Monday 31 December 2018

Were you a trainer before?

The best compliments are those that are not spelt out or spoken; they are implied between the lines. Wink.

I like to "read" people.  It started out as part of the requirement for doing sales, but it quickly turned into a hobby.

Yesterday, a husband and wife couple were checking out some kitchen appliances. After some foreplay, I casually asked the husband if he was working in the Food and Beverage industry? I complimented him he's very knowledgable about the appliances!

Press pause button.

Fellow snake oils will know what technique I'm using. 

Female readers who are skilled at influencing men are probably laughing out now. 

"Bang, you so clever!"

"Wow! You so very de strong!"

"Oppa, why others can't, but you can?"

There's usually a follow up statement but I don't share. Don't worry girls, I won't spoil our "bawu" :)

Press play button.

The husand replied he's a chef in one of the 5-star hotels in Singapore. Ah! No wonder!

What happened next was not according to script...

The husband asked me whether I were a trainer before?

My smile was brigher and sunnier than my bald head!


OK, as a chef, he's managing people too. 

Both of us were smiling and nodding our heads.

It felt good. 

Its always nice to get acknowledgement from your peers.

You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl... 

I am glad the country is still within me. Wink.

Thursday 27 December 2018

Wow! Now that's volatility!

Compared to 2017, I guess 2018 is another beast altogether!

Just look at the price action in the US on Christmas eve and on Boxing day! Whiplash!

Remember early Jan 2018 some smart ang moh guy said in Davos if we are holding cash, we would look pretty foolish?

Well, that's investing for you!

Still think its different from speculation and gambling?

On that note, I hope one day I'll be good enough to join the successful speculators club.

You know, like those brilliant (or lucky) folks who bought Bitcoin at USD$1,000 and sold everything at USD$15,000.

Shorted Keppel at $12.00; covered back at $7.50.

Bought WTI crude futures at USD$30.00; sold at USD$60.00. 

Shorted First REIT at $1.40; covered back at $1.00.

Yup, all the above were some of the opportunities I've missed under my nose. And that's coming from someone who does it full time... Ouch! Talk about eggs on my face!

Its never about the nouns - whether you're an investor, speculator, or gambler. Its always about the adjective.

Next time if you feel like being holier or superior than thou just because you call yourself an "investor", reflect on what's the point if you are one of those one day I'll break-even investors versus successful speculators and money winning gamblers?

Of course you weren't like this from the beginning. Someone put those silly ideas into you.


Well, if you parted with more than a thousand dollars, at the very least you should walk out all pumped up, "If I think I can, I can!"

Those who have attended prosperity gospel churches, political rallies, motivational talks may spot the similarities. Its all same same.

Never underestimate the power to manipulate, influence, inspire others!

Now you know why there's no shortage of shepherds (with sheep fleece) most willing to inspire and motivate you!


Monday 24 December 2018

How much money you need to be a millionaire

Tuesday 18 December 2018








Friday 14 December 2018

The Difference Between School And Life

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Star Dusts, Voodoo, and Business Accounting

What are some of the most common elements in the Universe?

Hydrogen, helium, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen.

What are the most common elements we are made of?
Hyrdrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen.

No. We are not "special" or unique.

We are made up of stardusts.

Once we can appreciate and understand the true nature of things, philosophically and psychologically, we may begin to see and treat things differently from before.

Its as if the wool that others are trying to pull over our eyes has been lifted...

Technical Analysis

What are the basic building blocks of voodoo technical analysis?

Price and time.

Most people would include volume too. 

But in recent years, high frequency trading has messed things up a bit. So volume analysis its not a simple read as before...

With just 2 simple price and time factors, we can create 1001 indicators and oscillators. Like the many sub denominations in all religions.

If you are confused, using too many indicators, or arguing with others your one is bigger...

What's the point?

Might as well look at the basic building blocks directly. And if you are entrepreneurial and creative, you can invent your own technical indicator!

Start your own church and your followers will tithe you.

Now that's how you make money off technical analysis!!!

Fundamental Analysis

What's the language of business?

Financial accounting.

If you want to use fundamental analysis, shouldn't you be conversant with the language of business?

No, you don't have to take up bookkeeping or financial accounting. Not everyone likes to deal with numbers...

Wait a minute. 

Can you explain to me why you swear by fundamental analysis again?

But for those who want to have the competence to read and analyse financial statements themselves, there are plenty of financial accounting or business finance courses for non-accounting professionals/graduates out there offered by our polytechnics, professional bodies, and universities.

These are usually one year part-time evening programmes with exams kind of formal classroom courses. 

Perfect for those of you who like to collect paper qualifications and put "abcs" behind your names in business cards.

As for those who don't like formal learning environments, there are numerous books like those dummies series where they explain complex financial accounting and business finance concepts in an easy to digest format.

Cannot understand as in catch no ball?

Well, there's always voodoo for you as plan B! 

You think why technical analysis is so popular? 

The "minimium PC requirement" is much much lower... LOL! (Don't hit the face!)

Exception is probably Elliott Wave Analysis. I think you need a degree to understand it!!!??? Then again, its probably just me... 

And if you still don't understand cartoon lines with crayon colours, could that be a sign investing or trading not for you?

May I introduce you to Toto, 4D, or Big Sweep instead?


How come Singapore Pools got no affiliate programme to reward me for introducing customers to them? 


Silly me...


Sunday 9 December 2018

Death and Sickness - Spanners in the Works.

Yesterday, I've received word that my ex-colleague has recently passed away in Switzerland.

This is the third colleague from my previous life as a sellsword.

And all 3 of them moved on before age 50...

I guess now that I'm 51 years young, I would hear more about such cases as in serious injuries, major sickness, and eventually death.

Funny how when I looked back into my early 20s and 30s, I was "male chicken" sure of myself. Even when I was in that dark phase of perpetual job-hopping, I never lost hope or faith that eventually something good will turn up. 

I'm still young! Lots of opportunities ahead! I got time on my side!

That's the strength of youth! I didn't know what I knew now.

Just because we have a dream, developed SMART goals, and drafted detailed kickass plans up to 2 decimal places; none of them "entitled" us to what we think we "deserve" in life - even if you are Singapore born and raised!

No, this is not a pessimistic or fatalistic reflection.

On the contrary, its about gratitude and joy in the greatest gift I have today - life!

Its like as an atheist, its precisely I have this one and only life that I have everything to live for!

I don't have the luxury of multiple lifetimes like in reincarnations.

Nor do I have the "consolation" this present life is only a full dress rehearsal, and eternal real living is the one coming here after... 

You know what? I just wanted to poke those who are constantly living in the future by worrying and planning how much financial resources they would need if they lived till 95 and beyond...

Then I realised there are those who are more concerned with life in the hereafter than living in the present!? OK, better stop. Don't mess with those who are super confident where they will end up. For these people are even more sure where I'll end up!!!

I've no heart to tell them I'll end up to the place before I was born. I'm made up of stardusts; I'll end up being with the stars. Wink.

Tuesday 4 December 2018

When I started to sing...

No lah!

I'm not so bad. I'm not tone deaf OK?

I can sing in tune; most of the time anyways... (hee, hee)

Its around secondary 3 that I first discovered I can sing.

And it was in my Gan Eng Seng School's toilet... Of all places!!!

During the previous night, I was watching the Country Music Associations award ceremony on TV, and Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind" won the song of the year.

The chorus was very catchy so as I sat down in the toilet cubicle doing my no. 2, I started singing it out loud thinking I was alone.

You know why we love singng in the toilet or shower?  

The echo acoustics!

So imagine my surprise and embarrassment as I flushed and opened the cubicle door, there stood 5-6 schoolmates clapping and cheering me on!?

Yah, I was blushing like a little school girl while washing my hands... 

It felt good. Its always a wonderful feeling to be acknowledged for a competence or ability we have.

Over the years, as I kept singing for the fun of it - usually in the shower and in the toilet - I noticed I've become better at it. (Mom may have another opinion though)

That 10,000 hours thing is true.

From mimicry to experimentations, I've discovered singing techniques like vibrato and falsetto on my own.

Now I'm trying to sing like those Japanese enka or Taiwanese hokkien song singers. I tell you, those voice transitions are damn hard man! 

But that's what makes it fun and challenging! No?

When was the last time you felt proud doing something that anyone and everyone can do?

Its good to have hobbies and other interests. 

Danger signs should be flashing if you have no interests or hobbies outside of work. Especially if you are nearing your retirement.

Double-confirmed if you are one of those who often question what to do after retirement or achieving financial independence, early retirement (FIRE)?

Seeking FIRE without hobbies and interests is like setting a goal to have landed property or private condominium.

Contrast this with someone having a cherished dream of having a home of their own.

If you can't tell the difference, never mind.

Oh! Why do I sing?

Because I feel good doing it!


Friday 30 November 2018


Tuesday 27 November 2018

Self Taught or Attend "Koyok" Classes?

One of the animals at this watering hole has decided to resurrect himself from the dead!

After a year of hiatus from blogging, he is back!

Learning through cheap books/internet versus expensive training courses 

There's one part I find quite illuminating:

Do you know some courses/workshops are charging on a hourly basis more than MBA classes?

Its like those clueless first time property "investors" who paid for "more affordable" shoebox apartments that are way more expensive than regular condos on a per square foot basis!?

OK, some may argue that's why they have to attend courses mah! 

A bit like first time travel overseas, "sotong sotong" will get cheated or fleeced by the tour guide or restaurants/shops there. Fair enough.

I find the reasons why Singaporeans have a love affair for courses more insidious.

It wasn't intended.

But the paper chase culture has resulted in "bei kambings" mistakenly associating the accumulation of certificates/diplomas as the path to "success" - like collect boy scout badges.

Career not going anywhere? Take more courses! One degree not enough? Take two! Two not enough? Take three!!! Still can't get a job? Well, can always teach mah!

Big daddy has recognised this disease; hence the pivot to competence now. Wink.

There's nothing wrong in taking courses. I took part-time night classes and corrrespondence courses in my early 20s.

What's important is the application of the knowledge we have acquired!

And be good at it! 

What you do cannot be anyone and everyone can also do OK?

Hence its called competence. Wink.

What's your motivation?

Do you want to learn how to fish?

Or you want just to have fish thrown to you?

If its the former, then avoid those courses that make promises you'll be financially free; or be a millionaire; or can achieve passive income by doing nothing; or invest/trade just using 5 minutes a day...

Got common sense you'll know they are throwing the fish at you as bait! And you're lunch!

If you want to learn baking, you'll attend a baking class. Nothing more; nothing less. 

Are you willing to pay more if the baking course "promises" it will help you become a milionaire or you'll be a michelin star pastry chef?

You'll probably laugh your head off!

Yet when it comes to money matters....

Sunday 25 November 2018

HDB loophole or sugar from big daddy?

If you look around your colleagues in their 40s to 50s, you may find some of them have rented out their HDB flats while they are staying in private condos themselves.

This is a variation of the 2 bites of the cherry and upgrade to private property sugar from big daddy. 

Today, if you owned a condominum or private landed properties, you must sell your condo when you downgrade to a HDB flat.

But if you owned a HDB flat, you can "invest" in a private condominium. Now that's cool for those of us who started with small means. And no interest in investing in equities or other forms of financial "paper" assets...

To you, an asset is something you can feel, touch, and hold kind. Wink.

Of course not everyone and anyone can do it. 

But its a great later years option for those who started out "average". The slow starters. The mediocre fresh graduates. Those with no papers. And those who have no clue what they wanted to do in life! You know, no dreams, no goals, no plans whatsoever... 

Strange things do happen. 

Who knows?

Maybe 10-20 years later your career or own business took off!?

Now you can afford to upgrade to a private property. Why not rent out your HDB for "passive" income? (OK, no such thing as "passive" as you may still need to handle tenants from hell!)

And you know what? You can do this without knowing how to read financial statements, know nuts about what's happening globally in the financial markets, or anything to do with FIRE or financial freedom!

Its just based on simple Earn More, Save More. And some luck in life!

Let's be honest. Which is easier?

Renting out a flat/condominium?

Or investing in paper assets like bonds or equities for the yield?

I mean its inside our DNA from 5,000 years of Chinese history.

Landowner anyone?


Wednesday 21 November 2018

Data breach :(

Just got notification from Cathay Pacific about the data breach of their frequent flyer programme system. Sigh.

This is my 2nd one after the recent Singhealth case.

I guess it will be more common going forward. Sigh x 2...

For an IT dinosaur, I can only put my trust and faith on big organisations to prioritise and secure the needed ressources to protect our personal data.

I mean everything is now computerised and in the cloud. 

Not as if I can opt out...

I don't want to get paranoid in printing out a hard copy of my bank and CPF statements just in case some hackers corrupted or stole my money... Or should I?

During my corporate days, I find it very hilarious that most of my junior colleagues print out a copy of their emails for filing. 

I questioned why? 

Doesn't it defeat the purpose of going "paperless"?


To protect their backsides just in case got "disputes"!?

So there are people more primitive than dinosaurs like me. Wink.

Friday 16 November 2018

Investing Meant Taking Risks

Many newbie investors starting their journeys in recent years like to "jio" others to invest!

As if don't invest is stupid or what?

Of course that's the strength of youth! They don't know what cannot be done. 

That's until they got their first big loss. 

Although STI has yet to experience a -20% bear market this year, at the individual stock level, some of these youths are starting to experience their first -50% losses.

This is healthy. And very normal.

That's how old fogeys that survived several bull/bear cycles learnt the hard way too. We are no smarter. 

I remember an old colleague lost just $5K and swore off "investing" in stocks forever!?

The pain of loss is too much for him to bear psychologically. I wouldn't encourage him to "invest" for his financial future. People like him would naturally gravitate towards voluntary contributions of CPF. So be it! Low returns (after inflation) are better than negative returns!

Another source of complacency is what we often hear from "bei kambings" - "If this stock crashed, Singapore will go down too!"

Well, if you have followed the US market recently, you would learn not to invoke such silly mantra as a reason for investing in a particular company...

Utilities are safe right? Defensive some more as during bear markets, people still need water, gas, and electricity. No?

And best of all, they give dividends too! 

Well, just ask investors of PG&E - the utility company embroiled in the middle of the California fire tragedy currently.

Anyone remember GE as in General Electric?

In 2018, its ranked by Fortune 500 as the 18th largest US firm by gross revenue.

The stock price today is back to their 2008 GFC lows...

Buy-and-hold anyone?

Or is it luck if their buy-and-forget stocks are still doing well? How many old fogeys will admit to it? 

If one of the biggest "blue chip" company is no guarantee, and safe and boring defensive utility stock for widows and orphans can also get you into trouble, please show me what stocks are sure "bao jiak" ones? Will never lose money for us?

I've deliberately left out our Singapore examples. There's a reason for it. 

Those of you who can remember a bit of our local financial history can easily recall similar examples in our STI.

That's the reason why old fogeys will likely underperform youths in percentage terms - we do include Capital Preservation into our investing thesis. Wink.

Monday 12 November 2018


This post is "stolen with pride" from Early Retirement SG's post:

Does Love for Work Exist?

I steal inspirations; I don't steal credit. Wink.



说, 谁都会。






Thursday 8 November 2018


Monday 5 November 2018

The Countries With the Highest Density Of Robot Workers - Singapore Only No. 2?

Singapore no. 2 behind South Korea?

How can?

We must beat them so we can be no. 1!

Just like how we retook Changi Airport back as the no.1 airport in the world from their Incheon Airport. No?

Yes, I am using sarcasm.

I remember when I was in primary school, there were loads of busses ferrying factory workers wearing their lttle blue dresses in and out of Singapore.

That's ancient history...

I also remember fondly those small little POSB branches that were located in HDB estates. They have only 2-3 tellers. And the black thumb prints when withdrawing money!

Now fast food outlets and supermarkets we have self-ordering and self-payment machines. 

And we can order almost anything online to be delivered to our door. How convenient!

One day, I guess shopping centres will only retail services that cannot be replaced online like food, hairstyling, spas or gyms, and tuition centres that sort of thing...

I was actually quite confident brick-and-mortar retailing will still survive in Singapore - that's until I leanred there are people who actually order shoes online!?

Now my confidence has been shattered...

The pin no prick you no pain. 

Its easy to make decisions on rank-and-file sheep when you're a shepherd.

That's until landowners are able to find a robo shepherd to replace you!

Thursday 1 November 2018

Trading With Different Time Frames

Traders A & B both worked in the same investment bank.

Trader A longed EUR/USD while Trader B shorted EUR/USD; both at the same exact time and at the same price.

Both of them made money.

How is this possible?

Trader A is a swing trader who holds his position for several days to several weeks. 

His stop loss is 100 pips away from his entry price. 

Upon entering his trade, he suffered a -40 pip loss on that day. But since his stop order was not triggered, he was able to hold on to his money losing trade and give time for his trading thesis to work.

Eventually, the EUR/USD rallied and he was able to close the trade 5 days later for a 200 pips profit.

Trader B is an intraday trader.

His stop loss is 10 pips away from his entry price.

Right off the bat, his short EUR/USD position turned into a quick profit of 40 pips. 

Normally, I am more of a Trend Following Trader who likes to hold my positions for several weeks or months. Profits got more meat mah!

However, I can't dictate what I want to the markets... Even going to Waterloo Street and pray to Kwan Im Ma also no use!

If the mountain don't turn, I turn.

Swing trading is a lot easier to transition to. 

But man! Intraday trading is a lot taxing and harder to execute... I swear some of the price movements look totally random! And they probably are!

Only no choice will I dabble in intrady trading. Especially for those 1 day up, 1 day down kind of days. 

In this situation, I rather close all my trading positions at the end of the day. 

This is to lock-in whatever profits I had, if not they will disappear the next day when the market reversed #@!!%&(&%$@!


Do note one important caveat. 

Irregardless of whatever time frames I trade in, I always enter my stop loss order immediately when an order is filled.

My entries are discretionary; my exits are systematic.


I don't trust myself when it comes to taking losses. 

Plus I can't be staring at the screen all the time if I used mental stops, can I?

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy Revisited

Recent events and a fun discussion with a landowner yesterday made me realise I can resurrect this old post below.

But be warned. Its not light reading. Move on if you're not into critical thinking.

Orthodoxy vs Orthopraxy 

Most of us do not have the time, competence, or right attributes to be intraday traders. Its just too damn difficult!

What do most people do when we find we suck at something? We demonise it of course! 

Saw the US indexes last night?

When I went to sleep around midnight, it was all green. What do I see this morning? Man! Talk about heart stopping reversals!

My long held "Correct Belief" is: Real money is made on the longer term trending trades.

My "Correct Practice" recently is: Close all my freaking positions every night!

(Of course that's until things calmed down so I can go back to holding my trading positions for multimonth periods)

Why? Because I've been brutalised by the wild volatility in recent weeks! 

I not smart. I learn from crash got sound.

If the mountain don't turn, I turn.

Oh! We were talking about Warren Buffett yesterday and I just remembered the question I posed for Warren Buffettt acolytes in my old post:

If your "Correct Belief" is Buy and Hold, and you swear by Warren Buffett's remember rule 1 and 2....

How do you reconcile the two with your "Correct Practice"?

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