“Aunty Lee’s Delights” by Ovidia Yu – A Book Review

The sub-title to this novel is about a Singapore Mystery. It is a mystery for Aunty Lee to play private detective. Aunty Lee owns the café Aunty Lee’s Delights that serves Peranakan food. I liked how the author Ovidia Yu introduces these many well-known and delicious foods into the story. Readers could be forgiven if they thought that they were reading a tourist guides to Peranakan food.

The mystery of death of a person known to Aunty Lee is too much for her to be left to the police force to investigate. She got into the act to unravel the mystery and subsequent events after the death.

There are several people in the story who can be suspects and I could not find a motive for killing off the victim. I had to come to the end of the story to find this out.

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Staying on the sidelines on investments

It appears that Singapore economy is going to be stuck in slower growth this year. It was forecast that the economy would be slightly better than the 2.0% growth achieved in 2016. (Source: MTI, 25 May 2017). Singapore also saw 2.0% GDP growth rate in 2015, which makes it three years in a row including this year (if the forecast is accurate).

The retail sector is badly affected. SIA is planning to cut manpower to cope with slower business and profitability. These point towards tightening of spending by consumers. Redundancy of workers (retrenchment or released prematurely on term contracts) was trending upwards since 2010 with last year seeing 19,170 made redundant. (Source: MOM)

I am not optimistic that Singapore would turnaround this year with good GDP growth rate. The current global events did not warrant my optimism. We are now in June, nearly halfway mark into 2017. With this backdrop, I was not active in the investments space and stayed on the sidelines. In fact, I had been reducing my investment portfolio of risky investments since the start of the year.

Copyright © 2017, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

Posted in Financial Management | Leave a comment

Knitting calms

Knitting can be calming. Knitting a beanie for me using Merino wool.

Posted in Life Journey | Leave a comment

“The Man in the Brown Suit” by Agatha Christie – A Book Review

A beautiful young lady by the name of Anne Beddingfield narrated her adventure at solving an unusual death at a London underground Tube station. The Man in Brown Suit appeared at that precise moment, checked the dead man and then declared that there was nothing could be done to save him. This started the chase for answers by Anne to many puzzling events.

Readers see the unfolding drama as it happened through the eyes of Anne Beddingfield. They would have to contend with gaps in information and conjecture of actual events.

I was thrown off many times from coming up with the real killer(s). There were many characters in the novel and it was difficult to know the culprit or the mastermind. Agatha Christie created the story well and kept me wondering until the end.

Posted in Book Review | Leave a comment

Places you can visit in Singapore

  1. Windsor Nature Park (New)
  2. Tree Top Walk (bridge over tree tops)

Started at Windsor Nature Park (Venus Drive) and walked towards Tree Top Walk. The journey took about an hour on the trail to reach Tree Top Walk.  We started 8.00 am from Windsor Nature Park. Tree Top Walk opens at 9 am (Monday is closed except if it is a public holiday). Make sure you check the weather forecast before you venture on this trail. We were caught in a heavy downpour on the return journey to Venus Drive. It was no fun as we were soaked through including our shoes.

Give yourself about two and a half hours for the complete journey starting at Venus Drive. (13,500 steps or 7 km length.)

Steel bridge way above tall trees. The Tree Top Walk.

New boardwalks on Windsor Nature Park

View from Tree Top Walk. You can see Upper Pierce Reservoir in the background.

3. Fort Canning Park

Today, we had cool stroll of Fort Canning Park, a park right in the city. Walking into history and heritage of Singapore. You get to know about Parameswara (that you only read in history textbook when I was young), Temasik, the Portuguese settlement, the British colonial period, etc. You get to see the Fort, the Lighthouse, the archeological finds on site, heritage trees and Spice Garden. Bring along Mopiko if you are sensitive to mosquito bites.
Free to take harvest of the Spice Garden on every Friday after 9 am.

The Flagstaff

Light House

View of Clarke Quay area and the China Town in the distance from Fort Canning Park

Steps to greenery all round

 

Posted in Travelogue | Leave a comment

What happened to Singapore Press Holdings (SPH)?

Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) had been a great stock. It was a stable stock with good dividend income. I admire the company and I read The Straits Times daily. Of late, its share prices were on the downward spiral.

Date Share Price ($)
31 Aug 2012 3.97
10 Apr 2013 4.65 (highest)
31 Aug 2013 3.93
31 Aug 2014 4.15
31Aug 2015 3.94
28 Jan 2016 3.50 (lowest)
29 Apr 2016 4.06
31 Aug 2016 3.77

 

Since 29 April 2016 a year ago, SPH share prices were slipping. It was trading at $4.06 then.
Share price at 30 May 2017 was $3.24.
Right now it is trading at $3.20 (31 May 2017, 4.44 pm).

Between 29 Apr 2016 and now, the share price declined 21.2% in a matter of one year!

I bought into the shares at prices above $4.00:

Date Share Price ($)
15 Jul 2008 4.10
7 Dec 2012 4.00
5 Jan 2015 4.18

 

I am watching my shares losing 22% on SPH.

The main reason for such a poor showing was due to the decline in profitability of the business.

The Operating Margin declined from 33.7% in 2012 to 27.1% in 2016. The Return on Shareholders’ Funds (ROE) declined from 15.6% to 7.5% for the same period as above. This was halved!

My idea of a stable media business in SPH was shattered with this kind of performance.

Copyright © 2017, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

Posted in Financial Management | Leave a comment

“The Mouse Marathon” by Ovidia Yu – A Book Review

Work of fiction
190 Pages
Published in 1993

The novel is set in two countries across the causeway, Singapore and Malaysia back in the 1990s. The story is about the main character Lee Jaylin and her family connections across the Johor Strait. Jaylin is in the advertising line and advertising business is pressurising. She is caught up with the rat-race or is it the mouse marathon?

I like this novel because Ovidia Yu exposes the complexity of human relationships across generations and among friends and colleagues. The personalities of these characters were real and believable.

The novel is easy to read. It is funny for some parts. The author has this sense of humour and it is amply shown in her writing.

Posted in Book Review | Tagged | Leave a comment