Share investment Apr 15 Part 1

It's been just over a year since the last update. There had been many changes since then.

Firstly, a share counter was renamed:

SP Ausnet -> Ausnet Services

I added/initiated the following share counters:

(1) Ascott REIT: initiated position in this after been following its news on-and-off for quite sometime. It's yet another member of the CapitaLand family (as are CapitaMall, CapitaComm and CapitalRetailChina). It invests in "real estate and real estate-related assets which are income-producing and which are used or predominantly used, as serviced residences, rental housing properties and other hospitality assets". Yes, it overlaps a little with Saizen REIT (rental housing properties in Japan) but it has much wider coverage (13 countries), mainly serviced apartments and they are under a number of chains with their own branding. It also provides diversification to my portfolio.

(2) Boustead Singapore: bought more shares as the company is still managed well and recently I received personal confirmation of the use of ESRI (GIS software provider) by a major global oil company. Very recently, they listed their property development arm (now they own 51% of it) and so investors would receive shares in this new subsidiary in lieu of dividends but in my case, it could be still be the latter if they find that it's troublesome to issue such shares to overseas investors. I'm fine with either way. It's a matter of whether I have direct or indirect exposure to this property arm.

(3) Ausnet Services: added more as it still provides attractive dividend yield and is a stable cash generating utility company but recently it's experiencing negative free cashflow yield. Have to watch this carefully.

(4) SATS: initiated position after eyeing it for sometime. Prepared to make this an exception to my "5% dividend yield" rule as I expect it to be a stable dividend-paying company as it is "the leading provider of gateway services and food solutions in the region." It has nearly no debt and free cashflow yield that exceeds its dividend yield. It is the "leading ground handler and in-flight catering service provider at Changi International Airport" and also caters in-flight food to major airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, Qantas and Cathay Pacific Airways. Yes, its fortune is tied to airlines but maybe less volatile because it's not directly affected by fuel price and many people will still travel in spite of the economy. They may downgrade to a lower class or take low-cost carrier or travel less frequently but travel they must. So if SATS managed to at least maintain their customers, they should still be fine. It'll be a matter of how much they earn. On another note, this share counter provides diversification to my portfolio.

(5) Second Chance Properties: added more as the company is still doing well, providing atttractive dividend yield.

(6) Sembcorp Industries: added more (twice) when price weakened due to bad news by its subsidiary, Semcopr Marine (an O&G related company). The bad news were two-fold: the steep decline in oil price compared to a year ago and related corruption case in Brazil (naturally they denied being involved). Still, this conglomerate generates cash from a variety of sources and I'm confident that it will bounce soon, especially if oil price and its related activities pick up again.

(7) Singapore Technologies Engineering: added more when price weakened.

I sold partially/fully the following share counters:

(1) Re my previous update, SBS Transit share price was on a relentless downward spiral and yet I bought more because of its economic moat (for more details, read my previous update). Later, there was great news: the Singapore government decided that from August 2016 onward, it would (gradually?) own all the bus infrastructure and operating assets and contract out the bus services. In other words, bus operators will have only 1 main role: providing services by operating buses through competitive bidding. Suddenly, share price went up such that my shares are back in the black lol. I took the opportunity to offload some shares so as to reduce my the weighting of this share counter in my portfolio (it was 11% at the last update).

(2) Sold STI ETF once it hit my required 10% capital gain.

As at 24 Apr 15, I have investment in 24 companies (I've also indicated whether their source of business is solely in Singapore only or not):

AIMS-AMP Industrial REIT (Singapore only)
Ascott REIT
Ausnet Services
Boustead Singapore Ltd
Cache Logistics Trust (Singapore only)
CapitaCommercial Trust (Singapore only)
CapitaMall Trust (Singapore only)
CapitaRetailChina REIT
First REIT
Fraser Centrepoint Trust
Kingsmen Creatives
M1 (Singapore only)
SBS Transit Ltd (Singapore only)
SIA Engineering
Singapore Press Holdings
Singapore Technologies Engineering
Saizen REIT
Second Chance Properties (Singapore only)
Sembcorp Industries
Singapore Shipping Corp
Venture Corp

Hanging Garden

Ok, these photos do no justice to how beautiful this garden is at the second storey of this house. I remember I was strucked by how...hmmm...pretty and peaceful (calming effect?) it looks. Lush.

Hanging garden 2

Hanging garden 1

I like it but I can imagine the huge amount of effort needed to upkeep it. I wonder whether the owner does it himself or hire a gardener.

Ramen Ten & Shin Tokyo: 3rd visit

Wow, didn't realise it took 6 months before we visited this restaurant for the 3rd time. Given the disappointing experience previously, I had hoped that this time it would be must better. I ordered Ohyako Chicken Ramen (RM15.80):


When it was served, I immediately smelled fried garlic. I love fried garlic and so I was pleasantly surprised :) It's visible in the photo above.

There were carrots (both thinly sliced and chopped pieces version), beansprout, seaweed, spring onion, 2 halves of an egg and of course chicken.

The soup and ramen were quite normal while the chicken was mild in taste. Yet somehow everything worked together to make this dish delicious. I am baffled. Maybe it was the fried garlic hehehe.

I'll definitely have this again.

Duel of Champions: ToR & 15th Swiss win!

The expansion, Time of Renewal ("ToR"), was launched on April 15, taking 11 hours to finally get the server up. Gosh, that's crazy. No gesture for compensation at all. Bear in mind that aside from some rebalancing feature, everything else is the same as the cards in the Chinese server.

Currently, the expansion can only be bought with seals (premium in-game currency that can only be obtained using real cash and, no, they are not the fish eating kind). Historically, expansion will only be available for gold purchase 2 weeks after launch. As expected, I haven't seen many new cards yet but I have seen quite a few cards that were previously non-Standard but now is Standard.

The popular Kal-Azaar 4/6/0 control deck is nerfed due to the change in Spell Stealer Heretic. Previously, spells can be recycled (once on any spell) without meeting its stats requirement. For example, Arkath Wrath needs 5 Magic. You can use Kal-Azaar's hero ability to discard it and deal 2 damage to an enemy creature. Then you can deploy the Heretic (needs 4 Might and 2 Magic) and use that spell eventhough you have not upped Magic to 5. Now, you will have to meet the stats requirement of that spell.

The Kal-Azar 3/3/2 rush deck's Bound Succubus is also nerfed. Previously, it'll deal 2 damage to enemy hero at the end of your turn if it didn't attack during that turn. Now, if enemy hero's hp is lower than your hero, then it'll deal 1 damage, instead of 2. Otherwise, it's still 2 damage.

Overall, I think the rush deck is less affected than the control deck because while in the latter it's common to use spell from graveyard via the Heretic without needing to meet the spell's stats requirement, in the former, Bound Succubus is not critical to its success. I regularly win without deploying her as upping Destiny to 2 (or Magic to 3 for Town Portal) is often the last thing to do.

So I decided to use the rush deck to compete in the Swiss tournament on Standard format. I was fortunate that the first 2 duels' opponents (ELO 118 and 875, my current ELO is 1425) used decks (Kal-Azaar and Garant respectively) that were substantially more than 59 cards and were not optimal. The last opponent (ELO 1388) gave tougher challenge with Kal-Azaar 5/6/0 deck and I was surprised I did lethal with the lowly breeder 1/0/1 token :P Incidentally, I didn't deploy any Bound Succubus in all 3 games. As an aside, none of my opponents used new cards or former non-Standard cards.

For the record, the tally now is as follows:

Necro (2) - Ariana on Standard and BS2 format each
Inferno (5) - Deleb probably on Inferno-only format, Kal-Azaar on "minimum 30 spells" format, 3 Kal-Azaar on Standard format.
Stronghold (5) - 3 Kat on Standard and 2 Kat on BS2 format
Sanctuary (1) - Yukiko on Standard format
Haven (1) - Cassandra on Standard format
Academy (1) - Myranda on Standard format

Sushi Zanmai: see no prawn

Remember the "no carrot" incident? Something similar happened recently.

I ordered Kaisen Ramen from their temporary menu:

Sushi Zanmai 9

Apologies for not having the photo of the actual dish that was presented to me. I was then taken aback by the obvious absence of prawns. There are prawns in the picture above, right?

Now, I understand that the actual dish cannot replicate exactly the picture in the menu but to completely devoid of an obvious ingredient is shocking. Incidentally, there wasn't a disclaimer stating either "the picture is for illustration purpose only" or "actual ingredients may differ depending on the availability of the ingredients and/or its freshness".

So, I highlighted this glaring absence to a waiter who promptly took the bowl of ramen to his supervisor. After a few seconds of discussion, the supervisor brought it to the kitchen. A few minutes later, the supervisor brought to me a bowl of the same ramen but this time with prawns and apologised for the earlier omission.

Did it look like the picture? I would say similar but to my surprise the prawns were actually 2 halves of a prawn but cleverly arranged such that it looked like the photo lol. So stingy. Oh well.

This incident marred an otherwise delicious ramen. Its soup was quite rich in...seafood taste :P. It was salty and sweet at the same time but at the right level. Too bad it's not in the permanent menu.

Hope and change

See the world not as it is but as it should be.

- Glee series finale

Pho Hoa @the Curve

One day, after gym, Ban's brother suggested Pho Hoa for lunch (instead of yet another Japanese lunch). That was an excellent idea as I then recalled Ban and I had looked at their menu for future lunch venue but forgot about it later. The restaurant is on the side, not along the main avenue, and so easily forgotten.

I ordered from the most expensive category because I wanted to have a variety parts of beef (apart from steak), including tripe. It cost more than RM 30 @@

Pho Hoa 1

Pho Hoa 2

The soup was too light for me whereas Ban's and his brother's soup tasted much better. Seems like a waiter caught a whiff of my displeasure because he voluntarily came over to our table and asked for feedback after we were done with the food. I told him about the soup and he said that in future I could ask for change of soup. He was quite friendly.

However, another major complaint was that the meat was tasteless. I doubt they would change the meat for me lol.

I may give this restaurant another try but definitely will order beef noodle without tripe. Paid so much but got so little. There is also another outlet at Tropicana City Mall.

Duel of Champions: 14th Swiss win!

Hehehe can't believe I won another so soon. After a string of close unranked game losses, I decided to join Swiss tournament again when Standard format was up. Needed to check in 3 times because there were not enough participants (need 8).

Again I used Kal-Azaar 4/6/0 control as it was generally still the best deck at that moment. All 3 opponents used Inferno heroes. The surprise was the first opponent: his ELO was merely 6! Guess he was just trying out the tournament. I know my bro-in-law and I tried even before we finished the campaign hehehe. Incidentally, my current ELO is 1380

The second duel was the toughest (ELO 1587): also a Kal-Azaar 4/6/0 but without Enthrall and with 2 Moon Phoenix. I was behind time and towards the end, his 2 Phoenix were just annoying me. In the last 1 minute or so (he had like 3 more minutes than me), I top-decked Enthrall and used it to control and move his blocker for me to deal the final blow.

The last duel was against someone I dueled with twice before (ELO 1638). Handily lost the first time and narrowly lost the second time. I was hoping he would lose his second duel in this tournament but as expected, he went into the final against me. I knew beforehand (from spectating a little) that he was using the Kal-Azaar rush 3/3/2 and guessed that it would be similar to the one he used to be beat me previously. To my surprise, this time he included Hall of Torment. He used it once and it was evidently a gamble because he forwent putting creatures to block my creatures' attack. Fortunately, I top-decked once again by drawing Ariana, whom I used to destroy that fortune. Phew! I won the very next turn.

So, before I continue, I would like to express my eternal gratitude to the O'Mighty God of Top Decking for some of my Swiss wins hehehe.

For the record, the tally now is as follows:

Necro (2) - Ariana on Standard and BS2 format each
Inferno (4) - Deleb probably on Inferno-only format, Kal-Azaar on "minimum 30 spells" format, twice with Kal-Azaar on Standard format.
Stronghold (5) - 3 Kat on Standard and 2 Kat on BS2 format
Sanctuary (1) - Yukiko on Standard format
Haven (1) - Cassandra on Standard format
Academy (1) - Myranda on Standard format

Duel of Champions: 13th Swiss win!

Not sure whether 6th April as the rumoured date for the new expansion is going to be true or not as there is still no word or hype on any date. Haiz.

So, I took the opportunity to join the Swiss tournament whenever the format is Standard and when health permits (need mental clarity). I managed to notch my 13th win with Kal-Azaar 4/6/0 control deck :)  The first (Shaar 5/5/0) and third (Kal-Azaar 4/6/0) duels were against opponents of around the same ELO as me whereas the second (Kal-Azaar 3/3/2) duel was against opponent whose ELO was about 200 above mine. Quite surprisingly the 1st duel took the longest time.

So with that, the tally now is as follows:

Necro (2) - Ariana on Standard and BS2 format each
Inferno (3) - Deleb probably on Inferno-only format, Kal-Azaar on "minimum 30 spells" format, Kal-Azaar on Standard format.
Stronghold (5) - 3 Kat on Standard and 2 Kat on BS2 format
Sanctuary (1) - Yukiko on Standard format
Haven (1) - Cassandra on Standard format
Academy (1) - Myranda on Standard format

Dell: trouble again!

Unfortunately, the last wasn't the last.

Here's how I noticed something amiss: a website told me that my password was invalid. So I thought perhaps I had the Caps Lock on but despite pressing that key a few times, its indicator failed to light up. Later, I noticed that neither did the Wifi and loading indicator.

It was on a weekend and since it wasn't urgent, I e-mailed Dell's customer service. Meanwhile, I ran Dell's diagnostic programme, both on my laptop and on its website. It didn't flag anything wrong. Shortly later, a Dell officer e-mailed me and asked me to do a few things but it didn't help. Hence, he arranged for an engineer to visit me.

About 2 days later, two engineers called and arrived on-site to fix it. They, however, noticed that other indicators on the keyboard were not lighting up as well e.g. the power button, the touchpad. Somehow this was important but I told them I wasn't aware of those because my attention was drawn to the Caps Lock indicator only (and subsequently the other 2 indicators next to it).

They tried doing something (definitely fiddled with something inside) but to no avail. They then called (presumably) Dell's office, reported the additional issue and told me that an engineer (could be them or another one) would contact me and drop by to fix it.

Coincidentally, right after they left, another problem cropped up: the sound coming out of the laptop's speakers were much softer than before and muffled. It was normal if I used an headphone. I highly suspect that those two engineers accidentally moved something out of place. Hmph!

I reported via e-mail to the Dell officer who then told me to ask the next engineer to fix the issue. Later, I discovered from the engineer that he wasn't told of the sound problem. Hmph!

The new engineer noticed that the Alienware word just below the monitor and the logo on the outside were not lighting up either. Oh gosh! On his first attempt, the sound was fixed but not the indicators. He replaced part of the keyboard but still no use. So he replaced the motherboard. Gosh! I really hoped that would work and it did! Yay! Took nearly 1.5 hours.

Due to my previous bad experience, I quick restart my laptop. Yup, it started up as quickly as usual. The sound was normal and all indicators were working as normal. I apologised a little for needing to do these and briefly told him of my bad experience.

Phew! I can't believe how much problem I had with this laptop, compared with the previous one (which had none except for a wonky disc drive). Maybe because it is now manufactured in China rather than in Penang? *shrug* Really hope this is the last one.