Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My Fingers Are Rusty

Has it been that long?

I just realised that I haven't posted anything new on my blog for a grand total of 9 days! Even as I clicked on the 'Create New Post' icon on Blogger, I can just about picture my dear ol' blog all covered in cobwebs and grimy soot. The poor thing.

Oh well, I have a few minutes to spare today so I think it's best I breathe some life back into my blog to save it from it's descent into oblivion.

Too much blessing?...hahah

It's amazing just how hectic our lives have become that we can't even spare a few minutes a day to jot down our thoughts. As for me, I confess that I've been guilty, just like you and the rest of the working drones out there...lol, of trying to cram as many productive nano-seconds into a day as humanly possible.

I guess I have no choice really. With the development of my new web service in its final stages, and with its iminent beta launch in December, now is not the time to sit back with my feet propped up on some fancy footstool. Having to balance all this with my office work and church activities can definitely be straining at times, but hey, I'm not complaining :) Join me in chanting my mantra..."Work is a blessing! work is a blessing....work is a blessing..... work is a blessing .... work is a bless...zzZzzZZzzZZz"

Monday, November 21, 2005

Opening of Little Asia

My friend, the restaurateur

My old school mate recently opened a swank little restaurant down in Klang. Called 'Little Asia', it features a unique asian fusion menu, plus the place looks really swell with live music performances to boot. What more could you ask from a restaurant? Not much, judging by the thronging crowd which packed the place every night since its opening 10 days ago.

It was great seeing my friend do well in this new business venture of his, and I wish him all the best. Now, where's my free food?...hahah.

(above: The founders of the restaurant are the 2 dudes on the left. The other guys on the right are just shameless freeloaders...hahah)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Who Let Them Out Of The Zoo?....

Deepavali Pics

Below are some long overdue pics of what I did during the recent Deepavali holidays. I won't say much (that's a first!), but I'll let the pictures do most of the 'talking'. After all, a picture is worth a thousand chapatis.

I won't even bother trying to explain that last sentence.


Waterfall in Bentong

(above: Ever let a guy stab a plastic fork up your posterior? Some people do so willingly...*shudder*)

(above: Ahhh, smiles all around. Dan the Man is in high spirits)

(above: Daniel and Cheng Jin auditioning for a role in Baywatch. Note: Nobody drowned in the capturing of this photo...darn it!)

(above: Janice and Rogue. Guess which is which.)

(above: Ye gads! Somebody call security! A hideous beast is on the loose!)

(above: 2 Yaps are not better than 1...hahahah)

(above: Everybody loves dogs.)

Celebration in Zouk

(above: Ahhh, the birthday boy (or should I say 'old fart'...hahah). On the brink of turning 30 and he can still muster a smile. Such a brave lad.)

(above: Me and Young, the birthday dude. He is still smiling, the poor soul. I think he is in denial.)

(above: Wow! Who's the gorgeous person in the photo?... ..... ..... and that's his girlfriend on the left )

(above: Ben and Karen showing why alcohol is good for you.)

(above: Don't believe this photo, it is fake. The guy isn't that tall in real life.)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Our Jobless Graduates

60,000 is a big number!

Yes, that's the number of jobless graduates we have in good ol' Malaysia. That's 60,000 people with nothing to do during the day other than loiter around shopping malls, laze around at home and bitch about the government not helping them enough. I know this can be construed as an unfair generalization, but this is MY blog and I can say whatever I want...ho ho ho. Anyway, if you are one of those aforementioned jobless graduates and you feel offended by what I just said, let me just say this to you...

"What in the world are you doing browsing through blogs when you should be out there looking for a job??"

My point exactly.

Spoon feed me, Spoon feed me!!

Out of those 60,000 jobless graduates, you would think that at least some of them would wisen up and seek to acquire more marketable skills instead of just blaming the government.

First on the list of things they should do is brush up on their atrocious English. Have you spoken to some of our local graduates lately? My goodness, I've spoken to toddlers who made more sense linguistically...and they haven't even been toilet trained yet!

Second, they should seek to improve their level of self confidence. Tell me, have you ever asked a person a question, only to have the person mumble out an incoherent reply? or pretend to not have heard your question? or shift his/her weight from foot to foot while emitting a stream of 'umms' and 'errmms'? I seriously pity what some employers have to go through.

Third of all, they should just quit WHINING about how the government is not providing enough jobs. Yes, our economy might not be soaring at the moment, well boo-hoo to you! What are you gonna do about it? Sit at home and whine to mommy and daddy or go out there and look for a job? Sad to say, most of our jobless graduates choose the former. How pathetic.

Totally unrelated

Here's an interesting fact for you. Please do NOT think that this is RELATED IN ANY WAY to Malaysia's unemployment situation.

Did you know that the Britannica Encyclopedia, a few years back, once listed 'Malays' as the 'laziest people in the world'? I am NOT saying that I agree with them (I do think that it is a classic example of Mat Salleh arrogance. Even if it were true, and I am NOT saying that it is, who gave them to right to generalize an entire race?)

Anyway, like I said, the reason for me revealing this fact has NOTHING TO DO with the earlier portion of this post.

No relation whatsoever.

PS: I got these links from a friend. Go check out Malaysia Today and Maobi's Blog for some interesting insights into our jobless graduates.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

KLCI Drifting - The Art of Moving Sideways

Who said anything about cars?

I bet a lot of you are eagerly anticipating a post about cars, performance mods and of course, drifting.

Sorry to disappoint you all, but I am referring to the 'sideways motion' of our stockmarket over the past few months (or year even)...hahah, bet you didn't see that coming did ya.

The power of 9

The Star newspaper has been talking a lot about the significance of the number 9 recently. I have no idea why though, could it be because they are celebrating their 9th birthday or something?..hmmm.

Well, this 'power' of 9 also translates to our KLCI, which has been stuck in the 900 range for more than a year now. Quite depressing actually. I opened up the newspaper this morning only to see that it has dropped by another 2.43 points to hit a low of 909.10. Just in case you're wondering, that's the same level we were at more than a year ago.

Back then, the underperformance of the KLCI was blamed on China's slowdown, the high price of oil and the rising interest rates in US. Fast forward a year later, China is still in the midst of slowing down, the interest rates in the US are still marching steadily (slowly) upwards and the price of oil, while down from its pre-Katrina high, is still pretty darn expensive if you ask me (RM1.62 for a litre of black stuff is painful by anyone's reckoning).

Just a case of blame game?

So is it fair to blame our underperformance on external factor such as those mentioned? Why is it that the KLCI in particular is underperforming so badly when compared to is regional peers (eventhough everyone is affected by the same external risks)? Here's a quote which was taken from CLSA Maxima 4Q/2005:
The Malaysian stock market continues to suffer from a distinct lack of positive catalysts. The market remains defensive in a regional context, reflecting its continuing underperformance. The MSCI Malaysia Index has risen by only 2.1% in US-dollar terms so far this year, while the MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan Index has risen by 12.3%.
Reading the above statement is enough to cause every Malaysian to go into a fit of kiasu-ness.

"We're losing out to our neighbours? Nooo!!"

Here's another quote taken from the same source:
The result is that the Malaysian stock market continues to be in the, hopefully, final throes of a long drawn out derating. This process has already led to a remarkable transformation. Prior to the Asian Crisis, Malaysia had claim to be the highest-beta market in the Asian region. This was, after all, the market famous for Clob, the Second Board, and a stock market to GDP ratio that peaked at 350%, all of which explains why Malaysia still accounted for 16% of the MSCI Emerging Markets Free Index at the beginning of 1997.

But Malaysia has now become the least exciting market in Asia, as reflected by the fact its average daily trading volume has risen much less than some other regional markets in the rally from the 2003 Sars lows. Average stock market daily turnover in Malaysia has risen from US$97m in 1Q03 to US$185m in 3Q05, while in Indonesia it jumped from US$21m to US$108m over the same period. Volatility in Malaysia has also collapsed. The annualised standard deviation of the KLCI’s daily performance had fallen from 61% in 1998 to 11% in 2004 and 8% year-to-date.

All this will change at some point since there is a latent speculative culture among Malaysian retail investors, which will surely return one day. But history suggests this is only likely to happen when foreign enthusiasm for the market returns. The obvious domestic trigger for increased foreign-investor interest is positive news on GLC restructuring. This is because the GLCs account for 33% of Malaysia’s stock market capitalisation, while successful restructuring of these companies would precipitate lots of opportunities for government divestments.
I don't claim to be an expert in economics, but to my simple mind, what we obviously have here is a lack of investor confidence, both domestic and foreign (the ang mohs don't seem to fancy putting their money in our country much nowadays...sighhh).

Looking back, you can hardly blame investors for feeling unsure about Malaysia though. Our new budget 2006 failed to generate a significant amount of excitement when it was announced. Same goes for the National Automative Policy which people criticised for its lack of details.

Chicken Little, The Sky Is Falling

Faced with all of this, I wonder what lies ahead for Malaysia. Will we continue to make strides towards achieving a developed nation status? Or will we be devoured by the competition as other nations surge ahead of us?

A point to note, back in the 1950's, both Malaysia and South Korea were roughly on par in terms of development and per capita income. Fast forward 55 years and South Korea has become an advanced technological hub which innovates and churns out cool stuff such as plasma screens, LCDs, video phones etc. As for Malaysia, ermm...we have our Gen.2.

Here's another quote which I like (I am not saying I agree or disagree with this quote):
The question of political will and the natural attachment to subsidies leads to the core structural problem posed by Malaysia’s 35-year-old New Economic Policy (NEP). In a world where the likes of China and India compete so aggressively, this policy has long since passed its sell-by date, assuming it ever had any value. But no one in the governing UMNO party is willing to say this in public.
I'm not bashing Malaysia or anything. I still think its a swell place to be. But we can't afford to be complacent one single bit. Times are too precarious for that.

Now if only some of our leaders and citizens would wake up to that fact.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Deepaaya, Harivali, Deeripaya, Haparavi

The holidays are over, now what?

I'm sitting in my office right now on a Monday morning, my laptop is emitting cheerful beeps and blips as it boots up in front of me, the sound of the traffic below is drowned out by my office's air conditioning ....and there's no where else I'd rather be right now than at home in bed.

This is the stuff post holiday blues are made of.

For those of you who are not currently in Malaysia and who have no idea what I'm rambling on about, we Malaysia-folks have just come to an end of a week long holiday which we lovingly called 'Deeparaya'. Just in case it isn't obvious enough, the word 'Deeparaya' is an amalagamation of the words Deepavali and Hari Raya. Doh!

A week of ups and downs

The past week was a pretty eventful one. To start it off, I got unceremoniously kicked out of Kick-Start. Yup, that's the reality show which I was in for the past month. The one which I was so confident of securing at least a place in the final 4, darn it!..hahahah. Anyway, in my defense.. I was eliminated not by the judges, but by my fellow contestants. You see, the producers decided to surprise us and add a twist by incorporating a Survivor-style elimination into the show. When they announced it, I already knew what was coming. I mean, of course they would vote me out right? After all, I would like to believe that this was due to the threat my 'stupendous abilities' posed to the rest rather than the fact that they couldn't stand my guts ... ermmm, right?

Strangely, I had a premonition of this weeks before it unfolded. Okay, maybe premonition is a bad choice of words. What I got was basically a 'word' whenever I had my devotion and quiet time with God. What God spoke to me helped prepare me for the elimination, and it also taught me that my hope lies not in the contest, not in my abilities, not in my contacts, not in money, not in any of those things but in Him entirely. Was it worth losing a stab at RM180K in order to have this lesson reinforced in me? Definitely :)

On a good note, the development for my 'Mooviq' business idea has finally commenced! The development time should take around 2-3 months, so hopefully it will be ready for a beta launch by the end of this year. Financing it was tough as I had to dip into my own funds for it, but I'm trusting that God will provide me with all the resources I need, hurrah!

Waterfalls, gonads and jazz bars

I went to the Bentong waterfalls with a group of friends for a picnic. Yup, a picnic! It's stranegly placating that in a hectic time and age such as ours, we can still find the time for an old fashioned picnic...hahaha. When we arrived at the waterfall, the waters were a wonderful shade of muddy brown thanks to the heavy rain earlier that morning. That however didn't stop a few brave souls amongst us (alright, substitute the word 'brave' with 'moronic' and the sentence would read more accurately...hahah) from frolicking in the muddy and extremely FRIGID waters.

Ah yes, the waters were extremely cold! Cold enough to freeze your gonads off, to turn your toes into 10 little mini-popsicles, to cause your sweat to crystalize into little droplets of ice on your brow, to make your nipples protrude 2 cm from its epicentre. In retrospect, it may seem like I'm exaggerating, but the water seriously felt that cold at that time! Obviously, I was not one of the abovementioned 'brave' souls. I wisely decided to limit myself to just dipping my feet into the water (my gonads are thanking me or that).

On saturday night, I headed on down to Alexis Ampang to catch my friend's live performance. In case you're wondering, my friend ala local artiste is none other than Liang! He just released his latest album entitled '8 OZ of Soul' so if you come across it in our local record stores, do check it out! The bar was pretty packed by the time the performance got underway and I'm glad to say that my mate Liang did very well. He was a bit apprehensive at first, but by the time the second set rolled around, he was his usual groovin self and performed several fantastic pieces with Juwita Suwito.

Ahh, nothing beats live music eh.


The past week also saw 2 of my friends celebrating their birthdays. Both of them are at the brink of turning 30 and they have my deepest heartfelt condolence...hahahah. The first birthday bash was at Zouk and consisted of the usual things people to do to friends who are celebrating their birthdays, ie: get them drunk, make them dance like a hobbit, get them to pose for silly pics etc.

The second birthday bash was on a Sunday and was held at San Francisco Steakhouse in D'sara Intan. This time, there were no alcohol-induced birthday antics but there were LOTS of nipple-focused activity. Ermm...I think it's best I leave that unexplained...hahah. Anyway, just to give you an idea of what a 'nipple-focused' activity, otherwise known as a nipple-cripple, looks like, here's a pic for ya.

All in all, the Deeparaya holidays were a blast. Now where did I put my calender? Time to start planning for the next break ;)