Archive for the ‘Personal Risk Management’ Category

Not Welcome In Australia

This is absolutely beyond the pale. What is it with these people? Shooting two teenage girls because they were filmed dancing in the rain? With other children and wearing full traditional dress, yet according to the twisted, misogynistic madmen that masquerade as men in their community, they brought dishonour on the family and had to be killed. What a sad, tragic joke!

I don’t care what the limp wristed types will say, there is no excuse for this in any society in this day and age. It is not right and never has been and trying to excuse it as a cultural anomaly is insulting. I hope our immigration people take note and refuse entry to any from these communities. interrogate them and discern if they hold such  a medieval mindset and if so, refuse them entry on any grounds. Even if the rest of their family are here, don’t let them in.

We have seen these so called ‘honour killings’ in the UK among some communities. Mostly Middle Eastern, Pakistani and Indian but not limited to these nationalities. Girls brought up in a western culture savaged by the beliefs and practices of a foreign culture that has no place among western communities. We can’t go there and behave in our ways, they would kill us. So why do we let them come to our society and bring their evil mindsets with them?

Of course not every Pakistani, Yemeni or Muslim holds these views or condones such behaviour. I would be certain of saying most would condemn these murders. I am not talking about denying them entry; just the other kind. Too many are already here as asylum seekers or with legitimate visas and some have committed crimes against women such as the rape at Macquarie University by a Sri Lankan asylum seeker housed in student accommodation recently and other attacks. It is not Islam or Muslis (in the Macquarie case I doubt the Sri Lankan was a Muslim; most likely Tamil) but the individuals and the specific cultures they come from within larger ethnic or religious societies that simply do not get it. They do not share our views on women and their place in our society.

Sadly, many of our older generation, politicians and even younger people from some demographics are still behind the times. But they are our own, home-grown problem. Let us not add to the issue by importing more of their ilk and worse. If this post makes me a racist, then so be it. Call me what you like but don;t call on me and cry when it is your daughter, sister, wife or mother that has been brutally introduced to what ‘real men’ in some parts of the world believe is how to treat other human beings, albeit the female variety.

Let us be very clear on this; it has NOTHING to do with religion and everything to do with ego, pride and men being evil. Religion is often quoted as the rationale, the authority for such crimes but no religion in the world condones this. As the BBC write on their web site:

‘Tradition, not religion’

None of the world’s major religions condone honour-related crimes.

But perpetrators have sometimes tried to justify their actions on religious grounds.

“Honour crime happens across the board in the Asian community,” says Ram Gidoomal of the South Asian Development Partnership.

“People try to blame Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs but it tends to happen in families where there are the strongest ties and expectations. It’s a very strong cultural issue.”

Leaders of the world’s faiths have also strongly denounced a connection between religion and honour killings.

Winbase Equities – Thieves, Conmen or?

Last year I was contacted by a salesman from Hong Kong based investment firm, Winbase Equities. I was looking for a place to invest some of my Self Managed Super Fund money so I agreed for him to have the broker call. David Sperring called me and came across as a knowledgeable and decent professional. The pitch was that they bring new clients aboard with an investment in Heating Oil in November and vacation gasoline in June as these futures always make strike and you never lose your investment. I did my due diligence and while the basic information seemed accurate I can’t say their promise of making $65,000 from $5,000 seemed a lot to make from one trade, especially as they said they only take 1% if I make money but I figured plenty of others make millions this way, why not give it a try. Of course, I was naive and uneducated in the ways of investing on the stock market but I did my best to investigate the firm, the broker and the market.

All seemed plausible and I was prepared to risk my five large because sometimes you have to take risks to get anywhere. If I had known about Puts and Calls I would have hedged this ‘bet’ with a Put, or sell order so that if the price dropped I could get my money back. I would lose all if it didn’t make ‘strike’ without the put. In this case that was about 34 cents per share more than the starting price. In fact the price never went up more than a few cents this year and so when my option expired I lost my money. No problem, that’s the risk you take. At least that is how I would have felt if I hadn’t been let’s say, managed, or handled.

Let me be the first to say I have little doubt everything David and Winbase Equities did was legal and by the book. The book of course doesn’t say they have to ‘educate’ the investor but one would think it ethical to at least advise him properly; at least it is considered so in Australia. David, once I had sent my five grand off to the bank account they use in China, said I might be in luck and Richard, the big boss, might call me and give me some of his precious time. Lo and behold Richard did indeed call me. Spoke to me at length and very ‘folksy’ he was too. Lots of ‘genuine’ interest about the wife and kids and of course how rich he had become doing this very same investing thing.

It was then the alarm bells rang loud. He was too suave and smooth and I knew a sales pitch when I heard one. He told me about puts and calls and how you must have a put or else you could lose the lot. OK, why didn’t David warn me of this, he knows all about puts and calls? Oh, I would have to invest more to ‘qualify’ for a put to cover my calls. I didn’t have another $5,000 to invest but Richard let me stew on this over the weekend then called back with the ‘good news’. The company was willing to throw in $3,000 f the needed $5,000 because they like me or whatever. As if! They would never risk a dime of their own money, no company would. I told Richard I was not spending another dime, we’d see how the options I had fared.

Of course they dived so I sent an email to David Sperring asking him where was my $5,000, exactly? I didn’t mention I had recorded the conversations we had and those I had with Richard but I did get a response. The reply I got was a call from Richard. He wanted me to invest a few more grand and all would be well. I refused and told him I thought his behaviour was sharp practise in my book. A set up. An obvious rip. I accepted it was probably 100% legal but it was certainly not ethical and he wasn’t getting another penny. He was taking this well until I mentioned how I would be blogging about my experiences. That’s when he offered to extend my investment another month! Free of charge. OK, so all of a sudden my $5,000 wasn’t ‘gone’? No, the company would do this just for me because Richard liked me and didn’t want me thinking he was a conman. Please, Richard, don’t expect me to swallow that one.

He did reinstate my account and for another month I watched the price of heating oil go nowhere near where it had to for me to make any money. I doubt it would have and I think the 34 cents was too much, but all part of the sting. They hook you with the call, then advise how you need a put. You save your money and have confidence in them to invest again. I didn’t have the extra to throw in and I guess they are not used to dealing with true peasants like me. Actually I had the extra but I had made it a rule when I invested the $5K that I would test the waters with that and that was all I was prepared to lose.

For me it was a calculated risk, a gamble. It may have paid off but it didn’t. No sour grapes, no crying. What miffed me no end was the way David (who has never once replied to several emails or calls) set me up and Richard finished me off, or tried to. Winbase Equities are still out there, of course. As I said, no doubt they operate within the laws of wherever they are but I would not, based on my personal experience, recommend them to anyone. Even someone I didn’t like. I should have stuck to my original plan and bought that much in silver bullion but I admit to being tempted by the chance to make a significant return. I did think the investment had legs when I paid in but as soon as they closed the trap with the phone call from Richard I knew then, with months to go until the option ran out, I had lost my money.

I have since invested on the stock market and made a small gain by using the hard won knowledge of puts and calls. They lied to me when they said the minimum to have both a put and a call was more than my $5,000. Other brokers do it for less, even if they don’t. I’ll be in Hong Kong in a few months and I know where David works and lives. I think a visit and an apology are in order, but we all know that will take some getting. What do I think happened? I think they buy a swag of options and of course have puts to cover their calls, then they sell parcels of these to punters like me. They get us aboard with the good news, then once they have our money they hit us with the bad news. They select the strike (34 cents in my case) knowing it will never get there. They have their calls at  a more reasonable 15 cents or whatever. They will never lose and they make a ton of money from silly punters like me who buy in at $5,000 and above a time. All legal I guess but hardly ethical. Caveat Emptor. I am aware, have paid for my education and will put the investment to good use. Meanwhile I am starting to investigate just what happened to my money as it was not mine, it belonged to my SMSF and next October the ATO will want to know where it went. Having lost five clams in one year isn’t that bad though, before I started my own super fund the professional incompetents running my other fund were losing me far more!

Regain Your Online Life, Identity & Reputation!

Cyber Bullying and Stalking GuideAt last it is available! This has to be the single most important event in the fight against online bullying and cyber stalking since the invention of the Internet. Simple to understand yet very comprehensive. East to implement the safety steps and recover your reputation as well as your identity and to know when a cyber stalker just might turn really nasty. I couldn’t put it down!

This is more than just an eBook, it is your life given back to you. If you have ever beent he victim of a troll or cyber stalker as I have, this book will give you hope and help you regain your life. As well, if you need one-on-one help, you become by purchasing this book, a member of the group and have access to all sorts of additional value services and a lot more. As you can tell, I love it… but then I helped edit and produce it and for me what I learned as I did that was worth every minute of the time I invested.

Robert Fenwick R.N. Star of Courage

Robert Fenwick placed himself between the knives of a mental patient and the young 20 year old nurse he was trying to stab and saved her life. In doing so he gave his own. He has been awarded (posthumously) our Nation’s second highest award for bravery after the Cross of Valor  (other than the Victoria Cross of Australia which is for valor in the face of the enemy) the Star of Courage. Mr Fenwick SC was 63 and a father, dedicated to nursing and mental health. Once again, we forget those who serve us not just on the front line in Afghanistan, but everyday and night here in our own country. He was assisted by a patient, Brett French, who has been awarded the Bravery Medal.

These awards for courage and bravery underline how hazardous just earning your living can be for some of us. I no longer have to fear anything worse than a nasty papercut but there one was a time when going to work did not automatically guarantee returning in the same fit state one left. There are hazardous occupations throughout the community and not just police, fire, ambulance officers. AS we have seen, nurses and doctors and other medical professionals can be at risk. Security officers and bar staff all have their tales of irate punters having to be dealt with and of course bank tellers and shop assistants know the all too possible risk of being robbed at gun point.

Taxi drivers, bus drivers, train drivers, pilots, ferry crews all run risks every day just to do their jobs and serve us. Sales people who may find themselves alone in isolated situations, like real estate agents showing a house to a potential buyer or renter, who knows what that customer may have in mind? Then there are jobs that are inherently dangerous because of the work performed, like crane dog men standing under slung loads weighing many tons or fishermen out to sea in all weathers.

Pause for a moment and remember Mr Robert Fenwick SC. Consider that the nurse he saved had taken defensive wounds to her hands that included almost losing her little finger. Knives are lethal and no matter how well trained you might be, there is always the risk of sustaining injury when you have to disarm a knife attacker. I have done it more than once and never had a scratch but the difference there was the my attackers were trying to stab me, that’s all I’m sure. In this case the mental patient was intending to kill his victim and that makes it a very different thing altogether. Intent is everything when all other factors, like weapon and victim, are the same.

No doubt a microscopic examination of the situation and scene would find Mr Fenwick SC could have done a dozen things differently and perhaps the outcome would have been different however, hindsight is 20/20 and our hero didn’t have the luxury of time and distance to decide on the most likely to succeed course of action. He reacted immediately, instinctively and without hesitation. He took action in the most direct way possible, by placing himself between the attacker and the target. He did what many of us hope we would have the courage and the character to do in a similar situation. Vale Robert Fenwick, SC.


Been A Little Busy

Lately I have been busy with other matters, all the while the world has kept turning and one disaster after another has struck. I wonder how many people in Tsunami struck parts of Japan had an Emergency Food Supply they could rely on for the days, sometimes weeks after the disaster strikes? Living where I do the worst we have suffered this year so far has been a five hour blackout one Saturday night. Fortunately we had candles and a BBQ and made it fun for the kids. If it had gone on for 24 hours though we would have lost food in the freezer if I hadn’t been able to get the camping fridge going on the LPG bottle. Luckily frozen will stay that way for some time and chest freezers more so than uprights, so long as you don’t keep opening the door.

I have been writing eBooks for a US client covering finance, credit, mortgages and investments for Australia and it has been an education. Doing the research and writing the books has made me a fan of calculators like the Mortgage Payment Calculator and another one that calculates compound interest, how much you need to save to reach a set target and so on. These are important tools for your financial safety management. We often think of natural disasters and wild animals, car wrecks and robbery, but who considers the risk and harm of losing your job?

It pays to be financially safe as well as in all the other ways. I’ll write more on that soon.

The Bucket List

Ever since the movie ‘The Bucket List’ written by Justin Zackham and starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson hit the screens the phrase ‘bucket list’ has been tossed around. It has made it into the lexicon, pretty much like ’24/7′ and to have ‘closure’. One of the big ticks on a lot of bucket lists is to climb Mount Everest. In fact, with a spare fifty grand and two months of your life, you too can add to the growing number of ‘Summiteers’ or frozen bodies the tick has created in the past couple of decades.

I always wonder how much a claim to something like this is done for one’s own personal development, to prove to yourself you can push your boundaries… and how much is about showing off. Don’t get me wrong, showing off is a genuine human trait we have all shared a sometime in our lives and not restricted to toddlers or teens. However one should consider the risks involved and despite a 13 year old and a 76 year old on the list of Summiteers, getting to the top is still no walk in the park. Is it worth it? Only those who try and fail or succeed can answer that question. The rest of us can only answer the question ‘is it worth it for me?’

Not for this little black duck. Even if I had the money and time I don’t have the health and fitness anymore. Life deals you your hand and shuffles the cards now and then and while once you were young and fit and healthy you can easily become older, overweight and ill. You have to be honest and to an extent accept your situation and limitations while always looking to stretch those boundaries and achieve more. You can do this sensibly or stupidly. For me, even thinking of Everest is stupid. Sensible is perhaps something a little more within my capabilities and experience, like sailing around Cape Horn.

I’m 50 next year and I plan to round the Horn as one of the events on my own ‘bucket list’. I call it the ‘Faking It At Fifty’ list because I don’t feel any pressure to get it ticked up before I kick the bucket, rather just within the year I turn 50 and the year I am 50. So I have 24 months to work with. If I don’t get it all done in time… I’ll add it to my ‘From 50 to 60′ List. There’s nothing like being a little flexible when it comes to ticking off things on lists… or life itself for that matter. Few things we ever contemplate, attempt or achieve are truly, ‘life or death’ after all.

Can You Hear The Fat Lady?

There is an old saying that is probably not PC enough for today but it runs along the lines that ‘the opera ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings’. The same is true for life and life threatening situations. It ‘ain’t over ’til it’s over’! A man drove himself to hospital the other night after receiving several stab wounds. No doubt he made the conscious decision he wasn’t going to die. He wasn’t giving in.

Very often that is all it takes, that conscious decision to fight, to survive. Not to just roll over and die. Sadly, in Afghanistan we lost our 17th Digger last night. Another IED (Improvised Explosive Device) or ‘roadside bomb’. As a former Engineer I was trained to find and neutralize IEDs and even in training the tension was considerable. One can only imagine what our young men and women face every day serving their country in that long running war. And they are young.

This last casualty was just 23. We often disparage the younger generation, it was ever so when I was his age and it has ever been so going back to the days of the Ancient Greeks. The reality though is that these are our best, the cream of their generation and they are always the ones to pay the price, as their great grandfathers did in World War 1, their grandfathers in World War 2 and Korea, Malaya and their fathers in Borneo, Vietnam and the Cold War. I include the Cold War because while casualties were mainly in training accidents, we did lose service members who will never be remembered by the issue of a medal, but they are with us all the same.

These soldiers are a different generation with their iPods and email and You Tube helmet cams but their mission is no less lethal, nor is their professionalism any the more wanting. Casualties are a fact of war. We should be grateful we have lost so few for the large amount of good they have done for the people of Afghanistan and not wring our hands when another falls, no matter how deeply we feel their loss.

You see the job’s not done and those soldiers would be the first to demand they be left to finish it. They are not losing. They are positive, upbeat and their morale is high. They are professional soldiers and they are aware of the risks, they accept the possible consequences, they only ask to be left to get on with the job and not be tried by media for every squeeze of the trigger.

They have esprit de corps, instilled during the training process as they are molded into a fighting force that looks after each other. They know the love of men at arms for one another, a bond that is hard to replicate outside the military and even harder for civilians to understand if they have never had the privilege of serving with such men. They aren’t afraid of the Taliban, they’ve got the means to hurt the enemy, they just need the political and public will to let them get on with the job. They’ll do the rest. They have the kit, the training and the will to win. And that is what it is all about, either in Afghanistan or Australia, the will to win. Never give up, never give in. Not until the fat lady sings and we pay the fat lady, not them.

Jumped Or Pushed?

Recently a South African woman ended up in hospital when her parachute failed to open correctly. She claims she saw the three previous jumpers all have problems with their chutes and refused to jump but… her instructor pushed her out of the plane!

Of course he denies this and says while they did circle a couple of times she jumped of her own volition. Someone is right and someone is wrong and my money would be on the woman unless she is trying to get a court settlement from the skydiving company.

This is a good example of paying attention! If you do see other people having problems with their chutes then by all means don’t follow them. I can;t see why an instructor would force someone to jump if he knew there were problems with the chutes but perhaps after seeing hundreds of new jumpers he was somewhat immune to the normal range of reactions and took her as someone who just needed a little help to achieve their goal.

Read the story for yourself here and tell me what you think.

Managing Safety Is A Personal Matter

Perry Gamsby

Enjoy the blog posts here. They are an eclectic collection of opinions, events, experiences and sadly a few tragedies. All are true and have happened to someone, somewhere. Just about all of them were avoidable.  Visit every page on the site but come back here regularly as there will always be something new to read and hopefully learn from. Remember, few things in life are ever actually fatal.

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