I haven’t had much time or inclination to write on substantive topics lately, but I’ve still had some thoughts. Just not enough to write lengthy posts on.
I’m starting a new tag, “quick thoughts”, to denote short posts that deal with random topics. Today’s quick thoughts are responses to the Sunday Times, 3 October 2010.
“Inflation Up: How to make your money work harder” – Invest, Page 30
No mention by Lorna Tan on the hardest inflation hedge of all: gold. Disclosure: I’ve been heavily invested in the precious metals for the past 2 plus years or so. That gold is still not mentioned in the mainstream media is great news; it means it hasn’t entered bubble territory, yet.
As always, I make no claims to offering investment advice. I do not share the gains or losses of readers, so make your own investment decisions. If you are at all interested in precious metals, please do your own research.
Personally, I’m invested in gold and silver exchange-traded funds, BUT not GLD or SLV. There have been some allegations or suspicions of fraudulent dealing by both. My holdings are in ZKB and ZSIL, both managed by the Zurich Cantonal Bank. Why? You’ll have to do your own research to figure out why. One thing to note: these two exchange traded funds are traded only on the Swiss Exchange, and the last I checked, only one broker in Singapore offers access to the Swiss Exchange, and that’s Saxo Capital Markets.
“Rail-life Stories” – lifestyle, Page 8
The closure of Tanjong Pagar railway station and its relocation to Woodlands is understandable. Sad, but understandable. It’s not just the land that the station sits on is prime and can be redeveloped, but also all the land that the railway currently sits on.
Still, it would be nice if we had the equivalent of a Grand Central Station or Union Station in downtown Singapore. I love the romantic look and feel of grand railway stations, and I have fond memories of Union Station. As a student at Hopkins, I used to take the train between Baltimore and DC when staying in Baltimore got too boring. Also, air tickets from Dulles International Airport were sometimes substantially cheaper compared to tickets from BWI airport.
High-speed rail between downtown Singapore and downtown Kuala Lumpur would lead to all sorts of positive synergistic effects.
“Screen off the sun” – Pulse, Page 10
I’m not a fan of sunscreen. I apply it to prevent sunburn, not out of a desire to be fair (heck, I’m a guy) or prevent skin cancer.
Unknown to many, there is a sunscreen controversy brewing out there. In a nutshell, there is some evidence to suggest that sunscreen, ironically enough, may increase the risk of malignant melanoma.
Personally, I’m more concerned with vitamin D deficiency. More and more studies have found vitamin D to be implicated in many crucial metabolic processes, and it's unclear if each of us is really getting the amount we ought to be getting. What compounds matters is that if we avoid sun exposure, there really aren’t that many dietary sources of the vitamin, especially if you don’t fancy dairy products.
Coldwater fish oil is one non-dairy source. The problem is that to purge fish oil of contaminants like PCBs, most reputable fish oil supplements, which are touted for their Omega acid content, are probably devoid of vitamin D, thanks to extensive purification processes.
So far, I haven’t found a really satisfactory solution. If you take fish oil, there are good fish oil products out there, like Carlson’s fish oil, which unfortunately isn’t available in Singapore, but still, it won’t provide you with Vitamin D. Personally, I just take Michael Pollan’s advice to eat food. So here’s to an extra serving of saba and shishamo whenever I eat Japanese.
Oh and contrary to Mary Schmich's advice, I'm laying off the sunscreen unless absolutely necessary.