Low tax, Laissez-Faire, economies > ones with large public sectors

Low tax, Laissez-Faire, economies are better than ones with large public sectors

This is one of the two topics that 2 readers (this one by William) requested me to talk about. The other one, requested by Sis, was already discussed here.

Firstly, I'm pretty sure William was just pulling my leg here and probably wouldn't expect me to really talk about this. Well, I am...in brief hehe :)

Now, my initial thought was that why can't the economy of a country be driven by both "low tax, Laissez-Faire" environment as well as "large public sector"? I don't think they are diametrically opposites.

I supposed that in a Laissez-Faire environment, less regulation is needed and thus less regulators and law enforcers are needed, which in turns mean a smaller public sector. The problem with such environment is the higher potential risk of higher social cost, notably the income gap disparity and crime. So government probably has to compensate by providing security and having some sort of social assistance and any other counter-measures, short of shutting down the Laissez-Faire system.

On the other hand, large public sector tends to have adverse effect on productivity as there's little or absence of competition. Also, be wary of the "rice bowl" mentality that tends of also appear in public sector, which can be crippling in a large public sector.

I prefer the middleground i.e. some of each. Another alternative is to have Laissez-Faire implemented for certain sectors so as to encourage its growth but this needs to be done carefully to avoid regulatory arbitrage between sectors.

Rare dip

When it comes to shares, I invest in those that provide dividends regularly. Yes, I hold them for the medium to long term and sell only if the company's fundamentals turn sour and expected to be bad in the medium to long term. I don't do short-term trading.

Now, I am still not good at doing such research. I rely mostly on research done by other people. I read what they present and judge for myself whether it makes sense or not. Then I'll add the share counter in my watch list and buy them when the market dips.

However, waiting for dips requires lots of patience. I was fortunate to start investing only in late 2009 when the world was still recovering from the Great Financial Crisis ("GFC"). Next dip was during the advent of the European banking and sovereign debt crisis. After that, it was the downgrade of US credit rating by S&P. Each time, I took the opportunity to either add more to my existing shares I owned or to initiate a position in another share counter or both.

The most recent opportunity was immediately after the comment made by US Federal Reserve's chairman Ben Bernanke about the possibility of withdrawing the monetary stimuli as early as Sep this year. I added more SP Ausnet shares and initiated position in Kingsmen Creatives.

Was I nervous? Of course. I cannot be sure whether the market would continually drop or bounce back shortly after the dip. That's why generally I don't invest a huge sum of money at one go. If it drops further significantly, I'll invest a little more. If it rebounds, then it's good news for I have invested some.

Nightmarish

Few nights ago, I had a nightmare. I couldn't remember what it was exactly but vaguely recalled that it was supernatural in nature. At the end of it, I got out by screaming in the dream in an attempt to wake up. Yup, I'm usually quite conscious that I'm dreaming and thus can tell myself to wake up.

At first, I was relieved after waking up. It was in the middle of the night and the next day I wanted to attend a yoga class in the morning. However, I started hearing things outside the bedroom. Sounded like someone was playing 'Mount & Blade: Warband' lol. I could hear the combat sound and the background music. It wasn't Ban as he was soundly asleep. I could tell from the bottom of the room's door that there was no light switched on outside.

I sat up to clear my head a little and to listen again closely as it could just due to echo from my memory of playing the game (especially since that's what I'm playing nowadays). Still the sound persisted *shiver*. I nearly wanted to wake Ban up to investigate together. Also, I felt stomach discomfort but judging from its location, I was quite sure it was irritation to the bowel, rather than gastric and so didn't need to get the liquid antacid from the fridge.

I was anxious to get back to sleep to make it for yoga class. So I just drank some water (I always keep a bottle of water beside the bed) and tried to calm down to sleep.

Next morning I canceled the trip to the class because of lack of sleep. As for the nightmare (dream and reality), I should lengthen my downtime before bed i.e. sufficiently wind down after playing games before sleeping. Not going to contemplate what exactly I heard...

Mount & Blade: Warband


Currently, Ban and I are playing this. He first played this a year ago while I played the basic version then (didn't have this expansion).

The usual way of playing this game is to be a vassal in a kingdom and then fight to expand that kingdom. Naturally you will want to be friendly with the king and your fellow colleagues so as to be awarded as many towns/castles/villages as possible as that, among other things, contributes to your score.

Ban is taking the more difficult path: establishing his own kingdom. After he maxed out this chumminess with his king, he requested to be let off his oath of allegiance i.e. no longer a vassal of the kingdom. That also meant that he was stripped off whatever holdings he had (2 villages).

Then, on his own, he conquered a town of another kingdom and thus establishing his own kingdom: Bunny Utopia lol.

The first few weeks were very tough as he was attacked by that kingdom as well as other kingdoms who probably thought he could be beaten easily. Despite trying very hard, he had to employ some bunny magic (i.e. temporarily toned down the difficulty) to stave off the first two huge attack. Otherwise, he has been playing at the highest difficulty.

He is now a proud ruler of a kingdom with 4 towns, a few castles and several villages. Almost everyday there is a lord defecting to his kingdom but alas not all are good as some are quarrelsome while others are pitiless. Fortunately he has a choice to not accept such lords.

As for me, I'll blog about it in another post.

Strange expectorant

Drowsy expectorant

An expectorant cough syrup helps you to prevent phlegem from going to your lungs by expelling it via coughing or so I heard from doctors and pharmacists. That's why for cough that's caused by phlegm, it is not advisable to take suppressant cough syrup.

Given that's the role, do you expect it to be drowsy? It should be non-drowsy so that you will be actively coughing out the phlegm, right?

Not this Unizet expectorant. The doctor told me that it shouldn't be drowsy and yet some of his patients (including me) reported otherwise. I read the detailed information (on the piece of paper typically stuffed inside the box) and nowhere it indicated drowsiness as a side effect.

Strange, huh?

Authentic curry laksa instant noodle found here!

About 7 months ago, I blogged about this delicious curry laksa instant noodle that my sister in Australia bought that tasted like the real deal. Lo behold I chanced upon it here in KL at a Jaya Grocer store!

Curry laksa Jaya Grocer 1

Curry laksa Jaya Grocer 2

Yes, the name is different ("Laksa" instead of "Curry") but everything else looks the same. The ingredient of its paste looks similar though admittedly I didn't remember the details.

Although its price of AUD2.80 is viable in Canberra given that you can only get such authentic tasting laksa at a restaurant for, say, about AUD14 (though with portion about twice of the instant noodle and with ingredients), the price of RM7.50 in KL is too expensive since we can get freshly cooked laksa noodle for about RM5, with ingredients, So I'm not sure how long more Jaya Grocer will keep it in stock.

Jackpot!

Ban is lactose intolerant and also he can't have too much oil, especially non-olive oil. Chocolate ice-cream is a forbidden love to him. So it's not entirely surprising that he tends to stick to food that he tried before. Most food is at best "not bad" to him.

As mentioned in a previous post, Ban gamely agreed to my plan of trying out a new eatery (or new food) once a week. As expected, there have been hits and misses but I believed this experience is good for the brain regardless.

One great outcome of that plan is this particular gem he found at Tropicana City Mall's Sushi Tei: Nameko Sansai Hiyashi Cha Soba. He tried it at another branch (can't remember which one) but not as good as that at Tropicana.

He loves it so much that since I have this plan of trying out new eatery once a week, he gets to have this dish once a week. He need not have to do that for I gladly would have agreed without argument for it's truly rare for him to have food he loves.

Hope Sushi Tei maintains the noodle dish quality at the very least :)


Inaho @ the Curve

For maybe a year or two, I have gotten Ban to agree to try a new eatery (or at least new food) once a week. Recently, we tried this new Japanese restaurant. It was so new that it wasn't listed in Curve's directory yet.

The ambiance was pleasant and service was good but food was not satisfactory. Quality was there but the quantity was lacking. For the same price, I could get the same quality food but in bigger portion. Don't think we're going back there again.

We learned that they are related to the fine-dining Japanese restaurant at Royale Bintang Hotel. I will think twice before visiting that restaurant.

Inaho 3

Inaho 2

Inaho 1

WYN 2066

Wyn 2066 2 bays

This car encroached on the carpark bay next to it (on the left). The driver of this vehicle tried only once to re-park properly despite the car still overshot by at least one-and-a-half tyre width.

It wasn't the case that the driver was doing a quick errand. Nope. He and his girlfriend were ordering takeaway and had some questions to ask the shopkeeper. Took at least 10 minutes.

Inconsiderate fool. 

Haze begone

This was the worst haze situation I had ever been.

At first I thought I could go without a mask. A surgical mask is uncomfortable to wear. However, the smell of smoke was unbearable and so I had to search for a mask. By then, masks were sold out at most shops. In the end, Ban and I found a pharmacy that sold the normal puffy mask that filtered dusk and the likes but not bacteria. Bought a bunch for his family too.

I was pleasantly surprised that the mask wasn't uncomfortable to wear and it worked well. Even at its worst (think nearly 200 psi in KL), there was only a hint of smell of smoke with the mask on.

As an aside, we counted about 19 mozzies on our insect screen. They were so desperate to escape the haze too, huh?

When it got to its worst, Ban and I seriously considered visiting my sister in Penang, where the air quality was one notch better than KL's. Made arrangement with my sister to drive over in a few days time.

In the meantime, Ban decided to buy an air purifier despite knowing that the price had probably increased significantly. As expected, it was sold out at a few places before we visited Home Fix DIY. Ban bought a Bionaire air purifier that doesn't need to change filter(s) regularly but just need to clean it. It even has a sensor to let us know when to clean it. Cool, eh?

The air purifier truly did wonders to the air quality within the house. I could finally switch back to fan from aircon. After a couple of days, the haze cleared up significantly and so we canceled our trip to Penang.

One last night: Indonesian government's defensive reaction to its neighbours' complaints about the haze originating from their forest fire is childish. Buck up!