Wednesday 11 April 2012

What Is The “Norm”?

This morning, as I was queuing up to buy my breakfast at the hawker centre, a pretty and shapely young girl caught my eye. Tank top and skinny jeans – nice! (Ladies, do cut me some slack as I’m only a man – it’s an evolutionary thing…)

Anyway, I was slurping into my bowl of laksa when to my surprise, this young girl sat down beside me!? Light up the fireworks!

Together with what I think is her husband (yes, I am turning him into a thing), and a baby boy in a pram. Houston, we are crashing down to Earth…

The husband looks like doing NS, and the pretty girl looks like a poly girl no older than 18? I am ashamed to admit this instant thought flashed through my mind: “Shotgun?”

As I continue to reflect on my reaction with each mouthful of laksa, I thought I better write it down and share it with you all.

What is the norm?

If we go back 50 years, this young couple would be the “norm”. Girls marrying at 15 or 16, and boys marrying in their early 20s - would the norm. No one would take a 2nd look at them.

When I was in primary school, it was the "norm" to have mothers as housewives whenever we visited our classmates’ homes after school. I remember being envious of the few classmates who have both working parents – they always have the latest toys and more pocket money than us.

But as I grew up, I envy them less. I’ve discovered the meaning of latch key kids.

To have the opportunity to travel overseas for work and/or pleasure was rare in the past. Now an annual vacation overseas is the "norm" for most families…

I’ve many more examples of what was the exception in yesteryear is now the "norm" today. Perhaps you reflect and share your own examples too?

Show me the money

Today, I’ve the presence of mind to remind myself never get married to a stock – that was how I climb out of the hole I’ve dug myself in 2003. By ditching the losers and latching myself to new winners. Zero-based decision making we practice at work; but in our own personal lives… Damn! It’s hard to let go! 

That was the beginning of me being an equities man-whore.

The reflection I had this morning was not to get married to an investing/trading style too. 

What’s normal and works today may not work tomorrow in another business cycle. 

What’s heretic today may be the new normal. 

And don’t be too quick to dismiss ideas that may appear “far-out”. 

I am of course talking about small evolutionary, not revolutionary changes! Too quick changes may mean we have weak convictions to start with...

Be wise enough to tell the difference between “cosmetic” (old wine in new bottle) and “real” (fundamental) changes that may affect my well-being.

It’s about constantly adapting myself to the environment; and not expecting the environment to adapt to me. 

Alas, the world does not revolve around me…


  1. It's not always the fittest, strongest and fastest survive. It's always those that can adapt to their environments.

    1. Temperament,

      When reading history, I can't help but be awed and humbled when the so called "meek and the weak" fearlessly faced the lions in the coliseums.

      Who knew that the persecutors will years later became converts themselves?

      Indeed. It's not always about being the fittest, strongest and fastest.

      Love, faith, wisdom, and soul matters too.

  2. Hi SMOL

    The world is changing fast. Terrorism at our door (JI and Al-Qaeda), Singapore infrastructure disruptions - flooding, MRT breakdowns, delays etc. High energy and COE prices, inflation above 5% for 2 years, global recession and debt crisis ever looming.

    I kinda thing people who prep for doomsday are preparing for a world that is totally unpredictable.

    Be well and prosper.

    1. Hello Panzer,

      I respect the choices people make - even if they differ from mine.

      I would rather prepare for an unpredictable world by:

      1) Unimportant stuffs - push into the future since one day I don't have to do it ;)

      2) Important relations - act now based on the humility what if tomorrow never comes?


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