Thursday, January 19, 2017

Oh My Valentine, Please Sign The Prenup!!!



Let's take religion out of this first. There are obviously going to be two sides to this issue. In favour: they are being realistic as at least 40%-50% of all marriages end in divorce depending on which country data you are taking, and you want things to be easier for both sides if it should end, the amount of time spent wrangling in divorce courts is such a waste of time. Not in favour: destroys the very essence of marriage (lifelong concept); dilutes the importance of marriage, partnership, trust and romance.

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Straits Times: 'Prenuptial deals: Court clears the air', as the validity of prenuptial contracts (prenups) are on the minds of many young couples thinking of tying the knot. The divorce of the Dutchman and his Swedish wife generated much interest here as, before this landmark case, the courts had not indicated specifically whether such prenups should be upheld. Since the couple had entered the prenup before a notary, such an agreement should be given much weight.



Prenups are authorised by law in some countries like Thailand. A man who is thinking of marrying his Thai girlfriend should seek advice from a lawyer familiar with Thai law, more so if the couple live in Thailand. Prenups are valid in 50 states in the United States. Case law is sufficiently developed and a well-drafted prenup can withstand the closest scrutiny. On the other hand, prenups are not recognised in Britain. However, some weight may be given by the court, which will take the content of the agreement into account when reaching its decision.
It used to be that only those with vast fortunes to protect considered a prenup as part of their wedding plans. Now, however, it is not just the rich and famous who iron out their financial obligations in the event of a divorce before they even take their marriage vows. Such steps may not be necessary for every couple, but in the light of the rising divorce rate and more common second marriages, many couples welcome the suggestion of a prenup.

Couples entering their second marriage often execute an agreement to protect the interests of their children from a prior marriage. Young professionals turn to prenups as a way to protect the rewards of their personal success. Even couples without much assets look to prenups as a way to avoid an acrimonious battle over what they accumulate during the course of the marriage.

To ensure the agreement is binding, the parties must make a full and fair disclosure of their financial worth. It is also desirable to have each party seek advice from their own lawyer. Since an agreement signed today may not be fair in the future, the parties can agree to make adjustments based on factors such as length of marriage or a change in relative earning capacities.

As celebrated English judge Lord Denning once said, divorce and financial matters are probably last on the list of things a couple want to contemplate on their wedding day. In the proper context, however, such a discussion can lead to a prenup that both parties view as a precaution designed to prevent a prolonged and expensive divorce settlement.

More often than not, one partner has greater assets and stands to lose a larger sum in the event of a divorce. Other considerations to think about include one spouse who will support the other through university (and wants an equitable share in future financial gain), or if one partner already has children from a previous marriage.

Be that as it may, the prenup should be entered into voluntarily; it should not be unconscionable. It should not be so one-sided and oppressive that no one in his right mind would sign it without duress. Enforceability is more certain when the prenup does not harshly and unfairly eliminate a party's rights to property acquired during the marriage.

In short, prenups will eliminate a long and costly court battle if there is proper disclosure by both parties, and the terms of the agreement are not harsh and unconscionable.

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My views:

1) Prenups should be encouraged if one party's assets/ net worth is 90% or more of the combined couple's net worth. If its not, I would rather say forget it and just carry on.

2) Prenups does not give the richer party the right to take back all he/she brought to the marriage - the party still has to bear the cost of raising the children, alimony/palimony, sharing of assets acquired during the marriage, etc... But it does give some clarity: for example when Mr. Hui married Lee Kar Yan, I would be very shocked if she did not signed a prenup. As rich as Miss Lee is (maybe to the tune of US$20m), that is nothing compared to Mr. Hui's net worth which is more than US$500m. Hence a prenup might read something like this:
- if divorced within 5 years, she will get US$25m
- if divorced within 10 years, she will get US$50m
Some prenups can be very detailed, especially when it comes to kids, but that's another thing.

3) The more you can agree in a prenup, the more you will understand each other. Trying to be romantic in not having a prenup is naive and silly as you have a very good chance (backed by solid empirical data testing) of ending up in divorce courts later. Then you will spend hundreds of hours arguing over who gets what, how much to pay, which house you want, whose momentos are those, which school to send the kids, is having two maids too extravagant, etc... thus enriching the lawyers - ever seen a rich lawyer not having a prenup??? If a rich lawyer lives in a country where prenups are not allowed, well that's why those rich lawyers don't go around philandering so much... now you know why. I have never heard of a rich lawyer with a mistress, and being caught... wonder why??!!

4) Those sticking to the romance of not talking about money and assets are deluding themselves. It may not sound romantic but its very liberating. One of the biggest problems with marriages is the fact that many are entering with differing assumptions and belief systems, and both sides don't know that of each other.

5) If you think that prenups are a bad omen for marriages and are doomed to failure, then why do we even buy insurance policies, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, medical insurance, or for any other matters that touch our lives? The reasons are the same, it makes good sense.

6) Those who are the poorer partner in a marriage do not need to fear prenups. Most will still be much much better off financially in a divorce even with a prenup. If your net worth is zilch and your partner is worth US$30m, rest assured that he/she will put in the prenup that you will get a lump sum (which will not be close to 50%) of maybe 5%-15% of his/her net worth.


7) Prenups do not cause marriages to fail, marriages have been failing very nicely without prenups, OK!

8) Those religions which says that marriage is forever tend to frown on prenups. Well, without the prenups, these religious marriages almost have the same divorce rate as the rest of the population. No need to hide behind the sanctity of marriage and excuse yourself from helping one another face these important issues better.


9) Some will say that if they go down a road expecting it to fail, they'd rather not take that road. That is so naive, nobody wants marriages to fail, but they do fail. The divorce rates is at least 20% or higher - that is a given, whether you have prenups or not. Having said that, have you ever noticed how people at weddings are probably the most optimistic people on earth. The well wishers, the smiles, the laughter, the excitement of starting a new journey with glee and anticipation.... all optimists... if they know that their marriage has about 2 in 10 chances of failing, that would take some of the steam from the souffle ... but then again, any excuse to be drunk is still a good idea.


10) Those who say they enter a marriage based on trust... well and good, but what are you trusting in??? That your partner will act and behave in the manner that you know. Well, all who say that should go to divorce courts and sit in a few cases - see where the trust, patience, understanding have gone to... We have been deluded by notions of undying love, everlasting loyalty, unshakable romanticism, profoundly deep love from story books, TV and the movies .... I am not saying they do not exist, they do, but still you must be realistic.


11) Marry for the right reasons - Many will cite love, many more will justify their love of the person's character, even looks, disposition, genuineness, gentleness, their level of intelligence, their humouristic ways, even the way they speak, the way they carry themselves, how they treat us, etc... but to cite that you love them partly because of their net worth is close to being vulgar and despicable. But you and I know that that is a significant reason for marriage in many cases. By not talking about it is naive and even maliciously fraudulent. People will speak of the need for security (money), comfort (money), ... but will not mention the real M word. MY advice is, be clear and be outright with it, it will bring your relationship to a much higher level.


I have no issues with prenups, I think they are great provided the prenups are crafted with care, love, respect and good wishes. It is so much easier to agree on these things when things are going well... how to agree on those things when the relationship is down in the dumps?? Anyway, I'd probably don't have to ask my future wife to sign a prenup, in all likelihood, I will be the one being asked to sign one.


Love in all its grandeur and glory is wonderful and perfect. To strive for perfection and ultimate bliss is to be human. To fail is also because we are human. We are fallen beings, do not think that we are angels on earth. Its not heaven yet though we may like to think that sometimes.


p/s photos: Gigi Lai Chi


Ngui Chap Wong @ Plaza Damas

It's location prob made it hard to be discovered. It's at Plaza Damas but not inside the mall. It's among the rows of shops outside the mall. It's on the higher floor as well, same row as Blue Cow butcher. If u like beef stew ... it's vg. The broth is more like thick soup with deep beefy flavours. The beef parts are well stewed n melts in your mouth. 8.5/10 @Ngui Chap Wong Cafe .. n they do cold pressed juices too.



You see the little plate of chilli,... wanted to call for more but I thought I try first. Damn... it was strong, shocking right for beef stew, and that small amount was sufficient for the whole bowl.







Their last day will be CNY eve lunch only. They will be back open TUESDAY 31 January (4th day CNY) ...when most other shops will be closed. Hint, hint.









Wednesday, January 18, 2017

CLSA FengShui Predictions 2017


After a fowl year in 2016, how will you and the Hang Seng Index fare 
with the plucky Rooster in 2017? Our 23rd Feng Shui guide offers an 
alternative look at what’s in store this year to help the luck flow in your 
direction.

Feng Shui masters are valued in the Orient by those looking to foretell 
the future. If you're running a hedge fund, no doubt you'll take our 
sorcerer’s view on the year ahead with a pinch of salt, but curiosity if 
not superstition may get the better of you. 

So scroll on down and chick out all manner of forecasts for the year 
ahead. Our longstanding health warning holds: don’t get your feathers 
ruffled and take it too seriously! - CLSA

https://www.clsa.com/special/fsi/2017/





Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bank Negara May Have Switched On A Bull Run

Post Published: 5 Dec 2016
Update: When I wrote the post, the majority canned my piece. But this is not a "I told you so" thing. It is so easy to be a critic, let's see how many would be willing to call me and say they were wrong. I bet you very few. When you post an opinion, the internet is a ghastly thing - it allows for unfettered brickbats that has little or no justification or arguments except "I don't think that's true". Is this all ego and pride? Do we all want "acknowledgement" and "praise"? Having a blog for 10 years, I have seen enough. I am also OK when people disagree but at least show some decency and point out why when you disagree. I don't need to be right all the time but at least I dare to say it and put it out there. The world is not all bar room talk... talk cock and thats it, nobody remembers. Make it count, people.

p/s the bull run has started on the local bourse a few days back...

The brave new rules in a brave new world by Bank Negara have set many tongues a-wagging. The media has been having field day slamming the "likely causes" of a weakening ringgit. Let's not get into that for now - we all know whats bringing it down. Let's address the consequences, the aftermath ... for now.

A weak ringgit is not all bad, unless you are travelling or importing stuff. Just travel domestic, and I don't have much sympathy for traders, I mean, they do not really add value, they just import and distribute at a higher price. If they cannot pass the price increase onwards, then biz will be affected, so let it be.

The fact that from now on companies have to convert 75% into ringgit of their proceeds IS A VERY MAJOR THING. I suspect the majority of listed companies with foreign proceeds have been largely keeping them in foreign currency for the last 12-18 months.

Let's be honest here, the ringgit is suffering largely due to the "confidence" issue, if our own major exporters keep keeping their foreign currency proceeds and not convert to ringgit, it can only exacerbate the situation. Its like your family has a crisis and all your members are deserting the clan. 

Then there are the exporters who are appealing for that figure to be 50% instead of 75% in order to keep buying "raw materials and goods". That very appeal shows that they have been keeping much more than 75% for I don't know how long - what about the "supernormal gains" these exporters have been reaping from "translation gains" for the past 12-18 months ... somehow just vanished in thin air!!??

Now, they cannot do it. I think for at least 1/3 of the listed firms that have been profitable, being forced to convert to ringgit will actually realise a lot of gains. Yes, these gains are one-off but still gains. Fr profitable exporters, they'd be profitable already at 3.5 to the dollar ... give them 4.0 or 4.4 ... they are laughing silently.

So, yes, Bank Negara has fast forwarded the next bull run, which I anticipate will NEED a few ingredients:

1) better oil prices (done, with the recent OPEC deal)

2) China led investments - construction, infra

3) strengthening ringgit from lows - done with BN's latest move

4) the speculation over upcoming elections

You will be getting very good results from most affected listed companies for their next 2 quarters - which will be further catalyst to the run.

So, you heard it here first!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Passengers - Go Watch It



Passengers. Brilliant story telling. Visionary yet believable. Like Martian, only better. Space travel, science, romantic, desolation, philosophical, mortality n its devastation, spectacular imagery. Being human n humane. 9.7/10






Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Casinos In Japan - An Assessment

This was considered unimaginable 15 years ago, but a group from LDP finally managed to push through the new bill. The new bill proposes allowing large-scale projects that will combine casinos with hotel, shopping and conference facilities. Attracting tourists is one of the key economic policies of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and supporters say these developments will bolster the country's flagging economy and help support tourism after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The law urges the government to prepare legislation within one year to deal with problems connected with casino resorts, including gambling addiction and ways to prevent the involvement of organized crime groups.


Likelihood To Go All The Way: Despite a 2-1 disapproval by the public, the likelihood of this plan to come to fruition is very high. As you know to even get passed the Lower House would have required a lot, a lot of stamp signatures and collusion. Hiroyuki Hosoda, head of the main pro-casino parliamentary group and one of three casino proponents recently named to top LDP spots - is the key reason why as long as LDP is around and in power, this will get through. Japan's international tourism arrivals was 19.7m in 2015... compared to 30m for Macau and 15m for Singapore - so safe to say, the tourism angle will push the deal through.

Beneficiaries: Although the top operators' share prices went up slightly on the news, there are really only two serious contenders for the two casinos. Sands and Genting, fullstop. Why? Balance sheet strength (very important to the Japanese).GENS has cited potential passing of the Japan integrated resorts bill as one of its main reasons to sell its Jeju casino stake and get back S$588 million ($413.60 million) of capital. The other reason has to be the "Singapore experience" - which the Japanese can see, watch and follow. They would have liked the detailed planning, great execution, good rules to govern and restrict local population from over-gambling. They will probably frown on the Vegas experience - too gaudy, too bawdy and anything goes. They would have frowned at the Macau experience as well - uncontrolled chaos, overbuilding, soul-less, not family oriented enough, only bringing in "real hard core gamblers" (when they really want a more holistic family thing).


Local Beneficiaries:  Fuji Media, Tokyotokeiba, machine makers Sega Sammy and Konami Holdings Corp, as well H.I.S. Co Ltd  - a major travel agency jockeying to develop a casino in southern Japan. Property developers such as Mitsui Fudosan and Tokyo Tatemono.

The KEY:  In things like these, it is what ISN'T said that is more important. In order for Sands and Genting to nail the deal - its the partners they go with. The committee will have a handful of "important enough" local partners on their list, but will probably not enunciate them. It is up to the two to guess. It is always important for the Japanese to "balance the scales", i.e. who loses out in this new development should be "compensated somewhat. Currently the pachinko gaming has the biggest pull in gambling plus horse racing. Will need to "appease" the two. How big is pachinko gambling you say ... in 2015 it was approximately US$190bn.



The other key is selecting the location/partner - should not be near major cities, but accessibly via bullet trains/express rail because with 19.7m annual tourists a year, this will boom towards 30-40m a years when it actually opens, hence the need to divert. Plus it should not be near Disney's two resorts.




Friday, December 09, 2016

Covered Warrants - The Not So Silent Killer

One should never never punt on warrants with less than 1 year to expiry, especially covered warrants. I can safely bet that anyone who trades in covered warrants in the course of a year will have a 90% chance to sustain losses. 

Unfortunately, our markets have been in the doldrums for the past 6 months or so and that has caused some die hard players to only consider covered warrants, esp those index covered ones, in particular the highly volatile HSI covered (which kind of acts as a proxy to the even more volatile China exchanges).

Just have a look at the daily volume rankings, its always the covered warrants for the past few months. Strange as it may seem, if things continue, our local exchange will be trading mostly other countries' covered index warrants for the longest time - esp if the big guys introduce the Nikkei covered as well.

Why investors will lose big in the long run:

1) Time Value - These covered warrants are usually short in terms of time to expiry, usually less than 12 months. Investors are usually lured into covered warrants when their absolute price are less than 30-40 sen because they think they get a lot of leverage. But to get to 30-40 sen, it also usually meant that there is less than 6 months to expiry, and trust me, the time value diminishes rapidly. Even if the linked product stays stationary, you will find the price of the CW dropping.

2) Your opponent - Unlike a company's warrant, in CWs there are teams of experienced traders (issuers) with sophisticated models fighting you on the other side. If you think the role of issuing house is to MANAGE their gammas and betas, YOU'D be very wrong. The safest way to make money for issuers is just to manage and capture the premium, manage free float, and make sure you are well hedged. MUCH LIKE THE CASINOS - they almost never ever lose... so guess who wins and loses in the end. Better to go Genting, seriously.

Even when you keep wanting to buy, they will keep giving you the volume to buy. They can keep throwing new shares at you as long as the equation is right. What you see on the screen being offered is never what they "really can sell" to you.

3) Volatility - The die hards will say they trade only the highly volatile CWs such as HSI. Yes, thats a better strategy but I can also tell you that the higher the volatility, the higher the premium that is priced into these CWs, and it will take a hefty whack in movement to erase the premium before you see good gains.

4) One Sided - You know very well the issuers KNOW you can only take ONE SIDE of the equation. So overtime you show up on the screen, either you are buying or buying. At any point in time, they know how many people are long or short out there. Imagine playing black/red, but you can only bet red and the odds are always 0.7 to one instead of 1 to 1.

5) Timing - The nature of the product necessitates the need to TIME your entry point accurately. So, unless you are the type that can walk between raindrops to avoid getting wet - fergedaboudit.

The next time you think of trading a CW... just picture the trading/hedging teams at the banks, you can almost invariably see them laughing and chuckling to themselves at how easy it is to make money from the market (that means you and me).


p/s my first 8 years of my career was spent placing, trading and managing the house book on Japanese corporate warrants for Nomura and James Capel




Friday, November 11, 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Law & Dis-Order ... Must Watch



I like TVB series generally but most are nothing much to shout about. But I must strongly recommend this one, Law Disorder ... about a bunch of lawyers in a firm. Its conniving, devious, thrilling, plot thickening with every episode and plot twisting till your stomach turns ... a place where no one is obviously the hero, a place where no one is entirely blameless or evil. 

I must commend on the new bunch of writers. Human relations are callous, no more Mr. Nice Guy TVB feel-good touchy-feely stuff here, everyone has their inner motivations and not all are grand and altruistic at all. There are no permanent friends or enemies, its gripping... if only every boardroom meeting in reality were like that.

Morality is always not set in cement, values can be argued, and there is no black or white, just different shades of grey. Watch it it, its better than Suits and Boston Legal.








Monday, August 22, 2016

ASSET CLASS RETURNS AS AT 31 JULY 2016

What can we surmise from the major asset classes table below? A lot. Bear in mind that these returns are priced in USD, which has generally performed well against most currencies this year.













































Major developed equity markets had a largely rough first few months in 2016, thanks to Brexit. However the recovery was quite sharp too in July, compared to the overall YTD performance. Are there anything the markets are not afraid of anymore. There is a running theme across the asset classes - negative interest rates in some developed nations. You can literally see that impacting across the board.

Emerging markets equity had an even better performance YTD, and rallied alongside developed markets last month. When priced in USD, it also meant that the actual returned were further enhanced in local currency (for most).

Where you find the greatest impact of the negative interest rates theme - REITs, foreign, US and emerging markets bonds... look at their YTD gains in USD.

As you are beginning to see the movement and adjustments by bond funds into "other bonds" away from negative interest rates zones, you are also seeing the movement of "new money" NOT away from bond funds gradually. Those funds that had to be in bonds are already swishing and realigning themselves.

The bastardisation of currency (excessive QE) also meant that there is a major shift into "real assets"... in our case REITs and gold. Gold has surged 27% YTD and I do not see that ending anytime soon.

Oil has given back half its rally in just last month. Even then, it was not enough to roil the markets anymore. We are shifting into the negative interest rates zone, whereby hot money are now having to look elsewhere for yields.


Friday, August 05, 2016

Bad Moms - A Surprisingly Good Movie


This was a surprisingly good movie... Thought I give it a chance to see Mila Kunis, the lovable Kristen Bell and the ever gorgeous Christina Applegate ... but its Kathryn Hanh who stole the show as the loose single mum who's game for anything. Its 18+ so you know its a lot of fun. Tackling real issues with brutal honesty and there were plenty of laugh out loud and long moments. Touching piece at the end when all the stars talked with their real mothers. Excellent 9.5/10.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Cold War II - Best 'Cop/Drama/Thriller' Movie Ever?




Chinese movies are right up there with the very best when they put their hearts and souls into them. Take the cops/thriller/crime category, some of the best include Infernal Affairs, Cold War I, the amazing PTU series by Johnnie To Kei Fung ... all were amazing and right up there with the very best. So it would be a big thing for me to pronounce Cold War II as the best ever, bettering those that I have just mentioned.

It is not essential to have watched Cold War I, but if you did you will appreciate the underlying motivations and bad blood among the characters better.





Why was the movie so good... good vs evil, when they are not so clearly defined, its varying shades of gray, no one is completely blameless, even the good guys. The conversation was well scripted, it builds the mystery, the gravity of the situation .. so good. The storyline was magnificent, at every crossroad there were plenty of options the director, writer could have taken ... You get the nuances, you feel for the characters' underlying motivations.

The breakdown in what motivates a person: money, personal, family and power ... power=money. Mixed in the police force and the politicians trying to control every facet of the heirarchy, you have a potent mix. In any democratic country, the institutions that must be independent: THE JUDICIARY, THE POLICE FORCE and THE CENTRAL BANK ... if any of the institution's integrity of independence is compromised ... you get ... (you know the answer).

The return to the screen proper in a proper serious role by Chow Yun Fatt, was easily the best performance by him for a long while... if the eyes could talk. Aaro Kwok was great as usual, Tony Leung Ka Fai had the best role, more excruciating this time around and he nailed it. 




My previous review of Cold War I:




http://malaysiafinance.blogspot.my/2013/03/must-watch-movies.html




Sunday, June 26, 2016

Brexit - The Aftermath




Yes, Brexit was a disaster for capital markets ... but mainly because most traders did not hedge their positions for such an eventuality. Most traders assume the Brits would never do something so silly. Yes, it is silly because Britain has a 75% export market and depends on the union in more ways than one. 


London as the financial centre has been magnified for the past 10-15 years thanks to the free movement of labour, capital ... the flow on benefits of that cannot be minimised.


WHAT IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN

- REGRET: More and more Brits will regret their decision. There will be movements to garner sufficient support for a second referendum - even though that is not written in stone, it could be debated in Parliament if there is sufficient pressure.


-  POLITICAL WILL: Cameron did what I considered the smartest chess move, and swiftly too, by resigning immediately. He is basically saying, you want to eat shit, then I am not going to be the one to open the door and scoop the shit. No wonder Boris looked like Becker having lost Wimbledon yet again. Boris should be celebrating but with Cameron's resignation, he is in line to be the "the leader" and its really a no win situation for Boris of London. If you look around, none of the vocal  Brexit leaders are now trumpeting to invoke Article 50 immediately. This is the classic case of "be careful what you wish for, cause you buggers do not know what to do when you have it".

- E.U. STANCE: The 6 foreign ministers of EU came out strongly to basically ask Britain to move quickly to exit. That might be a surprising stance to many but its a calculated stance to stand strong and send a signal to other nations wanting to leave the union. Its still a stance.

- This will lead to a discordant British society with youth vs seniors, as the majority of the seniors voted for Brexit while the majority of youths voted to remain. Looking at actual impact, most youths have another 40-60 years to live with the decision while the seniors have between 5-20 years. You do the math. As you stop people from coming in, you also limit the "opportunities" to work in the rest of Europe. There are also many British retirees in Spain, Portugal and Greece ... I think they will make it tougher for these seniors to retire there soon.

- OTHER EXITS: Naysayers will cite that now more countries will go for the referendum route to exit EU. Well, thats a probable route because most right wing parties in every country will try to jump on the bandwagon. Again, we have to look at this logically. Not every country want to leave the union as they are in a position of weakness in economic terms, structurally and being too inter-dependent on the union.


WHAT IS REALLY REALLY LIKELY TO HAPPEN

- Both side will quickly try to negotiate a "new treaty" ala Switzerland, Norway. The EU really really needs Britain to be in at least in economic terms. If Britain can get some new terms in free movement of labour, I think that can sway the way for a second referendum. If you look at it, both sides really want to be in. Even Brexit leaders will concede that much if the terms can be changed somewhat.

- At the end of it all, its the immigration issue, nothing else. Maybe a special passport will be needed for other Europeans wanting to work or stay in London. Actually its not that difficult. Just accept Temporary Resident, renewable for every 3 years, provided they have a proper job offer. And they must leave the country within 3 months if they do not have a job anymore.




MARKETS

- Very hard to try to discount when there are still so many permutations. To try and guess, will make you making good money or lose a ton of money. If thats the kind of bet you want, go ahead. But if I am forced to bet, based on the arguments above, I'd bet for sanity to prevail and the human will to survive and reconnect - bullish, even though its mad-like bullishness.

Remember that, when presented with a great unknown with an equal amount of uncertainty, markets will discount down and will overshoot. The 'what mights' are all tainted with worst case scenario ... but we should look at what is probable given that people will make decisions based on new evidence on the table, and new evidence is neither Britain nor the EU liked the ramifications. Thus safe to say, it is likely both sides will try and hammer out something which will keep the EU intact - because a nasty breakup will cause EU to disintegrate, and Britain will be whiplashed terribly being an export reliant market (to EU mainly).

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Why Proton Probably Cannot Compete

If one were to ask why Proton should no longer exists ... or why Proton is finding it so hard to make money after such a long time ...: Most will cite the fact that we were uncompetitive (design, research, economies of scale, talent, domestic market). If thats not enough to convince you, well, look at the GLOBAL CAR INDUSTRY, and then see what you can CONCLUDE FROM THE PICTURE:






















































Conclusion: Look at 99% of the auto makers, they are under ONE BIG UNIT. How in HELL or HEAVEN can Proton compete with these units. They will be able to share research costs, design costs, management processes, share backoffice expenses, sourcing economies of scale, buying power over suppliers and even distributors ... with the array of products, they can even "negotiate with leverage with governments and unions" to get tax breaks, incentives and cheap land for assembly and manufacturing. Naturally the bigger the grouping, the better the ability to attract and reward genuine talent.

Even when you try to protect Proton by imposing high tariffs/taxes on imports ... our domestic market is just not big enough - almost all profits recorded by Proton came from the pockets of Malaysians who have no choice but to pay for an over priced Proton cause other imported cars have been pushed even higher artificially. Where are we we in terms of earnings per capita, we do not make even the top 30 0r 40 countries. But where are we in terms of car prices globally??? We are in the top 3. Thats a huge chunk from our free cash flow. Enough la, citizens subsidised, then government also gives out loan again and again. I am all for patriotism but sometimes it no longer makes sense. At least we gave a try, lets move on.

Each and every factor I have mentioned, you can pinpoint where Proton will be in terms of competing with them. So, please seriously consider shutting it down, or selling to somebody cause we have no economies of scale, cost advantages, design superiority, ... to speak of. We will just continue to ask MOF for funds every 3-5 years.



Sunday, June 05, 2016

Debunking The Myth & Aura Of French Wines - Its Just Prejudice & Self Inflated Ego

Every ten years or so, we will see the nouveau rich clambering over themselves to get a heady collection of French wines and try to outbid each other for the latest release from the first growths in France. I find it a bit infantile and elicit a lot of head shaking from the over-enthusiasm over French wines.

Its not that they are not great, they can be. Its like fuckers who smoke cigars and just stick to Cubans because popular culture tells them thats the only thing worth smoking - BULLSHIT ... same with French wines - they are very good but you would miss out on so many wonderful nuances of wines from other countries if you held onto your biases.

So, who perpetuates the myth that French wines are superior? The French themselves of course. the whole French language and character of the country cause a romance that stirs the air. Their well known arrogance and pooh-pooh anything not-French kind of exacerbated the snootiness - which I don't understand why the rest of the world stupidly clamours for??!!

Single malt whiskey is a lot more democratic. Sure you get your old Scottish or Irish die-hards who would never venture out of their Speysides for their preferred poison. Single malts, a most egalitarian drink - thats probably because the Scots and Irish folks are not so full of themselves like the croissant. Thats because the Scots and Irish fols are less of an asshole than the French in general. But, most whiskey drinkers would accord great respect to any new great distillery. Besides Ireland and Scotland, knowledgeable drinkers now gladly add the fantastic Japanese, even India, and the new boy Taiwan to the fold.


Because these new fuckers won the international competitions, and the global tasters agreed wholeheartedly. For the French wine mafias, they will come up with 101 defence stances for losing to Californian wines.

NOT ONCE!!!

NOT TWICE!!!

NOT JUST THREE TIMES!!!

NOT JUST IN PARIS ...

The best palates in the world ... could not hold onto their biases. And when they lost, again and again, they are silly kids refusing to eat their greens. Enough la, French fuckers and French lovers...its just wine, not your grand-daddy's ashes!

Again, its not that French wines are not good, they are good but do not go stupidly gaga over them, and the much higher prices they command ... There are many rich people who would still insist on being French favouring BECAUSE thats what sommeliers tell them (well, they are mostly all fucking French trained) ... there is a lot at stake for the wine merchants, the sommeliers, the Frenchies to keep French wine as a snob product, so don't jump in with the bunch of ninkampoos.


The old rich were largely brought up by "European culture" as the gold standard, much like French fine dining. What I am trying to say is that even French fine dining had to come down a few notches with the emergence of brilliant chefs from USA, Australia, Japan, Denmark, Norway, Spain ... can you imagine if the Michelins still stuck to an all French fucking directory??!!

The French oenophiles like us to forget the many blind tasting competitions ... BECAUSE they only know French wines well, so if I am schooled in the Latin language of course I am going to try to preserve Latin as a cool thing cause thats my forte - I will try to defend it no matter how silly the arguments are. 

Failing at that, they will say aah... French wines has history, its like a romance, you fall in love with a woman, you don't compare whether she is the perfect woman or better woman ... Aaah spoken like a loser!!!

At the end of it all... just drink la, don't use your little knowledge to LORD OVER THE REST.

(The contest has to be Californian wines vs French because the product is closely matched in nuances. If its a big Aussie red, the tasters would have no problem identifying them outright).








THE JUDGMENT OF PARIS

The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 or the Judgment of Paris was a wine competition organized in Paris on 24 May 1976 by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant, in which French judges carried out two blind tastingcomparisons: one of top-quality Chardonnays and another of red wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California).[1] A Californian wine rated best in each category, which caused surprise as France was generally regarded as being the foremost producer of the world's best wines. Spurrier sold only French wine and believed that the California wines would not win.[2]

The eleven judges were (in alphabetical order):

Average Original grades: out of 20 points.
RankGradeWineVintageOrigin
1.14.14Stag's Leap Wine Cellars1973 USA
2.14.09Château Mouton-Rothschild1970 France
3.13.64Château Montrose1970 France
4.13.23Château Haut-Brion1970 France
5.12.14Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello1971 USA
6.11.18Château Leoville Las Cases1971 France
7.10.36Heitz Wine Cellars Martha's Vineyard1970 USA
8.10.14Clos Du Val Winery1972 USA
9.9.95Mayacamas Vineyards1971 USA
10.9.45Freemark Abbey Winery1969 USA

White wines[edit]

California Chardonnays vs. Burgundy Chardonnays Average Original grades: out of 20 points.
RankGradeWineVintageOrigin
1.Chateau Montelena1973 USA
2.Meursault Charmes Roulot1973 France
3.Chalone Vineyard1974 USA
4.Spring Mountain Vineyard1973 USA
5.Beaune Clos des Mouches Joseph Drouhin1973 France
6.Freemark Abbey Winery1972 USA
7.Batard-Montrachet Ramonet-Prudhon1973 France
8.Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Domaine Leflaive1972 France
9.Veedercrest Vineyards1972 USA
10.David Bruce Winery1973 USA


Tasting replications[edit]

Some critics[7] argued that French red wines would age better than the California reds, so this was tested.

San Francisco Wine Tasting of 1978[edit]

The San Francisco Wine Tasting of 1978 was conducted 20 months after the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. Steven Spurrier flew in from Paris to participate in the evaluations, which were held at the Vintners Club.[8][3]
On January 11, 1978, evaluators blind-tasted the same Chardonnays tasted earlier in Paris.
  1.  USA – 1974 Chalone Winery
  2.  USA – 1973 Chateau Montelena
  3.  USA – 1973 Spring Mountain Vineyard
  4.  France – 1972 Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Domaine Leflaive.
Ranking lower were Meursault Charmes Roulot 1973, Beaune Clos des Mouches Joseph Drouhin 1973, and Batard-Montrachet Ramonet-Prudhon 1973.
On January 12, 1978, evaluators blind-tasted the same Cabernet Sauvignons tasted earlier in Paris.
  1.  USA – 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
  2.  USA – 1970 Heitz Wine Cellars Martha’s vineyard
  3.  USA – 1971 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello
  4.  France – 1970 Château Mouton Rothschild.
Ranking lower were Château Montrose 1970, Château Haut-Brion 1970, and Château Leoville Las Cases 1971.

French Culinary Institute Tasting of 1986[edit]

Two tastings were conducted by the French Culinary Institute (now called the International Culinary Center) on the tenth anniversary of the original Paris Wine Tasting. White wines were not evaluated in the belief that they were past their prime.[citation needed]
Steven Spurrier, who organized the original 1976 wine competition, assisted in the anniversary tasting.[citation needed] Eight judges blind tasted nine of the ten wines evaluated. The evaluation resulted in the following ranking[citation needed]
Results
Rank Wine
  1.  USA – Clos Du Val Winery 1972
  2.  USA – Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello
  3.  France – Château Montrose
  4.  France – Château Leoville Las Cases 1971
  5.  France – Château Mouton Rothschild 1970
  6.  USA – Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1973
  7.  USA – Heitz Wine Cellars 1970
  8.  USA – Mayacamas Vineyards 1971
  9.  France – Château Haut-Brion

Wine Spectator Tasting of 1986[edit]

Four of the judges were experts from Wine Spectator and two were outsiders. All tasted the wines blind.
Results
Rank Wine
  1.  USA – Heitz Wine Cellars 1970
  2.  USA – Mayacamas Vineyards 1971
  3.  USA – Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello
  4.  USA – Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1973
  5.  USA – Clos Du Val Winery 1972
  6.  France – Château Montrose 1970
  7.  France – Château Mouton Rothschild 1970
  8.  France – Château Leoville Las Cases 1971
  9.  USA – Freemark Abbey Winery 1969
  10.  France – Château Haut-Brion 1970

30th Anniversary[edit]

A 30th anniversary re-tasting on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean was organized by Steven Spurrier in 2006. As The Times reported "Despite the French tasters, many of whom had taken part in the original tasting, 'expecting the downfall' of the American vineyards, they had to admit that the harmony of the Californian cabernets had beaten them again. Judges on both continents gave top honors to a 1971 Ridge Monte Bello cabernet. Four Californian reds occupied the next placings before the highest-ranked Bordeaux, a 1970 Château Mouton-Rothschild, came in at sixth."[9]
The Tasting that Changed the Wine World: 'The Judgment of Paris' 30th Anniversary was conducted on 24 May 2006.[10]
The 30th anniversary was held simultaneously at the museum Copia in Napa, California and at Berry Bros. & Rudd (Britain’s oldest wine merchant) in London, in association with Steven Spurrier, who created the original Paris event.
The panel of nine wine experts at Copia consisted of Dan Berger, Anthony Dias Blue, Stephen Brook, Wilfred Jaeger, Peter Marks MW, Paul Roberts MS, Andrea Immer Robinson MS, Jean-Michel Valette MW and Christian Vanneque, one of the original judges from the 1976 tasting.
The panel of nine experts at Berry Bros. & Rudd consisted of Michel Bettane, Michael Broadbent MW, Michel Dovaz, Hugh Johnson, Matthew Jukes, Jane MacQuitty, Jasper Morris MW, Jancis Robinson OBE MW and Brian St. Pierre.[10]
The results showed that additional panels of experts again preferred the California wines over their French competitors.[11]
Results
  1.  USA – Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 1971
  2.  USA – Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1973
  3.  USA – Mayacamas Vineyards 1971 (tie)
  4.  USA – Heitz Wine Cellars 'Martha's Vineyard' 1970 (tie)
  5.  USA – Clos Du Val Winery 1972
  6.  France – Château Mouton-Rothschild 1970
  7.  France – Château Montrose 1970
  8.  France – Château Haut-Brion 1970
  9.  France – Château Leoville Las Cases 1971
  10.  USA – Freemark Abbey Winery 1969
Three of the Bordeaux wines in the competition were from the 1970 vintage, identified by the Conseil Interprofessionel du Vin de Bordeaux as among the four best vintages in the past 45 years or more. The fourth Bordeaux was a 1971, described by the Conseil as "very good". Another official French authority, the Office Interprofessionnel des Vins, rates the 1971 vintage as "excellent".[12]
The French wine producers had many years experience making wine, whereas the California producers typically had only a few years experience; the 1972 vintage was Clos Du Val's very first, yet it performed better than any of its French competitors.