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?

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