Old mystic beliefs simmer on Merapi

Straits Times
By Salim Osman
Indonesia Correspondent

MERAPI (CENTRAL JAVA) – ALMOST two weeks after the eruption of Merapi, several thousands among the more than 20,000 villagers who had been evacuated to safe shelters at the bottom of the 3,000m mountain are returning to their homes on its slopes to tend their livestock and crops.

This is despite warnings that the danger posed by the volcano has not passed.

It continues to spit lava, gas and clouds of ash.

They join other villagers who had refused to be evacuated when the authorities stepped up the alert to its highest level two Saturdays ago, before the eruption the day after.

The villagers’ action in the central Java province may seem like the fatalism of rural people everywhere, but it speaks of a deeper, buried layer of Hindu traditions among the people for whom the Islamic faith, though dominant, still remains a recent veneer.

The man who embodies these ancient traditions, which amount to Javanese mysticism, is 79-year-old Mbah Marijan, an elder in the Kinahrejo hamlet, just 4km from the crater.
Continue reading “Old mystic beliefs simmer on Merapi”

The crash: picking up the pieces

Common sense do’s and don’ts when the markets are volatile.
By Vijay Bhambwani

The recent crash in the markets has left players dumb founded. Most of the participants I talked to were shell shocked beyond the point of normal reactions. Obviously, nobody had a chance to offload long positions since markets opened “gap down”. There are lessons in it for us, so we do not relive history in the near future.

There are three aspects to a trade – identification of a trade, initiation of a trade and management of trade. Initiating a trade is the easiest part, you just call your broker and execute. The identification is slightly difficult. The management of a trade is the most difficult. Most traders shut their eyes after initiating a trade and leave things to fate – this is especially true in case the trade goes against them. The commonest mistake is to let a bleeding trade run till your margin account dries up and your broker squares up your trade. Money management is invariably the most important aspect of your trading strategy. Handling risk, threat to capital is where most traders are lacking.

The mantra to profitable trading was aptly put forward by commodity trader and best-selling author William F Eng, “Successful traders control risk, and when they cannot control it, they manage it”. Most of the players resort to leveraging of capital. While we initiate our trades with the concept of “going concern” assuming that we will make profits and continue to trade perennially, it makes sense to assess the downside potential first. Remember, in leveraged trades, profits and losses are magnified to the extent of leveraging. Most of the traders who lost money recently were those who built up excessive large trading positions. While “big” is a relative term, we must honestly assess our comfort level and trade within our own limits where we can trade in lots where the positions do not overwhelm us.
Continue reading “The crash: picking up the pieces”

CJ to young lawyers: Take up litigation

Straits Times, May 21, 2006

Expressing concern over falling numbers, he urges more newbies to stand up in court to argue cases

By Elena Chong

MANY young lawyers do not want to stand up in court and argue a case, a cause of concern for the legal profession in recent years. Yesterday, the new Chief Justice weighed in, telling his audience of 202 lawyers admitted to the Bar, to consider litigation as their choice of practice. 

Litigation lawyers perform an essential role to protect the rights of clients in civil cases and defending those charged with crimes.

‘In a legal world where the successful corporate lawyer is admired for his business acumen, it is the successful court lawyer who is held in awe for his forensic skills,’ said CJ Chan Sek Keong.
Continue reading “CJ to young lawyers: Take up litigation”

Living and working in Hong Kong

This is where I live…

Laguna Verde, Kowloon.

This is where I work…

Two International Finance Centre, Hong Kong.

This is how I get to work…

Star Ferry, Tsimshatsui

This is what I do on weekends…
Discovery Bay, Lantau Island.


Mountain Biking in Hong Kong


Mountain Biking Activities

There are ten areas in country parks for mountain biking activities under a permit system. Mountain biking permit issued for current Mountain Bike Trail is also valid for the new areas.

Mountain Biking Trail and Sites

  1. Sai Kung West Country Park (Wan Tsai Extension)
  2. Sai Kung West Country Park (Footpath between Hoi Ha Village and Wan Tsai Peninsula)
  3. Tai Lam Country Park (Tai Lam Mountain Bike Trail)
    * Opened on 3rd January 2005
  4. Shek O Country Park (Hong Kong Trail from Tai Tam Gap to To Tei Wan)
  5. Lantau South Country Park (Catchwater road from Pui O to Kau Ling Chung)
  6. Lantau South Country Park (Chi Ma Wan Country Trail )
  7. Lantau South Country Park (Footpath on Chi Ma Wan Peninsula)
  8. Lantau South Country Park (Coastal trail from Mui Wo to Pui O)
  9. Sai Kung West Country Park (Pak Tam to Pak Sha O)
  10. Clear Water Bay Country Park(Ng Fai Tin to Ha Shen Tuk).
    (This trail is not open on Sunday & Public Holidays.)
    * Revised in April 2003


But how to get to the trails?


NT returns!

Alamak! My good old hosting company Sphereosoft pulled the plug on me. Or rather, Pacific Internet pulled the plug on them because they didn’t pay money to Pacific Internet.

So all their servers were held hostage by Pacific Internet. A no-win situation for either.
For the curious, visit

Efforts to contact my old hosting company and emails to Pacific Internet have gone unanswered. Since I’m out of jurisdiction, I think too troublesome to sue. So I’ve shifted over to Swiftroute which is reputed to have a better track record and service standards. A little bit more expensive, but what you pay is what you get.

But money cannot compensate the fact that all the data from my previous blog is lost… ;(

This of course, doesn’t really matter, because very soon, I will be putting more information on this site.