Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yay! I Won A Broom!

The F1 fever is subsiding and life is going back to routine.

The local media have consistently reported a successful staging of the historical event. The F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said that the city was already the crown jewel of F1. The people I met are also raving about it. Just to be sure that the euphoria is not localised, I turned to the foreign media. Well, I heard the same accolades, too. Bravo, Singapore!

Everything seems just wonderful though understandably, there are some suggestions on how Singapore Grand Prix (GP) 2009 can improve.

I am in general agreement with the overall sentiment and together with millions of other viewers worldwide, I watched the event live on TV. However, at the award presentation, I was slightly taken aback by the look of the trophy on national TV.

I first saw the trophy when it was unveiled a week before the big race. My initial reaction was an inward exclamation as I went "Whoa! What was that!". Call me old fashion or unartistic, I am still struggling to accept the aesthetic qualities of the creation.

Made of pewter, aluminium and wood, the trophy is 58cm tall and weighs slightly over 5kg. It was presented to the unexpected winner F.Alonso by PM Lee and an identical trophy was also presented to the winning constructors (Renault). Two other smaller versions were presented to the second and third-placed drivers, N.Rosberg and L.Hamilton on the podium.

According to SingTel CEO Allen Lew, "The trophy had to represent Singapore in a simple yet elegant way, had to be contemporary, represent the sport in a creative way." and they want a design that was aligned to their event tagline of "Come Shape the Future of Racing".

The trophy was designed by Singaporean Zulkifle Mahmod, 33, who represented Singapore at the Venice Biennale last year and Royal Selangor was commissioned to make it. He wanted to break away from the conventional cup-shaped trophy and preferred to treat it as a sculpture piece. He drew his inspiration by walking around aimlessly on the streets, looking at people and things before he came up with this much talked about art piece.

The unusual design has attracted attention and won praises but I still do not like it. From the sample of comments, I know I am not alone.

"Like a tree or bush or upside down metallic broom."
"Like metal-plated empty toilet rolls."
"Creativity taken a step too far."
"Too edgy for a classic world-class event like the F1."
"It better remains as an art piece than a trophy."
"It is just ugly."

It seems that Singapore GP is not the only race with an issue with trophy. At the Italian GP just 2 weeks before the Singapore race, a little 'trophy talk' took place. It appears that the trophies that were presented to Monza GP winner Sebastian Vettel and his podium cohorts have contravened the 2008 F1 sporting regulations. Instead of looking traditional, they were in the shape of the logo of the race's title sponsor, Banco Santander (equivalent to SingTel in the Singapore GP).

In the 2008 sporting regulations, the FIA requires GP promoters to present trophies 'in the form of traditional cups'. I wonder how the design in Italy GP got through the FIA. If the regulations are allowed to be overlooked, I can expect more daring designs coming along.

I would have thought that commercialization of the event and the sacredness of trophy can be kept apart. If I were the race winner, I would not want to commemorate my victory with a commercial logo. On the other hand, one would have expected any commercial outfit to maximize their exposure after paying millions to earn the sponsorship title.
It would be interesting to see if SingTel will use a new design next year or perhaps, we will see a SingTel logo setting atop the new trophy?? (Oh no! Please don't)

So, for heaven's sake, whatever SingTel decides to do, please let the trophies be trophies and let the 'Uniquely Singapore' experience stay unique and not bizarre.


Other F1 Stories:

What Is The Vroom All About?

Be Sporty And Stay Alive!

No Vroom For Error

Night GP: A Novelty Or Necessity?

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Strangers In The Air

I hate long hauls.

Fortunately, I do not need to fly frequently. Each time, the thought of being confined into a seat for hours kind of dampen the excitement of traveling, if any. If only I can afford the business class and have a more humane reception on board, flying would not be such an abhorrent thing to do.

Well, until then, I will always have to take this question: what is the best thing to do on board so as to take your mind off the agony?

Sleeping is not always an option especially if you are planning to tune your bio-clock to come to an agreement with the local time. Other than snoozing, I supposed I can do a few other things.

Top on my list is watching movies. Whoever came up with this idea was a genius! A long time ago, movies were screened on a shared screen and you had no control over what and when you wanted to watch. Today, most commercial flights have individual in-flight entertainment units. We can play the movie anytime we want and the choices are aplenty. Spending a few hours catching up with those 'I've-always-wanted-to-watch' titles is worthwhile. I have watched as many as five movies in a row. Total satisfaction!

Next on my list ...Err, I actually have nothing else on my so-called list. Other than sleeping and movies, I have nothing else to do between meals (not counting the loo visits, of course).

I would love to surf the net but it is not a common option. Even if it is, I probably won't find it in the economy class.

Playing electronic games on board is a big NO and reading makes me drowsy.

Would I want to talk on a mobile phone or texting someone I already miss? Nay! Not really! Enough of mobile phone.

In fact, a recent survey suggested that most travelers opposed to the use of mobile phones on airplanes. The respondents felt that 'the idea of listening to all those conversations in a confined space is too much for most people.'

Interestingly, the survey revealed that most would not mind striking up a chat with their seatmates. Filipinos and Malaysians were the most likely to chat up their neighbours, while Thais, Taiwanese and Hong Kongers were the least likely.

It is a pity that Singapore was not chosen as a respondent country in this survey. I am curious to know how Singaporeans will respond to the idea of chatting up with their neighbours while on board.

Come to think of it, it might be a good idea to have a chat with the person next to you. I would imagine that chatting is more tolerable than hearing him/her snore for hours!

Yes! Personally, I would strike a conversation with that stranger next to me. Would you?

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Night GP: A Novelty Or Necessity?

The world's first F1 Grand Prix (GP) night race flagged off at 8pm today. At 10pm, the chequered flag waved as Fernando Alonso came in first, beyond the expectation of many.

It seems to me that there have been many interesting twists and turns during the race. Felipe Massa who took the pole position came in 13th while Fernando Alonso, placed at the 15th position during qualifying, came in first. One can never accurately predict the outcome in a drama-filled race like this.

I am unable to comment much about the race and I prefer to leave that job to the experts and the fans. However, I just have one little growl...

Singapore is proud to present to the world this historical event and the organisers have put in enormous effort and money to make this happen. The fact that this is a street circuit makes it rather special as there is only one other in Monaco. However, in order to turn it into a night race, millions more were poured in to satisfy the lighting requirements.

So why have it at night?

The reason is obviously a commercially driven one: to suit the timing for those on the other side of the globe, of course.

It appears that each time an Asian city hosts a major event, time zone is always an issue to address. The recent Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony was held at night so that the viewers in the West can tune in during their waking hours.

Following the success of the Singapore night GP, the organizers of the Malaysian F1 GP have to face the possibility of doing the same. For now, they have ruled out the idea but they will push back the start time to 5pm so as to make the timing more appealing to the audiences in the West.

The Australian organisers are also in the same bind. Two weeks ago, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has threatened to strip Australia of the race unless organisers agree to stage it at night. With the F1 contract expiring in 2010, the Australians do not have much time to ponder over the matter.

Two days ago, Ecclestone said he also wanted to turn the Japan GP into a night race, following the example of Singapore.

Other than Singapore, there are altogether five other races in the east: Australia, Bahrain, China, Japan and Malaysia. More are expected in the next few years: Abu Dhabi in 2009, South Korea in 2010 and India in 2011.

Going forward, must races held in the East be staged under floodlights?

Let's take a look at the 2008 F1 World Championship races. Out of the 18 rounds, 5 are in the East. Next year, the tentative calendar suggests that 6 out of 19 races will be in the East.

On the surface, I am satisfied that the majority rules and it seems reasonable to expect the organisers in the East to tune their timing. However, if I look at the population distribution, I am no longer so persuaded.

We have the world's most populous nations, China and India, in the East. I am assuming that in time to come, the fan base in the East will grow. When that happens, I wonder who are the ones who need to adjust their clocks.

The outcome will be unpredictable, just like the F1 race hours ago. Meanwhile, do expect more night races being staged here in the East.


Other F1 Stories:

What Is The Vroom All About?

Be Sporty And Stay Alive!

No Vroom For Error

Yay! I Won A Broom!

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

No Vroom For Error

Despite my initial indifference towards the F1 Singapore Grand Prix and my subsequent comments on the nature of such sports, I was there tonight at the qualifying race.

I do not know much about F1 race and I also do not think that I like it in anyway. But it was good to know some trivia and a little facts and figures. Being there, the sight and sound helped me to appreciate what the thrill is all about.

This being the world's first night street race and I was amazed how a large part of the city was transformed into racing circuits. Two things hit me real hard: the 140 decibel engine sound and the 2000 watt lighting. It was a deafening and blinding experience.

The qualifying race offered little surprises. While many were expecting McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to get the pole position but Ferrari's Felipe Massa took that by less than a second. To be precise, 0.664s. The results probably meant a lot to the F1 racing community but to me, it was nothing more than a piece of nice to have information.

To be honest, as I watched the blurring images of the racing cars zoomed past me, I couldn't help thinking of the worst. F1 racing is challenging and it is worse when the circuit is on city streets and the race is held at night.

Hamiltion said that the Singapore circuit is hard to negotiate and requires more effort compared to the Monaco circuit (the only other street circuit). He reckoned that one lap around the Singapore circuit is like two laps of Monaco. The drivers also complained about bumpiness of the track and they found that the 5 km circuit offers very little chance for overtaking, if at all.

That's it. The Singapore circuit leaves no margin for error. The consequence of any mishap will be really nasty. Notwithstanding the barriers that separate the spectators and the tracks, one does not need much imagination to know what a skidded car can cause.

So far, things have gone relatively well and let's hope that it also applies to the Sunday race.

Verdict: Dangerously exciting !


Other F1 Stories:

What Is The Vroom All About?

Be Sporty And Stay Alive!

Night GP: A Novelty Or Necessity?

Yay! I Won A Broom!

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh! Mama! Oh! Mia!

I went to the ABBA-inspired stage musical when it came to Singapore in 2004. The musical was a huge success since its opening in 1999 and when they came up with the stage-to-film adaptation, I knew I had to watch it.

The movie was as stupendous as the stage musical.

I was set in a state of petrification most of the time, totally immersed in those familiar tunes. Understandably, the feeling of 'nostalgia' also set in intermittently. Somehow, this ABBA thingy has an unexplainable power to connect with the audiences.

I went to the movie expecting many people of 'certain age group' to show up. Interestingly, that was not the case and it seems that ABBA still has a mass appeal after more than three decades. Their songs never fade.

In case you are not aware, ABBA is an acronym from the first letter of each of the group member's given name (Agnetha, Björn, Benny, Anni-Frid). The Swedish pop group was a global sensation in the 70s before they finally broke up in 1982. Their popularity never stop and they still sell two to three million records a year.

The movie mirrors the stage musical closely and I am familiar with the storyline. Still, I watched the 108-minute movie as if I did not know what to expect next. The story was simple but the tunes were weaved in cleverly. Every bit was just so enjoyable!

Man! You just gotta see Meryl Streep in spandex with super-high platforms (people actually wore those things! Gosh!). If that is not enough, wait till you hear Pierce Brosnan trying to sound and sing convincingly. Hysterical! I have to give it to them doing all that and not worrying about ending their acting career after this movie. Phew!

I wonder why they did not consider John Travolta and Patrick Swayze! Perhaps, they never meant to showcase any dirty dancing and they knew that Brosnan's croaky voice will thrill the audience just the same. They were right.

Verdict: Go watch it!

See Other Movies:
Kung Fu Panda


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Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Mega Rescue With A Golden Parachute

In the past 2 weeks, financial giants have been falling like dominoes.

Here are the fallen tiles...
Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG.... and more are waiting in line for their turn to tumble if something is not done soon. If these giants collapse, the financial world might follow suit.

Now, the grand mama is coming to help. The US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said he has a great idea on how to save the world but that is going cost a lot. His US$700 bn plan is 'brilliant'. He is frantically trying to persuade the taxpayers to buy his idea by telling them "
Let me use your money to pay your debt and save everybody else!".

Aha! That's the mother of all bailout and he certainly has the support of Mr President, who has been urging the Congress to approve his bailout proposal. He admitted that the 'entire economy is in danger'.

Hear what the wise old man said when he explained that the $700 bn plan was needed to restore confidence in the market....

"I'm a strong believer in free enterprise, so my natural instinct is to oppose government intervention. But these are not normal circumstances. The market is not functioning properly. There has been a widespread loss of confidence."

Ya, right! I am so convinced now! Isn't he bringing nationalism into the USA when these financial engines are finally state-owned? This seems like a very desperate move coming from a very capitalist country.

Is Mr Paulson's 'panacea' really going to cure the ailing economy? Many don't agree.

There is significant opposition to the bailout package from the members of Congress and among economic commentators. They reckon that the rescue package is only a 'drop in the bucket' and that the US government is having a 'knee-jerk reaction'. Many doubt that the government has any idea of what to do with the money and find this analogous to begging for a 'blank cheque'.

I wonder if $700 billion will be enough. The US government has already forked out $300 bn for the earlier bailouts. That was probably the first instalment. Perhaps, the proposed $700bn is the second and many more are coming.

Some politicians are asking the government to wait till after the November presidential election before passing the bailout legislation. That seems like a good way to save the $700 bn for there is probably nothing left to save by then.

Would Bush be leaving behind a demon at the last leg of his Presidential term or is he preparing an antidote for Obama or Mc Cain? Only time will tell...

I can only hope that the giant golden parachute will ensure a soft landing for the current financial storm.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hired To Provide Insecurity

There was a suicide bomb attack on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan last week. The senseless act on 20 Sep definitely brought an eerie déjà vu of the Sep 11 terrorist attack in 2001. So far, the death toll has gone up to 60. Although the incident at the Marriott paled next to the 911 mega episode, it gives me a rude reminder on how unsafe we can be.

If you watched the released footage on the incident, you might have noticed that a large truck rammed the front security gates of the hotel. A suicide bomber then detonated a small first explosion that sent the security guards fleeing momentarily.

A small fire raged in the cab of the truck for three to four minutes while guards bravely but ineffectually sprayed the truck with a small fire-extinguisher. The footage, however, did not show the moment when 600kg of military explosives in the rear of the truck finally detonated. I do not wish to see that.

I have a question: Are these people equipped with the right skills to handle threats of such a scale?

Perhaps not.

What about the day-to-day security situations during peace time? Can the security guards around us fulfill their roles?

I have my doubts.

My encounters with security guards in my every day life are typical - those at the estate where I am living and those at the building where I am working. I have some issues with both.

Like every other private housing estates, our estate pays a handsome amount collectively to hire security guards. I would expect them to at least ensure that unauthorized access to the estate is scrutinized. This is usually not the case. I have seen non-resident drivers zipping into the estate without any resistance let alone checks. As a non-resident in other estates, I find it generally easy to drive into their compound too.

I suspect their job manual probably says "Push the green button when you see a car approaching and lift the barricade. Don't forget to smile.'

Good job! (Sorry for the sarcasm).

At my work place, their presence is prominent at the security/information booth. Most of the time, the guards behind the counter appear to be preoccupied by the administrative task of issuing visitor passes. I suppose other guards would be scheduled to patrol the building at one time or another. It all seems well until some personal encounters suggest otherwise.

It was a few months ago when I needed a little help from them....It was approaching midnight and I had to retrieve my car from the already-shut carpark. The security guard on night duty was helpful enough to guide me to the carpark via a 'so called' alternative route. I felt my confidence in him waned as I was brought on a building tour with no 'alternative access' in sight.

He tried every other access which did not lead us to the basement carpark. Interestingly, he maintained his confidence throughout our 'tour' while mine dissipated by the minute. I suggested to him that we should just use the usual route via the carpark lift. He thought otherwise and advised that the lift would no longer be in service at that hour.

My 'fate' was temporarily in his hands and he was as helpless or should I say, more helpless than me. After a few rounds of aimless search for the 'probably-non-existent' access, I insisted that we should just use the carpark lift.

Tada! I went down to the basement carpark using the very lift that was supposed to be 'no longer in service'!
So, what can I expect from these ladies and gentlemen, tasked to 'guard' our office building, in the event of an emergency?

Yes. I can expect them to pray for me and the rest of my colleagues (sorry for the sarcasm, again!).

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Lesson Never Learnt

Melamine has kept AVA very busy.

So far, "Yi Li Choice Dairy Fruit Bar", "Dutch Lady Strawberry Milk" and the much loved "While Rabbit Creamy Candy" have been found to be contaminated with melamine. AVA is still feverishly checking. The problem is, there are so many food items to test. The easy suspects are dairy products made in China. Other than those, it is harder to isolate food products which might have used contaminated ingredients from China.

I am expecting AVA to announce more findings of contaminated food. Be prepared to dump some of your favorite snacks from your cabinets. It depends on who you listen to, there are already several unofficial 'not to eat' lists out there. It is your choice to play safe, play dumb or play commonsense.

What is this melamine thing, anyway?

I am not about to go into any chemistry discussion here (not that I know how). Briefly, it is a chemical substance used to make melamine resins, a main constituents in plastics. Melamine is not known to be associated with anything edible other than being made into kitchen wares to contain food.

I was looking for children melamine wares years ago and that was the first time I really noticed 'melamine'. Such wares are commonly available in shops and they are durable, affordable though not microwavable.

Actually, about a year ago, there was a massive recall of pet food in the US and Europe due to melamine contamination. Hundreds of dogs and cats were reported to have fallen sick or died due to kidney failure. The pet food industry suffered losses in the millions after recalling more than 100 brands of products.

So, where was the source of the pet food contamination?.. Well, good guess! China, of course.

The pet food incident has raised the possibility of melamine contamination in the human food supply both in China and abroad. Unfortunately, a year on, it is clear that no lessons were learned.

Many people are asking the big WHY? How could something of that scale be wrapped up for so long? Why wasn't the pet food incident a good enough warning? Was it because it was not disastrous enough to wake up someone? Now that we know about the milk contamination, is anyone going to learn from it? Will China food be safer going forward?...

I can go on asking...

Somehow, I am not at all confident that this episode is going to change the 'food scare landscape' in China significantly. There is just too much greed and ignorance to help China flourish in the 'innovative but deadly' food business.

It is going to take everyone a little while... after that... life goes on and I will probably see you chew that White Rabbit Candy again.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Love Me Love Me Not

I am used to reading stuffy articles at the 'Money' section in the ST. This morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find one on plants - the leafy type, not the heavy machineries. For a moment, I thought I was at the 'Life' section.

The article was ' selling' the idea of having desktop plants in the office. It was a refreshing read in the midst of all the financial woes and food contamination. I was instantly attracted to the wide range of suitable choices to pick. The plants were pretty and promised to be fuss-free. I was very tempted to consider the idea of ....

NO! I can't!

I suddenly remembered the cruel fact that I am a 'plant killer'. All my life, I never had a good time with plants. Err... let me rephrase that... All my life, plants never had a good time with me.

I have nothing against plants. The thing is, I have this 'unwanted' ability to kill plants. All I have to do is to 'care' for it and the plants will wither as if they are under a spell.

Initially, I thought I was not doing it right. So, I consulted those with 'green fingers' and they gladly shared their tips with me. Almost every aspect was covered. I learned a little about pots, soils, fertilizers, seeds, watering, sunlight and some DOs and DON'Ts. I followed every 'instruction' and was very pleased with my newly acquired know-how. However, the plants were in total disagreement with me as they soon showed it.

Then I suspected that my choice of plants were wrong. I decided to look for something less fussy. Someone recommended 'money plant' to me. After seeing her 'money' growing uncontrollably out of the pot on her desk, I was convinced that it was an easy plant to care for. I started with a small pot of 'money plant' with four leaves. I was told that it would soon blossom into a full pot of 'money'.

I waited patiently. Meanwhile, I did what was necessary to care for the rather fuss-free plant. Other than ensuring that there's sufficient water, I did nothing more. I was cautious. I did not want to 'interact' with the plant more than necessary. My perseverance paid off. This time round, the plant did not wither. However, for the longest time, the number of leaves remained at four ! It was definitely not a good indicator for my wealth prospect <~sob~>.

I was not about to give up. I wanted a tougher plant and cactus was my obvious choice. I got myself a pot of colorful cacti mix. The florist assured me that the plant required very little care and I believed that it was the right choice for me. 'If cactus could survive the desert, I couldn't have been harsher than that barren land with little or no rain.' I thought.

To cut the long story short, my cactus plant withered just the same. I was at my wit's end and I was devastated.. no, I mean, my cactus was devastated. It must be thinking 'You are worse than Sahara!"

For a long time since then, I told myself that I will love plants by not having them. I would walk past office desks decorated with lovely plants and quietly sighed within me... those were not meant to be mine.

Am I really cursed with 'plant-killing-fingers'? Should I give it another try? On one hand, I want very much to discharge myself as a 'plant murderer'. On the other hand, I cannot bear to kill another plant.

Perhaps, I shall continue to be a 'secret admirer' of plants and will adore them from afar.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Commonsense Rules

I heard of the 'sub-prime' crisis a year ago and I was quite clueless on how this might lead to the possibility of a financial crisis. I attempted to follow the discussions in the papers but was not getting any wiser.

I know very little about Finance and Investment and I am braving myself to say my point of view here. If you too are struggling in the "$$$" world like me, it might make some sense to you. However, if you are an expert, you have my permission to ridicule.

Here goes.. a simple account of the recent financial saga, the juvenile version:

Apparently, it all started a decade ago in the US housing loan market. Back then, it was easy to get money from the bank to buy houses. It did not matter whether you had adequate means to pay back or not, the banks were just as happy to let you have their money. That led to increased demand in houses and prices went up.

A property market with high property prices boosted market confidence. So, more people bought houses. Banks began to fight for a bigger share in the housing loan market and granted even more absurd loans ie. barely secured with collateral.

Then, the banks dragged investors into the picture. They started selling investment products with promising payback. The bank had intended to keep their promise with money from loan repayment. So, investors around the world started to soak up this 'outwardly-good-looking' products. If you have bought some investment products in the past few years, chances are you might have indirectly put your money into this wealth spinning game.

The banks who came up with those investment products needed to keep their promises to payback. So they granted more sub-prime loans. They were not so worried because home prices were hitting north. They could easily recover the loan arrears by selling off houses at a profit.

The balance started to tip when home prices came down. Banks no longer can recover the loan. As a result, they were unable to pay the investors and the value of those investment products came down too. The investors started to stay away.

So the banks became desperate. They needed new funds but it was no longer easy to convince the investors to part with their money. At the same time, they grew scared of giving out loans to home owners for fear that they could not pay. That was the end of 'cheap and easy' housing loans. In the meantime, the banks were seeing their losses mounting.

The financial crisis erupted when the banks could no longer hold on due to astronomical amount of accumulated debts. These are some recent 'explosions' in the financial world:

ONE: Six months ago, Bear Stearns, one of the largest global investment banks was in big trouble. The US government came to bail them out to prevent a potential market crash. Bears Stearns was subsequently swallowed by JP Morgan Chase.

TWO: In early Sep, the US government again was caught in the same predicament when they had to bailout the Fannie and Freddie duo - the two mortgage finance giants who were blown up by the sub-prime crisis.

THREE: Last week, the world was shocked by the fallout of Lehman Brothers, a large global financial services firm. Poor Lehman did not get the much needed help from the US government. A large part of it was picked up by Britain's Barclays Bank at a scrapyard price.

FOUR: At the same time, the 'great American sale' took place when Merrill Lynch quickly found a shelter. It was sold to the Bank of America in just 48 hours!

FIVE: It was followed closely by the near collapse of AIG. If the world's largest insurers suffered an instant death, it would surely send a financial tsunami to the rest of the world. It was a close shave. AIG got the biggest bailout in history and a disaster was avoided. So it seems.

In Singapore, many panicked AIA policy holders queued up for hours outside the AIA office and demanded to cash out their policies. Although this represents a small fraction of AIA's local policyholder base, it is a first sign of panic in the recent years.

Has the storm subsided? Or are we experiencing the calm before a storm? The market holds very mixed views but one common question constantly pops up: "Who's next?"

When something goes wrong, fingers start to point and many are pointing theirs at the regulators and the financial institutions.

I agree. It takes two to tango. The regulators were not tightening rules to watch over the financial market and the financial institutions were shoddy in risk management. It's a case of lax parents with misbehaving children.

I don't have a good idea on the implications of the current financial saga. All I know is that, not one investment is entirely risk free. The next time someone sells you a low risk investment, just remember, it's 'low risk' and not 'no risk'.

To me, commonsense rules. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't be greedy.

Perhaps, the regulators should take this expensive lesson and not to stick to old book rules. The series of heart-stopping fallouts goes to show that the regulators ought to act very swiftly. They also need to step up actions against institutions who fail their duties before any reversal is too late.

Right now, I would love to see some sensible sentiment and confidence management by the regulators. The investors may not have very strong hearts to go through more roller-coaster rides. For heaven's sake, do more to protect the investors.

I apologize if all that I have written sounds Greek to you for I am really writing in a 'language' unfamiliar to me. So, if you do not follow what I have been saying so far, I can fully understand your predicament.

Caution: Do not act based on the above.

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