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?