Sunday 2 June 2013

Am I living in a bird cage too?

Tung Choi Street Gold Fish Market, HK

Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, HK

Public Housing Project at Fangling, New Territories, HK

Condominium at Lantau Island, HK

Public Housing at Shekou, China

It does not matter whether we live in humble public housing board flats or upmarket condominiums, aren't we living like the fishes in plastic bags and birds in tiny cages too?

I guess that's the "price" to pay for being "average" city folks. 

The last pic at Shekou breaks my heart. It's a unique housing phenomenon found only in the Guangzhou area. It speaks volumes on the security situation there...

Talk about self-imposed "prisons"!

Hey! I remember Singapore HDB flats in the 70s and 80s were "caged" up too... Thank goodness for upgrading, now less and less HDB flats have iron grills to wall ourselves in. Or maybe Singaporeans feel more secure now? I not so sure...

When I returned backed to Singapore, I begin to appreciate my small HDB flat even more. Although it's tiny like a bird cage, it's not a prison - I can come and go as I please. 

Freedom is not about physical restraints; it's a state of mind.



  1. Replies
    1. Yes CW.

      Unless we are prepared to relocate and live in smaller towns or villages - like what we see in the news in Malaysia, Australia, or US - I guess living in a house with open land is not possible for me going forward.

      Now only chance in Singapore is Pulau Ubin. Even then, the clock is ticking...

      I remember fondly when I was in primary school, during CNY, I visited relatives who lived in "ang sar li" attap houses in Potong Pasir and Hougang. Chickens and dogs running freely.

      During my NS time, we still can find these "ulu" villages near some training camps. Now no more liao.

      Even cemeteries have to give way to high rise versions; don't say about landed attap houses for the living.

  2. Hi SMOL,

    Share with you this quote since we're on this same theme:

    "I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."

    Robert A. Heinlein

    1. LP,

      Freedom is indeed taking personal responsibility ;)

      Loved the movie Starship Troopers! A bit embarrassed I got to know most classics through movies while most of you read the book first. Whether it be The Story Of Pi, Lord of the Rings, The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, etc.

      When younger, I thought "freedom" was freedom from chores and responsibilities... (A freeloader?)

      Now I know better.

  3. freedom means no choice (to be made), or know exactly what ones want.

    1. "chim" or not?

      actually very simple, giving no choice you have less decision to make, hence free your mind from being confuse and unsure, then freedom will becomes, as you rightly said, in a state of mind.

    2. that is also so wonderful about machanical trading systems. it means freedom!

    3. contrary to what most discretionary trader will argue, but they have so much trading decisions to make, sure make mistake one!

    4. why i say so? cos i'm also partly discretional.

    5. meaning making dumb decision all the time haha.

    6. i think in this market condition, traders all over the world are having a hard time, especially those pure discretionary traders. their head are still spinning after the market close.

      the most important things to do right now, as is the same as every time, is to keep the powder dry and not risking losing a big hole in the pocket especially in this market condition!

    7. coconut,

      I am reading 2 books now.

      One is a classic value investing book that sneers at speculators who uses voodoo indicators like charts and mechanical trading systems.

      The other is a trend following trading book that laughs at buy and hold fundamentalists.

      I read one chapter from each book in alternate fashion.

      I find it so liberating!!!

      Instead of being confused, or focusing on the colours of the cat, I am able to see how I too can catch the mice more often ;)

      I've learnt long ago to beware the man of one book.

    8. which investment book you think is the best?

      its time for me to learn more on investing, i want to be like AK or CW, just sit and wait for money to come, trading is like working, hard earned money haha!

      can't immagine takes almost one hour to write these few words, never been so busy before.

    9. coconut,

      I am re-reading this investing classic I bought during Dec 2002. I must be honest to say I throw it aside after the first reading as I find it too boring... Lol!

      The book is: The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

      Now after gathering dust for 11 years, I am beginning to see some the wisdom in the words after relating it to my own journey all these years.

      And yes. It's still extremely boring as before!

      Hence the need to read it with a trading book to keep me awake (and reflecting).

      Good luck not falling asleep!

      P.S. You know it already, but I say it just for fun. We can only be a first rate coconut or SMOL... Whether you are an investor, trader, or hybrid, only we know deep in our hearts.

      If we don't know, we just have to pay more school fees to the markets until we do lor!

    10. i forgot its hard for me to read books, never mind...(cos i ask in the middle of my trading chaos)

      i had been pondering for a long time now, comparing the returns from my trading vs potential returns from my investment (yield).

      trading is hard and the return probably lower than potential investment, no definately lower but until now i'm still sticking to trading.

      having my cash idling around is making me crazy while others are laughing themselves to the bank!

      i must keep a cool head...

    11. coconut,

      Yes. I too have some cash rotting away somewhere. I remember what happened end 2011 and during middle of 2012.

      It helps me sleep better at night knowing if market tanks, we have some dry powder ;)

      You think why I am re-reading that investing classic? It's to remind myself NOT to invest at this moment in time. Wait for better prices with wider margin of safety.


      In the meanwhile, I trade for kopi money to pass time.

      CW and Jesse Livermore are both right. The big money is in sitting tight.


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