Sunday 28 November 2021

Conflict Of Interest

An interesting episode happened yesterday.

While applying the "free" membership for a customer (the rewards point "hook" to seduce customers to come back), I was surprised another person is using the same HDB address.

It could be the previous owner.

So I asked the customer whether she recognise the name.

Nope. But wait. That's her property agent!

I can see my customer not happy. Of course anyone can see she got "conned" by her property agent. 

No wonder the property agent insisted cannot get a lower price... My customer fumed...

It reminded of a similar case quite a few decades back.

Although this time, the property agent is the actual buyer..

The property agent probably realised his client is a bei kambing. The owner of the condo along the Singapore river had no clue how much his condo was worth??? 

Everything trust the agent!? Agent says what, believed hook, line, and sinker.

Let's just say the condo was probably worth $1.8 or $2 million, but the property agent told his client that the market price is around $1 to $1.2 million (its just an example I came up but you get the picture).

Remember, this was a time where property listings on the internet was not common. 

And it worked!

His client sold the property to the wife (of course pretend to be just another buyer) of the property agent without knowledge of the conflict of interest.

And the property agent made a handsome profit by flipping the property to the next genuine buyer.

Stealing candy from children. Easy!

Thankfully there's justice.

The bei kambing condo owner found out he was conned months later and took his property agent to court.

The condo owner is a bei kambing when it came to property matters... But he is no bei kambing when it came to his securing his rights and knowing how to seek damages and redress!!!

This condo owner is  probably someone who not interested in financial matters as he was preoccupied with his career or business... (Shocker! Not every so money minded like us)

And the funny thing, the property agent turned out to be the CEO of his own property agency!?

Talk about leading from the top!

Make a guess. 

When you attend property classes, workshops, seminars that "shrill" certain properties, are there conflicts of interests?

And if it can happen to properties... Can it not happen to forex, options, equities, insurance, and what not?

How to gain street smarts fast?

If you are between jobs, waiting for exam results, or having school holidays, just join any insurance or property agencies for "fun" and you'll get the insider view. 

Who knows? You may enjoy being a snake-oil!

You may also want to join those adult education "academies" as "volunteers" or minimum wage "helpers". 

This one you may need to join a few. 

Then you'll realise there's a set pattern or modus operandi which they all practice to channel bei kambings into their sales funnels.

It all starts from the "free" seminar or viewing. Wink.

Of course anyone in sales, purchasing or have your own businesses already got "crash got sound" experiences with "conflicts of interest".

Some give; some take.

Like they say in the Army,  

"Can do anything you want, just don't get caught!"

Big daddy made it clear some years back to their civil servants, and shepherds of big daddy linked companies, even if no money is involved, getting "free" sexual services is also a conflict of interest!

And you thought that sort of thing only happened in the entertainment industry...


Wednesday 24 November 2021

Intermittent Slowness? Remember Ponding?


You smart; others not stupid.

The problem is you "think" you smart...

Look, there is a time for euphemisms, and there's a time for telling it like it is.

Land owners and alpha shepherds have no need to hide behind sugar-coated words. 

The wise ones often encourage straight talking from their underlings. 

If we punish messengers of bad news, then no one will tell us the truth!

Until its too late...

You can see how communist China behaved during the first SARs outbreak and this Wuhan virus pandemic.


I don't think Singapore is anywhere near that bad.

Unfortunately, it seems the lessons from the "ponding" incident have been forgotten...

Service recovery anyone?

Any old fogeys here remember the big fumble by Coca Cola during 1985?

Management replaced Coke with "New Coke"; the public revolted.

The red-faced management was forced to bring back the original formula back within months.

Paradoxically, this quick about-face actually helped boost Coke's credibility!?

Accountability really helps when you own up to it!

The recovery was so "brilliant" that some even "suspect" Coke engineered the whole thing to increase sales!!!

I hope when big daddy looked into this incident, they would "encourage" their own vested interest to tell it like it is.

Like how they "encouraged" and "educated" their civil servants many years back.

"If its a flood, say its a flood. What's with the ponding? Who's kidding who?"

I'm not vested in DBS.

But I'm very vested as a Singaporean citizen and consumer.

We can do better.

Sunday 21 November 2021

3 Stories; 3 Reflections


The other day we were talking about ikigai.

Found this video to be quite interesting to reflect on.

Why we do the things we do. 

What's it all for anyways?

I would like to draw your attention to the 2nd video - the little girl selling pineapple "ice-cream".

It seems from the comments in YouTube, most have missed the "essence" of what's it all about....

If you're an educator, of course you know. But its hard to execute in today's system. That's why the wise religious gurus only use this method for their more equal "inner chamber" students.

As for the rest of their anyone and everyone students, they do what you do today. Its just for KPIs only; since they don't really matter. 

For parents, it can be hard if you have not got to where you are today using the same method as in the 2nd video. 

So like the poverty trap, its back to doing the same thing over and over in the next generation but expecting a different result...

That's also a reason why I suspect so many in our community are either too eager to Indian Chief others what to do; or honestly believing others will help them reach their financial Nirvana without they themselves putting in any effort on their part!? 

And the most ironic of all, most have got it all backwards...

You create wealth through SELLING; not buying.




Wednesday 17 November 2021

GIC versus CPF


GIC Celebrates Its Achievements

5% above global inflation?

Fair enough.

I mean its not Temasek.

When you read through the chronological history of GIC, some of you may see what I see:

1)  Great Market Timing Or What?  

Why did Mr Goh Keng Swee bother setting up GIC in the first place? I mean "risk-free" US 10 year treasuries were yielding above 10% in the early 80s!? 

Try figuring out what better long-term returns meant?

When GIC was setup during May 1981, was it blind dumb luck or was it great marketing timing as US bonds were near the bottom of its bear cycle?

2)  Baxxs Bigger!

Early 2000s GIC became more confident and mancho! Less reliant on cash and bonds?

No worries mate! I got it!

Pivot to more public and private equity and real estate!!!

Give GIC a Tiger!

3)  Passive To Active

To some, this may come as a surprise!

2010s to 2020s....

Isn't this the time when passive investing was beating the majority (75%) of active funds handily?

And Warren Buffett won his bet?

Wait. What?


I'm having a chuckle right now! 

Feels good.

My poke is safe!


Sunday 14 November 2021

Property Versus Stocks (REITs)


You know the bullshit out there?

Its not a fair or balanced comparison when right out of the gate, you can't afford properties yet lah! Wink.

I mean anyone and everyone can afford $1,000 to buy a stock or REIT. 

Youth, remember your goal to earn and save $100K before 30? 

Well, that's just nice to pay for the 20% deposit for a $500K HDB 5 room flat. 

And... Poof! Just like that, its all gone in one concentrated position! 

So if you have anything less than $100K, you don't have write a cock and bull story why you are into stocks (REITs) over properties. 

We can all see what's going on....

Most of us prefer real people, real stories.

I would think there's a little more "credibility" listening to someone in their 40s, who have the actual capital to invest in a second rental/investment property, sharing their "crash got sound" experiences and learnings from having their fingers bloodied in both stock (REITs) and property investing. 



Thursday 11 November 2021

To Concentrate Or Diversify?

That's not difficult to answer.

There's usually 2 situations where one tends to concentrate or diversify - depending on one's situation.

1)  Got craft? 

When you are clueless to what doing you, of course being diversified is one way to ownself do less harm to ownself.

But if you believed "luck" is preparation meeting opportunity; when opportunity presents itself, of course you would concentrate and strike while the iron is hot!

That's what edge over others or craftmanship is for!

2)  Up mountain or down mountain?

When you have nothing else to aim for, or is wary of giving back to the markets what you have gained so far, then diversification to protect wealth may be the preferred choice.

It could also be due to shrunken baxxs due to old age... 

But if you're like that Indonesian Chinese who went from $1 billion to $7 billion with his concentrated bet on Tesla, and is still aiming to reach $100 billion, then concentrated bets would be the poison of choice.

He reminds me of the tale of the bird with no legs... Got to keep flying... Always on the way...

What has age got to do with anything!?


Thursday 4 November 2021

The Reason You Get Up In The Morning


Regular readers of my previous post - What Then? Be A Prostitute? - have correctly guessed I'm poking parrots who just vomit out mindless catchphrases without much internalisation or deeper thought themselves.

Let's take ikigai.

What comes to mind immediately?

The diagram below?

Hands up anyone who have heard only of the this word "ikigai" or seen the diagram above, but have not read any actual literature on ikigai?

That didn't stop anyone from "pretending" to know everything there is about ikigai, does it?

Want to bet if you talk to a Japanese, or to be more precise, an Okinawan, they wouldn't express ikigai like the diagram above? 

The diagram above is  definitely something a Westerner would come up with! Everything with clear boundaries - with a name for each box you happen to belong to. A is for apple... B is for boy...

As for those of us who have not forgotten our Oriental roots and culture, you would know right away that's not how we Asians think! Philosophically speaking - we are very holistic and fuzzy, fuzzy; often clear as mud!

Its like trying to describe the taste of mango to someone who has never eaten one.

That's why I prefer to describe ikigai as, "The reason we get up in the morning." 

Of the many descriptions of ikigai, I like this one the best!


Remember those days when we were young we can't wait for tomorrow to arrive? It could be Christmas, a school excursion, going on a date, a sporting event?

As we enter the workforce, ever had those days when we were eager to show up at work every morning? Or during the weekends, we can't wait for Monday to come sooner?

But when we drag waking up in the mornings, or suffer from Monday blues, we know something is not right in our lives...

Some numb themselves with alcohol or drugs. 

Extreme cases, some decide to not to wake up ever...

On a side note, please seek medical help or talk to a person that matters if you find yourself avoiding waking up in the mornings persistently. 

In case you didn't know, although ikigai as a concept has existed as part of Japan's culture, it was Meiko Kamiya who popularised ikigai to the general public in modern day Japan through her book, "On the meaning of life (ikigai)" in 1966. 

Surprisingly, her book was never translated to English!?

Want to see the Japanese version of ikigai in picture?


Hey! I'm going off tangent again! 

Some readers may exclaim in frustration...

Some are probably still waiting for the reasons why I'm poking both contradictory catchphrases below:

1.  Follow your passion!

2.  Follow your passion is the worst career advice!

Well, it's your life.

Who better to judge whether your life has meaning, or are you happy?

Plus whether the pursuit of more money would fill the holes-in-your-heart... 

And you don't mind being a prostitute at all just as long the money is right!

Or is you life so shallow that you are easily manipulated influenced by some mere catchphrases uttered or written by people whom you don't know well at all?


Monday 1 November 2021

What Then? Be A Prostitute?


Don't follow your passion?


So what's the alternative?

Just as long the money is good, you'll do it?



Isn't that the definition of a prostitute?

And I thought I'm the man-whore in the community!

Never mind if your workplace is toxic. If pay is good, better, best, why complain? Suck it up!

So what if the company is a slave driver. Expects you to work 60 hour work weeks. I mean who have heard of anyone dying from hard work?

Eh... Karoshi?

But, but... This job pays triple what I can get from a less stressful job... 

Look! Just focus on money!

Money, money, money.

Earn and save as much as possible. Take the money to invest for passive income.

Then we can all attain FIRE at 35!

Suffer first; enjoy later.

P.S.  That's provided you don't die of heart failure or have a mental breakdown first!

And when we are working 60 hour work weeks, or mentally stressed from work, pray tell how the hell one got the time and composure to find the "right" passive income vehicle that matches our temperature?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...