Wednesday 19 March 2014

Can you teach me how to fish?

James is in his 60s. He owns a fishing tackle shop at the Beach Road area. Has been in this business for 30 over years now.

A friendly face pops into the tackle shop as we speak. Peter, in his 30s and works in a bank as loans officer.

"Can you teach me how to fish?" Peter bellowed out as he plonked himself on the stool in front of the counter.

James looked up from his morning papers and mumbled, "Which kind of fishing rod you have in mind?"

"No, I don't need a fishing rod." Peter shaking his head.

"How about a fishing line then?" James raising his eyebrows.

"No, no. I don't need equipment. I want to learn how to fish!" says Peter. His voice betraying a hint of impatience.

"Oh!" James exclaimed with a smile, "I have a DVD set that shows and explain all there is to fishing. You want?"

"Not what I had in mind." Peter now looking at James with a suspicious face.

"A fishing book?" James tries again.

"Hello!" Peter now getting very exasperated.

"Tell you what. I have a workshop on how to fish next Sunday at the community centre. You can join me there." James replied nonchalantly.

"Dad! Stop selling me stuffs on how to fish!" Peter is really fired up now. "I want to learn how to fish!"

"I just showed you." James beaming. "Now get off that stool and put on your apron and go replenish the merchandise on the shelves!"

James is happy Peter is willing to take over the fishing tackle shop after James retires next year. Peter and is now learning the ropes by working in the store every weekend.



  1. Your metaphor getting a bit chim...

    Business is more than products but a whole range of service and after service ?

    Investment is more than buying the counter but why comes before it and what to so after u own that piece of paper?

    1. sillyinvestor,


      Mud water when stirred, is cloudy.

      I just wrote about the transmitting of knowledge and know-how from a Dad to his grown up son - the secret sauce ;)

      Eh... Do entrepreneurs and investors have to take up a certified degree course before they are allowed to start a business and buy their first stock?

    2. Hi SMOL

      i hope that is not the case :X

      I rather walk the talk than talk the walk . haha

    3. Small Time Investor,


      No worries - that's not how the real world works. "A" students work for "B" students, "B" students work "C" students, and "C" students work for college drop-outs - I am invoking Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Osim and Breaktalk founders, etc.

      Tongue-in-cheek of course! Wait parents come hit my face!

      And the above don't apply to Govt-linked companies as most people without paper would have found out - why be 2nd class employees when private sector only care about performance and results ;)

      This post is about people who says they want to teach others "how to fish"; but all I see is selling stuffs to the newbies who think they are learning "how to fish".

      The worst way to teach others "how to fish" is to give fish ;)

  2. Hi SMOL,

    After you learn how to fish, you have some fishes. Still, you have to learn what to do with the fishes. Or you hand the fishes to someone? i know you definitely won't do that now. But someday, we all have to. No matter who you are.

    1. temperament,

      The worst way to teach others "how to fish" is to give fish.

      1) In the story, James not only shares with Peter "how to fish" (earn a living); he plans to hand over the "fish" (store) to Peter. Happy ending.

      2) What if Peter can't or has no passion for fishing"?

      a) The best scenario is Peter excels and enjoy whatever he prefers. In this scenario, Peter has no need for James' "fishes".

      James is disappointed no one takes over his legacy; but James can cash out his shop for a well deserved retirement knowing Peter is his own man. Happy ending.

      b) The other extreme is where Peter needs "support" for whatever reasons. We don't pry.

      Running a business is not for anyone and everyone (and that includes investing).

      Finding someone whom you can trust to take care of Peter will be the best - you hand over the shop or convert it to a trust estate for this person to administer for Peter.

      Not the best ending; but we trust in God's Grace after we are gone. (That could be the final and most important test of our faith)

      Not an easy topic. Manipulation with good intention is not the same as nurturing.

    2. i know a taxi driver who has an only daughter born "subnormal" intelligence. He shared with me he had asked our G about setting up a trust for her. i don't know whether what he told me is the truth or not. He said that our G told him to sell his 5 room HDB Flat first. In other words, because of his 5 room HDB flat, he is not entitled to G's assistance.
      It's easy thinking about setting up a private estate trust for someone needy for life. In practice, it is not. You need millions of $. 1 or 2 millions can hardly worth for coy to be interested. Besides it is not a practical sum. The estate trust will soon be exhausted due to yearly management's fees, etc...

    3. temperament,

      That's why I put finding someone we can TRUST before choosing the right vehicle.

      It's people first.

      Even if we can afford private bankers, do you think they will "take care" of Peter outside their fiduciary duties?

      It's always about relationships.

      If we cannot name a person we can trust to take care of our love ones (with love and compassion), it says a lot about us doesn't it?

      It's easier to "blame" big daddy or others than to confront the holes in our own souls.

      If the taxi-driver is a CONTRIBUTING member of a spiritual or volunteering organisation, give and he shall receive.

      I think there's a higher chance to find love and compassion here than in private banks or big daddy institutions.

      We like to shoot big daddy first instead of asking whether the taxi driver's own siblings and close relatives are giving any assistance to his daughter.

      If we choose to be an island; be one.

  3. Yes you are right!
    The taxi driver (aka it's the same with all of us whether we like it or not) finally has to choose someone or group he think he can trust to look after his dependent daughter, for life.
    And for a little bit of LOVE.
    Possible or not?
    Now how many of yours and mine relatives volunteer willingly?
    For life you know not one week or one month.
    For life you know.
    And with a little bit of LOVE.
    You have to sacrifice something from your life you know.
    Sad to say, many siblings in a family even maneuver among themselves to bother with looking after their old folks.

    Private banks or big daddy institutions is only for the basic necessities of living for his daughter and not looking for love here.
    i think you can seldom find love for the children in an orphanage too.
    If not there will not be this piece:-

    "An orphan's curse would drag to hell
    A spirit from on high;
    But oh! more horrible than that
    Is a curse in a dead man's eye!"

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    Here though the emphasis is on the dead man's eyes, but what touches me most until today is the "orphan's curse would drag to hell"
    Who cares if a curse drags some spirit somewhere to hell? Hell can happen to others but it is not truly hell till it happens to you!

    1. temperament,

      Ah! A person who reads poetry can't have too many holes in his soul ;)

      Each one of us have our own karma.

      We live our own lives; we can't do the living for others.

      Live one breath at a time.

  4. Before getting into serious fishing, must learn to tie your own fish hooks. Next to train your patience to untangle fishing line without using scissors to cut it.

    Master doesn't buy ready-made hooks and won't cut tangled lines no matter how badly it looked.

    1. CW,

      And that you don''t learn from buying fishing equipment, DVD sets, books, and workshops.

      You learn by observing the Master by going out on fishing trips with him. If lucky, Master may share some of the secret sauce, if he is in a good mood ;)

      Want fish? Go wet market or supermarket - faster and cheaper (minus the cost of equipment and baits) some more!

      If no time, no interest - outsource!


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