Sunday, May 31, 2009

Life's a Beach

Just got back from Cinque Terre (Cinque=5; Terre=land), a belt of five little villages linked by a scenic mountain pass and a beautiful coastline.

I didn't make it for the mountain hike that my friends went on because of my accounting exam (and now that I remember, for some reason, in the balance sheet featured in one of the questions, total current assets did not include cash & cash equivalents. How then can you still call that figure total current assets??), so I joined them later. Spent the day at the beach.

The weather wasn't very good, it was overcast and very chilly. You can see the cloud cover from the picture. Going for a dip in the sea was a huge metabolism jolt; just trying to stay alive in the ice cold water burned off a massive amount of calories because the body had to overclock itself to keep warm.

Cinque Terre, despite being a tourist destination, was largely affordable. Hostel was a good rate, food was cheap and good, and fruits and gelato were very reasonably priced.

Now it's time to begin my Business Strategy revision. Reading a case on Tod's and the Italian luxury market. It's enjoyable.

In less than a month Char and I would fly off to Paris!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Accounting Exam

Was today. I had fun doing it.

Some sample questions, for you to enjoy.

1) Calculate depreciation expense under the straight-line method.
2) Which depreciation method will yield the highest net income?
3) Calculate current ratio.
4) What is a finance lease?
5) Why are investors interested in ROE?
6) Calculate value of ending inventory if using FIFO method.

Among many others. It was a 2 hour paper. I left after 40 minutes because it got tough sitting there acting like I was still doing my sums.

And the weekend's here!! Heading to the seaside.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Forza Barca!

Over huge burgers at Henry's Cafe on a trendy street in Milan we watched FC Barcelona beat Manchester United fair and square.

Manchester United fans and their herd mentality...

I thought this was true contrarian investing at its best. Back in the city of Barcelona two months ago I decided to pick up some Barca merchandise because I felt like they were going to win. Now I've got shot glasses, towels, a ball and a scarf to brandish proudly haha. Some of it will be for some of you guys.

OK now it's time to hit the books again. Except, I have no textbooks!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


EUR/GBP, H4, 6 Mar - 6Apr

The textbook head-&-shoulders reversal pattern seen here took more than a month to form. But when such a formation takes place, it pays big. You might not exactly see the resemblance to human anatomy, but you get the idea of three peaks, the centre one of which is higher than those on either side of it. (In Europe it's getting a little trendy to be wearing coats with exaggerated shoulder padding to emphasise the silhouettes; those make a person look more like this so-named chart.)

At the right shoulder is where most of the action and hopes are. Should the prices fall beneath the neckline of the right shoulder, you're in for a wild ride.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Poor Pig

Nacho is sick. Char brought her to the vet today to remove two abcesses under her chin. But she said the little one wasn't bothered and was just munching on cucumbers all the time. The vet said it isn't cancer because Nacho is too young. I hope this tiny guinea pig will be fine.

Relevant Costs

Relevant costs must be considered when comparing two alternatives.

For illustration, let's talk about the choice of going on an exchange programme versus staying in Singapore to save the cash. Now many people judge an exchange programme to, say the US or Europe, as really expensive, and estimate it to cost about S$10,000 to 15,000 or so for the 6 months to be spent overseas.

And then their claim stops right there.

They break down this sum to include airfare to primary destination, accomodation, living expenses, transport, and additional travel.

But they forget that when you're in Singapore, you also incur quite a sum of money just living there. Transport (EZ-link), food (canteens and restaurants), entertainment (movies, clubs), shopping, accomodation (hall fees or equivalent) etc cost money too, did you forget that?

As a reference, let's just use my scholarship allowance as an example. Each semester, I wait for my S$3,000 disbursement from the scholarship office. When I was awarded the scholarship, this was explained to me to be living allowance. This means the school has calculated that a student needs a minimum of S$3,000 just to get by 4 (not even 6!!) months in Singapore. Covers food, accomodation, transport, and there's enough leftover for some form of "discretionary expenditure".

So when you talk about an exchange programme, let's deduct this $3,000 from the overseas exchange programme cost estimate. You're saving S$3,000 in expenditure in Singapore when you go overseas. What I'm trying to say is, the relevant difference people should be looking at when they think about whether to go overseas for a term or not is the S$10,000 estimate less S$3,000.

(And since the $3,000 figure was for a 4 month period, it's only natural 6 months would cost more--greater savings in other words.)

Now think about that, S$,7000 for 6 months overseas? That is a good deal. So don't fret, go apply for your exchange programme. It's well worth the money, take it from me.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Crystal Ball says...

GBP/USD, H4, 22 Apr - Today

Here's an annotated chart to show you how manually drawn trendlines are still good in this day and age of algorithm trading, funky indicators, and scam bots.

A: Prices just bounce upwards along the thick red line I drew. An uptrend line, when correctly drawn, should connect the significant lows of candlesticks. Use the candlestick shadows, not just bodies.

B: The moment the prices breach the trendline, they will continue falling. Should they resume a climb however, they will bounce within the limits of that same trendline which they broke. Notice here that the prices retrace down each time they get near the red line? They'll do this till they breach the trendline and break out of this channel.

C: Prices have moved sideways but are picking up again and headed for the trendline. What I think is going to happen is that naturally they will fall when they wander near the vicinity of the red line. Supporting evidence #2 is the insane RSI on this chart. Way overbought, what goes up has to come down.

I set my RSI levels to 23/77 (default settings are normally 30/70 or 25/75) so that stronger signals can be generated. The RSI is now at 84?? When the RSI begins to cross downwards to head below 77, I'm shorting.


Now. I really should be studying my accounting crap. Not looking at charts. But a chat with Nick in the early morning got me opening up my trading platform for a looksee.

WTF R U Doing?

EUR/USD, H4, Past few days

Today I'd like to teach you a highly useful Italian phrase.

Che cazzo fai? : What the fuck are you doing? (kay ka-zzo fai)

I've been asking myself that. I entered a long position at Point A, certain that this uptrend could last because:

1) the prices were also above the EMA
2) the parabolic SAR was on a climb
3) the RSI was not near extreme ranges yet

Placed my order, set my stops, and went and played DOTA. One time when I was dead I hit alt+tab to get back to my trading screen, saw I was 22 points up, and said 'yea this is good'. So the prices kept climbing, till my trailing stop loss got triggered, and then from that point on I was guaranteed a positive return even if prices fell.

Turns out I was too stingy with my trailing stop loss; I should have set it at 55 points trailing or something on hindsight. The chart retraced, my stop loss kicked in, knocked me off the trade at Point B, and I walked off with... 3 points. At least it's still positive right? Black always better than red?

The real tragedy is that, within half a day, the uptrend resumed (having retraced and rested well), and now the EUR/USD has surged 150 points above my entry. I ask myself in horror, Che Cazzo Fai?!?!

SingTel Formula 1 2009

F1 2008

One year has come and gone, and it's time to get ready for the second Formula 1 in Singapore! Cheapest ticket available this time round is the S$28 walkabout ticket on 25 Sep (Fri) for the practice laps. I don't care if I have school on this day, presentation/quiz or not, I'm not caring!

From experience, watch the actual race at home or in a pub or whatever, not from the circuit. You need updates for the actual race, you don't just want to see the cars zip by one by one without knowing who's in the lead and who overtook who and who crashed out and where these all happened.

I'm going to the Ferrari Store here in Milan to buy a huge flag for this race! And Ferrari merchandise to wear at the circuit! This time, we're armed with a DSLR camera for better shots.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gods of Metal 2009, 27 Giugno

The group that brought '80s hair metal to the pinnacle of its extreme glory; the drummer that did Pamela Anderson and had video to prove it; the boys that glamourised sex, drugs and rock n' roll; the tours that had crazed groupies tripping over themselves--This is Motley Crue.

This bad ass band invades Monza, Italy on 27th June for their Gods of Metal 2009 concert. The rest of the line-up isn't particularly exciting (2008's had Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Slayer, Meshuggah and even Yngwie Malmsteen) but since I missed Motley Crue's Fort Canning rock-out in Singapore, now's a good time to catch up with them.

On 27th June, Char lands in Milan for her second visit. I'll pick her up, bring her home, let her rest, and then we'll both go to Monza together to get metallized. Motley Crue plays at 2300 hrs.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Random your ass

Have you noticed how overused the word 'random' is on Facebook? Go through someone's list of photo albums and see how many times you can see the word 'random'. Can't these people call their albums anything else? It's not random! You had an activity, maybe you made it happen, maybe you planned it, maybe you wandered into it, maybe there's a collective theme to it, but to call a whole album 'random'?

'Random [insert month]'
'Random shots'
'Random people'
'Random shit'

That's stupid. Even if you had an IQ of 8 you could still at least find something more descriptive to name your albums with. Sure, I don't come up with the fanciest names for my albums, I only go by date and city, but that is infinitely more information than an album title like 'Random shit' can furnish you with.

Friday, May 15, 2009


My team's business strategy project is, by choice, about Ducati Motor Holdings. If I had to ride, I've always preferred Harley-Davidsons and insanely long-forked choppers, but now I'm thinking my future garage would do well to have at least one of these monsters, if not for the simple tribute that it is to my awesome time in Italy.

The report is due on Monday. Business strategy is such a crock of shit. At least I didn't get stuck with a crappy company, and when I'm surfing around late at night for Ducati models instead of hurrying my ass up to finish the project, I can say it's all done in the altruistic name of research.

But the other companies in the menu provided to us to pick our desired research company from aren't too shabby. If we couldn't get Ducati I won't be depressed if we got a chance to study Fiat, Tod's, or even Juventus Football Club. That's Italy: flashy vehicles, fashion labels, and football.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Go jump off a cliff, boy!

On a weekend like any other we thought it would be great to go jump right into a Swiss canyon. Having psyched ourselves up for weeks watching the videos of other jumpers on Youtube, we are now finally able to say 'been there, done that.' Strangely, the scariest point in the jump is not when you actually are about to leap off, but when it is your turn next in line.

I suppose it must be the same before death. All your life you hear of people going, and when you get old and your friends begin to croak one by one, you fear your time. But when it comes, it comes. No tears, no regrets. Too late for all of that.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

EXAM Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I realised I made an entry label for Bocconi, but I've only ever had one post in it, and that was for my timetable. Now this is my second post, and it's just to inform you that I've got an email sitting in my inbox saying "Dear student, your exams are drawing close."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


GBP/USD, H1, 27 Apr - Today

Huge compliant trend. Parabolic SAR indicates fresh uptrend. I'm taking a chance on this one. I haven't been following the news lately, I don't even know what's going on on the economic fronts, but that's the way some technicians are. Who cares about the news when the chart says it all?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Months ago, on its way down, I sold SGX stock at S$6 to exit the market. It continued to go down to the low $4's. I complimented myself on my bold decision to close all positions, because that saved me thousands in paper losses. SGX is now at S$7.18. I didn't load up on new orders, and now I feel the pain of a thousand knives ripping my spirit to shreds.

So painful. I could stub my cigars out in the palm of my hand right now and that wouldn't even hurt me.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Lamborghini @ Sant'Agata Bolognese

Went to the birthplace of Lamborghini in Bologna on Thursday. It's pretty straightforward getting there, so here are the directions:

1) Take a train from wherever you are to Bologna Centrale
2) From Bologna Centrale, walk about 200 m to Stazione Autolinee (bus station)
3) Get to the boarding platform for bus 576
4) About 45 - 50 mins later, alight at Chiesa Frati
5) Another 5 min walk later, Welcome to Lamborghini

The Lamborghini museum is just a walk-in exhibition. Opening hours are 1000 - 1200, and 1430 - 1700. From those time periods alone you probably can guess there isn't a lot to do in the museum. I won't even call it a museum, it's more of a gallery. Bookings are not required for small group visits, but you may choose to have a guide, who will bring you through Lambo's history and take you through the exhibits. Sometimes he even opens the door of a Lambo for you to sit inside for a photo.

Walk in and you won't even find a reception desk. All there is is a fleet of old Lambos. Well-groomed and shined to perfection, these bulls are the old guard that started the legend. From the Miura to the Espada, Lamborghini, you may find it interesting to know, names most of its cars after Spanish bulls. Odd for a proudly Italian carmaker, but a nice piece of trivia to know. Espada is an exception; it is the sword wielded by the bullfighter.

The gallery consists of two floors, and the second floor is probably where all the boys will find cars to get off on. From the Gallardo to the Diablo to the Murcielago (but no Reventon), this is a stable for the untamed beasts that now propel this auto company. Just coming up the stairs alone will make you feel like, I don't know, Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark or somebody, when the cars of the garage greet you.

The whitewashed walls are good for photographs, there are pillars that evoke the identity Lambo wishes to create, and then, like I said, there are the cars. It's all about the cars isn't it?

I'll be back when Char comes again. I'm sure she'd wanna take a look in here. Also a good chance to get a photograph of her here. I'm slightly in preference of Lamborghini over Ferrari now, having heard the back story of the Ferrari founder talking smack to the Lamborghini founder. Plus, my Ferrari photos were all red. The Lambo album looks so much more appealing, with the mix of vibrant hues.

The souvenir store is not an in-your-face tourist trap. I had to ask a staff member where the gift shop was, and he kindly directed me round to another building. It's a small area, stocking items from cufflinks to duffel bags, umbrellas to apparel, and other lifestyle items, such as espresso cups, leather jackets, candle blocks and so on. I got two shirts for Eur 10 a piece, which surprised me, for Char and Dawn.