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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Win a £1,000 Trip to 7 Cities of Your Choice Contest

Here is another contest that doesn't require much effort nor purchase.

We're offering the chance for you and a friend to win free accommodation in 7 cities of your choice.
Choose whether to take the prize all at once or as seven different trips…we'll even give you £1,000 each to cover your travel expenses.*

How to Enter
Simply answer the question and submit your email address.

Terms and Conditions
This Competition is open to participants aged 18 and over.
This Competition is not open to employees of HostelBookers, their family members, HostelBookers’ agents, or anyone professionally connected with the competition.
Participants enter the competition by answering the question “How many categories are there in HostelBookers’ Awards for Excellence 2011?” correctly and submitting their email address.
By entering the competition the participant agrees to participate in such promotional activity, including automatic subscription to our newsletter.
No responsibility is taken for entries which are lost, delayed or misdirected, or cannot be delivered or entered for any technical or other reason.
The competition will run from 00:01 GMT 13th April 2011 and will close at 00:00 GMT 15th May 2011.
Any entries received or processed after the closing date will not be accepted.
The prize is seven 3-night stays for two people in any cities in which HostelBookers has availability. (Maximum accommodation value of £50 per person per night).
The seven stays do not have to be taken consecutively however, only a maximum of 3 nights per destination can be taken.
£1,000 will be transferred per person to cover travel costs a week prior to the first stay. (Maximum travel budget £1,000 per person)
The prize must be taken by the prize winner and may not be transferred to or taken by any third party.
Accommodation stays can be taken until 31st May 2012, but must be booked no later than 31st December 2011.
The winner will be drawn at random by the judges at 09:00 GMT on the 20th May 2011.
The winner will be notified within 7 days of the prize draw by email.
If HostelBookers cannot contact the winner within fourteen days of the prize draw HostelBookers reserves the right to conduct another prize draw to determine a new winner.
Once the prize has been claimed the winner will be announced on the HostelBookers blog and via our Social Media channels.
HostelBookers act as agent in respect of all bookings we take or make on your behalf.
For all bookings your contract will be with the supplier of the accommodation or other service specified.
Normal HostelBookers terms and conditions of sale apply.
Travel insurance is not included in the prize and it is the prize winners responsibility to arrange suitable cover for their needs.

Enter here:
Search last minute hostel and hotel deals to save.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How To Diversify Portfolio to Oil Gas Gold Rubber Palm Commodities

Very often, the term diversifying your portfolio crops up whenever things aren't doing so well and especially when there is uncertainty if good times are sustainable. Not putting all your eggs in one basket is a adage so common even an egg seller can start claiming he invented McEgg to diversify his poultry farm business.

So we have our stocks. Blue chips. And trendy tech stocks. And possibly 1-2 properties. Then next the metals are getting a nice warm heat these days - gold and silver. The not so distant past 2008, oil prices were hovering above $150 USD. Today when oil prices are about to break $100 to $110 USD, airlines are scrambling their F5 (refresh button not the fighter jet!) to start imposing fuel surcharges which distorts the customers final price tally - where is the nett price battle cry.

So nett is never final until all these ancillary cost, surcharges, fees, taxes are fully factored in - totally an enormous 30-60% more than the quoted rack price of an air ticket.

While those bankers and financial vampires are celebrating their (again) new found wealth, supersize fat bonus and stock options, because sales exceeded last 2 year's deals (2008-2009 were the Global Financial Crisis years remember?), we are left wondering - why are we left behind? Why can't we have bought oil when it was $50 USD during the crash? Won't we have made 100-200% supernormal profits?

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Diversification Strategy: How to Grow a Business by Diversifying Successfully The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life Think Like a Champion: An Informal Education In Business and Life

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Channelnewsasia Forum Quoted Denzuke Finance Links

Interesting forum by ChannelNewsAsia (CNA) on Genting Singapore:

BodyPump then BodyCombat effective exercise combo

BodyPump is a hybrid set of aerobic and weights exercises that works on all the major muscle groups, from the chest muscles, to the back muscles, to quadriceps, biceps and triceps. With a modest amount of weights incorporated for each exercise, the intensity is put on the muscles yet with a time span of 5-6 minutes which is like a good concentrated aerobic exercise.

During some of my sessions lately, I had some stiff muscles. Sore muscles. Doing some research on it recently, I find that the muscles are tightened or contracted right after these exercises.

Further reading on these Les Mills exercise routine, I found another type of group exercise - BodyCombat - which I had accidentally join when I had arrived at my gym earlier than the scheduled BodyPump class.

This is a mixed martial arts class with a very high aerobic outcome. Mixed martial arts (MMA) takes all discipline of martial arts and forms (such as karate, tai chi, judo, aikido, muay Thai) and puts them all together almost free flow. You'll be jumping, punching various ways and intensity. Crouching. Springing your feet and twisting your torso for maximum punch power. Muay Thai knee attacks. Forward kicks and side kicks.

Sort of the concept and philosophy that Bruce Lee had imagined and practise. Where no form is the form. Being fluid and able to accept all types of martial arts. In a general relativity sense, it makes sense! If you're a painter, then use all various colours. Not just red and orange. Use blue when needed. Use the background as white without colouring white. Mix Blue and Yellow to obtain green.

Double Pump featuring Shpresa - Total Body WorkoutThe Biggest Winner - How to Win by Losing: Cardio Kickbox (Aerobic Combo Workout, Nutrition)The U.S. Navy SEAL Guide to Fitness and Nutrition
Mix fundamental analysis with technical analysis to get a balanced investment action.

So mixing those fitness into a nice stream to counter my sore muscles. I read that after an intense exercise on weights. one must relax or cool them down. Sort of jog down the tempo.

Therefore doing a BodyCombat class after BodyPump will relax the muscles. Loosen them up. Sweat out the build-up of toxin.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Air NZ and Tourism New Zealand myNZ Contest 2011

Win a trip to New Zealand organised by Air New Zealand and Tourism NZ.

What you need to do is rather simple. Either be a contributor - a photograph or video of an incredible, unique, fun time in New Zealand that you have had. OR just vote those photographs and videos (easier!). Closing is 4th of May 2011.

Strategy recommended: There are total of 2 prizes. One for a creative person who contributes a very captivating photo or video. Second (two tickets) is the voter category. Well why does the voter category gets double the prize? Tourism NZ must use the strategy to maximise the impact of eyeballs, users, viewers, awareness - that is their ultimate goal to promote the country. Understanding that way, you can put your battle strategy to winning this contest.

Sample screen shot of other contestant's contributions for the contest

Can you come up with something awesome and photo that is out of this world? Not just camera tricks, not just anything beautiful but totally will blow out anyone who glances it and will want to vote "GREAT".
And then you're using Social Networking to boost viewers. Essentially your friends. Your Facebook list. That is what Tourism NZ wants. More viewers from your circle of friends to create more awareness. Then you might entice your friends and contacts to Vote your photo to boost your chance as the contributor, they too have an incentive - to win just by Voting.

Rules, terms and conditions:
1.  Introduction: Entrants must read and agree to these terms and conditions (‘Terms’)
before entering this competition (‘Competition’).  By entering the Competition entrants
agree that they accept these Terms.
2.  Organisers: The promoter of this competition is the New Zealand Tourism Board trading as Tourism New Zealand (‘Tourism New Zealand’), 147 Victoria Street West, Auckland 1010. The Competition will be conducted through the 100% Pure New Zealand Facebook page ( prize will be supplied by Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand (together, the ‘Organisers’).

3.  Prizes:  There are two (2) prizes (each a ‘Prize’) to be won. The Prizes are:
a. Uploading content prize (’Content Prize’)
one (1) adult Air New Zealand Economy Class return ticket for air travel from the
Air New Zealand international departure point nearest to the residence of the winner of the Content Prize to Auckland, New Zealand, for use by a person nominated by that winner  (a ‘Traveller’); and
standard travel insurance for that Traveller while in New Zealand for a two week period.
b. Voting/commenting content prize (’Voting Prize’)
two (2) adult Air New Zealand Economy Class return tickets for air travel from the Air New Zealand international departure point nearest to the residence of the winner of the Voting Prize to Auckland, New Zealand, for use by the winner of the Voting Prize and a travel companion nominated by that winner (each a ‘Traveller’); and standard travel insurance for the above Travellers while in New Zealand for a two week period.
No Prize can be transferred, exchanged or redeemed for cash.

Lonely Planet New Zealand (Country Travel Guide)The Rough Guide to New Zealand (Rough Guides)Frommer's New Zealand (Frommer's Complete)

4.  How to enter: Entrants may enter the Competition via the 100% Pure New Zealand 
Facebook page only. The process for entering the Competition for each Prize is as follows:
a) Content Prize – Entrants must complete the full entry form on the 100% Pure New Zealand Facebook page including uploading a photo or video of a recent activity, experience or place in New Zealand with a caption of a minimum 10 words;
b) Voting Prize – Entrants must vote for one of the photos or videos uploaded on the 100% Pure New Zealand Facebook page. Entrants may also ‘Like’ the 100% Pure New Zealand Facebook page to submit an additional entry for the Voting Prize.

5.  How to win: To be eligible to win the Competition entrants must comply with the entry requirements set out in paragraph 4 above. The winner of each Prize will be determined by Tourism New Zealand as follows:
a) Content Prize – the winning entry is the valid entry that has the most votes on the 100% Pure New Zealand Facebook page. In the event that there is a tie in the number of votes between two or more entries, Tourism New Zealand will conduct a random draw between those entries to decide the winner.
b) Voting Prize - the winning entry is the valid entry chosen by Tourism New Zealand by a random draw.

6.  Notification of winners:  Tourism New Zealand will endeavour to notify the winner of each Prize via email or Facebook message by Wednesday 4 May 2011 (‘Notification Date’). Each winner’s name may be published on and via any other channel deemed appropriate by the Organisers.

7.  Prize Suppliers:  All services comprised in the Prizes that are supplied by Air New Zealand are subject to Air New Zealand’s general terms and conditions of carriage. All services comprised in the Prizes that are supplied or arranged by Tourism New Zealand, such as travel insurance, are subject to the standard booking conditions applicable to those services. The providers of any goods and services forming part of any Prize may impose additional terms and conditions in relation to the supply of those goods and services.

8.  Scope of the Prize:  The Prizes consist solely of the items listed in paragraph 3 above. Frequent Flyer Points on flight travel will not be earned by any Traveller.  All other expenses including, without limitation, spending money, meals, alcohol, accommodation, tips, transportation, insurance (including additional travel insurance cover required or requested by any Traveller over and above the standard policy provided as part of the Prize), departure and airport taxes, security taxes, government charges, insurance levies, fuel surcharges, customs/agriculture fees, and passenger facility charges, are the sole responsibility of the relevant Traveller.

9.  Travel Documentation:  Each Traveller must obtain all necessary travel documentation including passports and visas required to use the Prize, and is responsible for all costs incurred in obtaining such documentation.
10.  Travel Dates:  All Travellers must depart from the Air New Zealand international departure point nearest to the residence of the winner to Auckland, New Zealand before 31 August 2011.  The winner of the Voting Prize and the travel companion nominated by that winner must travel together. The Air New Zealand tickets are subject to flight and seat availability. Please note that Air New Zealand experiences high demand for travel during New Zealand school holidays, between 15 April – 1 May and 16 July – 31 August 2011.  If any Traveller is unable to travel in accordance with the above date restrictions, the relevant winner will forfeit the Prize.  Flights must be booked by the winner no later than four (4) weeks prior to the departure date.  To check Air New Zealand flight times and dates and seat availability please visit

11.  Entries: The Competition opens on Thursday 24 March 2011 at 6.00pm (New Zealand time) and closes on Thursday 28 April 2011 at 5.00pm (New Zealand time) (‘Closing Date’). Entries must be received by Tourism New Zealand by the Closing Date.  Tourism New Zealand assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, failure, malfunction, alteration, delay in delivery, operation or transmission, theft, or other circumstance of any kind, which may affect an entry or an entrant’s participation in the Competition.  Tourism New Zealand, in its sole discretion, may disqualify any entry that is incomplete, illegible, damaged, mutilated, forged, otherwise tampered with in any way or that has been made by automating or manipulating the entry process, or in any other way that Toursim New Zealand considers to be inappropriate. The Organisers reserve the right
to verify the validity of entries.

12.  Eligibility:  Only persons eighteen (18) years of age or older may enter this Competition. Employees and immediate family members of employees of the Organisers (or of their respective suppliers, participating agents, distributors, agents, and associated entities) are not eligible to enter.

13.  No Payment Necessary:   No payment or purchase is necessary to enter this Competition, but any costs associated with obtaining Internet access in order to visit or participate in this Competition will be the sole responsibility of the respective entrants.

14.  Claiming the Prize:  Each winner must, within two (2) weeks of the Notification Date, claim
his or her Prize by emailing Kellie Larson at  Each winner must
prove their identity and provide confirmation of their age.  If any winner does not claim their
Prizes (and make all necessary bookings relating to the Prize) within two (2) weeks of the Notification Date, that winner will forfeit the Prize.  In such event, Tourism New Zealand will determine a new winning entry in accordance with the process set out in paragraph 5 (except that the original winner’s entry will be void). Tourism New Zealand will then attempt to notify the new winner. The new winner’s name will be notified in accordance with paragraph 6.  The new winner must then claim the Prize by emailing Kellie Larson at The new winner must prove their identity and provide confirmation of their age and make all necessary bookings relating to the Prize within four (4) weeks of
Tourism New Zealand first attempting to notify the new winner (failing which, the new winner will forfeit the prize, the Competition shall be at an end, and the Prize will remain the property of the respective Organisers).

15.  Decisions: Tourism New Zealand’s decisions regarding all aspects of this Competition including, without limitation, decisions regarding the eligibility of entries, the conduct of the Competition, the judging, the interpretation of these Terms and the allocation of the Prize, are final. No correspondence will be entered into.  To the maximum extent permitted by law:
a. no decisions of Tourism New Zealand may be challenged on any grounds, including (without limitation), due to any alleged or actual failure of Tourism New Zealand or the judge to act reasonably, in good faith, or fairly; and
b. the decisions of Tourism New Zealand will remain binding and conclusive even if those decisions were allegedly or actually wrong or based on any factual error or based on any unreasonable, irrational, or irrelevant consideration.

16.  Cancellation, changes or substitution: Tourism New Zealand reserves the right to cancel this Competition, or to change any condition of this Competition, without notice. The Organisers reserve the right to substitute a Prize or any part of a Prize (due to unavailability or for any other reason) with a different Prize or part of a Prize of equal or greater monetary value.

17.  Publicity: By entering into this Competition, the winners, and by using the Prize, the
a. agree to be interviewed and photographed and agree to be available for interviewing, photography and for other public relations and promotional activities associated with this Competition, as requested by the Organisers; and
b. consent to their names, photographs and likenesses being recorded, reproduced, published, copied, communicated and otherwise used by the Organisers for advertising, publicity and promotional purposes in any television programme, video recording, or printed or electronic materials throughout the world, in perpetuity, and
without the need for any compensation other than the Prize.
18.  Ownership: All entries (including all copyright and other intellectual property rights that may subsist therein) will become the property of the respective Organisers and may be copied, published, adapted, communicated, and used by the Organisers for any purpose (including, without limitation, future promotional, public relations, and sales development activities) without the need to obtain the permission of, or to compensate, any entrant.
19.  Privacy: Personal information provided by each entrant will be stored and used by:
a. the Organisers, for the purposes of conducting the Competition; and
b. a particular Organiser, for additional purposes (such as research, promotion, or
marketing activities to provide entrants with information and promotional material
relating to New Zealand tourism and travel) where that entrant agrees that the Organiser may use his or her personal information for those additional purposes. Personal information will not otherwise be used or disclosed by the Organisers, except as required or permitted by the New Zealand Privacy Act 1993 or by other applicable laws.
An entrant may request access to, or correction of, personal information held by Tourism New Zealand about that entrant by writing to Tourism New Zealand at 147 Victoria Street West, Auckland 1010 or calling Tourism New Zealand on +64 9 914 4780.
20.  Warranties: To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Organisers (and their subsidiaries, related companies, associated entities, employees, contractors and agents) disclaim all guarantees, warranties, and representations of any kind (whether express, implied or statutory) in respect of this Competition, the Prize, and the claiming and use of the Prize.
21.  Liability: Acceptance and use of any Prize is at the winner’s own risk and at any Traveller’s own risk and is his or her responsibility.  To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Organisers (and their subsidiaries, related companies, associated entities, employees, contractors and agents) shall not be liable for any personal injury, loss, damage (whether direct or indirect), cost, or expense howsoever caused (including through negligence or breach of statutory duty) arising out of or in connection with:
a. this Competition, the Prizes, or the claiming or use of the Prizes;
b. the acts or omissions of the Organisers;
c. any act of God, or other event or occurrence beyond the control of the Organisers.

22.  Traveller’s agreement: All Travellers must agree to these terms (where applicable to them) as a condition of using any Prize.  The winner must procure that any such person, if required by the Organisers, signs a further acknowledgement to give effect to this paragraph 19.

23.  Governing Law: This Competition and these Terms shall be governed by New Zealand law and the courts of New Zealand shall have non-exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine all issues and disputes that may arise in relation to this Competition or these Terms.  Entrants submit to the jurisdiction of the New Zealand courts and agree that the New Zealand courts are a convenient forum in which to resolve any issue or dispute concerning this Competition.
Facebook Link

Friday, April 15, 2011

United Airlines Mileage Plus Award Fees 2011

United Airlines Mileage Plus Award Fees will be updated on 15th June 2011. My miles were expiring on 31st March and thus I had made an award flight booking at the centre for a fee of 30 USD - for a Thai Airways Business Class Flight to ICN (Incheon, Seoul). Total miles used was 60000 miles. And total fees was approximately 65 USD. The earlier 30 USD for United Airlines, and the remainder was for Thai Airways presumably.

Even though fees are reduced by 5 USD for bookings after 15th June 2011, the amount of miles required for a Star Alliance Award ticket has increased to 17500 (Economy Class, Return) from the current 15000 miles. Sectors: South Asia to North Asia.

Close-in award booking fee 75 USD
Change to your origin or destination city 75 USD
Adding or removing a connection city 75 USD

The Terminal (Widescreen Edition)  The Rough Guide to Bangkok (Rough Guides)  Lonely Planet Seoul (City Travel Guide)

Award ticket fees
1) Fees for booking
a) There is a per-ticket fee of USD 25 for booking award tickets through United Reservations. If you use a United ticketing counter, the per-ticket fee is USD 30. After 15th June 2011, both fees will be USD 25.
b) Effective 15th June 2011, there will be a fee for award tickets booked less than 21 days prior to departure: USD 75 for General members, USD 50 for Premier members and USD 25 for Premier Executive members.
c) If you are a Global ServicesSM or 1K® member, there are no fees on award tickets you book for yourself or for others.
2) Fees for a change or cancellation
a) If you want to change your itinerary for any award ticket, you must use a United Reservations agent or United ticketing counter. There are fees for some changes, so please check this list for details. These fees apply to Mileage Plus awards on United, United Express, Star Alliance airline partners and other partner airlines.
b) If you want to change your flight on the day of departure, learn about the fees that may apply.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

AirAsia Inconvenient Truth About Convenience Fee

About 2 years ago, AirAsia won the applause of everyone in the travel industry eliminating all sorts of so-called surcharges that merely add to the final nett price of an air ticket. In short, a transparent price so users, travellers, backpackers, can quickly make an educated guess of the cost of their air passage.

Alas, these fee structure is making an "Empire Strikes Back".
The Skinny on Credit Cards: How to Master the Credit Card Game  Debt Free For Life: The Finish Rich Plan for Financial Freedom  An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It 
With effect from 2 November 2009, a Convenience Fee is now applicable for all online payments made via credit, debit or charge cards. Please see below for more details on the fee.

What is Convenience Fee?
A convenience fee is charged when payment is made through credit, debit or charge cards. The fee is charged per guest for each way and only applies to the initial booking. Any changes or addition to existing booking is excluded from the Convenience Fee.The fee is non-refundable.

Why is the fee introduced?
To ensure that our guests are provided a comfortable and safe booking environment AirAsia has invested substantially to expand, implement and maintain our online payment systems and especially, to upgrade, enhance and improve the security features for online credit, debit and charge cards payments. The Convenience Fee is to subsidize the costs of the payment systems.

Are there other payment options which do not attract a Convenience Fee?
Yes, the Convenience Fee does not apply to direct debit payments. (meaning online banking direct deposits)

Initially the Convenience Fee was RM5 for one way. Now it has been raised to RM8.
What is your opinion on this? Would you still fly AirAsia and sweep this minor inconvenient fee under the rug? Or would you want AirAsia to scrap it away or factor the fees into the price of the ticket so it looks a clean slate?

Lynas briefing called-off lowering trust of residents

The rare earth refinery owned by Lynas Corp in Gebeng, Malaysia caused further mistrust when the scheduled briefing by the Pahang State Economic Development Corporation was cancelled unceremoniously with just a sign outside the state venue.

Most of the residents felt further anxiety that the government agencies are playing hide-and-seek games and with no transparency. Recent heightened awareness about nuclear radiation, nuclear fallout, toxic waste material has pushed villagers and residents to be more proactive in seeking answers and preventive measures instead of the more lackadaisical attitude and non-confrontational culture of most Malaysians. In a way, residents of various backgrounds and races seem united in this front to get not just answers but accountability and transparency.

Shoddy workmanship, corruption of contracts are far too common and also when disaster strikes, when a building collapses, then only a Commission is set-up or organised to investigate. Now residents want proper deliverance. Not a cover-up after the fact.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bangkok Boiler Room Updates From Jason Bourne

How to spot or being spotted by boiler room executive?
They wear nice sleek clothes. Jacket and ties. There are 2-3 extremely beautiful model like "friends" who are hanging out with them in some pub. I spotted a bunch in Bangkok On Nut Guesthouse during Christmas 2009 and was told by Jason Bourne these guys are in the boiler room business and of course were having a good time and looking for new recruits.

So-called Irish Pubs: 
Shennanigans in Soi Convent was sold to the owners of the Dubliner and became the irish Xchange.

Boycotted by many Bangkok residents as these bars are owned by the notorious 'Boiler Room' crowd.

Extorted a lot of money from pensioners in Australia as I remember it with a fake shares scam. Run out of Thailand some of them and currently said to be setting up a similar scam in Laos. If I remember correctly one of the gang was a Kiwi who tried to cut a deal with the authorities and ended up murdered.

Anyway, many guys I know in Bangkok will not touch those bars.

The Irish bar out of that loop is the one on the same side of the road as Patpong called O Reilly's.

Previous News Featured in "The Nation" Newspaper 11th June 2006:
Bosses of the Brinton Group and other controversial securities trading firms were convicted yesterday in the Bangkok South Criminal Court of operating illegal "boiler rooms" in Thailand.

Seven foreigners, including Irishman John Martin Kealy, were found guilty of running "unlicensed securities businesses [boiler rooms]" - huge investment scams conducted from call centres in Bangkok on people in Australia and other countries across Asia and the Pacific.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a criminal complaint against seven defendants on July 26, 2001.

They were John Kealy, Scott Campbell Fisher, Paul Mary Hickey, Ronan Joseph Murray, Steven Hooper, Jason Garrick Rich and Adrian Robert Wallis.

An SEC statement yesterday said: "The Bangkok South Criminal Court convicted all seven defendants and sentenced each of them to two years jail and a fine of Bt200,000, but the jail term has been suspended."

Kealy and his colleagues were charged with "conducting unlicensed securities businesses (boiler rooms) in Thailand, which is a contravention of Section 90 of the Securities and Exchange Act BE 2535". 

"These defendants, claiming that their offices were located in Thailand as well as in many countries, had induced overseas investors, mostly Australians, into making investments in securities of companies in USA and Canada. 

"Different names of the Brinton Group, Sigama Capital Management, Lincoln Financial, and e.go trade incorporated, were used."This had not only caused damages to investors but also to the reputation and image of Thailand."

The commission said yesterday's conviction "reflects efficiency of Thailand's criminal justice administration in bringing wrongdoers into justice. Australian authorities have said thousands of investors were conned into sending their savings abroad, mainly to bank accounts in Hong Kong. 

Angry investors in the Brinton Group banded together to form an association, which attempted to assist police in Thailand to recover an estimated 300 million Australian dollars which people said they had lost.

Kealy - who runs the Dubliner and Irish Exchange pubs in central Bangkok - and his colleagues claimed the Brinton Group lost most of the money in the US stock slump.

A previous attempt to prosecute the Brinton Group heads was dropped by prosecutors, who complained that Thai police had failed to gather sufficient evidence to convict them of "complex and sophisticated" fraud charges.

USD300 billion disaster in Japan

The estimated cost to state is USD 300 billion for the 11th March Treble Disaster - earthquake, tsunami and nuclear fallout. Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Nuclear. All those elements at full force.

Over 10 thousand lives were lost. The Japanese National Police Agency has confirmed 13,392 deaths, 4,896 injured, and 15,133 people missing] across eighteen prefectures, as well as over 125,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. The earthquake and tsunami caused extensive and severe structural damage in Japan, including heavy damage to roads and railways as well as fires in many areas, and a dam collapse.

300 billion USD is certainly a huge sum comparable even to Quantitative Easing 2 release by the United States to prop up the financial system. And that was a financial tsunami caused by greed, and manipulation of greed, and a system that was feeding problems into "Inception"-like levels and mazes of deeper intertwined problems, topped by a Madoff Ponzi illusion of profit and grandeur.

Here it is all natural. Japan is quake prone and had prepared all it could. All it's resources. No other country can prepare for such calamity.

Take Haiti Earthquake for instance. It was 2010. Just last year. 12th January. How many had died? 316 000 had lost their lives. That is 30 times the number of deaths. This impoverish nation requires even more aid and donation than Japan. Japan has the financial power, the human tenacity, and expertise. While Haiti is a far away poor country.

Hope those who have donated to Japan to think also about Haiti.

London Sri Lanka Charity Richard Branson AirAsia Flight

AirAsia has opened ticket sales for a charity flight with Virgin supremo Sir Richard Branson among the cabin crew, set to take off May 1.

The Asia-based low-cost carrier announced that tickets for the much-publicized stunt, a result of a Formula 1  bet made between Branson and AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes, will be available from April 13 through April 24.

The 13-hour flight, from London to Sri Lanka, will feature Branson serving with AirAsia's cabin crew, while a host of other celebrities will also be on board the flight to entertain passengers who snap up the 160 tickets available.

The man to whom Sir Richard lost the bet, Tony Fernandes, will join the flight, while Formula 1 celebrity Eddie Jordan will perform with a band and British comedian James Cordon will also be providing entertainment.

Guests will also be entertained at a pre-departure event at London Stansted and welcomed by a cocktail reception and charity auction in Kuala Lumpur on May 2.

Guests will have to dig deep - tickets for the flight cost £4,500 (€5,050) - but all of the proceeds will go to beneficiaries chosen by the two branding-conscious low cost airline bosses.

Win a 7D6N trip to New Zealand on AirAsia Contest

So finally here is the news about the "Faces Go Places" Contest by AirAsia to win free trips to New Zealand. Trips means more than just flights. All expenses paid, purely free.

Win a 7D6N trip to New Zealand when you join the Faces Go Places contest. You will explore the amazing South Island with 2 friends and a popular blogger, and get a chance to be a star in the ads. Your face, antics, photos, bungee jumping and how you battle the cold and in awe of the nature and outdoors!

How to join the AirAsia Faces Go Places Contest:
1. Log on to
2. Choose from a list of different activities.
3. Upload a photo of your craziest expression to match.
4. Share it. Get your friends to vote for you.
5. And you could be on your way to an all-expense paid trip.
6. Search last minute hostel and hotel deals to save.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Richard Branson joins AirAsia X on 1st May 2011

In a classic racing challenge, where Virgin Racing Team had lost to Lotus Racing Team of AirAsia, Richard Branson will join AirAsia X on 1st May 2011 to serve as a flight attendant designated as a "stewardess" inferring that he would be made to wear the female flight attendant's costume.

The flight is on AirAsia X - the long-haul service. So which flight destination could it be? How would you react to see Branson serving you on a long-haul flight? Would you be too sleepy to have a chat, or so eager to meet the man/woman in person and have an autograph signed, or perhaps an autograph on his book.

Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way  Screw It, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life and Business (Expanded)  Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur

The books above are trademark Branson. A powerful branding personality. Even his book title hints of eye-catching and mind-catching marketing mentality.

Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way
Book Review
The book was, to my delight, a very interesting read. "Losing My Virginty" reads like a novel and I would say that it was as interesting as both "Memoirs or a Geisha" and the "Harry Potter" series. Yet the book was full of lessons in a variety of business fields; entrepreneurship and risk-taking being at the forefront of those fields. In its value as a business book, I would compare it to "Lessons from the Top" and "The Millionnaire Next Door", both of which were a much less gripping read. However, "Losing my Virginity" is different from those two books in that it is primarily about "World Class Entrepreneurship".
Branson takes the reader on a trip back to the 60's and 70's when Virgin took off and gradually leads you into the "jetstream" of his turbulant life. You will enjoy the ride.

This is definitely a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and earnestly recommend to anyone, not necessarily to businessmen, just to anyone who wants to make the most of his/her life.

Richard Branson used the book well on many occasions to tell his side of the story and to clarify to the public certain events that may have not been fully disclosed in that way during the time of their occurance.

He also talks freely about matters, which a conventionial bussinessman would find out of place, beyong the point or even downright embarrassing. Those "personal" moments are actually the essence of what this book is all about. The book is about Branson's life and Virgin Group is just that, a very large chunk of Branson's life.

“Richard is good-looking and very smart, which is sexy to start with. He also makes a billion dollars before breakfast—and still knows how to have fun."
-- Ivana Trump
“Few people in contemporary business are as colorful, shrewd, and irreverent, and probably no one’s nearly as much fun to be around. . . . Branson embodies America’s cherished mythology of the iconoclastic, swashbuckling entrepreneur."
-- GQ
“Branson wears his fame and money exceedingly well: no necktie, no chauffeur, no snooty clubs. . . . What continues to set Branson apart is the unique -- and, to some, baffling -- nature of his ambition. . . . He isn’t interested in power in the usual sense of influencing other people. . . . Boiled down to its singular essence, Richard Branson just wants to have fun.”
-- Newsweek
“Branson, a self-described ‘adventure capitalist,’ is a business-creation engine who was clearly born in the wrong place. . . . Those business instincts are matched by an ability to motivate people who work for him. And who wouldn’t want to -- Branson seems hell-bent on making sure that everybody, but everybody, is having as much fun as he is.”
-- Time
“Richard Branson . . . is dressed to the nines: in a $10,000 white silk bridal gown with a traditional veil and train and acres of lace. . . . Branson is expected to do the unexpected, even the bizarre -- anything to publicize his latest venture. . . . The fact is, Branson’s widely reported stunts seem almost staid compared to the unconventional way he manages his burgeoning empire.”
-- Forbes ASAP

Screw It, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life and Business 
Book Review: The global icon shares his secrets of success and exciting plans for the future.

Throughout my life I have achieved many remarkable things. In Screw It, Let's Do It, I will share with you my ideas and the secrets of my success, but not simply because I hope they'll help you achieve your individual goals.

Today we are increasingly aware of the effects of our actions on the environment, and I strongly believe that we each have a responsibility, as individuals and organisations, to do no harm. I will draw on Gaia Capitalism to explain why we need to take stock of how we may be damaging the environment, and why it is up to big companies like Virgin to lead the way in a more holistic approach to business.

In Screw It, Let's Do It I'll be looking forwards to the future. A lot has changed since I founded Virgin in 1968, and I'll explain how I intend to take my business and my ideas to the next level and the new and exciting areas - such as launching Virgin Fuels - into which Virgin is currently moving.

Nicholas Curtis defends radioactive thorium Lynas

Nicholas Curtis, executive chairman of Lynas, maintained that the project in Gebeng, Pahang, Malaysia was entirely safe after several reports and concerns were raised in the aftermath of the nuclear troubles in Japan as well as a landmark case that happened in Perak, Malaysia many years ago that is somewhat related to radioactive contamination and the effects of exposure including leukaemia. Remnants or waste from the processing plant which will include iron phosphorus gymsum contains radioactive thorium compound.

Thorium is a component of the magnesium alloy called Mag-Thor, used in aircraft engines and imparting high strength and creep resistance at elevated temperatures. Thoriated magnesium was used to build the CIM-10 Bomarc missile, although concerns about radioactivity have resulted in several missiles being removed from public display.

Thorium is also used as an alloying agent in gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) to increase the melting temperature of tungsten electrodes and improve arc stability. The electrodes labeled EWTH-1 contain 1% thorium, while the EWTH-2 contain 2%. Thorium is a very effective radiation shield, although it has not been used for this purpose as much as lead or depleted uranium. Thorium is a fertile material for producing nuclear fuel in a breeder reactor. Uranium-thorium age dating has been used to date hominid fossils.

Thorium dioxide is a material for heat-resistant ceramics, e.g., for high-temperature laboratory crucibles. When added to glass, it helps increase refractive index and decrease dispersion. Such glass finds application in high-quality lenses for cameras and scientific instruments.

The radiation from these lenses can self-darken (yellow) them over a period of years and degrade film, but the health risks are minimal.

Read more about thorium here:

Use iOCBC Android Stock Trade Gets $10 Rebate

OCBC is moving forward into Android territory with an offer of sweet rebate of $10 for every trade performed. That is a 40% savings from the minimum base commission of $25.

Enjoy Smarter Trading on the go with iOCBC TradeMobile. Search for iOCBC and download today!

iOCBC TradeMobile on Android is OCBC Securities’ latest addition to our suite of electronic trading services. It allows you to trade on the move and access timely information 24/7.

With iOCBC TradeMobile, you can trade in local and foreign markets such as HKEX, Bursa Malaysia, NYSE, LSE and other bourses.

See link to Android Market:

Monday, April 11, 2011

eBay is unceremoniously dead

eBay is dead.
From a top website with real active users, the fee structure of over 10% commission per transaction, plus ultimately forcing users to use Paypal to fork out another 3-5% means a total cut of over 15% of your sales.

If you were honestly a real world business selling products, 15% commission here is indeed a large sum.

So the question is when will Google revive the heydays of online auctions? I believe to set up an auction system using Google funds is not going to hurt their bank account. And charging half or less percentage commission, then inviting all eBay users to cross-over while maintaining their current eBay Rating Points will almost certainly ensure victory. Plus when everyone is over this side, Google Checkout can flourish a hundred fold.

Can someone in Google employ me?

Faces Go Places AirAsia Free Flight to New Zealand Contest

AirAsia is launching a contest called "Faces Go Places" which offer free flights into Christchurch, New Zealand. Contest will start in 2 days.

Buy Chinese YUAN bank them in Singapore and Hong Kong

As the yuan rises in prominence and acceptance, it will eventually be a powerful storage of value. Currently only Hong Kong is the official designated off-shore hub for trading in yuan or renminbi - the People's Money.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is lobbying fast and hard for China to let it become a second hub for yuan monetary activity. Yes activity. The yuan won't be just sleeping in the bank. It will partake in exercises such as dividends, loans, payment, forex and investment products denominated in yuan.
Chinese Yuan (renminbi) Derivative Products: Derivatives Products  Money (1-year auto-renewal)  Forbes (1-year)
If you have not yet opened your yuan savings account, try to do so now. Currently in Singapore and Malaysia, only private banking customers are offered yuan deposits account. HSBC, DBS, Public Bank.

Another method is to make a visit to Hong Kong. Look for Hang Seng Bank (Green theme colour bank) which is found everywhere. It is sort of like the DBS of Singapore, or Maybank of Malaysia. Every Hong Kong resident has an account with Hang Seng Bank. Walk in and apply for a bank account. You will get your ATM CIRRUS card and internet banking as well. Meaning you could withdraw funds everywhere and any country (that has the network).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

KL International Airport to double its size to 6750 acres

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has outlined more details of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Aeropolis development project.

MAHB said the proposed development components of KLIA Aeropolis included a commercial business district which included office parks, retail or commercial centres, a medical centre and training centre complex. 

In its FY10 annual report released yesterday, MAHB said it had enhanced its development master plan by incorporating development planning into high-potential areas that were not earmarked for future airport expansion based on the updated National Airport Master Plan (NAMP) study.

“With this enhancement, the total area for development within KLIA Aeropolis will be enlarged to 6,750 acres from the previously planned area of 2,730 acres,” it said.

The airport management company also said it was asking the government for an extension of the lease for the land  identified for development to 60 years from the current tenure of 25 years.

MAHB said it had commenced the first phase of the commercial development by opening up a 50-acre (20ha) site to accommodate a factory outlets centre, food and beverage (F&B) mall and an auto city or auto mall to enable local and foreign automotive dealers to leverage on the high advertising value at the international gateway.

It added that earthworks on the site were on-going and scheduled to be completed by mid-2011.

The group said upon the targeted completion of 2013, the proposed factory outlet centre would be a new retail destination for the country and region.

“Its strategic location within the airport boundaries, coupled with the availability of budget airlines, will not only attract local shoppers but also regional shoppers to the area, thus increasing the country’s tourist arrivals,” it said.

Additionally, MAHB said it would study the expansion of the logistics and warehousing facilities at KLIA, to utilise the existing low-cost carrier (LCC) terminal building upon the relocation of low-cost carrier operations to KLIA2.

The KLIA Aeropolis was part of MAHB’s quest to develop its vast landbank at KLIA. The development project was intended to transform KLIA into a diversified airport city, providing significant opportunities including employment, leisure and tourism.

“It will also feature the KLIA MSC-Free Zone which will have space for high-tech, high value, time-sensitive industries, a logistics or warehousing centre and commercial business premises,” it said.

The KLIA Aeropolis would also house golf courses, a boutique hotel and a theme park as well as agro-tourism tracts of land.

New AirAsia to Kathmandu in June 2011

Great news to hiking, mountaineering and camping enthusiasts. Outdoor's great escape is here at an affordable price.

Air Asia will fly into Kathmandu, Nepal in June 2011.
There will be 4 times a week flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia into Kathmandu, Nepal.

Get prices all in one page from Priceline, Agoda, Bookings, LastMinute, compare reviews and total cost and fees, then decide on the best option Even same hotels may have different pricing on different booking systems because of their bulk discount quotas and bag the best deal at the time of your search, saving time and effort from a single hotel information system.

Lonely Planet Nepal (Country Travel Guide)  Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills: 50th Anniversary  To a Mountain in Tibet

Prices are expected to be competitive so that Everyone Could Fly. So expect prices at least 50% off regular full-service commercial airlines. What is their current prices? About 1000-2000RM. With an aggregate of 50% off those rates, you can snag a return flight for close to 500 RM or about 180 USD.
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