Thursday 10 January 2019

Working 7 days a week

I've got to know another part-time weekend promoter at my weekend sales gig.

I've always thought he's my senior until last week; turned out he's one year younger than me!? 

OK, I'm no longer have "boink, boink" I am moisturised cheeks, but this promoter looks much more worned out and haggard than me... 

And I found out why.

Unlike me, he has a Monday to Friday technician day job. 

So plus his weekend sales gig, this promoter works 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year!

The only time he has any days off is when we have a public holiday - and that's provided its not over a weekend!

In case you don't know, there's only 11 days of public holidays in Singapore.

Writing here, I must thank the Christians for introducing the Day of the Sabbath to the modern world.

Before this 7th day of the week is a day of rest took root, imagine you were a servant for the landowner in feudal times, what weekends or public holidays!?

Yes, there were festivals then instead of public holidays, but you even more busy doing the preparations during the festivals!!!

What you got, if you were in China duing those feudal times, is maybe 15 days of "holiday" during CNY where you were allowed to return home for your family reunion. 

And that's only if you are a free person working for a wage; not an indentured servant or slave. 

This promoter is married with children.

I didn't want to pry too much,

Suffice to say if you can Save More, you are probably earning "enough". 

For those with family expenses that exceed their monthly salaries, the only solution is to Earn More. Especially when your salary is not high...

I've noticed if we only mingle and mix around this FIRE community, our sense of bearings can get warped and twisted if we are not careful...

Its a big echo chamber where you say something and your followers echo back, "Yalor, yalor!"

Pretty soon you probably think whatever you espouse is the holy gospel! Everyone should listen to you!

Pride, arrogance, and hubris least we forget... Just count the number of Indian Chiefs out there.

Some of the goals and aspirations shared don't make much sense outside the community. 

I've learned something talking with this promoter last weekend.

There's a stronger source of motivation out there than being financially free; love for family is much much more powerful and enduring.

Would you spend 7 days a week to come up with your own investing thesis or trading ideas?


You not really motivated in the first place, were you?


  1. QUOTE
    I've noticed if we only mingle and mix around this FIRE community, our sense of bearings can get warped and twisted if we are not careful...

    Its a big echo chamber where you say something and your followers echo back, "Yalor, yalor!"

    Pretty soon you probably think whatever you espouse is the holy gospel! Everyone should listen to you!

    Pride, arrogance, and hubris least we forget... Just count the number of Indian Chiefs out there.

    reminds me of a group of self entitled aristocrat in lion city.

    1. Wu Sihao,

      A big aloha welcome to you to this watering hole.

      First generation, they've earned the right to say what they say. They have paid in blood, sweat, and tears.

      Second generation, OK, some do deserve the halo effect as 创业难,守业更难! The better ones expand on what the first generation has achieved! 青出于蓝!

      Third or Fourth generation, you talk what? All you got was a hand me down.

    2. SMOL Sir,

      Thank you for your warm welcome and look forward to more "sweats of inspiration" from your treasured writings!

    3. Wu Sihao,

      Please, no Sir me or using formal speech.

      Here we speak casually ;)

  2. Quote : "Some of the goals and aspirations shared don't make much sense outside the community."

    Fully agreed!

    Now I also have chance to mix with other low income earners to feel the other side of the ground.

    1. CW,

      When asked how can I survive with just working 2 days a week?

      I don't say I've enough or I'm FIRE and all that nonsense...

      I just say I'm taking care of mom. Got siblings helping me out.

      I'm conscious of the feelings of those not earning much but soldiering on bravely.

      That is why when bloggers share their "success" stories WITHIN the community, you get praises and well wishes. So inspirational! Respect! Love you!

      But when the same story is published in the mass media OUTSIDE of the community, you get mostly negative comments and trolls.

      Some bloggers have no clue how insensitive it is to parrot:

      "Born poor not your fault; die poor its your fault."

      That's why high EQ women who are taller than their husbands or boyfriends, they don't wear hgih heels when going out with them ;)

    2. But ... That's just human nature. We like stay in the company of people with similar interests and goals, to support and learn from each other.

      We can share, but don't preach and purport to know what's best for others.

      To be honest, negative comments or trolls isn't the issue to me. Can't please everyone, right? I just couldn't quite wrap my mind of those who care excessively of what other people think, or tries too hard to convince/persuade others to see their own point of view.

      Isn't this whole FIRE thing for ourselves? Why so affected by strangers on the internet?

    3. Kevin,

      Yes, we are herding animals.

      Put people together, we start to splinter and form inner groups, cliques, gangs, tribes, and nations.

      Support is good; not if its self-reinforcing groupthink.

      I think we are quite cool about diversity ;)

      I often poke the "Look ma, no brains needed" strategy, yet we are on speaking terms :)

      How we behave speaks louder than what we say.

      We have our convictions, yet we are open to contradictory ideas from people who are totally different from us.

      Vigorous debates and trust but verify through "peer review" - isn't this more fun than yalor yalor 1; yalor yalor 2; yalor yalor 3?


    4. Diversity is what makes it fun! Your watering hole is as diverse as it can get. I think people either like it or hate it ha! Cannot be too fragile, if we cannot even tahan a little poke then no conviction to speak of :p

      Two kinds of blogs I visit - surprise boxes like yours, nvr know what I'll get.

      And then, also those I don't like to read. Yeah, funny but I always think to myself that maybe one day, I'll finally understand what drives them to become who they are and why they write like they do.

      The predators that hide behind noble intentions, that's the worst kind to me.

      I have a feeling that the origin story of bloggers are gonna make the most interesting reads. So many are amazingly young - what are all of them gonna do with their life when they FIRE at 30 or 35?!

    5. Kevin,

      Those who FIRE at 30 or 35 will become life coaches!

      They will share, from the goodness of their hearts, how to start living to 40 somethings having their mid-life crisis!

      And to those in their disgruntled or empty nest 60s?

      How everything will be AWESOME if they achieved FIRE before 35.


      Some will not get the poke ;)

      This is after all, a community where bei kambings who drive BMWs and Mercedes take advice from those who take public transportation.

      It's how public transport taking predators get to drive BMWs and Mercedes themselves, eventually ;)

  3. Infinitely tougher with young kids to look after. If single or just adults, can always tighten the belts & go plain rice with soya sauce, or cheap plain bread & butter. Been there done that, for a year or 2 ;)

    And intermittent fasting is the rage now ... can cut down on daily expenses some more! Hoho!

    But tell that to a hungry 5 year old :(

    1. Spur,

      Ah! You have experience of lean times too!

      We will treasure what we have today even more ;)

      I'm single but I am lucky I still have a family :)

      The struggling family man still has family warmth to return to; I don't envy the financially free fellow who returns home to an empty apartment.

  4. Yeah, those motivated by family to earn more have a totally different focus from those who have only 1 mouth to feed and no motivation to be working 7 days a week.

    Goals and aspirations are very individual thing. FIRE because of freedom (does not want to remain 'slave to shepherds'), FIRE to escape... who's to judge? Then there are those who cannot afford to FIRE, or they don't have to because that is not a priority in their life.

    1. Rainbowgirl,

      Part of people reading is to determine their motivation.

      Then why they do what they do becomes clear.

      Girls know the only reason why boys are nice to them is to get inside their panties.

      FIRE to achieve or FIRE to escape?

      Its not about judging.

      Its about knowing who just wants to party and leave if the party is over; who will help you do the preparations, who will stay back to help you clean up, and who will still be around you even if there are no future parties ;)

  5. I know of traders/investors who love spending 7 days a week to come up with their own investing thesis/trading ideas. However, the problem is this. After they have their first pot of gold to fulfill their monetary needs, the next pot of gold doesn't give as much meaning and satisfaction as the first pot of gold. This is where having a family helps. Family gives a person something meaningful to look forward to during good times and the motivation to drive on during bad times. It injects meaning into his existence even if he is doing a meaningless job for the sole purpose of earning that salary. Having kids when I was jobless actually made me feel better. Bearing burdens for the family can be a good thing because it gives a person meaning to soldier on during bad times.

    I hope you find someone to set up your own family, if fate permits, before your mama passes on.

    1. hyom,

      You have a reason to wake up in the mornings!

      That is why during our grandparents' time, where got talk about job/life balance? What job satisfaction? Or self-acutalisation needs? And definitely not FIRE!

      A job is just to feed the family and pay for children's education. Can finish sec 4 happy oredi!

      Then the cycle repeats. This time hope grandchildren can finish poly or uni.

      Around the older Tanglin Halt HDB 3 room flat estates (built in late 60s), we can see Mercedes and BMWs at the carparks during CNY.

      Grown-up children and grandchildren have done well in their corporate careers or businesses came visiting.

      Are these senior illiterate elders "failures" because they fail to plan for their own retirements?

      What's not said about the FIRE movement is the pivot away from people that matter to: ME, ME, ME!

      Its another of one of those channel 5 ideas we've copied from the West ;)

    2. Hi Jared,

      FIRE blogs have a practice of updating on the latest developments of their net-worth, dividends earned, achievements made in making money. This is fine to keep one motivated when one has little money. But after one has enough, it is important not to lose sight of the more important things that matter to human happiness.

      I dedicate this video to all the mothers who brought up wonderful children and the children who made sacrifices to repay the kindness.

      Don't end up like this group of parents comparing the achievements of their children but lost sight of what really matters. Many Singaporean parents spend lots of money on tuition. Children score straight As, make lots of money when they grow up but which parent is the final winner?

    3. hyom,

      These bloggers have probably not experienced a -50% bear market yet ;)

      They will stop showing their net worths once red inks start seeping in, and when annualised returns turn negative...

      They are seeking esteem or recognition from others.

      We can empathise.

      Especially if they saw respect and accolades being showered on the bleeding heart.

      If he can do it, so can we!

      Can't blame.

      All of us have our krytonite. Call me handome, I'll buy anything from you!


      I am single. I don't envy people people richer than me; I envy those lucky guys who have loving wives.

      CNY coming... CNY is no fun for singles :(

    4. Hi Jared,

      It's not only singles who envy lucky guys with loving wives. Many married men envy other married men with loving wives. Many unhappily married men envy singles like you. So, you are actually luckier than many married men :)

      Finding a loving and fitting wife is 100% luck. The difficulties of getting a good wife are much much more challenging than picking the right stock. A man can't simply pick a woman and buy like a stock. Even if he can, I bet many men will end up picking a chiobu despite her negative attributes. When a man makes decision using his small head instead of big head, he will surely make a mistake. Even if he makes decision based on his big head, chances of making a mistake is still not low. When it comes to wrong choice of wife, a man cannot easily cut loss when he makes a mistake. The cost of divorce can be up to 50% of networth. For rich man like Jeff Bezos, that's close to USD70 billion.

      I count myself lucky when it comes to marriage. I have no secret strategy except to be myself, don't fake stuff, then let nature take its course. My wife is frugal because the free-spending women are repelled by frugal people like me and I made no effort to hide it. You have more experience with women in your younger days than me. You probably know more about women than me anyway.

      I wish you every luck and happiness in finding the right one. Do update us when that happens so that your readers will not bother you with kopi invitations. Even if it does not happen, there are many unhappily married men who envy singles like you. Let nature take its course.

    5. hyom,

      Thanks for your well wishes!

      Don't worry. I'm not one of those who set goals on when to get married and when to have children!? LOL!

      I'm very grey and let it be one ;)

      In my next life, I'll come back as the expat wife or that stewardess who married a rich tycoon and became financially free through divorce ;)


  6. "Writing here, I must thank the Christians for introducing the Day of the Sabbath to the modern world."

    Don't mind me poking SMOL 兄. Sabbath was originated in the Old Testament, and was practiced by the Jews long before Christianity exists.

    Interesting topic on motivation. For one I am less motivated today, for I am lazy and only want to spend more time with family, exercise and practice my hobbies. Bad Sanye! Bad guy! Lazy guy! :)

    1. Sanye兄,

      I knew someone would point this out ;)

      No. The Jews weren't evangelists.

      Its the Chrisitian colonialists that spread their way of life throughout the land, introducing new "foreign" concepts like - one man, one wife ;)

      Its not altruistic though...

      The white men gave the natives the book; they took the land from the natives. (That's not a good deal if you ask me)

      Western flavour of the decade fashion trend is to achieve FIRE first, then do what you said above.

      Our 5,000 years of Chinese civilisation have the Tao and Zen alternatives. We can do all the above while wallowing in the mud from the very beginning!

      Its the story of the investment banker trying to convince the carefree fishermen he should work harder to achieve great wealth.

      Then the fisherman can spend his days leisurely sunbathing by the dock ;)

      But the fisherman is already doing it now!


    2. Alamak!

      Huge difference.

      Fisherman is fishing at the jetty but banker is fishing in deeper water for bigger fish and with bottle of wine or champagne under the shade in his boat born yacht LoL

    3. CW,


      You definitely not the 2 fisherman brothers who at once left their nets and followed HIM.

      You'll likely ask:

      How do we pay for food and lodging?

      What do we do when we run out of money?

      Where are we going?

      When do we get our off days?

      How much you paying us to follow you?

      And by the way, who are you again?

      Not that I don't believe you... But can you sign a contract on what you've promised me?

  7. Hi SMOL,

    I offer another reason to work. Once past a certain income, the only reason why I take time off my family and my own leisure time is my idea of taking care of the bigger family. My students are not just digits paying me money so that I can pay my bills. They are persons with their own fears and aspirations. If I know I can help them, it's hard to say no when my only reason for not helping is that I want to have a day off. I can't say it. I've a soft spot for those failing students in critical years (sec 4, A'lvl), so if I know I can have less time for myself and my family and it can really make a difference to their lives, I would do so.

    Family is such a strange concept. Usually we mean our immediate blood-related kins. But in a way, every children is my children too.

    Haha, like that I no need to RE already...and no intention to!

    1. LP,

      You Robin Hood you!

      Rob the clever to help the slower ones ;)

      Other tuition teachers would seek to maximise earnings - students who can pay the full tuition fees without "discounts" are most welcomed!

      The cashback and frequent flyer miles chasers ;)

      No, you are not a businessman or bean counter.

      You are a Tree Planter ;)

      If we are doing something we enjoy, why the hell should we stop?

    2. Hi LP,

      I totally understand. Now there is this pendulum shift that teachers who give extra lessons are marks conscious old school who dun believe in holistic development.

      I told my boss, can u not make us feel like 教学教得像个贼。 Why must we be fearful if we give extra lessons to help pupils do better. If u dun want to come, dun come ...

  8. I like this post a lot.

    Your sale friend, I have respect. As u say it, most prob dun earn much. But nothing gets me down.

    I would like to think that even those who earn a lot but also spend a lot, is their choice of lifestyle. No need to bitch about their choices as long as they dun feel entitled.

    Every week, if possible, I will try to get breakfast for the school attentant, whenever I go out for lunch, I try to get something back too.

    Is just a chicken rice, and a cheap hawker fare. But I like that they appreciate it and it hits me when they say that's a meal settled.

    When I drive to school, I will pick up staff who are walking in. One cleaner is particularly happy that I gave her a ride, I say it's along the way, what's the big deal. She said something that also hit me.


    I realise I have a really atas life. Not that I dun have my fair share of problem. But really money is ...

    I know of some 上等人,when their parents ill they blow their entire fortune on the medicial cost because they were overseas then. Mortaged the house and when the loved ones left they were saddled with debts for a few years

    But they also 东山再起, respect。 and hey, they are the more friendly atas people hahahahha

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      You SEE people as individuals. Not their titles or what they wear.


      You'll be surprised how many people see the school attendant, security guard, and cleaner as "invisible"...

      In the pursuit of happiness (FIRE is just one of the means), unless one is a rock or an island, its about:

      contributing; etc.

      To do the above, we need to involve another person ;)

      Using money or FIRE to "compensate" for lack of meaning relationships is just another form of moving the goal posts...

    2. I know of people who infront 上等人, behind behave 下等人, not many cannot "原形毕露” infront of $$$

    3. Small Time Investor,

      Ah! The Great Pretenders!

      Well, the ugliness or "原形毕露" infront of $$$ is quite evident in our community ;)

      Make money, everyone I love you! I love you 2, I love you 3!

      Lose money, the finger pointing blame game starts... Where is the love?

  9. Hi Smol,

    This is the reality of life. Accept it and make decision based on the available options. There is no need to bother about other people's perception. Ownself takes care of ownself. Simple and straight-forward.


  10. Hi SMOL,

    I think during our parents' and grandparents' generation, working 7 days a week was a norm rather than an exception. Holding 2 jobs was equally common.

    My mum worked 14-16 hours a day and had a rest day every alternate week. Her stall was even opened on CNY and we helped out during weekends and public holidays when her assistant was off work.

    I'm sure your colleague works 7 days a week so the family can be self sufficient instead of expecting handouts by the government or charity. His grit and sacrifices will rub off onto his children and they will grow up not being self entitled. It is more than money he takes home. :)

    When we keep our nose to the grind stone and focus on fixing our issues and overcoming our difficulties, tomorrow will eventually become better.

    But of course, it is easier to quit when things become difficult. Give excuses and hopefully gain some sympathy and receive handouts. When that doesn't happen, blame the society and the government and of course, the rich people too!

    1. Endrene,

      Its nice to get in touch with my working roots; it where I started at 16...

      I'm glad I did it!

      Yup. I remember hawkers during my primary school days hardly close for the week. The most 1 day a week?

      Now most hawkers here in Tanglin Halt close for 2 days a week.

      And some stalls close 3 days a week; they totally deserve it! They have operated their stalls for 30-40 years, and at age 70 or more, still serving the residents here!!!

      That's why I like the "trampoline" system here in Singapore. We cannot everything monkey see monkey copy the West.

      Self-help and self-reliance ;)

      Its an irony quite a lot who seek FIRE "expect" others to help them achieve it?


  11. hello jared!
    just surfacing to say i've enjoyed reading this post very much! like especially the part about echo chamber. applies to many other fractions of our lives and society too, i guess ^^

    keep writing/entertaining!

    1. bbmag,


      I can "talk male chicken" or what!?


      When I got the "feel", I keep writing. No worries here!

      As for whether its entertaining or not, please keep expectations low ;)


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