Friday, April 30, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Is the Ringgit strengthening because of Malaysia's own economic recovery?
Or, is it due to the influx of "hot money" that is directed largely towards :
- speculating in Bursa Malaysia;
- speculating in Malaysian properties; and
- speculating in the rise of the Ringgit itself? (granted that one cannot speculate in the Ringgit in the manner that was done in 1997-1998 - now it's a more tactical "parking" of funds in Ringgit-form than outright trades)
Cheap money is fodder for the financial elite of many Western countries. Are they using this cheap money to make money in emerging markets like Malaysia?
This is a very likely possibility.
Which means that the Barbarians are not only at the gates of Malaysia, they're already within our fortress and, many Malaysians have been seduced into thinking that the good times are back.
We should all - especially policy-makers - pause to consider the recent phenomenon more carefully lest we fall into the 1992-1997 trap of thinking that our economy is doing so well that genuine investors are flowing back from every God-forsaken crevice into Malaysia for the medium to long term.
It ain't so.
Malaysian policy makers need to be watchful. Malaysian economic players need to be cautious.
This is especially so for those who speculate in Bursa Malaysia and properties.
For, when the "hot money" decides to flow elsewhere, the only good product is the facial tissue for which there will be plentiful demand to wipe away tears of sorrow.
No matter how nimble you are, dancing on a bed of hot charcoal will burn your feet.
pix from here.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Since I first picked up the book I haven't let it go. We couldn't afford the eleven volumes, but we had the free book.
I feel sad that Readers Digest is experiencing financial problems presently, a victim of the changing fortunes caused by technology. But, I'm certain that it will rebound. It's brand value is sound. Their management should have gone further down the route of Hallmark (which started off as a mere greeting cards company) into the electronic media. It was just a case of poor product positioning. But, the brand value is there.
I have digressed.
pix from here
Back to the Durants and their seminal book.
Here's what I mean; the first chapter is modestly entitled, Hesitations, and it starts with this passage:
I was enthralled.
Lessons of History (1968)
A little calmer, I remind Jobs that at the product launch of the iPad in January, he had stood in front of two street signs, one reading "Liberal Arts," the other "Technology." "This is where I have always seen Apple," he told the audience, "at the intersection of the Liberal Arts and Technology."
I suggest there's a bit more to it than that; surely Apple stands at the intersection of liberal arts, technology and commerce? "Sure, what we do has to make commercial sense," Jobs concedes, "but it's never the starting point. We start with the product and the user experience. You seen an iBook yet?"