From the Editors
Welcome to Issue 2 of ECX. Woohoo!
First of all, I am grateful to be part of
such a supportive and loving team of people. Big
thanks to Eric and Tony for always being there
to give me your opinions and guide me towards
constant improvement. Also a huge thank you to
all our partners – Issue 2 wouldn’t be what it is
without your stories and contributions.
This magazine is for the curious readers who
are ready to try new things within the Sydney
community and are looking to be inspired. ECX
will always be foremost about positive influence,
about building each other up, about encouraging
hard work and creativity in all areas. Whether
it’s advice from professionals who really care, or
a personal story about a lifelong dream, we are
here to uncover these passions and bring out
what those in our community have to share.
I am so delighted with this opportunity to grow
as an editor, and sincerely hope that we have
done our readers and contributors justice. Happy
reading, and please let us know if there are any
topics you’d like to see us cover in the future!
From the beginning, when I first started at
ECX, I knew I was going to embark on an
unique journey. I want to first thank the
founder of this magazine Eric Wong for giving
me this amazing opportunity and my co-editor
Amanda for doing such a brilliant job. I was at
crossroads before I came to ECX, but after getting
started, I realised I truly wanted to be a journalist.
Thank you to all the contributors in this issue
for supporting and working together with us to
make a great issue. I hope that it can continually
provide inspiration and positivity to every reader.
The journey has been amazing so far -- planning
and researching which features to produce for
our next issue, going out for interviews, meeting
so many different people and getting to know
Everyone has a story and there is tremendous
potential to be unearthed around North Shore but
also Sydney itself. ECX can make this change and
truly make a difference in the community with
stories that empower and inspire us all. I strive
to make that difference with ECX and with such
an amazing team I am grateful to be part of, I am
confident we can achieve it.
I hope you enjoy reading our current issue. If you
would like to be a part of issue 3, don’t hesitate to
contact the team, We would be more than happy
to meet you and know your story.
From the Founder
Let me take this opportunity to thank Amanda and Tony for
their hardwork and dedication to make Issue 2 a reality.
For anyone who is familiar with Issue 1, you will no doubt
notice the improvements that have been made after they have
joined ECX. I could not have asked for a better team.
Furthermore, this issue would not be possible without the
interviewees who kindly gave us their time and shared their
valuable insights with us. So please, let me thank all of you
from the bottom of my heart.
Without everyone’s help and support, none of this would
have been possible. Many have said that my goal to promote
positivity within the community was unrealistic and that it
would end up wasting time and resources. But I truly believe
that if this issue inspires one reader, if it encourages just one
person to pursue a passion in fencing or start a small business
or attend a fitness Bootcamp, then that in itself is worth all the
For this issue, I wrote an article about how success, by
definition, is more ambigious than it is fixed. I hope that my
words can help you find joy in knowing that your successes are
relative and not dependent on other people’s achievements.
Finally, I really hope that you enjoy reading Issue 2. If you would
like to be part of issue 3, please get in touch with the team! We
are always on the look out for new information and fresh stories
of hardworking individuals pursuing their passions.
Artist Ann Milch paints watercolours, miniatures, and
even children’s books. In our interview, she was nice
enough to tell us all about her life and her projects.
Huge thanks to Ann and the Ku-ring-gai Art Centre for
making this issue so special.
Looking for a picnic spot or a place to take the kids?
We go on the hunt to check out and review four parks in
Attention new parents: Rachael Attard captures the
precious memories of your newborn bub with much
professionalism and creativity.
One of Australia’s most loved burger stores has hit
Sydney by storm. Who doesn’t love double patties and
frozen custard? Check out the story behind the name
‘Royal Stacks’, and see what Terri Tep has to say about
Colouring In Competition
A childhood pastime, and latest anti-stress trend for
adults. Sharpen those pencils, and colour away for your
chance to be featured on the cover of our next issue!
Designs for all ages.
If you’re a fan of getting the heart pumping and chasing
the sunrise (literally), take a peek at what Sergeant
Paul McGeachie has to say about the fitness bootcamp.
Summer has come and gone, and now it’s midautumn
and almost winter. So how do we make sure
our furnishings and decor reflect that? The experts at
Vault Interior offer styling tips to make your home feel
brighter and more colourful.
Everything is relative, and you should make sure that
your goals reflect your lifestyle. Eric Wong writes about
why it’s important to take a step back and not compare
your achievements to others’.
Very rarely in life do you get a chance to sit down with a 78 year old
artist over coffee and talk about the things that matter – her travels, her
watercolours, and her past. She showed us the journals that she kept while
overseas, and every page was saturated with history.
Here was someone who really believed in what she did; someone who appreciated
art for art’s sake. We looked at her works and saw so much passion, that we
just had to speak to her about it and find out more about her story.
When I was at school, I used to draw
and doodle all over my books and stare
out the window. The only subjects I
liked were art, geography and biology
because they all had something to do
with drawing. I can’t ever remember
studying. All I wanted to do was go to
I was 14 when I left school and that was
back in 1953. Girls then just grew up,
got married and had children. It didn’t
matter whether you went to University
or not. I just did what I wanted to do and
I was lucky I was able to do this.
I went to East Sydney Tech and did a
design course. Then I was going to
travel overseas and make my name as
a famous designer — instead, I met my
future husband. I was 19 when I met
him, and we got married when I was 20.
We bought a delicatessen together and
I worked in the deli for 20 years, but I
always painted one day a week. After
we sold the delicatessen, my husband
went on to study law and I came back
to focus on art. I’ve been painting ever
since. That was when I started taking it
seriously. I started teaching art which I
love and have been teaching now for 30
We were happily married for nearly 50
years. Since he died I have travelled all
over the globe.
I go to art galleries everywhere. I’m
going to Cuba and Miami this year
with the Art Gallery of NSW which is
great because they take you to all the
interesting places with like-minded
When we were in Japan, we went to
some fabulous galleries and I saw how
they did lacquer work and gold inlay. In
China on the Silk Road I saw amazing
frescos in the Mogao Art Grottos, the
Gobi Desert and the beautiful mountains
coming out of the water along Li River
in Guilin. We went to many modern art
museums and I always came home full
of enthusiasm after seeing how other
people are working, my little travel
journals filled to the brim with sketches.
Even in Woollahra, I’m always inspired.
I go walking every morning along the
beautiful gardens. I love flowers, as
you can see from the exhibition. I love
painting flowers and I love painting still
As much as I like abstract paintings,
I would rather have something that
looks realistic. I’m a traditional painter
and I love the work of the Australian
Impressionists, and Impressionists in
I love the Dutch masters and their still
life and I love Rembrandt’s paintings
and sculptures by Michelangelo. I’m
very much a traditional Australian
I went on a tour to France, “In the
Footsteps of Cézanne”, and we went to
the Louvre and all the places Cézanne
painted - his studio, the little cabin in
the quarry and walked along the road
to Mont Saint Victoire which is featured
in so many of his paintings.
I think a painting has got to give you
joy. I don’t paint gruesome, miserable
things that make a statement like a lot
of people do when they feel passionate
about something. I feel passionate
about colour, beauty and design, and
that’s more important to me than
the horrors of this world. I think the
world is full of horror. We need to get
away from all that and see something
beautiful on our walls. That’s why I’ve
always got my eyes open for something
I stand for good design, beauty and
colour - things that give you joy. I did
sculpture for five years and I loved
it but I just missed the colour. Now,
I like doing paintings that are quick,
colourful creative and joyous.
I was hesitant when they first offered me this
exhibition. I haven’t had one since my husband died
because it was just too hard. To set up, to cart the
paintings, to organise an opening, to send out the
invitations – it was all just too hard. But then I thought
to myself, “This is too good an opportunity to miss.”
People ask me every day if I’m still painting and this is
my answer: “Yes, I am still painting!” I paint as often
as I can. I’ve been painting since I was 14 and I’m 78
now. It just gives me joy to paint. And it gives me joy to
teach. I have a great passion for teaching.
I’ve found that with art, you are transported into
I was commissioned to do a portrait of Sir David
Martin, the Governor of NSW in 1998. When it was
finished, an article was put in the back of the painting
about me. I remember thinking at the time that I could
die now having done something really worthwhile. I
continued painting and doing different things.
After my husband died, 12 years ago, I had to sell
my house with my big studio and downsize to a
much smaller flat. That put me on a different path,
and I started painting miniatures. I found I could sit
comfortably at my dining room table and paint.
I’ve also been writing books. My first one is called
“My Spy”. It’s a technique where you put a splash of
red, blue and yellow on a watercolour page, then you
crumple up some wax paper and put a brick on top.
When it’s dry, you peel it off and it’s got all sorts of
patterns from the wax paper and you look into it to see
what you can find, I then tease out images and create
I tried to get it published and they said it didn’t fall into
any category. It wasn’t a teaching book and it wasn’t
an art book and it wasn’t a children’s book, so I selfpublished.
I decided to do children’s books next and I have two
published, “I’m Going to Be a Pilot” and “I’m Going
to Be a Dancer”. Each one has 10 miniatures and a
little verse describing each painting. I wanted to do a
series like “Mr. Men” - that’s what I had in mind when
I started. I want to do a whole series on that but I
haven’t got past two or three.
Life gets in the way.
I’d like to write some more books. I will continue with
my miniatures since I’m not doing as many portraits
as before. I find that it’s stressful — it’s lovely to do a
painting and if someone likes it, they might buy it. But if
you are painting a portrait, you’ve not only got to make
yourself happy first, you’ve also got to make the person in
the painting happy and all their family members have got
to be happy. It’s so stressful. I’ve done so many portraits
in my time I don’t think I have to do that anymore. I don’t
have to push myself. I’d rather do something that I can
play around with and enjoy.
I think that artists have always been undervalued. I
wouldn’t be able to make a living as an artist today, even
though I’ve done all this work. Thankfully, my husband
worked hard and provided me with a good life and a good
living. I couldn’t live the lifestyle I do on the proceeds of
my art, even though I’m teaching two days a week.
But I don’t look at it from that point of view.
I do it because I like doing it and because I’ve got to do it.
It’s my life.
Japan’s quirky and innovative performance group SIRO-A spread
their magic to The Concourse, Chatswood, in January this year —
combining light, technology, and sound to bring their audience
an evening of delight and entertainment. This techno group of
eleven (six, after having split up to tour simultaneously) has
performed all over Asia and Europe.
The editors at ECX, of course, did not miss the chance to speak
with them about their act and their current world tour.
Combining dynamic choreography with the latest videomapping
technology, SIRO-A brought their visual spectacle
to Sydney by projecting a complex series of live-feed clips,
animation and laser units onto reflective screens. These
thrilling effects were paired with a live soundtrack that was
carefully implemented by the DJ and the VJ, both of whom
remained at the back of the stage.
From transforming into a rock band with projected electric
guitars and drum sets, to characters from various popular
films, the group strategically merged their bodies with digital
imagery. Even managing to turn into a vintage video game,
SIRO-A manifested themselves not only as the performers
of their show but also as the canvases, their faces painted
white like mimes.
Indeed, the group’s name is derived from shiroi ( 白 い),
meaning “white” and “colourless”, while the A represents
“anonymous”. Together, it translates to “belonging to no
group, impossible to define as anybody”, meaning that they
are without genre or category. One can hardly label them as
purely dance or comedy, as they manage to sink their teeth
into multiple departments, even magic.
Critics have described them as “Japan’s answer to the
Blue Man Group”, and though SIRO-A is pleased with
this comparison, they admit that both groups have their
differences. The Blue Man Group, they say, are talented at
playing musical instruments whereas they specialise in
more physical, high-energy performances.
Featuring seamless choreography where members of the
group appear to enlarge in size, or multiply before your very
eyes, SIRO-A’s shows have been described as mesmerising
and “optical wizardry”. When asked how they would describe
their own performances, the group came up with a few
words they believed would sum it up: “technology, technomusic,
visual illusions, and human power.”
SIRO-A’s tagline includes the phrase techno-circus which,
they explain, is the amalgamation of technology and highenergy
music. The incorporation of pulsing, bright lights and
electric beats within the Australian show allow audiences
to experience the performance from various angles, always
keeping us on the edge of our seat.
Formed in 2002, the group was first initiated by five friends
who met in junior and senior high school. They had a burning
curiosity and a talent for seeking out new possibilities,
experimenting in drama class with light and projections until
one friend had an idea.
Fifteen years later, SIRO-A has eleven members, six of whom
were in Australia and the other five in Iran for the 35th Fadjr
International Theatre Festival. They have auditioned for
Season 10 of America’s Got Talent and were admitted to the
semi-finals, and have travelled around the globe to countries
such as Singapore, Taiwan, London, Germany, Brazil, and
Colombia, amongst others. They have won multiple awards
since 2005, including the Edinburgh Festival “Spirit of the
Fringe” Award in 2011, and have even participated in TED x
Tokyo 2012 “Where Art Meets”.
Influenced by their travels, the group has observed that
American and British audiences react more positively to
active participation, demanding more contact and humour
than audiences in Japan. For their show in Sydney, the
group made sure to add more comedy routines, including an
impromptu voice sampling segment that directly encouraged
audience interaction. Their ability to stay flexible and adapt
accordingly has allowed them to perform across the globe,
appealing to a range of audiences of all ages.
Talking about their processes, they revealed that each
performance takes around two to three months of
preparation: from creating graphic image videos to
choreographing to the compilation of techno music, the
group is constantly looking for new, exciting ways to improve.
As of now, the members disclosed that their latest idea is to
project a hole onto the floor, encouraging further interactivity
with the audience with a – literally – “ground-breaking” idea.
In terms of what they have in store for us in the future,
SIRO-A is also busy with grand plans, taking their talents
back to Japan for two new shows. One, they told ECX, is
a near futuristic show which incorporates cutting edge
technology like 3-D video mappings mixed with techno
music and magic. The other performance, called “That’s
ZENtertainment!”, blends traditional Japanese culture with
acrobatics and dancing.
Saying that they are willing to try America’s Got Talent again,
SIRO-A seems confident that they can get further into the
rounds than the last time. They also revealed that they are
hoping to audition for Australian talent shows and television
programs one day, and that they are excited to grow on an
PARKS IN SYDNEY
Lloyd Rees Drive, Lane Cove West NSW 2066
Towards the west of North Shore is Blackman Park, which is
considered one of the best parks in the area. With a reputation
like that, we just couldn’t resist checking it out for ourselves.
What makes this park stand out is the fact that it lies next to
the Lane Cover River, allowing for really scenic river foreshore
bushwalks. They’ve got trails for joggers, dog walkers, and people
who are looking for that #natural Instagram aesthetic.
Whether you’re craving family time on Sunday, a day out with
the kids, or a place to kick a ball around, Blackman Park can
facilitate all that and more. The place is open and it’s got all
sorts of facilities like picnic spots, play equipment, and sporting
grounds. This park also has outdoor workouts, and basketball
and tennis courts.
Clearly, this one’s for all the athletic ones in the family who are
looking to break a sweat and chase the sunset.
Australia Avenue, Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127
This is hands down our favourite park thus far. If you take a bit
of time to explore and walk or cycle along the shared pathways,
you’ll find private little flower gardens, perfect for small picnics
and get-togethers. There are free electric barbecues and
shaded areas next to the grassy banks of Lake Belvedere –
should you ever have to plan a community or corporate event,
make sure you reserve a site at Bicentennial Park!
For those who want to have a little adventure, the winding
timber boardwalk will lead you to riverside wetlands, which
is complete with the Badu Mangroves from Parramatta River.
You’ll also be able to climb up to the highest point in the park,
which is the Treillage Viewing Platform, and see Homebush Bay
along with the city skyline.
It’s a great place to be social and put your explorer hats on! We
can sing its praises for pages, but you’ll have to check it out for
yourself to find out how lovely it is.
Coonanbarra Road, Wahroonga NSW 2076
If you’re after a park that’s rich with history and has that classic
feel to it, then stop right there and look no further. We were
surprised at how modern this park was and loved that it was
scenic and private – the perfect place to be on a weekend.
The park really embraces its history by integrating it with the
architecture, combining flower beds with memorial statues.
The Sir Lionel Lindsay monument in particular overlooks the
manicured gardens, acting as a centrepiece for the entire park.
Their newly revamped equipment and large sports field makes
this all the better – it’s a playground jackpot for all ages.
Take the person you like here on a first date. Take your mum
on Mother’s Day. Definitely take your kids! With all its bright
colours and beautiful scenery, Wahroonga Park is the place to
go if you want a fun day out.
The floral life here is like something straight out of a Disney
movie. The main gardens have blooms at every corner and it’s
structured through classic architecture, boasting both quality
Nicholson Street, Chatswood NSW 2067
Your ECX editors snooped around Beauchamp Park too, which
is in the upper park of the Scott’s Creek sub-catchment and
is part of the Willoughby Council. The park itself has beautiful
flora and fauna sightings, home to possums and lizards and an
array of birds. (They say you might even be able to spot a flying
fox, if you’re lucky.)
Beauchamp Park is known for its vegetation, and you’ll find
that a lot of the trees actually date back to the original Blue
Gum High Forest. It has a beautiful rose garden and thanks to
the community effort of residents who lived next to the park,
the council decided to restore the Spring Gardens. The new
range of flowers have been carefully selected to not only match
the theme of the park, but also be weather tolerant.
This one’s definitely family friendly, so if you’re looking for a
beautiful, local park where you can let your dogs run to their
hearts’ content – look no further. It’s only a 10-15 minute walk
from Chatswood CBD too, so you can take a nice stroll here
along the spring gardens before checking out the mall markets
by the train station which are open every Thursday and Friday.
A beau-champion of parks.
Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
Photographer: Sam Monseur
I INSPIRE MYSELF.
first in, best dressed
young’s best, tailoring since 1975
Mr. Young found his passion for tailoring at the age of
18, at a time where tailoring was mainstream within
the fashion industry in Shanghai. He discovered the
basics of tailoring in China, before coming to Australia
to further refine his skills and learn about different
cultural trends. Due to miscommunication and
language barriers, he was restricted to only working
at tailoring factories.
Fortunately, all this was within a zeitgeist
where Australian clothing manufacturers were
flourishing. Young gradually built up his aptitude
and professionalism during his years working in the
factory, going on to apply those skills to further his
own career. In 1995, when the manufacturing sector
began to see an overall decline, Young took the first
step of his career: starting a clothing store of his own
right in the heart of Sydney’s Town Hall.
Knowing that clothing played a significant role in how
we saw not just ourselves but others too, the objective
was clear to Young: to draw on his studies from over
the years, and create the most stylistic and best fitting
clothing for his clients.
Young found his passion
at age of 18 in Shanghai
and travelled all the
way to Australia to
learn about the market.
Personal tailoring is common within the clothing
industry, as all clothing manufactured in the earliest
production period could be regarded as custom
and handmade. This was because the means for
mass-production were limited, and it was not
until the industrial revolution that we began to see
an unprecedented amount of productivity. More
conservative production methods had to be changed in
order to meet rising demands.
People sought a higher quality of life in the face
of consumerism, and personal tailoring services
especially were deemed exclusive and high-end.
At Young’s Best, they make sure that everyone can
enjoy being treated to a tasteful and sophisticated
the tailoring process
The making process for a complete set of garments
begins with drafting an outline with the client’s
sizing details, before cutting the fabric and
working separately on more complex designs. They
combine the parts together, iron them, and then
proceed with final corrections.
A suit usually takes six weeks to complete. We
use the fabric suppliers ‘Dormeuil Holland’
and ‘Sherry’ exclusively, making sure that our
clients receive the highest quality of clothing.
These fabrics take around two weeks to deliver.
The time it takes to make a dress depends heavily
on the design.
Inspiration for Young comes from dedicated hard work
– by reading more and watching more videos about
the industry, by thoroughly researching each design,
and by understanding clients’ needs better through
experience. It takes much time and effort to nuance
Young tells us that some tailors, for instance, might
rescale bigger shirt sleeves for a client that finds
small cuff shirt sleeves uncomfortable. Experienced
tailors, however, will understand that such sleeves
are best fitted for certain articles of clothing, and will
encourage the client to wear it again.
He finds that these customers will always return and
thank them gratefully for not rescaling, since it was
already the best fit.
Being skilled at tailoring means that you have to
manage all kinds of details, which is overwhelming
but telling of how much experience one has.
To be a good tailor, you need to understand the needs
of different demographics and be comfortable with all
advice for summer
As summer is a season of hot weather, it is essential
that the right fabric is selected to ensure that people
are comfortable, even during the more humid
days. Young’s Best recommends thin, smooth, and
breathable fabrics. Natural fibres such as silk, cotton,
and linen, and improved new fibres usually have all
the aforementioned characteristics.
Summer fashion should remain simple and
minimalist, avoiding multilayers and complicated
designs. Young also suggests looser clothing as it
helps to prevent sweat stains. Their advice is to avoid
excessive layers, and to stay away from restrictive,
tight clothing during summer.
Young believes that we live now in a century where people
can easily learn about fashion trends after just a few
clicks on the Internet. Clothes can be bought online and
delivered within days.
One of the most important aspects of tailoring, however,
is the measuring itself. For a suit, a tailor needs the
right measurements for the collar, bust, waist, hip,
leg root circumference, crotch, and so on, with about
twenty dimensions in total. Shirts and tops need around
ten more upper body measurements before the job is
Direct communication between the tailor and the client
is one of the key traditions within the industry. The tailor
is the one person who oversees the clothing from the
scraps of fabric, to the final product, understanding the
client’s needs so that they can produce exactly what they
want. Several of the most well-known tailor shops in
Savile Row, Mayfair, London upkeep this tradition.
Young always recommends that clients visit his store in
person so that he can measure them accordingly and
provide the best results.
For more information,
contact Young’s Best:
(02) 8283 9420
Shop 26A, 438 Victoria Ave.
Chatswood, NSW 2067
by rachael attard
Welcoming a baby into the world is a precious moment
for new parents; a period that marks the birth of a new
chapter in life. No doubt, it is a time filled with joy where
people are free to explore responsibilities and discover
new traditions for their family, all while forming a lifelong
The possibilities are endless – and though it is also a
time of change and anxiety and overwhelming
protectiveness, these are the unrivalled
moments of tenderness that Rachael
Attard believes should be cherished
and captured in its full essence.
For Rachael, these memories
revealed a beauty that she
wanted Storybook Photography
to embody. A newborn marks
the beginning of a new story,
the first few pages of a book yet
to be written. Rachael captures
the start of this journey with much
intimacy and love, encapsulating
the bond within families, through
Storybook Photography. Rachael, who
has experienced this extraordinary change
twice when she welcomed first a baby girl into
her life, then twin girls, understands this process on a
personal level. Upon changing the course of her career in
order to pursue something dear to her heart, Rachael has
not looked back and continues to inspire and be inspired. A
newborn child is one of life’s greatest blessings and for the
people behind Storybook, it is precisely that: a story worth
telling, a narrative of sentimental value worth capturing in
“It is so special
watching a mum and dad
gaze at their newborn with a
sense of awe and contentment.
I will never, ever get sick of being
able to witness moments of
pure love and joy.”
A loving mother to three beautiful girls, one aged five
and twins who are almost three years old, Rachael has
always been in touch with her imagination, constantly
looking to create something new and innovative. It was
shortly after her twins turned one that she decided it
was time to return to the workforce. Uninspired
and at a loss for what to do in the future,
she contemplated going back to what
she knew and finding another office
She knew, however, that she
was passionate about one thing:
creativity through photography.
Rachael desired nothing more
than being offered a creative
challenge, though the fear of
following this passion meant that
she was uncertain and anxious of the
consequences. Things were always
easier said than done.
Knowing that she had always been interested
in photography, Rachael decided to do her research.
“I looked into photography a little further as it was
something I was always interested in and had enjoyed
playing around with own projects at home,” said Rachael.
After photographing her cousin’s baby as a newborn in
April 2015, Rachael was struck with an epiphany. The
photograph had given her such inspiration that it became
the single, unique moment when she knew exactly what
she wanted to do.
Three months later, in September 2015, she launched the
business that we have grown to know and love – Storybook
Photography by Rachael. The name was an idea that came
naturally to her, she told ECX.
“I am blessed that my job allows me to capture incredible
moments in people’s lives,” said Rachael. “These moments
when added together form a part of someone’s personal
story, and the images I take help create that story.”
It was clear, however, that the pursuit of a creative career
meant that her works and photography required a much
higher standard of professionalism. Attard dedicated
herself to attending various workshops with well-known
photographers such as Erin Elizabeth Photography and
Rebecca Connolly whilst also attending one-on-one
mentoring sessions with Beth Fernley Photography and
Natalie Howe Photography.
“I have watched countless YouTube presentations and
online based workshops to continually increase my
knowledge about photography and work on my skills in
the art of posing babies,” said Rachael, “to not only create
unique pieces of art, but also to do it safely.”
As a photographer who specialises in creating masterpieces
for happy parents, we asked Rachael what her most
memorable experience was in such a creative field of work.
She admitted that she thoroughly enjoyed interacting with
children, telling ECX: “They often say and do the funniest
things. Any session that involves children is usually full of
She considered, however, that the best part of her job was
being able to witness the unadulterated love between parent
“It is so special watching a mum and dad gaze at their
newborn with a sense of awe and contentment. I will never,
ever get sick of being able to witness moments of pure love
Such feelings are undoubtedly strong and we can see the
special connection that Rachael captures so effectively.
Ultimately, the beauty of Rachael’s photography is not only
found in the structural elements of the picture itself, but the
way she makes explicit that intimate bond between parent
For more information, contact Rachael at:
0417 120 281
how to photograph a baby
Keep the background clutter-free.
Placing babies on a white bedsheet is perfect for making the baby the
focus of the image. Parents can try using a toy that makes a little noise
to grab the baby’s attention.
Place the baby on his/her back.
If baby is old enough to hold his/her head up without support, place
him/her on their tummy for some added variety.
When taking tummy photos, get down on the floor so that your camera
is at baby’s eye level. The same goes for outdoor photos.
Safety comes first.
Never hold a camera over the top of a baby unless you have the camera
strapped around your neck first. Don’t leave a baby unattended in an
environment where they could fall or roll off a surface. For images
such as babies posed inside buckets, baskets, etc., use a professional
photographer who is trained in baby safety.
If outdoors, look for shade.
Make sure to avoid harsh shadows in your images.
Most importantly, have fun.
Take images of your kids playing and doing the things they love!
a bite of success
the burger craze that hit
melbourne and sydney by storm
We sat down at the ever-crowded Royal Stacks, Chatswood,
and had the honour of talking to Terri about Royal
Stacks and her story.
My role as Executive Chef is very exciting, it combines my
passion for food and training/developing individuals. What
makes it exciting for me is that I get to work in different
locations and along the way making lots of new friends. It’s
been very satisfying to inspire others to share our dream of
delivering quality food and excellent
I look for passion, it’s the one thing
that can’t be taught. I could teach
anyone how to flip patties or cook
fries but I cannot teach someone to
put in the love and care in something
they don’t believe in. I hope to be a
leader to many people who share the
same passion as me.
My passion for food goes way back to when I was young,
my mum is a very good cook and she will forever be my
inspiration but it wasn’t until 15 years ago when I started
working in hospitality that I started to become really
passionate about food. I’m obsessed with wanting to learn
more about food and reaching as many people as possible
with my creations.
My passion for burgers started around 3 years ago when we
were looking into the food trends in America, at that stage,
it was burgers and they were doing it well! Turning the
humble hamburger into a trend in Australia was something
we wanted to be a part of, so we got to work.
“I look for passion, it’s the one thing
that can’t be taught.
I could teach anyone how to flip
patties or cook fries but I cannot teach
someone to put in the love and care in
something they don’t believe in.”
In the 12 months since we have opened, we have had an
overwhelmingly positive response in both Melbourne and
Sydney. Our main focus is to consistently deliver amazing
food by sourcing fresh, local produce, upholding the highest
standards of customer service,
accompanied by a nostalgic interior.
My advice would be whatever type of
business you want to venture into,
make sure you know and understand
all aspects of the business, for
example it wouldn’t make sense to
open a cafe if you didn’t know how to
Surround yourself with like-minded individuals, through all
the hardship, the long days and lack of sleep, just to have the
support from people that are going/have gone through the
same experiences as you, will help keep you strong and will be
a constant reminder of why you started your business in the
I’m very fortunate to have Dani as my mentor, he is by far
the smartest businessman I know and evidently his current
success is enough to verify that. The thing about Dani is that
he’s never content, he strives to constantly better himself and
he is humble, a very well respected man to anyone who works
with him or for him.
Mastermind and owner of Royal Stacks, Dani Zeini, came
up with the name. This was his thought process - “The
word Stacks came from the idea of using a terminology
that was common in the Australian food scene, people
would refer to towers of pancakes as a stack or a huge
burger with stacks of patties. We also wanted something
that could correlate into the menu e.g Single Stack, Double
Stack so that no matter which Royal Stacks you went to,
they would be the same. The word Royal is a premium
touch to the name, adding some sophistication which is
how we feel about our products.”
the upcoming plans.
Our plans for Royal Stacks are big! Our goal is to have a
few more up here in Sydney (in future), we would love to
venture out into other states as well and eventually out
internationally. My personal goal is to be in New York.
New York played such a big role in influencing our style of
burgers that it would just mean the world to me to be given
a chance to take our food over there.
For more information,
contact Royal Stacks:
(02) 9419 2354
Westfield Chatswood, 357/1 Anderson St, Chatswood NSW 2067
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Carlingford Village, Shopping Centre
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AN OPEN LETTER
from the founder of feng fencing studios
Time has flown by so quickly.
I founded Feng Fencing Studio in early 2016 and already, it’s
been one year since the grand opening. Since that time, I’ve
been able to train a number of new students in one of the
things I’m most passionate about: foil fencing.
All new students begin training the same way – their
eyes are bright with enthusiasm, and there’s a genuine
eagerness to learn the technical skills. Over time, though
the spark never dies, it becomes clear that they’re still at
the beginning of their journey. The time it takes to master
fencing may turn some people off – but like any sport or
hobby or field of practice, you only ever get out what you put
When it comes down to it, we’re all still learning. Even with
22 years of competitive experience under my belt, I still find
myself discovering new skills while training, and having to
learn to adapt. That’s what everything comes down to, isn’t
it? Trying new things and embracing this learning curve
that shouldn’t turn you off but rather, motivate you to work
harder and be better.
Foil fencing has a special place in my heart, and I know that
I’ll be chasing it for as long as I can.
It’s the perfect blend of movement and strategy, of mind
and body, of attacking while defending. You can choose to
use active strategies against your opponent or decide that
passive tactics are more suitable for you. Either way, there
is always elegance; no excessive force or aggression, since
that would be over-expenditure of negative energy. Instead,
we encourage courtesy between opponents and cultivate an
environment where there is always mutual respect.
I know that there are certain sports now which appear to
promote gladiatorial and violent aggression. And though
that may appeal to some, foil fencing culture is about
conflict resolution. It’s about controlling your emotions and
making sure that each set of action is channelled through
careful and striking movements. Despite being classified
as a combat sport, every point is scored with well-trained
finesse, timing, and distance. There is no hostility between
fencers, only sportsmanship and a motivation to improve.
See, I believe in this. I really do.
And I also know that in order to see real growth in my
students, I have to help cultivate their passion. I see
the spark in their eyes, the little ember of interest, and
I know that it has potential to grow into a flame. The
most important thing to me is that my students are there
because they want to be.
Too often, we are blindsided by external factors – pressured
into activities that our friends are doing, or pushed into
undertaking things purely for the results and not the
process. My career in fencing comes from the heart, and
not because I think that it’s prestigious or because I want
scholarships and medals.
This is genuine and authentic interest, and I want to help
you find yours.
I won’t sit here and tell you that foil fencing is the perfect
sport for you, because I know that people are not shaped by
cookie cutters. We all have our own preferences, just as we
have our own beliefs.
But here is what I can promise you:
I can promise that at Feng Fencing Studios, we develop
character and cultivate good, wholesome values in all
our students. You can learn how to become self-reliant in
one-on-one foil fencing, identifying your own strengths /
weaknesses and assessing your own performance so there
is room for constant improvement. I can promise that I
will make it a priority to bring out your potential. And I can
promise that I’ll always be open, and let you teach me how
to grow as a leader in this sport.
Falling in love with foil fencing isn’t something that can
happen overnight. More than likely, it’ll take time and
commitment. But this discipline, this confidence, this
capacity to reflect and self-motivate; these are all strengths
in character that will have long-term consequences. These
are skills that can be translated to multiple areas of your
life, whether it be school or work or relationships.
I have seen and experienced real passion before, and I know
that it has changed me for the better.
Now it’s just your turn.
yoghurt and oats
adam wilkinson, from selling chocolate bars at
school to award-winning yoghurt
YOATS is a clever portmanteau of yoghurt and oats. How
did this name come to be?
As many businesses discover, deciding on a name can
be really challenging as it’s so important to get it right.
Especially for a retail product and brand. In our infancy
YOATS was actually called ‘Fuel’. At the time we liked the
reference it made to food being an energy source but we
found it to be a little too masculine and sounded more like
an ‘energy drink’. When we first started brainstorming
names, YOATS had been on our list from the beginning.
It had been staring us in the face the whole time and we
think it’s the perfect fit for the product. We like things
uncomplicated so with our two star ingredients being
Yoghurt and Oats, YOATS was a complete no brainer.
This simple approach is at the heart of everything we do
especially our products. It’s also a bit of fun, we don’t take
ourselves too seriously. It’s memorable and people always
respond well to it.
Tell us the story – from chocolate bars to yoghurts.
This was technically my first business. I started selling
chocolate bars at school when I was 15. We didn’t have
vending machines or a canteen so I saw a gap in the market
and went for it. I saved all the money I made and used it to
buy my first car which was a great outcome. As with many
teenagers the health element wasn’t a high priority at the
time, but this is definitely changing nowadays.
People are making the transition to healthier foods earlier and
many of our customers are young people. They’re choosing
YOATS for its nutritional quality, they want all natural products
and a lower amount of unrefined sugar. We supply to a number
of schools who provide YOATS for breakfast, they’re also the
perfect snack option for fast growing, hungry students after
Why YOATS and not other “Grab & Go Breakfast” products?
We created YOATS to offer everything you need to start your
morning in one complete pot. The shelves are full of products
that promote themselves as “Grab & Go Breakfast” options
but really are far from that. We seem to have forgotten
what we really need out of breakfast and that’s to feel full
and nourished and these products don’t offer this. “Liquid
Breakfasts” are simply water with many flavours and additives
and “Breakfast Biscuits and Bars” are commonly high in sugar
and lack substance leaving you feeling hungry. The benefits
from eating oats are no secret, and each YOATS contains
50grams of premium quality oats. We’re not aware of any
other product on the market that offers more per serving,
not to mention 12.5grams of protein from our yoghurt. You
can taste the difference from the quality ingredients we use,
since all our products are top notch. All you need is YOATS and
you’re on your way to a great day.
Apple & Raspberry YOATS
Apple & Cinnamon YOATS
The Apple and Raspberry
YOATS has a signature
flavour, making it an obvious
choice for all those pursuing
healthy eating. Its distinctive
blend of fresh apples and
raspberries along with the
added mix of natural yogurt,
organic oats and agave
nectar make it a perfect
embodiment of what YOATS
is all about: healthy and
The vivid purple colour of
the Wildberry YOATS makes
sure we don’t forget that we
eat with our eyes. It was a
joy to find our little tub full
of berries, as it gave each
bite a sour tang and got
us wishing we had more!
We recommend this one
served chilled as a nutritious
breakfast or a refreshing
It’s no secret that we
Australians love our bananas
and seeing that we produce
some of the best bunches
in the world, it’s not hard to
see why! The introduction of
bananas into YOATS packs
it with nutrients, and is just
the right thing to sustain
your blood sugar before a
This one is like Apple
Crumble but without the
guilt, and definitely keeps
you going back for more.
Can be enjoyed chilled or
gently warmed in winter. The
cinnamon packs a punch in
terms of flavour, and creates
a sweet aftertaste which
blends well with the yoghurt.
Satisfying and tasty – what
more can we ask for?
YOATS is involved with several charities and even has a
‘Karma Director’, Nina. Tell us about that.
Nina is a close friend that’s had a keen interest in the
business since the start. It’s very easy to be focused on
sales and the bottom line and forget about the values
and real community engagement the business can have.
She raised this with me very early in the piece so I’m
proud to say we’ve been committed to supporting these
organisations for a number of years now. The Wayside
Chapel offers support to disadvantaged people in Kings
Cross and CBD. We give them a weekly delivery of YOATS
which is then distributed to people who really need it. If
we happen to have any excess ingredients like yoghurt, we
make sure nothing is wasted by donating to Oz Harvest. It’s
a win-win for all.
Words of advice for the people looking to venture their
Know your competition back to front, try to understand
every detail of what they’re offering and why your product
or service is better. Look for the positives of being small.
Major brands can spend a huge amount of time and money
on R&D and takes years to launch products due to red tape
and complicated process.
Small businesses are far more nimble and can react to
the market and customers’ needs in far less time and this
is a big advantage. Limited funds can be an advantage
during startup, it forces you to be efficient and find creative
solutions to problems rather than simply throwing money at
them. We have passion and a real story about how we came
to be, the big brands can never fabricate this.
Tips for building a more nutritional and balanced diet?
Understand how to read the ingredients list and the
nutritional panels on products. The market is saturated
with products that are marketed as healthy options but
really aren’t. We want to change this perception, at YOATS
we’re committed to making our product information as
easy to read and understand as possible. We don’t have
anything to hide and we are proud to show not only what’s
gone into our products but also what’s been left out! Like
preservatives and refined sugars. You will find all our
ingredients in your own kitchen pantry not science books.
For more information,
It’s very easy
to be focused on sales
and the bottom line, and
forget about the values
and real community
business can have.
sgt paul mcgeachie, founder of the dee
why and chatswood original bootcamp, on
why you should work out
What is the ORIGINAL BOOTCAMP, and how is it different
to other workouts?
I think there are a number of key elements that make us
How did you get started developing your passion for
fitness and exercise?
I have always been an active person; playing all sports,
running, enjoying the gym. It was a big part of my life
but certainly wasn’t a passion yet. A friend of mine was
attending ORIGINAL BOOTCAMP (OBC) in the city and got
me along to a trial. I immediately loved it!
After training with the founders of OBC – Chief Brabon and
Emilie Brabon-Hames – for a couple of years, I started
achieving all of my fitness goals.
The amazing thing was that this was also having a positive
impact on my personal and professional life. After seeing
how much it had changed my life, I wanted to do the same
for others. I made the decision to leave a 12-year career in
Superannuation and start my own ORIGINAL BOOTCAMP
license in Dee Why. Since then, I have not looked back.
We have a big focus on discipline at training. A lot of people
think military-inspired means that it involves yelling and
belittling people, but it’s not that at all. We just expect that
when our recruits turn up to a session, they are ready to
work with maximum effort every time.
We also put a high value on team work, which is very unique
in our industry. Not only do you have multiple trainers
pushing you to achieve your goals each session, but you
also have up to 47 other “teammates” who are all there to
motivate and support you too.
There are a number of other programs that claim to “never
repeat the same training session twice”. We actually
deliver on that, but without sacrificing the science based
methodology that has helped us achieve unmatched
results. Nothing is done without a specific psychological or
physiological outcome in mind.
Another unique element is that we train outdoors – rain,
hail or shine. A major benefit is that it builds resilience.
It teaches you that no matter what the conditions are,
you have the mental strength to move beyond your
“We train outdoors - rain,
hail or shine ... you have the
mental strength to move
beyond your environment.
What are the benefits?
The key to achieving many health
and fitness goals is combining
intensity with proven techniques. The
harder you work while maintaining
a specialised program, the greater
the results you will achieve, and the
sooner you will get there.
It’s no coincidence that elite military
units have consistently been able
to produce large numbers of
exceptionally fit, driven individuals by
combining discipline, team work and
results based programming.
OBC’s founders have worked with
some of the world’s most elite
Special Forces, Special Operations,
and Tactical teams, and have been
able to translate their motivational
and training techniques to suit
civilians of all fitness levels.
What do you think about the
integration of science into exercise?
The gap between sports science
and the general fitness industry
is definitely narrowing. OBC has
always been more closely related
to the science-based strength
and conditioning, and nutritional
programs utilised by elite sporting
teams than other fitness programs in
It is exciting to see that the rest of the
industry is now moving in the same
direction, as millions of dollars a year
are invested into sports science, and
now the average person can benefit
Any aspirations for 2017?
My goal is to have both our Dee Why
and Chatswood programs running at
capacity all year round, and to help
push as many people as possible to
achieve their health and fitness goals.
I would also like to work with
employers more to get their staff out
of the office at lunch times. There are
huge health benefits for their staff
but also increased productivity in the
A word of advice?
My response to this goes for
everything in life: don’t make up your
mind on something until you have
done it. There is no reason not to try it.
We run free trial sessions every
month. ORIGINAL BOOTCAMP is for
all fitness levels so there is no excuse
not to try.
For more information,
contact Original Bootcamp:
(02) 9019 0759
ecx editor, tony zhang, caught his
breath for long enough to write about
his experiences of the bootcamp.
he attended the chatswood and dee why
Did it occur to me that I had just committed to participating
in a Bootcamp that runs in the early mornings at Hallstrom
Park? What about doing an hour of intense, military graded
exercise. Yeah … I should be fine. I’m pretty fit – or at least
alright for my age.
I got up at 5am, did my morning routine, and made my way
to the 5:45am session for the Original Bootcamp Chatswood
& Dee Why. What I expected to be a “hey mate” from
Sergeant Paul awaiting me was more like a carpark with
no one there. Like a typical shady journalist, I came around
3 minutes late to see nobody waiting at the designated
As I got there, I do admit it, seeing the sheer intensity in
the look of the fellow recruits’ faces had gotten me very
anxious. But there was a sense of friendship I saw a mile
away when I heard the classic “C’mon, you can do it” that
echoed around the field and it gradually dispelled my
Sergeant Paul McGeachie, the lead instructor of the
Bootcamp, gave me a warm welcome and introduction to
the recruits and off we went. Being late, the recruits I saw
had already finished the first round of training sets.
I was instructed to run two laps of the 400m around the
circuit as a small warmup to avoid injury. Afterwards,
Sergeant Paul called me over, looked me straight in the eye
and said, “Alright Tony, what we’re going to get started with
is a benchmark test.”
Admittedly, I had no idea what that entailed except that it
was some kind of test. The first set of the test was running
2 laps around a 400m track as quick as I could which was
then followed by 10 push ups, 10 crunches and 15 sit ups
that was repeated 4 times without rest. What was notable
was the group that had just finished would pair with us and
become our buddies to guide us through the process, both
physically and mentally.
Whilst trying to get my breath back after the first session,
Sergeant Paul soon came and gave me some motivation.
“Every month, these guys go flat out because they know
this benchmark measures if they’ve been changing through
Bootcamp,” said Paul, “you’ve already done really well
seeing you run with the fastest group.” Well, that indeed
made me feel a bit better, knowing I was with the fastest
group but I knew it didn’t end there.
The next set was running eight laps of the 400m track as
fast as we could. The first group already started to begin
while our group took our break. Sergeant Paul and the rest
of the recruits continued to motivate me as I sprinted past
them. It was painful to keep going, but it was even more
painful to stop. I don’t know if it was the mindset to not
fail, simple pride, or the limitless amount of inspirational
energy I received from every member of the boot camp that
allowed me to finish strong on my final set of laps. Relief
but also a sense of achievement rushed into me as I started
getting my breath back.
My photographer had even started to feel guilty seeing
all of us do rigorous exercises. I could feel the sense of
achievement when I saw the look of my fellow recruits. For
them, the benchmark is not only a day where they see their
progress but it’s a day where their unity is the strongest.
“What we get is this mateship in Original Bootcamp and
this is what drives them to achieve,” said Sergeant Paul. It
was a great team effort as we finished up with some final
stretches. I proceeded to have a lovely chat with the rest of
the fellow recruits and even went for coffee with the team.
My first experience of OBC was certainly tough at the
beginning but the feeling you get at the end exceeded all
the hard moments. With my feet, throbbing, lips parched
and our clothes muddied with dirt, we all had this sense of
satisfaction as we bid farewell to one another.
* * *
On my second session, I arrived early and had the
regular chat with the recruits. I guess it was a sense of
camaraderie but I noticed everyone talked like they had
known each other for years. Sergeant Paul, the man that
held us together, was uplifting as usual as he got ready to
take us to our next session.
The session held today was one of the regular sessions
of OBC. Sergeant Paul proceeded to describe that “there
are thousands of variations in the exercise which Original
Bootcamp runs”. The regular session was a combination of
conditioning and strength exercises.
The need for teamwork was even more emphasised in the
conditioning exercises as we paired up with one another.
The aim of the game was to feel the workout but to also
consistently push it by not letting your partner down.
The benchmark may have been intense, but the regular
sessions gives you the right amount of exercise that
coordinates team work and persistence.
At the start, I noted that there were so many conceptions
of OBC being too brutal or something that scares people
off mentally. I asked Sergeant Paul on his thoughts on this
and he gave me a really perceptive answer. “I think that the
Original Bootcamp philosophy, its military style and the way
we emphasise unity and mateship is a thing that defines
what we do,” remarked Sergeant Paul. “I think that the
Bootcamp is an honest approach where going to Bootcamp
is not about yourself, I guess it is physically, but mentally
it’s the team philosophy that keeps us going.”
I have to admit, he gave me a completely new perspective
on Bootcamp. In attending Bootcamp you attend for
yourself, but the mentality of your approach is a team
mindset. For me it was a sense of positive energy and a
feeling of not letting your fellow recruits down that gave me
an inspiration that kept me going.
As a journalist, I continually seek something inspirational
in stories and I was glad that I attended these sessions as
I could capture these inspiring moments of each recruit in
OBC. Am I glad I did it? Definitely. Would I recommend it? If
vigorous exercise and camaraderie is your thing, then yes,
Mt. Rainier, Washington, USA
IT’S TIME TO START LIVING THE LIFE
YOU’VE ONLY IMAGINED.
kpo member andrew rothfield reveals
his most memorable moments and
why he loves the orchestra.
Who are you? Andrew Rothfield. I have been
playing with the KPO violins for almost 20 years
and I am proud to say that I have hardly missed
What’s your story? Over these 20 years, my wife
Christine and I have had three kids (now aged
11, 9 and 8). I have also studied part-time for a
degree and subsequently changed careers, as
well as taken up some other hobbies such as
adult gymnastics and singing tenor in a local
acapella choir. I would say that gymnastics is my
other main passion aside from music – there are
so many skills and levels to gradually conquer,
and you can progress at your own pace.
With my kids being very busy with their
commitments, just having the time to be in
the KPO is such an act of generosity from my
wife and family, as is the same for many of our
With all three of our kids now in the school
string ensemble (which we harassed the school
to create a few years ago), hopefully we have
bred at least one eventual replacement for me
at the KPO. Two of the kids also are playing
trumpet, but we’re keeping that quiet from the
general public …
Favourite pieces? For me, the pieces that
gave me ‘goose bumps’ were Beethoven 6
(particularly the “bubbling brook” movement),
the recently performed Rachmaninov 2, and
Brahms 4. It’s amazing how some of the pieces
grow on you only as you rehearse them and you
have to later wonder why you ever questioned
Best moment? It was so perfect when a certain
conductor re-started a slow movement after an
audience member’s mobile went off more than
once. I am always amazed at how effortlessly
many of our conductors can ad lib to the
audience like seasoned comedians.
Any struggles? With violins, just when you think
you know a piece really well, you’re assigned
another part, and it becomes a whole new
What’s it like to be in the KPO? Playing with the KPO at the
Concourse for the first time recently – with its fantastic acoustics
– felt like driving a luxury car when you’ve been used to driving a
normal car for a long time. Many of the more recent members of the
orchestra haven’t had the great pleasure of playing at the Ku-ring-gai
Town Hall itself! Some of those concerts were brilliant though, such
as having Catherine Hewgill and Donald Hazlewood from the SSO
play Brahms’ Double concerto.
Greatest thing about the KPO? I think it’s wonderful how some of our
players come back after long breaks and they fit back into the KPO
immediately. And sometimes, I hear many classical works on the
radio and know them really well because I have actually played them.
It’s always interesting to hear the differences in interpretation.
Final words? I couldn’t imagine not being in the KPO with all the
warmth of its members and the great music, not to mention the
instant coffee. Let’s raise our glasses to many more years ahead in
the KPO for all of us!
This also has the added advantage for me in that on
my regular trips to Amsterdam to see family and play
‘Gramps’ for a while, they’ve been a crucial shopping
trip to get the scores for my KPO gigs!
How did you get involved in the KPO? I was first asked
to conduct KPO in a major concert at quite short notice
in 2014 and something obviously ‘ticked’ because I
have been invited back to do their March concert every
year since, this being the fourth. Actually my first ‘gig’
with KPO was in 1984 when I played in the percussion
section to help make up the numbers in Shostakovich’s
Festival Overture. My great friend and colleague Max
McBride was the conductor of that concert and I was
only too willing to come in and help both him and KPO
kpo guest conductor colin piper on
family, symphonies, and camaraderie.
Favourite pieces? It is interesting that just as I had
retired from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, KPO
has given me the opportunity to do some repertoire
that I had never had the chance, or the orchestral
forces, to conduct in the past. All large-scale pieces;
Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony, Rachmaninov’s
2nd Symphony, Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, and
this year, Rachmaninov’s fabulous Symphonic Dances.
Who are you? Colin Piper. I was a percussionist in the
Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 1968 until the end
of 2013, and in 1974 I was a founding member of the
internationally acclaimed percussion ensemble SYNERGY.
For many years I have had a long relationship with both
community orchestras and youth orchestras.
What’s your story? I met my
wife Jan in the SSO; she was a
violinist, but left when our family
arrived in 1978. In those days,
unlike today, it was not so easy
to maintain a career and raise a
family. We have 2 daughters and
Both our girls, Sally and Jane learned instruments, and
both had great ability and both played in various youth
orchestras. Our eldest Sally, studied piano, violin and viola
but decided that a career as a performer was not for her.
That said, she has worked in the music industry both here
and in Europe. Jan and I were very careful NOT to push
either of them into the profession.
Our youngest daughter Jane studied piano and violin
and did follow a musical career … after a fellowship
with the SSO, she played and toured extensively with the
Australian Chamber Orchestra and since 2005 has lived
in Amsterdam where, after a stint in the Netherlands
Chamber Orchestra, she is now a member of the Royal
never meant to be
this much fun.
You see, no other community or youth orchestra that
I have worked with over the years could have tackled
repertoire such as this, and I feel terribly lucky to
have the chance to do some of these pieces now. All
pieces I have played plenty of times in the SSO, pieces
I love, and pieces I hope KPO enjoys playing. They
are challenging, both for
the orchestra and for me
so it is a journey we have
embarked on together and
I’ve loved every minute of it!
Retirement was never meant
to be this much fun.
Greatest thing about the
KPO? I have always regarded
the KPO as one of the very best of the community
orchestras in Sydney. This became obvious from my
experience in playing with them in the Shostakovich,
and certainly since working with them in a conducting
role. The wonderful thing I have always found in
orchestras like these is the camaraderie within the
playing group; these wonderful musicians come and
make music, not because they are paid to do so, but
because they love it.
For more information,
PROPERTY AND STYLING
Vault Interiors specialises in not only preparing homes for sales
campaigns, but we also work with homeowners to beautify their
existing space. These are some tried and true tips that can help you
get your home looking vibrant and fresh!
COLOUR & TEXTURE
Arrange your existing items and reassess how to
get the most of your space.
Decluttering is the first step in creating a fresh and
clean platform to work off. Start by focusing on the
living zones – these areas are the hardest to tackle, so if
they are out of the way, the rest is less daunting.
Try moving around items like sofas and armchairs to
get better flow or make the most of a view. Limit photo
frames and heavy scented candles, and introduce bright
flowers, light scents and fun magazines coupled with
brightly coloured accessories instead.
Separate your personal belongings into three piles:
keep, store, donate. Keep the essentials, store away
daily items like paperwork and laundry so that you can
minimise clutter, and donate the rest!
Try to keep all surfaces clear for the most impact.
Take out heavy carpet for light weave / natural
The days of thick and heavy rugs are over! Consider
swapping them out with natural earthy materials
like cow hide rugs or sisal matts which are lighter
underfoot. As you will be in the throes of decluttering
and moving around furniture, it’s a good time to
consider re-carpeting your property if a steam clean
won’t do the trick. Nylon blends have a nice sheen
look and are very forgiving with stains. Sisal carpets
are perfect for achieving a relaxed Hamptons / coastal
feeling in your home.
Bring in some flowers and succulents to
freshen up the place.
A dash of greenery here and there will draw the eye
and create a focal point in any room. Fresh flowers
transform interior spaces because they instantly make
a room feel inviting and lively, and will complement any
colour scheme. Small potted plants work well also, if
you want to spice up your home.
Hanging plants like large ferns can make beautiful
installations and floor standing indoor plants are a
great way to fill empty spaces. Ficus or finger palms are
perfect for this.
Plants can help improve well-being by purifying the air
quality and adding ventilation into the room.
Swap heavy window treatments for autumnal curtains,
blinds or shutters.
Use the elements to breath new air into your home. Embrace the
warm sun and longer hours by letting the light filter into your
environment. Swap out heavy thick curtains for sheer fabrics,
linens, light cotton and synthetic curtains – which will allow the
light to flood in and the breeze to air out the odours.
Neutrals for blinds are a good choice because they are less visually
heavy and will sit well in any home. Remember that colour can
always be introduced via art, accessories and cushions instead.
Light greys, taupe’s tones, white and cream can make your room
look brighter, and more spacious.
The recent trends have seen a move from block out rollers and
timber shutters to white plantation shutters and semi sheer/
sunscreen blinds, which maximize and help you control the levels
of light. Soft textured semi sheer roller blinds in colours like wheat,
sand and beige are a great pick for a clean palette.
4Colour & Texture
Introduce splashes of colour and personality through soft
Fresh and bright covers provide an instant visual change. Layering
simple linen tone cushions can make your home look elegant and
sophisticated, or go for bold tones like pastels, neons and citrus
Prints are perfect if you want to be creative, and play around with
solid colours and patterns for the most impact. Artworks can also
be swapped out or relocated to change the dynamic of the space.
You can also reframe existing prints or photos for a different wall
Keep your base neutral, but add colour through feature
Keeping the base colour palette of your interiors neutral is
important to keep your home looking classy and timeless. It allows
you to work in new features and change around soft furnishing
without any clashes.
If you want some colour to keep your place looking vibrant, you
can introduce feature walls to add a more dramatic, visual effect.
Consider selecting a darker tone from your main wall colour, such
as a light grey or a taupe, so that it looks tailored. If you prefer
daring statement pieces, go for something bold by using funky
wallpaper or metallic colours.
For more information,
contact Justine Stedman
of Vault Interiors:
(02) 9460 0022
4/28 Vore Street,
Silverwater NSW 2128
IT’S ALL RELATIVE.
Warning: This article is not a guide on how to be successful. It’s not
about how to make an easy million bucks or how to get that promotion you’ve
always wanted. Rather, it’s about taking a step back, understanding our own
privileges, and re-evaluating the way we perceive success.
What is success?
Is it defined by …
• good relationships (spending time with family, a happy
• wealth (economic security, financial freedoms)?
• prestige and reputation (leaving a legacy, fame, being
honoured on a large scale)?
• results (losing X amount of weight, scoring 100% in an
exam, publishing a book)?
• experiences (flying first class, staying in 6 star hotels)?
Or is it a combination of some, if not all, of them?
It’s important to acknowledge that we define our
achievements in different ways, and that it’s essentially
because we all have different roles in the world. Nothing can
ever be standardised and universal, because we ourselves
are multi-faceted and diverse.
I find that a lot of people set their goals based on what
others are doing, rather than on a personal basis. And what
this usually means, unfortunately, is that we feel a profound
sense of failure whenever these goals aren’t reached.
Your goals, thus, should reflect this difference. Continually
striving towards something is natural because it means
we’re being motivated to do better and be better, but the
objectives you set in attempt to reach success need to be
tailored to you and you alone.
Keeping things in perspective
On the one hand, being at the top of your game means you
get to reap the rewards. You can have wealth, prestige, and
fly business class on every flight.
On the other hand, it requires being an active go-getter. You
have to seek out opportunities instead of sitting back and
allowing them to find you, and your rigorous discipline and
patience means that while other people have given up, you
have to stay driven and motivated enough to get back up
and keep trying. This hard work and relentless commitment
often comes at the cost of quality time with loved ones, and
forgoing your own personal interests.
For me, although I’m already working from 7am to 11pm, 6
days a week, I know that I do have the capacity to work even
harder by waking up earlier every day and coming home
later, but I remain equally aware of my other priorities in
life – namely my wife and two kids. Hence, I choose to make
sacrifices in business to keep my family first. It also means
that I get to focus my time on fewer clients – allowing me to
provide a more personalised service that’d be impossible if I
pursued quantity over quality.
Ultimately, my successes are not just rooted in my career
but also in the amount of time I get to watch my kids grow,
and the mutually beneficial relationships that I foster with
The same would apply to you.
If you want the positives, you have to make it happen. And if
you’re unable to make such sacrifices, then it’s crucial that
you re-evaluate the way you perceive success.
“Don’t compare your
success to somebody
Take a step back. Forget how much money your friends are
making, or what your child’s best mate achieve in the HSC,
or what kind of car your co-worker drives.
While it’s common to compare and look at others for
improvement, I find that the best way to be motivated is
to actually spend time reflecting and being grateful for
what you’ve already achieved. Sometimes, you might feel
as though you are at the bottom of the ladder – but often,
you’re already halfway there.
This is something that I had to learn myself and in
retrospect, maybe I wouldn’t have given myself such a hard
time trying to study. Back in high school, I pushed myself
to get the highest possible ATAR because I believed that
as a student, I couldn’t be successful without good grades
and good references. I had little idea that my chance at
education alone was a privilege and that it would open up
opportunities for me that are, in a way, already on the path
Don’t compare yourself to people who make three times
as much as you, or you’ll find that it quickly turns into a
downhill spiral of envy and impatience and despair. Find
your place in the world and realise that many live on $2 a
day, and that their idea of happiness and success is exactly
where you might be now.
While some of us are aiming to earn just above the average
Australian income, others are looking at $1 million a year.
And others still are going beyond, with moguls like James
Packer worth billions.
I have learned over the years that success, like most things,
is subjective and highly dependent on context. To put it
shortly: it’s all relative!
The finish line is different for everybody. Success is what you
make of it.
OR NOT TO
Disclaimer: Please be reminded that this article does not constitute as
financial advice and that you need to speak to the relevant professionals
who can provide advice based on your individual circumstances.
Article by Eric Wong.
Contact him on +61 405 629 338 or askericwong.com.au.
You, on a gondola in the middle of the Grand Canal in Venice, taking a holiday with
your family for the first time in years.
You, returning home to a house that is recently renovated, with brand new
floorboards and the deck that you have always wanted.
You, laughing all the way to the bank when it is time to sell your house.
Like the sound of that?
Of course you do.
People invest to make money. A company puts money into R&D
to gain a competitive edge in the future, or invests in branding
to create customer loyalty. These are expenses that are fully tax
deductible and while it does carry great risk, there is always the
potential for substantial return.
So then, why are people taking advantage of negative gearing?
And more importantly, is it really better to invest in property than
not at all?
My recommendation may seem to be at odds with my career as
a real estate agent, but I have always believed in telling the truth
and giving my honest opinion; and the truth is that most people are
better off investing in something other than property.
That’s right. I said it.
Negative gearing, in a nutshell, allows investors to claim losses
experienced by their assets as a tax deduction. When the net
rental income (after deducting expenses) is less than the interest
on borrowed funds, it means that investors are effectively
earning less income which means they will have less tax to pay.
My question remains:
Is property investment worth it?
Is the potential of a windfall from capital gain worth losing
money every year?
For me, there are far better options.
Property investment is fickle and very unpredictable, capable
of subjecting investors to abrupt changes. As human beings,
we like to think that we know more than we actually do, but
the housing market is not something that can be foretold.
While an interesting strategy to lock in profit for shares is
to sell half of them when it doubles (so that the shares are
essentially free), you can’t exactly sell half a property. You
might be able to refinance, but with leverage, the holding cost
will just escalate.
WHY DON’T I
The thing is, I have nothing against property investment. I
have just seen too many investors trying to time it perfectly by
buying low and selling high – and it doesn’t work. It has often
got more to do with luck than with skill and perception, and
you run the risk of over-leveraging and investing poorly. In
short, there is no perfect moment.
WHAT’S MY SOLUTION?
I am a firm advocate for ignoring what is out of your hands, and
focusing on things you can control.
Stop stressing about which area is the next hot spot as it is out
of your control, and start doing something about the things you
can – namely, by investing in your own home.
If you do this now ...
Use the 10-20% deposit you would pay when
purchasing a property to improve your house.
Spend your money on renovation instead
and you can wake up every day in a house
that feels like home. You get the study and
ensuite bathroom that you have pictured
for years now, a brand new kitchen, and a
playroom for the kids.
Even if you’re cash poor but still working,
you can refinance due to paper capital gains
over the years and go on a holiday using the
cash, then let the builders do their job while
you walk the Great Wall, or take photos with
the family under the Eiffel Tower.
You will avoid ...
Losing money every single year
in the hopes of a windfall.
Qualms about your property
being trashed by tenants.
Financial stress for when the
property is vacant.
This is not at all to say that learning about property development and
investment is always a negative – with much experience, research, and
risk, it can be done right and turn out to be very financially rewarding.
When you sell ...
Your renovated home will stand out on the
market against nearby houses that have yet to
be touched up (since their owners have been
too busy investing in other properties), giving
you ammunition to smash the suburb record.
Investing in your home, however, is the only sensible way to me when
it comes to those who do not have as much property experience or
economic freedom to take such risks.
It has minimal financial stress, and it can give rise to tax free return in
the future. Above all, whatever the cost is, you get to enjoy it until you
deem it the right time to sell.
When the time comes to sell, give me a call on 0405 629 338.
My name is Eric Wong and I really do care about your future.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO
PROTECT YOUR FAMILY
Life tends to throw unexpected curves.
It’s never too early to plan ahead.
“He was running on the platform,
trying to catch a train, and then –
ivan hung, legal practitioner, reveals why asset
registries are so important but often overlooked.
This time last year, I had a close friend whose father
passed away suddenly. He was fifty years old, and
it was the day after Mother’s Day. He was running
on the platform, trying to catch a train, and then –
heart attack. It was a huge shock to his loved ones.
Everyone was still having a great time remembering
Mother’s Day the night before and all of a sudden, he
It was unexpected, and his wife didn’t know where
to start. She didn’t know whether her husband had
a will at all, and so she had to start trawling through
mountains and mountains of paperwork, trying to
find bits and pieces of paper to work out exactly
what her husband owned, what his super was, and
basically try to uncover all his assets.
A will is a mechanism for distributing all your assets
but it doesn’t exactly tell you where they are.
As a lawyer, I realised that I had the capacity to make
things easier for people in these situations. In a time
of mourning, I knew that the last thing they wanted
was to be burdened with paperwork and legal fees
If my friend’s father had organised things with a
lawyer beforehand, his wife wouldn’t have needed
to go through the mountains of paperwork to try
and reconstruct it. The lawyer would have a will
and an asset registry, and he would‘ve been able to
tell them which bank or executive they needed to
speak to, which share brokerage to visit, and where
all his estate were located. Perhaps even which
superannuation company to look into, since most
people have several jobs throughout their working
life and some of them may not have rolled over,
which means he may have had a lot of super funds
that were left unattended.
All of these assets can be consolidated and listed,
and not enough lawyers do this for their clients. It’s
not a compulsory part of the will, but it ensures that
your loved ones won’t be wasting time on locating
your estate and/or money on unnecessary legal fees.
At TY Lawyers, we not only keep your will, but also
store all the details of your assets. And we follow
up with you periodically to make sure the list stays
No matter how old you are or where you might be in
life, it is never too early to prepare for your loved ones.
Make sure that when you die, your money, possessions
and property all go to the people you care about the most,
whether it be your immediate family, or a charity or church.
If you don’t write a will, the law decides how everything you
own will be passed on, which may not be in line with what
you want. This is especially important if you have children
or other family who are financially dependent on you, or
if you want your assets distributed to people outside your
I don’t have a lot of assets,
so I don’t need a will!
COMMON MISCONCEPTION #1
No assets = no need for a will.
FACT: A will is more than just a transfer
A well-prepared will can include:
• Who recieves belongings and assets
• Who will look after children under 18
• How funeral is to be conducted
• Choosing your executor
• Charities and other organsations
If you have children
under 18, you can:
- nominate guardians for
- make arrangements for
their education and
- control what decisions
their guardians can make,
such as medical treatment
or where they live.
THINK WRITE WITNESS KEEP
• your assets
• the beneficiaries
• meet your
• use a ‘do-ityourself’
• two witnesses
must be present
when you sign
• in a safe place
that the executor
has access to
I can write one by myself,
I don’t need a lawyer!
COMMON MISCONCEPTION #2
Wills are easy to draft.
FACT: Getting your will right so that it is
legally valid is more challenging than it
It’s not a formal requirement to have a lawyer draft your
will, but you have to ensure that it is technically correct so
that the Court will accept it when the time comes.
People often use DIY kits because they are cheap and even
free, but it often results in the will not being recognised by
the Court and with beneficiaries paying unnecessary tax.
This is due to:
• Incorrect signing of will
• Use of ambigious terms
• No estate planning
If you already have a
will, check with us that:
- it is up to date,
- it is legally valid,
- it has no tax
Wills are commonly challenged by assertions that the
willmaker lacked testamentary capacity, or that a friend or
family influenced the willmaker.
An experienced lawyer can make sure your will stands
against such disputations.
Note: This article is only of general informational value and
does not constitute legal advice.
Everything you own should be
divided exactly how you want it.
Speak to a lawyer now for
For more information,
contact TY Lawyers:
+61 (0)2 8007 0135
Contact us today for a
complimentary will review, and
make sure you do things right.
Suite 201, Level 2, 11 Spring Street
Chatswood NSW 2067
Borrowers spent up to
on LMI policies in 2016.
FIND OUT HOW TO AVOID THIS.
LENDERS MORTGAGE INSURANCE
& WAYS TO AVOID IT
HERE’S WHERE YOU CAN AVOID LMI:
MYTHS ABOUT THE LENDERS
MORTGAGE INSURANCE (LMI):
1. The LMI is a policy that protects you, the borrower, if you
default on the loan.
While this seems to be a common misconception to 70% of
households, LMI in actuality is a policy that covers your lender
(or financial institution) in the event of you defaulting on your
home loan. Australian banks have made LMI a compulsory
condition for all borrowers who do not have a loan to value
ratio (LVR) which is over 80% -- or, in other words, a 20%
deposit. According to statistics from the Australian Prudential
Regulation Authority, borrowers have had to spend almost
500 million dollars on LMI policies on the first half of 2016.
It protects the bank’s money and prevents the lender from
suffering any losses if you fail to keep up with your repayments.
If you do not have sufficient deposit for a purchase, which is
20% of the purchase price, there are still three ways to avoid
1. Looking at your occupation.
Perhaps the simplest method is knowing that some
lenders will waive LMI for certain occupations. These
include: medical professionals (general practitioners,
hospital employed doctors, medical specialists, dentists,
optometrists, pharmacists, veterinary practitioners, etc.),
accounting professionals, legal professionals, mining
professionals, professional athletes, entertainment
professional, and so on. This waiver applies to purchases of
up to $5 million at a maximum LVR of 90%, meaning you only
need a 10% deposit of the purchase price. Those who have a
$150,000 per annum income are eligible.
2. By means of family guarantor.
2. The LMI premium is fixed.
LMI premium is a one-off premium payable
to the mortgage insurer, but it differs
according to each lender. The size of the
loan, the amount of your deposit and your
financial institution are all factors that
affect the cost of LMI.
Rather than being fixed, it is a percentage
of the loan amount and is cumulative to the loan to value ratio
(LVR) -- the higher the LVR, the higher the premium. Genworth
Financial and QBE Limited are the two main financial
institutions in the market, but some banks will have their own
mortgage insurance division to insure their loans.
Lenders will waive LMI for
certain occupations, such as
doctors, accountants, athletes,
and legal professionals.
A family pledge or guarantee is where a family member
becomes your guarantor, pledging part or your entire loan
so that in the event you cannot make the
repayments, they will be responsible. Your
guarantor can use their own home’s equity
as additional security for a portion of your
For instance, a client planning to buy a
$500,000 property must pay a 20% deposit
of $100,000 to avoid paying LMI. The client has $40,000. The
client’s parents, given that they owned their house, are able
to provide a family pledge guarantee on their home for the
remaining $60,000. This will bring the LVR down by 80%, so
that the client will not have to pay LMI.
3. The LMI is separate to the loan, and must be paid in one
Most lenders allow the insurance to be added onto the loan,
paid off consistently over the loan term. In most cases, you will
be allowed to make weekly payments.
For instance, a client who borrows $900,000 (90% LVR) for
a $1,000,000 purchase will have an insurance premium of
$23,400. Because this insurance can be capitalised onto the
$900,000 loan, the end amount to be repaid is $923,400.
3. Using equity in your current property, and cross
If you have a property and you have paid most, if not all, of it
off, you can use that property to draw out funds for the new
purchase – namely, 20% of the purchase price. Alternatively,
you can cross collateralise the current property with the new
purchase and get a 100% loan.
Always be aware of the risks of lenders mortgage insurance,
by making sure you know the options available to you.
For more information, contact Hao Lim at +61 449 668 989 or email@example.com.
Paired with the qualms of retirement, selling a small business is often a
challenging, fickle, and complicated experience. A TD Bank survey reveals that
almost half (47%) of small business owners do not have a retirement plan in
Mark Sing of Wealth and Success Financial Planning offers critical advice on
how to minimise uncertainty and get the most out of it.
Contact him on +61 422 403 687 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to
success.” – Alexander Graham Bell.
Set a goal, and work towards it. The earlier you plan
for the sale of your business, the more value you will
gain. Trying to juggle the tasks of selling a business,
addressing the day-to-day demands of running it,
and retiring from it, can mean that none of these
responsibilities are managed properly.
By keeping your work spread out, you can ensure
that you stay organised and prevent priorities from
building up over time.
With assistance of your accountant or solicitor, try to
address these tasks early on:
• ensuring that your financial accounts are in order,
• obtaining a valuation of the business,
• determining the potential tax implications if the
business is sold,
• considering whether the business should be
restructured before the offer for sale, and
• preparing or amending the legal and/or other
documentation to facilitate the sale.
Maximise super contributions
If you are like many small business owners, you
have probably used most of the profits from your
business to service debt and/or fund the next
growth stage, which means you may not have been
able to make further contributions to your super.
Fortunately, following from the sale of your
business, there are strategies that you may be able
to use to get some or all of the sale proceeds into
super and generate a tax-effective income to meet
your living expenses in retirement.
A financial adviser is the best person to help you
maximise your super contributions using your sale
proceeds. They can liaise with your accountant to
ascertain which small business CGT concessions
will be claimed and help formulate a contribution
plan that takes advantage of the available
Manage capital gains tax
Know the benefits that are available to you.
Selling your business may mean that you are eligible
to claim certain capital gains tax (CGT) concessions.
These concessions reduce or eliminate any taxable
capital gain on the sale of your business.
You may be able to disregard or defer 100% of a
capital gain made on the sale of your business if you:
• have owned the assets for a continuous period of
15 years or more,
• are at least 55 years of age, and/or
• are disposing of the asset for retirement purposes
or are permanently incapacitated.
This list is not exhaustive, and you should consult
with a registered tax agent to determine the CGT
implications, and the small business concessions
that may be available to you.
Address other advice issues
While boosting your super would be a top priority,
there are a number of other issues you may need to
address when it comes to selling your business and
planning for retirement. For instance, you may need
• decide where to invest sale proceeds that can’t (or
shouldn’t) be put in super
• unwind or reassign business insurance policies,
such as those used to fund a Buy Sell agreement
• pay-off business loans and release guarantees
• deal with business property that may (or may not)
have been held in a self-managed super fund
• review your personal insurance needs to ensure
you are suitably covered, and
• facilitate, with legal advice from your solicitor, any
changes that may need to be made to your estate
A financial adviser can provide or facilitate
advice regarding all these and other issues you
may encounter. They can also work with other
professionals to ensure all areas are covered in an
integrated and seamless manner.
Sing advises that the first rule in forex risk management is
calculating whether the odds of your trade is successful by
undertaking fundamental and technical research.
Fundamental research involves the study of news and information
that reflects the macroeconomic and political fortunes of the
countries whose currencies are traded. According to Sing, most
of the time you hear someone talking about the fundamentals of
a currency, he or she is referring to the economic fundamentals.
Economic fundamentals are based on economic data reports,
interest rate levels, monetary policy and international trade and
Technical research is research on price charts and in particular
trend-line analysis as well as complex mathematical studies of
price behaviour. Technical analysis is a common trading tool used
by currency traders however Sing’s main advice is combining both
fundamental and technical together to achieve results.
Mark Sing, the director and founder of
Wealth Success, is a financial advisor with
a versatile range of experience over ten
years in dealing with financial planning. He
believes that financial planning requires
ongoing service and management, as it is
adjusted according to one’s needs, goals
and financial environment over time.
For anyone looking to invest in Foreign
Exchange, we spoke with Mark Sing and
was able to gain tried and tested tips to
keep in mind before entering the market of
“Like all investments, investing in the
foreign exchange market involves risk. It is
the management of risk that determines
your success in Forex,” says Sing.
Liquidity means that there is a sufficient number of buyers
and sellers at current prices who will easily and efficiently
accept your trade. Sing says that “in the case of Forex
markets, liquidity, at least in the major currencies, is never a
problem.” This liquidity is known as market liquidity, and as
mentioned previously, for the forex market, it is an average of
US$5 trillion a day.
However, this liquidity is not necessarily available to all
brokers and is not the same in all currency pairs. ”Therefore
it is important to choose a broker with sufficient liquidity to
accept your trades. We represent ILQ Australia and they in
turn secure their price feeds or liquidity directly from the
largest Forex dealing banks, and thereby ensuring that there
will be sufficient liquidity to execute your trades accordingly,”
Another major risk consideration, according to Sing,
is leverage. Leverage is the multiplier allowing you to
participate in a trade larger than the actual capital that you
stake or deposit in a trade. In other words, leverage will
magnify your capital.
One of the big benefits of forex markets is the availability
of high leverage due to having a strong market liquidity.
“However, high leverage is a double edged sword,” says Sing.
“If you are leveraged and you make a profit, your returns are
magnified very quickly. Conversely, losses will be magnified
the same way too!”
It is also important to consider the amount of trading capital
you have available. This means that for every trade being a
risk, it should only account for a small proportion of your
total capital. “A reasonable amount often used among
beginners is about 2% of your available trading capital,”
explains Sing. “So, for example, if you have $10,000 in your
account, the maximum loss allowable should be no more
than $200. A 2% loss per trade would mean you can be wrong
50 times in a row before your account is eroded to zero. This
is unlikely if other risk management measures are in place.”
Sing concludes that it is human behavioural
weakness that actually causes us to lose
more than we win. In order to prepare for this
Sing believes that the key to success in Forex
trading is developing a disciplined trading plan,
applying sound risk management techniques
and to sticking to this plan. “It is as simple as
that,” says Sing.
The following are key components of any
• Determination of what to trade and in which
direction. This could be currency pairs - for
example, Buy EUR/USD, USD/JPY, etc.
• Determination of position size and level
of entry. This is based on your leveraged
investment - for example 100,000 EUR/USD at
• Determination of where to exit the trade. This
is based on your decision of how much you
take as profit (take profit), and conversely how
much your risk per trade is (stop loss) - please
see section on capital management.
For example, Sell EUR/USD at 1.1888 (take
profit) or Sell EUR/USD at 1.1828 (stop loss).
The above are the only steps you need to take
in forming a trading plan. It is surprising
that despite its simplicity most traders,
experienced and beginner alike, open positions
without ever having fully thought through
exactly what their game plan is.
“Human emotions very
often get in the way
of a well-intentioned
Although risk management and financial planning are
extremely rational and practical approaches, a level
of emotion and subjectivity can disorganise the plan
which Sing cites in leading towards increased risks and
consequences. Obviously, you still need to think and apply
the risk management techniques in arriving at the trading
plan, but Sing says that that at Universal Bridge they
always use a thought process that compares to a flight trip.
“For now, we just want to drive home the point that trading
without an organized plan is like flying an airplane without
a flight plan — you may be able to get off the ground, but
needless to say, that flight will not have a happy ending,” he
According to Sing, no matter how good your trading plan is,
it will not work if you do not stick to it. “Human emotions
very often get in the way of a well-intentioned trading
plan. Very often, an unexpected event such as Brexit or
the US Election, trading news or price movements can
cause traders to abandon their trading strategy. When this
happens, it is as if you never had a trade plan in the first
place,” he says.
Discipline becomes crucial in the process where developing
a trade plan and sticking to it are the two main ingredients
of trading discipline.
For Sing, it is not the intricacy of your technical research,
or the strength of your grasp on fundamental knowledge.
It is the discipline and the ability to manage your emotions
that separates all other Forex trading skills apart. “Traders
who follow a disciplined approach are the ones who will be
successful, no matter what happens in the world around
us. Trades with discipline can be wrong more often than
being right but they still make money because they follow a
disciplined approach,” acknowledges Sing.
In speaking about discipline in trading, Sing gave us some
tips in managing subjective decisions. “The best way
to manage our emotions in trading is to objectify your
trading,” says Sing. “This is normally done by keeping
a trading journal, recording each trade, and noting the
reasons for entry and exit and keeping score of how
effective your system is. In other words, how confident are
you that your system provides a reliable method in giving
you a positive edge in your trades, with more profitable
trade opportunities than potential losses.”
A WORD FROM MARK SING
We strongly encourage our clients to have gained at least a basic
understanding of the forex market before they trade actively. Please let me
know if you want to book a phone call with one of our forex specialists for a
chat. We are always happy to receive enquiries from our valued clients.
Feel free to contact us on the telephone number and / or email which are
listed on our website.
For more information:
contact Mark Sing:
+61 422 403 687
IF DECISIONS ABOUT
A BUSINESS ARE
MADE IN AUSTRALIA
THEN SO IS THE
If a company is incorporated in Australia, then naturally, it is
classified as a resident of Australia for tax purposes.
So what happens when the company has been incorporated overseas?
Four companies, all incorporated overseas, namely in the
UK, Bahamas, and Samoa. The majority of their directors
are non-resident and board meetings occur outside of
Assumption: Since their central management and control
are outside of Australia, they would not be classified as
residents of Australia.
Reality: Each case is different, and dependent on its
own facts and circumstance. In this particular study, the
taxpayer had documentation indicating:
In summary, the Court decided that these companies were
simply pretending to have their main operations overseas in
order to avoid being taxed as Australian residents.
This decision by the High Court is not surprising, but serves
as an important reminder for companies with the similar
overseas arrangements to review their current state of
Last updated January 2017. This factsheet is provided for
information purposes only and is correct at the time of publishing.
It should not be used in place of advice from your accountant.
• the directors’ meetings were held overseas (and not in
• the shareholding of each company, and
• the transaction records.
The Federal Court, however, found that the key witness
lacked credibility. All other evidence presented by additional
witnesses were not accepted.
As a result, the High Court concluded that the boards were
merely rubber-stamping their decisions, and that these
decisions were in fact made in Australia.
For more information, contact Bates Cosgrave:
+61 2 9957 4033
Ground Floor, 123 Walker Street,
North Sydney, NSW, 2060.
Photographer: Luca Montanari
DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.
(By that, we mean keep an eye out for Issue 3.)
Publisher: Zikira Properties
Address: Suite 201, Level 2, 11 Spring Street, Chatswood NSW 2067
ECX ISSUE 2 - AU$8.99