Friday 17 September 2021

Manipulation With Words


Those not in politics or sales have too little appreciation on the power of words.

The pen is mightier than the sword is just not some empty words uttered by some scholars who can't fight.

Let's take a snake oil word I hate the most:


What the fish is that!?

2nd hand say 2nd hand. But no... Previously owned. 

No, can't spell it out like that! 

Write "pre-owned", somehow the 2nd hand; other people used before; no more virgin negative "stigmas" are no longer obvious.

Pre-owned has become "neutral".

And that helps in fetching a better price!

Stocks in general can be categorised as big-cap, mid-cap, small-cap.

These are neutral words.

But if I want to sell you buy-and-hold big-cap stocks (so I can milk the AUM fees forever and ever), I would call these stocks "blue-chips" instead!

Some how, when the brain hears "blue-chips", we automatically think sure win, "bao-jiak", and make silly extrapolations like if the stock goes to zero, Singapore will go down too...

See? Told you SPH is blue-chip! It never went to zero right!? Just buy-and-hold. Stocks only go up one!

Similarly, if I want to encourage you to trade penny stocks (I want to fleece the trading commissions from you), I not so silly to call them penny stocks. I would call them small cap stocks. 

The name penny stocks somehow got negative connotations... Like rubbish, risky, 2nd class; and all that... 

Most youths are not aware Venture was a penny stock before. So not all penny stocks are risky speculative bets OK!?

Corporate bonds are getting more and more common in SGX in recent years. 

Most are unrated and are called by a very nice and sexy name - High Yield Bonds.

Old fogeys would remember their former name - Junk Bonds.


You read correctly. 

But just like penny stocks, junk bonds can be very lucrative, provided you know what you are getting into. 

They say the bond market is smarter than the equities market.

If you wan to play high yield bonds, just make sure you are smarter than the average equities investor/trader. Wink.

What's the moral of the story?

Having a wider vocabulary helps!

Just don't over do it.

Remember the "ponding" incident? 




  1. Smol,

    Simplicity is the way to go.


    1. WTK,

      The ability to explain the complex in simple language is the skillset of the storyteller.

      The ability to snake oil the complex into a simple sales pitch is how money is made ;)

  2. Investing snake oil to become FIRE is Masterclass for xyz! It doesn't sound like Get Rich course!

    Same as from Second-hand to Pre-owned. Snake oil marketing also evolving! LOL!

    1. CW,

      Ah! I missed those more "honest" days where even property and insurance companies openly put in their recruitment ads, "Want to become a Millionaire? Join us!"

      As with every profession, if you can become the top 5%, you really can!

      Just like there are millionaire hawkers in our midst...

      But of course after what happened to the sotong curry puff owner who bragged in the media, got investigated and caught by big daddy's tax collector, smart hawkers will keep their mouths shut!

      But mark my word. The day will come when a youth will discover he can become a millionaire by teaching others how to become millionaire hawkers!



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