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Thursday, 3 November 2016

I never failed in Art classes

I'm not sure about school nowadays, but during my Secondary 1 and 2 (1980-1981), we had to take 10 subjects.

Looking back, it was the best of times since I had to learn everything - English, Chinese, Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Literature, and Art.

I think that's a great approach if one is starting out on their nascent investing/trading journeys.

Start broad and specialise when we know our interests and aptitude.

Lawyers and doctors follow a similar path.

But that's not how most retail investors/traders approach investing/trading...

I think most students (and KPI centric educators) are glad they don't have to take Art for their O' levels.

If Literature is hard to score distinctions, what more about Art?

I on the other hand love Art classes; I never failed.

Don't get the wrong impression. I could not paint or draw even if my life depended on it.

And the funny thing is, some of my poster paintings have been held up by my Art teachers to the class as "creative" and very "interesting"!

That's the beauty of Art! Its all about interpretations!

Now looking back, I understood what my Art teachers tried to convey - there are no  such thing as rules, boundaries, or conventions in Art.

There are only expressions.

How can anyone fail me when I am merely expressing my interpretations?

No, I'm not saying Art is "easy" either.

Yes, you may want to view the markets as "Art" instead of treating them as "Science".


  1. No lei,

    I failed my art class, most of the time.

    Those that I do well are those very rigid ones like still life drawings.

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Well, I count myself lucky as both my Art teachers in Sec 1 and Sec 2 understood the meaning of Art ;)

      Let's take the Roundhand calligraphy. That's the most "rigid" one ;)

      I got tired of drawing pencil lines so I wrote using "free hand".

      Different font sizes don't say; my script will veer with an up slant from left to right.

      And since I'm left-handed, the edge of left hand will smudge the paper as write from left to right.

      I'm impatient, where got time to let the ink dry?

      My classmates around me were amazed...

      Never failed me. Always get a just pass 5 of out 10 :)

      I suspect both my Art teachers had the same training or philosophy - Art is to liberate the mind, not to enclose it.

      Unfortunately, there are too many rigid "hammers" like your Art teacher in Singapore...

      Not easy to practice Arts here. Never mind breaking boundaries; just push the boundaries a bit may get "hammered" in the press or social media...

      Its OK.

      Van Gogh wasn't recognised during his time.

      Lady Chatterley's Lover and our 金瓶梅 were treated as "porn"; but now recognised as splendid literature!

      Can you imagine the first Chinese calligrapher who wrote in 草书 as supposed to the rigid and proper 楷书?


  2. Market short term is Art but long term is scientific Art

    1. CW,

      You in Taiwan Hualian?

      Hello, Scientific Art is still Art.

      Merely a sub-set like Abstract, Impressionist, Cubism; etc.

      Of course you didn't mean that - there's really such a thing called "Scientific Art".

      You meant part Science, part Art ;)

      Aiyoh, why muddy the already murky waters?

      Just say long term the market is a weighing machine ;)

    2. CW,

      Saw a reader from Hualien; guessed it must be you ;)

      Taipei is Cory.

      Have fun and when you back, we jio the buttefly out for coffee!

  3. Hi smol,

    In my school days, I never had inspiring art teachers. All of them are other subject teachers who are somewhat forced to 'teach' art. What they did was horrible, and I'm sure more than a few potential artists are so put off by the whole affair that they never went back to it again. I am pretty good at it, but while I didn't fail Art, Art in that literal school kind of sense, failed me.

    I rebelled in my own ways. I would only use 1 mechanical pencil to do my sketches (because one particular teacher forced us to use all sort of graded pencils like 2A, 3B, 6C etc). I refuse to use any erasers during each art project. The teacher didn't know, because he wasn't skilled enough, so while I got my A, I got a greater kick knowing I subverted the system secretly.

    I guess I'm still like that now; Openly submissive, secretly defiant HAHA

    As I get older, I realised I really like the arts and literature side, just that I didn't have enlightened teachers that brought the subject alive for me. That I would have to discover for myself.

    Well, I'm still drawing every now and then, and I still read like crazy all the books that I missed out in the past. I'm quite sure some of my classmates would hve sworn off both by now.

    What I want to say is that while the circumstances for all of my classmates is the same, how we handle them and navigate and react to them differs and forms the core part of our identity. That part is unique.

    1. LP,

      The unskilled ones would hide behind rules and precedents, wouldn't they?

      That's why the movie Dead Poet's Society is so relevant here ;)

      I think I can write 2 more posts on my past teachers to make this a trilogy!


      师傅领进门, 修行靠个人

      Our 5,000 years of Chinese wisdom is profound.

      A teacher or mentor can only help the student with the elementary technical skills; how the student proceed from here onwards may depend more on his own craftsmanship and whether he is cold-blooded or warm-blooded.

      Cold-blooded - need external "motivation" to proceed.

      Warm-blooded - self-propelled :)

    2. Eagerly awaiting :)

      There's a strange type of animal around, not sure if you've seen one before? At a certain location, it could be cold blooded, but in another location, it could be warm blooded. This animal is smart, because it realised that animals are not plants, and they don't have to suck thumb and take whatever the soil and air gave them ;)

    3. LP,

      Ah! The age old debate whether to follow one's passion or first study hard, then work hard for MNCs or big daddy, get married, have children, be kiasu parent, grow old, die and that's that!

      Your failed dreams and passions? Force them on to your children!

      Rinse and repeat.

      Entrepreneurs are a strange breed.

      They wither if they can't live to the beat of their own drums.

      They can forego high salaries and promising stable careers.

      Or they don't let pre-existing disadvantages restrain them - no money, no education, no political connections, no experience, no whatever!

      Well, if the soil and air don't provide the nutrients they need, they move ;)

      No, they are not quitters. Saying so merely slaps our own face for we are then descendants of quitters...


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