Saturday, October 30, 2010

Getting People to Go Away

Making NRIC/FIN a compulsory field by Singtel on their Contact Us page is a fantastic way to prop up a nicer report of lesser complaints from internet channel.

How does requiring NRIC compulsory help in solicitating feedback? Those who still want to go ahead would turn to the phone instead. This is a problem with some organisations doing needless work collecting/compiling useless data. The person who implement it is likely to just follow orders & not question the requirement.

In essence the company is telling the person to go away. Do not complain. Do not feedback.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Easier to Exploit Ignorant People

Someone wrote in paper say >50% future accumulated savings taken from consumers buying whole life/Investment-linked policies. Easier to make $ when people are ignorant.

School teach those useless topics like calculus, binomial theorem etc but never teach how to manage & grow $. Ever wonder why? This is something that puzzles me since my teenage years.

Ignorant people easier to exploit & fleece $ from them. Ignorant people easier to control. Ignorant people blindly swallow whatever is spewed out from the government controlled mass media. Ignorance when it comes to $ is not bliss, is pain.

"Life insurance company also earns a large profit from each policy. Consumer is not aware of the high margin in the life insurance policy that is sold by a highly trained & motivated agent.

Many benefit illustrations of the whole-life or investment-linked policies sold in the market today take away more than 50 per cent of the future accumulated savings from the consumer.

For example, if a consumer pays a monthly premium of $500 & the investment yield is 5 per cent per annum, the total accumulated amount would be $418,000 at the end of 30 years.

If 50 per cent of this amount is taken away, the consumer will get the non-guaranteed cash value of $209,000.

The balance will go to the agent & the insurer. Real cost of the insurance protection should be less than 10 per cent of the premium & not 50 per cent.

If an insurer or its agent can earn so much by selling a whole-life or investment-linked policy, why should they want to sell term insurance?

Why are consumers willing to give away more than 50 per cent of their accumulated savings in a life insurance policy?

Simple answer is they do not know or understand the benefit illustration & are not aware of the high costs. Benefit illustration is confusing to a lay person & allows the insurer to get away with predatory products." - Tan Kin Lian

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hard Work is Courage

Airasia (msia) took out a full page ad in the paper last week mocking Tiger Airways (sg). People commented that is childish running this kind of ad making fun of others. Also commented is waste of $ for a full page ad.

To me what impresses me is the audacity. I've not seen such ads by local government linked firms as most are staffed by people who prefer the status quo. Many are cowards when risen to high positions in the company & afraid to rock the boat.

To me i see the ad as a bold move by the boss to spread the courage around the company. Not to mention the unconventional ad compared to the 'politically correct' type of public relations messages/replies that most are sick & tired of reading.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

American Revolutionary War

Was first introduced to this period from a computer strategy turn-based wargame simulating the war. It caught my interest ever since. Why? Here is a group of ragtag colonists fighting a war of independence against the most powerful nation at that time - England.
  • How to win against the british professional army?
  • How to win when supplies are weak & troops ill-equiped & trained?
  • No navy against the british!

Is admirable the men penned their names on the declaration of independence. Is as good as signing their death warrants if the war is lost! In the book Think & Grow Rich, is implied that the war is won at the point of signing cause these men were committed to the cause.

Many times, the little voice in our head would have yell those impossible odds urging us to give up before starting the endeavor. What's worse we don't even know about the existence of that other voice & accept what it yells accordingly. Is partly why many people live lives of quiet desperation.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Returns Sucked Away by Commission

Was reported that many applicants who applied 1-19 lots of Global Logistics IPO price at $1.96 got 1 lot. With 1 lot, a rise of 1.28% is needed just to pay for sell commission. My trading rep told me is common to receive just 1-2 lots despite applying for many.

Why buy IPO? Get sucked in by the juicy story? In order to get max $ in ipo phase, many companies do their best project as best a financial in their prospectus. Is like people esp women who submit their best photo (esp clamor shots) in their resumes, passport etc. Real life person is usually 'duller'. My general rule of thumb is to discount 20% off such too good looking pictures.

Market will always be there. Good time to shop is during recession. I see an ipo like a new market/mall opening with hordes of people flocking there.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Expert Sharing/Teaching via Youtube

Was utterly amazed after watching a Starcraft challenge mission on youtube that it can be so easy. So much for being stuck in how i do things.

Filled with grateful comments from others to someone who is unknown teaching others for free! Again the govt propaganda that quality education doesn't come cheap is bullshit. Controlling the mainstream education sector is a rich source of revenue for govt & a vital way to 'train' drones needed for the economy & political purposes.

If is good people will vote accordingly. How much does it cost to learn from an expert in this age? Well close to free... Mediocre teachers with no passion are in danger.

Result from video speaks for itself. No need certification & spending $.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Govt Led Initiatives vs Free Market

With the bursting of the Youth Olympics Games budget by close to 3 times, i don't have a favorable view of how bureaucrats spend $$. Having work in govt related sector before, i'm amazed that the allocated budget has to be spent before end of financial year or else won't get same or bigger budget next year. No wonder govt keeps getting bigger & bigger & rising taxes!

However the other view is that the private sector can't do everything. Take for example the research into atomic bomb & subsequent nuclear energy & the invention of internet which started off as a US Defense initiative. Also the race to put a man on the moon & subsequent satellite related technology resulting from it - all govt led spending initiatives.

We can also see how free market resulted in the recent worst financial crisis since the Great Depression & how Sengkang hawker centre operated by koptiam become a ghost town due to ridiculous prices.

Mixture of both is preferable though is not easy to find the right balance. Prolonged initiatives on extreme is unsustainable.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Battle of Manchuria - wow i never heard of it

Having watched a documentary i agree that this soviet offensive is sorely neglected compared to other WWII battles. I didn't even know of such a massive offensive operation. Significance of this battle is that the landmass the size of western europe was conquered in days & the immense logistics to move mass quantities of men & supplies from european front to the far east with much of it in secrecy.

The battle also resulted in a northern communist North Korea & the capture of Kurile & Sakhalin islands from the japanese.

What struck me was that the battles raged on even after their american allies dropped 2 atomic bombs on Japan. Japanese forces were steamrolled by the red army since most of its heavier equipment & better units had been transferred to the Pacific front.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Shareholders vs Stakeholders

In recent couple of years the phrase 'increase shareholder value' is increasingly prominent in annual reports of companies. Role of stakeholders is not well understand. Recent financial crisis that resulted from taking excessively risk to 'increase shareholder value' end up being bailed out by taxpaypers $(stakeholder) in the US.

Shareholders can run quick with the $ while stakeholders(common men) are left to clean up the mess. In S'pore there's more & more tension particularly in public transport. In bid to increase shareholder value, the stakeholders(populace) are increasingly packed like sardines. Gains by minority few at expense of the majority.

Trend seem to have started in the US in Reagan administration & the trend in S'pore became obviously on steriods in the 2000s. Govt policies in recent years have disenfranchised the majority of the 'stakeholders'. Most recent repair attempt reported is holding the passing out parade of conscript recruits at Marina floating platform to remind these young stakeholders what they are defending. I'm afraid is another futile attempt...

Monday, October 4, 2010

State Capitalism

A new term i come across last month. In S'pore, most obvious example are the telcos & public transport sectors. Squeezing out private operators by the state. In China & Msia i see a few bus operators. Here is either duopoly or tripoly.

An argument i read is how come there are 3 telcos all owned or indirectly owned by the state & competing against each other? Isn't it a waste of resources having 3 sets of board of directors, HR, premises etc etc? Part of it is to 'park' those retired officers from the armed forces there to strengthen its political grip.

State capitalism is not good in long run when is mostly the private sector which is more efficent & innovative compared to state controlled enterprises which is also used as a form of political leverage.