December 30th, 2006

Submarine fibers in Asia


taiwan-fiber-surrounding.jpgWe are slowly recovering from the disaster submarine fiber cut due to the earthquake in Taiwan. It is definitely one of the worst I remember…the last time a fiber cut affect us that badly is in 1994.

First, lets clarify a few misconceptions: submarine cables are not under the seabed. It is just lay across the sea. It is only when it crosses major shipping lines and fishing zones (mostly near the coast) that it is lay (5 to 10m below) under the seabed. Therefore, it is not unusual for submarine cable to be cut, mostly due to deepsea fishing.

taiwan-fiber.jpgSo when one submarine cable is severed, the operator generally have “restoration”, either on their own (self-healing cables) or using their competitors cables. This minimized the disruption. What is unusual is that this earthquake in Taiwan sever all the major cables (see above for the fibers near Taiwan).

As far as reports goes, SeaMeWe-3, ACPN2, C2C and EAC (ANC) (link) are severed. In other words, all the major submarine cable at the same time. Under other circumstance, when SeaMeWe-3 cuts, we can fall back to APCN2 or C2C or EAC. But when all of them are cut at the sametime, there is really nothing to fall back upon.
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December 25th, 2006

Play to Win


I went to a neighbourhood secondary school – Anderson Secondary School. Now, it is one of the better neighbourhood school but it was a humble school back then. I often represented the school for competitions (mainly math and computer) and the teacher in charge often gave us this advise “Don’t worry about losing. It is the experience that counts.” – We never won anything.

A few years later, I entered Hwa Chong Junior College, one of the top JC. I still represent the school for competitions (math and computer again) and the teacher in charge often gave us this advise “Play to win. We must win.” – And we won, mostly.

“Of course! You won cos you are in one of the top JC with the smartest students!”. But I have great teammates in Anderson too, smart students who went on to the top schools in Singapore. I dont think we are any weaker in Anderson compared to Hwa Chong. Yet we lose in one and we won another.

I believe the difference is the attitude. If you think you going to lose, you already lose.

So play to win. And only play if you will win. Dont waste your time otherwise.

December 24th, 2006

Merry Christmas



December 14th, 2006

On to Korea


I took my family back home over the weekend thinking I could be back in KL on Monday. A phone call later, meetings lined up and there goes my weekend. When I was thinking whether to go back to KL on Tuesday, I come down with a fever. Arghh. I missed a very important meeting (Very sorry!!).

More meetings later, I end up on a flight to Korea tonight. I am worried if the cold weather will make my fever worst…Hope I get some good rest later.

December 10th, 2006

Rule One on giving advise


Rule One of giving advise: Never give advise to something you won’t do yourself.

Dont recommend your friend to buy something you wouldnt buy yourself. Dont give advise to action you wont do yourself.

Never never believe one who dont do what they preach.

December 5th, 2006

Xiamen Trip


riyuegu14a.jpgPerhaps my Chinese host in Xiamen thinks I am too thin (I am not!) but they are very determined to make sure I put on at least 5 kg before I leave Xiamen. Regardless of the Chinese tradition of “finish everything you had on your plate, even one grain of rice”, every meal I had so far is twice as much as I can finish, and then more. And I had all sort of werid animals as food, including a supposingly endangered animal but disguise as something else. Dont ask…I dont want to know either.

The most fun part is the trip to 日月谷温泉 (RiYueGu Hot spring). It is definitely one of the best hotspring I visited. It is fairly new (built 3 years ago) by Taiwanese, very elegant and lots and lots of pools to choose from. The weridest is this pool where they have very small hotspring fishes from Turkey. You go into the pool together with the fishes while the fishes eat away your dead skin…My Chinese friends told me it is ticklish feeling. I politely declined. I am not going to feed the fishes :P

December 3rd, 2006

On the way to Xiamen

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I am on my way to Xiamen. Come to think about it, it is the first time I am flying on Silkair so I am not sure what to expect. If you are wondering I am going to Xiamen and not to Hong Kong for the big ITU World 2006, you aren’t the only or the first to ask. No, I didnt plan for the trip ITU World…I didnt thought I need to be there. But as it turns out, I may have to end up doing a day trip over for a brief meeting. But lets see.

The last two days was kind of crazy for me. I fly back to Singapore on Thrusday to have dinner with Cory & Jean from SecondLife who was in town. They also gave a talk at SMU which nearly 300 people turn up. I have to wait nearly an hour for all the fans to finish shaking his hands and asking questions. By the time we settled down for dinner, it is already 9pm.

Series of meetings later, I am back in the airport flying out. I feel quite bad for my wife and kid who hardly have any time with me…Sorry :-(

Incidently, my little daughter discovered Youtube yesterday. She refused to go to sleep until she got her Hello Kitty..and still crying for more after watching it twice. :P

For me, I enjoyed the rejoice, the FU (Thanks Rob :-) as well as the bullshit :-)

November 29th, 2006

Follow the money


Over the weekend, I learn an acquaintance was recently recruited (together with the rest of his team) to join a new hedge fund by Goldman Sachs.

The package he got was nothing less than amazing, in the millions per year. Considered he is probably one of the mid-level guys offered from his team, you could imaging what his peers or boss is offered.

Although they are paid a lot more than many of the listed companies executives, such pay package is not really unusual for Goldman Sachs. Afterall, if the team can manage a 50% yearly return on more than US$1b fund, they more than deserved it.

Warren Buffet once said that Wallstreets is probably the only place that US$1m is considered tips.

What is unusual is that such pay are normally exclusive to Americans and Wallstreets bankers, it is coming to Singapore (or Asia in general) but still within the Ivy League clique. A retired banker friend said that such pay is unheard of in his time. Not in the dotcom days and definitely not before that.

One reason for this is obviously the money is flowing to Singapore and Asia. Serious lots of money.

As money flows here, fund managers (esp. those who can managed good returns using OPM, other people money) is going to pay very well. Where money flows, the economy will follow. Follow the money, follow the growth.

Anyway, congratulation to my friend. Wish him all the best in his new job at Goldman Sachs.

1 Singapore government has provided excellent system for funds to operate out of Singapore.

2 Seriously for those who complains about widening income gaps in Singapore, how do you narrow the income gap between someone who has an MBA from Havard managing US$1b fund and another who has an ITE diploma? Thats the new reality in Singapore now.

November 28th, 2006

Dear Celcom


celcom-4am-voicemail.JPGDear Celcom,

I know I have voicemail.

But do you have to set your system to call me every 15 mins? At 4am in the morning? Just so to wake me up to see a 3 missed calls from my own number? And to taunt me a few more times before I gave up and clear the voicemail (music tone??? wtf!)…only to find I cannot go back to sleep. (wtf! wtf!)

Your voicemail service is to help me take a voice message when I am not available. And for me to retrieve the message when I am available. It is not an excuse for you to call me every 15min (for a music tone no less!), and definitely not at 4am in the morning.

So beloved Celcom. Get a freaking clue and fixed your bloody system. Stop calling your customers 4am in the morning.

Yours Sincerely,

A very pissed off customer.

November 27th, 2006

Making money from virtual money


Saw this on slashdot today: Chinese student arrested after making 150 million yen selling items for online RPG

Wang Yue Si, 23, came to Japan on a student visa in April 2004. He started selling items such as weapons and currency for online games through an Internet auction site in April this year, without obtaining the appropriate residency status…

Police suspect that Wang has sold a total of 150 million yen in virtual items and sent more than 100 million yen to China. (Mainichi)

The title focus on the student being deported after making US$1.3M. I think the real story is the fact that someone can actually made US$1.3M buying and selling virtual weapon and currency in online games.

Incidently, Blizzard step up its effort to ban farmers and sellers in the world of warcraft recently. A friend also informed me that Chinese game-farms are also seeing lower yield from their investment; an average account gets banned in a month as compared to 3-6 months before. This means they have to recreate an account and re-level a new character to level 60, wasting 10-12 game time.

The result is that the price of the in-game currency jumped nearly four fold, from US$50-60 per 1,000 gold to over US$200 per 1,000 gold now. The virtual black market is exactly like real black market, increase in policing only increase the black market price but never kill it.

I related this to Joi in the game over the weekend and he replied “Blizzard should just “legalized” it”. I agree.