Sunday, June 22, 2008

KamalHaasan in Dasavatharam - 2

My previous post KamalHaasan in Dasavatharam - 1

Dear Mr. kamal,

How many times should we make it clear to you? We have said it directly (by not watching Anbesivam) and indirectly (by making Thirupachi a big hit), that we, tamilians, hate good, thought provoking and intelligent movies. Why cant you take the hint? I am seriously disappointed. Next time, just make a movie, like thirupachi. All bullshit and no storyline. That is when you can make your movie a hit. That is when tamil people will acknowledge that you are a star. Please dont over think and give us some good movie like Dasavatharam. We plainly hate good movies. And tell the truth, did you honestly believe we, tamilians, will get the concept behind "chaos theory" ?

Yours truly,
Tamil Nadu.

Dasavatharam Review:

Easily the best movie this summer. First of all, i was right. 10 different roles is just a selling point. It is a desperate measure inserted in the movie to make it more interesting. And frankly few make-ups were pathetic. Gotta agree that. But the amount of hardwork gone into every part of the movie is just fantastic. Kamal just steals the show. Fantastic performance.

The best part about the movie is the Screenplay. Amazing screenplay. This guy is a genius. It is really hard to write a screenplay for such a story line. Kamal has used the chaos theory perfectly in the screenplay. There is a bit of everything in the movie. There is a bit of god belief, Atheism, Communialism, politics, etc, etc. There are no loose ends. The screenplay is just that perfect.

Background music could have been better. Make-ups could have been better. They could have avoided the scene in which Mr. Karunanidhi praise kamal for saving the world. Asin's character "Andal" behaves like a small kid. That could have been better. But so far this movie is the best with respect to special effects in Tamil Cinema. (Maybe "Robot" will take this spot in the future. But gotta wait and see).

I thought only English movies are going to be better this summer and franly i thought Dasavatharam cannot be that great. But i am so wrong. This movie is better than "Indiana Jones and the crystal skull".

Hats off Mr. Kamal, for the good screenplay and good storyline with lots of messages.

Anada Vikatan has given Dasavatharam 43 upon 100:

How can they give "Dasavatharam" 43 out of 100, while giving "Santhosh Subramaniam" 44 ? I used to like this magazine a lot. But now, i think it is getting worse. And i feel bad for it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Hate Facebook !!

Facebook is actually a very good tool. I should not deny that. Few predict that Facebook will become an Online Operating System in few years. People have already started creating applications for Facebook and it is actually a module in NUS. Google is chasing facebook in all ways possible. Their Orkut business is not doing that great. So they introduced the "Google Friend Connect" to remove Facebook from the picture. But to me it seems they are not going to be successful in that venture as well.

Inspite of all the craze, i hate facebook. There are few reasons though.

1. Facebook wont allow me to use S Sathappan as my name. It forces me to use my full name.

2. Even if i enter my full name (Sathappan Sathappan), it says, "Repetition not allowed". (Facebook has strict rules about the name that you use for your profile. I think they are trying to make it professional.) So if you check my facebook account, my name is "Sathappan Sathapan"

My profile

Friday, June 20, 2008

Book Review - Freakonomics

This is a very famous book. Most people would have already read it. So if i write a review, it makes no sense. But the book is really good. As always, it is "New York Times" Best seller.

One thing i really like about this book is the way the author has related irrelevant things and finally made a beautiful sense out of it. Do you think there is a relation between Abortion and Crime Rates? There is a stunning relation. Read the book and you will find out how.

Of all the chapters, my favorite is the chapter about Drug lords, crime rates, etc. It is all explained in a economist point of view. Definitely worth a read.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Reliance Petroleum Limited

There was an article about Mukesh Ambani in the International Herald Tribune. The title is "A tycoon for the new India, loyal to the old"

There is no need for introduction to Mr. Ambani. He is the richest person in India. As said in the article (and I agree), he is the most famous and powerful private citizen of India.

I really admire the Ambanis. Espesially Dirubhai Ambani. If you look at all the other rich folks in India, including TATA, Birla, etc, etc, all these guys were rich for over five to six generations. They had close ties with the British. Ratan Tata didnt create the Empire. But Ambani has created an empire from nothing. He is richer than all these guys. Ambani story is a really inspirational story. U can ask me, how Mukesh is different from Kumaramangalam Birla. He is different because he was there when his father suffered. He was with his father, even when Dirubhai Ambani was a normal textile business owner in a 10x10 room. That is what makes him different. That is the source for his passion and entrepreneurial spirit.

In the recent Shareholders meet, Mukesh Ambani proudly proclaimed the completion of his mammoth project. Here are few facts.

1. Refinery location - Jamnagar

2. Construction contractor - Bechtel Corporation, America. (Bechtel employed thousands and thousands of engineers to complete the project. Apparently Mukesh Ambani had said to Bechtel that he is not bothered about the cost but bothered only about the schedule. The project engineers worked day and night to complete the project on time. )

3. Refinery stats - World's biggest refinery, with the daily capacity of 1.2 million barrels. The next biggest refinery in US can't produce even half of this one. The refinery is constructed keeping the future in mind. It is widely said that in 20 years, it is impossible to get "pure crude" and so the purification process will take lots of time and resources. Most refineries in the world are not capable of doing that. But this reliance refinery is capable of refining even the worst kind of crude. That is the specialty. In 20 years, there is a fairly good chance that India might become the petro-chemical hub of the world. They have leased 3 oil wells in Gulf and that is going to add a lot more revenue to RPL.

Reliance is planning to construct two more Cracker Units and they are planning to venture into Downstream business in collaboration with Dow Chemicals. If everything goes according to plans, no one can stop Mukesh Ambani. But there is an eminent threat for the refinery. It is close to Pakistan border. He is spending millions and millions of dollars on this. But why construct such a big refinery near Pakistan border? That is one thing i cant understand. Only time has to answer that. But he will break even in two to three years.

This is not the only successful area where Mukesh has invested. We all know about "Reliance Fresh". He is also planning to start a luxury cab service in Mumbai by 2009. I recall an "Economic Times" article that said, in 2015, Mukesh will be running a private government. That day is not too far.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Yahoo is now Damaged Goods !

I read this really good article in "New York Times" today. Thought it was very apt, given the current problems in Yahoo. I just have to add one more thing. This Yahoo story is an important lesson all the giants in Internet business like Google, Facebook, etc should learn. Remember, Yahoo was worth 100 Billions once. It was once the coolest company, like Google is today. was widely regarded as the "world's most visited website". Not anymore.

This is how bad the US stock Market reacted for the
Yahoo-Google Deal

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Inflation in India

Inflation in india is 8.75%, highest in the past 8 years.

Inflation is a normal issue in any country. Developing or developed doesn't matter, inflation cannot be completely eradicated and should not be. There should be certain amount of inflation in the country for a very safe economic situation. Lets not forget the fact that many African countries face deflation. Even inflation can be tackled, but deflation, is a real mess.

Inflation in India has been in the rise during the last couple of months. If you had constantly followed, the rise in inflation was set by rising oil price (right now, oil price is flirting with 130$ per barrel) and food prices around the world, weak US dollar, recession fears in US, many many more. Everything is interlinked. That is the biggest of all the problems. Until normalcy sets in every aspect, Inflation cannot be controlled. But rest assured, this is a temperory state. It will definitely change. But will take time.

As our Finance minister said in his book 'View from the outside', "Inflation will not affect the rich people. It will only affect the savings of the middle class people. But poor people will face the worst side of it. That is why inflation is a serious issue in India."

The government has been doing a lot to control it. They have literally stopped exports of all food products, hoping to control the food prices in the domestic market, but fueling the global food price. (Starving the neighbor for the entire country's good is still a bad thing, but that is a complete different issue). One very bold decision by our Finance minister is forbidding the Futures trading. It has already created tensions in the Indian stock market. But i think that is a necessity now. "Futures trading" is a big concept, but to be short, it has power to increase the price of anything. (Ya, anything, from oil to steel). And we all saw what this can do to Oil price.

Finance minister P.Chidambaram & RBI Director Y.V.Reddy

They have increased the CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio). They hav increased the Repo Rate. They are doing every thing possible. Lets also not forget the fact that the indian economy is expected to grow more in this year, inspite of all the crisis.

The reason i write this is because i went to Mustafa centre twice in the past 2 weeks looking for rice. For your information, Indian Rice is not available in Singapore right now. Same is the case in many foreign countries, as India stopped exports. There was a huge line waiting for some good ponni rice. Also, the price of 1 Kg ponni rice was 1$ few months ago. But it is around 3$ today, that too you will get it only if you are patient enough to wait for 2 hours. Well, i just cant wait for two hours. So instead i bought some Lily fragrant Chinese rice. Ya, you heard it right. When you cook, the rice will smell like Lily. It should be fun !!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Energy Crisis

The Oil Price in India has been increased yet again, by 5 Rs per liter for petrol and by 3 Rs for Diesel and 50 Rs for LPG

Global Oil price increase. Pay attention to the last graph

3 days ago, the price of oil increased 11 USD in one single day. This is the highest one day rise in the history. Many reasons are attributed to this. But I would say speculation is the most deadly reason. Maybe the Indian finance minister also felt this way, so he cancelled all the "Futures Trading" in the Indian stock Market. But the speculation trading is still going on in New York and London stock markets. Whatever the reason is being said, the main reason for the increase in oil price is the Supply-Demand Mismatch. The OPEC cartel refused to increase the production because they did learn the lesson a decade ago. When they increased the production, the oil price came down so bad, that they had to face some heavy losses. So the cartel is refusing to increase the production and they are exactly doing what any smart businessman will do. Can’t blame them really. The biggest problem is the world's dependence on oil.

Many people just don’t get the fact that Oil industry just doesn’t affect the Petrol, Diesel and LPG price. It is a major factor. Every industry right from the electronics, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, etc, etc, etc...Use one or the other by-product of the Oil industry. Ethylene is one of the thousand useful by-products we get while refining crude oil. See how much it is useful in the modern world, as said in Wikipedia.

“Approximately 80% of ethylene used in the United States and Europe is used to create ethylene oxide, ethylene dichloride, and polyethylene. In smaller quantities, ethylene is used as an anesthetic agent (in an 85% ethylene/15% oxygen ratio), to hasten fruit ripening, as well as a welding gas. Polyethylenes of various density and melt flow account for more than 50% of world ethylene demand. The primary use of polyethylene is in film applications for packaging, carrier bags and trash liners. Other applications include injection moulding, pipe extrusion, wire and cable sheathing and insulation, as well as extrusion coating of paper and cardboard.

Ethylene derivatives include: ethylene oxide, styrene monomer (via ethyl benzene) and linear higher olefins. Ethylene oxide is a key raw material in the production of surfactants and detergents. It is also used to manufacture ethylene glycols, which are in turn used in soft drinks and food packaging and textiles, and to make ethylene oxide glycol ether solvents. Styrene monomer is used principally in polystyrene for packaging and insulation, as well as in styrene butadiene rubber for tires and footwear. Linear higher olefins are used as base materials for the manufacture of detergents, plasticisers, synthetic lubricants and additives, but also as co-monomers in the production of polyethylenes”.

Next time, when you buy a room freshener, or a perfume or any pharmaceuticals products or any manufactured product for that matter, check the ingredients. You will find one or other Crude oil byproducts in it.

Well, there is an alternative. We can switch to Natural resources. For example, we can use Natural rubber instead of synthetic rubber for making tyres. That is what Goodyear tyres does. (Btw, synthetic rubber also relies mainly on Crude oil.) But wait a second, that is not going to be possible in the long run. Do you know the reason? Yup that is right. Natural resources are also depleting. What choice do you have now, but to pay the price?

When oil price goes up, the Oil companies around the world will increase the price of the finished product to save them from loss (In India, oil companies will increase price only when they totally run out of money, to even buy basic crude, but the Communist party will oppose for that too. There are only two explanations. The Communists just don’t get the basic economy right, or they are targeting only the ballot boxes) When the oil companies raise the price of the oil, they also increase the price of all the other by-products. This will affect the entire Consumer Price Index of a country, pushing the prices too high and resulting in burgeoning crisis of inflation. (Btw, the inflation in India is 8.34% and for christ sake, don’t blame the congress led UPA government for this. This is the world phenomenon. If the prices in US doesn’t go up, that doesn’t mean, our government is doing something wrong. The reason is the companies in US are bearing the loss and they are not transferring the price increase to the people. So the inflation is low in US. But this wont last long)

Well, the Indian government can actually bear the difference in oil price and do us all a big favor. But that will be a disaster. If all the countries around the world do that, then the consumers won’t feel the pinch of the crisis. They will not curb their usage and so the global demand will keep on increasing. (That is what is happening in China. As the government is bearing the difference, the price of oil is so damn low, and the people are not reducing the usage. Which increases the demand in China and eventually Oil Price goes up in the world market. Something similar is happening in India as well, but not to the extent of China. Remember, no where in the world you will get Kerosene for 9 Rs. That is why the world nations are asking India and China to cut subsidies)

If the demand keep on increasing and the Oil price goes up in the World Market, the only people in the world who will be happy are the OPEC countries. So I honestly believe price increase is the only way out and it is inevitable. In fact, it is a necessity right now. There is a thin line here. Even if the government is rich enough to bear the price, price should be increased. I would certainly advocate for that.

But the current decision will have huge repercussions in the economy. First and foremost, the stock market will plunge (That already did happen). Next the consumer price index will go up. (That is about to happen) The price hike will be transferred from the manufacturer to the retailer to the consumer. And IT WILL AFFECT EVERY LIVING SOUL. And that is just something we have to live with. One and only way out is to find alternative resource to replace Oil in at least one tenth of its commercial usage. That is all we can possibly do in the next 20 years. Let’s not get our hopes high in completely replacing Oil. It is almost impossible in the next 20 years.