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Saturday, January 22, 2011

AirAsia TuneHotels now without any admin fees

Tunehotels now does not charge the secretive admin fees anymore. It will show nett price at the search page.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Forget babi guling go for Nasi Ayam Kedewatan Agung

Perhaps the most over-rated food stall in Ubud, Bali is babi guling Ibu Oka right where the tourist buses stops. Throngs of tourists from Taiwan, Japan, anywhere just goes right into this place - simply because they read about it and they cannot have the chance nor time to venture into other more real authentic babi guling stalls scattered around Bali. And alas, over-priced at 30,000 Rupiah. Most other places still go for just 15,000 a plate.

In the basic sense of foodology, the Balinese could rank babi guling as their favourite meal time food. So I was looking for - what are numbers 2 and 3?

One of them is ayam betutu.

Here is a link to a very good blog with many reviews of small little warungs all over Bali. It showcase the popular nasi ayam Kedewatan here.

But hang on!!! Do not go to Ibu Mangku's. Why?
After being propelled to super-popularity status, this place has increased the price (15,000 Rupiah yes still lower than Ibu Oka Babi Guling) but the menu smells a tinge of trickery. There is no price listed. Just listing of the food and drinks. This kind of "disturbing behaviour" sends warning signs all across my adrenal glands and my panic button. The place looks so touristy now. And wait - here's the worst news. Once you park your bike/scooter outside, a nice young boy will come and say yes it is fine to park here. After you've done your meal - he will be waiting outside with a ticket. There are tons of tourist bikes who park there and this "tourist tax" is another undesirable element of a true Balinese experience.

So instead, at the opposite side of the street, towards the left there is this distinctively smaller place. Even the sign board is worn-down from the hot sun. You won't see it clearly. It says "Nasi Ayam Kedewatan Agung" - light pale font left.

If you're coming from the junction off Campuhan, and making your right turn to North, it is just on your left hand side like 10-20 metres from the junction. Go here. Spend here. This is the true local place.

Extra note: Here is another food summary with photos and prices written by a Japanese in Bali.
Bali Beach Hirochan.

Foreign funds buying up AirAsia up to over 51% of share capital

This comes as no surprise - if the analysts and fund managers are truly calibrating their airline sector investments, putting a great shift into AirAsia is essentially a no-brainer. (see my previous article)
Growth potential - yes
Sustained growth for the past 10 years - yes
Hottest areas covered - both the population giants of China and India
Real low cost - yes compared to any European based low cost carrier. Even comparing to neighbouring Tiger Airways, the cost of operating in Malaysia is far lower.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Julia Roberts cannot pronounce Wayan correctly in Eat Pray Love

The movie that would inspire (hopefully not) millions of single American to Bali is essentially just another feel-good-ahh-money-churning project. Yes there is benefits to the economies of Bali or even Italy or India from the tourists that are inspired by the movie. But hey, let's look at the point of wanting to escape and learn about ourselves and by travelling to somewhere far to learn about their culture too that could energise us.

And then you have this:

Julia Roberts cannot even pronounce correctly the Balinese person's name. Wayan.
She said "way" "en". As in Wayne. What ridiculous humiliation to a beautiful culture in a two-hour long parody on nonsensical "awakening of a First World country person".

American hegemony. (now I am writing in the style of  an opinionated American - offensive?)

This reminded me of a business trip to Minneapolis - St. Paul ten years ago. With my colleagues we were having a meeting discussion locations. I being Asian, thought that the place "San Juan" is pronounce that way - with a J sound. My senior colleague from the Netherlands was so adamant to correct me "NO NO. Incorrect. It is San Huan with a H sound." I begged for an apology, practised the correct way, and use it correctly ever since.

For 2 more years right until I quit the job, my colleagues still cannot pronounce Beijing (correct way is bei3 jing4 - 3rd and 4th tones), orang-utan (he said "o-rang-go-tan" as in past tense of 'ring' and colour 'tan'), karaoke (he said kerry-oak-key), and Koh Phangan (he said "co-pan-yen").

Wayan - what?
Peking - what?
Koh Phangan - what?
Three months in Bali and you were in the 5-star Four Seasons Hotel all the time lounging and having some potent mix of cocktail? Never set aside some meaningful research time about local languages and just merely reading some scripts? Expert memoriser of acting scripts?

Wayan is like the most common name in Bali. Just like the common name John. So if this basic cultural exchange cannot even take place, then I suppose my strong-opinionated writings are justifiable.

Seriously thinking of my Balinese friend Made! (he is not made, he is not maid, he is Made!)

1997 Asian Financial Crisis will not be repeating with power of yuan

The 1997 so-called "Asian" Financial Crisis was a very hard time for Asian nations. Such as Thailand, Malaysia, Korea. Their sovereign currency being devalued. A humiliating and humbling defeat in the face of globalisation. In short derivative from the name itself, it was generally a pretty bad episode for Asia.

Now or recently, the US sub-prime Financial Crisis sort of lingered onto Europe with several countries being deeply affected such as Iceland, Greece. Why isn't it called the European or more appropriately Caucasian Financial Crisis? Well, the world isn't that fair isn't it? Right when the Asian Financial Crisis happened, the US-backed IMF and World Bank were pressuring and literally forcing countries to accept defeat - devalue the currency, accept billions of US Dollars of loans, and restructuring that will eventually benefit and tilted to their geo-political advantage.

So what if my age-old 1994 thesis happens again?
And what was my thesis about?

In short, and simplified form, it talks about how each huge financial crisis will come knocking every 10 years. Much like Moore's Law of transistors doubling every 1.5 years! So extrapolate the years 1987/8, 1997/8, 2007/8 and the next set is presumably 2017/8.

Say it happens again and this time the turf is back into Asia. The whipping boys and will be thus called Asian Financial Crisis Episode 2. Version 2.0. Perhaps currencies will start to dip. But wait. Didn't Asian sovereign states now have billions of US Dollars in reserve in their own federal bank?

Yes. So perhaps China will step in and start selling US Dollar denominated loans, T-bills, and basically dollars. Thus saving the day, and thus wrapping up the wasted space in the federal reserves of all these Asian nations for the past 15-20 years. And then alas, now only can Asian fully move on without the baggage of holding to US Dollars and finally America as we all know will be surely heading into a faster tailspin with no sovereign country willing and wanting to buy their junk government bonds anymore that have been helping to prop up their economy and military system and dominance.

Asian countries too will shed all their US-Dollar denominated holdings, to buy or shore up their own markets and finances. In a good way it will be a good clean-up.

The power of the yuan then will finally be realised as well.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mudajaya and KNM elevating silently others are in the limelight

Recently the ETP announcements helped propel stocks that are being directly awarded with contracts. Namely Gamuda, MMC Corp, Dialog, SapuraCrest.

At the same time some stocks are moving silently behind the scenes.

Mudajaya up from RM4.16 to RM5.10 today.
KNM up from RM1.80 (adjusted) to RM3.20 today.

AirAsia strengthens 16 sen to RM2.86 surging into a confident 2011

AirAsia is on the supersonic flight route to a higher ground again going upwards 16 sen. Investors that are going for the airline sector, is watching and investing in AirAsia closely. Not just because of the low-cost model that is working so well in Asia, but of new innovative ways to make it smooth and tweaking these innovations yearly.

For instance, some time ago. There was no seating allocation. Then there was Priority Boarding. And came seating allocation. Then PAID seating selections. Baggage allowance has been tweaked several times to optimise both profitability and also the customer's experience. Now the ongoing momentum is to have self-check-in a compulsory procedure virtually creating a "good habit" to travellers. Shaping the way of travelling.

Shaping behaviour is essential for corporate profits. Yet can be justified to serve a better purpose - such as allowing passengers the freedom to choose optional premiums.

Where would the big investor put their funds into the airline sector? It should be into low cost carriers since this is the major trend and the majority of the new middle-class of Asia and BRIC countries are growing. Growing hungry of the taste to be an intrepid low cost traveller. Braving all the obstacles for a no-frills flight actually is an adventure in itself. Think Bear Grylls.

And among the top choices for Low Cost Carrier - can you say RyanAir, EasyJet, AirBerlin, perhaps Air Arabia? Or even Tiger Airways and Jetstar? Finally the low-cost word itself is a misnomer to the unwitting traveller, to the investor and to the general public. Low-cost is essentially meant as a corporate term for an executive decision! So with AirAsia's no frills and low cost to its own corporate operating cost, it will far succeed (and already has) compared to other Low Cost Carriers.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bursa Component Stocks Ready to Soar in 2011

My last writing was a preview and insight into the component stocks of the FTSE Bursa Malaysia Composite Index. A de facto benchmark of the country's performance, looking inside the ingredients is essential in powering your stock portfolio into winning gems and supernormal profits.

All the banks in the list, is out of the selection - mainly because of cost and also they have generally surged to high levels by now. The goal is to look for the final gems that can outperform for 2011. Forget 2009 and 2010 where many stocks have gained 50%. So here's my focus for this write up.

Now 22 left. MAS is out, since if one were to go into this sector (airline/travel), then go for AirAsia.

Heavily priced heavyweights such as BAT (over 40 RM), Digi and KLK(over 20 RM) I will leave out as well. So is SIME with a messy politico game. Plus it is expensive. Petronas Dagangan and Petronas Gas too both over 10 RM. So those too are cut away from my radar of stocks that are ready to soar in 2011.

Which currently leaves the remaining 10:

Axiata Group Bhd

1 Week 3.4% 13 Weeks 3.6%  
4 Weeks 7.4% 52 Weeks 55.4%

Maxis Bhd
1% since listing 2010

PETRONAS Chemicals Group Bhd

10% since listing 2010


1 Week 11.5% 13 Weeks 11.9%  
4 Weeks 0.3% 52 Weeks 26.5%

Genting Malaysia BHD
1 Week 4.4% 13 Weeks 8.3%  
4 Weeks -0.3% 52 Weeks 22.9%  

Telekom Malaysia
1 Week 6.3% 13 Weeks 10.4%  
4 Weeks 6.9% 52 Weeks 19.9%  

Tenaga Nasional

1 Week -2.3% 13 Weeks -4.9%  
4 Weeks -7.7% 52 Weeks -0.3%  

YTL Power International

1 Week -0.8% 13 Weeks 1.3%  
4 Weeks 4.8% 52 Weeks 10.0%  

1 Week 11.5% 13 Weeks 13.0%  
4 Weeks 11.3% 52 Weeks 49.6%

Plus Expressways

1 Week 2.0% 13 Weeks 5.3%  
4 Weeks 10.8% 52 Weeks 41.0%

The recent stock performance can give some indication where most stocks have rised 40-50% from a year ago. Gamuda up 50%. Plus 40%. Axiata 55%.

Tenaga has been trickily at a precarious position - not up nor down too much the past year. And now facing some issues with coal supply. It is perhaps still a good buy seeing it is still the utility company to go to in Malaysia.

Therefore, my selections would zoom down to MMC, YTL Power, Genting Malaysia.  

Saturday, January 8, 2011

30 Stocks of the Singapore Straits Times Index 2011

Here are the 30 Component Stocks of the Singapore Straits Times Index 2011.
City Developments
Fraser and Neave
Keppel Corp
Neptune Orient Lines
CapitaMalls Asia
Singapore Airlines
Singapore Press Holdings
United Overseas Bank
Oversea-Chinese Banking
DBS Group Holdings
SembCorp Industries
Jardine Cycle & Carriage
Sembcorp Marine
Singapore Telecom
Jardine Matheson
Jardine Strategic
Hongkong Land Holdings
Singapore Technologies Engineering
Golden Agri-Resources
Sia Engineering
Wilmar International Limited
Singapore Exchange
Noble Group
ComfortDelgro Corp
Genting Singapore
CapitaMall Trust
Olam International

Compared to the FTSE Bursa Malaysia CI, the banks consists just 3 which is all of the local banks. And seem more balance with several transport firms (SIA of course, Comfort, SMRT, Neptune) and commodities (Olam, Noble) plantations (Wilmar, Golden Agri).

Two interesting component stocks at least to me, is Jardine Matheson and Jardine Strategic.

So the question is : how do we make a stock index, or should we be making and mimicking the well-known STI index?

Every wise investor should have a strategy to buy and hold several of the stocks above, and ability to move sideways within a sector. Say for instance, now that Wilmar seems to have hit several highs and questionable situation with their new divergence into property development (from pure palm oil sector), a strategic investor that wishes for growth and strength in palm oil sector can still remain invested by selling their Wilmar shares, and buying instead Golden Agri.

Likewise with telco. One must have the capacity for making shifts within the sector. Sell Singtel, buy Starhub if the direction to expand overseas is taking a slower growth now after years of double digit growth in Australia and Indonesia.

Will write more on each component stock in separate articles.

30 Stocks of the FTSE Bursa Malaysia Composite Index 2011

Shadowing an index is essentially one method to auto-park market sentiments with your investment choice. In this case, believing, relying, and monitoring the index. For Malaysia, the revamped and nimble (yet long winded naming) FTSE Bursa Malaysia Composite Index is the one that is featured as the de facto stock market health index of Malaysia.

Here are the components - consisting 30 stocks of various sectors:
RHB Capital
Malaysia Airline System
British American Tobacco (Malaysia)
Axiata Group Bhd
Maxis Bhd
PETRONAS Chemicals Group Bhd
Kuala Lumpur Kepong
Malayan Banking
PPB Group
Sime Darby Bhd
Hong Leong Financial
Genting Malaysia BHD
Telekom Malaysia
Tenaga Nasional
AMMB Holdings
CIMB Group Holdings
Hong Leong Bank
UMW Holdings
YTL Corp
Petronas Gas
YTL Power International
Petronas Dagangan Bhd
Plus Expressways
Public Bank BHD

Banks take the bulk with 8 stocks over 26% of the index. Recently almost every stock in the index has risen considerably. So perhaps looking at a each stock carefully and then analysing to choose the ones that have not soar as much as the others.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Korea's success is having Han, and Han means unfinished business

Was watching this episode of HipKorea by Discovery and it was featuring RAIN.

One interview segment it talked about HAN. One would instantly associate it with Korean since Han Guo is Korea.

Here is what was discussed:
"The driving force that enables Korea to move forward with hope is Han."
"If I had to express it in English, Han would be 'unfinished business'.
Unfinished business - such as:
Because I was not well fed, I want my children to be well fed.
That's my Han.
Han embodies tears, laughter, agony, and also catharsis.

This is what Rain then says:
For me, my kind of Han is that I was not able to show enough love to my mother and to do enough for her as a loving son. I have the Han of being looked down upon by so many people, it made me even more determined to succeed.

Actually the moment the cameras start rolling, I could destroy something, or smash a house and then just say that it was part of the shoot. Sometimes I want to hit people I dislike, or to confess my love to someone I care about.

I could blame the world for doing this to me as an excuse to be destructive but I hold it all in. And when I am shooting, I let it all go.

RAIN let it all go in his first Hollywood movie, Speed Racer.

Well the point is that Korea is such a success story, we can learn many lessons from them. How they invest? They invest in patriotism, they invested in education, they invested in enabling the citizens with widespread affordable high-speed internet access. They invested in public transport. They invested in their top brands Samsung, LG. That were once upon a time, were such laggards or wannabes behind Japan's SONY or Panasonic. Such impressive determination by RAIN is there too in Samsung. Is it a coincidence? No! It's everywhere, every person, every street, every bulgogi bowl and kimchi cabbage.

From a destructed nation post war 1950s, an aid recipient, into an OECD Donor Country today! How is that even possible? Think about it. Read about it. Then learn from it. This success story is not written by a single statesman, or a handful of leaders. It is everybody doing it every possible way. That "unfinished business" mentally it very powerful indeed.
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