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How Malaysia’s East Coast Rail and China’s Future Transportation Strategy impacts Singapore

I am a fan of Benjamin Koh at Lighthouse Advisors. Lighthouse Advisors is a value shop for the accredited investors based in Singapore.

What is great is that Benjamin’s letters to clients (which was embargoed for 1 year) and the public is a tome of knowledge for people like myself learning investing.

Through his commentary. most often we learn about accounting frauds, or ways to detect irregularities that could show up in the financial statements, or when we think qualitatively. He will cite examples of listed companies in Hong Kong, Singapore or around the region which these irregularities have shown  up or caveats can be found. Through his mistakes in investing, we also learn a lot.

I always believe that a lot of methods have positive expected results over time, failure is more about whether you have went deep enough and understand and execute well.

Tomes like these readings from these managers, Berkshire Hathaway’s letters are free gems that enables us to tap the knowledge and wisdom of good investors that would have cost tens and thousands of dollars.

For the accredited investors, you can visit his very clean blog to find out how they carry out their investing, their prospective clients and see if it is a good fit.

In his latest public letter, he commentates his research on the aftermath of the USA Presidential Election, and the potential winner in this region.

Particularly, I pay attention to the slant from how an experience investing practitioner looks at macroeconomic things to provide context to our analysis on individual business.  There can be a lot of noise out there, conspiracy theories, some that are just click baits. It is a side subject of mine to make sense of the future of Singapore as a place for jobs, economic growth and investing opportunities (Read 7 Potential Cross-Currents that Affect the Singapore Economy).

Here is the focus piece:

The difference between his piece and most that we read locally is how China seems to have a vendetta against Singapore. I believe these long term strategic moves is more than just pettiness but addressing deeper concern. It is also about creating potential so as to hedge China’s dependence on the flow in a particular area.

The commentary on Tanjung Pelapas (PTP) have died down, and back then it was rather significant that they were able to win those container shipping business. There are nay sayers that said Malaysia could not compete at Singapore’s efficiency.

What is interesting is that handling volume in Singapore, in recent years have stagnated and regress slightly, while the handling volume at these key competitors are growing well (still much less than Singapore though)

Yet, 15 years later, looking back, Singapore have been handling it well up to this point. Perhaps we are not so dependent on the original key strategic advantage of this island.

But part of me still cannot get round the fact that, if you cut of these key transportation, or putting our role in a diminished position, things will be ok if your replaced them with other economic engines. When the playing field is not physical, that means its doubly hard to compete as whatever good models you have created and executed, other countries could learn, and yet attempt to implement.

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