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    Friday, August 22, 2008

    Yang Paling Perih Dari Sendirian...

    Sudah agak lama gue nonton Cinta Silver, tapi tiba-tiba kok teringat ya kata-kata yang diucapkan Wishnu (Christian Sugiono) ke sahabatnya, Levi (Restu Sinaga):

    "... yang paling perih dari sendirian itu bukan pas kita lagi sedih, Lev. Justru pas kita lagi ketawa senang tapi ngga ada yang bisa kita ajak untuk ikut ketawa ..."

    Sekalipun udah hampir satu dekade gue sendirian, agaknya gue mulai ngerti apa yang dimaksud Wishnu.

    (Ini sedikit cuplikan dari Cinta Silver)

    (Dan salah satu lagu soundtracknya yang bagus banget, My Everything, dinyanyiin oleh Glenn Fredly)

    Monday, August 18, 2008

    Lovesick or Lovestruck?

    A couple of my co-workers have noticed something out of the ordinary about me in the past week. They've characterized me of being lovesick or lovestruck. According to Urban Dictionary:

    So deeply affected by love as to be unable to act normally. You awake every morning, thinking on your love, having dreamt of them all night, the pain of separation searing your heart every time a site or smell brings back the memory of your last encounter. Daydreaming, drawing hearts in the sand, constantly thinking, "I wish they were here so I could share this moment", even when pulling weeds or walking the dog. The consuming fire within the heart for even one more moment with one's love that defies rational thought, knowing full well, one moment would never be enough, yearning for eternity together.

    Like struck with a lightening bolt. The second that you see and meet the person, you are instantly in love. Head over heels, can't stop thinking about them, want to be with them, hold them, hug them, and be held and hugged and loved by them in return.

    Which one characterizes me the best? Well, you can observe me for the next several days, and weeks, hopefully, and decides for yourself.

    Sunday, August 03, 2008

    Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock ETF (VWO)

    Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock ETF (VWO) is an ETF that seeks to track the performance of the MSCI Emerging Markets index. VWO holds 823 securities (as of June 30, 2008) and is fully invested in common stocks of companies located in emerging markets around the world. The ETF is passively managed with average annual turnover of only 9% (as of June 30, 2008). Its total net assets is USD 7.1 billion and the average market cap of its holdings is USD 17.9 billion. Since its inception date (March 4, 2005), the Fund has returned 19.84% (as of July 31, 2008). It tracks the MSCI Emerging Markets index very closely with an R-Squared of 0.98 and a Beta of 0.98.

    MSCI Emerging Markets index is an index created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that is intended to measure the equity market performance of the global emerging market nations. It is a float-adjusted market cap weighted index and consisted of shares from 25 emerging economies in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. As of June 30, 2008, VWO's five largest country holdings are Brazil (17.6%), South Korea (12.7%), China (11.1%), Russia (11.1%), and Taiwan (10.6%). Its ten largest company holdings make 18.5% of total net assets.

    The emerging markets are known to be volatile compared to their developed counterparts. Compared to MSCI Europe, Australasia, and Far East (EAFE) index - a popular proxy for the developed markets - MSCI Emerging Markets index has a higher standard deviation (3-years trailing of 21.13 vs MSCI EAFE's 12.38) with Beta of 1.52 (to MSCI EAFE index). However, MSCI Emerging Markets index has shown to give higher return to compensate for its higher risk, as evidenced by its 3-years trailing Sharpe ratio of 0.84 (compared to MSCI EAFE's 0.53). Since the performance of emerging markets is generally less correlated with developed markets, the instrument can play a diversifying role in a portfolio of developed markets to reduce its risk. As a proxy for lower correlation, both indexes showed an R-Squared of 79.

    Morningstar category for VWO is Large Blend (as of March 31, 2008). I placed it under my core holdings, with target position of up to 15% of my portfolio (since emerging markets represents some 15% of the global economy). Although a bit volatile as an anchor, VWO is diversified with its large-cap tilt, long-tenured and proven management, wide countries and sectors coverage, low turnover, and low expense.

    With expense ratio of 0.25%, VWO is the better alternative to emerging markets exposure compared to its older and bigger rival, iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF (EEM), since the latter's expense ratio is 0.75%.

    The management of the Fund is led by Duane F. Kelly. Mr. Kelly has been with Vanguard since 1989 and has managed the Emerging Markets Stock Index Mutual Fund, among others, since 1994. Mr. Kelly has advised the ETF since 2005.

    VWO recently performed a 2-for-1 stock-split on June 17, 2008

    Saturday, August 02, 2008

    Be Careful on How You List Contacts in Your Cell Phone

    [I got a forwarded email warning me regarding stolen cell phone. I think the scenario presented is very plausible, though I'm not sure if it actually occurred. I guess it's a bit of common sense when you read it, but like I did, you'd probably unaware of the potential fraud that can occur from simple stuff like naming your contact lists.]

    Be careful when you list names on your cell phone! Be Safe!

    This lady has changed her habit on how she lists her contacts on her mobile phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag, which contained her mobile phone, credit card, purse, etc., was stolen and 20 minutes later she managed to call her hubby from a pay phone to tell him what had happened. Her hubby says, "I've just received your SMS text asking about our PIN number. I replied a little while ago." They rushed down to the bank and the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The pickpocket had actually used the stolen cell phone to text 'hubby' in the contact list and got hold of the PIN number. Within 20 minutes, he had withdrawn all the money from the bank account.

    The lesson:
    • Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list.
    • Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mum, etc.
    • And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.
    • Also, when you're being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet 'family and friends' who text you.
    [I think the story was a bit off since there is a limit on how much money can be withdrawn from ATM on any given day. So, unless the couple had little in their account or they had special higher withdrawal limit, it'd not be possible to fully withdraw the account in just 20 minutes. Further, a very much likely scenario to occur would be for your phone to be temporarily 'stolen', most likely by someone you knew. And then, that person can do 'harmless' stuff (like peeping through your text messages) to something criminal (like searching for important data such as PIN numbers) before 'returning' the phone back to you. I guess that phone lock is not just for securing keypad.]