Tuesday 29 December 2020

A Lost Year


Year 2020 felt like one. A lost year. At least to me.

I guess from that perspective, I'm one of the "luckier" ones.

I'm sure we know of friends or family members that have lost their jobs, got pay cuts, or are worse off financially speaking this year.

Year 2020 is not a lost year to them. It's life changing. 

Then on the other end of the pendulum, there are those who blur blur got bumper harvests from this Wuhan virus pandemic.... 

That's if you work in the "right" industry - sell face masks, manufacture hand sanitizers, online marketing, video games, etc. 


Some dreams were shattered, some were put on hold, while some had their dreams came true earlier than thought!

Quite surreal.

Same event.

Different people; different perspectives.

Thursday 24 December 2020

Merry Christmas To Tarzans and Wonder Women At This Watering Hole!


Its nice to have a bit of rain to get into the cool Christmas mood. 

Man, I do miss spending Christmas where there is actual snow or having temperatures near to zero.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Healthy. (OK, still pre-diabetic, but it has not gotten worse. Can be reversed one!)

Siblings and parents doing well too. 

All of us still gainfully employed.

I struck the HDB enbloc lottery. (Still waiting for the Toto one. 30 years and counting...)

Blogging wise, I'm humbled and thankful despite my paucity in written posts this year - beasts and fairies; tarzans and wonder women - all still took the time and effort to engage with us in scintillating conversations.

And some good hearted humour and pokes!

The only fly in the ointment is that I'll probably end this trading year in the red... Again. 

Oh well, can't win them all! 


Merry Christmas everyone!

Stay safe and vigilant.

Especially all you old fogies out there!

Don't happy happy make money, throw caution to the wind, be complacent, then kenna Wuhan virus, go sell salted eggs early...



Tuesday 15 December 2020

Views From My Balcony


I pretend pretend my HDB flat is overlooking New York City's Central Park:

Living Room View

View To The Left Standing On Balcony

Front "Central Park" View Standing On Balcony

View To The Right Standing On Balcony

View Looking Down On Landed Properties Below

The landed properties opposite are earmarked for future condo developments. I don't think big daddy will touch them though for the next 10 years, going by the glut in condos at the moment.

Even if developed, the plot ratio in the Master Plan showed the new condos max cannot exceed 25 floors. 

I'm safe. I'm on the 40th floor. 

They can't block me. 


In case anyone not familiar with the area in Queenstown, the opposite far end of the "Central Park" is our former CMPB. That's where us old fogeys young that time report for our National Service.

Fingers crossed big daddy will gently transform Dempsey Hill into one vibrant and cool place. Hopefully not too commercial, and retain as much of the natural greenery as possible.


Thursday 10 December 2020

Got My HDB Cake For Free?


Yesterday, I collected my keys to my enbloc replacement BTO flat from HDB.

Yup. Its like Aladdin of the Arabian Nights... Old lamp change new lamp. 

With new 99 year lease to boot! Sweet! (Fake American alert!) 

Which also means I am totally debt free now.

Time really flies when we are having fun! Let me re-introduce you to this post I wrote 9 years ago:

My Aim Is To Have My Cake And Eat It  

1.   Taking a 30 years loan does not mean I have to pay and pay bank interests until 30 years. 

I've repaid this housing loan 12 years early. 

Its does feel better to negotiate from a position of strength.

Rather this than to go to the bank with cap-in-hand to ask for an extension due to pay cut or retrenchment because of Wuhan virus circuit breaker... 

All because you wanted to have the shortest bank loan to save on the bank interests. Or so you thought. 

If only life would always go according to your plans (I hear god laughing in the background)... 

2.   Do you remember the missing dollar puzzle?

I got a case of it with my enbloc compensation...

a)   I paid $125K for my existing HDB resale flat. 

Except for a few extra thousands in cash for real estate agent commission and legal paper work and all that jazz, the initial deposit and subsequent bank repayments all came from CPF deductions.

b)   Got Singles grant of $11K, and enbloc grant of $15K from HDB. They were used to offset  my current resale and enbloc BTO replacement purchases.

c)   The enbloc compensation for my resale flat is $398K. I used it to purchase my enbloc replacement BTO for the same amount at $398K (That's the sacrifice for 3 room top floor with balcony). 

d)   HDB used my $398K compensation to first repay my outstanding bank loan (initial loan at $100K). Then repaid CPF for the withdrawals and accrued interests that I've used to pay this bank loan for the past 18 years. 

e)   I was pleasantly surprised when HDB told me I will get cash $102K??? 

Got advanced $35K cheque yesterday, while the balance will be given to me 4 months later when I surrender my existing 3 room resale flat back to HDB.

Eh? Nani?

Math is not my forte. 

I thought compensate $398K, buy $398K; no earn, no loss. That's that!

I mean CPF restored to as if I've never used it to buy property. All the accrued interests gotten back. 

So where did this extra $102K came from???

Initially, I thought its from the $11K and $15 grants, but that only explained $26K of the $102K...

For a moment, I thought I had my cake, and ate it:

i:   CPF restored as if I never used it all for housing.

ii:  Got a brand new fully paid HDB 3 room flat. 

iii: And got extra $102K out from thin air!?


Then I figured out. 

I'm dumb.

But lucky!



P.S.   I'll update my HDB 99 year lease journey when I age 65. There's a few options open to me:

*   Sell remaining lease back to HDB since I got no dependents (That's if I l still love the outstanding view and location after 12 years. Then again, I'm a man whore...)

*   Downgrade to 2 room but still located in Queenstown (I love Queenstown!)

*   Move to ulu new HDB estate but still stick with HDB 3 room (The new Tenah estate looks interesting. I need my gaming and trading room)

*   Move to ulu new HDB estate and downgrade to HDB 2 room for seniors with 35 years lease (Old oredi, can't game or trade anymore...)

No matter which option I choose, that would mean since age 35 onwards, I've lived "rent free" until I die. 

And I've got every cent back from the $125K I've paid for my current HDB 3 room flat to kick things off in the first place!!!

Who's afraid of 99 year lease again?

That is why I poked the young girl who "over analysed" when she did her exercise on whether to buy or rent.

When rent is lower than the monthly bank repayments of a 30 year bank loan, RENT!

When rent is higher than the monthly bank repayments of a 30 year bank loan, BUY!

Sunday 6 December 2020

HK con men use romance and get-rich schemes to trick victims in Singapore


I don't normally do Public Service Announcements.

I'm not a bleeding heart.

Then again, if someone else has done the heavy lifting, I wouldn't mind help create more awareness for it.

Hong Kong online stocks con men use romance, get-rich-quick schemes to trick victims in Singapore, Macau

There are too many scams in Singapore nowadays. 

Let's help to keep a lid on it.

The last thing we need is for scammers of the world to think Singaporeans are an easy mark...

Just promise the moon and bei kambing Singaporeans will believe anything and everything!

Thursday 3 December 2020

No, You're Not Their Customer


We can get new email accounts for free nowadays. 

Old fogeys may remember there was a time during the dial-up internet days that we have to be paying customers of a internet service provider before we can get access to our own email accounts.

Now why do Google or Microsoft give us web email accounts for free?

How about Facebook or YouTube?

You don't pay a single cent right?

OK, there are premium accounts where we do pay to avoid those annoying ads.

Got ads free; no ads must pay....

Hold that thought.

Using Google is free. Hosting my blog at Blogger is free. A lot of mobile games are free to play too.


We're not their customers.

How can we be their "customers" when we are not paying them anything?

We are in fact on the menu that they offer to their paying customers. (New readers may want to watch the video in my previous blog post)

Want to reach out to youths from age 18 to 25?

Females only.

And located just in Singapore, JB, and Batam?

No problem! 

Ahem, this is my fee.

Anyone still wondering why traditional media like print and TV are suffering... While social media is booming?

Targeted ads.  

(Targeted sounds innocent; but can be quite scary when you think about it. Big brother watching you...)


For most people. We don't care. Just as long anything that's free, its win-win! 

Look, we are nobody. Who cares if someone knows what websites we've visited for the past month? 

Or our email or WhatsApp conversations can be recorded and pried by interested parties?  


Fair enough.

But what if we are paying customers yet we are still on the menu?

The 1MBD scandal is quite telling.

Imagine paying for independent research yet the so called analyst report turned out to be just an advertorial for their real paying customer who just want to unload their stuffs onto you...

How about your friendly and ever so helpful independent broker (can be equities, property, or insurance)? 

Is his real customer you or the principals he representing? 

This example even more sad. 

You happy, happy pay for an overseas property investing course, without realising you are the captive audience for that overseas developer that's paying your guru above industry average commissions to offload their unsold developments... 

And you paid to get caught some more!

Thursday 26 November 2020

To Serve Man


During my primary school days, I loved to watch the Twilight Zones.

Some episodes really stuck in my mind even after all these years.

This episode is one of them:

To those of us in sales or have profit and loss responsibilities, this is not new.

There are no vegetarians or vegans when it comes to the bottom line.

But then again, when a person has a hole in his heart, and is desperately clutching at straws, he is at his most vulnerable.

This applies not only in our community of get rich tryhards.

We see it everywhere.

In politics; in religion especially; and most prevalent while climbing the corporate career.

Remember that time when your long time no see friend/classmate called you out from the blue?

Your enthusiasm to reconnect with old friendship came crashing down the moment he shoved the cookbook across the dining table towards you:

"To Serve Man".

Monday 16 November 2020

Singapore Home Sales Fall - Damn Statistics Again!


No wonder!

Singapore Home Sales Fall After Rules To Deter Market Distortion

To those of us outside the industry, its "orh han zi"!

But for those inside the industry, of course they knew it all along. If not, how do they have that edge over "bei kambings"? 

That's the biggest trap for those of us who think we know fundamental analysis...

It makes a huge difference whether we can tell information apart - which is true, which is fake, and which has been "fudged"!

For those who no clue what's going on, ask friends who know a thing or two about technical analysis.

When stocks or properties go up in prices, but transaction volumes keep trending down, what does that tell you?

Oh! Before your imagination runs wild, do remember that technical analysis is voodoo...


Saturday 14 November 2020

To Invest - We Need Capital


Gamers out there know when you grind your way to end game, that's when the real fun begins! 

And that is true for the path financial freedom too.

To invest, we first need to have CAPITAL.

That's where SAVE MORE comes in.

All we need is discipline. 

Yet not everyone and anyone can do it. 

Some people earn $1 must spend $1. 

Some earn $1 can spend $1.20....

So when schools or big daddy introduce financial literacy workshops to the public, it has to focus on SAVE MORE. 

Start with the basics.

Its also why we see so many financial portals and blogs talk about "earning" miles, comparison of bank or credit card interest rates, discount this, offer that; etc.

If we move to the realm of EARN MORE, it starts to get murky and where dragons and snakes co-mingle.

On one side we have snake oils who unabashedly proclaim they can help you to become millionaires or financially free (rich say rich lah):

No money down!

5 minutes a day!

Passive (which means you get rich while you sleep?)


Anyone and everyone can do it!

All you need is faith (???)

Then there are initiatives done with the best of intentions - like SRS, CPFIS, offering discounted SingTel shares to the general public (one time deal only?) - all in the name of encouraging more people to dip their toes into the realm of EARN MORE.

But that's hard.

Sometimes, the more we invest, the more we lose...

Some of us know it all too well. 

That's why we don't encourage or give investing/trading tips to friends and relatives anymore....

Make money they don't thank us; lose money we get the blame.

Spare us the grief!

So we stick to SAVE MORE tips.

And that's safe!

To invest, we need CAPITAL.

(If you then go and lose all that capital, its all on you!)


Thursday 5 November 2020

Attracting New Blood Is Important!


Last month, if you're waiting for your MRT train, you may see the advertisements for this new Genshin Impact game from China plastered all over.

Its the latest "hot" game. It reportedly took $300 million USD to develop. And in it's first week of launch, it took in $300 million USD!?

Now that's success!

There were some in our community playing Epic 7 that were worried Genshin Impact's success may impact the game we are currently playing.

Whales (players who spend thousands) will only whale on a game that's hot. What's the point of flexing when most people don't care for the game you playing?

When whales leave, once upon a time popular game will die a slow death... All the legions of free-to-play players won't help since they are not paying customers... They are freeloaders!!!

I'm one such freeloader. Wink.

I used to collect stamps. 

Got "whale" (buy from stamp shops) in the beginning, then switched to "free-to-play". Meaning I'll make friends with receptionists and ask them to give me those discarded envelops with postage stamps on them. 

Now this "lobang" is long gone. 

When was the last time you saw stamps on an envelop?

I hate this franking thing...

Out of sight; out of mind.

As a result, I believe less youths would collect stamps as a hobby. Which in turn may mean there could be a lot less enthusiasts who will grow up able to appreciate stamps as an "investment"...

Yes, its a bit like cryptos, art, comic books, and Hello Kitty toys.

When a lot of people are hyped up about something, that something will appreciate in price.

Have you noticed something in our community of money chasers recently?

More and more youths are moving over to the US or HK markets. There's a lot of excitement over there! 

In comparison, our STI this year a bit boring and range bound, isn't it?

Of course a swallow does not make a summer.

But if we don't come up with another flavour of the year theme/hype like REITs, Oil and Gas, Myanmar play, etc; those who own the STI ETF or SGX individual stocks may start to sweat a bit...

The logic is similar to property.

If foreigners are not coming to Singapore, and our population is not growing, who we think we are offloading our properties to?

If there's no new blood?


Friday 30 October 2020

I'm losing another part of my past again - Robinsons Closing


I can't show people the physical building that I've studied at Hua Yi Primary School before. 

My primary school does not exist in Singapore anymore. It was merged with Queenstown Primary School in 1991.

But I can proudly tell others that my primary school band was featured in our old $50 dollar bill:

I was in the school band for 1 year during primary 3. 

However, I suck. 

Crash got sound! That's how I found out. Wink.

This morning, another bit of my past got erased, again:

Robinsons to close.

Robinsons is the company that I remember my chequered career past with fond memories. I was treated "right" there. The soul and culture of Robinsons was something from a bygone era...

That's why those of you who remember the old Robinsons will see staff working 30-40 years there. Company do take care of us. We were treated like family.

However, I stopped being a Robinsons customer when OCBC sold Robinsons off....

The new owner changed everything. Only the name remained.

I felt like a "guest" in my own home.

Evidently, I'm not the only customer who felt that way.


Hong Kong has its Lane Crawford. Present tense.

We got Robinsons. Past tense.

162 years in Singapore... Makes one wonder whether Singapore would be around 100 years later... Don't you?

Shareholders of OCBC must be glad their bank divested Robinsons when they can; and not when they have to.

Quitting when we are ahead is not the same as quitting.

Evidently, the board and management of OCBC don't suffer from Buy-and-Hold delusions!


Do I own any retail stocks?



Thursday 29 October 2020

Cryptos, Art, Antiques, and Comic Books


Would you pay a million dollars for some paint on paper with a fancy frame around it?

Well, some will. 

Especially if the artist is famous and more importantly, dead (no more future supply).

But then again, there will be times you'll be getting rid of your prized art collections for a song.

Our late Singapore banker Low Chuck Tiew was able to amass a great collection of Chinese artworks during his posting in Hong Kong during turbulent time of 1949 when the communists were taking over the whole of China.

(As a side note, properties are usually good, better, best 99% of the time in human history. However, it sucks when you are "running road", or when its stolen without compensation from communist bandits.)

The thing about antiques its really in the eye of the beholder. 

Some see old stuffs as junk; some see them as treasures. 

The same goes for rare 1st issues of comic books or toys of our childhood in mint condition or in their original packaging. 

Hoarders of the world would exclaim excitedly, "See? What did I say? Don't throw away anything! They may get valuable one day!"

How about memorabilia?

Unless you're a big rabid fan of Apple, who would pay $800K for the first Apple 1 computer?

Then again, there's a group of people who don't care or have any interests whatsoever in the various "asset classes" I've shared above. These are the speculators.

Just as long they are confident they can find the next fool to sell to at a higher price, they will place a bid.

This is how I view cryptos.

Friday 23 October 2020

More CPF Top-Ups? More First Timers Below 35?


More CPF top-ups, people below 35 saving for retirement: CPF

Like ink blots, we see what we want to see.

What do I see?

1.  Big daddy definitely has capitulated. 

Remember when SingTel shares were sold to the general public at a "discount"? 

Was it not to encourage share ownership? 

Same with CPFIS. 

Anyone attended those road shows or workshops to make our CPF savings grow faster through investing?

The fact that after SingTel, no more discounted share offers to the general public is quite telling...

2.  That's a lot of money on the table up for grabs!

From snake oil landowner perspective, I'll call my shepherds to wake up their ideas! 

That's a billion plus that's not siphoned off in fees or commissions!?


You go out and kick our flock of snake oils to sell into these CPF voluntary "savers", the wonders of compounding our investment returns! 


Go sell a mutual fund, individual stock, ETF, anything! 

Structured products or insurance policies even better! The margins are great!

3.  A third are first timers below 35?

I mean for old fogeys, its easier to understand.

Especially those who have discovered despite spending decades in investing, and despite throwing thousands of dollars on books, courses, workshops, and masterclasses; its a case of the more you invest, the more you lose...

STI not in crash territory (below 2000 in my book), yet if you look at some STI component stocks, they are below the lows of March 2009... 

Not exactly confidence boosting, is it?

But below 35?


So all that FIRE talk by millennials are just that? Talk?

Am I right to say all these first timers voluntarily contributing to CPF have given up on their dreams to retire by 35?

4.  Different feet; different shoes

I find it quite comforting through this watering hole, I'm in contact with youths who are not adverse with taking risks. Take for example, cryptos. 

There's one in our community who became a millionaire with cryptos. Good for him!

We need a balance. 

I'll worry for Singapore if the majority of youths are risk adverse...

Young, go chase rainbows! (Besides chasing skirts)

There's all the time in the world to capitulate in our later years. 

Save More will always be there for us. 

Money lost can be recovered; time lost is forever gone...

Earn More is hard. 




Thursday 15 October 2020

Quick! Which is Easier? Properties or Stocks?

You tell me!

Either from your very own personal experience, or from your anecdotal observations on friends, neighbours, school mates, colleagues, relatives; etc.

Sunday 11 October 2020

I've Capitulated


The first time I've ordered anything online was in Shanghai.

It was for a book that I can't find in Shanghai. So I got it from Amazon.

Quite amazing.

From a warehouse somewhere in US to my doorstep at Shanghai?

I was impressed.

As an old school brick and mortar IT dinosaur, that "virgin" experience stopped until I came back to Singapore. I still prefer the actual shopping experience of a proper store.

Anyways, 2 years back, mom damaged her "ancient" kopi pot. Searched everywhere can't find a replacement. 

There's a shop in Chinatown that sells those canteen metal plates and coffee cups I remembered so well during my primary school days. Hopes up; hoped dashed.

Nope. They don't carry the kind my mom wanted...

So no choice have to search online. 

Found something similar. Not the same but close enough!

Then beginning of this year, I shared I bought a cheapo shower water heater online to last me  at least 1 year until I moved out to my new flat early next year.

Its so "cheap" that brick and mortar shops don't carry it. LOL!

Guess what?

Dad's 32 inch TV broke down Friday.

Just ordered one online. Its selling even cheaper than the staff price from my weekend sales gig.

OK, there's a catch.

If buy from authorised retailers, the warranty is 3 years.

This one only has 1 year warranty from the local seller.

Which is code or another way of saying this TV is parallel import.

Hey, for this price, I'll take the risk.

Its a good reminder nothing is "FREE"!

A lot of customers are easily "manipulated" by what they thought is "FREE"...

Its all in the price. (Sounds familiar? Maciam like trading and investing right?)

I've capitulated.

I think I'm moving to the dark side...

Monday 5 October 2020

Stocks Only Go Up. Wait!?

Some of you may have heard about the exploits of Dave Portnoy in the US in recent months.

Yes, this modern day pipe piper is leading his horde of millennial day traders bored with the Wuhan virus lockdown, and making tons of money since the lows of March!?

Stocks only go up.

Before you start to laugh or mock him, like the red-faced US media, do first make sure you do not call yourself:

1)  A long term investor.

2)  A buy-and-hold investor.

3)  A passive indexing investor.

Isn't the key cornerstone of your investment thesis is stocks only go up too?

Awkward pause.


Friday 25 September 2020

88 Trillion World Economy (2019)


It feels good that our little red dot has a place on the chart. 

Imagine how would you feel if our country is lumped together with "rest of the world"?

Very interesting Singapore and Hong Kong are same same. We play similar roles. One is gateway to South East Asia, while the other is gateway to Greater China.

Look! We are "sama, sama" with Malaysia too!  

Glad most of our Asean neighbours have their spots too. Indonesia power! 

Population size matters huh?



Monday 21 September 2020

Best Advice On Stock Investing


Only buy stocks that go up in price.

Those that don't go up in price, don't buy.

Thursday 17 September 2020

The Thing About Extended Warranties


A few years back, when I switched to retailing of home electronics and appliances after moving on from my weekend Howard Storage World sales gig (company went bankrupt), the retailer I was posted to by my brand organised a meeting for all promoters not under their payroll.

For those not familiar with the retailing of home electronics/appliances scene, the majority of the sales staff are not on the payroll of the retailer, even though we wear the same uniform. Wink.

That's why you walked into the store interested in brand X, but walked out with brand Y... You've been "washed". LOL!

This retailer has a partnership with a insurance company to bundle and sell extended warranties. So they want us to promote these extended warranties to our customers.

Of course non of the promoters were interested. We were more interested in promoting our own brands - the carrot is sales commissions and incentives like bonuses if we hit our sales targets; the stick is no sales survive on basic very the sad one...

A few months passed and the extended warranty scheme was a dismal failure... 

So the retailer used the stick and threatened us. If we don't sell X number of extended warranties per week, they will kick those non-performing promoters out.

Never make threats you can't follow through... 

Most of us ignored their bluff. (Except those weak or newbie promoters who got worried)

Remember I said most of the sales promoters are not on their payroll?

The retailers depend on us "free" resources. So the threat is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Furthermore, most of the brands belong to international worldwide MNCs. You think they care about a local local or regional retailer? Really?

So after a few awkward months of empty threats, the retailer finally capitulated. 

Now switch to carrot approach.

Going forward, every extended warranty a promoter sells, we'll get a sales commission. 

Now the extended warranty scheme finally took off!

Not too bad. Its not really any extra work. After closing a sale, we just ask customers whether they want to add an extended warranty to their purchase.

The extra commissions for those who can "push" these extended warranties can amount to a few extra hundreds a month. 

See how extended warranties become "good" for customers once promoters get incentivised?

Of course this story is not really about extended warranties. 

Its about human psychology and motivations.

And you probably never thought about it. (Unless you're landowner or shepherd.) 

Its pervasive. 

From politics, to business, to religion. 

Yes, even religion. 

The cell leader for that Taiwanese Buddhist monastery (very big in Taiwan) was very frank with me when she confided with me one of reasons they offered "free" meditation sessions was to not only create more awareness and publicity for the monastery (relatively unknown in Singapore), but its also to raise funds for further expansion in Singapore. (Got market share KPI?)

I'll leave it to you to figure out how to raise funds when its "free" meditation sessions?

If you confused, you're probably the target for all those "free" course previews, "free" spa treatments, "free" drinks, "free" food promotions!




Friday 11 September 2020

The Truth About COE and BTO

Have you ever wondered why our COE (Certificate of Entitlement) for vehicles is based on auction (code for who got money gets) while our HDB BTO (Build-To-Order) is based on balloting (code for lucky draw)?

What would happen if they were switched?

What's the "true" market price for our HDB BTOs? 

Its the price for resale after the 5 years minimum occupation rule is up isn't it?

You know it; I know it. 

Its a substantial subsidy from big daddy. Period.

Yet there are those every once in a while will pretend, pretend complain HDB makes "obscene" profits and there's no subsidy at all... 

OK lor, let's change the HDB BTO balloting to the COE price auction model.


Two groups of HDB buyers would be most happy!

1) That's those who got no luck.

Try and try, can never get a ballot number for their preferred location in mature estates.

Give up, choose those "ulu" brand new HDB estates. OK. got ballot but the number they got is way at the end of the queue. Which means you get to choose what others have "discarded"...

For those who are very picky (property is location, location, location, no?), no choice have to "capitulate" and buy resale. 

Pay a lot more than your neighbours who got theirs direct from HDB, but hey, anything money can solve, its no longer a problem. Wink.

2) Then there's those sour grape "carrots" who aren't mobile, they'll be glad if HDB BTO has switched to the COE price auction model, there goes the 2 bites of the cherry windfall!

And here they are, worried sick what will happen to their HDB flats after 99 years....  

They are like the proverbial dog who sits on a nail and whines and whines, when the problem is easily solved by moving their butts. 

But no.

If I can't make money (by moving), then everyone should not too!



Now consider for a moment what will happen if we implement the HDB balloting system for our COEs?

First, we'll get the ridiculous situation where a billionaire will not get a brand new car if he's that unlucky? Never mind the COE now is "free" under the balloting scheme...

And people being people, once they spot a "lobang" (opportunity), everyone will start flipping cars!

You never wondered why 2nd hand used HDB flats would cost more than brand new virgin HDB flats? 

So what's so surprising about 2nd hand cars costing more than brand new cars fresh from the showroom if we go the balloting route?

Still don't believe balloting is a lucky draw subsidy?

If everyone and anyone can afford a car, what will happen?

No need to look far.

Just look at the major cities in Asia. 

We'll just switch from complaining cars in Singapore so bloody expensive to whining about why big daddy not doing anything to the maddening traffic jams we face everyday!!!??? 

Hello? They sleeping or what!? Earn so much some more!

Its heartening big daddy has many schemes to help the disadvantaged and those with few means to own their own HDB flats, never mind if its just a 2 room HDB flat. We need to start somewhere first.

That's perhaps why when interviewed by the media on the HK protest situation, big daddy pointed out its a housing problem. Wink.

And when we had the constant breakdowns in MRT and overcrowding in the buses and MRT, there's the 40/60 swing to the opposition, remember?

People can accept car ownership is not for anyone and everyone, provided we get the "promised" Swiss standard of living level of public transportation. 

But to be reminded you are "cattle-class" whenever you go to work... 





Tuesday 18 August 2020

4-day work week hawkers


I'm seeing more and more hawkers in Queenstown opening for 4 days a week.

That's a good sign. 

Which is also part of the Singapore story.

Mind you. These hawkers are in their late 60s, 70s, and even 80s! They have worked 30 to 40 years to be where they are today.

No, they are not "lazy". 

They've earned the right to take it "easy" a bit, for they have "enough".

Their grown up children are probably poly or uni graduates. The "bo tak chek" ones with "ang gong" on their bodies would have a hawker stall of their own. Like that ABC fishball noodle and Tanglin Halt wanton noddle stalls, both had their sons having their own hawker stalls at Alexandra Village.

Its another one of those "real people, real stories" examples where you don't have to feel "pressured" to invest or else...

Especially if investing is not your thing...

Be it trading or investing, its not any different from selling chicken rice or nasi lemak. 

Its a craft.

Never mind the nouns; focus on the adjectives.

If we are good at what we do, then we can survive 30 to 40 years doing what we do,

Ever wonder why those hawkers in their 70s or 80s are still working - albeit on a 4 days workweek - instead of taking it "easy" at home?

Well, you'll know the answer when you try it yourself. 

I found it out myself after 18 months of "doing nothing" after my return from Athens.

When everyday is Sunday, Sunday soon loses its meaning.


Friday 24 July 2020

Chance meeting with the fisherman!

Guess who I met on the bus yesterday afternoon?

I was riding in bus 122, going to Tiong Bahru market at around 1.30 pm to buy braised duck for mom, when I saw CW getting up the bus!?

Of course I waved at him to say hello!

The funny thing, looking at the both of us - bermuda shorts, slippers, and worn-out T-shirts - we don't look anything like men of leisure at all...


But then again, the fact we can walk here, walk there on a weekday afternoon, and not stuck at our trading screens, it speaks volumes on our trading/investing styles....


Thursday 9 July 2020

Others Can; We Can't - Not So Bad After All!

I was fooling around as usual at CW's blog, then something interesting popped-out from the bantering...

What if there's a "lobang" that others can access, but we can't?

You'll be upset right?

So unfair!

It was about this voluntary cash refunds for CPF savings used for property purchases. 

There's some still grey areas that I'm not crystal - and I thought my england quite powderful!

Anyways, I won't talk too much about it.

I'm not a fan of voluntarily shoving money back into CPF; but tell me how we can get money out from CPF I'll be all ears!


Yup, I don't feel like giving you ideas for something that I wouldn't do myself.

What I can do is share something similar. 

With interest rates probably going down again, I believe property owners with outstanding housing loans are very much looking into refinancing their loans once again? 

1/2 percent saved here, 1 percent saved there. 

Can save a few thousands every year!

I can't join in the fun.


From the very day I bought my HDB 3 room resale flat, my outstanding housing loan was below $100K.

Banks not interested to do refinancing if the outstanding loan is below $100K.... No meat.

Should you be upset if you were in my shoes?

For those who don't get it, I shall be a bit clearer.

You mean those who got a $300K outstanding housing loan after buying a HDB 3 room resale flat be happier?


Yes, I do "lose out" by not being eligible to save on the small interest rate differentials through refinancing...

But the thought of "saving" $200K is perhaps compensation enough?

How's that for not sweating the small stuffs?

Like paying for life and medical insurance policies, we win when we lose; and we lose when we win?

Moral of story?

Don't get too upset when others can; we can't!

Monday 6 July 2020

This 99 years thingy...

I long time no tell stories already.

Funny right? And to think during my first year of blogging, I was telling stories left, right, and centre!

Kung fu don't use will depreciate one. So here goes!

Once upon a time in a little red dot island, a family - father, mother, and 2 lovely children boy and girl - went for an extended vacation for 99 days.

So they found a service apartment (or chalet if you prefer) online that charges $120 per day. But if they pay in full upfront, they can get a 15% discount. So they took it. 

Got discount don't take stupid or what?

The service apartment got 3 bedrooms. 

It didn't take long before the money-minded enterprising father figured out that if he can force persuade ah boy and ah girl to share the same room, he could rent out the spare room!

That he did. And to his joy and happiness, he could rent out that spare room for $50!

He almost wanted to bribe his two children to sleep in the living room to make another $50 before his wife chided him,

"Are we here to vacation or to make money!?"

Sheepishly he dashed that idea... If the price of earning that extra $50 meant children not happy and wife angry, then its too expensive!

Fast forward 30 days later, the whole family got bored with the city they were vacationing in. Let's fly and explore another city!

But problem. 

They've already paid upfront for the full 99 days of rent. Leave like that very wasted...  

No worries! 

Ever enterprising Dad talked to a few travel agents and found lots of people were most willing to take over the rest of the 69 days from them at 50% premium for what Dad has paid for 99 days!!!

How can it be? Can't people count?

Oh! It just so happens the city our protagonist family were vacationing in just happens to be hosting the - Olympics/F1 formula race/film festival/huge business convention - its just a story, take your pick!

Hotels fully booked with visitors from all over the world. Any room available people will grab!

Never plan, never do analysis. 

Being at the right place, at the right time, has triumphed everything!

Ecstatic. Off our vacationing family went to another city with huge smiles on their faces! 

How to describe that feeling of knowing the past 30 days' accommodation were "free", and the rest of your 69 days' renting costs are now subsidised by the 50% profit you've just made?

Long story short. The family came back to their little red dot island and shared their wonderful vacation time and bonus good fortune with relatives and friends.

Some who listened tried it out themselves and came back with affirmations of their own,

"It true! Can vacation and make money on the side one! No bluff!"

And so this "lobang" (hot tip) became known to anyone and everyone.

Now story moved to this Charlie Brown and his family. 

Hmm... If others can do it, why can't I?

So same, same Charlie Brown copy/paste exactly what others did.

I think you know what's coming. Wink.

Bang! The city he and his family vacationing in got hit with - hurricane/tsunami/earth quake/volcano eruption - chose whichever one you fancy. 

A bit too drama you think?

OK, story over.

I shall leave you with 1 question and 1 moral of the story.

1.  The dad in our first protagonist family story - was it luck or was it skill?

2.  The moral of the story is make sure your name not Charlie Brown!


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