Warren Buffett Interview

What can I possibly do with billions and billions of dollars? I don’t see the fuss in having 6 houses with greenskeepers; I don’t see the fuss in having 20 cars in the garage. If you think about it you are living better than John D. Rockefeller. If you want to watch the Super Bowl you just turn on the TV and watch it. If he wanted to see the World Series it would take him a long time to get there, and he would not have air conditioning and that type of thing. The problem is not getting rich, but finding a game you enjoy and living a normal life. The most important thing is finding the right spouse. If you make the wrong decision on that you will regret it, there is a lot of pain involved, but if you have the right spouse it is just wonderful. What qualities do you look for in a spouse? Humour, looks, character, brains, or just someone with low expectations. The most important decision that you will make is that. If you make that one decision right I will guarantee you a good result in life.

Question: What is happiness? Are you happy?

I am so blessed. I get to do what I like to do with people that I love. That is happiness. I am happy day after day after day. How could I be any happier? Someone once said success is getting what you want and happiness is wanting what you get. And that’s what I see in people as I look around. The only thing I have to do in life that I don’t like doing is fire people occasionally – very seldom. I would pay a lot of money if I didn’t have to do that. But wverything else I like. I’m doing what I like doing. I could be playing shuffleboard, I could be in Vegas, but I’m doing what I like doing. There is a woman here in Omaha who is a Polish Jew. She was in Auschwitz, her family was in Auschwitz. One would be in one line, another in another line. One of them didn’t come out. She said this to me “Warren, I am very slow to make friends, because the bottom line when I look at somebody is would they hide me?” Now I know people my age that have dozens and dozens of people who would hide them, Tom Murphy for example from Berkshire. I can tell you about a whole bunch of others who are worth billions and billions of dollars, who have schools named after them, who nobody would hide them. Their own kids wouldn’t even hide them “He is in the attic, he is in the attic”. That hiding is just a metaphor for love. If you have people that you want to love you, that do love you. If you leave out illness I have never found anyone who has dozens of people who love them, or would hide them using my metaphor, who is an unhappy person. I have seen all kinds of people that they are miserable. They have what the rest of the world may think is important, but they don’t have anybody who gives a damn about them. Being given unconditional love is the greatest benefit you can ever get. The incredible thing about love is that you can’t get rid of it. If you try to give it away you end up with twice as much, but if you try to hold onto it, it disappears. It is an extraordinary situation, where the people who just absolutely push it out, get it back tenfold. My friend Tom Murphy that I mentioned before, if he does 20 things for me he doesn’t expect even one back.

Foreign law firms good for S'pore

ST Aug 27, 2008
Young lawyers get to practise with global firms and gain exposure
By Selina Lum

CHANGES to the Legal Profession Act passed in Parliament yesterday will now open up the hitherto protected legal sector to allow foreign firms more leeway to operate here.

The presence of strong local and foreign law firms will strengthen Singapore’s reputation as the region’s legal services centre, said Law Minister K. Shanmugam.

Young and talented Singaporean lawyers too stand to gain as they will now have more opportunities to practise in big international firms and gain international exposure, he said.

The amendments to the Act follow recommendations made last September by a committee, headed by Justice V. K. Rajah, tasked with developing the legal sector.

They come nine years after the Government first sent signals that the sector should be liberalised.

Three key changes will result from yesterday’s legislative amendment:

Come October, five foreign law firms will be allowed to hire Singapore-qualified lawyers to practise Singapore law in certain areas, namely high-end work in corporate and banking sectors.

Second, an existing scheme in which a local firm ties up with a foreign one has been enhanced, among other things, allowing the foreign part of the venture to share up to 49 per cent of the local constituent’s profits.

Third, the scope of work that foreign firms can carry out in international commercial arbitration involving Singapore law has been widened.

Four of the five parliamentarians who spoke on the issue yesterday were practising lawyers. To a man, the latter expressed concern about the impact of the liberalisation on local law firms. They also had reservations about whether the moves would really benefit Singapore as envisioned.

Mr Shanmugam said he understood their concerns about competition but pointed out that a number of areas would continue to be ‘ring-fenced’ beyond the reach of foreign firms.

These include constitutional and administrative law, conveyancing, criminal law, family law, succession law, trust law for individuals and litigation.

Local firms also stood to benefit if the economy as a whole prospered. ‘We must remember that the decision to liberalise was taken because we believe that it is in the overall economic interest of Singapore. It should also benefit the legal services sector as a whole,’ he said.

Explaining a key driver behind the moves, Mr Shanmugam noted that financial-sector representatives had asked ‘very strongly’ for the legal market to be liberalised.

‘We survive as an economic entity by reason of being open, by reason of being economically competitive. The financial services sector is one of the key pillars of our economy and we have to listen to the feedback from that sector,’ he said.

He later addressed a point made by Mr Sin Boon Ann (Tampines GRC), who was concerned that top local firms could become ‘footnotes in our history books’.

Mr Shanmugam, a partner in Allen & Gledhill until he became Law Minister earlier this year, said he would be the last person to disagree with the point that the major law firms contribute significantly to the legal heritage and legal culture in Singapore.

But when dealing with policy issues, one had to look at things in terms of the benefit to the public, he said.

Singapore’s interest was best served by allowing competition, enabling more choices for young lawyers and creating a more vibrant economic legal market.

‘When that calculation comes through, it cannot be dominated by emotion,’ he said.

To Nominated MP and accountant Gautam Banerjee, who asked for even more liberalisation, he said: ‘We start at five (foreign firms). I think it’s better for us to proceed cautiously and make sure we get it right.’

Tracy Phillips: Mixing Work with Passion

by Chris Emmanuel
As far as the entertainment industry goes, Tracy Phillips is one whose shoes are certainly hard to fill. The humble and trendy pace setter very kindly took time out her busy schedule to sit down and have a chat with CHOICES.

She is young, beautiful and successful. She is undoubtedly a household name among the partygoers at Zouk. Though not always seen, Tracy is often heard through her ideas and concepts that have indeed been a part of the success Zouk experiences.

Born in Singapore, the Marketing Manager of Zouk grew up in Australia. She returned to Singapore when she was 12 and got her secondary school education at St. Joseph’s Convent. After her O’ Levels, Tracy enrolled in a Diploma programme at Nanyang Polytechnic. Upon graduation, she landed her first job at the Waterfilms Production House.

A fan of Zouk ever since her first clubbing days, she used to frequent the nightspot very often. During these visits, she loved sharing her creative ideas on the clubbing scene and it was through such encounters that she found herself being offered a job by Zouk’s management. Sounds like a dream come true for the rest of us.

She kicked off her career with Zouk in September 1998. “I had no prior intentions of actually working in a club, but had always had a great passion for music & club culture and in particular for Zouk. It’s been an amazing journey and I am extremely grateful to Lincoln and all the wonderful people I work with daily for providing me with the opportunity,” says Tracy.

The gorgeous 29-year-old relates that when she first started out in the industry, it was hard to be taken seriously. “I was very young back then, with crazy hairstyles & quirky outfits and working with industry peers….

Mong Kok inferno kills 4, injures 55

Don’t live above a nightclub.


Mong Kok inferno kills 4, injures 55
Firemen die fighting major apartment blaze
Austin Chiu, Ng Kang-chung and Agnes Lam
SCMP Aug 11, 2008
Two firefighters, an elderly woman and a person believed to be a nightclub employee were killed yesterday morning in one of Hong Kong’s worst commercial and residential building blazes in a decade.

At least 55 people aged five to 77, including three firemen, were injured in the alarm No 5 fire at Cornwall Court, Nathan Road, Mong Kok and were admitted to four hospitals.

A 26-year-old man, at one point critical, was last night in serious condition along with two other men and a woman, while 18 people were in stable or satisfactory condition. The rest were treated and discharged.

The six-hour blaze broke out at about 9.20am and was extinguished at 3.13pm. It began in a nightclub on the first floor of the building, Fire Services Department director Gregory Lo Chun-hung said.

A nightclub employee, who identified herself as Ms Law, told the South China Morning Post she set off an alarm after workers sleeping at the club were awakened by a loud noise shortly before 9.30 am.

“About six or seven of us were sleeping at the nightclub,” she said. “We heard a loud noise and woke up and ran downstairs. We saw lots of smoke and so I broke the fire alarm. But one staff member didn’t leave with us. We still have not heard from that staffer.”

The Fire Services Department said no smoke-prevention door was installed at the nightclub.

The two firemen killed in the blaze were 46-year-old Siu Wing-fong, a 24-year veteran and father of a 12-year-old girl, and Chan Siu-lung, 25, who had joined the department just a year ago. Both were from the Mong Kok fire station.

A 77-year-old woman was found dead on the ninth floor, while another body, as yet unidentified but believed to be female, was found in the nightclub.

Mr Lo said investigators would probe the cause of the fire and the deaths. Rescue operations were hampered by the intense heat, heavy smoke and narrow passages inside the building, he said.

“Our colleagues found the two firefighters [who later died] on the top floor of the building,” Mr Lo said. “When the rescue team found them, they were still dressed in full protective gear, but were already unconscious.”

The two men had entered the building from the ground floor to search for residents.

The division commander for Kowloon Central, Lau Chi-ho, said: “It was very difficult for us to get into the upper part of the building. The intense heat was trapped in the staircase, and the heat could not be released. The temperature was too high and the smoke was very thick.

“When we arrived, the mezzanine was filled with smoke, and the thick smoke … raged through every floor of the building.” The firemen had to use ladders to rescue residents waving for help on the upper floors, as it was so difficult to reach them from inside.

Speaking to reporters at the scene yesterday, Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong offered his condolences to the families of the dead firefighters. “We are deeply sorry about the deaths of the two very brave firemen,” he said. “I, together with the chief executive and the chief secretary, send our deepest condolences to the families, and we will do everything possible to help them to get over this very difficult period.”

Acting Chief Executive Henry Tang Ying-yen, Director of Home Affairs Pamela Tan Kam Mi-wah and Mr Lee visited victims in hospital.

“We admire the two firemen’s bravery and their professionalism in their work. We visited families of the two firemen and the elderly woman. They are deeply saddened and heart-broken. I am in deep sorrow, too,” Mr Tang said.

Randy Pausch

Randolph Frederick Pausch (October 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) was an American professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a best-selling author who achieved worldwide fame for his “The Last Lecture” speech on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon. The lecture was conceived after, in summer 2007, Pausch had learned that his previously known pancreatic cancer was terminal.

Pausch delivered his “Last Lecture,” titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” at CMU on September 18, 2007. This talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical “final talk,” i.e., “what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?”

Oceanlab – Miracle (Above & Beyond Club Mix)

Don’t they know that there’s something going on
What they’re harming with their indecision
But who will be left standing when I’m gone?
There’ll be nothing left but a vision

It’s too easy to turn a blind eye to the light
It’s too easy to bow your head and pray
There are some times when you should try to find your voice
This is one voice that you must find today

Are you hoping for a miracle
As the ice caps melt away
No use hoping for a miracle
There’s a price we’ll have to pay

Neutrality

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

~ Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Winner of the 1984 Nobel Prize in Peace