Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Peak Hong Kong: Then and Now

The peak is one of the most popular tourist spot in Hong Kong.  It represents the prosperity of the former British colony.  Now let's take a look how it was like in the past.

Looking down from the Peak, we see low-rise colonial buildings everywhere.  At a quick glance, you might mistake this Pearl of the Orient as somewhere in Europe. 

Looking down from the Peak now, skyscrapers are crowded all around the beautiful Victoria Harbour.  The buildings are modern, chic and elegant.  Nobody could imagine it was no more than a small little fishing port in the southern tip of mainland China.  The colonial style old buildings are gone together with their British masters.

The mist covering the city is unmissable, signifying this modern city is another victim of uncontrolled urban development, at the expenses of permanent damage to mother nature.  Hong Kongers like to blame mainland Chinese for the pollution, accusing mainland Chinese of not punishing those pollutant producing industries.  However, the fact is many such industries are from Hong Kong!  Well, whatever it is, let's all love our mother Earth.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shanghai Stock Exchange Index Update

I talked about the descending triangle formation on the Shanghai Stock Exchange Index chart on Sunday in this entry.  I was wondering when we would know whether we would have a break up, or a break down then, today, we have the answer.

There is a long black bar decisively penetrating the 2475 point base of the triangle.  To forecast the extent SSE will drop, I again mentioned if 2475 is broken, we should expect a drop of about 200 points to 2275.  We already have one expectation fulfilled, now let's see whether our next expectation is also met. 

Good investing. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Guangzhou: Then and Now

Here is a photo of Dr Sun Yat-sen's Memorial Hall in Guangzhou (Canton), China.  During my days in Guangzhou, this memorial hall was a 'sacred' or sensitive place, as it was in memory of the founding father of Republic of China, which fled to Taiwan after the Nationalist government lost the civil war. 

This was then:

And it is now:

The structure didn't change much, but do you notice the absence of Dr Sun's statue in the 'then' photo?  Another less obvious point is the quality of air.  In the 'then' photo, although in black & white, the sky appeared to be clear, while in the 'now' photo, the hall is covered in a light mist, a result of the poor air quality in Guangzhou.  Blue sky is something hard to come by these days in Guangzhou. 

And then I found another photo/painting of the same scene.  Judging by the Japanese characters written on this photo/painting, it seems like the painting was done during Japanese occupation period (Oct 21st, 1938 - Sept, 1945).  Dr Sun's statue was not there either.  It will be interesting to know when they put up the statue. 

Just a brief introduction about this landmark.  The memorial hall is in memory of, of course, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who helped over-turned the Qing Dynasty and established the first republic on Chinese soil, the Republic of China in 1912, and became the very first President of the republic.  The hall has an octagonal shaped dome with no supporting pillars, very much like the octagonal dome of Florence duomo.

The construction of the hall stared in 1929, and completed in 1931. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shanghai Stock Exchange Index

Looking at the chart of Shanghai Stock Exchange, I can't help noticing a small descending triangle formation.

The range is between 2495 and 2695 points.  The triangle started in early May, and now is in its final stage.  A breakdown will see the SSE down to 2295. 

Uber Contrarian Trade: National Bank of Greece

Europe Union is engulfed in one of the deepest crisis it has ever seen since its creation, Greece is right in the epic centre of this crisis of national debt.  Inevitably, the biggest lender in Greece - National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG), has seen its share price beaten down from a high of $8.37 in Oct last year to just a dime away from its March 2009 down of $2.09 (See chart below). 

The stock is much hated, and bad news just came out that the European bank stress test showed NBG may have to raise up to 5.3 billion euros to recapitalize if the crisis deepens (ie. Greek government defaults on its debt).   The stock is currently trading at around 4x its 2009 earnings, and expect to go up to around 9x its 2010 earnings due to a fall in its earnings. 

The stock fell close to its March 2009 low and bounced back, and now is again on its way to test its March 2009 low.  If the price bounces back successfully from the March 2009 low, then it will be worth considering buying some.  The bank is actually in not so bad shape, 46% of its revenue came from its Turkish operation last year.  Turkey's economy condition is better than Greece, and ranks higher (61st) than Greece (71st) in terms of transparency in banking industry.  The bank's total holding of Greek Government Bond (GGB) is about 19 billion euros. 

Looking at the chart, you may notice the volume peaked on April 27th, 2010 (56 millions), then subsequently contracts to a low of about only 2 million shares per day.  The volume contraction accompanying the price fall is a good sign that the bottom might be close. 

If the stock breaks down from its March 2009 low of $2.09, and continues its downward path, it will be interesting to see when the reversal, or the bottom, will be hit. 

If you buy into this counter, it will be an uber contrarian trade and the potential return may be rewarding too. 

We will re-visit this counter a month from now and see how it has developed. 

Charting the Future of Silver

I am looking at the chart of iShare Silver ETF (NYSE: SLV) today, and find something interesting. 

Looking at the 'big' picture, which is about 3 years data on SLV, there appears to be a big ascending triangle.  The top of the triangle is at ~$19, the base is at around $8.48.  This BIG ascending triangle is still ascending, but there is no break out yet.  Based on Guppy's theory, if the ascending triangle breaks out, we can expect a price movement of $19 - $8.48=$10.52 up.  That is a best case scenario.

Inside the BIG triangle, there is also a small ascending triangle.  The top is the same $19, the base is at $14.70.  So if the price breaks out, we can expect $19 - $14.70 = $4.3 up.  It is not as good as the $10 up, but still not too bad. 

How will SLV price move in the next days?  I don't know, but I will monitor closely whether it can break through the $19 resistance and advance toward $23, or even $29.  Well, time will tell.    

The ideas expressed in this blog should not be construed as an enticement to buy or sell the securities, commodities or assets mentioned. The accuracy or completeness of the information provided cannot be guaranteed. Readers should carry out independent verification of information provided. No warranty whatsoever is given and no liability whatsoever is accepted for any loss howsoever arising whether directly or indirectly as a result of actions taken based on ideas and information found in this blog.

Saturday, June 26, 2010



This is a book authored by a well-known Singaporean stock investor, Dr. Chan.  Dr Chan graduated from Nanyang University with major in mathmatics, and received his master's from University of Lancaster & PhD from Unviersity of Manchester.  He later moved to Hong Kong and became a memeber of the teaching staff at the City Unversity of Hong Kong. 

Dr Chan came back to Singapore to give public talks on investment many times, with tickets selling at as high a price as S$120.  His many 'predictions' somehow turned out to be true later.  He is regarded as an investment guru.

In this book, he shared with the readers his growing up story, how he started in stocks, and his philosophy in investment.  Great minds think alike.  Dr Chan, and many other successful investors, share the same idea that in order to be successful in investment, you have to first face yourself and settle your psychology.  Without that, you will NEVER be successful. 

Dr Chan also introduces to the readers some of the indicators he uses for his investment decisions, shares the thoughts he had when he made some of the most important investment decisions which significantly changed his life. 

You can borrow the book from the library to read.  The book is published in traditional Chinese. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Kinkakuji: Then and Now

Kinkakuji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) is one of Japan's most famous Buddhist temples, not for its Buddhist teachings but for its magnificent architecture of the Golden Pavilion.  The Golden Pavilion, sitting right next to a calm pond, glittering under the bright sun, has charmed hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. 

Let's see an old photo of the golden pavilion.  It looked really run down.  The golden surface didn't glitter, probably because there was no sun.

And here is how it looks in modern days.  The pond is clean, the gold is glittering.  Mmh, now is better :)

Then and Now Series

My accidental discovery of old Gyeongbokgung photos has arisen my interests in comparing places of their past and present.  I have been to quite a lot of places, and I have photos of those places too.  Don't you think it is interesting to see how those places looked like say decades ago, or even more than a century ago?  It is also a record of history, which we are constantly making everyday. 

Please join me for this interesting journey of traveling down the memory lane.  Let's see how the world has changed over time, for better or worse.

You can see all my "Then and Now Series" here.

Paula Tsui 徐小凤

On the flight back to Bangkok, I chanced upon a very old album by Paula Tsui 徐小凤, one of the evergreen Cantonese pop singer.  Her classic songs were once inspirations to the young yours faithly.  Her songs are not just simple songs, but filled with wisdom of life.  Even today, after more than 2 decades, her songs are still so inspiring. 

Good things must share.  Here are some of her classic songs.

Every Step 每一步

随 想 曲






Thursday, June 24, 2010

Seoul: Then and Now

As I was browsing the internet today, I found some very interesting old photos of Seoul in the late 19th century and early 20th century.  There are some familiar scenes and it is interesting to see how different Seoul was then and now. 

This is how Gyeonghoeru (慶會樓) looked like then.  This is the place where the King of Korea hosted his banquets for foreign dignitaries and his ministers and nobles. 

And this is how it looks like today.

Did you spot any difference, other than one photo is in color, whilst the other is in black & white?

This is the pond and pavilion and the bridge in the royal garden.

And how it looks like today.  We know the modern version is just a replica. 

Do you notice the bridge?  They look sooo different.  And further away in the background, there was the pagoda-like structure in the old photo either. 

Sometimes it is interesting to visit our past, although more often than not, some old agony will be dug out as well.  I wonder anyone has the photo showing the Japanese Governor of Korea's House standing right in front of Gyeongbokgung. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How to Make Money in Asian Property

Title: Turning Crisis into Profit - How to Make Money in Asian Property
Author: Tim Murphy
Publisher: Prentice Hall

The author is a British man based in Hongkong, full time on property investment, owner of the property investment firm IP Global.

This book provides very useful information in property investment in the Asia Pacific rim.  Investors are costantly being attracted to many property investment talks, but they may not be fully aware of the consequences and the full picture of the investment environment in a foreign land.  For example, buying an apartment is a popular investment for many Singaporeans, but they may not know that such apartments, although they are popular for students, are not what the locals would like to live in.  It reduces the resale value of the apartment and limits the liquidity of the property. 

This books also lists down the steps to invest in a property in different countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Australia, etc. 

It is a great book for information and worthy buying to keep as a reference.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bangkok Airport Train Link

I have mentioned about the Bangkok Airport Train Link in my previous post.  Today, let's take a look at how good this train link is. 

In the airport, follow this long long long escalator, or moving belt, to the lowest level of the airport - Level 1. 

Then you will find the entrance to the train station.  It is still under trial, so please, ride the train on your own risk. 

This is how the Phaya Thai station in downtown Bangkok and the train look like.  I think the stations are modern, but the train is a bit too narrow in width, very much like those ancient metro trains you see in good old Paris. 

The length of the train only takes up about half the platform, so I guess you have some room for future expansion. 

Here is a closer look at the train. 


Below is a short video clip I took showing the scenary along the train route.  It is very enjoyable to take a ride on a sunny day. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

How to go to downtown Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi Airport

Bangkok's new airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, offers a lot more options for travelers to go to downtown Bangkok than the old Bangkok airport.

1. Limousine Taxi/Public Taxi

Ok, these are for the more well off travelers.  I generally don't take this option, although it is readily available.  Take note you have to pay the metered fare plus 50 Baht as the airport surcharge, plus the whatever expressway fees.

2. Airport Express Bus

There 4 routes on offer, all of them will bring you to the major hotels and downtown Bangkok.  The cost is 150 Bahn one way.  For route details, you can visit this web page.

3. Airport Train Link

For the other transport options available at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, you can actually get more information from the airport's transportion webpage here, however, they miss the most convenient and efficient form of transportation - The Airport Rail Link.   The train service is currently still in a trial phase.  From Monday to Friday, 7am to 7pm, the service is FREE OF CHARGE for ALL PASSENGERS.  For weekends and public holidays, they do charge you. 

After you arrive at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, take the lift or escalator all the way down to the lowest level, Level 1, where you can easily find the entrance to the train link.  Get your free ticket from one of the staff, and then voila, you can get on your train. 

From Suvarnabhumi Airport, it takes 30 minutes to get to Phaya Thai station, which is just one SkyTrain station away from Victory Monument.  From Phaya Thain station, you can have different options to take again.  If you are heading to Siam Square, Siam Paragon, Siam Center or MBK, you can take the SkyTrain, or you can walk.  It is within walking distance, I just did it yesterday, it is a bit sweaty walking under the hot sun though.  Or you can always take a taxi. 

4. Public Bus

I guess this option will be more fun, as you will be rubbing shoulders with the locals.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Trading as a Business

Title: Trading as a Business
Author: Charlie Wright

This ebook explains the many essential aspects to treat your stock trading as a business. 

It starts with the principles of successful trading, then goes on to explain the meanings of set-up & entry, followed by an in-depth elaboration of how to fomulate your strategy, how to test your strategy, how to optimize your strategy, and of course, most importantly, whether the strategy suits your personality.

This books clarifies many misconceptions about stock trading.  The author specifically points out  stock trading is NOT a make money fast scheme.  If you have such a mis-perception about stock trading, you are on the way to failure. 

It is a very useful e-book, recommended.

Itacho Sushi (板长寿司)@ Ion Orchard

Dinner at Itacho Sushi @ Ion Orchard last night.  Their shop deco is cosy but simple, without anything special.  The sushi bar seats are quite narrow.  Staff taking delivery from the sushi chef will constantly rub shoulders with you, so it is better to have a proper table for yourselves.  Most of their key staff are from Hong Kong, you can hear Cantonese conversations often.

In terms of sushi, I think it is not too bad.  At least I can have a reproduction of those tastes that I experienced when I was in Japan.  Price-wise, it is a bit on the more expensive side, but looking at the menu, you won't expect anything cheap in the first place.

This is the foie gras sushi.  It looks like a piece of meat, tastes like a piece of liver.  I have no prior experience with foie gras, so I can't really compare, but for myself, I don't think I will order this sushi again.  It leaves no special impression on my taste buds.

This is something I have never seen before.  Unagi (eel) served on sushi rice in an ashtray?  When you order this dish, don't be fooled or have the wrong impression that the rice portion is big enough to make you full.  The portion of rice is no more than the portion of a normal sushi. 

Ok, what is more important is the taste.  The unagi is good!  I like it very much.  It melts in your mouth.  Tender, soft, juicy. 

Here you see another unagi, but the size is much bigger.  I ordered this because once I had something similar in Tokyo.  This unagi is also good, but not as good as the one I had in Tokyo.  Maybe that was a different fish (conger?).  Anyway, I still like this unagi very much.  Unagi is my soft spot.  Seems like I like all unagi.

Here are some of the other dishes we ordered.  They all look & taste good.  Freshness, tenderness are too salient commonalities among them. 

There are other interesting dishes on the menu, which we didn't try, including sea urchin.  I must try it next time. 

For a party of two, do expect to foot a bill of ~$60.00 to have enough food for you to feel full. 

I do find this restaurant worth the money I spend and will most probably return in the future.  Hopefully their standard won't drop :)

Their address is:

Itacho Sushi
B2-18, Ion Orchard
Tel: 6509 8911

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Singapore Local Cafes

Recently I have been patroning some of our Singapore local style cafes, including Ya Kun, Toast Box and Wang Cafe.  Now I will share with you my opinions and experiences. 

Let's first start with Ya Kun.  I visited the one at Lot 1 at Chua Chu Kang and also the branch at Changi Terminal 3. 

They have 3 different set meals for you to choose.  All set meals basically include kaya toast, half cooked egg and a South-East Asian style coffee.  I particularly pointed out South-East Asian style, because the way the coffee beans are process is different from the western world.  In South East Asia, especially in Singapore and Malaysia, they like to fry the coffee beans with butter to give it some extra fragrance. 

Their kaya toast is crispy and smells the fragrance of the toasted bread and kaya.  Coffee is thick and heavy in taste.  It serves perfectly as breakfast, to wake you up completely from a good night's sleep.  The half boiled egg is tender and smooth.

Toast Box is a branch of Breadtalk, so you always see them side by side.  The shops are always crowded with the breakfast crowd. 

Toast box also has set meals, but in my opinion, they are a bit on the pricy side.  The other day, I ordered a breakfast set for $3.40, which includes a cup of coffee, 1 half boiled egg, and a bacon sandwich.  Their sets come at the price of S$3.90.  Instead of a sandwich, they give you two half pieces of toasted white bread. 

I like toast box's coffee.  It gives you that good old days feel, just like sipping a cup of coffee while lazying in a hot summer day somewhere in Malaysia.  Their sandwich is nothing worth mentioned, let alone any praise.

The last one I am going to talk about is Wang Cafe.  This brand of cafes has been mushrooming around in Singapore recently.  Out of curiosity, I gave it a try this morning at Novena.  My experience is not really that good.  First is the service.  The lady taking orders is like a gangster.  Then it is the coffee.  It gave me a shock.  Is it really coffee?  Tasted like some muddy water, yucks!  They couldn't even get the half boiled egg right.  Half boiled egg is supposed to be tender, soft and smooth, but theirs?  Sigh...  The only piece that saves the whole set is the kaya toast.  It is not fantastic, but at least it is still not below standard.  I don't think I will patron this cafe anymore.