I was in Penang over the Merdeka weekend and chanced upon Edelweiss Cafe, a delightful bar-cafe-restaurant in the historic enclave of Georgetown. Located a two-minute walk from Khoo Kongsi down Armenian Street, the cafe is housed in a 19th century shophouse lovingly restored to its original splendour by its owners, a Swiss-Malaysian couple.

Serving great food (Swiss/European and local cuisine), drinks (including my favourite, lemongrass) and desserts in a chilled out ambience, this is really cool place to relax and hang out with your friends if you’re ever in The Pearl.

On the other hand, some of you may have read the article in the Star on Sunday (3 September) titled “Be wary of ‘Swiss’ website“.

 Excerpt from said article reads as follows:

“If you have stumbled onto the Swiss Cash or Swiss Mutual Fund website, which is making an aggressive sales campaign here, it is best to be cautious. 

The two companies are not Swiss-registered firms. 

The Swiss embassy here has warned the public that the two companies have no relation to their country.”

I’ve visited a number of Malaysian and (to a lesser extent) Singaporean “investing” forums with pages and pages of posts from impressionable investors either saying that they have invested in this fishy pyramid scheme and are making a ton of money, or are considering doing so. A return rate of 10% over 3 months, which increases to 15% then 20% the longer you stay in is promised (and apparently delivered). In total,something like 300% over a short period.

Now doesn’t that sound scary to you? I often wonder why we Malaysians are always the first to jump on (and last to jump off) any get-rich-quick band-wagon. Are we that gullible, or just plain gung-ho?

Maybe I’m just a cynic and maybe, just maybe these are the true entrepreneurs of tomorrow. But this form of “investing” is more like gambling to me – probably even a little like a game of Russian roulette. You might just run out of luck when you need it the most.