Monday, 30 March 2009

Why the value

The reason why diamonds are expensive is because it is rare. Not everyone has it. That is why diamonds have significantly high value. But if one day; diamonds started to drop freely from our ass-holes; how much would you pay for diamonds then? Since we all have ass-holes (you have one right?), diamonds might just be worthless if such day is to come.

That is the general definition of value. The more there is of a particular thing, the less valuable it gets.

Perhaps this is why a few people mailed me asking how come the US$ is still so valuable (comparatively speaking) despite the fact that the US govt (the one led by your favourite Obama) keeps printing it? Since currency is no longer backed by gold, the value of US$ should be like shite, right?

Well, did you notice that the price of crude oil is always quoted at US$ per barrel? When multinational corporations declare their results to the world, did you notice that they always declare in US$? When transfer price of a footballer is disclosed to the world, did you notice that it is always quoted at US$?

Ya’ see, the US is quite smart from the very beginning. They made the world agree that US$ will be made as the international trading currency. Can you imagine all the imports and exports in the world are being done in US$?

This simply means that there will always be a demand for US$? The US$ can be dropping freely from the US govt’s ass-holes (I am referring to printing by the way), but the value of it will always remain. There are other factors but demand is the main force keeping the US$ going.

What do you think will happen if US$ is removed as the international trading currency? With its national debt currently standing as US11 trillion and US$ continue to fall freely from a very big ass-holes, the value of it may be US$1 = RM0.50? Could even be less!

No one has the balls to suggest this for a very long time. Everyone is afraid of US military power. You don’t want to suddenly being told that Osama is hiding in your country based on some super reliable intelligence and hence, your country should be bombed to pieces. So, no one has the ball.

Well, someone finally appears to have balls. It’s the Cina; those from China. The Cina, backed by Russia, Brazil and India; made a call to
break the US$’s dominance in the world trading arena. This is big! Of course, it may take years but it is big. If it happens, US will probably go bankrupt and a lot of Cina from Malaysia will really go… “Actually, I is Chinese”.

But then again, do you think your beloved Obama will let this happen? The last great recession, famously known as The Great Depression started World War 2. What if this recession is bigger than The Great Depression?

Aiyah… nothing will happen wan lah. Life here still good mah… I can still go shopping and swipe my credit card and storm the latest iPhone craze. Forget about the world lah, let us just continue with our happy life here…

1 year ago…
Cards laugh

2 years go…
The week that’s beenChef of the dayA quick threesome

Thursday, 26 March 2009

This thing called MTM

Do you still remember how I once blogged that all the money in the world didn’t suddenly disappear; it’s just that money was never there the first place? Today; let me tell you one mechanism on how you are made to think that money is there. It’s not real, but you will be made to believe that it is real.

This mechanism is called Mark-to-Market, or better known as MTM. Let me give you an example on how it works.

Let’s say a company called “A-Co”, together with a lot of people all owned the same car, a 5-year-old proton wira. And let’s say this proton was bought at RM50,000 but is now worth RM20,000 if sold to another person or traded-in for another car. That means, A-co had a MTM loss of RM30,000. In simple accounting term, A-co will record in their accounts as a loss (perhaps in the form of depreciation) of RM30,000. Understand? Simple isn’t it?

If suddenly, one psycho guy came up and announced that he adores 5-year-old proton wira and is willing to pay RM500,000 for one, and is willing to buy as many as possible. What happen now? It means A-co now have a MTM gain of RM450,000.

Under accounting rules, assets are to be disclosed at fair-value, loosely translated as market-value. It means A-Co does not need to sell the car. As long as the car belongs to A-Co and that psycho guy exist, A-Co can now recognise a gain of RM450,000 in the accounts.

What does it means? Assuming no other items, it means you will see in A-Co’s financial accounts that there is a profit of RM450,000. An ordinary man on the street with no corporate knowledge will see the accounts and go… “Wow, just one car and can make so much profit!”

But is the profit (money) real? Can you go to A-Co and ask them to show you RM450,000 in cash? Heck, A-Co will not even be able to show you RM1 in cash. All they have is a car, and a psycho man story.

But you know the beauty of the story? People in A-Co can claim they work very hard and
demand for high bonus. And so they go to the bank and tell the bank they have such big profit and draw out a huge overdraft for bonus. By the way, when I said people in A-Co means the senior management. Those at the bottom will be told that A-Co’s target was RM1,000,000 and since there was only RM450,000 profit; A-Co did not meet the target so no bonus.

Earlier this week, the US govt (the one led by your favourite Obama) announced that they would be
buying over the “toxic debt” via a US1 trillion fund. That is to say, US govt is going to buy worthless papers, though once perceived as lucrative investments. When someone is willing to buy these worthless papers, it means there is a market price for it.

Can you see the “5-year-old protons” and the “psycho man” in the above scenario? Don’t be surprise if companies holding these worthless papers can suddenly announce profit and bonus payments start to roll again.

Did the Obama administration which gave birth to so many American wannabes just did a… … …

1 year ago…
A day in ParisLawatan ke sekolahA Paris analysis

2 years go…
Some of Mom’s wishes2nd chance with Mom – why is it enough

Monday, 23 March 2009

Full support for the hour

In case you are not aware; 8.30pm to 9.30pm this Saturday, 28th March 2008 will be the earth hour in Malaysia. All are encouraged to (at least) turn off your lights for one hour commencing 8.30pm on that day. This is not some glamour event that ask you to freeze for a minute so that you can pose for pictures, this is the real thing.

But please, do not turn off the lights at home and head to the cinema for a movie, or head to the nearest cyber café gaming away. The true spirit of earth hour can only be achieved when you and I cease to consume energy of any form during that hour. No internet too ya? I will even forgive you if you decide not to read AZAIG for the whole weekend.

I am rather extreme, I would consider going to the mall to window shop as consuming energy. As I have said, let us shut off everything for just that hour. I heard that some buildings in town have decided to shut off everything commencing 8.30pm onwards and it’s really encouraging.

Are you against global warming for real? Prove it! Go primitive for at least an hour!

2 years go…
2nd chance with Mom

Sunday, 22 March 2009

The change I seek

A couple formerly from might church made the move down under almost a year ago. While they were still here, they were driving a Kelisa and working hard to pay their mortgage. They are in the usual “surviving” mode just like many of us. Work was tough then, with the usual long hours making up pretty much their lives.

They are now renting a pretty decent place in the Melbourne suburb. After both of them landing a job and having worked for a few months, they purchased a 5-year old Honda CRV. They have been travelling around Australia; living life the way it should be.

With the Australian govt paying first home owner a grant of circa AUD15,000; I won’t be surprise if they get themselves a place of their own. Yes, the Aust govt gives grant for buying your first house. As long as you are a resident, you get the grant. There is no such thing such as Aussie-putera.

And you know what? At 5.30pm on a working day, the husband would be at home cooking dinner already.

There are many reasons why people view the grass on the other side being much greener. For me, the above is more than sufficed. I want to live in an environment where I don’t need work my soul away to have a decent living.

And just to digress to let you in on a very interesting observation – throughout my 10-day trip to Melbourne, I have met quite a lot of people (obviously). And having been in conversation with so many of them, only 2 individuals asked me what I work as – one a Malaysian, the other a Singaporean.

It does show who prioritises career in whose life, isn’t it?

P/S: I was quite tempted to say that I work as a janitor or garbage collector. I wonder how the Malaysians and Singaporeans will view me if I say that.

2 years go…
Dear MommyFarewell MomIt was not meant to be a surprise

Saturday, 21 March 2009

In Remembrance

2 years have passed

But your love still last

If I could ask

A visit to my dream be your task

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Orgasmic driving experience

Despite the extraterrestrial rules and somewhat nonsensical speed limit, I have thoroughly enjoyed by driving experience in Melbourne. Let me share with you the orgasmic driving experience…

I know we are all used to driving in the presence of rempits and non-rempits motorcycles. Those few days of driving without a single motorcycles was just fantabulous. It just feel damn great. You have to feel it to know it.

There were hardly any land-mines a.k.a. pot-holes on the road. Smooth drive all the way bay-beh!

Toll-less highways. When driving in the freeway (a bigger version of highway), there is only one toll-point and you can actually avoid it. In fact, you can use most of the freeway without having to pay toll at all.

When parking is free, it’s free. There will be no one ushering your car into space and collect money from you to ensure your car stay “damage-free”. Don’t you just hate them?

When you signal to change lane, rest assured the other drivers will let you change lane instead of accelerating right next to you to block your way.

Signboards are actually accurate unlike here where signboards tend to lead you to highway so that you will pay toll. Worse, some leads you to nowhere.

And the best of all… traffic-jam-less driving. I know some of you will say that there is quite a bit of traffic jam during peak hours, i.e. pre and post office hour. That is true. I saw that while driving to Crown Casino. But traffic jam is only during those hours. Here in KL, do you realise that there is no such thing as peak hour anymore. I just got back from musicians practise from church and was caught in a jam. It was 10.05pm!

As such, I have derived much pleasure from my driving experience in Melbourne despite the weird traffic rules. Yes, the law enforcement is strict and some of us may not favour such driving environment as some would want to cut queue at a junction, jump lights, drive on emergency lanes and stopped in the yellow box just to get ahead of others.

But there are many; who would abide the traffic rules to ensure a pleasant and safe driving environment. For the kind of orgasmic element mentioned above, I will abide the traffic rules anytime.

Romancing the roads

There are many of us who proudly proclaim… “If you can drive in Malaysia, you can drive anywhere”. Let me tell that it is nothing but a myth.

Perhaps that statement is true when a Malaysian take the wheel in countries that have no respect to traffic rules. But if one is to drive in true blue Malaysian manner in Melbourne – yes, you might rule the roads, but you will also lose your licence within hours.

Cameras are everywhere and unlike here, cameras in Melbourne actually work. Most of the roads have a maximum speed limit of 60km/h with 80km/h on a highway and 100km/h on a freeway. During the few days when I was driving there; half of the time I was looking at the speedometer.

When making turns, you are to give way to pedestrians first. In most parts, you will also have to give way to trams and stop for tram passengers to get up/down. Basically, motor vehicles are the bottom of the food chain in the traffic rules; a complete opposite from here. On top of that, they have a very unique rule called the “hook turn” where you keep left to turn right. Yes, you read it correctly and yours truly actually did one that… successfully.

Maybe you’re thinking now… “Yeah, we may not be able to follow the rules but we Malaysians are skilful drivers!” Is that so?

Ya’ know, there are quite a number of cars there which are on manual transmission. Expensive cars with auto transmissions are mostly owned by I-must-show-off Asians. How many of us will still be blissfully driving if our cars are on manual transmission?

On top of that, I noticed one very peculiar thing… most cars (like 85%) in Melbourne do not have a reverse sensor. No, I am not talking about old cars; I am talking about relatively new Accord, Civic, Altis and quite a range of other cars which you would expect to have reverse sensor.

Manual transmission… no reverse sensor and most of the car park spot in the city are parallel based… so u seriously think Malaysians are skilful drivers?

Of course, there are a blissful side about driving in Melbourne… perhaps we can talk about that tomorrow…

P/S: In case you are wondering, the car I drove was on manual transmission and does not have reverse sensor.

1 year ago…
To prove that I am good

2 years go…
I hate it but I have to do itOf parking, toll and a kick ass video

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

10 days at a glance

I have heard so many people talking about it, and I am sure many of you heard of it too. Some of you might have experienced it; or some of you may even be experiencing it right now! I am referring to the Australian life.

The 10 days spent in Melbourne have been nothing less than bliss. If I was asked to describe the city in two words, those words would be… “very liveable”. I guess it was no surprise that Melbourne came second in the
Economist’s World’s Most Liveable Cities 2008.

Some may say… “Hey Zewt, that’s because you were on a holiday!” Trust me, if I blog about the working life in Australia, we who work in Malaysia will need to take anti-depression pills. I have 2 stories about people working in Australia in the pipeline, but not today.

To me, Melbourne is such a liveable place simply because it is a very well planned city populated (mostly) by educated-law-abiding citizens and governed by a govt who truly works for the betterment of the public. When you put all these elements together, you get a place where waking up is a joy everyday.

It may appear that I am exaggerating but that is how I feel. There are many good things that I can talk about and I will in the next few days but let me just start with something I find really precious and hard to come by these days… the air… clean air.

I have blogged previously about the poor air quality here in KL and how the
rain has been a blessing in disguise. Having been to Melbourne and back, I can confidently raise my arm and confirm the distinctive difference in air quality between here and there. How?

Some of you may know that I have persistent throat irritation that often leads to traces of blood in my phlegm to which the ENT finds no problem in my throat. The mucus in my nose is often green and I have to dig clean my nose everyday.

During my 10 days in Melbourne, my throat irritation was completely gone. I had no crap in my nose for almost 8 days before some dried mucus dropped off, and it was white. The moment I came out from the airport here, my nose was blocked and on the night of my return, my green mucus has returned.

Have you ever clean your window or the table in your house? Imagine that layer of black-dunno-what in your nose; or worse… in your lungs. That is something KL can never provide and with open burning openly ignored by the authorities, it can only get worse.

Like one of my friend said… “it’s scary what we are breathing in here”.

I year ago…
The changes, expected changes and the un-changedThe conversation with the driverSome info on UK work-travel Visa and contract employment

2 years go…
It’s a boss thingI was at the partyThey clever or I stupid?Lifestyle of the smart and not so smart

Thursday, 5 March 2009

The most difficult question in an interview and how to answer it

I am sure a majority of us have attended interview(s) before. From what I gather, there is this particular question which interviewees hate. I tend to agree since I have been an interviewee before. Do you know what that question is?

“Can you tell us what is your weakness and what have you done to improve yourself on that?”

First of all, you need to identify a weakness. And this must not be a weakness that makes you look bad. It must be a moderated weakness, one which should not affect the role you are applying for. And then, you need to tell what you have done to improve yourself. Very often, you will have to lie not just on how to improve yourself but the very weakness itself.

So how should you tackle such situation?

My friend Jon told me the brilliant idea on how to deal with this question. It is adding the word “too” on a positive adjective. Example:-

I feel I am tooooooo meticulous in my work. Others might not be able to keep up with me. I have been trying to see the bigger picture to improve this.

I feel I am tooooooo hardworking as I will grab all the work for myself. I learning on how to say no when I am bogged down.

I feel I am tooooooo focus on technical applicability. I am trying to apply other aspects of the business into decision making.

I feel I am tooooooo driven on not just meeting but exceeding expectations. I am learning on how to not push myself above the limit. Reaching limit is enough.

I feel I am tooooooo good to my subordinates sometimes. I treat them like my close friends. I need to draw the line sometimes.

See the wonder of the word “too”? Now you know what to say in your next interview.

I will be away for a while. I am making my initial entry in “grassy land” to active my “ticket”… hehe… Enjoy the long weekend!

2 years go…
Chinese culture, what’s not and what’s lost

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Where are the Ps?

I wrote this to TheStar Citizen’s blog a few years ago and I feel it’s time to bring it to AZAIG…

Have you guys noticed that there are very few cars with “P” sticker around? On the average, I only see about 2 – 3 cars with “P” sticker on the road every time I drive.

I am not sure whether it is still the case now, but JPJ used to roll out hundreds and hundreds of new driving licenses every single day. Can anyone confirm whether the figure has dropped drastically since the “lesen kopi” fiasco (which I believe many Malaysians have forgotten) a few years ago?

If the number of new license being approved by JPJ still stands in the region of hundreds a day, then where have these new drivers gone to? We should be looking at hundreds of cars with “P” everyday. When the rule was first announced, there were plenty of them. Now, they seemed to have disappeared. I came up with the following possibilities:

Parents only allow their children who are infant drivers to drive around their housing estate; or
Most new drivers are able to be-friend experienced drivers and have been consistently being chauffeured driven; or
The vision of my eyes have severely deteriorated; or
Most new drivers decide to wait until their probationary period is over before hitting the road; or
New drivers now afraid to hit the road, afraid of rempits; or
JPJ have not been approving new licenses; or
P drivers have been driving around without “P” stickers and there have been absolutely no enforcement.

Take your pick.

P/S: I know I have not been replying comments, my apology. Will do so tomorrow.

2 years go…
More on Chinese A…B…C

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

12C 4 HE

I remember it was only about 10 months ago when I was really discipline with food due to my health condition. For example, I will never cut off the fat from those yummy looking siew-yuk. And you know what I did during those discipline period? No, I didn’t cut the fat off; I stayed off siew-yuk completely.

Besides that, I am also proud to say that it has been more than a year since I last had fast food. Yup, the new 595 thing in McD has no effect on me. I only had alcohol twice in the last 10 months – once during my sister-in-law’s registration and the other during my sis’ wedding dinner. I think I had soft drinks less than 10 times in the last 10 months; and that includes the-tarik and coffee.

Not bad right?

But as some of you may know, the results of my 2 previous check ups were pretty encouraging. I found out that good readings from the tests are… bad!!! Suddenly, the temptation to add char-siew or siew-yuk to my regular chicken is now so hard to resist. I succumbed to it yesterday. And last weekend, I whacked a lot of mutton curry when it was only 10 months ago that I managed to stay off red meat for almost 6 months.

Yes, it’s truly tough to be healthy. You will only be truly healthy when you think you are dying. Well, technically speaking; we are all dying; just a matter of how soon. Sorry for being so morbid.

Anyway, I found something very interesting about healthy eating in my
friend’s blog. There are 10 Commandments given by God and a guy called Michael Pollan gave us his 12 Commandments For Healthy Eating. And the 12C 4 HE are:-

Number 1:
Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognise as good.
(Zewt:- I really like this one. Think about all the junks you’ve eaten!)

Number 2:
Avoid food containing ingredients you can’t pronounce.
(Zewt:- Gee, how many will go off the list?)

Number 3:
Don’t eat anything that wouldn’t eventually rot.
(Zewt:- Anyone seen the video showing the “life” of McD fries before?)

Number 4:
Avoid food products that carry health claims.

Number 5:
Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle.
(Zewt:- Get the drift?)

Number 6:
Better yet, buy food somewhere else.
(Zewt:- Means go to the wet market lah)

Number 7:
Pay more, eat less.
(Zewt:- This is so true in Malaysia if you want to be healthy)

Number 8:
Eat a wide diversity of species.
(Zewt:- I have eaten a bat and it’s really yummy!)

Number 9:
Eat food from animals that eat grass.
(Zewt:- I tend to disagree with this)

Number 10:
Cook and if you can, grow some of your own food.
(Zewt:- I am glad I like cooking)

Number 11:
Eat meals and eat them only at tables.

Number 12:
Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure.
(Zewt:- I think this is not applicable to Malaysians. When we get together, we feast!)

So, do you think you can follow all of them (except for number 12)?

Monday, 2 March 2009

How tasty are your nasi lemaks...

... after seeing this?

Aiyah.... nothing to worried about lah. This country still has the best nasi lemak, the tastiest char kuey teow and the most delicious bak-kut-teh. I mean, where else can you find mamak stores in the world besides this country, right? Open till late at night summore! Let us continue to enjoy the good food this country has to offer and forget about all the other things lah...

Related:- The reason evolution

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Behind the economic scene

Almost everyone knows about sub-prime, but not many know how sub-prime led to the current economic state. Perhaps that is a story for another time.

Amongst all the chaos, I actually noticed something quite hilarious, if I may use such adjective. Really, it’s quite funny. Let me tell you…

How many of you noticed that America and Europe seem to be engaging in an I-am-better-you-are-worse argument? When America first plunged into the credit crunch, European economists came out with their guns blazing saying…

“America, this time you sure die already lor. This is a big pile of shite, you will never get out of this. Europe is going to conquer the world. America is going to die! Hahahaha!!”
(Metaphorically of course)

The very first article which I read about sub-prime was written by an economist from UK. The tone of this write-up was something like Americans were stupid, using a failed system, serve them right, etc.

Alas, Europe was totally unaware that they themselves were also taking in load of sub-prime poison and when they were officially diagnosed with the credit-cancer, it’s now the American economists’ turn to come out with their vocal attack on Europe’s economic condition.

“We the America is going to recover within a year. You Europe is going to die. Look, even one of country has gone bankrupt! Hahahaha!”
(That is the American economists’ tone now).

That is what I notice, and it is still happening.

But you know what is the best part? While America and Europe are trying to bash each other, China has amassed circa US$1.67 trillion in foreign reserves. That’s US$1,670,000,000,000 or RM60,120,000,000,000. The amount is so huge till Obama has to send Hillary Clinton to China and say “Heylo blarder! I know we don’t aglee on many things. But for now, continue to lend us marney ok?”

I tell you, the Cina is really quite something. It’s like years and years of exploitation and being looked down bought the best out of them. They may copy everything but they have certainly put their resources to good use. I won’t be surprise they will one day rule the world.

And when I say Cina, I am referring to Cina from China, not the Malaysian Cina. Malaysian Cinas are trying very hard to lose their Cina-ness by not speaking their dialect, putting on accent, not eating rice, not celebrating CNY, etc. Maybe one day, when the Cina really rule the world, these Malaysian Cinas will come out and say… “Actually ah, I is Chinese”

Anything is possible in the world today.

1 year ago…
What if this election impacts your rice bowl?Some general modern slavery comparisonLondon cooking adventure

2 years go…
Chinese A…B…C