May

27

MotoAfter just arriving back from a two week visit to Vietnam (from Saigon to Hanoi), Bali, Singapore and Malaysia. there was a few thoughts which reverberated through my mind.

Bali is coming back from its tough times in finally good shape and after several terrorist bombings more and more big name brands have moved into the main tourist area of Kuta. People were present in all areas I went to, and the island, while still holding its charm, is certainly one of the best value, wonderfully scenic and frendly serviced tropical holiday destinations I've encountered. This was my sixth time there since 1997, and have seen a lot of changes in these 10 years.

Singapore is undergoing a building bonanza. Two casinos are going up, and Western expert participants from all over the world have arrived in mass, driving up rental prices (with apparently a lot of companies now not allowing the employee to take the saved rental money in cash, and so by allowing players just to hit the offer). Singapore real estate agents are notorious for showing expats ludicrous prices, often four times inflated (I was offered my condo at over 3200, four years ago, and we settled at 1300/month). Expats' friend are now complaining in the last year they have received letters from landlords saying, "your lease is up, your rent is doubled, if you cant pay get out." Condos are going up everywhere (and old good ones are being torn down to be rebuilt with more units). But the island nation was at is finest while I was there, great weather, great food, great service, and a lot cheaper in living cost then old London town.

In Malaysia we enjoyed some great golf at a luxury resort for next to nothing by UK or US standards, and the place on the hour journey up from Singapore looked wonderfully clean, though my traveling companions from Singapore assured me all is not quite right with many problems with the ruling United Malays National Organization party.

Vietnam is a country going places, at the footsteps of China roaring to its north, the country is moving fast, Saigon is a bustling new city, while Hanoi, still holding a more conservative approach, is breathing its own fire with rapid expansion and an influx of a lot of development money from Japan, China, and other local Asian powerhouses. I witnessed massive new manufacturing developments and condo developments pushing the perimetres of the city in all directions and people are enjoying the new direction and thriving on the speed.

In Siagon as I forced my way across an eight lane road with traffic going in all directions in a city of four million motorcycles, I soon realised there would not be a safe Western time to traverse, but I would have to take the Eastern approach of just entering the cauldron, and while keeping a steady pace the traffic would meander around me as I safely exited on the other side. I realise that risk management and trading and crossing nerve racking traffic in Asia, have a lot in common. Softly softly.


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