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  • The Singapore Story: No Longer A Sure Thing For Investors? [View article]
    While I have not lived in Singapore, there are some things in the "i dun unerstan u lah!..." that I find or consider to be true (no need to point them out as that will only lead to more abusive comments!) and other things that aren't e.g. making a negative judgement on the local labor force based on job applicants sourced from a job portal I've used in the past for candidate sourcing.

    People should read that article (along with others like mine along with comments like yours - very informative although I don't know why you would want to leave Singapore to go to California!), the comments/debate its sparked on various forums and form their own informed opinion...
    Apr 9 11:52 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Singapore Story: No Longer A Sure Thing For Investors? [View article]
    True "wer'e all Eduardo Saverins now" - in spirit BUT not everyone is a corporation or wealthy family who has the kind of money he has to do what he did - renounce US citizenship, pay any exit taxes and basically buy or get another citizenship without much of a hassle.

    However and for the long-term, you can't have a country/society populated by or only affordable for or only really attractive to the Eduardo Saverins of the world - except maybe Monaco and a couple of other places! (And I never criticized fines for littering or chewing gum in Singapore but merely said that's what many westerners think when they hear Singapore...)
    Apr 9 11:06 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Singapore Story: No Longer A Sure Thing For Investors? [View article]
    @ljc.paul I think roojoo summed it up well.

    Let me add this: While I have NOTHING against Singapore and I generally like the country, its not attractive for me to live there (unless I married a Singaporean or was offered a job there that I felt was both secure and paid a certain salary level...)

    Let me EXPLAIN why as this may be TRUE for many other expats and foreign companies for that matter:

    I recently set up an LLC in the USA but if I were to also set up a company somewhere overseas (I was told this by an American who does this), I could have that overseas company bill expenses to the US LLC to knock down my US self-employment and any other US taxes due (NOTE: I have not yet confirmed this with an accountant yet as I don't do it and I am sure one needs to be careful about dotting "i's" and crossing "t's"). So long as the money is held in accounts controlled by the overseas company and NOT distributed to me, its not liable for any US taxes as this is basically what Apple et al do in some form or another to "dodge" USA taxes.

    When I checked on setting up some kind of entity like an LLC in Singapore, I checked on getting an employment pass to allow me to work for it and live in Singapore just for the heck of it. Besides the capital requirements (not too onerous), I was told I'd have to pay myself a minimum salary of $7k a month to get a visa to work for my company and live in Singapore. That amount would also be subject to US self employment taxes as its being paid to me.

    In contrast, if I set up an entity somewhere else that's much cheaper to live, pay myself a token salary for living expenses and leave everything else earned in company accounts, I save on one of my biggest expenses and there are so many visa / retirement programs / investor incentives etc. in the region etc, its a matter of shopping around for a deal that's both legal and works for me.

    The same logic applies for big MNCs and their armies of bean counters e.g. keep a few execs earning the big bucks in Singapore, send the remaining work to an office located in an investment incentive zone (with low or no taxes) in country X where salaries are also much lower, leaving all the profits/savings by not having everybody in Singapore parked in overseas accounts to avoid home country taxes etc.
    Apr 9 05:39 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Singapore Story: No Longer A Sure Thing For Investors? [View article]
    @roojoo I bet if you mention going over to JB for a visit to a random Singaporean (despite the fact that many are actually or once were Malaysian citizens who moved to Singapore), they will react as if you are going over to the South Bronx or Watts or something!!!

    I know there are some fancy subdivisions/condos going up in JB and then there is Legoworld where the price of admission is clearly geared for all the "high earners" on the other side of the causeway!
    Apr 9 02:59 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Singapore Story: No Longer A Sure Thing For Investors? [View article]
    AGAIN, I am not the one calling people "retarded." If you read that person's WHOLE post/article, he raises some interesting points/observations - some (but not all) are spot on while some are not (albeit the tone and repeated use of the word retarded is over the top). The debate his or her post has sparked on various forums is also interesting to follow...
    Apr 9 01:14 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Singapore Story: No Longer A Sure Thing For Investors? [View article]
    Again, I am not trying to bash Singapore or Singaporeans. Actually, you are very lucky to have Singaporean citizenship, despite the national service requirement, and NOT USA citizenship. BUT nothing lasts forever as the rest of SE Asia is not as "mismanaged" or whatever as it once was plus look at the USA now whose trajectory seems to be the same as Argentina's in the 20th century...

    Your car point is interesting: Someone who moved back to KL from Singapore once complained to me its actually cheaper to live in Singapore (where you don't need a car) than in KL (where it can be a necessity). BUT I am not so sure about that as C of L boils really down to "suitable" (a very relative term) accoms and the ability of your salary to cover them. I guess the ideal (other than the long commute) would be to work in Singapore and live in JB...
    Apr 9 12:54 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Singapore Story: No Longer A Sure Thing For Investors? [View article]
    "...Finger on the pulse of high finance in the SE Asia region..." Your right and guilt as charges as I have little experience working in banking :) (And I won't spend S$300 a night for a hotel!!!)

    I agree with you on what you say about Vietnam and especially Malaysia. Otherwise:

    Philippines - The outsourcing and shared services centers and those who set them up or work in them are largely shielded from the "rampant corruption" you say exists there. Ok, a cop may pull you over and want a gratuity, but that's better than paying $1,000 in fines for speeding!

    Indonesia - Jakarta floods and can be expensive for expats. Nevertheless, Air Asia moved their RHQ there albeit moving it to Singapore would have been a political problem!

    Thailand - I don't actually think its easy for a foreigner to live there without a Thai girlfriend! English is a problem as well.

    Singapore - I do agree with you but remember, sometimes "transparency, rule of law" is not always important to everyone or every company and both Malaysia and the Philippines have a "pretty well educated and English speaking work force."
    Apr 9 12:35 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Singapore Story: No Longer A Sure Thing For Investors? [View article]
    What is good about Singapore large caps would be their exposure to the rest of SE Asia as that's probably where most of their operations are but there would be little growth left for telco stocks like Singtel anywhere - even in emerging markets!
    Apr 8 10:10 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Can They Spare A Penny A Click For International Coverage? [View instapost]
    Titles and keywords in the first paragraph etc can only go so far if readers just aren't interested in the topic or the article does not get into the Google or Yahoo! Finance feeds. My articles on Malaysia and Indonesia are at less than half the level of Vietnam and the Philippines and yet Malaysia and Indonesia are the more interesting of SE Asia markets (They are also Muslim countries while SA is for American investors). So go figure...
    Jan 28 05:24 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Malay Dilemma: Is Malaysia A Safe Emerging Market Investment? [View article]
    I have not heard that name in awhile! I own two closed end funds: The ING Asia Pacific High Divid Eq Inco Fund (IAE) which covers everything in the region, including Australia/NZ; and the Aberdeen Chile Fund, Inc.(CH) - but neither have done much for me beyond their dividends... Aberdeen has a closed-end fund for Indonesia, Singapore, India and a few other Asia focused ones...
    Jan 25 02:24 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Malay Dilemma: Is Malaysia A Safe Emerging Market Investment? [View article]
    Parliament will dissolve automatically on April 27th (I think) if no date is set by the PM for elections. If the iShares MSCI Malaysia Index Fund ETF (EWM) keeps trending down for what ever reason (e.g. election uncertainty, Chinese New Year, hot money chasing other hotter regional markets etc), it might be a good time to buy right before the elections or right after if there is a sudden dip. Over the long term, just don't expect spectacular gains or losses for that matter unless reforms or something really unusual happens. However and unlike other emerging markets, local and Malaysian gov't pension funds would probably be major players on the Malaysia stock exchange - adding to the market's stability...
    Jan 24 11:35 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Malay Dilemma: Is Malaysia A Safe Emerging Market Investment? [View article]
    NOTE: The image "Distribution of the Bumiputera and Chinese population in Malaysia" from http://bit.ly/TmgNgV or http://bit.ly/V7eObi is supposed to appear near the top of the article.
    Jan 23 11:32 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apocalypse Now For Investors? A Vietnam Investment Review (And Reality Check) [View article]
    @Cavy_style_investing - well thanks! I think Vietnam does have long-term potential simply because of the people (its just a new generation needs to take over - both at the top and at the bottom). And look at Vietnamese-Americans like yourself. Maybe its a stereotype that Vietnamese-Americans all own nail shops, but that's not a bad stereotype to have as it shows that they are very entrepreneurial (Somewhere I read that many were leaving Orange County to move to Houston because Texas is so much more business friendly than California - so CA's loss will be TX's gain).
    Jan 16 08:53 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Emerging Markets Save RadioShack? [View article]
    Send the higher-ups a link to this article and tell them to book a flight to Malaysia to talk to the people running the show here! But seriously, at least the Berjaya people have a track record of trying to figure out how to make American brands that failed in the USA (Kenny Rogers, Borders etc) work in Asia AND they are FIRST putting money into making them work in order to make more money in the long run (e.g. buying Kenny Rogers for just $4 million and then making over $100 in revenue a year) rather than trying to figure out how to extract the last bit of marrow from the bone so they can move onto the next company/investment....
    Jan 15 10:54 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Emerging Markets Save RadioShack? [View article]
    I should add that my parents bought the first family computer, a Tandy, at a RadioShack (RSH) in the mall near us some time in the early 1990s I think. Back then, I think the people working in RadioShack actually knew something about what they were trying to sell to you (good luck finding a PT teen or 20-something working at WMT or TGT who knows anything about half the stuff they got on the shelves...). I am not sure what the people working at RadioShack are like today...
    Jan 11 04:22 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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