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Monday, 19 August 2019

This is what makes Singapore different!


We do take action on the long term future of Singapore.


I just watched Mr Pinky's national day rally speech on Youtube. (Yesterday night working lah)

Compared to the some other countries where its max 2 terms - while I'm in office - kind of "planning" - got to say it feels warm in the belly we do care about what happens to our little red dot even 100 years into the future!!!


I know most people will say its long term planning that got us where we are.

Sure it is...


If you are in your 50s and above, I think you knew better. Wink.

Was it "long term" or "strategic" planning that got you where you are today?

Really?

LOL!


As for those in your 30s and below, don't worry too much with the semantics. I'm playing with words again. 

Then again, play is how young animals and us, when we were young, learn and prepare for adulthood.  

You'll know the answer when you know! When you grow older... 

Well, there must be some benefits to maturity! No?


But I can give you a little hint.

The global warming and rising sea level threat is 100 years into the future. Big daddy has already built a polder (reclaimed land stolen with pride from the Netherlands) at Tekong island for some "crash got sound" real life experience. 

I'll leave it to you to decipher whether that's action or planning.


To those FIRE chasers and financially free dreamers who "catch no ball" what I say between the lines, where's your polders?

Ding!

Namaste.












Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Missed the low volatility of 2017?


That's the year for passive "investors" and yield hogs.

When STI moves from lower left corner to upper right corner.

Easy.

Yup, you've earned the right to tell your mom, "Look! No brains needed!"



Of course that didn't last.

2018 and this year 2019 has a lot more see-saw rollercoaster ups and downs...



The fisherman and me met up with a young doctor for kopi recently.

STI is less than -10% off its recent highs, yet we heard some are already nursing more than -20% losses on individual counters.

Mind you, not penny stocks hor. They are so called "blue chips" and dividend plays. Connected to big daddy, so cannot "fail" ones! 

I agree. But prices can definitely turn south...  

I just hope they didn't call themselves "value" investors. I mean if you bought at 5 year high prices or near cycle top, calling yourself "growth" would be more appropriate...

Still wrong. Still lose money. But with less awkward silence...



And its not any easier with trading too.

There are quite a few traders - both full time and part time - that used to visit this watering hole

Some have already call it quits. 



So much for dreams and goals.

Investing is hard.

Trading is hard.










Thursday, 8 August 2019

Straight Talk About Passive Income


I got this video from a fellow blogger in the community.

I guess he knew my stance on "passive". 

So would regular readers, and anyone who can think for themselves. 



Wait. Wait. "Nanti" lah!

Ah! Got it!

My trusty maggi mee pot to protect my head!










Monday, 5 August 2019

Free to play


It's understandable if the free-to-play whiners and chronic complainers in gatcha games are children or teenagers.

Especially if they are used to getting things handed to them - just for showing up. 



In reddit, whales would ignore such free to play minions. I mean when was the last time you stopped by the path and try to have a conversation with ants?

But sometimes, when the whining gets too strident as in crying "unfair" when the game developer introduces changes that favour the pay-to-win players, some exasperated dolphins will come with rebuttals to put these chronic whiners in their place...



In the social/political arena, we see this all the time too.

The loudest critics of ministers' pay are those who hardly pay any income tax at all. As if the ministers' pay are coming out of their pockets....

And then there's the perennial favourite about the wealth gap - the rich gets richer, the poor gets poorer. The "system" favours the wealthy... This not fair, that not fair...



Let's explore this "free-to-play" business model that's becoming more and more prevalent with technology companies. I find it so interesting!

In the old days, companies make money by selling products and services. Simple and clear-cut to understand.

Then came companies that offer their products and services to us for "FREE"!?

Do you pay Goggle for the convenience of making a search in the internet?

How about Facebook? Free to use, right?

Netflix must pay, but watching videos on Youtube is free!

Those older like me may remember we once had to pay for our own email accounts by subscribing to those dial-up internet providers. Now? Anyone can get multiple free email accounts from Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo! Now that's cool or what?



Guess what? We are not the "customers" of the above companies.

How are we customers when we don't contribute to these companies' bottom line?

Their customers are "pay-to-win" advertisers, public relations firms, political parties, mind control consultancies, puppet masters, pied pipers; etc.

What are we?

We are the "product". 



Now back to gatcha gaiming. 

If only the complaining free-to-play gamers realise their role in the game...

They are part of the game design.



There's only so much fun in beating non-player characters (NPCs) in a game.

But if we design a game where we offer whales and dolpins the opportunity to trash real people in a cyber setting...


$$$$$ Kaching!

Or-yi-oh! 

Who doesn't want to be Tarzan or Master of the Universe?



So there you go!

Next time you grab the next "FREE" offer, subscription, or workshop, just have awareness of your role - whether you are the product or a customer. Wink.



Its OK lah!

If the other party is just trying to milk or fleece you. Won't die one.

But if the other party is a glue factory or abattoir, sometimes its better to say, "No thank you. I'm good. I'll pass."

Walk away.








Friday, 2 August 2019

Free Credit Card Consultation For Maximum Rewards


I would like to take a break from regular blogging to insert this fine advertorial...

Eh!? 

Wau lau! Don't run to the toilet leh!



This advertorial is definitely not for me. 

I am the EARN MORE kind of guy.



However, just because I'm like that, I don't expect everyone else must be like me. You know, the "If you believe me, folllow me!" kind of "wah kali gong" blogger. Wink, wink.



OK, for the sake of diversity (yup, I can speak politician), here's something for those of you SAVE MORE people who gets titillated whenever you see - free miles, free points, cashbacks, discounts, offers, etc...  

Now you can search and query which credit cards have the best bang for the buck at which popular retail outlets.  

So go hack yourself till you get to credit card Nirvana! (No alcohol or drugs needed)



This is the website to check it out:

Whatcard



Its beta version. So you don't CB when you hit some chinks and flaws in their user interface.

Do remember its FREE. 

Do your part by giving them feedback to improve on. I'm sure they will appreciate it!







This endeavour is started by 3 young men. Go to the "About Us" and "Community" page.

As usual, there's a front man - the face of the team and website. 

Then there's another but I not clear what he does... (Consider this a feedback to him. Create a "role" or "character" in the team so people will remember. Unless he is OK with people assuming he is Robin or Tonto)

Finally, there's the shy guy who wear a brown paper bag over his head. However, with a bit of rudimentary CSI, I found his Facebook page. He is the workhorse who does the actual programming or coding. 



Although their product is about "saving more", I am very glad these 3 young men have dreams of "earning more". That's cool! 

And right up my alley.

How else would  I agree to do this advertorial?

LOL!















Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Dolphins - Pay to Win?


Dolphins in gaming are like "middle-class" in our social/political context.

And just as "easy" to define like FIRE.

I mean its "understooded", but people still like to ask how much we need to be financially independent or free?

And retire early? How early is considered early?



Eh...

If you can live on USD1,000 per month (like our CPF Life FRS payout)... Hey! You are financially free!

Official retirement age is 62. So retire at 60 is considered "early" retirement, no?

When official retirement raised to 67, then everyone who retired at 62 now can pat themselves on the back and brag they have retired early!

Those who retired (forced or voluntary) at the official age of 55 decades ago must be wondering what's the fuss with "early" retirement at 60... (moving goal posts mah)



How about if you're a stay-at-home dad or wife with a spouse that brings home the bacon. Aren't you financially free now too? Although the offset is there's no retirement age... Unless you exercised the escape clause as in divorce... (Can still be financially free with alimony!)



This group can be the "easiest" to manipulate to a dungeon master.

Why do people pay to try to win a game when its clear they can never outpsend the whales?

Well, why do people buy tiny condos in suburbia that are surrounded by HDB flats anyway?

When they are eligible for a bigger HDB flat just across the road?

You know, I know.



During my staycation at Orchard Road, I like to roam the off beaten paths as in exploring the Cairnhill and Claymore hill areas.

Condos favoured by whales are located where they are no public transportation on the roads leading up to their locations. All I saw during my walks were maids walking the dogs. Now that's quiet and exclusive!

Yet, how do dungeon masters market their condos located in HDB heartlands?

5 minutes walk to MRT? Bus interchange at the bottom of your development? How convenient! LOL!

That's because they know you can take the girl out of the country, you can't take the country out of the girl. Wink.



Of course they are gamers who like to claim spending a few hundred US dollars per month on a gatcha game is considered whaling - especially if they are from Vietnam, Philippines, Mexico, etc. Must consider purchasing power parity and all that jazz...

Yup, its the same here in our FIRE community. Some like to invent their own definitions as in not counting the property they stay in as part of their networth (HDB dweller alert!); or have their own voodoo home-made formulas to calculate their investment returns.



Why lie to ourselves?

To feel good mah!


These are the people who ran 50 steps admonishing those who ran 100 steps ahead for spending on attas coffee, buying cars, paying for experential enjoyment.... (So waste!)

And yet got the cheek to turn around to be condescending to those who are just 5 steps into their journey. Look! I'm staying in a condo, you know? Nevermind its just a tiny apartment a stone's throw from a HDB block...



Yup, dolphins know they can't beat the minority whales. But hey! They sure can beat the hell out of the legions of free-to-play krills!













Thursday, 25 July 2019

Pay to win - Whales


Many years ago, I heard this phrase from one of those Hong Kong movies that made a lot of sense:

"If a problem can be solved with money, then its no longer is a problem!"




In mobile gatcha gaming, whales are those players who think nothing of spending thousands of dollars per month just to summon rare and hard to get strong game characters.


Or furiously spend on "upgrades" generously offered by game publishers to develop and grow their charaters to "steamroll" other poor hapless players.




To a game publisher who introduces a "free-to-play" mobile game, whales are of their most important sources of income. 


For most free-to-play games, only 2-5% of their playerbase would pay for "powerups" or more summoning chances. And this include the dolphins (spend hundreds monthly) and guppies (spend tens of dollars monthly).


1 million players downloaded your game globally. 


Let's take 2% willing to pay. That's 20,000 players.


If per person they spend a lowly $10 per month, that's...


And if they now spend $100 on average per month... Rice bucket! (Say it in Hokkien for more impact)




Its the same in religion and social/politics. (And our FIRE community)


The minority pays so the majority don't have to.


That's why you don't go round bragging you don't pay any income tax... Its like telling everyone you earn less than $22K annually. 


No, the showoffs are the ones who "complain and whine" how much taxes they have paid...




Its cool to be a whale.

If you "spend" enough, you can have your name on hospitals. Cool or what?

And if you are willing to invest billions, your children have no problem getting shoe-horned into a good school.

Got a medical condition? Can fly anywhere to the best medical authority globally. What waiting time?




That's why many in the FIRE community "aspire" to be a whale one day. 

The honest ones have no problem admitting they want to be filthy rich.


Some, maybe due to their religious or cultural upbringing, may find too overtly pursuing wealth to be tacky... So they prefer to hide behind "empty" euphemisms like FIRE or minimalism.




When it comes to trading or investing, whales get the most favoured customer treatment from their brokers and investment bankers.


Want to bet that "free" analyst report or "hot tip" from your broker is already yesterday's news to whales?













Monday, 22 July 2019

Gatcha gaming/FIRE/Social Politics


Gatcha gaming on mobile phones has gained popularity outside of Japan.

Before we go on, let's call a spade a spade - its gambling without the windfall, pure and simple.

Yet, how can it be gambling when there's no winnings?

And why do people fork out real cash in exchange for something that's not even tangible in their possession? 

In traditional PC games, at least you get a CD-ROM or have downloaded the game onto your very own C-drive. 

But for mobile gatcha games, everything you "owned" is stored in a server in the cloud. When the game dies and the server is shutdown... Remember the 99-year leasehold thing? 

Poof!



I'm currently playing a Korean gatcha game.

The community on reddit is quite interesting; full of hype and drama. There's virtually no difference between the FIRE seekers in our backyard and the crybabies/whiners we find on most social/political platforms. 

I guess people are people everywhere.



Gatcha games are usually "free" to play.

I belong to the vast majority of free-to-play "FTP" gamers out there. 

Then there are the "dolphines". They usually spend up to a few hundred dollars a month on the game.

And for the minority of "whales", they can easily spend thousands every month without blinking or breaking into sweat. They are also known as pay-to-win "PTW" players. 



In subsequent posts, I'll share my parodies on these 3 groups of people in our FIRE and wider social community at large.

However, there's another important person I've not mentioned - the puppet master or dungeon master. The one who plays and manipulates the 3 groups against each other. 

You'll have to infer his role as I'm not stupid enough to go poke him directly!

Duh!











Thursday, 11 July 2019

I'm still alive and well!


And no, I did not bust my trading account.

LOL!



What I thought was a 1 month break turned into  3.5 months!?

Now that's how we know we are having fun!

When we totally lost tracked of time...



True?








Monday, 1 April 2019

The 2 species able to manipulate and change our environment


Of course we humans are one of the two species on Earth that can manipulate and change the environment we live in.

Just look around and you can easily see how humans can totally transform our natural habitat the moment we decide to settle in a place.

Can you guess which other species of animals cando what we do?

This one definitely not in our school syllabus!

I'll give you sometime. When finished, you can scroll down and see the answer.


























Its the beaver! 

Did you guessed it?

The beaver can turn a little stream into a pond by building a beaver dam.

Pretty much like how we clear the land to build human settlements. Wink.






In Japan, women who prioritise their careers face a lot of obstacles. These women enjoy their craft, have dreams of their own, and do relish being financially independant (no need to depend on husband/father).

Like the beavers, the strong-willed ones will create their own environment by starting their own companies. Little startups with like-minded women employees as the majority. And no, you don't have to pour tea for your male colleagues!  



Its not new. 

In Singapore, the old Chinese Nantah graduates and the no study; no paper school leavers shared a common fate - being treated 2nd class in a England speaking first environment.

The more defiant ones will not play by other people's rules; they jumped to the deep end by creating their own "environments".



In our community, I've notice there's one "beaver" I quite like and admire.

Starting out as a freelance self-employed tuition teacher, he had to brave Singapore's harsh weather and take public transportation to his students' homes.

Sometimes already on the way students may suddenly cancel lessons at the last minute... 

What to do? Everyone has to pay our dues starting out. Ar ber then?

Then a wonderful thing happened. He got married. 

Yah, got woman dare to marry a guy with no formal job, no CPF from employer, and no health and dental plans for immediate family members!

Bought a HDB 5 room resale flat for their love nest.

Convert one bedroom to be his "SOHO" (small office; home office). Now students come to the mountain. 

Productivity increased. Can teach 2-3 students at the same time or charge more for one-to-one sessions.

Time saved on travelling can now be used for preparing lessons or spending with people that matter.



All the examples above are alternatives to the - when I have X, then I'll do Y goal settings adopted by so many seeking to escape...

Come on. We all know its can be one of those little lies or excuses to kick the can down the road once again!

Wait! I can't start Y now... I've not achieved X yet!!!








Sunday, 24 March 2019

Does it matter WHEN we retire?


My time, it was fashionable for some high achievers to muse about retiring in their 40s.

These people are usually doing very well in their corporate career earning high incomes.

It wasn't difficult for them. 

Just start saving a bigger share of their high incomes, then convert them to dividend stocks, bonds, or rental properties and they can retire... Yeah, just like that!

Investing acumen optional.



Now the youths of today seek to be financially free by 35. Power!

Imagine leaving university at 22 or 24, and in about 10 to 13 years, you have earned and saved enough money to last you till your 90s!

Still don't believe the power of youths is they don't know what cannot be done?



That's only the money part.

Often when we have achieved whatever we wanted, we begin to have second thoughts...

We all had this experience before right?

That girl you always wanted. When you finally had her, you begin to question were you really into her in the first place...

Or that "toy" you always wanted. You know, that luxury watch you saw others having, you tell yourself when you arrived you also must have! Then like that lor... No feeling when you have it. Now it sits quietly in the drawer. Long time never wear...



Remember when we were in school, one year seemed like an eternity?

And if you failed your exam and have to be retained, one year lost and behind others is a BIG GAP. Or so you thought... 

Then there are men who complained about National Service... How they have lost 2 years compared to girls. Wow. Really? 

Girls, besides giam siap gui men, stay away from these whiners too. What kind of men will use NS as an excuse for losing out to women in the corporate world!?



Funny thing though. Once we are in the corporate world, time pass super fast!

Before we knew it, decades just flew by...

And being stuck in the same job for 10 years is normal to you.

1, 2, 5 years difference? They don't matter now. 

Especially when you see your peer "wastes" 2 years taking sabbatical to study MBA fulltime, come back got promotion; you still doing the same job.

Your junior took up the challenge to work overseas for 5 years, come back now at a higher payscale than you; you still at the same payscale.



Precision is good. But too much black and white can give you depression if you too anal about 2 decimal places.

Would you be happier if you had achieved your financial freedom goal to retire by 35, but go sell salted eggs a few years later? 

(In our community we got that self-styled guru who wanted to create lots of millionaires and the investing doctor who sold his business. Financial freedom is not a free pass to immortality...)

Or is it that bad if you had missed your financial freedom goal to retire by 35 and only able to retire at 50? You know, the more you planned, the more things backfired?

But you get to live to your 90s and beyond? Like lao lee and Mahatir?

I personally think Mahatir must be smiling to sleep every night. He has outlived his political rivals for the win!



I don't know. 

I would love to live till 90 and beyond, provided I'm in good health. I've this greed to enjoy life!

However, If invalid or in pain, I would much prefer to go as quick as possible! 

And if the doctor says I got one more year to live, I'm mentally and spiritually OK too. 

You know what?

Right here, right now, I'm OK (typical Singaporean response). I have a reason to get up every morning.

I don't have to worry who will take care of mom and dad as I have 2 others siblings to take over. 

What I have can be gifted to them to lighten the load, at least financially speaking.

Sometimes I do pinch myself.

Am I lucky or what?














Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Change, regime change, and dreams...


Its quite fascinating looking at the Brexit process currently undergoing in UK right now.

Especially when I contrast it against how Singapore got kicked out of the Malaysian Federation in 1965.

I guess we were lucky we had strong leadership in 65 or what?

It brings to mind what I've gleaned from history - strong leadership is always about one - the Queen Bee or Alpha Male.

Weak leaders always got a council, a committee, a tribe, a horde... to hide behind. 


UK joined the then EEC in 1973. Now it wants out... Maybe? 

Its like getting a divorce 40 years into your marriage. Well, it lasted longer than the quickie shotgun wedding like ours! 



Time can be quite the tempest after lulling us into complacency through long periods of calm and predictability.

Long established political parties that had ruled forever and ever can suddenly find themselves in the wilderness of being in the Opposition. Think LDP in Japan, KMT in Taiwan, and now UMNO in Malaysia. 

Of course the next big one to watch is the CPC in China. I wonder whether it will happen in my lifetime?

Now that would be an interesting macro trade if I still around! (Singapore would definitely be 10 million with the influx of super rich immigrants! Property still boleh?)



Looking back more than 30 years when I started my jouney into the adult world at 16, comparing to the goals and dreams (or lack of) I had then, it quite amazing none of them were remotely close??? LOL!

My life definitely is not one of those who started out with goals and plans, and everything turned out as exactly as they've planned!!! They'll probably make good central planners?

No. Mine was more like a leaf in the wind. 

I defintely did not expect to be bald! (But I look cool OK?)

Then again, some say luck is preparation meeting opportunity....

I've no control over opportunity; I can do preparation though. Wink.







Wah lau, what talking you?

I catch no ball!

Well, I don't patronise you by explaining everything in cartoon like the brochures pasted next to our HDB lifts. 

You see what you want to see. Your take out may also depend on your own life experiences - whether you are starting your journey, reaching your mid-life crisis, or strolling down the mountain.

It can be harder for those who go toilet must jio others to go along...

Just saying, in case you didn't catch what I meant by leadership of one. Wink.

LOL!






  




Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Josephine Teo’s data of Singapore Elderly’s Low CPF Payout is Depressing?


We see what we want to see.

It reminded me of the story why steel helmets for soldiers were reintroduced to soldiers during WW1.

During medieval sword fighting times, of course everyone uses metal helmets. But with the invention of the muskets and other firearms, metal helmets and armour were considered obsolete...

In 1914, there were in fact no major armies using a steel helmet.

Once hostilities started, steel helmets were quickly deployed.



You wouldn't have guessed based on the battleground statistics of the injured soldiers at the beginning of the conflict before steel helmets were reintroduced.

On the list of the injuries sustained by injured soldiers during combat, few injuries belonged to head wounds.

If head injuries were low on the list of injuries, why then the focus to offer protection to the heads of soldiers?



Make a guess why?

If you genuinely clueless, its probably a tell why you suck at fundamental investing... You can't read the numbers.









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