Saturday, August 30, 2014

Accordia Golf Trust: Is enough blood already shed?

Was alerted to this counter from AK 71 blog.

He did a quick 1-day trading, and made money. Power. I did a preliminary look at see if warrant further digging and its investment merits.

First, after the sharp fall from its IPO price, yield not including non-recurring item is now 8.4% 

Not bad. But Trusts yield higher than Reits to account for the volatility of business earnings.

Religare yield 9% for hospital properties.

HPHT yield 7.5% for port assets which many believed is at the lower end of the cyclical (Better time to invest) cycle.

APTT yield almost 10% because of the unknown risk of competition due to rezoning.

None of it is a apple to apple comparison. 

But if you ask yourself if you like to own ports, hospitals, cable broadcasting rights or golf courses, which one will you go for?

What I am trying to say is, the quality of assets of various trusts in Singapore is not of lower quality. So, the yield Accordia offered now is reasonable, but not exciting.

So, we need to know if there is high prospect of growth going forward.

1) Parent company and sponsor wanted to get rid of its remaining golf courses by March 2017.

It will cost 40 billion yen, Trust has only 14 billion.

Trust has existing 45 billion loans. Gearing is about 35%, gearing will need to increase significantly, but trust has no limit for gearing.

It is quite obvious for the short term, the trust will act as a dumping ground for parents. What can catch a glimpse of the potential growth or lack of.

It is obvious the 133 courses included those under the trust.

For its AR 2013,

revenue is

19.5 b for restaurant operations

7.8 b for membership (2014 forecast)

53.7 b for course revenue

Total Revenue is 80 Billion Yen

Assume 10% margin 8 Billion Yen

It is almost a 40% growth in 2 years!

But that is assuming the numbers remain in terms of pricing and visitors. 


A company worth further study especially if there is more blood in the street.

But right now? No thank you, because the parents seem too eager to dumb assets.




Random thoughts: Getting to terms with myself

In my work, we recently have our "sales results"

Mine is one of the poorest results, a drastic drop in QoQ results. I have not seen the rest, not sure if it is "general market weakness" or my poor execution.

I was demoralized, not sure how can I do sale pitch as a team leader, most probably my team will think that I am doing hot air again.

I wonder how long will I get pass this low point. Surprising, one night.

My strength of character again: I am shameless! LOL. Jokes aside, I think I really quite thick skin. But there are reframing taking place. 

Reframe 1:

I think of my clients instead of the sales generated by my clients. They are really nice people. I just have to work harder to make sure I do not short changed them further. I will just try to improve their "portfolio value". Also, I need to give myself more time, since I just know these clients for less than 10 weeks.

Reframe 2:

Look at the future. I think I can identify my faults, my lack of preparedness, I will not make the same mistakes

Reframe 3:

While it would be preferably be the case whereby the team leader has the strongest sale, given that I am already in this job, I cannot shunt away from this responsibility. When someone is ready, I will try to move aside. Now, I just have to continue to set the directions, and do whatever I need.

Also, although I am part of the sales team, I am also part of the strategic marketing team, I need to fulfilled my roles to my boss too. My poor sales should not stop me from being responsible to my other role. I believed I am still value-adding,

So, we always need to reframe our mindset so that we have a more quality life and I enjoyed my weekend.

Shameless, self-delusion? I do not deny, what is most important is not what others think of me,but how I can to terms to myself.

Have a great weekend, whatever is remaining.




Random thoughts: What is the big deal? Seriously

I refer to the chartering of trains to national stadium.

I seriously think LTA and the MEDIA blow the issue out of proportion.

I didn't know we can chartered trains too, then.

But once I know it can be done, and there is no disruption to an essential public service, I agree with the media it is a no big deal and LTA probably over-reacted.

Then, I remembered the comments and views from straits times and Today, etc, mostly critical of LTA.

Hey, LTA just louder than it should, it is the regulator, what is the big deal again.

It made wonder if the writers to the media are alumni of the 2 schools. Is miscommunication or lack of between SMRT and LTA such a big deal to have days of reporting.

The core reason for such a situation I believe is: the desire for a punching bag everyone can identify.

Elite schools, elite acts? Great punching bag 1

Profit driven public transport operator? Great punching bag 2

Regulator caught sleeping or afraid of public sentiments? Great punching bag 3

All three punching bags together? Great! So easy to get everyone worked up and make the national news papers.

Pity the sports!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Straco: My thoughts on it buying Singapore Flyer

I think Straco has proven itself to be a cashcow with good business fundemental.

I also think Singapore Flyer is a good buy relative to cost, and also Singapore Flyer hold great potential.

However, I think upside is rather limited from here onwards.

Straco is a cash cow, It is increasing its dividends, and many believed it can be a grower with its acquisition.

While Flyer is a great tourist attraction, it is loss making and will not yield results in the near future.

So the attractiveness as a dividend grower is lost.

Current valuation based on yield is not attractive. Hence it is hardly a stalwart or dividend play 

It is not an asset play.

It is a grower play.

But as It is trying to do a turnaround, the grower theme has to change. It is a longer term play with risk involved with the timing of turning Flyer around, assume it is just a matter of when.

So,my take is, if you already owned it, especially if you owned it cheap, the piece of news is midlly positive.

But if you are entering with the correction, expect volatility. Valuation for grower play is always rich. It is a simple rule of market adjusting itself, IMHO




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Random thoughts: Barking the wrong tree

When you invest in a company, it is very good if the investor relations does a good job. But do you actually invest in a company because it give you regular updates weekly, tells you the business challenges and goals monthly, and reply your email within 24 hours?

You study the results and try to understand the business, through track records, comparison and perhaps understanding of key executives style. If you are one day pissed with the company, it will be the business plunder made, and forgiveness or lack of, will be decided by the corrective or lack of action made.

I don't care about the PR as much as I care about the Character of the business.

Maybe business do not need investors' engagement.

But spending so much time coming up with a plan to reply email, decorate the room for discussion, having action plans for??

I don't see how these in the end impact results?

Give me a ah beng worker who produce results and I will gladly help him clean his backside with fussy clients who want updates.

We forget, when there is a complaint, the person is worried about the profits and loss, not how one should reply.

Form above substance.

Give me ah Lian ah Bengs people who cannot speak PR language but work magic in their core business. Let me handle their PR.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Random thoughts: A trip to Suntec City

Make a family outing to Suntec City, mainly because my wife bought Anderson Ice cream through groupon.

It was a surprising nice experience for the family.

My in- laws saw the giant supermarket the minute we came out of the car park. They sell some unique bakery. We took a short walk and my son wanted to move somewhere else. So I tell them I will followed my son.

We went to the fortune fountain. It has more water points now. My son enjoyed the walk round the fountain and touching the water. My thoughts as I leave the fountain area. This is some simple joy only a kid would bring. I do not think my wife and I will go round the fountain on our own. LOL. Kids make you young.

My kid asked to go toys r us. When we reached level one, there is a rewind and relax event at the foyer. No need to buy anything. They have retro games like four stones, etc. my kid and I had fun. We also managed to get a balloon dog from a balloon sculpturer free.

At the new toys r us store, they have a moving dinosaur!! They have a claw catcher toy just beside the dinosaur models. My son is busy imagining himself catching a dinosaur. Remind me of a supermarket tactic of placing beers beside pampers, such that fathers felt stressed caring for babies will just pick a dozen beers. The beers sales did went up in that supermarket overseas.

I wondered: why is toys r us floor area not arranged in theme? Like adventure land- guns, dinosaurs, swords, and the likes. Stars galaxy etc, movie world etc... Maybe kids will then stay too long to play and it will be crowded and the paying adults will not pay anything. But my idea is, wouldn't there also be more impulse buying of toys that add to the overall experience?

Lunch at Aston signatures is so-so. The quality of food is uneven, some dished taste quite ok while my chicken and my son noodles are quite tasteless.

We took a walk, and there were many new boutique shops. Some are rather interesting. We already went to the alive museum few months back. But I thought I mention that destination. Quite fun.

The west atrium as they now call it, is no longer linked to the east atrium ( the convention hall area) as Suntec go through phase 3 of renovation. The level 3 shops are so much appealing now, brightly lit and spacious. It used to be dark and the only shop then that prosper is groupon collection center.

We finally found the new Anderson ice cream outlet. Lucky it is within the east atrium.

We were told we cannot dine inhouse as we are using coupon. I can guess the rationale. But the whole shop is empty, and given that we are also paying, it left a bad taste that groupon buyers are second class customers. Look, I can order coffee and tea and get a seat, that perhaps is what the management is thinking. But I think they underestimate consumers' preference for F&B experience.

Enjoying my shopping trip more now. When I look through the lens as a investor and a father. I am a dull boyfriend. My wife used to complained about her retail therapy experience with me. lOL

Friday, August 22, 2014

Random thoughts: What is the biggest achievement?

I was shown this video during one of the courses I attended, rather touching, but most importantly, thought invoking.


After reading Stephen Covey book, I realized I am very much a work-centered, family-centered and self-centered person.

Work achievement is easy for all to see, and compare, like the video, the reputation of the firm, your pay and your fame.

The next biggest achievement will be your son/ daughter is also a high achiever in his work life.

The comfort and love from the family is then portrayed as the most important.

It will be really nice, if my son brings me out when I am old.

I know my mindset will most probably changed as I aged, but now, I think I am contented to know my son is doing well and is able to look after himself.

Of course, it will be quite sad, if my son never returns to see me, or only see me during the festivals. But once a month dinner, is enough for me.

Lets just keep the memory and experience short and sweet when he returned.

Self-centeredness at work?  Perhaps.

I do not want myself to cling on any emotion comforts my son brings, it is nice, but my comfort might be his baggage.

I remembered when I am in secondary school, I always wanted a video game set. I went to my friend's place to play often. When my friend wanted to buy 3DO, (not sure anyone remembered it), it offered to sell me his old SEGA set. I am crazy over the strategy game- Romance of the Three Kingdoms III, and I could now get it! He asked me to offer a price. I said:" I don't have savings." He said:" come on, its yours for a hundred bucks, and you get all my games free." I really wanted it! All the savings I had was $70, and I offered it. Its a deal.

I enjoyed the game, enjoyed the set. But anxiety start to set in. My mum did not like me spending long hours in front of the TV. I only played after I finished my work, and after I help them with the household chores. I realized I could not have my kick of the game, I am constantly disturbed. I played in the middle of the night, got scolding.

During my NS days, my parents retired. When I come home, they treated me like King, I did not need to help out at my dad stall too, that free out a lot of time, I used part of my first back-paid allowance for NS, was a few thousands, first time in my life I got so much money on playstation set.

No one stopped me from playing. I remembered feeling so bliss just to be playing final fantasy.

So sorry, kinda of out of point. My point is: video game is like such a easy wish to be fulfilled, but when I get my hands on it at 19, after craving it for a decade, I totally enjoyed and appreciated it.

I like one thing that video brought about in me... Appreciation and letting go. So many times, I wanted it, and couldn't have it, so near yet so far. When my wife is pregnant, I stopped playing videos. My wife told me I could still do it. I say I do not like the feeling of playing something, enjoying it and missing it because I need to wash the next bottle. I do not like the feeling of clinging to something. If I cannot have something, I don't want it at the first place. If something I do not wish happens, like the buying of a car, I can only learn to make the best out of it.

So what is the best achievement?

For me, its satisfaction with myself. I know. I am self-centered. Maybe Grasshopppers has a big center that is centered around themselves.

Not that I do not want material successes, I wanted it! I wouldn't be investing if I do not hanker over them. But when one trainer ask me to visualize a perfect life. I seriously think, my perfect life is now, being contented.

When I need to share my vision of wonderful life with a partner, I told her, I am sorry, I really think all the things we vision is not happiness, but if you really like something tangible, I like to be popular with ladies, and with pretty women falling head over heels over a rich and handsome me. LOL

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Parkson Retail Asia results disappoint, but it is not without reasons.

Parkson retail Asia has announced a Q4 NP of only 3 mio

See results

Reasons for poor performance.

1) Currency weakness of Indonesia and for most part of the year, the Ringgit

2) 7 new stores open, including pre-opening expenses, which should be one-off.

However, the reopening of the three stores in Malaysia did not improve both topline or bottom line as I would expect.

It is still a cash generating business, and profitable one.

However, if we extrapolate this quarter earnings, FY earning will only be 12 mio, Eps will only be about 2 cents.

2015 Q1  is the quarter with no opening of new stores, and ringgit and rupiah would have be from the same low base for comparison (Provided it don't fall further), we would be able to tell if the new loss making stores are still bleeding profusely. Given the same stores sales are actually improving(With exception of Vietnam), the new stores just need  to reduce their losses (Not a tall order since pre-opening expenses would be removed.), we should see an improvement in the meagre earnings of 3 million.

Nonetheless, one have to be patience, I see 2015 to be a worse year than 2014 till to indigestion.

2016, should be the year to look out for.

Sell first? 

Well, I cannot timed the market on this one, I would not accumulate at current prices too, but not selling it too. Only at prices below 70 cents would I take a second look at this counter.

My dream of 90 cents is dashed, the counter should be badly bashed when market opened tomorrow.


Random thoughts: How much is your sense of self-worth

Talking about valuation exercise.

If not measured by numbers or monetary terms, what do u think is your "intrinsic value"

Why did I ask. I used to think our sense of self-worth need not be determined by our achievement at work or home.

But it is easier said than done.

I was talking to a colleague today, in the underlying tone of conversation, there is clearly self-doubt. She thinks her bosses do not think highly of her. A lot of events are construed negatively by her.

I was about to tell her to be more confidence when I remembered she told me about her failed marriage before. It dawned on me, I suffered from low self esteem in my university days too. Thinking no one will love me, I will just have to grow old with a dog.

What happen if you don't do well both at home and at work. In Chinese, we call it 祸不单行,meaning if some bad befall us, it usually come in succession, one after another. It is easy to break a person esteem.

While many might not have to chase successes to feel self-worth, most of us need some success at workplace and at home to just feel good about ourselves.

Of course, there are greedy people always searching for the next high, but many people who are "hurt" and broken, usually find very limited success. We are dependent on our external circumstances too. Our filters can filter out some noise, but it will have to be a sage to be totally cool from external failures.

So what's my point? Be nice to people, even those whining one. We do not know what they are going through. It might or might not be their own doing that they are in that particular predicament, but we never know when it will be our turn.

Fill the hearts with compassion, so that anger and other negative emotions find it more difficult to invade it.

Tough call. I know. I am just human

Random thoughts: entrepreneurship competition

My wife told me she is bringing her NT kids for competition.

As a business prospector, I am naturally interested.

The finalists will mass produce their prototype for sale at a venue of the organizers.

Her pupils come up with twin message in a bottle that glows and can serve as key chain.

I ask questions like: what is the targeted audiences. She reiterate her pupils reply. They went to scout the venue, there were plenty of youngsters and many of them couples,such products should be in demand. Also, there is a PRC boy who can source the materials and mass produce the product with a cost per unit for about a dollar, which they will sell for 3. Since there is no rent to be paid and labor cost, margin is good and it is easier to break even or earn a profit.

It was said that presentation is not a criteria in the scoring, rather the process and business is.

My wife was disappointed when the judge just spend less than 10 min asking questions but were wowed by another group laptop's presentation.

I said:" maybe that group has a better business idea too" she told me what she overheard from the other group, seriously, while I am not a businessman, I really see that there business concept has already boxed itself in terms of revenue ceiling.

I ask, who are the judges. Was told they were ALL LECTURERS. "Good job, never mind them. I believe your pupils will survive and prosper outside."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Random thoughts: Mental Journey 2 (Greed and Fear)

I remembered selling Parkson Retail in fear when it fell 4 cents in a single day. I blogged about it here.

Random thoughts: My mental journey with Parkson Asia

I believed a deeper correction of more than 5% is now inevitable given markets just skid through a 3-4% correction and has not seen any meaningful correction in the whole year.

October perhaps, when easing ends...

I knew if Parkson go lower than my purchase price, this time round, I will not panic but start to accumulate.

I know the dividends will provide the painkillers as I wait.

Now, Parkson share price shot up more than 10% in 3 days, giving me 3 years worth of dividends including growth, or 4 years worth of dividends if growth does not set in from 2016 onward.

Now I super feel like taking profits, but worried about missing a potential winner.

The theory are easy and I heard it before,

1) cut your losers and keep your winners.

2) Know the valuation of your business, and you know when to sell.

But it is not so easy applying it.

I even contemplating taking some profits off APTT, but the yield is really too irresistible. 

Blogging usually allowed me to crystallized my thoughts.

APTT is still a good cash cow, I will wait through it, especially the waiting period is now cut short to quarterly.

Parkson might be a dividend grower from 2016 onwards But if it shoots up again today and I get 5 years dividends including growth, then maybe its time to say goodbye. "Never fall in love with a stock"

See, you can always twist and turn convention wisdom and quotes to suit your choice and preference.

My plan of compounding returns of dividends but ignore valuation of portfolio allowed me to be calm if my portfolio value fall below cost, but it didn't answer the question of "opportunity costs" if my value exceed expectations...


I remembered "freedom" from valuebuddies with this advice, you can never be wrong taking profits, don't try to get everything, (Buy at bottom, sell at peak)


I am, hope you are not...



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Portfolio update: 19 August

august port

All except Parkson Retail have reported Q3 earnings.

Quite a bit of changes.

Divested Golden agri, YZJ. YZJ has yield an return of 30% of capital and Golden Agri flat. I wanted a purer dividend play portfolio and golden agri didn't fit. I am glad I sold earlier.

China Merchant Pacific Holdings
Singapore Shipping
Parkson Asia Retail

All counters has a yield of at least 4%


Lee metals has 2 quarters of poor core earnings. It is fine with me. When I invested, I am ready for 2 cents dividends which I think is sustainable. 2014 has earnings boasted by AustVille, I believed, whole year dividends will match that of last year.

Venture has recover as expected, if trend continues, 50 cents dividends should be sustainable and also payout for FY 2014

APTT did very well after the tax settlement. I believed I overkilled in my earlier estimation of capex and loans utilized. I believe 8 cents dividends can be maintained till 2016.

As for Singapore Shipping and China Merchant Pacific Holdings, I bought for growth. Singapore Shipping will charter 2 new ships in 2014, and CMPH bought jiurui expressway. Details, please read valuebuddies. These two are my first copycat investment after doing my fact finding.

Possible actions for next 6 months.

I might sell 1 or 2 winners to hold cash to await more opportunities.

I am monitoring the following very closely

1) ST engineering
2) Low Keng Huat

Less closely, but in watchlist:
1) SIA engineering
2) Starhill Global Reit
3) Ascendas Industrial Reit


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Random thoughts: communication breakdowns at work...


At my new workplace, I am supposed to "manage" staff. I find that a really weird concept. Can we really manage someone beside ourselves? My concept on manage is very different from others it seem.

My concept of manage is to work together to get something done, gel, cursed and move together. If someone don't move, the group will drag him along.

I always get this request from my boss to monitor someone closely and talk to the person.

Er... Seriously, unless someone is totally off, focusing and talking about his weakness might just reinforced that weakness. I prefer to talk about their strength and put them at the right place.

I used to get a lot of "lets not go into the nitty gritty", and "you don't see the big picture" comment. I always think very lowly of such bosses, now it's retribution time. Now, my staff don't understand what I am trying to do to synergized everyone's effort so that the total is bigger than the sum of individual parts, or at least reduce the "learning and unlearning". What goes round comes round, think my staff think the same of me now. LoL! But I am very happy that they are asking many questions, questioning my approach, I rather they do it in the open. That at least give me a chance to explain and sell.

I am full of weaknesses too, can I change them into strength? Maybe over time, it can get better, but definitely not because of magical speech. The morale is more important than specific weakness, isn't it.

Sugar coating? Pandering to others? No moral courage? No lei... I am just trying to make sure communication don't break down...

Anyway I am just a novice. Look, I believed if we swop out roles and tasked u to find my weaknesses, I am sure you can easily find a dozens. I already received a complaint from my "client " LOL.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A quick look at APTT Q2 results

3 questions matter.

1) Is there a deterioration in subscribers numbers and ARPU?

 appt 2apttQ1

Hardly any improvement or deterioration in percentage terms. ARPU dip very slightly, most probably in preparation of the potential competition to come. Looking at the results, competition might not have begin.

2) What is the projected capex?

Projected capex for network expansion in 2014 remained at 40-50 mio, unchanged from Q1 

Thereafter, it will be 10-15 million for 2015 to 2016. The bulk of capex for network expansion will be in 2014. 

Since it will most probably in 2015 that we will see significant connection capex, and assume 10K connections a year, highly optimistic, capex will be 2.5 mio more per year.

So think we can assume capex of 60 mio, 30 mio and 30 mio over the next 3 years. Assume that use 20 million from cash flow to fund capex, total capex to be incurred by drawing down loans will be 40 mio, 10 mio, 10 mio, the 120 mio loans earmarked for expansion is not drawn down yet. By 2016, 60 mio loans at 4% will mean Finance cost of 2.4 mio more.

Assume 2016 FY

EBITA 200 mio

Interest cost (45 mio)

Loans 10 mio

Capex (30 mio)

Tax (20 mio)


DPU - 115 mio 

8 cents.

Assume zero growth, and no lost of ground to competitors or that it get offset by the growth from TaiChung.

Verdict: capex risk to distribution is low

3) Is progress in network expansion made.

Commercial operations pushed to Q4 from 2H(as announced in Q1). Again, management has jumped the gun.

My thoughts:

It is very obvious the chairman is trying to a mini starhub on APTT. Bundling strategy, and quarterly payout. The Bundling strategy has not shown results yet. The growth should not come from basic TV subscribers but the increase in broadband or premium TV. The reason cited is poor economic conditions in Taiwan, lets give the chairman more time to see if he can do a "starhub" in Taiwan

Random stories: Lord Yang Jiang's Tactics and Li Po's dilemma

Before the onset of warring states, the hegemony of Yue was weak. Everyone knew it is the survival of the fittest. Most chose to pledge allegiance to the stronger states, but there were also few unknown warlords, who were ambitious and wanted to build their own empire. Many did not realized there were several hundreds of unknown warlords then. 

Everyone knew the size and wealth of the populace could well determine the fate of their state, but a few wise warlords knew reputation was a far more important factor for prosperity. It was reputation that drew able men from afar to serve. But reputation need to be built on the strength of one's army.

Lord Yang Jiang commanded a small but strong army. His strongest neighbor was the state of Qi. The ruler of Qi was in a state of stupor, in a mad race to develop the latest technology to build the greatest arms. Lord Yang Jiang knew it will be a painful learning curve before the state of Qi could advance to the stage of development of Qin, who were able to build weapons that allow troops to fight in the thick forests, and arrows that could be shot across the rivers. Ruler Qin was even able to build fortress on water, and hence, no warlords, dared invade the state of Qin although it was the smaller state among the powerful seven.

Lord Yang knew it would be a painful learning curve, and instead of joining that technological rat race to develop water fortresses, he chose to develop the fishing areas of the Yangtze river. He opened the state coffins and gave loans to fishermen to build bigger boats, so that they could venture further to fish. Many thought such money spent, were money wasted. But Lord Yang proved them wrong, many fishermen were willing to borrow the money to build bigger and better ships, and many fishermen along the Yangtze river came to Lord Yang's fief. The big demand of fishermen in turn attracted ship builders and carpenters. Because of the strong demand for his money, Yang start to charge exorbitant rates and only to bigger and more organised fishermen. He also developed the fishing ports into town areas. Very soon, when the state of Qi wasted more and more resources on the development of water fortresses, and drained the state resources, Lord Yang became an rich and successful warlord. He was so successful that the interests on the loans formed about 15% of the tax collected.

The success of Lord Yang did not go unnoticed, the ruler of Qi gave cheaper loans to attract the fishermen of Yang. He secretly persuaded the rich fishermen of Yang to default and come to his state, where he would welcome them in open arms.

Lord Yang knew he could not incurred the wrath of Qi, so he announced an edict that he will no longer gave out loans to fishermen, to appease Qi. For three months, he also took back about 2 billion silver coins of loans. Lord Yang knew he had to beat a small retreat to advance. Ruler Qi stopped his aggressive handout of loans too, worried that it would put a further dent to state's resources. 3 months after Yang's edict, he was still giving out loans, he was not in a hurry to wind down this lucrative trade, but to further assuage ruler Qi's worries, he surrendered the smaller fishermen port towns to Qi as tribute, and promised him a share of the profits.

Lord Yang has another plan, it was time to quickly build up his navy with the technology learnt from the community of ship builders, he wanted bigger and stronger war ships. His reputation grew, and many viewed him as a future power. Many forgot about the time bomb the ruler of Qi had planted in Yang's fief. It was not too long ago, that under the support of Qi, disgruntled fishermen not only refused to pay Yang's his loans but declared themselves independent of Yang's rule, they were very aggressive and with support of Qi, even attacked some of Yang's lands. Lord Yang was confident of squashing this small rebellion. But would this be the last, no one knew... Right now, Lord Yang continued to bask in glory and saw his reputation and fame increased.

Lord Li Po knew he had to expand quickly. Large swaths of land are neglected by his enemies. He knew his army was not large enough, so he spent money to recruit mercenaries. His biggest prize was Pluit Village, one of his largest town, with an area of 87,268 sq meters. He figured that the tax collected from the villagers will pay for the mercenaries. However, he realized to his shock that there were not many locals occupying the village. He made improvements to the village and hoped that more would moved in, he built homes for villagers. Many of these homes remained vacant until recently when finally 87% of it were filled. 

However, while the money collected increased, Lord Li Po needs to pay his mercenaries more, as his mercenaries demanded to be paid in their Chu State currency. Given the poor development of his states, his money were not worth a lot when compared to the Chu state currency. Lord Li Po was pondering whether to start occupying some of the lesser areas of Chu to further expand. But that would mean recruiting more mercenaries, and he knew he did not stand a chance to snatch the crown jewels of state such as the bustling Jiang ling or Paragon City, which the locals call it. However, most of his villages and towns were closed to 100% occupied, the space for growth will be very limited if he did not expand. He could wait for his states to get richer, such that he no longer need to pay the mercenaries so much, but that would take a long time and he worried his reputation would take a hit. 


My best attempt at company reporting through story telling. Well... LOL

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Random stories: The End

Derrick was walking along the broad corridor of the hospital. He felt so much better today. He remembered having problems breathing only yesterday. He could not wait to see his wife and son to tell them how much better he is now. He might just ask his wife to get his favorite Anderson Ice Cream for him. That thought made Derrick chuckled, he would most probably get a earful from his wife.

He saw a crowd and a glimmering light. A familiar face he saw, away from the crowd, sitting on a sofa nearby. He saw his old schoolmate. "Hey! Raymond." Raymond seemed surprised. "Oh, what an coincidence! er.. So what caused your death?" "Choy! Choy! What a way to greet your friend!" Derrick replied. "Oh... nevermind, enjoy your trip, I came back early." Raymond said.

Derrick was about to probe when he was distracted by the glimmering lights. He squeezed through the crowd and look at the lights. He began to feel himself drifting into space, like he is slumbering into a deep sleep. He saw a young couple, the father carrying a baby. There were 2 more children running around. His wife did not look too happy. He found the couple familiar. He looked at the boy yelling and got a shocked! Hey! that is my elder brother! What the.. He saw multiple halo of lights. Derrick looked at them. He saw images. One of it looked like his secondary school. He took a closer look...

He saw himself playing volleyball! He was like a nervous whack. The whistle blown! He saw himself hugging his teammates. They had won the C-division  championship.

Derrick realized sadly, what had happened. He had passed away.

He saw many more halo of lights. Glimpses of his past. His wife at university, his son. Then he saw something he didn't remembered doing. He looked closer.

He was at a wake. It didn't take long before Derrick realized he was at his own wake. His saw his wife staring blanking into space. His son was giving a speech. His son spoke fondly of him, about how he was a strict and scary father, but nonetheless also a wonderful friend and playful buddy. How he as a father, had played multiple roles and filled his heart. Derrick felt tears as he listened. He saw his colleagues. He went over, they were talking about him. They all had good things to say about him.

Derrick looked at the halos of lights. So many of them. One of them was grey, the image was that of the hospital.Derrick went back.

"Raymond." Derrick called. "That was quick. You didn't spend too much time living the past?"

Derrick wanted to ask more, when he saw Raymond image fading away, Raymond smiled. "I am ready for my next journey. Take care. By the way, you can go through the lights as many times as you like. If you focused hard enough, you can hear what the people are thinking. I did it once and stopped."

"Why?" Before Raymond could answer, he disappeared. Derrick looked at the crowds staring at the bright light. "The portal to our past" he muttered to himself. Most of them are like in a trance, some of them in tears, some of them smiling, some of them in agony. Most of them were is disbelief. 

Derrick thought for a while. He sat down on the sofa where Raymond sit. He realized that's life isn't it. Looking at the past. Hoping to know "what if", searching for the "truth". Derrick heave a deep sigh of relief. He didn't have much regrets. He leaned back on the sofa. He is ready too. He didn't need to know what were the true thoughts of his friends and families about him. The truth is within himself, he had tried his best and had no regrets. 


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Random stories: Please have faith in me

Again, the post inspired by LP who merge story telling with explanation. LOL, too bad I have no advertisement fees, otherwise, I will offer some to LP as royalties. But my pen is weak, anyway, here goes:


Mrs Teo threw her stack of pupils' work on the desk, and grumbled:" I had enough of Vincent's excuses! His results is getting from bad to worse, when I confronted him, he always say he will do better next time, and that he was busy at home! As if everyone else has a easy time" Mrs Teo's colleague, Mr Ng, came over to Mrs Teo's desk, and said:" The economy is doing so badly, and unemployment is so high, heard his dad lost his job. I think he really had it tough." Mrs Teo:" I know! This has been going on for 4-5 years! After the GFC, the economy never really recovered! Look, Peter and Benson face the same problem. I understand their studies will take a hit! But life has to go on! Their results have improved. What about Vincent? Excuses and excuses!"

Mr Ng sighed. He left the staffroom. He saw Vincent reading a book as he walked. He went over, gave Vincent a pat. Vincent looked up. Mr Ng saw how tired Vincent looked. "How are things?" Vincent wanted to say something, but he hold back, and muttered:" I don't know." Mr Ng tried to be more upbeat, "Hey, come on, show some fighting spirit! I believed you will overcome your problems, just like Peter and Benson!" Vincent seem irritated suddenly. "Peter and Benson again! I know, they are poster boys! I... Nevermind" Vincent walked off to the bus stop. Mr Ng was a bit taken aback by Vincent's reaction. He was thinking what had happened to the well-mannered and high achieving boy he taught a few years ago. Just then, Mrs Teo came by, "what happened?" she asked.

"I think something is bothering Vincent. Maybe I should find out more." replied Mr Ng.

"I know what is bothering him, his parents lost their jobs. He has problems coming to terms with that. He also need to cope with higher demand of the curriculum, and he realized he is not that achieving boy anymore, and he is giving up on himself! I encouraged him, he sound confident of doing better initially, but ... " Mrs Teo sighed loudly, "he does not even dare to assure me that he will try anymore!"

"I am going to find out more." Mr Ng said.

"Good luck to you, I would think working on other pupils would be more rewarding, he is a has been, there is opportunity cost to our effort, you know" Mrs Teo said as a matter of fact.

Mr Ng pondered what Mrs Teo said. "No, I will need to find out more."

Mr Ng decided to make a trip to Vincent's house. When he was at the corridor, he heard his dad's voice. "Vincent, when I get that customer, I will be able to earn enough to stop worrying about making ends meet, we are rushing for time, can you hurry up." Mr  Ng knocked on the door and Vincent's dad came to the door. He recognized Mr Ng and was shocked to see him. "Vincent, did you get into trouble in school?" Vincent's father yelled.

"No, no, nothing of that sort, I just thought I dropped by to see how is he coping? His results is deteriorating." Mr Ng said.

"Oh, come on in" said his dad softly.

Mr Ng saw items that looked like big pieces of white sponge on the floor, and many plastic tubes and some material that he could not make out of.

"The company I worked for was bought over and I was retrenched, I couldn't find a job, and decided to try my hand on business. I still know many of my ex-boss clients, I am trying to customized these filters so that their production can be smooth and cheaper. But I do not get many orders until recently, and since every order is rather different and small, we can only used our hands to make them"

"Er... I can help for a while, if I may be of help."

Mr Ng chatted with the family as they showed him the steps in making the filter. He realized while it was not actually hard work, Vincent had to take care of his younger brother too. Feeling embarrassed, his dad told Vincent to go for his studies. Vincent told his dad not to worried, he never missed a homework.

Mr Ng looked at Vincent totally differently, "how silly am I to compare him with Peter and Benson? Vincent had so little  time in for his homework and studies, yet he had not failed a single subject! What an achievement!"

Mr Ng gave Vincent a tight squeeze on his hand. "You are a survivor, the external circumstances have not been kind to you. I believed when your dad makes a proper living, you will bloom! I do not know when that will be, but I no longer doubt that day will come." Under the fatigue eyes of Vincent, Mr Ng saw a spark.


My story ends. I did not really like it. But It was a fun try. Not sure if anyone can see the financial side behind the story, or find it too glaringly obvious.

Well, but I enjoyed the process. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Quick look at YZJ Q2 results

A quick one.

YZJ announce latest results:

My thoughts:

The positives:
1) "the darkest hour" before dawn, did not seem to arrived? Take away one off tax rebate, and assign an 15% tax rate, plus the one off maturity of fixed deposit of 130 mio, NP still improve from 808 mio rmb to 856 mio.

2) The fall in revenue from HTM is offset by increase in shipbuilding activities

3) Shipbuilding margin improved QoQ

The negatives:
Total HTM assets did not fall from Q1, in fact it increase marginally from 12.7 billion to 12.9 billion. Yet revenue from HTM has dropped from 597 mio to 339 mio.

It could mean 2 things: Most maturity date did not fall in Q2. BUt if you look at past year trends, the weakest quarter is usually Q3 or Q4, and it is the first time, a significant fall of revenue is recorded.

So it could also mean there is some rolling over (speculation)of HTM assets. e.g. extension of maturity date.

But all in all, positives offset negatives.

(divested, but still interested)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Random thoughts: Venture's Q2 crystal ball glazing

The US earning reporting season is almost over. I decided to look at Venture's competitors and customers results to guage the odds of a QoQ improvement in revenue and Gross profits.

It seems like the odds are good.

Venture's closest competitors, Plexus and Benchmark electronics, with overlapping sector of customers, both did well in this most recent quarters. Both register YoY and QoQ growth in both revenue and gross profits. Margin are stable.

benchmark electronics


It can be seen that almost all segments show QoQ growth, all except Plexus's Networking segment, due to loss of Juniper as a customer.

These 2 companies are closest comparables.

The next closest comparable,Jabil circuit,has a rather big Low mix, high Volume EMS segment,so I thought it is not a direct comparable. Nonetheless, it also shows QoQ growth in both revenue and gross profits but significantly negative YoY growth.

Other peers suggested by Maybank like Langard Precision, Planar system, have different products,Planar system deal with Video systems, Langard Lens. Both are showing QoQ and YoY growth.

Next,the customers. That is tricky. Venture has a total of 187 customers.

Big names like HP, Aigilent, NCR, Waters, Glory, Micros, avago, etc etc, show a mostly improving picture. But oclaro, Veriforne, etc has not report their earning yet, HP is flat, So I will not go into details here. Just a snapshot of NCR prsentation of their retail solution segment (POS). Outlook is also generally positive


NOte their backlog will push revenue to improve end 2014 and 2015. Manufacturing of the hardware might have already taken place.

Ok, if Venture end up having negative QoQ revenue and gross profits, its competitive strength is then ... I will lose some sleep... I used gross profits instead of net profits due to the effect of possible 1-off items and high tax rate. If NP is flat but Revenue and Gross profits are improving, I will be more tolerant.

Random thoughts: teaching my son and teaching my pupils

This blog is kind of trigger by LP post on rote learning. I have been thinking about teaching these days too.

Just a few weeks ago, my MIL told me to sign my son up for CL classes. I said No, she said its just $65, her other daughter's child is going, why not just go. She complained I always play with my son, I am not concerned about his future. I told her I will teach him myself. There are many reasons for this decision, although it is easier just to dump him off a weekend class.

1) I want to very clearly signal that what someone has or do, doesn't mean I have to do it too.

2) Language is acquired and not learned at age of 5, at such, once in a week learning of CL at such young age is a waste of time.

3) related to point 2, I believed spending 1/2 hour every day is definitely more effective than a drop and dump once a week lesson, even if I am less competent than the tutor.

4) I am sure I will focus on the language experience; the playing, the speaking, the authencity of activities, the story books I choose. I dun want drilling of vocabulary or exam skills at age 5. That can come later.

5) it is just 3 weeks, and my MIL commented that my son speaks better now. Of course la, his dad is professional, you know LOL( sorry, I can't help myself, my ego just exploded)

I tried to balance exam skills and language experience in school, and LP concept of rote learning, ( I will define it as regular drill and practice resulting in memorizing) is what I applied rather regularly too. ( rote learning means something else to me)

Rote learning is highly efficient and effective. Efficient because it uses the least amount of time, effective because it pertain to exam skills, and have a high correlation with exam results.

But scoring A means you are a proficient language user? Have you know someone who score A but speak like S***? Language is a tool, but also a gateway to culture, a carrier of emotions. It has authentic uses for communication, written or verbal. The ministry is trying to emphasize "interactive" spoken and written language now, which is the right direction, but the assessment has not shifted yet, given we are all pragmatic, efficient driven humanbots, what do we do? Exam skills practice, how to analyze the passage? How to prevent careless mistakes in your answers, although your answers would have shown clearly you understand, but No, follow the standard way of answering because in the end, it will be marked and graded that way.

A problem based approach to language acquisition would be more meaningful, in my humble opinion. But that would mean there is no standard curriculum, how to grade pupils?

Don't get me wrong, practice and drilling is inevitable. But we do not live in a black and white world.

Do you think there is a magic formula where u can trade/ value invest and make money? No, there is no standard answers, just various methods that work well with your mind and money.

My pupils always tell me, they don't know the answers. I say, try, it doesn't matter if you get it wrong. Remember I told you a method to derive the answer? Just try it, I won't blame you if you get it wrong. It is returned blank, usually by 1-2 hardcore pupil. To me, it is far more serious than not knowing the answer, in life, we never have answers to many things! Why is my wife unhappy with me, what I didn't snag that promotion? It's ok not to have the "right" answer, but we cannot stop exploring!! The pupils who do not try usually get it hard from me. Tell me how to survive outside, if you don't know how to think!

Pupils are more than happy when I gave answers. Quick solution, long term pain. Just like I never agree with 5-7 years stint of principals, before they are rotated out. How to build character of a school that way? Some scholar come and know he only has 5 years to prove himself, what would he do? We all know how focus of the short term gains in the Coporate world lead to. Need me to repeat GFC? Would he do things differently if he knows he will be around for 12 years minimum? You bet. I know all the pros and reasons for that rotation, but if that is the case, why is PAP not adopting that line of thought and is doing well, both internally (still in power) and externally ( people are still relatively well off ). Given how the ministry is trying to run school like the Coporate world ( saw Singapore quality class award on school banners few years ago, good riddance with that! Glad we have a minister that talk about value- centric education), how irony they didn't see the flaws of the Coporate system.

Sorry that I Side- tracked a bit. I took a hard look and reflected on my lessons after my first 5 weeks. Plenty of misses, since I miscalculate the workload and curriculum requirement of my new workplace. That is the easy part, I can easily adjusted and catch up. But the verdict of my review, do more lessons that focus on exam skills. It is still a real world out there, put interest at a back burner for now, CA is round the corner.

I am glad I am teaching my son the way I want it. Nope, say all you want, I am not sending him to language classes yet.