Friday 27 February 2015

Tuesday 24 February 2015




Thursday 19 February 2015

Smile to those working at Chinese New Year

Many of us may be making our CNY rounds of visitations these few days.

To those who are using public transports, do have a warm and sunny smile our bus captains, taxi uncles/aunties, and those working at the MRT stations that you meet.

Of course if you can muster up a greeting even better! But being reticent Singaporeans, a smile will be appreciated and "understooded".
Stay cool, be a teeny weeny bit more patient. You know that most of their Chinese colleagues have taken off or leave for CNY.

To those who are driving, you'll visit the petrol station no? And maybe the LTA personnel on white scooters are not exactly a welcome sight, but pause for a moment how would you react if everyone anyhow park and jam up the place you are visiting?

Due to my mom's medical visits to the hospitals in recent years, I've a special appreciatation and gratitude to all the nurses, doctors, and ah mahs who work tirelessly on 3 shifts even during the holidays. Thank you all very much!

We may have friends or relatives who are now working during the holidays in many sectors of the economy - if we can take the time to show them some CNY cheer, isn't this being friends and family all about?

I didn't have to work today and tomorrow (感恩), but I'll be working this Saturday and Sunday. Don't you worry, I'll have a ready smile and cheery "Happy Chinese New Year" to all!


Monday 16 February 2015

Coaching and Facilitation

When I attended my first Leadership workshop more than 10 years ago, part of the module is Coaching.

And that's one module I struggled with a lot!

Took me a few years before I can internalise it. (You mean after attending one workshop you all can become instant gurus? No wonder I always feel I am the slowest in class...)

Anyway, the question was posed to me what is my understanding of coaching? 

The immediate word association that came into my head were the NBA games I've watched - Larry Bird from Boston Celtics and Magic Johnson from LA Lakers era - with the coaches shouting instructions and plays from the sidelines. Hence I answered accordingly.

I remember the instructor looking at me with a wry smile. I think he must be thinking this one may take more time... LOL! 


Coaching in paedagogy terms is the art and science of supporting the person answer or get the solution to his own question himself.  

I only attended school till 16. So I can only say there's little coaching involved in my first 10 years of academic studies. 

Those of you who went on to tertiary institutions - were there at least some coaching thrown to the mix with "wa kali gong" (I tell you so) so?

I don't know about you, but the local fresh graduates I've worked with have a tendency to wait for instructions compared to graduates from Western universities. 

Or maybe it has nothing to do with our academia.... It's more to do with our local milieu where we tend to expect big daddy to solve everything for us... My bad! 


Facilitating is akin to coaching; its just done in a bigger group environment.

You know what? Instead of me describing in words, why don't I provide an example? (Note: I never said good example OK?)

Take a look at previous post: Here's a question to Value Investors

"I tell you so" is writing a blog post on what I see are the common fallacies of Value Investing.

Instead of "control", I let it go.

I put my faith and trust in the readers to paint the canvas provided. 

Which also means I've no clue how the end result would look like? That's why most people are terrified of coaching. How the hell do I set goals and do planning now!? LOL!

I may only influence.

And how do I influence?

On one spectrum it's to provoke, poke, kick.

The other end can be cajole, encourage, compliment.

At the end of the day, we want the commenter to express what he/she really feels or thinks. And not hide behind "that's what they all say".....

Note again I never say "right" or "wrong" answers; our focus is what we really think or feel.

Very often, when we know what we really want, the answer or solution is quite self-evident. 


Friday 13 February 2015

Here's a question to Value Investors

Value Investors are those who like to buy stocks that are selling below net tangible assets, selling at a discount to book value, below the intrinsic value with a wide margin of safety, etc.

OK, you people are great at buying

Since I'm not a "Value Investor", I've a question to ask you all:

"When do you sell? When the stock is fully valued? Or when it's overvalued?"

"Or you never sell even when it's overvalued? You just buy and hold till the price drops back down to your original purchase price?"

Friday 6 February 2015

An evening with 2 environmentalists - they found their ikigai!

On Wednesday evening, I attended another one of Young NTUC Crossroads series of talks.

Yup, it's about "tree huggers".

And yes, like readers of financial blogs, it's about preaching to the choir boys....

So I won't share with you the environmental message of that evening.
Instead, I would like to share a bit of their background which I find quite inspiring!

1.  Eco warrior - Tay Lai Hock

He is the one in blue above with the beard. 

I am drawn to him as we have similar background.

Mr Tay left school at 16 with 3 GCE O' levels. Started working life at fast food outlets, signed on as a Combat soldier, then moved on to sales.

Climbed the corporate ladder and was the Regional Sales Manager earning $10,000 per month in 1999 when he gave up everything to backpack round the world.

After he came back, he found his ikigai. 

If you want to learn more about his background: Eco-warrior Tay Lai Hock .

2.  Chairperson Waterways Watch Society - Eugene Heng

Mr Heng started his career in banking near the Singapore River during 1968. 

Get ready for this:

He spent 33 years in the same bank!!! 

It's his first and last job!!! 

Now how cool and rare is that!?

Mr Heng shared that not once during his 33 years did he dread going to work.

If you like what you do, is there a need to seek financial freedom to "escape"?

And what do you do after retirement?

He turned his environmental passion while working in the bank to a calling. 

Yup, Mr Heng has found his ikigai too!

More details on his background: Chairperson of Waterways Watch Society Eugene Heng

3.  Discover your ikigai before goal setting

I know it' very fashionable to share about SMART goals and X amounts by Y years financial freedom milestones. 

I am not against goal setting or planning per se. I do that too.

But without knowing what we really want or why we get up in the morning, if you take a moment and reflect, don't you think the goals and plans can be a bit superficial?

For those who have never heard of ikigai before: What's your ikigai.

4.  Environmental choir boys and girls out there

If you are interested to participate (or volunteer) in the environmental activities organised by Mr Heng (Water boy) and Mr Tay (Earth man), below are the links to their organisations:

Waterways Watch Society

Ground-Up Initiative


Wednesday 4 February 2015

2 suggestions I like from the CPF Life review panel

1. Option to contribute more into CPF Life to get a bigger payout

This option would come in handy when I reach 55 years young in 8 years' time.

If at 55 I can't find any good parking space (everything overpriced) for my "spare cash", I would very much like this option to increase my CPF Life payout.

I think this may also appeal to cash flow fanatics out there - especially those who are worried sick they may run out of cash during their happy hour years...

Cash flow for Life anyone?

Of course it's not totally risk free. 

Just look at Iceland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, etc. 

And if I am a Jap, I don't think I'll trust the Shogun's promises looking at the way they are trying to debase their currency to banana republic status...

The main consideration for me at 55 would be - political risks.   

2. Option to delay my CPF Life payout at 65 to a later date for bigger payout

If I hesitated at 55, there's another 2nd chance at 65 (I hope).

To those who are healthy and working merrily at 65, wouldn't it be nice to have the option to delay our CPF Life payout to 70 in order to secure a bigger payout for Life?

Works for those who are in great financial health at 65 too!

Imagine after diligently doing dollar cost averaging in a low cost fund for 30 years, you cash out at 65 during a multi-year bullrun! (Please don't ask what happens if I am stuck in a multi-year bear run? You get outta here! Choy!)

Or you sold your HDB apartment for an obscene figure and now has downgraded in glee to a HDB studio apartment. Boo hoo hoo. You poor thing. Downgraded. Now asset light; cash rich!!! (Psst, you'll be super popular at OG Chinatown, and some say in Batam too!)

Just switch landed property to shoe-box apartment if you are in the more exclusive private property club.

The main consideration here for me at 65 will be - would I be lucky? (As in would my financial goals and plans turn out the way I envisioned them decades ago?)

What about my physical and mental health?

Glad you asked!

Look, if I've lost my mental capacity or I'm in a poor physical health, do you think financial matters will be high in my list of priorities?

I rather go with a smile than with clenched fists...

If my maker recalls me home, I'll echo, "Hi! I'm home!"

I rather not bitch, "Why you call me back!? Can't you see I am beeeeeesy???"

With the way some young children are talking back to their parents, I won't be surprised!

Sunday 1 February 2015

An evening with AK's first chit-chat session

I just attended AK's first chit-chat session held at the International Plaza this evening.

Took 1/2 day off from work and went there early around 4:30 pm to reminisce and see how much of Anson I can remember. It's been more than 30 years now...

I spent 4 carefree years (1980-1983) at Gan Eng Seng School during my secondary school days when our campus was located at Anson - just next to International Plaza.

Now I see the old school campus has been replaced by Mapletree Anson and ICON Anson. What a gold mine our school was sitting on!

So much has changed! Thank goodness the Tanjong Pagar food centre is still around, albeit renovated and most of the old stalls are gone... Hello! It's been 30 years!!!

Very happy the City God temple is still around and untouched. That's where our back school gate was located and I still have fond memories of buying "black char-guay" from the push cart hawker uncle there - it was the chunky version where we can eat with tooth-picks. 

Opps! I think I have the same disease as AK -  we both can go off tangent when we talk... LOL!

I would recommend those of you who are regular readers of AK's blog to attend future sessions of his. 

But don't go if all you want is to find out what stocks AK is buying... You won't hear anything new that's not already written in his blog.

Go instead to find out more about AK as a person. To seek verification; or to kick the tyre so to speak. 

Is AK in person the same as he is when he blogs? Does he walk the talk? Use your 6th sense - are you comfortable meeting him in person? Trust your instincts.

OK, not so easy when AK is wearing his Ip Man and Blues Brothers cosplay outfit - without seeing his facial expressions and eyes, can be hard for me too!

Thankfully, AK is a "performer". Trust me, you won't get bored; you'll be entertained. AK is funny!   

The real test of this evening's encounter is - if you have a daughter or sister, and she brings AK home as her boyfriend, would you cringe or would you go "Hey, good catch!"

Why am I focusing on the personality aspect of meeting AK live in person? 

Go ask your mother or grandma why they like to poke the fish when they go to the supermarkets?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...