Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The fat kid of N. Korea

The spoiled, fat kid is not rational. Hence I have no rational answers to the following questions:

1.       Who are the provokers: Group A (N. Korea, China and Russia), Group B (S. Korea, Japan and US), or all of the above.

2.       Does the fat kid know we have missiles that can wipe out N. Korea from the map overnight? He is a paper tiger at best.

3.       What actions should we take? More sanctions, more carriers, missile attacks... No matter what we will not be crazy enough to start a war with N. Korea. Our resources have been tied up in the Middle East. We may not be able to handle China and Russia combined.

4.       Does our missile defense system work? Obviously not this time.

5.       What will China do? China has been the beneficiary of the conflict. Without China, the fat kid will not bark that loud.

Give peace a chance please. At least one tells me that we do have a spoiled, fat man as our president. LOL.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Different cultures

From South China Morning Post, they printed the name "Carrie Lam Cheng Yue".

"Cheng Yue" is the Chinese first name. It seems to compromise for the cultural difference ("last name" last for the west but first for Chinese), but to many it is very confusing. For the west, we would mistakenly treat Yue as the last name.

From my humble opinion, it should be standardized as "Carrie C.Y. Lam", "Carrie Cheng-Yue Lam" or "Cheng Yue Lam" (treating Yue as the middle name). Enforce it in all your official documents including passports.

P.S. It turns out Lam is her husband's last name and Cheng is her maiden name. They should select using her husband last name OR her maiden name.

My five-year-old granddaughter can read simple books by pronouncing the words but it would take a later age for Chinese children to learn about 1,000 characters to do the same job.

Other interesting differences: We say Chinese have 1.3 billions citizens and Chinese claim they have 13 billions. Similar is the date format.

More if you're not bored.

"1.3 billions" is more scientific. Starting from "1,000", we add ",000" for million, billion and trillion consecutively. Chinese has a name for "10,000" which is practical as it is used a lot.

Sorting "YYYY/MM/DD" is more practical unless the program recognizes it as a date field.

Chinese sorting name is by the number of strokes. It is not scientific. The simplified Chinese solves some problem but makes the language less meaningful and artistic.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The best in life

Fresh air, fresh water, polite fellow walkers, beautiful scenery with trees and fowls are all free. My daily walk this morning.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Magic tricks

I watched AGT. Some magic tricks are quite simple (even I can do it) but some are really good.

Last night, making the dice passing thru the glass is quite easy. He covered (or hid) the dice with one finger and showed another dice he hid with another hand from the other side of the glass. Why I could detect it right away? It was a repeated trick by a Chinese magician several years ago. I showed the same trick to my grandchildren. It is similar to the signed card which had been switched.

Will Tsai is quite good especially in the first act. He prepared the second act but AGT did not allow him to do it. I have to use the race card if they do not give us a good reason. It is similar to the girl from Hong Kong. Let her select her own song. She did a great job on the first act, which could win her the show if it is in the final. However, using the high pitch at this age could hurt her in the long run. Found out she started to give mini concert in the subway at an early age of 5.

If you see something you have not seen before, it is great magic. In general, trick is not that complicated but I have not seen it before. Somehow (via a switch control to rotate trap doors),  swap that part of the table so one coin becomes two which are hidden on the under side of the table. It is more complicated than that otherwise I could be a magician.

Magic is about illusion. You cannot pass thing thru sold glass. You cannot tele transport coins. There is no supernatural human. I just want to be entertained and usually I do not want to know why but how. If you can get from a nobody (well known in Hong Kong) to be on the cover of a magazine for magicians, it is real MAGIC.

Investing is true magic: You can double your money or make them disappear. Buy my book Complete The Art of Investing to improve your odd.

Future trends

As of 8/2017, we’re in the cross road in many areas. Let me outline some of my thoughts. Check it one year later and see how many have materialized.


1.       Today the market is fundamentally unsound but technically sound. When technical goes down, it could be the time to exit the market.
2.       FAANG as a group of stocks is very risky to me. Netflix is the riskiest fundamentally.
3.       Oil price will take a break before its upward trend. I sold some when oil price was $50 and I bought them at $30. I expect there is a fierce correction and at that time most sectors including oil would go down. Why I expect an uptrend on oil after that? It is a simple supply and demand at work. Today drilling, exploration… are not economically feasible. Hence we should have less oil in the future and oil is still competitive and environmentally friendly.
4.       “One Belt, One Road” Initiative will have impact to the world economy. It will benefit the participating countries and provinces in west China. Even many American companies including GE and Caterpillar will benefit by providing heavy equipment that China do not build today.
5.       The world should benefit from the rise of China if China does not raise wars.
6.       From my estimate, only one job will be gained from 10 returned jobs from Mexico and China due to automation.
7.       The wealth gap will be widened due to robots and advance of artificial intelligent.
8.       Europe will finally recover despite the rising of terrorism.


1.       US is declining but we’re still leading in many sectors. We spend too much effort in being a world policeman while China is concentrating their efforts in improving the economy.
2.       Trump will not be re-elected. Will it be the trigger to bring down the market? Only time can tell.
3.       We used to be a nation of problem fixers, but now problem avoiders. Trump did that by dissolving his committee of business leaders. He does not want to fix the health care system but recommend one to replace it. So is Yahoo!Finance. I miss many nice features from this site that are no longer available.
We need the H-1B program to attract the world’s best programmers and scientists to make us more competitive. We need to monitor and enforce the program to ensure more benefits than harms.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Do not tell my wife

Please read the entire caption without looking at the behind first.
Your greedy eyes should not stay on the behind. Second warning!
After that, read what really happens:
It was in Britain. How can the dog drive on the left hand side and obviously there was a taxi driver there?
To the defense of this poor guy: It is very seldom that the dog appreciates beauty that much. More logical and reasonable.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Bashers & Apostles

There are many arguments from Chinese bashers and Chinese apostles. My observations are based on facts not biases or political viewpoints (no one pays me anything).

The art of copying is not that easy. Otherwise, India would be far advanced than China as they're far better economically in the 50s, many technical folks...

It is a stage that most (if not all) developed countries went thru. The recent examples are Japan and S. Korea. They did copy and produced products of very poor quality. Even US copied in the colonial days. That's why Dickens was furious on us.

The best way to move ahead is copying (and sometimes stealing). If we have important stuffs, we need to PROTECT them. Both sides are guilty. When I was in some poor countries, many folks tried to cheat me every day. One dollar means the wage for a day for them. I do not blame them, do you?
China is more innovative than most Chinese bashers think. China captures the consumer drone market, HSR... The subways in all Tier I cities are cleaner and technically advanced than most Tier I cities in the US. Check out my blog on Shenzhen.

We need to face reality, learn the lessons... Otherwise we will be left behind as China did by ignoring the Industrial Revolution.

Great for a busiess case in Harvard

Usually I stay away from retail stocks including the rising Amazon. There are several stupid management actions recently.

* I expected Coach and some luxurious retailers would have a tough time. Partly due to the falling Chinese economy. Partly due to not understand their own market. Chinese buy a lot of these stuffs. If you do not believe me, go to these stores in NYC, Paris..., you can see them buying a lot to avoid paying tariff and help them to boost their social standing.

When they take out the logo, they make their products not sellable to Chinese as many Chinese (esp. those to be impressed) do not know English well.

* Costco was sued. If you look at the marketing departments of most big companies, you can see many good-looking young kids. Most do not have common sense and lack of experience. At least hire a good one to manage them and in this case it is logical to be sued.

Are EVs ready?

How many miles you have to drive to break even with the extra cost for an EV car? Not mention the trouble in finding charging stations (say on vacations).

China & Japan switch positions to be #1 buyer of our debts

We are borrowers, not lenders. If there are better places than the US to invest the excess money, China should do else where. To maintain a strong USD is good for China as the loan will be paid back in USD.

China has excess trade deficits for years to be recycled. One way is to buy our properties and companies such as OPEC and Japan did (still doing). It is silly that we stop China to buy our companies and steer them to buy companies in Europe.

It they withdraw, we will have no more easy money and it would crash the economy and the stock market. China does not want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. When the goose becomes too skinny, it would be the time to slaughter it to get what's left.

We should not reduce our resources by policing the world. Investing in infrastructure is better than consuming such as the war expenses. China is doing the opposite in investing in their economy. The reason could be one is run by lawyers and the other by engineers.


I was in Xian decades ago. The tourist guide told us that KFC wanted to pay MORE local taxes if they prevented MacDonald's (or may be Donald) to set up stores there.

Xian is the major big city and the destination for the Silk Road. It is the largest walled city I've ever seen. It is also the tourist city for the first emperor of China. I suspect many changes in the last 15 years and more in the next 5 years. They still have a huge underground palace (i.e. tomb) more than 2,000 years to be unearthed. Hope they unearth it before my time.


The sign from a tourist store in a Turkish island said: "All stuffs are genuine fakes".

Do not buy anything that are not genuine fakes. However, some fakes are better than others and some fakes are actually better than the real ones. Some fakes are made in the factories producing the real ones. 

One of my friends (hope he is not reading this post) has a fake Ph.D. certificate from a mail order school. It costs $9.99 for the certificate but $100 more for the glass frame. With this he can teach in some college. Should you ask for a refund from the college he teaches?

The Fed

At most it would be .5% rate hike from now to the end of the year I guess. So, nothing has changed.

The Fed Reserve Bank has a simple job: Adjust the interest rate so the market is not over-heated or under-heated. You do not need to pay tons of money for making this simple decision and a $5 simple program (written by me) will do.

The Fed is not God. Remember the chairman said the economy was good and after a few months the market crashed - he had the gut to write a book on his own mistake. Come on!

How to solve a problem

When it does not work, abandon it. Trump is doing that and Yahoo!Finance is doing that too (I missed many useful features used to be available from this web site).

Americans used to be fixers but now are problem avoiders. Sigh.

Interest hike

It is great for fixed income retirees to raise it to 3% (the average inflation rate). But, it is bad for business (easy money to finance projects) / house builders. The market may crash due to our record-high margin debts.

That's why we have market cycles. When it goes to extreme, the market will react (crash in many cases). The Fed does not want to crash the market.

Two lovers

My love to China is natural and my love for the US is practical. Who said you cannot have two lovers?

We literally vote with our feet. That's why US have so many immigrants. Without them, the country will not be that great.

Hong Kong has many immigrants due to its increasing wealth. Many from the first generation speak Cantonese (very few decades ago). When you pay about half a million for a 500 sq. feet apartment, it is not a nice place to live. I came here for college at the time more colleges were starting.

There are many immigrants today to China (few decades ago). Many learn to speak Chinese. When I asked about immigration to India, folks laughed at me.

Theaters good investment?

I bet otherwise. Our homes are the best theaters unless you're horny teenagers.

Why Chinese buy American theaters?  The average Chinese home is small. It works in China but not in the US.

Are small stocks better?

After a research, small stocks were better and then they lost its lead to large stocks. Recently it regains the lead.

What I try to say is stocks in market caps, sectors... are in cycle. If there will be a fierce correction, stay away from small stocks;they would plunge more during corrections.

How to handle 40 virgins without dying from happiness

The terrorists think they have 40 virgins in the next life. No one mentions the quality.I try my best to escape from some virgins who are not attractive to me even for my low standard.

History writing

History is written to what the readers want. The British side of American independence is different from ours. Some high Japanese officials still think Nanjing massacre did not exit. They thought the Chinese built a fake museum with fake photos. They also think their citizens do not read foreign books and/or have no access to the internet.

Oil price

It is Supply and Demand at work.

When we have more demand, we increase the supply and vice versa to keep it in balance.

Today, supply is more than demand, so we cut down exploring, drilling... Hence supply will be less in the future. Oil is more competitive now and will be until the supply is reduced.

There are many other factors such as OPEC needs cash to continue their on-going projects that have been planned a while ago. I believe a market correction and economic correction are coming. Hence I unloaded some oil at $50 and that I bought at $30.

Friday, August 18, 2017

On Buffett's huge donation

He is the camel that goes thru the needle. Donating appreciated stocks gets the biggest bang. Those who accuse him to benefit from the donation should get their brains fixed if they have one.


There is another terrorist attack. I have been to Barcelona twice. It is one of the most beautiful cities I have visited. I have strong feelings with the city and her citizens. I prefer to respect each other’s religion and culture. Why not live in peace? Please give peace a chance. Out of fears and frustration and against my peaceful character, I recommend the following.

1.       Spain should bomb ISIS HQs that may be dispersed. The French did and It would discourage them for the next terrorist attack. I usually do not advocate violence against violence, but do we have a better choice?

2.       That led me to another idea: In WW2, Japan surrounded due to the two atomic bombs. Customize a small one and threaten ISIS with it. I hope it will be used as a threat, not really deploying it. Every time they open their big months, we show them how we load the bomb to our jet and submarine.

3.       We should end our involvement in the Middle East conflicts. They will never be fixed as the Bible said. From the last a thousand years, it will continue in the next thousand years. We should not supply our jets and bombs to destroy their countries from the start. Crusade and modern Crusade (arguable to many) are both wrong. Where in any religious books teach us to kill?

4.       No more immigrants from these areas. Japan and Poland do not have terrorist attacks from these foreigners and they have virtually zero immigrants from these countries.

5.       Think like a terrorist would think to check their next easy targets. Understand why they terrorize the West and the US.

6.       Convince them there is no after life and no 40 virgins waiting for them. If there is one, the Chinese ghost and the ghost from the west would be the same.

7.       Take more actions. Many terrorists have been identified and monitored but no actions. More vehicle barriers should be installed.  I advocate profiling for terrorists and deporting them.

8.        Negotiate with ISIS and understand what they want.