Food to Avoid

When was the last time that you had a hunger for Fish and Chips, Barbeque Chicken Wings, or even a Ham and Bacon sandwich? And do you also know that these foods are all hazardous to the human health?

In JNP, we have a “Wellness Department” formed by our leader, made up of advisers who are dedicated to organizing sports event and sharing health tips. They do this out of care and concern for our fellow colleagues; spending their personal time researching on health information and wellness tips for the good of not only our advisers, but also our clients.

In the most recent sharing, we learnt that there are 3 kinds of food that we should avoid. They are:
• Deep Fried Foods,
• Barbeque Foods, and
• Food preserved with nitrates.

The occasional deep fried meal never fills to satisfy our craving for sinful food. However, while cooking the food in hot oil, a series of harmful chemicals are released. Cancer causing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH), and carcinogenic Acrylamide are released during the cooking process. Furthermore, the harm is not only limited to the consumer of deep-fried food. In 2006, Dr Rajasekhar Balasubramanian from the National University of Singapore published on the Journal of Environmental Monitoring, that the kitchen with the highest occurrences of deep frying also has a high concentration of PAH in the kitchen air.

This translates to a poor working environment for our loved ones who are preparing the meals for us. In contrast, a kitchen that mainly boils and simmers their food has a lower concentration of PAH in the kitchen air. Fats from the deep frying also has a high calorie content, which can increase the risk of gaining weight and also increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Barbequing of foods also exposes the food to high temperature. PAHs are also released during this grilling process. In addition, a 2-hour barbecue can also release the same level of toxic dioxins as up to 220,000 cigarettes.

The last food to avoid, are processed meats that contain Nitrates. These range from ham, sausages, bacons, to even luncheon meat. Nitrate is a preservative and is used to keep the color of processed meat from changing over time. Nitrate is harmless, but it can convert to nitrite, which can form nitrosamines, a powerful cancer-causing chemical, in your body. The FDA believes that small amounts do not pose a risk, but advises that pregnant women and infants do not consume foods containing this additive. In fact, the USDA does not allow foods marketed to babies, infants and toddlers to contain nitrates or nitrites. This is because the consumption of nitrates can lead to methemoglobinemia in babies, children, and even some adults.

In JNP we have always emphasized on the need to maintain our focus on Health, Relationship and Wealth. None of this tripartite pillar can exist without the other. Since a calculated selection of food can help us in maintaining our good health, let’s eat our way towards a healthier future.

Quoted from See, S W, S Karthikeyan, and R Balasubramanian, "Health risk assessment of occupational exposure to particulate phase polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons associated with Chinese, Malay, and Indian cooking". Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 8 (2006): 369-376.


In Decision Not Indecision

Every mother knows when to ignore a child throwing a tantrum and when to heed an actual cry for help. This is the same for certain attention-seeking noises that have been wailing out of the market recently. We will address just two of these concerns.

First, the Dow Jones has been rising steadily while the Chinese market has moved sluggishly at best. All in all, a total of $6.5 billion has been redeemed from emerging markets like China this year. On the flip side, developed market equity funds like the US have booked inflows consistently for weeks, attracting more than $52 million in the same period. Yet, there has been no call from your adviser to make any adjustments to your portfolio. You may be interested to know why we remained seemingly indifferent in reacting to these fund flows. Take a closer look, and you will see that our inaction, is not indifference.

 Short Term Pain, Long Term Gain

Let us explain it this way. China is working out some teething problems with inflation. The pressure of escalating inflation in emerging markets has spurred policymakers to take drastic cooling measures starting from late 2010. These measures have caused short term fund flows to flow out from the emerging economies to the developed markets, as investors are concerned that the cooling measures would cause slow growth, thereby affecting corporate profits. These teething pains while uncomfortable, are an unavoidable part of China's growth story.

However, we understand that investors such as yourself may have entertained the thought of avoiding these short-term discomforts. Should you have reduced your holdings in emerging markets, and direct the funds towards large caps in the US? Let us pause a moment to reassess the situation. In the art of warfare, the ancient Chinese war adviser, Sun Tze always does a detailed assessment of his enemies. He goes to war only when he has done his risk to reward calculations.

Why Less is More

Our call to buy into Malaysian equities two years back is an example of how we took advantage of capricious market trends. At the time, speculative funds, known as 'hot money' flowed into Malaysia due to positive changes in their foreign policy. Hot money typically flows from one market to another unpredictably. In that case, we rode on this trend in order to make short-term profits for our clients.

So why do we not see the need to attend to these market noises now? Isn't the media focusing most of its attention on the speculative net redemption from markets such as China? Shouldn't we do something about the situation? Well, we continue to believe that cooling measures taken by the Chinese government will come to a halt eventually. Funds will then flow back to the Chinese market. If we take action to pull out of China now, we may risk missing out when hot money comes flowing back into China. That would mean a huge opportunity cost for your portfolios. Since the JNP Investing Commitee has never taken interest nor liberty to time the market, we choose to stay status-quo. And we will continue to faithfully invest in China on a regular basis in anticipation for the Chinese market to rebound. We believe the rather annoying market noises will soon stop when your portfolio starts behaving as desired. For the moment, it is our belief that inaction is a better way of achieving long-term rewards in your portfolio.

The American Tale

We were not surprised by the upside of US equities either. Global news reports have long flooded investors with gloom and doom warnings of investing in the US. Yet, the committee decided to sweep up many strong large caps at a cheap value. While funds flowed out of the US, we continued to secure our foothold. We retained a minimum exposure of 15% in US equities throughout the crisis. The reason is simple. We did not want to see our clients missing out on the surge of US equities when the recovery took place. Often, the rally begins subtly and by the time the media captures the rally, it is already too late. 'Sexy' prices remain elusive to those who are reactive rather than preemptive.

Russia on Santa's List

Should good little kids always be rewarded with candy? It depends, doesn't it?

While money has been flying out of Brazil, India and China, Russia has been an exception. Global fund managers believe Russia to be the only country now to attract new money among the major emerging markets. We believe that Russia will benefit greatly from rising oil prices and is likely to grow in economic earnings this year. Globally, many even see Russian shares as proxies for investments into commodities.

For these reasons, fund managers are keen to build up their Russian exposure. In fact, the number of global fund managers now recommending Russian securities and assets as a good investment rose from 50 percent in January to 88 percent in February. If Russia were a kid, I'd say he would easily make it to Santa's 'Good' list.

Good Kid Bad Teeth

Our investing committee was naturally interested to explore this market, and capture any opportunities if present. We are well aware that the Russian Trading System (RTS) is still trading at a good value.

Nevertheless, a number of reasons persuaded the committee against investing into Russia. We have not given candy to this good little kid. Because on closer inspection, we found that he has tooth decay! What do we mean?

The political structure of Russia remains heavily influenced by their ex president, the current prime minister, Mr Vladimir Putin. On one hand, this can mean political stability and should induce us to see Russia as an attractive investment. However, the political dominance of this one man raises some concerns. What will happen to the RTS should this prominent figure be removed from the political scene?

Plagued with Plaque

With the dominance of state in major Russian corporations, the market is rather unfriendly to investors. Such an environment may not be able to retain foreign funds for the long term.

Most importantly, the recent fund flows into the Russian market is most likely induced by surging oil prices. Admittedly, there is a huge correlation between Russian mutual funds and energy funds. However, our research shows that the former has not outperformed the latter. As such, we concluded that sticking to energy would make more sense than taking a chance on Russia. We may increase our exposure to energy, or energy related investments due to the potential we see in this sector. However, we are unwilling to take a chance on Russia due to the inherent political risks on the economy. At the moment, we remain comfortable with the allocation in this sector. We believe that it is the optimum percentage to balance the risk-reward ratio.

From history, too many investors attempt to leverage on the news in hopes of riding waves of hot money. Too often, they find themselves entering the trend too late and unable to exit on time. To ensure your portfolio behaves up to expectations, it is critical to carry the right investing attitude.

In JNP, while others time the market, we tame our framework. We will continue to help you position your monies ahead of the business cycles, being opportunistic to profit from situational anomalies, while preventing permanent loss of your capital.


Normal or Natural Living

As adults, we proudly believe that we are mature and wise enough to make decisions for ourselves. Ironically, we may not be making our own decisions at all. We may simply be programmed to act in certain set patterns. Throughout our lives, our family, schools, communities and society have shaped our individual beliefs. Influence and experience socialise us into mediocrity. Eventually, our future averages out to be so-so. Consciously or unconsciously, we've given up a huge part of our lives to be 'normal'.

Psychologically, being a part of the herd is comforting because we are the same as a whole lot of other people. There's strength in numbers isn't there? More often than not, this does more harm than good in our lives. It results in night after night of variety programes over TV-dinners. We laugh mindlessly, not knowing that the joke is really on us. Many of us have actually stopped thinking for ourselves and for our loved ones. With the bustle of each day, it is so easy to have 'no time' to think and reflect. Sadly, those closest to our hearts are the ones that will have to pay the price.

One example is in parenting. With the many parents we come in contact with, a huge number expressed their frustrations. Financial commitments can only be shouldered by double incomes. Both spouses MUST set off to work. The result? They don't get enough time with their kids. Despite these frustrations, most stay in these destructive patterns because everyone else is doing it. Why should they be any different? Such challenges are 'normal', aren't they? What can they do but deal with their 'normal' frustrations the 'normal' way? They talk it out over lunch and hope tomorrow will be a better day.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity was, 'doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.'

For many, Einstien's definition of insanity is what's 'normal' to them.

Parenting struggles are not the only challenges we witness. Deteriorating health and crippling family relationships are often the consequence of accepting these norms.

In financial planning, we often ask our clients to picture themselves in the future. We tell them to imagine the lives they wish to live. This helps us to tag a numerical figure to their financial independence. This figure however, does not take into account the hours that they have to be apart from their loved ones. It does not take into consideration the black moods that many take home from the office. In the end, hard-earned evenings and weekends with loved ones become even harder to enjoy. The pursuit of financial independance often comes at an expensive trade off for their health and precious relationships with their loved ones.

"Just My Luck? "

We often hear the refrain that not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. When this rings in our ears frequently enough, we choose to believe we're not cut out fot it. We begin to believe that successful entrepreneurs have some sort of guardian angels. Or that such fortune must be restricted to the lucky few.

Truth is, most successful entrepreneurs share only one thing in common. They don't just want success. They want success badly. Their compelling reasons may be different. But it is their willpower to succeed that sets them apart from the rest. This powerful combination of mental and physical hardwork sets a business thriving. Deciding to make it work is a decision anyone and everyone can make. And that includes you.

Imagine, Decide, Create!

Don't read on if you are truly happy and satisfied in all areas of your life. But if you're frustrated with trading your time with an unhappy experience, a change is in order. Accidents happen and you may have sent out your resume not really knowing what you were in for. You want a different life, but somehow you ended up in this current state. The good news is that we can live our lives differently. We can break out of the cycle that the herd creates. We can start making the right decisions for ourselves and for our loved ones. All it requires us to do is simply to take the next step with an end in mind.

Wherever you are in your life right now, it is never too late to change. Let your mind focus on what kind of life and future you really want to give to your loved ones and yourself. If you are a parent, are you satisfied with the attention you are currently offering to your children? As a child, are you craving more time with your aging parents? Do you wish for more financial means to give your loved ones a better life?

Angel's Advocate

Our boss Mr Patrick Tan, began his entrepreneurial journey with all these thoughts in his mind. (Do read our JNP Story to learn more about his life.) For all the major decisions that he undertakes, he often asks himself two questions: "How are my loved ones going to benefit from this decision?" and "How am I going to benefit from this decision?" As long as the benefits are plain and obvious, he will not hesitate to act.

He thus does not allow himself to toy with conflicting thoughts. Nor does he play useless mind games. He would much rather channel all his mental energy to think of ways to make his decisions work. Some that know him still speak of his success as an outcome of luck, Such comments merely whitewash his years of hardwork. Most importantly, it flushes out the love he has for his loved ones. And it is this that is the fuel that lights his dreams.

Think, Talk, Follow Through

With the decision he made, Patrick’s wife now enjoys life as a full-time mother for his two children. His parents now live out their golden years very contentedly; they live in a house that facilitates his mother's love for gardening and his father's passion for Tai-Ji.

Don't waste your life by resorting to just idle talk. When not dealt with, challenges are here to stay and multiply. If the career path of an employee seems like a nightmare to you, maybe it's time to dream up something new, Tap into your child-like imaginations and toy with new alternatives. President John F Kennedy once said, "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future." With a simple decision to serve your loved ones, your destiny gets altered right there and then. Live life naturally - the way that best fits you. Don't live someone else's life because it is what everyone else is doing.


About This Blog

“Kaki” is used to describe close friends with whom we share a special relationship. The unique thing is that they meet up regularly, they talk, they have fun, and they often take a genuine interest in each other’s lives. Most importantly, they share a meaningful time together, sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas.

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