Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Hahaha.... I didn't expect my prediction would be this close. Yesterday, I said the STI will be around 3360 points, and today, STI closed at 3357.34 points. Unfortunately I am not rewarded for close predictions :P

Wanted to scoop some STI put warrants, but I was too stingy and too indecisive that I missed a good opportunity to get it at $0.205. That warrant subsequently went up to 0.21. I gave up. I don't want to get myself some heart attack when I come back from my holidays. I know how volatile the warrants are. Better not touch it if I can't monitor its movement closely.

Another surprise is the rise of many of the Reits. MMP reit went up, Mapletree Logistics went up, Suntec Reit went up. They are adding quite a few cents to their prices. The short term GAMMA for these reits are moving up too. What is happening? While some other reits continue their happy down trend. Mmmh.... A big question mark.

What will happen next? I have no idea. The only thing in my mind now is to enjoy my year end holiday. Let's see what bad news will come that can bring STI down to 3000 points or even lower.

Going off for holidays tomorrow. Wish everybody Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you guys next year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Rebound

As expected, STI rebounded 15.75 points today. There were some tussling during the session, but STI managed to stage a rebound. The day traders should be happy. Many of them must have scoop some good stocks at a dirt cheap price and then sell them off when the price went higher. The long terms investors may have done some bargain hunting as well. Long term, I mean you have to have the patience and a deep enough pocket for another 5-7 years, plus the opportunity cost.

For this newbie, I will just sit back and relax. Watch the STI go up and down. The show just began. There should be at least 20 episodes in the first season, and this is just Episode 1 of the 1st season.

Tomorrow is the last trading day before the long holiday season starts on 20 Dec 2007. Many people will be leaving for their holidays starting Thursday. The trading volumn is expected to be thin, STI should be stable at around its current level of 3360. However, that also depends on the response of the FED's auction of short-term bonds. The results will be available on 19 Dec (US time).

If anything that you can do, then it will be to get yourself familiar with warrants and Contract for Difference (CFD). Get your accounts ready. It will be nice to have some put warrants if the prices are right.

Disclaimer: Personal opinions only. Act on your own risks. No liabilities assumed.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bull vs Bear - Round 1

We saw the fight between the bull and the bear in the market today. STI plunged 46 points at start, then it slowly climbed back up 20-30 points. This was the first wave, the plunge was a follow-up of Friday's 178 points drop in the Dow Jones Industry Average (DJIA).

The second wave came when Hong Kong's stock market opened. It saw the Heng Seng Index plunged over 600 points. The STI was down 76 points from last Friday's 3466. Again, it managed to pull itself up for 20-30 points before the close of the morning session.

The third wave came at the opening of the afternoon session. Singapore's November non-oil export data were released. Non-oil export declined 3.4% year-on-year (YoY), -6.0% month-on-month. One of the supporting pillars of Singapore economy, the electronics section, declined 8% YoY. This piece of bad news sent STI down to 3353.56 points at closing.

Winner of the Round 1? Of course the bear. What next? As I said in a previous post, if the STI goes down, it will go down to 3300 support level. If 3300 support level is broken, then STI will continue its downtrend all the way down to 3000. However, in the next couple of days, I do expect STI to rebound a bit before it goes down again. Potentially a bull-trap.

I count myself lucky that I sold off all my shares a few days ago while STI was still holding up well. I don't think I will ever touch any stock until the STI settles around 3000. Anyway, I am off for holidays in the next couple of days. There is no point buying anything right now. Whatever stock it is, no matter how good that stock is, you most probably will be able to buy that stock at a lower price in the next couple of months.

No point buying does not mean no point monitoring the STI. It is a good opportunity for those who are new to monitor the market, do mock investments to test out your strategies.

Ok, let's see what will happen tomorrow at round 2 of the fight :)

Disclaimer: The above is just my personal opinion. No liabilities for me to bear :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A COLD Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner, but looks like it is a different kind of Christmas, a COLD Christmas. Singapore is a tropical country, it can never be that cold in terms of temperature. At most it is wet and cool. The rain brought by the annual monsoon lower the thermometer by quite a number of degrees, but that is not what I meant by a COLD Christmas. It is the mood.

Look around, do you actually FEEL Christmas is actually approaching? It is all nice & quiet in the office. There is no Christmas deco, no Christmas party. Few people talk about Christmas at all. Unusually COOL this year.

Went to IMM today around dinner time. Few shops decorate for Christmas. There were not that many shoppers, either. Giant Hypermart, which is usually jam-packed on weekends, had surprisingly short queues. Dinner time, MOS burger, Subway still had plenty of tables. Ajisen and Ajitei were half empty. One puzzled customer asked "why is this restaurant so empty, like a ghost shop?"

Where is the crowd? IMM is not an isolated case, a number of other shopping centres I went to had the same situation. Dinner time on a weekend, you can still easily find a table in the foodcourt. That was quite impossible a couple of months ago.

Have all the people gone to Orchard Road? Mmh, I am not sure. Anyone has any field report? Or with the booming economic, everybody is on an overseas holiday? I hope so. However, I still couldn't help fearing the worst. The inflation had taken its toll on the economy. People are spending less. STI seems to be in the process of the ugly head-and-shoulder formation. In the next couple of weeks, we will know with more certainty whether STI's uptrend will remain intact, or it is heading towards 3300, and then 3000. The bull & the bear are in a fierce fight right now. The bear seems to have a slightly upper hand. Once the bear wins, more ugly things will gradually unwind.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Living Room Feng-Shui

1。 客厅的方位

正东方:健康运 Green
正南方:名声运 Red & Purple
正西方:子孙运 Gold, Silver and White
正北房:事业运 Black & Blue
东北方:文昌运 Yellow
西北方:贵人运 White
东南方:财运 Green
西北方:桃花运 Yellow

2。 客厅的颜色

乾宅:坐西北,大门向东南 =〉必须明亮, 尽量使用大量的白色系列
兑宅:坐西, 大门向东
离宅:坐南,大门向北。不宜留太多空间, 否则易招火灾和官司
坎宅:坐北, 大门向南。 宁静,冷清色彩, 否则对钱财不利
坤宅:坐西南, 大门向东

------<客厅风水宜忌>, 王伟光 著,新疆电子出版社

Friday, December 14, 2007

Food Safety

The recent Prima Deli incident brought the public's attention back to the basics - food safety. Many had always assumed Singapore has a high standard in food safety and hygiene standards, unfortunately it is nothing but far from the truth.

Prima Deli incident is a good example. Four of their food handling staff had been found to have the Salmonella bacteria. What does this mean? It means their staff did not go through a proper medical check-up to ensure they are fit to handle food. But how many food handling staff have gone through a 'proper' medical check-up in Singapore? Look at the uncles and aunties at your coffee shop or food court, do you think they went through any form of medical check-up at all? How do you know they don't have any infectious disease such as hepatitis A/B/C?

Look at how some people handle food and money? Yes, they wear gloves, but the sole purpose is not to dirty their hands. They use the very same hand to handle food, sometimes in direct touch with food, and handle money. Isn't it common knowledge money is the dirtiest in the world? Oh, we are not talking about the sins of money, but the bacteria on it.

It is not uncommon to find hairs in your food in Singapore. I personally encountered numerous times such incidents. The bigger horror is to find cockcroaches in your food. A colleague of mine had that encounter a few months ago at a neighbourhood coffee shop. In his case, at least he got a refund. In yesterday's Today newspaper, a Korean study mama related her incident. She went for a meal at restaurant with her kids, then she found a cockcroach in her food! Guess what the duty manager said? The manager claimed that the cockcroach had been cooked under extreme high temperature in the oven, so it was clean without any bacteria or germs. Safe for consumption!

Food safety standard still has a lot of room for improvement. Maybe it is already much better than many countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and China. Why do we want to compare with those with a lower standard but not a higher standard? Just to satisfy our ego? Even if ours is the best in the world, we should still continue to make an effort to stamp any weak points.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Year End

Time flies. I can't believe 2007 is coming to an end in less than 2 weeks. Time for everyone to look back and count their achievements/mis-achievements.

2007 had been a fruitful year.
For the first time in 7 years of my stay with the company, things are looking a bit better for me.

First time in my working life to be posted overseas for 2 months. It is something very trivial to many global trotters but quite something for this humble office worker :)

For the first time, I climbed up the Swiss Alps. That was a dream come true, although I didn't really enjoy the climbing. ;P

For the first time, our Singapore team worked so closely with our Italian colleagues. Together, we managed to come up with a solution to a difficult problem.
Finally, I can have a cubicle to my own, to have some privacy.

Finally, I can have a modern day laptop computer, Compaq 6910p, for work, to replace the antique IBM Thinkpad 600X, which has no more technical support, nor spare parts :)

Finally, my cumulative microstock income is enough to cover the cost my Canon EOS20D camera. This is achieved after two long years. Well, it takes a bit long, but at least it generates a bit of return from an expensive hobby. More importantly, my photos no longer remain in my HDD only for my own viewing pleasure. They can reach a wider audience. The joy, the excitement now can be shared with more people.

Finally, I am no longer a sure-loser in the stock market. Albeit very slowly, I am learning, and progressing. Chinese saying "There is gold in the books" (书中自有黄金屋), nothing can be more true. Learning from the gurus helps you to shorten your learning curve, less your tuition fees. Of coure, practice makes perfection. Practising what you learn perfects your skills. Still a long way to go, but at least I am making some baby steps. Don't laugh at me. I am slower learner, but at least I am still a leaner, I am still learning, better than those who never learn :)

So how was your 2007? Share with me your achievements/mis-achievements.

10 years ago, I came out from school to start working. In these past 10 years, some of my dreams did come true. Sometimes in a totally unexpected way, but they did come true. Want to have your dreams come true? First, have some nice dreams for yourself ;P

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Truth or Lies?

In recent months, the hottest topic in China is the discovery of the long extincted South China tiger in Shan'xi province. A farmer, Zhou Zheng-long (周正龙), claimed he photographed a live South China tiger in the forest. It was reported in all the major media. However, the photographs published attracted lots of skepticism from many internet users. Online forums are abuzz in discussing how genuine the photographs are. Then someone found the tiger in those photos looks unusually similar with a tiger in a Nian'hua (年画), paintings that Chinese display in their home for decoration.

Truth or lies? It is for my readers to decide for themselves.

Photo 1: The 'Original' Photo

Photo 2: A Zoom-In of Photo 1, after sharpening

There are a total of 41 photos taken by a digital SLR, a Canon EOS400D with a kit lens. All 41 of them are available for viewing here. All the EXIF data are listed as well. All my dear friends, if you have a couple of minutes, do take a look at all the photos and express your own opinions, especially people who have been photographing tigers for a while.

Zhou Zheng-long, the man in the centre of the controversy

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Day in JB

Went to JB with LYZ & LJ this afternoon. Going through the custom was unexpectedly smooth. I went through the Malaysian custom in 15 mins, that was really a record. LYZ & LJ joined the 'wrong' queue, so it took them 25mins & 30mins respectively. Anyway, that was still considered as 'very good'. Malaysia custom made some change since the last time I passed through. There is no more distinction between Singapore passport and other country's passport, all queues are considered as 'Foreign Passport' now, so there is no more disadvantage/advantage of holding a Singapore passport :)

As it was still early for dinner (only 3+pm), we went to City Square's Season's for some hearty ice cream. The ice cream was not too bad, the presentation was good too, but the service was still very much to be desired. We asked for a glass of water at least 3-4 times, but that glass of water was still missing after we paid our bill and left.

We walked around in City Square for a while. LJ told me that Doraemon comics selling at Popular bookstore City Square is even more expensive than in Singapore. It costs S$2.00 in Singapore, but RM4.90 in JB. This is quite a contrary to the other comic books. For the same title, usually it is RM4.50 in JB and S$4.50-5.00 in Singapore. So it is not everything is cheap over the other side. Open your eyes wide wide wide whenever you buy anything.

Lady Elf once brought me to a place in JB for seafood, and he told me the place was called Taman Sentosa (大马花园), but when I told the taxi driver, he corrected me saying the place is called Taman Sri Tebrau. Anyway, we went to the right place. For my mistake, we were 'punished' to pay RM2.00 more for the trip. Usual fare is RM6.00, but had to pay RM8.00. Usual fare I mean the over-inflated fare charged by the taxi drivers in consensus, the meter fare is only RM3.70. Few taxi drivers in JB use the meter, even if they use it, the meter may have been tampered.

Ok, next came our hearty seafood dinner. We ordered black pepper crab (~RM45.00/kg), steamed pating fish (清蒸巴丁鱼) (~RM45.00), butter crayfish (牛油虾婆) (~RM45.00), and wild boar meat on hot plate (RM10 for small). The total bill was RM136.00, so something must be smaller somewhere. The stall we patroned was #958, I think.

Wild Boar Meat on Hot Plate & Butter Cray Fish (top)

Black Pepper Crab

The crab was just so-so, not really that fresh. The meat sticks to the cell. The best was the steamed pating fish. Fish was fresh from the tank. The meat was tender & juicy, it melts in your mouth (does it sound like the M & M ad?) Crayfish was not bad, too. Crispy after being deep fried with butter. Wild boar meat was a disappointment. It was too chewy, not tender at all.

Live Pating Fish (From archives)

In terms of dining environment, it is only a hawker centre. As the crowd builds up, more and more smoke comes out from all the busy kitchens. At the end of the meal, you smell really bad.
Anyway, for that kind of price, it is considered not too bad. The 3 ice creams we had at City Square cost RM43.70. Comparing the RM136.00 for the whole seafood meal with RM43.70 for 3 ice creams, it is really value for money.

I found a nice shop near Taman Sri Tebrau, selling some local Malaysian produces. One interesting product is the LuoHanGuo Gao (罗汉果膏). I have not seen it elsewhere before. I gave it a try, the taste was good and cooling. The service there was good. They actually serve customers a cup of tea.

Yong Sheng Gift Shop JB
79, Jln Keris, Taman Sri Tebrau,
80050 Johor Bahru, Johor
Tel: 07-2221362

The price is about RM2.00-5.00 cheaper than those in City Square.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Feeling Relaxed...

Today is Friday. Work has finally hit the milestone, where we can relax a bit. It feels good with all the work done (well, not exactly all done yet, but almost all). Working hard is never too much of a problem for Asians. The sense of some achievement is worth all that hard work. :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tread-Mill Test

Did a tread-mill test this past Monday at TTSH. In a tread-mill test, you will be asked to walk/run on a tread-mill, that's why it is called a tread-mill test anyway; at the same time, they will check your ECG as well as blood pressure.

When your heart pumps harder and harder as you walk/run faster and faster, if there is any anormality is observed in your ECG or blood pressure, then you may have some serious trouble with your heart.

Before the test, the nurse will ask you some questions such as do you smoke, did you have flu in the past week or so, any drug allegic, etc. Then they will explain to you the potential risk, which is if you really have a heart problem, the tread-mill test might just trigger a heart attack! Scary, isn't it?

How reliable the test is, as usual, very much depends on the patient and how professional those people who do the test for you. Just imagine, you are not walking/running with a dozen of wires on your body, and from time to time, that arm band for blood pressure measurement will compress your blood vessels. Anything can happen, the accuracy of the equipment is also a factor.

During the test, the nurses observed something strange, not on me, but the ECG machine. They tried to figure out why the display was different under different screen. That really made me doubt whether they actually KNOW how to use the machine correctly.

One of the Singaporean Chinese lady nurse on-duty obviously has a slacking mentality. She just wanted to finish quickly, nothing else was really important. Hard to see any professionalism.

You see, human factor is forever the least predictable variable in any engineering design. Any equipment, no matter how expensive it is, will be totally useless/worthless if the owner/operator is not using it the correct way. A good example? Just look at how many crappy photos coming out from those super expensive cameras. Go figure...