Sunday, August 30, 2009

20th Century Boys 2: The Last Hope

This is the 2nd episode of the 20th Century Boys series of movies. This 2nd episode is a lot more watchable than episode one.

The cast is no longer 20th century uncles and aunties. Finally we see some young ones coming onboard, especial the lead character changes to a 20 something young lady.

The plot is getting more interesting too. More clues are being uncovered, but the mystery gets deeper and deeper. Just when you thought everything has come to an end, a beginning has actually just started.

In terms of stupidity, there is quite a plenty in the movie.

My rating: 3/5

Friday, August 28, 2009

World's 50 Safest Banks

Wow... Global Finance published the list of world's 50 safest banks. Singapore's three local banks all manage to get into this list (at least in this financial storm).

DBS comes in 24th, UOB and OCBC come in 34th and 35th, respectively. Congratulations! For such a small little country, all 3 local banks can make it to the top 50. It is not something to be sneezed at.

The other banks that make it to the top 50 mostly come from Germany, France, Spain, Australia, Canada and of course, the king of the banking section, Switzerland.

Mind you, DBS is also the safest bank in Asia! Other Asian banks that manage to have a position in the list are mainly from Japan. None of the banks from greater China appears in the list. None from other South-East Asian countries, either.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Big Shui Kuei

Went to Pek Kio market for lunch yesterday. There is this stall selling Big shui-kuei. Shui-kuei usually is of one small cup size. You need approximately 4 kuei's to fill the space of one ordinary plate. At Big Shui Kuei, one kuei is of the size of plate, so you only need 1 to fill your plate :)

The Cai-pu they use is the 'sweet' type. Ok, I had an argument with my colleague as whether it is 'sweet' or 'salty'. I tasted it as salty, but my colleague said it was sweet. Ok, different taste buds :)

The kuei is not bad. The texture is smooth. The smoothness of the rice is brought out flawlessly. But other than that, nothing fantastically special.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wong Kok Char Chan Teng

Wong Kok Char Chan Teng seems to be one of the many franchise Hongkong-style teahouse restaurants. It is tucked into one back alley in JB's City Square, the 'inner city'. Chinese saying, a mountain does not have to be high to become famous, as long as there is an immortal living there, then the mountain will be famous. In this case, as long as the food is nice, then the restaurant will be famous, even thought it is hidden in one dark corner :)

The deco of the restaurant is kind of 'retro', with old photograhes hanging on the yellowish walls. There are also many street signs.

The place is quite crowded. We arrived there at around 2pm, and we still had to wait for another 10 mins or so for a table.

Food-wise, typical Hongkong tea house food, mixture of western and Chinese cuisine. The names of their drinks are interesting. I ordered a Devil's Fairytale. Haha... Do you know what it is? Take a look yourself :)

I would not rate this restaurant to be a top restaurant, but it is a not too bad place to enjoy some Hongkong ordinary food.

Rating: 3/5, quite ok

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Little Book That Beats The Market

Title: The Little Book That Beats The Market
Author: Joel Greenblatt
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons 2006

It is a book originally intended for the author's children, so it is very much a book for beginners in investment.

The essence of the book is to tell readers how to do value investing. There are basically two rules:

1. High return on capital
2. High earnings yield

Investors should look for companies that meet the two criteria and at a bargain price.

As the book is originally intended for the author's children, so there is quite a lot of not really relevant stuff in it. For those who already have a good knowledge in investing, this book may be quite boring. For beginners, it is good point to start.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

InvestFair 2009

Went to the free InvestFair 2009 at Suntec City this afternoon. It is free, so don't expect much.

The participants can be broadly classified into 4 different categories.

1. Brokeage houses, such as Philips Security, SAXO, CMC Markets, Lim & Tan.
2. Land-banking firms such as Walton, EdgeWorth
3. Wine investment firms
4. Forex trading
5. Misc such as Adam Khoo, Fundsupermart, etc.

There are free seminars running throughout the day for today and tomorrow. It is quite eye-opening if you are new to the investment world. However, if you already have some knowledge in investment, the seminars are just so so, not too informative.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Ranking of Singapore's Healthcare System

In Singapore, we care about rankings very much, and almost everything has a ranking. You may be interested to know there is actually a ranking on healthcare system too, by World Health Organization (WHO).

According to that ranking, Singapore is ranked No. 6 worldwide, behind France, Italy, San Marino, Andorra and Malta, but way ahead of some of the developed nations such as Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, Japan and Germany.

China is ranked 144th, out of a total of 190 countries. What a shame! Our neighbours Malaysia ranks No. 49, while Indonesia comes in No. 92.

Having gone through the healthcare system once myself, I think Singapore's healthcare is not too bad, although it is not perfect. It is much better than that in a lot of other countries, which is evident by the ranking itself. And also it became so evident that an insurance policy that covers most of your hospital/medical expenses is ultra important. In my case, if I don't have a company group medical insurance policy, then I would have to fork out a couple of thousand dollars to pay for my bills. With the policy, I only need to pay for the GST.

You can find the ranking at:

Monday, August 17, 2009

KimGary Restaurant in City Square

Had dinner at Kim Gary Restaurant at City Square, JB last Sat. It is another one of those 'trendy' Hong Kong Char Chan Teng (Tea House). Char Chan Teng is something unique to Hong Kong. It is supposed to be a Tea House selling Chinese stuff, but it mixes with some Western stuff. For example, Cantonese/Chinese don't bake their rice, they cook their by steaming, but in a Char Chan Teng, you have the western style baked rice together with some Chinese ingredients and of course some Cantonese dishes such as Cantonese dumpings.

The concept of Char Chan Teng was introduced to Malaysia and then it became increasingly popular these days. So popular that they are invading Singapore too, although with a much less success.

Anyway, back to our review on Kim Gary. In terms of atmosphere, it is ok, noisy tea house style. In terms of food, so so, acceptable, but not fantastically good. Service-wise, like any other Char Chan Teng, they employ lots of school students, so don't expect too much.

My rating: 3/5, just pass

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cathay Cinema at JB City Square

Since I watched a movie in JB again, I must review the cinema too. This time it is Cathay at City Square.

I must say, more or less the same standard as Cathay Causeway Point. I don't see any significant deficiencies. The seats are big with lots of leg-room. That's something that you don't get in Singapore.

Price-wise, naturally it is cheaper in JB. On weekend it is RM11.00 (<~S$5.00). On the day I watched the movie there, didn't hear anyone answering/making a phone call, or the beeping sound of SMS. I don't know whether I was lucky or their audiences are really different. People talking on the phone in a movie is quite irritating.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

G. I. Joe

G. I. Joe has some very bad reviews, some critics are saying it is a dump and stupid movie. Then we I watched it at JB City Square. Wow, it is action-packed, with all the nice elements of a thriller. Action, betrayal, loyalty, love, conspiracy, funny and entertaining. If you want to have 2 hours of fantasy, this is the movie for you.

Ok, I must admit I have never read the original comics, I don't what the original story is. Maybe just like Angels & Demons, the movie adaptation deviates drastically from its comic original, but I must say the movie adaptation itself is nice, a nice story on its own, regardless what the original story is.

G. I. Joe is also Korean actor Lee Byung-Hun's first foray into Hollywood. He has better luck than his fellow countryman Rain. Rain's role in his foray into Hollywood was quite small, but Lee plays an important role in G. I. Joe. However, there is a pity that he still can't get out of Hollywood's stereo type of Asians. Lee plays the role of a bad ninja (what a shame, Lee is a Korean, yet he has to play the role of Korea's arch-rival, a Japanese).

Then the girls shall be happy to see his nice body on screen. For a 39-year old man, he has a really nice body. If you have the asset, flash it, before it disappears :)

My rating: 3.5/5

This is a movie worth watching for entertainment. Trash those arty-farty movie critics. They only give good critics to movies that I can't understand, or fall asleep completely. :P

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Found this MTV in YouTube. The song is very very old, at least 20 years old I think. And I don't even know who the singer is. Never heard of him!

Yet this very old song tells exactly my feelings. Grown up, now I have to say things that I don't want to say, do things that I don't want to do, behaving like a hypocrite who I despise of.

Anyway, as the song says, at least I still have my own dreams. My dreams may never come true, but at least I am still true to myself, I don't sell my soul for material benefits. Ok, I am not that noble. I am just an ordinary guy, sometimes a coward too :P

Sunday, August 9, 2009

How Gold Chains Are Made

Found this video in showing how gold chains are made. It is so different from my past impression that a goldsmith working hard at his workshop, hammering out a nice gold chain. Everything is automatic and with great precision.

It is definitely worth a look.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

CNG - A Pain? A Joy?

This is a daily scene outside of my office. Long queues of taxis and occasionally some private sedans. No, there is no taxi stand here, neither is there any super hot store having fire sales. They are only here to top-up their 'gas'.

Ever since the CNG station started operation some time ago, the long queues of taxis almost becomes a norm, a permanent fixture.

I wonder how much time is wasted waiting in the queue just to top up. For some casual drivers, it is not too bad, just take it as a leisure stop and enjoy a cup of coffee, read your newspaper. For the taxi drivers, this means the precious time they should be fetching their customers, making some money is wasted in queuing. I can't imagine how bad the queue was when there was only one CNG station in Tuas!

Friday, August 7, 2009

ETFs - The Hidden Danger

I have been an advocate for ETFs for a while, just as I was an advocate of the now infamous Mini Bonds.

People always have the opinion that in the stock world, an index is the only 'stock' that is almost 100% sure to go UP. That is absolutely true! An index will have no mercy on those lousy, money-losing stocks. If an index component stock does not perform, sorry, it will be kicked out of the index. A recent example is Yangzijiang being removed from the Straits Times Index (FTSTI).

An ETF is said to track the underlying stock index closely (usually with an error of less than 5%?). In the case, an ETF will always go UP in the long term.

Is this true? True to a certain extent. But then I just found out recently that both STI ETF and DBS STI ETF have clauses in their perspectus to allow 100% derivatives. What does it mean? This means the ETF can choose to hold derivatives of the index component stocks, instead of holding the REAL stocks.

What is the consequence? If one of the issuer/market maker of the derivatives goes burst, like Lehman Brothers, then the ETF may suffer significant loss.

So if you consider investing in an ETF, please do do your homework. A look into their latest financial report may be a worthwhile endeavour.