Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Saying Thanks for 2013 - Amazing Grace (Judy Collins with Boys' Choir of Harlem 1993)

This is the time of year many will be making new year resolutions and goals for the coming year.

Looking back, I've a lot to give thanks to.

1) Although mom has lost her peripheral vision due to glaucoma, I am thankful her normal vision is better than mine as she does not need glasses to read the eye charts. 

I am grateful to the good doctors and nurses of NUH eye centre for their care and attention to us during the past 2 years. I've seen interns becoming registrars; registrars becoming consultant doctors; and little girl nurses blossoming into young women. From the old Kent Ridge wing to the new towering NUH Medical Centre.

Progressing from 1 week several medical appointments, to weekly, monthly, quarterly, and now a followup review every 6 months. Phew! Mom and I can breathe easier now.

Tip: Readers who are above 50, and/or if you have family member history with glaucoma, do go for your annual eye examinations. There is no cure for glaucoma - we can only slow down or arrest it's effect upon early detection. 

2) Despite our fights and moments of separations; I am thankful the feelings of love and kinship have been strengthened - like aching and sore muscles after an exhaustive workout. 

I hate it when my elder sibling still treats me like a kid brother (I'm 46!), but do I treat my younger sibling similarly!? I tell mom my stomach is getting bigger, and the next moment she makes supper for me, like all moms do. Eat first! Don't go to sleep hungry... Who is taking care of who? I should be so lucky!

3) When everyday is Sunday, Sunday soon loses its appeal. I am grateful for my younger sibling for coming back during the weekends so I can take my "off-days" by working during the weekends.

Married women living with in-laws may understand this irony.

Thankful my new colleagues have accepted me into their team. Not the best of start when on my first day, people asked me: "We have enough staff oredi. Why you come here?"

I realised why after the first week. One month later, one of the full-time colleagues was fired. Grateful my street smart skill of reading people and business situations is still intact. Everything happens for a reason.

4) It's exactly 3 years today that I wrote my first blog post in Athens. Along the way, I've got the good fortune of getting to know some amazing people in cyberspace. Some of whom are complete opposites to me - be it education; work experience; spiritually; politically; and philosophically.

Wouldn't it be boring if everyone here is the same?

Like changing life stages, my blog posts have also evolved over the years. Thanks for the company readers!

5) Last but not least, I would like to share this Amazing Grace song to express my state of mind now.

Merry Christmas everyone! 


  1. Hi SMOL,

    Merry Christmas!

    And indeed, there are loads for us to be thankful for.

    Wishing you an awesome year ahead!

    All the best if you are gonna pick up the textbooks again. Jia you, jia you!


    1. Joy and Good Health to you Endrene!

      Silly me. I've just realised I don''t need a A' level cert after all.

      4 years in Shanghai was my "undergraduate" years, and 3 years in Athens was my "masters". (Talk about make believe! I very Ah Q or what?)

      But I'll hit the textbooks for Literature and History (human nature); and maybe Geography (could come in handy for commodities futures?) .

      No exams, no test scores. Just pure reading pleasure.

      OK, all the above is pure bull-shit. I'll do anything to wriggle out of doing Maths again!


  2. Dear SMOL,

    Wishing you and you family a blessed Christmas and happy new year.
    Yes, we must always be thankful and appreciate the "ping an" we receive.

    1. wk,

      Peace be with you too.

      Joy is the heart that is thankful and grateful for what we have got.

      I shall not want; for I am not my own shepherd.

  3. Merry Christmas.

    Thank for Amazing Grace!

    1. Cheers CW!

      You are welcomed :)

      Even though I am pagan, I can identify with these verses:

      I once was lost; but now I'm found

      Was blind; but now I see


  4. don't like that song (make my hair stand), but

    merry christmas and happy new year.

    1. Merry Christmas to you coconut!

      It's OK. It's perfectly fine to disagree with my song choice.

      Music should be personal.


  5. Replies
    1. you mean this is a funeral song?

      my god smol! funeral song for christmas??!!

    2. coconut,

      Go look at CW's blog lah. Listen to what others do; not what they say.

      You go ask CW lor ;)

    3. wah lau! another funeral song?

      whats wrong with you guys?

    4. Then what song you like when you go?

      I like "Chu Liu Xiang".

      Ultimate male fantasy I guess. Always in the company of 4 mei meis. No need to work one (I think pugilists must be financially free), walk here walk there - roam mountains play water, and taste the local wine, women, and song!

      Now that's living it up!

      Wake up, wake up! Oh! It's only a dream...


    5. Pugilists were already financially free so they became SMOL.

      hee hee

  6. Hi SMOL,

    Merry Xmas and A Happy New Year!

    Been a follower of your blog and always look up to your blog for insights. Thanks for all the knowledgeable postings. I just started blogging too, and I really hope I can be like you some day too, inspirational and a role model. Do check out my blog when you are free :D


    1. Merry Christmas Little Boy!

      You guys are starting earlier and earlier and getting younger and younger!!!

      That's it! I'll capitulate and go buy SKII for Men now... :(

      Welcome to blogging!

      Wow, I see you have already linked to the real players (I'm more the half-time entertainment) in financial blogging. Good start!

      I'm not really into those inspirational and role model kind of stuffs; I'm into "lim kopi" and shoot the breeze together kind of blogging ;)

      Just have fun and be yourself.

      Looking forward to your next post ;)

  7. Hi SMOL

    First and foremost a merry christmas to you. Always late than never ;)

    I know ive said this in the past but ill said it again. Your posts never failed to inspire people all around you. Its been glad reading your posts these past few years.

    But I am confused. Why would you not like people that treats you younger. Would you prefer them to treat you as your age is? *scratching my head

    1. B,

      A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too!

      Of course I would like others to "SEE" me as young - I hate being called uncle!

      But to "TREAT" me as "kid brother" is another matter.

      I guess that will never change. Just like mom will continue to baby sit me when I thought I should be the one taking care of her. Guess got friction or not?

      Relationships are not easy. Sometimes I have to take a step back and reflect - am I doing this because I think (from my perspective) it's good for my family members, or it's that what they want?

      I guess that's family. We embrace the joy and happiness together with the acrimony and occasional fights ;)

  8. just to share a story, during christmas we were at one of my classmate house when she drop a bomb shell at me.

    after knowing what i do (i told her i "play shares", not a full time speculator kind), she reveal that her late father was a commodity trader specialise in trading rubber futures. he was a true speculator trading not only futures but also physical rubber. he also trade or invest in shares ofcos. to her knowledge, thats is his only job, trading and speculation.

    wow! i remember when in school days, they were very loaded, bangalore house with expensive cars, yes cars. well, thats all i remember, they were rich!

    unfortunately, he lost everything in stocks trading in the 80's and went broke soon after. my classmate is now happily married with 2 children. thank god!

  9. Tales of the world's two greatest traders

    Through unknown mechanisms, he yet again lost much of his trading capital, accumulated through 1929. Thus, on March 7, 1934, the bankrupt Livermore was automatically suspended as a member of the Chicago Board of Trade. It was never disclosed to anyone what happened to the great fortune he had made in the crash of 1929, but he had lost it all.

    Dennis believed that successful trading could be taught. To settle a debate on that point with William Eckhardt, a friend and fellow trader, Dennis recruited and trained 21 men and 2 women,[5] in two groups, one from December 1983, and the other from December 1984. Dennis trained this group, known as Turtles, for only two weeks about a simple trend-following system, trading a range of commodities, currencies, and bond markets, buying when prices increased above their recent range, and selling when they fell below their recent range. They were taught to cut position size during losing periods and to pyramid aggressively—up to a third or a half of total exposure, although only 24% of total capital would be exposed at any one time. This type of trading system will generate losses in periods when the market is rangebound, often for months at a time, and profits during large market moves.

    In January 1984, after the two-week training period was ended, Dennis gave each of the Turtles a trading account and had them trade the systems they had been taught . During this one-month trading period, they were allowed to trade a maximum of 12 contracts per market. After the trial-period ended, he gave the few of them who had successfully traded the system during the one-month trial, accounts ranging from $250,000 to $2 million of his own money to manage.

    When his experiment ended five years later, his Turtles reportedly had earned an aggregate profit of $175 million.[6] The exact system taught to the Turtles by Dennis has been published in at least two books and can be back-tested to check its performance in recent years. The result of such back-test shows a drastic drop in performance after 1986, and even a flat performance from 1996 to 2009.[7] However, a number of turtles (e.g. Jerry Parker of Chesapeake Capital, Liz Cheval of EMC, Paul Rabar of Rabar Market Research) began and continued careers as successful commodity trading managers, using techniques similar, but not identical, to the Turtle System.

    Dennis managed pools of capital for others in the markets for a while, but withdrew from such management in the spring of 1988 after his clients suffered heavy losses. In the Black Monday stock market crash of 1987, he reportedly lost $10 million,[8] with a total of $50 million reportedly lost in 1987-88.[2] In 1990 his firm settled investor complaints of his failure to follow his own rules, for over $2.5 million, without admitting or denying any wrongdoing.[9] He also managed funds for some time in the mid and late 1990s, closing these operations after losses in the summer of 2000.

    1. you know, you might be thinking that i'm shock on the story i told, no, not at all, i know how dangerous it is to be a trader, i know! the story don't surprise me at all!

      i'm just think, or self relection as to why i can't take those kind of risk that other traders are taking. i have the experience, i have the brain, i have the strategy, i just lack the guts.

      you might think, 300k in one and a half years is big profit, "eat can't finish", but let me say that thats a pertatic figure, well short of what a true trader can achieve. i can only boast it here.

      this is the question i will always ask myself or going broke by trying to prove it.

    2. There is Chinese Saying:

      One can lose until mad. When one becomes mad, it is totally out of control. Everything also goes!

    3. this "problem", being restrain from recognise and show off and most important getting really rich is something only my wife know about.

      she plays a big role in my decision to trade, range from big risk big rewards to small but sure profit, she choose the later ofcos! she always let me put my children infront of us, thats a good strategy haha. if i'm single, things would have turn out differently i guess. i guess and hope that i will never (want to) know.

    4. for jesse livermore, it is unfortunate that he and others have to live through the great depression, it was such a big blow to traders and investors alike.

      denis (taylor?) was a pure trend follower, no doubt when markets correct, he is going to lose money, he knows that. problem is he was taking too much risk.

      i believe in both trend and counter trend strategy and i applied both in my trading. ofcos many trades cancel themselves out but i use numbers to beat the system.

    5. i too believe right now the hedge fund is also under a lot of pressure, simply becos there are too many of them using similar strategies. particularly long-short strategy.

      that is the cause of the current market condition and its going to get worst, the spread and corelation of the markets are breaking down one after another causing many problems for these hedge funds.

    6. coconut and CW,

      I just came back from Tiong Bahru market for breakfast and you both have already started a very interesting discussion!

      Fame or money?

      That's the paradox a professional gambler faces. Do you enter poker competitions to win the championship for recognition and fame? But if everyone recognize you, who will play against you in poker outside of competitions?

      Ackman shorts Herbalife and tells the whole world about it. I guess some of his hedge fund investors are wishing Ackman would keep a lower profile.

      Some hedge fund managers just quietly make money - no media interviews, no fanfare, no publicity.

      I guess it's an Alpha Male thing.

    7. i'm a very competitive guy you know, may be when younger i'm more competitive, everything must win one haha.

      now i pick and choose, only compete those i have more advantages le.

      "kia soo"??

    8. oh Ackman's Herbalife, ya thats the kind of example i want to gives, you got many short squeeze and as well as long squeeze.

      many are losing on both front!

    9. trading is actually quite simple! but also very complicated.

      all methods can make money one way or another, you got to know as many as you can, exactly like bruce lee philosophy, learn all the kongfu there is and apply them appropreately when and where necessarily!

    10. and don't just stick to one club or style or gang or clan.

      create your own individual style.

    11. coconut,

      Below is an old post about why successful investors want to manage money for others, and why profitable traders teach and sell seminars:


      Having a business is immensely better off than working for others and ourselves.

      I am of the opinion that's its better to sell shares through an IPO to other freeloaders than to buy shares hoping to get rich.

      Unfortunately (or fortunately), I am the type of person who once I've caught fish, I would take the next 4 days off to dry my net. To build a business, I need to work 24/7 :(

    12. smol, i'll tell you a story about sea tutle, you know when they hatch, they have to dash to the water, many were eaten alive by birds and wolf doing just that, then after enter the water, they face with all the bigger fish and deadly octopes, how many can survive?

      trading is like that, to be a tutle, can you afford not to know all the tricks to survival? trading is not even a business, its a way of life.

    13. coconut,

      No wonder we can hit it off. Indeed, if don't survive, we fade away...


      It's getting a bit surreal now...

    14. wah september 2011, now i remember, i just lost a pretty big sum in the market right at that time le!!

      knn, bring back this kind of memory to me!!

      frankly if you ask me, teach, how to teach i also don't know. if can teach i'll first teach my children and their chldren and there will be many more millionare around.

      as for managing others money, i don't understand why one wants to import problem on top of your own problem, beside to prove ones capable and ofcos earn extra from it.

    15. oh! you are the one who told me about the sea tutle story hahaha..

    16. hahaha, thats call an eye for an eye (a tooth for a tooth in chinese) haha.

    17. coconut,

      Who can forget end 2011? Market was dangerously close to moving back down big time!

      You reminded me of Xiao Ma Ge in A Better Tomorrow...

      "I do not want to show I am very the good... I just want to prove what I lost, I can take it back."

      Or something like that.

    18. yes, luckily it never shaken my confident much, i knew it was a mistake i made, selling off in a hurry and market just took off immediately. if you count the opportunity lost, it will be over a million! no kidding!

      i think i took it very well, yes very well almost like a victory for me. i misjudge my position size through greed.

  10. To teach = earn training fees
    To invest = earn management fees

    1. i guess it is, and i have no objection of people doing it, just don't boost you got 90% winners on directional trades haha.

      but again, thats how you attract fools who believe its possible. thats the kind of people you want haha!

    2. No one wins all the time.

      For full-time investors/traders, when they have big draw-downs, they need new source of funds to fund their recovery.

      Part-time investors/traders have the option of fresh funds from day job's income.

      Its the same with business owners and entrepreneurs - when low on funds, need banks or new outside investors to fund their dreams and goals.

    3. traders like me can only be self relyent. i don't have any credit line from any bank.

      the one important job i have is plotting my equity chart, like a stock chart with all the up and correction or drawdown.

      if your equity chart show a spike up, usually it will follow a shape retractment, exactly like a stock movement. my job is to smoothern this upward motion, meaning reduce its volatility but on a upward movement. technical term i don't know but simply means sacrify big profit for smaller drawdown but consistent smaller returns by adjusting position size according to market volatility.

    4. coconut,

      It's counter-intuitive; but it makes sense.

      What do most retail traders do after a big win? We increase our position size as we think we have "arrived". I too have paid school fees for that folly...

      My recent buy the dip swing trade is in the money (hope I don't jinx myself). It has been a profitable setup for the past 2 years.

      It's so easy to get carried away on the next dip and bet the farm due to greed. I keep telling myself what if the "dip" turned into end 2011 correction? At this stage of my life, I don't need to swing for the fence; just steal one base at a time.

      I don't talk about beating the market. Just don't get defeated by myself I happy oredi!

    5. i agree, everyone is over trading specially when we lost haha, but trade small but in a consistent basis. meaning if you want more profit you have to trade more times but position size stay the same (for individual trade, not my kind of position trading).

      your strategy has to be right at the time or you still got to lose eventually.

    6. ofcos it make sense, i'm so conservative to the extend that i practically trade like catching fish in a small fish tank, i'm no kidding. ofcos the fishes are small, thats why i need 65 fishes, i mean trades a day haha.

    7. i forgot to mention that me and the fish tank are in the open ocean on a boat ready to catch any whales that are passing by!

    8. Whales come your boat pengsan :-)

    9. thats the fact of life like a fisherman, you might not return one day out to the sea. very true.

    10. Finally, we come to this song.

      Through many dangers, toils and snares
      I have already come;
      'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
      and Grace will lead me home.

      hee hee

    11. not for funeral one right haha,

      title? or youtube link? don't tell me its that song again!

      haha see you guys next week.


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