Friday 30 March 2018



Tibetan, Mongolian, and Han collaboration.

That's what I call power!

One of 还珠格格 soundtracks. 

My, that show is around 1998-1999.

18 years!?

Young, fantasize on wealth.

Got enough, reminisces on youth...

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Alan Watts ~ How To Enjoy Life

When we are skilled in something, there's a quiet sense of accomplishment in us.

That's why our moms and grandmothers love to cook us our favourite dishes during CNY even though its time consuming and hard work. 

I know. Can outsource to "atas" restaurants but its not the same.

Boys know early that if we can play the guitar or excel in sports, girls come right?


Sunday 25 March 2018

Having a dirty mind

Some of the most fun and risque conversations I had were with women.

During my early 20s, I'm always the youngest member amongst the older and more "experienced" jie-jie lady sales colleagues.

At first I was so surprised and awkward...

They were so naughty!

Good to know men and women are the same. Wink.

Thursday 22 March 2018

Work could be THE solution

Those of you who got cable may recognise the interviewee as the ex-host of "Dirty Jobs".

And for those of you who have experience hiring people - be it as a land owner or shepherd - noticed "work" is not given its due respect by the candidates nowadays?

Before showing evidence they can help the company Earn More and/or Save More, the candidates were already asking for work/life balance or what benefits they'll get?

And this one the best!

What are the promotional prospects?


(If you are good, no need to worry. If you below average, what's the point of asking?)

Some of our youths (and not so young sheep) have been poisoned by all these talks about early retirement, financial freedom, passive income bullshit out there...

Just thought this video would be a good counterbalance to the siren songs of snake oils who peddle the "dream" that all your problems will be solved once you can invest/trade your way to "escape velocity"!

Yes, you don't need high IQ to do well in investments or trading; it does not mean low IQ is OK!

When you interview some of those people who do drugs, gamble at casinos, over spend on their credit cards, you often find they have "holes in their hearts".

They were either bored, aimless, lonely, career not doing well, having bad relationships, and so on... You get the picture.

We don't want to admit it, but we can spot a few in our community who are using investing/trading as their "opium" of choice to "escape" their meaningless daily existence.

And for men, the no. 1 is dissatisfaction is with our jobs. Or lack of having one.

Vested interests will never tell you sometimes the best route to happiness is having a job that you feel meaningful doing it.

Notice I never said follow your passion or do what you like? (You figure it out yourself)

Now for some cheerleading and positive sunshine!

Last night I had dinner at Ghim Moh food centre. Found a young couple in their late twenties or early thirties selling spaghetti. Tried it. Not bad. No wonder they were featured in the press.

I've also noticed there're more young bus drivers in their twenties driving our busses nowadays. OK, they're mostly Malaysians, but still... It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Those who hate their jobs because of office politics may want to explore or try jobs outside the office?

As supposed to only thinking about investing/trading to "escape"?

Just saying...

Monday 19 March 2018

I've thrown out my Trading Journal

Star Wars Chapter 1

As usual, foreplay first.

Before I started blogging, I was a reader of financial blogs just like you.

I had just been posted to Athens from Shanghai and with lots of spare time living on my own again (no longer living-in-sin), I decided to track my expenses for the fun of it!

You know, the monkey see, monkey do thing...

I got this idea from the butterfly's tavern and his famous cbox where lots of veteran bloggers of today used to mingle back then.

So for 3 years, I diligently recorded down all my living expenses. I stopped doing this "useless" exercise when I came back to Singapore.


Its evident my record shows I'm not a spendthrift. There's always a surplus every month, every year. Expenses are quite stable and predictable. No real surprises!

Only one item stood out as spikes in my spending - travelling expenses for vacations.

Am I going to stop travelling to save more money?


So what's the point of recording my lifestyle costs when I knew I'm doing OK expenses wise, and I not going to make lifestyle changes whatsoever?

Yup. I've outgrown this tool. Wink.

The importance of a trading journal or investing diary

Back to square one

Investing diary, that I still keep. Must remind myself the reasons why I bought in the first place mah! The holding period is in years... Why commit to memory when I can write it down?

Also must keep track of dividends received. Like all businessmen, I want to know how long it took to recover my capital back safely in my pocket.

Yes, if you need to ask, unrealised profits don't count. If you want to count, its your business!

I like durians, you like blue cheese. Don't you tell me my durians smell!

As for my Trading Journal, I've not spent any time reflecting on my past trades for more than one year now...

Its just zombie recording as a matter of habit!?

I so silly!

1. Outcome or action more important!

Why do I still need to write down the reasons for each and every trade?

When the reasons I'm in a position were no longer valid, I'm either stopped out at a small loss or profit stopped out at a small profit.

The goal is to never let a winning position turn into a loss; and never let a paper cut turn gangrenous until I have to loose an arm or a leg!

I no longer need a trading journal to tell me I have self discipline issues. Or?

2. I measure in actual dollars; not percentages

I have no intention to add new money into my trading account (unless I blew up), nor do I have any plans to withdraw money out from my trading account in the forseeable future.

Knowing I started with $1 and I now have $11 is enough.

Simple and crystal or what?

Money is just to keep score since I'm not trading for a living anyways.

3. I not selling subscription services, workshops, or courses

So no point in keeping detailed records for my cherry picking of profitable trades as advertisement or testimomial purposes.

4. No mind - tired rest; hungry eat

For traders who like to use lots of trading indicators to help you squeeze the trigger, switching to Price Action can be so nerve wrecking!

I've been using Price Action for my entries and exits for some years now.

Its time to let go of my Trading Journal to minimise the "mental anchoring" effect. Once a trade is closed, its over.

Better to focus on the next Good Trade then to dwell on what might have been...

Don't try this at home

This post is an inside joke between me and the butterfly.

The butterfly probably shocked and surprised some in our community when he recently shared he is not going to focus on savings anymore!?

And to think a lot of the current track and measure lifestyle expenses bloggers were inspired at the butterfly's tavern, me included.


To those who are a little confused, don't focus on "right or wrong". Its just that some of us are climbing up the mountain, some are climbing down the mountain, and some are back to square one.

At different stage of our journeys, we may require different tools.

Sometimes when we are back to square one, we may discover we don't have to climb the mountain in the first place...

But like the Buddhist parable, if we didn't climb the mountain, how would we know we needn't have climbed the mountain in the first place!?


Friday 16 March 2018

Fees, Commissions, Charges, and Interests

There are 2 common tricks that snake oils try to fleece as much wool or milk "bei kambings" as long as possible:


This one is easier to spot.

That's where unscrupulous financial advisers will encourage you to switch unit trusts, do unnecessary asset relocations, and/or invest in anything that's new or flavour of the montht!

Its the same reason why insurance agents encourage their clients to surrender their old and upgrade to new insurance policies with the latest bells and whistles...

And of course why brokers would encourage you to trade - the more frequent the better!

Buy and hold (forever and ever)

This one is very common but most bei kambings not so aware...

Low cost mutual funds and ETFs, no matter how low cost, still charge an annual management fee. They're profit seeking businesses, are they not?

How to make money from you if you withdrew the funds from them as in redemptions or sale of ETFs?

Same goes for credit cards, bank savings accounts, insurance policies, etc.

The trick is to make you think loooooooooong term. Even better if you buy and forget!

For those who love to parrot passive income, how you feel knowing you're the "passive income" for these vested interests? 

You think why their competitors dangle so many attractive "free" goodies to entice you to switch your business to them?

Of course "free" here involves jumping through hoops and rings as stated in the small print.

Opposite sides of the same coin

Yes! Now you're on to it!

What would a smart landowner do?

Have two businesses - one encourage quick buy and sell; the other evangelise the benefits of long term buy and hold.

Heads I win; tails I win too!

Is that why SIA also has vested interest in a low cost airline too?

I'm sure if you think hard enough, you can spot other examples too!

Tuesday 13 March 2018


Sunday 11 March 2018

Risk is subjective

When it comes to Trading risks, many bei kambing traders just think of risk/reward setups that are parroted a lot in books and workshops.

That's the black and white, 2 dimensional way of - either you are with me or against me - type of thinking.

Very mancho. Very left-brained. Very quantifiable.

Let me share my perspective from a retail trader who has transitioned from part-time to full-time trading.

You know what?

The biggest risk factor you haven't considered is YOU!

Let's start from outside in.

Your personal situation 

2 part-time traders with identical trading account size of $50K. And both have stable day jobs (stable is euphemism for career has hit the glass ceiling; hentak kaki).

One can earn and save $50K per year; the other $25K per year.

So if both blew out their trading accounts, one just need to lick his wounds for one year and he'll be back! The other has to wait 2 years; or return with a smaller and not so optimised trading account...

In case you didn't know, just like any new startup businesses, the no.1 reason for most business and trading failures is due to under-capitalisation...

Now what if I tell you that part-time trader who can earn and save $50K per year is married with full-time homemaker wife, has 2 school going kids, with housing mortgage, and is "blessed" with 2 sets of parents and parent-in-laws?

And that guy who earn and save $25K per year is single and staying with parents with no debts whatsoever?

How? Did your perspective just changed?

Now imgaine they both did well in trading part-time. Let's say their trading accounts are now $250K. So they decided to quit their day jobs and switch to trading full-time.

The family guy needs to make 20% a year from trading EVERY year just to maintain the same lifestyle as before.

That meant his trading will only compound and grow provided he makes more than 20% a year!!! 

One does not trade full-time just to hentak-kai...

The single guy just need 10% a year and anything more, his trading account will have chance to grow to a million.

Isn't that's why we traded in the first place? 

Who do you think is taking on too much risks by trading full-time?

What if I now say one of them got 1 year sabbatical from his day job?

If trading full-time does not work out got a ready job to return to, will that bring calmer peace of mind to our trading?

Or will burn all our bridges (破釜沉舟) incentivised us more?

Do you know what's reality? 

Full-time retail traders often depend on their wives for income support. That's why marry "right" is so important.

No, wife cannot be homemaker. (Unless the couple are parasites on their parents)

Not every woman so understanding like Taiwan film director Lee Ang's wife; she supported him in his 20s and 30s as a stay-at-home "bum" while Lee perfected his craft...  

That's why we need to make a clear distinction between institutional and retail traders - even if both are trading full-time. One got monthly salary; the other no kill no meat... 

Hence you find many full-time retail traders have "training" businesses on the side to help sustain themselves when they have drawdowns or to make their trading accounts whole again when they blew up. (Some of these retail traders are also known as remisiers)

Use common sense. If you never lose money trading, why on earth do you want to burn your evenings and weekends to teach others how to trade?

Is that your idea of financial freedom? Working more hours than your previous day job?

You - Or the Mind part

We can have 2 traders, with same trading account size, similar personal situation, trading the same vehicle - yet one is consistently profitable; the other struggling.

This is the - I not you; you not me - part.

Only we ourselves know oursevles best. 

It also depends on how "honest" we are to ourselves.

This is the grey, fuzzy, philosophical, and psychological part. You have to know why you get up in the mornings.

Trading is hard. The odds of success is no different from starting your own business. So why do it?

Because you heard from others it's simple? 

You were sold on the - If I can do it, so can you - spin?

Do you verify things for yourself? 

Can you think for yourself?

Risk is subjective

Now you know why I am not quick to pass judgement when I see others drink atas coffee.


Wednesday 7 March 2018

Earn More or Save More?

I've yet to know anyone who saved their way to prosperity!?

I only know stories and examples of where individuals, companies, and even countries that earned their way out of the poverty trap.

The problem with save more

You can't save more than what you can earn!

For those who love percentages - how to save more than 100%?

There's always a limiting cap.

Earn more is damn hard

Precisely! Its definitely not anyone and everyone.

There's only one CEO spot. And only so many other positions for top management...

Not everyone can be a top salesperson who earn big bucks with juicy commissions.

Its the same with trading and investing. (Don't bluff yourself)

Not to say about being an entrepreneur and building up your own business!

Even at country level, there were many other countries that got their independence like Singapore in the 60s. How many of these countries are still "developing" after so many decades? (Make a wild guess why big daddy so fixated on GDP growth?)

Earn more; save more

There's a reason why our 5,000 years of Chinese wisdom says:


Yup. Its earn more; save more.

I rather earn $10K and save 10% (no stress) than to earn $2K and save 50% (how sustainable is it in the long run?)

Save more does not need brains. Just discipline. 

Earn more needs creativity, imagination, hard work, endurance, and most important of all - loads of lady luck!!!

So when you hear people in our community lamenting why schools never teach us about financial literacy, what they really meant is why school never teach them how to EARN MORE...

If anyone needs school to teach them how to SAVE MORE, there would be an embarassing silence...

Talk about an awkward moment!

Monday 5 March 2018

Study for marks or for learning?

This post is self-contained, but if you interested in the backstory, you may want read Sillyinvestor's recent post and especially the comment exchanges between LP and him:

Teach the subjects or teach children?

LP is a full-time tutor while sillyinvestor is endangered species in Singapore - Singaporean teacher in Chinese language, and male somemore! 

I would like to add to their conversation by sharing from my perspective - the student who can't make it... 


I do like to read history.

I've always loved to listen and read stories as a child. And there were lots of interesting stories in history for me to discover!

I remember during Sec 1, during our first history test, I was first in my class. I guess my classmates were not familiar with the new essay format of answering? I never had problems with england compositions. Wink.

Well, once they found out the secret of doing well for history tests and exams was rote learning, I quickly fell to the bottom of the barrel. 

I don't study history for exams; I read history for enjoyment.

I got F9 in history for O' levels.

I've not stopped reading history even after leaving school.

Buddhism study

A few years back, I signed up for this 3 year Buddhism course in Mandarin at the Bright Hill Temple. 

The first year was super fun as our dharma teacher is quite a maverick!

She never stuck to the prepared notes, often veering off into storytelling about her life, her study at Sri Lanka for her degree in Buddhsim, and most interesting of all, her frequent "poking" of our class:

1.  Converting to Buddhism (皈依) is not a passport. If anything else, its more "onerous" as karma will bite even harder when you break your vows! 

2.  Learning Buddhism to cultivate yourself (学佛) is not the same as "parroting" Buddhsim (拜佛).

3.  And lots of other interesting "pokes" that flew over the heads for the majority of the class...

Unfortunately, she left abruptly during the 1st semester of year 2. Her replacement just read off the prepared powerpoints and notes.

I dropped out of the Buddhism class.

I did not end my cultivation. 

Study for who and what?

When we take up a baking class or a workshop for investing in our personal capacity and not "coerced" by anyone, are we really after that piece of paper? Do marks or grades matter? 

However, if you are now an ITE student taking up a baking class, or a business finance student in poly or uni, all of sudden, marks, grades, paper qualifications matter a lot!?

Gee. And you wonder why?

Perhaps that's why some of us find life after leaving school a lot harder and daunting... Hence we will find every "excuse" to return back to school to "escape".

Just like the many in our community who seek financial freedom to "escape".

Life is easier if we know why we want to get up in the mornings.

The alternative could be the Thomas Edison way of discovering what you really want, or what Singaporean Hokkiens would say, "Crash got sound!"


Friday 2 March 2018

Understand something with your body

There are two kinds of understanding:

One is where someone said something, you understood it with your brain.

The other one is with your body.

P.S.  You understand you understand; you don't you don't. I"ll stop here. Have fun meditating over it during the weekend!

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