Saturday, October 18, 2008

Economically Unsound


Markets everywhere are tumbling just like sandcastles crumbling after a rogue wave. And yet, the finance portfolio holder says everything is just fine and dandy, and we shall all be happy and continue with what we've doing all this while. Oh, what a pretty picture!

Admittedly, my knowledge on economics is almost non-existent thanks to the education system I grew up in. If you're a science stream person, you stick with chemistry, physics, Biology and Additional Mathematics, and put your nose far away from the Social Sciences, arts and economics classes. No school (except maybe private schools, but I'm not sure) gave the option for you to take up a selection of subjects that you dig. I guess, inadvertently, it may have been some evil ploy to keep us only knowledgeable in certain areas so that we don't end up being too smart and start asking dangerous questions... hehehe. And due to that, most of the stuff I 'learned' about the economy is from a fellow blogger Zewt - who paints the picture in a terribly worrying way.

When you hear of banks folding, and big companies laying people off, you can't help but worry. I can't remember the 1984 economic slump (I was a bit too young to understand anything back then) but I remember the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis, and it is due to that I ended up doing what I do now. Well, not only me, but most of them born in around the same year as me had to re-evaluate our dreams and go with the flow... take whatever opportunity that comes, so to speak.

I read somewhere that the Malaysian Indices didn't drop as far as it should have because all the investors took off after the political tsunami in March (I'm sorry I can't specify the source of this info because I read too many things, and remembering where I read them is usually the last thing on my mind) A few months ago, I actually invested a bit in Public Mutual. I'm not sure if it is time to worry yet or not.

Nevertheless, people don't seem to be worrying as much as you'd think they should be. Being in the automotive industry, I can see that cars are still in demand (which is good for us, because cars can't go out without a good coat of shiny paint!) although the interest rates for loans have skyrocketed like crazy. People still throng the shopping malls at all times, which shows that they still have the buying power, and yet, deep down inside (and mostly after reading Zewt's stuff) I can't help being worried.

11 comments:

  1. I didn't know you were in the automotive industry. I'm impressed.

    Personally I'm thankful I live in an island nation that is immune to the immediate impact felt across the rest of the world. And though you say you don't know much you appear to know enough to get you by. Better than most :)

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  2. Yeah, I think I've never mentioned it before this... been too busy complaining about our paints! But it is a pretty cool industry.... you get info about the latest car models before they come out! And you know what the colours are going to be like as well!

    Anyway, that's the thing I was wondering about myself, as in are we really protected from the crisis? People seem to not be too worried about the issue even here as well, and yet, I've heard of friends of friends getting laid off (those in American companies, especially)

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  3. Alls I know is that the two of us are smart enough to lay low and avoid any spray when the shit hits the fan ;)

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  4. Your education system sounds a lot like what we have tormenting us here in India too. I'm also one of those that got into the "science stream" and stuck to it and as a result don't understand a word of anything else.

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  5. I think it's a situation where people need to walk the fine line between sensible reorganization of investments and complete loss of faith in world markets.

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  6. It was inevitable that there would be a correction, both in the American and world economies. Depending on what policies our leaders use to fix the problem will determine how long it will last and how bad it will be.. sigh.. such is life. I'm glad that you haven't been too badly affected by everything.. I actually think it's going to get a little crazy next year, so grab hold tight! =Piz

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  7. Fortunately I work for myself and so far haven't felt any ripples in the water. That hasn't stopped me from bullet proofing my business as much as possible. I am, however, moving people from external contracts to internal development. This way I can keep people working as long as possible just in case things do get lean.

    As far as the school system, it is not all that uncommon for emerging economies to focus on science and engineering. It is a social engineering of sorts. Development is built on infrastructure. Which is not to say that Malaysia is underdeveloped (I was impressed with KL), but societies often get trapped in development mode to the detriment of the arts. Do me a favor and keep writing.

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  8. kartik: oh, that's an interesting fact... I feel it puts us at a terrible disadvantage, though.

    travis: I guess people just panicked because it sort of happened so suddenly.

    mike: crazier in the next year? hmmm... definitely not looking forward to that!

    cyberfish: Well, I'm glad to know that you haven't been directly affected by the economic slump.

    Anyway, I'm not against the studying of science. In fact I used to enjoy science... however, I think they should have had a more flexible system (which they have adapted recently - after I left school of course) so that we could be well rounded individuals. You've been to KL?

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  9. I definitely agree that schools should be more flexible. Overspecialization is death and modern societies (US included) are overspecializing.

    I have been to Malaysia (KL among other places) I am tentatively planning to return within the next 6 months. Probably during one of my trips to Japan since it is closer.

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  10. That's true about overspecialization... which makes it all the sadder.

    Oh, that's nice. Hope you enjoyed your visit (and future visits as well) :)

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