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Duties and Responsibilities; Honest Lies

August 30th, 2012 Posted by General No Comment yet

Duties and Responsibilities – Honest Lies

Today is the first time in my life when I felt trapped. I felt as if all of the choices in life were just; that choice, one that you can’t possibly make; not at all real, there to fancy my intellectual mind – a willful carrot to reward me one fine day; but not now; not when I still have some youth in me; not when I have time and interest; not when life is at its most meaningful.

Duties and Responsibilities

I can’t say that I can actually choose anything. But I always thought I’m the master of my destiny and I lived it as if I really am.  I have duties and responsibilities that I thought I have to fulfill. I’m a son, a brother, a husband and a friend.  Sure, my choices are not the title I inherited but the actual relationships I have. I choose the kind of relationship I have as a son, a brother, a husband and a friend. I did that.

I kept my end.  Tell me that I didn’t do all of that with effort; that my idle ways must have brought about it; that it just is.  No, I say, it is with some effort and duties and responsibilities fulfilled. It must be, not, my action is in vain. Did I not endure the parties that go on long after I was tired; the boredom conversation that passes like a slow, dreary, drifting windless night in Singapore?

I believe that life is what we make of it. Am I mislead, like a child and some honest lies tailored for youth? I have outgrown my youth and believe. Is this too, another one, I dare not say, but true; another believe have departed. I didn’t cheer it as I did when knowing that I had known something back then that my younger siblings didn’t, because I’m older; what joy that was; simple joy in knowing, a passage or status achieved.  Something was different about knowing that life is not what I can make of it. I met it as if a dear friend have departed and I was left, among, a sea of youthful innocence, only now there is no joy in being older. No joy at all.

No Choices

I have no choices in life because I have to fulfill my duties and responsibilities.  It is easy for a soldier to know of one’s duties and responsibilities. I found it extremely hard for a selfish soul like me. I’ve done what I thought was best, at the time, what more could I do? I did what I was told; play, learn then work. I remembered. I tried to keep the play, learn and work in everything I do, honest.

I’ve tried. A lifetime of tried, empty and useless, but all is not without effort.  Am I foolish; not all is for nothing? Can you tell me with a clear scene what are my duties and responsibilities?  What must I fulfill before I’ve given my all and the will of my soul vanished one fine summer day while my decaying bones mark an untraceable tale of duties and responsibilities fulfilled?

I just want to go somewhere; to have a new start, a place where a new beginning is possible, not down the street, where the neighbors are different and the lights are better. Somewhere I can stretch and lay my tiresome head; full of worries, doubts and fears.  Is there a place like that, it doesn’t exists?  It must.  I will find it, you will see. Reality is different; I can’t, so I’m told.


I have duties and responsibilities. I have a car payment; insurance bill; debts from the past accumulated from stupidity and ignorance.  Must my mistakes be my eternal burden? Can’t I have a fresh start?  What if I give you all that I have, my tormentor and friend; you my duties and responsibilities; you, who are still unclear, even after all of my worries, loomed large and unsure. Am I but an animal trapped thinking I could do what I want, that I am my own destiny, like a child believing in honest lies?

Copyright 2012 by

Farting Camel’s Guide to Citigroup

April 29th, 2010 Posted by Stocks No Comment yet


Farting Camel’s Guide to Stock Picking – Citigroup, Inc (C)

Citigroup stock price has been very active lately not to mention how widely priced; trading as high as $5.06 to a low of $4.38 – just within the last month.

(Note: I assumed that readers do have access to Google finance or other finance media to look up company profiles and financial data.)


Citigroup, Inc. (C)


(1)   Return on Equity (RoE)

Citigroup is like two separate companies when I look at the performances of the company; one prior to the 2007 and another after 2007.  Prior to 2007 the company posted excellent and consistent returns averaging 16.7 percent.  However due to recent year’s performances the overall 10 years return was dragged to a low of just 9.7 percent.  The recent 5 years return is 4.9 percent; indicating a definite downtrend.  Worst of all, Citigroup loss money in both 2008 and 2009.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the trend – we just went through a major depression and the economy is still trying to recover.  In normal circumstance I wouldn’t even bother writing about a company going through a downtrend. However, the current circumstance is nothing close to normal.  Regardless, Citigroup is not making the grade in the returns area.

Grade: Fail

(2)   Intrinsic Value

Valuing Citigroup is more difficult than most companies; I have to side more on the art of valuation rather than on the science.  Why? Because if I strictly follow my model the valuation of the company is very low – indicating that perhaps the stock is trading at valuation, with a target buy price of around $3.9 per share.

However, I can’t simply plug in the numbers from the past years and ignore the potential return to a more normal circumstance in the banking sector – one in which Citigroup has a better then good chance of making a profit; the company did announced a $4.4 billion net income in Q1 2010 on April 19, 2010.  Perhaps things are turning around for Citigroup. As a result, I think in a normal market Citigroup is worth a lot more than $3.9 per share – my valuation for Citigroup is around $11 per share.

Grade: Pass

(3)   Relative to Market

If you were the few fortunate and brave souls you could have purchased the company in 2008 at around $36.7 billion or $6.69 per share – price was prior to the dilution of the stocks in 2009.  The company has since increased the number of shares outstanding from 5.5 billion in 2008 to 28.5 billion shares in 2009. Even though current price is trading lower than in 2008 the outstanding shares are much more; hence market value is higher.  (Market value of the company is price per share multiply by shares outstanding.)

Currently, the market value of Citigroup is at $132 billion or $4.64 per share – considering the net current asset of $475 billion I think there is room to maneuver if there is a second wave of economic setback.  Citigroup holds a $293 billion loan portfolio at the end of 2009; if they are right about their potential loss being under 6.5 percent or just under $20 billion, Citigroup could still safely cover current cost. The company has $25 billion ‘cash and due from banks’ at the end of 2009.

On the upside, from 2003 to 2007 the company market value has never been this low.  I think with the current restructuring; returning to its core banking business is going to help Citigroup in the long run.

Grade: Pass

(4)   Ethical Issues

Corporate governance in my mind is okay.

Executive pay is another story, Mr. Vikram Pundit, the current CEO earned $128 thousand in 2009; a far different scenario as compared to his pay in 2008 which toped at $38 million.  I still can’t understand the rationale behind executive compensation with regards to companies receiving TARP money.  Sure, Mr Pundit is only making $128 thousand but his subordinates like Mr. John Havens earned $11.2 million in the same year (2009) when the company overall loss $1.1 billion.

Grade:  Fail


Citigroup fail to meet the grade required.  The stock is not cheap when I take into account the valuation.  In addition, the company performances in recent years are troublesome.  Lastly, I hate to buy financial institutions because in the past management takes most of the profit away from shareholders.  Nevertheless, I did purchased this stock for my portfolio as I can’t see any reasons why Citigroup can’t compete in the global economic recovery now and in the next few years; after the recovery is a different story.  In addition its net current asset exceeds its current valuation; a sign that the stock is worth more.

Ancient Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation Review – Week Four

April 9th, 2010 Posted by Five Tibetan Rites No Comment yet

In our rediscovery series on health, we examine the benefits of Peter Kelder’s Five Tibetan Rites.  As we document our experience and progress, we hope you could observe and benefit from our experiment and review of the five Tibetan Rites. Or maybe learn from our mistakes and hopefully look forward to the results, if we do see them in us!

Day 22


Got an email from a friend – she saw that we were not following the instructions after reading our blog; we are now back to doing 9 repetitions for this week (four).  We should have started out doing 3 repetitions of the Rites and increased it by 2 repetitions every week.  So, 3 repetitions on the first week; 5 repetitions on the second week… by the end of 10 weeks we would have reached our target of 21 repetitions.  This is now the plan.

Day 23


Second day of the fourth week went smoothly.  I noticed I have to shave more often; my facial hair is growing much faster as compared to before I started doing the 5 Rites.

Day 24


5 Rites was done without much effort.  I over ate today and had difficulties breathing – don’t know if there is any connections with the Rites.

Day 25


We didn’t have time to do 5 Rites – been too busy lately.

Day 26


I continued with 9 repetitions of the 5 Rites.  I’m loving it.  Not too much effort.

Day 27

If you think about it – the 5 Rites only takes 15 minutes a day to perform and yet I can’t seem to fit it into my schedule.  I realized that if I don’t do the 5 Rites in the morning chances are I won’t remember to do it the rest of the day.

Day 28


I continued with 9 repetitions of the 5 Rites.  I’ve learned my lesson I have to do the 5 Rites early in the morning or risk not doing it at all.

End Day

After four weeks, having missed so many days we felt we had to re-think the whole exercise again.  It is amazing to think; how simple it is to do the 5 Rites everyday – without lapse?  The truth is it is much harder than we thought.  For the short time we definitely felt the benefit from having consistently done the exercise of the 5 Rites.  However, we can’t be sure.  We will have to regroup and try this experiment again, soon.

Farting Camel’s Guide to Stock Picking – EOG Resources

April 7th, 2010 Posted by Stocks No Comment yet

This morning I received a lot of email alerts for EOG from my broker.  Perhaps it is a good time for me to focus on this company today.

Note: I assume that reader does have access to Google finance or other finance media to look up company profiles and financial data.


EOG Resources, Inc. (EOG)


(1)   Return on Equity (RoE)

Sales have been disappointing for 2009; it reverted to 2006 level while the net income was even worst – about the same as 2003-04 level.  Much worst is the earnings per share (EPS) . It has been diluting shareholders ownership since 2002.

The results are much better if you were to exclude 2009 results. The performance for the past 10 years as well as the most recent 5 years have been superior – averaging around 20 percent.

Grade: Pass

(2)   Intrinsic Value

Book value has been increasing at the rate of 20.9 percent in the last 10 years.  The company earns 20 percent on equity.  Using my discounted cash flow model I placed the intrinsic value for EOG at 201.  That means I would buy the company stock whenever the price is below 120.7. The price as of April 6 is $97.

Grade: Pass

(3)   Relative to Market

EOG market capitalization at the end of 2009 is about equal to 2007 level.  While its revenue and net income are much lower; the company earned a lot less in 2009 compared to 2007  and close to the earnings in 2004.  Outstanding shares have been increasing since 2002 from 229 million shares to 252 million shares in 2009. Book value has been increasing steadily from 2000 at 1.3 billion to 9.9 billion in 2009.  Quick ratio seems to be improving since 2007 at a low of  0.88 to what is now 1.37.

In the last 10 years, the prices of EOG have been hovering in the range from 25.8 to as high as 145 per share; putting the market value of the company at a peak of 36.1 billion in 2008.  Since then the market cap has gone down, trading in a range from 11billion to 25.6 billion for 2009. It is amazing the range that EOG stocks trades for: in 2008 the range was 13.5 billion to 36.1 billion. Interestingly, EOG net current asset at the end of 2009 was 24.5 billion; if you were diligent you could have purchase the stock for less than half (11/24.5) of its net current assets (cash, short term investments, receivables, and inventory). What a deal!

Grade: Pass

(4)   Ethical Issues

I don’t like to see the Chairman and CEO, Mark G. Papa being the same person.  The board is annually elected so I can over look this point.  They seem to have a policy in place for related party transaction.  I also get very uneasy when it comes to executives pay.  EOG pays the Chairman and CEO 7.9, 13 and 23.4 million for 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively.  That is a lot of money in relative to other executives’ pay.  The net income of the company drop 13 percent in 2007 but Papa’s pay increased 64 percent; go figured!  Who do you think the compensation committee works for… the shareholders? You wish.

Even though EOG has issues in this area, their overall corporate governance is good enough to pass.

Grade:  Pass


This analysis was done a few months ago; the recent buzz expedited this post.  I did purchase this stock for my portfolio a while back.

Farting Camel’s Guide to Stock Picking – Investment Technology Group

April 6th, 2010 Posted by Stocks No Comment yet

Here goes my analysis on Investment Technology Group (ITG).  Today I thought it was long over due that I need to put down the words meant in good faith many months back; my analysis of stocks from my perspective.  I will try to keep to these points:  1) Return on Equity, 2) Intrinsic Value, 3) Relative to Market and 4) Ethical Issues.

Note: I assume that reader does have access to Google finance or other finance media to look up company profiles and financial data.


Investment Technology Group (ITG)


1) Return of Equity (RoE)

For the past 10 years RoE has been around 16.4 percent. This is good but when I separated the 5 most recent years I realized RoE has been dropping to just 12.8 percent.  The decline continues with 2009 RoE at 4.9 percent.  The main causes for the decline were due in part to lower margins and asset turnover.

I gave ITG a pass in this area because I value the long term outlook – nevertheless I’m concern about the short term outlook for the company.

2) Intrinsic Value

Using the compound return on equity of 16 percent and a book value of 19.81 per share; I figured the intrinsic value for the company to be around 59.25 per share.  With the margin of safety set at 60 percent, my target for the company is  35.55.  In other words, the price of the company stock has to be under 35.55 before I can buy. The grade for this area is a pass because the current price is well under 35.55.

3) Relative to Market

The market cap for the company swings widely from 1.2 billion in 2000 to 1.7 billion in 2002; drops steeply to 755 million the next year, rebounded two years later to 1 billion.  It gets better, at the height of the 2006 the company was worth 2 billion.  Since then it has fallen steady to the end of 2009 at around 968 million.

In contrast, the revenue of the company is more stable; from 2000 they earned 297 million and increasing from this number with not too much differences every year to the height of 654 million in 2008.  This same trend was reflected in the net income from 2000 to 2009; with lows and highs tracing the decline and rise according to its market cap.  More interestingly, the book value continues to rise without any drop since 2009 from 210 million in 2000 to 867 million in 2009.

What does it mean? If you were to take the revenue in 2009 at 532 million, assuming without the drop in margin the company should be worth around 1.9 billion; this is according to its historical market cap.  Would the company be able to increase their margin in the near future? I won’t be able to tell you that.  What I could tell you is that the company market price per share has been trading between 61.2 to 10.88.  At the current price of 17.92, the company’s market value is 784 million, while the book value at the end of 2009 was 867 million and the net current asset of 910 million (both more than market value!).

The grade for ITG is a pass with regards to how the market values the company going forward; lots of room to increase in value.

4) Ethical Issues

The company chairman and CEO are two different people; this i like.  What I don’t like about this company is that the top 6 executives earned 10, 11 and 14 percent of the company’s net income from 2006 to 2008, respectively.  Taking into consideration it had a fair corporate governance, so I gave the company a pass.


ITG received a pass for the overall grade and I quickly added this company to my portfolio.

Farting Camel’s Guide to Stocks – Investment Revision

April 6th, 2010 Posted by Stocks No Comment yet

Investing Principles and Methods Series (IPMS)

Earlier on I posted four critical areas I would look at in evaluating public companies for my own investment.  I’ve since revised from:

1)     Ethical Issues
2)     Owner’s Reward
3)     Debt Management
4)     Value Investment

The new version will only include the followings:

1)     Return on Equity
2)     Intrinsic Value
3)     Relative to Market
4)     Ethical Issues

I have chosen to stay with the pass or fail grading system.  Again, the final assessment of a ‘pass’ grade will only be rewarded to companies which passes all four key areas under scrutiny.

My previous goal was to present at least one company analysis per week.  However, I found this to be difficult in light of my schedule; no more goals – just going to wing it when possible.


Copyright © 2010 by Farting Camel

Ancient Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation Review – Week Three

April 3rd, 2010 Posted by Five Tibetan Rites 2 comments

In our rediscovery series on health, we examine the benefits of Peter Kelder’s Five Tibetan Rites.  As we document our experience and progress, we hope you could observe and benefit from our experiment and review of the five Tibetan Rites. Or maybe learn from our mistakes and hopefully look forward to the results, if we do see them in us!

Day 15


I can’t believe it we have reached the start of week three.  I still maintained 10 repetitions on the 5 Rites.  After one day off it was apparent to me I’ve done the 10 repetitions of the 5 Rites with much strain.  It seem very difficult to finish; as if my body is resisting.  I pushed on and soon was able to finish but I felt tired, physically and somewhat mentally.


With one day of rest, we are back to the 5 Rites! Currently it took us less than 10 mins to go through 10 repetitions of the 5 Rites, I guess at the end of our experiment, it will take us about 20 mins to complete the ‘recommended’ 21 repetitions. Not bad a commitment for all the health benefits we are expecting to reap! Surprisingly, I felt a bit of strain doing Rite 2, particularly in the abs. I felt weaker and I ‘cheated’ a bit by bending my legs by a small degree when I raised them up. Is it because of the one day rest?

Despite the slight weakness experienced today, it is ‘so far so good’ on our experiment. Jotting down my general observations in the beginning of Week 3:

  • Increased Energy (we only slept 5 hours on the average the past week and we felt ok.)
  • Improved Stamina (notice it when I was climbing the stairs in the subway.)
  • Increased Strength (for me, it was the arms.)
  • Increased Flexibility (particularly at the lower back)
  • Side note: Appearance (Friends commented that we look ‘fresh’! Coincidence)

Day 16


I had to increased my repetitions to 12.  I regretted the impulse because halfway through doing the 5 Rites I was struggling; my forms were off and I didn’t care.  My goal was to reach my target of doing the 12 repetitions and my argument was that I can always work on the form once I have achieved my target of 21 repetitions at the end of 10 weeks.  Lets hope that my bad form will be curable.


12 reps! Not as bad as I though. I tied to keep my legs as straight as possible in Rite 2. Definitely feeling it in my lower abs. I know that the book mentioned that this is not a physical exercise and we should not feel any strain. Maybe, after practising it for years! Not struggling with the rest of the Rites. Suggested to Howard that we should keep 12 repetitions for the week to build up our strength.

Day 17


I kept my repetitions at 12.  The difficulties lingered.  I took a walk around a park and felt my burdened feet were heavy like weights.  I felt okay but sore internally; as if there is such a thing.


Executed Rite 3 with lots of vigor today. I noticed that I could bend backwards much deeper with stronger control. I notice some ‘cracking sounds’ today from my back. Nothing to be alarmed I think. It just felt that I ‘realigned’ my spine. I also like the sensation of stretching my toes in this Rite, feel so good, especially if you do a lot of walking like me.

It is good that we decided to stay at 12 repetition for the whole week, allowing me to ‘fine tune’ my Rites.

Day 18

Howard and Mira missed their practice due to busy schedule.

Day 19


It was very difficult to get back to the 5 Rites.  However dire my schedule I must persevere, all along thinking to myself; you lazy #4#@!. Alright it wasn’t that bad.  I still find the second Rite to be the most difficult – cause I have a big belly.  I was so tired by the end that I took a short rest by lying flat on the floor with my face to one side, unknown to me; what an incredible resting experience; ever.  I make it a point to rest in between the Rites.  In the evening, I felt extremely tired and my body was unusually hot (temperature).


Again, just like last week, it was more strenuous to do Rite 2 properly. Felt that the abs were much weaker with just one day break. I wondered why. I also noticed that the body really heats up during Rite 4 and 5. Same repeated comment: I can feel that I’m getting stronger!!

Day 20


I struggled and my motivation seems to be fading, fast.  However, I will finish the 10 weeks as promised.  Seem to be struck at doing 12 repetitions – difficult to pass this ceiling.

Day 21


At the end of the third week I found myself extremely tired.  Our friend explained that we were not following the instructions.  The correct repetition starts with 3 and this number should be increasing by 2 every week.  Had we followed the instructions carefully we would have ended this week doing just 7 repetitions.  Instead, we have been doing 12 repetitions for the past few days now.  My logic and reasoning tells me to push the envelope because I’m still young; I saw people a lot older on the internet doing the Rites – back to the book.

Ancient Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation Review – Week Two

March 24th, 2010 Posted by Featured, Five Tibetan Rites No Comment yet

In our rediscovery series on health, we examine the benefits of Peter Kelder’s Five Tibetan Rites.  As we document our experience and progress, we hope you could observe and benefit from our experiment and review of the five tibetan Rites. Or maybe learn from our mistakes and hopefully look forward to the results, if we do see them in us!

Day 8


As the second week rolls on, I’m still doing 6 repetitions on the 5 Rites.  I noticed that my back is getting stronger; proof came from being able to sit up-right longer.  Other improvements came to my notice are: able to fully relax after each Rite and breathing slowed considerable.  My body isn’t producing a lot of heat as compared to the first few days.  I also noticed I’m not as hungry as before – I ate about the same as before but stayed fuller longer. Similar pressing issues remained: bulky stomach and now very mild tiredness.


Week two! I increased my repetition to 7. Surprisingly, it was not as much different from 6 repetitions except for Rite 2. I corrected my mistake and at the same time doing it slower than before. I actually felt some muscle ache in my abs in the afternoon. I am proud of ourselves that we have not rested for one day since we started 8 days ago.

I was trying to see any tinge of ‘youthfulness’ re-emerging in the mirror but I guess it is too soon! Another thing I noticed is that I get very HUNGRY soon after a meal. This is different from most people’s experiences I read. Howard, in contrast, felt less hungry in between meals since he started. I am also started to feel less giddy after Rite 1. But I still cannot imagine doing it for 21 times which we aim in a few months! Watch this space.

Day 9


I kept at it and I felt better, so I increased the Rites to 7 repetitions.  It was easy today.  I’m not sure if I had benefited from doing the Rites.  I’m just so glad that the jet lag feeling was now gone.


I increased my repetition to 8. Rite 5 is surprisingly easy. I don’t have strong arms and I felt it in my arms when I first started doing the rites 9 days ago. Today, I felt that I could just go on and do another 8 for Rite 5!

Day 10


I woke up as usual – no longer tired.  I increased the repetitions to 8.  I later realized I did Rites #3 incorrectly; did not bend at the waist.  I’ve gotten the wrong information for a website.  When I went back to the book and reread the instructions – I realized my mistakes; going forward I’m just going to follow the book.


It’s getting easy! Completed 8 repetitions in no time. Another thing I noticed is that I’m not as giddy doing the ‘twirls’ in Rite 1. It’s definitely a marked improvement when we first started when just 3 twirls already made me giddy. Howard pointed out a mistake I had in Rite 3. I kept my hands throughout at the back on my thighs. I should put them next to my thighs when I restart every repetition.

Day 11


I felt great this morning.  I had a lot of energy; rather unusual.  I decided to take the opportunity and increase my repetition to 10.  This is a stark resemblance to the first few days – felt mostly drained.  The opposite was true this morning – 10 repetitions was easy.  I could have done more; so I thought.  I didn’t realized how tiring my muscles were.  I had to climb flight of stairs a few hours after breakfast.  It was then that I realized I could barely lift my legs; yes, all true.  Incredible.


I also did 10 repetitions today. I can feel that I’m getting stronger, especially in my arms. I was already finding the last Rite, Rite 5, (which is similar to yoga upward/downward dog) getting easier a few days ago. I literally felt like an elastic band doing that Rite!

Day 12


I stayed with 10 repetitions this morning.  I didn’t noticed or felt anything different.


10 repetitions with no sweat!!

Day 13


Against my wishes I stayed with 10 repetitions again, and I was glad I did – felt tired in the end.  I realized that my abdominal muscles are getting stronger; the Rite #2 are done with ease now, while Rite #5 remained mildly difficult.  With almost two weeks into this exercise, my confident is increasing; perhaps I might be able to accomplish the daunting task of doing the Rites 21 times. In any event if I really wanted to, I can split up this now seemingly difficult task into two session; one in the morning and another in the evening.  Thinking about it at this very moment – I should have a definitive goal of the end date when I would be able to do the Rites 21 times a day; getting overly confidence now.


One thing that I noticed as we advanced onto our 5 Tibetan Rites experiment, all the Rites get significantly easier day after day. Even though we are only into week 2 of our experiment, my stamina and strength has noticeably improved! Today I noticed that I’m much less giddy doing the ‘spins’ in Rite 1. I still recall the first time I tried it on Day 1 with only 3 reps, I was so giddy I have to hold on to the wall after trying it out. I’m amazed at the progress, at the moment, just at the physical level: Stronger and more energetic. No one has mentioned we look younger!

Day 14

Howard and Mira took a day off from the 5 Rites.

New layer…
New layer…

Ancient Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation Review – Week One

March 20th, 2010 Posted by Five Tibetan Rites No Comment yet

In our rediscovery series on health, we examine the benefits of Peter Kelder’s Five Tibetan Rites.  As we document our experience and progress, we hope you could observe and benefit from our experiment. Or maybe learn from our mistakes and hopefully look forward to the results, if we do see them in us!

Day 0

The book arrived.  Mira and I read with much delight.  It was simple.  I couldn’t wait to get started. We made a pledge to practice the Five Tibetan Rites (5 Rites) for a period of 10 weeks.  This will be our personal journal.

Day 1


It took no time at all to complete the 5 Rites.  We follow the book as suggested.  3 repetitions of the 5 Rites were easy for me.  However, after I took a shower – strangely I felt refreshingly awake.  At night, I noticed my heart was beating rather fast.


The 3 repetitions was very easy for me. I did not feel any strain or exertion at all. Is it going to benefit me?

Day 2


Increased the repetition to 4 – Again, the 5 Rites were easy and in no time we finished.

Read the 2nd half of the book.  An interesting exercise caught my eyes – learned that one could use butter to message the scalp to increase blood circulation and stimulate hair growth.  I was excited.  After breakfast, I immediately took to the task.  I applied a few teaspoons of butter into my palm and proceed as instructed.  After a short period, I took a glance at my hair and noticed I had more hairs in my palm then on my head.  Gosh, I hope I will gain more hairs then I have lost this morning.


We completed the 4 repetitions in the morning. In the afternoon, I felt an insurmountable wave of sleepiness, I took a nap and ended up sleeping for more than 3 hours! It felt kind of similar to the ‘detox effect’ I experienced a few years ago when I increased my supplemental dosage of  anti-oxidants and minerals. I also felt a bit of ‘muscle ache’ in my biceps later in the evening. I did not expect that as I did not feel much exertion during the exercise. I guess the ache might be due to Rite number 4.

Day 3


Early morning I wanted to increase the repetition to 5 instead of 4.  Mira thought that we shouldn’t.  I argued that the books were written for people older than 50.  Why can’t we ‘push it up a notch’? We increased it to 5.

I finished the book – not too comfortable with the 6th Rites along with other practices. However, the part on food confirms with my other readings.  I thought about putting more efforts to control my diet.

Some observations: I normally take short naps but for some reasons it was very difficult for me to wake up.  My eyes were tired.  I felt as if it is easier to stand straight. Normally, hunching was more of my comfort posture.


I felt some strain in my lower back for the first time as I did the 5 Rites. I felt tired doing 5 repetitions. Again, I felt really sleepy in the afternoon and took another 2 hours nap. I just could not pull myself out of bed.

Day 4


I thought about recording my weight on a weekly basis.  It was very difficult for me to wake up this morning.  We increased the repetitions of the 5 Rites to 6 times.  I felt like going back to sleep.  I was dragging my feet.  However, I did it anyway.  It was rather difficult for me to finish.  I think 5 repetitions is my limit at the moment.

I noticed that I was not as hungry for some reason.  I had a late lunch today.  After lunch I noticed my stomach is bigger than usual – it was rather rounded.  Mira mentioned that I might have done the number two rites wrong.  Instead of sucking in my stomach as I raise my legs and head, I might have pushed my stomach out causing the stomach to bulge.   That was it.  I will need to do some crunches before I sleep to flatten my stomach.  In all, I’m terribly tired today. At night, my body was night an oven – heating up the bed, almost like a mild fever.


I was very tired in the morning and had to push myself to do the rites. 6 repetitions was not much different for me from 5 repetitions. I did not feel anymore muscle ache.

Day 5


I failed to do any crunches before I slept the night before.  I woke up rather tired.  The exercise was more bearable today.  I was more in control.  I noticed that I had a lot of gas in me.  I wasn’t hungry as often.  Still very tired.  I took a walk around Time Square – did not help much.  The bottom-line; tired, bloated, and a general lack of appetite.  I did not see any changes to my hair – hope this really works.


We stayed with 6 repetitions which was a breeze today. I was uncertain about some nuances in the rites, especially Rite 2 and 4. As explained in the books, the Rites should not be regarded as a form of Yoga even though the positions are similar. I remember one of my Yoga teachers, Karen, who is extremely particular of small details in our positions. Many times, little corrections she made in my posture made a hugh difference. Applying the same theory, I decided to read the five Rites instructions in detail again. I went to Youtube to check out some of the videos on the rites. It’s amazing how many varieties there are. Well, I think at the moment, we should just stick to the book we bought.

I realized that I did not do Rite 2 correctly. Even though I raised my legs slowly until it is extended beyond perpendicular, I did not “hold the position for one moment or two”. Correction noted.

The second mistake I made was in Rite 4. It was instructed that the second position (which I called the ‘staple position’) is to be held for a few moments before returning to the first position (the ‘L’). I did not. And when you are at the first position, you are supposed to “RELAX” for a few moments before performing the Rite again. (written in all caps in the book). Again, I did not do that.  It was also further elaborated that you are to “tense every muscle in the body” when you are in the second staple position. I will take note tomorrow.

PS: Did not take nap today. Felt normal.

Day 6


From Mira’s observation yesterday, I wanted to be more careful as I do the exercise – slowed down and paid more attention to the details.  I made an effort to relax after each repetition.  In general, I felt not as tired doing the exercise.  However, after the exercise, it was a different mater; I felt tired.  I’m not sure if my fatigue is a result of the exercise or a lack of sleep.  I normally get enough sleep – do not to make any changes to this variable for the duration of the 10 weeks. I think the general tiredness is related to the exercise, perhaps some form of detoxification effect.

I noticed that my stomach is still big – this could be normal.  However, before I started the exercise, the fat was more distributed on the sides, now it looked like the bulk of the fat has relocated to the front.  Mira pin-pointed exactly how I have been feeling these past few days – very similar to jet lag.


We did 6 repetitions. I incorporated the changes today. I took more time to complete the Rites and surprisingly, I did not feel more strain. Two observations: (i) I felt a teeny bit of muscle ache in my lower belly. (ii) Felt that my upper arms, especially the shoulder muscles (Deltoids) are firmer and definitely stronger. Is it Possible? Just after 6 days?

Day 7


This entry completed my practice and observation for the week. Please check out our results for next week.

I continued to stay with 6 repetitions.  The Rites are getting easier as I’m very hesitant to increase the repetition; don’t want to experience the jet lag feeling as before.  The book did mentioned to practice without strain – I will follow this advice.  Some positive observations are: noticed that I’m getting stronger and my posture is improving.  I’m hesitant to declare any positive effects from the butter message to my scalp.  But I noticed my dandruff problem is reducing (very much unanticipated but welcomed nevertheless). Also, my hair is much more smother.


The 7th day! I stayed with 6 repetitions. It’s getting easy but I realized that I cheated unintentionally in Rite 2! The book did not mention about titling your pelvic. I sort of ‘cheated’ as I tilted my pelvic so that the legs can go passed perpendicular. Anyway, mistake noted. One more observation, I am not as giddy now after ‘spinning’ in Rite 1. Still, I cannot imagine doing that for 21 times as we aim to do in a few weeks!

Check out our progress in Week Two.

Lose It and You Will Run Better! – Bare Feet

March 20th, 2010 Posted by Health No Comment yet

For years I thought I was not built to run. In the military, I was often found behind the pack. It wasn’t because I weren’t in shape. I trained like the rest. As if life had dealt me a terrible hand – the hunched back of the running world.

I had the awkward stride; my bottom half looks as it was trying to race with my top. A few minutes into any run, my top leans forward as if for the last ditch effort to past the ticker tape. It is an unusual form. It is how I ran. Well, at least until now, the secret might be out. The truth it was said all along, ‘it’s the shoes’; lose it and your form will improve; naturally.


October 5, 2009, 12:01 AM

The Roving Runner Goes Barefoot


Photo by Vijai Singh/The New York Times

“My running form changed immediately. I was landing gently on the middle and balls of my feet rather than striking with my heel. I was more upright than before. My stride was shorter. I didn’t make any changes consciously; they just seemed to happen on their own.”

“My bad habits are so close to the surface that it’s really helpful for me to be in bare feet because it keeps me honest,” Christopher said. “When I wear shoes I get really sloppy, my form is all over the place. When I’m in my bare feet, I’m instantly reminded how to get upright and how to have a quick, light landing.” The full article here.

Mark Twain’s Recipe of Success

December 5th, 2009 Posted by General No Comment yet

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure.” – Mark Twain, 1887

How do I know what I should do in life?

I see the world differently – everything before today is only a blink, a tag line of one kind; an uninteresting one at that.  Sounds familiar? I now see everyone as a Mark Twain, having read a book on the famous author yesterday.

I have a fine education; I can still show you the expense to prove it. I can spin a tale on many topics, but in my own mind; I am a legend in business.  I always thought I could put together any business: the unearned confidence, built from years of attending our modern day education system; a naive trait shared by many of my peers.

There lays the Mark Twain in me.  I am an idiot – every business venture I ever committed in earnest, all have turned out to be a complete and utter failure.  Like Mark Twain, I only have one talent; unlike Mark Twain my one talent is questionable.

Seemingly, the only optimistic part was I knew what that one talent is: I have more than my fair share of luck as a stock picker; it seems whenever I was in need of money I could simply put some time into researching and investing in a few value stocks; this has rescued me far more times than I care to recall. To me my one talent: rare, like an old friend, always there to lend a supportive hand, sadly, the same friend who could easily be lost to us; one never realize what one has until perhaps it’s too late.

Completely like Mark Twain, I spent the great deal of my time doing businesses I had no reason to be in – I am utterly incompetent; to put it mildly.  In Mark Twain’s life he always wanted to be rich; as if being a famous author wasn’t enough.

This obsession Mark Twain had: like a strategically trap leading him to form one business venture after the next – the curse; that almost destroyed his illustrious reputation as an author; put him in contentions among friends; one could even argue – almost killed his profoundly admirable and very supportive wife.  All of these things happened because selfishly, he simply wanted, to be rich enough to comfortably support his family; terrible isn’t it.

I thought to myself – here is a remarkable man unequaled, perhaps no other person can confess to possess his monumental talent as a writer, here wasting his time on things he knew nothing of (building businesses), simply because of greed; might I label it so.

It was obvious from the book with much help from the author, implied directly; how illogical.  Why? All Mark Twain had to do to earn a living or even to amass wealth was to use his God given talent; write a few great books, easily at will. Nothing else is needed in this simple recipe, to any observer of Mark Twain’s life, but oddly, this is undoubtedly a very secret recipe of success to this otherwise brilliant man himself.

Now, maybe you can see in your life, a few Mark Twain characters, driven by mad ambitions of the seemingly logical kind; in disguise really, the logical part, maybe not.  For me, the apparent truth of Mark Twain’s trouble, as I read, came fast as a falling brink from a construction site; accidentally, not from any effort on my behalf, maybe incidental because the author summarized the obvious.

I realized, I am indeed that very crazy fellow too, the entrepreneur side of the famous Mark Twain; again pointing out that my similarity has one difference; his talent was assured whereas mine is still in question.

I have wasted considerable time and money I don’t have going for things I do not need.  I have pursued and tried my best to court all kinds of businesses, only to appreciate, like an ill-faith couple, ending in less than complete satisfaction; not even close; a close observer might utter.  All my pursuit of wealth finally succeeded in giving me a life of poverty.

The lesson to partake in life if you happen to have Mark Twain’s ‘good’ business judgment is to reflect seriously.  Failing which I suggest you follow what Mark Twain did after his bankruptcy experiences, focus on what you are good at and to a lesser extent on what you are interested in.

Interest is like one of those crazy desires we all have – the one that we can never satisfy.  Like the kind of thirst that makes you drink, the kind of thirst that you can never quenched.  After a while you are forced to give it up or face with a revolt and have a major bolt of pain.


Copyright 2009 by Farting Camel

Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?

November 20th, 2009 Posted by Stocks No Comment yet

I was looking through my files and saw an old Excel file on the accumulative effect of a good investment plan.  I thought it would be interesting to show you.  If you want to be a millionaire it’s either easy or extremely difficult – mostly, it depends on your age.  There are other factors that are much more flexible but there is no getting around the ‘age’ thing.

My friend Henrik told me a story he read about a guy struggling to get by on a million dollar a year salary.  I was dumb founded having heard the story but I can understand the premise behind the rational. However, I felt sorry for myself because I can’t relate. Luckily for the rest of us and surprisingly, you don’t have to be born with a silver spoon to retire rich.  It is also interestingly, you don’t have to have a job that pays very well neither. Don’t get me wrong it wouldn’t hurt to be born rich or to have a high paying job if your goal is to become a millionaire.

Two Simple Plans

The Installment Plan

You start with just investing $200 per month every month in an investment that gives you a return of 15 percent annually.  It would be difficult to find this kind of returns but it is not impossible.  The hardest part is if you are procrastinator like me because you will need to invest this money every month for 30 years.  Here’s what your investment would be at the end of thirty years.  Look at the big difference if you only have 20 years.

10 Yrs

20 Yrs

30 Yrs




PV 3% Inflation


PV 3% Inflation


PV 3% Inflation

















The Lump Sum Plan

You start with putting $20,000 in an investment that will give you a return of 15 percent per year.  Yes, the investment duration is also for 30 years.  The result is surprisingly similar.  Here’s what your investment would be at the end.  Again, if you only have 20 years left – difficult.


10 Yrs

20 Yrs

30 Yrs




PV 3% Inflation


PV 3% Inflation


PV 3% Inflation

























































The moral of the investing story is start early, very early.  Make sure you have more than 30 years left. The sad truth of only having 30 years on this plan is obvious.  If this is you, think of the more positive aspect, it wouldn’t be so negative for your kin.


P.S.  Value investing is the only way to invest.

Major Upgrade is Done!

November 19th, 2009 Posted by Diary No Comment yet

Finally we got our hands around the beastly ‘website upgrades’. The task took a lot of time away from our writings. We now shift our focus on adding more posts. There are many additions to the family of pages, we have added a section on ‘Democatalyst‘, a section on ‘Karmic Report‘, yet another on ‘Web Hosting‘, still another on ‘Our Village‘.

Personally, the project looks bigger than in truth. After all we need something during the break from our day job – job hunting continues.

Migrating WPMU To Subdirectory

November 11th, 2009 Posted by General 2 comments

6 Steps to Move WPMU with Domain Mapping from Root Folder to Subdirector!

I really do appreciate the WordPress Community.  Recently I had a lot of difficulties with the technical aspects of working with WordPress MU.  I wanted to move all of the files from the root folder into a subdirectory.  In the process I had a lot of help.  I’m usually the silent reader – seldom do I post a comment. I’m like a sponge: soaking up all the information. Today, I like to contribute by sharing my tip bits here because I couldn’t find the information on the Internet that will perfectly solve my problem.

This is simple:

1) Create your subdirectory (example: /public_html/subdirectory/)

2) Move all of your WordPress MU files into the subdirectory.

3) Create a file in the root (/public_html/) and name it .htaccess

4) Go to the bottom and copy the code below and paste it into your .htaccess file (located in root (/public_html/).  Be careful to paste the code in the empty .htaccess file because there are many .htaccess files.

5) If you are using domain mapping you will usually have the domain parked, so go to your cpanel and delete the domains you parked (pointing to the root /public_html/).

6) Now, this is the secret that took me 4 days to figure out with the help of my hosting company.  They did a fantastic job.  Go to your cpanel and instead of parking the domains, create it as an add-on domain pointing to the subdirectory you had created above. If you are unable to do for any reason contact your hosting company and they can manually place an add-on for the domain.

Code Below:

# Turn on rewrites.

RewriteEngine on

# Only apply to URLs on this domain

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www.)?$

# Only apply to URLs that aren’t already under folder.

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/your subdirectory path/

# Don’t apply to URLs that go to existing files or folders.

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d

# Rewrite all those to insert /folder.

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /your subdirectory path/$1

# Also redirect the root folder.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www.)?$

RewriteRule ^(/)?$ /your subdirectory path/index.php[L]

Copyright 2009 by Farting Camel

Minding Your Own Business? Open Source Investing

November 1st, 2009 Posted by Stocks No Comment yet

There seems to be a lot of information on the web. But there’s always a catch. I am very proud of the ‘open source’ community when it comes to Internet Technology where multifaceted experts around the world share information and contribute to some mission perhaps much bigger then they alone can tackle.  Open source is an area where developers exchange and build on each other experiences.

It is the alternative to proprietary and much guarded information secret from the likes of corporate giants. I really do think our advancements in IT will come more from the open source community rather than corporation giants.

My interest is in investing, where everything is a guarded secret. I often come across interesting and relevant information only to realize shortly afterward that it was just some teaser from some research house trying to get me to buy something.  I’m not an animal but often felt as if I’m being lured into a big trap. Frustrating!  I can understand that people need to make money.  It still doesn’t make me feel any better about the tactics used on me.

I learnt about IT from reading works done from the open source community.  I thought about it with regards to investing in stocks.  How can I connect the dots? I do want to give back to the community that has helped me much.  I can’t help them in the IT aspects but I can definitely share what I do in investing in stocks.

Similar to the advancement in IT, I do hope that with relevant and meaningful information on stocks that an investing community would one day break the chain of dependency. We as a society, currently hold truth with regards to so call finance experts.  Much work has been done by the corporate giants of finance in the last seventy plus years to brain washed the general investing public in believing that we are not competent enough or somehow not smart enough to invest our own money in the stock market.  Let’s change that.

I don’t know of anyone who would take better care of my own money than me.  It is much clearer if you come from a perspective that is real – most fund managers only care about their own job.  They are not there to help you make money.  They are only there to try to keep their jobs and avoid being fired.  So, for the vast majority of the time, fund managers work on reducing their risk and not your risk.

My good friend said it best; he said if you want to get ahead in today’s corporate giants, “Do nothing”.  The more you ‘do’ the more chances you’ll make mistakes.  The more mistakes you made, the more likely you will be fired. There is one thing that I can’t deny is that today’s finance experts are very smart.  The smarter they are, the more they are inclined to do nothing.  My advice, mind your own business because no one else would.


Copyright © 2009 by Farting Camel

Farting Camel’s Guide to Stock Picking – Investment

October 23rd, 2009 Posted by Featured, Stocks No Comment yet

Investing Principles and Methods Series (IPMS)

This is perhaps the biggest part and the most important element in this series – the outline or format which will keep me in line as I present my work to you in a more practical aspect of stocks investment.

I have thought about this process more than you care to know.  This represents the administrative part of the series in which I’m laying out the rules.

I have isolated the list of important requirements that will let me evaluate and determine the merits of US public companies for my investment purposes.  I have decided on a new grading method isolating key areas in the target company that allows me to quickly determine an investment merit from a glance.

The four key areas in determining an investment merit in stocks are:

1)     Ethical Issues
2)     Owner’s Reward
3)     Debt Management
4)     Value Investment

My analysis will follow an overall pass or fail grading system.  The final assessment of a ‘pass’ grade will only be rewarded to companies which pass all five key areas under scrutiny.  A company not meeting these stringent criteria will fail the grading process.

What does a pass or fail grade mean to me?  This list of companies with a pass grade will be shortlisted for investment consideration, and may ultimately be placed in my investment portfolio.

I will track and present the investment results for you to view at your convenience under the sub-category ‘Portfolio’ within the main ‘Stocks’ page.  The goal is to present at least one company per week.


Copyright © 2009 by Farting Camel

A Step Forward

October 22nd, 2009 Posted by Stocks 1 comment

Investing Principles and Methods Series (IPMS), October 22, 2009

I want to outline a simple and direct way to figure out the value of the stocks or the company.

Taking into account there are a zillion ways to approach this task, I would much prefer the ‘simple’ method if I have to sacrifice the ‘direct’.  Yet it has to include all of the important elements I consider when I look at a company.

I currently have an approach I think is valuable, one that I have credited to Graham and Dodd.  I want to take this opportunity to simplify my old analytical routine, and add a few details that up to this point, I had every intention to, but for one reason or another, have not.

For the past few weeks, I have been pondering as the market is moving upwards.  While I do not particularly take the market into account during my valuation, the movement as massive as the late market surged is a cause for much consideration.

I don’t know who is reading as our site is still new.  I reckon if there is a reader out there, I owe you the next installment.  There is no way I would know for sure if ‘you’, actually exist. I’m rather lax the past weeks – focusing more of my time on the cosmetic of the site, rather precariously.

With this update behind us – I should have a concrete outline by tomorrow, an installment plan to this series.


Copyright © 2009 by Farting Camel

Top Four Secrets to the US$3 Billion Art of Bribery

October 17th, 2009 Posted by General No Comment yet

Bribery is a common thing.  Just last summer my friend was driving from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.  Perhaps, he was speeding but he claimed that he didn’t. We will never know the truth.  A policeman approached him and started to question him.  He pleaded his innocence before the lawman.  The police officer said, “You can plead your case in front of the judge or you can give me S$100 and we can forget about the whole thing.”

Another friend now living in Laos thinks, “It is easier to get things done when you know you can pay people off.” The concept of bribing someone with influence to get what you want is nothing new. It is common.

Like you, perhaps I prefer to close one eye when it comes to these things, especially if it happens in the underworld.  If it doesn’t happen to me why bother? What disturbs me most is when it is brought to my attention, especially when bribery and corruption happens right in front of me, in broad day light?

“I’m glad I don’t have to deal with all that.”  So you say. In the US, we don’t have bribery.  We have campaign finance contribution or for short ‘finance contribution’.  What is the difference between bribery and finance contribution? In the Webster dictionary a bribe means “1) money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust or 2) something that serves to induce or influence.  In the same dictionary, I can’t seem to find the definition for finance contribution.  I can find the word lobby, it means, “to try to influence (the Government etc).”

How does the lobbyist lobby the government? It might not come as a surprise if I tell you it has to do with money.  Yes, lobbyist, not just tries to but effectively influences government officials with money.  Lots of it!  In fact, I was surprised, to say the least.

My debate in my head continues… I kept thinking about it.  Is it better for bribery to be underground or in plain view?  The S$100 paid to influence the policeman was distasteful; $200 would have been more suitable for the risks.

Where was I? …What risks? I would be uncomfortable making a bribery payoff. If someone else were to do it for me, that would be another story. All I can think about was a scene from some mafia movie where the bad guy passes a bulged envelope to some cop or judge.  The delivery usually is very discrete. If I had to bribe someone I would be very concerned.  I would also pass the envelope discretely. And that is where I; like most bribery amateur would go wrong.  Another thing to consider, what if the person I wanted to bride is not corruptible?  In that case, I would drop and run for the hill because everyone and their mothers would know about my failed attempt and I would be ruined.

Bribery is harder than you think.  For bribery to be popular, it has to be accepted not just by the corrupted officers and their counter parts, it has to be institutionally acceptable to the general public.  Take the case of the cop blackmailing for the S$100, his chance of success would be better if he were to stop someone who actually speeds, unintentionally or not, that is another story.

The guilty driver gets off clean with a minor dent to his wallet and the cop does his job; call it a bonus for his large family with a small take home cop salary; a win win case for everyone. It is easier to overlook this. Now, blackmailing the innocent is plain hard.  You never know, someone might just call the bluff and the cop would soon find himself running for the hill.

The hill I refer to is nothing less than the infamous Capitol Hill.  In Washington D.C. there is a street called K Street.  This is where corporate America sends their elite battalion of lobbyists to bribe government officials, sorry…, to make the ‘finance contribution’.  In 2008 there were a reported 14,802 lobbyists. I’m very impressed by these people, these guys are smart they have figured out these amazing secrets decades before I was informed of it.  Maybe because the money is so staggering that it is hard to believe.  I’m not talking about the S$100, not even US$1,000 or even US$100,000.

You see it all the time on the daily news where some poor out of luck soul tried to rob the bank and succeeded in getting away with US$8,000, and he went in hiding for the rest of his life.  Now this would be the dumb guy, if he was smart he would join the other guys on the hill.  A reported sum of over US$3 billion, from 1998 to 2009, of ‘finance contribution’, was more to me like bribe money, from just 20 companies. You and I know there are thousands and thousands of companies in America.  Just think about it. In fact in just 2008 alone, all the lobbyist spends US$3.3 billion to influence Washington.

Not so long ago the country Iceland needed $5 billion to prevent a national bankruptcy… A National Bankruptcy!  That puts things into perspective.

To succeed in the art of bribery, you have to be good at four things:1) Don’t make it a secret, 2) Call it ‘finance contribution’, 3) Pay someone else to do it for you, like a lobbyist, and 4) Last being the most important, practice only on Capitol Hill, anywhere else it could cost you your life.

Bribe responsibly.

P.S.  Special thanks to where I have obtained the numbers used in this article.

Copyright 2009 by Farting Camel


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