Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Leslie Kee - From Rental Flat To $40K Daily As Top Photographer

Finally an article from our "nation building press" that resonates in my heart:

It Changed My Life: How Leslie Kee went from living in rental flat to earning $40k daily as top photographer 

The "ugly" side of our "financial freedom" (formerly aka I want to be a millionaire) community is the frequent obsession with money. 

Crass. Banal. Bourgeois.

Especially when I read those "financial advice" to youths who have asked the "wrong" question about life. 

Of course there is bias in highlighting this article. 

We tend to identify with others with similar backgrounds and experiences.

Compared to Leslie's childhood, mine would be liken to be born with a silver spoon!

Talk about playing the cards you were dealt well...

If you were in his shoes, would you have just rolled-over and gave up?

Many did.

Drugs, gangs, crime. 

There's some take-aways that I would like to share with youths who have gotten the "wrong answers".

Remember, if the answers did not came from within you, they are usually platitudes parrot by drones and mules. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing...

1.  We got to pay our dues

Michael Leong - founder of ShareInvestor.com also washed dishes while taking his medical classes in Northern Ireland.

No, I don't mean literally you have to wash dishes... I didn't either!

But I too had to put in my fair share of blood, sweat, and toil just to be able to to afford the learning of my craft.

This is before the 10,000 hours needed to master our craft. 


Yes. Don't huh me!

Unless of course you were born with a golden spoon. Grades lousy but parents can afford to send you overseas to get a degree with little academic respect... But you're a "graduate" still mah!

2.  Success is what we have to sacrifice to achieve it

If you can't spot it, don't worry.

In time you will. Especially when it comes to relationships.

3.  Life is a series of decision points

If you ask anyone who have lived life a little long than you, you'll often find them regretting more on the decisions they did not make over the ones they have made.

Would you make that move to New York, if given the chance?

Would you suffer for your craft even if it costs you your freedom?

Of course "New York" and "personal freedom" are metaphors again.

Tip: If no one asks or headhunts you in your industry, I think you know the reasons why... Its either you are very mediocre, or super brilliant but clueless on "personal marketing"!

4.  A scholar in every profession

Trust in our 5,000 years of collective Chinese wisdom: 行行出状元!

There's another Chinese wisdom that says women afraid to marry the wrong man; man afraid to enter the wrong profession.

If you decide to choose Money, I can understand. 

Its easier to aspire to be a "prostitue". Who wants to toil for our craft?

I understand. I'm a man-whore myself.


  1. Inspiring, not many can survive what he went through, not to mention find passion and thrive. But then again, maybe he became who he is because of where he started from.

    1. Macroanalyst,

      Yes, the perenial questions we often ask ourselves:

      Nature or nurture?

      Destiny or karma?

      Luck or effort?

  2. Easier to sell a dream where more people are likely to be inspired and follow.

    1. CW,

      We invent "heroes" for this purpose.

      Humans are no different from ants and bees. The majority have an inate need to "follow". To be part of the group/herd/tribe...

      Except "cat" people. They just chill.

  3. Top grade in any profession is likely to earn extra ordinary compensation. Top traders and top investors included.

    1. CW,

      Mastery of what we do gives us pleasure and happiness.

      "Mastery" need not be best of the best.

      If yesterday we could not do it, but today we can do it after putting in much effort, that sense of accomplishment is not something we can measure with money.

      Knowing our subject matter well meant we can easily defend our position/thesis.

      A charlatan will collapse with the slightest of pokes ;)

  4. Hi SMOL,

    People say say they regret only lah. How many will do otherwise if they were given a second chance? It's uncomfortable....there's too much ambiguity. yada yada yada

  5. Smol,

    Totally agree about the fact that where we were are a results of our choices and the surrounding circumstances.

    Tough circumstances, touch choice and u get unconventional outcome.

    But like your previous post comments, I rather have dumb luck, than the need to make tough inflection points decisions.

    Regrets is inevitable. It is useful. It takes you either to make a different choice when the time comes again or accept what it entails from. Now on.

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Sometimes I shudder when I looked back and wonder what I would become if IKEA hadn't recruited me?

      The article resonated with me as it seems most of us with little paper qualifications had to venture overseas to find our "luck".


      Thank goodness it has changed now in Singapore with the focus on competencies over paper qualifications.

      But that will still take time for mindsets to change for parents.

      Most people just focus on the, "Wow! $40K per day!"

      You and I see a craftsman pursing his craft ;)

      Feels good when your student respond to you right?

    2. Smol,

      About pursuing craft, recently I feel that I can practice zen when I am at work too.

      Sometimes with the best intention and effort, we might not see fruits.

      Sometimes the pupils who most appreciate us are least appreciate by us.

      Lol!! I ask my colleague organizing the "most caring teacher" if I got any "nomination". I know I kelong. Just curious . The only 2 that wrote, 1 was a pupil from last year and the other which I find lazy and always "scold" lol

      Talk about karma!!

    3. Sillyinvestor,

      I caught myself "thinking too much" recently hence the recent post to remind myself.

      Zen is everyday life.

      Walking, eating, sleeping.

      Looks "easy"; but no right?

      When we do something (even with good intentions), we tend to "expect" something in return.

      Imagine how much "lighter" life would be if we had no expectations?

      We crave recognition, praise, compliment, acknowledgement...

      From good intetions, we turned into bitter guilt tripping monsters, "I do so much for you... Not even a single word of thanks! You ungrateful you!"


  6. I think that the most important thing is that one should make decision to do things that he/she likes. It is the journey that matters the most. The outcome is secondary.

    My two cents worth of opinion.


    1. Ben,

      I think I should collect your 2 cents. Overtime, I can buy myself a cup of coffee!

      You and I are both here because of the decisions we have and have not made ;)

    2. SMOL,

      Total agree with you. I think that it is important not to compare with others. Ppl tend to compare with others who are better than them. This resulted in lower confidence or self esstem.

      It's better not to compare with others and be content.

      Adopt the "Zen" attitude and life will be simple and marvellous.



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