Monday, July 14, 2008

Stressed out by choices?

I recall a childhood when life was really simple. It was the pre-digital age. If you wanted to listen to the radio, you just had to find the volume and the dial knobs. In this digital age, you'll have to be acquainted with a few steps before you can enjoy music coming out of the speakers. As for choice of media, we used to have vinyl records, which were (much later) replaced by cassette tapes (which existed for almost one generation before being replaced by CD's). These days, we have a huge variety of digital media and formats with which you can play on a mobile phone, a media player, a PDA, a GPS, etc. It seems like anything mobile has a music player built into it.

I think we have to be careful not to be so taken up by choices that we fail to appreciate the very reason for our quest in the first place. Do we really need to seek out the best player we can afford before we start to enjoy the music? Do we need to have the best home theatre system before we can indulge in a movie at home? If we do, then the pre-digital age people must be a very deprived lot. Yet I think people at an earlier time and age had just as much enjoyment as we do now... without being burdened by all the choices they never had.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Why short term share trading is a losing game

Buying shares is supposed to be an investment into the potential growth of a company in its ability to make even more money. Nowadays people trade in shares hoping for a short term increase in the share prices. When everyone starts to do that, it makes mockery of the word "investment" and it makes a fool of the players because ultimately the winners are the brokers and the fund managers.

Why is it a losing game? Let's assume there is a fix amount of money on the table. The players buy and sell frequently among themselves..... somebody loses, somebody wins. This goes on and on. The broker skims off a percentage for each trade. Ultimately the amount of money on the table gets smaller and smaller. Who do you think is the eventual winner?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mass rally in KL is good feedback

There's hope in the future for Malaysia after all, as evidenced by the recent mass rally in KL. All the different races are coming together as one nation, albeit to protest against the government. This rally proves that the different races can be united against a common cause. The non-violent nature of the rally proves that Malaysians are peace-loving citizens. Even the cause of the rally is just a simple cry for help. What parent would punish a child who cries when he is hungry?

Any government that truly practices democracy should be proud of this display and look to it positively as a FREE and GENUINE feedback on its policies and its performance. In Australia, the government spends millions of dollars in consulting fees to conduct surveys on how well received their policies are. Sometimes the survey results are inaccurate, as evidenced by the Workchoices surveys done before John Howard lost the election. An expensive lesson indeed. Surely if such a mass rally were held in Australia, the government would surely take notice and take action.

John Howard's view of Kevin Rudd

From The Herald Sun today, on what John Howard says of Kevin Rudd:
"The absolutely dishonest and pathetic attempt by Mr (Wayne) Swan and Mr (Lindsay) Tanner and Mr Rudd to ... demonstrate to the Australian people that they had inherited an economic mess from the former coalition, that they had inherited high inflation and runaway spending, they have no shame," he said.

To be fair to John Howard, the signs of economic prosperity were present during his government. Now, whether this is due to his "brilliant economic management" or due to prevailing world economic condition is another thing. The fact is that world economy is now beginning to undergo a downturn, and coincidentally at the time when Kevin Rudd took over. Kevin needs to do what is right now to put Australia in a stronger position.

To be fair to Kevin Rudd, his government did inherit a lot of things that needed changing (Workchoices, for one) in order to tackle the challenges of an economic downturn. To call it a "mess" or to simply call it "necessary changes" is subjective; call it what you will, but something different must be done. Again, to be fair to Kevin, he did inherit high inflation and big spending which were not used on building infratructure. To continue Howard's policies will lead to ever increasing foreign debt and, God forbid, eventual bankruptcy.

In my opinion, Howard should retire in grace and let Kevin do his job. For goodness sake, someone please give John Howard a medal or a title because I think that's what he's really after: a pat on the back.