Friday, August 28, 2020

Random thoughts: Highlights of the week teaching

This week teaching is rather simple and boring, but quite satisfying to me I tried to use songs that my pupils like to teach vocabulary. It is coming to the end, just 12 more working days before they take their PSLE. I no longer have the luxury of time for them to internalize the words, through speaking, reading, and writing. I decided to just tap on their memories to learn the vocabulary. I drew the "story of the Yan" connecting words with hanyupinyin Yan to a story and drawing a picture to help them remember the words 

I also change the lyrics of songs they knew,using the vocabulary of the primary curriculum.

Both teaching methods are nothing to talk about, the fun point is the fact that some of them eagerly waiting to hear the adapted song. 

When I go through the new lyrics of <虫儿飞> and <我们不一样>, they laughed. They keep asking me to sing, and 2 years ago, when I tried doing the same activity, I remember I was apprehensive and very shy. Facing this batch of pupils, somehow the shyness just went away, and I didn't just sing but "perform" the songs, they burst out into hysterical laughters and ask me to sing again. First time in my life I felt like a super star. Hahahaha

I told them to recall what is learn, and reminded them the purpose of the activity. I think the message is not lost. They told me to change the lyrics of 雪花飘飘,aka 一剪梅。

I felt motivated when pupils are excited about their lessons. Although their prelim results are  below expectations, at least they dun hate coming to my class. 

I also start to learn of some of the songs the pupils are listening and some are really quite nice. 

3 years ago, one pupil told me she wanted to be a teacher, because I inspired her, this year, another pupil told me she wanted to be a teacher too. 

Teacher's Day coming. Happy early teacher day to all those in the faternality. Keep your passion and joy alive. 

Personally, I don't like Teacher's Day. I always need to cope with my inner demons when some of my pupils dun show appreciation (I don't need gifts or cards, just a verbal "happy teacher day" should suffice), so I would rather have 364 days of fun teaching. Feelings need not be mutual. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Company prospecting: Lonking 3999 (HK)

Has been a while since I done this, but Lonking is a company manucturing for the construction machinery industry. Again, I used price screener to screen stocks in HKex. I recommend FSM price screener.

Lonking is a company with almost an 10% yield. Following pictures are sourced from FSM.

Stable and generally growing top line and bottom line

 Balance sheet strength reasonable. FCF is good. PE is low, at 6. Enough for me to want to dig up on the Annual reports, to read the "story", and also read up more about the industry

Here is what i find:

1) It is a cyclical company, beyond the 5 years info from FSM, you can see earnings going up and down and there is a year in 2013 where they skip dividends. 

2) This is a company that has enough market share that allowed it to positively correlated to the construction machinery demand. When i read about the industry having a rebound from excess supply of machinery, in 2017, the revenue and profits also improved tremendously 

3) When I compare it with Caterpillar, I am quite surprised that they only focused on 4 products, as compared to the wide spectrum of construction machinery offered by Cat. When I search backwards, they use to focus on only 3 products for their growth, so this is a company that is very conservative. The market is still mainly in China. 

4) They have successfully read the downturn in 2013, and survive well to gain in the upturn in 2017. Quite impressive track records. 

5) After the 1st Quarter(due to Covid19), China demand for construction machinery has rebounded strongly, if the correlation is to hold, Lonking should be at minimal able to maintain earnings as last year. 

6) 2020-21 will be unlikely be peak of construction machinery demand, this is my own speculation. I believe China will fast track some infrastructure projects, and rebuild some cities to take into account 5G technology.

7) Shares price has also rebounded strongly from its low, and is in fact at 52 weeks high. 

Conclusion: An interesting company to add to radar and monitor. However, given the cyclicality of its business, this is a company that need to be agile, also since they only give final dividends in June-July, there is plenty of waiting. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Random thoughts: 2 words Decoding

This year, I teach the bridging graduating class. Their vocabulary base is really limited in the begining of the year. 

As the year progresses, I feel that they should know enough words to start tackling comprehension passages in July.

Yet, I am surprised that they can't cope with simple MCQ. When I get them to read one to one to me, they can read 60 to 70 percent of the words, and yet they are not decoding the text. What a pity, I felt.

After more observations, I noticed that pupils tend to give up when their read long sentences, they might know most of the words in the sentence but not decoding. 

Thus, without explaining a single word, I simply ask them to identify the verb and noun of a sentence (I dun use the term "verb" and "noun") I simply say, the word not useful for me to draw a accurate picture, what is happening ...

No teaching of words, just selecting of words, and if a sentence is too tough, they skip to the next.

As I draw, they get excited.

The words start flowing. Although most of the time they are complaining how ugly the drawings are, it doesn't bother me. 

After the exercise, I ask them to retell the story.

Then, I ask them to try the questions again. Most pupils get most questions correct, this time round.

This exercise of visualization of a image with at least 2 words become a importing thinking process when the pupils decode a text. They start to try to make sense of a sentence despite having difficult words that they don't understand.

It also become more palatable to ask pupils to.keep reading and guessing. I ask, are u able to form an image? Nope, poor quality words, chose another to say if it helps. 

Maybe there is still some novelty in this approach, and my pupils are willing to try.

This is a good way, also to explain the term "key words" now, so what is the question asking, what are the key words.

They know 2 words is all it takes to make some sense of a passage, of course the more words the more accurate the picture.

Don't give up. My pupils

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Random thoughts: Adapting and Applying MTV Word-Phrase-Sentence

 I have diffficulty teaching pupils to answer open ended questions in reading comprehension.

At such, I decided to try a different way. 

First of all, I type a shorter text, consisting of new vocabulary learnt. 

Before I ask pupils to read the text, I ask an Oral Question, and get pupils to write down what they think are logical and possible answer to that question. 

Then, I ask them to read the text, and write down whatever words and phrases (I combined the 2), that they think they can use in the oral question. 

The oral frame is prior knowledge which was taught much earlier for them to elaborate on what they want to say. 

They differentiate the 2 answers by writing them in different colors. What is surprising is everyone can identify key words and some pupils can identify "all" key words related to the question. (I always have a problem of having comprehension answers that made sweeping statements that are too short or generic)

The sentence phase of MTV is adapted. Instead of looking at which sentence is meaningful or captured the essence of the text, I ask pupils to write out their key words in sentences in coherence way using connectors such as "because, if, for example, but" and making sure they are aswering the question directly. 

I just completed marking the answers to the question, this is the first time I saw many different rehrasing of answers to 1 question, and at the same time, making sense to the question. 

Why I think the process works:

1) There is a step of activating self-knowledge or prior knowledge in their daily life, and then connecting that to the text. When the pupils junp into the text without any thinking frame, the idenitification process of key words, is more difficult. 

2) The text is shorter, about 30% shorter, and I gave them time to ask questions to decode. 

3) They are familiar to the oral text, and frame to use, the transfer to knowledge hence become easier. Instead of a 1 answer frame, the pupils are allowed the paraphrase the key words into sentences in whatever ways that make sense to them 

What didn't work:

1) Some pupils have the key words identified, yet they did not write it dowm. The process broken down is the sentence making process. 

2) Some make sentences without making any reference to the question at all. 

What can be further done:

1) Simply asking pupils to be mindful of using all key words identfied. Ask them to tell me what words have they not use? 

How the process can be differentiated?

1) The environment, helping the weaker pupils. Products is standardized, an written answer. Content is already scaldfolded. Maybe, better pupils should have the scaldfold removed, to start the transistion.

2) It can be done for comprehension questions for my P5, when they do corrections. Stronger pupils do their corrections, weaker pupils have the scaldfolding diagram

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Random thoughts: Keppel - Don't be surprised to see price increase come Monday

Keppel has not met the pre-conditions for Temasek offer. 

Temasek can now walk away from the offer and offer a lower bid, or forget the whole exercise as a waste of time and wait for Keppel price to tumble even more, before making another offer. 

Yet, I believe Market might just do the reverse, and the reasons for this are as follow:

1) Keppel underlying profits are surprising resilent excluding the one-off impairments

2) The worst in terms of supply side shock is over. Remember, come 7 August, it is believed that workers can start returning to the yards, and Keppel has enough orders to keep the yards busy. Keppel has 24K workers, and currently only 5 K is working

3) While I believe Covid 19 is going to get worse, I believed there will not be a second lock-down. There will be some tightening of safe-distancing measures or crowd control measures, but unlikely we will see a schronised lockdown again.

If you have been looking at the charts for various countries since the begining of Covid, it is as predictable as ABC. When infections rate is making new high daily, the spike will come sooner or later, this is the case for Spain, USA and Russia etc. Globally, the figures are showing the same trend

Then why no more lock downs? First of all, the damage to economy is hugh. Countries tried lockdowns to get a hold of the virus, hoping to contain it. While it did slow it down, second or third resurgence is seen in many countries, if lock-down just buy you a bit of time, without solving any problem, and  you already have a hugh problem economically, I do not see why anyone would consider a second lockdown. 

Also, I have a conspiracy theory about lock-down. When the lock downs happen, one of the reasons is the world is in dire lack of masks, PPE etc, the lockdowns send almost everyone home as the governments firm up stratgies and address the supply shocks. Now that the world has already went through that phase, I doubt they will go into total lockdowns unless it becomes a last resort. 

4) Demand side shocks should get better. Why do I say this? Everyone is talking about the challenge of a vaccine, and how to get it to the rest of the world, and many were talking about having it this year or perhaps having it next year. All these talk IMHO is management of electoral expectations. Does it really matters to the economy whether you get a vaccine in December or 6-12 months later? There is no agrument about a vaccine anymore, but how quickly and effective it can be circulated among people. 

5) Temasek might not walk away. While Temasek is a commercially run company, I do think there will be plenty of repercussions if they walk away from the deal and return like a vulture for a even cheaper deal, for a local company that employs plenty of locals. If they walk away, they are unlikely to come back. 

Why 51%, with 51% Temasek call the shots, and can restructure the company to unlock values so that the offer price makes sense for them. I am not sure if the restructuring exercise is NTA sensitive, it is more likely future earning accretive or like the Sembcorp Demerger, allow SCM to survive longer in the future. 

6) At $5.4, Keppel is at a price where Temasek first made the offer, when COVID trashed the price to $4.8, and rumors about the deal being off, Temasek stated the offer still stands. I do not think Temasek wants to get a better deal, but rather wants the deal to be done well. Also, Keppel is not in dire state to need Temasek's injection of funds. Temasek would go for the subscription of rights route if that was the case, it is a coporate action to let Temasek restructured the companies for better days.  

Anyway, I like to make speculations, I am more often wrong than right, but it is still fun. I am a retail investor and I am silly, so please take what I say with a bag of salt. If my predictions are wrong, I will punish myself by buying Keppel Corp.