Monday 16 December 2013

How many more years do they have?

I came to know of a group of mainly retired teachers and ex-principals that gathers regularly at one of the food centres in Queenstown for coffee and chit-chat in the mornings.

Every alternate month or so, there will be organised "excursions" up north to Hap Chai, or down south to Batam. Wink, wink. 

Yes, they are all males.

Some on reading this may get their blood boil... How could these "educated" gentlemen, who should know better, do such things that may cause grief and shame to their families? At their age some more!

They should be role models or paragons to the young. Shackles of labels getting hurled out...


I once wrote that I no longer nag at my dad for smoking or drinking. I now even enable his habits by giving an allowance to do whatever he likes with it - there are no terms and conditions attached.

Despite taking medicine for high blood pressure, dad his outlived many of his friends and relatives who had healthier lifestyles than him - vegetarians, healthy living fanatics and all.

From him, I've learned life is not a straight line extrapolation. 

Morality, ethics, legality - many of these concepts I thought I knew have taken a new meaning once I put a human face on them. Something happened what I hit 40.

I begin to see things from the other side. Try walking in the shoes of others. And less seeing things from the "I am the centre of the universe" perspective. You can say I have discovered "religion"!?

Which is ironic since the acts I now "don't mind" from those retired gentlemen contravene with most mainstream religions' teachings.

How did I reconcile with myself? 

Just pause and think for a while before you hurl stones at these elderly gentlemen - how many more years do they have?

On another related topic, I've always wondered why people in their 80s still queue to buy Toto?

Now I get it.

It's no different from stories about retired people who had saved and worked hard all their lives, do all the proper "safe and secure" stuffs, no speculations. Safety first!

Guess what? 

When they get their hands on their retirement money, they start to "speculate" (of course they will call it investment) on risky stuffs with an all-in make or break mentality?

1) Overseas properties, land banking, etc.

2) Gold trading or other get rich quick "promotions". Ostrich farms anyone?

3) And of course after staying away from the STI for 30 odd years, they now fancy they can be profitable equities investors after reading a few books or taking up some seminars or courses. (Don't they realise the people taking the other side of their positions could have 20 or more years hands on investing experience over several stock market cycles than them?)

4) Or they suddenly discovered their "dormant" entrepreneur spirits and plonk down their entire nest eggs on new business "excursions". (It's never too late; but why now and all-in?)

It's called capitulation.

When you read the regrets of their stories for those who lost it all, one common thread appears:

These "safety first" retirees have had enough of seeing their classmates, colleagues, neighbours, and relatives getting richer than them by taking risks and speculating. At their advanced age, they see it as their last chance to "catch up". 

How many more years do they have?

Hidden behind those words, there's a needle in their hearts: 

"If others can get rich through XXX, why can't I?"


  1. people are always doing things the opposit what should have been!

    time to relax and enjoy, they work so hard, time to save they start spending like wild fire. time to be safe they speculate like no tomorrow.

    the other day i was with a christen friend, a close friend of mine and very tolalent of me straight forward conversation.

    i ask him, "do you believe in christ, do you bet with your life that he died and re-born?" he says he would.

    i told him i will bet everything i got that the story is not true and will not bet a single cent that he rose from his death".

    i told him we were just so so far apart!

    thats me talking.

    1. coconut,

      And the beauty despite being so far apart spiritually, you both are close friends.

      You both don't discriminate against each other on your differences. You embrace the diversity ;)

      If I only feel comfortable mixing with people who think like me, talk like me, dress like me, eat like me, that word to describe me is not something flattering...

      As an introvert who manages to cross over to the other side and looking back at myself, introverts can be like those retirees who suddenly wishes they were someone else in my post:

      The problem is not outside; it's when you capitulates.

    2. yap, a family friend for many years, i seen him from buddism to christenity, from youth to an old man.

      i don't close my boundary to anyone, it is them who draw the boundary out from me, or at least thats what i though.

      and he is understanding by saying, knowing me well, "i'm not like other christien, i'm not going to preach you about god, thats god's job".

      haha, well i hope he is wrong.

    3. but to be fare for him and his believes, he was once not behaving well, the chinese 4 sins, he all master!

      and now, after christenity, he is a changed man and i'm impress!

    4. coconut,

      Your friend is wise.

      I walked past a group of very elderly aunties (70s to 90s) on my way to the market the other day.

      One upset aunty was telling her friends that its not right to "recruit" elderly sick non-believers by promising God will heal them if they become Christians.

      Instead, they should stress it's a community where they can support and take care of each other.

      Ah! The speaking elderly aunty is an enlightened Christian leader ;)

      (I guess some over-zealous evangelists don't realise they are breaking one of the 10 commandments on their over the top pitches...)

    5. Ah! That makes sense!

      Your friend walk the talk.

      It's what we do; never what we say that counts.

      If not, all snake oil salesmen like me can "talk" our way to heaven!

      "It not my fault! You see..."


    6. well good or bad, depends on which side we are looking at. i happen to like to see both side, i'm a trader remember haha?

    7. and we seldom if not totally never, talk about god (i don't even know what god is how to talk), its all my ichy mouth asking question about the city havest case progress, i'm the one to blame.

  2. How many years more before becoming dementia and then no more Batam?

    1. CW,

      Sometimes it's live and let live.

      Looking at the way I hate to be called "uncle"; I think I understand what these old gentlemen are going through - before dementia, impotence, and other illnesses take away their "manhood".

      Men can be silly at times ;)

      Here's laughing at myself!

    2. is not that life is a suddent moves, suddently you wake up, you cannot shot, you can't remember....its a very slow process.

      so there are planty of time to prepare ourself for them to come, unless you totally ignore the fact or thinking they will not come one day or you are still in your dream land.

    3. It is not how many days or how not many months do they have?

      So still got enough time to execute Bucket List.

  3. Hi brothers,
    i always say:-

    How old we live?
    How we die?
    How much we leave behind?
    You will never know.

    But please, when you have to leave;
    Leave in Peace.

  4. "and he is understanding by saying, knowing me well, "i'm not like other christien, i'm not going to preach you about god, thats god's job".

    haha, well i hope he is wrong.

    He is actually right. No matter what he says and actions as a Christian, unless God has chosen you to belong to his family, it's never, never the other way round.
    i don't know about what others think but this makes sense to me.

  5. smol, i think your blog soon going to turn to old man"s blog! look at us here, where are the youngster haha.

    better bring something frash and exciting.

    1. coconut,

      Young bloggers talk about vision, mission, goals, objectives, etc. Things they want to do next.

      I talk about my experiences, things I have done.

      Hey! You are right! I am old! ^$#$^((^@!!!! (Maybe I should go to Korea for a makeover?)

      I just got off the hamster wheel not so long ago, you want me to jump back in?

      No thanks!

      I have a wry smile when I read about mission to be no,1 blog... celebrations on XXX pageview milestones; etc. (School and work not enough, hobby must also compete?)

      Nope. No goals or KPIs for my blogging. No target audience. No hidden sales or make money objectives.

      I not so egoistic. I visit regularly young bloggers' blogs one; I go to the mountain ;)

      And those I like, I will hazard a poke or two. That's how I build up a 2 way relationship. I am not the "ya lor ya lor" kind of guy.


  6. "Nope. No goals or KPIs for my blogging. No target audience. No hidden sales or make money objectives."

    Now i know why you are considered by me the "NO. 1" Blogger here.
    And why i follow your blog closely
    Not only i believe in what you say above, i can sense your sincerity in your writings.
    Besides i think most people who has lived can fathom your thoughts behind your writings.

    As for the young ones, i think it very hard for them to feel what you write because they have not lived enough to fathom your thoughts behind your writings.
    Sometime ago, i have spoken to my nephew about some experience, who is in his early 30s. He said something like this, "How can a young man understands or can visualise my experience." - Very wise words indeed. They have different perspectives of life now. They have not lived enough.
    For many things in life, we all have to lived enough to understand.
    i don't think there is another way.
    Thank you for keeping this old man's dementia at bay.

    1. temperament,

      I raise my glass to you ;)


    2. Don't want!

      Must ask LP why his tavern got so many mei mei and jie jie?

      Is it my BO? (Sniffing my armpit now)

    3. talk more about life style, shopping and drama (and may be sexy stuff), they will come for sure! but we will go instead.

      young and old also want, greedy fellow!

    4. coconut,

      I thought it would be good to have a balanced discussion if there's more right-brained oriented people here - girls are more right-brained than boys. (I a bit out-numbered leh)

      I believe women make better investors than men; while men are better at trading. Maybe it has something to do with testosterone?

      Some youngsters are very mature for their age. Some old fogeys can aslo be very childish.

      Diversity is good!

      Rojak even better!

    5. hey, i agree man. but where are they?

      mans are better traders than woman? says who? wheres your prof? i'll tell you one thing for sure, man lost more money trading than woman! so they are better trader.

      woman is a better investors, say who? count all the business venture all over and you know who own them!

      don't anyhow smoke me ok!

    6. so, if you are a (male) trader, learn from the woman, i learn a lot from my wife you know, like how to shop for discount, how to scream for cover etc.

      and if you are a (woman) investor, learn from the man ofcos. like look at the big picture rather than every details etc.

      got it?

    7. one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten!

      oh sorry, i'm counting the trades i had done this morning, only ten! and most of them done at the opening. just enough to cover my cost of trading!

      very quiet!

  7. "don't anyhow smoke me ok!"
    Ha! Ha!
    SMOL & coconut, i can't help laughing.
    Diversity indeed when talking about "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus"

    1. you mean man are cold and woman are hot cos they are closer to the sun?

    2. i mean,
      "don't anyhow smoke me ok!"

      i just know Science has mapped how their brains work very differently.

    3. ok i got it! smol is a woman correct!?

    4. coconut,

      1) Who says so?

      专家说的 - Guru says so. (This is a common poke in China making fun of those who like to quote famous guru say this, guru say that)

      I think I just slapped myself :(

      2) I just came back from my afternoon shopping. Re-contract mobile plan at Raffles Place. Bought 2 books at MPH Robinson Road, Went to Master Plan exhibition at Ministry of National Development (very de good!), had late lunch at Maxwell hawker centre.

      Hello! Only hard-core traders like you still want to trade before FOMC decision tonight. Have a break lah! Have a Kit-Kat?

      3) In my next life, I would like to come back as blond, blue eyes, and have a pair of big big ding-a-ling-ling ;)

      I've figured it out. What passive income? What financial freedom? I'll be an expat wife - like those at Holland Village.

      Do a bit of nails, do a bit of foot massage, drink a bit of coffee, shop here shop there, go home to maid prepared dinner, and must remind hubby it's time to visit the Maldives. Our tans are fading fast!

    5. take position before FOMC la! no position how to make?

      by the way, i forgotten about tonight FOMC, no wonder towards the end everything break lose haha.

    6. i shouldn't do this, but just this time..

      one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, this morning one,

      eleven, twelve, thirteen.......

      sixty-one, sixty-two, sixty three.

      sixty three trades. my head still spinning haha

    7. Already have lah!

      Last week when STI stop going below 3025 ;)

      If STI dips below 3000 after FOMC, well, there goes my buy the dip swing trade...


      63 trades! If I your brother I really pissed off. All these commissions to others outside the family ^#$^&%#!!!

    8. if i use my bro as my broker, i will go broke, better him than me!

      yes i do feel bad, but i also use my cash account to trade, i just can't tahan the commission, if i alter my system, then my trades will reduce a lot, hence affacting my bottom line.

      what to do? any suggestion?

    9. as far as our local markets are concern, i'm only looking at the bond yield like i say, especially the 10 years and 30 years. looks like they are holding the shorter term rates a long long time.

      right now, i'm going to stay flat which i usually would. staying flat doesn't mean i have no positions.

      got to write out my orders....

    10. smol, 63 trades seems a lot to you right? but let me tell you its equal to like half of simsci future contracts, that is 30 lots. about $2 million.

      that is not a lot, in fact very little, i use to trade much bigger size but i since cut down due to risk control.

    11. coconut,

      I understand.

      To get good rates at our local brokerages, I have to become a prop trader at their shops. But to maintain my seat, I have to generate average $2,000 commissions every month to them. No thanks!

      For your kind of trading, it's not a problem.

      I rather stick to my wait for opportunity style of swing trading.

      Free can go "gai gai", walk here walk there.

      I am tempted by the lower rates by those US discount brokerages, but after MF Global, I think I'll stick with our local brokerages :(

  8. Hi Jared

    As I am in my 40s, I too learn more about the fragility of life and sometimes to live and let live. I can empathise with those retirees who want to enjoy life as you have rightly pointed out, how many years are left for them?

    No-one can predict when our time is up so it's important not to live with too many regrets. :-)

    1. Panzer,

      Without this "shift" in mindset, it's difficult to understand why some Japanese women are divorcing their retired husbands at the "liberating" age of 60s to 70s.

      The explanation these women gave is that they have slogged all their lives to serve their husband and children... Now it's their time to live the life they have always wanted!

      Why now?

      It wasn't so bad when their husbands were working (leave home at 7, come back at 10); but now that their husbands were retired, seeing them every waking hour is the final straw...

      It's not easy to be a Japanese. So many "expectations"; so many mores and customs to abide by, Thank goodness I am born in Singapore!

  9. where are the music?

    its christmas again but i hardly heard any christmas songs at all. i guess i have to go down to the mail to get the feel. correct smol?

    i remember in the 70s & 80s, music were everywhere, especially when big holiday come by. everyone was singing, not just the pro. every shop was playing music.

    where are the music? may be they were playing it but i didn't notice it.

    1. coconut,

      Have lah. Just drop by any major departmental stores.

      You enjoy. Weekend I have to "endure" 8 hours of "Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells"!

      At least it's better than Chinese Lunar New Year songs...


    2. oh dear, i think i kept myself too long in my room.

      oh dear its that weekend again. why it has to come so quick.

      i really have to find something to do during weekend, i'm like a walking dead.

    3. smol you work during weekend? where and what? fun or not?

    4. may be its time for me to get screw once in a while!

    5. coconut,


      2) See? Finally admit you have no screws in your head. Good idea to buy some and screw them tight tight. Don't let them drop out again ;)


  10. Be joyful this season!

    Early Merry Christmas!

    1. yap same to you my friend.

    2. Merry Christmas to all!

      I'll be working. Helping out a full-time colleague who wants to spend time with family.

      If you all go out, do bring a smile and be cheerful to our public transport drivers, service crews at restaurants, sales staff at retail outlets(me) OK?

      Go spend some money! Don't be scrooge ;)


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