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Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Haze - Did you notice your emotional reactions?

I find some of the reactions of our fellow Singaporeans to the recent haze quite interesting. 

It's a parallel I can infer and apply to trading in the markets - after all, the market is made up of people; with it's tug if war between emotions and rationality.

If you never had any respiratory problems all your life, work and live in air-con environment, don't have high risk dependents like small children and older parents, did you join the queue for the N95 masks? And did you buy any air purifiers?

What motivated you from your inertia into action? Was it your own volition? Or was it the actions of your colleagues at your work place? Or was the trigger from the media that reported long queues for N95 masks and it's shortages at some retail locations?

Was the emotional reaction similar with record COE prices? Or rising property prices and long queues during the property launches? How about when STI made new 52 week high? Or when colleagues were all talking about and punting that hot IPO of the month? 

After the joy and elation of finally securing the N95 masks by Friday last week, what was your emotional state when the skies started to clear up the next day during Saturday? Were you glad that the haze has not gotten worse till today? Or were a little bit teeny weeny upset that you never got to use these highly prized N95 masks after going through all the trouble and hassle to secure them?

During the worst days of the haze, I saw some young children and senior citizens (high risk group) going around in the public with surgical masks on. Perhaps they couldn't secure the N95 masks; but these surgical masks are practically useless against the harmful PM 2.5 particles. Does having this "false sense of security" help? Or does it do more damage (since I got a mask on, I can stay outdoors longer)?

Those that haven't got their N95 masks, would you still get them despite the recent good fortune in wind direction? Wind directions do change, no? 

How about next year? Will you make your OWN preparations in advance for the next Indonesian dry season? Or will you rely on complaining to Big Daddy to make you feel good instead? How Big Daddy never made preparations and all.... Of course we skip the part on our own preparations and how you have personally experienced the haze for the last 15 years. We blame it all on short memory span!

I am merely sharing my observations and reflections. There is no mockery intended.

I think there are interesting parallels when it comes to:

Insurance needs

Making big ticket purchases

Market timing

Risk management

Emotional trades versus informed decisions after homework

Attention span of market participants

Influence of media and people around you

And of course our famous kiasuism (fear of losing out)!

How about you? Did you have your own parallels to share?



  1. here i go again, the third time trying to pick the top of the S&P, this is going to be the last cos it disrupted my timing.

    last night i was stop out after i went to sleep, luckily for me stops were just above my entry point, i was carrying 3 contracts.

    please don't wish me luck, i don't want them.

    1. again the market came down nicely (actually just a hair haha), i'm going to put a stop just above and knock off! i'm really tired (cos of the haze!)

    2. oh about the haze (time), me, my children life as per normal, we do our usual things, the only person that is busy and buzzy around and complaining is, you guess right!

      my wife.

    3. coconut,

      1) Opps! Sorry. Please send all your unwanted luck to me. I want! Toto missed me again. LOL!

      2) Hee hee. I long the SIMSCI at 351 8:30 am. Sold at 352 10:00 am. Not greedy. It's an opportunistic punt for kopi money. I had fun. Close shop. Later go east coast to jalan jalan.

      3) Glad you have a sense of humuor too on the haze. I guess we belong to the tidak apa group - not as if this is first time got haze.

      I think keeping the focus on dengue fever is more important! My area already got 2 cases. We are yellow zone :(

    4. looks like you began to feel like a true trader er? thats 200 bucks! copi got so expensive one meh? go and buy some more toto la..

      no you cannot take my luck, i got stop out again last night, need it back haha.

      dengue also afraid! i only focus on my trades/trading. others don't bothers me.

    5. coconut,

      Nah! I seldom do day trading as I am not good at it.

      But today just saw an opportunity and grabbed it.

      After I sold, it went to 353? See? I lousy at day trading. LOL!

      I am more comfortable with swing trading with the trend.
      My EUR/USD shorts entered last week are now with a margin of safety of 200 pips ;)

      Now sitting tight trying my best not to be shaken out by the small corrective moves. Let's see if July EUR/USD will hit 1.2950. Even better if it hits 1.2850!

    6. hold until parity.

      did you say 200 pips?! wow, this is what? KFC fried chicken? knn!

      i'm impress, impress!

  2. I am buying more 3M N95 8210 masks to keep. Buy from USA cheaper. US$14.99 for a box of 20. Much cheaper. Never know if the haze is coming back. Always be prepared.

    Air purifier, I just bought a new one 2 years ago. Before that, I bought 3 in the preceding years.

    I asthmatic. :(

    1. AK,

      Do take care. You're a good example of being prepared knowing yourself well ;)

      It's like insurance. You don't start running around looking for one only when you had fallen sick or met with an accident. Under duress, we are more likely to over pay or make a wrong choice...

      That's providing we still can get coverage!

    2. "I just bought a new one 2 years ago" ?????

      what KIND OF english is that, i chinese one also can spot!

      "i just buy a brand new BM 10 years ago, but already scraped already!" sound correct?

    3. Clap clap!

      An autistic dyslexic poking a scholar's england!

      Now I've seen it all!

    4. Aiyoh, this is the real me lah. ;p

      You think I speak perfect England naturally?

      My first language is Hokkien, second language is Mandarin, third language is English.

      Now, you know why I had to study English Language in university. LOL.

    5. i don't know about you or anyone else, if only if i got the opportunity to go university, if only i'm young again and given the second chance, if only they relax the entry requirement, and with my inteligent, ahm,

      i still wouldn't want go!

    6. 4 years! 4 precious years of my life! 4 precious years from a most precious period of my life! Oh, mama! What did I do?

      Well, it is all too late now. :(

    7. lets see what did i do when they were in the U...

      army no count, oh yes, still playing billiards for a living, driving those cheaps chat spot cars, hanging out with ah bang and ah lien and playing marjong.

      thats fun.

    8. smol, i just covered my S&P shorts which i enter this afternoon after our market close, took a 2k profit, now i'm regretting it! should have keep one for the run!


    9. wrong! should be 4k profit, thats 2 contracts.

    10. so your FX took i week for 200 pips, mine takes less than 5 hours for 8 full S&P ticks, hows that?

    11. oh came back and i went short again, 1 lot.

    12. coconut,

      LOL! I am not in competition with you. You win liao lor!

      You were stopped-out 2 nights in a roll shorting the S&P. Yet you still are able to squeeze the trigger this afternoon when SG market closed. Hats off to you, and congrats!

      That requires discipline and conviction!

    13. oh dear, i just add another lot. better put a stop before all my profit's gone.

    14. well haha, i got stop out, i had return half of the profit back to the market!

    15. wow what a ride, dow make a full recovery from minus 130 points.

    16. coconut,

      That's the life of a trader isn''t?

      I left half of my potential profit on the table this morning on my long Simsci trade - if I only had waited till the afternoon...

      You gave back half of your in-the-pocket S&P short profits...

      It could easily have gone the other way for our trades too!

      I guess I don't need to give advice to both of us. We know what to do ;)

      The trades of today are over and done with; we don't dwell on them.

      We focus on the NEXT setup, the NEXT good trade :)


    17. ofcos ofcos, i love to trade the US market, S&P is one of my favorate, so as the bond and crude oil.

      these trades are just side betting and keep me excited!

    18. i spend all my trading now in the SGX and sometime i get very bore. ofcos the real money is in SGX but i never forget where i started.

      actually i'm quite good at index futures and us bonds, i think overall i lost money in FX.

    19. how to swing trade FX? seems like they don't have tops and bottoms or day range like the other markets does. and usually the banks are the market makers where money supply seems to be endless.

      so teach me le, how to swing trade 200 pips haha.

    20. Each of us have our favourite trading vehicles.

      Good night and have a super weekend!

    21. i'm done for the night, market has cool off but i'm not chasing it.

    22. oh ya, you too, enjoy your copi and KFC fried kitchen.

  3. Hi SMOL,

    I'm pretty nonchalant about the haze until it hits a like 300-400? That's when I started buying the mask, and realized that it's out of stock, and I've to order and wait about a week for it to come. I'm quite unprepared when it comes down to this. But now I'm prepared :) Catch me once and I'm a fool. I hope I'm not a fool the next time round.

    I didn't get any surgical mask too (out of stock) and they don't work, as you mentioned. However, I think people still wear it because they think having some mask is better than nothing. It still blocks out some of the smell, at the very least. It's just like some people still hold on during the very bullish party even though they know at the back of their minds that the party is ending soon. It's not that they don't know the party is ending, it's just that they think they won't be the last one standing.

    I'm really buying the mask for others, like my parents, who need it more than me. For me? The best defense is to stay indoors with the aircon on, haha! No need to brave it out with a mask. I'm looking forward to NOT using the mask if I can.

    This is a good post. I love it :)

    1. LP,

      Thanks! It's a wake up call for me too ;)

      I guess a bit of mini-crisis or panic once in a while is good inoculation for our hubris and blue-eyed optimism.


  4. Hi SMOL

    Are you a writer? :D If not, you should definitely consider being one.

    I am always fascinated by your interesting post such as the above. It is true that in life, we needs moments of hysteria to spice up our life. I think as the haze situation worsen, it actually brought Singapore closer together. The last hysteria I know which we had was the "MRT Breakdown" as well as the "Olympic event". This year alone, we had the "Haze" and the "Hello Kitty" euphoria.

    We certainly needs moments like this in our life ;)

    1. B,

      Within the confines of this blog, since I write these posts personally (no ghost writers), therefore I am a "writer"?

      Eye-rolls everywhere by Literature purists! (Wah! So serious!)

      In every mania or crisis, there are examples of good and bad human behaviour - people profiteering from sale of N95 masks; people fighting over Hello Kitty...

      The events after hurrican Katrina were quite shocking; which was a big contrast to Fukushima. We revert to our true selves in such events.

      I like the way you emphasized the good aspects of the recent hysteria :)

      Like the Monty Python song: Always look on the bright side of Life!

    2. SMOL

      I think I need a year long of sabbatical like you. I can't wait to visit all parts of the world and pen my thoughts into each and every moment I went. Awww such is life ~~

    3. B,

      Have fun!

      Perhaps take baby steps first. Taking a month long vacation can be refreshing too ;)


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