Friday, 25 May 2012

John Mangun

An interesting discussion took place on Twitter yesterday. You should have a Twitter account.

Most of the people I follow on Twitter have recently been discussing the impeachment and American Idol along with the stock market and the China crisis.

The stock-market conversations reveal investor sentiment and some of the trading action. There are many professional stockbrokers on Twitter as well as personal traders and some “little guys.” You can gain some real insight just listening to the interactions about individual issues as well as broad market trends.

But it is not all business. Being told by someone you follow, along with a hundred other people that they are “eating glazed walnuts” or someone tweeting a picture of their lunch of “shrimp pomelo salad” is fun.

However, when you wander outside of noncontroversial topics, Twitter becomes like walking through a deep forest of either dark shadows or pathways of bright light. There is little in between the two.

Jessica Sanchez has the same vocal quality as the heavenly choir that sings as Saint Peter greets souls when they enter gates made of gold into heaven. End of story.

Ms. Sanchez’s not winning American Idol means the judges are tone deaf or biased against Mexicans or biased against women or biased against Filipinos or just plain stupid. That is all.

The impeachment-trial issues are absolutely and unwaveringly clear; as clear as a Blue Eagles-Green Archers game. Any foul called against your team clearly means that the referee is deaf, blind, mentally challenged or just does not understand the rules of the game.

When discussing the impeachment proceedings on Twitter, anyone who disagrees with your thoughts is in favor of someone being corrupt, against the Philippine Constitution, or deaf, blind, mentally challenged or just does not understand the rules of the game. “Since I won this argument some time ago, let’s move on.”

But of course, no one would condone or support corruption. However, there does seem to be a problem defining what corruption is.

American Idol is an American television program produced for American viewers. That is why they call it “American” Idol and not “Global Idol” or something else. Viewers who are in America are welcome to vote for the winner. You can vote on an American telephone number or from a computer using an American Internet address. Even the contestants have to be American citizens to join.

But Filipinos in the Philippines can call the voting phone line by using an Internet service that makes it seem as the call is coming from inside America. Many on Twitter were passing along this information to get more votes for Jessica as there was no way to get caught calling from PHL. Many others pointed out that this was wrong.

But what does it matter, this little, not a breaking, but a bending of the rules? I mean it’s not like Jessica’s losing opponent is going to become a drunken, drug-crazed male prostitute who will kill his family and commit suicide if he loses? Jessica needs PHL votes to win.

It is not like that if I import and under-declare the value of this one shipping container of pork or computers, the Philippine government is going to go broke or somebody is going to go out of business. I have kids to feed, too.

Being corrupt means you are lacking integrity, not doing what is right, not playing by the rules.

It is an either/or proposition. An individual act is either corrupt or not. There is no gray. It is like being pregnant; you are or you are not.

We make the choice to perform or not perform a corrupt act perhaps even several times a day.

No one wants corruption in the government. No one wants to have his/her country considered by others as corrupt. Ultimately though, a corrupt or noncorrupt society is the result of one action by one person multiplied millions of times.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Govt panel approves P18b Metro projects

Maria Bernadette Lunas
Manila Standard
Full article:

THE Investment Coordination Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority has endorsed the approval of P18.15 billion worth of infrastructure projects in Metro Manila, paving the way for the auction of their procurement contracts.

According to the NEDA, the projects include the P9.76-billion East Extension of the LRT-2, P5.69-billion modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center and the P2.7-billion upgrading of the Navotas Fish Port Complex.

This is not the Age of Reason

Business Mirror

THE Age of Reason was a cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe and America. A new way of thinking was developed with the idea that you needed to fully understand an idea and think it through entirely and carefully.
The 21st century is becoming the Age of Non-Reason where ideas are promoted and plans formulated and implemented without any attempt at complete consideration.

The euro currency system is collapsing. It was created in 1992 and finally came into practice in 2002. All the countries have the same currency; monetary union. All the countries have different spending; fiscal policy.

I wonder if there were any fathers on the countless high-level and high-paying committees that put the euro together.

First rule of being the father of teenage sons. You do not give them unlimited access to the credit card unless their spending habits are as mature as yours. And you monitor every transaction. Greece, Spain, Italy and Ireland were not responsible European Union credit-card users.

We are constantly bombarded by nonreasonable and nonsensical statements. It seems like every high-level elected official, not just in the Philippines, takes credit when the stock market goes up. The reason they can take credit they say is their administration’s economic policies.

But when the stock market takes a fall like the Philippine market is doing now, the leaders are deathly silent. To speak out during falling stock prices would be to have to admit that, just maybe, their policies also deserve the credit on the way down. The truth is, neither is true.

Markets go up and down on the flow of investment money into and out of a market. When the PSE hit 5,300, that was supposed to be a short-term top and selling point and that is what happened, elected leaders notwithstanding.

I think the dispute that the Philippines has with China is a great example of the new Non-Reason Age of the 21st century.

There is clear division on the worthiness of the recent protest at the Chinese embassy in the Philippines. The intellectuals behind the Age of Reason wanted content and substance to be equally important as form and ceremony.

The protests might have made more of an impact had the protesters decided to throw their Chinese-made cell phones at the embassy walls rather than planning to burn a Chinese flag made in the Philippines.

Some are calling for an economic boycott of Chinese goods. I have been doing that whenever possible for years. Most of the stuff that China makes is junk. You can only hope it breaks before it kills you like the toys made with leaded paint. The exception is, of course, products made in multinational-owned or -controlled factories…maybe.

Chinese food products are the same. I do not read Chinese but I wonder if you turn the characters for “Export Quality” upside down, it means “Not Fit for Human Consumption.”

But to think that a Philippine boycott of Chinese products means anything is unreasonable.

In 2011 China exported $1.898 billion worth of goods or $5.2 million every day. Last year PHL bought $5.34 million worth of Chinese products. PHL accounts for one day of Chinese exports. Yeah, a Philippine boycott will bring China to its economic knees.

The country is running out of power, prompting important discussions. Now PHL is talking nuclear power. Here again, there is very little depth. Nuclear power costs twice as much per kilowatt generating capacity to build, as a coal-fired plant. A nuclear plant takes five years to complete. Coal takes one year. Why are we discussing a five-year solution to a one-year problem?

It is not the Age of Reason.

On a personal note, have you lost money in the stock market these last two weeks? There is no reason for it to have happened. I invite you to to see why.

E-mail to, Web site is, and Twitter @mangunonmarkets. PSE stock market information and technical analysis tools provided by COL Financial Group Inc.