Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Closer to Home - Minibond Issue (Singapore)

After all that talk in my earlier post about standing up and doing the right thing with integrity, I would like to share a couple of videos regarding the Minibond situation in Singapore that I feel strongly about after watching.

Firstly, I really symphatize with the folks that have been impacted by the Minibond saga. In particular, the older folks who have lost all their life savings due to this "mis-investment". As a fellow Singaporean, I hope that the relevant authorities can act quickly to investigate this matter and work together with the parties concerned to help each other over this difficult period.

I agree with Mr Leong (one of the videos below) that this financial situation is certainly unexpected and has come as a surprise to all - financial institutions and investors alike. While symphatizing with the people who have lost their money in this type of investment, we should also try to see the other side of the picture i.e. from the financial institiutions/consultants.

With that said, I also believe that the steps taken by individuals such as Mr Tan and Mr Leong should not be viewed as an attack or protest against the financial institutions/MAS. Instead, it should be viewed as an attempt to help the investors (especially older folks) understand the situation better and provide them with an avenue to seek help and support from people who can help them. Otherwise, as individuals...where can these people turn to?

Indeed as a collective group, the impacted persons have a higher chance to seek redress but at the same time I think it is important that the investors also control their emotions and should remain practical and fair to understand that it will necessary for some to shoulder part of the responsibilities of this mess and thus may not recover their principal (particularly for the educated persons who have not read the fine print). :P

At the end of the day, I prefer to look at the positive side of this situation which is that, if handled properly, it could be a blessing in disguise and perhaps the general public come out of this situation with even higher confidence and satisfaction level towards both our government as well as financial institutions.

Channel's New Asia Coverage on Mini Bond in Singapore

Mr Tan Kin Lian's Speech at Investor's Corner - Part One of Two

Mr Tan Kin Lian's Speech at Investor's Corner - Part Two of Two

Mr Leong Sze Hian's Speech at Investor's Corner

The Online Citizen - Angry Investors Crowd the Speaker's Corner to Seek Redress

The Online Citizen - Media Interview Mr Tan Kin Lian

News Coverage - Chinese

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Back to reality and comments on the 2nd USA Presidential debate

I'm back from Hokkaido and totally enjoyed it!

It was such a relaxing trip of hot spring baths and seafood galore. Thumbs up to the entire trip and although I admit I had my reservations in the beginning to join a local Taiwanese tour package, at the end of the trip, I am really glad that I did!

Generally speaking, I have found the Taiwanese people to be very polite and friendly and this belief has been reinforced during the 5 days of close companionship with my fellow travellers. We had a group of a nice mix of people from all walks of life and a wide range of age (fortunately no kids) and everyone was so fun loving, determined to have a great time and totally considerate for everyone in the group which really enhanced the experience. (compared to my past experiences from joining Singaporean tour groups or European ones.) The tour leader was also one of the best I've met, professional and always attentive to our needs.

Of course, there were also "down" moments in the trip as we had to cancel some of our itineries due to bad/rainy weather and I found the coach rides a tad bit too long for my comfort level but I guess that is a small price to pay for the beautiful scenery and great people we met along the way.

Bottom line: 4 out of 5 stars.

Now, back in my comfy apartment in Taiwan, I'm enjoying my last days of vacation doing mainly 2 things....either cramming for my LOMA papers (which I'm no where near completing) and waking up at 6am to try to get as much office work done as possible. (all done in the most comfortable set of pyjamas, of course) but also just reading and watching things that I enjoy.

This morning, I watched the recording of the 2nd USA Presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama. I must say that it did not disappoint. I was particularly impressed with the way both candidates answered some pretty tough questions thrown at them. Like they say: No debate like the USA presidential debate and indeed the "stakes" are high.

There were also several articles on the web that scrutinized the accuracies of each and every statement that both politicians made during the debate which was an eye opening experience.

Personally, my take away was that I thought John McCain was abit too aggressive, for my liking, (and at times downright rude) towards Obama while on the flip side, Obama presented a rather relaxed, gentlemanly behaviour, determined to stay above the fray and focused on the REAL issues facing the economy instead of personal digs.

Needless to say, I liked what I saw in Obama and I thought his mannerism very befitting of what is expected of the USA president despite his so-called lack of records according to McCain.

In fact, John McCain's constant reminders on how "wet behind the ears" Barack Obama was due to his lack of experience and young age got a little too tiresome. I also thought these personal attacks seemed to back fire on him as can be seen from how his rather weak attempts at cracking jokes did not seem to garner any supporters from the audience. On the other hand, Obama's answers brought more than a few "nods" from the audiences.

Make your own conclusions:

I sure am looking forward to the next presidential debate mid-October to see the politicians back in the "ring" but based on what I see so far, I am rooting for Obama. In fact, I think it may be very well John McCain's so called long track record and experience that has caused him to fail to rise above personal digs at Obama and deliver the more important message to the audience.

I like the tone that the last "zen-like" question raised in the debate........No Leader is expected to know or experience every single situation to be a good leader, it is the ability to handle the unknowns that make the true leader and Obama seems to be very focused and driven to address the core issues of the economy instead of simply having the upper hand in the presidential election.