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the world is still spinning March 19, 2008

Posted by youppe in business, finance, politics.
2 comments

convert your cash into gold, right now.

another classic ‘rearview-mirror’ situation. people are lost in the euphoria of GE 2008 and the ensuing post-election drama, that they forget to look around and realize that the world is still spinning. the Malaysian election didn’t change a thing about the world, and the looming crisis is now growing even larger. it is high-time in Malaysia, and most people would not notice – in the midst of all the post-election news – about the spectacular collapse of Bear Stearns, one of the world’s largest and strongest investment bank. as you read this, a JPMorgan-led, government-backed bailout of the venerable bank has probably been concluded. the swift, last-gasp buyout initiated by the US Federal Reserve was aimed at saving the bank from bankruptcy, as the total collapse of such a huge institution would certainly bear significant effect to the spreading confidence crisis of the global financial system.

the US subprime crisis has claimed huge losses at financial giants such as Citigroup, Northern Rock, UBS, Credit Suisse, Wachovia, etc., but the magnitude of this stunning reversal of fortune at Bear has got people screaming ‘RECESSION’ louder than ever. the idea has been toiling with us since the start of the subprime woes, but this latest ‘scalp’ – a highly-respected one – is seen as a huge sign of the dark days to come. the US economy is inching ever closer towards implosion, dragging the global financial system along with it. yep, unfortunately, instead of what the mainstream media (read: irrelevant) would like you to believe pre-election, the fall in US economy will absolutely affect everyone, including us, in no uncertain terms. especially in the commodities market, which is highly dependent on the greenbacks of USD. the disputes over oil rights in Venezuela (President Hugo Chavez vs ExxonMobil), Russia (Putin vs ExxonMobil, Shell & TOTAL in the huge Sakhalin development), and in many other parts of the world would just amount to nothing if the oil market crashes in the back of a falling USD. even the ‘IRAQ Oil Bonanza’, whereby the war-torn country is opening up its massive oil & gas reserves for foreign investments for the first time, would not be as good as it initially looked. (oh, in case you don’t know – the opening up of Iraqi Oil to foreign companies is only possible since the WAR toppled Saddam Hussein and the new US-friendly puppet government was established. the foreign companies at the forefront to grab the oil? ExxonMobil and Chevron, two significant corporate contributors for Mr Bush’s electoral campaign. i know you guessed it).

i am particularly quite jittery about my company’s (the company that i worked in) position in all of this mess. as an insider, i don’t believe the company will fall due to political reason, because the company already has a strong foundation and is well-run by able professionals. 80% of the revenue were generated from overseas operation, after all. yep, roughly 20%, only, came from Malaysia. the group’s cash cow – the oilfield services division – which is predominatly run by mat sallehs and expats except for the local KL branch, has an established global presence at 65 locations in 36 countries, and the top contributors to the company’s coffers were the Americas (Venezuela, Mexico & US), Europe (Russia, Norway & UK) and the Gulf. but that is actually the Achilles’ heel – international operations were all done in USD. the group’s net profit for FY07 was cut down in the millions due to translation loss from a weakening USD during last year. if the US enters into recession and the USD is more heavily depreciated,… (but then again, as we all basically depend on the US economy and pegging the USD, everyone else would suffer the same fate)

my advice? be weary of your investments, be it in commodities (oil, CPO, gold, etc..) or the stock market (local or foreign). this is not a good time to hold up some shares, people. tell your unit trust agents to hold off for a moment. it is still not a foregone conclusion, and we still might just avoid it, or won’t be affected much by it. but just be weary. with all the happenings in the world, didn’t your mama tell you just that?

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sometimes, we experience a ‘moment‘ that we wish would last forever. but the beauty of ‘moment‘, is that it is fleeting, and just slips through our fingers. so cherish the ‘moment‘ while it lasts, because as you stand awe-inspired, the world still revolves around you. and time, as they say, waits for no man.

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in 4 years’ time March 9, 2008

Posted by youppe in general.
6 comments

anwar mobbed

euphoria.

i am still reeling from last night’s adrenalin rush. the scene was at Bangsar Sports Complex, deep in the middle of upper class Bangsar. Anwar Ibrahim’s presence ensured that the Lembah Pantai polling centre was packed to the rafters. imagine the earth-shaking roar and the ensuing frenzy, when it was announced that first-time contestant Nurul Izzah Anwar has defeated incumbent Shahrizat Jalil, a veteran Cabinet Minister. it was almost unbelievable. everyone was high, and shouting at the top of their lungs. Bangsar has never been associated with ‘quiet’, but last night it was at its loudest. Nurul Izzah was in tears, but only for a short while. celebration was picking up. and as it will eventually turn out, it was a hell of a night for Malaysia.

despite even having corporate bigwigs such as CIMB’s Nazir Razak and AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes (of course, both are cronies with interest) campaigning for her, Shahrizat’s defeat in Lembah Pantai was just one of the many high-profile losses suffered by BN. Based on last night’s results, it was apparent that BN was voted out by middle & upper class Malaysians in urban areas. it was obvious that only ‘orang kampung’ who read Utusan & Berita Harian, and watched RTM & TV3, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, who were still rather ‘blind’ to the insurgence of awareness of their peers in the urban areas. and i don’t blame them, as they have limited avenues and decades-long skepticism to boot. hopefully they could be reached better in the next election, for their own good.

but apart from that, i think the message from rakyat was HUGE. Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, and Selangor is the most industrialized state in the country. these areas are home to middle & upper class Malaysians, most of them are successful professionals and a highly-educated bunch. these modern, knowledgeable and well-informed urbanites hated it when their intelligence is insulted. you can fool those ‘orang kampung’ with your threats and lame rhetorics, but not us. we are even more qualified than some of your ‘kaki bodek’ MPs who only have SPM (and some don’t even finish school!), so who are you kidding? and the urban voters have spoken, louder than ever, and as important as ever. KL, the urban capital, was almost a sweep, and some places were won by staggering majority (Teresa Kok won in Seputeh by 36,000++ votes!!), not to mention the high-impact wins in Lembah Pantai and Titiwangsa (Dr Lo’ Lo’). only Zulhasnan Rafique (Setiawangsa) survived for BN in KL’s 11 parliamentary seats. in Selangor, BN only won in the more rural areas such as Sabak, Tanjong Karang and Sungai Besar, but closer to KL, even Shah Alam has been won by PAS. BN were almost cleansed out of highly urbanized areas on the outskirts of KL such as Petaling Jaya, Ampang, Subang, Damansara, Gombak, Pandan, Kinrara, Kelana Jaya, Puchong and Bangi. even the youngest contestant, 26-year-old first-time candidate Nik Nazmi (or Budu), who is a year my senior at MCKK, won at Seri Setia. after KL and Selangor, one would imagine the next highly-developed state in Malaysia is Penang, and you already know what happened there. even in the states won by BN, the more urbanized state-capital seats such as Seremban (Negeri Sembilan), Kuantan (Pahang), Kota Melaka (Melaka) and even Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) and Kuching (Sarawak), were won by the Opposition. what does this tell you?

the BN-controlled media were shrewd not to highlight this. but the fact is… the more highly-educated, more intelligent, more informed, middle class, upper middle class and upper class Malaysian citizens living in urban areas with access to the best facilities and infrastructures, are voting BN out of the government in one voice. and that, is a HUGE, HUGE statement, in any way you want to look at it. when the better minds, the better-informed group of people in the country is voting you out unanimously, you have to take notice. BN is now hanging largely on the support of those ‘orang kampung’ who relied heavily on the ‘polluted’ mainstream media. the urbanites have spoken, bigtime, and showed their credentials in style. they can’t be fooled, they see credibility as it is. even with the blanket on all mainstream media, the urbanites can’t be swayed. for that, i am proud. i am damn proud of us. i am so damn proud of us for stamping this statement so boldly. BN should realize that we are not as stupid as they thought. and the rakyat in rural areas, hopefully they can see this statement as something to think about. when their peers in the cities were all united in voting BN out, maybe there’s actually something that they missed out on. maybe all those propaganda in the mainstream media were just that, a propaganda. because in all fairness, their peers in the cities might be in a better position to know something that didn’t reach them.

this time, it will be different from 1998. in 1998, the Opposition’s big win was the climax, and the momentum slowed down after that, resulting in the lopsided GE 2004. this time, Anwar will be in Parliament, which probably has sent shivers down in the BN camp. in Malaysia, only a handful of people could even stand comparison with Anwar Ibrahim, let alone even thinking of trying to debate him in Parliament. the platform is now here, and a lot of work needs to be done. first of all, the Opposition must unite. and then, they must ensure that they deliver in the areas that they won, to build on reputation and credibility. this huge win should not be the climax, the momentum must be maintained. and with Anwar back in the fray, this is optimistically possible. and if this momentum could be maintained, enhanced and built-on, 4 years from now, General Election 2012 will be an even closer fight. if Barisan Rakyat can unite, maintain, enhance and build on its reputation and credibility, and gain more trust in the coming 4 years, the corrupt and ‘unsaveable’ BN could finally be voted out, for good.

it was plain to see, that after Tun Dr Mahathir, there was no one more qualified than Anwar Ibrahim to lead this country. he was destined to lead us into the new century, to take us to the next level. Mahathir has denied us from that, in his own selfishness. but if everything goes as planned, God-willing, we just might arrive at that, in 4 years’ time.

so see you then, in the midst of it all, again.

I AM PROUD TO BE MALAYSIAN.

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* today is the last day Malaysiakini will be open for free to non-subscribers. alternatively, check out Raja Petra’s Malaysia Today.

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THE DIRTIEST ELECTION EVER March 7, 2008

Posted by youppe in politics.
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friends…
the time is now
we’ve been played
fooled
deceived
lied straight to our faces
robbed of our rights
cheated in broad daylight
insulted, as if we’re that foolish
as if we have no dignity, nor pride
but we know
and we’ve seen it all…
the time is now
if not for country
for race
or for religion
do it for your children…
brace yourself
and good luck
in
THE DIRTIEST ELECTION EVER
drive carefully
have a safe trip
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for pride & dignity March 5, 2008

Posted by youppe in personal, politics.
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another pathetic act of desperation. a national treachery.

just after the postal votes fiasco, the EC dropped another bomb. the u-turn on the usage of indelible ink, just days before polling is just plain treachery. “concerns of sabotage” was cited as the reason, when everybody knows it was done to allow all those “pengundi hantu” in. internal discussions suggested (citing “inside intelligence” :D), that the use of indelible ink was just a gimmick by the EC in the first place, and was a certain non-starter after all. there was no any real move to amend the Election Laws to allow the usage of the ink, and it was known beforehand that there was actually not enough supply (or too short a notice?) to cater for the upcoming election. in other words, the indelible ink gimmick was just a plain, stone-dead, straight-to-your-face LIE to the rakyat. just as desperate and treacherous as the sudden passing of the bill for the sole purpose of extending the EC chairman’s tenure (what’s his name.. abd rahman abd rashid or abd rashid abd rahman?), it will be no surprise if the election is even called off tomorrow, judging by the way the EC is being manipulated and bitch-slapped as per request.

on to better news. commemorating GE 2008, Malaysiakini is opening its contents for free to non-subscribers, until March 10. following the ‘timely’ takeover of Nexnews (who owns theSun) by well-known raja ampu Vincent Tan and his Berjaya Group, the dearth of credible mainstream media during this election season is chilling. so the move by Malaysiakini is extremely welcomed, and i think it’s also a good promotion for their excellent contents. so for all you shiny happy momma’s boys and girls, mouth-gaping, head-scratching i-don’t-know-what-you’re-talking-about ignoramus, be good and just click the damn link.

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VOTE FOR PRIDE AND DIGNITY.

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on another note..

kaka.. who? fabregas showed how it’s done and took centre stage to lead Arsenal as the first english club to beat Milan at home. Milan, who knocked MU out twice in the past 4 seasons. ouch!

sorry, i still don’t have time to write about my turkmenistan trip. i’ve uploaded some pics though, in my friendster profile. you can find it here.

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