Friday 9 October 2015

First Seek To Understand; Then To Be Understood

If you are in the community, you would have known about this viral article by one young "ang moh" editor from an overseas website that alluded there's something wrong with you if you have savings in your 20s.

Guess what? Quite a number of those self-proclaimed and self-appointed purveyor of financial literacy, locally and overseas, have taken umbrage and fought back vigorously.

That young editor and the owner of the website she works for must be sipping champagne and giving each other a high five! Now that's how you drive traffic to your website!

No, I'm not giving you the link to that article. LOL!

Don't worry. This post is not about the article. It's about reading people.

Yalor; Yalor 

Readers who came to know about that article from their opinion leaders, did you just read the headlines only - never bother to read the actual article itself - and based on the strength of what your opinion leader tells you, you went "Yalor, yalor"?

You probably do the same with the quarterly results and annual reports of listed companies. Preferring the summaries of others instead of doing your own analysis.  

And in the same breath you call yourself a "DIY" investor.

Feeling a tad more "superior" than those investors who opted for low cost passive index funds; and perhaps a lot more "smarter" than those investors who have outsourced to more expensive actively managed funds by professional money managers...   

You stupid dumbass

Now it gets more interesting!

If we want to win over people who are not in your choir, does it help to call them names like stupid?

Before the elections, at the pro-opposition websites, instead of engaging the rest of the 60% and winning the swing voters over through intelligent discourse, anyone who dares to give any different or alternate viewpoints will be hounded and cyber-bullied out. 

Apparently, 10% switched sides.

And the face palm craziness is instead of asking for feedback on why they left and what must you do to win them back to the fold next election, you start giving these 10% swing voters names!?

Smart. Real smart.

If I'm from the Opposition parties, I'll have a good chat over coffee with these on-line "supporters". Stop and desist! You're killing us!

How to tell a person got high EQ? 

IQ is easy to measure. EQ is much harder to quantify... 

We can't tell what a person is thinking. But from what a person says or do, we can make deductions there. 

Remember your Literature classes? Remember those questions to describe a character from a play or story? What do you do to back up your opinions of this character?


It's not precise and that's where the fun lies! Some will say Macbeth is a victim and not his fault, while some will argue Macbeth got what he deserves for the betrayal of his king.

Perhaps now you have some insights as to why your friends and siblings have problems listening to your financial literacy nagging...

The problem does not lie with them.

Have you made the effort to: First seek to understand, then to be understood?


  1. Hi SMOL,

    Very well balanced article, typical of your blogging voice :)

    I wouldn't have read it if I saw the headlines myself, but since it's from our esteemed friend, I read it. Okay lah, it's not inflammatory to me. I even found myself agreeing to some of the points lol Still, at the end of the day, I've no regrets slogging my way to earn my savings and achieving my goals. Others can do what they like. Actually without the consumer crowd out there, and if everyone is a saver, I wonder how our reits and companies earnings will be affected.

    They do what is happy, I do what I'm happy. Peace. I think I can definitely learn some of the carefree, spendthrift ways from the article. Perhaps the author can also learn how to save a little more from me.

    1. LP,

      Thank you.

      I think we need to guard against this George Bush's - If you're not with us; you're against us - mentality.

      That article has some interesting points! I particularly agree with some of the "spend small money to attract big money" ideas. That's in harmony with our 5,000 years of Chinese wisdom ;)

      Of course in general, I do disagree with her main thesis. But that does not mean I should dismiss EVERYTHING she wrote...

      That would be too totalitarian and dogmatic.

      Especially when I'm for DIVERSITY ;)


  2. How to be retail investors when every other investors start packing lunches and saving 80% of earned income? LOL!

    1. CW,

      Wow! 绵里藏针。 I won't fall for it; although I feel like kicking him many times too.

      And I did.

      Only to his face; never in the back ;)

      It's quite ironic that as investors, we are in fact rooting for consumers in the major economies like US, Europe, China, and Japan to consume and spend more.

      If the global aggregate demand falls off a cliff, those of us that lived through 97 would know how terrifying it is.

      New graduates taking up to 2 years to land a job, retrenchments, pay cuts, and no pay raises and bonuses were welcomed just as long we get to keep our jobs...

      Although environmentalists would be jumping with joy - less consumption; less damage to mother Earth.

      Be careful what we wish for!

  3. Hi SMOL,

    I had to go and read the article to find out what your blog post was about! I think taking the middle road is the best but then again I was never a middle road kind of person. I think we must guard against telling what people should or should not do as we are third parties.

    1. Joyce,


      Although I'm a hybrid that prefers to call myself a Trader, I don't have to go round proselytising to "investors" they are on the wrong path - only Trading is the One True Way.

      Yeah right... That's hubris.

  4. Hi SMOL,

    I read the post and also a very thorough rebuttal by another.

    I think, they are both right.

    There is nothing wrong with living the way u believed.

    The second man with rebuttal come across as more genuine with his values and convictions oozing through and between the lines of his words.

    The first, is catchy and being cynical, makes me wonder too of the underlying intention is site Hits ...

    Didn't know u read as far as fiancial blogs from the US. Impressive I must say.

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Don't be impressed; I seldom read US blogs.

      This one appeared in my Facebook and I was intrigued and quite agree with the networking part, although I can't imagine myself living from paycheck to paycheck...

      Notice the headline for my post?

      It's deliberate to avoid jumping on the same bandwagon for the sake of page-views.

      I don't want to be like some of those social-political blogs that jump on any hot topic of the day - so opportunistic!

  5. Hi SMOL,
    Communication is one thing they teach well in schools these days.
    We can write pages of essays & projects without really understanding a thing.
    same goes with when we talk.
    The narcissus in me likes the sound of my voice very much.
    Narcissus needs to die soon.

    1. GP Blogger,

      My grandma used to remind me what my kindergarten teacher complained to her, "Your grandson own self don't know still want to teach others..."


      I think its OK to love ourselves. Better this than to have low self-esteem and go round seeking affirmations from others.

      If we don't love ourselves, who will?


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