Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lehman Minibonds: Appeal to emotions

Logical fallacy: Appeal to emotions

This fallacy is committed when someone manipulates peoples' emotions in order to get them to accept a claim as being true. for more detail, see here

don't string me up and shoot me. i know that money matters are sensitive, especially if one feels victimised. over and over again, we have been bombarded with media coverage of investors of the doomed Lehman Minibonds. much of the focus is given especially to retirees who have lost their life savings, and yesterday's Newpaper featured a partially paralysed man who was counting on this investment to see him through for the rest of his life.

of course these people need help, and considering all the public attention lavished, there is no doubt that DBS and all other banks would bend backwards to cater to their needs.

but it is another matter saying that they deserve compensation because of their failed investment. if a product pays anymore than a fixed deposit, naturally, it carries a higher risk than one that pays less. how can there be such a thing as a free lunch? to be frank, isn't the higher profit the very reason why one would take more risk? the worst doesn't usually happen...but this month, it did.

of course it is painful to lose money, especially in huge sums. but this doesn't mean that the banks have the legal obligations to compensate the investors. in fact, i thought that if they do, it actually undermines the integrity of the laws that govern investment, because it means that even legally-binding contracts, aka the fine print, can be overturned if there is sufficient public outcry. let us not forget that these laws exist to protect not just the banks but also the investors, and a spirit of fair play is necessary to ensure that both parties continue to transact freely, without the fear that the contract would be breached.

this doesn't mean that we leave the needy in the lurch, and tell them, 'just too bad'.

the banks could, and should extend them help out of goodwill, as part of their social responsibility. let those within the category of 'vulnerable investors' appeal from this angle, and receive all the help that they need. and let this help be generous and big-hearted.

at least, in my point of view, this would be the more legally logical solution.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This is not a key

this is the key to what used to be my locker at Jurong Fuji Ice Palace. i went back with a huge bag as planned, and brought everything home. then, i left the door unlocked. i would never need this key again, because the whole building is coming down in a few days time :( goodbye, Fuji Ice Palace. it is hard to explain why i feel sad, when i still have every intention of continuing to skate.

maybe it is hard to let go of the carefree days of young adulthood, a time when my skating friends and i had lots of time and money, and no responsibilities. We jokingly dubbed ourselves the 'Waltz Jump Club', since that's all we could do at that time, and invented silly moves like the Ultraman spin and moonwalk-on-ice. Why can't things remain that way forever? My partner and i have not even finished choreographing our programme 'I need to Know' . and i never got to perform the Butterfly Lovers, which i rehearsed so painstakingly. ! i think i am the last one left in the party, singing forlornly, 'I don't want to grow up because if i do, i won't be a Toy R' Us kid...'

making the transition to the Kallang skating rink turned out to be less difficult than i thought. though many skaters in my generation have stopped skating, there are new people joining. in fact, i met even more people i knew, since some of the coaches made the switch much earlier on. the rink seemed a little smaller, but i can live with that. the building has many more shopping and dining options. now, if only they would provide lockers as well...

well, i suppose there is no point looking back and wishing that things would remain the way they were. there are always new things to look forward to, even if i have to be dragged into the future by my hair, screaming and kicking petulantly.