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.


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