Thursday, 10 June 2021

Leaders and Followers

 

This happened a few years back.


I was having my fast food fix one afternoon, and a group of secondary school boys of five had just finished their meals.


Four of them just stood up and started walking off.


Only one student stayed back and started clearing the trays. 


Two other students saw what their friend did, started walking back to help him clear up the trays. 

Their expressions like how we walked out of our homes and forget our masks, "Shit I forgot!"


The other two students who walk out without clearing their trays, looked back and gave the three a look of disdain and continued walking out. 


Then the funny (or sad) part occurred.


One of the two students who went back to help clear their trays, decided to join the other two students who walked out when he saw they didn't come back to help out.


I can see the vacillations on his face.


Instinctively, he knew what's the "right thing" to do.


If not he would have continued walking out like the other two boys. 


I guess the need to "fit-in" with the other two boys has triumphed in the end. He quickly ran after the two who left. 


I just sat there sipping my coke as I watched those two boys who stayed behind, cleared all the trays - their own and their friends' ones. 


This happens a lot in our lives, doesn't it?

 





 

 

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Italian Artist Sells "Invisible" Sculpture For £12,000!?

 

I kid you not!


Italian Artist Sells "Invisible Sculpture




Its a sign of the times, isn't it?


Is this the Emperor's clothes?


Would you dare to call it out as bullshit?


Or would you be afraid others may mock you for not understanding "Art"....




Willing buyer; willing seller.


All we need is a good storyteller (promoter).


And someone to swallow hook, line, and sinker.




Don't laugh.


Saw the news last night there's this urban myth spreading around drinking coconut water will lessen the side effects of Wuhan virus vaccinations...


If you uneducated got excuse. 


Even the Chinese medicine sinseh has to come out to say there's no scientific evidence for it.


But if you...




Ever wonder what's you edge in investing/trading?


Well, there's your clue!





Tuesday, 1 June 2021

The Parable of Talents and Minas


Non-people of the Cross, if you had not heard of these 2 parables, you may want to google and check them out.


Quite interesting. 


Especially if you've always wanted to know, "Why must invest huh? Isn't savings enough?"


But no worries. 


Since you have no skin in the game, there's no pressure!




However, if you are people of the Cross, save your explanations and excuses with the guy upstairs.


That's between you and him. 


Good luck!








Friday, 28 May 2021

Entrepreneurs work 80 hours?

 

Yes, entrepreneurs work 80 hours per week so they don't have to work 40 hours per week.




Let that sink in a bit.




Perhaps that's why most most readers who read Rich Dad Poor Dad do their best to ignore the elephant in the room...




Rich Dad is a Business Owner.











Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Where is the Capital of Japan?

 

My sales colleague was so eager to troll me yesterday by asking me that question.


What would you have answered?


Of course I answered, "Tokyo."


"Wrong!" my colleague trolled excitedly. "Japan has no capital city!"

 

He showed me this "official" source:


Tokyo is not the capital of Japan



How?


What would be your response?


If it said so in the internet, it must be so!


Especially if its written by a Japanese himself!


You in turn go round parroting this new found "knowledge"; trolling others in turn?


Look! You all are idiots! I so very de smart!



Let me ask you another question.


Who's your mom?


If your mom divorced your dad and she remarried someone else, does that mean she's no longer your mom?


How about if your were adopted?


Or if your dad got you another step-mom when he remarries? 


How? 



Stupid right?


I "schooled" my sales colleague that Tokyo is the de facto capital of Japan lah!


In Japan, where the Emperor lives, that's where the capital is. (All those hours reading manga and watching anime finally paid off!) 



Girls, try this on your boyfriends if you brave.


Ask him, "Where is the capital of Singapore?"


Majority will reply that make you go, "I'll have to spend the rest of my life with him?"


Then once in a while, you'll get the rare gems....


"The capital of Singapore is in my heart. That's where I find you too..."  


That's why most literary writers and poets may look like toad, but they sure can impress the panties of girls real quick!


LOL!





Sunday, 23 May 2021

My SERS Journey


I was recently interviewed by the good folks at Stacked Homes about my SERS journey.


If you interested, you can check it out over here:


Hitting The SERS Jackpot




I really like their website. 

From day 1 when I first worked with them (they were my sponsor), I've already noticed they brought something fresh into the property listing space - aesthetics. 

I'm into sculpture and photography. Even if you are not, I'm sure you can spot the care and attention they've paid to "beauty".  

Discerning property buyers would appreciate it. 


I love working with young startups. Its nice to work with youths with dreams, and acting on them already! Not just dreaming...

Stacked Homes has grown a lot since my first contact. 

Now they have their own YouTube channel and Podcasts section too!

How cool is that?



Oh! For readers coming here at this watering hole for the first time, here's more pictures of my new flat:


Views From My Balcony



 


 


Friday, 21 May 2021

Modern Day Tulips

 

Its one thing to read about past market manias and bubbles, its another thing altogether when one is in our midst...

I think I'll put it in writing so that I can either pat myself on the back, or give myself a royal poke in 10 years' time!

Let's refresh the more famous "tulip" manias from the past:


1.  Tulip mania in the Netherlands 1636-1637.  (The grandaddy - hence the title of this post) 


2.  South Sea bubble of 1720 in London. (Even Sir Isaac Newton got caught and lost money)


3.  Japan bubble in real estate and stocks 1985-1989. (Can't breakeven still after 30 years)


4.  Dotcom bubble of 2000 in US. (OK, broke even after 20 years if bought at the top)


5.  Subprime and Lehman Brother crisis of 2008. (Do with have more debts today than then?)      


Old fogeys do old fogeys thing. 

Youths should do things youths do.


In fact, even though I wouldn't want to capitulate and touch this modern day "tulip", I am perfectly OK with youths choosing it as their "poison" of choice. 

Better this than to voluntarily contribute to CPF when you are youth!

I mean we are only young once. Even if youths lose everything, how much can they lose?

Just as long they are those "lucky" or "wise" ones who got out near the top, like those precious few who got out fabulously rich in the previous manias and bubbles I mentioned. 

The many lost so the few can get rich. (Investing/trading is not socialism or communism)


When the white men first came to Africa, they got the bible; the Africans got the land.

Soon after, the white men got the land;, the Africans got the bible.


Even if youths got the bible when the dust settled, there's always CPF. 

If we can't Earn More, there's always Save More. 


The quicker we discover who we are the better!

I'm dumb. I only know the "crash got sound" way to discover myself.


Its sad when youth is a beautiful goose, but goes through all his life thinking he's the ugly duckling...

Its equally sad when youth is a penguin, but tries to soar in the air like other birds who can fly... 







 

Thursday, 13 May 2021

爸爸姓什么?99%的人都猜不出!

 








Sunday, 9 May 2021

Taking Umbrage

 

When someone takes umbrage, points finger at you, that means its not a 2 way dialogue...

Its "wah kali gong"! 


If you interested to know how to manipulate help other people (your day job is snake oil), that's not the way to do it.

Just observe and learn at how advertisers, financial gurus, religions, and big daddy do it.


Everything they do is for your own good!

To help you get prettier...

To help you become richer...

To support your spiritual growth...

To help you be gainfully employed...

And to achieve world peace!


Of course from the body language its obvious he was under a lot of stress. Who doesn't?

Then again, if you spent most of your working life used to "wah kali gong", its a lot harder to speak snake oil. This I can empathize.

You think anyone and everyone can be a snake oil? 

Don't insult my former day job!


How would I have done it?

Snake oil with a straight face of course!

1)  Stress it creates long term shareholder value. (Money talks)

2)  Then say its for the good of the nation. Make it like its we who are making a sacrifice!

3)  Win support from vendors/advertisers by thanking them publicly. (We still need them)

4)  Save the best for the last. Show empathy by focusing on PEOPLE. Yes, employees! Duh!


Kiss some babies, hug a reporter, or shed a tear or two during the press conference.

Always end on an emotional high. (This one religion very good at it!)


There.

See? Tell you how many times must not drop literature. 

I can bet he's not from the Arts stream!



 






Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Biggest HDB Enbloc - Tanglin Halt

 




Check out this interesting video on Tanglin Halt!


Over the past several months, there has been an increased of film crews and nostalgia photographers coming to Tanglin Halt.

Last week, there's a film crew doing a movie shoot on the ground floor of my flat! I guess they were using one of the "returned" empty flats as location. Must be an "indie" film or something. They were not from Mediacorp.


Those of you interested in architecture, come check out the 3 storey SIT walkup apartments shown in the video. 

During my time studying at Hua Yi Primary School, these SIT flats were common place around Margaret Drive. They're all gone now. 

I think Tanglin Halt is one of the few places in Singapore left where we still have clusters of these SIT walkup apartments... 

Today, I believe these apartments are rent out to foreign workers. Some time back, they were the student dorms for our local university.


If food is more your thing, then come to the Tanglin Halt Market to try the Laksa. This one can't miss. It has the longest queues. 

Come during weekends morning only if you not familiar. It opens 4 days a week. I always forget which days they closed during weekdays. But weekends sure confirmed opened. After 1pm its almost sold out.

There's a lot of other good hawker food around here, you ownself discover ownself more fun!

If you come weekdays, you can see for yourself how many of the first generation hawkers here are only opened 4 days or 3 days a week. Who needs investing anyway?


For those of you who don't always like all things sweet and saccharine, you may want to goggle Queenstown gangs and murders.

Mei Ling Street, Tanglin Halt, and Redhill were "homes" to some interesting gangs during the 70s.

And Tanglin Halt is definitely one of the popular haunts for getting yourself "high into Nirvana" in the old days!

Don't worry! It all sanitised now oredi lah! Very family safe. Come!

But as you walk around the hawker centres and kopi shops, try spotting old men in their 80s with interesting "ang kongs" (tattoos) on their bodies. They must have been quite bad ass during their youths!


If exercise is more your thing, you can check out the former railway track that's now been converted to a walking trail. In the evenings, lots of people use it for cycling and walking.

I was one of the early "pioneers" of this walking corridor when it was less well known. Now its too crowded for me... 

That's the problem with people. Got good thing don't let anyone and everyone know! 



P.S.  For those HDB buyers who are hesitant about buying top floor, which era of HDB flats to avoid, which is safe, Tanglin Halt offer you the opportunity for you to "kick the tyres" for yourself. 

That's the advantage of property - can see, can touch!

First you look at the ebloc 10 storey "ancient" HDB flats - from top floor to water tank. Then you just walk over to the newer 40 storey HDB flats that were built within the last 10 years. Try spotting the difference!

Then you goggle and research the HDB water proofing and heat insulation technologies introduced and improved over the past decades.

Now you've ownself educate ownself.

See?

No need to attend courses some more! 


Have fun in Tanglin Halt!









Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Life as IT Dinosaur

 

Just the other day, my sales colleague was shocked I don't have "PayLah!"


He helped me with a purchase on a weekday; saved me a 2 hour trip to-and-fro back to the store.


When he said I can pay him back with "PayLah!", eh...


Lucky he was kind (and liquid) enough to wait till the weekend for me to pay him the few hundreds I owed in CASH.




I'm definitely not an Early Adopter when it comes to new technology.


Although I'm a laggard, I do find it cool to see youths making payments with their watches and mobile phones.


But nah... 


I'll stick with cash, and continue to read books and newspapers in the hardcopy mode.


But I know I'll have to change one day. That's a given.


Especially when they start shaming me for not being environment friendly with my penchant for paper...


Well, don't be smug.


Try swiping your ass with your mobile next time you ran out of paper in the toilet!


Ding! Ding!







Saturday, 24 April 2021

Vaccine Shot After Effects

 

Went to my vaccine shot yesterday.


Mistake.


I've underestimated the side effects.


This morning woke up with arm sore until... Lucky I don't have to do heavy lifting in my weekend sales gig.


Head is burning. 


Hands and feet cold.


Feels like getting sick with a bit of nausea. (Is this how pregnant women feels?)


I shouldn't have booked on a Friday. But if you guys have weekends off, then Fridays would be best. Can rest 2 days at home to recover.


Lucky my 2nd appointment 4 weeks later is on a Monday. Got 4 days for rest!


Now I have to drag myself to work soon.


I guess I'll be a zombie today. Don't have energy to do my usual song and dance routine to entertain myself and the customers!


Just sharing my data point of 1: 


Feedback from a 54 years young uncle. 


Those if you haven't got your shots, plan accordingly,








Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Salary In Big Lump Sum Better!

 

Let's continue the discussion from my last post whether its  better to sell candies at $0,50 each, or offer them at $1 but "buy-one-get-one free"?


When I started work at 16, I often envied those who worked at banks where they get 3 months of annual wage supplements...

We at retail "only" get 1 month AWS, like most everyone else in most industries.

It was much later that I realised we got the better deal. Wink.


Let's talk about the rank-and-file workers first. 

Those of you who have worked at F&B outlets, hotels, or factories during your school vacations may remember this bitter/sweet jog down memory lane. 

You may earn $2K per month gross, but your base salary could only be $1.2K.... The rest of the $800 is broken up into shift allowance, punctuality allowance, transport allowance, and even laundry allowance! 

I'm not making this up! Yes, there's such a thing called laundry allowance!

Why?

So landowners can pay you less when you work overtime mah!

1.5 times or 2 times (public holidays) $1.2K base salary is less than over $2K. Simple math.

Furthermore, those of us who are hard up for money like to "sell" our annual leave back to the company. Pro-rated, your annual leave is worth a lot less now... Company smart or what?

And of course, if you get a 5% raise... You get the picture!


For those of you who never worked as rank-and-file ever, first job already executive or management, don't be too smug. 

But you are definitely better off! 

The offset is you don't get paid for overtime. Landowners will be landowners.

Once you rise high enough or lucky to be sent overseas, you'll get the same "3 bananas in the morning; 4 bananas in the evening" treatment too.

But first you'll be elated with the "free" housing. "Free" company car. "Free" country club/gym memberships. "Free" international school allowance for your kids. Who doesn't like "free"? 

That's until you realised you'll be better off financially, if everything "free" is bundled into your annual salary instead!!!

You tell yourself next contract you'll negotiate away all the "free" stuffs and add it into one big lump sum annual package. One ring to rule them all. 

You smart; company not stupid.

If they need to retrench you, and the compensation is 1 month for every year worked... Don't even dream about it!

And of course the elephant in the room is still - if you get a 5% raise...

LOL!





Friday, 16 April 2021

Nothing is FREE!

 

Its amazing this 3 bananas in the morning; 4 bananas in the evening is played all around us everyday.


At my weekend sales gig, I've lost count of how many "blue-eyed" customers (usually older housewives or uncles) who insists on "free" delivery or installation when they buy a bulky home appliance or electronic home entertainment device..


They will display shock that we charge separate for deliveries and installations. 

And I though pricing each cost item separately promotes greater transparency?

No... 

They will tell me how 20 years ago when they bought their home appliances, everything was "free"! 

Or this shop and that shop, delivery and installation are both free!!!

That's easy to overcome. I often teased why they didn't buy at those shops? Wink.

Well, our prices are lower. 

Exactly!

If you add our "lower" prices and pay for delivery and installation additionally, the final end price is around the same as our competitors who offered a higher price - but comes with "FREE" delivery and installation.

Smoke and mirrors.


A good example is the ubiquitous Value$ stores. 

Some years back, I noticed some of their stores were selling the Mars or Snickers candy bars for $1 buy-one-get-one free. While some other Value$ stores were selling the same Mars or Snickers for 50 cents each? 

Now I see all their stores have switched to the 50 cents model.

Did they do a test and found selling at 50 cents moves the candies faster than selling $1 buy-one-get-one free?


We see this all the time in supermarkets or for those who prefer to shop online. Some customers are seduced more by 50% discounts, while other customers are more drawn towards buy-one-get-one-free promotions. How to say no to "free"?

Then there are customers who can see the strings merchants and snake oils are trying to tie onto their arms and legs to puppeteer their actions. 

They save 100% by not being baited; only buying what they need.


Of course the above is just foreplay for what I really wanted to share.

If you aspire FIRE or getting rich through investing/trading, the odds are against you if you can't see the forest for the trees.

I know not everyone has worked in sales, purchasing, or have your own business. 

Just know more money has been made in the finance industry (includes financial education) through salesmanship than actual investing or trading.

No one is interested to help you get rich for free!

I'm sure many veterans have found out through crash got sound, "free" or "big discounts" can be most expensive... (Yes, I've been baited too)




 


 

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Top Floor With No View How?

 

When we buy a top floor unit, the subliminal egoistic reasons can be as simple as:


1)  I can shit on you, you can't shit on me 

2)  I'm on top of the world feeling (like standing on a mountain summit)


Other than that, the main non-psychological (can see; can touch) reason is probably to get a good, better, best view! 

That's why we are willing to pay more for a hotel room with an awesome view of the lake, the ocean, the mountains, etc...


Would you pay a premium for a flat or condo on the top floor with lousy or no view?

So do your homework!

Don't be paying top dollar for a top floor unit only to have that wonderful view cutoff by another idiot development a few years down the line...

When you are looking into someone else's kitchen or living room, what's the difference if you are doing it from a top floor, from mid-level, or from the lowest unit?


For those who have a preoccupation with heat, just so you know, orientation like North/South facing versus East/West facing can be more impactful than how high or low your apartment unit is. 

Then again, there are inventions called air-con, blinds, curtains, solar blocking films to reduce heat in your apartment. 


Have you noticed there are people who will close their windows and draw their curtains/blinds and shield themselves completely from the outside world 24 hours a day?

If you are such a Dracula person, it can be a wonderful arbitrage opportunity if you choose the lowest unpopular floor instead!

For example, the price difference at my HDB BTO flat for a 3 room between the highest and lowest floor is $100K.

If you add the bank interests for a 20 or 30 year loan, that's quite a bit of savings!

Of course this works only if you buy to stay; not with an eye to sell in future.


If you buy with an eye to sell, what you like or prefer don't matter. 

Which means if you "think" you were smart to buy one floor below the top floor, using the top floor as a heat buffer, well, that makes as much sense as saying you're a 3/4 virgin!

Take those older HDB boxy rectangular flats. The corner units are sold at a premium over the other regular flats on the same floor in the resale market.  

No one would pay a corner flat's premium for a flat that's just next to the corner flat. Would you?

Similarly, if your flat is not the top floor, then it does not matter whether its one floor or two floors below the top floor. They will be lumped together as "high floor".

Big daddy quite smart. 

They sell the top and second highest floor at the same BTO price. Obviously they know about the urban myths and consumer psychology.

The price only comes down from the third highest floor downwards.

So if I want high floor but have phobia of heat staying at the top floor, I would choose the third highest floor and below. No way I would pay virgin price for an "almost" virgin. 

I don't think most future buyers would either.   

Big daddy smart; I not stupid.





  



Friday, 9 April 2021

HDB Top Floor Good Or Not?

 

I was pleasantly surprised when I see this old post below getting quite a bit of readership recently:


Got lucky again - I got my HDB SERS penthouse replacement!



Then I found out there's a discussion at HardwareZone about this topic. Somehow my post turned up as part of the google search so some readers stumbled into this watering hole...

Funny thing the discussion about HDB top floor good or not wasn't even in my post - it  was in the comments section!?


Just thought I might as well write a "coaching" post for those readers who really want to know.

So here goes!




Eh bro! Is HDB top floor good or not?

I heard from some urban myths that HDB top floor no good. Very hot! 

And if unlucky, will leak when it rains...


Who told you so?

My mom.


Ah! So its not from first hand experience... 


Come, sit down and have a cup of coffee.

Let me help you find the answer yourself

You're an adult; tertiary educated some more. I won't treat you like a "bei kambing". Wink.


Are you buying a new HDB BTO or resale HDB flat from the open market?

If its BTO, never mind. But you can read on for the fun of it.

If its resale, go look at those HDB flats that were built from the early 70s to late 80s and those that were built within the last 10 years or less.

Can you spot the top floors, they looked different, no? 

Its quite obvious isn't it?

Does it solve your worries if you are buying a resale flat less than 10 years old?


How about those resale flats in between?

Then you may want to check when was the last time HDB did an upgrading work on the block. Especially whether they did a reroofing for better heat insulation and waterproofing.


Look, big daddy is quite transparent about during the early days of nation building, the focus was on speed rather than quality when it comes to delivery of HDB flats to the masses.

A lot of lessons learnt from "crash got sound" were internalised and used for future HDB flat designs.

Let's take toilets. 

The first generation of HDB 3 room flats (3S) came with only 1 toilet and shower combined. Which was very unpopular. Gor! Can you shower faster! I need to shit!

HDB quickly introduced the new improved (3I) version with 1 toilet and 1 shower separately. This makes more sense!

Over the years the design keeps evolving until we now have 2 toilet/shower in new 3 room BTO flats. No need to fight for toilets in the mornings! 

This makes renting out rooms to tenants more convenient too!


Ask yourself.

You seriously think HDB has not improved the waterproofing and heat insulation of their HDB flats over the years?

Why do you think we have those HDB upgrading for? 

If not to rectify old design oversights, what then? 

Remember those lifts that do not stop at every floor in older HDB flats?

My old flat at Stirling Road lagi poor design. We had lifts that stopped at mid-level between floors??? 

Of course can excuse the young architects then who had no idea about aging, wheelchairs, and hospital gurneys...  

Thank goodness nothing like a lift upgrading exercise cannot solve. Wink.


Let me guess.

Your mom is staying at the top floor of those HDB flats built in the 70s?

How did you know?

Just saying...







P.S.  For readers who aspire to upgrading to private properties one day, you may want to ponder whether only HDB dwellers will ask such questions. 

Would private property buyers ask whether top floor good or not?

Yeah hor?

If no good who would pay $20-$30 million for a penthouse apartment on the top floor of a condo?

Even landed properties have a "top floor". 

So only buy single story bungalows?

Wait a minute. 

Single story is also "top floor" between you, the sun and the rain!!!


Excellent!

You are thinking for yourself!










Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Delayed Gratification & Nature vs Nurture

 



Bet its not what you expected.

Did you?


Especially all you "giam siap gui" out there! 

LOL!


Sorry, sorry. I can't help trolling. 


For new readers at this watering hole, you may want to read this to know the difference between being frugal and being a miserly "giam siap gui":


Difference between being Frugal and Miserly




You can guess what's Charlie Munger's stance on whether top salespersons are born or train from the video too.

Die lor!

Kindergarten level financial literacy (what they can teach in schools) is all about savings, thrift, that sort of thing... 

Who in their right mind would dare to teach kids how to gamble invest with their money?

Unless you have a death wish to get sued by the kids' parents...

Which is ironic as the same parents who object, have no problem forking out thousands themselves to snake oils peddling, "If you think you can, you can!"


If delayed gratification is something we are either born with or born without...







Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Ma'am, the delay of your order is due to jam at Suez canal...

 

If you have bought any home appliances or furniture recently, you may experience some delays.

I know I have. 

The IKEA wall shelving that's supposed to arrive in mid-March has now been delayed to mid April.

I not in a hurry to move in to my new place. Time is on my side. Heck, I don't even have a move in dateline or goal...


Well, in my weekend sales gig, halve my product range is now out of stock. Shipment delayed. 

First thing I ask new customers  is when is their delivery expectations. If they can't wait till early May, I'll promote another brand that got stock, or pass the customer to another promoter.

I'm not the dog in the manger. If I can't do any sales; no one else should also.


As for pending customers expecting deliveries this April, some are "easy" like me, "No worries. I can wait." 

These customers are the best! Like the Thai song, "Sabai, sabai..." 


Then there are those irate customers who rightfully are angry and frustrated. You know, the precision in 2 decimal places, Just-In-Time, SMART goals people.

I tell them, "tongue-in-cheek", the delay is due to the "jam" at the Suez canal.

While getting a earful, I have a fun time figuring out which customers know geography, which doesn't.

LOL!


One sales staff cannot take it anymore and chided me.

"You full of shit. Your products are made in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. What has the jam at the Suez canal got to do with the delays for your brand?


So I gave this colleague a lesson on what is bei kambing knowledge and street smarts knowledge (euphemism for insider knowledge).


Hello, the container for Singapore sitting at Yiantian Shenzhen port is waiting for the container vessel from Europe to arrive, unload, load, and then drop off at Singapore port on its return run back to Europe. 

If Suez canal is blocked, the container vessel has to make a LONG detour around Africa. 

And what happens when all the delayed container vessels arrive at Yiantian port at the SAME time? 

So its not just the delay in ocean shipping time, we need to add the bottleneck waiting time for unloading and loading. 

Yes, even if your container vessel is not from Europe, you're still stuck in "traffic" when there's a port congestion.  

Wink.

You get the picture.



Even our big daddy minister (that's why he earns more than you) warned the jam at the Suez canal has implications to Singapore. I bet his message flew over the heads of many...


Most bei kambing "fundamental" retail investors have a hard time understanding why the share price is tanking when everything they've read in the annual reports is blue skies and bright sunshine???

Similarly, they couldn't fathom why the share price is moving up when everything reported in the media and discussions at bei kambing retail investor forums are all doom and gloom???


Don't worry. 

You are not alone.

Peter Lynch is right. 

Most retail investors invest in companies they have no edge whatsoever.

The doctor investing in fishing stocks; the fishmonger vested with biotech stocks.




 

P.S.  I'm not smarter. I just happened to work with Supply Chain before. 




 

Thursday, 25 March 2021

3 Day Work Week Hawker

 

This morning, I bought duck noodle soup for mom as breakfast.

Nothing unusual.

Except I noticed something new.

There's a new sign stating they are closed on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays, and Sundays.

LOL!

Why can't they just say they are opened on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays?


Before you think they are lazy hawkers, they have been here since the early days of Tanglin Halt. 

People have been selling for over 40 years. 

I think that's a nice reflection on the progress of ordinary citizens with the progress of Singapore over the years.

They have earned it.


Those of you in your 50s like me, do you remember most hawkers when we were in primary school never closed?

Of course the owner will rest for one day. But when he takes off, he will make sure his assistant/apprentice will take over for that day.

When you pay the same rent every month, a day off not earning money is like flushing money down the toilet right?

As our economic picture improves, we finally see hawkers taking 1 day off per week. (Money cannot earn finish one) 

Slowly it tuned into 2 days off per week like most hawkers we see today. (Food courts don't count as most of them are chain stores/outlets run like fast food outlets)


I don't know about other HDB estates, but in mature (euphemism for old) HDB estate like Queenstown, there are quite a few hawkers that only open 4 days a week. 

Just visit ABC market, Alexandra Village, Mei Ling Street, and of course the two Tanglin Halt Food Centres (10 storey and 16 storey).

Often these are first generation hawkers who have been plying their craft for 40 over years. 


But a 3 day work week is rare amongst hawkers.

That's why I had to take a double-take this morning.


I'm happy for the duck noodle soup seller.

Its really a case of hungry eat; tired rest.


A lot of bei kambings in our financial freedom community over plan things. 

Set goals that they neither have influence or control over...

Own self don't trust their own feet. Go round asking others what shoe size they should wear!? (How much money should I have to retire on? And yes, that's a dumb question!) 


No, I'm not going to say if a Duck Noodle Seller could do it, so can you!







.

Monday, 22 March 2021

Everyone Is A Speculator - Whether You Like It Or Not

 

Last week, after a bout of heavy rain, I noticed there were a swarm of scary ants along a stretch of pavement I'm walking on.


Ah! Its the Marauder ants.





This specie of ants is famous for its major and super major "soldier" ants.

You can spot them on the pic above.


We don't normally see the super majors. Today I guess there are out in full force to protect their worker ant sisters who were busy repairing/evacuating their flooded nest due to the heavy downfall.


These soldier ants don't need to "work" like their worker ant sisters. They have only one task - defend the colony against intruders. 


They reminded me of the knights in medieval Europe or samurais in feudal Japan.


Peasants toil the fields so they can feed their overlord, who in turn hire these sellswords to protect their realm and territory. 

 

The naive peasant may think its "safer" to be a peasant as the warrior class has to put their lives in harm's way all the time.

Hello, when was the last time peasants were not called up to be cannon fodder during a war or battle?


Even if the peasant is lucky not to be conscripted into battle, if your knights or samurais lost, you think the enemy force will not rape or pillage your lands just because you're a docile peasant?


In the realm of investing/trading, we have the two classes too.

Earn more - speculators, investors, traders; etc.

Save more - put money under a mattress, at a savings bank, or into pension schemes.


Those who opened savings accounts at banks never knew they were on the hook like equity or bond investors of the same bank - just ask savers who put money into Iceland and Cyprus banks. 

"But we are not investors!" 

I'm sure some savers may cry in disbelief.


Since the 2008 Great Financial Recession, central bankers all over the world have bailed out the speculators. 

If you owned equities or properties, you're not complaining, are you?

You got bailed out too. Wink.

But if you're a saver, you got screwed.

Once upon a time you can survive on a 3-4% relatively "risk-free" normalised interest rate environment. 

Now? 

With near zero interest rates, you are "forced" to become an "investor".  Once you touched any "Earn More" financial products, you'll soon learn there's a REAL risk of capital destruction. 

Again, just ask those who "invested" in Lehman minibonds or Hyflux perpetuals... I bet they never understood fully the risks they were taking on for that extra few percentage in yields...


How about government pensions?

Surely they must be safe!

Eh....

What assets do pension funds invest in?


There you go.

Even if you never directly invests in anything "risky" like equities or properties, indirectly, just as long you are saving into a pension scheme, you are just as liable for all the risks that speculators take!

Minus the spoils of war. Ouch!


Back to my Marauder ants.

So if got choice, do you still want to be a worker ant because its "safer"? 








 

Monday, 15 March 2021

How I Got Rich On Tesla Stock (Satire)

 

He is funny!





If only I'm a billionaire...

Then maybe I'll cure my baldness?





Regular drinkers from this watering hole may recall this guy looks kind of familiar...


Yup, I featured him in 2016 at this post:


How to be a Financial Freedom snake oil



And you think I like to poke people...


This guy even better!!!


He's making a living out from poking others!





P.S.  Notice he likes to use the Zen "ding" sound? And his channel is called AwakenWithJP?

This is a a fellow practitioner. Wink.





 

Thursday, 11 March 2021

People That Matters


 










Monday, 8 March 2021

Yup, STI backbone still strong

 

A tale of two cities.

Hang Seng down -1.9%

STI up 1.9%


But we are not alone today.

With the exception of the FTSE, the rest of Europe are green like STI.

All these despite the US futures very solid in the red.


Most of us are used to taking our trading cues from the US markets.

So how?


Throw away top-down monkey see, monkey do - risk on; risk off?

Time to embrace bottom-up and trade the individual fundamentals of each and different market?





Thursday, 4 March 2021

STI got backbone?

 

Now this is a sight we don't see everyday!


Major bourses in Asia and Europe drowning in a sea of red. 

US futures also crimson.


STI?


Its nice to be the odd one basking in green, isn't it?


STI power!





Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Stacked Homes - Revisited

 

I've always admired the energy and fire whenever I met young entrepreneurs.


I had coffee with one of my sponsors yesterday. It's nice to see how they have evolved and grown since they first appeared at this watering hole in 2017...


Its Stacked Homes.


Now they even have YouTube videos. Just search Stacked Homes in YouTube. 

You might want to check out that video on the Dawson HDB (DBSS) flats  which I consider the most beautiful in Singapore. That's if you are into architecture and design that sort of thingy...


If property is your poison, you might want to checkout their platform.











 

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Happy Chinese New Year!

 

You all stay safe and chill OK?


And enjoy the moment with people that matters.


万事如意, 家家平安!







Friday, 5 February 2021

Inflation and Gravity

 

I've always thought gravity is the force that pulls me down to Earth. If not, I would have floated into deep space.

Then as I watch more documentaries about Cosmos (I love to watch documentaries), I realised its in fact the curvature of spacetime that's pressing me down to Earth!

Its a subtle difference.


The same goes for inflation.

If you define inflation as things getting more expensive, you'll probably accumulate more money to combat inflation.

But if you define inflation as money getting smaller and smaller as in worth less and less, would you still be accumulating more money to combat inflation?

Ding!








Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Great! They are moving on to the asset I own!

 

LOL!

Monday saw a quick gap up on the asset I've owned for years now.

Friday evening there was already chatter that the "avengers" crowd - retailers looking out to punish the establishment elites - are targeting the asset I'm vested in.

Sure enough, on Monday morning, the futures price gapped up like a rocket!


To show how volatile it is, if I had entered a small speculative futures trade Monday morning on a pullback, I would have been quickly up a few hundreds by noon. And by the time it reached US opening time, I would have been up a few thousand dollars. 

(Of course I've left out the heart stopping up and down gyrations that would have stopped-out anyone who practice money management as in using stop orders - especially on leveraged instruments.)

When I woke up this Tuesday morning, guess what? 

I would have stopped-out at breakeven right out of the gate when the market opens as prices tanked - I've got this trading rule to never let a winning position turn into a loss.

But the current price is still higher than Friday's closing price.

No, I sitting this one out from the trading side.

I can't participate when the price volatility is too wild for my money management rules....


But I do own this asset (not tiny size either) - that's the non-leveraged side in my investment portfolio. 

My entry price is a lot lower than current prices. 

So can withstand the current volatility. In fact, I welcome it! 

Who doesn't love higher prices on assets that we own?


I'm now focusing on how to profit best from this interesting mania episode emanating out from US.

Hope I will be as good as those who owned Bitcoins at below $10K. 

You know, sell a portion near the intermediate top around $40K, and buyback at current prices around $32K?

Make a spread of $8K, but still retain the same long term core position after buying back to ride Bitcoins all the way to $100K?

Of course not easy!

In case you didn't know by now, the selling or taking profit part is how we tell apart the pros from the amateurs. Wink.


No, I don't want to reveal what's that asset class; I don't want to talk up my own book.

If you're following what's going on in the US markets (not a STI only koala), you'll know what's the asset I'm talking about anyway.


No one so stupid to tell others that this stock good, better, best for investing/trading without first getting vested at much lower prices.

Similarly, no one so dumb as to so well meaning warn others this stock is a possible fraud/scam without first selling or getting short before hand at higher prices.


So when you believe 100% what institutions tell you, you're not as bright as you think...

And if you believe totally what other anonymous bei kambings (some are wolves in sheep clothing) in the internet forums say, you're probably not as wise as you think too!


Readers may want to read: No, you're not their customer


I guess those "avengers" customers in the States found out who the real customers of Robinhood are the hard way.

I mean they never stopped to think how do brokers make money when there's no trading commissions???


How about social media forums, blogs, or well meaning friends and acquaintances? 

Well, if you have been practicing others buy I buy; others sell I sell - just look at your portfolio or trading account.

Nothing beats when tire meets the road reality!


Look, if I'm looking into selling a portion of my asset holdings to take advantage of this current "avengers" mania in US, would I be telling you I don't think this move up is sustainable?

For anyone not vested, it would be better to wait for a pullback to a longer term support at much lower prices if you want to get started on slowly accumulating for a long term position?

No, I would be telling you anytime is a good time to invest!!! (That's the dead giveaway that person is probably a snake oil)

Better buy now! Wait prices go higher! You'll miss the boat! (Double confirm)


Long term investing is about buying cheap and selling when its expensive (its not buy and hold). 

It can't be cheap when everyone and anyone is buying or talking about it.


Trading is about finding the greater fool to offload your positions onto.

Do be offended if others like to offer you "free" advice. Yup, they're probably treating you as their greater fool!






 


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