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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Success is an iceberg

There's a Chinese saying: 

Success on stage for 3 minutes; 10 years sweat and toil backstage.


Living in our instant noodle fast food environment nowadays, like black-hearted China mainland food suppliers, we try to cut corners here, skip some testings there, add some additives here...

All in the name of quicker, faster, sooner!

Life is not just study hard and work hard. 

Sometimes don't listen to what others say; observe what "successful" people (in your eyes) do - see Success Indicator.


  1. i come across this idea that if you unable (aka not qualified) to go to the U to learn something as much as possible, you can always go to the NLB to learn as much as possible to your level of ability. Nobody or nothing can stop you from learning your own way.
    How many years already going to the NLB, for me?
    Still trying to look for any new ideas on investing?
    Any taker?

    1. temperament,

      That's why I feel the first 10 years of education is the minimum we need - the ability to read, write, and count.

      The rest we can pick up through self-reading or apprenticeship at work.

      I am happy that Singapore is thinking about introducing the German and Swiss apprenticeship model here to complement the academic model.

      Too late for us; but will be good for the next generation of juniors whose learning style is more Learn By Doing (or learn at own pace).

      Except for my early 20s where I felt a bit of complex being a non-grad, I quickly discovered that with experience and reading up, I can surpass "average" graduates. You'll be surprised how many graduates stop their professional reading the moment they graduate!?

      I say this not with ego, but to cheer fellow non-grads not to hide behind our lack of paper. In the private sector, if we make money or save money for the company, you'll be noticed.

    2. Temperament, I am always hanging out at National Library section 332.6. Haa!!

      Free knowledge, probably can learn more than from school!

    3. Hi Henry Tiong,
      i have just visited your blog. i think you are a good man willing to share knowledge and experiences, truthfully. Your angle at looking at investment in stocks is interesting.
      i think i can sense or image a person's feelings (aka characters) quite accurately by the way they express in their writings (aka bloggings).
      i think you are quite genuinely sincere (in your writings) to share.

      i can only be a REMORA in the blogging worlds, looking for hospitable hosts. LIKE SMOL AND CW8888.
      Ha! Ha!

  2. Hi SMOL,

    I know what u mean, in my line of job, it doesn't really matter if u are grad or non-grad to do a good Job, we have good ones and horribles ones in both sides of the line. But the pay for non-grad is significantly lower than grad.

    Well, I remember someone popping this question to some big shot before, and the answer is we make your investment in education pay off, otherwise who would want to get a degree. I dun buy the argument but since my uni is going to be paid for by my employer, I jut take it as a scholarship even if it is not to study first and work later.

    Now the entry level is only degree fr new recruits. I do not see a leveling up of quality of the labor but status quo at a higher cost, it is part of a bigger equation of nation building, and somewhere, someplace, someone has to get the lower end of the stick otherwise, the greater evil might emerges??

    I used to have inferior complex during my uni days when I have to be part of a delegate of scholars to pRC for an exchange. I was in the delegate as my lecturer is not aware of the criteria, hahaha. But I got pass that, although there are many nice souls there, there are many snobs too. I believe most of them all are at the high places of society now, but I dun feel lesser anymore even if I were to meet them.

    We all grad at different time and with different grades at the university of society with different faculty. Some gone thro fire and become 凤凰,some become become ashes. Some
    Are in clean room and if never removed,will continue to do very well. Some are placed on giant shoulders and as long as the giants dun fall, can always afford to look down on others. Better just be the water that form whatever shape the external holders is, but the work cannot e without.

    Pardon my long comment.. Oops..

    1. sillyinvestor,

      Ah! Even in the world of graduates also not easy.

      There is upper class honours versus lower class honours...

      Normal degree versus honours degree ...

      Overseas Ivy League U versus local U...

      Local U versus overseas guodalongdong never heard of U...

      I would never work in one sector as a non-grad. A lot of scholars end up there; while the best of the best would seek to escape there ASAP.

      LOL! (Don't mind me. What do I know?)

      Your boss speak like that because he is not spending his own money. (Entitlement breeding ground)

      I knew I have a good fit when family owned SMEs and MNCs offer the same pay for a position irregardless of whether the candidate has a degree, master, or non-grad - it's paying for performance; not for my stamp collection. Some people have lots of "abc stamps" behind their names.

      I must qualify of course this apply best in jobs where the performance is very visible - like in Sales or Purchasing.

      When we buy/sell property, shares, vacuum cleaner, we don't pay more in commissions to our agent, broker, salesman if he is a Phd, do we?

  3. That's why most sale jobs pay you on commissions more than your basic salary. Your degree may pay so much more on basic salary.
    Besides those who can really sell, will usually end up selling things for themselves.
    i end up as a "passive business-man" as i was/am a technician.
    i wish i have the guts to go into sale during my working years.
    It's O. K.
    Passive Business-man can be for life, you know.

    1. temperament,

      Sales can be like what you do - striking out to earn based on PERFORMANCE; not the subjective review of someone higher up the food chain.

      "Sales" also apply to those self-employed like the butterfly man, taxi-drivers - some months eat grass, some months eat abalone.

      Being a remisier is as entrepreneur as being a property or insurance agents. (sorry hor, unless if it's fee based financial advice, you are salesman if on commission, never mind the fancy titles you hide behind)

      That's perhaps why so many are drawn to investing and trading - it's 100% in your face performance based. The market is not going to give you an extra 2% ROI per year because you studied at Cambridge like lao lee right?

    2. This reminds me of the book i just read:-

      "How Come THAT Idiot's Rich and I'm Not?

      And of course this book is under the NLB's "Investment Section".

      I think you will be surprised by what you read.
      Maybe not because you are an idiot already.

  4. Welcome to the World of Retail Investors!

    Nobody care who you are and what paper you have.

    1. CW,

      We only care that everyone bring some skin to the game.

      It's a bit like Toto.

      The more participants with skin, the bigger the shared prize money. (You think why SGX and our brokers try their best to increase RETAIL participation?)

      They say equities is not a zero sum game (unlike futures) - that's the theory.

      For us to buy, someone has to sell it to us. And for us to sell, someone has to buy it from us.

      The market is not our mother nor our friend.

      We either hunt alone or in a pack (those who share for a fee or from the goodness of their hearts)

      Vegetarians may want to stay out of the killing fields. Don't touch your CPF if the sight of blood doesn't excite you.

  5. so which is fairer? invest/trading or work?

    when i found the market place, i'll never go back to work ever again, even if i would stave to death.

    1. coconut,

      It''s not about the market.

      You have found something that you enjoy - the money part is the by-product.

      I suspect you don't have annual goals on how much to make or % of return. What you may have are goals to improve your entries, exits, better money management, optimise your systematic signals, etc.

      You are trading to "achieve".

      A electrician, hairstylist, lawyer, teacher - if they happy in what they do, why do they need to come to the market to invest/trade their way to "escape"?

    2. yes, more or less you are correct.

      as a position trader, market always (want to) make me headach, and i want to be relax, so i work on what you had descript.

      as for the goal and return, i try not to think about it. that one also make me headach and disappointment.

      i guess i'm just bias towards job just becos i don't like it. that does not mean others don't either, am i correct? does a job really gives you satisfaction?

    3. all i gain in my few years of employment is just pure...


    4. coconut,

      What you do someone else may call it's a "job" too.

      That's why I am attracted to Buddhism's philosophy of not letting "words" or "labels" distract us from the true nature of things.

      Today, what did my fishball noodle proprietress say to me when I welcome her back from 3 weeks of break? She said resting at home doing nothing was sheer "torture" for her!?

      There are lucky souls out there who can't wait for Mondays!!!

      I should be so lucky!

    5. i remember my first job as a production operator working 2 shift.

      actually it was a very easy job, especially mid-night shift, very few lines were running.

      knn, no work also must stay awake until the sun rise!

    6. that fish ball lady is lucky already, only 3 weeks. mine is every weekends of the year! plus all that ..... holidays.

    7. smol, to tell you the truth, i hated holidays, and i'm like a zombies during weekends. its really that bad, any suggestions?

    8. 1) Young readers,

      That's how I tell the difference between those who work to escape from those who work to achieve ;)

      2) coconut,

      Go to the billiard halls and hustle some kopi money lor!

      Oh! Bad Karma. Maybe give billiard lessons during weekends?

      I would love to have female students. Pretend pretend hold their hand on the cue stick, my other hand gently adjust their tiny waist...


      I think I need to go wash my brains wash my brains!

    9. what, you think i'm dumb?

      i hang out at billiard very often now, play with a few guys i met in the saloon, so far my standard had not comeback le haha.

      i also coach, hey not the snake oil one, my friend's son who just learn snooker, twice already.

      can you be more creative!

    10. coconut,

      You not dumb; just hard to please.

      So after doing all these activities during the weekends you still feel like zombie?

      Ah! Playing and teaching billiard is what you do to "escape" during the weekends ;)

      Sell durians?

    11. no problem, i know i wouldn't have an answer anyway, but thanks.

      i am trying to find a place where it assemble a market place, like a casino or race horse, been to them but they are not really the same, at least when i'm concern.

      my problem is not the markets, any market place, its people (sadly).

  6. Hi SMOL,
    For high earners, professionals like doctor, lawyer, and banker if they are happy and retirement is no problem to them, i agree with you.
    In Singapore, i think ordinary wage workers even if they are happy with what they do, they better think how to be able to retire in Singapore. Aka look at passive & active businesses or maybe a wealthy uncle's help.

    i can tell you some of my wife's relatives earning $million as doctors/year, why do have to crack their heads about the market? After a certain sum of money you can earn, anything more make not much different, according to research.
    Ha! Ha!
    People like me, MONEY NOT ENOUGH lol, needs to learn to love the market even i had hated it once at least.

    1. temperament,

      When doctors, lawyers, bankers, businessmen dive in to the markets, that's more for greed, excitement, ego, and a host of other reasons.- they are going for the icings on the cake.

      Some have gone bankrupt like the 60 plus taxi-driver former contractor boss, who told me his story during a ride, that he lost his fortune and business punting big on Natsteel.

      What I have issues is the "selling of unrealistic" dreams to the common man on the SMRT bus - under the guise of Financial Literacy - we can either invest or trade our way to riches.

      Even in Value and Index Investing there are hype.

      These vehicles by themselves are neither bad or good - no different from intraday trading. Onus is on the DRIVER - how good we are.

      But the way some of the snake-oil promoters are hyping Value and Index investing as "bao-jiak" durians are not much different from Multi-level marketing or penny stock promoters.

      Can't wait for the SEC investigation to Herbalife. There are quite a few listed Multi-level marketing companies out there.

      All those "friends" who tried to "recruit" me into MLM have they themselves quit...I am nice enough not to say "I told you so!"

  7. High income earners just need to invest to preserve wealth .Their years of saving is fat enough to retire

    1. does a doctor earn a million a year? really? i don't believe that statement, who wrote it?

    2. coconut,

      A "average" GP can earn around 20-30K per month. Again it all depends on whether the GP is new or have 30 years of experience in the business.

      My family GP in Queenstown is living in a bungalow at Shepherd's Drive - just a stone's throw away from his clinic in a very mature 3 room HDB Queenstown estate. Not Orchard Road patients OK?

      Just 1 clinic and 1 clinic assistant. Now he in his 60s. No computers. My records all in little index bin cards. Same 70s decor. Talk about free cash flow!


      But long hours during his younger days. From mornings to nights. Now he only open for mornings and selected evenings. He earned it!!!

      Yeah, if he invested he could probably have 5 or 10 more bungalows. How much does one need?

    3. oh i forgot about GP, haha silly me.

      i was just thinking about the doctors who work in a hospital, what their earnings, can't be a million right. i was thinking about job.

    4. ofcos if one talks about propietorship, the sky the limit.

    5. They definitely have more then one private properties. Tell me what they going to do with their abundance of money if not property. (Since share can be a headache to them)
      Solid hard rentable assets after owning them, they just increase their CASH FLOW. And this cash flow is usually FREE. Because the property is usually fully paid up in no time.
      That's how one of the way, the RICH getting Richer easily.

    6. temperament,

      Yup. Your time and my time where got hear words like Financial Literacy? Mere flavour of the decade buzz words that's all. Last decade it was Passive Income. Next decade they will come up with new marketing hype to get everyone all dizzy again ;)

      Just make a wild guess why rich Indonesians and Mainland Chinese are buying our Singapore properties? And high net worth Singaporeans investing in London and Iskandar?

      Something we can touch, feel, and see is always more comforting.

      Geographic diversification is also good just in case Singapore goes the way of Taiwan - democracy and freedom up and up (messy kind); economic progress down and down.

      Wonder how our Singapore new grads will take it if their starting pay is the Taiwan's equivalent of $1,000 per month?

      You think why Taiwan students dare to occupy their parliament? When you have nothing to lose, fear goes out the window.

  8. "Your success in long-term investing may not be what you actually see and get now. Your delay Gratification may lead to super return that you couldn't even believe it." - Createwealth8888



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