Friday, December 31, 2010

HNY = Happy? No? Yes?

Are you happy? Really happy in spite of the financial, family and health troubles you bore in the past year? Is happiness conditional on you not facing any major problems, or is it a mindset that you can condition yourself to believe so that you can even be happy when there is sorrow, loss, tragedy? Is happiness important to have? Some people I know never knew happiness and are still contented with life. To them being happy is an unnecessary requirement in life, which many of us disagree. Maybe we need happiness like a pill to cure our problems. We have become addicted to happiness that it has become a benchmark to measure success.

We wish each other happy new year as if if not for the happy factor the new year will be less successful, less meaningful. Of late many have started replacing happy with blessed, healthy or joyful. Maybe we've begun to see other dimensions of how our future life should evolve. Happiness is a subset of something larger. Being wealthy may not grant happiness to the rich if they lack security and love. Being powerful may be meaningless if it means spending all the time defending this status and not enjoying life in general. Or being happy is just a facade to show your friends that you are well.

Is happiness conditional to others loving you and providing you your needs and security? If this is so, it is rooted very shallowly for when these people leave you then so does your happiness. I read somewhere that one must not depend on others to be happy. There goes the belief that love brings happiness, that a husband's love make the wife happy and vice versa. Can a wife be happy still if the husband cease to love her, or love her less? Is happiness a product of marriage or exists for marriage to work?

While we all want to be happy, other outlooks are more important, such as being contented, spiritually secured, not envious and industrious. Certainly happiness does not come without any efforts. A happy person is very likely someone who given his best to arrive at where he is.

This coming new year let me wish you beyond happiness. Let me wish you understanding of your true self, your true strength, your mission and purpose to yourself, your family, your workplace and your society. When you have found your niche then happiness will come naturally.

Happy New Year 2011.

NZ = No Zoy!

Yes, no joy for New Zealanders. In THIS overview the author summarizes the calamities the nation underwent in 2010 including the tragic mine accident in which all 29 miners perished and the earthquake that rocked Christchurch which miraculously killed no one directly. The national economy is at the brink of bankruptcy. As if there is not enough bad news to end the year, a 8 year old boy fell inside a geothermal pool in Kuirau Park in Rotorua in North Island and was scalded from head to toe. His condition is critical.

I blog NZ for the special place this country has in my heart. More so when I read of the tragedy of the geothermal accident because my wife and I were at the very same park in September 2006 but did not enter the geothermal pool as it was closed. I'd like to go NZ again and I hope by then the economy will have recovered. NZ is very touristy and I hope it will earn more NZD from this industry.

A Bad Good News

Today is an unexpected public holiday, declared ill-considered by the prime minister soon after Malaysia beat Indonesian on aggregate score in the return match of the Suzuki Cup final in Jakarta on December 29. In a moment of ecstatic joy he thought it was appropriate the whole nation should be rewarded. So his announcement became law. In hindsight many people thought it was a bad decision and I agreed, not because I stand from the position of an employer but whether the holiday was justifiable. Personally this win is not a national event to warrant a New Year present to every worker (I believe foreign workers will be treated equally).

Sure, everybody like a free off day. But it is not free for the business community. In THIS report the Human Resource minister reminded employers that workers must be paid for working today. And not at regular rates but on PH rate which is twice the amount. The announcement is definitely NOT business friendly and since it is year end most businesses will be open they have to bear the higher costs which eventually will be passed on to the consumers.

In hindsight the good news is bad. New Year falls on Saturday and with Sunday they are more than enough for families to celebrate outings before the new year starts. Giving today off for the whole nation is irresponsible. Imagine the lost human resource cost. Just taking the civil service workforce of 1.2 million employees x RM50 per man-day = RM60 million lost. If Malaysia had lost we would have saved this money. Add in the private sector cost which is estimated to be 5 times, we are starring at a wasted cost of some RM360 million. Maybe the PM thought the victory justified this but not everyone is laughing. Except maybe the Pakatan Rakyat opposition who will surely capitalize on this poor judgment by the PM.

Oh yes, essential services like the police, firemen and armed forces cannot go on leave so the government will pay double for the day's work. Guess who will be the eventual paymaster?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What is Yours, is Yours

There is a Cantonese expression that goes this way, Hai lei jiou hai lei ke, which translate to the caption of this post. It suggests that if something, or someone is yours, nothing can steal it from you. Although it suggest you need not apply extra effort to get it I have often discover it to be true. It is even true in business, a deal is yours even if your rivals try to sabotage it.

I have put off sending my 21 months old Camry to an auto care centre for a new shine to the body. The year has been busy so with all the major events behind me, and before my grand daughter starts nursery next Monday I started looking for a wax and polish joint nearby. There are three and I went to centre 1 (Carboy) that was recommended to me. I found it shut down, so I drove to centre 2 which was also temporarily closed for renovation. Centre 3 which I have used before has a thriving business but I chose not to use them again as I do not trust the products.

Leaving me no other choices, I turned to the Internet search engines and found centre 4. Yesterday afternoon I decided to drive there to take a look before making an appointment. Call it fate or luck, I took a wrong turn while looking for centre 4 and came face to face with another Carboy auto care centre. I like the friendly approach and also saw many clients waiting to collect their vehicles, signs of trust and popularity. I made an appointment for this morning. Out of curiosity I drove to where centre 4 is and was vindicated in not going there as it is much smaller and less impressive.

What made me take a wrong turn that lead me to the right centre? I have no answer. This new Carboy centre was obviously destined to have my business. What is their's is their's. And centre 4 which ironically has 'luck' in its name wasn't lucky to have my business. Incidentally centre 1 wasn't closed down permanently, just temporarily. If it had been opened I would still give my business to Carboy, whichever may be the centre. Believe it or not!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Dinner

What started as a simple Christmas dinner with our daughters and families at a western restaurant here in Seremban grew into a larger affair involving 2 other families. My father-, brother- and sister-in-law families joined in and it became a dinner involving 12 adults and 4 children. We chose dinner on Christmas Eve and I was glad to have made reservation several days earlier as the restaurant was crowded that night. Like I said I seldom celebrate Christmas but this year I decided to break tradition and was in a celebratory mood. As the birthday of our eldest girl is just after Christmas we decided to give her a celebration-in-a-celebration. Below are some pictures taken (apology to restaurant for exposing the typo error of Christmas). We ordered an assortment of menu B and ala carte meals.

















































Friday, December 24, 2010

Celebrate Family and Security at Christmas



I don't know if you have been through times when you feel down and all alone and there were no one to lend you a should to cry on or a hand to clasp in companionship. I have been through one of such terrible times in 1990 and that Christmas was extra special because a group of carolers prayed for me and my family. It was as if my burden has been shared out and thereafter my world sort of lightened up and the problems more manageable.

Family has often been ignored as the means to our ends which are to fulfill our needs. We forget that family members have their own needs too and in co-sharing our lives in the community of people born to stay and grow together and later to build one another, sacrificing our priorities for those of our family matter in making it strong and secure. I cannot imagine my life without family. I can do with few friends but not without family.

At Christmas I think of the homeless and the lonely folks. Some could have ended where they are through not investing time and efforts to build their families but I am not going to be judgmental, some could have been plain unfortunate. Whatever the reasons, these people long for homes and comfort and they surely envy laughters and smiles upon the faces of passer-bys and visitors.

But there is one who will be available during Christmas to be party to our home, even if we feel unappreciated or unwelcomed. No, he is not Santa. He is the real reason why Christmas was and is and will always be celebrated, Jesus Christ. Jesus offers life and security even to us who think we already have them through our families and our jobs. When we finally breathe our last, our family won't go with us to where our souls depart to. When life ends on earth, it continues elsewhere, in the heaven of our mind and the comfort of our soul. There Jesus awaits with open arms and a smile to those who celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.

Tomorrow is Christmas. We have no Christmas tree set up because little Andrew (our 4th grandchild) who is just coming to 11 months is hyper-active and climbs over anything and everything. I promised his older sister Grace (aka Ling) next year we will put it up. We have no tradition of wrapping presents nor giving of presents. I personally believe the best presents we give to each other is our lives and our sacrifices. They don't take up space but last till eternity. Tonight we shall have a family dinner to celebrate Christmas in thanksgiving for all that God has provided me and my family through the year. 2010 will rank as my best year so far. All praise and thanksgiving to my Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Love the Country

At family karaoke I would try to sing the late John Denver's 'Take Me Home Country Roads' possibly his most popular song. Both lyrics and music give the imagery of countrysides and wilderness that many city folks would like to be part of. I've never been to West Virginia and most certainly the song expressed the sights during summer or autumn when the leaves are green and gold. It will be nice to visit WV one of these days to see if what John sang was indeed true. Here is a karaoke Youtube to sing along to.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vision of Love

I remember sometime in my undergraduate days when I was far away from my girl this song by Cliff Richard would say exactly how I felt. Even till today whenever I listen to it in the quiet of the night I would recall how sweet young love was, how achy sometimes it hurt, but how satisfying it is when it lead you to a good journey. I would not trade anything for the emptiness sometime distant love can cause a young man. Here's Vision for all of you.



A 'live' concert version here.

Celebrating A Friend's First Family Wedding

TCS and I have been classmates since our primary school days. After Form 6 we part way; he went to study medicine in India while I stayed put in the country to do my Chemistry degree. While he was ahead of me academically I beat him in the arena of setting up family first. Perhaps he had the handicap of doing a longer study as well as fulfilling his government scholarship bond which meant he started family later than I. It is only earlier this month that his eldest, a daughter, was married. Well, he beat me in another way: he had 5 children while I had 3, and he had 3 doctors of those children who graduated. Last Saturday my wife and I attended the wedding blessing service and wedding dinner in Ipoh. Although he 'lost' a daughter, he 'gained' a son-in-law who is also a doctor. Looks like it is a doctor family.

The wedding ceremony and dinner also allow us to meet up some of my old classmates. It was a great weekend. We also met with my former Chemistry teacher in Form 6, Mrs. Wong. The demure soft spoken lady changed so little as to be instantly recognizable. She is the one seated in the middle wearing black in the second picture below. Check her out HERE (front row, 4th from the right) when she was our teacher.





Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two-in-One Christmas Joy

I like both Cliff and Neil and when some smart guy called Jason Murphy decided to blend their White Christmas as a duet, I thought it was too real to pass sharing with you. See if you disagree with me.

Christmas Mood with Cliff

Each time I watch this videoclip I can't help feeling all eased up. The year is drawing to a close and as I reflect over the past year I must say this has been one great year for me. Perhaps the best. Hear Cliff sing about Christmas Time.



And a message of the Good News of Christmas:



Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all my readers.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rainbow

We are all familiar with the colorful arch that spreads across the sky after a rain. In the Bible it represents God's promise never to destroy mankind by flood (but He never said it will not be by fire or other calamities). In our dreams we hope for the pot of gold, and place our desires as we wish for the good stuffs that rainbows represent. Judy Garland sang the following version very well.



Russ Hamilton made Rainbow a love song. Although he is dead now I always enjoy the simple expression of love of a simple boy.

To Those Stranded, Skip This Clip

I opened my morning papers to read this upsetting headline:

Snowed Down

and read the accompanying news HERE. It is nice if it just snow lightly in your backyards, enough for you to have snow fights or build snowmen. But when heavy snow disrupt traffic and stall air flights it can get on some nerves. But Frank is totally oblivious to this as he lived in a different era and possibly a more predictable climatic environment. In the following Youtube he sang like a 10 year old boy with glee and total abandon.



Dean Martin rendered his casual and easy going style that is bound to please any flayed soul.



And Michael Buble polished the snowy oldie with his Frank-alike smooth version.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fund Raiser Pictures

Here are a selection of pictures from the recent fund raising dinner. For more pics please go to HERE.











Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Season of Giving

I am encouraged by this report. The super rich of America are rising up to donate much of their wealth to charity. At the PBSNS fund raising dinner last Sunday I was seeing some semblance of the same pattern. My faith in Malaysians is being restored.

Facebook boss in giveaway pledge

Mr Zuckerberg is estimated to be worth almost $7bn.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has become one of the latest billionaires to pledge to give away the majority of his wealth.

He is one of 17 new people to support a group, founded by Bill Gates and his wife along with Warren Buffett, which encourages America's wealthiest to publicly promise to donate to charity.

At 26, Mark Zuckerberg is one of the youngest to sign up.

Earlier this year, he gave $100m in shares to schools in New Jersey.

"People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done?" he asked in a statement.

"With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts."

Mr Zuckerberg, estimated to be worth $6.9bn (£4.4bn), was placed 35th in this year's Forbes list of the richest people in the US.

The Giving Pledge initiative was launched earlier this year. It was announced in August that 40 individuals or families had made the pledge.

Encouraging others

Some of the super rich prefer to give to charities anonymously, but the Giving Pledge stresses the importance of being open about donations.

"Research shows that when people know that others are giving, they are themselves more likely to give," said Princeton University's Peter Singer in a statement released by the Giving Pledge.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who also signed up this month, said he had not previously considered going public.

"However, I certainly see the value of a project that encourages wealthy individuals to step forward and commit to use their wealth for the common good," he said.

"I hope that by adding my voice with those who are supporting this project, we will all encourage others to participate."

There was also a sign that the founders may take the Giving Pledge outside the US.

Warren Buffett and the Gateses are talking to other billionaires from around the world to learn about their philanthropy efforts, a statement said.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Very Successful Fund Raiser

We only managed 58 tables but we raised close to RM50,000 at last night's fund raising dinner, including a RM5,000 pledge from the guest of honor. Several guests were moved to make spot donations. By all account, a success. The choice of Silver Dragon as venue was spot on. The sound system was perfect for the entertainer, Elvis Presley impersonator HT Long. The budget menu was acceptably good, the events flowed smoothly and ended before 10pm. I thank God for bringing PBSNS to a successful close for the year. We have essentially fulfilled the target of our Building Fund with this dinner and the earlier charity golf tournament.

Some pix will be posted later when they are available from the photographers.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Christmas Wish

Christmas is the time to take stock of how the past 11 months has gone and to reflect on what the new year ought to be. Good or bad, Christmas is also a time to reconcile ourselves to whatever shortcomings we've encountered and to be grateful for whatever good that came our way. It is also time to make good our relationship with family, friends and foes alike. Frank Sinatra sang it as it is. So I also wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas and wishing you a gorgeous 2011. Peace and health.



Judy Garland sang her tidy version that warms our hearts and cut through any cords of unforgiveness. Embedded code is disabled so here is the link.

Judy Garland's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Friday, December 10, 2010

Correct, Correct, Correct

No, I am not referring to the infamous VK Lingam utterance in a secret video recording submitted to a court hearing a few years ago but to the outcome of today's Careplus trading. After 3 days of successive bull runs, correction has finally arrived. Trading size and volume have also declined. Is the correction technical? Will buyers return next week? Again, wait and see.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Another Bull Run

From opening to close, a 30.88% gain. From listing to close today, a 93.48% gain. I wonder who moved the ceiling? My predictions are all wrong.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

After the Holiday

Today is the 2nd trading day since Careplus group was listed. Yesterday was a public holiday and might have impacted today's pattern. Trade began at 9.00am with a 1 sen premium over Monday's close of 27 sen. This was how it went throughout the day.



And this snapshot from Finance Yahoo:



The close at 34 sen or 7 sen premium (25.9%) over Monday's close may yet see further interest as the market is still warm. Wait and see.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Planning A Fund Raising Dinner

With one major event behind me I can mull over another upcoming event that took not as much but still substantial effort on my part to organize. I am referring to the PBSNS Fund Raising Dinner which will be held this Sunday evening in Seremban.

Compared to the 10th anniversary PBS thanksgiving dinner held in 2008 which wasn't a fund raiser and therefore should be easier to organize, this PBSNS event is admittedly easier and more fun. Here's why.

1. We did not set any targets.
2. We decide against producing a souvenir program, hence no stress in canvassing for advertisements.
3. We go with the flow, which means we overcome obstacles and find alternative solutions without forcing ourselves into corners.
4. We decide that the objective is to get our guests enjoy the evening for the donations they gave. So we engaged a singer to entertain.

The task force actually started work in September and as we near the event I must say that we are 95% there. Even if there are minor hiccups I believe they should in no way distract us from the greater purpose of coming together for a good time. We should be able to round up at least 60 tables for the 70 tables capacity banquet hall. We managed to locate a master of ceremony, gotten a guest of honor, finalized the dinner programs and identified helpers. I am looking forward to a good time.

The Morning After

It was a credible first day performance. 29 million shares changed hands. Price closed at 27sen scoring a 4 sen or 17.4% premium over it's listed price of 23 sen. Following yesterday's press conference, here are links to reports written.

StarBiz
Bloomberg
Bernama
Business Times
The Edge

Today is a public holiday for the stock exchange. How the stock performs tomorrow is anyone's guess but I would like it to be seriously traded with mid to long term holding as the objective.

Monday, December 06, 2010

It's a Carnival Time

The worse that can happen today would be a bad traffic jam or a heavy thunderstorm to delay us but neither happened. We made sure we start early from Seremban to Kuala Lumpur, a traveling distance under normal traffic of under an hour, or with a normal jam, an hour and half.

We arrived in Bursa Malaysia behind Menara Maybank behind Jalan Pudu at 6.45am with an hour and half to kill. The weather was great and the morning swallows were up early and flying above us. Slowly the other members of the company and relatives started arriving and at 7.30am the podium entrance to Bursa was opened. At the entrance to the building and inside the podium, banners announcing our public listing today were gaily erected and we felt the spirit of carnival dawning upon us. Nearly everybody was wearing a smile. Today is the day we had been waiting for and dressed as smartly as we can we wanted to beam with confidence and hope as the time to launch our stocks for trading at 9.00am approaches.

Firstly, we went up to the office of the CEO of Bursa Malaysia, Dato' Yusli Mohammad Yusoff, for a coffee session. The 5 directors had a light moment sharing updates on our business and its future directions. At 8.40am we took a lift down to the podium. Dato' Yusli gave a brief welcome speech followed by my speech and as the countdown begins, members of the media streamed towards us and cameras clicking away as I prepared to hit the traditional gong to signify the start of our stock trading.

At precisely 8:59:50, the emcee announced: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, ... and I confidently lifted the mallet to strike the gong 3 times. And the party poppers shot up and confetti were shrewn over our heads and on the podium floor. Immediately the 'live' trading screen which was in inactive mode sprang alive and our stocks has begun active trading at the opening price of 27.5 sen done, which was nearly 20% above our IPO price. Not bad. Careplus stocks continue to register active trade through the first hour and slowed down thereafter but the trading ranged from 26 - 28 sen.

Dato' Yusli presented us a souvenir to commemorate this special occasion and we countered with a traditional Malay songkok momento in a glass case. The 60 guests or so were then provided breakfast while I gave a press conference with 3 other directors. We congratulated each other and felt relieved that our trading were all in positive territory. Not bad for a small but growing glove manufacturer. Back home I tracked the news reports on television. 2 local television stations broadcast news of our listing this morning. Two local Chinese newspapers has come up with congratulatory advertisement from 32 suppliers and vendors. A reputable business magazine drew us into its radar and begun reporting our event. Tomorrow we expect most major newspapers to report on today's event.

At 9.00am our new Group website kicked off with 'live' share prices shown on the homepage. Suddenly we are no longer a family run business but one that will have to meet the greater expectations of the public. Trusting God for 22 years, we continue to trust Him for the coming years to guide and prosper our business.

Here are a gallery of action pictures capturing the moods of this listing ceremony.

























































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