Friday 3 October 2014

Me Time; Family Time

Last night, I ended up at this round table discussion whereby Young NTUC has been gathering feedback from the many youths on their concerns between the balancing of social and economic priorities in Singapore, while maintaining the family as the foundation.

Wait. How did I ended up there again? I'm not exactly a spring chicken...

Oh! It's for the FREE dinner. (I'll do anything to get a free meal nowadays.)

Hey! Lim Swee Say was there! Excellent speaker. Adept at using stories to put ideas across too.

But enough name dropping!

And  no worries, I won't bore you with the details; I'm not an activist or mouth piece.

When I signed in, I saw there's an "Activist" designation next to my name. I crossed it out and wrote: "Pacifist".  Wink.

3 informal sessions were already held with singles, newlyweds, long-time married couples, single parents, etc.

Last night was the presentation of their collective feedback and asking us at the round table to give inputs.

I noticed one glaring omission - Time.

The presentation was peppered with benefits and money, and the usual wish lists. I suspect those they interviewed must have been office executives working from 9-6 in 5 day work week.

So I spoke up for those of us who are working in the service industry - from retail shop floors, to supermarkets, from fast food outlets to restaurants, from resort theme parks to hotels - 5 day work week for us too?  

Below is the internal thought process why I said what I said last night.

Got money no time for what?

More leisure time means more consumption - good for economy. (OK, those bloggers who advocate saving more will hit my head!)

More rest and me time helps to reset the body and soul - less stress, less headaches; less headaches, more babies! (You need imagination here.) More babies, less dependence on foreign talent; less foreign talent, less angst! Less angst; less bile on internet. Better social cohesion?

Everything is bullshit if our values are out of whack! 1 day off a week can do what? If our service comrades (and ALL Singaporean workers - foreign or local) have 2 days off a week, one day is rest - simply do nothing to re-set body and soul - then we have another day for family.

When was the last time you had dinner with your siblings? How about ah kong and ah ma? They no longer around? How about mom and dad? What kind of values are you transmitting to your children through your actions? You have "no time" to have dinners with your parents and siblings, you think your children will have time for you when they grow up and have families of their own?

Family as foundation is not something we put on our lips or what we "plan" to do at a later stage... Like when we have achieved financial freedom? We can wait; not sure our aged parents can...

P.S.  Just to add about Values.

I read the other day that a 18 year old young man wanted to achieve $1 million by the tender age of 25 through investing and trading. Hey! I'm a cheerleader and the last thing I would do is to pour cold water. 

But it gives me pause if too many young people think having money is the end all and be all of living. 

Thankfully, there were some entrepreneurs and CEOs with their own businesses and social enterprises present last night. Phew! Evidently we still have people with passion to build real products and provide tangible services to meet society's needs.

Good, good.

Now I need a hug badly. I feel like I'm a parasite of society being a full-time investor and speculator....


  1. SMOL,
    So proud of you that you are guest (of honour) at NTUC dinner!
    Your blog gives us all a glimpse into one man's life. The lessons we could learn from this unique view must be worth its salt.
    Free hug for you, but parasite of society you are not!

    1. ckw-I99,

      I'm more a freeloader at the buffet table lah! Went for 2 rounds ;)

      The problem with having a margin account is that my holdings are all in custodian account - no AGM free lunches :(

      Just making up for free meals foregone? LOL!

      No lessons from me; just shooting the breeze with you all :)

      Oh! Thanks for the man-hug!

      Eh... Hands don't stray to my bottom hor ;)

  2. Hi SMOL,

    Heh, I also shudder at so many young people wanting a be millionaire be age x and y. That important meh? Maybe when I'm young I'm also like that lol

    It's not up to us to tell them what is good or not. They have to experience it and maybe their values might change in the future :) all in the right seasons :)

    1. LP,

      In a way I'm envious of them. At least they know what they "want" in life.

      At 16, I was busy working. After NS, I spent quite a few years in the wilderness hopping from one meaningless job to another, trying to figure out what I really wanted to do in life....

      Until I stumbled back to retailing sofas at IMM. One thing led to another... And it ended at Athens, Greece!?

      Definitely no goal setting or career planning involved! I'm just a leaf in the wind...

      Hence my "do more, plan less" philosophy :)

      Of course I wouldn't tell the young what to do! I'm too cool for that ;)

      How to not win young friends when I go round telling them:

      "Youth! You strength is not knowing what cannot be done!"


  3. yo jared! good sharing ^^
    happy that you'd attempted to speak up for those who work retail floor and non-office-hours. hope there'll be more 'sponsored dinner' opportunities ^o^

    1. bb,

      Oh! Oh!

      Now I know who you are!!!

      You're that mei mei who blogged about Progressive Wage Model sometime back!

      Sorli sorli. I got eyes no see Tarzan.

      Got free meal, got mei mei - I hit dead won't run one!

    2. struggling to reply you sia.... coz i'm really more jie-jie than mei-mei ^o^

      you've a very 'lively' blog! love reading the comments and interactions ^^

    3. Girl,

      As oppa, you are always mei mei ;)

      For a man, I sure can talk a lot!

      This watering hole here has a diverse mix of dragons and buayas. You tread carefully here now...


  4. Activist? You union member?

    Why did you cancel it and write pacifist? Should write grasshopper...

    No hug, I shy. How about a toast?

    Hmm... Money over time because money can buy some time?

    Car to save on transportation time, maid to save time on household chores, atas meal to indugule on the taste buds,

    Money over time, when we have no so much money but plenty of energy to convert time to money. When we are young.

    Time over money, when we have enough money, it could be absolute or you are enlightened to have less but contented.

    Different season different wants.

    Winter want fire, summer want ice

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      I tell you something funny. At the dinner, while striking conversation with another male "activist", I introduced that I am a financial blogger.

      He looked at me with pitiful eyes and consoled me: "Oh, you write about boring stuffs one...."


      That's how our small community is viewed from the outside in ;)

      I don't blame him. Especially if all we do is talk about X amounts in Y years, with regular updates on how much our money has grown. Wee!

      Eh. You think my ego as big as bicycle wheel? Outside our community who knows about the context and perspective of "grasshopper"?

      You didn't like my word play as a contrast and "poke" to Activist?

      I thought it's cute - 无为.

      An air toast right back at you, cheers!

    2. Hmm... Interesting,

      I went for a seminar, when 2 participants at my table heard I am a financial blogger, they were very interested. One ask about my blog address, after some hesitation, I have it to him.

      He took a look immediately during the break, said he couldn't understand as it was too technical.

      The other went Taiwan to da pin before, and we had a good conversation on business models..

      How different ...

    3. Sillyinvestor,

      Evidently these 2 participants have very different concept of "financial bloggers".

      One is perhaps more interested to be told what stocks to buy and can buy at this price? Non technical and no thinking needed right? LOL!

      The other is more into the art of fishing.

      See? Now you understand why I need to poke other bloggers that I like?

      How else to know whether that person is superficial or really know what he/she is talking about?

      Whether he/she is making things up or sharing about real experiences ;)

  5. Hi SMOL,

    That's a quick turnaround! I better get going to be able to post something on the event by tomorrow.

    Anyway, money and time. I think of them as being the same issue since having enough money can buy you time off mundane work?

    Ah. Somehow brings the topic back to what I am always blogging about. =)

    1. 15 HWW,

      I'm a man of leisure mah ;)

      It's good we have differences in opinions; it makes bantering more interesting!

      Money can't buy time. 寸金难买寸光阴.

      We can't buy back our youth. Nor can we buy back those missed memories with our parents or children.

      What most people meant when they say "money can buy time" is really about using money to pay someone else to do the "chores" or "mundane work" they didn't want to do themselves.

      Kudos to stay-at-home moms and dads who didn't find taking care of their children or parents a "chore".

      Words are spoken lightly, until the needle pricks the skin. My heart goes out to our fellow blogger who is now anguishing between sending his dad to a nursing home or relying on home care.

      It boils down to Values. What are our priorities in life? There is no right or wrong. And who are others to judge what we do?

      Just as long we can have a peaceful sleep, we are doing not so bad ;)

    2. Hi SMOL,

      Agree with you that it's impossible to buy back lost time.

      But how about future time? Stash away enough so that one is no longer obligated to work and have more time with family? No?

      With regards to out-sourcing chores, I am somehow uncomfortable with it. Hiring someone to wash my own toilet just because I hate it doesn't seem right.

    3. 15 HWW,

      Lucky I got study science in school - there's only 24 hours a day today, and I think it will pretty much stay the same in the future too, give and take some nano seconds.

      It's about balance. I had to work weekends so that mom and me can have free time from each other!

      When living-in-sin with my ex in Shanghai, I also need some me time away from her!


    4. hey my15hww,
      like you, i also believe that time and money are really quite similar issue.

      long ago, i held a senior position that paid very very well, but i was working super long hours and work was consuming me as a person.

      work became what defined me and i had very little time for anything else, including family, friends, me-time.

      eventually i decided to take a step back. decided that all the money in the world won't make me happy. so from then on, i traded money for time, and have never looked back since ^^

  6. Talking abt this topic....sigh. Yes, its abt balance, boundaries, values....

    For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? or what shall a man give in exchange for his life?

    Your money or your life?

    1. pf,

      Life is another way of saying our time on this earth. Not everyone has the same time on this earth, but we have the same 24 hours a day - whether rich or poor.

      I want to avoid saying buying or exchanging time as that's just another veil to cover up what we don't want to face up to...

      What are we looking forward to when we wake up in the morning? What's our ikigai?

      The moment of truth is when we are told we have 6 more months to live.

      Some will drop all they have been doing up till now and do something else they really desire.

      Some will continue to do whatever they are doing now without change.

      Money or life (time)?

      I'll let you know my true answer when I know I'm about to die ;)

  7. When was your blog become a financial blog? Financial blogger? Lol!
    It looks more like lifestyle blog.

    1. LOL,

      Agree, lifestyle blog is flattery.

      It is a eat, drink, women and work blog!!!

      Life is short, make it pleasurable !!

      Ok, going to get slap again

    2. WolfT and sillyinvestor,

      Of course I never consider myself as a financial blogger!

      That's why I introduce myself as one to get the honest feedback from others not into money, money, money ;)

      Then I come here and share my experience with you all to poke at ourselves who take blogging too seriously!?

      Chill. The majority are just not that into us ;)


  8. Hi SMOL,

    What are you doing there at “Young” NTUC! It is for the young! LOL. Can I join next time?

    This time in your blog comments, I am going to be serious – Otherwise you think I am always so “shallow!”

    Sometimes, X amount in Y years is a good target in life, but If not balanced properly, X amount in Y years = Z where,

    Z = health problems / family problems / no personal hobby / lack of proper guidance for their children / narrow mindedness / arrogance / selfishness / lack of empathy etc

    While financial literacy is essential but a balance between savings, spending, time, family, experience and leisure is important.

    I am always entranced by someone who had a rich “Life Experience” rather than a “Rich Pocket!”

    Can you rearrange the alphabets of Rolf Suey” to find “Yourself”?


    1. Yourself,

      There's such a thing called SKII for men. Ah ber then?

      When Big Daddy gave us their X by Y goals (Swiss standard of living by XXXX or Population target by YYYY), why are we not so motivated?

      X by Y Management by Objective was sold to Land Owners as a circlet to ensure their monkey kings earn their keep - nothing more, nothing less.

      The funny thing is some are ever so eager to put this same X by Y circlet on their own heads!?

      What's financial literacy?

      I prefer to be the one doing the chanting than the monkey wearing the circlet ;)

  9. "With regards to out-sourcing chores, I am somehow uncomfortable with it. Hiring someone to wash my own toilet just because I hate it doesn't seem right."

    We can afford to hire a maid even until now but we never did except for a very short period to look after my 2 to 3 years old son, 26 years ago. And it never worked out .Because only the maid was at home with my son and nobody else. She was just a hired hand and nothing more.

    If money can buy time, soon there will be no more poor people.
    Money may buy an organ but which doctor can guarantee 100% transplant successfully.
    Money has meaning only when you have life.
    No one on his last breath regrets that he has not has more money but more life.
    In facts, nothing in this world matters to anyone when he dies.
    Life has forced me to matters what matter and not matters what doesn't matter.
    i am trying very hard even now.

    1. temperament,

      Trust a spiritual person to understand why I am uncomfortable with certain choice of words - even though I am agnostic.

      Money is money; life is life.

      As I have alluded to, time can be another expression of life.

      If time can be bought or exchanged, then life can be....

      I don't want to venture into that abyss. We have enough dark history of human civilisations when it comes to slavery, forced labour, and exploitation of the underclass....

      Shit! I've veered off topic again! Philosophy is such a downer...

      Let's make merry and wine instead!

      Today got wine today drink!!!


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