Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Freedoms et al

the events of the past weekend really shook me to reality as far as freedom and related issues are concerned. starting last Friday, i was broke but my Congolese friend insisted that he takes me out. he suggested that we could go to a relatively affordable joint and take strictly two beers then rush home by 11. sounded plausible so we chose amaica, that lovely classy joint. amaica normally doesn't have too many people. but what i saw there shocked me. there was this young lady who was quite decently dressed. smart black trouser suite. (could have been blue or a close shade) she was in the company of some grayed men. we could see those men doing orders and dancing with her and making merry. but towards the end there seemed to be disagreements and eventually the chick acrimoniously left the two men and joined another one. the man who seemed to be the 'friend' struggled to contain his anger and injured ego but could not manage, they simply walked out in disgust. Hey men the shoe is in the other foot women have taken that freedom of choice thing a notch higher!

well then we left amaica coz they close at midnight, we went to hillbreeze for a few, when it was time to leave, i found a couple at 'it' in the parking. i could place them since they had been in the next table back in the pub. the lady had appeared hopelessly drunk. thats another freedom i found disgusting. before , ladies were not expected to get this drunk especially in public. now they can but if the consequences are such as what i saw in the car park that night then i wonder at the freedom. am sure that lady wouldn't have agreed to do that had she been sober.

Well that was the night, the following day, Sunday i went to my 'favorite' church for Sunday mass. i always get fulfilled at this church but this Sunday was going to be diff. no sooner had i taken my position at the pew than i noticed that in front of me were two seemingly young women in rather small tops and low waist jeans trousers. the trousers were so low that their B-cracks were always exposed. i wondered where the pantys were. i thought that when there is low waist trouser, at least there should be a panty to cover that part of the body. i wonder whether B-crack is a pleasant sight in church. so for the next 2 hours i struggled with concentrating on the sermons, the adoration, the consecration and the nice church songs. we men are hopelessly visual and such a scene was very distracting. when i was younger, women didn't have freedom to be this exposed. now they got the freedom!

and finally The Young Kenyan man just tagged me but thank God for small mercies, al simply copy and paste my earlier tag post!

1. I am actually an IT professional, and i have done IT all my life! have got several years experience in major enterprise systems, ERP systems, major databases including Oracle and SAP. I also have major industry certifications. but my absolute favorite flavors are HP-UX , AIX etc. basically UNIX
2. I believe am good at what i do since i have bagged some major industry awards of excellence
3. I am multi lingual, i speak 4 major international languages: Luo;- spoken in kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan and parts of west Africa, Kiswahili;- spoken in most of east and central africa, English;- the official language of business and bureaucracy the world over and finally French;- the language of love , peace romance and fun! (my wish language is luhya the language of culture, laughter, arts and faith, i hope to learn it soon)

4. i love blogging finance, investment and economy related issues because of my passion. (anyway i also have a masters in finance) but my pet discipline is mathematics and all its relatives

5. I believe the only necessary ingredient for success in any field of choice is passion. if you have a goal , all you have to calculate is a passion for what you want to do and go get it done.

6. i am a poet and an actor. i was also once a choir teacher( i still hope to get back to it some day i love choral music) i also once acted with phoenix players theater under the great jamo (James Falkland)
Am a failed fine artist, though i once used to do some great portraits and landscapes.

7. I am tall and of athletic build. people who see me often suppose i would be a great footballer or basket baller. there is this time we had an inter-departmental soccer tournament, i took a strikers position. the opponents gave me two markers. they thought from my physique, that i would be lethal. needless to say it took them only 5 minutes to realize they didn't even need to mark me! i was benched after only 10 minutes. ( i have no passion for sports)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

enterprising kenyans in the diaspora!

I wonder what bloggers take of the story hitting the headlines recently about Kenyans defrauding the US govt of millions of shillings in tax claims. in fact today one daily has reported that the fraud was in terms of billions. this is a pure embarrassment to our govt who just recently announced a huge foreign income mostly from these same Kenyans. how does it feel as a government to know that most of the money that comes to the country was stolen from pensioners in the US. it portrays Kenya very badly. and if this was only in Kansas, then how many more will be discovered in other states and countries? I have been reliably told that Kenyans easily make it big in the US of A not only from their hard work but more from the fact that in that great nation, lying is as uncommon as truth in Kenya. am told that Americans don't expect people to lie so anything you tell them they swallow hook line and sinker. on the contrary, Kenyans don't expect you to believe what they tell you since 70% of what you are told are lies. no wonder when a person in the position of president lied to hios close friends in 2002, people did not condemn the president but rather the persons who were duped. even when he lied to 30 + million kenyans, it was still taken to be as normal as breathing. in fact this month has been a month of great discovery to me. i found out that 60% of my so called close friends told me lies a whooping 85% of the times mostly to manipulate and take advantage of me. but i digress. am told that Americans also expect people to be self respecting and to respect the elderly. stealing from such people is unthinkable. that i understand is the reason Americans were annoyed at Clinton. it was not so much about the affair, but rather that he lied and under oath!

so Kenyans abroad have been lying about their status, their education, their identity and anything else they can lie about and since Americans don't expect it, they never do proper background checks.

back to the story of the fraud. this is not the first case am told but probably the first of such magnitude to be brought to court. should the US authorities feel stupid and want to dig deeper and wider, more kenyans may be nabbed in other forms of fraud and schemes and i wonder what that would mean to the genuine ones who want to get real education and do real jobs there.

but reports from the Kenyan property market suggest that the interest in the same from investors abroad has been very encouraging and during the first ever property expo, the response was superb. only that e-er er hm. the property developers would definitely be lying about the target completion dates of their projects some by a massive 3 years!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

more 'good' things in the market

conventional wisdom states that among the asset classes, money markets would normally be more stable hence less risky than equity markets. well that only means that they would also offer lower returns. on that same breath we are told that most equity portfolios returned an average of 40% last year. the year which was touted as the best of all the narc years as far as investments were concerned. if you work out crude mathematics, that would translate to about 3.5% per month. though we all know that its not as simple as that. this year has been a bad year for most and people don't expect much. enough 'investors' have lost their money to cleverer people in pyramids. indeed in an earlier post i had mentioned that money only flows from the dumb to the sharp.

But now this very year, some other sharp people are giving investors a dream profit. they call themselves softlaw, you give them 2000 USD and then sign with them an agreement, either to earn a flat 400 USD per month for six months or to share gains or losses 50% a piece with them when they occur. softlaw i gather from their website is associated with karanja who for sometime tried to market a get rich quick scheme involving forex called Genius Executive Centre. for me it was too sugary and i gave it up. doctors say sugar isn't good for your health, be it physical or financial. but i know many people who are there. they have opened US dollar accounts with banks to process the investment
no comment on their prospects. just a wonder that such people still exist in Kenya.
Elsewhere its apparent that the nse is slowly waking up from the long slumber. some counters have registered real significant gains over the past month. eg ARM, BBK, KPLC etc, more others are also showing signs of coming up with time. i suppose that the explosion of last year may repeat itself next year after elections are held and boys have been separated from the men. the clever guys are rushing to buy this year so that they can sell to the dumb next year.

on another note, i have been musing over the question of discrimination, its clear that many people face discrimination as long as they are few. such people include, the strong (physically), the intelligent (in fact these are the most discriminated people on earth. everyone is scared of them due to their brilliance and yet they are quite rare) survival for any body facing this vice is always herculean. i need to read more on that

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Kenya Re cautious sale

The govt seems rather careful about kenya RE. is it a question of concealing stuff or what. first, it took forever to get the ball rolling. then when it did , there was no funfair like in other cases and the prospectus is as scarce as truth in a kenyan parliament. but what caught my eye most was the minimal amount of shares on offer. only 240 million which compares badly with the 2billion of kengen. it means the govt isn't bullish on Kenya Re. it looks like someone trying to sell a rotten egg, you only show a bit of the shell. in fact due to the minimal number of shares on offer, Kenya Re may be a good bet especially for the speculators given that the pyramid has collapsed.

but yesterday i saw mirage on TV or was it? was that Michael Joseph of safaricom signing an agreement on mpesa with posta (postbank is offered at the posta tills in the rural areas) Has anyone ever seen anything like that? posta have their own postapay. how on earth did Michael Joseph convince them to carry the rival mpesa product?

at the end of the news i just saw a genius in the man cause posta have probably the widest coverage in terms of outlets and having the convenience of safaricom mpesa where you do not have to fill in any papers nor line up to send money will simply spell death to postapay

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

sharing the wealth

Safaricom is not finished with innovation and expansion. they have re-introduced and re-branded simu ya jamii where they are giving the vendors a really great deal. the handset costs only 6000 and you are also given free branding and 1000 airtime. on top of that Safaricom will give you a margin of 7 bob for each minute.
The problem with is that safaricom themselves long killed the simu ya jamii market with their bamba 50 as well as cheap mobile phones meaning that more pple are able to get phones and load airtime. However for the very creative people who can walk around and 'hawk' the SYJ as its called in the market and such like places. the deal is deadly!
By the way did you notice that Safaricom quietly re branded itself and acquired a new sweet logo?

still on safaricom, Mpesa agents are required countrywide. the money transfer thing has really hit the market hard but the problem where Akamba bus service still beats them pants down is the distribution. the margins are low for the agency business but with numbers, millionaires are going to be made by safcom just as it happened with the airtime dealers

sharing the wealth

Monday, July 09, 2007

of targets and lies

I wonder what it about kenyans that they can never respect timeliness or is it deadlines ? I attended a housing expo at KICC in 2005. we had this wonderful offer of housing where everyone was supposed to pay only 4 million for a 4 bedroom maisonette with DSQ , community shopping center, nursery school , perimeter wall etc. and further it was supposed to be in south B only 10 minutes drive in the traffic. the catch was that you had to pay 10% immediately and then finish the whole amount in 3 months time. the construction was promised to complete by July 2006! to date these 'developers' have not even done the ground breaking thing a whole two years down the line. and those who gave out their money cannot get it back without losing 10% of the 10% down payment as administrative costs. the same story is told by those who bought into the diamond park idea which also started in 2005. that particular development at least is almost finished but is about 1 and half years out of its target finish date. The same applies to phenom and many others.

At Bandari villas, arguably one of the best new residential estates, workers are being laid off yet most houses have only their walls put up. the show house is ready and magnificent. However the workers are being laid off at this time when 26 out of the 42 houses in phase 1 do not even have the ring beam. yet the target time of completion is September 2007, only two months from now.

But maybe this target thing is as Kenyan as the kibaki govt promising constitution review by March 2003 then by June , then by 2005 then never! or the ODM fellows keeping on moving time lines and having all sorts of excuses. My frustration is that such kind of lies and laziness it is very costly especially for a country which wants to become industrialized by 2030. nothing can ever be done if you don't have deadlines which you respect. its also very disrespectful to the customers here also referred to as investors. 4 million shillings in 2 years is a lot of money even if you are conservative enough to put it in a fixed deposit at EABS which gives 10% p.a. on each million.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

cost of risk

When i was young while being not so young i met an old who was a retiree. he had come to the internet service firm i was working for to pay for his subscription. at that time internet service was a preserve of a few since the rates were high and very few people had personal computers in homes. in fact having a PC at home was a sign in itself. the man seemed rather satisfied with himself. though he did not look the 'part' at all. he had a not so striking suit but it was well kept. he then went ahead to give a free lesson on the secrets to a happy life. he told us that he kept one conviction, to always live below his means! and for life he had lived well below his means and that was how come he was still happy in his retirement; when his peers were either dying or killing their children and other relatives with bills.

I found this mantra very good and i adopted it. and so i have been trying to live below my means as advised by the old man. however i have recently discovered that even though it sounds sweet, its rather misleading since its difficult to determine 'your means'. Is it the paycheck or the investment precedes you get currently or business? living below your means can also mean lowering costs and hence avoiding taking any risks. it means never trying new frontiers, never tempting the untested. but that will make you remain where you are forever. The truth is that human limits have never been achieved. people who try things keep on surprising not only the world but also themselves. even large firms have long discovered that cost cutting is not what affords you large profits but rather more aggressive marketing, innovation and expansion. if expansion limits are reached then you must start being creative with yourself and re-invent yourself.

a life of no risks is probably the most risky life known to man.

The Nairobi star has finally been launched and true to its hype, it seems to target only the young. it is as kiss fm as the breakfast show. but Caroline this morning alleged that newspaper vendors have been paid not to sell the new daily. well thats competition for you. it happens everywhere and no one should cry foul. however in our office the reception of the paper has been that of disgust. everyone who saw it screamed, oh a tabloid!