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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Data point of One - That is all you need?

Tuesday is my movie watching day.

And the GV cinema at Vivocity is one of my favourite.

Had lunch at the "one person; one plate" Hokkien mee stall at Seah Im Food Centre:

Hokkien Mee at Seah Im Food Centre

I used to worked at the old Cable Car Tower 20 years ago.

Same stall; same owner.

Wife now wears spectacles; husband's hair has turned all white...

Husband still jokes and smiles to the regulars. I was once upon a time a regular.

Their prices very reasonable at $2.50 and $3.00.

The photo above is the $3.00 plate. I big tummy mah!

Want to know whether their chilli good?

Must pay extra $0.50 for more chilli!

That's how you know! Which means many have asked for more!

No, the picture shows they not stingy with their chilli - regular chilli portion. The extra $0.50 is more for "chow kuan" (greedy) customers.

We know the type. More chilli, more noodles, more veggie, more soup - but still pays the same...

No, this post is not about the Hokkien mee or the movie I've watched - Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

It's about drawing first impressions from data point of one.

I'm a fan of Dell computers. Had good experiences with them - whether its PCs or notebooks.

However, my notebook purchase last year was a "lemon". The motherboard had to be changed only 6 months into usage...

Their recovery was great! I even wrote a compliment letter to the third party technician who handled my case.

Took the opportunity to ask about the pros and cons of on-site recovery versus service centres. And how many cases the technician have to handle in a day. May come in useful when another ACCS like company wants to do a listing here. Wink.

I've worked in Supply Chain. I know no matter how good a company is, there will always be "lemons" that will slip through Quality Assurance.

Its too "expensive" if we really want to ensure "Zero defects".

With my previous pleasant experiences with Dell products and service, one "bad" experience will not deter me from buying from Dell again.

Now contrast this with a first time customer of Dell. If you had to change a motherboard six months after purchase, even if the repair was covered under warranty, you would probably go round telling your friends, if asked, not to buy from Dell, wouldn't you?

Just now, while having breakfast, the regular old lady selling paper tissues once again approached me. I ignored her, as always.

If you first time visitor to this hawker centre and saw me doing it this, you would probably think I so heartless, so stingy. One dollar only...

But if you regular or residents living around here,  you would probably do the same as I.

This tissue old lady uses the "guilt technique" which I don't like.

She'll either throw the packets of tissues on the table or shove it in your face. Expect us to "support" her because she's entitled?

Even if she is pleasant and nice, I can't be buying tissues from her every day. Can I? There's such a thing called charity fatigue...

The same applies to REITs. Some will sing praises because they have never made losses on them.

But some will complain and be cautious on REITs as they have been burnt by them - especially in 2008 during the Lehman meltdown...

Just like if you asked Sabana REIT retail investors. Those who made good money and those who lost money will each have their own versions to tell.

A financial blogger appearing in the papers sharing his financial journey. If you don't know his backstory, of course some may question whether $500K can be financially independent meh? Is that enough in Singapore? Really?

But to those who know and have followed his journey, you would understand what his financial independence meant. Especially knowing his heritage, and after his sharing of some projects in the pipeline...

That's because those who question are probably using financial independence to escape; while our blogger friend is using financial independence to achieve.

Once you know the difference, the perspective changes. Wink.

Next time you're tempted to form an opinion with a data point of one, ask yourself why in your day job when it comes to making a decision, you always like to wait for more analysis, more research, maybe ask a consultant?

When your rice bowl in on the line, all of sudden you can't rely on a data point of one?



  1. The most important thing you never share.

    What is the name of the Hokkien mee stall?! Next time I wanna go try :)

    1. Oops nvm! I found the stall based on your chili description haha.

    2. Kevin,

      I like to leave some blank spaces for readers to colour themselves ;)

      I ain't going to take the thrill of discovery from you!

    3. its the one facing the main road?
      i always whack the duck noodle stall...
      thinking about it now, makes me salivate sia.

    4. foolish chameleon,

      Yes, facing the main road or Sentosa ;)

      There are quite a few good stalls. 30 years or more tradition!

      I like to buy the Indian Rojak for dinner after the movies.

      Mom likes it.

  2. ha ha.

    Still long queue!

    Good to have character and define your own rules

    1. CW,

      I've lost count how many times I've been "scolded" here and overseas whenever I try something new or visited a eating place for the first time.

      Its part of my learning experience and getting to know the customs and culture of each region.

      Oh! There's no "da bao" for food I can't finish here?

      Sorry, sorry. I cannot bring food from outside even though I not eating it?

      You don't accept cash? Huh? Must use cash card? Sorry for holding up the line!

      I just stick out my tongue or shrug my shoulders.

      I think some of us are too "sensitive"!


  3. SMOL,

    I agree that the same thing will bring different experience to different type of people. The same applies for "the one type feeds peoole of different characteristics". This is the wat of life.


    1. Ben,

      Different strokes; different folks.

      I do enjoy the diversity in Singapore, especially the variety of foods available here!

      The same goes for most financial bloggers; we are open to different opinions and feedback.

      Lucky only a few are "sensitive".

      How do I know? I had to find it out the hard way.

      Crash got sound!


  4. I tried before... is not bad... if no q then I will buy... if long q then I won't...
    I prefer the duck rice nearby... this I don't mind spend half an hour to q .... hehehe
    think is same row ... somewhere nearby this hokkien mee...

    1. sy sy,

      Yes, the duck rice is nearby.

      I find it comforting that some of the stalls are still around after 20 years...

      Cable car tower was the best working location in my working life.

      From my desk, I can see blue skies and waters and Sentosa. Sometimes on a slow day I'll just gaze at the cruise ships coming in at a snail's pace...

      Whenever I need to think about something, I'll walk along the piers.

      The sound of the waves and the smell and sight of the sea can be very calming...

      Good times!

  5. Hi SMOL,

    There are certain places on the web that one should stay clear off. There's plenty of toxicity and negative emotions that fester in those environments, with its denizens feeding and building upon it. I wasn't surprised to find out that an inspiring story was dissed and stepped upon in those dark underbellies of society.

    Meanwhile, a few days back, I read about a high flyer's musings on a young high flyer's response to a successful financial blogger. The young chap remarked that he feels satisfied as his hard work has paid off in both his career and his net worth. That was all; there was nothing to it. What I found incredulous was that the high flyer shot down the former's achievement: "When I was his age, I've already achieved 10 times of what he did. I even have peers that outdo me 10 times. His achievements are nothing."

    That's life, huh? On one hand, you have keyboard warriors who nurse resentments and engage in pot shots because they feel letdown by society. On the other hand, you have the self-made man/woman who crushes through challenges after challenges such that they can never ever empathize with the common man.

    Oh! And nice hokkien mee. Your place there also got nice wanton mee also!

    1. Unintelligent Nerd,

      Yes, just like in real life where there are places I would not want to wander into (less in Singapore but still have), I too have to be alert when in comes to where to visit in cyberspace...

      After the debacle of "The Real Singapore", there are no shortage of wannabes to take its place - because its so profitable!

      Even in our financial community, there's always one-upmanship.

      Got $1 million? Another will say how can be enough!? Must hit $10 million then enough. Just like clock work, another will laugh that to be really high net-worth in Singapore, must have $100 million!!!

      Or for my generation, to retire at 40 is already clap-clap.

      Now it seems 35 is the new 40 ;)

      I don't envy the young. That means in future the target will be to retire at 30?

      Wow! Graduate, work 5-6 years and retire!? Who says youth of today are "strawberries"?


    2. They are 'strawberries'-don't work, rot at home! LOL

      There's never such things as easy money la.

    3. Rainbow girl,

      You said it! Not I!

      Its nice to poke fun at ourselves from time to time :)

  6. Hi SMOL,

    Good post. We're not intuitive statistician, that's why we still rely on one data point and why good impression lasts forever.

    I want to mention something. When we know a person's heritage and his ideas, then we're kinder to him because we know a lot of things that are not written. We're friends, and we eat the same food and breathe the same air. Heck, we've even shook hands together. Perhaps all the world's misunderstandings are based on the fact that we don't have enough friends! Once you know people, it'll generally be better. There's a bias to like something we know.

    Reflecting on our own experiences, have we mentally dismissed someone because they disagree with us? Have we scoffed at someone for doing something we dislike? Maybe if we're friends, we'll see the same situations in a different light.

    Since we can't make friends with everyone, the next best thing is to imagine they are people like us, wanting happiness for our family just like us, trying to make a living in this world just like us, and trying to be happy just like us.

    1. LP,

      First impressions are important.

      On the other hand, I constantly remind myself not to let it cloud my judgement though.

      Time will reveal a person's true heart - 日久见人心。

      There are people who impressed the pants off me during our first introductions.

      Over time, some were a bit of a let down, while some I'll avoid, where possible.

      Then there were those whom I disliked the first time round; over time they kind of grew on me.

      A bit like no fight; no friends - 不打不相识!


  7. 不打不相识! Nice quote...
    My personal experience... working as part time clinic assistant at a private clinic... bcos of some misunderstansing... I argue with my doc... show the doc my black black face... i guess the doc dont like me either...
    Just a part time job so I don't really border also...then don't know since when or how long we started to work together more & more time working together... and got 1 time I request for more hours work as I need $ ... guess what, out of my surprise the doc asking me my hourly rate then the doc offer a $1 increment for me instead of let me work longer hour...The doc said I should focus more on my study not to work longer hour...At that time, the $1 increment is really mean a lot to me, I so "gan dong" that time... really "不打不相识!"... hahaha

    1. sy sy,

      Just like in the movies - argue, argue, wait become lovers!

      Are you going to tell me you married that doctor?

      I can't explain it. Sometimes after a big fight, the "makeup" part can be very exhilarating!!!

      Got fight with 小别胜新婚!


    2. Is a lady doc lah... lol =D

    3. Cheh!

      I thought you 感动 till 以身相许!

      I'm liberal. In this era, "姐妹情深" is perfectly cool too ;)

  8. Hi SMOL,

    I guess that the most important thing is to be content what we have. There are so many want target. If one intially aim to achieve FI by having $1 million of networth, one will go for $2 million when $1 million is achieved. It goes on and on. The person does not get satisfied when the time proceeds. This might cause the unhappiness to the perzon who keep on thinking that he/she cannot retire as most ppl keep on raising the bar as it raises.

    I think that one million of networth is sufficient for financial freedom. Once this is achieved, it's time to take a step back and relax. I am not saying that one should quit from hia or her full time job and not do anything at home. One will be able to have options to choose when the going gets tougher. He/she chooses to continue working not because he/she has to do so but wants to continue working. Such feeling is excellent as one is in charge of the circumstance. I personally want this type of circumstance.

    Avoid lifestyle inflation while continue working is the way to go.


    1. Ben,

      I am currently enjoying my 16 hours workweek.

      I think that's the sweet spot.

      For 1.5 years I was enjoying my sabbatical from fulltime work.

      When I lost tracked of which day of the week I'm in, I knew I had to work weekends so I can get back the weekend is coming feeling ;)

      A lot of lifestyle stuffs are not about goals and targets.

      It's more about crash got sound.

      Like tuning to a radio. Turn a bit left, a bit right, and a bit left again. Ah! Optimum reception!


    2. Hi SMOL,

      Totally agree with you. Life is about trial and error. Tweak a bit according to one's preference.

      Life is so wonderful with simplicity.



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