Saturday, December 30, 2017

4Q 2017 Investment Strategy Update

A few hours ago marks the end of trading for Dow Jones for the year 2017. So how did USA and Singapore fare for the year 2017? Marked by a strong USA economy recovery in 2H and low unemployment rate, corporate profits has continue to exceed analyst expectation, fueling a bull run in stocks. DJI ends the year at 24719, climbing 4957 (+25.1%) compared to a year ago. This has the potential of being derailed by the nationalist Trump, enacting policies (Tax breaks, employment) that seems to benefit more for the wealthy than for the common people. Reducing taxes will definitely boost the companies profit in the short term, but this policy hinges on the assumption that with more money on hand, economy will spend more, resulting in more profits and more taxes to be collected for the government. But, what if this doesn't happen? If forced to hike tax rate to stem the rise in government debt at a later date, it will have a disastrous effect on the economy. On the case of employment, to bring jobs back to America again, will it actually happen? From the news report, it seems unlikely. Companies are proceeding with upgrading and investing in Automation, reducing the number of workers needed. Through these upgrading investment, I agree it will spur the economy for 1-2 years, from the companies providing the upgrade service, but after this phase pass, what is left? With better economy, the housing market are on the rise again, leading to more construction, new homes, renovations, which will mean more debt as people borrow to carry out these projects (I doubt they will have cash to paid in full without borrowing). This all looks like a housing boom 2.0 all over again. This was what George W. Bush tried to do during his term and failed miserably. One thing that they seem to forget (or purposely overlook) is with stronger economy, US dollars will rise, which means the things produced in America will be much more expensive. Things will start to go wrong when people starts switching to cheaper alternatives overseas. Having said all these, will it happen? We will know in 1-2 years time. At least for the next 6 months, USA will continue on its growth path.

Back closer at home, STI has also benefited, with Singapore economy scoring bull eyes in 2H. STI ended the year at 3402, climbing 522 (+18.1%) compared to a year ago. Most of the stocks seems overprice for now, so I will just hold some cash and wait for the Bear to come. However, among all stocks, I can still see a few good ones that is positioned to grow in the next few years (I will talk more about it later). Having received the cash from Croesus privatization in 4Q, I am looking forward to 1Q 2018 cash from GLP privatization to continue re-shuffling my portfolio.

Now a time for reflection, compared to what I stated at the start of the year (New Investment Strategy 2017 - Growing Passive Income), how do I fare? This is a 3 year plan and having passed 1/3 of the journey, below are my result:

Original 2017-2019 plan:
  1. 50% Equity, 50% Reits/Trusts
  2. Portfolio Yield to be 1.50% in 2017, 2.50% in 2018, 3.75% in 2019.
End 2017 Snapshot:
  1. 90.96% Equity, 9.04% Reits/Trusts (Around the same as 2016)
  2. Portfolio Yield at 1.27% (+0.51% from 2016, but miss 2017 1.50% target)
Below is my end 2017 portfolio snapshot:

2017 has been quite a good year for me, ended with the complete divestment of Croesus Retail Trust, partial GLP sale and selling off Man United share with a good mid tens percentage gain. However, I am still on book losses for the commodity and O&G shares. Hopefully, with the boom in oil and commodity price in 4Q, I will be able to reduce my exposure to the sector in 2018. Below will be a summary of the transaction I have done in 4Q 2017:

Transaction 1: Bought in another batch of Man United shares in early October.

Seeing the good performances of Man United on pitch and ticking up of Man United shares on NYSE, I decided to enter the market again, hopefully exiting the counter when it reached my target price.

Transaction 2: Sold off most Man United shares a few weeks after transaction 1.

To put it simply, target price reached and I decided to exit the counter for a mid tens percentage gain.

Transaction 3: Bought in a batch of Mapletree Industrial Trust.

50% of cash from Croesus Retail Trust privatization was used to fund this purchase. They have a good pipeline of new properties coming on line in the next 2 years with good tenant commitment rate. In addition, they have now divested into data centers, with the recent joint venture to purchase a portfolio of data centers in USA with its parent company, Mapletree Investment.

Transaction 4: Bought in a batch of Fraser Centrepoint Trust.

Renovation at Northpoint City North Wing is drawing to a close and tenant occupancy rate should start ticking up. That will provide a base for this counter. For the new Northpoint City South Wing, it is still currently under Fraser Centerpoint. However, I got the feeling that once tenant base stabilize in the South Wing, Fraser Centrepoint might want to divest the whole South Wing property to Fraser Centrepoint Trust. This will be a good catalyst for growth. Fraser Centrepoint Trust currently already owned the Northpoint City North Wing and the adjacent building (Yishun GV) Level 1 shops.

Transaction 5: Bought in another batch of Noble Group.

Their debt restructuring efforts is coming to an end and it looks like banks will not forced them into Chapter 11. Just bought in a small batch to average down my overall price.

Transaction 6: Bought in another batch of Krisenergy.

Like what I shared in Q3, they have a potential of farming out their oil field to reduce the capital investment stress. Just bought in a small batch to average down my overall price.

Transaction 7: Sold off a small batch of GLP.

Cash in for the Noble Group purchase.

That is all for now. See you all in Q1 2018 update and thank you for reading this long long post. =)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Journey to the East (Bedok)

In 30 hours, I need to make my way to Bedok not once, not twice, but three times. It is indeed record breaking. All these for:
  1. Sunday Street Soccer Session
  2. Attending a Malay Soccer Kaki Wedding
  3. Free gift redemption
I guess I have seen enough of Bedok for now.....

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Upgrade of Krisflyer Membership Tier

Now... I will have 25% more miles for a year whenever I fly

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Synopsis: In Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. [Source: Golden Village]

At last, the next saga of Star Wars is released after waiting for 2 years. This time, the plot concentrates on the next generation of the First Order and the Resistance Leaders as they try to make their mark in this drawn out war. There are plenty of galaxy fighting, few scenes of the ever familiar light sabers fights, not much new character introduction as the Resistance turned tail and try to escape for their survival. Not a bad show to catch as we catch up on the plot.

Rate: 7/10

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Fireworks, Should We See It From The Side Or The Bottom

Synopsis: One Summer day, in a sea-side town. One Junior high school is gathered with an excitement before a firework show. Norimichi(Masaki Suda) and Yusuke(Mamoru Miyano), at a pool side, meets Nazuna(Suzu Hirose), an idol of their class, a girl they both secretly have a crush on. The two boys turn out to have a swimming match with Nazuna. Norimichi, although fails the match, finds a mysterious ball in the water. On the other hand, Yusuke, who won the fight, is asked by Nazuna to go out to watch the firework show together. After school, while boys have an argument whether fireworks are round or flat when viewed from sideways, Norimichi is told by Nazuna that she was going to ask out the one who won the swimming match. However, her true purpose was to “elope” with a boy from her remarrying mother. Nazuna, in front of Norimichi’s eyes, resists her mother who pulls her back home. Norimichi, powerlessly, only stares the situation and cannot do anything. “If only I won the match thay day…” Irritated, Norimichi throws the ball he found in the water and then… He finds himself back in the moment of the swimming match. After the day repeated over and over again, what will Nazuna and Norimichi find in the end? And after all, is the firework round or flat when viewed from sideways? When the fireworks sparkle, the love encounters a miracle...[Source: Golden Village]

Truthfully, I get the anime plot where one person keep going back in time to make things right. What I could not get is that the author ends the movie without much of an ending. It just makes us wonder why do we even sit in the theater for 90mins to watch the anime in the first place. Well, at least the film has got some nice songs and music. Personally, I will only recommend you watching this if you are good with film leaving you hanging on a cliff.. with no sight of season 2....

Rate: 5/10

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

12th Year Blog Anniversary

Yes, this blog has officially open shop for 12 years. For the past year, by God's grace, I have changed job to a scope that I wanted to do and with much better work life balance. Things are going well and we are looking forward to 2 holiday trips next year! I do hope I can still keep this blog active for many years to come and I give thanks to Him for everything He has blessed us with.

2018, here I come.

Some Statistic: 
Page Count: 58618 +3002 
Year on Year increase: +1860 +162.87%

Justice League

Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes--Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash--it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. [Source: Golden Village]

Not a bad movie as a sequel to Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, which I remembered failed terribly the last time I watched it. This time, at least they have a proper plot throughout the movie. The film can be funny at times with its slow motion to see the reaction of the flash as he watched everything moving so slowly past him. Batman seems to be catching on in age and this might be his last appearance. Overall, I find this a good DC movie to catch.

Rate: 6.5/10

Sunday, December 03, 2017

India (Gurgaon, Mumbai) Work Trip (281117 - 011217)

First time going to India on a business trip, with lots of advises from my colleagues and horror stories of the past, such as Japan expatriates needed to hospitalize for 3 weeks due to stomach problems, came back to Singapore and needed MCs for 1 week...etc. To protect yourself, the common advise given is to drink only mineral water, avoid local food and to the extend of using mineral water to brush your teeth! To make the situation anything but better, the air in Gurgaon is pretty bad, as reported in the newspaper of smog engulfing the whole New Delhi city a few weeks ago. Well, at least I will come prepared with a N95 in the luggage.

Good morning Gurgaon, with a layer of smog?

India version of prata, nothing resembling the Singapore version we are used to. Dough is salty with cheese in the filling. There is no curry for the dough and the orange stuffs has a unique taste I am not used to eating

Daily newspaper update on PM2.5 level. 342...reminds me of 2013 Singapore haze

Next trip to Mumbai via Air India. Service and food is not good, plus my table is spoilt. I think next time I will try Vistara, a joint venture between Tata and SIA

A look at the polluted canal next to Mumbai Office, reminds of the pictures seen in the Singapore 60s

Well, at least I survived India, only down with a little runny nose and cough the next day, most probably due to the air....I guess....

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok

Synopsis: In Marvel Studios' "Thor: Ragnarok", Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok- the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization- the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger- the Incredible Hulk! [Source: Golden Village]

Departing from the usual Marvel's intense story line and fighting scenes, the director this time really went all out poking funny comments and jokes at the movie characters. Other than that, the movie was pretty much expected of a typical Marvel's set. The fighting scenes are as usual, as intense as it can get, making sure the good guys will defeat the evil ones at the end of the day. Do remember to stay all the way till the very end for some 30s final scene to wrap up this movie.

Rate: 7/10

Monday, October 16, 2017

USA (Newark, California) Work Trip (101017 - 151017)

First trip to USA for a Global OSH Meeting, joining in as a representative from the Asia Pacific region. It has been truly a blessing by the Lord for this rare opportunity, especially so when I have not even been confirmed as a permanent employee since I took on this role 2 months ago. My flight was via Singapore Airline since this was the designated airline by my company and they have a direct flight to SFO.

SIA was using the new Airbus A350-900, with a revamped entertainment system!

My hotel for the trip, but Marriott in Asia provided a much better service

Most of the restaurant around my accommodation are Asian (And they served better food compared to Singapore)

On the 1st night, we have the chance to visit downtown San Francisco for our dinner. On the way, we stop by one of the tourist attraction.

Lombard Street - 27-degree angle slope with 8 hairpin turns & landscaped flowerbeds.

Pier 39

Crocodile bread from Boudin Museum

SQ plane at SFO for the 15 hours ride back home

Sunday, October 01, 2017

3Q 2017 Investment Strategy Update

For 3Q 2017, USA continues its strong economy and job hiring performance, as evident in DJI climbing 1056 points to 22405, though the market seems to be at their saturation point towards the end in September as stocks are becoming increasingly expensive and traders start being cautious in entering the market before seeing solid results. Trump revealed his plans for personal and company tax cuts, though it seems unlikely in passing the senate without finding revenue to plug the gap for the cuts proposed without adding more debt for the country. Singapore STI was stagnant for the quarter, climbing to 3354 before profit taking took place and retreats back to 3219, losing 7 points overall for Q3 compared to Q2. In the world news, USA and North Korea continues their threats towards each other, increasing the chance of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsular. In my opinion, it seems to be the right time now to take profits and preserve cash in anticipation of a correction should any major event happens. For the oil market, there is a shifting view among market analyst in September that we will likely see a oil supply shortfall in 2018 given the lack of investment due to low oil price in the past 2 years.

For Singapore, Croesus Retail Trust obtained shareholder approval for Blackstone buyout at $1.17 and is set to delist on 24-Oct. For GLP, the management has accepted the scheme of arrangement for the buyout at $3.38, to be completed before April 2018. There is nothing much for me to do for Q3, just have to wait for the cash to come in for the buyout in Oct before re-investing the cash in other REIT counters. My Q3 transactions as below:

Transaction 1: Bought in 2 batch of Krisenergy on future oil price play and its likely partial divestment of an oil field project that will be coming online for production in 2019.

As it looks likely that the price of oil will be rising in the future (at least in 2018) (partially because of Saudi Arabia Aramco IPO, who will not want the oil price to be too low, affecting their ability to price the IPO at a good price), I bought in a small stake in Krisenergy given the low price it is in now, no debt obligation till at least 2021 and likely chance of them farming out partially their near 95% stake in the Cambodia Block A oil field to decrease their investment burden in bringing the field online. Once reach target price, I will be selling out, not intending to hold long term.

Transaction 2: Bought in 1 batch of Manchester United plc in NYSE

Yes, finally, I managed to own some shares of Manchester United! This is not an impulsive buy though. Last year in 2016, the EPL has concluded a record breaking deal for the local and overseas broadcasting rights until the end of the 2018-19 season. This means the clubs will be receiving a lot more money from this deal and is evident from the record transfer fees seen this season. Manchester United has been doing well this season under the new legendary manager José Mourinho and they just started their Champions League battle after an absence of 2 years. Coupled with their large fan base worldwide, the next 3 years just looks rosy. Of course, the profits of the club is tied to the performance on the pitch. If Manchester United is not doing well, time to abandon ship! Target price for more buy in: Under USD $18.00

That is all for the Q3 update. See ya all in Q4. Chaos

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Let Me Eat Your Pancreas

Synopsis: Sakura Yamauchi (Minami Hamabe) and “I” (Takumi KItamura) were former high school classmates. Inspired by Sakura’s words, “I” (Shun Oguri) has now become a teacher at the school they both attended. While talking to his students, he is reminded of the many days he spent with Sakura. Sakura, who was suffering from a disease of the pancreas, kept a diary of her struggle against her illness and how she tried to live with it. After he discovers the diary by chance one day, “I” and Sakura gradually start to spend more time together. Sakura is determined to live out her days brilliantly, but finally, the end draws near. Twelve years after her death, her best friend Kyoko (Karen Otomo/Keiko Kitagawa), who is soon to marry, also begins to remember the time she spent with Sakura, just as “I” does. Then, because of something that happens, the two realize what Sakura really wanted to convey over the distance of those 12 years. [Source: Golden Village]

Frankly, it was the title that caught my attention initially, thinking that this must be a horror flick, but it proved me wrong. This is a sad story about a high school girl who is suffering from a terminal disease struggling to live brilliantly out of her remaining life. While it might brought buckets of tears to some, it unfortunately did not have the same effect on me. What might be the message Sakura is trying to convey through time to her best friends? Watch to find out.

Rate: 7/10

Saturday, September 09, 2017

The Irregular At Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Summons The Stars

Synopsis: Seasons have passed, and their second spring is almost upon them… The “irregular” elder brother and his younger sister, who is an academic star. Their first year at Magic High School is about to draw to a close. Tatsuya, Miyuki and the others have decided to spend their spring break at a certain private villa on Ogasawara Island. They are making the most of their brief vacation. That is until a young girl named Kokoa appears before them. She has escaped from the naval base, and tells Tatsuya her one wish…[Source: Golden Village]

A continuation of where the anime left off, finishing a side story into a short film. Not a bad choice as we follow the main character as he was vacationing with his classmates on an island when disaster struck. Nothing new was revealed in the film, except from the sneak peak at the end where highly probably a new season of anime will be coming as the characters starts their Year 2. highly recommended to watch if you are a fan!

Rate: 7/10

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Emoji Movie

Synopsis: The Emoji Movie unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene (T.J. Miller), an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become “normal” like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 (James Corden) and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak (Ilana Glazer). They embark on an epic “app-venture” through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it’s deleted forever. [Source: Golden Village]

Not exactly a great movie, I would rate it a normal cartoon just entertaining enough to pass your evening time. The concept of casting emoji as the main character is refreshing but the plot just cant bring the atmosphere to the next level. There isn't much twist and turn in the 90 mins while the movie grind down towards its happy ever after ending. Watch it only if you have no better choice.

Rate: 5/10

Friday, August 11, 2017

Farewell Givaudan

Farewell Givaudan, it has been a fruitful 27 months journey with you.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Synopsis: A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine—distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man—but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened. [Source: Golden Village]

This time, they really made the movie to be funny. This version of teenage Spider-man is nothing like the previous Spider-man we have known. I really enjoy watching this version of lighthearted movie, which was a followup from Avengers 2012, where the teenage Spidy first debut. Do remember, however, not to stay till the end of the credit lines. There is a short video, like all Marvel movies, but trust me, it is not worth the time staying behind. =)

Rate: 7/10

Saturday, July 01, 2017

2Q 2017 Investment Strategy Update

Same as previous quarter, 2Q 2017 has been a quiet session for me. Global equity continues to climb as companies continue to beat estimation with their results. Industrial manufacturing index continues in their positive growth in USA, China and Europe, resulting in rumors that USA federal is going to hike interest rate again for the third time in 9 months. For the quarter, DJI grew 537 points to 21349. Singapore STI largely followed the global trend, growing 130 points to 3226. Despite all these positive news, there are signs nearing end June that USA and China industry has began to slow. At the back of my mind, I have a nagging feeling that a market correction might be arriving in the next few months. 

Back closer at home, last week of June brings 2 positive news. Croesus Retail Trust just announced an offer from Blackstone at $1.17 plus estimated $0.0406 dividend, projecting to close before Oct 2017 (Straits Times News). GLP, which announced commencing strategic review half a year ago, has finally set 30 Jun for submission of offer bids. According to sources, 2 groups has submitted their bid by the deadline (Straits Times News). Looking forward to close out these 2 holdings next quarter to partially fund the NetLink Trust IPO. For Q2, I have only managed 2 transactions, as I continue to believe that Noble Group will not go bankrupt.

Transaction 1 & 2: Bought in 2 small batch of Noble Group as I continue to believe the company will not go under.

This is indeed a high risk move as no one is sure how Noble will perform for their current quarter (Q2). Last quarter unexpected US$130 million loss due to wrong strategy in coal price execution has led the chairman to step down and few of the independent directors leaving the company. Banks only extend their credit line which is expiring in Jun 2017 by 120 days for Noble Group to look for a strategic investor. Noble continues to sell some of their smaller subsidiaries to downsize and raise cash. Lets see how it goes in Q3.

That is all for the Q2 update. See ya all in Q3. Chaos

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight

Synopsis: The Last Knight shatters the core myths of the Transformers franchise, and redefines what it means to be a hero. Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord (Sir Anthony Hopkins); and an Oxford Professor (Laura Haddock). There comes a moment in everyone’s life when we are called upon to make a difference. In Transformers: The Last Knight, the hunted will become heroes. Heroes will become villains. Only one world will survive: theirs, or ours. [Source: Golden Village]

Is this a historical film or is this an action packed thriller? I really cannot tell. Given past Transformer experience, I can say this series is boring. Enough with the historical explanation dated back to 400AD over and over again. What we audience wanted is action, action and more action as robots fight it out with their nemesis. We have certainly not seen the last of transformer and I hope the director can use this as a learning lesson of what not to do for such a high expectation film.

Rate: 5/10

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry

Synopsis: The Dragon Cry is a magic artifact with enough power to destroy the world. Enshrined within a temple in the Kingdom of Fiore, the Dragon Cry is stolen by Zash, a traitor of Fiore, and delivered to Animus, the ruler of the Kingdom of Stella. The task of recapturing the Dragon Cry falls to Natsu and the Wizards of the Fairy Tail Guild. During their mission to track down Zash, they infiltrate the Kingdom of Stella, and it is here they meet Animus' magician, Sonya... What does Animus plan to do with the Dragon Cry? Sonya wants to save her country, but what secret is she hiding? Within the interlacing ulterior motives, Fairy Tail fights against the danger that is the menacing world! And in the middle of this heroic battle, Natsu's instinct awakens...[Source: Golden Village]

I have no idea whether I should be glad or not. With the release of this Fairy Tail movie also came the news that the author will be ending the series and the current arc will be the last. This movie (though its a side story) continues from where the last anime left off, showing some new stuffs such as Natsu's dragon form, sneak peek on the meaning of E.N.D and Carla transformation magic. Do stay till the end though as it has a short scene, which I guess will set the stage for the last anime series for Fairy Tail. In summary, I find this a good movie, though I feel the pace is a bit too fast to squeeze so much information into just a 85 mins film.

Rate: 7/10

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Napping Princess

Synopsis: Kokone Morikawa lives with her father in Okayama Prefecture. She’s a typical high school senior with no special talents except one: she can fall asleep anytime, anywhere. Recently she’s been having a series of strange dreams. Her father Momotaro, a gruff man of few words, doesn’t seem to pay much attention to his daughter.The year is 2020, three days before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics. Without warning, Momotaro is arrested and taken to far-off Tokyo for questioning. With help from college student and childhood friend Morio, Kokone is determined to make her way to Tokyo and free her father, as well as unravel the mystery of her dreams. Along the way, she discovers that those dreams are the key to facing her challenges in the real world. Kokone uses her only talent—napping—to embark on a mysterious journey that straddles dreams and reality. And waiting for her at the end of her adventure is a small but precious truth... [Source: Golden Village]

A heart warming anime alternating between fantasy and reality that seems to connect both world to one another. That basically sums up the plot of the movie. Viewers may seem lost at the beginning wondering what is going on, but as more information are revealed, audiences will get a clearer picture of the plot. Do stay on at the end of the credit session as a sideline story will be played to make this whole movie more complete.

Rate: 7/10

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge

Synopsis: Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” a rip-roaring adventure that finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil's Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea—notably Jack. [Source: Golden Village]

After waiting for 6 years, the next installation of Pirates has finally arrived. As expected, the movie is filled with lots of action and laughter as the Captain Jack battles pirates, immortal ghosts and government officials. On the whole, the plot seems a bit lacking of the punch that will wow the audience away. I guess with the recent advancement in technologies, audience expectation has grown and are not easily satisfied anymore. A decent movie to catch and this will not be the last we have seen of Captain Jack Sparrow.

Rate: 7/10

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Detective Conan: The Crimson Love Letter

Synopsis: There’s been an explosion at the symbol of Osaka, Nichiuri TV! Inside, an interview is being recorded about the Satsuki Cup (held by the Satsuki Committee, who drives Japan’s Hyakunin Isshu associations) and everyone panics in the explosion! The great detective of the west, Hattori Heiji, and his childhood friend Toyama Kazuha are left behind as the building collapses, but the two manage to make a narrow escape after being rescued by Conan. This mysterious incident is just like an act of terrorism, but the criminal releases no motive or declaration, leaving Conan and Heiji feeling especially unsettled. Amidst this turmoil, Conan and his friends meet the insistent self-declared fiance of Heiji named Ooka Momiji. Momiji, who claims that she is the person Heiji is fated to marry after his proposal to her as a child, is the high school champion of Hyakunin Isshu, also called the future queen. Meanwhile, the winner of the Satsuki Cup is murdered at a home in Arashiyama, Kyoto. A recording of the scene of the crime reveals Momiji. And in the background, a certain “poem” continues... [Source: Golden Village]

Conan has pretty much become our yearly must go movie at GV. As usual, the gang came across a difficult case (well, murder seems to always follow him wherever he goes) related to Karuta (This time, it is a cross collaboration with the author of Chihayafuru). The culprit in the end is someone we do not ever suspect. Not a bad movie to catch for the weekend.

Rate: 7/10

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Synopsis: Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand. [Source: Golden Village]

Nothing much to expect from this movie (except lots of laughter and jokes) since the superhero team is made up of mis-match individuals who seem unable to get along with one another. On a hindsight, the story this time seems a bit less ridiculous and the baby groot just catches the audience attention with its cuteness. A good movie to pass time and as usual, a season 3 is coming. Do stay till the end to catch a few of the short trailer.

Rate: 7/10

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

JB Staycation

With a blink of an eye, we have reached our 2nd wedding anniversary. =) Time sure flies as I got busy with my daily work. For this time, I am planning a rest and relaxing trip just to spend the day with *mds* and away from the hustle and bustle of busy Singapore. 

To start the day, we have our relaxing Swedish massage at Walea Spa & Resort. I chose this place primary because of the good reviews posted on TripAdvisor, which handily beats the rest of similar competitors down. For my personal opinion, I find their massage skill to be above average compared to the service I get from the normal massage shops in Bangkok. At one point in time, it was so soothing that I almost fall asleep! Lol. (Or perhaps I am just too tired)

After the massage, it was time to check into our hotel, which is the same as the one we stayed in 1 year ago. For this time, I booked a room with the lounge service access, so that we can go in and have our afternoon tea, hors d'oeuvres, drinks, tarts or fruits whenever we like it. Their lounge are located on the 16th floor, with a clear view over the Straits of Johor to mainland Singapore, providing a nice ambient for conversation.

For our meals, we hit the local food located around the hotel which whipped up a tasty pot of Kong Bao Frog, Japanese don (very reasonably priced) and BBQ chicken wings. There are lots more restaurant that looks good which I think we can try in future.

We ended the night with some quiet time spent with the Lord as we prepare our bible study lessons which will be starting at the end of the week.

Happy 2nd anniversary, *mds* =) I hope you like the trip I have planned for us.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Kuroko's Basketball The Last Game

Synopsis: An American street basketball team called Jabberwock comes to Japan and plays a friendly match with a Japanese team, but after the Japanese team suffers a crushing defeat, the team members of Jabberwock start mocking Japanese basketball. Their comments enrage Riko's father, and so he gathers a team made up of the five members of the Generation of Miracles plus Kuroko and Kagami, called Vorpal Swords, to have a revenge match against Jabberwock. [Source: Golden Village]

I guess this is a perfect ending to the Kuroko's series, at least, we get to see the miracle generation working together as a team instead of facing off each other. With so much talent among them, it is hard to believe how can they be defeated? Get prepared to reminisce each miracle generation trademark moves in this high octane last game face off against a despicable foreign team.

Rate: 7.5/10

Friday, April 28, 2017

Smurfs: The Lost Village

Synopsis: In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a roller coaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history! [Source: Golden Village]

First time watching smurfs as a movie since a long long time ago when they are still cartoons shown on TVs. It is a good show to pass your time for the week as you reflects on the familiar characters and songs. The movie is light hearted and definitely appropriate to bring your kids along to watch.

Rate: 6/10

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fast & Furious 8

Synopsis: Now that Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon and Brian and Mia have retired from the game- and the rest of the crew has been exonerated- the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman (Charlize Theron) seduces Dom into the world of crime he cant seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before. [Source: Golden Village]

I was wondering how the franchise will move on after the death of Paul Walker in 2013. Apparently, the directors decided to kill off Brian's character altogether. Nonetheless, the movie still provides lots of race cars, high speed chases and adrenaline rushes with those out of the world moves. Old team assembles, new enemy, cross continent chases, what more can I ask? Relax and enjoy this installment. Do not worry as it does not have any link with F&F 7.

Rate: 6.5/10

Sunday, April 02, 2017

1Q 2017 Investment Strategy Update

This quarter (1Q 2017) has been a pretty quiet quarter, as I weigh the effect of Trump election and the trade strategy he is going to implement. By and large, I feel the plan Trump Office has for USA will be good to USA companies in the short term, but bad for the country as a whole in the long term. 

To implement his election campaign promise "To Make America Great Again", he has vowed to force companies who have outsourced jobs overseas to bring these jobs back to USA. Should companies refuse to comply to his will, he threatened them with additional taxes should they intend to import the products back to USA domestic market to sell. To entice the USA companies further, he plans to cut corporate taxes (Good to companies in the short term as it boost their immediate profits), but the high cost of setting up shop in USA, and the high wages of USA workers, I feel these cost will ultimately be pass on to the consumers a few year down the road once the companies outstanding profits are starting to be compromised. For the gap in income left behind by the tax cut, Trump office intend to cover up by cutting the foreign aid budget and the environmental agency budget (sic). By blasting trade pact as unfair to USA, he promised to review these trade pacts again and famously pull out of TPP which Obama Office has taken years to build up. In my opinion, these acts are a form of USA industry protectionism and just make USA companies anti-competitive. I seriously wonder, how can they survive long in this Global Market where cost usually dictates the consumer demands. I personally feel 2017 might be the peak we see of the USA market, before a major correction in 2018 or 2019 as people start seeing the weakness and flaws in Trump's Office policy.

For Singapore Market, it seems to finally wake up from its long slumber in Q1 as most stocks started to track USA market in going northward. For me, I have already positioned myself long ago, hence, I only managed to do 2 transactions in the whole of Q1. 

Transaction 1: Bought in a final batch of GLP stocks to prepare for its privatization offers.

As of GLP latest update on 30-Mar-17, shortlisted parties have commenced due diligence on the Company, which I believe they should put in a formal proposal at the end of April, with a final bid price in May. According to articles, there are 3 shortlisted parties, which are a management-backed consortium that includes Chinese investment firms Hillhouse Capital Management and Hopu Investment Management, a Warburg Pincus-led investor group, and the Blackstone Group.

Personally, I feel the Hopu Investment Group and the Warburg Pincus Group are the more serious bidders, and the final bid price should come between 25% - 40% premium to the current GLP NAV, which translates to $3.37 - $3.80. Lets see if I am right.

Transaction 2: Short Term: Bought in a batch of Noble Group stocks on possible SinoChem taking a stake in the company.

Should this happen, it will be a jolt of confidence to the Noble Group and good recurring profits in the future as Noble help SinoChem manage their supply chain. This is meant to be a short term play. Should the news becomes a reality, Noble Group price will rise (Depends on the final price SinoChem is buying in the stake). Taking reference to a similar case in 2009 where CIC also bought in a stake, Noble Group price rises about 30% compared to 1 month before the news was released. I meant to sell off immediately once the news is confirmed.

That is all I have for Q1 update. See ya all in Q2. Chaos

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Beauty And The Beast

Synopsis: Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. [Source: Golden Village]

A classic remake of Disney's story. What can I say? The acting are good, the songs are good, the plot stays classic with a little of CGI, what are you waiting for? Catch it now!

Rating: 8.5/10

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Silent Voice

Synopsis: A deaf elementary school girl, Shoko Nishimiya, upon transferring, meets a boy named Shoya Ishida in her new class. Shoya, who is not deaf, leads the class in bullying Shoko, because she is deaf. As the bullying continues, the class starts to bully Shoya for bullying Shoko. After graduating from elementary school, Shoko and Shoya do not speak to each other… until later, when Shoya, tormented over his past, decides he must see Shoko once more. Shoya wants to make amends for what he did in elementary school and be Shoko's friend. [Source: Golden Village]

A heartwarming anime of friendship between a deaf and a normal guy who turned from a bully in the past, to being her protector after feeling guilty of what he has done in the past. The pace of the show is just right, though the ending did differ a little from the original manga. Overall, a nice show to catch for the week.

Rate: 6.5/10

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Fall of ANZ Travel Card

Since the announcement of DBS acquiring ANZ retail business in Singapore, ANZ has been reducing the benefits of their signature ANZ Travel Card. From free complementary unlimited access to Veloce lounges, it reduces to two complimentary access to DragonPass lounges around the world when you charge a minimum of $10,000 to your ANZ Travel Card in each calendar quarter from 01 Sep 2016. It looks to finally hit the coffin with the latest T&C revision again.

With effect from 1 April 2017, complimentary airport limousine and lounge access for ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card will cease. Additional bonus 10,000 Travel$ will no longer be awarded to ANZ Travel Cardmembers who pay Annual Fee from the 2nd year of membership.

It looks like DBS is going to kill off ANZ credit cards and migrate the customers over to DBS. Time to redeem the Travel$ to Krisflyer miles and cancel the card.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale

Synopsis: In 2026, two years since the SAO incident, a new game called "Ordinal Scale," an Augmented-Reality MMO, is becoming popular among the players. But strange things are happening in the game and Kirito and the gang are facing a new danger. [Source: Golden Village]

Just when I thought the SAO series had ended well, from SAO to ALO to GGO, the producers has outdone themselves again with this one-shot movie Ordinal Scale, linking the events after the GGO. With fresh ideas, characters and plot, past history of the SAO came back to haunt the group again, this time, in an AR environment. A movie not to be miss for fans of SAO.

Rate: 9/10

Monday, February 13, 2017

Thailand Day 5 - Artbox Bangkok

03 Feb - With no plans for the day, we went back to Platinum Mall to have our breakfast and continued shopping for clothes. When we are done, we visited Artbox Bangkok, which will be coming to Singapore in April 2017 @ Marina Bay. Link below for more details:

Artbox is a pop-up flea market where most of the stalls are housed in giant metal shipping containers selling signature Thai food and small items ranging from clothing to earrings to artwork. They are similar to Chatuchak, except that there is a live stage where artists performs while audiences sat on hay stacks or cushions chilling out the night over some food and drinks. Pretty interesting concept.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Thailand Day 4 - Baiyoke Sky Tower, Terminal 21

02 Feb - Since we didn't purchased the breakfast together with the accommodation, we started the day late instead and headed straight for the Baiyoke Sky Restaurant Buffet Lunch which will commence at 11am. From the review, tourist have suggested to go for the first slot as the restaurant will be full as the time approaches lunch and the staffs are not replenishing the food after 1230pm to prepare for the next slot of buffet eaters at 1pm. I am glad that I really chose the 11am slot as by 1130am, the whole restaurant is full with tourists from tour groups which just kept coming one after another. Variety of the food served is good and in my opinion, the Thai section is still the best.

Before we head for lunch, we have some time to explore the Baiyoke Sky Tower and take photos of the Bangkok City view.

Bangkok City view (hazy)

After we are done, we headed to Terminal 21 next to explore the internal decorations of the mall. Interestingly, each level has their own theme and we had some fun taking photos of them.

Golden Gate Bridge


London bus

And last but not the least, Taokaenoi Land. 

Our night was spent meeting up with Ong and Eve over dinner, catching up with one another since we last saw them about 1.5 years ago. =) Thanks Ong and Eve for the dinner treat.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Thailand Day 3 - Bangkok

01 Feb - Spent the morning hanging around while YB visited the Sanctuary Of Truth before we catch our transport back to Bangkok. By the time we checked in and ready to hit the street, it was already 4pm. We immediately set out for the Platinum Mall to shop for cheap clothes. As usual, the roads of Bangkok is full of vehicles.

Bridge going to Platinum Mall

For dinner, we visited the Greyhound Cafe near Siam Paragon and discovered that they served fantastic shrimp soup and meals whose spiciness are on a whole new level.