fella cuts. As of my writing, this thing is still sitting in the cradle getting charged.

Useful FAQ on the use and maintenance of this shaver by Philips.

Vehicle Theft Risk

What is the Police saying here? As I drove up this MSCP there was an earlier poster warning about car theft. After I had parked my car, I saw this poster even before I could make my way out of the building.

I usually do not park here but the other car park was full.

Not a good sign. I don't remember seeing these posters before. This car park is surrounded by low income housing. I have noticed police patrol cars in the vicinity pretty often too. Guess this is a reason for their frequent visits.

New Food Outlet at Botanic Gardens

'FOOD FOR THOUGHT' that is the new name of the food outlet that is replacing the old one, which had been closed for about a year now.

'OPENING SOON!' without a date commitment is as good as a long wait isn't it? Just like the fish soup I used to have at Golden Shoe Carpark food centre. The hawker would always say 'Coming' but that is at least half an hour long.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bukit Brown Cemetery and policy options

Tan Chuan Jin connects quite well, at least from my point of view. By departing from the usual facts, figures and logic to also ride on the emotional plane, some readers will feel that this politician is also able to feel and communicate that feeling.

Now the larger picture. Our society is fragmenting into groups as we progress at different speeds. The plethora of choices, the diversity of ideas and easy accessibility is accentuating the trend.

Had they decided to do this twenty or may be ten years ago, the reaction would have been more muted. Worse, from reading the response on facebook, many people cannot be persuaded. How shall we go forward keeping in mind Ben Franklin's warning about what is necessary for a successful democracy?

To be practical there will be painful trade offs. The price gets costlier all the time, but let's get beyond this. What is important is that over time we might not have enough at our core (anyone knows what it is?) that we can appeal to for uniting us. A better life (mostly in material terms) would not be sufficiently compelling. For a start we must think of how to grow individual and shared space, both physically and virtually, failing which  policy options will keep getting narrower. In this sense, growing our population so rapidly was a terribly unwise idea. The worst way to grow the economy is to add bodies that it is better to suffer slower growth.

Returning to San Francisco

This building along Broadway brings back memories of my first stay in San Francisco so long ago. I hope to have the chance to visit again. It is no longer an inn and it looks like its neighbor has gone from strength to strength in the business.

We were in SF a few years ago but we mostly visited attractions outside the city.

Undergrad Investors

I hope these young people and their parents know what they are doing. This is not the premiere story. Past stories of such young folks have not reprise their appearance in the papers. My guess is they mostly fizzled out.

If you want to be a pro in the investment business, go about it more rigorously and professionally. This is a learning journey more than a money making one. It is more about insight into risks than performance.

The bit I find most unacceptable about them is their attitude toward loss. You ought to totally hate it.

How did we get here?

These were from yesterday papers. I had decided not to write about them, but they keep sitting on my mind.

Whatever happened to the peace dividend that came with the collapse of Communism? Well the Clinton years saw rising prosperity. Here GCT had an easy time because he was lucky to be a Bull Market PM. Not so fortunate his successor LHL.

Alas, a big part of the prosperity for the rank and file weren't real. When the unwinding came, the leftovers weren't pretty. Specifically, most of the wealth was built on leverage. It is alright if you earn you way out, but in a world of polarized winners and losers, the winners were making money so much faster, and the process they employed so effective that the the 99% or
80% which segment you want to focus on couldn't keep up. Worse, as the juggernaut rolls on, many start to lose their jobs. For a while they could find new jobs but had to work harder. Single income families gave way to mostly double incomes households and now no income households or for those with jobs, it is getting harder to make ends meet.

Today we may be seeing the end of the the present prosperity paradigm, which when it first started we were told would not lead us to this point. The wealth was supposed to spread around more evenly. It is unnecessary to discuss why. It was pretty obvious but those who saw it coming couldn't do very much about it beyond writing and publishing their warnings.

Indeed the wealth must eventually get around or they will be destroyed. We will all be poorer for it.

The wealth would eventually be taxed away. Government will become more powerful. This is not a good development but any alternative is probably worse. Come to think of it, there is another more hopeful possibility, but people need to be patient. Keep markets free and not rigged, eventually through the process we have never grasped very well, free people will create new jobs as they keep trying to make tomorrow better for themselves. The most cohesive and resilient societies with enough patience and perseverance will out do the rest.

We will need new leaders too. Most of the current crop are not up to the task. They are disconnected from the people and worse, lack courage.

The age of the statesmen had passed, and I hope that age is returning again or we shall be staring into the abyss of another Dark Age.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Hyundai DVD player

Wifey's new toy, which in her view is a necessity - a dvd player with display. Cost us $199 after Member's discount at Challenger.

The old one was already exhibiting chronic problems for a few months, and the drive motor decided to stop spinning this morning. This new one is an emergency purchase, and the one in the picture with me hiding behind my Galaxy Ace is the second unit. We had to return the first unit after unpacking and discovering a persistent longitudinal magenta line near the left edge of the display. What a chore to double back to Funan Centre to make the one for one exchange. Truly no fun when the parking situation at Funan was horrific.

Quit driving and switch to buses?

I sat on the upper deck of this bus this morning and thought to myself, "Didn't I tell myself eons ago that once the entire fleet is airconed, I will not drive?"

Yes, if the prices are really stupid, it is cleverer to give up the car. I mean, the government invested billions in the road infrastructure, it is still worth it with the high COEs. But only up to a point.

Early Morning at the Botanic Gardens

Early this morning at about 6.30am, as I stood at the overhead bridge next to the Botanic Gardens MRT station. This time the whole family is visiting. Instead of driving, we rode the MRT

The result of rains over many afternoons, we have mushrooms sprouting abundantly.

An intrepid baby snail

Black Angus gone

Unusual Hibiscus in the Healing Garden

Friday, November 4, 2011

Smuggling into Singapore

I have not been to this part of the East Coast Park for a long time. I was surprised to be greeted with so many of these posters this morning. This is the segment between McDonalds and KFC.

It is cheap an quick to put these up, but I think eventually they are going to put up cameras.

An interesting Bhutanese blog

Why bother with secondary sources of what life is like in Bhutan. Just go to this blog (there should be many more to be discovered).

May be I should just go and mine my old emails for the Bhutanese acquaintance I got to know from my flash movies website. Just to check how things have changed for them after all these years. Bhutan may restrict the inflow of foreigners, but the influence of the external environment from information technology cannot be stopped. Their response would be both interesting and instructive to watch.

I am getting this feeling that Bhutan is going to be better known than Singapore. No bad thing.

And before our ministers go boasting that they are trying to learn from us, I think they learn from everyone. Unlike us, they will will not transplant what we have into their society. They will take their time to do it right for themselves. Clearly unlike our government they don't live in fear or feel the need to get their people to "eat bitterness"

The royal couple had visited India as their first stop after the wedding. Easy to see why they hadn't gone to China.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cordon Speed Cameras

All motorists take note. A 'No Horse Run' traffic monitoring and violation system is coming to this town. If it reduces accidents which frequently create traffic snarls, it is worth it. I hope I am not biased, but of late I seem to notice many speeding luxury cars especially the Beemers and Audis.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kindle Touch case arrives

The Kindle Touch case I ordered from eBay just arrived from HK. I tried to insert my Kindle Gen 3 into it. Gives you an idea how much more compact the new Kindle is going to be.

I shall be carrying this and the Fire case to SF and return with the Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire inside.

When you are locked out of opportunities

This is what people do when they are locked out of opportunities in the formal economy. Mind boggling that it has gotten so large over the years.

Governments will surely find a way to tax it but they wouldn't be successful for quite a while. They are clueless, but more important e.g., India, they and their cronies are still enjoying their sweet spot.

Update: Timely this arrived for me to insert it here. Notice the seller of this item on eBay had checked off as 'gift'. I don't think he/she is going to pay taxes on this business of selling cases and covers for computer devices.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

MP de Souza visiting distant homes

Standing in a long queue waiting for my turn to buy food, I noticed this banner: MP Christopher de Souza Home Visit to Blk 2 and 3 at Queen's Road.

I scratched my head and wonder what is the reason of hanging up this banner? This isn't anywhere near the homes he is visiting.

Wifey suggested he is afraid to be seen as not putting in the hours in constituency work. Perhaps, but this is a poor show isn't it? Put up a banner like this when you are visiting this neighbourhood would be more logical. This only serves to remind me of MP Irene Ng complaint on facebook why the mainstream media had failed to give her more publicity for her MPS but had instead focused on the Aljunied GRC MPs.

En bloc sale coming for Henry Park Apartments

Used to go there very often when the kids were studying at HPPS. We used to patronize Secret Recipes with fellow parents of the school. Occasionally the girls have lunch there too. A neighbor operates a pet grooming shop. An ex colleague father in law owns one of the shops. He is going to profit from this. The corner unit nearer to Holland Road was always changing tenants until it finally managed to attract a successful manicure business. Two of HPPA chairmen and their families I believe still live there....and the playground fronting the apartments was very popular.

The signal from MF Global bankruptcy

Everyone is trying to beat inflation and the majority will fail. MF Global low risk business model (see chart) was destroyed by practically zero short term rates.

Governments are transferring wealth big time to shore up the financial system. If you don't belong to 'Too Big To Fail' you will be forced to help the institutions deemed necessary to keep the world together! MF Global wasn't such an institution.

You can try to get better deals for yourself to improve your yield, but most likely you would be taking on a lot of risk without knowing. In Jon Corzine's case, he had no choice. If he didn't do it, it would be as good as he didn't want the job.

In finance, even at the personal level you must always think of relative returns first before figuring out how to achieve absolute positive return. The prior exercise is where you begin to understand your risk.

At this time it is a herculean effort to beat negative real interest rates without being in special position. For the investing masses with no time or understanding, they are better off managing their exposure by protecting their capital as much as possible.

The investing masses can only hope to invest in the broadest trends. If that is not going up but down, most people will suffer losses no matter what they do. Trying to do better could end up with more losses because it is a 'rigged' system.

Resistance is futile.