Saturday, December 27, 2008

Few can alter Yi prognostications

A fellow blogger and Yi aficionado in a recent reply to a reader indicated his surprise that the rich owners had been unable to turn around Transmile Group, a former KLCI component company. I had planned to write something about this matter which relates to his previous two accurate Yi divinations on the investment, my interpretations of the prognostications, and the results arising there from. Instead of writing a long comment at his blog, I will share some thoughts here with fellow Yi students.

It pays to remember what the Yi taught us, and learn how to discern between the good and the bad hexagrams. Perchance we may also learn the true meaning of the Chinese adage that ‘Man cannot win heaven’.

In early 2007, Transmile Group, which provides air cargo freight services, and a component company of the KLCI, was a high flyer.

Its shares soared manifold reaching a record high of RM 15.20 per share after its founder and CEO had sold a block of shares to the richest Malaysian, Tan Sri Robert Kuok who operates from Hong Kong and who has vast business interests in China.

Together with POS Malaysia as another major shareholder, it seems that Transmile got everything in its favor, with profits increasing each year. However its stock price tumbled more than 50 %, when it was found that the accounts contained substantial fictitious assets.

After a huge write-off and with the exit of the CEO, new management set about to turn around the company in the second half of 2007. After the Transmile shares had plunged 80% from its record high, the Yi aficionado bought some at around RM 3.36 with the hope that the company could be turned around. Later he decided to ask the Yi about the stock and posted the prognostication - Hexagram 18 Gu / Work on what has been spoiled.

When he seemed not to understand the implications of the Yi prognostication, I hinted that Transmile could fall to RM 2.20 or lower and told him why.

When Transmile’s shares fell to that level, I requested him to ask the Yi again since he intended to hold on to the investment. This time the Yi replied with a far more severe forewarning; in the form of Hexagram 29 Kan / The Abysmal.

Instead of commenting at his blog, I wrote an entry on February 19, 2008 on how to interpret the prognostication. With a suggestion that he or other investors like him who obtained such a prognostication to cut their losses.

While the company has not been suspended or de-listed as suggested, its share price did dive to a year low of RM 0.48 which equated to four limit downs from RM 2.20. (Pity those who had bought the shares at the peak of RM 15.20 and hanging on in the hopes of a full recovery.)

This shows that whenever the Yi speaks, students have to ponder and listen to what the Book of Changes has to say. And learn how to interpret the prognostications.

It would help if we are experienced enough to discern which are the good and the bad hexagrams for investments.

Only then we may have a chance to alter an ominous omen. But few including those who have charismatic lives can really do that. No matter how rich or ingenious they are.

If not how can Yi students and aficionados ever learn to master fate?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

TTC Chapter One

Sima Qian, the Grand Historian of the Han Dynasty, recorded down the existence of Laozi and the Tao Te Ching comprising of eighty one chapters. He also wrote in the historical records circa 100 B.C. to inform future generations that the Daoists during his time or earlier were known as followers of the HuangLao (Huangdi and Laozi) tradition.

In the Secret of the Golden Flower, Lu Yen better known as Lu Dongbin – one of the famous eight immortals – indicated that the first ancient to reveal the secret of the Circulation of the Light was Guan Yinshi the accredited student of Laozi and the one whom the Great Sage wrote the TTC for.

Yet modern scholars or so called Daoists with unsubstantiated claims cast aspersions that Laozi never existed or that the TTC was penned by various authors over the years.

If sincere Daoist students or cultivators of Tao really study and research this authenticated ancient Classic (Ching/Jing), they can find many gems only a real adept of inner alchemy would know about or have written. Also because the Tao Te Ching was and still is so profound, the Chinese and many Daoist sects down the ages respectfully referred to it as a real classic.

If we put our minds to the TTC, we can probably see why Chapter One started that way (pun intended).

In case, some readers missed it, imagine what happened about 2,500 years ago when Guan Yinshi (a student) first met and asked Laozi (a sage) to tell him about Tao.

The Great Sage wrote this down in Chapter One and my simple translation follows:

The tao that can be told is not the eternal tao,

The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

Nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth;

Named is the mother of myriad things.

Without desire observe the mysterious,

With desire contemplate the manifestations.

These two things are similar,

Only differing names for the profound.

Obscure and profound; (there will be) numerous mysterious gates.

All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

‘Where angels fear to tread’

If you are feeling blue like most stock investors this year, perhaps you can find some solace with the ‘gods’, legends, and market gurus who have also been badly hurt by the financial tsunami. In a way, we can also learn something from their laments:

Headlines: ‘God of Stocks’ tells of pain

Lee Shau-kee, even after an impressive surge in the stock market yesterday, wants everyone to forget he is known as the “God of Stocks,” admitting that followers have lost money after listening to his advice.

‘One time, I received letters from investors who followed my opinions. One of them said he lost much money in stocks and asked me to compensate him for losses.’

‘That person said he was so pathetic that he borrowed money from relatives to buy stocks and had to repay them. He asked if I could lend him money.’

After an investor asked Lee about his stock picks for next year, he refused to respond.

Earlier though, the veteran investor said “bliss will come out of the depth of misfortune” for the stock market next year and he hopes it will recover soon.

[ – Alfred Liu, Tuesday, Dec 9 2008]

Hope is eternal even for gods, much more so for mortals like us.

I still remember his two major wrong calls straddling 2007 and 2008. In May last year, he predicted the China stock market would collapse, instead it doubled. By the first half of 2008, like many other market gurus, he called a bottom and predicted that the Hang Seng index will hit 28,000 points by August. The Hang Seng went south all the way to 10,676 points by Oct 27, before it rebounded. It closed at 15,577 points on Dec 10 2008.

Mr. Lee, a HK property tycoon, has good intentions, put money where his mouth is, and a philanthropist.

Like many other veteran investors, perhaps he was blindsided by the severity of the ongoing financial tsunami.

Hear what this US legend has to say:

“The thing I didn’t do, from Day One, was properly assess the severity of the liquidity crisis. Every decision to buy anything has been wrong.” – Bill Miller, manager, Value Trust
[The Wall Street Journal/Markets Dec 10 2008]

Under Mr. Miller’s leadership, his Value Fund had been the best US performer for almost two decades. The legendary Mr. Miller called market bottoms since March this year and averaged all the way down on his picks in the US finance sector, some of which went to zero or near that. His fund lost 58% since January 2008 and currently ranked the worst performer of the US Value Funds. Apparently, some angry clients have recently called for his head.

In case, you still do not believe the ancient advice for the able to go into hiding when Heaven and Earth close, listen to what this fund manager or market guru indicated:

“There’s no place to hide,” said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer, North Star Investment Management Corp in Chicago.
“It’s clear that the economy is really soft for the next few months at least. The news will continue to be bad and everyone knows that.”
[Reuters Dec 7 2008]

With hindsight most can see clearer.

Those with prescient would have lain hidden well before the financial tsunami hit, and should count themselves lucky for not listening to the various ‘ShenXian’, legends, market gurus, and analysts who kept on calling bottoms. The rest is left to hope and fate.

Amid the deluge of gloomy news, it can be heartening to read some good news reported by CNN online a few weeks ago. That of a senior US citizen who had experienced the Great Depression and who has all his money held in cash, Certificates of Deposits, US Treasuries and bonds. He had worked as a dispatch clerk for a securities broker before the Market Crash of 1929 and ever since then has never believed in anything good about stocks. Lucky fellow!

After reading this entry, perhaps kin, good friends and regular readers can understand why since January 2007, I have discarded the baggage of giving stock tips, creating luck for others, and instead concentrated on helping readers cum stock investors to minimize their losses, after advising them to create their own luck.

In Bull Runs, almost every stock investor can make gains. Anyone can become a ‘ShenXian’ by giving good stock tips.

When it comes to Bear Markets, even the best of the best or those guided by the real ShenXian have lost fortunes. Unfortunately for most investors, 2008 turned out to be one of the greatest Bear Markets, the world has ever seen.

If you have been badly burnt in your investments, plod on. Play computer games (or the recently invented Wii) to pass time. (Thai tycoons who had lost their fortunes during the Asian Financial Crisis did that.)

Life is precious. Hope is eternal.

One day, you can recover your losses from the markets. Just do not ask me when; since it can be next year, or ten years from now. How would I know? I am just a mortal like you and not a ShenXian.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Assist the gods?

According to the ancients, the most entire sincere can foreknow. Happy and unlucky omens can be seen in the milfoil (yarrow stalks) and tortoise. Therefore the individual possess of the most complete sincerity is like a spirit (shen).

Happy and unlucky omens using the milfoil have been documented and passed down to posterity in the Zuozhuan. If Yi aficionados care to read and understand each of those ancient stories on yarrow stalks divination, they could gain a deeper insight on foreknowledge and the interpretation of oracles, because the Book of Changes actually spoke on each event.

When someone can divine with the milfoil and obtain happy or unlucky omens, that individual is said to possess of the most complete sincerity and is like a spirit. Perhaps the moniker of ‘Shen Suan’ or ‘Divine like a spirit’ was coined by later generations of Chinese because of this.

In Chapter Nine of the Great Treatise, after teaching how to obtain an oracle by using the milfoil or yarrow stalks, the wise wrote these:

It reveals Tao and renders nature and action divine. Therefore with its help we can meet everything in the right way, and with its help can even assist the gods themselves.

This section refers again to the Book of Changes in general. Its theme is that the book reveals the meaning of events in the universe and thereby imparts a divine mystery to the nature and action of the man who puts his trust in it, so that he is enabled to meet every event in the right way and even to aid the gods in governing the world. [W/B]

But first and foremost, Yi aficionados need to cultivate to become an earnest and sincere student. It can be a very lengthy process, for sincerity is a way of Heaven. And when the Yi speaks, you would know that the effort is very worth it.

Years later, you may realize that you can divine like a spirit (Shen Suan). However you may not be able to progress further reaching a dead end, so to speak.

That would be the time when you have to seek advice from the gods (include Daoist deities, heavenly immortals and Buddhas), if you have an affinity with them!

The Master said: Whoever knows the Tao of the changes and transformations, knows the action of the gods.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why the able remain in hiding

The ongoing great bear markets of 2008 have and continue to destroy much wealth all over the world. Many an investor have been severely hurt whether they were invested in stocks and shares, bonds, real properties, commodities, foreign currencies, works of art or antiques. Some lost entire fortunes or their retirement funds. How badly burnt they got themselves, is relative to their means.

Tycoons and owners of quoted companies probably lost much more than the man-in-the-street in terms of quantum. Quite a number of the Forbes Asian billionaires watched their fortunes, measured in stocks; dwindle by 40 to 60% according to Bloomberg. At least, they can do something since they know much about their own companies’ businesses and with it, their very chances of recovery.

It differs with those professional chief executives of global (or your local) giant companies who hang on to their lucrative paid jobs and try to fool their government into throwing more and more money at the huge problems that the incompetent had created. Think of AIG and the rescued casino banks.

If you happen to read some of the balance sheets of the US titans, freely available at Yahoo Finance at a click, you may wonder if their CEOs or their major institutional investors actually read the companies’ financial statements.

While the 2007 Balance Sheet of a titan showed net liabilities in tens of billions which depicts that the company is already insolvent then, its CEO still have the cheek to claim it can survive, if the government pumps in huge sums of money. The financial crises and the stock markets meltdown had actually started in 2008 and not in 2007. So there you go.

Then there is another example where a global bank had financed a gigantic amount of long termed investments with short term loans. The investments amounting to more than a trillion of US dollars in its books is rather frightening and would rank third, in terms of countries’ foreign reserves, behind those of China and Japan. Its CEO has recently ‘fobbed’ that his bank company is still liquid, even though its balance sheet showed that current liabilities exceeding current assets by hundreds of billions.

Without a doubt, the US Fed and the Treasury can make this global bank and others very liquid or solvent by pumping in tens or hundreds of billions.

Already the US government has committed or provided for nine trillion for financial markets liquidity and rescues, a more genteel word than bailouts, as if it really matters now! Together with Europe’s announced bailouts or rescues, the total required funding tops USD 11 trillion, which probably exceeds the combined foreign reserves of the entire world.

Ever wonder how the US and Europe fund that colossal sum designated for the rescues? Who can bail these countries out if and when necessary?

With the huge plunge in assets value and depressed commodity prices after the first half of 2008, renowned economists have started to predict a severe recession or even another Great Depression. The US President had announced why the US needed the USD 700 billion rescue package after its approval. He was told by those in the know that there could be a Great Depression more severe than the 1930s if no such major rescue were pending.

Yet Malaysians are bombarded almost daily that their country’s economy would be alright going forward and why, similar rhetoric to the last four months of 1997 when the Thai Baht was being attacked and rapidly devalued. Obviously, like some other Asian governments, the Malaysian government does not see the necessity to jolt her citizens out of their stupor while the financial tsunami wrecks havoc elsewhere on earth. The Malaysian government may have a valid reason, this time round because of the country’s large foreign reserves.

The KLSE still ranks among the best performers in 2008 amid the battered global stock markets falling less than most. That was one reason why I had not provided a free lunch to Malaysian pensioners or retirees, since the KLCI blue chips may have some ways to fall.

Pensioners could be catching falling knives, even if they have the means and planned lower targets to buy, when the remaining huge foreign funds decide to rush out of the KLSE for a reason or other. By coincidence, British Telecoms recently plunged to an all time low in the London Stock Exchange before rebounding.

Prescient plays a very important part in surviving this financial tsunami and preserving capital for opportunities of a lifetime. But we have to be wary of false prophets.

Amid the worsening global scenario and big corporations failing elsewhere, it peeves me to read in The Star publication an absurd article by the CEO of a tiny Malaysian investment fund which implied that people should not wished for a Great Depression 2 to happen.

If people can ‘wish upon a star’ or pray and get back their recent lost wealth, I am sure billions in the world would do so, if they have not done that already.

When your parts of the world is ruled by or have public quoted corporations run by incompetents, it is best for the able to go into hiding otherwise they could get slaughtered too, so say the ancients and the Yi. Why?

For with the closure of Heaven and Earth on September 15 2008, and without Tao, not even the gods can help.

So it is best that the able remain in hiding to avoid the final cut.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Go on to greater heights

The Master said,

‘To live in obscurity, and yet practise wonders, in order to be mentioned with honour in future ages:- this is what I do not do.

The good man (Junzi) tries to proceed according to the right path (Way), but when he has gone halfway, he abandons it: - I am not able so to stop.

The superior man (Junzi) accords with the course of the Mean. Though he may be all unknown, unregarded by the world, he feels no regret: - It is only the sage who is able for this.

[Chapter 11 – Doctrine of the Mean – Legge]

It is characteristic of the most entire sincerity to be able to foreknow. When a nation or family is about to flourish, there are sure to be happy omens; and when it is about to perish, there are sure to be unlucky omens.

Such events are seen in the milfoil and tortoise, and affect the movements of the four limbs. When calamity or happiness is about to come, the good shall certainly be foreknown by him, and the evil also.

Therefore the individual possessed of the most complete sincerity is like a spirit (shen).

[Chapter 24]

Past eminent Confucian scholars have had discussed this chapter 24 in detail according to Legge but he penned this in a footnote:

“The whole chapter is eminently absurd, and gives a character of ridiculousness to all the magniloquent teaching about ‘entire sincerity’. The foreknowledge attributed to the Sage, - the mate of Heaven, - is only a guessing by means of augury, sorcery, and other follies.”

By rubbishing the chapter, renowned sinologist James Legge showed his religious bias and ignorance of Yi divination. His unfounded opinion probably misled a few generations of Yi aficionados in the West to believe that the future cannot be foreseen with the Book of Changes.

Perhaps Legge had never heard of Guan Lo of late Han or those Yi students who can divine like a spirit.

Over the years, regular readers have probably seen plenty of happy and unlucky omens, and heaven’s secrets in this blog. So much so that one fellow Yi aficionado even complimented me being akin to Shen Suan Liu Bowan, the adviser to a Ming emperor.

Do you really think I have been guessing, using sorcery or other follies, all this time?

When one can divine like a spirit, what next?

In the Great Treatise, the wise tell Yi aficionados to assist the gods!

For that you may need to raise your spiritual level and know what gods (include Daoist deities, heavenly immortals and Buddhas) actually do on earth.

The Way which the superior man pursues, reaches wide and far, and yet is secret.
[Chapter 12]


Friday, November 14, 2008

Wise and generous mother earth

Perfect indeed is the sublimity of the Receptive. All beings owe their birth to it, because it receives the heavenly with devotion.

The Receptive in its riches carries all things. Its nature is in harmony with the boundless. It embraces everything in its breath and illumines everything in its greatness. Through it, all individual beings attain success.

A mare belongs to the creatures of the earth; she roams the earth without bound. Yielding, devoted, furthering through perseverance; thus the superior man has a direction for his way of life.

Taking the lead brings confusion because one loses his way. Following with devotion – thus does one attain his permanent place.

In the west and south one finds friends, so that he proceeds with people of his own kind. In the east and north one must do without friends, so that he finally attains good fortune.

The good fortune of rest and perseverance depends on our being in accord with the boundless nature of the earth. [W/B]

In writing the commentaries to the decision or judgment on Hexagram Kun, the wise depict their understanding of the wisdoms contained in the Book of Changes for posterity. Like mother earth, being broad and generous, they do not have preference if their thoughts are read by Confucians, Daoists, Buddhists or any other doctrines. All are welcome.

They left behind the words for all Yi aficionados including those who had attempted to read the Book of Changes. If students cannot find the meanings or wisdoms then nothing else can be done, since the Yi is not meant for everyone on earth. Only the earnest and sincere can find the true meanings in what is written in the Book of Changes.

That remains the truth for the past few millennia.

Here is my simple take:

There are times to be creative and times to be receptive. By following and being receptive to Heaven, the governor of time, the Junzi know what to do and what not to do.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A touch of Tao

Keeping still
The body quivers
Listen to the songs of immortals

Cold air plunges down to Kun
Fire the bubbling water
Steam rises up to Qian
Qi brightens and cleans the home for shen

One heavenly cycle completed
Followed by others
Clouds, first dark then bright
No more forms or emptiness

When wu wei stops
From sheer darkness, it appears
Shimmering lights
Colourful diamonds

Beautiful, magnificent
The golden flower
A touch of Tao
To climb the stairs of heaven

Related references:
The Zhouyi, Tao Te Ching, Neiyeh, Secret of the Golden Flower, Hundred characters Steele, Shurangama and Diamond Sutras.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Free lunch for senior citizens!

Currently the world is enveloped in crisis after crisis. The pinyin for the word Crisis is ‘Wei Ji’. ‘Wei’ means danger while ‘Ji’ means opportunity.

In a crisis, it means that within danger, there is also opportunity; if one plans ahead and has the means. When there is one crisis after another like now, opportunities of a lifetime would abound and ripe for the taking if one had planned it well.

What does one mean by having the means?

If you are cash rich and hold minimal stocks or none at all at the moment, you have the means.

What does one mean by planning ahead?

Soon there would be lifetime opportunities for the taking, if not already. One would suggest to senior citizens – retirees, pensioners or those near to retirement – who have the means to plan to buy the bluest of the blue chips in your country, be it the US, Canada and Europe.

Look for utility companies, beverages companies and tech stocks for example ATT, Nestle, Coca Cola, IBM, Microsoft Corporation and British Telecoms to invest in. Ensure that the companies you want to invest in are making profits from their operations, cash rich, hold minimal debt and pay regular dividends by looking up their financial statements and/or annual reports for the past few years.

Ask your financial advisors to look up these criteria if you do not understand financial statements or reports. With the current dwindling trades in the stock markets, I am sure the financial advisers would be more than willing to provide you this service.

After obtaining the necessary information, and feeling comfortable with the companies, set realistic target prices to buy their stocks; setting new lifetime lows are okay but do not set too low a target or you may never be able to own a good and safe stock which may still be profitable, paying regular dividends during a severe recession or even in a great depression, if any.

Keep monitoring your target companies’ share prices and news reports on them. Start buying once the set targets have been reached. Never put all your money in just one stock.

Do not mind stock analysts or market gurus’ lower calls, unless something is really wrong with the company concerned! If they know so much about markets and timing, their funds or hedge funds would not have lost their shirts or had to close shop.

From online news, I gather that share prices of some old established institutions in the US have already reached a few decades low. If they are good and safe companies, have a look at them. These are examples of opportunities of a lifetime within the crises, are they not?

Start doing your homework now to plan ahead.

Once your country’s economy turns good again, you could reap huge capital gains from those stocks that you have planned ahead and bought, if you want. And do not forget to donate some money to your favorite charity from the realized gains that you made from the stock market during the current crises. The needy, the orphanages, the old folk’s homes and those in dire straits need our help.

No, you guys and gals do not have to buy a billion US dollars worth of CDO and CDS off me for this free lunch! (In case, some do not understand the joke, US investment bankers had been providing free lunches for the old fools flying in from Europe for the past few years to encourage them to buy the now toxic products and other derivatives, according to online news.)

Lunch is on me because of your continued support over the past few years.

Thanks and good luck!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dawn raids on pension funds

Just when you think that your money is safe, your government after using up the country’s reserves and emptying your children’s piggy banks (in relation to the future tax burdens they have to bear), will soon, if not started already, make dawn raids on your parents’ and your pension funds.

(At the time of writing, Argentina has just announced the nationalization of the country’s private pension funds while our government has already announced that they will borrow a few billion from our largest pension fund of which I am still a member to support the stock market.)

No, you cannot blame the government. The conventional wisdom of not to bail failing companies has been thrown out of the window, as expected.

Desperate times need desperate measures, and governments are indeed desperate since they don’t know what to do.

The safety net has widened considerably if you have not noticed. (Think of the bail outs of insurers, real property companies, and businesses, for example Korea, that betted heavily on the continued appreciation of their country’s currency against the US dollar and got severely whacked.)

A country’s financial system, her stock market and currency have to be saved at any cost – unless the government officials have to use their own money. Every government leader wants to be the hero or heroine of the day in the current crises.

Every moment is just a breath-take away from the reversal of the bottom of the global stock markets. If dumping tens and hundreds of billions of US dollars into the system do not work, and when the chips are down, why not try trillions? Brilliant strategy!

If the country runs out of money trying to rescue all the sinking and rotten toxic laden boats, the easiest or the softest touch is to raid the huge cash pile still available in the pension funds. After all, Japan has had set the precedent during the early 1990s. And look how well she has been doing since then, despite the so called lost decade. That is if you do not mind paying the banks like the Japanese did, a small annual interest or a fee for keeping your money with them rather than keeping cash under the mattress or in the safe for years on end.

The rather unfortunate thing to this is that almost all governments in the world are caught up in the game and feeling rather feverish in the loins. In case, you do not understand gaming analogy, gamblers feel feverish after laying heavy bets all across the table hoping that the roulette ball will eventually fall on their betted numbers.

A roar goes up if they win but they feel peevish when they lose. Perhaps these governments should just stick to playing red or black since they have already lost tons of their country’s money playing the numbers, don’t you think? Or perhaps, they should ask those French who frequent Monte Carlo, how to really play roulette.

Playing red or black can certainly provide a better percentage of wins than the numbers. Instead of the numerous I don’t knows you get from those government officials who are supposed to be in charge, after quickly burning up the country’s reserves and money in your children’s piggy banks.

Of course the global stock markets had roared for two days after the weekend announcement that the US and Europe would pump in almost three trillion US dollars to bail out their financial systems. Mr. Market approved and the markets rose by the same amount in value, if not more. A fair exchange, one would say.

However you cannot blame the markets for plunging again after the initial euphoria. Mr. Market is probably now waiting for more trillion dollars announcements before he decides to roar again. That is one reason, the governments may dawn raid their countries’ pension funds rather than resort to continuously print money up till late next year to pay for their recently acquired gambling habits and those of their rescued or adopted kids – those unrepentant hard core gamblers who still point fingers at others for the fall of world renowned institutions.

And in a very wrong way, these well heeled Americans and Europeans have become more Chinese than expected.

Instead of learning their ancient virtues, they have learned their vices and have finally taken over the mantle from the Chinese to become the new kings of gamblers, in terms of magnitude.

The Chinese men in the street who have gambling in their blood can only afford to lose their shirt or their lives while these well heeled and learned guys can lose hundreds of billions (almost 700 Billion to date) and bring down giant institutions. And still managed to get well paid plus huge bonuses to boot – outstanding back pay and bonuses amounted to 69 Billion US dollars, I last heard.

Therefore, no contest, these well heeled intellects win hands down. And the whole world including you and me loses.

No, I am still sitting on my hands, if readers want to know if I have started to invest in the stock market. And since no institution or government wants to pay anything for the trillion dollar answer of when the bear markets will reverse, which can be provided at a very reasonable price, I will go into hiding.

There you go no free lunches and spoon feeding, even if kin, good friends and regular readers ask. Unless I can sell you a CDO or CDS worth a USD billion that no one else wants!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Watching heaven fall (2)

Less than a month after seeing the closure of heaven and earth on September 15, people across the globe are currently witnessing yet another lifetime phenomenon, that of the falling of heaven.

The way global investors in great panic scrambled out of the stock markets in the flight to safety last week looks as if heaven is falling down, does it not?

The status quo of human nature remains since time immemorial. Humans rely on their basic instincts of survival and run for cover fleeing to safety whenever there is pandemonium on earth.

In such times of crises, the West talks about the phenomenon of the sky falling out, while the Chinese call it, heaven falling.

Within the week ended October 10, the Japanese, Russian and Indonesian stock markets had fallen 20% or more. The Russian and Indonesian markets were temporary suspended to stop the incessant selling down of stocks. Many other stock market indices across the world including the Dow Jones plummeted 10% to 20%.

Trillions of US dollars in value have simply disappeared from the global stock markets in the cascading falls commencing from September 15 just when Tao has receded all under heaven.

Repeating history, like what the Japanese people did in the early 1990s, the Americans have resorted to buying safes (sales of safes have shot up by 44% in the USA, the last couple of months according to online news reports) to keep cash at home rather than putting their trust in banks or relying on the government to look after their hard earned money. This says a lot, doesn’t it?

If you really think that the Japanese and Americans are rather silly or that the investors fleeing to safety have completely lost their minds, you could be the one fooling yourself and/or had been acting like an ostrich amidst this falling of heaven.

Hunker down, batten the hatches, like the able man withdraw into the dark for safety and security as advised by the Zhouyi before it is too late to do anything.


Readers are again reminded that they are solely responsible for their own actions or non actions.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Determining how and when Tao pervades or recesses all under Heaven

This entry is dedicated to those scholars of Tao and/or the Zhouyi who graced this blog with their visits or comments; since what is written could be profound and above the heads of many.

Therefore if it is beyond your immediate understanding, reread it when you are ready. It may provide you with further clarity on ancient Chinese thoughts and a deeper understanding of the Tao Te Ching and the Zhouyi. It would also depend on whether or not, first class scholars of Tao and/or the Yi would want to weigh in with their comments and thoughts. Here goes.

It is said that Heaven governs time while Earth governs space. To overcome fate, the Junzi needs to master time and space. Therefore the study of Heaven and Earth was of special interest to the ancients and the Junzi down the ages. This study can be considered part and parcel of Tao and the Zhouyi.

Investigating into things, one has found a particular teaching on Heaven and Earth which may arouse the interest of scholars of the three doctrines.

Top scholars and those who have cultivated Tao for a decade or more are most welcome to try to find the real meaning behind this teaching that the ancient sages passed down to posterity in their respective classics and book – the Book of Changes, the Tao Te Ching, and the Analects.

The second part of the exercise is to determine how and when such phenomena - the pervasion and recess of Tao which can be paraphrased as the opening and closing of heaven and earth - occur. The thing to remember is the examination of the subject of Tao and the Zhouyi, and not either or. Otherwise the scholar may not fully understand this ancient teaching.

About two thousand five hundred years ago, Laozi wrote in the Tao Te Ching:

May not the space between heaven and earth be compared to a bellows? Emptied, yet it loses not its power; moved again, and it sends forth air the more.’ [Legge]

On or about the same time, Confucius taught this to his students as recorded in Book 8 Chapter 13 of the Analects:

When Tao pervades all under heaven, be prominent. When Tao recesses, go into hiding.’ [AL]

In the Da Zhuan (The Great Treatise), it is said:

The Book of Changes is vast and great. When one speaks of what is far, it knows no limits. When one speaks of what is near, it is still and right. When one speaks of the space between heaven and earth, it embraces everything.’ [W/B]

In the Commentaries to the Hexagrams, it is said:

When heaven and earth are creating in change and transformation, all plants and trees flourish; but when heaven and earth close, the able man withdraws into the dark.’ [W/B]

Since the teaching is related, the holy sages and the two great sages knew or would have experienced what had been indicated. It depicts that great minds think alike. Grasping the complete meaning can advance our own understanding of Tao, Yi, cultivation and fate. However, it does not mean that our knowledge is equal to these ancient sages.

It is said that a great and wise scholar, Wang Bi [A D 226 – 249] wrote about the meaning of the Book of Changes as a book of wisdom, not as a book of divination. Several centuries later, a top Confucian scholar, Zhu Xi [A D 1130 – 1200] attempted to rehabilitate it as a book of oracles; in addition to a short and precise commentary on the I Ching, he published an introduction to his investigations concerning the art of divination. [W/B lx]

Since the Book of Changes has been or can be used as a book of wisdom or a book of oracles, both the two scholars were right. However if Yi aficionados use the Book of Changes solely for wisdom or only for divination, then I am afraid they may not have reached a sufficient depth to understand or interpret what the ancients had said in this instance.

Having read some articles on their thoughts, both these scholars cannot be said to have deep knowledge of the workings of Tao as compared to Chen Tuan and Shao Yong.

Perhaps a simple explanation can be suggested: ‘Wang Bi who died early at the young age of 24, and Zhu Xi, strictly a Confucian, were not versed with neidan (inner alchemy) meditation’.

For ‘without seeing what can be seen, without feeling what can be felt, without hearing what can be heard’ as indicated in the Tao Te Ching, Daoist texts, and in Buddha’s Shurangama Sutra; how far can any Tao cultivator go? If one cannot go far in the real cultivation, how much can one really know about Tao?

Sinologists and their Chinese mentors appeared not to have shown their comprehension of the entire meaning in the teaching, even if they were versed with Classical Chinese and ancient philosophy.

The renowned late sinologist, James Legge and his mentor(s) had somehow completely fluffed the meaning in his Analects translation, the reason for my simple translation of what Confucius had actually said. Legge mentioned – caution – in his interpretation of the line in the Zhouyi.

Richard Wilhelm and his learned mentor did better by explaining why and what the able have to do, with the closing of Heaven and Earth. But Wilhelm and his mentor had not covered the angle on Tao.

If cultivators of Tao and Yi scholars do not understand what Laozi and Confucius meant, writings of the Zhen Ren or the Quanzhen heavenly immortals like Zhong Liquan, Lu Dongbin and Zhang Boduan can provide some guidance.

If you cannot find the real meaning behind the teaching on Tao and the Zhouyi, and/or the second part of the exercise – the determination of how and when the phenomena occur - try discussing it with likeminded fellows or consult your learned teacher(s) including the Heavenly immortals (Tian Xian), if any.

But do not expect any help from me. Since how would I know?


I thought the entry on Hexagram 62 which took three working days to write and fine tuned was long since the sensitivities of a well known translator had to be taken into account, to prove a point.

This entry took much longer, since it could be a revelation or not of a real teaching. Over the past few weeks, I had to ponder and reread what were indicated by the ancients, the Zhen Ren and the wise.

Therefore I would appreciate if readers provide a citation to this blog entry if they intend to use the material elsewhere for their studies, website, blog, and/or for gain.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Watching heaven fall

What difference does a year make? Plenty, the distressed would cry out in unison if they have any tears left to shed.

2007 will be remembered as a great year for Asian stock markets where share prices soared, some manifold. Most of the global stock markets reached their peaks last October and many investors have made money.

Ignoring the expanding credit crunch and various signs of distress in the US housing market, rich Asian investors also loaded up on US bonds and derivatives that they hardly knew. After all, the US officials, who were supposed to be in the know, repeatedly calmed the financial markets with soothing rhetoric.

'It is okay, the damage is minimal and manageable', they seem to indicate with confidence from time to time over the months until the bail out of Bear Stearns, in March 2008. Then the real panic and urgency set in.

But during the calmer months, investment gurus and stock analysts started to predict the turning of bear markets. Sure the markets will, since what comes down must go back up again, one day.

When, has become the trillion US dollars question. Timing is related to the sincere study of Changes. Not to analyses of markets or the reading of technical charts.

The investment gurus and hedge funds have since lost much money in the ensuing meltdown of markets. Three trillion US dollars have been lost during the mid September carnage in the global stock markets immediately after the failure and bail out of US investment banks, according to Bloomberg reports. Going by that reported figure, tens of trillions would have been wiped out over the year since last October.

That is the difference, a year makes.

Just like the Asian financial crisis ten years ago, no one actually knows how to contain the collateral damage and the dire consequences that can ensue. The current financial crisis and meltdown of markets looks beyond any help or rescue.

It appears too enormous to handle, notwithstanding the prevailing collective actions of central banks and governments, daily throwing tens of billions of dollars into the financial markets to quench the insatiable thirst of banks and financial institutions, similar to filling up an abyss or a black hole.

Governments also tried to shore confidence by buying up index linked stocks and local currencies beaten down by the exodus of foreign investors. Some changed rules in the markets or moved goalposts. They eventually stopped, realizing the folly of burning up foreign reserves and using hard cash to buy ever softening stocks.

Mr. Market has been and will always be bigger than any institution or country, unless it is a closed market. Partly reminisce of the previous crisis, a decade ago.

The American people were the first to suffer in the crisis. The housing meltdown caused million(s) to be forced out of their homes.

If you happen to hear of hundreds of thousands of the middle class and the poor living in cars and a similar number recently started to live in tents, you would not have been wrong to think that such phenomena only happens in a poverty stricken third world country. The charity food kitchens in the US have been inundated with ever growing queues of the poor, jobless and hungry. Retirees fear their nest eggs of stable income from stock dividends would dwindle or curtail.

If once considered the best, the safest and biggest corporations in the US and in the world can collapse like ten pins and dominoes, where can investors hide? And the scenario looks bleaker, each passing day.

Over in Asia, natural disasters and calamity seems to be order of the day in 2008. Earthquakes and floods had killed tens of thousands. Coupled with the meltdown of their stock markets, human suffering there can also be horrendous.

Suicides caused by huge losses in the battered stock markets have been reported in various parts of Asia, and may become more common, since many investors are currently numbed, distressed and in denial. What with the huge decimation of capital where prices of once good fundamental stocks can plummet 90% or more from their record highs in 2007.

Highly geared finance and property companies are also failing in numbers in various developed Asian countries because of the credit crunch. Hedge funds with big losses are beginning to close shop.

If well established reputable banks and financial institutions in the US can fail or have to be bailed out like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Indy Mac, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, American International Group and the latest casualty on September 25, 2008, Washington Mutual Bank, with most of their ordinary and preferred shares completely worthless, what investments can be considered really safe?

When an era of investment banking, where the most talented and world highest paid financial advisers worked, has been totally erased, does anyone seriously think that the impending mother of all bail outs, the US$ 700 billion, can really resolve the massive mess, created by those once gigantic fees churning titans that had failed, and condoned by regulators and central bankers alike who slept on the job?

Does anyone really has the handle on how many tens of trillions of US dollars worth of derivatives and credit default swaps that are out there in the markets? Who insures these insurers of credit defaults, when they are asked to pay up? How does the US$ 700 billion, miniscule by comparison, begin to resolve the insurmountable problems?

However, if left entirely on its own, the financial crisis may get full blown, and its aftermath could severely affect the lives of billions, all under heaven.

Therein lies the dilemma of continued government bail outs of banks and financial institutions considered too big to fail. The contagion has already spread to Europe with the bail outs of another mortgage lender bank in England and of a well known bank in Belgium announced today. US and European bankers like to lay massive gambles, don't they?

The only ones who probably stand to gain from this mother of all bail outs would be those affected bankers who can finally offload their ‘marked to make believe’ assets and toxic debts that no fool wants anymore, in exchange for good solid cash from the US government. That would also put a stop to auditors panting down their necks, like what the ‘watchdogs’ had done over the past few reporting quarters. (In case, these bankers want to pin blame on them for their own mistakes, the auditors were just doing their professional job.) If the banks have to write down these soured assets, more of them including the big Main Street ones could fail.

With this fresh lifeline, banks would start to lend to selective customers, probably those who do not really need the loans. Then again, perhaps you have not read recent news; hoarding cash is the current favorite pastime of bankers in US and in Europe.

Only with strict regulation and constant oversight, can the mother of all bail outs likely work.

Warren Buffett had exclaimed, ‘If Congress does not help, Heaven help us', after hearing about the wrangling over the intended massive bail out. It must have been a ‘do or die’ situation. Few seemed to understand the severity of this financial crisis of gigantic proportions; since it is a once in a lifetime thingy.

However the dice falls, eventually, her taxpayers have to bail the United States of America out of the massive mess created. Call it fate, destiny, or whatever!

Chaos and Unemployment, the Yi had warned last September. In a subsequent entry last October, I had also warned about the mountain imploding and advised on how to escape forthcoming disasters.

In such times of despair, the Chinese would exclaim, ‘Tian Zai, Ren Huo’ which translates as, ‘disasters from heaven bring ruin to the people'.

Earlier this year, the Yi warned that heaven and earth will close in September 2008 and the able goes into hiding. I had cleared all my stocks in May 2008, waiting patiently for the heaven secrets or omen to unfold.

In line with the guidance of the Yi, I am now watching heaven fall. So would those one to two million adversely affected and unfortunate US citizens who have no choice but to sleep out in the open, and living in misery. There would be much more suffering before the catastrophes and great panic finally ends.

If heaven does fall, what can be done by man on earth? Since Tao has already gone into recess all under heaven, even the ShenXian (Daoist deities and immortals) can do nothing much.

And how can heaven actually help, when it is about to fall?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Zhouyi is dead right again

At the beginning of the Chinese calendar year 2007, the Yi indicated that ‘someone will steal my cow' that year. My awareness tied up with the Yi chart and an unintentional confirmation from a Quanzhen heavenly immortal indicated that the cow would be stolen on August 17, 2007 – the biggest fall in Asian stock markets in a state of panic. As blogged that year, the culprit who stole my cow was Bear Stearns, the fifth largest investment bank in the US which no longer exists, today.

In my annual hexagram for 2008, the Yi indicated that ‘Heaven and Earth will close’ sometime this year. Again tying up with the Yi chart, I had told my wife and kids, my Quanzhen friend in May and subsequently that there will be big plunges in the stock markets on September 15, 2008.

Over the past few months, I have provided several hints in the blog if regular readers have taken notice.

In case, readers do not know what had happened, the following events occurred on Friday, September 12, 2008:

"A prominent blogger who writes on political issues was arrested that afternoon under a ‘draconian’ law known as the Internal Security Act enacted in the 1960s to arrest communist insurgents and detain them indefinitely without trial.

Later that night, a woman reporter of a Chinese news publication was arrested under the same Act for correctly quoting a prominent member of the ruling party who had lashed out at the Malaysian Chinese for supporting the opposition party in the elections.

The two reporters who subsequently confirmed her quote went into hiding when they heard about her arrest.

Just before midnight, an opposition female Member of Parliament was also arrested under the ISA, probably driving much fear into many bloggers and opposition MPs.
(Remember my hint about power politics?)

After a ruckus and protests over the arrests by opposition and ruling party MPs including six ministers, the government decided to release the female reporter, the following day. She has been detained for the shortest period on record under the Act – 18 hours.

The blogger and the opposition MP are still detained indefinitely.

The assumed Law Minister resigned in protest of the arrests under the ISA and hailed by the public as a man of principle and honour."

(Those interested can visit the archives of online news publications – TheStar. or others - for full details.)

"Over in the US, the US treasury and other government officials were meeting with CEOs of various banks, American International Group, and interested parties. They met to try resolving the issues of fast failing financial institutions.

The meeting stretched over the weekend and ended on Sunday, September 14, 2008. The interested buyers pulled out, the US treasury refused to bail out the investment bank, Lehman Brothers, and let it go to the dogs –oops – into liquidation.

Meanwhile Bank of America took over a larger investment bank, Merrill Lynch.

The US treasury also refused to bail out AIG, the largest insurance group in the world by market capitalization.

A couple of days later, the US Federal Reserve bailed out AIG. The rest as the saying goes is history."

By including these storylines, hopefully, Yi aficionados can learn what happens, when Heaven and Earth close.

Soon, I may ask something of Yi fellows and Tao cultivators to test your in-depth knowledge on Tao and the Zhouyi. Therefore prepare yourselves, if interested.

Meanwhile the global stock and capital markets roiled in turmoil on September 15, 2008, a financial tsunami of sorts, and continuing.

Doomsayers of guru status with ‘brilliant’ hindsight emerged from closets to cast more gloomy news far into the horizon. And asked investors to hold cash!

The investors may not have any money left, if they have fully invested in those previously AAA rated 'very safe and strong' financial or other institutions that had failed.


I realize that none of the prominent personalities in charge this year and last either in the US or in Malaysia has the charm to change fate or destiny. Otherwise they could defer the dates, by a day or two – like the Barings fall and rescue by the Bank of England governor - or like former US President Bill Clinton, even avoid an omen altogether?

Friday, September 05, 2008

September is the month

Sometime in May/June this year, I had promised a sibling to post in my blog the month when the KLSE will face a financial tsunami of sorts.

It was not what the psychics, seers or even the ShenXian (Daoist deities and immortals) had predicted, I had told her over the phone then. It is not going to be in June, July or even August. Just wait until I blogged the month.

Life would have been much easier dealing with heaven's secrets with mum and dad, if they had been both alive. They had never asked why, just when and how to prepare for the worst.

My late mum would ask for permission to inform kin to prepare for the dangers that lie ahead. They would not resort to questioning me on my knowledge of the Yi nor 'how would I know'?–a recent question raised by another sibling.

An obligation to explain in detail or rationalizing what will happen defeat the purpose of having access to heaven’s secrets. Doubters and skeptics will always go their own way and do their own things. No matter what you say or tell them" – when identifying which kin or close relative to tell–I had told mum.

If no one wants to listen and prepare for the worst, nothing can be done. It is the way of man.

When the holy sages and the two great Chinese sages spoke about the ways of Heaven and Earth, how many without the necessary Tao cultivation and Yi divination experience down the ages could fully comprehend that.

Probably regular readers and/or Yi aficionados may better understand the prior hints given over the past few months. Having kept my promise to blog the month, I can go back into hiding since Heaven and Earth will close shortly.


In case, readers still do not understand what had been written in a previous post in August on the hint about power-politics – the Oxford Dictionary explains the term thus: political action based on threats to use force.

Notice the recent happenings in Georgia and Bangkok?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Onward to Cologne, Germany

[Picture by Aoshi]

Months after representing Malaysia in Counter Strike Source in the Asian Championship Gaming Series 2008 in Wuhan, China, my son joined a‘mixed’team to beat the best in the country and emerged the World Cyber Games national champions in Counter Strike 1.6.

This new team comprising of five experienced but amateur gamers had only trained for a couple of months together, whenever they can online or Lan in cyber cafes. One team member is back on holidays and will fly back to continue his studies in England shortly, while another is in a Singaporean university.

As is the norm for the past few years, I was there to support my son's team when they played in the finals.

He played exceptionally well this time around, single-handedly clutching a few rounds during the finals against last year's champions – Team Hybrid. The first opposing CS 1.6 team to achieve 16 rounds wins.

After the match, two members from Team Hybrid reached over to congratulate him adding that they were happy to lose the finals because of his outstanding performance.

The Malaysian CS 1.6 champions received an increased amount of RM 78,000 in cash and prizes this year – inclusive of desktop computers, airfare to and accommodation in Cologne, Germany. The WCG 2008 grand finals will be held there, early November.

My wife and daughter excitedly asked if we would be flying there too to support him and his team!

Most likely not, I had indicated.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Calling a temporary halt

After writing for more than three years in this blog, it is time to call for a temporary halt.

In the writings, I have touched on several subjects taught by the ancients - the holy sages, Laozi, Confucius and Buddha - and by Daoist heavenly immortals, with the hopes that someone, somewhere in the world, can learn something. To be fair, some did, some didn't.

To me, it is more important that the teachers and the experts understood what has been written; because it is through them that the correct messages are passed on and taught to their students. Their students and those who listen would have a better foundation and grounding than those who are self taught especially in the Zhouyi and neidan (inner alchemy).

Many of the self taught are still floundering, if we happen to visit the various Yi and Daoist forums. Some insist that they know much about the Book of Changes when they do not even recognize the fact that the Yi does not speak to them or other diviners.

Some say my entries on Tao and dual cultivation differ much from their understanding and are therefore wrong. Little do they realized that what have been written were usually crosschecked with my learned Daoist friend of Quanzhen. I have also listened in to teachings, through the planchette and medium(s), by Daoist heavenly immortals and Buddhas over the past fifteen or more years.

However it does not mean that I know much about Tao and/or the Zhouyi, therefore the title for this blog.

The last four months in 2008 can turn very negative for people across the world, not only in the US and Europe. There could be much suffering and panic brought about by a further collapse of stock market(s), sudden seizing up of credit, inflationary pressures, and power-politics.

In the Yi, it is said,

'When heaven and earth are creating in change and transformation, all plants and trees flourish; but when heaven and earth close, the able man withdraws into the dark.'

Take care.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Observing trends for good fortune

Observing trends forms part and parcel of prescient in investing. Having foresight would help an investor achieve good fortune.

Whether investors are Yi aficionados or not, but want to know how to achieve good fortune in their investments, read on:

Therefore good fortune and misfortune are the images of gain and loss; remorse and humiliation are the images of sorrow and forethought.

When the trend of an action is in harmony with the laws of the universe, it leads to attainment of the desired goal; this is expressed in the appended phrase “Good fortune.”

If the trend is in opposition to the laws of the universe, it necessarily leads to loss; this is indicated by the judgment “Misfortune.”

There are also trends that do not lead directly to a goal but are rather what might be called deviations in direction.

However, if a trend has been wrong, and we feel sorrow in time, we can avoid misfortune; if we turn back, we can still achieve good fortune. This situation is indicated by the judgment “Remorse.” This judgment, then, contains an exhortation to feel sorrow and turn back.

On the other hand, a given trend may have been right at the start, but one may become indifferent and arrogant, and heedlessly slip from good fortune into misfortune. This is indicated by the judgment “Humiliation.” This judgment, then, contains an admonition to exercise forethought, to check oneself when on the wrong path and turn back to good fortune.

[Part I, Chapter 2 .3 The Great Treatise – W/B]

In these turbulent and uncertain times for investments, many an investor would be lost.

Luckily, Yi aficionados can still turn to the oracle for guidance and take the proper action(s). Good fortune.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Affinity with Heaven

The ancient sages probably knew more about the Way of heaven than most people. And they wrote down the ways of heaven, earth and man in the Book of Changes for posterity.

According to the ancients, the diligent study of the Book of Changes (I Ching / Zhouyi) and sincere practice can bring a student closer to Heaven and Tao.

Apart from the neidan meditation, the holy sages also enciphered the four cardinal virtues - Benevolence (Ren), Justice (Yi), Mores (Li) and Wisdom (Zhi) - into the Book of Changes. Unless the student consider oneself already pure or innocent, cultivating these cardinal virtues is necessary to become a good person.

The cultivation of virtues helps raise our spirituality. Neidan meditation further heightens spirituality through the transformation of essence (jing) into energy (qi) and energy into spirit (shen). Together they constitute the dual cultivation.

When the spirituality is so heightened, the cultivator may experience affinity with heaven and realize why it is on the side of the good. (Refer TTC 79)

Without the virtues, one cannot be the right person. Without the most complete sincerity, one cannot divine like a spirit (shen).

If you happen to have an aversion to reading the four Confucian books where Confucius and Mencius discussed and taught the cardinal virtues in depth, you can study the Book of Changes. If you find the I Ching too profound or deep, try the Tao Te Ching where Laozi briefly touched on these virtues. If you still do not understand them well, try the Dhammapada – the eightfold path. Buddhists versed with the Dhammapada, if required, can fine-tune their understanding of virtues with some of the books or classics mentioned.

When the student is ready, teachers will appear. These teachers include Daoist heavenly immortals and Buddhas that is if you have affinity with heaven.

When there is affinity with Heaven, whether one is Daoist, Confucian or Buddhist, heavenly immortals and Buddhas may teach you something on the Book of Changes if you are humble, earnest and sincere. The divinities may also teach you a bit about Tao and cultivation from time to time.

To the Chinese, there are other ways to obtain affinity with heaven such as becoming a religious Daoist, Buddhist and/or devotees. Daily rituals and prayers to divinities can also bring believers closer to heaven.

If there is affinity, these divine teachers from Heaven may heal disciples and/or devotees of diagnosed terminal illnesses (including cancer). Such miracles, usually unreported or documented, do happen. If there is no affinity, nothing happens.

Therefore if you intend to have Heaven on your side, but do not wish to be religious, try not to forget to cultivate the cardinal virtues taught by the ancients. In case you forget or are not aware of what Mencius has taught, all people are born good.

Nothing wrong with cultivation to return to the original or natural state to receive heaven’s blessings now, is there?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

History repeating itself

In 1998, among other ominous things, the Yi told me that a leader will fall. When the time drew closer, it was a call between the then US President Bill Clinton who was subjected to an impeachment or the then Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim who was in a ‘power struggle’ with the then Prime Minister.

Within the timeframe of the prognostication(s), Anwar was sacked, and Bill Clinton found guilty of transgression(s).

The Yi also pre-warned in a subsequent prognostication, a week after the first, that an ominous event would happen. Days before it happened, I suggested to kin, close friends and colleagues to stock up on fresh and canned food, milk, beverages and necessities – especially for the kids and babies.

The ominous event turned out to be the arrest of Anwar on the night of September 20th 1998.

The following morning, if I remember the event correctly, the Malaysian people were in a state of shock and panic. Within hours, whatever food, milk, beverages and necessities were cleared from the shelves of supermarkets. The empty shelves of supermarkets were shown on TV news.

Ten years on, in 2008, the Yi did not give any such prior warning of an impending arrest, probably because we know each other better! And the Yi chart readings seem to have improved over the years – at times fine-tuned with Daoist heavenly immortals but mostly through careful observations and records.

During the wake of my recent deceased mother, the first few days of July, I had already indicated to kin that Anwar among others could be arrested. But how would I know?

On July 16, 2008, Anwar Ibrahim, the assumed Opposition leader, was arrested by the police following accusations that he had sex with a male aide. Sodomy is a crime in Malaysia. In 1998, he was arrested both for corruption and for sodomy.

Therefore this is another instance of history repeating itself.

There would be more down the road, but revealing too much of heaven’s secrets will damage this Yi student’s health.


Meanwhile I would be away for a short holiday with my family, next week.

I had not taken them for holidays overseas in May or June after disposing of the stocks, since the Yi had already indicated the impending demise of my frail mother. It would not be filial of me, if I, my wife and children could not return in time for her funeral.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Overwhelmed by mounting problems

As of Friday, the US Fed and the US Treasury seems overwhelmed by the potential collapse of US banks and of the two national mortgage companies caused by the tumble of house prices and the credit crunch. Risks of an impending economic downturn, a devaluing dollar which helped raised global food and oil prices – inflation, and a technical bear market, add to the dilemma of which fires to fight first.

According to Yahoo Finance, the US government shut down a thrifts bank, IndyMac Bank on Friday July 11, 2008 after the mortgage lender succumbed to the pressures of tighter credit, tumbling home prices and rising foreclosures. There was also a run on the bank which prompted the shut down.

This came on the back of concerns (read rumors), Friday, that the two national mortgage companies – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – which lent out or guarantee housing loans of Americans to the tune of US $5.3 trillion could face some trouble in capital adequacy requirements because of huge expected write downs. Stocks of financials swooned on those rumors amid concerns of further bank failures.

Back in Malaysia, it was reported by the New Straits Times that all police leave have been suspended because an opposition party intends to call for another round of protest against the recent petrol (gas) and diesel price hikes by the government. Together with the recent upheaval in Malaysian politics, and the various unsubstantiated accusations of corruption, cover-ups and involvement in a particular murder thrown at top government officials, the ruling party of the country seemed to be overwhelmed by mounting problems within and without.

Meanwhile, if we look at the monthly charts of stock indices of the US (Dow Jones), UK (FT), Hong Kong (Hang Seng), Australia (Ords), Malaysia (KLCI) and Singapore (STI), these stock markets had started their recent plunges in the month of May 2008 – after a meaningful rebound from the tumble of the global stock markets in the first quarter of 2008.

It seems that Mr. Market has regularly tuned in to this blog for the past year or so. With the many right calls on the stock market(s), it looks more like prescient (having foreknowledge or foresight) than coincidences.

If you reread my entry on ‘Raising cash levels’ dated May 13, 2008 and the subsequent entry on the stock market(s), you may understand why prescient is important in preserving capital.

The stocks that I have sold in early May have subsequently fallen by between 41% and 70% before a small rebound over the past few days.

If investors have had held onto stocks since May or earlier, their capital would slowly but surely dwindle by now.

Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, had mentioned the importance of preservation of capital. Since without capital, investors can do nothing else except twiddle their thumbs, even where a great opportunity for investment arises. His investment company held more than US $40 billion in cash by the end of June, ready for any good investment opportunities.

This highlights the difference between those who have foresight and those who rely on hindsight. Those who can foresee could plan ahead, while those who rely on hindsight would have to constantly fire fight or be overwhelmed by insurmountable problems.

Meanwhile the dangers creep closer as the weeks go by.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Gen and meditation

Many Yi scholars and experts invariably agree that Hexagram 52 Gen / Keeping Still, Mountain describes meditation. Indeed it is. Since meditation is about keeping still.

The Judgment advises the meditator to keep the back still so that he no longer feels his body. He goes into the courtyard and does not see his people.

The Image says: Thus the superior man does not permit his thoughts to go beyond his situation.

The first line advises the meditator to keep the toes still.

Next to keep the calves still.

The third line warns the meditator not to make his sacrum stiff, while keeping his hips still. Otherwise the heart suffocates.

The next step is to keep his trunk still.

Thereafter to keep the jaws still.

The hexagram ends with a noble hearted keeping still.

Those who practise meditation could understand what is said in hexagram Gen better than non meditators. This again provides a good example of the different layers in the Yi; between those who know and those who do not have the requisite experience(s).

To achieve quietness, one should keep the heart still and empty the mind.

By keeping the heart still, it will not run away. By emptying the mind, one allows the sunshine in!

Within the stillness and emptiness, quietness sets in.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Withdrawing umbrellas when it rains

More than two decades ago, a wise old friend more than twice my age told me that when people most need the credit, banks will suddenly pull it away. He said, the business community called the phenomenon, ‘withdrawing umbrellas when it rains’. He explained it this way.

Banks freely provide easy credit when you least need it, lending out ‘umbrellas’ so to speak on sunny days. However, just when you run short of money especially during financial storms - an economic or financial crisis - banks will reduce or entirely withdraw the credit leaving the desperate, those who need it most, nowhere to turn to. This phenomenon is known as ‘withdrawing umbrellas when it rains’. “

Sure enough, time and time again, the phenomenon happened. It happened during the Malaysian economic recessions in 1985/86 and 1997/98. The same phenomenon is currently happening in the US and the UK.

According to on June 21, 2008, after fostering the explosive growth of consumer credit in recent years, banks in the US are cutting (the headline word used is ‘trimming’ – perhaps it sounds softer and nicer than reality) the spending limits on credit cards of millions of consumers often without warning, especially those customers who run up big debts, live in areas that are hit hard by the housing crisis or work for themselves in troubled industries. Sounds familiar?

Remember the sudden 25% reduction on cash withdrawals on credit cards by banks and card companies alike in Malaysia during the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis? A financial crisis is the time when credit card holders or consumers need cash the most to fund their daily living expenses.

Impending crises are the heavy ‘monsoon’ (rainy) seasons where it is better to have your own umbrellas ready for shelter, unless you prefer the banks to withdraw them when you need it most. If you are familiar with monsoons, it does not rain, but pours.

Therefore wherever you are, it pays to start reducing your outstanding amounts in credit cards, overdrafts, or loans where possible. Otherwise when the crunch comes to your country, when the push turns to shove, the banks do not seemed to know you unless you have the money.

If you are cash rich in such times of trouble, banks might still try to lend you money from your term deposits held with them!

And history (read cycle) repeat itself, once again.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Difficulty in calling for a major reversal

Global analysts do not seem to learn quickly enough. When bulls stampede, it is alright to recommend a sell, since clients do not mind taking profits and would still thank the particular analyst who recommended the stock or trade, even if the stock price momentarily went higher because of buying momentum after the sale. However clients’ reactions would change if the stock instead of retracing lower, unexpectedly storms up much higher.

It is difficult to call for a major reversal of fortune while a major bull market is still heading higher. Think of the various renowned investment strategists and analysts of global investment banks who kept calling for a major reversal and failed miserably over the past decade.

Therefore in a bull run, one seldom recommends anyone to sell, unless one is really certain that the market will plunge.

However if global analysts think that it would be easier to call for a major reversal during bear markets like in the prevailing situation, perhaps they have much to learn, as some have recently found out to their chagrin. (Refer Bloomberg reports dated June 25, 2008) Rich and angry clients, who lost a lot by following your stock recommendations, are not easy to pacify even with repeated apologies, and most happen to know your bosses!

Therefore, if analysts value their jobs, they cannot simply call a buy without understanding the strong bearish undercurrent in a market or a sector where stale bulls dominate waiting to cut losses at best and where jittery banks start to pull the carpets right off margin players without any leeway given.

In their haste to call buys in the current bear market(s), perhaps they have forgotten the gloom and doom of subprime mortgages, the resultant credit crunch, the sudden but foreseeable withdrawal of credit by banks which literally lost tons of money, rising food and oil prices, the consequent plunge in consumers’ confidence and the similar fall in appetite of equity investors.

What had happened in Australia is happening elsewhere. Some top analysts have lobbed off the target price of the previous recommended stocks by fifty percent in less than a few months, since the particular stocks have plunged by more than that percentage. And if these same analysts ever think their global firm’s rich clients are going to stay happy and quiet over such huge losses, they must have gone bonkers. With global investment banks retrenching staff, analysts who made devastating wrong calls could be among the first to go.

If you happen to be a stock analyst and want to be a hero during a bear market, by calling for a major reversal, prepare to lose your well paid job. Even if you have not heard about Laozi and Confucius teaching those who listen not to be brash, you must have heard of the proverbial saying that ‘heroes die young’?

If you really want to learn how to correctly call a major reversal of fortune, try studying the Book of Changes (Zhouyi) and understand change. Perhaps then, analysts can put their analytical and research skills to better use.

Friday, June 20, 2008

More write offs to come?

According to Goldman Sachs’ analysts on June 17, 2008, US banks could need another US$ 65 billion of fresh capital injection as losses and write downs extend into the first quarter of 2009.

That could mean further losses and write offs of US$ 100 billion or more to come from US banks alone. Together with the recent accumulated US$ 400 billion plus global write offs reported by Bloomberg news, the expected losses to the first quarter of 2009 would increase the total to more than US$ 500 billion.

Since the estimated US$ 100 billion losses do not include any further substantial write offs by European and Asian banks or other financial institutions worldwide, which are probably still busy providing subprime loans related losses quarterly going forward, despite the confident sounding rhetoric of financiers, central bankers and politicians that the worst is over, many top US and global banks are possibly just treading water.

In fact, some are waiting for a further capital injection from sovereign wealth funds, their shareholders, or possibly a national bail out eventually.

There is nothing wrong with government officials ratcheting up confidence in the financial systems of a country and twitching statistics, if any; it is for the common good; no one of sound mind would prefer to see a bank run or a depreciation of the country’s currency which will bring on more pain to her people. But investors will soon tire of constant rhetoric that paints a rosy picture to camouflage the real gloom and doom in a country, or of a company/bank promising that the worst is over, when it is not quite over.

So far, the accounting profit and loss results say it all. And there will be more write downs to come. (Remember the worst case scenario losses of US$ 900 billion plus forecast provided by Allan last year, followed by the subsequent US$ 945 billion, and the US$ 1 trillion forecasts of the World Bank, and Goldman Sachs respectively?)

Unless investors have a rather huge appetite for high risks amidst plunging realty and stock market prices in the US and several other countries, the continual unfolding of huge quarterly losses of financial and highly geared corporations, a depreciating US dollar which helped raise commodities, food and oil prices pushing up inflation worldwide, instead of what the US authorities had desired, it could be better to stay on the sidelines or hold cash. But then how would I know?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

One who betrays his father is a criminal

Something for father’s day:

In the Commentary on the Decision of Hexagram 37 Jia Ren / The Family, it is said,

‘Among the members of the family there are strict rulers; these are the parents. When the father is in truth a father and the son a son, when the elder brother is an elder brother and the younger brother a younger brother, the husband a husband and the wife a wife, then the house is on the right way.’

The relationship between father and son is that of love, the relationship between husband and wife is that of chaste conduct and the relationship between elder and younger brother is that of correctness.

Mang I asked what filial piety was. The Master said, ‘It is not being disobedient’. [Analects 2. 5i]

Consistent with what he taught, Confucius did not approve of a son opposing his father -
The eldest son of duke Ling of Wei had planned to kill his mother (stepmother?), the notorious Nan-tsze. For this he had to flee the country, and his son, on the death of Ling, became duke, and subsequently opposed his father’s attempts to wrest the state from him. [Analects 7. 14ii]

A more serious case that of a son’s betrayal of his father occurred a hundred years earlier than the time of Confucius:

[At a conference involving, among others states, Qi and Zheng, the heir to the earl of Zheng proposes to undercut his father and become subservient to the marquis of Qi.]

'The marquis was about to agree to his proposal, but Guan Zhong said, "You have bound all the princes to you by your propriety and truth [LI, XIN], and will it not be improper [JIAN] to end with an opposite policy? [Here] we should have propriety in the form of no treachery between son and father, and truth in that of the son's observing [his father's] commands according to the exigency of the times. There cannot be greater criminality [JIAN] that that of him who acts contrary to these two things."

"We princes," replied the duke, "have [tried to] punish Zheng, but without success. And now when such an opportunity is presented to me, may I not take advantage of it?"

"Let your lordship," said Guan, "deal gently with the case of Zheng in kindness and add to this an instructive exposition of it, and then, when you [again] lead the princes to punish the state, it will feel that utter overthrow is immanent and will be consumed with terror. If [on the contrary] you deal with it, adopting the counsel of this criminal [JIAN], Zheng will have a case to allege and will not be afraid. Consider too that you have assembled the princes to do honor to virtue, and if at the meeting you give place to this villain, [and follow his counsel,] what will there be to show to your descendants? And further, the virtue, the punishments, the rules of propriety, and the righteousness displayed at the meetings of the princes, are recorded in every state. When record is made of the place given to such a criminal [JIAN], there will be an end of your lordship's covenants. If you do the thing and do not record it, that will show that your virtue is not complete. Let not your lordship accede to his request. Zheng is sure to accept the covenant. And for this Hua, [the earl of Zheng's] eldest son, to seek the assistance of a great state to weaken his own--he will not escape without suffering for it. The government of Zheng, moreover, is in the hands of Shu Zhan, Du Shu, and Shi Shu, those three good men. You would find no opportunity now to act against it."

[On this] the marquis of Qi declined the proffers of the prince, who in consequence of this affair was regarded as a criminal in Zheng. The earl begged from Qi the favor of a covenant.'

[Duke Xi, year 7, 652 BC, Legge p. 148, col. 10, & p.149] [More stories from ‘Zuozhuan’ is a click away under Resources]

If the father is in truth a father and the son a son, then the house is on the right way, otherwise harmony within the family breaks down.

Therefore a father should be loving and protective of the son while a son should be loving and obedient to the father, not only just for the happy occasions on father’s day, but 24/7.

However if you have not spoken to your father or your son for a while, why not pick up the phone and call him now?


Monday, June 09, 2008

Asian stock markets reminisce 1997?

Quite a number of investors who held onto Asian stocks since the spring of 2007 until now could feel the same as those who had lost their life savings during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. In case readers do not follow the Asian and global financial news reports on a regular basis, many stocks in emerging and major Asian stock markets (inclusive of Australia) have been badly battered. Just like in 1997, these stock markets have fallen like ten pins; life savings and fortunes have been lost; owners of public quoted companies have their substantial shareholdings forced sold by margin lenders; reports of punters committing suicide because of share trading losses; and investors holding onto huge paper losses in never ending downward spirals.

Then and now, the lax or lack of regulation by Central Bankers on the loose lending practices of commercial banks and other financial institutions put paid to the Bull Runs of 1996 / 1997, and that of 2006 / 2007. The only difference is the twist.

Instead of the financial crisis starting from an emerging economy like Thailand back in 1997, it started on the other side of the world, in the most sophisticated and largest financial market, the US, ten years later. By coincidence, the stock markets started their often wild plunges in August of 1997 and that of 2007. Also by coincidence, my teacher, the Yi had given prior warnings of both decimations of stocks quoted on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

If we go by indices, the Vietnamese stock exchange suffered the worst fall among the Asian markets. Its index has experienced a horrendous two thirds fall from its peak of 1170 points reached in March 2007, because of the change in sentiments and rampant inflation in that country. According to Yahoo Finance reports, the stock market upheavals started around October 2007 despite the communist government’s effort to keep it on track and continuing a non-stop decline since early May 2008, dealers said. The VN Index at the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange dropped by 5.54 points to close at 395.66 points on Wednesday, June 4, 2008.

Since October 2007 till now, while the Vietnamese stock market led the way, the Shanghai stock exchange index fell by a stomach churning 45%, Hang Seng fell 25%, and Bombay SEI fell 24% with the Singaporean, Japanese, New Zealand and Australian stock indices giving up between 17.5 to 20% of its previous markets capitalization. By comparison, the Malaysian, Taiwanese, Indonesian and South Korean stock indices fall were relatively mild – in between 12.5 % to 14%. (Remember my forewarnings in the related entries on ‘Stand not in the middle of the mountain’ and 'Missing the return' of these falls?)

In 1997, the biggest losers in terms of magnitude were those of low liners and second board counters in the KLSE. Some were hit by several limit downs effectively losing 70 to 95% of their market values within days. The only difference from spring 2007 till now is that these categories of stocks and others which had lost 70 to 95% of their market values at their peaks had almost a year to do so. Others include Centro Properties Group of Australia and Bear Stearns of the US, for example.

A bitter lesson learned from 1997 is that investors may think that stocks are cheap after a fall of 30 to 50% from their year highs. Stock prices would then slide lower after a small rebound – termed bear traps - since sentiments have changed; for the bull had already turned into a bear market. When foreign and/or local fund managers start selling down their substantial holdings for a reason or other, like those witnessed in 1997, small investors better learn not to buy unless they have boatloads of money to lose. (Think of declining stock prices of Centro Properties Group and Bear Stearns in 2007 and the first quarter of 2008.)

Goldman Sachs has recently recommended their clients to underweight or to reduce holdings of shares in several emerging Asian stock markets including that of Malaysia, for one reason or another. Looking at my Yi Chart for 2008, Goldman Sachs’ timing of the call is about right. Since their clients could move much slower than small fry.

Obviously the few readers, if any, who sold some of their stocks in the KLSE after my May 13, 2008 entry on ‘Raising cash levels’ could consider themselves lucky as the prices of quite a number of low liner stocks have fallen by 10 to 20%, if not more, since then. And we have exited the market before Goldman Sachs’ call.

How bad the KLSE will fare after Malaysia’s surprised and shocking 40% hike in fuel (gas) prices on June 5th remains to be seen. But no matter how badly local market stocks will fall this June because of surging inflation, soaring oil prices, or anything else, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Some investors in the KLSE have recently resorted to seeking advice from Daoist deities and heavenly immortals (ShenXian). Apparently, the advice and hints given by the divinities is not dissimilar to my entry on May 13 and in this one. While the world’s best stock analysts had been proven wrong time and time again so far this year according to Bloomberg reports, there is no doubt that the Daoist gods and heavenly immortals already know what is going to happen in the second half of 2008 to the KLSE and perhaps to the global stock markets.

Therefore, I suggest regular readers cum investors in the KLSE to exercise extreme caution in the coming months. Of course there is nothing wrong with a bit of trading since stocks will rebound after sharp plunges, just try not to lose your shirt, the house you live in, your entire fortune, your life or whatever, okay?

Take care.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Was it fate?

This particular story of how a wise and renowned personality who had planned to save his second son but was thwarted by his own family may have something to do with fate.

The Daoists, Confucians and Buddhists can probably use it as a means to teach their respective doctrines since the story, taken from the Shiji, covers many aspects of life including that of loyalty, justice, diligence, philanthropy, wisdom, rule of law during the Spring and Autumn period, and why most of the time, children should listen carefully to their parents.

On the family aspect, there will be times when we think that our parents really do not know what they plan to do for their children. Being older and wiser, parents often do know especially where such plans are made based on knowing each of their children’s character and how they would deal with things.

Fathers can be said to be a bit more discerning than mothers in some ways, not because mothers are not wise, but mums perhaps more doting and/or soft hearted often easily succumb to the demands and antics of their children. (Think of the third line of Hexagram 37 Chia Ren / The Family)

Most loving parents keep their children’s best interests at heart. If you happen to have loving and wise parents, try not to be too headstrong having it your own way. Unless you have strong reasons or have prior experiences to believe otherwise, you have to learn to trust, if not revere, your parents’ judgment and actions.

Since Father’s day happens to fall this month, perhaps this entry on how an eminent ancient, Fan Li later known as Lord Chu of Tao tried his best to save a son of his but failed, is apt to show the times when a father knows best. Or was it fate? Read on.

“For more than twenty years Fan Li had toiled without sparing himself in the service of Gou Jian, advising the king till at last he overthrew Wu and avenged the disgrace of Kuaichi. When Gou Jian dispatched troops north of the River Huai to threaten Chi and Tsin, lorded it over all the central states and exhorted them to respect the House of Zhou, he became Lord Protector with Fan Li as his supreme commander.

After his return Fan Li realized that he was too prominent now for his own safety, for Gou Jian was a good companion in danger but not in time of peace. Sending a letter to Gou Jian, Fan Li gathered his jewels and precious possessions and together with his followers left Yue. Fan Li went by sea to Chi, where he changed his name and called himself Master Wine-skin. He worked hard with his sons as a farmer on the coast, and amassed considerable property. Soon he had tens of thousands. The men of Chi, knowing his great ability, made him their prime minister.

Then Fan Li said with a sigh, ‘For a private citizen to make thousands of pieces of gold or for an official to become a minister are the highest attainments of ordinary men; but no good can come of a long period of fame and nobility.’ So he returned the minister’s seal, gave all his money to his friends and neighbours and left quietly with his jewels to settle in Tao, a great commercial centre where a man could grow rich by trading. He now called himself Lord Chu of Tao. Here once more he and his sons tilled the soil, bred cattle, stored goods and sold them at the right season to make a ten percent profit. In a short time he had amassed tens of thousands again and his name was known throughout the land.

While in Tao, Lord Chu had a third son. When this boy grew up, the second son was arrested for murder in Chu.

‘It is right that a murderer should die,’ said Lord Chu. ‘But I have heard that the son of a wealthy family need not die on the execution ground.’ He ordered his youngest boy to go and make inquiries, packing one thousand yi of gold in sacks and loading these on an ox-cart. But as he was sending the young man off, his eldest son insisted on going instead.

When Lord Chu would not agree, his first-born said, ‘The eldest son of a family is the guardian of the house. Now my brother is charged with murder, yet you want to send my younger brother instead of me – I must be a bad son!’ he threatened to kill himself.

His mother put in, ‘Sending the youngest may still not save the second, while the eldest dies first. What use is that?’

So Lord Chu was forced to send his eldest son. He wrote a letter to his old friend Master Chuang and told his son, ‘On your arrival, leave the thousand yi of gold with Master Chuang to dispose of as he thinks fit. Mind you don’t argue with him!’

The eldest son set off, having added several hundred pieces of gold of his own. Upon reaching the Chu capital, he found that Master Chuang lived in the suburb in a very humble way, his gate choked with brambles. Still, he gave him the letter and gold as his father had told him.

‘You may go straight back,’ said Chuang. ‘Don’t stay here. And if your brother is released, don’t ask the reason.’

The eldest son withdrew but stayed on in the city, not calling upon Chuang but using the gold which he had brought separately to bribe a powerful noble of Chu.

While Master Chuang lived in a poor neighbourhood, the whole state knew that he was incorruptible and he was respected by everyone from the king downwards. He had no intention of keeping Lord Chu’s gold, but meant to return it as soon as he had succeeded.

Lord Chu’s eldest son did not know this, however, but thought Chuang rather lacking in discrimination.

Chuang had an audience with the king of Chu and told him that a certain star in a certain quarter of the heavens boded harm to the state. The king was advised to do good to avert danger. The king agreed and sent a man to seal up the treasury.

Then the noble told Lord Chu’s eldest son that the king was going to declare an amnesty. The eldest son reflected that if there was to be an amnesty his brother would be released anyhow, and all the gold given to Master Chuang would be wasted. So he went to see Chuang again.

Chuang was surprised to see him but knowing what he wanted, he told the young man to take the gold and leave.

The young man took the gold and left, very pleased with himself.

But Chuang, annoyed at being tricked by this youth, went back to the king and said, ‘Last time when I spoke of the stars, sir, you decided to avert bad luck by doing good. But now it is the talk of the town that the son of wealthy Lord Chu of Tao is in prison here for murder and his family has given your ministers substantial bribes. They say you are not declaring an amnesty out of goodness of your heart but for the sake of Lord Chu’s son.’

The king in his anger ordered the execution of Lord Chu’s second son and a general amnesty was proclaimed the next day. So the eldest son had to take back his brother’s corpse. When he reached home, his mother and the rest of the household mourned. Only Lord Chu laughed.

‘I knew he would kill his brother,’ he declared. ‘Not that he did not love him, he just could not help himself. He went through hard times with me when he was young, knows how difficult it is to make a living, and therefore hates parting with money. His younger brother has never seen me as otherwise than wealthy, riding in carriages or on fine horses to hunt the hare. Because he has no idea where money comes from, he is prodigal with it and never counts the cost. That is why I wanted to send him. But the eldest is incapable of that, and so he ended up killing his brother. This is the nature of things, not a cause for mourning. I have been waiting day and night for his corpse to be brought back.’ “

[Records of the Historian – HY and Gladys Yang]

Therefore try to respect your parents’ wishes and not to remonstrate too much. Unless you really know how to change the fate of self and others! For that you may need the guidance of the Yi.