Sunday 31 August 2014

Difference between Dogs and Cats

Watch this funny video till the end.

Some of you may go "Aw....."

Some of you may want to shout "Oi!"

Which animal is more like you?

Once upon a time I used to complain about companies sending me to the selling floor or front line with no training and no support. 


I'm like the cat. I just give newbies a shove in the back.

Learn by doing is where I've pitched my camp.

I'm not a bleeding heart. 

Some months back, a reader sent me an email asking for the better trading website I can recommend her.

I wrote back: "Try google".

I've never heard from her ever again.

And I thought my reply was good better best!?

If you know how to fish for yourself, you never have to ask others for fish again.

Oh well.....

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Me and My Scooter - Revisited

This is the last of the trilogy of "peeling the onion" stories about me.

Me and My Scooter

This story has nothing to do with principles or outlook on life.

While others prefer to quote this authority says this and that, that guru sermons so and so; this scooter story shows my love of writing in metaphors, analogies, and stories to make a point.

Different strokes for different folks!

I don't take myself too seriously; you shouldn't too.

I can be a bit irreverent; a little bit "no big no small"; and a teeny weeny narcissistic.

Other than wine, women, and song ( 吃喝嫖赌 ) , I don't have ay other bad habits...


Saturday 23 August 2014

The Willow and the Oak tree - Revisited

This is the 2nd story dear to my heart:

The Willow and the Oak tree

Of course it's not about banging your head against the wall, or throwing yourself in front of a oncoming freight train.

But there will be a time where we need to make a stand.

To be counted.

And not hide behind "we"; "others are doing it"; "this expert says so"; or put a brown paper bag over our head and shout with a megaphone.

This post was inspired by the Occupy Raffles Place fiasco of 2011 - it seems so distant now....

But it can easily have been about investing and trading.

For eg, 

How many "value investors" are aware it takes tremendous courage and will of conviction to be one?

You buy when others are dumping and running for the hills and you sell when others are fighting hand over fists to buy....

Thursday 21 August 2014

The Grasshopper and the Ant - Revisited

I've noticed that I have some new readers playing here recently.

Adopting the environment friendly mantra of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce to new readers 3 old stories that I wrote ions ago.

These 3 stories can best encapsulate my current philosophy and outlook on life. This way, you don't have to sieve through my 3 and half years of postings trying to pin down who I am and what I stand for.

I saw someone used this Johari-window term recently. Yes, by being more open about myself, new readers can get the context and perspective of my posts better, once my bias and vested interests are known.

The first story and the one closest to my heart is:

The Grasshopper and the Ant

OMG! 2011?

Sometimes when bantering with my old readers, I'll call myself the Grasshopper. 

Monday 18 August 2014

Embrace Meritocracy; Not Paper Chase

No prizes where the inspiration for this post came about.

Most will focus on CPF (money, money, money); I focus on people.
Let's get the bogeyman out of the way. Embracing meritocracy will not increase happiness. In fact, it may probably increase more stress, angst, and burst the illusions for those who collect paper qualifications like collecting stamps or boy scout badges.

Why no increase in happiness?

When we have 1 vacancy, by shifting from giving it to the person with the most "ABCs" behind that person's name to the person who is most competent for the job, the number of disappointed applicants who didn't get the job remained the same.

Why may create more angst?

Those who have reached their glass-ceiling, what do they do? No, not investing for financial freedom. That comes much later.

It feels much better to "blame" our lack of paper qualifications right?

Instead of focusing on within, we put the focus on without.

Do you have courage to press the "reset" button like one brave blogger recently that did so with his portfolio? The day we stop telling little lies to ourselves is the day we move forward.

But off we go, collecting more "ABCs" behind our names.... Maybe this time I'll finally be recognised!

Can you imagine the angst if they see more examples like PM Lee have shown on the National Day Rally speech?


Someone should tell that ITE woman to stop competing in a man's world!


A Malay poly guy can be CEO in Qatar? Full Colonel some more!? I got MBA why no one pick me?


That Cheena man with NTC can be shipyard manager? Don't bluff me lah! Like that I study so hard for my evening Degree course for what?

What is Meritocracy when working for others?

Those working in SMEs know this already.

With fewer levels of management, and less employees, hired-guns have easier access and visibility from the Business Owner.

Hence, promotion opportunities are based on merit, relationships, and intuition - less on what papers you have.

Land owners and shepherds working in SMEs, feel free to correct me if it's not so.

For the benefit of those working in MNCs or for big daddy, the answer is:

What the Big Boss Man really cares about.

Human relations is EQ and Politics

I briefly hinted on relationships above. 

Meritocracy is not just about the intellectual realm. It's also about how we relate to other people. 

What is EQ?

EQ is office politics. (Or home politics for those living in big households) 

And if you always end up on the losing side in office politics, that means your EQ not that high lah!

OK, I better stop now, before I put my foot deeper into my mouth...

Friday 15 August 2014

Just One Thing

If your marriage is on the rocks, you feeling burned-out in your career, or you having your mid-life crisis, you may want watch this 1991 Western comedy film City Slickers starring Billy Crystal.

In this movie, Billy Crystal was having his mid-life crisis - is this it? 

Those who are questioning their marriage, career, and purpose in life may identify with Billy Crystal's character in the movie.

Long story short. Billy Crystal went on a 2 week vacation at a cattle ranch. There he met this tough as nail cowboy - Curly.

In a moment of male bonding, Curly shared with Billy the secret to solving his problems:

Billy went home to same job, same wife; but a happier man.

Sorry, you have to figure out this "Just One Thing" yourself.

I know some of you would google and attempt to find the "answer" through others in the internet. It's a bad habit from your "ten year series" days. I can't stop you.

This City Slickers example was at one time used by quite a few motivational speakers and facilitators. I've used it in my Leadership workshops during my shepherd time of days gone by. 

All I want to say is that if you seek the answer from without, your "awakening" may be shallower than if the answer comes from within..

Younger readers who have no worries in the world right now, just make a mental note will do. When the time comes where you are feeling depressed, anxious, confused, angry, and cynical with your life, you know where you can get self-help.

Don't worry if you don't get it. Since you have already taken the first step, try talking to a soul mate, your spiritual leader, call that hot-line, or seek professional help. 

Don't keep it inside. 

Reach out.

I noticed we have some Zen walkers in our midst. Casual readers don't have to read on. Below its just me "polishing my sword" with these Zen friends.

This "Just One Thing" reminds me of Jùzhī Yīzhǐ 俱胝一指

One finger Zen 一指禅?

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Mom's 1st Birthday

You can turn on the English caption at the bottom right-hand corner if it's not showing automatically.

Watch it in full-screen mode.

It's drizzling outside.

Perhaps that's why I am wiping the raindrops running down my cheeks.

Monday 11 August 2014

The Essence of Rich Dad Poor Dad

Many people have been inspired by this book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.

But I noticed something quite interesting.

10 people read the book, 1 or 2 will have their own interpretations - based on their own life story and personal experiences. The rest of the 8 or 9 persons will tend to gravitate towards the interpretations of others even though they have read the book themselves...

Which is weird when you think about it. But upon reflection again, it's perfectly normal. That's human group behaviour.

Essence of Rich Dad Poor Dad

Let me share my own interpretation.

To me, the whole essence of the book is found in Chapter 1.

If you have the book, you may want to re-read this chapter before reading further.

What's the essence?

It's all about the advantages of being a Business Owner right?

To Chinese readers, this is nothing new. There is a well-know Chinese saying that you don't get ahead working for others. 

Spinoffs and splinter groups

As with all Spiritual movements, sooner or later, spinoff and splinter groups will appear as more shepherds offer their own interpretations to the words of the founder. How else to be Indian Chief of your own flock?

Same goes for Rich Dad Poor Dad. 

I shall share 2 prominent spinoff groups I noticed.

Cult of Passive Income

This is quite popular in recent years. 

Makes a lot of sense.

Not everyone has the stomach and temperament to aspire to be Business Owners. Which brings up the question: Are entrepreneurs born or nurtured?

If you belong to the nurture camp, what's stopping you? Go for a course and there you go!

If you lean towards the born camp, either way, you feel better now.

90% of new business start-ups fail in the first 2 years you know? Exactly! 

That's why selling Passive Income is so much easier. Anyone and everyone can do it! (At least that's what the marketing sell says)

I don't know about you, if something can be done by anyone and everyone, the first thing that pops in my mind are "minimum wage" types of jobs...

Temple of Positive Cash Flow

Before Rich Dad Poor Dad, most have one interpretation of what counts as an asset. The brilliant contribution from Rich Dad Poor Dad is that it offered another interesting interpretation of asset that caught the imaginations of its many readers.

The problem is that some readers have swung their pendulum too much to the other side now.

To these readers, any asset that does not yield a positive cash flow is not an asset???


Can you think of a great long term asset that has negative yield? You may want to ask or discuss with your parents or grandparents on this one. How?

Can you think of an asset that has no yield yet all empires and dynasties covet it throughout the ages? OK, you may need to know history. 

But if you are Asian, then you don't need history. It's part of our cultural DNA - Asia has been through so many wars, famine, and natural disasters that we even wear this asset on our bodies. 


Which quadrant is Robert Kiyosaki?

Do you listen to what others say or what others do?

Enough said.

Friday 8 August 2014

What the Big Boss Man really cares about

For those young shepherds starting their corporate careers, if I ask you what are the 2 things the landowner really cares about when he hires you - do you know the answer?

Put yourself in the shoes of the landowner. If you hire a shepherd, what 2 things you expect the shepherd to do for you?

How much money can you make for me? 

How much are you making for your Big Boss Man? This is easier if you work in sales, marketing, business development, etc.    

Just minus your salary, commissions, bonus, expenses from the gross revenue you bring in and we can get a ball-park figure of the money you bring in to your department, your company, your division. 

That is also why those who bring home the bacon can talk louder. Hence the more wool and lamp chops you bring home, the more you are rewarded.

How much money can you save for me?

Not everyone works at revenue centres. We can still stand out by saving money for the company even if we work at cost centres.

The IT manager that successfully transitioned the company from on-site computing to the cloud - saving a chunk off the annual IT procurement and maintenance budget.

The CFO that proposed and executed the selling of the company's building to a REIT near the top of the property cycle and leasing it back from the REIT for 30 years. Bonus time! 

You no idea right?

You have no freaking clue how much you are making or saving for the company right here right now? 

Don't worry. The majority don't either.

That would mean during salary reviews, you are a price taker. 

How to negotiate when you have no idea on your own contribution in how much you have saved or made for the company? Please don't say how many hours you have slaved... If you are a landowner, would you be interested?

If you have no idea of your own worth, the company most likely has no clue either. Which would make things easier during a retrenchment exercise. You would like to keep those who are making and saving you money right? 

Fundamental investor touchstone

If you call yourself a fundamental investor, and you have difficulty getting a ball-park idea of how much you are either making or saving for the company, something isn't right....

Perhaps you have been using the analysis and summaries of others too often?

Now when others ask show me your workings like in math, you are stumped.

You have the answer but can't produce your own workings to arrive at the answer. 

Maybe you are a technical investor all along? You just follow the crowd as in Trend or Momentum investing?

Monday 4 August 2014

My 15 Hour Work Week - 1st Anniversary

Last weekend was the 1st anniversary of my 15 hour week week.

How times flies! It's 1 year already!

OK, I confess. I "massaged" the truth a bit.

Technically, it's 16 hour work week since I work 8 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. But then, since they don't pay me the 1 hour lunch, you can say I am paid 14 hours per week. Take half/half = 15 hour work week!

Yup, I am paid by the hour.

I must say my "sabbatical from work" turned out even better after working weekends. Now I appreciate Mondays to Fridays more. Especially after standing the whole day during weekends! 

I'm not uncle; I'm no spring chicken either!

Weekends working is also my "time-off". Caregivers may understand.

Both mom and me were getting on each others' toes from see each other too often. Mom was the happiest person when I told her I will be working weekends. Does she have to be so happy about it?

True isn't it? Young that time I got schooling. Then it's work. Mom despite busy being a housewife, had some free time of her own when we were off schooling or working. 

Now I finally understood why Japanese women in their 60s were divorcing their husbands who just retired. It's bearable when their man were not in the house; but to have these men sitting around the house the whole day, time-out!

Hey! I just got a 6% raise! A reward for my 1 year's of contribution? And management was kind enough to backdate it to effective 1st July 14. Cool!

When hungry, eat. When tired, rest. 

I want to emulate the neighbourhood cats at my HDB block. 



Friday 1 August 2014

Lemon to Lemonade

I have a stammer.

When in primary school, it's not so fun when I got teased by my classmates.

Ever noticed we were at our "cruelest" when we were young?

Luckily, I was able to notice I stammered whenever I get too excited (out goes my Playboy collections). 

So begins a lifetime journey of monitoring my breaths and being conscious of the way I speak. I've suppressed my stammer. Can't say it's cured fully as it sometimes comes back to say hello. When it does, I just take a deep breath and wink to this old friend of mine.
It's amazing now looking back that I ended up making a living by talking!? Be it in sales, in supply chain selling cost saving proposals to management, evangelising change in change management, and facilitating in workshops and courses...    

I never learned my times-tables.

Funny how no one cared. I don't recall being tested on it. Then calculators came and we can even bring it to exams! Even less urgency for me to correct this gap in my learning.

There was a time when I was terrified to be found out. And if anyone of you have something to hide like me (dyslexia for eg), you would understand it's not a nice feeling to have.

It finally dawned on me that I can turn this lemon of mine into a lemonade.

When I am facilitating a class, and numbers or calculations came out, I will cheerfully shout: "People, help me out here. What's 8 times 7?"

"56!" someone will bound to shout back.


"Confirm lah!" Now the whole class thunders!

I've stumbled onto one of the techniques to build 2 way interactions in a class.

And yes, we don't have to know everything as facilitators.

Hello weakness my old friend

Of course it's good to make our strengths stronger! That's given.

But its also good not to totally ignore our weaknesses.

If we don't despise, hate, or get angry with our weaknesses, our weaknesses can be good friends that make us lemonades when we are thirsty.

Even without lemonades, by embracing our weaknesses, we can develop empathy.

Scientists when determining whether an organism is "intelligent" will include this empathy test.

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