Horizontal links

Friday, 17 June 2016

What comes before goals and plans?

Watch the below video from Jack Ma from Alibaba first. Don't worry. Got English subtitles.

1.  Before we go on, Singapore is where it is today not because we have goals and plans. You mean other governments and countries have no annual budgets and 5 year plans?

2.  Do you keep thinking of money every waking hours? Is it healthy? Is this the reason you are here on Earth? You are very practical and a realist - no money; no talk. And you wonder why others are happier than you...

3.  Have you realised where you are today is the sum of all decisions you have made or not made? No choice? Was it really "no choice", or the truth is you capitulated and took the easy way out? 

By the way, during one of my Buddhist seminars, one business owner from a neighbouring country asked Ajahn Brahm, "Where I come from, nothing gets done without giving bribes. But I'm a devout Buddhist!"

Without being a Buddhist yourself, you would know how Ajahn Brahm would have replied. Or would you tell the business owner its OK to tell little lies to himself? No choice what?

4.  Would you sell combs to monks?  Is this why insurance agents are not really held in high esteem by the general public? To be fair, every industry got their share of bad apples. 

My fellow sales and marketing brethren, have we ever sold combs to monks?

No choice again right? We got sales targets to hit, KPIs to achieve...

Who is the master, who is the tool?

In corporate life chained by goals and objectives; in our own private lives we continue to use the same very tethers to seek our financial freedom? 




  1. Replies
    1. CW,

      I don't own a comb anymore.

      But there are combs in my house - they're mom's ;)

    2. okay. No girl friend staying overnight. :-)

    3. I'm not sure girls want to stay overnight with a guy that's still living with mom :(

      That's why we have bachelor pads ;)

      I've noticed one interesting trend in Singapore.

      Girls are more likely than boys to move out of their parents' home when they are "adult".

      Interesting :)

  2. Hi SMOL

    So you are Horse Cloud's fan?

    Most successful people can imagine and express themselves well, aspire people. I don't even know the objective of Mr. Ma took the video when recent years the company was in several accusation of giving bribes? Ok, we just talked about trust. haha.

    I don't know him close enough to know the truth, so I give him the benefit of doubt. I hope he don't drop by your blog and I get sued. I can't afford it. haha Having said that, I salute him for his achievement and his positive image in the media and videos.

    Coincidentally, this is exactly what i told my friend yesterday. Life is never about money. You will never be happy pursing it, in my opinion.

    1. Frugal Daddy,

      No, I'm not a fan. Come to think of it, I'm not a fan boy of anyone ;)

      Yup, Alibaba was embroiled in a corruption scandal a few years back.

      So was Singapore in recent years despite our good reputation.

      We had netted principals, top civil servants, MDs and Directors of listed companies, religious leaders; etc.

      We even set up a dedicated anti-money laundry unit recently. That meant that 1MBDB case was not an isolated incident...

      Low crime does mean no crime.

      What Jack Ma and Singapore have in common is DECISIVENESS in dealing with corruption cases.

      It's the WILL (not just wayang) to root out and PUNISH corruption that wins respect and inspire confidence ;)

      Of course there's a political angle in Jack Ma's video. It ties in with Xi JingPing's anti-corruption drive.

      In China, if you try to be a hero and go against the CCP...

      Yes, life is more than money.

      Politics is so much more interesting!

  3. Hi SMOL,

    I just watched this last night. Hmm, what he mentioned should be seen by more Chinese people. If you think of brazil, you'll think of football. If you think of Thailand, you'll think of buddhism (maybe 'tigers'). But if you think of China, you'll think of fake pork buns, fake milk, fake genuine bags etc. It's reputation is at stake lol

    I read that in the past, 'made in Japan' carries the same reputation as a 'made in China' product, before Japan improves its manufacturing and automation ambition in her pre-industrial days. Maybe China is undergoing such a revolution now.

    1. LP,

      Yes, it was same for the Korean brands - now look who is stealing Japan's lunch?

      Singapore before 1959, we can bribe the police, customs officers, and civil servants like any other neighbouring countries today. We too have undergone a process of transition ourselves.

      I have discussed with a few successful colleagues in China who emigrated overseas why they do so when China has so much opportunities and growth?

      My own feeling is due to lack of trust.

      They are not confident the existing political regime or good times will continue...

      If you look at their tumultuous history, there's no guarantee the leftists will not take over and have another Revolutionary purge... Or other social upheavals.

      Unlike Singaporeans who are confident (or complacent) on the future, the Chinese are eager to make it rich as quick as possible.

      Hence taking short-cuts, cutting corners, and stealing other people's intellectual properties...

      No one wants to be left behind when the boat sails...

      There is a much greater sense of urgency to get rich and get out...

  4. SMOL,

    Your reply to FD is far more thought invoking than what he said. Remind me of lu Xun

    At the various cross roads, it is not just decisiveness but courage to do what you believe.

    That is what is more important to the person doing himself than the factors in considerations and how externally people interpret it.

    Well, he could be "heroised" because the time is right, but he / we shouldn't give it a hoot if we are simply pursing what we believe even if the intentions are not as alrustic or pure as what media or our mouth portray

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Wow! We have now mixed in Politics, History, Literature - that's what I call muddying the waters!

      Yup, our own lives; our own karma.

  5. Jack Ma is definitely not a mainstream guy.
    In business dealings, the you scratch my back, i scratch your back definitely applied.
    Only in what ways or terms you want to define as corruption.

    Recently i read he wants his company's account open to scrutiny in the West to prove something or what?

    Corruptions or bribes are not so easily stamped out when the country is huge or the company has become a behemoth, though the people who lead say so.

    1. temperament,

      When S-chips have trust or integrity issues, imagine the business opportunity when you can stand taller than your competitors in being "whiter than white"?

      Now that Switzerland has lost that bank secrecy niche, guess who benefits?


  6. I watched that video when it was just released few days back. Wanted to post it but was too busy with the "fallacy of being rich!" that causes a small whoohaa..

    I am a fan of this video. There is great element of truth in it, abeit like what temperament says bcos Jack Ma is not "main stream" I seriously doubt this vid can be comprehended by many mainstreamers!

    Doing B2B busines in China is not easy! The western world has a mistaken attitude impression towards China or even Chinese for that matter. Maybe skin color sometimes still matters for many westerners who r not exposed to the eastern world.

    As a Chinese myself who still value my roots of our long history n culture, I reckon Jack Ma is putting the message across to the billions of Chinese to look back at China downfall in histories.

    During all the Chinese downfalls in the past, are there? : Honor, Righteousness, Integrity or Respect?

    So the Chinese must have these elements as they navigate the way forward to become the world super power. And Singapore has shown these elements which brought us to where we r today!

    I particularly like "sell comb to monk"

    Sidetrack abit, Quiz :

    "sell comb to monk!"

    Make a guess for a country name!

    Ans: Scotland in Mandarin

    1. Rolf,

      Geopolitics and global macro investing are so interesting (to me)!

      That's not to say bottom-up company specific stock picking is passe.

      If we believe China will continue to grow and prosper despite the occasional setbacks, owning some China assets may make sense - don't we wish our parents owned more assets when Singapore were growing rapidly in the 70s to 80s?

      But if we think China is like Brazil - full of hope and potential but always letting down its believers since the 70s - then we can either stay the hell out or short China like Jim Chanos and Kyle Bass.

      An opinion is just an opinion.

      But to profit from one's opinion?

      We need to first make a DECISION and then take ACTION.

      And that, not anyone or everyone can do it...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...