Sunday, November 30, 2008

Manna Cafe & Gallery

Yian and Pauline - A pleasing dining experience in a truly exotic environment.
Manna Cafe & Gallery - The alluring ambience is a plus. (Photo: Manna's blog)

ABC Special - It is worth the RM 5 I paid for!

I took Yian and Pauline to Wisma Sanyan for a breakaway from the lazy Saturday afternoon.

The festive shopping heat has gathered considerably in Sibu. Even in a Saturday afternoon, we experienced a good crowd at the shopping floors of Wisma Sanyan.

We took the opportunity to pop in Parkson to pick up some for Allen and Pauline. The items on offer were really a good buy!

Thereafter, we went to Manna Cafe & Gallery for some refreshing breaks. Located on Level 5, this ertery offers an alluring ambience for diners looking for good taste. The exotic and tranquil environment is excellent for a pleasing dining experience.

I placed order for a ABC Special to taste this popular local food. Yian chose Mocha Latte for trying out. Pauline opted for Hot Italian Chocolate to go with Hong Shao Beef Noodles. The serving time was ideal except for ABC Special which took longer time than I had expected. The portioning was just right and the pricing was value for money, making the whole experience a satisfying one.

Manna Cafe & Gallery has a blog ( ) of its own to keep loyal customers up to date. The efforts are good and worthwhile. Perhaps the operators may try to update it more often.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Greenback Is Doomed

Commodities bull Jim Rogers said just two days ago that the greenback is doomed. He has a valid point here!

The dollar has been rallying over the past few months due to its uniqueness in being a safe heaven for wealth in times of turmoil. But this trend will not hold.

The recent rescue packages in U.S. have pumped huge credit into the system, resulting in oversupply. Added to this, the outlook for the Fed rate to go down to zero also gives pressure to the greenback.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

SUPP - Race To Power Getting Tense

On the run-up to the Triennial delegates' Conference (TDC) scheduled to be in December, SUPP's infighting is getting tense. The race to power appears to be surfacing as the day comes nearer. To a lot of political watchers, the running is now very much between Sibu-Miri and Kuching-Sarikei, with the other divisions divided.

Kuching blatantly called on the leaders to honour their retirement pledge, apparently hinting at GC who indicated to step down from the party helm after the current term at the last TDC.

The card now is obviously high up in GC's sleeve as to whether he is going to stay on. GC has the full backing of Sibu to remain for another term at the party top post. Strategically, this works best for both Sibu and Miri since Sarikei and Kuching pose a strong challenge. Neither Sibu nor Miri alone can fend off the blow from Kuching-Sarikei.

GC is an astute politician. His recent manoeuvre to push WSK up in the cabinet shows that he is indeed somebody to watch out. It is widely anticipated that GC has yet to call it a day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cash Continues To Be The king!

Calls started to come out two years ago to hold on to cash in anticipation of a bust in the real estate property market in U.S. The expected collapse would create a havoc not seen in the past.
Two months down the road after the burst of the financial bubble, cash remains the single most important king in the system.
Hold on to it for investing in an even cheaper AUD.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas 2008 - Sarawak House Complex

Sarawak House Complex and Premier Hotel.

Sarawak House Complex is the longest-established high-rise shopping complex in Sibu. Time and tide have not eroded the complex's commanding position. Today it remains one of the prime shopping centres in Sibu with Premier Hotel, Bamboo House, Cafe Palmelia, Premier Departmental Store, King's Trioplex and Sarawak House Shopping Complex under one roof.
Sarawak House Complex ushers in Christmas with a creative deco to make the season lively and meaningful.
The whole deco comes in the form of hanging placards from the roof-top. It sways in the air, making the Christmas seem a lot more lively.
Santa Claus still takes the centre stage in this deco. This mythical figure appears to have taken the lead role in the commercialised Christmas!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Rescue of Citibank - The Worst Is Far From Over

If you believe that the worst of financial meltdown is over, then you probably are caught in a state of illusion.
Cheaper assets are going to line up for the cash-rich investors. Financial assets, properties, AUD, etc have some more downside risk! There is no rush for you as an investor!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas 2008 - Christmas Tree At Sing Kwong Shopping complex

Sing Kwong Shopping Complex is one of the more popular shopping centres in Sibu. It offers another choice for Sibuians to indulge in shopping pleasure.
Situated at Jalan Salim, it is fast becoming a one-stop complex for shoppers. As such, it poses as a keen competitor to the nearby Farley.
I popped in this afternoon to feel their Christmas heat. The whole complex has quite minimal season's deco with a ceiling-high Christmas tree at the main entrance to usher in the festive occasion. In the complex, there are garlands here and there to stir up the Christmas mood of the shoppers. A plus is their Christmas songs - they filled the air with good music to liven up the atmosphere.
The complex could do a bit more with creativity to give an added Christmas touch!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas 2008 - Christmas Mood Is Warming Up In Sibu!

Christmas mood has started to hit the streets in Sibu. The warming - up this year seems to be slow-moving, partly could be due to the sluggish economy worldwide.

All the shopping malls have perked up the season with creative deco to spur on the holiday shopping.

Christmas songs are filling the air also, providing a stir on the season's mood. Of all the Christmas songs, I truly love the classic Boney M. series most.

Boney M. was a German pop and disco group created by West German record producer Frank Farian. Their Mary's Boy Child/ Oh My Lord touch every bit of my heart.

Christmas songs by Boney M. are just simply great!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Heart-warming Meet With Dr. Dennis Ngien

Dr. Dennis Ngien is presently in Sibu for a brief visit to have family reunion, especially with his aged mom. The sojourn back in the hometown is tightly scheduled with time divided up for family, friends and church (for sermon-preaching). Despite the hectic schedule, he shows no fatigue at all.

Our gang managed to get Dr. Dennis Ngien to squeeze out this morning for a teh tarik meet at Cafe Palmelia of Premier Hotel ( ).

Joining us this morning also was our buddy Hock Lai who just came back from Russia for holiday. Hock Lai has been away in Russia with a conglomerate for a senior post.

Our chat over teh tarik was just marvellous. Time flew as we indulged in the Premier Hotel's flagship beverage teh tarik and the chat-away.

We hopped from one topic to another, touching on the highlights of the current session of SCAC in particular. There are certainly issues for us to reflect upon.

We wished very much to fix up Dr. Dennis Ngien for a kampua session, but his packed schedule could not allow us to chip in with another dose of hospitality.

The picture shows (left to right) Nee Meng Choon, Dr. Dennis Ngien, me, Tu Hock Lai, Tiong Toh Chiong and Wong Thien Kien. On the table is the gigantic teh tarik, the flagship beverage of Premier Hotel.

I bought this book "Gifted Response" from Dr. Dennis Ngien in support of his fund-raising for mission.

A group photo with Hock Lai. With the buddies around, laughters always abound.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

DAP Sarawak Versus PKR Sarawak

DAP sarawak and PKR arawak slashed against each other in General Elections 2008 using samurai swords. This infighting in the opposirion front was proven to be costly, resulting in losing Sarikei and Kuching seats.
All eyes were on DSAI when he came here last weekend to see whether he would hint on a possible reconciliation.
But DSAI seemed to be not quite in a rush. For the time being, network building for PKR topped his priority list.
Never forget that DSAI is an astute politician.
DSAI had a fruitful weekend trip to Sarawak. At Sarikei, three independent candidates in General Elections 2008 joined PKR. They are from left Ngu Tien Hai, Kung Ching Ching and Lau Khieng Chai. (Photo: Philip Hii)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

33rd Session SCAC - Rev. Dr. Su Chii Ann Re-elected As President

The 33rd Session of Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference, Methodist Church in Malaysia is presently on in Sibu November 18-21. A total of close to 400 pastors, delegates and church workers gathered in the name of the Lord to transact church business.

One of the highlights on the first day was election of president. The present incumbent Rev. Dr. Su Chii Ann was re-elected for another term of four years, as expected.

Rev. Dr. Su is a well-organised pastor, making him outstanding in his administration. He is more than fit enough for the post.

On the same day, Lay Preacher Hii Ching Chiong was re-elected Lay Leader SCAC. Brother Hii's dynamism is truly admirable.

My heartiest congratulations to both of them.

The picture shows Rev. Dr. Su addressing the congregation. On the left is Bishop Rev. Dr. Hwa Yung and on the right, Mr. Lau Pang Yew (Secretary of SCAC).

(Photo and news source: Wong Meng Lei)

Monday, November 17, 2008

DSAI In Sibu - A Rousing Comeback

YB Dominique Ng of PKR is in rapport with YB Wong Ho Leng of DAP at the dinner. Are they up to something? (Photo: Steve Ling)
The packed Sibu Trade and Exhibition Centre - The turnout composed of a high percentage of Dayak and Malay supporters. (Photo: Steve Ling)

The charismatic DSAI at the grand evening function. On the right is YB Gabriel Adit of Ngemah constituency who just joined PKR. Little wonder that DSAI is giving a helping hand. (Photo: Steve Ling)

A file photo of DSAI.

DSAI had a crowd-pulling weekend in Sibu. With a turnout of 3,000 PKR members and supporters at Sibu Trade and Exhibition Centre on November 15, DSAI had every reason to radiate warmth and charm.

About a year ago when DSAI landed on Sibu in a ground-breaking visit, he was on low profile with relegated publicity.

What a marked difference just after one year.

PKR is quietly making inroads into Sarawak in its aggressive ground-building work for the upcoming State elections due in two years' time. It is now a party to be reckoned with, if it can garner sufficient Dayak support.

Never take it for granted that there is no alternative. It has been proven time and again that this is an era for a change!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chen Shui-bian's Corruption Probe

Former Taiwan First Lady Wu Shu-chen was questioned yesterday by the prosecutors in a corruption probe.
Wu was astute enough to deflect all allegations from her, saying she absolutely stayed clear of all these.
Wu Shu-chen reminded me of DM and VK Lingam in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into VK Lingam Video Clip case.
Both DM and VK Lingam shocked the nation by saying:
DM : I can't remember anything about the case.
VK Lingam : The person in the video clip looks like me. But he certainly is not me!
They are all pretty sleek-tongued!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chen Shui-bian - Hunger Strike Versus Fasting

Chen Shui-bian is actually on fasting and not hunger strike as reported.

According to the public opinion in Taiwan, whilst being remanded, Chen Shui-bian's strike is at best only a fasting since he has no political ideology to protest against the present government. His detention on remand is purely on corruption charges. As such, the whole arrest is too far-fetched to be captioned a political persecution.

Chen Shui-bian is renowned for putting up political gimmicks to win public sympathy!

Consequent to Chen Shui-bian's arrest, his son Chen Chih-Chung and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching were summoned in by the prosecutors for questioning in connection with the graft case.

It seems that the prosecutors are adamant to go down to the roots with a view to nail Chen Shui-bian on the wall.

Taiwan's prosecution efficiency on graft charges is what Malaysia has to emulate!

Friday, November 14, 2008


The arrest of Taiwan's former president Chen Shui-bian on money laundering and graft charges has been televised worldwide, making it headline news everywhere.

Chen's remand is especially vibrating in Malaysia where concern over corruptions is heightening. This is obvious for one reason that we have been doing dismally in CPI (Corruption Perceptions Index) over the past 6 years or so.

Locally corruptions are a burning issue. Their devasting impact has detrimentally slowed the progress of the nation.

As we watched the televised remand of Chen Shui-bian with both of his hands handcuffed, we couldn't help to lay back to wish for a Malaysian dream.

When would our system be transparent enough to send the currupted jaws to remand?

Steven Spielberg told it all when he directed the blockbuster "Jaws" in 1975. We really need immense commitment and courage to nab the big jaws.

What do you think?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chen Shui-bian On Hunger Strike

The ex-president of Taiwan Chen Shui-bian goes on hunger strike whilst under remand for money laundering and graft charges.
Goodness, is he doing it for the good cause of Taiwan or to suit his personal agenda?
Ah Bian, I wish you all the best!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Handcuffed Chen Shui-bian

I certainly deplore the extremely violent acts of the protesters against Chen Yunlin, Chairman of China's Association for Relations Across the Straits (ARATS). Chen's official visit to Taiwan was Beijing's highest-level visit to its political rival in 60 years. The protest-turned-commotion brutality exposed the ugly side of the society.

In Malaysia, all the street protests so far have been orderly. Malaysians are a lot more peace-loving and restrained in this respect!

I applaud the admirable maturity in democracy in Taiwan when the IPP (immediate-past president) Chen Shui-bian was handcuffed by prosecutors Tuesday for being involved in overseas money laundering and graft. He was later ordered by court to be remanded .

Yesterday was such a disgraceful day for the ex-president.

Malaysia is much less mature than Taiwan in democracy. Four years ago, Pak Lah vowed to take the big jaws to task. With Pak Lah about to call it a day, the rakyat are still wide-eyed with dismay about the whereabout of the so-called big jaws.

We are falling several steps behind Taiwan.

Monday, November 10, 2008

All The Best To Barack Obama

The turnout yesterday at the weekly tea chit-chat session was huge, partly spurred on by the historic win by Barack Obama as the 44th President of U.S. The Republican George W. Bush has done a horrendous discharge economically. As such, the American voters put hands together to oust Republicans and welcomed Democrats. The change was a thriller!

Meng Lei's office was proven to be slightly under-sized to accommodate the crowd. It was a fun-filled and jovial session with bursts every now and then. We kicked it off with a toast to Barack Obama for his extraordinary success and hovered over this glittering political star for a while.

Liong ( ) was kind enough to volunteer to snap a shot for the toasting session. Liong's photography is simply splendid!

Hurray, Obama!

Barack Obama's victory was predictable even right from the start of the race. When he won Hillary Clinton in the nomination to run for the presidency, I knew Obama had crossed the biggest hurdle - colour.

The Americans are admirably broad-minded enough to accept a black.

Obama's win was certainly not coincidental. The disgruntled Americans over the devastated economy had thirsted for a dream of change. Obama was timely to ptovide the voters a jolt.

But can he deliver the American dream? It is not impossible, but Obama has to move within a tight range.

In front of the President-elect is a bumpy road!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Watch Out For The Downside Risk Of AUD

A global recession in 2009 is looming large. All the industralised nations and emerging markets are embarking on loosening monetary policy to hit head-on the world weakening economy.

The Fed is poised to lower further its rate to counter with the slow-down of Uncle Sam's economy. Elsewhere the central banks are all mooting to act on a soft monetary policy to face up to the bearish outlook. There is even speculation now that U.S. might resort to adopting a zero-rate policy. Of course this is just a market talk. But believe me, there is sustance in it.

When Barrack Obama won the historic race to the White House, he vowed to take on revamping the devastated economy as his top priority.

That shows how bad is the world staggering down the road!

When AUD broke all the support levels and hit new lows, buyers and investors alike were thrilled to the extreme, thinking it was opportune time to go in the market to mop up AUD.

But AUD is far from bottoming out, according to international currency strategists. Owing to its high rate differentials over all major currencies, AUD has been the target of Yen carry traders. With the Australian economy slowing down in tandem with the gloomy global growth, Australia would inevitably have to cut its rate to pump up its economy.

Presently at 5.25%, Australia leaves plenty of room for loosening its monetary policy. That signals a bad outlook for AUD since lowering rate is equivalent to depreciating a currency.

When most of the major nations have limited space to move downwards in their rates, Australia has huge space to go further. That suggests that AUD has a lot more downaside risks when compared with other currencies.

If you are keen on AUD, just keep on tracking.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Power Struggle - All In Court Now!

SUPP's infighting has been escalated! The power struggle is now going one step further to court action.

Two party members of Namang and Dudong Sub-branches resorted to seeking court injunctions to restrain Sibu Branch and Namang Sub-branch from holding the respectively scheduled elections on the ground that the two-tier system of elections being practised is in contravention with the party constitution.

The rival team chants for a one-tier system under which all party posts are to be elected straight. If the team succeeds in court action, the judgement would have profound implications for all the party elections, including that of the TDC which is scheduled to be held in December.

In a broader perspective, the on-going court action is not just focused on Sibu. Its ultimate aim is on the TDC and the party leadership.

Let's tune in to the outcome of the injunction hearings.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

SUPP Is Entangled In Power Struggle

The factious struggle within SUPP took dramatic turns that sent all political watchers pop-eyed. At one time I almost had to balance my thinking to catch up with the new happenings in the party.
No sooner had the rival teams shown to have reconciled than they had begun to sing different tunes again.
Seriously, for Sibu Branch and Dudong Sub-branch to cast aside differences and patch up is easier said than done. When power struggle is involved, personal political interest always prevails.
It is imprudent to let court settle political party disputes. MCA had shown it in 1980s and it was proven to be extremely costly. Ultimately it was the Chinese community that lost all the way out!
In the present party infighting, the team with a bigger muscle to flex would likely end up the winner!
Whether you like it or not, politics is simply such a cruel game!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The 44th President of U.S. - Barack Obama Won With Flying Colours

Barack Obama has just become the first black president of U.S.

Surprisingly, the Americans are much less race-minded than I initially thought of! They have shown to the world that they are embracing Obama with full vigour for a much-needed change.

Watch out for Dow Jones!

Najib Tun Razak - Our Next Prime Minister

The premiership is now just one step away from Najib Tun Razak!

The past weekend was the climax when Najib secured 134 nominations from UMNO branches to stand for the president's post of the party.

We don't foresee in the course a change in the tune of the music. As such, Najib is now almost certain to be our succeeding PM after Pak Lah officially calls it a day.

Najib has been embroiled in controversies. Despite that, Najib has remained pretty cool-headed, fending off all issues not in his favour with wits and might.

As DPM, Najib has been playing his role well. So far he has not overstepped or strided ahead of PM. He shows to the rakyat that it is perfectly true that "Slowly, steadily win the race!"

You may have grudges against Najib, but you have to admit that so far no hurdle has stumbled him. Indeed, Najib is luckier than you have expected.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sibu Versus Dudong - From Defensive To Offensive

The tussle between Sibu and Dudong is far from over. If the factious struggle takes no upheaval, then the two teams would be expected to argue in court over interpretation of the party constitution.
On the run-up to SUPP Sibu Branch elections, including that of Youth Branch and Wanita Branch, the self-declared Dudong Branch (legally the status is still only a sub-branch) took the arm-wrestling with Sibu Branch a sharp u-turn by declaring to challenge Sibu Branch's top posts.
Apparently taking the fight from being defensive initially to a more offensive role now, the Dudong team vehemently demanded straight elections to branch posts. They further disputed the composition numbers for Youth Branch and Wanita Beanch committees. On the basis of their interpretation of the constitution, they put forth their demands for changes failing which the election disputes would be taken to court for an interpretation.
The SUPP party constitution has been in use for a lengthy period. Any contradiction therein in terms of interpretation would be best dealt with by way of amendments.
WSK has apparently gained an upper hand in SUPP's factious struggle. With that, the Dudong team under the leadership of SCT is obviously caught in straits.
Therefore, the strong fight-back by the Dudong team prior to SUPP Triennial Delegates' Conference should not be a surprise.
The showdown is now getting intense!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Public Forum On Outlooks For Sibu - Part 6

The picture shows the concerned Sibuians. Photo: Terrence Tan of MPI

Besides his extensive global engagements, Tan Kee Hian also contributed to Malaysia by way of giving consultancy services to our government. He facilitated the Blue Ocean Strategy Retreat hosted by the DPM, Datuk Sri Najib, and co-hosted by Tan Sri Sidek Hassan, Chief Secretary, and Professor Chan Kim of INSEAD.

Tan Kee Hian is also the consultant to the Economic Planning Unit, PM's Department on the Blue Ocean Strategy Study to "outline the macro-economic strategic directions to accelerate and sustain economic growth" in Malaysia.

His exposure has taken him to an in-depth grasp of Malaysia's core strengths and weaknesses. When touching on FDIs in Malaysia, Tan Kee Hian gave a presentation graphically of Malaysia's share of the global FDI flows over the past 15 years. He noted a flattening growth in Malaysia's FDI inflows after 1998 and a notable slump in inflows in 1997, during which time Malaysia was swept over by a severe wave of Asian financial crisis.

Tan Kee Hian pointed out our high degree of unpredictability in corrupt practices has been one contributing factor towards diverting the funds from this part of the world.

Uncertainty constitutes a risk factor which makes it difficult for investors to factor in the cost of it. This is where Malaysia stands to lose out to Indonesia where corruptions are more predictable.

Uncertainty in policies and grafting are costly to FDIs. This is one factor being labelled as contributing towards driving foreign funds away at the absolute loss to our nation.

Invariably, investors have to project IR (investment returns). Costlier investments as a result of unpredictable policies give lower IR which make FDIs in Malaysia less attractive.

On the same principle and along the same line, Sibu has to be able to give sifficient IR to lure outside funds to flow in.

A night scene in Sibu. The photo is by courtesy of Wong Meng Lei.