Monday, December 24, 2007

The global fight for top talent

December 7 2007: 12:07 PM EST
The global fight for top talent
From the United States to Saudi Arabia, countries are finally recognizing that human capital is crucial.
By Geoff Colvin

(Fortune Magazine) Three scenes from the new battle for global economic supremacy:

1. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the country that sits on 25% of the planet's oil, knows that oil is not his country's future. That's why he's spending $12.5 billion to found a graduate research university, which he'll endow with $10 billion - as big an endowment on day one as MIT has built in 142 years. The point of this project, on a grand scale even by Saudi standards: to attract the best researchers in science and technology.

2. The European Union has proposed new rules to attract the world's most highly skilled workers. If they can show that they're well educated and hold an offer of a lucrative job in Europe, they can get a two-year renewable permit to live there. The problem Europe is trying to solve: 85% of emigrating unskilled workers from developing countries go to Europe, but only 5% of skilled workers do so.

3. HCL Technologies, an Indian infotech services firm, has noticed a major change in its best young employees. Until two or three years ago, few of them would work for it unless they were promised an overseas assignment. Now it's just the opposite: They see India as the most compelling source of excitement and opportunity, and they don't want to be sent away.


We've known for a long time that this day was coming, and now it's here: Countries are finally realizing that their future prosperity depends not on natural resources or even on financial capital, but on human capital. Companies have been battling for years to attract and keep the best people. Now countries are engaging in the same fight.

The contenders
It wasn't much of a scrap until recently. Only the United States, Western Europe, and Japan - for a while - were even contenders. They didn't beat up on one another too badly vying for the best talent because there was enough to go around. Their economies weren't sufficiently info-based to make talent as critical an advantage as it has become, and the economy wasn't sufficiently global for human-capital supremacy to be crucial. Now all those factors have changed; many countries are in the hunt, and they're all after the same thing.

Since this is a fundamentally new fight, no one is sure what will win it. But we can already identify some fairly deep and difficult questions the fight raises. How countries answer them will help determine national wealth and power.

How long will any country tolerate Info Age protectionism? Notice that Europe's new proposal to attract highly skilled workers is pretty pathetic. It doesn't really offer any attractions; it just scales back rules that keep those workers out.

We have similar rules in the United States, such as our skinflint distribution of H-1B visas and immigration rules that favor family connections over skills. Why do such rules exist at all? In the Industrial Age we protected manufacturing workers with tariffs and quotas, but we can't put duties on bits and bytes, so in the Info Age we protect knowledge workers by restricting immigration.

No country can have world-class workers if it continually protects them from world-class competition. Cisco CEO John Chambers, who is passionate on this subject, says, "Anyone with a college degree should be welcome to come to our country, with appropriate security checks."

The U.S. may be rich, but we hardly have the best education system
Why isn't the United States more serious about the key competitive advantage of the Info Age, education? How to make human capital more valuable is no mystery, yet the world's richest country still has nowhere near the world's best education system. That means trouble that will only get worse.

Stephen Roach, former chief economist of Morgan Stanley and now head of the firm's Asian operations, says, "In the U.S. we've squandered our advantage by not investing in educational reform."

What, ultimately, is a national economy? Is it good for a country if its companies prosper by offshoring high-value intellectual work? What if a nation's high-value employees are working in that nation for other nations' companies? Or if highly skilled immigrants perform high-value work and send their earnings home? The answers aren't obvious, but they are important.

This international fight for talent will get much more serious. With luck, it will lead to something new: a free market in brainpower. That may not come to pass- but wise nations will prepare for it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How to make every drop of fuel count

Plan your route. Know your short cuts and avoid rush hours where there will be traffic congestion.

Inflate your tyres regularly. Under-inflated tyres use more petrol.

Travel at a constant speed as this keeps fuel consumption constant too.

Do not speed. Fuel consumption increases rapidly at speeds over 90kmh.

Wind up all windows to make your car more aero-dynamic.

Switch off your engine if you are stationary or when waiting for someone.

Clear your car of junk. Extra weight on the car increases petrol consumption. Alternatively, decline taking on passengers.

Use your air- conditioning and other on-board electrical devices such as mobile phone chargers sparingly.

Make sure your petrol cap fits tightly. Petrol can easily evaporate if the cap is not airtight.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Popular Advice You Shouldn't Take

WallStreet Journal
Sunday July 1, 3:30 am ET
By Jonathan Clements

If you're in your 20s, the world may not throw money at you -- but you'll get plenty of free financial advice.
For instance, you have no doubt been told to save diligently, fully fund your employer's 401(k) plan and avoid credit-card debt. And those are all good suggestions.

But there are other suggestions that aren't quite so good -- including these four popular pieces of advice.


If you are just out of school, you probably have all kinds of financial ambitions, including buying a car, purchasing a home and trying your hand at stock-market investing. But according to some financial experts, your top financial priority should be amassing an emergency reserve equal to six months of living expenses, with this cash tucked away in conservative investments like money-market funds and certificates of deposit.

Let's be honest: This is dull, unrealistic and -- I would argue -- not all that sensible. Even if you regularly sock away 10% of your after-tax income, it might take four years or so to amass six months of living expenses. At that juncture, you are supposed to leave this money in low-risk investments, where it will earn modest returns for the rest of your life.

Sound bad? It gets worse. While you were building up your emergency reserve, you were likely neglecting important goals like funding your 401(k) plan, which might earn you a matching employer contribution, and saving for a house down payment.

My advice: Forget the emergency reserve. Instead, stick at least enough in your 401(k) to get the full company match. Next, fund a Roth individual retirement account. If you still have extra money to save each year, by all means stash it in conservative investments in a regular taxable account.

If you get hit with a financial emergency, tap the money in your regular taxable account first. But you could also borrow from your 401(k). In addition, at any time, you can pull out your Roth contributions -- but not the account's investment earnings -- without paying taxes or penalties.

You could also use your taxable account and Roth for a house down payment. Once you have bought the house, set up a home-equity line of credit, which you can then use as an emergency reserve.


That brings me to another piece of conventional wisdom that's often doled out to folks in their 20s: Buy the biggest house possible.

I have some sympathy with this suggestion. If you are early in your career and you expect sizable pay increases in the years ahead, you may want to stretch to buy a somewhat larger house.

After all, if you purchase a place that you quickly become dissatisfied with, you could soon find yourself trading up to a better home. That will mean forking over a 5% or 6% selling commission, mortgage-application costs, lawyer's fees, moving expenses and more.

Don't, however, misconstrue what I am saying. I am not endorsing the contention that real estate is the best investment you can make, that you should buy the largest house possible or that you should take out the largest mortgage possible.

Borrowing a huge sum to purchase an unnecessarily large house is financial foolishness. You will saddle yourself with hefty monthly mortgage payments and a lifetime of large utility bills, maintenance costs, property-tax payments and home-insurance premiums. Rather, when buying that first home, you should strive to purchase a place that's the right size for you and your family -- and that you can see living in for a good long time.


Insurance agents often push folks in their 20s to buy cash-value life insurance, arguing that it's far cheaper to purchase these policies when you are young.

Don't do it. To be sure, under the right circumstances and with the right policy from the right company, cash-value life insurance can be a decent investment. But for those in their 20s, these policies are unlikely to make sense.

Remember, the principal reason to buy life insurance is to protect your family -- and you may not even have a spouse, let alone kids. And if you are married with young kids, you no doubt need a heap of coverage. The cheapest way to get that coverage is with term life insurance, which offers a death benefit and nothing more.

Cash-value life insurance, by contrast, combines a death benefit with an investment account. Because the premiums on these policies are so high, you will likely skimp on coverage, which means your young family won't be fully protected. Moreover, if you buy a cash-value policy, you probably won't have the spare cash for other, better investment opportunities, such as funding a Roth IRA and your employer's 401(k).


Those in their 20s are encouraged to invest heavily in stocks, because they have decades until retirement and thus plenty of time to ride out market declines. This is good advice -- in theory.

In practice, I would be a little cautious. You don't want to invest heavily in stocks and then panic and sell during the next market plunge. Yet that's a real danger if you are new to the market and you have never lived through a market decline.

My suggestion: Start with 60% stocks and 40% bonds. If you find yourself unperturbed by market swings, move your stock allocation up to 85% or 90% after a year or two.

Younger investors are often also told to favor highflying growth stocks. Growth stocks can be wild short-term performers -- but the hope is that they will deliver superior long-run returns.

Unfortunately, there's a good chance this hope won't be fulfilled. Academic studies suggest the highest returns are earned not by growth companies, but by prosaic bargain-priced value stocks.

I am not, however, suggesting you load up on value. Instead, start by building a well-diversified portfolio that includes both growth and value stocks, as well as offering exposure to the broad U.S. market and to foreign markets. If you later want to add a tilt toward value stocks, be my guest. But your top priority should be broad diversification.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Chinese in Malaysia part 2 - GENTING Group & IOI Group

鉅富祖籍耍本色(第四篇) *福建幫*

1天內拿到賭牌, 林梧桐白手起家

“Uncle Lim”,是大家對今年4月剛歡慶90大壽的丹斯里林梧桐的暱稱。














除了將雲頂業務版圖,透過麗星郵輪(Star Cruise)擴至公海,林國泰更將賭業投資拓展至美國、英國、盧森堡、澳洲和菲律賓等地,成為亞洲最大賭業上市公司。

成功取得英國最大賭場營運業者,史丹利休閒(Stanley Leisure)的控制股權后,在林國泰領軍下,雲頂贏得新加坡第2張賭場營運執照,一年內雙喜臨門。







后來,他從事房業發展,首個計劃即是加影附近的南順發花園,但真正讓他開始嶄露頭角的,卻是獨力收購氣體製造業者工業氧氣(Industrial Oxygen)一役。














Saturday, June 23, 2007

Chinese in Malaysia part 1 - PPB Group and Hong Leong Group

鉅富祖籍耍本色(第三篇) *福建幫*

率先進軍中國 郭鶴年馬企開路先鋒




從新馬起家的郭鶴年,忙碌身影除了穿梭各地,郭氏集團(Kuok Group)業務足跡更遍佈全球。

雖然丹斯里郭令燦並非豐隆集團(Hong Leong Group)創辦人,卻與“豐隆”的企業品牌緊密相連。









90年代時,郭鶴年將企業王國觸角,延伸至傳媒及影視,通過香港嘉里集團(Kerry Group)收購《南華早報》,並入主香港無線電視(TVB)。










此外,他今年也以324億令吉資產,連續4年成為《大馬商業》雜誌(Malaysian Business)遴選的大馬首富。








他成功在這商業鉅子林立的地方,創出大事業,成立了國浩集團(Guoco Group)。












Saturday, May 26, 2007

敦鶴年 白糖鋪路世外桃源.香格里拉耀五星

事業篇 豐富人生篇 新世紀展望

敦鶴年 白糖鋪路世外桃源.香格里拉耀五星














郭家一早便經營白糖及米糧生意 ,到郭鶴年接手後,更成立了「馬來亞糖廠」,把版圖擴大,並佔有更大的市場份額。一九六六年,中國外貿部策劃把中國生產的白糖輸入馬來西亞,使郭鶴年面臨嚴峻的挑戰;在中國的強力壓陣下,他從印度大量入口白糖,成功擊敗中國。經此一役,郭鶴年聲名鵲起,贏得亞洲糖王的美譽。





所幸,郭鶴年也表現出壯士斷臂的決心,通過各種途徑套現,包括出售一部份玻璃市種植、聯邦麵粉及香格里拉酒店的股份等,終於度過船運及地產業的風暴。郭鶴年在企業上的卓越成就,也使他獲得一九八五 年的大馬最傑出企業家獎。








他認為,一個企業領導人的成功要訣有三: 一,擁有一批強大及有高度效率的經理人才,並與屬下的各級員工密切合作,為公司奮鬥; 二,公平及誠實。領導人應以公平及誠實的態度與所有人交往,平時以禮待人,講究信用,將會建立良好的聲譽。一旦面臨困境時,將會得到貴人協助; 三,擁有堅強的體魄及精神意志,隨時為公司的前途盡力奮鬥。






事業篇 豐富人生篇 新世紀展望









事業篇 豐富人生篇 新世紀展望









Thursday, April 19, 2007

Market rally no excuse to be complacent

Thursday April 19, 2007 article of icapital

Since the lows set in June 2006, the KL Composite Index (KLCI) has risen rather impressively and the volume traded has not been that bad either.

It looks like the KLCI it will be beating Bangkok for once, although we have lost to the Singapore or Jakarta markets. But should we exploit the current market rally or should we be more circumspect?

Stock market rallies can be very ego boosting. A rally seems to tell the whole world that everything is fine with the economy and that the Government has adopted the right policies.

Generally speaking, this is true but the stock market rallies for all kinds of reasons and sometimes, it can be self-deluding.

Or worse, the rally creates complacency among the politicians and policymakers so much so that painful but necessary decisions are not made or postponed until it is too late. Then, the market crashes. The Asian crisis in 1997/98 is a classic example of how stock market rallies can camouflage structural problems until the day of reckoning.

The way to manage a country or company is, in a sense, very simple. When things are fine, do not become over-confident; instead get ready for the storm ahead. So when the storm comes, which it eventually will, one will not be so devastated that one cannot even recover or that the recovery takes a long time.

Vice-versa, when the storm does come, do not panic and rush into making all kinds of silly short-term decisions that would harm the country or company. It will eventually pass and the whole cycle repeats itself. Take advantage of the storms and use them to ensure that the eventual bright sunny days are not so blinding.

i Capital has frequently criticised the Malaysian government for the measures it took in response to the 1997/98 Asian crisis. The essence of its criticisms was that the Government’s very short-term measures greatly reduced or attempted to reduce the pain of the crisis, but in so doing, it ignored the adverse long-term implications of its actions and decisions.

In many respects, Malaysia has paid a heavy price for this and is still paying the price for ignoring long-term problems. By shielding Malaysians from the harsh and painful realities of the market economy, we now have a Malaysian workforce that is hopelessly complacent and in the process, losing out to the many fast rising regional competitors.

With the KLCI now rallying, i Capital is deeply worried that our world-class complacency would become universe-class. As it rallies, the politicians and policymakers are patting themselves on the back for a job well done.
Such self-praise and complacency can be very infectious and soon Malaysians from all walks would fall into the same mental trap.

Then, the next crisis will hit us when we are totally unprepared.

A few rounds of such crises, and Malaysia would sink into an economic quicksand.

The simple but wholesome message of this week's analysis is directed at the politicians and policymakers and Malaysians from all walks of life.

Do not be seduced by the current market rally into thinking that we are on our way to developed status. Do not postpone the major structural reforms needed. Malaysia has already lost so much time.

The unemployment rate in Hong Kong shot up when the Asian crisis struck. In contrast, the unemployment situation in Malaysia, thanks to the drug addiction-like economic policies that had been implemented back then, was never as severe as Hong Kong's or the other Asian countries'.

Except for a few debt-ridden and badly managed Malaysian companies, Malaysians generally never suffered any pain during the Asian crisis. In 2002, we were pleasantly shocked at the totally changed attitude of the Hong Kong people.
The infamously rude Hong Kong taxi drivers or the world-renowned rude waiters were offering their services at Ritz-Carlton-class quality.

The Hong Kong economy had been severely affected and its people shell-shocked at the severity of the crisis. Imagine buying Hong Kong properties and losing their pants.

At that time, we thought that the change in attitude would be short-lived.

But lo and behold, four or five years later, the same polite and courteous service is maintained, although the economy has recovered and is performing better than Malaysia's.

The pain and shock of the Asian crisis have left a deep scar among the Hong Kong people. In contrast, the Malaysian taxi drivers, a representation of the typical Malaysian, are still offering the same lousy service at inflated prices.

Thanks to our brilliantly thought out economic policies, Malaysians do not have to deal with the harsh realities, yet they want to enjoy the fruit of hard work (especially if it is somebody else's).

Malaysians have no ugly scars to remind them that when things are fine, is the time to take painful but necessary reforms.

While others have had to “eat bitter fruit”, Malaysians had only been exposed to the sweet ones. Adversities like the Asian crisis have a major role in shaping positive attitudes and mindsets.

Malaysian politicians and policymakers must allow such character forming events to play their roles.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Malaysian's Singaporean dilemma

Huey GunApr 3, 07 4:07pm

I have been working in Singapore for eight years now. For eight years, I have been travelling to and from my home in Johor Bahru.

For the past eight years, I have been enjoying the benefits of earning the Singapore dollar and bringing it back to Johor Bahru to spend. This includes owning a bigger home and a luxury car.

A large number of Malaysian permanent residents in Singapore are doing this as well. Most of these PRs play an important role both in the development of Singapore and in the bringing back of money back to Johor Bahru to help the latter as well.

I must also say that a lot of these PRs are a ‘brain drain’ that Malaysia is losing.

I have been following the news from both Johor Bahru and Singapore. I want to share this to all of you in Malaysia.

It seems like Singapore is moving in a right direction in creating a vibrant, fun and safe place to live in. They are also luring our best brains to their country. However, in Malaysia, we are constantly being surrounded by such negative issues such as corruption, a deteoriating security situation and time-wasting racial politics.

I am currently in a dilemma as to whether I should just stay in Singapore permanently and buy a house there. I feel safe and appreciated there while I feel insecure and disappointed with the state of our country.

The charging of RM20 daily for my Singapore-registered vehicle to re-enter Johor Baru, I’m sure, will help make up my mind.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lateral Thinking

This puzzle is called Lateral Thinking... First for yourself, then your kids:
Just Check This Out !
Scroll down slowly and be honest toyourself.
Think like a wizard ...



Ans. = man over board

Okay, let's see if you've got the hangof it.


Ans. = I understand

OK . .
Got the drift ?
Let's try a few now and see how you fare?

3. /r/e/a/d/i/n/g/

Ans. = reading between the lines


Ans. = cross road

Not having a good day now, are you ?
Redeem yourself.


Ans. = tricycle

Not easy to figure out huh!


Ans. = two degrees below zero

C'mon give it a little thought ! !


Ans. = neon light
( knee-on-light )

U can prove u r smart by getting this one.

feet feet feet feet feet feet

Ans. = six feet underground

Oh no, not again ! !

9. he's X himself

Ans. = he's by himself

Now u messing up big time.

10. ecnalg

Ans. = backward glance
Not even close ! !

11. death ..... life

Ans. = life after death

Okay your penultimate chance...


Ans. = think big ! !

And the last one is real fun do - - -

13. ababaaabbbbaaaabbbbababaabbaaabbbb...

Ans. = long time no 'C'(see)

Friday, February 16, 2007

personal finance tips

Feb 4 2007, 05:23 AM

Just want to share my experience in personal finance management as I believe I've made some mistakes that should be avoided and some good choices that might be useful.

1. Don't rush to buy a car. One of my first mistakes was to think owning a car costs only the monthly downpayment. It isn't. Petrol, toll, road tax, insurance, maintenance, oil change, accidents, tire change, stolen headlights and a hefty interest rate soon wised me up. I decided to downgrade to a smaller car, which is more affordable and still able to provide a roof over the family on the road. It costs me only 1/3 of what I used to own and whatever extra I had, I put it in the bank. Mistake:Bought a bigger that needed 2nd hand car with minimum downpayment and high interest rates over a 7 year period. Regretted it the most, especially when I decided enough was enough and sold it for a smaller car. Next time I buy a car, it would be an affordable new car with at least a 30% downpayment., and when the interest rates are more favourable. I will not fall into the 0 downpayment gimmicks. The interests they charged for your loans is just not worth it.

2. Don't simply buy insurance. When I started working, a lot of people approached me about insurance. Although I passed on all of them, I couldn't turn away a classmate of mine which was selling life insurance. Trusting him more because I know him, I took the policy after hearing what he said. I didn't ask so many question because I didn't want him to have the impression that I don't trust him. 1 year later, I never hear from him anymore and I received a letter from the insurance company that informed me my agent has been changed to someone else. My ex-classmate has resigned and I never seen him since. Scrutinising the policy after that, I realise it was not what I had expected and I feel cheated in a way. Luckily I only commited RM250 and not more as I felt I could've gotten a better deal like my other colleagues who pushed their agents for the best deals. Mistake:Buying insurance from so-so friends to give them face and trusting their every word because of 'friendship'. If I can afford another, I'll shop around for a better deal like I would if I was buying a car stereo, and not submit myself to anymore 'friend friend give face lah' sales gimmick.

3. Don't apply for credit card so soonWhen I started working at 17 after SPM, my then supervisor told me he had 7 credit cards. He was not boasting but showing me his mistakes to warn me of the danger of credit cards. He first had 1 card and applied the rest to cover each card as he failed to settle his debts over a 2 year period. Needless to say, he was heavily in debt by the time he got rid of all his cards and applying a loan to settle everything at a lower interest rate. Because of that lesson, I worked for 10 years without ever applying for a credit card. Although I'm qualified for a credit card since I was 19, I never applied for one, and refused the free ones as well. I've seen a few of my friends in debt with the card companies, and vowed never fall into that trap. That's why after 10 years of working and having a healthy savings account, did I dare accept a free card, trusting that I wouldn't abused it. So far just only 2 months since I got it, all are petrol purchases. I even tore off the pin they gave me so I wouldn't have a chance to withdraw money with my card.

4. Don't buy furniture with monthly payments.My parents has this mentality that buying electrical appliances and furniture with a minimum downpayment and monthly installment is a good way to save money. I learned my lesson when I let them buy a home stereo system from Courts Mammoth. Other than the interest which I had to pay, there was also late charges when I didn't pay on time, collectors charges when I needed the money for something else and skipped payment, and the worse of all, knowingly paying for something that is already spoiled after the warranty period and is not worth repairing. It is really frustrating to go to Courts to pay for something I can't even use anymore and futhermore obsolete. Mistake:Buying items for house with monthly payments when I can afford to pay full, and charged interest etc, for it. Worse was I had the stereo to pay, the refrigerator, and the furniture. I told myself never to buy household things with monthly payment schemes and to pay full after saving up for it when making a purchase.

5. Don't save till you starveI had the habit of taking out my savings to buy things I craved for but not needed like new fancy gadgets and expensive clothings. I did this for the 1st 2 years of work and finally realised that my savings was still less than RM1k. With that realisation I started saving aggressively and even to a point starving myself when I miscalculated my budget for 3 days. I figured I could lived off bread and even traded in my season pass to cash to buy bread and roti kosong until my next paycheck. It was not a smart thing to do and costs me more when I got sick due to gastric. I vowed never to go hungry again as long as I have the means to feed myself. My savings are now based on psychological benchmarks I set for myself. Every RM1K I saved was my new minimum, and withdrawals must not go below the thousand, eg. RM3075 means I can only remove max of RM75 and not below RM3000. Mistake: Starving or risking health is not a means of saving. With all your money saved, who is going to spend it if you are not healthy at the end of the day.That's all I can come up with now, it's late.

6. Don't try to keep up with technology, or rush into getting the bestTechnology is ever changing and everyday we get better gadgets. If we observe the pricing trend of technology (esp electronics), the price will usually slash itself by after a cool-down period. Technology gadgets are what I'll call "anti-inflation", the price goes down with time. Most often, the state of the art gadgets are priced with ridicolously expensive tags. If you wait a while, it'll be much cheaper than it is. So target what you want, wait until it falls within the affordable range that you can have. It may save you a lot!