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Cyborg last won the day on December 11 2018

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  1. On the workshop/consultation room: There’s a certain value in seeing some of the production process, kind of makes the customer feel connected to the product rather than some faceless machine elsewhere churning out the item. Imagine those shopping mall tailors and it feels flash but there’s always a niggling feel that it’s show with no substance, that it’s a boutique with no personal touch. the quality of the student presentation is really quite amazing
  2. Tell him to start from first principles and go read up on human centered design before proposing any changes to the scope of work. Aesthetics should come second after useability and seems like many people forget about this. If the design is done right (or core principles addressed) the mid term DNA will be very similar to the “short term” solution. In the long term we are all dead
  3. I’m no expert on the economics of tailoring, but my impression of that micro-location is it is the type of development which is basically multi level shop fronts- where I don’t recall any similar format having shops on the upper level(s) prospering, ever. Ground floor might be a better bet if you want to aim for walk ins. Not that your current business model relies on walk ins anyway since you aren’t exactly a mass market tailor
  4. There are so many bottlenecks to audio enjoyment, and some audiophiles seem to take minimizing those (perceived) bottlenecks to an extreme. The main one I find people underestimate is the crap audio compression formats of default Spotify/YouTube etc, which makes a lot of audio lose clarity. Bluetooth connection is fine for non-lossless audio formats provided the source is decent (I.e. 256-320kbps and above).
  5. These are the same people who would buy a Porsche Cayenne to go off road instead of a Land Rover. I’ve always found Beyoncé’s voice to be harsh though, she sounds to me like she’s half shouting a lot of the time. Maybe that was the cold hard reality of the performance.
  6. My take on LKY: he struck a balance between being the typical strict Asian parent type whilst creating a siege mentality, which led to sufficient prosperity to finance an obvious rise in the general standard of living. You have to admit that his oratory skills are not in the inspirational manner, but rather it is a very simplistic, rational and relatively patient manner (which is rare. Typically short fuses go together with sharp minds). With the majority Confucian culture the education/skills first policies would have been much easier to implement and everybody went along with it. Their new generation of politicians is significantly less visionary though not as bumbling as most non-Communist Asian politicians. On Muhyiddin: he’s done for and he knows it. His party doesn’t have a leg to stand on and will likely be absorbed into UMNO 2 GEs from now at the latest. All he’s doing is prepping smokescreens for when the pandemic is ‘over’ and run on a savior ticket, hoping for a graceful retirement. Unfortunately no Malaysian leaders have the benevolence, intelligence or public spirit needed for the job so he’s sort of the best of the worst.
  7. I am a little curious: 1) what was the time interval between him applying and you contacting him? 2) was your company name stated in the advert? (I assume so)
  8. Somehow hard to imagine such a Chinaman company splurging on suits
  9. You might want to edit that photo and remove the phone numbers at least....
  10. He’s my idol. The vast bulk of the “stimulus” package is funded by Other People’s Money. Imagine forking out $25bn and being able to show a headline figure of $250bn. Best ROI ever
  11. Oh and 1 more thing. Generally unit trusts charge something like 1% p.a fees + 1% upon entry and 1% upon exit. EPF's operating expenditure was RM 3bil, of a fund size of RM 817.5 bil, which makes it around 0.4% p.a., with no entry or exit charges. And it comes with a government guarantee + 2.5% returns in the EPF Act. So it's really quite a cheap way of investing, and for me if I were looking at local UTs (which I don't), I would be benchmarking the total return of the UT against EPF and not the funds' composite benchmarks.
  12. There are mitigating factors. EPF only began investing offshore only recently in the past 10 years or so. In the previous 50 years of its life, it basically grew so big it amassed huge stakes in many local listed corporations, not necessarily by choice, but because of limited alternatives. These stakes are so large that should they decide to liquidate it immediately, the wealth destruction will be basically a financial crisis in itself. This also means that the stakes have to be long term in nature, so they cannot profit take at their whims and fancy. By the same token, they are unable to cut losses as freely as other private funds. Tabung Haji's stakes highlighted above are essentially bound to the same problem. Every one of those stakes, if sold on the open market, would crash the stock immediately, and they would be in a worse position than they started off in. That is also why an NAV structure is equally deceptive for funds this large. Each sale of shares only indicates to the market that something is wrong, and each buy order is set lower than the last. Each transaction is then matched immediately because the stake for sale is so large that there is the market cannot absorb that amount of selling, hence causing a vicious selldown. Once the prices hit other funds' cut-loss levels, even more selling happens and the cycle goes on. Therefore NAV cannot be a good benchmark as the value is derived from mark-to-market, but the mark-to-market value is not the same as actual realizable value in the case of a fire sale. (Due to this reason, I cannot disagree with the declaration of dividends based on realised profits. If they measured on unrealised profits, the big fund boys would just buy and sell among themselves and manipulate the prices upwards.) If you look at the daily announcements on Bursa, you would see that EPF does a lot of buying and selling , but the volumes are not large. That's because the core stake has to be maintained, and any buying or selling is really small movements that would not significantly disrupt the market. This is also why a lot of outsourcing has to be done, because they are just too big to manage it on their own, and to maintain liquid assets since their own equity holdings are essentially illiquid. Of course, in the investment direction by these funds, there is a huge amount of political influence + national strategic interest involved. No comment on that bit, except that Khazanah would be an easier vehicle to manipulate. iMoney did a decent article on EPF. Basically they are taking comfort in the transparency of the fund in its disclosures. https://www.imoney.my/articles/facts-about-epf-investments-overseas. I would also take comfort in the fact that management wise, they managed to get fairly qualified CEOs and so far they have been less scandalous than the other funds.
  13. Well, due to lack of data it's a bit hard to pin down, especially for the 97-98 crisis. The website only provides the annual reports from 2001 onwards, and other financial market data is tough to come by. For all I know they could have shorted the Malaysian market in 97. Essentially what could have happened was profit taking on the bond portfolio in 2008. BNM cut interest rates from 3.5% to 2% as economic stimulus. This could have pushed up the prices of the bond portfolio by a good 10% on 10 year bonds and all EPF would have needed to do is sell some to realise the capital gain. (Dividends are based on realised gain). As you pointed out, the majority of EPF funds was and still is in bonds/fixed income, so smart profit taking on a small portion of the large bond port would be enough to offset the (likely unrealised/unimpaired) loss on the equity port. The biggest hole in this argument is of course how the realised and unrealised gains/losses are taken into account when determining the profit and hence dividend. Accounting standards have changed hugely in the last 20 years, especially since the GFC, so methods could have changed over time. Also, choosing when to impair assets (recognizing a permanent loss of value) is largely a management decision. So in theory, what they could have done during crises is 1) not impair the equity port 2) sold down the bond holdings, thus inflating the 'profits'. But this type of manipulation of profit numbers is still within the rules of the game.....
  14. Well, there are a few other factors you may want to take into account: 1) EPF board has some industry/union, non-governmental representatives to hopefully provide some additional oversight. TH has none. 2) The EPF Act guarantees the contributor's principal as well as a 2.5% dividend per annum. So the government can always print more ringgit to give you back your nominal investment. (yes I know this is not exactly the most comforting thing). 3) EPF's actual investment returns are higher than the declared dividend. The balance of the returns are kept as reserves against fluctuations in investment value. Of course the recent MYR devaluation has also helped their foreign investments show leveraged returns in addition to the typical equity appreciation + dividend. 4) EPF has the advantage of being able to invest in the entire universe of investment assets whereas TH is restricted to syariah compliant instruments. Regardless of actual performance/characteristics of syariah compliant assets, this does restrict potential opportunities as well as increase cost of compliance. 5) EPF's liability/asset ratio is much healthier at circa 6% compared to TH's (official) 50%. 6) EPF actually restricts non-salary contribution amounts. Not a typical Ponzi scheme characteristic, you'd think they would encourage more contributions rather than less. Clearly they recognise it's a tough job managing that much cash. They also allow withdrawals once your individual total EPF holdings has exceeded RM 1mil At the end of the day you will always have imperfect information as an outsider. But there's not a lot you can do about it...... I do know someone who uses EPF as a government guaranteed fixed deposit replacement.
  15. Maybe they are approaching the topic from the POV that competitors are unconsciously helping each other out by their individual promotional efforts? In their drive to expand their individual market share, each competitor is in fact helping the pie to grow bigger for everyone?
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